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Meni Menindorf

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since Sep 14, 2016
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Recent posts by Meni Menindorf

This post is saving a very small part of my life right now, and that makes me all warm and glowy~
3 months ago
Ok, so as it stands now, I find myself regularly charging my new-to-me 2011 Th!nk EV with a gas powered generator: Booooo!!

This situation has arisen because we live off-grid up in the mountains, and our batterey-inverter situation just isn't cutting it for charging with 110-120VAC. (I am considering a buck/boost converter to help with this situation too)  Our Honda eu2000i will charge it just fine but...  Gasoline!  *Planetary belch!

So I just bought (forgive me this bit to global-manufac) two 100W, 18V panels, thin flexible ones that together weigh less than 10 lbs.  This little Th!nk has a roof rack on it, and I am planning to devise some system for being able to clip these panels onto the roof rack with an easy adjustment for side to side movement (for aiming at the sun). It will give the flexi panels a bow, so they will be arodynamic-ish, if I want to drive around with them, but I could also pop them off and use the roof rack for gathering supplies.

I don't care that it's going to take a ridiculously long time to charge the car (24kwh/200w=120hrs of full sun, or 15 days). I only need to charge it up an extra 10-20% to make it over the hump and get back to town (I have only been charging with the Genny for a few hours here and there.) So with my real charging need being about 15% of the total capacity, I will need about 3,600 Watts from these little panels, so I figure ...  5 days in Winter if I'm lucky? Something like 1-2mi/day in Winter maybe? Booya! I'm gonna make it...

My big question is this....  how am I going to custom diy (on the skinny) the boost converter these panels will need to direct DC-DC charge this batterey.  (F a charge controller more complex than a manual on/off switch and a voltage read-out)

I can't even figure out what the nominal charging voltage is for the drive battery on a 2011 Th!nk ~ not much information out there since they were discontinued so quickly...?  But I figure I will get the voltage once I pull the seats out and get in there.  So with my two panels in series I will need to go from 36V to... ? (Guessing something in the 250-400V range?)

Only needs to be 200W beefy...  maybe 400 watts, because I might plug it into some more panels when it's parked at home. I just don't know enough about electronics to really understand this buck/boost converter schematic I downloaded. I don't understand what components I would need to change/adjust to modify the parameters I am trying to effect. So help me self-learn! Where can I get some basic electronics learning materials which might include for-dummy in depth explanations of this type of circuitry?

I have heard of brilliant people like Duncan on the diy EV conversion forums making their own motor controllers, and I am so inspired by this! I am not there yet, but I also don't feel terribly far away in my e.skills.  Maybe DIYing a 400W Voltage Boost converter would be in the scope of salvaging components from TVs / microwaves?  Perhaps it would be an approachable entry-level project compared to motor/speed/regen controllers, and sound synthesizers?

So help me help myself!  Any advice or ways to get started?  I have these panels on hand ... The only thing stopping me, from retiring this petrol-genny, is a little know-how and hopefully a very little $.
3 months ago
I am wondering if there is, or might be created, a spreadsheet to help organize all of these, PEP and PEX and PEA and SkIP etc.  A skilled person could make a searchable spread sheet where the points (and it seems, sometimes cross-over points) could be tabulated with a running total.  

It sounds like a really fun game, and I want to play! But I'm a little technology challenged and also data$ challenged.  I feel like Im getting points all day long!  But could I please just search a spreadsheet for "planting fruit trees" and enter any applicable PEX etc?  

What about research into Fresnel heating technology ...  Any points there?  

Is there an easy way for the lamen to score all their points, without having the tenacity of a paper RPG Dungeon Master?

Help me learn more!
6 months ago
Ok, I recently inherited a big metal frame greenhouse; and in short order, I have realized how inefficient it is.  So I am excited about this wofati greenhouse idea!  Especially since I am looking at a potential growing site on a fairly steep SW facing hill...  This would be perfect ~ built right in!  

I have seen youtubes of Oranges growing in Northern Nebraska by using angled earth birmed North wall with reflective insulation material, and long expansive deep earth ventilation systems. I like Mike Haasl's idea of adding additional horizontal deep earth tubes inside the wofati umbrella!  The dirt is always going to be warmer under there  Spread that love around more!

I have one important question. How much is this going to cost to build?  (Will you be drilling the 20' shaft?). Since you're raising money with a kickstarter, would it be cheating to build 10 or 20 of (something like) these solar cooker tubes into the wall (probably with cob?) just above a stem-wall on the South Side, protruding from the front of the building at a degree angle ideal for Winter Sun?  They would not take up any space inside, and their opening could be positioned under the growing tables on the South side of the walkway, increasing convection from the cold pit, and heating the massive growing beds on the tables right above the tubes. These evacuated glass tubes are dark colored on the outside, but reflective on the inside, so heat is captured really well inside.  With no lid, this heat would flow right into the greenhouse.  I have one of these, and it gets piping hot, even on cloud-covered days!  You might even be able to fit the parabolic reflector under each tube. The whole array could easily be covered in the summer.  (Forgive my Amazon link!  Maybe these can be sourced used somewhere?)  GOSUN Survival Gear Solar Oven Sun Cooker

I also love Faber's idea!  Add angled mirrors to the North Wall! (Forget the reflective insulation!). Mirrors will reflect the light onto the plants, and the dark dirt they are growing in, thus heating the ground (a better place for the heat to be than on a dark colored North Wall).
7 months ago

Sebastian Köln wrote:

There have been several instances in the past where accidental hydrogen releases have ignited
spontaneously. Whilst these have been investigated, no satisfactory explanation has been produced,
but there have been suggestions that some form of electrostatic charging has been present, resulting in
an ignition. In view of the very low ignition energy of hydrogen, such ignitions are a distinct
possibility. Astbury and Hawksworth (2005) have undertaken a critical review of several incidents
with their postulated mechanisms, and has concluded that there is a distinct possibility that releases
which ignite spontaneously may be of an electrostatic origin.


