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Buildings and Renovations,Equipment,Food,Other,Plumbing

Pump Water from a Lake to a Cottage (And make your spouse happy with running water!)

8 Aug , 2013  

Had a few questions from viewers on how to get water. Went up this weekend and concentrated on filming footage of the water system.

We occasionally pump water from a freshwater lake to the cabin. Maybe once during each 3 days stay. The cabin/cottage is on a remote mountain lake and doesn’t have access to grid electricity.

The biggest obstacle was pumping the lake water up a 80 foot (24 meter) hill and into 110 gallon (250 litre) water barrel on the roof. The water then travels by gravity feed down through 1/2″ PEX pipe and to the kitchen tap.

Since I could not find a suitable electric pump, decided to go with a gas. Went through two pumps, the first, a 3.5 HP model had problems priming and pumping the water up the hill. It was returned to Princessauto.com and picked up a 6.5 HP 3″ water pump. The pump was super powerful and pretty good on gas. Only needs to be refueled once a season (May – Nov). At 3/4 throttle, it will fill the water barrels in 4 minutes.

Went with a 1.5″ PVC pipe. The water flow of a 1.5″ to a 2″ is minimal. It was easier to find fittings for the common 1.5″ PVC pipe. Check with an irrigation or hardware dealer. The overall cost of the project was $293.00.

Would prefer to go with an electric pump, but it was difficult to find a pump that could pump at least 80 feet vertically, run off DC and is affordable. Personally, I would prefer a quieter system, but, for the last 3 years it has worked fine. Maybe when the pump dies, I’ll switch to a torpedo submersible DC pump ($300.00).

But the long and short of it is we now have running water in the kitchen. Much easier than hauling buckets of water up the hill. Plus the spouse is happy too!

The next projects is to install a small pump and a water filter.

Feel free to comment!

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Buildings and Renovations,Relaxing

“Dress Up” an Old Dock with Cedar Decking

30 Jul , 2013  

The next door neighbours 20-year-old floating dock was about to be sunk and donated to the fish, when I intervened and negotiated ownership for a 12 pack of beers. It’s an antique jewel, 4 feet wide by 32 feet long. Composed of three 12 inch in diameter Pine logs that were cut 32 feet long. The earlier builder inserted 5 gallon water jugs in-between the logs to increase flotation. The top boards were a real 2 inches thick and ranged in widths.

The big bonus, it felt like a mini island, gained 4 hours of sun tanning and increased the distance for cannonballs into the lake.

When I was trying to show my son that the old man was no slouch at making the biggest splash, one of the old boards came loose. Did not cut my foot, but it was a real wake up call. Decided to move the re-decking of the old dock to the top of the list.

I had a bunch of 2″ x 6″ x 20′ Western Red Cedar boards left over from the deck project. Western Red Cedar is durable, lightweight and quite buoyant. Put down 3 boards like tracks and screwed them into the old deck boards. The longest screws on hand were 4″ long and designed meant for roofing. But, they were galvanized and handy. The hammer drill made short work of screwing into the old timbers. Next, 5/4″ x 4″ x 12′ boards were cut 3 times to make 4′ long deck boards. These were placed horizontally across the dock with 1″ spacing (the same thickness as the deck board). Used 3″ galvanized deck screws. The ends of the boards were beveled and sanded.

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Solar Power Projects

Rotating Solar Panel Mount for Manual Sun Tracking

25 Jul , 2013  

Screen shot 2013-07-25 at 12.01.44 PM This is an updated video with of the DIY solar panel on a rotating pole. The mount was made from 1 inch irrigation water pipe, 3/4 inch PVC, old flag, electrician tape, patio umbrella pipe and Tees. All the parts can be found at your local plumbing store, scrap yard or city dump. It’s a little rough around the edges, but it was made from materials lying around. This type of projected was designed to carry my shower door 80 watt DIY solar panel or two, lighter 100 watt factory solar panels. The rotating mount can follow the sun from 10:00am to 5:00pm.
Feel free to comment! Enjoy!

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Solar Power Projects,Wind Turbine Projects

Update to the DIY Off-Grid Solar/Wind Power System

9 Jul , 2013  

It’s the second year of my budget, do-it-yourself solar and wind power rig. So I thought I would share some updates with my fellow off grid friends.
The panels have worked great making power. The only drawback was some of backing materials were separating and starting to peel off. Used that sticky red Tuck tape and roofing tar to keep out the moisture. Managed to crack the glass on another solar panel by over tightening a roofing screw. It was fixed, but, the output power was reduced down to 40 watts. It was removed for the “array” and has been used with the remote pumping station.
Always look forwards to the summer. That when I make enough power to have a surplus. I can leave the outside radio on a little longer, run more power tools and NOT check the battery voltage meter every hour. For example, on July 2, the sun was really high in the sky and the panels were making 2 amps at 8:30am. Nice!

New additions
– Picked up a Motomaster Eliminator 1500 watt inverter from Canadian Tire on sale for $99.00. Hooked up to the battery box with 4 foot 6 ga wires. Lots of cool features: digital display, 2000 watt peak and a 5 meter remote on/off switch. A small feature to some, but, really handy for visitors or spouses that are not versed in the ways of generating alternative energy. Another big benefit, run a less off the generate and more tools off the back up power, like a cheap 8-1/4″ compound mitre saw or Porter Cable Orbital Sander.
– Add a XScorpion digital amp/volt meter to the wires coming in from the wind turbine. I don’t think I have it hooked up correctly. It just shows the battery bank volt status. Suppose to show the volts and amps from the wind turbine. Suggestions?
– Upgrade wires/connectors to solar panels and hardware
6 or 12 volt Battery Load Tester– Way to check the battery health
To Do’s
– Hook up 100 watt/12 volt/6.84 amp Monocrystalline solar panel and a budget MPPT charger controller
– Move panels to a better location. At the moment, they are an eye sore and were missing out on the full 9:00 – 10:00am sun
– Add 2 – 4 more batteries
– Bogart Trimetric: Have to move the shunt for the Bogart TriMetric Battery Monitor. The reading is incorrect. On some days, it says the batteries are at 114%
– Mount 500 Watt Wind Turbine and erect wind turbine
– Change Morningstar TS-60 Charge Controller to Diversion Load
– Hook up factory dumpload for wind turbine. Also monitor/test Homemade Dump Load

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