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Topics - glort

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Waste Vegetable Oil / New waste oil Burner.
« on: June 09, 2020, 06:24:41 AM »
I have built a LOT of oil burners over the years ( although not too many recently)  but they have all been in the multi Hundred KW range.  My " small" ones do 200 Kw and the biggest to date puts out over 1100 Kw.  Built one a few weeks ago I haven't fired yet that I'm aiming for a Minimum of 2000Kw and hopefully if I can get enough air into the thing ( fuel won't be a problem, I Might get 3000 Kw or above.

I fired up an old burner the other day for the first time since I have been here. Used a jumping castle blower and a car fuel pump to push the fuel in fast enough. The thing howls like a jet engine afterburner and is starting to get near supersonic.You can hear the thing just shredding the air.  I did that once before with another setup and got a Mach Diamond which was pretty unexpected but got the Vid showing it.
Neighbours Really got a new insight to the nutter living next door as if all the solar wasn't enough. I wish I could get hold of a Blower that did a couple of PSI. Could really do some damage with that!

For this latest application I need something completely opposite and as small as I can imagine working properly. I am wanting to make something to heat the house using waste veg oil to heat a gas water heater and want something to do about 10Kwh.  500Kw burner is easy, I was thinking about a 5Kw burner but gave up on that idea as just too hard. 1L an hour is about the best I think I'll get without too much trouble. I want to use the burner to heat a ( previously) gas fired water heater I have removed the burner from. On gas it does a bit over 5 Kwh input but I think there may be a bit of margin on that but hard to say what the limitations are.

Normally all my burners are forced air and I was thinking to use a small 12V bilge blower for the little burner but that still seemed a bit over kill. I was going through all the variations in my head and pulled out a note book I write my hair brained ideas in and re discovered my "L " Burner design.
This would be a draft type burner and I could pull the heat through the gas water heater as they have a flue/ HE right up the middle  which I could add to for more draft if needed.

I have trouble getting things small in my mind so I got a bit of 75mm Sq Tube, cut a wedge out with the plasma cutter to bend it to a Right angle L shape and MIG'ed it back together closing off the open end on the horizontal Burner section.
There is a primary air hole in the top of the horizontal leg and cut some holes with the plasma in the upright section for secondary air.  Couple of wide legs for stability and a bit of 4" pipe about 1.5M long for a flue for testing purposes.   Very simple.

Put in a bit of oil and some diesel soaked paper towel, lit it and off it went no trouble. First thing is in this config it puts out a LOT more heat than 10 Kw.Over shot there by a wide margin but It seems I can pull the thing down to somewhere in the ball park.  Maybe something 30-40mm tube would do 10 Kw but that would be tiny and hard to imagine working at all. Concept would be the same so spose it would.

I can take the 3/4" Primary air hole down to about 1/2" which seems to be the sweet spot as it's set up now.  Running the thing flat out it roars, smokes a bit from lack of secondary air and glows red the first 45Cm up the flue. The heat radiated is very good for an outdoor heater. Could also be used with a variety OF HE's for water and Ducted air heating.

I brought it down on the back verandah last night and set it up after the first burn and the thing throws good heat  for that application.  Mrs came out and had a look and then brought out the stew she made for dinner and we sat on the verandah and ate dinner by the fire.  Amazing how nice the most simple of pleasures can be.
This does roar a little but nothing like a force fed burner even on low heat. If the chimney was fully ducted above the roof line, it would be very much quieter.

I'm feeding the thing with a Pulse pump because although everyone wants simple with gravity feed, it's more of a pain in the arse and inconsistent for long burns than what it is worth. Oil tank warms up and oil changes viscosity, level in tank drops, oil layers out....  You have to adjust the things constantly. Pulse pump, same volume every time and you can set the timing and it will do the same output all day.... or night. I'll put this on a simple timer or an arduino to pulse the pump for say a second every 15 or whatever seconds to get the output to as close to it as I want.

The output will change once I put the water heater on the thing as it has a smaller diameter through the middle and I expect cooling the output will also diminish the draft.  Might be good this is a bit over built as I expect inefficiency of course.

I haven't measured the KW output on this but it can easily do 10kw and I suspect maybe 40-50. Definitely could do more with some extra secondary air holes and maybe a larger primary air inlet. If this was in a garage it would certainly put out good heat especial with a fan blowing on the back  to pull more heat from it by creating a greater temp Differential with the surrounding air.  The addition of something like an old 9 Kg gas Cylinder on top of the burner itself which I will look at for the verandah heater, would also increase surface area and more energy could be bled from it. I'll do a reverse internal flue for that so the heat is made to move around not just go straight up and out.

I have some larger tube up the back and the mrs now wants me to build one of these for the Verandah. I'm thinking I can up size the thing a bit to 100mm tube and put it in a 44 gallon drum as a back reflector and blow the bilge fan from the back to push more warm air forward. With a bigger tube the thing would also give a useful area as a heating surface and could have a kettle sitting on it or even cook on the thing.

I'm in about 17 Minds as to how I might do this home oil burning heater but this is a first idea I want to explore. This one is pretty much a more constant burn with a water reserve to store energy for the Night and morning without letting the burner run all the time.
I could also do a more powerful conventional burner and get a couple of 400L electric water heaters as storage and heat them in batch mode and use the stored heat.
I can also make up a Tube in tube HE and use that with the draft burner and just blow air through that and duct it into the house.  Easier and simpler but no storage of heat unless I run a wet back as well and all the plumbing which means I may as well stick with the water system.

I have also got a spa recently and the heater in that takes all day literally to heat the 2000L of water that holds so I'll be doing a Veg oil heater for that anyway of at least 100Kw to get the thing warm in a reasonable time.   Might be easier to heat that in batch mode and use the heat from that for the house as well. Even just a 40o temp difference ( Don't think I can go too hot without damaging the shell in the spa) will give about 90Kwh although I don't think the insulation on the spa is great on the bottom even if it does have a thick cover.  Then again, Free fuel, efficiency is not particularly Critical.

