ffj's early retirement

Where are you and where are you going?
SavingWithBabies
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by SavingWithBabies »

I like your bridge. I'm going to pass on the meth video though based on your description. Somehow, I don't want to go down that rabbit hole.

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C40
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by C40 »

Looks like a fun piece of land to manage. I've cleared just small areas of free-growing brush so I have an idea how much work it is (and mine had a special treat - a bunch of poison oak!). It's a good day's work when you can see your progress like that. It'd be fun to help. You know - for a day or two :-P

Jason
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by Jason »

ffj wrote:
Wed Nov 27, 2019 8:29 pm
I've been binge watching drug addict youtube videos
This is a great one.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Tar_Heroin_(film)

ffj
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by ffj »

@SWB

I don't blame you as it's a bit depressing.

@C40

My daughter helped me for a whopping two hours the other day and said she was done, done, done. Ha. It's shit work for sure but the results are impressive.

@Jason

Thanks for the reference. I'm over my binge of this genre for now but I may go back. Been watching Jim Can't Swim videos lately. It's amazing how awful people can become.





I've been clearing land for over two months now almost every day. Last week I decided I would start doing other things before I became insane, haha. Like fixing my damn gate to the property, which would drag on the hump of the driveway making it a pain in the ass to open and close. I had to buy a shelf bracket but everything else I had on hand, including the wheel. Works like a charm now.

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If you'll look at this picture, you can see I have a stream running through the property, a stream that has continuously run ever since our mini drought ended.

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Indulge me and watch this video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZmHY9DkD1Hw

This question is for anybody that has an answer, but it seems tailored to people like Sclass: Is this feasible? and what exactly does one have to do to an old alternator to get it to produce electricity? I think it would be cool to have one of these running at my place but I don't quite understand the alternator component. If anybody has an answer I would love to hear your thoughts.



My daughter recently tried to sell her prom dress on Facebook marketplace and she got the attention of these scam artists. She wasn't quite sure at first so she gave them an address with no ties to our household, but soon after told them to shove off. Even after, we received this letter by UPS:

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I guess enough people still fall for this old trick. She was asking $150 for the dress and of course they "overpaid" in hopes of getting her personal information. I'm just curious if a bank would cash this check or would they know it was fake? It might be a fun exercise to take it to a bank and ask them to examine it and explain the telltale signs of a fake. Maybe they would want it for future trainings.



Recently stumbled upon this video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Y8LGGf1WJs

Hmmm? Makes one wonder how much he really knows about this whole ERE thing.

Gilberto de Piento
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by Gilberto de Piento »

I am far from an expert but I don't see why the alternator wouldn't work. As you can see from the video you need a water wheel with a driveshaft.

Then you need a way of transmitting the power from that shaft to the alternator at the right rpm. In the video he is using a belt driving a big pulley on the water wheel and a small one on the alternator. This increases the low rpm of the water wheel to the high rpm the alternator needs.

The alternator creates 12 volt dc which charges one or more batteries. I think you want deep cycle batteries not car batteries but you could test it out with old car batteries. Then you convert the 12 vdc to110 ac with your inverter.

One fun thing about this project is you could probably do it without buying anything.

One thing to consider is whether or not you have to be concerned with overcharging the batteries. It doesn't happen in a car but as a car is charging it is also drawing power. You may need some type of controller if you want to be able to deploy it and not have to watch it. Otherwise you'd bring the batteries up to full charge and then stop turning the alternator.

Side note: you can weld with an alternator. Could be useful in an apocalyptic scenario. :)

Gilberto de Piento
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by Gilberto de Piento »

I'm still thinking about this. Depending on what you are trying to accomplish, instead of turning an alternator, you could get a broken generator (gas engine part broken) and turn that instead. That would give you 110 ac without needing the inverter but would be less ideal for charging a battery bank (I think).

Another thing to think about is how close you can place your water wheel and alternator to the batteries. Ideally your inverter and battery bank would be stored inside where you need the power. If everything is too spread out, especially if you have a long run of 12v dc, it might not work. Someone better informed can speak to that.

