Living Sustainably

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Archive for October, 2004

Geoquon additions, Wind power pic.

More sections of the Geodesic Quonset have been put up. More will be put up today. It’s really coming along nicely. Also took a pic of the AIR 303 Wind generator.


Rebuilt Starter Installed

Last night we installed the rebuilt starter. Glenn Scott, (315) 265-2537, has a superb starter rebuild service in Potsdam NY, and Jim rebuilt our starter with heavier coils, new bushings, etc., so that it works better than new. The increased torque really spins up the VeggieGen, and it fired up on the 8th rev this morning, at 24 degrees F. No glow plugs, no ether, no auxiliary heat.

$156 for the rebuild, but definitely worth it!

The deer hunters were not pleased, as it scared off the game.


Progress at Green Trust

We have a replacement starter for the VeggieGen on its way (Thank you,, A replacement Transfer Switch, and two pickup loads of wood delivered. 5 hoops of the Geodesic Quonset have been raised, and more hoops are constructed, waiting for the weekend for raising. We hope to double the building to 10 hoops this weekend, bringing us to just over 30′ in length. Things are coming around. We had a great view of the Lunar Eclipse last night, and no view of the World Series finish. Great job Red Sox, thanks for nothing Fox (not available to us by satellite).


The Transfer Switch Saga – post mortem

We took out the blown transfer switch. Seems we welded the generator relay contacts when the gas gen was plugged in improperly, so when you shut off the gen, and enable the inverter, the gen never disconnects. Poof, fried inverter. Self inflicted, non-warranty issue, But the good folks at Back Woods Solar have a customer returned unit like new at a deep discount. Thank you Scott!


We are much better, now

New inverter installed, pump is pumping water, and 2 more hoops installed on the Geodesic Quonset. My son Steven had a good 16th B’day party. Hopefully, the starter will be back soon. We have another Mercedes 300 TD coming for a WVO conversion, and possibly a VW Jetta. Stay tuned!


Weekend woes, and progress.

Well, where do I start. Yes, we blew our inverter, plus we blew the replacement. Seems the Transfer Switch shorted out when my son plugged in the gas generator without turning off the inverter. Why did he plug in the gas gen? Another sob story. We burned up the starter on the VeggieGen, which is connected to the transfer switch, so he plugged the gas gen into a house outlet and poof ……

Then the gas gen shook some bolts loose and dropped the on/off switch into the flywheel.

It’s not been a good couple of days. Today, the gas gen is back in service, the veggiegen starter is at the shop, and the inverter is off getting exchanged. It does say it’s protected from shorts. Right…..

The well pump, which quit on us last week, and needed a capacitor to get it going again, is running but not pumping. Worked this morning. Go figure.

PJ is here, and we are constructing more sections of the Geodesic Quonset, so I will have more pics up tonight. Last night my wife and I played 4 rounds of Yahtzee by candle light, kids stayed at friends. The woodstove is mighty friendly when it’s 25 degrees out.


Blown Inverter, A deal of a replacement!

Last night our Cobra 2kw inverter went south, leaving us in the dark. Found a flashlight, some candles, and contemplated a replacement unit. Cobra wanted $359 for a replacement, so we headed off to BJ’s Wholesale this evening. We picked up a AC Delco 2500 watt inverter for $289 after tax. Forty minutes after we came home, we had power again. The battery cables were different. The cobra accepted a straight wire insert, where the AC Delco unit has studs. No problem. Two small pieces of 1/4″ copper pipe flatted and drilled on one end, battery cables soldered into the other end. Instant connectors.


Geodesic Quonset Takes Shape

The first set of hoops and struts are constructed. Over the next few days, the building will be setup, the quonset being extended one hoop at a time. We will be going about 60′ long, 15′ wide, and 7.5′ high. Follow our progress with instructions and photo’s coming at our Geodesic Quonset pages.


Auto Transfer Switch installed, Geodesic Quonset lumber arriving.

The first load of lumber for the Geodesic Quonset was delivered. Construction starts immediately.

The Automatic Transfer Switch for the VeggieGen was installed today. It worked flawlessly. With the generator off, the battery bank powers the house through the Cobra HighGear 2kw MSW Inverter. Since this Transfer Switch is set up for 220vac, the two hot positions for the inverter (shorepower) are jumpered to supply 120vac to both sides of the AC Panel. Do not do this if you have a 220vac breaker feeding a 220vac appliance. The VeggieGen (3 phases of 120 vac per phase) has two 120vac legs feeding the generator positions on the transfer switch. The output of the switch feeds the main breaker of the AC Panel. The wire is 10/3 with ground which handles the 30 amps per leg we can pull from the gen. 30 seconds after the Generator is started, power flow to AC panel is smoothly switched from Inverter to Generator. The Computer and Satellite Receiver don’t even see the change. You can also get more info on our PV/Wind System at our Wiki Site.

Automatic Transfer Switch – Two 50 amp hots and one 70 amp neutral switched.

2kw Inverter, 30amp charge controller, and other PV System Components

12 volt, 675 ah Battery Bank – Six 6 volt Trojan T-105

50 amp generator powered Battery Charger


Sustainable Development

I was recently contacted by a gentleman in India whose correspondence, and his product lines, really hit a nerve with me. What are we actually accomplishing to lift less fortunate folks out of poverty, and help them help themselves? His Tiny Oil Mill for producing vegetable oils was of particular interest to me, but it was his philosophy that really got me:

V.K. DESAI’s Objectives

Our entire activity is guided by the following objectives :

(1) To promote tiny enterprises for rural development in various industrial fields using local raw materials and for local use.

(2) To promote tiny enterprises for agricultural processing at local level to achieve self reliance, to remove exploitation of the poor rural people, to generate income at local level, to generate employment in villages etc.

(3) To design and develop simple and small technology and cheap technology for developing countries for various industrial fields, particularly for agro processing activities.

(4) To design and develop appropriate technology & intermediate technology for the village industries related to basic needs of the people.

(5) To promote small scale projects for self help projects for the communicities and villages.

(6) To develop small scale decentralized technology for decentralizing various industries.

(7) To promote tiny enterprises to make available various chemical free natural products.

(8) To promote women entrepreneurship by making available to women appropriate technology for family size enterprises.

(9) To improve the quality of life and elevate the standard of living in developing countries through homogenous development of the society.


B.E.(Mech.), LL.B.

Managing Director

TinyTech India