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Phillip Stuckemeyer

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since Feb 03, 2018
Retired Navy, Nuclear-Trained Submarine Electrical Operator. Automated Process Control and Building Automation & Control Specialist.
South East Missouri
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Recent posts by Phillip Stuckemeyer

Ebo David wrote:An idea and a word of caution:

Take a look at thermoactuators (wax motors).  You may be able to come up with an arrangement where a couple of them push/pull a control rod to track the sun across the sky without the use of electronics...  I  know of some dead simple analog circuits that basically do the same thing, and require no computers.  If interested, hit me up in a couple of days and I'll see if I can find reference designs on the net.

Most fire-codes require that there be at least 2x egress points from each room.  You are effectively blocking off the emergency access out of the bottom window.  In case of fire you or someone might need to crawl out that window.  Please think about how you will accommodate that..

David, I appreciate the thought, but I will go with what I know.  Building Automation and Control is my specialty:  Niagara Framework.  I have plenty of controllers, and I have been teaching field engineers how to design the control logic for the last 15 years.

Finally, emergency egress is not an issue.  The cellar also has windows on both the East and the West sides of the house.  There are 5 windows total, in addition to the large exterior exit door on the West.  Plenty of escape routes.
9 months ago

Mike Haasl wrote:When I first saw your trombe wall sketch I thought it was brilliant and I still do.  I thought you were going to provide the cold air from the lower window, let it sink to ground level and then let the greenhouse effect heat and raise it to the upstairs window.  I think that would really help it to move air.

Mike, you are correct about my original intention.  However, the bottom windows open to the cellar, and there is no direct air flow path from the house interior to the cellar.  I plan to house tilapia tanks in the cellar for an aquaponics system once the greenhouse is built, and the smell of the fish tanks is another concern.  I was a licensed tilapia grower in Virginia, but a sudden freeze in my detached greenhouse killed all the fish.  My current plan is to locate the fish tanks in the cellar, and the growing beds in the greenhouse, and to pump the water through the wall.  A Rocket Mass Heater (maybe two) will be added to keep the greenhouse within temperature tolerances in the nighttime and on cloudy days.

9 months ago
Thanks for all of the comments and suggestions.  I have been making some alterations in an attempt to increase the surface area of the collector and to improve the flow of hot air.  Here are some pictures.  You can see that I have added wings to the large stationary collector, and these wings can be pointed to the east in the morning, to the south in the mid-day, and to the west in the evening.  This seems to be working very well.  I am planning to use a garage door opener with an industrial computer to trigger the timed movement of the panels.  The main panel will always point South, and is too large and heavy to manipulate.  The garage door opener will only need to move a lever along a straight line about 2.5 foot in order to move the panels from one extreme to the other.  I am very excited about this modification.  I am also planning to replace the plastic sheeting with polycarbonate panels next year, and to build two more collectors for the other two windows.  Eventually, all three will be enclosed inside the greenhouse, which will improve efficiency.  On days when there is no sun, I plan to use a Rocket Mass Heater and to use the three collectors as an air duct to move the RMH heated air into the house.
9 months ago

Mart Hale wrote:How you have to prepare depends on your resources, and what trouble will come your way.

I have 3,000 Watts of solar, but that will be worthless if an EMP hits and takes out my charge controller.     Emp may be from solar ejection, or by war.  

I tend to doubt that the EMP will ever be caused by war.  If this occurs, the most likely scenario would be a low altitude nuclear device with limited regional consequences.  I live 40 miles south of St. Louis, and I doubt that our enemies would target that city, although there is an Air Force Base across the river.

I believe that the grid is vulnerable primarily due to neglect on the part of the political class.  Lots of infrastructure projects remain unfunded.  However, a nationwide blackout might occur if there is a coordinated terrorist attack on large capacity, High Voltage transformers for which replacements are not readily available.  Either a Cyber attack, or a series of targeted explosions could take down large portions of the grid for months.

My 17.4 kW system features 2 grid tied inverters, and I have added a 3rd inverter that charges a battery bank.  The batteries can provide power to a critical load panel for up to 4 days even if the sun does not shine.  Sunny days extend the range, of course.

I also have two 7.5 kW generators that burn propane (a Generac unit with auto-transfer switch, and a portable generator with a manual transfer switch) and I have a 400 gallon propane tank at the ready.  I really want to build a batch digester so that I might power the portable generator with bio-gas using grass clippings from the 3 acres that I mow.

