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Robert Woden

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since Aug 30, 2013
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Recent posts by Robert Woden

Hi, I'd just like to express a small opinion here on how the efficiency of LEDs have made lighting available to me and perhaps many others when less efficient incandescents have not really been an option for "micro off-grid" lifestyle.

I've lived for 3 years now without electricity, reading at night with cheap solar charged leds (similar to those people light their outdoor paths with) and candlelight. It's been pretty challenging, but the led technology made it possible to have little easy light at night. I think there's a lot of people in this situation, maybe not in our country.

I now have a small 750w solar system. I live in southeast Ohio, and in the heavy overcast days of winter (which can last weeks) it is not uncommon to trickle in around 15 watts throughout the 6 hour solar window, that's with 3 250w panels. Sometimes there's not even enough light to trigger the charge controller out of its "resting" phase on really bad days.

Point being here is that incandescent lighting, while arguably "better" (based on all this really great evidence and dissection of components) is really only an option for people grid-tied, or with a substantial off-grid system, or perhaps just a more reliably sunny climate.

For some of us, the wattage efficiency of LEDs doesn't have have anything to do with what seems to some as a silly margin of a few dimes on the power bill. The revolution in the difference of watts from 60w to 4w means whether or not I can have lighting without worrying about substantial discharge of my tiny battery bank.

I've also known folks to conveniently power LEDs from car batteries, then start their car the next day on the same charge. Point is that this technology has made lighting available for folks that would otherwise be without.



3 years ago
I have a five gallon bucket of dry flaky WOOD (not coal) creosote from my neighbor's chimney cleaning. I was wondering about using it as a wood preservative. A little research tells me it isn't as effective as the toxic coal-tar creosote but it is still somewhat? Does anyone have any recipes for making some sort of stain out of it, perhaps mixing it with linseed oil and turpentine? The less toxic the better. Or is this just not worth my time. Also, i'm not too concerned with discoloring the wood, just want it to last. The timbers I want to treat are relatively young tulip poplars with alot of sapwood.

Thanks
5 years ago
From "the book":

"If radiant heat is prevented from escaping from the barrel, more heat will flow into storage. Part or all of the barrel can be encased in cob, and/or the barrel could be replaced by cob or brickwork. Thus, a bigger proportion of your heat will be available for storage and contact heat. You may want to size storage and the length of buried flue with that in mind."

Has anyone actually tried this? Either actually building the combustion chamber out of cob/material other than the steel drum? Or building a cob unit on a side of the steel drum?

I am curious about the possibility of building a cob oven onto the side of the combustion chamber that would use/capture radiant heat from the side of the barrel? Any thoughts on this or what the temperature would be like in that situation?
6 years ago
What happens when the limit is exceeded? Say I go 60 feet with an 8 inch system?
6 years ago
Allen, you definetely cleared up a lot and I really appreciate your guidance. However I still feel like I maybe haven't explained what I'm looking to do well enough. Here's a little paint pic I whipped up. My system would be entirely open, no dampers, nothing but open duct work. It would also be built only for one room/one space ( you can get somehwhat of an idea of its scale by comparing the size of the combustion chamber with the duct work in the pic).

The duct work would be placed in-floor. The idea behind the forking was to surround a small seating area in the center.

My question concerns what happens to the exhaust path/heat distribution in this situation?
6 years ago
Allen, thanks for the reply. I am, however a little confused and am wondering if you can elaborate a little so I might understand the basic principles behind this. What exactly do you mean by "closed off". What I am trying to do is just basically have two exhaust pipes coming from one single combustion chamber into two separate thermal batteries, and then merge into a single exit flue (just making sure I'm being clear here). Neither duct would ever be closed. And by "killing" do you mean a possible explosion? Or exhaust leak? I just need to get straight here so I don't make any horrible design flaws.
6 years ago
Hi I am developing a design for a rocket mass heater, but have no experience whatsoever. I am wondering if it is possible to "fork" the exhaust pipe and then have them merge again into the main exhaust pipe. In other words, I am essentially looking to have two thermal mass benches. Is this possible?
6 years ago
I have heard of folks growing sweet potatoes "potato box style" using only straw (or leaves) piled into stacked tires.
6 years ago
Hi, I'd like know if anyone has tried growing corn fukuoka style (direct seed - non-cultivation seed balls). Successes? Failures? Thoughts? I am interested in growing a modified three sisters polyculture using separate planting times for each sister. Thanks for any input!
6 years ago
I read an extremely small blurb of someone's technique in Mother Earth News (reader submitted). A fella used two strands of fishing line for his fencing, one around two feet high, and the other somewhere around 5 or 6 feet high. As soon as he removed his fencing, his garden was obliterated. His logic behind his success was that although the deer could clear the fence if they wanted, the fact that it was invisible "spooked" them. This seems to be a most economical solution. I'll be trying it next spring. Anyone tried this method before?
6 years ago