David Baillie

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since Jan 07, 2016
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kids dog books chicken earthworks cooking solar wood heat woodworking homestead
Builder, tinkered, gardener, charcoal gasification enthusiast.
North central Ontario
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Recent posts by David Baillie

If you want to incorporate solar electric heat it gets easy if you run pex and water. There are 24 volt dc rated heating elements that could take the feed from a 60 cell panel when it was available....
13 hours ago
To add perspective 1 lb of wood has roughly 7000btu in it or roughly 2300watts or 2.3kW of heat energy. In the darkest part of the winter in Nova Scotia you could expect an average of 1.5 hrs of sun. So each kW of installed solar 0anels can be expected to produce as much heat as 1lb of firewood.
Cheers,  David
1 day ago
As mentioned above using solar directly for heating purposes for large areas is usually a non starter. First off you need heat in the winter when the daylight hours are shorter and therefor arrays produce less total watts.  
1 day ago
try these guys. if its not on the website call them they will point you in the right place. I bought ceramic blanket and castable refractory cement from them...
1 week ago
Of the cheaper full sine wave 8nverters I've used the kissae had a voltage cutoff adjustment of either 12 volts or 11.5 volts  so 24 or 23 volts. Check its manuals. The problem of course is most of the cheap inverters are expected to run on starting batteries of a vehicle so the voltage cutoff is set so you can still start...
So try Kissae or maybe the more expensive aims models which have some programming functions.
2 weeks ago

Frank Frederick wrote:In WWII in Europe there were embargo's on gasoline.  Germany's citizens found using wood gas to run vehicles worked.  The Japanese used wood gas to power certain machinery.  During the Great Depression farmers used a combination of corn oil and wood gas to power their equipment.

In Appalachia, folks today still use wood gas vs. gasoline, propane, or diesel to power generators vehicles, and/or even heat their homes.

Should you buy a premade/commercial wood gas generating system?  That is up to you if you choose to take the lazy mans way out.  

There are many government publications and YouTube vieos on how to make your own system and even how to store wood gas for later use.  Although ALL of these ideas do require some work and time to create, they are the most satisfying way to go in my humble opinion.

Frank F.

hi frank do you use woodgas?
I would suggest www.driveonwood.com for a good cross section of the wood gas world. The problem with you tube is you never know if the video maker has 1000 hours on his build or used it twice... The woodgas joke is it's easy to get an engine to run on woodgas... once. There are advantages to using a commercial design or following a user proven design.
Cheers,  David
3 weeks ago
HI Lew, check out some of these threads:
here was a long conversation that turned to gasifiers:
my charcoal powered tractor:

I am a charcoal gasification person myself. Both wood and charcoal units can be called gasifiers as they gasify their fuel. Raw wood gasifiers do use a larger portion of the wood for fuel but come with a much more complicated set of machinery and operate in a much more narrow power range matched to their load. I've run everything from a 6.5HP small genny to my 28HP tractor off the same charcoal unit; charcoal is very forgiving. If you use wood to heat then charcoal is a very easy to do solution. If you would be flaring you wood pyrolysis gas to make charcoal then a raw wood gasifier makes more sense. Both of them should be seen as an add on to a solar based off grid system not a stand alone replacement. How you make charcoal is up to you I have found TLUDs to be easier and better at making it then rockets but I make most of mine in a standard woodstove. Scroll down in the first thread and there is a video...
Cheers,  David
1 month ago

Dan Tilman wrote:Hi Lesley,
Thanks for your reply. In the meantime I have built a solar system similar to the one in the book. 4 x 100 watt panels, 4x 100aH batteries, 4x 20v charge controllers and a 2200 watt inverter.

It powers our tiny house with lights, outlets for phones, computers, printer, and even the washer.

I’m really happy about the system. But I have one question:

How to you tell what percentage the batteries have?

Maybe somebody can help.

Best regards,

state of charge monitors for small 12 volt systems are notoriously inaccurate. Voltage at rest is your best easiest indicator.
This chart is pretty good depending on what type of batteries you have. This is for a flooded deep cycle

Out of curiosity why 4 charge controllers? Each will have a standby loss so usually you get one that can take the input from all 4 to minimize losses...
Cheers,  David
1 month ago
That is interesting... Did you allow the freezer to run for 24 hours so it stabilizes before taking your duty cycle reading? I think the phone relay idea might work not sure on that too many variables. Those cheap inverters are horribly innefficient at low draw. Does the freezer have an always on light on the switch? I find that is a huge dead draw over 24 hours. Next I would suggest you let the freezer coast by setting it to its lowest temperature setting, adding some water jugs to add mass run it off the generator all day and figure out how much it rises overnight. In that way you stay well within the freezing temperature and are in effect using the freezer as a thermal battery thus preserving your battery for other things... Add on a 125 watt panel and you could probably do just that and always have a charged battery and run it straight off the sun in daytime with no genny and no nighttime load at all. Just some ideas to play with...
Cheers,  David
1 month ago
Yes the Schneider, the radian, or the sol ark would be my choices.
I would want to know who had problems and with what kind of loads. In terms of pricing dont forget to add in the legally required breakers and disconnects you have to add on with the radian and Schneider built into the sol ark. Then add on the solar charge controller you have to add and the inverter controller all those items are seperate add ons from radian and schneider... the skybox is a different kind of unit also high frequency like the solark so if the 8k had problems starting loads the skybox would as well...
1 month ago