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RMH for Dummies! Please help guide me through my first build!  RSS feed

 
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Hi Anthony;  The secondary air tube is used in a batch box configuration, not on a J tube.  A peter channel added to your feed tube and a trip wire cut into the roof of the burn tunnel are the only ways to promote better burning in a J tube.
As far as your rad system. I have seen it done, its very risky. external temp on my barrel near the top is 500+ F  lower down its 200 or so . The danger lies with steam ... it blows things up REALLY FAST.  That said it can be done I would just approach it very carefully maybe with a big stick like you would do with a dangerous reptile...  Please be careful !
 
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Staci Kopcha wrote:Thanks, Thomas!! I scored a ton of free wood today, so have been loading/unloading that all day.
Have to make myself presentable and now go to School open houses, so manifold with ROUND port to bench will be tomorrow.   Do I understant right that  need to tape ALL the joints (so most of the pipe) of the flex- 90 section?

Thanks again!!



Looking great so far!

I am taping all the sections of my 90's regardless of if it's needed, but I already know I'm going overkill on the piping for sure.  I'm siliconing every joint, screwing it together and using the best tape I can buy.  I've placed all the seams of my horizontal pipe at the top so any condensation that might form in the pipe cannot drip out.

Be SUPER careful with the tape!  I've cut myself like 3 times on the tape and pretty badly!
 
thomas rubino
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Yes, Like Eric said, metal tape every joint, not just the flex piece.  Any place carbon monoxide could escape .  Good score on the firewood.
 
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You're doing great Staci. Thomas you're a saint. This looks very much like the one we just built in PA I think you are going to love it. My sweetie fires ours up around November, turns on the laptop, and doesn't move from it until April.
--Mud
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Staci - Great post at an opportune time as we are just starting our 6" rocket stove working off the same drawing here down in New Zealand.
I was just about to order the fire bricks, yes was going to use full ones for the riser as well!
Following the response and threads;
1. I will look at a cast riser, or at least split bricks.
2. I had not thought much about the transition to the flue, this looks a key ash clearance area and the attached thread invaluable. good access ash pan and smooth chamber required.

Questions;

1. Are you going to introduce secondary air into riser tube? I have seen some information on this but no drawings, just comments on a sketch.
2. I intend to install water heating tubes around the main drum to run a wetback radiator system in the house. I have seen pics on this, are there any issues with cooling the drum that much? Does anyone have experience on this?

Cheers Anthony
Makahuri  



Hi Anthony- (I hope I did the quotes right...not sure on all the tricks of the permies posting...)  SO fun to hear that someone on the other side of the planet is doing the same project! So glad if any of my (numerous) mistakes and questions can be of aid to someone else.
  To answer your questions:
      1- I honestly wasn't planning on it and have not read up on it.  I will just be pleased if I can get the thing built and running!  (Unless someone here STRONGLY recommends doing it???)
      2-Again, sorry, but I am not familiar with this, not have I read up on it.  Thomas Rubino has been a stellar resource for me. Perhaps he might know.

Thanks for reaching out!!
Staci
 
Staci Kopcha
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Today I did I dry build of the rest of the manifold around the ducting to bench.  Had to only cut one brick.  LABELED them all with numbers so I can mortar in place when I have the time.  I needed to finalize the ducting before sealing it in.  Looks like I need to purchase 2 additional 2' sections.
  Does the layout look okay? ( It is a bit more than 20'.)
   Specific questions:

           1- Am I okay with clean outs?  (three:  manifold, 360 bend and chimney)
           2- Where/how is the chimney cleanout- is this a "t" to the side opposite the bench??
           3- bench to chimney transition: is this done with a flexible elbow?

As always, much thanks!!
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pollinator
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ALSO, is there anyway to connect two duct pipes without the pre-fab tapered end?