I have done a draft burner before years ago using an old cooking pot and a lid which worked well but this one I am particularly impressed with. Was simple and quick to build and has Miles of potential in various applications.  The other thing I thought of was  "J"  Burner.  Bit of ( round) tube bent  to form a J shape and put oil in the bottom and let the draft work on that.  Could be done in 3" exhaust pipe and bent up by a muffler shop in one piece.  Drill some secondary holes and that's it. Might have to do a YT vid on that for all the non hands on people. :0)

I'll put up some pics when my website host comes back up. Thought it was just my site but the host seems down as well.
Hope it hasn't been taken off line in the US riots.


Might change some peoples minds on how we can save the planet using renewable energy.

General Discussion / Another US BS fleaby postal charge.
« on: March 12, 2020, 12:58:05 PM »

As discussed on the other thread, the postal charges from US ebay sellers are an insult to ones Intelligence.
While Buying components for a direct water hear controller I'm building, I came across this one:

For those that may not be able to see the listing as it appears to me, it's 4 tinly little 1W resistors. Something about the size of an apple seed with a couple of thin wires sticking out the ends.
The postage charges for sending these super bulky, heavy as bricks ( NOT!) items....

US $13.76 (approx. AU $21.14) International Priority Shipping to Australia 
help icon for Postage - opens a layer
| See details
Item location:
Torrance, California, United States
Posts to:
United States and many other countries | See details
Import charges:
US $5.77   (amount confirmed at checkout) 
help icon for Postage - opens a layer
Estimated between Sat. 28 Mar. and Tue. 7 Apr. 
help icon for Estimated delivery date - opens a layer
Includes international tracking

To me, this $5 US item comes out at....

AUD 39.56

Forty bucks! That's $10 a resistor.  They don't cost that much for aerospace Quality!

I use fleabay a lot but like many companies like face waste, Youtube and so many others, they have turned into greedy profiteering corporate Pigs that get a market dominance then just bend everyone over and screw them for all they are worth and more.

General Discussion / Australia, One disaster after another!
« on: March 08, 2020, 01:04:54 PM »

As anyone that's not been dead for some months would know, not too long back we had terrible Bushfires here that wiped out Millions of acres of bush and farmland, destroyed over 1000 Homes and many more sheds and various property and cost a Number of lives.

That came to an end as did the Drought in many places when the rains came and everything that hadn't been incinerated got washed away.

Now we have the effects of the Corona Virus threatening us in ways no one foresaw even though the cases here have been very few, it threatens to break the will of the people here that was unyielding in the months before with Drought, fires and flood. 

We, the long suffering, beaten down, at wits end people of Oz are now facing what is fast shaping up to be our biggest challenge and potentially most monumental Hurdle of all.  Few saw it coming but we are right in the grip of what could easily tear us apart and pit people going out of their way to help each other only weeks ago as virtual deadly enemies. 
There was no warning, there was no time to prepare, we are facing one of the most significant problems we have ever faced in this country.

The great Toilet Paper shortage of 2020.   :o :o :o

Yes, that's right, for reasons no one has the first clue about, people have gone into panic that the Corona Virus may mean we run out of Bog rolls and are panic buying in supermarkets and are literally raping the shelves bare of shit rag all around the country.
There are dozens and dozens of people on ebay selling arse wipe which is normaly about $8 a 24 Pack for well over $100 on ebay.  There is not one of them, they are loads of them and the bids keep coming in.

There have been fisticufs in supermarkets where thunderbox essentials have been piled high in trolleys and irate shoppers petrified of the thought of walking round with an unclean backside have tried to take a Packet of the shithouse supplies and come to screaming, scratching  fights where store staff and managers have had to step in and call police. 
That's not an exaggeration, it's happens MANY times so far and is on YT etc.

The corona Virus is being blamed on the potential shortage of shit roll but just as no one can explain what started the bog roll buy up, likewise no one can explain how a product made in Oz is going to be made in short supply by the corona virus.
None the less, the 3 Ply extra soft potential shortage is causing far more consternation ( No, not constipation, Consternation!!)  than the disease wiping out thousands abroad our burnt and soggy beleaguered land.

Supermarkets are imposing strict Purchasing limits, extra security is being called in to prevent staff being abused and assaulted and company CEO's and political leaders are calling for Calm. This is absolutely real. And completely mind numbing to those still with a functioning brain standing back on the sidelines looking and just saying " What the Fu...... ???"

Why the fluck in this country people are so worried about dunny roll instead of stockpiling something worth while like beer, Frozen meat pies,
Ciggies and the country's most Holiest of holly grails, Vegemite, Ill be a dead dingo's Donger if I can explain! 
It's a crisis the likes of which we have never had to endure before.

Made the Community facewaste page last week and stirred great outrage that someone had Filled a Van with the soft, fluffy white new Aussie gold and was selling it by the roadside for only 5X the normal supermarket price. I'll bet those people sure are pissed now they missed that particular stock market like share trading opportunity and didn't buy the lot!  Going prices on ebay would have returned a 150% yield already!

All brands, types, plys and even recycled arse cloth is in huge demand but why in hell anyone would think of using recycled bog paper being that someone else has already used it is well beyond my comprehension!  :-[

Some other things, Hand Sanitiser, disinfectants and Rice ( Giving a clue to those most likely behind this shortage, probably hoarding the arse paper with the baby formula) are also becoming in short supply.  For some reason the toilet tissue has taken on a value more than gold.         
I was reminded by a friend today to be very aware of the client I have coming here tomorrow. She warned after Personally seeing an altercation in the local aldi over bog cloth hoarding, not to worry about putting valuable out of sight but taking the extra bog roll out of the Thunderboxes and only leaving a minimal amount in case we are robbed of the precious 3 ply.

