Netflix has a show called 'Inside Bill's Brain' or something like that, and one of the episodes goes into detail about this. The Gates foundation created a project asking teams to come up with a "better toilet", where a water-based sewer system isn't used, and it avoids open pits or sewage in drinking water (which is the 2 most common setups in the target countries, which can't afford to use the western water based system, which is also not viable world wide. Gates wanted a system that was affordable and could be easily maintained. From what I recall, it uses dried waste as fuel to cook the fresh waste to kill pathogens and dehydrate this next wave of fuel in the system. There were several designs that also used solar power for drying/ventilating the stalls. More parts that could break than a pit latrine, but every system has issues when there are too many people in a fixed area trying to use it. Big cities will never have a long-term, environmentally viable system that is affordable around the world.
I would recommend weeding more often than just once per year, especially in the spring when I would guess you see new seedlings coming up the most. I would do a walk through every 2-3 weeks with a bucket, plucking out the seedlings you don't want when they are tiny. My experience has been that's it's quicker per walk-through, and I tend to see things I missed on the first pass and they aren't too big yet on pass 2 when caught.
Others have mentioned that the top of the barrel for a 6" system is around those temps, assuming a typical spacing between the riser and barrel of a few inches. Can you get an oven thermometer and insert it into a tiny hole in the chimney and seal it, so you can get a good feel for the temp going up and out? You could certainly still be drying out the mass, depending on how wet it was to start and how humid the space is. The amount and temp of the mass relative to the space you're trying to heat also plays a factor in the temp of that space. Also to confirm, is there insulation between the mass and floor/slab to prevent heat being drained into the earth?
So lets say you have 5" of cob over the duct, and it takes 5 hours after a burn for the internal heat to move through that mass (typically it's 1" per hour). So then I'd wonder how warm the mass remains between that 5 hour mark and say the next 7 hours. Perhaps you need to burn a load or two every 12 hours to keep the mass warm enough to keep the space warm? It sounds like you have a surface temp reader, so I would take measurements frequently if possible, say every 2-3 hours, and you can see how frequently to burn. Also is the line of sight blocked between the mass/barrel and other areas you want to be warm? Since the RMH relies on radiant and conductive heat more than convective heat, blocked site lines would affect the comfort levels in those spots.
If I understand your description, you've made what is commonly seen on Youtube, a rocket stove made from square steel and then have a metal barrel sitting over the top of the L, and the tall riser part of the L has sand packed around it? If all of that is correct, I think that build is going to have serious draft issues based on the design.
Unlike a lot of Youtube videos, I don't think you'll find many here that would recommend using metal in the burn tunnel or riser, because a properly functioning rocket heater will destroy that metal very quickly. To get it to perform better, I would replace the sand with perlite or an insulating material like Superwool. That insulation should surround the burn chamber and the heat riser, some will use insulated firebricks as well. A popular riser setup is known as the "5 minute riser", which is a piece of 8" duct with 1" refractory blanket like Superwool inside to make a 6" riser, or 10" pipe to make a 8" riser.
That insulation keeps the riser hotter than the surrounding insides of the barrel, which helps draft. The other insulation helps keep the heat in the combustion area, to provide the maximum heat for the best combustion. Other than the chance a piece of paper or other material is blocking your airflow somewhere in the barrel, I expect it's the metal+no insulation causing draft issues. I would really recommend removing it from the house for further testing, to avoid any CO in your indoor air, or get a CO detector sitting nearby at a minimum.
Bonus, that link is for their off-grid, solar-powered web site, which runs on a server using less than 5 watts of power and dithered images to reduce the page sizes by 80% on average. More info about that at https://solar.lowtechmagazine.com/about.html
I think a "sweat bath" in a dry sauna could be a nice option when it's cold, or with a bowl of water for a sponge bath. I can imagine having a greenhouse next to the house, with a sauna between them, and when you finish you open the door to the greenhouse to help heat it on cold winter nights.
Awesome, the berm shed roof work has made it most of the way! I hated leaving it barely started after the roundwood timber framing week last October, and only having time for one more cell at the ATC, so seeing the progress being more than double that is really satisfying!
Is it passive aggressive of me, to claim how much "I love this mild southern California weather, with Santa Anna winds from the desert causing it to get over 100F 1 week from November like it does every year, and if my AC stops running it'll likely kill my dog before I get home from work... but hey, it's a DRY heat... oh, they closed the only major highway heading east out of the county due to a wildfire yesterday, thanks to the DRY heat? Well, at least we haven't had another hepatitis A outbreak like the one about 2 years ago, which killed 20 people of the nearly 600 cases because nobody was willing to help the homeless population clean their hands after [literally] pooping on the sidewalks downtown, and only stepped in once some affluent people got sick and the threat of lawsuits was floated around..."