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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by jacob »

I've read a few electric motor books lately, so presuming that something did stick but with the caveat that I might be talking out of my ass, here goes...

First, a brushed DC motor will work as a generator if you spin the shaft. (This is how an oldschool telephone magneto works ... when you crank it to make a call or torture your victims :lol: ) It will definitely work with a permanent magnet motor (look for PMDC). I don't think it would work with a DC motor that uses field coils instead of magnets to generate the static field without going into some creative rewiring and needing some kind of starting circuit (with a battery) to bootstrap the electricity generation to create the magnetic field. Think about it... if the field coils aren't charged, you'll never get the electricity from rotating the armature coils in the first place. Field coils (there would be two extra wires, like A1 and A2 for the armature + F1 and F2 for the field coils) are typically used for larger motors because they're cheaper than big magnets.

I suspect a brushless motor might have the auto-start problem as well for similar reasons. There's nothing to power the switching circuit that replaced the brushes?!?

The difference between a PMDC and an alternator is that the PMDC will have a static magnetic field with a rotating wired armature on the center axis. The alternator will be the other way around with a rotating permanent magnet in the middle inducing current in a static armature.(*) Theoretically (electromagnetically) they're the same. You could also use an alternator as a motor. In practice, they're optimized for very different things though.

(*) Thus if you see windings in both places, you have something with field coils.

I don't think an alternator will be effective(?!) although that does appear to be what's being used in the video---I didn't watch in detail, just skimmed it. Alternators are made to generate high amp 12V to run headlights, etc. This means thick wires in the armature which means fewer windings which means you need very high rpm (in the thousands). The rpm (rate of field change) times the number of windings is what gives you the voltage. However, the water wheel is providing rather low rpm (in the hundreds?) => low voltage (much lower than 12V). Ideally you'd want thinner wires in the armature which allows room for more windings so you get a higher voltage. You won't be able to drive as much current through thin wires (lest the armature melt) but that's probably fine. If you do need more amps, you need a bigger generator ... and a bigger water wheel.

Also what comes out of the PMDC when used as a generator is more like rectified AC (because of the DC commutator), unless you're powering something "robust" like an incandescent light bulb, you'd want some kind of capacitor in parallel with the output to smooth it out ... and probably also a voltage regulator (ML78xx, where xx is either 05 or 12) after that to keep the voltage constant. (Literally just those two components.)

PS: Also look into Pelton wheels.

J_
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by J_ »

@ffj For my bicycle generator on the attic I use this scooter motor with permanent magnets.
Image Image
Jacob is right, alternators are not suited because of the very high rpms required.
This one generates 25 V DC, but a not fully loaded lead accu (standard 12 V) will by itself lower the voltage to a suitable degree. You have only to watch from time to time that you stop loading at 13,5 V (but of course there are gadgets for to control it)

Gilberto de Piento
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by Gilberto de Piento »

That bike generator is awesome!

You guys are saying the alternator wont work because it is not fast enough but why cant we use gear reduction to go from the slow turning waterwheel to the fast turning alternator? The video shows a belt with differently sized pulleys. If we had an existing waterwheel we could measure it's rpm and do some calculations. For example, if the we is 60rpm and the alternator needs 1200rpm you need one pulley to be 20 times larger than the other (I think).

I read a few posts on other forums and it sounds like charging a deep cycle battery bank from discharged with an alternator will work but isn't really a good way to do things for technical reasons such as the batteries havi g a short lifespan when charged that way. Still a fun idea.
Last edited by Gilberto de Piento on Sat Dec 21, 2019 1:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Cheepnis
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by Cheepnis »

I love that gate fix and am enjoying your chronicling of the new property project. Look forward to more!

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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by jacob »

@GdP - Yes, it could be geared up at the cost of friction losses in the gear train + the water wheel working against increased torque by the gear ratio as soon as the generator starts drawing current (+whatever internal mechanical friction it might posses). Make the water wheel wider to compensate.

I have no idea what comes out of an alternator. I'm guessing pure AC(*)(**), so one would need a wheatstone bridge as well (before the battery). I suppose technically one could charge the battery using only that but I can also see why that would be pretty hard on the battery. A capacitor + a voltage regulator or a charge controller should make this as safe for the battery as a set of PV panels.

