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Archive for the ‘The Off Grid Project’ Category

PostHeaderIcon Modify M45 US Military Tent Stove For Controlled Burn

I have modified the US Military M-45 tent stove so that I can fully control the burn rate and stove temperature. Before the modification the tent stove burnt out of control and was off the scale of my digital thermometer. After the modifications I can now control the burn rate and temperature of my M45 military tent stove.

I had first set up the tent stove outside for a test burn. I fully assembled the stove and set up the stove pipes on top of the barrel stove. I loaded it up and burnt it for a while. This day I did not get the proper results though because it was outside and windy. Later I set up the M-45 barrel stove in my off grid rain water and battery shed. I installed the included stove pipes properly through the ceiling of my off grid battery shed. I also used a wood stove flashing on the stove pipe on top of the shed roof to keep rain water out.

Back inside the off grid water and battery shed I tried a test burn of the wood stove. It was scary hot. The stove burnt out of control and was out of range of my digital laser thermometer. I could not use it like this.

You can watch the video of the assembly and first scary burn here: Installing M 45 Tent Stove In Off Grid Water Shed

I picked up some wood stove fiberglass gasket material and some wood stove cement in a tube. Back at the off grid homestead I took apart the tent stove into its two halves. I had seen a lot of fire though the gap between the two halves during the last test burn. So I ran a bead of wood stove cement around the edge of the bottom half of the M45 tent stove. Then I cut a piece of fiberglass gasket to fit and pressed it into place.

Next I put the two halves of the barrel tent stove back together and screwed down the fasteners. This should seal off the middle of the M-45 barrel stove nicely. Looking inside the stove you could see that it makes a good seal all the way around.

Now I put a bead of wood stove cement around the back access door of the military tent stove to seal it off. I closed the door. This door will not be used when I am burning wood in the tent stove.

Finally I put a bead of the wood stove cement around the opening of the front access door. Then I cut some fiberglass gasket material to fit the door opening. I put the gasket in place and closed the door to press the stove cement into place. I want a good seal but do not want the stove cement to stick to the door later so I left it open.

I ordered a 4 inch wood stove damper and waited for it to arrive in the mail.

Later when I had time, after the package had arrived, it was time to finish putting my M 45 tent stove modifications in place.

With the help of Chris who was passing by at that time we removed the bottom section of stove pipe from off the top of the tent stove.

I drilled a hole into the stove about 4 inches up from the bottom to fit the rod that goes through the damper. I put the rod through the hole and fit the damper into the stove pipe to center it. With a hammer I pounded the rod through the other side gently to make an indentation for the hole on the other side.

I drilled out this hole as well. Then I put the damper into the stove pipe and reassembled the stove pipe.

Now it was time for a final test burn of the converted M45 military tent stove to see if I could control the burn rate.

I loaded it up and lit the fire. It burnt hot at first but then when I had a good bed of coals I loaded the stove again and closed down the access door on the bottom and the damper on the stove pipe. The stove settled down into a nice, gentle burn.

I can now control the burn rate of the M-45 military barrel tent stove. It burns longer on a load of wood. And I can control the amount of heat radiating off the barrel stove. It is now safe to use in the off grid battery and rain water shed.

I stayed in the shed and checked all the temperatures with my digital laser thermometer for a couple hours to be sure that everything was going to be ok. All the temperatures were in the safe zones. I felt good about the modifications I have made to the tent stove.

You can watch the video of this work on YouTube here: Gaskets & Damper On M45 Tent Stove Burns Slower Now

While you are over there please subscribe to my YouTube channel and follow our daily videos as we strive to become self sufficient and off the grid on a budget.

PostHeaderIcon Heating Off Grid Water Shed ~ Quad Repair & More Homestead Work

With winter coming on fast and the cold setting in I have to heat my off grid battery and rain water shed or lose it all. I am also working on the Suzuki Quadrunner 500 to find the water leak so we can use it here on the off grid homestead.

