Steve Bird's posts

Posted by Steve Bird on Mar 22, 2007 08:19 pm

#1 -  Renewable Energy > RE General Discussion > Re: hydro-powered turbine
Back again Lorne..well anyway, of 2 days of running the squirell cage at mach-one just to run a few car headlights in the garage it dawned on me the well pump was running forever, so we looked for an alternative, I have a year round steam about 100 yards from the house and moved this contraption down there (still no heat in the truck) and proceded to dam up a sluice and rig up a battery and the two headlights from the garage and let it rip. Well so I thought..forget it. It took more energy to lug all that stuff and a full day of dickin' around than the undercut wheel would produce in a lifetime. Well, I kind of gave up for a while until I realized that I had 30 ft. of head further down the I retrieved all the stuff I lugged back to the garage in the days before and hauled it down over the ledge, where I re-assembled it all over again...another day shot to hell. The lights lasted two days now and the cage was-a-rippin'. Then the motor
crapped out. Almost 2 amps now!! I knew it would never last a good rain storm, so I hauled it all back out again...jeez, I hate hauling a battery with no handle. So, I read up a bit at the library and bought 200ft of 1 1/2 rolled black PVC tubing, thinking if I could channel water in the pipe...if only I knew..within a few hours I was a raving lunatic. You cannot unroll that tubing yourself, or with 2 people or even need a busload of people, lots of liquor, and you cannot tell them ahead of time what you need them for. Well, the tubing is still in a half-ass coil behind the garage, I can't wait to burn it.I then bought 2 1/2 inch black ABS pipe, 200 ft. of it, then went to the library. A week later I brought it back to the plumber, traded it for 4 inch... minus the 10% re-stock fee and 80 ft. on back order. Well, two weeks later I had a 200 ft. run of filtered hydro feeding a Nissan turbocharger connected to a 12 volt truck alternator, 3 days of lights running now! Not enough boost, but 5 amps to the battery! Then the inlet vent, collapsed 3 sections of pipe..back to library, installed a vent and rigged a nozzle from a garden hose, 8 amps now!! Tried different nozzles and configurations but to no avail. Lights were on for a week 'till the half-ass wiring job came apart and shut off the lights...boiled the battery dry and easy baked it. I looked at an exploded torque converter, sliced it in half as well as my ring finger and rigged it to pulley drive another alternator. Forget that idea. Well, now I see manufactured wheels and permanent mag alternators are available at the local drug store, so thats next. Still no reliable RE power yet, but I am very close! Just remember that cigarettes kill, and so does spinach.

Posted by Steve Bird on Mar 22, 2007 07:09 am

#2 -  Renewable Energy > RE General Discussion > Re: hydro-powered turbine
Oh boy have you ever opened a can of worms!! I have to leave soon for my real least a paid position, but will give you a brief bit and will give you some more info tonite. I had first started tinkering a few years ago with, of all things an air hose and a cage blower from a truck heater, then graduated to a garden hose with the blower and its 12 volt motor...generated a whopping amp and a half at 12 volts...all the time my well pump was drawing 12 amps. That was a loosing start! Duh...I didn't realize at the time! Will post more tonite.

Posted by Steve Bird on Mar 11, 2007 07:48 am

#3 -  Renewable Energy > RE General Discussion > Re: hydro-powered turbine
Thanks Ken, just spent a few hours of time flipping through a dozen or so sites tied to the 2 links you sent me. Hartvigsen has a very good selection of spoons and components on their website. Will contact them Monday.
 From looking closely at many different sites, most spoons seem to be of the same basic design for angled jetting, I guess I am about 100 years late with my homemade wheels!
          Thanks again Ken

Posted by Steve Bird on Mar 10, 2007 09:10 pm

#4 -  Renewable Energy > RE General Discussion > Re: hydro-powered turbine
HI Ken,
 Thanks for the info. I have been running a homemade microhydro for a few years now and have built no less than a dozen turbine first one was a torque converter from a GMC pickup that I sawed in half, to half of a Mack turbocharger then a Nissan 300 ZX turbo to my latest build which has copied a Pelton ...fabricated it in about an hour from a skilsaw blade and some garage junk, the best one so far. I don't mind purchasing a plastic Pelton or Turgo just to see what the results are compared to a $11.00 homemade turbine wheel. I said, I am a tinkerer !!!

Posted by Steve Bird on Mar 10, 2007 04:38 pm

#5 -  Renewable Energy > RE General Discussion > Re: hydro-powered turbine
Very, Very interesting reading on the hydo power. I need to find a few suppliers for either Pelton or Turgo water wheels for some tinkering when the ice leaves the stream near my home. Any input would be appreciated.

