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Buildings and Renovations,Wildlife

How to Make a Bat House from Scrap Wood- Part 1

24 Sep , 2015   Video

This video will show you how to construct a bat house from lumber and plywood scraps.
This is a fairly easy project and can be constructed with only a few tools. Most of the materials can be found free from a lumber yard or left over from a home renovation project. (Plans to come)
Bats are a critical part of our ecosystems. A bat house is a good way to increase the bat population and to control nocturnal insects.
I would like to thank Margaret from www.BCbats.ca for her suggestions on plans and where to mount the bat house.

Bat-house-painted

bat-house-material-break-down

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Rants

Rant: Ad Blocking is Not Good For the Small Blogs

23 Sep , 2015  

google_no-cents With the rise of the Ad Blocking extension to browsers, I have decided to remove all the ads off the www.cedarworkshop.net Blog.
I know 90% of my viewers and subscribers will be happy with this move. Online advertisements are annoying, the ads block the flow of the story and the reader has to scroll down to see the remainder of the article.
On the flip side, the ads help pay the bills. Hosting the blog cost $10.00/month and the domain name is $16.00/year. I knew there were costs going into the process of having the Blog. The Google Adsense account was more of an opportunity to learn about the process of advertising online. If I could make a few bucks, it would be a plus. When the Cedar Workshop YouTube channel started, in 2013, the supporting Blog generated about $8.00 to $13.00/month. Now, I’m lucky to get 1 cent/month. For that measly amount, it’s not even worth it.

How is this going to affect the Blogs future?
Well, I’ll have to be more resourceful with materials. If a project requires a new part, it will have to be put on the back burner. This will probably tick off a lot of people who want to work on a project and need to know all the steps and material required.

– The weekly videos will be cut back to bi-weekly. It takes a lot of time to edit, design custom thumbnails, descriptions and update the Blog, Facebook, Reddit, etc.

– Add a PayPal donation button. (I really dislike asking for money.)

– Sell a product: A few friends suggested I make some chalkboard sidewalk signs and log rounds on Etsy. I miss building cedar Adirondack chairs and selling them for $80. Costco killed that industry with the folding, pine chairs for $60.00 .

I’m not the only one, I have talked to a number of YouTube creators and they are in the same boat. We will have to see what’s in store.

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Firewood,Power Tools

STIHL 011 AVT Chainsaw Problem- Part 2

21 Sep , 2015   Video

STIHL Fix 2 With fall approaching now is a good time to get chainsaws tuned up and ready. Thought I would take another stab at getting the STIHL 0011 AVT arborist chainsaw working. Really like the small chainsaw. You can use it for an hour and it doesn’t tire you out. the power to weight ratio was excellent.  The originally came from a neighbor that I had helped move. It started  up just fine after sitting for a few years in his storage shed. I used it for 2 years and it then just stopped running. It would start and then just bog out.
The first thing I did was take it to an STIHL dealer. The staff was helpful and polite, but the service person comments the fix would cost more than what the saw was worth. This was a real blow. I really like this saw, but to be turned away from a certified STIHL dealership? Geez!
Well, there is always a bright side. Make a video, post it on YouTube and maybe on of the viewers can offer a hand. First video found here: https://youtu.be/H7dTAQEDu5w

In this video, the fuel filter was removed from the fuel tank. Used a forsnips to extract the fuel line and car remove the filter. Also take a look at the exhaust port and the route for spark plug wire.

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Budget Workshop Project,End Cuts,Equipment,Power generation,Solar Power Projects,Wind Turbine Projects

Summer 2015 Solar and Wind Power Update

3 Sep , 2015   Video

Since the budget was drained from the Epic DIY deck project, there wasn’t much wiggle room for new equipment. Had to make do with what I had, and do some clever reconfiguring of the solar and wind power equipment for 2015 summer.

Solar Panels
Moved the factory made, 100-watt panel to the new main cabin battery bank. For some reason, the voltage was really spiking (21 volts, with load). I thought it might be the charge controller or a loss connection to the batteries. Happened during July, but not during August.

The DIY 80 watt solar panel is working just fine. Putting out about 6 amps on a good sunny day. The only downside was the backing was starting to peel off. Some red tuck tape helped seal it off. Hopefully, I can get 2 more years out of it.

New addition. Bid 99 cents on a small 5.5 watt panel and won. Using it as a trickle charger for the generator and water pump battery.

 

Charge Controllers
Earlier in the year, the Morningstar TS-60 was taken out of service until I can determine why it was showing a fault. Did some basic tests and couldn’t find the problem. It sat in my tool box for 9 months and in July, I hooked it up to the DIY solar panel. Seems to be working OK.

Picked up a 99 cents eBay special (plus $29.00 for shipping) for a programmable charge controller with load control and temperature gizmo. It will be used in the main cabin battery bank. I like to test the system out for a full season before upgrading equipment.

It’s a good plan to have some spare, inexpensive charge controllers. I use eBay as my buying source and try to find a good, previously used, charge controller. If not, an off-shore made controller can be found for around $30.

 

Batteries
Last fall, I purchased (4) 6 volt, US Battery off craigslist for $40 each. They were lightly used and 3 years old. Came from a backup power system for a data security company. The plan was to use them for the battery bank in the main cabin. The box would be located directly underneath the charging/entertainment center. Then I could avoid long cables and it was easier for access. Built a large box that featured space for more batteries or equipment.

