Jay Peters

+ Follow
since Mar 20, 2013
Montreal, QC mostly. Developing in Southern New Brunswick, Canada.
Apples and Likes
Total received
In last 30 days
Total given
Total received
Received in last 30 days
Total given
Given in last 30 days
Forums and Threads
Scavenger Hunt
expand First Scavenger Hunt

Recent posts by Jay Peters

Vince - that is a super rich response. Can I get an apple here ? Can I give an apple ? I don't know how that fully works but I know a lot more about this freezer equation now. Excellent.

Not that I will be doing this right now anyway, but given this info I think the best bet is to, as you say ditch the idea of running the freezer off the battery at all, this lightening the battery load greatly and keeping it free for other basics. Lights and devices mostly. Maybe by then Ill want a fridge haha...would be good to find a 12v unit though since they are fairly available out of old RV's and would be much more efficient.

I would also probably not bother with the smaller freezer and instead try to find a larger chest freezer nearby on craigslist, not transport my small one, and get as much mass in as possible. I would opt for the rectangular 2L milk jugs and line the whole of it. I've made brine at 5% before for fermentation purposes so that should be easy enough once I figure out the % i need considering the mass available and desired temperature.

On another, non-freezer related note. This project has evolved a bit since playing with the thermostat I bought. If/Once I get it to work I'll post about it but here's the rundown:

My generator is a firman with keyfob remote start/stop. I'm working on building a voltage sensing circuit to turn it on and off with an arduino and a 433Mhz transmitter board.

The goal would be to code it to check the voltage every minute or so. Once it drops below X (11.75v maybe) it would would make a start attempt and start rechecking the voltage more regularly to ensure the start was successful. If not, rinse and repeat a few times...not sure where to go if it doesn't work...let's get it functional first (Maybe rig it to an old cell phone to send me a text or otherwise warn me.) It would then go through an as yet undetermined duty cycle to charge up the battery. This could be time based or rely on the voltage sensor.

This may be completely unnecessary but I have the stuff, and winter is coming. I'll decode the keyfob with my SDR (software defined radio) and take it from there. Then once I have a solar panel integrated it will be an automated backup for when the sun isn't shining.

I was speaking to my buddy, a red seal electrician who specializes in solar installs in BC...there's a word for the commercial version of this unit...but I can't remember it.

Thanks again for all the great responses, and thanks Vince for clearly demonstrating how the thermal mass is really the most appropriate and likely efficient solution to the initial problem discussed.

cheers !

4 months ago

Lots of good advice here but I’ll chime in anyway. I do this for a living, or did until I started teaching. Still do but less now. I did lots pro stuff, and lots of diy low budget. I’ll focus on low budget / general stuff here.

Considering your context perfection is not required. The results you can achieve with the tools you have at hand are probably acceptable and certainly comparable to the quality of lots of things that have aired on TV... in fact I’m always amazed by how bad some older documentary style TV shows audio can be... not that this should be your goal !

1) Mics: The shotgun mic Is made for capturing at a distance. If you CAN get a mic close to the source without it spoiling the visual you probably don’t need a shotgun, but having a lil shotgun on a stand a just out of frame for those specific sound can be a great solution.

A shotgun can be important if there’s lot of other things going on in the immediate vicinity and you can’t get close with another mic. however it won’t always help with things like the hum of a highway or planes overhead as these are loud and distant and kind of coming from everywhere. What’s cool is because Shotguns are directional the sound is focused (more or less) at what your pointing it at but those underlying sounds will still be there. This goes for whatever type of mic you use- if you can hear a sound, it will get picked up on the mic to some degree.

This is why the majority of pro productions actually construct the ambient backgrounds out of pre recorded or purpose recorded material like others have suggested and spend lots of time doing it.

I find shotguns most useful for dialog when on body lavalier type Mics are not available (or as a backup track) and indoors. Indoors They’re good for picking up voices and those little specific sounds because they pick up the direct sound predominantly and reject the reflections of the walls, giving a much clearer capture even if your a few feet away. Outdoors they work the same way of course but you don’t have reflections to contend with. If you can sneak a recorder in close enough to the source you want to capture you may not need the shotgun at all.

I’m a fan of trying to plant small microphones and recorders near sounds I want to capture.

Recording on location is really a matter of Getting as much of the desired sound as possible, as loud as possible compared to unwanted sounds.

