David Gould

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since Jan 15, 2013
elcctro mechanical engineer mainly with testing & servicing electronic & mechanical  apparatus
united kingdom south wales on a hillside
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Recent posts by David Gould

I tried to find out more about those salt water batteries .

It seems that the only company who made them went through a chapter 11 bankruptcy sometime in June / July 2017 .
I'm not very encouraged by the info I found on line that says they will be coming back like the proverbial Phoenix & that the batteries need further development & redesigning . Nor  the knowledge that a Chinese company has  purchased the company.
Think I'll give it a miss for a decade or so .
5 months ago
I've been dying to ask this  but the thread is a tad young. Ethically sourced batteries can be construed to mean many different aspects .

Here goes.. I live in Great Britain so things might be a bit different to what is in place in the USA.

I have an on grid solar PV system . it's been very good to us paying for itself in about 4 years instead of the estimated 6 years .

Going through our production figures and the data available on the internet for the average output of such set up in the area it seems we are 18%  above the average output …

I've put this down to the adjacent bungalow's ( four feet higher up the hill than us )  large white wall and 30 degree sloping roof some 30 feet away, thus it's reflecting a lot of UV/sunlight back on to our panels .  There are also two 8 x 4 foot double glazed windows in that wall, when it's getting sun..07.00 till 1530 the yard between us is blindingly bright and very hot in our  side of the fence .  So I'm also guessing our panels are sort of preheated to maximum efficiency .

We have been running an Outlander PHEV for four years using excess day production for day recharging or low cost metered night rate company electricity on a time clock to top things up from 0200 till 06.00 hrs.

It works well , has dropped our transport costs to a few gallon per six months instead of a tank of fuel every ten days  . Adjusting all figures to take all modes of fuel into account means we are way ahead/ in pocket than the paid for in " four years" statement already mentioned above.

OK that's the set up .
For quite a while I've been interested in the possible addition of a rechargeable battery bank that will have some serious storage and at nearly 70 yrs old don't really want to try and install or maintain I myself as I'm also 80 % crippled.  They have only comparatively recently been allowed to be installed on the British electricity grid system plus they are slightly different to the USA's way of being wired up internally and externally.

One of the systems I looked in to is the Tesla power wall .. seems  it has now ben stated that the cycling rate is almost infinite .. so could well extend to more then 30 years ( that would most certainly see me  off this mortal coil  ) .

At first this seemed a bit far fetched.. then I remembered that the website for the Outlander has recently been added to , changed to state the Outlander PHEV drive battery is now warranteed for 10years ( didn't give an  ..at what percentage efficiency figure though ).

From my engineering apprenticeship days , doing things like engine development and component testing to destruction I realised that for a big company to be able to put that out in their sales literature the battery will have been tested to at least double the proffered warrantee to get a safe set of numbers that are not likely to be called to account if things fail .
I have two original Japanese made Makita  rechargeable hammer drill  batteries that are almost forty years old and still  take a decent charge to give me 25 minutes 20 x 8 mm concrete drilled holes from each battery so that kind of helps a bit,  but does not reflect the true picture.

Indeed it was put to me that Elon Musk would personally hop on his jet complete with installation team and bring a new battery to me if mine failed .. are the reliability figures really that good ?


So , I guess what I'm looking for is some sensible technically orientated views as to the sense in using one of the Tesla Powerwall's as my power store, that may / may not last 30 or more years.
I'm not really interested in the merits of one sort of battery compared to another as all are polluting to a fair degree . I'm looking for fit for purpose effectiveness instead .

Thanks
Dave  
6 months ago
Ha ..just read the thread again ... here in the UK a crawl space is the roof void of a low roof ... I now suspect you are talking of a craw space under tthe floor boards on the ground floor level ... am I right ?
1 year ago
cables 7 fibre optic cables under ground     the s  ..6

Cath Brown wrote: Greetings

Any advice on how to do a curved gutter on a circular earth bag building? Cheaply!

I have a flat sloping roof, which will be a green sedum roof eventually



My thoughts for what they are worth :-

Can you get hold of some  4 or 6 inch dia ribbed twin thin walled plastic pipe  ?  The sort of pipe that you run low voltage cables & phone cables under ground .
It's as cheap as chips here in great Britain / The UK  £25 including taxes for a six metre length .

