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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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Power Tools,Wind Turbine Projects

How to Squeeze Grease into a Wind Turbine Gearbox

15 Jul , 2013  

It was time to grease up the gearbox on the small wind turbine. Ran into a small problem with the bolts on the gearbox. Couldn’t fully remove them, so the grease had to be squeezed through a narrow crack. Didn’t have my grease gone handy and had to come up with a work around with a plastic Ziploc bag. Thanks for watching!

Go to the web site or Blog for more projects!


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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Appliances,Buildings and Renovations,Food,Heat and Cooling

Make a Propane Refrigerator Run Cooler in the Summer

8 Jul , 2013  

The RV style of propane refrigerator (Dometic-3 way) was not getting cold on the inside. Turned up the thermostat from setting 2 to 4 make it colder, but there was no effect. It was a major concern, since there was a heat wave coming and the frozen vegetables, beverages and steaks would go bad. Also, it was not an option to drive for a 2 hours to get blocks of ice.


Step one- Slide propane fridge into a box

The propane refrigerator was an older model, but was working fine months earlier. So, went over a mental checklist; read manual, check regulator on propane hose, check thermostat, check for cobwebs around cooling fins and check exhaust ports. During the last check on the exhaust port, I noticed the wood siding was really warm to the touch. Thought that was odd, since the manual states the refrigerator must be encased in a metal box, with no combustible materials nearby. The heat must be intense for it to travel through the metal and then to the outside siding.

So, ended up cutting a larger exhaust hole for the heat to escape. Didn’t have much room or a handy saw, so, I had to sketch out a line and use a drill. Drilled holes every 1/8″ with a 1/4″ bit. It took forever, but, didn’t have to worry about striking the cooling fins or pipes on the back of the propane refrigerator. Since it was almost 3 times larger hole, I decided to add a metal heat deflector and a computer fan to help redirect the heat out the hole. Always keep a bunch of computer fans around, they come in handy and work straight off batteries or a solar panel. Fashioned some mounts out of some metal strips and put it just under the refrigerator cooling fins. Wired the computer fan to a simple light switch and 7 amphour AGM battery. The fan could be switched on really hot days and helped the refrigerator cool much quicker.

Soon, I’ll make another video with a few more improvements

Thanks for watching!







Step Two- Slide box, with propane fridge, into IKEA cabinet.

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Canada Day Long Weekend and Fireworks!

4 Jul , 2013  

IMG_4761 Canada Day on our remote lake is always a big celebration. Aside from the flotilla and deck parties, we all love fireworks at night. A few of the cabin owners took up a collection, and we raised $320.00 to go towards fireworks. To ensure safety was on our side, we light the fireworks off a barge out in the middle of the lake. It’s safe and everyone can enjoy to splendor.

Packed up the car for the 4 hour drive to the cabin. Aside from the VAWT project, homemade dump load, pumps, electrical wire, firewood, beer and food, this time there was a big box of fireworks.
A big thanks for the Fireworks Shop

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