Steve Smyth

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since Jan 06, 2016
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Recent posts by Steve Smyth

Thanks Peter.

I am looking for something in the 32"-40" range and hope to find something with power consumption between 50-70 watts.

I have been binge reading reviews looking for a match.

As I browse the reviews, I am shocked at the number of $5k-$10k TV's. I guess I am not a big enough fan of watching TV to understand someone spending that kind of $....
2 months ago
Hello Everyone,

I am shopping appliances for an off grid solar application. Keeping power consumption as low as possible is my goal.

I have had pretty good luck so far but I am getting conflicting information regarding the LCD tv's that I am looking at. Some of the articles/post that I have read give the impression that the Energy Star testing may not be consistent.

Has anyone here found any good source of info regarding the lowest power TV's?

Anyone measured the consumption of your own TV's? Would you share make, model and results?


2 months ago
Thanks for the reply.

This stove is a 1990's vintage Whitfield. I don't expect the best of efficiency.

The exhaust is cool enough that I can hold my hand in front of it while running. I am not sure if I can extract much heat but don't want to miss the opportunity if I am mistaken.
9 months ago
Hello Everyone,

While questing for a reasonable RMH solution for my shop I wound up with a pellet stove. Since I have it on hand and my workspace has been averaging around 25F for the last few weeks, I think that I am going to install the pellet stove and save my RMH project for spring time.

The folks that had it installed previously had a simple, straight, horizontal exhaust pipe that extended agout 3' outside the house.

I started to duplicate that but began to wonder if running the pipe 6' vertically, inside the building, then turning horizontal to exit the exterior wall would yield much improvement in heat transfer into the building?

What do you all think? Would the extra 6' of pipe give me much more heat inside the building?


9 months ago

I have been looking for a digital version of this book and have not had any success. Can anyone point me in the right direction?


11 months ago

Troy Rhodes wrote:Mechanical throttle...throttle servo...stepper motor...there are ways

Linear actuator...
1 year ago

Troy Rhodes wrote:Automotive alternators are middling in efficiency, IF you drive it at the correct rpm, AND if you get the belt and pulley setup just right.

Likewise, diesel engines can be quite a bit more efficient than gasburners, if you give them the right sized load.  Most diesels are at their most efficient when loaded to about 70-80% of their total capability.

Here's a nice article that summarizes that idea:

How many kilowatthours per day are we talking?  Then we can do some basic sizing of components and so on.

Once we know what your daily needs are, and how many hours you want it to run, we can optimize the size of the prime mover and the generator head, whatever that is.

What kind of diesel engine are you contemplating?

Hey Troy,

Thank you for the reply.

My choices of engine are a bit limited. I am looking at the little Kubota 482z 12.5hp water cooled 2 cylinder.

My instantaneous load can be as high as 6kw but only for brief periods. What I am holing to accomplish is something similar to the gas "inverter generators".  I do understand that the engine will be at its best efficiency at a particular speed & load. In "real life" the load varies considerably.

Our total consumption varies significantly depending on weather and activities. Late Summer can be the highest at as much as 70kwh in a day. In the Winter we have storms that typically leave us without utility power for days at a time. When utility power is out we will consume 2-5kwh in a day.

I ran an AC generator (8kw) that was powered by the same engine at a constant 1800rpm. It was a great genny but I did not like the fact that it ran at full speed whether the load was 70 watts or 7000 watts. Having used the Honda for the last 10 years I have fallen in love with how quiet and efficient it is at varying loads compared to a constant speed generator.

Given a battery bank and inverters that will support my 6kw (peak) load I think the simplest path for me to follow is to provide a variable output DC source that will help feed the inverters (& other 12/24v loads).

Where I am really lost is:
Which alternator technology may or may not work well in my application?
What parameter should I be basing my throttle setting on? I have considered using battery voltage. The numbers may be off a bit but as an example: If V=13.7-13.9v do nothing. If  V<13.7v then increase throttle. If V>13.9v then reduce throttle.

1 year ago
Hello Everyone,

I have been tinkering with the idea of building a diesel backup generator to charge my battery bank and serve loads (via my inverter) when other power sources are unavailable.

My first thought was to simply purchase a 110v diesel generator and a battery charger. Then I got to thinking about how much I like my Honda EU3000 inverter generator (gas) and wondering if I could copy the concept in a DIY project.

My thought is to couple a DC alternator to a 12.5 hp diesel engine and build a throttle controller that would vary engine RPM based on load. My first though is to monitor battery voltage and increase throttle as voltage decreases.

With the batteries as a "buffer" the response time of the controller would not be critical.

I could even add a timer function that would prevent the generator from firing up during sleep hours unless a critical low battery  condition existed.

What do you all think?

Any thought on conventional auto alternator or permanent magnet alternator?

Any input is appreciated.

1 year ago

Steve Smyth wrote:I am beginning work on my first composting toilet and have been searching for good information regarding ideal positioning of the urine diverter.

I don't have room for a two seater so getting the urine diverter optimized is a necessity.

Have you all made any progress in making the "shared" urine diverter play well? Have you found any helpful resources out there that you could share?

Any assistance will be appreciated!!



Well I finally built my composting toilet and received the "loveable loo" diverter.  Lacking any specific recommendations for placement I made my best guess.

It works great for me..... Not so well for female users. Some hit the diverter and some don't......

Looks like I need to make a new lid with the diverter moved back a bit.
2 years ago

Tyler Ludens wrote:Personally I would not replace a flush toilet with a composting toilet, I would have a composting toilet in addition to a flush toilet, in case there is illness or injury which prevents maintenance of the composting toilet.  Diversity is a survival strategy!

I couldn't agree more.

When I had one working toilet I was very reluctant to replace my only flushing toilet with a composter.

When I reached the point that I had no working flush toilet the decision became much easier....

Edit: When my flushing toilet worked it still required weekly maintenance that is more difficult than the composting toilet (so far..).
2 years ago