Posted by Steve Bird on Feb 17, 2007 09:32 pm

#6 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re: Wattsun Elevation Actuator Drive
Ken is right about lube, but other simple things too are:
 The pivot bolt may be tightened too much, the actuator bolts that attach to the frame could be too tight also. Is the actuator binding on the frame anywhere? Tap the motor with a rubber mallet while it is running to see if the brushes are hung up, and if it is 4 months old, it is probably still under warranty.

Posted by Steve Bird on Feb 1, 2007 07:29 pm

#7 -  Renewable Energy > For Sale > Re: Free telecommunication batteries
Well james, good news and bad news...the batteries have been all spoken for. A fellow from upstate NY will be glad to take a busload and a fellow from your area will take a load also. Now the bad news..I just returned from Belize...well Ambergris Caye and I surely do wish they were are neighbors from the North....anyway, it will be darn close to zero this blood is not used to this!
 Good luck with your fleet!
 PS. anyone have a stream generator that they are using? I am in need of some answers before I put one together.

Posted by Steve Bird on Jan 30, 2007 08:12 pm

#8 -  Renewable Energy > For Sale > Re: Free telecommunication batteries
Jee, whats up with the V-Dub...can't be major I hope.
 Makes me cry to see a load of these batteries go to scrap, but I am making an effort!

Posted by Steve Bird on Jan 30, 2007 06:34 am

#9 -  Renewable Energy > For Sale > Free telecommunication batteries
Upgrading a jobsite in Colonie New York (near Albany), we have about 20 2v lead acid batteries that weigh around 300lbs. each and about 40 6 volt lead acid batteries about 60lbs. each. All batteries are operating a microwave radio system now and are in spec's. Must pick up yourself. I have take quite a few for my alt. energy home and hate to see a re-cycler take them. Batteries are about 10 years old.
   Steve Bird
   413-822-1104 mobile
   413-684-3103 home

Posted by Steve Bird on Oct 28, 2006 09:27 pm

#10 -  Renewable Energy > RE General Discussion > Re: Generators
Very well written Eric, surely explained well. Compliments!
 Lets not forget water power generators also, I don't know if his tropical paradise would have flowing water, whether a spring or artesian well runoff, a seasonal stream or even a backflowing marsh would do. I have a small stream flowing thru my property here in New England and with this weekends rain, makes me long for a stream generator. My two small wind turbines have been generating very well the past 24 hours and have all my batteries charged.
 Hope to see a few ideas for stream generation pop up here too.

Posted by Steve Bird on Aug 16, 2006 09:03 pm

#11 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re: Wind noise and vibration of wind generators roof mounted
Great website, thank you Kristen!

Posted by Steve Bird on Aug 11, 2006 06:15 am

#12 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re: Off grid Wireless hotspot
Hi Tom, Paul is right, a 2 watt draw for the radio and the router is not right...2 amps is correct. Use an ammeter to verify the stated draw with the equipment in full operation, usually the stated current draw on radio equipment is higher than actual, I think you will find it less than 2 amps. Thanks for correcting me Paul!

Posted by Steve Bird on Aug 9, 2006 05:57 am

#13 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re: Off grid Wireless hotspot
Hi Paul, I have a few sites that need the same requirement, the only difference is I use Motorola 2 way radio's for remote repeaters up here in New England. We use a 110 watt Evergreen panel at each of 2 sites with 4 12volt chloride batteries and a 125 watt inverter. The only reason we use the inverter is that we need controlling for the drive motor on the panel to track the sun. I have one older site using 4- 15 watt panels that were purchased from Northern Tool Company for $300 including a inverter and a charge controller. If you go the Northern route, you just have enough to buy a few real good quality batteries. I would do a quick check on the router and the radio's while receiving and transmitting to see if you really draw the current that it states... seems a bit high. Total current draw should be less than 2 watts I believe. You would be ok in N.Mex. with no problems operating at 24hrs. a day. If not, use a appliance timer to shut down and turn on like you stated.
Seems like a fun project, let us know how it works out!

Posted by Steve Bird on Aug 8, 2006 09:48 pm

#14 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re: Installation of Solar Panels in a Hurricane-prone area
Hi Doug, Funny you should mention Belize as my wife and I will be in Ambergris Caye in a bit. I would think you would mount according to a building code, and treat your panels as we would here in New gold! Make sure you have extra plywood to cover them during a hurricane, use  simple rubber bungees to fasten the plywood which is cut exactly to the size of the glass, with no overhang to catch the wind, your panels must be able to be "stowed" flat and locked down (if you use adjustable frames) against the roof line easily and quickly with no cable length problems or allowing any or little wind to get underneath the panels. Debris flying at 100 mph will penetrate a vertical block wall as you know, a glancing blow will not. Removal of the panels is really not an option as the roof is 25 ft. above the ground and surely be very difficult and dangerous.
 I would not hesitate at all using small turbines also. Toucans have an aversion to painted "eyes" on the cones of the center of turbines. I would see if wind is advisable at your home location an would not hesitate to have a local artist paint up a pair of AirX 400 watt turbines for you and install them with an easy-tilt tower.
 Together the solar and wind combo is unbeatable.

