Creighton Samuels

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since Apr 14, 2013
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Recent posts by Creighton Samuels

My wife and I have used paired with Math-U-See since my now 20 year old daughter was 5. I can recommend it highly, particularly to someone who you suspect might be a natural book-lover.
2 days ago

Bethany Dutch wrote:

I've been thinking lately about peak oil and energy and what ifs and it has got me thinking about replacing some important things in my life that use power with similar things that don't use power.

...Any thoughts?

I have a few.

While the zeer pot is a good, short term solution for regions with dry air, it doesn't work very well in places that it tends to get humid in summertime.

The best idea is to take a lesson from our homesteding forefathers before the age of powered refrigeration, and build a "root cellar".

Of course, the upcoming wofati freezer is basically a root cellar using additional designed principles to "save" the cold winter temps for mid-summer use.  One detail that I've thought a lot about in this kind of thing is a "heat pipe" network.  A heat pipe is just a pressure vessel made of threaded pipes, so that condensation of liquids in the highest portion can flow down into the lowest portion.  This uses some energy, but it's all latent energy, mostly just gravity. The bottom portion is placed inside your root cellar airspace, while the top portion is above everything and exposed to a northern sky (in the northern hemisphere, towards the nearest pole) while shaded from as much sunshine as possible.  Once the pipes are in place, the air needs to be vacuumed out and a measured amount of some kind of liquid needs to be put into that vacuum, to act as freon.  But it doesn't have to be freon; pure water works (down to about freezing, so not really good for a wofati freezer) and so does propane. And it doesn't take much propane, only a few cups probably; and it will never need more propane unless it leaks. What happens inside the pipes is, because it's not a mixed atmosphere, some of the propane will boil until the pressure "equalizes" between it's liquid and gas state. So long as there's some amount of liquid propane left across the temp range, we're fine.  But then we will quickly have a temp imbalance from top to bottom. When the top is hotter than the bottom, nothing happens except the pressure goes up some. But when the top is colder than the bottom, some magic happens.  Because pressure is related to temperature; when the top section gets cold, the pressure inside the pipe declines.  As it does so, the gas in the top will cool down until it reaches it's new dew temp (which is rising because of dropping pressures) and condenses inside the upper portion of the pipes. That condensed liquid then runs downhill until it drips into the lower section, which is hotter, and evaporates. Since gasses are lighter than liquids, the warmer gas is being pushed up the pipe as liquid flows down anytime the bottom is warmer than the top, until the liquid freezes.  In this way, so long as the vertical section of the pipe is insulated (and a shut-off value about mid-height for late spring and summer would help) any latent heat in the thermal mass will naturally convect out during winter nights without any human intervention nor energy using devices.  This method is limited to how cold your winter nights get, as well as the freezing temp of your chosen liquid, but it's very capable of moving a lot of heat under ideal conditions.
1 week ago
Oh! I need this book!

I've got more than 3 acres of lawn I'd very much like to stop cutting altogether, but my wife doesn't like it to look "unkept".
2 weeks ago
I was worried that I wouldn't get into the earlybird time frame, so I set a reminder notice on my computer at work. ( I work 3rd shift).  So I get to work and take care of my early work, then my reminder pops during my first break. I go to the kickstarter page to see that it's already 170% funded, and the earlybird period doesn't end until Friday.

Wow. Just, wow.

And I was more interested in the wofati freezer!
2 weeks ago
I regularly do the pickled eggs thing, mentioned by others.
3 weeks ago
Additional bonus...

If that top pair of wires were deliberately linked together along a stretch of fencing, it would make for an excellent longwire or Beverage style shortwave receiving antenna.  Might work as a transmitting antenna as well, or that might set the fence on fire; so there's that too.
5 months ago

Graham Chiu wrote:

John Pollard wrote:I used to live in FL and used collectors are abundant there so I might have to take a trip down there sometime.

Why is that? Don't they work anymore or have they been replaced by electrical heating?

Florida is a major retirement state, and many retirees think the solar hot water heaters look like an eyesore.
7 months ago

Vulturul Ilie wrote:Heat pumps are 400 % more efficient than any induction or resistance heating .This efficiency drops if outdoor its minus 5 C but there are somme high efficient air conditioner units like Daikin wich defrost the the outdoor unit pipes periodically and these work until minus 20-25C.
One Kw of gas power( natural piped gas) its 10 times cheaper than electric where i live and even if the heat pumps( air conditioners working on heating) are soo much more efficient than electric heating,it cant still not beat the gas.

