Author Topic: Winter in Northern California  (Read 804 times)

mike90045

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Winter in Northern California
« on: January 05, 2019, 05:12:24 AM »
Big storm moving in at midnight ( about 3 hours from now) Supposed to last about 5 days, and all power grid crews in Northern Calif have been called into work.  The first day is supposed to bring gale force winds, so there are going to be outages.
 I'm prepared for 5 days of running 3 hours a day to keep the batteries up, since solar won't be showing itself.

glort

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Re: Winter in Northern California
« Reply #1 on: January 05, 2019, 05:36:59 AM »
Quote
I'm prepared for 5 days of running 3 hours a day to keep the batteries up, since solar won't be showing itself.

How much fuel does that equate to?

I feel very fortunate not to live in a place that regularly has these extreme cold weather situation that interrupt normal life so much. It must get very taxing and dangerous at times.

With my proclivity for Veg fuel, I'd have at least a couple of 44's on hand at all times and probably an IBC.  :-[

mike90045

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Re: Winter in Northern California
« Reply #2 on: January 05, 2019, 06:08:31 AM »
I think I figure a quart (US) an hour, so 15 hours,  about 4 gallons, maybe 5 - depending on how heavy I load it .

I think it's pretty happy running at 2300 watts, it does 2700 just fine, but is acting like it's working hard.    I can't source really good bolts for hold down, Grade 8 is too brittle, maybe Grade 5 is too brittle too.   I use good Stainless Steel, it has some give and doesn't snap with a ping, like a batch of Grade 5 did.  I heard 1 go, and shut it down before the others took flight !

Good files, good hardware,  both are hard to find.

ajaffa1

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Re: Winter in Northern California
« Reply #3 on: January 05, 2019, 07:01:05 AM »
Hi Mike, just to p*ss you off it`s a very comfortable 34 degrees centigrade here, the solar is pumping out power which we are using to run the air conditioning indoors. We have found it much cheaper to run the AC on low to cool the house during the day rather than to run it on high to cool the place down once it has got hot.

Unlike Glort, I do miss the colder months we used to get in the UK. There is something very comforting about being tucked up nice and warm in front of a fire while the wind, rain and snow do their worst outside. It`s also a bloody good excuse to fill your face with high calorie food to fuel you for the following day, out in the cold.

I too have had some issues with high tensile bolt snapping. I think that they are cooled too quickly during manufacture and become brittle. You could try tempering them with blowlamp or just chuck some in the wood burner and fish them out the following day.

Take care in the oncoming storms,

Bob

mike90045

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Re: Winter in Northern California
« Reply #4 on: January 05, 2019, 07:42:24 AM »
.....

I too have had some issues with high tensile bolt snapping. I think that they are cooled too quickly during manufacture and become brittle. You could try tempering them with blowlamp or just chuck some in the wood burner and fish them out the following day. 

Wow, I'd not thought of toasting them in the heater.  A masonry heater gets quite a bit hotter than a fireplace or wood burner stove.  It's refractory liner stays white and clean, from the intense heat, but the cast iron grate does not melt.  So if I toss some grade 5 or 8 bolts into it for a cycle, will they come out butter soft and have the threads roll off ?   The burn chamber easily gets to 1200F, the pizza oven maybe only up to 700F, the glass on it's door doesn't self-clean.

about 30# of wood, twice a day for a 2 hr hot clean burn.

BruceM

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Re: Winter in Northern California
« Reply #5 on: January 05, 2019, 10:48:11 AM »
We're having a freaky winter here in the White Mountains of Arizona.  A week with daytime highs less than 28F, one this week didn't break 18F, nights of -4F.  Only 6 inches of snow but it's not going anywhere.  Another snow coming, and then another.  Back to back storms, week after week.  After a wet and dark December. 

And of course, this would be the time I find out I used the wrong power transistors for my new PV regulator.  I have the old one back in now, using just the 1500 watt array.  I should have the new board back up early next week. And I found my MB 300D's block heater wires were chewed off by rabbits right next to the heater.  Grrrr. 

The upside to my PV upgrade (adding 1500 watts to 875) is that even on cloudy days, my battery bank gets topped off. No Listeroid running on dark days. I just avoid electric cooking when it's not sunny.

glort

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Re: Winter in Northern California
« Reply #6 on: January 05, 2019, 11:31:06 AM »
Hi Mike, just to p*ss you off it`s a very comfortable 34 degrees centigrade here, the solar is pumping out power which we are using to run the air conditioning indoors.