Luckily, being married to a good woman who always likes to have 6 Months supply of everything on hand ( whether it has a shelf life of 3 days or not!) we should be able to complete our ablutions in comfort and wash any little " Slip ups " off our hands with the finest antibacterials I keep telling her not to buy as they stuff up the septic tank. 

Of course Myself, always one to be prepared, have a 20 Litre Drum of industrial strength Chlorine and a bag and a half of Potassium Hydroxide up the shed which will kill any bacteria or Virus and the bastard carrying it in here as well.  >:(

But I need your help fellow slow speed Diesel Degenerates.  After all we have been through we cannot survive the great Dunny roll shortage alone. Spare a thought not only for the sick, the infirm, homeless, the elderly and the afflicted whom are usually a bit on the nose anyway, but rather those of us whom bathe regularly and wish to maintain a Minimum standard of hygene especially around our nether regions.
I need you my dear old farts and friends to pitch in, to go to your nearest Big box store and purchase as much bog roll as you can afford ( 3 Ply Minimum only please, none of that hard scratchy or thin finger poking through stuff thanks) and forward it to those of us in need.  Send it to me and I'll make a Killing on eba.... errrr,,,, See it is distributed to the needy and on the nose whom have run out and desperately need your international help.

Please, open your hearts to help your fellow brothers, sisters and their children whom are in need and do what you can to give us the most basic and essential human needs to get us though this monumental Crisis. It may just be a bog roll to you but to some of us whom are paying more per square Inch that satin sheets just to wipe their arses on, it's the gift of .... insanity??

We have not let the Drought and fires and floods get us down but epic Skid marks on our Reg Grundys may just be too much for us to bear.
Please do what you can to help us in our time of greatest need.

Thank you .

Everything else / Direct solar water heating and battery charging.
« on: March 02, 2020, 01:23:14 AM »

I have had a compulsion over the last year or so to work out a simple way to use panels  to heat  water  in a stand alone configuration without mains Connection.

It is patheticly inefficient to just hook the panels to the water heater as this pulls the panels off their power point and you get next to nothing out of them.  It's much like trying to drive a car locked in top gear. the thing has no power and if you can get it going the first hill you come to it will be lucky to do 20 Kmh when in the right gear it could easy do 100.

Pulling panels off their power point is exactly the same. They need to be kept in their happy place which is the power point voltage they all have written on the back with their rating and other info such as power output and amperage.
If one works out the resistance of the panels and matches the ohms to that of the heater element they want to use, better efficiency can be had but it's the difference between terrible and less terrible.  Under perfect conditions they can be OK BUT, they will be OK for a very short time and as the sun changes or a cloud comes over, kiss your generation goodbye.

In my tests I have hooked up 2 KW of panels and got around 200W out.  Best case I have ever got, briefly, was around 50% panel rating. IE, 1.25 KW of panels gave almost 500W. 

In order to keep the panels in the right " gear" to get decent output, a Controller is needed.  There are different Types, MPPT being the holy grail but for this job it's really overkill as is the price of the few controllers commercially available out there.  The ones I have looked at in the lower end use about $5 worth of components which are really quite over taxed in the circuit they are in and the cost of the board is nearly $400 au.  A complete and utter rip off that -might- last it's warranty period of 12 months but anything past that would be really good luck and nothing else.

There are some DIY designs for controllers on the net and some are very good but require a high level of expertise in electronics to build and set yup and some are just complicated and basicaly useless. These operate on low voltage, 60 V or less and have outputs of under 500W and well below that often.  Fine if like some of the people demonstrating them you only need enough hot water to wash up with or one person take one really quick shower per day but if you want a decent household amount of water, useless.
I have a large hot water heater and while I don't need to heat the whole lot every day, I wanted something useful not to be mucking round playing Tiddly winks with less water than I keep my tiny little play greenhouse warm in winter with. 

The function of a controller in this application is really very simple. All we need is a switch that turns on at a certain voltage, as the panels just pass power point and turns off when they drop below it.  Tests myself and others have done looking at this problem indicates a 10% Margin either way is quite acceptable and the efficiency fall off is not much either way as being mass produced, the same panels have a tolerance one to the other anyway and none are spot on rating as one would expect from a mass produced item.

There are an endless number of Chinese control type boards on different sites and they are cheap and for the most part quite reliable and do a good job. I wanted to use these as a base for a controller and make some simple modifications so they would work with practical power outputs closer to that of the mains voltage 240V elements standard in water heaters.
The boards are all low voltage but with some very simple electronic components and Mods, they can easily control mains power rated voltages and Currents.

  With so many different boards available and doing the same functions, the question once I worked out what I needed to actually have the things do was which one to use? Many will work but I wanted to standardise on a couple so I can do some vids on how to set these up so people with no electronic knowledge like myself can put them together without undue stress  and by follow the numbers rather than having to learn electronic theroy for 5 years before they were up to it.   

I have found some new generation boards that seem really funky and have an LCD display rather than the old '80's Looking LED figure 8 readouts.
These boards are like the others I have used, designed to be battery chargers.  They have a low voltage cut in setting and a High voltage cut off setting.  They work in stock for  from 6-60V so can be hooked to a panel direct and to a battery. This is a boon as it will work perfectly for keeping batterys float charged on equipment.  My Father spends fortunes on commercially available mains units but these things typically are cheap as chips and will work really well for me Keeping battery's charged in my machinery shed which has no power.

I have done setups before but they require a power converter and then the charge controller which is a bit clunky and costs more obviously.
These things simplify that and you can see exactly where your battery is at.

To use these things as a water heater controller, the mods are very simple. First thing is to create a supply voltage the board can handle. This can be done 2 ways, with a small transformer or with a voltage divider. I'm initially going for the transformer. This is a tiny 3W AC 12V unit that will also work off DC and will supply plenty of power for what the setup needs.
The next thing is to reduce the voltage to a level the board can handle to detect the panel voltage.  This is done with a Voltage divider. a Couple of resistors that will take the mains level voltage and reduce it to the 6-30V the board can read. Doesen't matter what it comes out at, as long as it is within that range then you can set it up to the panel type and number you have.