Well, that's true enough depending upon your area.  But natural gas is still a paleo-fuel, and Joshua has gone to the extra trouble and expense to contract with a wind power supplier.  So his stated environmental life-goals are achieved by using electric power while also subsidizing industrial grade renewable energy.  Natural gas heat wouldn't satisfy that requirement, and nor is it typically available "off the grid".

So while a heat pump would be better than baseboard electric resistive heating, he doesn't own  the building that he lives in, so that's not an option either.
7 months ago
Joshua, I've just reviewed our conversation in this thread, and I have a couple recommendations...

1)  First of all, get that heated mattress pad.  Your warm cultured significant other will thank you for it, no matter how cold or warm your apartment may be.  Get one with two controllers, one for each side of the bed.  This one is not the model that I have, but it might work for you...

2)  Next, you need a counter-top somavar, to make hot drinks on the fly.  Hot tea or hot coffee warms the body from the inside out.  This one is similar to the one that I own...

3)  Consider a kotasu table as your TV table, etc.  These are small, squarish tables that Japanese use as low desks, that have a heater underneath.  They work best with a blanket, and usually have a double top that allows the blanket to be installed under the hardtop surface.  There are low "chairs" that exist that allow you to have back support while sitting reclined with your legs under this table.  The heater only heats the airspace under the table, captured by the blanket, so your legs are very cozy; but a throw for your upper body while you watch TV, read a book or do desk work is how this system works best.

But if you don't want to spend that kind of money for a table, a freestanding reading lamp would help a great deal.  This is the one that I bought for my wife, that lives behind our couch.  A 40 or 60 watt incandecent bulb works great as a radiant heater and reading light...

7 months ago

Joshua Myrvaagnes wrote:Thanks, this is awesome Creighton!  

I guess the charger is not an inverter, but an anti-inverter (Ac-to DC), is its main function.  My experience is it clearly heats up only when the computer battery is drawing power (charging), and it's cold when the battery is full or not connected.

Are you sure that it's not a 60 watt charger? 6 watts seems low to me, closer to a phone charger.

I do have a solution which is kind of risky, a metal lamp...with (sorry Paul) a CFL bulb.  It's protected from crunching by the lamp "shade" thing (metal), and it's worked for me.  Problem was it was actually a bit too hot--I forget how many watts but it was the lowest wattage we had lying around, I used this mainly just as a night light.  But even that was too hot.  I want to say 12 watts.  I looked for a smaller, lower-watt incandescent but for some reason I couldn't find what I was looking for.

What you want is an appliance bulb.  They can be found as low as 7 watts incandescent with a normal socket (Type A15 screw socket) at Walmart. But if you're putting it next to your body like a conductive heater, you're using the incandescent lamp wrong.  This is supposed to be used like a radiant heater that produces light, which is why a 40 watt bulb works so well.  Put it into a lamp that is about a foot above your head while you are sitting down, pointed mostly where you'd want it to be able to read well.  The radiant heat will wash down over your head and shoulders, and warm you directly without contact.

So, the DC-DC voltage adjuster thing won't be a heat source, I take it.  How does something change voltage in DC? i thought that was the whole point of AC, you can change voltages with a transformer...and I thought my computer and phone both ran on 12 volts.  I guess not.  Glad that there are heat blankets available to run on 12 volts already.

DC to DC converters are solid state electronic devices, so the trick wasn't even possible in the early decades of public power; but even if it was it would have been too expensive for a DC grid to work.  That said, a DC2DC works by creating an internal AC signal by using an oscillator circuit to produce a square wave AC, then a "cascade multiplier" to increase voltage, then a rectifier circuit and a regulator circuit to output the exact voltage required.  That internal AC signal isn't correct for a 60 Hertz sine wave, so it wouldn't work as an invertor, but it's enough to allow the circuit to change the working voltage.

The soap stone trick I know, I heard of it with a brick, they teach that to kids in Vietnam that Ho Chi Minh used to take home a brick from his baking job for the night.  I look forward to getting to feel it with my own hands and put a physical experience with theory.  Thanks for the reminder.

Yes, well; soapstone is better than a brick, but you work with what you have available.
7 months ago