If so  make up a simple wooden trough jig so you can cut it in half along its entire length using a 24 teeth per inch  20 inch long hand saw for cutting plastic tube
That will give you 13 yards of semi circle  shaped guttering that can be screwed on to wooden pegs every foot or so and bent round the walls very easily .
1 year ago
into  fn  n is  

chip sanft wrote:So... our crawlspace is unheated and our pipes are down there. I've been using a small fan to blow air from the upstairs through a disused duct into the crawlspace to prevent me having to worry about freezing. (The pipes are all wrapped but still.)

I finally went to the HVAC parts place and bought a duct fan the size of the old duct so that I can blow air down without the little fan. Everything seems to be no bigger a hassle than usual except that the directions for the new duct fan say repeatedly it's only for horizontal installation and I want it to be vertical, straight through the vent.

Anybody know that this is okay, or that it won't be? I guess I'm mostly worried about somehow the motor catching fire or something, though I can't think how. Can someone dissuade or reassure me?



We had problems with occasionally slightly moist air being ducted in to the roof void by some Bodgit & Scarper kitchen fitters , who vented the hob extractor directly into the roof void , leaving the purpose cut vent hole & pipe work unconnected  .
The insulation the roof void got wet .
Which  caused the ceiling boards to sag & increased our heating bills no end as we were heating up conductive moist air in the bungalow , things started to go mouldy & we got chest infections several times till the problem was found .
I rectified it by venting by the cooking moisture  in to correc sized good fitting solid plastic pipe work for some 14 feet horizontally , then out the brick work gable end via a tube & a self closing louver vent on the end  .


The warmed air you are intending to use may well have a fair amount of moisture in it which will tend to condense in a long run when it's cold making your roof space insulation & wood work wet & likely to go mouldy . In a damp state your roof void insulation will be almost useless.  Eventually damp & mould will almost certainly start to also develop in the home .

Once you go past a certain level  of condensate in the pipes it will  either get in the motor or run back down the inlet pipe in to the point of extraction . The fan motors on our new fans have a degree of water protection but they will not run underwater ... neither did the last set of the same model


 In August 2016 .of sair out
Our fully tanked  wet room has our toilet pan ,  shower & tub  , has underfloor electric heating & a two  horizontal low voltage ( 12 volts ) extractor fans with 12 volt LED lights included in the housings , pushing 2.7 cubic yards of air out a minute from each fan set up ,

One in the shower area ceiling & one above the bath tub .   Both were connected to  8 foot long vertical vent pipes & taken out through the roof tiles .by the building contractors ..... Disaster !

We actually got rain coming down the vertical pipes , the water passed under the fan blades to a lower point in the wire plastic vent pipe where it formed a puddle which eventually filled the sag in the plastic hose that developed & started to get very smelly .


I strongly suspect that the following will have a degree of bearing  for you too .
We couldn't work out where it was coming from.  Our fans were on with the lights & for an automated 40 minutes after , which we found was not quite long enough to fully vent the moist bathing room air if all three of us had had showers one after the other .. So when the fan is off there is still warm slow moving high moisture trying to escape out the ceiling set extractor vents .

I've sorted the rain coming down the vent pipes by putting a cowl over each vent pipe tube .
The moisture is now removed by leaving the fans on for at least two hours continuous & then switching the lights & timed fans off manually ( thank goodness for low current 12 volt LED lights & fans )  
1 year ago

Jared France wrote:I would say that the best companions for comfrey would easily be the N-fixing shrubs or trees.  If you already have a use for alfalfa, that could totally work.  If not, choose something that has some use to you.  

Comfrey seems to get along nicely with anything taller than it that doesn't mind having it's roots shaded out (most plants/trees seem to enjoy this, but raspberries for example need more air circulation around their base so do not make good companions).  It quickly out-competes any other groundcover near it as it expands.  My entire yard has comfrey growing everywhere, just as a weed.  You seriously cannot kill it.  There are certain places where they have formed mass patches of maybe 50-100 plants, it's hard to say.  The only thing that manages to survive among them is the odd blackberry vine that escapes my attention until winter when the comfrey dies back.  

