Eric Hammond

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since Jun 24, 2013
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hugelkultur duck trees chicken pig bee solar wood heat
SW Missouri
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Recent posts by Eric Hammond

The need for a generator is for the batteries not the humans. They cannot stay in a state of discharge and live a happy life. It is a need.

It's like running your car 3 quarts low on oil all the time.  Your ruining your investment of money in the batteries.
3 weeks ago
I'm going to diverge from the group here and say the adding parallel strings of batteries is not a great idea.  For a lead acid battery to live a long healthy life, you should try to not pull it down below 80% capacity and then charge it back as fast as you can when you can. So basically you only get to use 20 percent of your battery. Now most of us probably run down to 70 percent and 60 percent on bad days just because the convenience of electricity outweighs the harm we know we are doing to the battery bank.

If you add parallel strings of batteries in order to obtain higher capacity, you run the risk of of not being able to charge the bank back up at all. Without a larger solar array, you could get into a pickle one day of needing to pull out 50 percent of your battery bank and a month of good sun cannot get your bank back above 70 with charging your batteries plus your daily load.  A perpetual state of under charged batteries is really hard on their life.

To correct this you need more panels. Then you end up with so many panels that on good days, your batteries are charged by 11am and your making so much power that you cant use it.

There are really only two solutions to this. If you want to be off grid, you must have a generator. This has maintenance costs and is expensive to run, and I'm going to say it, they will put out far more pollution then burning coal at a power plant to produce the same amount of power.

The other better option is grid tie.  I've been off grid for 8 years and have sworn that the electric company is evil etc etc.  I have changed my opinion on this 180 degrees and now I believe that the ONLY option to have the most efficient solar system is to be grid tied with battery backup.  For a small monthly fee/ service charge. Mine is 27.50 usd and is pretty high around here, you are basically renting a battery of INFINITE capacity, NEVER goes bad and has ZERO maintenance issues, and very minimal losses.  When you batteries are charged at 11am, instead of you panels putting out zero electricity, you get to charge the grid at full capacity.

There is a point where batteries simply cannot accept any more electricity as they get up to 80 and 90 percent charged. You may have an 80 amp solar charger and 2000 watts worth of panels, but when your batteries can't physically take more the 15 amps in full sun it's almost sickening and extremely wasteful.  Grid tie fixes this and increases the efficiency of the system 10 fold. WITH GRID TIE YOU CAN ALWAYS CHARGE 100 PERCENT OF THE SOLAR PANELS CAPACITY!   That's a huge statement that should be yelled from roof tops!

Do not hesitate to get grid power !  

This less then ideal charge profile of batteries where they wont accept much as they become fully charged is really bad for generator run time as well. It's a horrible feeling to have your batteries refuse to take anymore amps as they approach fully charged. You can watch the battery gauge accept 400 watts for 2 hours while your 3000 watt generator is wasting fuel.

If your hooked to the grid and you need your battery bank charged, something that may cost you 2 dollars of fuel in a generator will cost you cents in grid power. For example, I ran a bank of 4 batteries of 1200 watts each for a long time.  If you pull them down 1200 watts, your at 75 percent to charge this up with a generator is about a half a gallon of gasoline for me. Right now that's about 1 dollar. But there are hidden costs with the generator, oil changes, spark plugs, fuel and air filters, the time servicing etc.

To purchase the 1200 watts I need to go from 75 to 100 percent from the grid costs me  about 12 cents, with no maintenance costs and if I stored that power in the infinite battery that is the grid, it could potentially be free!
3 weeks ago
This is great! I'm happy for you!
4 weeks ago
If you manipulate the brackets so that the panel edges are flush with each other, you could just use clear window silicone in a caulking tube to seal all the joints. Silicone is flexible and you can fill a pretty big gap.  Keep in mind that solar panels need cleaned a few times a year to keep production up, so your going to want to build a structure that can not only support the weight of the panels, but also you up there wiping them down with windex.  You need space to work around, so I don't know that you'll be able to pull off using the panels "as" the roof. You can't stand on the panels.
4 weeks ago
Can we get rid of pants in their entirety?  None of us want to be wearing pants anyway!  
4 weeks ago
Land prices have easily double in the last 8 years.  Lawrence county is really pretty cheap property around the area unfortunately. There is still some lower priced stuff around Springfield but it's super remote hard to get to, and further away then 45 minutes.

Multiple houses can be attached to the same septic, that's not a big deal as long as the leach field can handle the amount of water, and a house is only considered a house if its attached to the land.  If you build tiny houses that are built like a shed where they are setting on skids, this is not a permanent structure and not a house that can be taxed.  Honestly, if everyone used a compost toilet no one is going to know.
1 month ago
Greetings. I live outside of Marionville, so SW of Springfield about 45 minutes. I work In Springfield.

I found my 10 acre propert on landwatch.com.  It was listed by a hole in the wall agency in Aurora that didn't even use the internet, but somehow it still pulled up on landwatch.com although the county listed was wrong on the website.  I'm in Lawrence county, no building codes, they do require a septic system.  My property taxes with a 40x50 shop and 10 acres is less then $250 a year. You'd be wise to stay away from Greene and Christian county. Lots of codes and high taxes!

Lawrence county is awesome!

I can keep an eye out around here to property for sale as well.
1 month ago

Matt Todd wrote:

Eric Hammond wrote:I used single wall hvac pipe out of the mass up to where I penetrated through the wall



Where did you fall on the "galvanized fumes = bad" debate? Or did you pre-cook (oxidize) your galvanized HVAC pipe before installing?
Wondering if I should go with black stove pipe into my mass and up to the ceiling before transitioning to double wall above the roof as this thread encourages me to do.



The flue pipe coming out of my bench I can rest my hand on most of the time.  If I burn a fire all day long it gets too hot to touch but I've never seen it over 160 degrees. Not nearly hot enough to off gas.
1 month ago
I used single wall hvac pipe out of the mass up to where I penetrated through the wall, then it's 800 or 900 dollars worth of double wall insulated pipe for a proper chimney out. This does a couple things, 1. your homeowners insurance has no reason to squawk or deny claims. 2. This will make for a easier to use, less finicky stove to start. If your mass is pulling tons of heat out, and your chimney outside is single wall and the temperature is cold outside, it may cool the gasses inside the pipe so much that they can't rise out the chimney!  By insulating that column of air penetrating to the outside of the house and ensuring that it is warm, will make your stove start up much better and easier for a novice operator to get going.
1 month ago
Greetings, last fall I harvested some wild pawpaw seeds, kept them in the fridge over winter and sprouted them in the spring of this year.  Now I have 5 paw paw trees about 6 inches tall in nursery pots.  What do I do to prepare these plants for winter? I have an unheated greenhouse i could leave them in.  Should I plant them in the ground?  I'm in zone 6B
2 months ago