Maybe not quite as pretty looking as a commercial pair of crimpers but it does the job. Just don't make them too big or it could add a bit of drag to the exhaust flow.



 
thomas rubino
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Hi Stacie;  
#1)  I only have 2 clean outs , so three will be fine.  I suspect the final one will not even be used.
#2)  What I did was make the vertical pipe so it could be unscrewed and moved away, if I needed to access that end of the system. In 5 years I have never needed in there. I have used a leaf blower ... AFTER removing the chimney cap...  don't ask....
#3) I used a non flex 90 to come up under my vertical pipe. A flex 90 would be fine if you don't line up nicely.
Everything is looking good. I believe you are allowed 30' of bench for a 6" system so if your at 20'+ counting your bends then your golden!
 
Staci Kopcha
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Chris McClellan wrote:You're doing great Staci. Thomas you're a saint. This looks very much like the one we just built in PA I think you are going to love it. My sweetie fires ours up around November, turns on the laptop, and doesn't move from it until April.
--Mud



Thanks for the kind words, Chris! Hope for my kids and I to be parking ourselves on it this winter!
 
Staci Kopcha
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Gerry Parent wrote:

ALSO, is there anyway to connect two duct pipes without the pre-fab tapered end?



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tf7JwmWpBA8

Maybe not quite as pretty looking as a commercial pair of crimpers but it does the job. Just don't make them too big or it could add a bit of drag to the exhaust flow.





Thanks for the link, Gerry!!
 
Staci Kopcha
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Until I get to the Store (tomorrow) , I am in a bit of a standstill.  Eager to keep on moving, I decided to have my first go with cob.  Following the Builder's Guide, I did test batch one, which was a 1:1:1 of our local dirt (pretty crappy sandy rocky stuff): dry fire clay; sand (free from Offer Up) and a bit of water.  Made a test brick to judge shrinkage, cracking, etc.
Bonus:  it is entertaining a few of the kiddos, who are home on the first day of school because of teacher strike.
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thomas rubino
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Stacie;   Increase your sand.  It is the thermal barrier to the clay.  The clay WILL crack when heated. The sand retards that tendency.
 
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Gerry Parent wrote:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tf7JwmWpBA8

Maybe not quite as pretty looking as a commercial pair of crimpers but it does the job. Just don't make them too big or it could add a bit of drag to the exhaust flow.



The technique in this video of using sturdy pliers and twisting to kink the pipe end is what Ernie Wisner did at the workshop I attended, so I would consider that a thumbs up for its effectiveness. Ernie also said that to save time you don't have to do this all the way around the pipe just do some equally spaced clusters.
 
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Thomas,
For my edification, maybe you can explain the difference between an exhaust pipe that goes straight up through the roof and one that goes through the wall and then goes up? Aren’t they both subject to the same kind of winds and temperatures? I am not sure I understand your response to my post.

Thanks,
Leonard
 
thomas rubino
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Hi Leonard;
Sorry for the confusion. My fault,  I thought you were referring to a straight horizontal exhaust not a pass thru the wall and go vertical.
There is a difference in northern climates .  An uninsulated vertical pipe outdoors will not easily draw when cold . An insulated or better yet an indoor chimney remains warmer than out doors and will draw more easily .
Both are subject to winds but not like a horizontal exhaust is. The earliest rmh used a straight horizontal exhaust.
 
L Cho
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Thomas,
Thank you for the reply. Would your chimney have a damper or back flow preventer of some kind?
 
thomas rubino
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No damper at all.  Sometimes I cover the throat of the feed tube with 2 firebricks,  after the fire is out for the night. This helps slow the draw of warm air up the chimney.
 
Gerry Parent
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Leonard,    I have that type of exhaust setup for my workshop. Uninsulated pipe goes up out of the bench, makes a 90 through the wall for about 3 feet, then another 90 upwards outside to about 2 feet above the roof peak. All pipe exposed to the outside is insulated with a foil type insulation which helps the exhaust keep warm and help prevent condensation. Because the exhaust temps are so low condensation can be a big problem (rusting pipes or worse, water collecting and running back into the bench) so insulating of some sort is a must...
 
Staci Kopcha
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Today: cob test batch #2: 1 cup sand, 1 cup crappy dirt, 1/4 cup fire clay.  Formed brick as before to watch for cracking, shrinkage etc.
Box store #1 did not have materials I needed, tomorrow I will try Box store #2.