I would suggest putting some potato in a corner, and if the worms start to chow down on it then they know best. Like anything else, a good mix/blend/balance of food stuffs is probably best, and the worms can scrounge around as they see fit.
Mark Brunnr wrote:I'm a fan of off grid and combining that with "radical simplicity" conservation. My total system with batteries cost less than the typical grid-tied inverters I've seen, not to mention the certified installer fees and everything else. I've read that the excess production rates are starting to drop, so you get paid less than you'd be charged for the same energy use too. Combined with the mandatory disconnect whenever grid power goes down (to prevent any feedback from zapping repair techs), grid tie seems like a lot of hassle.
I'm still looking for phantom loads- was out of town several days with router/modem turned off, and fridge plugged into the solar-charged batteries, and my utility claims I still used about 650 watt hours per day... so 25-30 watts per hour. Perhaps a digital clock and a phone charger plus microwave clock?
Ive got a product called a kill a watt.
Hi Jordan, yeah I have a kill-a-watt as well, been moving it around to see what the cause might be. Tempted to flip the main breaker to the house and take a trip for a day or two, leaving the fridge on solar, and see if I still get charged for energy use.
I had maybe 3-4 sweet potatoes which didn't look very edible, which I planted in a bed in the back yard, and now the vines/leaves cover about 40 square feet and vines are growing up the supports for the porch roof.I haven't tried digging them up though, I believe the vines just root wherever they hit soil, so I'm not sure there would be much in the way of tubers, I rarely water them and this area is very dry.
The original book Rocket Mass Heaters by Ianto Evans and Leslie Jackson also has good info, less technical than the Builders Guide by Erica and Ernie, but it does include all the brick layouts and there's certainly no welding or significant metal work in their original design, just red bricks and cob. Using a high-content perlite filler under the combustion chamber will help isolate it thermally from the floor. You can also shape the mass in a way that it can replace existing furniture.
My own property is 99% pines right now, and my plan is to trim off the branches when I fell trees for a wofati, and that following winter burn the branches with the target of creating biochar for my first garden the following spring. I dropped a few very small pines (like 2-3" diameter, 15' tall) that were overcrowding a parent tree, and after 18 months most still have all their needles still, let alone any decay of the wood. So the biochar route seems like the way to go there. Next step is convincing the neighbors to let me haul away their slash piles instead of burning them!
I'm a fan of off grid and combining that with "radical simplicity" conservation. My total system with batteries cost less than the typical grid-tied inverters I've seen, not to mention the certified installer fees and everything else. I've read that the excess production rates are starting to drop, so you get paid less than you'd be charged for the same energy use too. Combined with the mandatory disconnect whenever grid power goes down (to prevent any feedback from zapping repair techs), grid tie seems like a lot of hassle.
I'm still looking for phantom loads- was out of town several days with router/modem turned off, and fridge plugged into the solar-charged batteries, and my utility claims I still used about 650 watt hours per day... so 25-30 watts per hour. Perhaps a digital clock and a phone charger plus microwave clock?
And that money earned would be your after taxes rate too, if you had to earn it first to then pay someone else. A decent splitter that will last for years can be invaluable if that physical activity isn’t an option. The last time I had to split a wet 16” bucked tree it was not fun at all and I am well sized for such a task.
If you can remove the barrel or get the camera into the manifold and take a picture aiming down the first pipe in the bench, you can see if a vacuum is needed or not. I’ve seen some pictures where the pipes are almost spotless and others where there’s an inch or two buildup every year. If the bench clean out faces down the length of the pipe, a telescoping brush could push it all to one end and be scooped out.
Thanks for the feedback on this design, I'm driving up to the homestead to plant the small batch of trees that survived the heat and my poor treatment, plus a bunch more seeds and will be picking up the 5' mesh and will try this setup. I was thinking about just T posts with fishing line that some have had good luck with, but I doubt my luck will hold up and it would be a mess.
The main space I'm thinking about isn't exactly round or rectilinear, so I thought I'd get some T posts and drive them around the general area of the fence, then roll the fence out after attaching it to the first post, and curve it to the outside of the posts as it zigs back and forth into the wave shape. Then I can go back and attach the wires to make the extra depth to the fence. Since the T posts would be providing stability I wonder if using something more visible like twine or heavy nylon string would work, it would be visible to the deer and easy to manipulate around the fencing.
