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Heat and Cooling,Power generation

Wood Stove Generator – Part 1

15 Oct , 2016   Video

wood_stove_generator_part1_thumbThe goal was to generate a few watts of power off a woodstove, to run a small water pump or charge a 12-volt battery.

Since I’m waiting for some parts for the Cowboy Hot Tub project, I thought I would mess around with some ideas of generating power from a wood stove. The video will be part of series. I have few concepts and need to test them out with the materials on hand.

I watched a few videos and figured out that it wasn’t the best method to making power, but with a strict budget and a few ideas, I might come up with a solution. The video will be part of series. I have few concepts and need to test them out with the materials on hand.
Thanks to the YouTube channels LasquetiDude and jack36202 for the concept.

Music credit: Mob_Battle, by Silent Partner. http://youtube-audio-library.storage.googleapis.com/e0cf3a4db7a5fbd4,

Buildings and Renovations,Heat and Cooling,Relaxing

The Cowboy Hot Tub Project – Part 2

16 Sep , 2016   Video

cowboy_hot_tub_and_woodstoveLots of changes to the project, but the end results was a hot bath in an off grid situation. The first was to move the tub to a better location for my family. The old tub was located down at the lake, which can be tiresome walking up and down the hill to use the washroom, get more beer, etc. The plan was to put it where the current outdoor shower was located in between the outhouse and the guesthouse. The only setback was a large Pine tree was in the way. So, instead of cutting down the tree and getting distracted from the task at hand, I decided to use the existing 5′ long, cast iron claw foot bath as the tub. It was a little bit easier to move around and the water would heat up faster.

The next step was to use something to contain the heat around the copper coils. The campfire worked but it didn’t get hot enough. After my wife’s suggestion, we had a spare wood stove in the guest cabin. The previous owner purchased it and it was not installed. It was a perfect size, not too heavy and it fit nicely in the new space.

cowboy_hot_tub_woodstoveinside of wood stoveMcCleary Kitchen Heater No9 woodstove

Once the tub and wood stove was in place, the next step was to run the 1.5″ PVC water pipe from the main line to the tub. I had to do some careful planning and ensure everything fits the future plans for the water system. (Which was to move the water barrels off the roof and under the cabin. As similar to an RV set up, we would use a 12-volt pump to move the water up to the tap) I was really pleased that there were spare fittings that could be utilized for any kind of angle. Once the fittings are glued, there were no second guessing. Only had one screw up a forgot to glue the pipe together under the guest cabin. Not the end of the world, but I’ll have to keep the psi of water pressure to the minimum.

cowboy_hot_tub_portsThe next step was to modify the copper water coil to fit inside the McClary woodstove fire box. To make a water coil, one end was capped and table salt was poured into the copper pipe. The pipe then could be rolled or bent into a shape without kinking/splitting the pipe. With a little time and patience, I managed to form a pretty good coil. The next plan for a coil would be about 6 inches in diameter.  The water coil was placed into the McClary woodstove fire box. The “in” and “out” ports were inserted through the stoves side vent holes.

By this time, it was the end of the day and getting late. I still wanted to test out the woodstove and the water pump. Did a test with a large metal crab pot and ran the water through the line. It took a while to get the fire really hot in the firebox. I’m sure if the water coil wasn’t in place it would heat up much faster.  After 40 minutes and lots of small, dry twigs, the fire really started to make some luke warm water. I threw a couple of dry cedar logs in and stopped for dinner. About an hour later there was some coals and the water circulating was gradually getting hotter.

