Saturday, March 21, 2015


Been watching electrical system videos for most of the day.  Going through all these is making me understand the gravity of handling electricity.  I think I wasn't properly ( ahem ) grounded in the knowledge necessary to put together such a system.

This probably goes for the construction part too, for I will be handling power tools.  Not only is the electricity potentially dangerous, so are the tools themselves.  For example, I will be handling a circular saw for cutting some of the wood to the proper size needed for my plans.  A misstep there could result in a loss of a few fingers or a hand.

If I screw up, there's nobody to help me out, because I will be fairly isolated out there.  I have to be very, very careful.

Rise and shine, 3/21/15

Busy days ahead.  But getting off to a slow start.  I usually sleep in a bit on these lazy weekend days.  Before you know it, the weekend is over.

A couple things on my list:

There are lots of other things, too.  Only one more week.  Time gets away from you so, so easily.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Keep it simple, stupid

Otherwise known as the KISS principle.  It seems that I have forgotten that principle.  In designing my trailer, I struck upon the idea of using a quonset hut on top of a trailer, and this had the virtue of being simple.  In fact, it is so simple, I'm sure I can get it up in a day or less.

Instead of keeping to that, I managed to make it all more complex.  It has now morphed into something that requires that I use a lot of effort to implement it so that it may require thousands of dollars and perhaps days to execute.

It's not that it cannot ever be more complex.  Time is of the essence.  Shelter has to set up fast.  It can be temporary, but it must be flexible so that it can be built upon as something that can last.

I'm going to have to remember that as I continue making my preparations.

Off grid power system details

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This post will be in the power subseries of the off-the-grid main series of posts.

Now I know why I wanted to buy an RV.  It has everything and I don't have to put together anything.  Just putting this thing together will take a lot of work, and that assumes that you know what you are doing.

Looks like I need an education, especially on how to put together an electrical system.

I've been designing my own system based upon ignorance, basically.

So, I think I have to start from the ground up, and then proceed to a working system.  But I've already purchased a few things, drat it.  Well, I don't want to discard those things, so I'll have to find a way to work with what I've got.

I'm trying to pattern my off-the-grid system off of the example that is given here.  The system linked to is an off-grid packaged system that presumably has everything you need to start using it.

Before I do that, I'm going to have to watch their series of videos.  All of this is going to take a lot of time.  I'm running out of that, unfortunately.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Rise and Shine, 3/19/15

Old Man Time just keeps moving right along.  Just a little over a week now, and I'm going on a sabbatical of a sort.

It will be for a couple weeks including out West for at least a part of that time.  It could extend further if things go well.  It may even become permanent if things go well enough.

The van is repaired, so I've got to go back to work.  Further planning will take a back seat until the weekend.

I've got a lot to do, but most of it looks to be in buying stuff.  It's still on hold, but time is running short.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Homemade Water Distiller - DIY - Stove Top "Pure Water" Still - EASY instructions!

This looks good, but I think it needs some improvement.  There's steam rising from the open end of the bottle.  This means losses.  The top part should be sealed off and it should also be cooled down in order to increase the condensation rate so that steam pressure doesn't build up.


The equipment needed to be purchased included in the 2 pics below:

Need a tea kettle, so here's one that looks suitable:

Focus is on where the steam exits because that is critical to the operation of the distiller
I'd still be a little concerned about the quality of the water coming out of this because I ran a similar experiment in October.  What prevents bad stuff from getting into the water?  I'd like to check it out, though.

This could be a significant way to reclaim water, like bath water for example.  You could recycle bath water and get more bath water.  You don't have to drink it, just use it for bathing.

A Fresnel lens could obviate the need to use scarce electricity.  Hard to say what that may do to this tea kettle , though.

This is a post in the water subseries category of the going-off-the-grid series of posts.

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No Quonset Murphy Bed setup

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A post in the construction subseries of the off-the-grid main series of posts.

In the last post, I considered using the quonset on the trailer.  Now that the trailer is ordered, I'm changing my plans again.  Instead of a quonset, I'll use a simple construction method of applying plywood to a rectangular frame, and then insulating it.  The frame will be attached to the trailer, while being built on top of it.

Then the Murphy Bed will be installed inside the 5x8 trailer.  Each end will be able store things under the bed.  Hence a bathroom area will be on one side of the tent and a freezer and electrical system at the other end.  A door will access each.  Perhaps the freezer can stay with the shower as it will need more room to open its door.

A solar panel can be placed on the roof.

No quonset on this version.  It's virtue is in its simplicity.

The Murphy Bed will deploy on hinges, much like the hinges on a standard door.  It will rise up 3 feet from a 3 foot base.  The 3 foot base is necessary so as to be able to place things on the floor and for the bed to have clearance over these things.  The roof must be six feet tall, at least.  Since it is a 3 foot base, and when not being used, there will be 5 feet of floor space for other activities.

Checking in, 3/18/15

Light posting continues because of the ongoing preparations for moving out West.

Yesterday was a bit of a setback because my truck broke down at the end of the day.  I was late getting back home, and slept in late this morning.

But back at the keyboard for another thrilling episode of my new adventure.  Perhaps I can handle it as smoothly as my vehicle breakdown yesterday?  Let's hope so.  If a bad thing is to happen, at least be able to handle it without making it worse.  My vehicle had to be towed to the repair shop, you see.

As for my trip out West, I've got to solve a few issues before I even get started.  I'd like to get my trailer delivered, but I can't take delivery here.  Nor can I take delivery out West, at least not on the property.  So, what do I do?  I need a solution to that and I need it soon.  I have an idea, but I haven't looked into it as of yet.