Is there already a seam where it looks like there is some gasket cord around the barrel, or was that pushed down between the metal and the cob earlier? Cutting the barrel could leave a not-perfect edge, which when you try to seal it might expand/contract differently, or warp and make it really tough to properly seal it again. My pile of bricks on the back porch has 2 barrels next to it, one that will be cut to fit over the burn tunnel snugly, and provide a nice lip for the second barrel to sit on, so it's easier to remove it and use a combo of the gasket rope and a clamp.
I think searching online for "which format is best" is like walking down the road past car dealerships asking "which car brand is best", in that many answers will be biased from one site to the next. Properly named mp3 files should be universally accessible and have been in use for 20 years now. Please name them with leading zeros and then the chapter title, and I'd include ID3 Metadata which would include author names and book title, even permies.com can be included in there. There are lots of free apps that are very simple to use, it's a 5 minute process done once and you're set. Then when a person plays the MP3 if their player includes a display that shows those tags then your name, book title, year published, etc will scroll by. It also helps with sorting in the player.
I don't think zip format of a collection of MP3 files will help bandwidth, but if a recipient has the bandwidth for a single large download that would be simplest. Otherwise a link for each chapter allows a smaller/faster download for those on a slower connection which might drop part way through, so less time/data is lost.
I would also consider the nitrogen fixers and soil-improvers early on, with a higher percentage in initial years to help build soil and support the other plants, and as your soil improves you switch from say 75% support plants to 25-50%. I'll be driving up to my place in a few weeks to plant the black locusts I grew from seeds, plus plant a whole bunch more seeds directly. These are mainly for a firewood lot that I hope to coppice, but I'll probably plant some additional clumps in other areas of the property as the soil is pretty poor, and hopefully these guys can help improve things over the next several years. Then I can evaluate where to add food-bearing plants and others that need additional support plants.
One option for dealing with people on opposite sides of a bridge spanning some chasm, whether it's religious or political, is to realize there's no need to cross the bridge to interact in positive ways with each other. I don't care if the other person voted for Trump, Hillary, someone else, or nobody at all. I hope it won't influence how I treat them as a person because we can still love and care for others even when we disagree with things they say or choices they make.
As far as religion, I like a comment I recently saw about following the teachings of the Holy Trinity:
The Father: Mr. Fred Rogers: "When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, 'Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.' To this day, especially in times of "disaster," I remember my mother's words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers—so many caring people in this world."
The Son: Steve Irwin: "We don’t own the planet Earth, we belong to it. And we must share it with our wildlife." "All you have to do in life is be passionate and enthusiastic and you will have a wonderful life."
and The Holy Spirit: Bob Ross: "We don't make mistakes; we just have happy accidents." "I guess I’m a little weird. I like to talk to trees and animals. That’s okay though; I have more fun than most people." "Be kind to yourself."
Would a brick mass under the pipes cause a "thermal flywheel", where the bricks are cool and take time and energy to heat up, robbing the water of that heat, and then in the evening the bricks are warmed up but might not be hot enough to also heat the water once the sun sets? So perhaps it creates a longer window of warm water, but it might not be hot enough for you. I haven't tried this so all that is just assumptions.
Yeah I picked up the 4 used 6v FLA as I have a couple years left till I move and as this is my first solar setup if I ruin $296.40 (total for all 4 batteries) in batteries it won’t be too troubling. My window AC runs at 1060w so I thought I’d try that too as I’ll have 1200w in panels and AC use during the day would coincide with clear sunny weather. So I’ll use wanted solar radiation to combat unwanted solar radiation!
Unless newer tech drops in price, Rolls offers I think the 27p 6v model that has 5000 cycles at 50% and over 7000 cycles at 20% DoD for something like 700-900ah. So 4 of those beasts for $4k would last me a full 20 years.