The ability to heat the North end of the house with a wood burning stove is good, but I am also building a passive solar heating capability on the South end of the house.

I still need to build a greenhouse to supplement my hugelkulture growing beds in the winter, and I need to re-activate my aqua-ponics system once I can protect the Tilapia from freezing.

Once the Zombie apocalypse begins, it won't take long for the Zombies to find me.  My 8 acres is secluded, completely surrounded by trees, but they will find me eventually.
11 months ago
I am considering a foil backed, insulating blanket.  By closing the shutters on the blanket it should stop the airflow for all 5 vents.  I am also considering a temperature actuated damper in the bottom of the box activated by a thermo-bulb mounted in the riser duct.  However, all these options seem like a waste of effort until I reduce the volume of air in the heating chamber.  Week after next I will cut the box down to size and post an update with pictures of the inner workings.  Traveling on business this week.
1 year ago
4-inch insulated flexible ducts carry the air through the window in a box fashioned from white PVC sheeting.  Two pipes draw in cool air, while three pipes return the warm air.  The PVC panel consist of two separate sheets with a 1-inch styrofoam insulating layer between them.  Right now it seems like it takes over an hour of direct sunlight before I can feel the hot air rising into the house.  I can feel air entering the lower 2 vents, and cool air rising in through the three upper vents, but it seems like it take over an hour for the air to feel warm.  I like the basic design layout, and a coat of white paint on the collector's wooden components will make the collector much more visually appealing, but I must rethink the basic design and get it right.
1 year ago
I built the prototype using 2X10 dimension lumber, which turns out was very heavy and way too large a box.  The cool air falls down the back side of the collector, in a channel that is 34 inches wide and about 4 inches deep, fashioned out of insulating styrofoam.  The front side is also 34 inches wide, and 4 inches deep but I constructed this out of metal ductwork.  I think this is a bad design, however, and the result is that the warm air takes a long time to start flowing into the house.  I think that it takes a long time to warm up such a large volume of cold air, and this cold air is contained in a cold metal box.  I suspect that I need to ditch the metal ductwork, and build the collector out of a styrofoam backing with foil surface painted black, that is no more than 1 inch in depth.  This should result in a much smaller thermal mass and a much lower volume of cold air, and a much more energy efficient design.  The 6-mil plastic that currently covers the collector will eventually be replaced with 2-ply polycarbonate greenhouse panels, but I want to get this prototype working better, more efficiently, before I spend the money on the greenhouse sheeting.
1 year ago
I have been conducting an experiment.  I am building the mini-trombe wall that I envisioned earlier in this thread.  This is the first of 3 solar collectors that draw cool air from the house and recycle hot air into the house.  By incorporating this design into the greenhouse that I eventually will build on the south-facing side of my home, I will be able to capitalize on passive solar heating, without worrying about the smell of an aquaponics system (fishy smell) as well as avoiding the potential for fungus growth and mold damage with the attendant health consequences.  Since this is an experiment, I suspect that the lessons learned will inform a modified design for the 2nd and 3rd trombe walls as I work toward optimizing efficiency.
1 year ago

Julie Reed wrote:
I do not like to sell, but I love to tell stories and teach.”

Julie, I completely agree.  I cannot sell.  I do not want to sell!

I described earlier my idea of setting up a booth in the Farmer's Market and then tooling leather while the folks browse my wares.  By tooling something interesting, I figure that some people would like to comment.  We might strike up a conversation.  This might lead to some business (I may agree to tool a leather portrait of your family based entirely on a photo that you provide.)  The subject of my leather craft would be important if I want this to work.  Not your typical belts and key fobs.  Full size portraits.  I might actually spend a number of weeks on a single portrait, and allow the patrons to come back to watch my progress.

Just another way of telling a story. or opening the door to a story telling session.
1 year ago
Pearl, thanks for your contribution.  Very encouraging.  By the way, you misspelled my last name!  You left out an "e" and that is 1/21 of my entire name!!  ;}   Seriously, though.  There is a family named "Stuckmeyer" who operates a large farm with a fantastic farm market in Fenton, MO.  Stuckmeyer's Farm Market and Greenhouse.  They are about 25 miles from us here in De Soto.  I am part of the Stuckemeyer clan that settled in Illinois.  We are all family.  Nevertheless, I hope to sell some of my produce in the Stuckmeyer Farm Market store.  Small world!!
1 year ago