WindTapper's Journal - Grassroots Green Energy Projects

Delivered by FeedBurner

Recent Posts

"Manhattan" the TV Series on WGN
"Will" on TNT is "Spot On"
Trump - Jackson Debate
Piliated Pear Tree


Algae CO2 Reduction
Art and Advertising
CO2 Reduction (see also Algae)
Dear Diary
Designing Prototypes
Electrical Matters
Howard Johnson's Magnetism
Investment in Windpower Devices/Parts
Library Research
Manufacturing Protocols
Serendipitous Art Reviews
Static Electrcity
Strength of Materials
Triboelectric generation
Website Design


August 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010

WindTapper's Blog

April 2013

Level One Cemented -- I Thought So, Anyway

Given the amount of preparation I made, the actual spreading of the cement operation
was relatively benign and brief. I had agonized over every little detail, including trying to figure out how much cement to mix. In the end, the amount of the mixture was limited by the size of my mixing tray.
Because I ended up with exactly the right amount of cement, I like to think that my unconsciously operating analogue computer, built into my brain, was my benefactor; however, I could have used a tad more cement. Probably, since I figured out how to do with that little bit less, I was willing to believe I had exactly the correct amount.
Once I thought I had finished, I noticed that two corners of the floor should have been higher, so I grabbed various dribs and drabs clinging to the mixing tray and built up those corners. I can only hope I don't have a problem in the end, trying to lay the floor tile.
So anyway, once I finished laying the first level of cement I called out for the cleanup crew before reminding the air that the cleanup and prep crews are all right here where I stand, in my own shoes, ha, ha.
Still, at times I had concluded that I would probably need to mix up a second batch of cement, so my inner analogue computer performed very well, thank you very much. I paid a lot of attention to the poor man's creature comforts, such as plenty of rest, adequate hydration, and not so much heat that I might succomb to heat stroke. That last was possible due to the intentional cutting off of air flow and plastic wrapping 'round the room serving as drop and splatter cloths.
Now we wait to see how much it all shrinks as it dries, but I am not going to sit there and watch the paint dry. I still have to clean up the area....Dang. I forgot to take a picture of the cement mixing tub with cement mixed in it. Oh well. I still have level two to accomplish. Next time.
Later Note: It turns out that my thinking I had just the right amount of cement was "too good to be true." I went back to clean up the edges and discovered a low spot. So I made up a small batch and poured it on, using my 16 inch tool to spread it. I have the appropriate level gizmo to check that the floor angles downward toward the center from all the walls.
Gotta love that slow drying concrete, though. I got to play with the surface and edges, shaving a bit here, adding a bit there, until I noticed the low spot along the wall opposite the door. Even though I mixed the second batch a bit thin -- I could just pour it on -- it still set up nicely, though rather more quickly than it would have if it had been a virgin pour. The first stuff down must have sucked the extra water out of it, even though the original still has not become hard, some four hours from the start.
I got to do a heart with my husband's and my names inside it. I should put a year, too. It will be covered over and only seen if and when the shower gets rebuilt again or the when the house is torn down some decade or century in the future.
So, I have another bit of shaving of surfaces to do, plus some more cleanup. Later, dudettes and dudes.

Getting Ready

I have been getting ready for the next step in rebuilding our shower, all day, and now I am almost ready to open up the first bag of cement for mixing up the batch to lay the first layer on the floor. This layer has to be precisely sloped all around the walls, down to the first of three levels of the drain apparatus.
I took a picture, but I feel too lazy to post it right now. It shows how I have put plastic up both walls and across the floor of the bathroom to guard against cement splashing on the living area as I mix and then transport it in order to apply it to the shower.
I have four hours before the new Syfy Monday programs come on. Can I get 'er done in time? I feel like dinner should come first, though, being 5 p.m. and all...
We shall see.