As the board will switch off and on at a rapid rate at peak power production, the will be a loss of power when it is off. To save that the panels are wired to a small capacitor bank and this is what the controller monitors.  When the caps charge up, the voltage rises, the controller switches a Mosfet or an SSR that handles the high voltage and amps and the heating element gets all the power generated.  This can easily happen at anything from half a hertz early in the morning and late in the evening to 100hz in the middle of a good day.

Because the panels are kept on power point, the efficiency is probably at very least around 90% of what the panels are generating at any give time and I'd expect it to be at the higher end of that.

The relay on the board can be removed and a mosfet or several can be added to replace the mechanical relay which is really slow and being mechanical, has a very limited life. They are rated at 10M cycles but when firing at 100 times a second, not going to take long for that number to come up. Plus the fact they are likely to fry switching High voltage/ amperage DC.  I'm initially trying a DC SSR as that will be the easiest thing for most people to work with rather than Mosfets which will require heat sinking and soldering etc.
Also using an SSR means the built in thermostat of the heater can be used to shut the system down when the water is hot enough or divert it to something else by switching the very low power low side of the SSR rather than frying the thermo contacts on the high power DC side which they will NOT handle.

The beauty of this basic setup apart from cheap, simple and readily available is it is adaptable to any amount, type or rating of panels and any element.  One only needs to calculate the max voltage of the string of panels they have, work out the resistors for the voltage divider with an online calculator and it's all the same. Add more panels later and -maybe- change the resistors ( although the same ones will work over a pretty wide range if calculated around 12V to start with) and that is it.

The caps can be salvaged from things like old solar inverters or bought off the net and as long as they have sufficient voltage handling capability, I recommend 350V as a minimum for mains level outputs, they are good to use.

If there is any interest in the water heating setup I'll come back and explain it more and once I have done more testing I want to do some vids using different boards. The board specifics are irrelevant, there are at least 6 I know of that could be used and that is just the battery charger boards, there are other boards for very different purposes that can be adapted as well using the same base setup. None will work better than the other I can see, just looking for cheapest and easiest to work with.

I think the LCD screen on these board is rather impressive. Shows how cheap and advanced this stuff has got. I also see there are IO ports on the thing one could connect and arduino or other such micro computers to if one wanted to actualy monitor the power output or other parameters.

The boards can be found here:

General Discussion / Car engine ignition conversion
« on: January 22, 2020, 07:52:04 AM »

I am thinking of getting a 2l subaru engine and converting it to a stationary engine. Can get a few of the thinga and they are worth nothing now.

These are all electronicaly computer controlled and i dont want to pull out a wiring loom and try and make it work with the oem computer. Way too many things to stop it working like needing the right key in the ignition barrel and probably wanting a transmission.

I can easily add a carb for fuel and bypass the fuel injectors or possibly use them but the main thing is spark. The engines have crank angle sensors so i can get a timing point and i dont need advance or anything other than basic timing like most stationary engines.

Looking on the net everything is to convert from points to electronic but i want to more or less go from computer to basic electronic.

Does any know of any threads/ kits/ yt vids of this?
Im thinking it should be pretty simple and could be done even with arduino but not having much luck finding anything. If i could find a way of spark triggering it might be possible to trigger the injectors for fixed load rpm operation and could experimint with governors from there.

Should make a good long lived engine and be able to run at low rpm for quiet as well as easily adapting to co gen.

General Discussion / Happy new year
« on: December 31, 2019, 01:21:32 PM »

Happy new year from one of the earliest places to be in the new decade.
Of course NZ beat us by a couple of hours I think but they are all asleep before midnight there.  :0)

Hope every ones new year and new decade is a great one.

Everything else / What people throw away.
« on: December 23, 2019, 09:29:24 PM »

Was trolling round a small factory Complex on Sunday night on the way home looking for some timber that is used in large crates.
Saw some stacks of what I thought was shelving dumped with some other rubbish in front of the skip bins.  On closer inspection (Luckily I always have a good torch in the car) turned out to be stacks of Solar Panels!

A lot of them were smashed and many of them looked like they have been smashed with a sledge Hammer, but I managed to Pick up 10 brand new 360W panels, 10 used and dirty 235W panels and a couple of orphans that look new as well. There is also 4/5 odd used panels still there I didn't have room for.  Mate has a place in the complex and I rang him and he said they were dumped there days ago.
I asked him why the Hell He didn't ring me and let me know? His reply was you already have the place covered in the bloody things, how many more you damn well want?

He was surprised when I told him some of them were brand new and better panels than anything I had. He asked the question I was wondering, why would anyone dump good panels? The new ones must be worth $300 ea.
Went back and had another look an there is a whole stack of the 360W panels all broken. Each and every one. There is also a stack of used panels many of which look like they have had steel cricket balls hurled at them repeatedly. Haven't heard reports of hail here in over a year and if that was hail, cars must have had holes punched through them.

Quite a good, unexpected and Mysterious score. Looks like some installers have had a clean out and dumped these. I can understand maybe the shattered ones but perfectly good clearly New panels that were mixed with the broken ones?? There is also a lot of racking there.
I'll be back to do my community Minded duty and clean that up over Christmas! I don't use it for panels but I was thinking of putting a lean to on the garage for some extra space for machinery or put the car under and I can double up on this stuff for a frame work and  make the roof out of panels.

This is definitely one of my best scores in a while.  I have done very well before dumpster diving around factories especially this time of year. I think a lot of places have cleanouts and the old adage of one many trash is another mans treasure continues to prove itself as one of the most truthful sayings ever. I'm hoping more panels may show up there but It's probably going to be a long time if they do. Probably as I said some questionable installer ( endless amount of them here) clearing out space in their factory ( no installers round there though) and it would be pretty stupid to dump stuff in the same place too often.  Wish I knew who did it, I'd tell them to come dump their spare panels and racking at my place.