Music credit: “Rural Stride” by Josh Kirsch/Media Right Productions & “Swamp Stomp” by Silent Partner (YouTube Audio Library)

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Heat and Cooling,Relaxing

The Cowboy Hot Tub Project

19 Aug , 2016   Video

Since it was super hot at the cabin (and no campfire ban), thought it would be a good plan to “test” the Cowboy Hot Tub Project. The goal was to place a hose/copper pipe in the campfire and run it back into the tub. The water would be pumped through the hose and come out warm on the other end. After 2 hours, the water should be a reasonable temperature.
Most of the parts were scavenged, but the stock tank was purchased used from a local farm for $200. The water tank measures 10′ long x 3′ wide by 2′ deep. It has two brace beams to keep the sides from falling out. The 300-gallon water tank was filled with a 1-1/2” PVC pipe from the water line to the cabin. More information about the parts can be found at the blog post on July 12, 2015
Filling_Cowboy_Hot_TubOnce the tank was full of fresh lake water, the next step was to heat up the water to a comfortable temperature. To help push the water, I used a 12 volt DC pond pump. It was hooked up to a deep cycle battery and worked quite good.

Pump_Battery_for_Cowboy_Hot_Tub

I had bits and pieces of  leftover, 1/2″ soft copper pipe from the old roof top water system. Using a car tire as a bending form, the pipe was bent into a coil. Built up a fire using the “log cabin” style and placed the copper pipe over the flames. It worked pretty well, but the fire needed to be hotter. I moved some the wood around and cut smaller pieces. It let it burn for a few hours and then called it quits for the day.

1st_blazing_Fire_for_Cowboy_Hot_Tub

One 1/2″ coil of copper through the campfire

2nd_Fire_for_Cowboy_Hot_Tub

The next day, I found a roll of 3/8″ pipe. Had multiple coils 4 – 5.

The next day, I looked around the shop and found a decent coil of 3/8″ soft copper. It was wound up in four coils and looked like it would do a better job. Attached the garden hose to the ends and started to work on the fire. This time, I found an old, round BBQ that had holes in the bottom. I looked for shorter logs and split them with an axe. The plan was to create a small, hot fire inside the old BBQ. Hopefully, the heat will be contained.  Once the fire was going well, the coils over the fire. I kept adding pieces to the inside and outside of the coil.
This time, I noticed the temperature was a bit hotter. The extra coils did make a difference. What was really interesting, we the wind increased and blew on the campfire, the temperature increased incredibly.

Hose_in_1st_Cowboy_Hot_Tub Side_of_Cowboy_hot_tub

At the end of the day, it was a  good test for Cowboy Hot Tube project. I know what needs to be improved and I got a chance to sit back and enjoy the project. More improvements will follow in a few weeks. Thanks for watching!

Scott_in_Cowboy_Hot_Tub

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Firewood,Heat and Cooling

Free Firewood- Finding Gold in the Burbs

10 Dec , 2015   Video

This is an awesome deal for people that have a wood burning fireplace or wood stoves. Free firewood! Why buy it when it’s being given away for free.IMG_9796IMG_9739

Whenever I head back home to the suburbs I drive around the neighbourhood or look online for free firewood. It’s a win-win scenario. I don’t have to worry about cutting a tree down or wasting money on gas for a chainsaw and the homeowner doesn’t pay to have the wood disposed of at the green waste dump.Splitting-wood

Go online to Craigslist or Kijiji  type in “firewood” in the Free section. You will then see a bunch of listings from homeowners advertising free firewood to be picked up. Fire off a quick email and then head down and load up your vehicle. It’s easy. No cutting down trees, no working a chainsaw, no wasting money on fuel and if your lucky, you might find a hardwood like Maple, Alder or Oak. When properly dried, hardwoods burn hot.  If you have a truck or trailer it makes everything so much easier.

IMG_9754In my area it costs $350 for a cord of wood. That is a stack of wood that is 4 feet wide by 4 feet tall by 8 feet long. Boy, that’s a lot of cash for something you can do yourself.

IMG_9752My wife laughs at me and says I need a firewood intervention, but it’s such a good opportunity to stock up. After a year, and Mother Nature takes her time and dries out the firewood I will be ready.

Thanks for watching!

