Just got back from a fantastic family vacation in Kihei, Maui. As soon as we left the airport in our rental car, we noticed many the homes had plenty of solar panels on the roofs. Like at least 15 panels. Must be grid-tie systems. Even the churches were getting in on it. One fairly big church had over 60 PV panels. Did a quick search and noticed that there was a 4 year return on savings and an up to 35% rebate. Compared to a past visit to the island of Kauai, two years ago, the Maui citizens are jumping on board. Since I was looking at the roofs more closely, I did see a the newer pipe style of solar hot water heater.
I also saw my first wind turbine farm. Owned by Kaheawa Wind Farm and it was on the road to Lahaina right across the bay to Kihei. 14 Wind turbines ran right up the ridge of the mountain. It was cool to see how the clouds were passing through the the turbine blades. It was like in “real time”. Just had my iPhone, so, the video came out fuzzy.
For the past year, I been researching on how to build a wooden hot tub. If you haven’t seen one, it’s a six-foot round barrel about 4 feet high. Normally made from vertical laid Western Red Cedar planks that are fitted together. A heavy-duty banding is wrapped around the outside to keep the vertical planks from bursting. A snorkel style of wood stove is used to heat the water up. The stove sits just under the water line. Of course, I could pony up the $3500.00 a buy one. But, that’s not in the budget. The deck at the cabin comes first.
Anyway, after travelling on the internet, came across a story about another dude that wants to do the same thing…
“Hi folks, I am considering taking on the construction of an outdoor cedar hot tub. I want to build it using a joint that I have seen in use by kits I have assembled. The joint is called a canoe joint and it is used on 2×6 edges. I looked online to buy a shaper/router bit set to make this joint and have only found ones that have smaller radius than I need for my staves. Any help you can provide in a source for this bit set would be very much appreciated. Thanks, Jerry”
So, I’m like cool. I’m not the only one. Found a responder and he/she suggested a Round Nose Router Bit by Freud. Freud makes really sweet saw blades, but I haven’t tried the bits yet. Looks like I’ll head down to the local Windsor Plywood store and pick one up.
More to come…
After finishing the four DIY solar panels, I wanted a quick mount for the the top of the cabin roof.
The idea location was to mount it to the water barrels on the roof. The plan was to aim the panels to the south (and through a gap in the trees). As usual, my choice of material was Western Red Cedar and square head screws.
Had an amazing discovery on the weekend. We hosted a birthday party for a good friend and one of the guests, worked for the company that produces Xantrex inverters, charge controllers, battery chargers, etc for off grid use. (I almost fell off my chair!) For someone like me, that’s really into the alternative energy, it was like meeting a rock star. Since we were sitting at the dinner table, enjoying a tasty dessert, I had to hold off and not get to excited with the questions/answers. Xantrex makes really good products, and for me, it’s a local company. As we were talking, my spouse and close friends were making fun of us talking about “solar stuff”. I had briefly mentioned I had a YouTube channel and do reviews/how to videos for different products. I got a nod, but, afterwards felt like a geek mentioning it.
I didn’t get a chance to ask him some details about the Xantrex MPPT Charge Controller. Below is a few pics of the charge controller. I’d say it right up there with the Morningstar Tri-Star TS-60 charge controller. The good news is I could switch the Morningstar into Diversion mode to divert the excess power to the two 100 watt transistors. Hmm…