New toys!

In a discussion about the new spring in the wash, people wanted to know if the water coming from the rock was softer than the well water and I replied that my TDS meter went to electron heaven years ago so I didn’t know. Generous Reader MM decided to remove that excuse…


…and so pretty soon I’ll dig a little pit downstream from the rock and collect enough water to find out.

And Big Brother did this


Considering the weather of the past week, this immediately became a project. I had to bum six feet of eight gauge wire and do some soldering to make a proper installation of it, but…


…there it is, and it works!


Ironically I’ve gotten just enough sun in the past two days to render it moot for the moment, but it’s mid-winter. There will be opportunity to really put it through its paces before long but I have confirmed that it works, and far more dramatically than the two expedients I’ve tried earlier in the winter.

It’s got a built-in charge controller so it’s not just throwing 45 amps across the batteries and watching them boil – or at least that’s what the literature says. Supposedly if you were maintaining an RV battery off grid power you could just leave it plugged in – but of course that’s not the case here. I’ll only use it and the Honda to supplement the solar panels when they’re not doing their duty.

This might also moot the idea of running an extension cord through the floor on the kitchen side of the Lair so I can run the oven off the generator when it’s gloomy. The charger ought to serve to supplement the batteries instead. I’ll be trying that, as well.

About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
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4 Responses to New toys!

  1. malatrope says:

    It will cost you a little more gasoline to just charge the batts and draw the power from them for the oven, instead of plugging into gen directly, ‘cuz efficiency, but I’m one to talk as I do that all the time ‘cuz it’s easier and I’m lazy.

  2. Michael Gilson says:

    Would it be possible to also add some small scale wind energy to your system? There’s a Youtube channel I enjoy with an English mad tinkerer who favors systems with lots of little turbines combined over one big one because of redundancy. I found the ones about Ugrinsky turbines interesting since 50 % more power than a Savonius and almost as easy to build. https://www.youtube.com/@RobertMurraySmith

  3. malatrope says:

    Those mad tinkerers enjoy a high, constant wind since they are near the coast. After over a decade experience flying a 400W mill, I would recommend against anything like it here. You need a very repeatable and consistent 15 to 20 mph breeze to make it worthwhile. If you need more power, it’s almost always cheaper just to put the money into more solar panels.

  4. Joel says:

    Yeah, I’m not a fan of wind power here. Wind gennies were very popular when I first moved here 16 years ago and have fallen almost completely out of favor since then for excellent reasons. The wind is very undependable: Sometimes it blows so hard that it tears them apart, sometimes not at all. And then there’s the lightning issue: We get dramatic thunderstorms during Monsoon. People used to think they would be good for filling in at night, except that nights here are usually still. And anyway solar panel prices have come down so much since they started shipping them in from China that almost any problem can be solved most efficiently by throwing more panels at it.

To the stake with the heretic!