It was a rare and mostly sunny day so the solar panels were topping off our tiny house battery bank nicely. We need this very badly after a long period of clouds. But it was cold and windy outside. The temperature never got above 33 degrees today.

In the off grid rain water and battery shed it was about 33 degrees F. It is time to get some heat out here in order to prevent the water from freezing. And the warmth will be helpful for the batteries and help them provide more usable energy.

It took me some time to measure out where I can put a 120 mm computer fan through the wall of the bathroom into the shed. I want to blow warm air from the cat litter area under the bathroom sink into the shed to help keep it warm in there. I finally ended up putting the fan down by the floor behind the cat litter. This will blow the smells from the cat litter out of the tiny house on wheels and also push warmer air into the shed to keep it from freezing.

I marked out where the fan will go and then started to drill holes around the markings so that I can cut it with a reciprocating saw. After drilling holes in a circle pattern I got my good old Ryobi reciprocating saw and cut out the circle.

Next I drilled through into the bathroom all the way around in the circle. I had to go inside to cut out the hole from under the bathroom sink.

When I had the hole cut out I could push away the insulation and then mount my little computer fan. I connected the wires to the water pump wiring because this is a fused line and the fan only pulls 6 watts of power. Now I have warm air blowing from the kitchen to the water shed. The fan causes a negative pressure in the cat litter box area under the bathroom sink. This draws air from the cat crawl space in the kitchen which leads under the bathroom sink area. Now warmer air from the tiny house bathroom enters the rain water and battery shed to help keep it warm. I could smell the food cooking in the kitchen from the fan blowing so I knew lunch was getting ready even before Melanie called me.

While I was working on the off grid water shed heating situation Chris was outside taking the shrouds off the Suzuki quad. We are looking for the water leaks so that we can get this machine running to use on the homestead.

After lunch we went out to the quad and tried to get it running. It is sputtering but will not fire up and run well due to the extreme cold right now. The head gasket is blown and the machine cannot get enough compression to run. I need it warmed up and running though so I can make sure I find all the water leaks.

The radiator has taken a bad hit in an accident and it is leaking again in a few places it seems. My theory is that is where the water was coming from but I will not be sure until I have it running and warmed up some.

Back in the off grid rain water shed I am finishing up my M45 military tent stove conversion. I put gaskets and seals on the doors and seams in an attempt to get control of the barrel wood stove and slow down the burn a bit. I also put a damper into the 4 inch round pipe.

Test burning the stove for the first time after the work turned out well. The stove still gets quite hot but it is not as dangerous as it was without all the gaskets and seals. After I get a bed of coals going and fill up the M45 US Army tent stove with chunks of scrap pallet wood the stove burns gently. The temperatures are all in safe ranges for the off grid water and battery shed.

I brought up the temperature in there from about 30 degrees to 60 degrees in a couple hours.

The off grid freezer has not been on in a few days. We lost our power inverter when it blew out a couple weeks ago. Now we have nothing to power it with except for a generator. This is temporary until we get another inverter in there. But when I am running larger wood power tools and equipment in the off grid wood shop I power up the freezer. Although it was not running in days it was still about 22 degrees inside. It is a very good freezer.

Out in the off grid winter greenhouse I put some bait stations for mice. While we were gone for Thanksgiving mice moved in and devoured our plants in the greenhouse. We were hoping to have some winter vegetables to help bring us through the winter and offset our food costs. I put some bait stations with Tom Cat brand mouse baits in them. I was putting out solid baits but the chipmunks haul off the entire thing and put it away for later use in winter. This is not at all desirable. I need to get rid of the mice now and not chipmunks later although the chipmunks are as bad as the mice out here at the off grid homestead.

We will have to rebuild and restart planting food in our winter greenhouse.

You can watch the video of today’s work here: Heating Off Grid Wood Shed ~ Quad Work & More

While you are over there please subscribe to our YouTube channel and follow our daily videos as we strive to become self sufficient and off the grid on a budget.