I've been purchasing parts for my own system, which is "fancy" compared to Helen's system but very spartan compared to the norm around my area, here's the totals so far:
4-300w PV panels (1200w total), mounts and MC4 extension: $750 total
2000w 24v inverter: $345 (seems overkill, but that Instant Pot uses 1000w)
Outback charge controller and temp sensor: $457
Lightning surge protection device, grounding rod and wiring: $135
Circuit breakers, 4AWG wire by the foot and lugs for hooking up the components: $75~
4-225AH 6v FLA used batteries with 1 year of use: $300 total
2AWG battery interconnects and 2/0 battery to power panel (overkill): $100
Maintenance gear for batteries: $30
Total: $2192 plus tax;
After possible federal rebate: $1534~
The batteries total 5.4kwh, 2.7kwh @50% DoD, and while it seems small my estimated daily power use is almost exactly 1kwh per day. So it depends on how many of those cloudy winter days there are in a row as to when I'll get near 50% DoD. For the area's estimated cloudy winter days and estimated use, 600w of panels should be enough with a larger battery bank (like 10kwh total), but I doubled the panels and went with smaller used batteries (in case I mess up and cook them) and will see how this works. The charge controller is MPPT, so I'm hoping that the extra panels will produce more power earlier and later in the day so that the batteries are topped off more often.
One of my coworkers is totally off grid and his system seems massive, I think he said he has like 80kwh of storage, and "only" has to run his generator once or twice a week because that's not enough despite our sunny location. His system is probably more along the lines of $50,000+, which was still far cheaper than having the utility run power on to his rural property. To each their own, it works for him and I'm hoping mine will work for me! Fortunately if I find my calculations were incorrect, I can expand the system later. If battery technology continues evolving I'll be ready for new ones in several years-maybe a used Tesla battery! I read those are 24v so it would be compatible, definitely lighter than FLA and if I hook it up properly and set the charge controller properly, it shouldn't even explode! XD
I see that manufacturer also makes a model that includes a humidity sensor. I wonder if you used 3 of them, with one sitting inside the living space, one outside, and another with the probe inserted into the earth berm, might provide some interesting comparison points. Perhaps a piece of rebar could be pushed into the earth under the umbrella through an existing gap in the wofati wall (or one is made and then patched back up) and then the probe is fed as deep as it will reach into the mass and the hole is patched up to prevent any air flow from the opening.
If it was put in at say 5-6 feet from the interior floor level, it should have several feet of earth above, so it will be sort of in the middle of it all. Then you can see how quickly the mass drops in temperature relative to outside extremes during winter. If the interior space gets too cold and the RMH is fired more often than for cooking, you'll also see how the mass responds over time. You might need to tape something protective over the wire itself (not the probe) to protect it from the soil, as I doubt it's designed for ground contact.
I have found that a little baking soda sprinkled on a damp hand cloth, like maybe a "pinch" worth, and wiped on my arm pits eliminates any odor there and doesn't add the strong perfumes most "normal" deodorants contain. I also notice the perspiration change compared to the antiperspirants, I actually sweat there now which I expect is a good thing! While I don't use shampoo, I do apply hand soap to my backside during showers. The rest of me is good with just water, but those extra surfactants seem like a good deal in that one spot.
This is certainly an appealing setup, I've been purchasing my solar system parts and aiming for as small of a system as reasonable, and the inverter power draw is an annoying part. Even in standby there's a phantom load from the inverter itself, and of course you'll lose about 10% of your power in the DC to AC conversion, so a 100w AC load will take 110w of DC. As the inverter capacity goes up (to handle those power hungry devices), so does the cost, and man the charger/inverter model prices are steep! So focusing more power use to DC to limit those AC needs can become cost effective.
Does anyone have experience with DC lighting, such as good sites for buying the lamps/fixtures which use DC bulbs? I have a good supply of AC-powered LED light bulbs I bought when our utility was promoting them, I think they were like $2 each. While I have AC lamps, in a few years I'll be installing fixtures in the cabin and if DC-powered options are affordable, I can do that and run a DC fuse box and skip the inverter.
DC powered fridges are easy enough to find, although pricey compared to the $25 used AC chest freezer I have connected to a $25 thermostat controller which sets the temp to 35F instead of 0F, making it use just 240wh per day from my testing in a very warm garage. With inverter perhaps 300 watts of battery charge per day. Spending $1000+ for a DC fridge for similar power use and I get freezer space and can also power it directly without the inverter, so turning off the inverter when not needed could save that phantom draw.
It all ends up resulting in less batteries needed. While the Edison nickel iron batteries are nice (especially their lifespan), the cost is still really high relative to FLA. Some sample math: 1kwh of estimated power use per day, 5 days of no charging during a winter storm would mean at least 10kwh of storage using 50% DoD for flooded lead acid batteries. NiFe Edison batteries can handle 80% DoD, so total storage needed for that 5 day window would be (5000/.8) 6.25kwh. For a 12v system, that's about 520AH and IronEdison sells 500AH worth of storage for $5468 plus tax/shipping (how much shipping for 800+ pounds of battery?).
