C. Letellier

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since Nov 08, 2013
Greybull WY north central WY zone 4 bordering on 3
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Recent posts by C. Letellier

I can't speak for myself as I don't have anything that really fits your list.  I problem solve.

But I deal with a lot of farmers and probably the biggest need I see is someone who really knows resources available to them for fast problem solving.  If you knew a lot of different things and where to find it inexpensively or quickly it might have real value.
3 days ago
interesting to see what the results are.  Personally having spent my life fighting it I consider it to have no redeeming value.

One comment on this for those suggesting tillers.  DON'T  pieces of stem as small as half inch long can become new plants.  You can make thousands of new plants in a matter of just a few minutes.

in large areas there are only 2 permies acceptable answers that I know for controlling it.  

1.  Built a pig pen around the patch and let them kill it.  Usually takes at least 2 summers to work.  Ideally you keep watering regularly to encourage regrowth while keeping the ground soft enough for the pigs to root the plants out.  The ground left behind will be in terrible condition.

2.  Cover the ground with something light and plant impermeable.  Now the common directions say to pull the stuff up occasionally and pull all the plants growing under it.  This is one I question.  Wouldn't it be better to support as much white plants as you can so it is costing those root energy?  After all the goal is to starve the plant to death isn't it.  The key being it can't be getting sun anywhere.
1 week ago
The answer is that it can NOT be unscrewed.  That is a knurled surface and it is actually supposed to hang onto the surface both ways.  The knob was molded in place on the steel part.

If I were going ro repair it there are 3 options I would say.  1.  Glue the pieces back together if you have all of them.  Likely not the case as this looks like bakelite or a bakelite relative so some of it likely powdered.  Since this older plastic is hard to glue successfully usually unless it is just a couple big pieces I would not got this route.  2.  Is making the broken piece.  To help anchor the new piece I would put a screw into the the old plastic each way to help anchor it.  Those screws need to be put in with extreme care as this plastic is brittle and will split if it isn't done with care.  I would create a 2 part or 3 part mold on the undamaged area and then rotate it to the new area and then using a black epoxy I would cast the new section in place against the old.   With a little care you might be able to use clay for this so you didn't need expensive molding materials. 3.  is completely rebuild the piece.  Which is what it sounds like what you are choosing to do.   The fact that you are building a bigger piece means you will likely need better mold materials  Certainly doable.  and if you can make it in a fiber reinforced epoxy it will be durable.   Will likely end up wanting some expense mold making compounds so not cheap but with care you can probably match it well enough it would take a real professional to see it had been replaced.

Another option if you have access to a metal lathe is simply build the whole part out of metal.  Probably the easiest answer if functionality is the goal.

That said because old typewriters are cheap if you can find them probably the cheapest answer is just to buy a replacement for the whole machine.
1 week ago

Phil Stevens wrote:It just happens that I know the guys that run the major grow business on the East Coast. I'll ask what they're doing. This whole line of inquiry came up because I met a couple people who design heat and CO2 enhancement systems for commercial growers and they're interested in biochar. So next I started thinking about RMH applications as well.

I totally agree with the dream.  I had already been there.  My original plan had been to direct vent the rmh into greenhouse with the biochar system built onto the top of the stove barrel.  After all that would raise the efficiency of the stove to basically 100%  But then I ran into the information on how little CO2 could kill and it scared me off of the thinking for now.  The carbon source needs to be more controlled so I am back to some sort of controlled  gas burner or something like a candle that is smaller and slower.  Or back to compost, mushroom or animal driven systems.
2 weeks ago
First a quick explanation of how the freezer may have failed.  A surge suppressor will protect part of the fridge/freezer from problems.  The controls and the electronics it can protect.  But it does not protect the compressor.

The compressor is running and under normal circumstances it runs for longer time period and then is off for a longer time period too.  During the long off period the pressure in the compressor bleeds off so the compressor is starting against a fairly light load comparatively.  If the power blinks the compressor stops but then the power comes back on before the compressor has a chance to bleed its pressure down.  The motor isn't strong enough to start against this high load.  Now the compressor tries to start for about 30 to 45 seconds.  During this time the winding in the compressor is getting warmer.  Eventually the thermal overload outside the compressor trips and kills the power.  Normally the thermal overload takes enough time for the pressure to bleed down that by the time it cools down enough to reset the compressor is ready to start.  No one ever knows the compressor was locked solid for a bit because everything resets in 5 or 10 minutes.

Now this can lead to multiple failure modes.   1.  If the power bounces repeated for a time slightly less the thermal overload trip each cycle gets the winding inside the compressor hotter while the thermal overload being outside cools faster.  The compressor may even manage to start while the cycles are happening but the power goes out again and it stops.  If those cycles continue at the right pace the winding gets hotter till it burns up.  2.  The thermal overload fuses in the on condition for some reason so now the compressor becomes a resistance heater because the compressor can't start.  There again the cycling makes this more likely to happen.  3 in cheaper design compressor systems the relay that runs the compressor and the thermal overload are part of the same mechanical system.  The contacts in the main relay fuse and the thermal load can't open them so there again the winding burns up.  It is bad luck or protection system failures that take out the compressor.  And no surge suppressor will will protect against this.  An inverter and battery would because then the power should never blink repeatedly to the compressor.