I'll see if the scrappy is open this morning and if so ask if they pay anything for panels. If they do and it's worth while, I may go get the broken panels and do the complex owners a favour and clean up the dumped stuff for them.
I know, it's just the community minded kids of selfless guy I am!   :angel:

General Discussion / Anyone Heard from Bob, Ajaffa1?
« on: November 13, 2019, 10:20:22 AM »

I emailed Bob the other day to see if he was OK with his absence  being noticeable.
I know he is right smack in the middle of the very worst of the catastrophic fires going on here atm.  Haven't heard back since sat  and am feeling concerned. I did have his Number but can't find it.

He did mention to me in a recent message that he was concerned about fires on his property. I know he also does a lot for a local canoeing centre and that  is right in the middle of the holocaust as well from what I can see on the fire maps.

  I think OSM may be in the fire zone as well so I hope they are both OK.

Anyone been in touch with either of them lately?

The fires here have been the worst ever.  My father is a bit further down the coast in the other very bad area.  He went to town on sunday morning to do his shopping and they wouldn't let him back in less than an hour later. I told him to go to the club we go to as it had been made into an evacuation centre.  Spent the day there into the early evening before they opened the roads again so he could get in. He's in a heavily wooded  but smallish pocket of land of about 40 acres.  There is clearing all around that between him and where the fires have been but there are reports of ember attacks leap frogging fires many Km ahead of the fire front.

He got some land cleared earlier this year thank heavens and I have also dropped a number of monster trees but  If a fire got in there with the winds the way they have been, It would consider it a slim chance for his sheds and home to survive. The biggest problem is not his place but the 2 either side that are over grown and not well or not maintained at all.
I think if he makes it through tomorrow the worst of the danger will have past. I'm hoping to get up there the weekend. Highway has been closed in several spots between him and I since friday night.

Still pretty worried about Bob though.

Everything else / Cold energy Storage MkIII
« on: August 29, 2019, 08:35:27 AM »

Following a couple of discussions of Cold/ Ice  energy storage, I have been doing some more head scratching and research on the idea.

Ice while very efficient as storing cold energy is also somewhat problematic on  DIY Basis.  There is the problem of ice expansion and transferring the cold in the ice through water which may make the melting process difficult and somewhat expensive with the amount of coils needed to be put through the ice.

I'm thinking of using excess solar power to create cold energy and store it for use on hot summer Nights.
Ideally the energy could be restored through the day so an 8 Hour cycle to take advantage of the solar available would be ideal.
The previous discussion looked at using a domestic chest freezer for creating the ice and as a thermally insulated container. There was doubt as to weather a freezer had the strength for filling with water and freezing it due to a freezer is not going to have the cooling power to freeze the water fast enough.

My thoughts are to use a chest freezer or an old refrigerator turned on it's back as a cheap storage container. The size I have in mind is 500L +.
 For cooling power i'm thinking of a car AC compressor and using the metering valve to not go into the normal densely packed evaporator tubes but rather a loop of stainless steel pipe running the length of the container. The AC compressor could be driven by an electric motor to make use of the solar power through the day. There would also be potential to drive it with an IC motor and add in a RX valve for heating in winter. The heat from the engine and exhaust could be used to increase efficiency by elevating the temps going through the Condenser.

Looking into something Bob touched on being salt in the water, it seems this could be a very viable solution to get around a lot of problems associated with having ice.
If we took a 500L frezer and added 120Kg of Salt ( about $50 worth here) the freezing point of the water now instead of being 0 Oc becomes MINUS 20 OC.  That means if we have 500L of salt water at -20 and take it up to Plus 20, we have a thermal storage of 23Kwh of thermal energy.
Definitely a worthwhile amount and sufficient to cool a decent area of a Home for one night. 

Being we still have water, a lot of problems with having ice go away.
We wouldn't need all the pipework as with ice for a start.  The water could be removed from one end of the freezer, Pumped through the HE and returned the other end of the fridge or freezer.  Perhaps some circulation of the water during the cooling cycle could be beneficial and a small pond pump or air lift could be used to move the water around to prevent localised Freezing.

To get call it 20 KWH worth of cold, I guesstimate  the input would have to be around  5-6 Kwh of energy.  There should be an EER of about 4x on the AC cooling side but there would have to an account for the inefficiency of the electric motor and belt drive and also an electric fan running through the evaporator.  Using brine as the working Medium, if more power was available and more cooling wanted, an extra fridge/ freezer could easily  be fitted with some pipes and used as an extra holding tank.

Astheticaly, these could be used as benches or even a table or stacked on top of one another for more compact packaging.

I don't think having ice is necessary for a worthwhile system.  While it might be more efficient in storing the energy, this could be made up for with solt water by just increasing the volume  fo the water whoci would be remain a very practical amount.  If one could get 20 or 40 Kwh of cold storage, to me that would seem as much as most people can use in a night and also as much spare power as a lot of people might have to generate the cold in the first place. If you tried to Freeze too much ice, firstly you may not be able to throw in sufficient power to get the phase change and secondly, are you going to need more stored cold energy anyway?  If you could get 40 KWH, that would be a good 8 hours on a large whole house ducted AC running flat out.

Also with the salt water system, you have the ability to store heat and elevate the temp of the water.  Not sure what temp the plastics would take but I also know that most people tend to grossly underestimate how hot plastic can get without deforming.  I have boiled a number of plastics and they just don't care about 100oC  and I don't think anything in fridge would be worried about 120 if you could get it that high.   Unlikely a lot of people will have much if any excess solar power in winter but if one were using an IC engine it would give the ability to run it in the day and shut it off at night.

Going to see if I can get a couple of car AC systems this weekend and give this a go.  I have a space at the end of the house that would be perfect to locate a fridge/ Freezer which is out the way and close to the power board  and also at the end where the main bedroom is which is what I really want to cool at night.