(*) Because it wouldn't make sense to build in a commutator.
(**) Also guessing single phase on the video on account of it having two terminals.

ffj
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by ffj »

@Gilberto, J, Jacob

Thanks for the input.

I'm watching lots of videos about the subject at the moment but to tell you the truth a lot of them are just confusing. I may get an old alternator and just mess around with it and see what kind of output is possible. My guess is this guy is treating this contraption as a trickle charger for the battery bank with minimal draws on his system. Like a lot of ideas, the only way to understand it is to actually do it yourself. I just don't want to waste a bunch of time chasing rainbows.

This is interesting. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1KyL1-0A0Gw

He says he can pull 500 watts off of this prototype using a hover board motor. I assume that is a DC motor? What about a treadmill motor? Those are DC also.



@Cheepnis

Thanks. The problem was the hump in the middle of the driveway. Unless I wanted to raise the gate another foot, which would have looked odd, I couldn't clear the middle without having to lift up as I swung the gate open or closed. Now the wheel does that for me by following the contour of the ground and maintaining clearance. I wish all of my problems were that easy to fix. haha

jacob
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by jacob »

I had to look up what a hover board was. It is not what I thought it was. I found this https://www.alibaba.com/product-detail/ ... 4bc6zHm6SR ... which is a PMDC so good for a generator.

Treadmill motors are usually brushed PMDC motors at ~1HP intended to run on 90 or 110V using a speed controller. You can either use a dedicated one (I have a KBIC 125) or reuse the one from the treadmill. The great thing here is that they come with a flywheel. According to the internet, some of the fancier treadmills now come with AC motors. The easiest is to learn to read the label on the motor. It will say what it is. To control the speed on an AC motor you need a variac and comprehensive life insurance :lol:

One thing to avoid are gearmotors ... they will have a gearhead typically to reduce the rpm. I own a 90V PMDC gearmotor with a 1:40 gear ratio. There's no way I can turn the crank on that one. (At least not by hand. I tried.) OTOH as a motor, they have fantastic torque.

Ceiling/box fan motors are IIRC universal motors which can run on both AC and DC. Because of the field coil issue, they're non-trivial to use as generators.

Unless it's a small motor, never plug it into a standard power supply. The starting current is much (up to 4x) higher than the running current which might blow your fuses. A motor controller compensates for all this. Before the invention of electronic control, industrial sites used to have dedicated "motormen" who were responsible for starting the motor. For huge engines, starting is still a "process".

This is the best book (for me) I've read: https://www.amazon.com/dp/0134032837/
If you prefer youtube, I recommend: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=P ... ovAZK3rcKJ (Jeremy Fielding)

George the original one
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by George the original one »

500 watts? Maybe. He's got less than 3' of hydro-head, so the power is going to be annoyingly low. However, building it out of scrap is cheaper than buying a solar panel.

Really, you want 10' or more of hydro-head. That's when you can start generating decent power.

ffj
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by ffj »

@jacob

Thanks for the book suggestion and helpfulness. I am probably going to buy it.

@George

I'm doubtful too. It is a clever design though.





Progress on the property. One of my issues with my driveway is that although it is 500 feet long, it still isn't long enough. It abruptly ends just as the property opens up and if you want to drive further, especially to the barn, than you take your chances by driving in a field. If its dry out, then you are good to go, but when it rains, not so good.

My buddy Mike came out yesterday and fixed that issue for me. We extended the driveway another 300 feet so that it makes a nice, slow arc to the front of the barn, with a small parking area in front of it.

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You can see my black horse fence in the distance, and that is where the old driveway ends.

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He also graded my old driveway to flatten it as well as make it look so much better. While he was working on the driveway I worked on the fence, re-nailing it and replacing rotten boards. Horse fencing looks so nice but my goodness it's prone to decay.

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I got to play with the skid steer too. I consolidated all of the brush piles in the field into 5 large ones for burning. I've never used one of these before and I have to say it was pretty fun.

