Saturday, December 26, 2015

Another epiphany

Toda started with the usual tummyache after eating too much on Christmas day. Then I headed outside to do battle with the metal that I dragged out of the bushes a few days ago that looked like an ideal floor for my battery compartment.

Cutting thin metal is always a challege for my angle grinder - which is now working perfectly thanks to the new carbon brushes and I went through several grinding disks. Good job I bought a second 10 pack of disks a while ago! Just look at the state of the disk I've just been using.

I cut the steel construction I found a few days ago, cutting the edge off one side and cutting it in two such that when two edges are welded together, the construction will be approx 18" by 29" which is about the size of my battery compartment.

As the steel had some handy folded edges, these will act as a strengthening bar down the center of the compartment. Very useful. I had, however to trim the excess fold off as it is somewhere water is likely to collect.

While cutting the floor of the battery compartment, a thought came to mind that has occurred before - namely why I'm even putting a battery compartment. I definitely need access to my main breaker panel and that's always best under the bus. Other than that, I can store the cables more securely inside the bus.

Given that I'm not putting a big house battery, the point of a battery compartment is somewhat questionable. Having said that, it does set me up for future expansion.

Thinking about batteries I was wondering about using NiMh batteries rather than lead-acid or lithium. Lithium batteries are just horribly expensive. NiMh batteries just don't seem to be available in 12v. This is a bit annoying! Out of interest, I looked up NiMh AA batteries and found I could get 48 for $24 and 3,000mah each. If they were put in sets of 10, giving 12v per set then I'd get 4 sets at 12,000mah or 12Aah. 

Thinking further about the NiMh idea, 6v would be way easier to work with just 4 batteries put in series. The downside is that all the charge controllers are set up to charge lead-acid or lithium batteries. To my mind, NiMh is way better than lead-acid because it doesn't gas and can be completely discharged without harming the battery.

Given that the only power I'd need would be to charge my phone, tablet and batteries for my LED lantern and my shower pump, I could probably get away with just D cells and a solar D cell charger. The D cells could in turn power a USB charger. Heaven knows how long that would take to recharge my phone though.

There are a whole load of different options out there for power. My favorite for cooling and for refrigeration at the moment are fans powered solely by solar power and a fridge powered solely by solar. The cold could be maintained in a fridge by simply using freezer blocks. The fans need only to remove heat when the sun is shining. As for the rest, lighting, the shower pump and phone charging - these can all be done from NiMh D cells. For the moment though, I shall continue the plan to install the battery compartment and the shower outflow.

Meanwhile, in a stunning development, the bathtub that m'lady often complained about has vanished. It didn't so much vanish in a puff of smoke but more behind a garden tractor and was hauled to one of the junk piles in the back yard.

It certainly looks better without the bathtub. For those with long memories and the ability to hunt through this blog, the bathtub came out of the original construction. It was used for most of the last year as a handy trash recepticle and had it not been full of trash, would have been easy just to carry.

Things are definitely progressing. The last thing done today was to paint the underside of the new bathroom vanity. This vanity will not have a sink. Instead it will have a removable plastic bowl that can be emptied either into a bucket or down the shower and hence into the bucket under the shower or onto the ground.
Apparently emptying water that's been used for hand washing is frowned upon. That seems to be just plain bizarre to me but I suppose if dumping grey water was approved, people would stretch it further and dump sewage too. Honestly though, as long as its buried properly even sewage can be disposed of outdoors without harm to the environment.

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