Friday, December 31, 2010

A year gone wonderfully by

We finished up our Valentine remote power installation Wednesday night. I was a little surprised that we used 700 feet of 3-conductor wire, but I was just doing a little research and the average home uses thousands of feet of wire.  I guess I just had not kept track until now. I have lots of photos to post, I'm just several miles away from the files. We were glad to be back home catching up on our other jobs and chores.

Everyone should expect another year of interesting projects and hopefully more videos with our neglected Canon HF-10.  We are getting a better set up and getting more reliable computer equipment in the upcoming weeks. We wish you all an excellent New Year!


Sunday, December 26, 2010

New Advancements in Chicken Ranching Technology!

We put some of the finishing touches on the new coop today, which meant we were finally able to transfer the chickens. Chicken Transfer We were also able to hook up version 1.0 of our Chicken Guzzler.  This waterer fills automatically from a 100 gallon reservoir.  When the rains come again, the reservoir will be fed directly off the coop roof. Viola! Self watering chickens (part of the year)!

Chicken watererWe are going to complete our Valentine solar power / house wiring job tomorrow.  This time Sara, Sprocket, and I will be going together, so staying in touch with each other should be easier. 

That's all for now; see y'all on the flip side!

Friday, December 24, 2010


Sara and I have been having an enjoyable, productive holiday. Many of our projects are getting wrapped-up, and new ones are beginning. One accomplishment that has yet to continue to move forward is an invention I call a Fire Safety Switch (FSS) - something I developed over 6 years ago. It's a smoke and heat sensor that cuts the power to anything you would like, if smoke or excessive heat is detected. Turning of a malfunctioning device early can often prevent fires and even death.

I feel it's the best thing since the sprinkler, but I may be biased.

So I have a reliable working prototype, but that's were the progress stopped. I have yet to pitch my idea to any company, and they are not even interested without a patent(s). So I am stuck -- I have attempted the patent process many times. I am even in the middle of a provisional patent application that does not seem to end. My though process seems to be limited to Research - Design - Build. I have a YouTube video demonstration of my idea, and I am hoping that maybe the right person will watch it.

Well enough of that I hope everyone has a great Christmas and holidays and don't use faulty lights. 

Monday, December 20, 2010

Flew the Coop

Coop RoofCasey, Arick, and I have been working together on "the farm", as Casey calls it.  The project this weekend was moving the chicken coop from one end of the property to another.
Relocated Coop
There are also some design improvements on the nesting boxes in the form of poured adobe walls.

 Nesting Boxes Poured Forms

A great deal of our fiberglass insulation has been installed, but the nights have been quite warm lately (not even 40 degrees F).

It is so dry here right now, we're all getting colds, sniffles, sore throats, and such. But we are all having great winter and a fun holiday with our friends.


Monday, December 13, 2010

Friday, December 10, 2010

Remote power success

Our most remote photovoltaic install to date was a success. We made quick friends with rancher Jim White, who has a wide variety of skill sets including a thorough understanding of plumbing (cows have to drink too).

The 1890 adobe was very comfortable, and the attic space was a lifesaver for running wires (though extremely dusty). The home did not have one ounce of wiring, so much of the time was spent adding lighting and outlets. This was our first time using a MPPT controller and boy was it worth every penny.  We wired the KW array for 80 volts at about 15 Amps, and we were able to get the most out of the Sharp 170s.

We will be going back to install the inverter, water pump and more lighting in the next few weeks.

Sorry to anyone who was worried about us -- cell service was an hour drive, so we stayed put and worked from dawn to dark for three days to get the job done. But we definitely need to get a portable satellite phone from Big Canyon TV in Alpine. Sara and I were very glad to see each other again, and next time we'll make the trip together.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The other nowhere

Our Valentine solar install is finally happening. Arick and I are headed out on Monday.  We will try to bring everything possible, as Valentine is a four-hour drive. I think it will be good because it is predominantly a DC installation, and uses a MPPT controller. We'll be sure to post some pictures. We are going to pour our remaining bathroom knee walls Saturday morning.