Finally, I made some time to put up the small wind turbine tower. The deep cycle batteries in the main cabin needed to be charged. The snow covered solar panels were just not cutting it and not providing the necessary amps to charge the system. It was time to put up the small wind turbine and get some wind power!
Part of the problem was finding a suitable spot that was close to the batteries under the main cabin. I wanted something on the lakeside deck, but not fastened to the cabin. The vibrations from the wind turbine can be a little annoying at time.
Decided to construct a platform (or a sled) made out of spare 2″ x 8″ joists. I would work it into the existing firewood pile and use the wood as weight. If I needed to move it or add more anti-vibration material, no problem. If I built the base fairly solid and good support, might not need to use guy wires.
Next, was ta 8-foot tall support/guide for the 1.5″ tower pole. Created an open box with (2) 2 x 4s and (1) 2 x 6 pieces of lumber. Two 3/8″ diameter holes were drilled into the 2 x 4 for the support bolt and the secure bolt. The thought was to secure it to the cabin, but didn’t have that part thought out yet. Decided to sleep on it and see what comes up in the morning.
The next morning, after a cup of coffee, I devised Plan B. Erect a fairly tall pole (14′ – 20′) behind the base/tower. At the top of this pole would be a pulley (snatch block). A cable would go As I was searching around for a longer support pole, I looked at all the 40-foot tree around me and thought,” geez, this is what I’m looking for it costs nothing!” Grabbed the chainsaw and hiked out to the bush and cut down a 25-foot tall dead lodgepole pine tree. Dragged it back and removed all the sticks. The easiest way to get the support tree/pole thing into position was to hoist it over the roof and drop it down into position.
The solar firewood dryer project needed more wood before it was to be closed up. Had a few hours on the weekend to split some of the large logs. The large pile of Western Red Cedar logs under our deck was an eyesore and getting in the way. Since it was raining like crazy, had to set up the Ryobi 7-ton electric splitter under the covered deck. Not a lot of room to work, but it had to do. T
The wood at the top of the stack was easy enough to maneuver onto the splitter, but as we got closer to the bottom, the logs didn’t have time to dry much. Had to be really careful and not put my back out lifting the logs.
The first part of this project takes place at our full-time home in the suburbs. We are located on the west coast of Canada, just above Seattle, WA. It’s the only part of Canada that receives very little snow in the winter. The downside, rain, lots of cold rain and high humidity. Anything that is not covered gets just soaked from the pouring rain. Storage was always an issue, our lot is not very big and land is very expensive. You have to make do with what you have.
The goal was to enclose the split firewood inside a tent made from heavy-duty plastic.
With the aid of the sun beating down on the enclosure, it will heat up like a greenhouse and dry the firewood faster.
The firewood sits on 4′ x 4′ pallets found free off craigslist.org. I like to have firewood off the ground. It prevents water wicking, improves air flow and dries the wood faster. I plan to leave a 3″ gap in the bottom for air flow in and a gap in the top to let the moist air out.
I try to find spots to cram firewood to dry. Under tarps, next to the house and the shed. The best spot, was under the deck and stairs for the second story kitchen. Most of the 9′ x 12′ space was used for my spouses wedding stuff, but I have managed to store some large cedar rounds for drying. The split firewood is neatly stacked under the stairs. It’s a good spot, gets good afternoon sun and it protected from the occasional west coast rain squalls.
The structure for the solar firewood dryer has to be lightweight and temporary. It was made from materials repurposed from other projects. It’s a basic, rectangle frame from 1″ x 4″s. Eight feet long by four feet wide. 1″ x 2″ Strapping was screwed and glued every 12″ and ran the overall length. Since it was to be screwed into the existing stairs, the overall weight had to be light. I had made a previous design out of 2″ x 6″ x 12′ lumber and it was really heavy to move into place. The roof and walls will be covered by 6 mil vapour barrier plastic. The budget for this project was $50. If the canopy does it’s job, I would use it as a prototype for our off-grid property in the mountains. The roof would have to be reinforced for snow load or just construct it in the springtime.
If the canopy does the job, I will be a prototype for firewood at our off-grid property in the mountains.
The next step is to secure the plastic to the walls, create an air intake and an outtake at the top. Then add a thermostat and take a moisture reading of the wood.
Thanks for stopping by and another video will be in the works for the spring..
This project starts with a battery in good shape. I have used a small lawn tractor battery from Costco ($39.00). It worked OK until I managed to scavenge a 12-volt 55 amp-hour sealed battery for free (sealed batteries are ideal for inside use, no off-gassing, safe). The next step, find a 12-volt DC Power Outlet Adapter with alligator clips ($9). Normally features a 5′ long cord and a built-in fuse. In a pinch, you could use an extension cord with a designated positive and negative wire, but the DC power adapter will be safer. Clip the corresponding colored alligator clips to the battery terminals (red to red, black to black) and insert a 12-volt USB charger into the round outlet. You are finished! You have created a simple charging system. When not in use, just unhook the alligator clips for the battery terminal.
If you want to charge something bigger, like a laptop or a small LCD TV, look for a 12-volt power adapter with an AC plug on it. It can easily fit into the outlet. I sourced a 100-watt Black and Decker Power Inverter for $19.00 at a local big box store. This particular model does not have an internal fan, so it doesn’t waste power when the electronic device is not in use. It also has a light on the unit that indicates the battery charge. This micro system works great when you might need to charge the main battery bank with a small generator/charger, but the kids still want to watch a movie. It also ran my wife’s MacBook for a whole day before she replaced her aging laptop battery.
Black and Decker 12-volt power inverter: http://www.blackanddecker.com/en-us/power-tools/automotive/portable-power/120-watt-power-inverter/pi120p
12-Volt DC Power Outlet Adpater: http://www.harborfreight.com/12-volt-battery-to-lighter-socket-extension-cord-66407.html
12-Volt Sealed Battery: http://www.harborfreight.com/12-volt-10-ah-sealed-lead-acid-battery-62586.html
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.
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.
Thanks for watching!
Music credit: YouTube Audio Library Title: Grange Party Authors: Huma-Huma
We now have a truck! (finally). With aid of my father-in-law’s salesmanship, we now own an used, 2006 Dodge Ram 1500 SLT, Quad Cab 4 x 4. Sweet! We have been wanting a truck for a while, but the cost versus quality never arose. We had friends offer vehicles, but they were on their last legs and I didn’t need another problem to repair. My father-in-law friend was downsizing and didn’t need another large vehicle. Even though it’s just a truck, it will make transporting lumber and plywood so much easier. Plus, traveling on the back roads during a freak winter storm will not be so nerve racking.
Since the weather conditions can change by the hour, I purchased a used set of studded Cooper Arctic Claw XSI Snow Tires and had them installed on the truck. The tires are huge, 275/60/20. When standing next to the tire, the height is easily 42″. We are quite pleased that it will make the long journey so much safer, under any condition.
The next step is to look at a tonneau cover or a canopy. My spouse will want to transport wedding items for an event and it’s a good feeling that it can be locked up. I’ve looked around on the web and used prices are around $500 for a canopy in good shape. For now the next couple of months, we will use big plastic totes for clothes and food items. Al least there is lots of room.
I’ll keep you posted on the projects.