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Old 09-26-2011, 11:26 AM   #1
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Default Minor talk about my buildings and power

TLuker and CA357, I’m not sure if this is what you want, but I’ll give it a shot. I don’t do pics too much, not overly computer/camera savvy.

My cabin is 32x24. It has 8 ft wide porches on 2 sides. It’s only one bedroom, one bath with a great room/kitchen and a large pantry. 768 sq ft heated and cooled. The floor is sealed on the bottom of the floor joists so to hold the insulation and keep critters from pulling it out. It has 6in of insulation in the floor and walls. 6 in of batts and 6 in of blown are in the ceiling.

The cooling is handled by one 8k btu wall unit for the bedroom/bath. One 12k btu handles the great room/kitchen. Heating is handled by propane units and a wood heater in the great room. Cooking is propane. Water heating is propane with a homemade solar “helper”.

It’s built on 6x6 treated timbers. It’s nearly 2 ft off the ground. Living in hurricane alley, I decided several years ago that pole building was going to be my choice. I think it’s the Grand Banks where they now require pole built structures. They are very strong, but have “give”. They also simplify building, as they are the load bearing for the roof. I have two other buildings built the same way.

I have Harbor Freight 15 watt solar panels. They have worked pretty good, but when I add more I plan on using a better quality panel. They barely meet my needs as they don’t make 15 watts, but more like 10-12 watts on really good days. But they were cheap and was just trying to learn. Batteries are another thing. Don’t bother with anything other than minimum of the 6 volt golf cart battery, imo. I started out with the best 12 v marine but they just don’t cut it. I only have 6 batteries but now when fully charged will last for 3-4 days with no further charge for my needs. The 12s would never last more than 2 days. 6s ain’t cheap, but you waste $$$ with the others. Hoping to be able to add 6 more next year and with an upgrade on the solar, I'll be able to run a homemade low energy fridge. That’s another thread….

Water comes from community water and a well. Plus I have a total of 2200 gallons of rainwater from the roofs. I have a small grey water setup that recycles shower and lavatory water to flush the toilet.

Hope that is what you were looking for. Happy to try to answer questions if I can.

Jimmy

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Old 09-27-2011, 01:30 AM   #2
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That's exactly the type info I was looking for. Thanks for adding the part about using pole construction. I easily forget that there are other ways to construct a building. I'm stuck on split timber frames right now and I tend to get a little single minded once I get something in my head.

Just out of curiosity, what is the life expectancy for the golf cart batteries?

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Old 09-27-2011, 01:58 AM   #3
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Thanks for the overview Jimmy. It's a great starting point for discussion.

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Old 09-27-2011, 02:39 AM   #4
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Have you considered making your own solar cells? Some of the instructions seem pretty easy. My problem is an overly active homeowners association that gets pissy about everything that doesn't fit their model.

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Old 09-27-2011, 01:27 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by TLuker View Post
That's exactly the type info I was looking for. Thanks for adding the part about using pole construction. I easily forget that there are other ways to construct a building. I'm stuck on split timber frames right now and I tend to get a little single minded once I get something in my head.

Just out of curiosity, what is the life expectancy for the golf cart batteries?
I too concidered timber frame type construction, but the pole building style fitted my abilities and strength specs.

I should get 8-10 years use from the batteries. That's what most get from them. By staggering mine a few years, I'm hoping I will be able to replace only half at one time, splitting the cost down the road.

Jimmy
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Old 09-27-2011, 01:38 PM   #6
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Have you considered making your own solar cells? Some of the instructions seem pretty easy. My problem is an overly active homeowners association that gets pissy about everything that doesn't fit their model.
Not really. If I was full bore solar, I would look into that more to try and save a few $$ . I'm mainly just trying to power what I think would be the minimum I could get by with, were there a grid shutdown. I'm lucky, my neighbors love all the stuff I'm trying....

This is what I'm working on now...
Practically off the grid! » How to Make Your Own High Efficiency Refrigerator

Jimmy
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Old 09-27-2011, 03:55 PM   #7
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That fridge is a great idea. Thanks for posting it.