It's rated for 11,000 cycles at 80% DoD, but since this will only happen a few days of the year during that winter storm, the cycles are probably much higher, say 15,000-20,000. Being 40-50+ years for that many daily cycles, it's essentially a once-in-a-lifetime purchase for a middle-aged purchaser.
Compared that to say a pair of Rolls Surrette 6 CS 25PS FLA batteries, similar usable capacity and about 5000 cycles for the averaged out DoD, runs $2200 plus tax (bought locally, no shipping) for almost 14 years of use for that many cycles. As a final comparison point, I picked up a pair of 1 year old FLA 225AH 6v batteries, $150 for the pair including tax and no shipping. Probably 1500 cycles left under my calculated typical use. To get the appropriate total watt/hours would cost $600 total for 4 years of use.
So overall the costs are pretty similar per year of use for FLA, if you don't abuse the battery DoD. The NiFe are less toxic and a little less maintenance, but cost the most up front and per year. Here's a point never mentioned about total cost of ownership that will always place the Edison batteries in last place- assuming you invested the *price difference* and earned interest, for example a conservative 4% return long term, the Rolls batteries are about $3400 less up front; that $3400 is worth almost $5900 after 14 years of 4% compounding interest (when you'd buy a new pair of batteries), so all future battery purchases (costing $2200 for another 14 years of batteries) are free using the interest earned, and you still have that initial $3400 of savings which is actually growing. And 4% is considered a conservative long term withdrawal rate to preserve initial capital.
So the take away is that if you have the money up front to buy the Edison batteries, and total cost is a primary driver, they are not worth buying. You can instead purchase flooded lead acid batteries, invest the rest of the money, and effectively never pay for the replacement FLA batteries again because they will all be purchased using just the interest on that 4% investment return. You essentially have "lost" that same chunk of money in that you don't get to spend it on other stuff, but at any point you can take that cash out and use it for something else, like a totally new energy storage technology, versus the Edison battery purchase is a sunk cost unless you resell the batteries. Sort of a moot point to me, I'm not trying to bash them or say it's a bad choice. But when I see sellers always pushing how the long-term cost is always less, that seems deceptive. It's the same with lithium claims of costly less long-term, it's not true when you include the opportunity cost of investing the money. Of course we could argue the chance that society collapses and those investments are lost, anything's possible. The reality is, unless you abuse FLA or hit 50% DoD on a regular basis, they are still the most cost effective option over the long term.
I would also compare what you'd pay in taxes to what services you'd like to receive in return. Some countries provide a lot more services than others, and taxes vary based on your income too. In the US if land is classified as something other than residential, and the structures you have are not as expensive, the tax cost is much lower. For example I see land in Washington classified as timber which costs $1 per acre per year, while residential 1/10 acre plots with a house is about 1.2% of value per year, which in my area is $4500-6000 per year, or about $500,000 per acre!
That said, there is a lot of services provided in dense suburbs relative to remote rural locations, but you can purchase several acres classified as non-residential and then have just 1 acre converted to legally cover the bases, and still pay way less per acre. Also Washington has no income tax, but has higher sales tax. So if you're a tightwad like me, then taxes on that front are very low. Several states in the US have no income tax.
I picked up the Instant Pot, and it's been great for steel-cut oats, I can toss it in and then my morning routine of shower/shave/dress and the oats are ready to eat. I have cooked basmati rice in it, and using the recommended settings the rice was a little dry, perhaps if I ate it ASAP after opening it would have been better, but I just add a bit more water. I haven't tried my favorite chicken/carrot/lentil with curry-ish seasoning slow cooker recipe in it yet.
The model I have is rated at 1000w, so this will impact my solar power system as far as inverter sizing. While it might only be on for 10 minutes between heating up and cook time and uses say 160 watt-hours as a result, I was planning on a 600w inverter which would now need to be a 1500w model to allow the IP to run while other things are on like lights and fridge. I was already planning to not bring my microwave which while a 1000w model actually draws 1500w due to the power loss during conversion, and I don't think I want that around down the road.
My crock pot says 240w on the bottom in comparison, so a smaller inverter would be fine, but if I'm running it on high for 4 hours that's 960 watt-hours of use, so either sunny days or higher battery capacity needed there. Or even better, making a "hay cooker", insulated box to put the crock pot or other cooking pot in after it's up to a boil. I have a ceramic coated cast iron pot which has the mass that would work well for that setup. I believe it can also handle an open flame, so a rocket heater to bring it to a boil, then in the box to simmer. No additional electrical capacity needed, but an outdoor kitchen for warm weather cooking would be good.