We had a very UNcomfortable 38 here today. wasn't even the heat as much as the Humidity. Walking out the door you could feel the air suddenly thicken as it cooked you. being in the sun was unbearable.

Have had the solar Pumping as well.  Don't know I should admit it in case Bruce sees and is disgusted or has a heart attack... or both, but this last week my AC has averaged a tad over 45 Kwh  a day.  Been trying to keep it down but the mrs gets up at night and puts it on. I tell her to save power and just take her clothes off but she calls me bad words.  :-[  Just amazing how much power that thing uses.  Earlier in the week I left it running pretty much. Later in teh week I would turn it off and then on again only when it did get too hot as indicated by the thermometer.  Upshot was I saw no difference in consumption. next week should be a lot cooler so I can back off and hopefully get some things done outside.

Found another way to burn excess solar, the air pump on my septic went on the fritz.  I have a fairly High pressure blower that came off an old Church organ.  I set that up over the tank and have a piece of hose connected to a Bit of PVC pipe I have shoved into the digestion Chambers to oxygenate and give them a stir.  I don't know if the system needs constant aeration or if bubbling the crap out if it  puts enough oxygen in but it's the latter treatment it's getting. It was a little wiffy when I noticed I couldn't hear the air pump but seems to have no odour now so much be helping. 
I thought the air pump at 100W added up.  I have the blower turned down on a PWM controller and I can only get it to 500W before it slows too much and the centrifugal switch trips and hooks in the start windings... which pull 1500W... but not for long if you leave them.

Really ironic. the neighbour just said to me the other day his pump packed it in and I was telling him I have a spare discharge pump but not an air pump and I'd have to get one lest the thing died on Christmas eve and I'd not be able to get parts anywhere.  For all I know, it probably died on Boxing day!
Hopefully parts ( which cost more than a Chinese Pump) should be here Monday.

Even with the air, the blower and everything else including hot water, still making from 4-17 Kwh day above what we are Using.  Going to have to shut the solar down again in a couple of weeks to burn off what I have got saved up before the next meter read.  I'm thinking I might "bank "the next quarter and carry it into winter by locking the meter box. They will send me an estimated bill and probably a letter about allowing access but it will give me a chance to get a reserve to carry into winter.

Quote
I too have had some issues with high tensile bolt snapping. I think that they are cooled too quickly during manufacture and become brittle. You could try tempering them with blowlamp or just chuck some in the wood burner and fish them out the following day.

Been meaning to get to the hardware to get some High tensile 1/4" Bolts to try and pull a flywheel that has spun the key on my Tiller. I got some regular bolts and the things bent like putty.  They make so many of these things now out of stiff butter it seems.  Hope the High tensile don't just snap.  If they do I'll sling the thing in the back of the ute and take it to the mower place to pull the wheel, lap it and put a new key way in.

BruceM

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Re: Winter in Northern California
« Reply #7 on: January 05, 2019, 12:05:29 PM »
Conspicuous consumption doesn't get a rise out of me, Glort it's the old American way.

For those thinking of building, it's whole lot more economical to dramatically reduce the energy needs of the building.  The cost savings on the heating/cooling plant alone pays for much of it.
Insulation has no ongoing maintenance cost.  It can dramatically reduce both power and equipment maintenance and ongoing replacement cost.  R40 sidewall, R80 ceiling should be the new standard for all but the mildest maritime climates.

I'm heating my modest super insulated 1100 SF home with two 20 watt 12v pumps (one for the collector and one for the house circulation). A single homebuilt copper/aluminum 4x32 foot flat plate solar collector with 1/16" polycarbonate glazing does the sun heat collection at about 85% efficiency.  A basic propane water heater is the backup for more than 2 cloudy, very cold days. This year, I might use double my usual $50/winter.  The backup propane is turned on for Dec-Feb. I keep the house at 70F.  Due to superinsulation, only one zone is needed, the heat uniformity is lovely.





glort

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Re: Winter in Northern California
« Reply #8 on: January 05, 2019, 12:21:38 PM »
The upside to my PV upgrade (adding 1500 watts to 875) is that even on cloudy days, my battery bank gets topped off.

Your ability to get by on so little power is Amazing Bruce.
Society around the world is so imbalanced in resources.  I could go out and Buy 4KW of good used panels tomorrow for $500 and think I paid to much but for you would be a bargain to behold. Probably mean you barely ever had to fire up a genny again.