I'm having the 32A circuits installed for the solar next week so hopefully I'll have less problems with voltage rise and can get more power out my systems. In any case being able to run something like this will be good to use the excess power that pushes the voltage above what the inverters are comfortable with.

I  believe an AC compressor needs around 3-4 HP so I might look at running my 5KW 3 Phase Motor on 2 Phases and see how that goes.  I can start it unloaded then have a timer kick in the AC compressor clutch after 5-10 sec.  Failing that I have a 1.5 HP single phase up the back and I'll look at putting a small pulley on that to gear it down.  Compressor may not make as much power but I'll be able to kick the smaller load in earlier and out later on the excess solar that will cover it.  Either way I am not thinking that chilling the water fast enough is going to be a problem with the sort of energy a car AC compressor can generate which is the equivalent of a mid size household split.

the most difficult thing I see about this is plumbing the AC side.
Car AC fittings tend to be Bolt on O ringed aluminium fittings while  Domestic/ Commercial AC tends to be copper flares.

Other than that seems practical, affordable and doable to me.   :)

Everything else / Diesel Heaters
« on: July 07, 2019, 11:38:30 AM »

I have seen these small Chinese Diesel heaters available for Caravans and the like and did a bit of a search on them.

I was wondering about them for running on veg oil and that would be a cheap and safe way to heat the house. With an output of 5 ( or 8 ) Kw, they would put out enough to make a difference.  Looking on the world encyclopedia, Youtoobe, I found a guy that had done some tests on this.  The thing failed to run on 100% New oil but was happy enough on 50%.

I have conversed with him a bit after seeing he had the idea also of heating his home with the thing and asked how it was going longer term and if he was using any veg oil in the thing?  He said he had and it was happy up to 70%. Of course this got the rusty wheels upstairs Grinding.......

Much as I am obsessed with covering the place in solar panels, they have been coming up a LONG way short of late and heating with the Ducted air is costing a fortune in the generation shortfall.  It's pretty clear that no amount of panels is going to be able to keep up with my electrical needs due to heating in winter. Today was pretty clear and even after adding yet more panels to my systems through the week, I made 30 Kwh and used 55 so still a shortfall and I didn't even kick in the hot water in that period.

 Here a Kwh of electricity is .30c.  Diesel Fluctuates but if you call it  $1.40L, that would probably average out.  Diesel has about 10Kw of energy per Litre so that would make 1 Kw about  .14C, Half the cost of electricity.  The heaters have a specified fuel consumption of about 600Ml an hour or I think, about 80% efficiency.... but could be improved.  If we say 8Kwh of DELIVERED heat, that makes it about 17,5 C per KWH.  Still very worth while.

Of course if we can add 50% Free Veg oil, that would make it half so about .9C kwh delivered.  1/3rd the cost of power here which in winter I am paying for.....  Horriffic as that is!
I know prices for fuel and power will vary around the world and we have high power prices so this may not work out economical everywhere.  For us in oz, it looks pretty good though.

These heaters have a room air inlet and outlet and an intake and exhaust for the burner. Obviously the majority of the heat loss is going out the exhaust.  Just like an engine, seems to me that if we can capture this lost heat to whatever degree our efficiency goes up. If a simple Tube in tube heat exchanger was fabricated, the inlet air could be preheated before it went through the heater and a lot of the heat recovered. Should be very easy in a stationary  setup. Another use could be water preheating. Gas heaters just have a flue up the middle so if the heater were suitable located, the exhaust could be directed up the middle of a water heater and the energy recovered that way.  From what I can tell the exhaust is quite hot if not in great volume.
Might be OK to Duct into my greenhouse as well. Co2 and heat. Perfect!  :0)

In any case, with a little DIY ingenuity, Shouldn't be hard to increase efficiency of these things and drop running costs significantly as well.

I have looked at a number of vids on these things and although most tend to be install vids, I haven't found one where anyone is having problems with them as yet which is encouraging.  The longevity does concern me though.
If I am saving 30C ( power) minus 9C (Heater running cost 50% Veg) that's 21C Kwh Saving.  The best price I can find on the units is a tad over $150 which would make the break even ( less stuffing around) cost about 167 KW Hours of run time.  We are heating about 7 hours a day and for the past few days have been running at about 3 Kwh which is a bare minimum in not too cold weather.  Call that 27Kwh day and we get 6  days to break even.

Someone please check my maths. This is sounding one of those too good to be true deals. Must have stuffed up somewhere but I can't find it.

Thinking some more, I can't see there is a lot to go wrong with these things. There is a fan for the room air to be moved through the heater, there may be  a small fan for the burner as well. Neither of these I can see being costly to replace with off the shelf or bodge able components. Fans last forever in computers and cars anyway so probably Low failure risk there.
The only other thing is a solenoid fuel pump which may be a little more tricky as from what I can tell, it is pulsed by the heater controller to meter the fuel. Where a normal solenoid pump oscillates to move the fuel with what is probably an internal make and break, I saw on one vid connecting the power to the pump pulls it in and it stays there until the power is released again.  this may make it a bit specialist ( Re, exy) or it might be possible to hack a regular fuel pump.  On the 3rd hand, even if it is a specific pump, it's Chinese. If it cost $20  delivered, I'd be surprised. 

The rest are electronics which would be subject to infinitely less vibration and physical load than in a Vehicle so again I'd have to put that at low risk.
IF my figures are correct, at $150, one would still be making a good saving even if the thing had to be replaced every winter!

And there is yet another possibility......

Haven't made any in years but when I was, we were knocking out Biodiesel for about .27 C litre.  I have no idea what the cost of meth is these days and I know KOH hasn't gone down but, even if it cost .50C/L now, that would still be cheap AND...... given this is for a burner, no need to do 100% conversion so it would be possible to cut back on the Catalysts and make low conversion Bio and drop the cost yet again.
I was looking at a Bio forum the other day and one of the all time Gurus has shown you don't even need to heat the oil to get a reaction, it just speeds it up.  I could hook a fan motor to a home made stirrer, sit that in the top of the drum with everything it in and let that run a day  in summer where it would be about 50% Plus of temp anyhow, let it settle and then Pull the Bio off the top.  Wouldn't even need to wash it, dry or otherwise.