There's that conversation I had with respect to an RV.  Seems like the person looking into that didn't get back to me.  Should I let that go on, or intervene and put it to an end?  Since my vehicle broke down, maybe a change in vehicles would be advisable.  Don't want to go off the handle with anything just yet.

Wishbone said that my planning is haphazard.  I'd like to think more highly of it.  It is certainly not well organized and orderly as it could be.  It's like flying at the seat of your pants.

What can I definitely do which doesn't depend upon an RV being there or not?  I can build a shed for my stuff.  This apartment has got to be empty on May 31st, if I am to move out.  What I can do is to build that shed and it will be ready for my stuff whether or not I use an RV or not.

Anyway, that's where I'm at in my planning.  Basic shelter hasn't even been decided yet.  But it will have to be and soon.  The move is definitely a "go" at this point in any event.  I've got some "wiggle room" in all this, so if things don't go well enough, I can back out of it for awhile.  Nevertheless, haphazard or not, here I come.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Who won the elections in 2014?

The GOP?!?  Nope.  Must have been the Democrats.

So, where are the conservatives?  Still joined at the hip with the Establishment?  Looks that way to me.

Gore: Punish those who deny climate change

As the "Dirty Harry" character said:  "Go ahead, make my day."

These people might as well be criminals themselves.  Best to take on their anti social behavior with a bit of aggressiveness of your own.

Get this:

I propose that we limit the death penalty to people whose actions will with a high probability cause millions of future deaths … the death penalty is an appropriate punishment for GW deniers---Richard Parncutt

So... we execute people who they think is guilty of maybe causing something bad to happen versus not executing people who have really killed people.  These people should be locked up themselves.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Solar Cooking Fresnel Lens Dutch Oven

Quote from description....
Published on Sep 25, 2012

First attempt to cook with a dutch oven and a fresnel lens. Worked okay, took three hours to make. Good for small container cooking, don't know if it will work on larger kettles. Fresnel lens and Dutch oven purchased thru A Plus Survival in Santa Ana. At the end of cooking when I was putting it in the bowl the front leg gave out and it all went on the ground, the second one I cooked the day after this was chicken and dumplings. That was great...
I'm considering this.  There's potential danger in it, though.  These lenses are powerful and can be dangerous.


Greenpowerscience sells Fresnel lenses.  The link to the left calculates out to 777 watts solar thermal power potential.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Homemade Evaporative Air Cooler

Perhaps we can do better than 45 watts?

He's not clear as to how he did it either.

Misty Mate Cool Camper will allow you do it by hand.  But bad reviews.


Perhaps a small computer fan can run a small system.  This may cool a small room or cubicle.  Misty Mate also sells smaller devices.  You can set one of these smaller devices around a chair while you rest for awhile.

Heating a Greenhouse

Unbelievable amount of work.

Dug out a grave sized trench.  Filled it with rocks.  Added venting to heat exchange with the rocks.  Added a fan that pulled air through the vents.  Installed a solar panels on roof of building next to greenhouse.  This was to power the fan that ran the heat sink.
Made me tired just watching it.  Imagine what it would have been like to do it.  I'm much too lazy for that.  Gotta be an easier way!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Water classification system

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This is a post in the subseries category of the going-off-the-grid series of posts.

Whatever got me into this topic again?  Since yesterday, I've been cranking up my home made water filtration system that I tested back in October.  With that review, I can now come up with a system that should work out pretty well.

A key objective is to recycle water, perhaps any number of times.  A definite goal is to get down to maybe a couple gallons of water a day for myself, and then maybe the rest for my plants and critters.

One thing that I'm noticing is that my homemade system doesn't get from filthy to potable at all.  It can significantly upgrade from filthy, though.

A tentative classification system keeps that in mind.  Potable water doesn't need treatment.  It is Class 1.  Class 2 is rainwater and condensation water from dehumidifiers.  With some treatment, this may be upgraded to class 1 water.  Class 3 water is definitely not potable, but may be clear to very slightly cloudy.  Here's where the cutoff begins.  Class 3 water cannot be upgraded to class 2 through filtration.  In order to reclaim class 3 water to class 1 water, it must go through a distillation process.  Otherwise, it cannot be upgraded to even class 2, it must remain class 3 at best.  However class 4 can be upgraded to class 3 if it can be made substantially clear.  Class 4 must be at least partially clear.  When filtered, it may improve enough to be class 3 as mentioned.  If not, it remains class 4.  All other water is class 5, and is best characterized as filthy.  Class 4 water may be upgraded all the way to class 3 depending upon how well the filtration process works.

To sum up, only class 1 is potable.

Class 2 can be upgraded to class 1 if slightly treated.  Class 2 is as clean looking as Class 1, but may have some impurities and may not be free from pathogens.

Class 3 through 5 is water that is substantially degraded and must be filtered aggressively, but can never reach potable status again unless distilled.

How to use the classification system:

Class 1 is drinkable and can be used for everything.  However, it should be reserved for drinking and cleaning hands and face, food, dishes, or anything that comes into contact with something that can be ingested.

Class 2 can be used for washing the rest of the body, or be upgraded to class 1 as described above.  It can also be used for clothes, although that is probably better reserved for class 3.

Class 3 can also be used for washing the body, but not the face, nor the hands.  It must not be used for cleaning anything that may come into contact with anything that can be ingested.  It can also be used for washing clothes.

Class 4 is too dirty and shouldn't be used for anything, but can be upgraded.

Class 5 is filthy and must be either upgraded if possible or discarded.

My homemade system can get from class 5 to class 3.  The only way I can get to class 1 from 3 is to run it through a distillation.

Note:  I don't know how professionals do it, but this is how I'm doing it.