I can also see picking up a normal pressure cooker used as an option, to either cook food faster or for canning seasonal items in the outdoor kitchen. I expect with experience you'd learn how much wood to feed a rocket heater to bring the pressure cooker up to temp, but maybe that's not a recommended method due to safety?
I think the hypothetical allows us to step outside of where we are now, and more clearly state what we want to do and where we'd want to be, than when we are buried in our normal routines and expectations and assume we can't change courses. It's a good tool to get a person to realize their current actions and habits might not be aligned with their long term goals, and the hope would be that this person could make the changes to reach those long term goals.
In my case, I'd retire right now instead of in 3.5 years, and then do what I plan on doing anyways- build my wofati-ish cabin and try to grow more of my own food, raise some chickens, and live with a light footprint. I hope to travel to some places I haven't seen, and revisit the big parks and hike parts of the AT and PC trails. So maybe I'd do that more than I will in a few years, to pack in more enjoyable experiences into the 2 year window. But I've been finding less and less stuff necessary for enjoyment, so I don't think I'd go nuts buying stuff. If the world ended in 2050, then I'd continue to live the way I am, which appears might be helpful to the planet in the long run as well.
But I recall seeing a little cartoon of a person hugging Mother Nature, and apologizing for all the harm they had done to her. Mother Nature responds with something like "oh your actions aren't going to kill me little one, I will continue on as I have for billions of years. You on the other hand, will likely disappear as quickly as you appeared, as many other species have before you..."
Progress pics for the 24 black locust in the back yard, they have been growing well in the larger pots, although I'm thinking these pots are too small-a lesson learned for the next batch. I'm going to try this deer fence around the trees, and if it works I'll expand it each year:
Hopefully this batch will take root when planted in early October, and by spring will get established in time for the normally dry summer months. They are around 18" tall now, probably would be larger and certainly better rooting if in the ground directly... I'll be bringing some seeds too and will plant them directly to see if winter scarification works well, couldn't hurt to get extra trees started and would be interesting to see if they catch up to the transplants. It'll all depend on the deer leaving them be, although they are covered in thorns on the new shoots.
Fred and the boots have been using the dehydrator regularly, Fred has stated he's dried out many pounds of fruit at a time and during the 2019 ATC I saw herbs were in it. The internal temp depends on how cloudy the day is, how long the sun is out and at what angle, the ambient air temps, and how much mass/moisture in the plants you're trying to dry out.
I bought a used chest freezer from a coworker for $20, there's no adjustment that I saw and it has a target temp of 0F. I then bought a digital thermometer on Amazon for around $20, which has the temp probe and 2 outlets, on for "cooling power" and one for "warming power". I set it for 35F, +/- 2F. So when it hits 37, power is sent to the cooling outlet, which the freezer is plugged into, and it turns on to cool it to 35. If I needed to keep the temp within a tight range, say for brewing beer, then a heater can be plugged into the other outlet, and if the temp dropped below the lower number (33F for my example), then power goes to the other outlet and a heater could turn on.
This old chest "fridge" was using 240 watt hours per day in my 80-90F garage over 4 days of testing, compared to nearly 1kwh per day in regular freezer mode of 0F.
Ah gotcha, I ordered mine from altestore.com for $172 per 300w panel. Definitely heavier per panel, and safety is a biggie!
Are the panels plugging into a charge controller which has the diversion load attached? Is the goal to heat water when batteries are topped off, rather than the typical charge controller just cutting the current?
I just bought panels and parts for my off grid system, and was curious if you found the 100 watt panels better for a particular reason, than say buying 2 300 watt panels to put in series so you get the same voltage/amps? You'll still get 600 watts with either combo not 300 watts. 300 watt panels tend to be far cheaper compared to 100 watt panels, per watt, in my experience.
The Humanure Handbook by Joe Jenkins goes into great detail about how modern composting toilets are really just dry toilets, not composting at all, and don't do a good job of eliminating disease vectors as a result. When you combine a good ratio or nitrogen to carbon, and add enough water/moisture and air, a compost pile gets up to the optimal temp range of 120-140F which will kill off every pathogen harmful to people within 24 hours or less (down to less than an hour at the higher temps).
If you use the proper cover material in the bucket and compost pile, there is no smell or flies. Compost piles need a lot of moisture when active, and if the cover material is sufficient no turning is necessary and in fact is detrimental to maintaining the proper temps and retaining the highest possible nitrogen levels.