 In looking for a stove gasket for the lid, my husband has me questioning whether or not the removable lid is a good idea.  Because of the brick manifold, I thought a removable lid would allow for inspection of the burn tower, BUT is a completely closed top a better idea?
   I found a barrel roadside free, no lid.  Was planning in cutting the bottom off and then using a lid I found at a salvage for $10.  Fire stove gasket around the lid and the spout.
(paint on lid still needs to be fully removed)

Thoughts on going with removable lid vs closed system??
Thank you!
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thomas rubino
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Yes , stay with a removable lid.  It is SO MUCH easier . Setting your top gap with a removable lid is a piece of cake , doing it with no lid is guess work.  You will want to look in and inspect from time to time, You do not want to have to move that barrel at all.
You want wood stove door gasket for your lid, a box store would be hard to find any, IF they have it.  You want a smaller hardware store (True value style) they should have door gasket. The smaller plug can be sealed with a dab of stove refractory (one of the tiny tubs) also available at a hardware store.
EDIT)  Stacie, the lid itself should have a large plastic gasket underneath , it needs to be replaced with stove gasket.  The smaller screw lids also have a small plastic gasket they can be removed and the threads sealed with retort cement.
 
Staci Kopcha
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Thanks, Thomas! Will proceed with the lid and your recommendations.
 
Staci Kopcha
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Just finished the last of the manifold wall, with pipe outlet for the bench.  Definitely not pretty masonry, but hopefully functional and air-tight!

-I plan to cob the outside (to cover the mason-monstrosity), should I cob the interior as well?

-Also, I have been noticing cracks in the clay-slip on the tower and fuel feed.  There is even a slight wiggle in one of the fuel feed bricks.   The tower is solid, though. Any thoughts/suggestions?  
Thanks!
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thomas rubino
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Your brickwork looks fine.  I would go ahead and cob inside, will help make sure it is sealed.  If it were me I would leave the transition box brick exposed on the outside but covering it is fine.  Don't worry about those little cracks on the joints just smear some more fireclay /sand over them.  The wiggling brick you will have to decide if you want to fix it now or see how it holds up.
 
Staci Kopcha
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Today:  Final layout of bench pipes and taping;  mark ceiling for chimney; finalize cob mix recipe.

1) my pipe comes out of the manifold above ground, so I will have to prop up.  Is it okay to prop with bricks and then fill in cob around them?
 I also understand that a slight downward slope is advised...?

2) 1:1:1 dirt:clay:sand looks okay.  Hard, not super shrunk, no cracks.
   1:4:4 dirt: clay:sand,  not strong, crumbles apart.

 Today: I set up 1:3 clay to sand...drying in the sun now.
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thomas rubino
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Propping with bricks is fine.  The usefulness of sloping pipe is debatable but no harm in doing it.  Your nearing the home stretch ! The hardest part is over ... Great Job !
Be mentally prepared for your first lighting...   Its going to smoke ... its not going to draw good... It will change direction and want to burn up the feed tube (keep a small fan handy ) Puddles of water will appear...  All this does not happen every time  a new stove is lit but, it happens enough that you need to be prepared. Its all normal , that cob can take weeks to truly dry out. Until it does your rocket may be more like a bottle rocket not a dragon !  Don't worry your dragon will grow wings and roar, she just needs to dry out and warm up a little !  
 
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I am so thankful to see the work that you, Staci, have done on this, and by yourself (well, I did see kidlets helping once, I think : )

But moreso, the consistent and timely advice, how sweet!  In our supposedly busy world, I am heartened to see the level of commitment to helping you in this project, the kind way advice was given, and the sweet reception of said advice : )

I sure hope it works! May God heap blessings on your head, Thomas : )  And may God bless you also, Staci

 
Jackie Frobese
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Staci Kopcha wrote: finalize cob mix recipe.
   
1:4:4 dirt: clay:sand,  not strong, crumbles apart.



Stacie, in the pictures it looks like the crumbled brick has written on its paper 1:4:4 clay:dirt:sand

I only ask because I'm trying to better understand cob. I was inspired by your post and wanted to try making a few bricks with my property's dirt to see how they come out, and knowing how the wrong mixes act can be useful in troubleshooting.

