Byron Campbell

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since Jul 03, 2014
US, East Tennessee
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Recent posts by Byron Campbell

Coydon Wallham wrote: Would clay mortar be like thicker clay slip or is there more to it?

Yes indeed, use a high quality mason's sand to make the fire clay mortar. A good mix to start with is one part fire-clay to about 4 parts sand.
2 weeks ago

Carl Nystrom wrote:
Edit: looking at the picture again, I realize that the colored wires on there just attach with spade connectors, dont they. So they could easily have been switched. Check for a resistance between the center and one of the other legs. A value in the hundreds of ohms would be your LED circuit.

Another thing to keep in mind is that LEDs' only conduct in one direction. So if the few hundred's ohms resistance is not found, reverse the ohm-meter's probes and test again. Some multi-meters have a DIODE TEST FUNCTION, and it's helpful for finding the connections to the switch's built-in LED.

Without an ohm-meter, and if the switch wiring diagram is suspected to be in error, it can be confirmed as follows. Sometimes it is faster this way too, i.e. use a small resistor, anything in the range of say a few hundred ohms to a thousand ohms, and 1/8th watt rating will suffice.

Attach the resistor in series with a test wire (or a couple of red clip-leads) and connect one end of this to the positive terminal of a battery or DC power source.  Attach a second wire (black clip-lead) to the negative of the battery or DC power source. With the switch under test set to its ON position, randomly connect the free ends of the test leads to the switch until a combination and polarity of a particular connection arrangement is found that results in the switch's LED illuminating. This will verify or indicate the common / negative connection for the switch's LED, the terminal to which the black clip-lead is attached.

EDIT: I see this issue has been sorted out, whilst I was hammering out the above:o) Yeah, the disregard by certain overseas MFGs for proper wiring color codes is 'nuff to have one engaged in hair-pulling frustration. I've run into the same thing many times.

EDIT: typo corrections
2 months ago

Jeff Pollari wrote:Wow!
So, my deck is only 4 feet off the ground. Stacking concrete on a slab is  not a bad idea but IDK how hard it would be to build such a slab considering I'd have to hang out under the deck to dig and pour it.

In that case, it's easier if the deck is opened up first, then you have a nice open hole in the deck in which to work standing up straight etc.

Jeff Pollari wrote: My house is already heated with a big stove which is on the other side of my coming addition. I'm wondering if I can just convert the present stove (pictured below) into a thermal mass rocket stove which connects to the addition through the wall behind it.  

A doorway or two in the wall behind your present woodstove will allow the adjacent addition to be heated, assuming it's not a huge room. As far as converting a steel box-stove into an efficient, say batch-box, you basically just end up using the door off the thing, if you want to do it right. It can be done, has been done, but it takes a good deal of work to do the conversion, metal working skills, and etc. and really doesn't save (replace) much in the way of masonry materials. Easier to just build a batch-box / bell brick masonry stove. Have you seen Peter van den Berg's website ? --->
2 months ago

Jeff Pollari wrote:I've hired a contractor to build an addition for my home on my deck and I need to know what rocket mass design would work best for my needs...  

Which begs the question: how high is the deck above the ground? One option being, reinforced concrete filled CMUs' resting on a concrete pad, rising up to the floor level of the deck via another (elevated) concrete pad to support any version of RMH footprint desired. A compact 6" system size batch-box with thermal mass bench can easily fit onto a 44 to 48 inch wide by 10 foot long concrete pad.
2 months ago
Since 12-volt powered HF transceivers have fused DC power leads, your battery bank's DC power distribution can be as simple as using a pair of bus bars hardwired to the battery bank. Each bus bar (Recoil BB46) contains multiple bolt terminals (for high current devices) and screw terminals (for low current devices). A  typical 100 watt HF transceiver will have a maximum DC current draw, on transmit, of around 20 amperes peak (receiver current drain is very low, usually 1.5 ~ 2.5 amperes or less).

