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Steve Smyth

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since Jan 06, 2016
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Recent posts by Steve Smyth

I lived in a community in Snohomish County that had folks living in tool sheds, RV's, tents and some structures that are hard to describe.

I had a place there that we parked our fifth wheel trailer. We started out living there part time and later full time. We were there full time for over two years.

The unspoken rule was:

Code enforcement does not show up unless somebody complains.
Don't complain and don't piss your neighbors.
2 days ago
I don't know what kind of setup you all are towing with....

I have no problem pulling a 13,000 lb trailer with my 3/4 ton gas truck.. It goes, tows and stops just fine.

Same with my 1 ton diesel pulling 18,000+ lb.

One issue that I did have to overcome was finding the right brake controller. I started out with a cheap one and could never get it set quite right. That did result in a couple of white knuckle stops.

When I replaced my $39 controller with a $200+ controller it was a night and day difference.
2 days ago

Gail Jardin wrote:Who here has a bus? I'm still working on converting mine and have run into some mechanical problems. I plan to use it as a stationary cabin once I find some land. Building a skoolie has taught me so much about what I don't know but hopefully have enugh confidence to build a cabin once I buy land.

I am working on my third bus.

What sort of issues are you having?
2 days ago

Peter VanDerWal wrote:Meh.

My nephew came to visit us a couple years ago.  He and his family lived in a "Skoolie" (converted school bus).  He painted it white to help keep it cool during the summer, it still to WAY more energy to keep it barely tolerable than it took to cool my whole 1500+ SQ Ft house to a comfortable temperature.  From what he tells me, it's even worse in the winter.

IF you live somewhere temperate, then that's not a problem.  If you live anywhere that requires heating or cooling, it can be a big issue.

A School Bus has zero insulation.  The one in the linked article has about 200 sq ft of living space behind the drivers seat.  If you insulated it to the same level as a typical house, you'd lose about 20% of that.

I always assumed that the main point in a tiny home was to save money.  If you spend twice as much to heat/cool it as a full size house, then what's the point?

Modern school buses actually do come with insulation. Unfortunately it I thin and poorly implemented. Pretty much useless.

To address this issue, many of us strip out all of the interior metal panels, wall and ceiling. Install good insulation and thermal breaks on the ribs. Then build a new wood ceiling.

I lived full time in a bus that was very well insulated for 6+years and found it to be very comfortable.
2 days ago
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 $....
9 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?


9 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.
1 year 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?


1 year 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?


1 year ago

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

Linear actuator...
2 years ago