I have 1500W worth of panels sitting outside my office window right now as a test set up to check an inverter. These were just spare panels I had leaning on the shed wall. Wasn't using them becase they are only 190W But I do have 3.5Kw worth. Think I paid $200 for them.
That said, Haven't seen any panel bargains for a while now but I'm also getting more fussy and less motivated in what I get.

When one starts from the beginning and sets everything up right with a home, I can see one could get by on much less power. Unfortunately buying a house that is built with thought for things like proper insulation, passive heating and cooling etc.  is rare to the point of maybe a hand full a year are ever on the market.

I am lucky that I can combat the poor design with Free power but that is also a rare advantage.

dax021

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Re: Winter in Northern California
« Reply #9 on: January 05, 2019, 03:04:39 PM »
Just a little bit of useless information seeing as you guys are talking temperature.  To get the degree (°) symbol in any windows program, hold down the Alt key and type 0176.  Same goes for square and cube symbols, Alt0178 and Alt0179

dieselspanner

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Re: Winter in Northern California
« Reply #10 on: January 05, 2019, 04:01:30 PM »
Hi Glort

I've a little experience with septic systems, your's is aerobic, but you don't need the pump going 24/7, instead of turning down the the pump, put it on a timer. As you noted, with an excess of air the smell all but disappears, this is when the bugs are happy, as they run out of oxygen the smell reappears.

It will depend on your blower output, the size of you system and Lord knows what else, so set it at 50% duty, if the smell returns, up it, otherwise drop it until you can smell it then up it a bit.

Large (city sized) systems monitor the dissolved oxygen in the liquor so the compressors shut down when not required and aren't wasting power, not a problem for your good self! 

Cheers
Stef
Tighten 'til it strips, weld nut to chassis, peen stud, adjust with angle grinder.

dieselspanner

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Re: Winter in Northern California
« Reply #11 on: January 05, 2019, 04:21:41 PM »
Nice one Dax,

I thought 'this looks a lot better than my previous solution', however.......

I use an Acer Chromebook, I've no idea why but typing alt 017 opens a new tab with the calculator on it!

Living in France and trying to wade through the planning permission for a barn conversion has required the use of accents  (as in Café etc.) on an annoyingly regular basis.

I found this site, it's got it all, I think!

https://www.groovypost.com/howto/type-special-characters-chromebook-accents-symbols-em-dashes

Don't panic, guys, it's not going to be necessary for anyone to enlighten me as to why these things happen, my interest in technology is so low I haven't even bothered to work out how to add a highlighted post from someone else's post or add one of those (idiotic!) emojis.

Cheers
Stef

Tighten 'til it strips, weld nut to chassis, peen stud, adjust with angle grinder.

Johndoh

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Re: Winter in Northern California
« Reply #12 on: January 05, 2019, 06:36:43 PM »
Nice one Dax,

I thought 'this looks a lot better than my previous solution', however.......

I use an Acer Chromebook, I've no idea why but typing alt 017 opens a new tab with the calculator on it!

Living in France and trying to wade through the planning permission for a barn conversion has required the use of accents  (as in Café etc.) on an annoyingly regular basis.

I found this site, it's got it all, I think!

https://www.groovypost.com/howto/type-special-characters-chromebook-accents-symbols-em-dashes

Don't panic, guys, it's not going to be necessary for anyone to enlighten me as to why these things happen, my interest in technology is so low I haven't even bothered to work out how to add a highlighted post from someone else's post or add one of those (idiotic!) emojis.

Cheers
Stef

 ;D
It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness

BruceM

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Re: Winter in Northern California
« Reply #13 on: January 05, 2019, 07:15:40 PM »
Glort, you sure have a great deal going with used solar panels and equipment there in Sydney.  A result of your local power co. controlled absurd rules and regulations regarding grid tie equipment.

I spent about $1000 for my 1500 watt array, new, with freight. They are huge (to me) 300 watt panels.  My system can be small because of my sealed combustion, propane refrigerator. I have just lights (incandescent), computer/projector, well pump and laundry on 120V, and 2 circ pumps, controls and audio on 12V.  Even my solar hot water pump controller is custom analog and micropower; about 2 ma of 12v.  The led indicator lights are on a switch to save power.  I'm a fiend about parasitic loads.  The typical off grid inverter and spark detecting breakers uses more power doing nothing but being on than my total useful power consumption.  AC power is wasteful, so I only make it when I need it, since even my own design inverter draws 15 watts in idle current for it's 2 1000 watt toroidal transformers. I have a switch to turn on the inverter near my washing machine, right next to the switch for the well pump.