Now a quick comment on power calculations.  A typical household to light commercial compressor unit will be rated between 1/6 and 3/4 of a horsepower.  But remember other things can be running at the same time.  In a large side by side 4 fan motors, ice maker motor and door lights.  Older machines the door light bulbs draw 40 watts each.  Also the controls draw a bit of power.  The other major power draw is the defrosters but they typically only run while the compressor is off so ignore them typically in the math.  So if the compressor is say 1/2 hp and the rest adds another 1/4 hp worth of electric draw that is what you are working with.  3/4 hp = 560 watts  But this still isn't enough to size the inverter.  The problem is that the surge electric draw is far larger on starting.   So your inverter needs to cover both run and surge needs.

Now there is another option  I have a newer chest freezer with dead compressor so I have been looking  at options.  If I put a 12/24 DC volt compressor in it  then I can avoid the expense of a full DC unit while getting its benefits.  Figuring it is going to take a bit over $350 for the compressor, electronic controller, gas and other materials.(doable if I can do my own work so there is no other expense(I have most of the tools and skills needed)  It is marginal as my freezer is too large to match the compressor's volume rating.  But it is high end with great insulation so can I push it a bit more?  What about building an insulated case around the freezer and moving condenser to outside it?  By doing DC as the primary I would be all set for solar power but a large switching supply and the system would run on AC too.  Here is the link to the compressor.  The electronic controller costs about as much as the compressor.

DC compressor

If I did it there are 3 other dream systems I would like to try to set up to include at a future date.  1.  Completely passive solar thermal powered  refrigeration system so the DC/mechanical system only rarely ran rarely.  2 Wind powered compressor dumping heat else where and then blowing small quantities of really high pressure air into the freezer allowing for air powered cooling.  3.  a suction line run diagonally thru the insulation to allow freeze drying without a fancy freeze drier.  A simply paint pot or pressure cooker in the freezer and cold for the cold chamber with a hose connecting to the inside wall.  Outside the freezer another pot and the vacuum pump.
2 weeks ago

Chris Kott wrote:I have another take, in the form of a question: If we artificially accelerate the growth of these plants, are we necessarily doing ourselves any favours from a nutrient density standpoint?

Taking the example of PNW yew in bowyery, the yew that is best for bows grows slowly, in the shaded understory of foothills, as I understand it. If you try to use coddled yew, grown with plenty of everything it needs, the grain isn't as dense as it needs to be.

It might be a slightly different phenomenon than what we see with growing food in inert or depleted media (lifeless soil, most hydroponics and sterile media growing), but if the plants are growing so fast that other processes responsible for their health and nutrient density can't keep up, we might be looking at a similar situation.

So what if, as with the coddled yew growing in one season what would take the shade-grown yew several, the fact that these plants are growing so much more in a single light cycle between rest periods compromises their nutritional value or gene expression?

It has often been speculated that hothouse-grown produce was nutrient deficient simply because the media being used were sterile. But what if there's more to it than that?

But to address the idea, people have burned candles and other fuel-burning appliances to afford CO2 and heat for their greenhouses for centuries, I would imagine. The idea is sound. My opinion on its application, though, is that it's a great solution for CO2 starvation in the greenhouse, but I would stick towards the high-end of normal outdoor C02 levels.

But good luck, please don't suffocate yourself or others, and keep us posted.


That is one there are no clear answers on.  Some say it hurts flavor and nutrient density but others say it improves it.  I am going to say the best information comes from the pot growers and the majority there seem to be saying it is a good thing for both yield and flavor provided the plants get enough nutrients and light too.  But since they don't care about nutrient density where does that leave us??
2 weeks ago
The danger is too much CO2.  If it reaches 1% to 2% it can kill you.  Since air is basically 1/5 oxygen that means if you burn over 1/20 of the oxygen in the building you can render it toxic.  This is not CO but actual CO2 levels.  The danger is it controls your respiration rate and if it gets too high basically your body goes on overload and forgets to breath.  Unlike CO which blocks your bodies ability to carry oxygen the CO2 simply when it gets too high can simply cause the body to forget to breath.
2 weeks ago
Wire size is dependent on current and on length of wire.  There are charts for how much current  a length of wire will support.  Key point is the length in most charts is round trip so if you have 25 feet of wire your wire length is 50 feet.
3 weeks ago
What you are looking for I haven't seen anywhere in a reliable form.  And I have been watching for it for several years.

Personal belief is that RMH are big emmiters of the small particles that can't be burned.  Everyone talks about how clean they are and how little ash they generate.  To me that is the key point saying they can't be clean.  Every cord of wood contains X amount of material that can't be burned.  Minerals etc.  It is physically impossible to burn it.  So either it ends up in the stove as ash or it goes up the stack.  When an entire year's ash is say 10% of the minimum amount the stove can make the rest had to go up the stack.  And the super fine particles can't be seen at the stove pipe out.

Now this is one I expect when the rocket stove community catches on to be easily solved.  Needle type electrostatic filters have been in use for basically a century and they would be incredibly easy to tack onto an RMH.  Fairly low power needs and easily made self cleaning because of the batch nature of RMH use.  The rows of needles would be right Where the stove pipe exited the building point down into the air flow.  Half getting high voltage low current positive and half same negative.  The dust would collect on them thru electrostatics.  The stove gets cold and a temperature sensor momentarily reverses the polarity causing all the dust to fall before it turns off till the next stove start.  If it was over a good collection pan it wouldn't restrict airflow much and because the stove doesn't run steady it could easily batch clean into a nearly stagnant air stream and from there to an ash box.  With a stove producing lots of unburned stuff it would collect on the needles like tar and they couldn't self clean.  But the rocket because of burning everything it can would have almost none of this so the only thing left to remove would be dust.  And the method of collection would cause it to clump making it cleaner and safer to handle too.
4 weeks ago