My "off-grid" playground experiment!

Anything off grid. Energy, waste management, water supply, housing, whatever.
techman
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Re: My "off-grid" playground experiment!

Post by techman » Mon Feb 09, 2015 1:11 pm

I once saw a peltier powered dehumidifier at Walmart for under $100. Wish I had grabbed it. Takes 75 watts to run it if I remember right.

I hope to build one this year. Run it intermittent. Turn it on, cool the plates. Let condensation build up on them. Turn it off. Let the water drip off. The repeat the cycle. Should work. Have the cold plates over a container to catch the water.

That water should be good for replacing the water in batteries as long as you can keep dust and dirt from falling into it because its distilled water.

I like your thinking about money and the simple life. I think one day you are going to snag up a good wife and have a nice life.

The_Amateur
Posts: 56
Joined: Sat Nov 02, 2013 9:17 pm
Location: NW Atlanta

Re: My "off-grid" playground experiment!

Post by The_Amateur » Mon Feb 09, 2015 10:32 pm

I sure hope so on the last part!

I've never known until your comment there was some other form of an electric dehumidifier. If I saw that word before, I probably thought Peltier was a brand, not type, of dehumidifier. I could see myself in the future using one of those things, but for now, I'll just use the unintentional benefit my air conditioner gives me to dehumidify since it'll be in the 90s May-September as well with being humid being that I live in the deep south.

Playground update below:

Since my last update, I've created my second DIY Home Depot $10 12"x16" window and it is ready to be installed. They're pretty easy to make with only 8 wood cuts, glass, and ~16 screws each. The new window is going to go (viewing the pictures I took of the place a while ago, which I need to update) to the left of my big window with the blinds installed. It'll be a quick install for everything besides expanding the current hole from 11.5" square to 12"x16", but it'll work. It'll probably be fogged with Rustoleum window fogging spray. Hopefully all will go well with me maybe getting that work done, from start to finish, on Saturday.

I've also done my best to remember to max out the volume of my YouTube videos and to speak louder/closer into the microphone. I think there is a noticeable improvement, but let me know if it's not enough.

I insulated the fourth wall of the playground completely and it is now only in need of wood to cover it and I'll be done. I'll use the scraps I have from previous projects and that'll come later, maybe Sunday. (Maybe if I'm feeling up to it, I'll paint the wall, but with the battery chest in the way, it'll sure make for a pain.) It kept the place a lot warmer than it usually does at night with no heating/cooling: 7 degrees warmer than outside with no heating of any form for 15 hours. I think that's pretty good for R6.4 in the walls and R10 in the ceiling.

I finally found the area where water has been entering the window in the playground, therefore greatly helping me find out the leak in my "leaky window" I forgot to seal was leaking in fact from a completely different source to my best guess. It rained today so I'll wait until tomorrow or Wednesday for that to dry out outside and then seal it. Speaking of leaks, I believe I got a potential leak source on one corner sealed off and another known leak source likely sealed off. Only time will tell now, but things are looking good already since during today's sudden downpour putting half an inch of rain and hail on the ground in 10 minutes, there was nothing coming through those two areas but it did through the one by the window, so I think the two just mentioned are good now.

It's been in the 60s for the past few days now and trees began budding (15 or so days earlier than last year). It's going to go from a high of 64 Wednesday to a low of 15 Thursday night with it being very, very windy for 3 or so days. It'll be three days of my "emergency heater" where I bring an electric heater out (powered by grid power) to keep the temperatures at night in the playground around 40 degrees since I can't risk my stuff being damaged/frozen by low temperatures. I know it's cheating but I'm not living in it full time and I have school. If I lived in a real tiny home, I would have a fire going on all the time and maintain it.


As a side note, I would like to thank all who have been/are reading this forum post I've been posting on for a while now. When I opened up the page to make this reply, I saw exactly 2,000 have viewed this since my first post in early last year and I find it amazing that 2,000 people have taken time to at least probably read my first forum post showing that I do exist. If I was a little lazy and didn't think I was going to make other people think that doing anything renewable energy related was possible, I wouldn't have taken the time to make these posts on here. Don't forget that everybody is welcome to post any questions you may have on this here post or on my YouTube channel videos, channel is linked in a previous post (I think page 3). I read all comments since it's a small channel with few views and will reply if necessary. The videos may not be all that interesting but the progress made in just a playground experiment at least I think is pretty cool to see, especially how this place has evolved from the start of the channel last March. (If I did the channel from the start, it'd show all the construction which was pretty cool as well.) From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

techman
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Re: My "off-grid" playground experiment!

Post by techman » Wed Feb 11, 2015 5:31 pm

I, for one, am very proud of you and all that you accomplished. I believe that one day you will be building your own tiny off grid home.

For the future please feel free to link to a video now and then just to make it easier for people to find your channel. I do not offer this privilege to everyone but you are becoming a heavy poster here.