Music credit: YouTube Audio Library Title: Grange Party Authors: Huma-Huma

http://youtube-audio-library.storage.googleapis.com/76923eb303d53f85,

Appliances,Food,Heat and Cooling

Part 3 – Solar Panel and a Modded Electric Cooler

23 Jul , 2015   Video

DIY solar panel

Frankenstein DIY 60 watt solar panel

Computer-fan-in-cooler

Inside fan turned “Off”

Ran some tests on the modified 12 volt Coleman Cooler in the first weekend of July.
It just happened to be one of the hottest weekends in our area. Afternoon day temps hovered around 28*C or 81*F and it was a dry heat. Living on the West Coast, I’m just not use to that type of heat. I’m so glad the lake is nearby and I can go for a swim to cool the core off.

To power the fans and the cooling Peltier module, I pulled out the old 60 Watt Frankenstein solar panel I made a few years ago. It was easy to set up, but it may not produce another amperage for the Peltier module. But this was for testing only. Hooked it up with some basic alligator clamps and switched on the power.
For testing the temperature inside the cooler, I used the refrigerator/Freeze thermometer from the Frost King Ice Box.

Starting temperature was at 80° F

At 12:17 (high sun) Checked the cooler. It read to 70°F. Not really impressive.  So I repositioned the solar panel to get maximum sun.

3:30 pm – The thermometer read 80*F. What, back to the starting point? Could it be the lower solar output. The fans were turning, but not enough juice for the Peltier module.

Inside fan turned "On"

Inside fan turned “On”

5:00 pm- No change, 80°F. Almost no sun in my location (It was hiding behind the trees)

What I did next, was hook the modded Coleman Cooler right up to four, 6-volt deep cycle batteries. The batteries would produce the amperage required for the Peltier.

7:00 pm- Slightly cooler by 2 degrees, but that could be due to the ambient temperature.

The end result: Not a total fail. Some upgrades will be necessary to get it running properly. I would conclude the bottleneck is the size of the wire/fuse on the power plug. The wire and fuse set up was taken from a DC power vacuum for a car. Judging by the size of the motor, it only needs an amp or two to make it run. A YouTube reader suggested a power cord from a heated seat mat or DC heater fan. They are rated at 8 amps, which will provide the necessary amount of power to run the Peltier cooling module. I’ll keep my eyes open for one at my local recycle center and then make another video.

Thermometer-Before-in-coleman-cooler

Starting temperature

3:30pm temperature

3:30pm temperature

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Heat and Cooling,Relaxing

Stage 1 of the Cowboy Hot Tub Project

2 Jul , 2015  

Stage-one-of-the-cowboy-hot-tub-700-layersWa-hoo! Completed stage 1 of the Cowboy Hot Tub!
Found a large, used, galvanized, livestock water tank on craigslist for $200. I’ve seen new ones for $350 – $700. It measures 10′ long x 3′ wide by 2′ deep. Holds a bit over 300 gallons. No leaks and it’s in fairly good shape. Originally, I wanted to make a wood hot tub out of Western Red Cedar planks, but the cost of Cedar has almost doubled since last year. Plus, as a first timer, it would probably leak. This way, I can start with a tank that hold water and then add rectangle frame, insulation and dress the outside with 1″ x 4″ Cedar.

Shay-inside-cowboy-hot-tubFor some gas money and a couple hours of his time, a good neighbor, and myself went out and picked up livestock tank with his Ford F150 pickup truck. (I wish I had a truck, it would make life so much easier!)
Thumbs-up-for-cowboy-hot-tub
Plan to use our old Blaze King wood stove to heat the water. (The wood stove actually has water coil that runs through the firebox, but it has a crack in it.) The factory that actually makes the stoves is only 50 kilomters away. Sent an email off to Blaze King, but have not heard back. I’m guessing they are “talk on the phone or visit in-person” type of company. I do have some spare flexible, 1/2′ copper coil. It could be wrapped around the stove pipe. Have to see which is easier in the short turn.

Sadly, since there is a campfire ban on, so the project is on hold until the end of the summer.

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