Back to the bus bars, these units by Recoil will do nicely where the total current for all connected devices to be powered is 150 amperes or less.
3 months ago

Leigh Tate wrote:Ben, that's very helpful. I'm particularly interested how you set it up on solar. My current solar experience is with AC appliances; I have a chest freezer and converted chest freezer->fridge with a 705-AH battery bank. I have a sine wave inverter connected to the charge controller to plug the appliances into. So, powering DC will be new for me. Obviously, I don't need an inverter. But what do I need?

Hi Leigh,

The 12-volt DC powered SSB HF Transceivers I've referenced earlier are supplied with a 10 to 12 foot long DC power cord, as are most all 12 volt powered amateur radio transceivers. Simply connect that power cord to your solar charge managed battery bank, I.e. directly to the battery bank.

If your battery bank is something other than 12-volts, say 24 volts for example, you may "tap" the battery bank at the 12 volt position. To do that, the negative lead (black) of the transceiver's power cord will connect to the battery bank's common / negative (ground potential) terminal. The power cord's positive wire (red) will connect to the positive terminal of the first 12 volt battery (the battery with its negative terminal at ground potential).

Before connecting the transceiver's power cord to the battery bank, I would recommend measuring the battery connection points with a DC volt-meter to insure the polarity and voltage are correct. Also verify the battery banks ground potential connection is actually at ground potential - there should be zero DC voltage measured between the negative battery terminal and the chassis-ground of the AC inverter. Obviously, this can alternately be verified by visually tracing the inverter's negative power wire back to the battery bank's negative / ground terminal.
3 months ago
Hi Eric, this (link below) greenhouse insulating system looks interesting. I wonder just how much R-value would be added with such a system, and how much it would reduce your heating energy requirements. Looks like something that you could probably fabricate yourself in the interest of saving money:

A true 10" to 12" system size batch-box can easily push a 75-ft. long "half-barrel" horizontal thermal mass bench. I picture one running straight down the center of your greenhouse, as the secondary (mass) heat exchanger following the "bell". Details of Matt Walker's half barrel bench can be found here:
3 months ago
Eric, those photos of the smaller batch-box, the combustion unit (firebox) is way to narrow, and the port is no quit right either. From Peter van den Burg's site

the batch-box can be sized by following the rule set just below the Peterberg Rocket Stove Calculations common sizes table, for greater than 10" system size batch-boxes.

Once you build one of these "heat machines" to spec., you'll be amazed at the performance:o)
3 months ago
I do see a potential problem with making an arch over the firebox. In thinking about the super clean burning high performance design of Peter van den Berg's batch-box, and that it depends upon straight-line primary airflow through the fuel wood pile to the port. Ideally, and as recommended, the fire is lit near the port and burns from the port end of the wood pile back towards the primary air intake. Incoming primary air flows through the wood pile (firewood loaded lengthwise having one end near the primary air intake and the other end facing the port, which is why the fireboxes are naturally constructed long and skinny).  Combustible gasses don't linger inside the firebox, but are essentially "piped" directly to the port for secondary combustion inside the riser.

Adding the arch, increasing the ISA of the firebox, introduces extra area for the unwanted buildup of combustible gasses. The danger is when those gasses flash off inside the firebox, pressure instantly builds, to much for the port to handle, thus the stove belches smoke and fire out of the primary air intake. In the worse case, the processes repeats itself in a cyclic manner.  

Better to stay with the intended batch-box design, go for a hotter faster fire, and store the excess heat in masonry mass. That's really to best way to conserve on fuel-wood.

3 months ago
Eric, that is a beast of a batch-box:o)  I've burned yellow pine in my 6" batch-box, and it burns crazy hot compared to hardwood. Pine just doesn't last as long, but it generates a whole lot of heat very quickly, tending for the whole load to be catching fire all at once when the stove is already warmed up to operating temperature. Might try a third to a half load of pine to see how it does first, while keeping a close eye on just how hot the steel top loading lid gets.

About the front loading door, mine is cast iron and gets uncomfortable to sit within 4 feet of whilst the batch-box is running full tilt. I noticed how Matt Walker constructs his front loading doors with CFB for insulation. I'm thinking of making something similar for my batch-box.

Anyway, looking good!
3 months ago