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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
Take a peek at my base, used 4 hockey pucks to suck up some of the vibration. Works pretty well!
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