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ffj
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by ffj »

My wife has chosen a house design off of the internet,

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and some of the details were vague from a construction standpoint, so I decided to make a model of it at 1/12 scale. I basically converted the measurements to one inch equals a foot so everything you see is proportional. I was a little confused on how the 3 different roofs lined up from a builder's perspective as well as the exterior trim details so the best way for me was to build it identically and work out the issues. It should save a lot of headaches once the real building begins.

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The top floor which consists of two bedrooms and a bathroom. The landing will overlook the great room.

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The bottom floor which consists of the master bedroom/closet/bath, utility room, mudroom, guest bathroom and consolidated kitchen, dining, and great room.

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And the shop just for visualization for both placement and to make sure I was getting my proportions correct. It will be a simple rectangle with garage doors.

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Tomorrow I will inquire about building permits and start working on putting foundations in place. My friend Mike will dig the footings for me and I can build the forms, bend the rebar, and pour the concrete. I will most likely hire a block layer as although I can do it, I am just not that good at it. Unless the price is way too high of course. ;)

To date my expenses have been (after the purchase of the land):

$900 to fix the barn, which included $100 to pull out the dump truck driver

$360 for the purchase of a chainsaw to clear the land

$250 for the new driveway (it's good to have friends)

$40 for the plywood for the model house ( I had a lot of material already on hand )

$500 for scaffolding and a walkboard (found an awesome deal on Craigslist and these will be essential once I start building)

$2200.00 for lumber to build the shop ( another great deal from Craigslist)

I don't plan on adding up the man-hours I've put in, or the cost of insurance or property taxes, etc.

My expenses have been low so far but that will dramatically change here soon. Everything so far has been paid out of pocket but again, that will not last. I feel really good at the moment however.

jacob
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by jacob »

This book shows how to build a bicycle generator (like J_'s) complete with wiring diagrams and uses an alternator as a generator. (Again, I'm not sure it's the best solution or even a practical solution, but there it is.) The book also happens to have an internal diagram of the alternator. It does have field coils but those are energized by the battery using a light bulb to regulate the current, so that solves that problem. The alternator also has an internal rectifier.

Caveat is that the book is focused around the zombie apocalypse, so lots of zombie talk :-P ... but from a practical perspective, it's more about home automating and building things with a few pieces of scavenged junk and a few pieces of uncommon consumer electronics.
https://www.amazon.com/Makers-Guide-Zom ... 593276672/

ffj
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by ffj »

Thanks jacob, that's right up my alley. I read through the free pages and I think this is what I'm looking for as I don't need or want to become an electrical engineer to perform some experiments. I'm good at following directions. :D



I managed to spend another $700 yesterday and all I have to show for it is a piece of paper and 5 boards. :( Six hundred and fifty was for the privilege of obtaining a permit to build a house. A bit of a racket if you ask me.

The boards went to finishing up my 500 foot fence that needed repairs. Once it warms up everything will get painted to hopefully make this last for many more years.

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In the two months that I've owned the place I've completed the land clearing (phase 1), repaired the barn, repaired the fence and gate, and built a new driveway which clears the way for what I really want to be doing: build a house. My goal was to complete these tasks before the new year and that happened today with the fence repair. I'm excited.

What does this look like to you? Looks like a bridge to me. When I have some down time I plan on making this into a crossing that doesn't require the balance of a gymnast. That's a cherry tree and something I have found on this property is that I have quite a few and they all grow really crooked. I don't know if it would be worth trying to make furniture grade lumber out of it, maybe it's better as a bridge.

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Everyday almost I frequent a local Amish store down from the property for a sandwich and drink. A little snapshot of their daily ride.

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Here's to a new year!

GandK
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by GandK »

Looks like you're all set up for a great one! :D

Cheepnis
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by Cheepnis »

That model looks great, how fun! Is that $650 the entire cost of the permit(s) or just one portion? I'm not sure what's federally mandated or state mandated, but here new structures or additions require multiple permits and the cost can end up being a significant portion of the total. What's your background in construction? Any parts of the process that you're going to completely hire out?

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