Busy Yesterday

At top we have a bin of untreated lime plus water. Next two pics are new set-up for CO2 experiment. I added stakes to secure the pipe from wandering.
I started a new exersize program recently, so I have more energy now. Yesterday I accomplished two projects.
1. I reworked the CO2 set-up so that now the furnace exhaust is pushed onto water laced with "double strength agricultural lime."
For some reason my pictures upload backwards -- that is, the second picture becomes the first picture, and so on forever. Last becomes first. I suppose I could simply download the pics first, then write.
Anyway, I had the blue bowl from another project where I had carefully removed its bottom. Now it supports the end of the exhaust pipe that has an elbow to shoot the exhaust down into the water. I happened to also have a four-piece wood device that I guess the previous owners of our place had used to protect a set of Tulip plants from being run over. The wood keeps the end of the elbow out of the water.
The water has begun turning brown after only one night of having the heat on occasionally.
I have another bin of water plus lime that has had no exhaust flowing into it. It remains purely white. That picture is now at the top of this entry.
Agricultural lime is caustic in many ways, the least of which is NOT that you will be exposed to breathing it in. I had a three-day headache last time I was spreading even the pelletized form over our lawn, by hand. Do not handle without proper mask, gloves, etc. It does not wash off easily, either. So be prepared to dump clothes in the laundry and take a shower after handling the stuff, too. I hosed down everything the white stuff got onto. I have it in a covered bin, on site, for future applications to fresh water once this new water becomes too funky.
On second thought, the water now looks yellow in the lime tub with the exhaust. Perhaps the wood is decomposing. I will have to find a plastic lid that I can punch holes in for the tub and remove the wood.  Later Note: The yellow disappeared. I am not sure when. Perhaps it was a trick of the light. I removed the wood and placed an extremely porous plastic shelf on top of the vat to keep the elbow out of the water. It is raining now, so a new  picture will have to wait.
2. I suddenly realized that some wood I had from my (failed) greenhouse rebuild experiment might fit on top of our swing set to provide more stability for whirligigs of the future. I actually got a third place to hang a gig out of the deal. Perhaps I will post a picture in the next entry.
I am going to add rebar to this swing-set set-up, for hanging the gigs on. The reason I have to get so elaborate is because the holes that come in the swing-set do not line up with where I need to hang the gigs.

Experiment Crash

The movie National Treasure supposedly quotes Thomas Edison saying that he found 2000 ways not to make a light bulb, but he only had to find one way that works. So, as I work on my 2000 ways to fail, I found another one today.
The idea of using the dryer vent as a source of heat for our greenhouse failed in several ways. 1. Use of the dryer is not constant enough to keep plants from freezing in Winter. 2. Water collects in the piping and can potentially block the vent. 3. Even if an accidental hole lets the blocked air escape, lint collects around the vent at the house's wall, creating a potential fire hazard.
So, the dryer vent experiment is finished. Caput.

Recent Activities

As my larder is empty of science fiction books these days, I have gone back to reading about electronic power circuits, although, I am not sure my book is as up-to-date as I could be reading. Thyristors seem intriguing switches until you read about their limitations. They will stay on or off if certain conditions are not met.
I think that thyristors are not adequate for the extremely variable conditions of a wind powered electricity generator.
On another front, I am working on a new design for the final egress of our furnace exhaust -- this time with pure white powder lime and water receiving the final outgassing. I am interested to see what will happen to the powder and water, but I must be careful not to let the powder become airborn because it is caustic. Breathing it would be bad, in other words.
I also changed my investment mix to a new logic. Morningstar rated 5-Star ETF's that are non-bond funds but have no commission -- mostly.
Signing off for now....

Alan Dean Foster

I have almost finished reading The Light-Years Beneath My Feet for the second time in several years. It is funny how reading this has coincided with my giving up on investing in the stock market this month.
Besides the normal seasonal upswing from October lows to April highs, Foster's book shows how collusion among traders can be masked so as to avoid prosecution. I am of a mind right now where I feel that it is all rigged in one way or another. Reading Jim Hightower's The Hightower Lowdown newsletter today amply reinforces this view of money matters with its title story about the Tea Party saga to-date.
However, I think it is quite rare for a science fiction pulp novel to so forcefully illustrate ways to conspire to drive up security prices without giving evidence of collusion. I think of my husband's fishing hobby and see myself as a stock market invester as a fish, falling for the bait that markets wiggle in front of me, only to find my money --with my life -- disappearing rapidly.
So, I am out for now, except I heard and saw some interesting news on the BBC channel a couple days ago. The China real estate bubble comes to mind. I had been intrigued by the runup in one such Chinese real estate stock, but I won't be investing in that now....

