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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

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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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Appliances,Food,Heat and Cooling

Part 3 – Solar Panel and a Modded Electric Cooler

23 Jul , 2015   Video

DIY solar panel

Frankenstein DIY 60 watt solar panel

Computer-fan-in-cooler

Inside fan turned “Off”

Ran some tests on the modified 12 volt Coleman Cooler in the first weekend of July.
It just happened to be one of the hottest weekends in our area. Afternoon day temps hovered around 28*C or 81*F and it was a dry heat. Living on the West Coast, I’m just not use to that type of heat. I’m so glad the lake is nearby and I can go for a swim to cool the core off.

To power the fans and the cooling Peltier module, I pulled out the old 60 Watt Frankenstein solar panel I made a few years ago. It was easy to set up, but it may not produce another amperage for the Peltier module. But this was for testing only. Hooked it up with some basic alligator clamps and switched on the power.
For testing the temperature inside the cooler, I used the refrigerator/Freeze thermometer from the Frost King Ice Box.

Starting temperature was at 80° F

At 12:17 (high sun) Checked the cooler. It read to 70°F. Not really impressive.  So I repositioned the solar panel to get maximum sun.

3:30 pm – The thermometer read 80*F. What, back to the starting point? Could it be the lower solar output. The fans were turning, but not enough juice for the Peltier module.

Inside fan turned "On"

Inside fan turned “On”

5:00 pm- No change, 80°F. Almost no sun in my location (It was hiding behind the trees)

What I did next, was hook the modded Coleman Cooler right up to four, 6-volt deep cycle batteries. The batteries would produce the amperage required for the Peltier.

7:00 pm- Slightly cooler by 2 degrees, but that could be due to the ambient temperature.

The end result: Not a total fail. Some upgrades will be necessary to get it running properly. I would conclude the bottleneck is the size of the wire/fuse on the power plug. The wire and fuse set up was taken from a DC power vacuum for a car. Judging by the size of the motor, it only needs an amp or two to make it run. A YouTube reader suggested a power cord from a heated seat mat or DC heater fan. They are rated at 8 amps, which will provide the necessary amount of power to run the Peltier cooling module. I’ll keep my eyes open for one at my local recycle center and then make another video.

Thermometer-Before-in-coleman-cooler

Starting temperature

3:30pm temperature

3:30pm temperature

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End Cuts,Food,Heat and Cooling

Part 2 – Fan Upgrade for 12V Electric Coleman Cooler

25 Jun , 2015   Video

12v-coleman-cooler-upgrade-part2-thumb

This is part 2 of the Removing the Cooler Gizmo from an Electric Coleman Cooler series. The hot and cold fans are upgraded to a more efficient model and some changes were made to the wiring.
The original plan was to put it into the old 1920’s ice box, but, after a second look (and persuading from my spouse), I decided against the idea. With the summer starting to set in, I decided it would be more beneficial for cold drinks.
This video took some time, had to scavenge through the bone pile of computer parts for fans.

Music credit: Omission by Huma-Huma, YouTube Audio Library

 

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Appliances,Food,Heat and Cooling

Removing the Cooler Gizmo from an Electric Coleman Cooler

2 Jun , 2015   Video

This video starts with another treasure found at the local recycling center. In Canada, residents can take bottles, cans, plastic and cardboard into a township recycle center. It’s a volunteer program and unsupervised. It’s a real plus for homeowners who miss the weekly pickup by the city.

On the flip side, many residents use the unsupervised recycle centre to dump off garbage. I can think of a few reasons why, but one of them is the cost to dispose of garbage. In the spring, I took in an old door, melamine shelving, and other stuff. The total weight was 88 lbs and it cost $15.00. What a rip-off, last year it was only $6.00. So, many people don’t want to pay and drop it off. The sad part, the landfill also has a section for free drop off of electronics, batteries, paint cans and more. It’s too bad that people are not aware that their stuff and be properly disposed of at no cost.

To view of cooler

A little dirty, but still might have some life left in it!

So, when I arrived with my bag cans and parked my car, there was a plenty of microwaves, big TV’s, plant baskets, and junk spread around the dumpsters. I spied a dirty cooler at the back of a pile and thought about Solar Burrito’s portable stereo in a cooler hack… hmm. I turn it over and notice it’s in good condition and has a motorized fan to keep the contents cool. I brought it home and looked up the model number on the internet for specs. Found out it was a PowerChill 40 Quart Thermoelectric Coleman Cooler and retails for $149.00 (Canadian funds). It also includes a device called a Peltier module. With the aid of a fan, a large aluminum heatsink, and a Peltier module, it can cool the inside temperature to 4°C or 40°F. The cooler was designed to be connected to vehicle 12 volt DC power plug. As you drive, to your off-grid property, it keeps food/beverages cool while in transport. It’s a clever invention for long distance driving.

Side view of cooling unit

The opening is where the power cord and fuse should be.

Unfortunately for me, a scraper, had cut the 8-foot long cord for the copper strand cord. I went online for a replacement cord and found a PDF manual claiming the PowerChill cooler unit requires 12 volts DC at 8 amps. That is a fairly large draw of power to run 24 hours a day. (It works out to 2,300 watts!) No low setting, the fans are running full blast all the time. When not hooked up to a running car, it would drain a standard battery quickly. I can back up that claim with an experience. When we first purchased the cabin, it didn’t have a refrigerator. We couldn’t afford a propane fridge and lived out of coolers for a year. Eventually, we picked up a Mobi-Cooler on sale from Canadian Tire. The plan was to load it up with food at home, drive the 4 hours to the cabin and then attach it to (2) 12 volt, 70 amp hour deep cycle batteries. It didn’t work. We were lucky to get 12 hours out of the batteries before they were completely drained (and eventually killed the batteries). Those were the learning days.



A repair could be done to the cooler. I have plenty of wire in my stash of electrical parts. I could rig up a DC cord power cord, reseal the cooling unit and flog the cooler on Craigslist for $60.00. The extra money would be appreciated for household bills, but where the fun it that! Why not take it carefully apart and see if it can be used in another location. If it doesn’t work out, I’m back to plan A.

Overhead view of fan

Top view of stock fan and cooling unit

I really wanted to check out how the unit actually works and use in the 1920’s Frost King Ice Box refrigerator. (We currently use the icebox to store beverages and vegetables.) With the fan/module/fan rig on the back, running via two 60 watt solar panel, it should bring the temps down a bit. I think it would be a fun project.

#coolerproject, #colemancooler, #powerchill

Close up of heatsink

Corner view of the stock fan, wires and aluminun heatsink

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