I also wanted to say I'm so very impressed with your dedication and willingness! Its very inspiring to myself and hopefully to many others. Its great how the thread has become literally a step by step walk through a RMH build!
 
Staci Kopcha
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Got all seams/joints taped.

I have a BUNCH of broken fire brick pieces...does this make okay mass?  I also have lots of red brick, rock, concrete.

Thanks!
 
Staci Kopcha
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thomas rubino wrote:Propping with bricks is fine.  The usefulness of sloping pipe is debatable but no harm in doing it.  Your nearing the home stretch ! The hardest part is over ... Great Job !
Be mentally prepared for your first lighting...   Its going to smoke ... its not going to draw good... It will change direction and want to burn up the feed tube (keep a small fan handy ) Puddles of water will appear...  All this does not happen every time  a new stove is lit but, it happens enough that you need to be prepared. Its all normal , that cob can take weeks to truly dry out. Until it does your rocket may be more like a bottle rocket not a dragon !  Don't worry your dragon will grow wings and roar, she just needs to dry out and warm up a little !  




Good to know- I probably would have panicked!!
Thanks!!
 
Staci Kopcha
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Two things I have learned today:

    1) should have taped pipe seams BEFORE connecting them, and taping connections
    2) Birkenstocks are poor protection from falling brick.  

My best cob  mix so far is 1:1:1  sand, dirt, fire clay.  I did many repeat batches and tests.  No cracking and anything with less clay crumbles.


My sub-floor is brick.  I am planning on making a layer of scrap/broken brick, and then a layer of cob over that, and continuing... making sure to make a nice tight cob blanket around all of the pipes.
Is this right?

As always, MUCH thanks!!  This feed has been invaluable.
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thomas rubino
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A nice pair of Keen hard toe shoes would probably be better for brick work ,  but hey, maybe your a trendsetter....one with a bruised foot:)
 All your broken pieces make fine mass, its known as urbanite.  No air gaps is the only rule.
Yes , a nice cob layer all around the pipes.
I notice in one photo a brick wall will be next to your mass, but in another it looks like you have a sheet rock wall ? Were you planning on placing the mass directly against the sheet rock?  If you were, I would suggest an air gap. Stand a piece of plywood up while you make your mass, periodically lifting it so the cob doesn't adhere. After your cob sets up just remove plywood and shazam you have an air space. Your mass will not get hot enough to hurt that wall but others might not understand that and an air gap just seems safer.  
When I lit off my rocket that very first time.... oh boy smoke/ steam  every where . The first 30 minutes, it would draw then back flow flames up the feed tube (scary scary ) That's where the small hand held fan comes in. You must hold it, not try to lay it down ... from experience I can tell you a plastic fan shroud WILL start to melt...  Those first 10 minutes I really wondered .... despite all the information and with permies here to help guide me... I still wondered. Nobody really mentioned startup very well.  15 minutes in and I was feeling better , an hour later I had A big smile ! You will too.
 
 
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I didn't pay attention before, there is not enough cleanouts in my opinion.

When you use this configuration




You use two T at the end, so the opening of the T's  prolongs the tube, a cap on the end of each tube. And link the two tubes by the small end of the T

How do you plan to clean the tube going out of the rocket, and the one parallel to it? Again , T!



 
Staci Kopcha
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beth Cromwell wrote: I am so thankful to see the work that you, Staci, have done on this, and by yourself (well, I did see kidlets helping once, I think : )

But moreso, the consistent and timely advice, how sweet!  In our supposedly busy world, I am heartened to see the level of commitment to helping you in this project, the kind way advice was given, and the sweet reception of said advice : )

I sure hope it works! May God heap blessings on your head, Thomas : )  And may God bless you also, Staci



What kind words, Beth- thank you!!
 
Staci Kopcha
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Satamax Antone wrote:I didn't pay attention before, there is not enough cleanouts in my opinion.

When you use this configuration




You use two T at the end, so the opening of the T's  prolongs the tube, a cap on the end of each tube. And link the two tubes by the small end of the T

How do you plan to clean the tube going out of the rocket, and the one parallel to it? Again , T!