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Old 09-28-2011, 03:09 AM   #8
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I became interested in split timber frame homes when daddy took apart an old plantation home (more like a large farm house). Notice I said "took apart" and not "tore down". Every beam in the house was mortise and tenon and it was still solid after more than 150 years.

It was also amazing how the design allowed for so much air flow when the doors and windows were open, which would have been really nice before AC. There were just so many little things about that home that would have made life so much nicer in that period of time. I keep wondering what's possible using that sort of thinking with the modern technology, and I've been trying to find out every since? I also keep wondering how much knowledge of such things has been lost since that time?

I built the attached hanging corner cabinet (photo was before lower self was in place) using wood from that plantation home using traditional methods such as mortise and tenon joints and real tongue and grove bead board for the backing. The whole self sufficiency thing kicked in then, but it was more about improved quality of living than anything. I can't buy anything close to that cabinet but I can build it.

In about two more years I hope to find out how all that will come together in building my own home. Of course I've got a lot to learn about generating power between now and then, so thanks for the information. Every bit of information helps and its nice to hear from someone that's already working on it.

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Old 09-28-2011, 12:37 PM   #9
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I became interested in split timber frame homes when daddy took apart an old plantation home (more like a large farm house). Notice I said "took apart" and not "tore down". Every beam in the house was mortise and tenon and it was still solid after more than 150 years.

It was also amazing how the design allowed for so much air flow when the doors and windows were open, which would have been really nice before AC. There were just so many little things about that home that would have made life so much nicer in that period of time. I keep wondering what's possible using that sort of thinking with the modern technology, and I've been trying to find out every since? I also keep wondering how much knowledge of such things has been lost since that time?

I built the attached hanging corner cabinet (photo was before lower self was in place) using wood from that plantation home using traditional methods such as mortise and tenon joints and real tongue and grove bead board for the backing. The whole self sufficiency thing kicked in then, but it was more about improved quality of living than anything. I can't buy anything close to that cabinet but I can build it.

In about two more years I hope to find out how all that will come together in building my own home. Of course I've got a lot to learn about generating power between now and then, so thanks for the information. Every bit of information helps and its nice to hear from someone that's already working on it.
A beautiful piece of work TL. Something to be very proud of!! That's my other passion. Woodworking.

Your so correct about lost knowledge on building. High ceiling and tall double slide windows were not just for looks...keep the heat high and move it out. I have actually been involved with a timber frame home. Built from cypress. One of those contractors that specializes in timber homes came a lived on the site till they were done. Sooooo skilled! He said that timber built worked opposite of pole type buildings as it is not flexible, but is strong built. He did say this was his first one down here in the south, so he was not sure about withstanding storms. I think it will do ok. But when build one you need super layout skills and lots of help putting it together. Me, one friend and my GF built my cabin in 3 months of weekends when I was still working. No site prep, no foundation makes things go faster. Oh and mine could be taken apart also. Built it so to make repairs easier. The basic frame is bolted and everything else is deck type screws or SS screws….

Lots of good web sites out there to study and learn about solar/wind and hydro power. Good luck in your quest.

Jimmy
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Old 10-03-2011, 05:03 AM   #10
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Ok.. I live well past the power lines and my closest perment neighbor is about 2 miles away. Only power I have is what I make. I live in a 900 sq ft cabin that is heated with wood. Cook and heat water with propane . Refrigerater is propane as well. I have a water well and a 1100 gal. cystern that gravity feeds water to the cabin. Power is supplied by 2 trojan L-16 batteries thats charged by a 3500 watt generater and on good days by solar panels. The cystern needs refilled about once a month and theres a dedicated gen set.. Have a 1000 gal propane tank to supply the house and it's filled about every 2 years. The road is plowed during the winter by me. The road is repaired by me. The road is private. If you really wants to know about livin after the SHTF you need to live it.. Many think they will move into the hills and live simply. Most dont make it 2 winters.. I am not unique. These hills are full of people that have been living this way far longer than I..

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