2) Unwanted ambient noise : Avoid it ! some people will attempt to use processing to remove them, but for the most part this is futile. You can use fancy noise reduction processing and techniques but they will dégradé the overall sound of the Recording. It can be acceptable if it’s one sound in a mix of other sounds but again using some sounds that have been pre recorded or sourced from a library mixed in is usually done and helps mask any noise reduction etc for the sounds that MUST be taken from the on ´set’ / location recording. Typically what we Do If there’s extraneous noise in the location audio is edit it down, removing all but the required bits and try and mask / remove the bad stuff with pre recorded/ noise reduction.

3) wind/ vibrations : wind is always tricky outdoors and no matter what mic you use you must protect it to avoid that sound of wind in the mic that overtakes everything else and ruins the take. Most shotgun mics come with a type of wind screen (one type is often called a dead cat... they are made of long faux fur) that vastly reduces the sound of the wind. Or the larger more pro ‘zeppelin’ that house the mic entirely in cage with foam and dead cat. A foam windscreen is not enough even for a small breeze. Even lavalier mics intended to be used outdoors will often come with something. I have used actual socks (one thin synthetic with another heavier wool overtop) on my handheld zoom recorder to great effect. Only very heavy wind made for issues.

Basically you need to think about vibrations and moving air. If your working on a table, and you’ve put the mic/recorder on the table every time you touch the table vibrations will be picked up in the mic. Put the recorder/mic/phone on some foam to mitigate this issue and keep it close. For wind (or a person blowing into a mic with plosive P words like permies) you can use a sock, or even a scarf. Heck if your talking about fiber you could probably stash a recorder inside some wool to protect from vibrations and wind and to camouflage it to get it nice and close to the source.

4) sync : there have been suggestions of mic’s and recorders in this thread, but unless your camera has professional audio inputs (typically on xlr connectors) you will be recording sound to a separate device. That means you need to sync it up after the fact. The easiest way to do this is to have both camera audio and external recording rolling, say the take number etc. And clap loudly (ideally on camera). This ‘slate’ will give you a clear visual and audio reference point in editing. Line up the recorder audio to the camera and video.

5) recorders :  I have used a ton of different recorders. A modern smartphone is better than the 3000$ Professional portable digital recorder i own from about 10 years back. You can record good quality audio on pretty much anything these days as Long as you take the time to listen to the result and adjust. This goes for any recording though. A good mic or a good recorder does not mean good capture of the intended source.

6) Recording levels: I agree with the other response regarding auto level on any recorder. Best to avoid it. Instead do some tests recreating the loudest sounds you expect to make and watch the meters on the devices. They should not go above 0db ever and should average around - 12 to 18 dB. I Always do a test and listen back to it before I start proper to ensure it sounds good, no distortion.

It doesn’t hurt to take / record a few minutes of some extra ambience or ‘room tone’ for every location you record in with no one talking/ making noise. This allows you to remove any bad bits from the actual takes and plug in some clean ambient background sound in editing. The same goes for those specific sounds your trying to capture. Record some extra even when the camera isn’t rolling. That way if some of the take audio is spoiled for some reason you have purpose recorded sounds to replace with.

If you do find yourself needing extra sounds, try freesound.org as well. You have to sign up but it is as the name implies free and there’s lots of stuff (good and bad).

Lots of good stuff throughout this thread, hope I didn’t repeat toooo much here.


4 months ago
Due to covid reality, mill breakdowns and fire warnings my trip is being postponed...

however I will still be trying to get this system together in preparation.

I've ordered one of these to do the thermostat control. https://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B00G9HUKDA/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

i did a bit of research and it seems like the temp ranger is 0-47 f which should also make is suitable for running the freezer as a fridge if I wish.

also probably gonna add a solar panel and charge controller.
6 months ago
Thanks Jay - that seems like a great strategy to extend the OFF portion of the duty cycle.

I wonder if where ocean water sits in terms of density as compared to the brine your using. I will have access to lots of that ! Either way, it sounds like water of any density greater than unsalted water would be a benefit, whether it crosses the threshold your speaking of or not (as compared to regular ice as ballast I mean)

7 months ago
That looks right, though the wiring diagram is a tad confusing looking like its connecting 12VDC power supply input to 110v supply for Heat/cooling - i'm assuming though  the outputs are simply relays and are rated for AC/DC up to 110v /10A.

If that's what it does, it would work fine. I wonder what IT draws ? Have to look more after work
7 months ago
great thoughts all - thanks as ever.

The Freezer is currently on the medium setting, and has quite a bit of ballast in it right now. Its not being asked to freeze anything in these experiments, just to keep things frozen ! That would be the goal throughout I think. If I need to make Ice, that can be done on the genny while using tools.

Re: The insulation/physical design of the freezer. Thanks for the info - I always wondered with their not being any coils on the exterior like a fridge. Instead I will endeavor to just keep the thing in a cool shady spot, Maybe get some foam as an inside lid.

