Joe Baker

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since May 18, 2011
Portland OR
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Recent posts by Joe Baker

Well the consideration i would make in that situation would fall only on how durable the flexible panels are. And to answer that you need to remember there are 3 common types of solar cell for power generation (and a good number more used for other applications that I'm not getting into) First the best type is monocristalline. There the cell is made from a single cristal of P or N type material and doped with either N or P type material depending on what type of material the cristal is made from in the first place. This is the best type of panel there is available to the common person. The second best is the polycrystalline type. basically the same as a mono but there made with several shards of material glued together to make the cell. In practice there every bit as good as there higher priced cousen and just as durable. The trade off comes where there not quite as good at converting sun light to energy, but they make up for it since you can make the cells square or rectangular and therefore have more cell in a given square foot. And in practice since you end up with more cell surface working for you they end up dead even in performance and cost slightly less. Both the above cells should last 30 or more years if used every day. Now the last type that is avalible to the common home owner or other person seeking a solar panel is the amorphous cell. The only advantage of a amorphous cell is there cheep and come as both rigid cells and as flexible cells depending on the substrate there made on. There bad points are they tend to run at a lower voltage and they don't last as long. 10 years is about average for one in every day use as far as my experience goes. That said they don't tend to just quit working all at once. They just start making less and less power as they age. But the test data i have seen on them tells me there almost useless by the time there 20 Years old. And if there out in the sun where solar panels tend to be that aging will happen faster.

Now i will admit its been about 5 years since i have done my homework. The technology gets better every day. But the real deciding factor is how long the manufacture guarantees the panels rated power. If there still only giving 5 or 10 year warenties on amorphous cells then what i just said above is still likely true.
8 years ago
Well like it sounds in the title. I was doing my homework on getting my 85 VW Jetta running on WVO but that dream just got shot down 2 weeks after i took the car home wen some crazy person literally rammed my car at a stop sign wen i was waiting to make a right turn. But I'm still making this post since my dream of running a small VW on WVO is still alive since i still have a good drive train in that car. And i have already found another 85 Jetta for cheep with a bad motor. So yea the dream is still alive even if another careless driver has made it more difficult then it has to be. By the way if there is anyone in the Oregon or Washington area that can help me change the motor out i can trade yard or garden work for the help.

PS: me and my 2 passengers did walk away from the crash with no harm.
8 years ago
Just made a post in the alternative energy forum and noticed that my name now seems to be Bakerjoe McCoy. Is there any way i can be just Bakerjoe again?
I'm not 100% sure what your asking? I Have set up several thermal siphons for a number of different projects however. But as far as what i think your trying to do a thermal siphon will never work. For several reasons. The first reason is a thermal siphon can not lift water at all. Well maybe a few thousandths of a inch in a 10 foot column if you want to prove me wrong. But for any practical reason there is no lift potential at all. And one of the most common way to brake a thermal siphon in fact is having any kind of air pocket in the system. And no capillary action doesn't play into the effect at all, It actually works to hinder it. That's why people tend to plumb them with as large a diameter pipe as practical. Now because a thermal siphon can not build water pressure it makes it a bad idea to have a check valve in the system. A check valve will actually prevent water flow until the water goes boiling, builds steam pressure and then pushes the check valve open. Or depending on the stem pushes all the cold water out the bottom of the heating coil until the steam pressure escapes. Then cold water rushes back in. In a solar system that effect may only lead to very bad performance but in a system using a wood stove that will make a lot of loud banging and snapping sounds from the pipes. But in general check valves are almost always a bad idea in a thermal siphon system. And you may still experience the above problem if you so much as get a air bubble in the pipes. The other big problem is you can't move heat down, heat only goes up. At least most the time... Funny thing is i read in a old Victorian era trade journal on hydronic heating about a way to make a thermal siphon move heat down. But i will come back to that point latter...

As far as using a ram pump i don't see how that will work. Ram pumps take water from pint A and move it to point B waist 90% and move 10% to point C that can be quite a a bit higher then point A. I have built a few to play around with. There single strong point is they cost nothing to operate. There week point is that they waist most the water that goes into the intake. (the waist valve was given that name for a reason) And you need a good drop for the drive pipe. (there gravity driven critters) If you can make one work in any situation however there awesome. But a back yard pond is not one of them unless your back yard is on a hill side with a good size steam flowing threw it to provide the power and water source for the pump.