Soon I will do a video and refer to your forum posts and channel. Just because I want to.

Thanks for sharing.

The_Amateur
Posts: 56
Joined: Sat Nov 02, 2013 9:17 pm
Location: NW Atlanta

Re: My "off-grid" playground experiment!

Post by The_Amateur » Wed Feb 11, 2015 7:22 pm

I feel honoured for you to say that, since for the past year and a half now, I've been watching your videos and taking some advice. I really do hope to be in a house I built by myself so I can get some real building experience in and not little things such as a table on hinges, or a heater, or a mobile battery chest. I didn't post any links besides on one forum post a page or two back since I didn't want to sound like an advertiser.

Speaking of building, I got my second DIY window cut out, put up, and hinged yesterday. It was a very complicated process since the blade I used to cut the first one out in March broke and the hole is not 100% done being dug out. There's about 3/4" of wood along the top that still needs to be cut but it's fine for now. The window was very wobbly with one hinge, so for now, I got a hinge from a spare door in our shed hooked up to the window as well between now and next time I go to visit Home Depot and get a new hinge/lock.

Today, I decided to seal the window up with silicone before I would need to do it in the cold. It's going to be left alone overnight to cure properly.

Today was the last warm and sunny day but I am glad I got some productive work done, despite the roadblock of a wobbly hinge which is temporarily fixed and the lock piece on the window broke. Fortunately, I had a spare in case that happened.

I hope to get an opportunity to sleep in there one night, since I think that would simply be very cool. It'll have to wait a bit, though, with temperatures going down into the teens, I wouldn't want to wake seeing my breath while wearing nothing but a T-shirt...

techman
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Re: My "off-grid" playground experiment!

Post by techman » Mon Feb 16, 2015 8:57 pm

Cant wait to see the vids with you staying out there fully off the grid.

I have to admit the idea of waking up and seeing your breath is not comfortable as I can tell you from experience.

Keep us updated.

The_Amateur
Posts: 56
Joined: Sat Nov 02, 2013 9:17 pm
Location: NW Atlanta

Re: My "off-grid" playground experiment!

Post by The_Amateur » Fri Feb 20, 2015 9:59 pm

Today, it was the first day I got to watch the snow fall at the playground. The snow wasn't in the forecast whatsoever, but it was nice seeing all of the snow, sometimes at a good rate, fall while looking out the big window. It was just a dusting that fell here, but since it was 14 the night before and not above freezing today or yesterday but 0.2 degrees, the ground was already cold enough to support snow that fell on it as soon as it came. Fortunately, we didn't get too great of accumulations because it would have turned into exactly what happened last year with a 2-3 inch nightmare, shutting down the city. By the time the snow stopped, we already had it covering the roads and shingles of homes.

Not much else was done today or yesterday because it was so cold. I'm still working on getting the final leaking areas closed but I still have nothing to close it with.

It's been pretty cold for this winter. Usually, we'd be in the upper 60s now and occasionally going down, but now, we've only had 5 days at or above the average temperature. This winter is more active in regards to snow and precip than last year, as well.

The_Amateur
Posts: 56
Joined: Sat Nov 02, 2013 9:17 pm
Location: NW Atlanta

Re: My "off-grid" playground experiment!

Post by The_Amateur » Wed Feb 25, 2015 11:41 pm

Today and yesterday yielded about a total of 4 inches of snow (so far). It snowed just under an inch of snow yesterday from 7-8:30AM and we got some ice/sleet before that which lasted from 2-6AM. It all melted quickly and the roads were dry before round two. Round two yielded about 2 and a half inches of snow and has been going on since 1:56PM and currently going on as I type. Right now it's raining, but it should freeze over and be snow at some point before the end of the event. It was an interesting past two days.

I kept sweeping the solar panels yesterday with my broom, and today I just covered them with my hail boards to pull off tomorrow after all is finished. One good thing about snow is that I can move it away before it melts so that no water will run off of the bridge and roof and possibly into the playground. It looked less crazy this year since there was much less ice on the wood making me slip.

I took some good pictures and video of the playground and other stuff while the snow was falling both days and I think they look nice.

The playground held up perfectly for the entire duration of the event. Not one drop of water entered the place. Last January and February when we had a separate snow and ice storm, snow came in through the windows and a few other places that showed me really well where I needed to close off. Since then, a lot of the stuff has changed for the good and there was nothing making it in through the windows, even the new one. The new window never leaked from its first liquid test.

The next week will be interesting, as well. In the course of a week (last Tuesday to next Tuesday), we'll have gone from 4 inches of snow and ice to thunderstorms and the highs in the 60s, lows not getting near freezing. And the warm is supposed to finally stay. Unfortunately, the warm means that insects, growth, and storms are going to arise out of nowhere.

