Fieldlines.com: The Otherpower discussion board
Notices => Polls => Topic started by: MIgardener on March 04, 2014, 02:07:38 PM
I intitally started because I thought it would cut down on my electric bill. I quickly learned how unpractical that was. But, I was hooked, so now I do it beacause it's fun and exciting.
In 1994 I got pulled out of electronic design and programming in the pro-audio industry (and some medical electronics) to work for Trace Engineering.
Through what I would call a paperwork error, the utility disconnected my camp from the grid. For a couple of years after, I just plugged my hoyse into the car. Then I went to 150W of panels.
when i stumbled upon this site back in 04 i thought hay i can do this ?
im still trying...........................................................
When the economy went into the outhouse I had to move on to my property or lose it. There was nothing there, let alone power.
It's been awesome. Love it.
I've never been one who was very good at being a conformist. even though there is a pole & transformers not 5 feet from my motor coach the utility company wanted a hefty fee plus a temporary pole and permits to connect me then their monthly minimum would have been quite high as well even if I didn't use any of their juice. What I spend each month on diesel or rape seed oil to cover what we can not get from our solar, is actually on average not much more than their monthly minimum.
If I can double my solar and bank this spring, we will actually be in the black with our system and at near net zero by winter.
When I was growing up we lived most of the time off grid. I always wanted to live in the mountains and where I am now it is 4.5 miles from power unless I make it. I have always hated paying the power bill. I am putting in more solar upon the hill above my house. I hate paying a power bill each month so this way is better than paying an ever increasing power bill. When things get tough I will still have power and no power bills to pay. Plus I will need all my money to pay the governments mistakes. It is a challenge. 13
Need another choice, as backup power for way to frequent grid failures. Power just came back up after being off for 6 hours. Glad my pellet stove can run off 12 volts to heat the house.
"Why did you get involved in alternative energy?"
i was fool to fall in love !
i purchased some property where the grid was ~2 miles away. with the combination of wind and solar, it's *almost* like i've got grid power.
it's been a steep learning curve, but i've loved every minute of it!
Inspired by Jacobs. Like the combination of mechanical and electronics. Tested several variable blade systems. Once lost a blade that landed in my neighbours garden and promissed myself that may never happen again.
A wellknown saying: "It's always fun, seeing a windturbine run" ( C.O. )
- Frans -
because i would have no power was only a part of the thinking...
the main reason was because of the mental exercise(s) involved.
I put mine together so when the Zombies come, (or Oblame-ya) takes over, I'll still have something to play with/live with. Seriously, when the tornado hit a couple years ago, we lost power for 8-9 days on the grid. Had about $400. worth of meat in the frig & freezer that we would have lost and the wife couldn't have watched her movies (OMG)!!! Certainly am a believer of the wind and solar!!!
I had no electricity for 3 1/2 weeks after hurricane Wilma. Generators were not an option because fuel was scarce.
We live way out in the sticks, 10 miles from the last power pole, and we have a nice little creek that flows year round...
That, and ever since I stuck a screw driver in an electrical outlet at the tender age of three, I've always loved playing with electricity!
I wanted to build an airplane, but my wife wouldn't let me, so I settled for the front 12 inches of one, and built a wind turbine instead!
Seriously, soon after moving to Alberta, I drove through the southern part of the province, and got really excited about all the WT's I saw. I wanted to try it myself. Then I moved to the country and discovered the I had the space to do it, and that the power goes out pretty often.
i had my chemistry set out and was experimenting
i remember i put a pair of tweezers into the outlet.
i didn't get a shock
kind of melted the ends
blew the fuse.
i remember my dad wondering what had happened.
For me it all started when I was in middle school. The day I set the garbage can on fire in the basement can in an attempt to burn the school down. I was betrayed by my comrades, got captured by the enemy and expelled from school for two weeks. Doin time, sentenced to hard labor by my dad, gave me plenty of time to plot my next attack. When I got back in I laid low for a few weeks and sort of blended in.
Then I rose up and struck again, working alone this time.
Lit a M80 and flushed it down the crapper in the upstairs can. Wall-mount turbo flush style crappers. Blew two of 'em right off the wall and flooded the south wing of the school when the hydraulic surge in the sewer line backflushed the rest of 'em in the girls can on the other side of the wall. Reportedly, one of the 7th grade girls got a Hydraulic Power Wipe from it but that was never verified. Pure speculation, based on the fact that she exited the can screaming in a soaked miniskirt.