Now as far as what will work for you pond heating given the information at hand is what Jon Atkinson suggested. That is to use a PV panel to drive a small water pump to push your pond water up into your solar water heater. Build it as a proper drain back system so it wont freeze up at night and you should be all set to go. I set up a system like that for heating my dads girlfriends above ground swimming pool and its only flaw was that it tended to get the pool too hot till i added a thermostat to the system.

Now the revisit of making a thermal siphon move heat down... This is something i have never done. But its on my to experiment with list. If you like i can move that project up to some time like this Holiday weekend. I'm not even sure how to describe the way this very unusual thermal siphon is set up and i would have to draw up a diagram of what i seen in that old trade journal. So at this point I'm not comfortable trying to tell others how to build one. However Chad if you would like to go the thermal siphon route all i need is a good excuse to go to the shop and play around with old pipe fittings for a evening and see if i can make this silly 100 year old idea work. From there i can work out how to make it into a solar fired, down flowing, pond heating contraption.
8 years ago
Well somethings only a byproduct if its not put to good use is it?

The only two things that come to mind after giving this idea a few days thought is the very low amount of Hydrogen sulfide gas that will be given off by the anaerobic bacteria. If I'm not mistaken in a digester with a healthy bacteria population your gas should be 50% to 70% methane 30 to 50% carbon dioxide and less then 5% Hydrogen and Hydrogen sulfide displacing the 2 major gasses. In a very happy digester the hydrogen sulfide and hydrogen component is negligible. But i can see less then optimal conditions with a waste water treatment system. So that brings me to my first question. How do you plan to separate the hydrogen sulfide from the carbon dioxide and methane majority of the gas?

The other thing i was thinking. Well not so much a question but something i should point out. Any fuel cell that can be bought off the shelf is very quickly damaged by sulfur compounds. That's why fuel processors to prep fossil fuels for a hydrogen fuel cell cost as much as the fuel cell its self. And don't have a spectacular life span because of the sulfur compounds attack them as well. So you would need a fool proof plan to keep any lose hydrogen sulfide out of the fuel cell. Perhaps filtering lose hydrogen sulfide threw some KOH or better yet NaOH.

Do you have any advanced plans for the methane gas you would be getting from the digester? If not then i would use the methane gas its self to run the fuel cell after running threw a fuel processor to reduce it to hydrogen. And how i would do that is by first cooling the gas from the digester to help condense water vapor in the gas. Then use a off the shelf compressed air water trap to catch the condensate. Then i would filter it with KOH or the cheaper NaOH. The NaOH should take out all the remaining water vapor, Co2 and H2S in the gas. At that point you should have gas that's identical to natural gas they pipe into your home, if you live in north America. Granted that is not running on the hydrogen sulfide but it is using ideas that are already well known and using parts that can be had off shelf.
8 years ago
A guy on Youtube made a excellent set of videos on how to make your own PV panels.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hNH2YGzwznI[/youtube]

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tEYtfNOML8c&feature=relmfu[/youtube]

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sRKphzl7PBE&feature=relmfu[/youtube]

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PfCeknwkG4M[/youtube]

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0UM3DgyG_BQ

I haven't made any large panels yet but the videos are the best how to videos on the topic i have ever seen. Good luck with your project.

9 years ago
Wen i was living at my dads place i always wanted to set up something to collect rain water for the garden. Turns out i had a good idea even if my dad blocked me on it. The roof of his double wide mobile home would have collected 159,500 liters a year, according to that tool Mapper99 posted.

My plan was to replace the down spouts with 3" PVC and run that to a home made above ground storage tank behind the house. Made from lumber plywood and a pond liner. In hind sight however a proper water tank would have cost about the same and be more durable. The system never did get built but i did have detailed plans and it would have been good practice at keeping a water cistern.

At least my dad didn't mind the side yard being turned into a garden.
9 years ago

I think that your map is in arror! I know of a company that has a small reactor used for eradiating medical devices after packaging for biological sanitation that does not show up on your map.



Its more likely there just exposing the medical supplies to a strong beta emitter like Cobalt-60. That's way more simple and way by far way less expensive.
9 years ago
Hey i found something new that the original poster may think is interesting.

I was playing around on YouTube and found among other interesting videos of people playing around with Edison cells a video of someone making one.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K84PywMwjZg

Oh also i found this neat little project...

http://rimstar.org/renewnrg/sp_diy_homemade_solar_cell.htm


All of that sounds like a fun project to me. Think about it... You would have enough power to run a LED light just long enough to find your candles and a book a matches! Think of how impressed your girlfriend would beĀ 
9 years ago