Spring storms in the Dixie Alley aren't gentle here and usually result in a few tornado outbreaks and very harsh winds. For forecasted events like that, I decided I will bring the solar panels into the basement of our house so they won't blow away instead of needing to tie/screw them to the wall of the playground which could be taken away. We had a weak tornado last year just about 5 miles away despite more hilly terrain, so anything is possible. I was in a tornado last year and knowing that you may be living the last minutes of your life is terrifying.

Hopefully, you'll get some warm weather ahead like we will be getting. By the end of March, we'll have the air conditioners going and the one I have will be getting reinstalled in the playground probably by April 1.

techman
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Re: My "off-grid" playground experiment!

Post by techman » Thu Feb 26, 2015 10:29 pm

Wow, I cant imagine having the AC going in March. I will be burning fire wood for heat until about June or July. The days will start getting above freezing in about two more weeks roughly. But it will not be very warm until around April during the day. We will still have cold nights all the way until summer though.

I hope to never go through a tornado. It is terrifying enough to have one pass over nearby like last year. I was in the camper and a tornado passed over through the woods, just above the tree tops. I was absolutely terrified sitting in a camper with nowhere to go.

The_Amateur
Posts: 56
Joined: Sat Nov 02, 2013 9:17 pm
Location: NW Atlanta

Re: My "off-grid" playground experiment!

Post by The_Amateur » Sun Mar 08, 2015 6:59 pm

Yesterday, I installed the air conditioner where my first DIY hinged window goes. The window will be stored in my room for quick access incase the air conditioner needs to come out for any reason. The air conditioner is very very tight fitting in the opening, but fortunately, it does. I worried that my paneling could have cut off 1/16" of an inch making it impossible to fit, but after about 10 minutes of determination trying to get that thing in, it went. Regardless, I could have made something to stick the unit in and pipe the hot air out. I will miss the view of the nature back there, but I'd rather be cooler in summer than hot with a view of the forest. In fall, it'll be beautiful to see foliage out of the window once I remove the A/C. Perhaps I'll cut out a new window if I want the view so bad. I can do the entire process from digging out a hole to making/installing a DIY window in about 1 hour if I needed to.

The air conditioner still works as good as it did the last time I ran it. It has a stronger fan than I remember it having and it still only seems to be drawing 260 or so watts instead of 470 no matter what. I guess it's an added bonus? It won't get ran too much right now since the extended forecast shows cooling temperatures again for a little bit before warming up. At least I have the thing installed and don't need to worry about it. The compressor I did test yesterday and it still runs well, cooling the place down very nicely.

It was 75.7 degrees outside today, 10 degrees warmer than expected. It was a beautiful, sunny, dry day as well as yesterday, while only 70 then, and I got some good work done. I uncovered my trash bag that I put down by the bridge/room intersection where the leak is coming in through, sanded off the surface of the bridge on the playground because of growing moss, and dried out some areas that haven't seen sun or air since when it snowed. The 28% humidity today really helped me get some airing out in the wet, uncirculated areas that I have, especially an area right above my door. It went from probably 100% humidity in some areas sealed off to desert dry after running a fan on there for two hours. I sanded off the moss in there and filled in the hole with silicone. I'm going to do that to the area above that, which I have almost 100% certainty is where the water is still able to enter through. Either that or the area I just siliconed is it.

I'm in spring mode now, especially with me getting an entire extra hour of solar that I can actually take advantage of. I took out all the window insulation I put in a little bit ago to keep in any heat that stayed in overnight. That did seem to help, but on warmer days like this, they'll attract sunlight and warm up the place more, I fear. I've cleaned a lot of stuff off, such as the windows, blinds, and the physical appearance of the playground to people from the outside. I have been trying to replace a lot of stuff on the outside that I put full of spray foam with silicone since it is smoother and more discreet than giant yellow and orange things coming out of cracks. I wiped off my solar panels yesterday and again today (birds decided overnight or this morning that solar panels look nicer 50% covered in white) so they should be making top power possible.

My passive heater will be going in sometime soon, probably near April. I'll take out the hose and just tape over the flange protruding out of the playground with aluminum tape and fill it in with some insulation. I'll also try to get something to block direct sunlight from going into the south facing windows in summer instead of putting aluminum foil in the slots to block any light from coming through.

Below, I'm going to repost links for my YouTube channel so others just now reading this can look at it without browsing pages, as you've suggested.

My channel's main page:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UClbBN4 ... Irfryshvew

Playlist for only playground:
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=P ... freload=10

All videos:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UClbBN4 ... freload=10

techman
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Re: My "off-grid" playground experiment!

Post by techman » Wed Mar 18, 2015 1:38 pm

Thanks for posting the links and the updates.

Just got more snow on the ground last night and it is COLD out today.

The wind tore up everything out here yesterday. Did a lot of damage. I think I may have had something like a mini tornado rip through. Trashed the entire meadow. Flattened everything in its path. Fortunately it only hit the middle of the meadow and did not touch my house, RV or tents.

Your AC unit probably runs more powerfully due to having more battery storage for it to draw on. I think that would make a difference.

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