Made a critical mistake - the fuse on that M80 wasn't long enough and didn't give me enough time to escape. Got captured a second time and they held a hearing of some sort and decided I had way too many alternative ideas for normal society. So they sent me to the alternative school for the next year, which is sort of a concentration camp where I could be with my own kind.
Pretty much been involved in alternative stuff ever since.
outlets and kids ? i use to love to tear my old toys apart and rebuild them into something new..
or so i thought...one day i was playing around with one of the motors..saw the outlet their..hmmm
these two wires should fit right in their...big flash of light-and a tripped breaker...
seems like that big flash of light never did fade away...!
Many years ago in my distant past, to keep me off street corners I had hobbies. One of which was caving and cave diving, I also did some climbing but preferred that in the winter as ice climbing. anyway caving is the best way to get covered in mud I know. To store the gear and clean up we hired an old barn, it had nothing. Lighting was with the power left in your cap lamps or a pump up paraffin lamp that doubled as a heater. Entertainment was down to seeing who could break wind the loudest, don't believe women when they say they don't, or occasionally a portable radio for weather reports.
Shortly after I joined the group I showed them what could be done with a pair of wires clipped on the car battery, we were on a steep hill so starting was never an issue. Next I ran a hose from a stream further up the hill and into a tank on the roof, painted the corrugated sheets black and we had hot showers. Someone came up with a spare car battery, and I acquired an old dynamo and regulator, and made a crude blade. spent one rainy afternoon wiring the place for 12V and scrounged a 12V TV from a skip (dumpster) a local camp site. pure luxury.
Then in the late 70s my parents had solar hot water installed on the house and a swimming pool, I was impressed with how good it was. I then bought my own house, changed jobs with a bit of a push, no place in this company for renegades and loners, "I am not a sheep" was not the answer they wanted. It did me a favour I finished up in the R&D dept of an air con firm, I learned all about COP factors. Armed with a couple of surplus AC pumps I had the only house in the road with AC, heat recovery and a ground source heat pump. I was hooked
Several disasters, cuts, burns, and bruises, add a couple of divorces, with other houses. I finished up here, started with a home made wind turbine, another disaster and more bruises. Then solar PV became affordable so over time I bought several 20 W panels acquired 3 110Ah batteries and a Pure sine wave inverter and routed power into the house with a change over system for the lighting. Then bought a commercially made turbine package.
I found this web site, had several successful attempts at making a fool of myself, but above all I listened to the more experienced on here, and learned. I now have a small working solar PV system, a turbine which for my location was a waste of time, apart from academic value, and a shed full of bits that may come in useful one day, and enough knowledge to be a pain in the butt when I hear salesmen banging on about unattainable performance figures for their products, add "That's not new we were doing that back in the 60s and 70s" and they look very relieved when you leave. More importantly it has got to be the way to go there is only so much you can remove from this planet without the whole system collapsing on itself.
I wish I knew and knew how to stop it.
Started out just for fun but with several major fault lines within 100km I tried to make it useful for backup.
Turned out that there was an unknown fault pretty much right under the house so the expected payback of 200 years suddenly became instantaneous when I could keep the freezers cold, the water warm (running the solar HW controller), pump water from the main tank into the house and pump sewage into the drainage field.
Now with 5kw of grid tie as well as the 500w of solar and the 3m turbine on the battery bank, I'm seriously thinking about combining all the systems and going off grid completely - its either that or doubling up the grid tie to 10kw!!
I voted "just for fun" and indeed I find it a fulfilling thing, but there are other reasons that went into it, and they don't really seem to fit the poll choices.
This web site started it all.
The I saw the clever brains of Zubbly and Ghurd. Wonderful people who were probably ahead of their time.
Plus all the other nice people who have come and gone. Great encouragement and still in the top ten of good web sites on renewable energy.
I go back to high school. We lived 8 miles from town and power was not that constant. The neighbors got together and dug a water line from a year round creek and ran it through 4 ranches for the watering of livestock. Before we relied on pumps from wells and cisterns. Any power outage and it was haul water regardless of the weather. With gravity system in place our power bill dropped to almost nothing compared to what it was before. The only pump we used was for the house. Any place I have lived I have tried to use gravity for at least the bathroom. Where I am now I have 24 lbs of pressure. I'll have solar next year for my power. Off grid and liking it. No power bills other than gas for the gen set. When my solar system is in place It will take me 3.5 years to pay for it. 13
Many of the reasons others have mentioned ring true but I guess the 2 main ones are I always like to go against the grain doing my own thing to buck the system and be independent and I love to tinker, especially with things that can electrocute, burn , hurt or just plain kill me.