Misc. Projects Now

The white then green pipe above the ground is our furnace exhaust which now lets out onto the ground with no cover.  I am sorry that the aluminum sawhorse by the house reflects light like it is a white pipe, but it is not. The white beginning of the exhaust pipe goes relatively straight into the house.
                                                                                                              The next picture shows the 1/4 inch plywood I will cut. It has red markings for places I should not fasten it due to screws that will be behind the panel. The center hole will be made to accommodate the vent pipe that sticks further forward than I would have liked.
I will have to make paper templates of each wall in order to avoid trying to attach cement board in places where there is either air or already fastened woodscrews.
The third picture (below) shows where I put two reinforcements on the insides of the wall joists so that I can install the plywood panel flush with the wall joists.
At the bottom of the walls will be a cement floor. The joists will be covered with a grey rubber sheet, then cement board, adhesive, then tile.
The colored puzzle pieces on the floor are just rubber mats I use to kneel on. They were cheap toys from Walmart that I got from an outdoors sale in their parking lot last summer, for about $4. Several more came in the package -- yellow and red, dark blue come to mind....
I had to add wood to the sills around the base because the original shower used tile to define the limits of the cement floor. This was an incorrect design because water could then leak down the walls and into the basement. The orginal shower had no waterproofing behind the tiles, either.
I put backing within the lower parts of the shower walls, using, so far 27 three-inch #12 wood screws.
Our shower rebuild is progressing slowly. Once I get the first of a series figured out, then the next steps go a little bit faster. If I decried every delay I would be mighty sad, but I remember that the first is always the slowest.
To the left, off to the left of center are two tall locust trees sticking up above the center background of trees. The one on the right -- in the center of the picture -- will be cut down halfway, so that it won't fall on the power lines. The one on the left will be felled. It leans toward our septic system now. Both had poison ivy killing them. That will be a mess for me to clean up given that I am allergic to poison ivy, but the price on the tree trimming was far less when I said the trimmer could just leave all the wood lay.
For some reason my pictures have gone back to putting themselves at the top of my entries. This is how things were when I first came to VistaPrint. Anyway, this process now jumbles up my narrative-to-picture coordination. Sorry guys. Also, I now have extra space in my entry that should not be there, but in the Edit Screen I can't seem to get to the extra space in order to delete it. I'll have to "go figger."

Springtime Events Around Here

Lower left tub shows (faintly) one stage of the pelletized lime combined with water, then dried, where the result is plainly brown. Then the upper right tub looks as though it has black water, which is actually very dark brown. The next pixture (of pelletized lime, below) shows the asphalt-looking stuff that spread out after I upended the central vat, where the exhaust pipe let out.
I am sorry, but as I am putting the pictures in a day late, they are putting themselves in the wrong places. The second photo seems to be Manet's last painting.
Putting up new fencing around our garden, plus then turning over the soil -- these are my main tasks these days, although I tore down the CO2 experiment and distributed the pelletized lime over the lawn and gardens.
The black stuff goes with the water in the CO2 pelletized lime experiment. The black stuff is washing away in the rain, btw. That's a relief. I thought I might be stuck with what looks like asphalt after emptying out the main tub.
I went to see Manet yesterday and learned a lot about that artist, but the movie leaves me wanting to know more -- which I presume is the point. Manet died at age 51 of syphilis.
I wonder if that is what Shakespeare really had, too, since he was only 53 when he died. Sometimes I wonder if I could write a mystery novel about Shakespeare's death, but it would have to be fiction since there's no way of knowing what really killed him.Sometimes I think he just got a piece of blackberry or cherry pie and did not know he had become allergic to that fruit, but there are so many other possibilities....
So anyway, I still have a lot of work to accomplish on our shower rebuild project, but Spring is too fantastic to ignore. I have been getting outside to get sunshine by doing yardwork. Then, today because it was raining, I decided to make a big pot of gumbo. Man, that's good stuff!
On the art front, I started imagining ways to decorate the whirligigs because one could construct a series of pictures that would simulate cartoon motion as the gig turns, but now I think better of the whole idea. Making gigs that do not attract attention by passersby seems like a more economically viable choice in the long run. I think I will just stick to doing the occasional portrait.
Since I am on a diet, I only ate two jumbo shrimps -- I swear -- while working on the gumbo. I was a good girl. Now I have to go freeze a bunch of quarts of gumbo. Toot-a-loo for now.