Re: Timer - that was my first thought, but I wasn't sure where to find a timer that would allow multiple short on/offs over the course of the day and run off 12v (easily and quickly - don't have much time to get this together). But I will investigate further.

Re: Thermostat I'll have to keep looking - maybe a there's a programmable 12v thermostat available that allows for N/C or N/O. Or a passive one that works in reverse. BRAINWAVE : I suppose I could always use a 12v Normally Closed relay to accomplish this, though that adds a small draw to the battery as well.

Something like this > Thermostat contact closes when temp drops below X (normally turning on a heating element > This will instead trigger the Relay to OPEN turning OFF the Inverter. When the temp rises above X, the opposite would be true. The trick is again finding a thermostat that goes into the negative temps

Re: Fast Charging I have an automotive charger that does up to 10 or 12A  - I will see how fast that charges the set-up and perhaps just use that instead if needed.

I do think it will be useful to have the Inverter shut down automatically (with an overide for lights or whatever in the evening - this would probably just take the form of me unplugging the phone cord *remote*) as it is certainly still drawing some current. Unfortunately I can't say how much right now without my meter. (Also, its a modified Sine Wave, so stepped, not a Pure Sine wave unit, so its a bit crappier, but also in theory a bit more efficient)

After writing this last night I had a look at some cheap solar stuff. Given that the load is light, maybe it would be worth it for me to buy a "cheap" package. If I'm going to spend more money I would rather do so on a panel/charge controller than a battery. When its time to buy batteries I will probably try to buy a a bank (where the on I have has already been used a bit it would risk unbalancing a bank and always draining first).

Comme ca :


or piece something together ...



Next steps :
1) Try turning the thing off for a period of time and monitoring the Temp...I wish I had a temp stick for that ! (they're cool - I use them at work...thermometer/humidity reading that connects to a network and shows you analytics via web app)
2) See what the inverter is actually drawing with "no" load.
3) Test a "quick charge" set-up
4) Research Timers and Thermostats and relays
7 months ago
Hi Mega Brain,

I'm hitting the woods in a few weeks and I want to bring my wee freezer. Its a lil danby I got second hand for 60$ a few years ago when I started buying meat farm direct. I keep it in my back shed, winter and summer. Screw the fridge, but I can't live without a freezer...especially since I will be in quarantine for 2 weeks after arriving at said woods. Won't be popping out to the farmers market on the weekend...gotta come prepared.

We will have a generator for tools (...mostly skillsaw, grinder, heavy duty drill...this is a building trip) but  I hate the idea of running it constantly.

I have a blue top 55Ah 12v battery from work..it was bought for a project, didn't get used, wasn't being maintained so I went on mission and took it to maintain (and use) until we need it at work again. Its been on a trickle charger the past 8 months and occasionally used with a cheap small inverter to run my internet stuff when the powers been out.

My idea was to upgrade the inverter, which I just did with another cheapish 1500w (3000w peak) modified sine wave inverter (just a motomaster...was on sale) and charge the battery off the generator whenever we're using tools using the same lil charger.

I've been testing it with the freezer the past couple days...here is what i've found.

-the inverter shuts down when the battery voltage drops below 12v, so no worry about over discharging.

-the inverter draw an unspecified amount somewhere under 2amps which is a lot of loss ! That's from the documentation which does not specify at what voltage that current is drawn and I can't easily measure it right now my contactless meter is at work, where covid prohibits me to go !

-the readout on the inverter reads 80watts when the freezer is actually running.

-I can run the freezer, with it doing its thing for about 6 hours on a full battery before the battery drop to just under 12v under the load

-It takes at least 7 hours on the wee charger to pump the battery back up to full.

At this rate, I will have to run the generator more than more than 1/2 of the time and won't be able to get through a full night without it IF i want this freezer to be a freezer.

Then I thought...

What if the inverter and freezer are ONLY on during when the freezer pump has to kick in? I estimate the duty cycle of the freezer to something like 10% actually running, 90% just chilling ( ) ...  The inverter came with a contact closure remote on/off switch on a phone cord. I was thinking I could wire a phone cord to a passive thermostat, inside the freezer somehow...but in reverse...so that everytime it goes OVER x degrees the thing would turn on as opposed to off (I assume the switch is a closed = ON open = OFF...need to look closer)

I'm betting that given the mad waste of the inverter itself, as well as whatever is consumed by the freezer in standby (not pumping) i could likely save a lot of energy this way, and gains would total least 30% of the battery charge which would get me through 8 ish hours, or a full night sans generator. I would hope that I can actually take it to 200% for 12 hours, and not have to run the battery down that low ever.