Your aerobic septic system is foreign to me-  here we use an anaerobic system with no power and gravity only flow.  Dual partition tank and leach field. The leachfield area is tested via perk test in a 10 foot deep test spot.  My present leachfield is about 400 feet downslope from the house and 300 feet from the tank to avoid sandstone at 5 foot depth.  With a trap before the tank, the septic gasses percolate up through the leachfield and aren't noticeable anywhere.   Without a trap, the gasses exit the house vent stacks and can be nasty. Believe it or not, putting in a trap before the tank is not allowed according to our county building code.  There's a subdivision on 1/4 acre lots with septic and not city sewer just outside town... it's ripe in the summer when there is no wind, I don't know how anyone can live there.

I have read about above ground septic systems using lift pumps and such, but they are only used where soil drainage or rock prevents a sub surface system.  They run about $30K to $50K.  So in my area where land runs about $500 to $1K/acre for 40 acre parcels, you don't see that done.  Septic systems are now highly regulated and prices have nearly doubled for the exact same system but lots more inspections.  The cost of having men and equipment waiting for inspectors who are never on time.










« Last Edit: January 05, 2019, 08:02:46 PM by BruceM »

glort

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Re: Winter in Northern California
« Reply #14 on: January 05, 2019, 07:38:46 PM »
but you don't need the pump going 24/7,

Thanks Stef.

I suspected the aerobic systems wouldn't need the blower going constantly. The guy next door was going to get one of the voltage monitoring relays Bruce  put me onto and run his airpump part time. I don't know if he did that, put it on a timer or didn't bother.  The other day he said when he ordered parts for his the guy told him the systems would go about 10 Days before they really started to pong.
Not so bad for him, his is half way down the front yard. For some reason, mine is right at the back verandah.  Could have been out the front well away as well but the previous owner here who built the place had some " interesting" Ideas.
I swear I have pulled out about 2KM of plastic irrigation hosing here. None of it worked but the sheer amount of it! Aggghhh!

The  regular pump is a twin Diaphragm pump like an oversize and glorified fish tank Pump. The are about $600 New.  I was going to buy a New Chinese Pump for about $150 but took the option of buying the parts to fix the supposed high quality old one as I could get the parts quicker than the new pump would arrive. 
I think I'll buy another pump for a spare anyway. Should also buy another spares kit. Going to be a lot of money spent on blowing bubbles in shit!

I noticed the Sludge level is getting pretty high as well. I'll have to clean that out.  I'll stir it all up by Blowing high pressure water back in the chamber then pumping it out from the after chamber with a fire pump which will handle the small particles and resulting thick soup.  It can go up the back on the hedges.  Plenty of poor soil in the garden areas as well so can always pump it out on there, wait for it to dry a bit then plough it in.

Had some problems a while back with the thing smelling. Took a look at it and could see it wasn't right.
Asked mrs if she had been using antibacterial soaps, no , of course not, she wasn't stupid and knew better.  Being the untrusting disagreeable type I started going through the cupboards.....

Yeah, all sorts of cleaners, detergents, soaps and you name it all marked antibacterial, not safe for septic  and so on. 
Got a load of them, probably well over $100 worth.  Of course then there was the ensuing argument of " Dear, you can't use these things, THIS is why the septic Smells. "
Wasn't her fault, should have been labled more clearly and so it went.

Got some bacteria pellets, dosed the thing up, Been OK but still does not seem right to me and I suspect there is still some inappropriate material being put in there. Could be her or daughters hair treatments. They smell worse than the chemicals I used to use in darkrooms for processing film and prints.  Disposal of that was never a problem, made excellent weed killer. 

The old organ blower sure puts out some air even just though a 3/4" hose I have the thing attached to. It's my highest pressure blower by far but I'm probably only able to put the end of the PVC about 45 Cm under the water if that before the back pressure is too much.
Just put it in the 2 Primary Chambers for an hour or 2 then move it to the other chamber and repeat that through the day.  Seems to be working for what I need for the moment.

I might replace the discharge pump as well. Works OK but seems pretty weak.  Might just need a clean and have some sticks and things that get in there built up.

I'll dose the Biocycle up again today and I got a message from the post office my parts are supposed to arrive tomorrow.
Hopefully I can get it fixed easy and be on my way up to Dads as I was going to do before I found the air Pump had stopped working.

Always something to Fix!