Hi, Thank you for the feedback.  I am following plans by Ernie and Erica; the only cleanout I left out was the one directly after the manifold.  Thomas suggested this.  It was my thought that the manifold cleanout could access that area.  The chimney pipe is telescoping, so the idea was that it could be slid up to clean out the area below. I was also thinking that by the time things got around to that area, that ash collection would be minimal.  But complete RMH newbie here.   I appreciate all the comments- thank you!
 
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Jackie Frobese wrote:

Staci Kopcha wrote: finalize cob mix recipe.
   
1:4:4 dirt: clay:sand,  not strong, crumbles apart.



Stacie, in the pictures it looks like the crumbled brick has written on its paper 1:4:4 clay:dirt:sand

I only ask because I'm trying to better understand cob. I was inspired by your post and wanted to try making a few bricks with my property's dirt to see how they come out, and knowing how the wrong mixes act can be useful in troubleshooting.

I also wanted to say I'm so very impressed with your dedication and willingness! Its very inspiring to myself and hopefully to many others. Its great how the thread has become literally a step by step walk through a RMH build!



Hi Jackie!
 Thanks  for the kind words and so glad if someone else can benefit.   For cob, 1:4:4, I used measuring cups for small batch testing.  This particular one was 1 cup sand, 1 cup dirt, 1/4 cup fire clay.
From what I have read, cob should be 10-20% clay.  My sand/dirt seems to demand a much higher clay portion.  I understand that the risk of high clay, is that of cracking, however upon repetition, it was the only mix that worked for me.  I have not yet done a larger batch and put it to use- alas 4 kids consume much of my time.  Hoping to start this week.  I will update.
Regards,
Staci
 
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Staci Kopcha wrote:

Satamax Antone wrote:I didn't pay attention before, there is not enough cleanouts in my opinion.

When you use this configuration




You use two T at the end, so the opening of the T's  prolongs the tube, a cap on the end of each tube. And link the two tubes by the small end of the T

How do you plan to clean the tube going out of the rocket, and the one parallel to it? Again , T!





Please read this.

https://permies.com/t/58540/clean-works-didn-work

Hi, Thank you for the feedback.  I am following plans by Ernie and Erica; the only cleanout I left out was the one directly after the manifold.  Thomas suggested this.  It was my thought that the manifold cleanout could access that area.  The chimney pipe is telescoping, so the idea was that it could be slid up to clean out the area below. I was also thinking that by the time things got around to that area, that ash collection would be minimal.  But complete RMH newbie here.   I appreciate all the comments- thank you!

 
Staci Kopcha
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Satamax Antone wrote:

Staci Kopcha wrote:

Satamax Antone wrote:I didn't pay attention before, there is not enough cleanouts in my opinion.

When you use this configuration




You use two T at the end, so the opening of the T's  prolongs the tube, a cap on the end of each tube. And link the two tubes by the small end of the T

How do you plan to clean the tube going out of the rocket, and the one parallel to it? Again , T!







Please read this.

https://permies.com/t/58540/clean-works-didn-work


Hi,
 I will include a picture of the plans I am using.  And then my own variation.  I switched orientation for ease of access, based on the layout of our room.  I am naive to actually using cleanout as I have no reference or experience of having done it.   Are  you vaccuuming the tubes out and need the straight away? Can you not just follow the single 90 loop around?
I CAN rotate if necessary, but I also want to understand the hows/whys as well.  Thank you again!

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Staci Kopcha
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Starting cob today- beginning with small batches.  I have been sifting dirt and sand to get out the small round stones; I used some to fill the air gaps in the base layer of bricks/rubble.  It is a time consuming step...is it necessary?
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thomas rubino
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Staci;
Only the exposed or top few inches of cob need be butter smooth. And that's if your doing an exposed cob bench.
The bulk of your cob can have miscellaneous small rocks and hard things in it.  Really its sandy mud that dries hard. You want more large rock and less cob anyway.
I hand picked any larger rock while making mine, but I didn't like stepping on them when mixing by foot :)
 
thomas rubino
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Stacie;
I suggest a tarp outdoors to mix larger batches cob at a time.
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busting dry clay for cob
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old cob about to be busted & re-hydrated
 
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