I'm also thinking that I could up the ante on the insulation. I could add 2" of foamboard inside...it would reduce capacity but there would definitely be gains in terms of performance.

What if i take that a step further and throw a bunch of hay bales around and on top the thing ? I know that these things should produce heat when they do their thing, but this one never seems to be warm on the outside.

If a combo of these ideas doesn't give me a 200% improvement in efficiency my next best option is probably to just buy a better battery but as per the title of the thread, quick n dirty's the game here, so that would not ne ideal right now. I also realize a few hundred watts of panels would go a long way to keeping the battery topped off as well, but that's more expense not just for panels, but charge controller etc. Maybe money is better spent on some kind of quicker charger for the battery, though it seems debatable whether a quicker charge is good for a lead acid battery (10A for instance - they exist though, and compared to another battery, they're pretty affordable).

any thoughts on this ?

anybody every do the thermostat in the freezer move before ?


7 months ago
200 yeas is hard to find examples. The vernacular is rare in original shape at all, even the newer instances, but it generally looks like timber frame, thick plank sheathing (1-1/2" or sometimes more) pine or cedar siding either as shakes or clapboards. Interior would be plaster with horse hair over slats creating an air gap in between. Sometimes these gaps were stuffed with buckwheat (i remember being told it was grain, but I'm thinking it was probably actually the straw but don't actually know)..

All buildings that needed to be heated would have had uninsulated attics and the cedar shingles would have have often been attached to slats (probably the wrong word here) again, meaning the roof was not completely sheathed.

The roof pitch was always steep on the main home though often the wood/store/hay sheds etc. built off the back had a gentler pitch.

Theres a great historical village that i went to a bunch as a kid and a few times as an adult called Kings Landing not far. A family friend used to be the blacksmith way back. They have a working overshot waterwheel powered flour mill (grinding mostly buckwheat apparently) and I think theres a wood turning shop in there too with a million straps turning machines around the workshop, attached to the main power source and geared up.


The vernacular here in Montreal is quite different and very weird and interesting. I'd like to try and break it down at some point in a post. I live in a building that was built in 1913 and is largely original. Just got new windows and doors in the past 3 years (!). I initially thought the electrical was added to replace gas fixtures, but I'm no longer sure. Montreal Light was founded in 1901... The structure is very odd...but that's for another post ! I will say that these buildings do have tar paper over the sheathing as well, which you will find brittle but intact over the weird 2-3x10-12 balloon/timber frame/sheathing combo under a single mostly non structural facade of brick or stone.If it sounds crazy...its cuz it is (as far as i can tell).

7 months ago
Indeed - Although I know that tarpaper or whatever you want to call is not exactly wholesome it seems the best option for keeping things dry and not allowing condensation to build up. Indeed i'm trying to keep it as 'natural' and particularly plastic and adhesive free as possible. Even the rockwool is a compromise, but its one I don't feel particularly bad about and it has the properties i'm looking for - I'd prefer to source the material locally, hence the interest in woodchip slip.


7 months ago
Ryan, Julie - The WHOLE plan originally involved a deck, a screened in outdoor kitchen/ relax away from the bugs space, and  uninsulated, built in a day one room tiny cabin / shed to sleep in. The goal would have been to start with this, then get started on the structure we're talking about here. However the plans have changed (may change again given the situation) and I think we will stick to just the deck, kitchen, "shed" this season if we can get down at all.

The greater plan includes a pole structure but given the time it takes to get to the site from where we live full-time (9 hours) we want to start by making a comfortable living space and build out from there. I also hope to use the lumber in site for the majority of the infrastructure, as there is lots, and it great. But I need to be there to make that happen, whether myself, or by hiring in a guy with a mill. Though I'd like to put a mill under that pole structure in short order !

SO yes, I agree ! And as I said we will reduce the scope of this years plans (even though I *may* end up working online and therefore be able to stay longer) and delete the 500sq/ft cabin this year in favour of insulating the tiny cabin/ shed, using the principles discussed previously in this thread.

Rufus - I've seen much the same in my neck of the woods. I'm not super concerned about the roof other than making sure condensation doesn't build up anywhere it can't be expelled naturally. All the weather here. Sometime very cold, lots of rain and snowfall, ice, lots of wind seasonally. Very common to get hurricane remnants and microbursts giving us heavy horizontal rain. The traditional siding is clapboard or cedar shingles directly over tar paper and mostly not tongue and groove sheathing. Being near the Atlantic, but not right on it makes for some interesting stuff. One thing that's positive is that it gets cold enough that snow sticks around mostly, not living in perpetual slush or snow/rain but it also doesn't stay damn cold for too too long.


7 months ago