I found out my homemade booster battery cables were not up to the job. They were making the voltage jump around erratically. I think one of the reason was the wire was not soldered to the eyelids or lugs. (Have to work on that for next time). Fixed the issue by spending $45.00 for a pair of  factory made 4 ga. battery cables.

Solar-and-wind-equip-layout-July-2015

Wind Turbines
The small, 100-watt wind turbine is working fine after 5 years. The PVC blades are in good shape and every year, I lower the tower and pump grease into the gear system. The roof top mount help up pretty good, but I’m concerned how the rooftop ice moved the base around.

Extras
Solar Panel Mount- Figured out a nifty mount for the solar panel. Used a satellite dish mount. Fun project and it works really well. The only downside was the mount can hold lightweight solar panels.

Battery Box- spent some time planning the second battery box, building and figuring out an effective passive venting system. Some say venting isn’t required, especially the low amps I’m producing, but it’s a piece of mind knowing there will no hydrogen build up.

Have a few more items to add, but I’m waiting on some pictured. Thanks for visiting the Cedar Workshop website!

 

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Power generation,Wind Turbine Projects

Off Grid Wind Turbine Update

13 Aug , 2015   Video

Two-Wind-Turbines Well, I am proud to announce I finally got the big turbine up in the air and working. A neighbour came over and gave me a hand to raise the wind turbine tower. It wasn’t super heavy, but with two people it made it a lot easier. What also helped was securing a winch and a pulley to a tree next to the guest cabin roof. The extra height really helped to raise the tower and keep the tower pipe from bending.
The only set back was the tower is not as high as I wanted. A 40 foot tall tower would be ideal, but I’m having a hard time sourcing long water pipe. The metal scrappers in my area are snapping up all the metal for recycling. I did find a 30-foot clothes line pole on Craigslist but getting it home and then to the cabin would be an ordeal. I could see it striking another car if it was strapped to the roof of my car. The “experts” claim that the best, undisturbed wind, is 20 feel about the tree line. The trees in around the cabin are called Lodgepole Pine. Very tall and skinny tree with the average height of 36 feet. My only hope is to build a platform up in a tree and then erect a wind turbine mount on it. A hard task, since I’m a little afraid of certain heights. Never used to be like that… something must have happened when I turned 40.

red wire on pole

Red wire wrapped around the top

IMG_8276

Yep, that’s a 30′ Large Dog Tie-Out Cable Leash. Handy to have, especially with the two snaps at the end. Rated for 1700 lbs

IMG_8277

Lots of support for the tower pole and PMA head unit

IMG_8278

The seat cushion keeps the blades from being damaged.

winch

A come-a-long was wrapped around a tree and the DC power winch was hooked up to it.

winch in tree

Cable for come-a-long is at the top. Just underneath is the pulley. It worked as a safety and pull up the slack. If there was a problem with the winch. I could tie off the yellow rope below.

Sunforce_MPPT_Controller

Sunforce MPPT Wind Controller Top

Sunforce MPPT Wind Controller righthand side

Sunforce MPPT Wind Controller right-hand side- On the left… output to batteries. One the right is input from DC wind turbine or solar panels.

AC Input

AC Input

Picked up a Sunforce/Coleman 600 Watt 3 Phase Charger Controller from eBay. The controller is MPPT, 12 or 24 volts, rated for 600 watts, has AC hook up and an optional DC hook up for a solar panel or wind turbine and a brake switch. It was part of a $700 wind turbine kit that included a wind turbine, meter and charge controller. The seller said his tower had collapsed and he was selling off the components separately.
Watt-Meter-hook-up Before raising the tower, all the wire were connected and fuses installed for safety. Sorry, don’t have any exciting amps/voltage numbers to share. I’m still messing around with the proper hook up to the wattmeter. I hooked it up wrong and it displayed the wattage the equipment is consuming, not producing.
Did manage to hook up the charge controller/brake mechanism. I’m curious to see how it works out over the gusty winter months.

 

Base-of-tower The wind turbine is located in the same spot as the previous smaller wind turbine. It’s close to the battery bank and out of harms way from people traffic. As mentioned before, I wish it was a lot higher, but that will come in time. Made a nifty mount to the side of the guest cabin for the tower pole. Since this type of wind turbine and blades generates a lot of vibration, I didn’t want it touching, but still wanted a snug fit. Found an old tube from a portable generator and inserted it between the pole and the wood brace. Then, with a bicycle pump, put about 10 lbs of air in the tube. It inflated and filled in the void. Should provide a nice tight fit and minimal vibration.
Rubber-tire-in-brace
Take a peek at my base, used 4 hockey pucks to suck up some of the vibration. Works pretty well!

Base-of-tower-mid-close-up Base-of-tower-hockey-puck

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Buildings and Renovations,Hauling, digging, etc

Cousin Lee Lends a Hand Moving Trees

10 Aug , 2015   Video

Had a family member drop by for a visit earlier in the summer. It was a relaxing to hang out with a person that was in the same mindset with the off-grid lifestyle. Lee and I as children were lucky to travel to the family cottage on weekends. It was the opportunity to make epic tree forts, build sand castles and go fishing all day.
A few days into the visit, Lee offered to give me a hand to move some trees for the future stair project. The trees were just over 50 feet long and weigh around 2500 lbs. We had to use smaller logs as rollers and lumber as levers. Lee and I would rock the tree and my son would use a DC (battery) powered winch to pull the trees. It took a long time, put the trees eventually were moved into position for drying. Next year, the tree will be used as stair runners.
Thanks for watching!
Music credit: Cielo by Huma-Huma, YouTube Audio library

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