PostHeaderIcon Building A Free Goat Fence Out Of Pallets

My friend from YouTube, Trucker Buck, and I have entered into a sort of business together. We are getting two Nubian milk goats. So now we are scrambling to build a goat proof fence to keep them in place. We also have to build a shed for them but that is another day.

I have a mess of Euro pallets that are all the same size and shape. These are perfect to build a goat fence with. They are 47 inches high when stood on end so they are the perfect height for milk goats.

I used the garden tractor and trailer to haul over the pallets as we worked. The trailer holds 5 to 6 pallets at a time which is way better than hand carrying them over to the work area.

We lined up the pallets and used scrap pallet frames to fasten the pallets together using deck screws. Deck screws are stronger and made to last outside in the weather. We placed a pallet frame, which is a sort of 1 by 4, inside the framing of two pallets and screwed it in place. Two frames per pallet gives us a very strong fence.

Some T posts driven in along the line help keep the fence from falling over and will stop the goats from pushing the fence out of place.

We started on the side of the fire wood shed, which is also made of pallets. The fence extends a ways out and then we made a corner using an old 6×6 post I had laying around that was the perfect length for the job. We screwed the corner pallets into the post to make a very solid corner.

To make the gate, we used a single pallet and some scrap 2x4s as framing for the gate. I had some hinges and a latch on hand already so we used them on the gate.

Making Pallet Wood Goat GateBuilding a pallet wood goat gate

We managed to get the second wall of the fence up and in place before we started to run out of day light. We will continue on the fence and then the goat shed tomorrow.

Pallet Goat FencePallet wood goat fence

You can watch the video for the day’s work here: Building A Goat Fence Out Of Pallets

While you are over there please subscribe to my YouTube channel and follow our daily videos as we strive to become self sufficient and off the grid on a budget.

PostHeaderIcon Plumbing IBC Tanks Into Rain Water Harvesting System

I have connected a 275 gallon IBC tote to my off grid tiny house on wheels as the main water supply. I have a second water tank next to it waiting to be placed into the system. We will have 550 gallons of rain water supply with the ability to expand our capacity later.

I bought all the plumbing to connect two large IBC water tanks into my off grid tiny house water system months ago. I only just got the rain water shed ready for us to set up the tanks inside. Chris helped me drag a second tank into the shed and put it next to the first one.

Chris has been insulating the shed while I was working on the plumbing and wind turbine wiring earlier. Then we both put in the last two pieces of plywood on the walls in the back corner so that I can set up the two IBC totes where they are meant to stay.

I put down four cement blocks under the framing of a wood pallet first. Next came the 275 gallon water tank on top. This tank did not come with a metal frame so I have to build a frame around it myself to keep it from collapsing. Then I can connect it to the tiny house rain water system.

When connecting the PVC fittings and plumbing, I realized that I was running out of PVC pipe so I ran into town for another piece. Later, as I was gluing all the fittings together, I accidentally put a piece in the wrong place. With the PVC cement, you have one second before the bond becomes permanent. I realized the very second that I put it into place that it was wrong but then it was too late.

Plumbing IBC tote into tiny house

So I was off to town again for a 59 cent PVC coupling to repair my mistake.

I got all the pieces put together finally. I used a flatbed trailer to assemble the fittings to the IBC tanks so that I got the same angle on the pipes for the two tanks.

Next I took the whole thing inside the rain water shed to try it out for size. It fits perfectly. So I propped up the pipe assembly with some boards to keep the pressure off the Gator Locks on the IBC tanks. Then I connected the Gator Lock fitting onto the main rain water tank.

Finally I removed the water line that feeds into the off grid tiny house from the 20 gallon tank we have been using and put it into the new system. I turned on the main valve to the IBC tank and heard the water gush into the new pipes.

Fortunately there were no leaks at all. The off grid tiny house on wheels now has a larger rain water supply. No more hand filling a little 20 gallon tank every two days. Now we pray for rain to fill up our tanks.

Plumbing IBC Totes In Tiny House

Melanie was working in her flower bed all afternoon. She put rock borders around the inside and outside of the new flower bed. Then she transplanted some of her flowers that she grew from seed into the new flower bed. When the plants grow up this is going to be a very pretty flower bed.