If you can keep the oxygen out, hydrogen itself can be handled fairly safe – at least compared to a hydrogen-oxygen mixture!
A balloon filled with hydrogen, floating above the shed with the batteries via a tube would be relatively safe, even in the event that it burns.

Assuming your battery bank produces 20% hydrogen and you normally charge … 200W… so 40W in hydrogen. For a decent burn you want something like 2000W, ideally more like 4000W. That means 100h of charging for every hour of cooking.

These are the kinds of numbers I like to see!
Thinking about the watts needed for cooking, and size of the storage tank needed (even if I could separate the oxygen), it would be something like..... (
33kwh in a kilogram of hydrogen, so 4kw would be about 125 Grams ....  At 11L/gram of gas...  ) 350 gallons???  That sounds like a pretty big tank to store, a massive explosion...  alright already, I'm convinced.  I will say that eventually there might be a way...  Stored hho would be smaller I think?  And as for the efficiency of conversion:

But I am left with a dangling question.  Will 400W through an induction cooker adequately steam up my veggies, and slow cook some bacon?  
8 months ago
Ok, ruminating on all this, and considering we cook with a cast-iron, I am considering getting an induction cook top.  I have noticed that with my current system, I can only run about 350-400 watts continuously.  Will this be enough to do more than slow cook?  I have a slow-cooker/crock pot that uses 200 watts, and barely simmers water (eventually).  Will 350-400 (I am guessing the lowest 2-3 settings on an 1800W unit) be enough to cook within reason (we don't mind being a little slow.).

Also, this whole discussion has reminded me that I have a solar oven!  I pulled this out of storage two days ago and am eating beans like a free-energy king.  

Ok, so those who retain any interest in the topic...  The real reason I started thinking about cooking with HHO is because my current electrical setup has my NiFe batteries bubbling HHO every day as a byproduct of charging.  (See here for more details:

I don't think my battery bank puts off enough HHO to cook with on demand, and I've pretty near given up the idea of storing it.  ...  Anyone have a link that can scare me adequately?  HHO explosion stories?  I am starting to imagine a pvc pipe with an I/O and a little ballon that fills for pressure...  Sized just right to cook a meal, placed so that if the pipe blows it won't hurt my family.  Sure would be nice to do something with this HHO I make every day!  Presently it blows away in the wind...  Such a powerful stuff!  To waste to waste!  I am not typically a very worried/fearful person.  I don't mind taking some risks.  But I truly don't understand the nature of stored HHO....  Who's got the cap or the seed to continue the discussion?  Is there something we could be doing with the HHO coming off of our batteries?  My reconditioned (epsom salt) batteries also put off a good deal of HHO.  Is there some way to utilize this valuable, lossy byproduct?  
8 months ago
Reading more about HHO cooking online, there are a few people experimenting with it.  I found someone saying he made a custom burner for HHO using 19 tiny pin pricks, so the tine flames would spread across the cooking surface.  Sounds like my propane stove top will probably not work without major modifications.  

So I hear all the safety concerns, and to clarify l promise I won't store any HHO :p. This being said, the on-demand system I am thinking of with flashback arrestors...  Is it definitely less efficient?  I get that there are sort of two energy conversions (first water to gas, then gas to flame/heat.). But aren't some conversions more efficient than others?  My understanding is that most electric cooking is around %60 efficiency?  Could the two HHO conversions possibly beat this?  Again...  If this 12V, 30A HydroCell can improve the efficiency of a car...  Couldn't it burn a little flame?  Every electric cooker I've seen uses ~1400W+...  My dinky inverter won't run this for long.  Is it not possible that HHO could make more heat for less Watts...?  I have much more solar electricy during the day than I need, and don't have a good diversion for it yet. I see a welding flame produced for 300W, (Uttiny Acrylic Welder, Portable Buffer With Oxygen Hydrogen Generator Environmental Friendly 110V 0.08-0.13MPa Water HHO Welder (75L/H) and I just want to fry my egg!!  

Btw, thank you for reminding me about methane generators...  This is probably a more tried and true green cooking method.  I just want to ween off the propane!  I was using 3 bricks and some dried leaves and twigs for a while, but...  It was kind of smokey :p
8 months ago

Jordan Holland wrote: Have you calculated the ammount of HHO required to run your burner, and do you know if the burner will work with HHO? It takes a massive (to me) generator just to run a small torch, and I can't imagine one putting out enough gas to run a burner. Also, if I may ask, why use HHO at all? Not trying to be a downer or anything, but it should use less electricity and probably be safer to use an electric direct resistance element like an electric stove uses.

How can I calculate the amount of HHO needed? No, I have no idea of this propane burner could possibly work with HHO. I would probably start by trying to make a torch outside.  I've read that a typical propane burner burns about 1L/h?  I thought I read this little 30A HydroCell puts out 7L/h. Also the HHO flame is much hotter than propane.  At 30A, at 12V, this is using about 300 watts to make a super hot flame, though I am not sure the size of the flame.  Most induction cook tops I am seeing use about 1400-1800 watts.  I have seen youtubes of people cooking with a nice hot hydrogen, or maybe HHO flame, but they didn't explain the apparatus.  (Also, I am data challanged😋, so I can't watch YouTube all day to learn about my HHO).  
9 months ago