@ 600Ml Hr@ 5KW output ( can't see the need to turn it down in this place) A drum of a 200L batch would yield  around 170L of low conversion Bio which would equate to 283 Running hours or over a month at 8 hours heating time. At 5kw, might be able to decrease that run time a bit.

This is definitely sounding too good to be true!

Time I got to low conversion bio, would be virtually free to run one of these little diesel heaters.
Any costs and time involved, like before, I'll write off to savings on Gym membership which is a sound investment for me.  ;D

As reluctant as I am to buy anything off the shelf especially when it comes to burners, time I get pumps and hose and other things aside from the freebies I have for the project, buying one of these heaters is not going to cost any more that to build something bigger, uglier and with less safety built in.

Someone shoot some holes in this for me. It's looking far too good to be this easy and worthwhile.  :-\

Generators / What's best to use for mountings?
« on: June 28, 2019, 08:38:48 AM »

I want to make a base to mount my Rt125 Kubota and a 12Kw 3 phase motor to.
The engine is 120 Kg and 12 Hp ( bit smaller than a 1195 from what I can tell) and the motor is a portly 170 Kg.

I'm thinking to do them as a fixed setup because I cant see how I would ever  keep the things from walking them selves through the shed wall and anything else in their way if they were mobile. Might be OK if I got some hubs and put it all on car tyres but tha'ts going to make it big and still dam heavy to move..... If I will ever want to.

I am wondering if I would be better to go to a wooden or steel Mounting?
I have some 3x 3.5" hardwood up the back and I could go to some sleepers if that weren't sufficient. I'm thinking I could secure them with the engines with some L brackets to the garage floor.  The engine and motor would have to be coachbolted to the timber but I'm worried about the longevity of keeping it all tight.  I'm more inclined to go with the the 5x3.5" rectangular Tube I also have. I am concerned about the noise with that but was thinking I could put a strip of rubber between it and the concrete and dynabolt it down easily by bevelling the ends with the plasma Cutter.
the other thing I'm thinking is I could  mount the motor direct to the steel just by bolting it Although the far bolts from the end will be a trick  to get done up and then for the engine I could just weld some Unistrut to the rail and use that to tension the belt.  I have used a car screw Jack before to get the tension then just do the bolts up tight and could also secure  with a bolt through a piece of steel welded to the rail(s).

I had the roid on timber and bolted that to the concrete but I could never keep it tight. The roid is a jackhammer but the Kubota while it will stay put on a rubber mat, it certainly has some good hammering as well. I'm not sure if the considerable inertia of the Motors rotor and when it is at load will smooth things out or make them worse with the power pulses of the single Cyl engine.

Interested in some opinions and experiences and suggestions as what may be the best way to go here with mounting this setup.

After a couple of weeks wheeling and dealing, managed to pick myself up a couple of New ( to me) engines today.

They are genuine Kubotas rather than knockoffs which should be a good thing. One is complete and looks in excellent condition, the other looks like it has been through 3 world wars and is missing the fuel tank but -said- to run.  For $300 for the pair ( That's $1.96 US) I was happy with the price just for the good one.

They are 12 Hp and have electric and Crank start. I have wanted a watercooled engine of this type for a long time so finally got my wish.

I intend to hook this up ti my induction motor Generator. Been playing with that for a while but wasn't really satisfied with the fit of the one I intended to use.
If the older engine does run it will be good for testing cooling setups etc.

Will try to post some pics of the actual units tomorrow.

Also managed to pick up a 5 Kw Solar inverter, 20 250W Solar a panels and 27 180W Panels.
A very Fruitful but Kind of expensive day all up. Did a job on the weekend that went better than expected so made the most of it.

Got to have a good day now and then right? Might give me something to think about to get though July.

General Discussion / Tesla and Towing.
« on: May 24, 2019, 11:13:21 AM »

I found an interesting article on Towing with a Tesla last night.

Basically they took a mid size caravan and a Tesla Model X with the big 100Kwh battery.  The Van weighed 1700 Kg which was well below the Vehicles rated towing capacity of 2250 but still on the light side for many vehicles here which are  pretty standard at 3000Kg.

The upshot was the towed the Van 160Km, ( 100 Miles ) and the thing was well and truly ready for a recharge with only 12% or 55 Km battery remaining.
The vehicle used double the power it normal would on it's own and of course got half the range. 

This brings up a LOT of interesting thoughts for me.
Caravaning is a BIG industry in Oz mainly with the grey nomads ( pensioners/ retirees) and I'd suggest thousands of people are year do the big lap round oz.  About 4000 Km.

The drive on this test was very short by driving standards here.  Although the time seems a bit long to me, the journey took 2:23 to complete and then at a supercharger took another 1:20 to recharge.  3:40 is a LOOONG time  to only do 160 km.

This tesla has far as I am aware, the biggest battery available now and I would also suggest in that respect is a fair way ahead of the competition in this respect. IE, it's going to be a while before we see a serious competitor in the EV market.
The other thing is, if it takes 100kwh to tow this van 160Km which I would say is about half of what people would be happy with, a car with a 200Kwh battery pack is going to be a Long way off as well, probably the better part of 10 years, 5 at least.  No matter what the battery technology, it's going to be a BIG and heavy battery as well. This leads to the rule of diminishing returns where the thing is going to eat more power just dragging it's own fat arse around.

Now inevitably when discussing these things people want to jump in with the " In the future " scenarios but i'd like to limit that to 5 years , maybe 10 at the outset.