Chris has been working out by the wood pile dismantling the remains of the old RV porch and wood stove shed. He has been removing the sheet metal from the pallets that were the porch. The pallet wood goes into a pile for later processing into fire wood for next year’s heat. The sheet metal goes into another pile to be recycled. Chris has been working quite a bit out by the fire wood pile getting us ready for heating the off grid tiny house and water shed next winter.

You can watch the entire video of today’s work here: Plumbing IBC Tanks Into Rain Water Harvesting System

While you are over there please subscribe to my YouTube channel and follow our daily videos as we strive to become self sufficient and off the grid on a budget.

PostHeaderIcon Connected Wind Turbine & Plumbing Rain Water System

I finally have all the plumbing supplies necessary to connect the 275 gallon IBC totes to my rain water system. Chris and I are finishing the rain water shed so that we can install a second IBC tote water tank and connect the plumbing. I also connected the wind turbine to my off grid tiny house battery bank.

Long ago someone sent me a wind charge controller with a dump load connection. This is simply a solar charge controller with a large solenoid connected to it. When the voltage reaches a certain point, the solenoid is turned on which sends the excess power to a dump load.

I screwed this wind charge controller to the wall above the off grid battery bank and then connected the controller to the battery bank. Last I connected the wind turbine to the charge controller inputs. Now when the wind is blowing I will get a little bit more energy into my off grid battery bank. With all the trees around here I will not get very much power from the wind turbine at any given time due to the turbulence of the trees. But when you are fully off the grid every little bit helps.

Unfortunately when I connected the power to the charge controller, the dump load was turned on. This is because the MPPT solar charge controllers have the battery bank in absorption mode. The voltage for absorption mode is too high for the cheaper solar charge controllers to it turns on its dump load. I have to later open it up and see if I can adjust the dump load settings inside to a higher voltage.

Chris and I finished the back wall of the off grid rain water and battery shed. Chris had been finishing the insulation as I worked on the wind charge controller. By the time I was finished with the charge controller he was done with the insulation.

Connecting Wind Charge Controller

Next we put up the last two pieces of plywood on the wall back there so that I can put in a second IBC tank for our off grid rain water supply.

I bought the plumbing to connect multiple water tanks many months ago already. I had it all planned out ahead of time. I have PVC quick disconnects with valves so that I can remove a tank from the system on the go without disrupting the water supply to the tiny house on wheels. Each tank will have its own valve and quick disconnect. The only problem was that I did not have a fitting for the large 275 gallon IBC totes. I had ordered some “universal fit” ones off amazon a while back but after paying it showed that it was coming from China. After a month of waiting impatiently, I received them only to discover that they did not fit anything I have at all.

So I waited and put the project back on hold again.

Someone in the comments on YouTube suggested that I get a Gator Lock fitting from TSC to fit my 275 gallon IBC totes. They told me to ignore the threads on the fitting and just put the Gator Lock right over the top of them and lock it on and it will work. So I immediately ran out to TSC and picked up one. It fits! Now I can finally finish the plumbing on my off grid rain water system for the tiny house on wheels.

Gator Lock fittings

Now all I have to do is to lay out the plumbing in place, cut the PVC pipes to fit between the totes and glue it all together.

I connected all the fittings that go from the IBC tote to the PVC lines. There are multiple pieces that have to go together in order to reduce the Gator Lock down to a one inch PVC pipe but it will be worth it in the end. I used teflon tape on all the threads before hand tightening them all together.

Next I cut the PVC pipes to fit inside all the connectors, valves and fittings to try it all on for size. I am dry fitting it all together first to make sure I get it all right before I begin to tighten or glue anything.

Connecting PVC Pipes To IBC Tote

Watch the full video of today’s work here: Connected Wind Turbine & Plumbing Rain Water System

While you are over there please subscribe to my YouTube channel and follow our daily videos as we strive to become self sufficient and off the grid on a budget.