Posted by Steve Bird on Aug 2, 2006 06:09 am

#15 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re: New to solar power and need help.
Hello Paul;
 If I read you you right that you use up a battery every two days, that tells us that it is used only for an hour or two per day...actually pumping, correct?
 If it is a manned station, get a few 12 volt truck or car batteries wired parallel and do a charge from your vehicle for a half hour or so daily.
 If a remote station and is used unmanned, use a generator for charging or a large solar panel if you have access to one. A 110 watt panel with a charge controller will suffice just fine. Cost for panel and controller would be $600-700 USD

Posted by Steve Bird on Jul 30, 2006 08:30 am

#16 -  Renewable Energy > RE General Discussion > Re: 12V 16" DC venturi fan
 If not available, stop by your local auto wrecking yard and ask to look for an electric radiator fan. Most newer cars no longer use a pulley fans and a pair of 12 volt radiator fans will probably help you out in a pinch.

Posted by Steve Bird on Jul 24, 2006 06:08 am

#17 -  AltE > Discussion > Re: Setting up solar system
Hello Greg;
 Fuse the hot side of the solar panels before the charge controller with a 10 amp blade fuse to start with and fuse the hot side of the charge controller at the battery with the same size.
 The only variable would be is if you have 3 175 watt panels, fuse it a little bit higher. The rule of thumb would be the total current output of the panels (amps)should be matched with the amperage of the fuse.

Posted by Steve Bird on Jul 22, 2006 04:31 pm

#18 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re: Small wind installer near central Maine
Hello Brian;
 First check the best area for your turbine. You should be 30ft. above the treeline within a few hundred feet or so. Check
 This site gives you all you need to know for a do-it-yourselfer.

Posted by Steve Bird on Jul 22, 2006 04:18 pm

#19 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re: Wind System
Hi Richard;
 Yes, you do need a larger system, but you can get 12 volt fridge's also. I was thinking that you may be in an area where solar may be less of a hassle with the tower and all. For what I remember, Honduras has about 100% sun year round. Maybe that solar would be your best bet for primary and wind as secondary.

Posted by Steve Bird on Jul 22, 2006 05:37 am

#20 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re: Wind System
Hello Richard;
 I see the points well taken from Kenny and Jonny, seems so very expensive and complicated from a do-it-yourselfer view. Let me outline my system and will stand back for a while. I have 2 Air-X 400's 12VDC on my 80 ft tower..cost $1070 for both new. 100ft of #8 jacketed copper wire.. $135 new, (this is run down the tower to the charge controller) Charge controller $165 new. 6-15 watt solar panels (matching) $630 new. 3500 watt 12vdc to 110vac $235 new. Handheld voltmeter $65 new. This totals around $2000 not including my labor. I installed this in about two weekends and have been tinkering ever since (about two years). I originally used 4 deep cycle boat batteries with no problems, but since upgraded to 6 chloride batteries at about $200 each. All above NOT including batteries were purchased on Ebay and delivered to my home here in New England. Now for the rest of the story, I run my home 95% on this system, I am grid connected and only my refrigerator, water pump and my garage apartments clothes dryer and refrigerator are on the grid.
 I have recently built and installed a tracking system for the solar panels to follow the sun all day for about $200 in parts again on Ebay delivered.
 Nothing complicated, no burned parts, no burned fingers, no shocks, simple me can work on it and simple me built it!

Posted by Steve Bird on Jul 6, 2006 09:37 pm

#21 -  Renewable Energy > RE General Discussion > Re: 12V LED Lights
 Just connect the LED wiring to the battery posts and you will be all set. The load side connects there anyway.

Posted by Steve Bird on Jul 6, 2006 06:57 am

#22 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re: Wind System
Hello Richard;
 I have a bit of experience with what you are speaking. If you have easy access to the tower site, put your equipment at that location with 24 or 48 volt charging and conversion and bring 110v to your home. If not an easy access, use the higher voltage(ie:220v) to bring the power down to your home then do your charging and conversion there.In all cases, use the largest wire you can afford...NO KIDDING, for the 400 ft. run. The cost of the wiring will be high, but you will loose a huge amount of current with smaller wire and with larger wire you will gain the benefit of low or no loss. Talk to a local electrician or power company to see if they have a wire scrap pile for the taking and use that for your feed to your home. Most of that heavy type of wiring is used for "house drops" by the utility company can be spliced with common electical "bugs" available at your local hardware store. String it in a safe manner from tree to tree as this is not suited for burial and fuse both ends. It is a lot of labor, IT HAS TO BE DONE THIS WAY or all is lost.
 I hope this helps a bit! Contact me if I can help at all.
              Steve Bird

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