My standard road trip is to see my Father, almost 400Km away.  I have done it towing many times, anything from a box trailer to a loaded car trailer which would come in well heavier than the van they towed in the test.  The trip took very little longer that I would normally expect as I was able to maintain highway speed in all but a few Km up some hills and didn't need to refuel even with the extra load.
It's an easy under 4 hour trip.

Now if I were to do that same trip with a van, car trailer or decent boat, things would start getting very Complex.
I know exactly where the 160 Km mark is and Very luckily it's in between the 2 sections of main Highway.  there is only one destination charger there and it's a bit faster than an AC outlet but would still be by my calcs well over 2 hours but I'll call it that to allow for my bad mathematics skills.
I normally get to that point co incedently enough at about the 2:20 mark having to get out of the city which I am on the far side of which is generally over an hour itself.  I would not think it would take much longer towing but I'll add 10 min to make it a nice 2.5 Hours.

To do this 160Km it's going to take me 2.5 hours in travel and another 2 hours ( I really  think 2.5+) before I'm ready to leave.
Already I have more than doubled the trip time. But I'm not half way there yet.
The next 160 Km I would say would be at 100 kmh an hour average as there are some hills you will be slower on and there is a lot of 110 limit as well to compensate and the back 9 leg usually takes me 1;20 . Now I have an idea where that next 160 is, I know there are only small country towns anywhere near there, the main town being where dad is and I also know that I'm not going to quite make it on the range the Tesla has.  No one with a brain would chance it because if you ran out of charge, there are some VERY nasty spots on that highway where you can't pull off the road at all and you could be a long way from a town and having to get a car and a van towed would not be cheap .

Logically I'm going to have to stop for another recharge and it's almost certainly going to be at a 10A outlet.  That would have to take bare Min an hour to give me comfortable range to get there so another 2:20 to the trip for a total now of 7 hours.

I usually have dinner with dad and then drive home when the traffic has gone anyway but that's an under 4 hr trip to a min 7 hour trip.  I don't mind driving but I'm sure as ship not going to do that after dinner.

Now maybe, in the next 5 years there will be more charging stations but even if there is, there is no reason to believe they would be superchargers but maybe the 1/4 - 1/2 Speed ones. Maybe that would knock an hour off the trip but I can't see it being any more. 
That would still add up to a MINIUM of adding 50% to the trip time and we are only talking 400Km.

Many times I have gone to the next capital city which is 900Km away and that's a comfortable day trip that most people would do in a day. Towing with an ev, it's now 2 Days and substantial ones still regardless if you can get a fast charge or not.
My Aunt and Uncle have towed their Van about 80% of that trip probably 20 times and think nothing of it in a day.  When it blows out to 2 days, it puts a whole load of different aspects on things.

Again, looking to the future, I can't see Vehicles practicaly having 200Kwh battery packs. There isn't a technology even in it's infantcy now that would be viable for that in the next 5-10 years.  Regardless of how many fast charge stations you put in you are still going to have to wait.
And before anyone comes out with that other old chestnut of super rapid charging as I have seen a load of claims about, they are mainly spin doctoring PR.

I saw one recently about a Jag I think it was " Recharging in only 15 Min".
Reading the story one sees the thing was charged from flat to give it a 100 Km range using an impractically costly charger for the foreseeable future and even they, a full charge is still back to the best part of an hour as if you belt the charge in initially you have to wait for the heat to dissipate out the batteries for the top off. And because of the charge rate, batteries are used to supply the power and allow the charge starion itself to recharge over time so as not to cause a local brown out.

Both the power consumption of these things and the HUGE cost mean that having this capability in rural oz hasn't got a hope in hell of coming around in the next 10 years.

There is a lot of hype about EV's and the future but there are a Lot more problems to over come first.
I'd say there is no way in hell that EV's will penetrate this market in the next 20 years let alone 10. It would be easy to say well not everyone tows heavy loads and that is true but like the US, there are a lot of people that do.  there are also a LOT of grey Nomads and they wouldn't be spending $100K+ on a tow truck and another ...... $30K on a run around. They like to have one vehicle to do everything.

Of course the implications of this are far reaching into other segments. The transport industry is a big one with everything from light trucks to Semis.
A very long way to go yet and before anyone mentions the Tesla Semi, Don't bother.
There are NO specific details on that thing to this day and all the guestimates suggest it's going to be no match for a traditional semi.  technology won't let any electric truck be for  a long while again because the energy density of liquid fuels is so far ahead of any practical battery tech that is many decades away still.  Not like they haven't been working on improving battteries forever already.

There is so much made of the Switch to EV's but I can't see them being a majority of vehicles on teh road for my or the majority of people here's lifetimes.

The test article:

General Discussion / MIG Welder, what to look for?
« on: May 11, 2019, 08:16:35 AM »

For the first time in 3.5 years, I got enough motivation today to build a new burner.

 I love welding but the old machine has spat the dummy on the wire feed side and the erratic delivery of the wire had everything looking like Bird shit.
I could not get it right and I know the gun and the feed mechanism is buggered so not surprised.
Mrs came home unbeknown and heard and saw my frustration and has insisted i buy a new machine before I really loose the plot.

Just wondering what the knowledgeable here recommend as features to look for?
I don't need a big machine, most of what I do is light  but I want something decent, gasless and with a torch i can easy get parts for like tips.

I also saw on flea bay they have spool guns which look like I could hook them up to my old machine. It has the hard wired rather than the bayonet connections for the torch. Given it just seems all the wire feed side is stuffed but the rest is OK on my old one, I was wondering if I could just get one of those and resurrect the old girl?

I still want a better new machine, I bought this one cheap about 25 years ago as a get me by and i couldn't count how much welding I have done with it. I wouldn't think 100 spools  of 1Kg wire was out of place. I usually keep 2 in the cupboard cause when I use it, I use it a lot. 

The other question is would a TIG be worth it?  I know I'd have to buy gas which would be a pain and I have had no trouble with gasless welding but any great advantage I might use with a TIG?  No plans to do ally in the foreseeable future.

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