When I was a kid about 12 years old I used to watch this show that was aimed at country people and their problems even though I have lived my life in the city. There was a story on a guy running fat/ lard in his tractor and in his car, a mercedes. I NEVER forgot that and always wondered if it were really possible. A few decades later I was looking for a way to heat my pool at home cheaply and was researching oil burning when I came across Biodiesel.
That brought back all the child hood memories and it was some day when I had my own merc taking my kids to school running Veg oil. That was 13 years ago. In my high school days I had a mate who's dad was a bit of a nutter ( would call them an environmentalist now) and had solar water heater trackers and and a PV Panel hooked up to some batterys and things like that. Always found that fascinating.
I like making energy from waste and building things from junk that have a purpose. I can burn oil for heating and metal melting like no tomorrow and have a thing for diesel engines now especially for power generation. I'm currently "tuning" my induction generator and looking to get some solar panels to play and learn from. I'd REALLY love to play with some Microhydro but not a lot of places you can do that in oz. I am thinking of just buying a Diesel pump and using that to supply the water pressure for my MH experiments. I have also just a couple of weeks back set up a Bio gas digester and keen to see how that goes. I'd like to go big time and set one up in an IBC for summer but might try and get some quick experience on a 25L digester first.
Mrs Loves to BBQ in summer so if I could be self gas powered, That would be cool.
With solar, I'd like to play with cooling the panels for better efficiency. I'm thinking fans on the back side but the thing will be can the draw of the fans be low enough to still allow a gain in net output of the Panel over not having them at all?
One thing that REALLY ships me to tears with alternate tech stuff is that you get so many of the greenwashed zealots making it all about saving the world and every drop of water or carbon atom in the atmosphere. Frankly I could care less about that because most green/ save the planet initiatives are about nothing but money and a complete farce. Even on a DIY level, many of these types will expend resources and emissions their efforts will never recoup. I don't mind doing the right thing, I'm just not into kidding myself and that's exactly what a lot of this green stuff is.
Comes down to making money or make believe.
I'm thinking of starting another YT channel devoted to DIY power generation on all forms. The first thing I'm going to make clear is it is NOT about saving the world/ Planet/ bare arsed Hippy or any other " Green" cause and anyone that mentions it will be dealt with the contempt they deserve. If you want to take something and apply it to your green agenda's, Fine. Just don't make the tech and independence of making your own power get undermined or whined about.
I like the ability to be independent and buck the system so one can have indulgences and afford it through their ability to make their own heat and power and fuel.
In this location we are loosing power all the time even when the weather is good and we are dealing with this for the last 11 years now.
We started out with an inverter hooked it up to the car whenever the power went out because it is quiet, that is when I found out that my car can run 12 hours on idle on about 2 gallons of gasoline.
We moved up to be more independent now. We have solar panels and use a wood stove and our power bill went down from $300 a month to about $60-$120. We done a assessment what needs to be plugged up 24hours a day and what need not to and we still find ways to cut more power. It did not ring a bell sooner than recently that we can save an additional $35 a month by using that sun powered dryer (cloth-line), for example.
Our electric company checked our meter twice already to make sure that it is working properly. And after 8 years being with them, all of sudden they requested that we pay a deposit or be disconnected....what the heck? They build a renewable energy project that time that failed and they ask the commission to increase the total rate prices by about 25% back then and they wanted to introduce extra charges and we had a hefty increase afterwards.
The first time in 10 years we can run our needed things for 24 hours. We found this out when the grid power was out for about 30 hours a few weeks ago. Makes me wonder now if I could do this for 1 or 2 weeks now?
We will continue to add to our system and will come up with ways to save on utilities and watch out what the consumption is on new items that we buy.
The only thing is, that batteries are a continued expense for many off-gridders or for folks that have solar panels. So far I was lucky to get free used batteries, those used batteries usually will not last to long before they croak.
As of right now, we do not have anything here that would use propane or natural gas because in a disaster there is no way to get it or it would be a hard to get it.
We changed a lot of things around so we can be more independent and to keep more of the green in our pockets. And no...we do not live in a cave, we have things that most other folks have and use....no need to go back to be a cave man or cave woman to use solar panels or other green energy generators.
I always was into things like that. I build my first home made wind generator 45 years ago that powered an automotive light-bulb at my parents drive way where people would stop to see that thing in operation.
Thanks to everyone for sharing their stories, keep 'em coming!
There needs to be a selection for "Learning or Education"
There needs to be a selection for "Learning or Education"
I'm with Johann. ;D
for fun and back up power . also learning and shtf.
I think my main answer is for fun/challenge, but I guess part of the reason I later on went back and put in batteries was the occasional outage that we seemed to have around here.