Monday, February 7, 2011

Huge Change In Plans

  It's funny how the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.  My DW came home one night last week after a rough day at work.  She was pretty frazzled so I jokingly asked her if I should pack the truck up for North Dakota.  It's my running joke to try and cheer her up when the rat race has her down.  Surprisingly, she said "Let's go!".  It's just a little bit chilly in ND right now (-13F as I write this) so we decided to spend the summer out there instead and really hit the repairs hard.  This changes everything!  I had hoped to just get the house's roof re-shingled this summer but now I think we can get the 48V wind turbine/tower up and cold running water as well.  This would be huge since we are currently running on one 85W solar panel and three 12V batteries in parallel.  We're also currently carrying in bottled water and pulling water up from the cistern with a bucket on a rope through a trap door in the floor of the bathroom.  It's a very charming and rustic way to flush the toilets but just a little too Grizzly Adams for my taste.  This means that we have to get hot to get all the equipment and materials in place in a fairly short time. 
  Yesterday, we ordered a Husky (Homelite) 5000W generator.  I figured that this was plenty big to power my compressor for the roofing and all of my powertools.  After we're settled in, we can use it to supplement the solar panels and turbines during heavy loads and bad power generation days.
It lists a 12 hour run time and reviews said it was very quiet for a generator of this size.  I've had my eye on it for about a year and had to pull the trigger now that Home Depot has free shipping.  This model just wasn't available in any of the stores around here.
  Today, we ordered the next component for our running water.

It's a 250 gallon "food grade" plastic water tank.  The beauty of it is that it's 62"L x 29"W x 42"H so it should be able to squeeze down the steps and through the door into the basement.  I'll have to add a fitting in the top for the line from the windmill pump but this shouldn't be too much of an issue.  Until we get the windmill up, we'll end up hauling water in to fill it.  It's going to be a pain but we'll just have to look at it as one baby step of many.  It sure beats the bucket in the bathroom!

  So we had some drama this morning with *J*.  The Stairclimber batteries died halfway up the second flight of stairs from his bedroom to the main floor.  I ended up having to back down to the landing and dismantle the climber and bring it up in two pieces.  I then had to lug *J* up the stairs, followed by his wheelchair.  These were the original batteries that we bought with the climber and I have no real idea of how old they are.  I was almost afraid to see what the replacement cost was going to be but surprisingly they were a common 12V industrial battery.  A 20 minute trip to the battery store and $60 later and we were back in business!  I'm sure glad this didn't happen on my DW's watch.  It would have been a disaster.

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