As mentioned before comfrey is very shade tolerant, so I would be more worried about the success of the companion rather than the comfrey itself.




Chickens help keep comfrey down & it's supposed to beneficial to them & their eggs .
1 year ago

s. ayalp wrote:How about broad beans for winter cover? Comfrey stays dormant winter long while broad beans pump nitrogen and leaves substantial residue.



Broad beans can be sown succssionaly every few weeks of the year if you so choose . Mine are able to stand minus 5 oC and up to 33 oC quite happily .
The added bonus is that the stalkscan be dried for chopping as browns or simply chopped green for greens once the beans have been harvested

TIP
The shelled beans are thought by many to be at their best when slightly smaller than your thumb nail and picked an hour before cooking / eating raw .
I tend to use pruners to snip the whole stalks off , to  leave the roots undisturbed in the ground for the brassica or salad crop that follows.
1 year ago

Rez Zircon wrote:

David Gould wrote:
Over this side of the pond the orchard farmers try to limit the number of apples on each tree ... too many apples will never produce the optimum fruit . I've seen one or two actually knocking blossom off with long bamboo poles if a large percentage has been pollenated & started to turn brown .  Where I live  a late May frost or strong winds  solve the problem for me ......I 'm lucky to get a decent crop most years  .



Thought about that, but didn't realise it had set so many until they were this big (previously it's had ones and twos and I stopped paying attention) and they don't get any bigger regardless -- it's about one tree worth total, but ALL on one branch; other branches had one or none. I think I'll be keeping that branch on any future trimmings...!!



If the tree is not producing on the other large branches next year  , learn how to graft fresh cut  very early spring apple scions on  about  24  - 18 inches long ,  low down in the trunk .

. That way you might still get fruit whilst the scions take hold & in a couple of years start producing apples.  Then you can heavily prune the dead / unproductive wood out , not forgetting to use some sort of wound sealer to protect the new cut wood from fungi & insect attack etc. .

If you feel like it in the very early spring get a couple of sicons off three or four decent apple trees& graft them on as well .

It's amazing to come across trees where there are cookers , sharp eaters , sweet eaters & nutty crunchy Golden Russets all on the same tree because someone did a bot of successful grafting a few years ago .

If you are interested you can also seek out trees that flower at differing times  ..it gives the pollinators an extended source of food & gives you a longer cropping season in a lot of cases .
1 year ago

Rez Zircon wrote:See this wretched looking tree? it's been neglected for decades and mauled by bears. (It appears to be own-root, not grafted. It doesn't sucker.)



All I've done is chop out the deadwood I could reach from the ground. And this year we had a lot of spring rain. Look what it did -- these are all on one branch (out of reach without a ladder, so I didn't do anything with 'em):



They're not the best apples, but goes to show what a death-warmed-over tree is still capable of.

One up the way that two years ago looked totally dead from being covered with vines -- took two years to recover but this year has about a dozen apples on it and is looking much better.





Over this side of the pond the orchard farmers try to limit the number of apples on each tree ... too many apples will never produce the optimum fruit . I've seen one or two actually knocking blossom off with long bamboo poles if a large percentage has been pollenated & started to turn brown .  Where I live  a late May frost or strong winds  solve the problem for me ......I 'm lucky to get a decent crop most years  .
1 year ago

Rez Zircon wrote:See this wretched looking tree? it's been neglected for decades and mauled by bears. (It appears to be own-root, not grafted. It doesn't sucker.)



All I've done is chop out the deadwood I could reach from the ground. And this year we had a lot of spring rain. Look what it did -- these are all on one branch (out of reach without a ladder, so I didn't do anything with 'em):



They're not the best apples, but goes to show what a death-warmed-over tree is still capable of.

One up the way that two years ago looked totally dead from being covered with vines -- took two years to recover but this year has about a dozen apples on it and is looking much better.





Over this side of the pond the orchard farmers try to limit the number of apples on each tree ... too many apples will never produce the optimum fruit . I've seen one or two actually knocking blossom off with long bamboo poles if a large percentage has been pollenated & started to turn brown .  Where I live  a late May frost or strong winds  solve the problem for me ......I 'm lucky to get a decent crop most years  .
1 year ago