Eureka Moment?

Some glitches in the infrastructure design for my wind powered electricity generators have been plaguing me for months, such as racoons using a system tied to eaves to gain access to the attic, and swingsets as frames being another natural magnet, but this time for kiddies whom no one can control 100% -- especially when one is not at home.
An idea cropped up today after watching the 3D version of Jurassic Park. You know my favorite line from that movie is when Jeff Goldbloom delivers, "[Everybody's] so interested in whether or not something can be done, they don't stop to think if they should do it." I am not sure that is the exact quote, however. Anyway, as you probably should have guessed by now, I believe in forethought.
So anyway, my idea is to see if I can bend those cement reinforcement rods -- they come in 20-foot lengths and were $3 apiece -- in order to construct a free-standing frame for my wind powered electricity generators. Some intrinsic flaws such as their lack of sufficient strength plus their propensity for bending under pressure come to mind, right off the start.
They would be anchored with cement, of course, but I do not think it wise to go all the way up with the cement because cement poles would block some wind. However, I might have to try it with cement poles reinfoced with rod. I have seen some tall forms that look like square downspouts, at Carter Lumber....
The good thing about this idea is that one's home would not be touched, and the small size of the holes placed in the ground would not preclude their being removed and filled in if the placement is incorrect or one needs to move away from the property where they are placed.
I fear I will have to use the sugar-plus-boric acid paste -- another potential danger if exposed to kiddies -- to control ants, however, because precipitation -- which attracts ant nurseries -- will naturally accumulate around the bottom of this infrastructure, unless drainage is engineered into the design right from the start.

Three Experiments Bite the Dust

1. For weeks I have been trying to figure out how to put an "S-trap" under our shower in order to stop blow-back from the vent that goes to the roof from those pipes. Today I sought the aid of a very capable and reasonably priced plumbing outlet. I spent only $8.50 with tax and acquired all the parts necessary to build a "glue-trap", aka a "P-trap" and put it mostly together with lots of elbow grease, cleaning, cutting, marking, etc.
We need it to drain to the sewer on the same vertical line as the shower drain, which is why it was so complicated.
However, I had only 12 inches in which to accomplish this project.
When I add the final connector that attaches the PVC pipe to the copper drain, I must add a few more inches -- inches that I do not have.
The connector is shown at the right, sittig on the bench below where it would connect with the aid of another short length of pipe.
This contraption is 13 inches long, so I will consider myself fortunate that I did not try to install it without measuring its length first. I will be happy to "go straight" now that I have proved the trap impossible because the drain will drain very well and not leak without the trap.
Later Note: All the above foo-foo-rah seems very funny to me now. I have it down to two main pieces for the S-trap, now, sending the water into the sewer drain sideways. Oh well. You gotta start somewhere, if you have any guts at all.
2.The greenhouse leaks like a sieve in the rain. All the rugs I put down on the wooden deck have stayed moist also because I had diverted our dryer exhaust to the greenhouse for extra heat. All my lettuce plants were frozen out and the rugs have to be thrown out, too -- hopefully before the wooden deck rots.
3. All the pelletized lime will be spread out all over our lawn in order to make room for actual lime. The truck tarpaulin also will go since I never had any algae to protect from too much light, anyway. I am considering alternative coverings, too, other than the plastic table that I have been using.
It is time to plant more lettuce, though. We still have rabbits to contend with. I am near to quitting on my wind generators because there is no reasonably priced source for aluminum magnet wire in small quantities. Copper is too tempting to thieves who always exist.
Website Builder provided by  Vistaprint