Patience is a virtue they say…..

28 05 2016

I wish I could say a whole bunch of stuff I’ve started is finished….. but I can’t. Even Matt my neighbour thinks I’ve entered a state of Zen…

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Ready for action…

Having now discovered my new batteries take 3.5 litres of Potassium Hydroxide electrolyte each (140L in total – I was originally under the impression they needed 1.2L each, but apparently they’ve improved the design) and being unable to access distilled water anywhere in Tasmania in that sort of quantity, I decided to make a solar still and make my own…….. but if those results are what Tasmania has in store for me with respect to solar power, I will give up.  My still made a cupful of distilled water on one sunny day.  I now wish I had taken the advice of one of my readers and bought a reverse osmosis filter setup, but such is life.  Matt has rescued me once again, and I’m taking 40L batches of his filtered rainwater from his kitchen.  His roof’s brand new, and with Tassie having the cleanest air in the world, I figured I would take the chance, especially after a local told me he’d been doing this for years with no negative repercussions…

Mixing the electrolyte is a slow and tedious process.  You have to add the KOH flakes to the water (and definitely not the other way around…) very slowly.  I stir it with the supplied thermometer, and the liquid quickly heats up to 50 and even 60 degrees.  And if you are too cavalier with this process, the ensuing exothermic reaction can bite you in the butt and start boiling covering the operator with highly caustic stuff!  Which is why I of course wear the supplied rubber apron, heavy duty gloves, and eye protection.  Once or twice, the electrolyte started hissing at me, causing a few steps backwards to occur…… not for the faint hearted, but it’s all fine really.

Using the supplied hydrometer, the specific gravity (SG) of the electrolyte has to be monitored until it’s bang on 1.21.  Put too much KOH in, and you have to add more distilled water, which I had to do once so far.

I’ve just mixed another 40L, and I’ll wait until it cools overnight before filling the next 12 or so cells such a batch will do.  I still don’t have my 100A slow burn fuses anyway, they go in that box (a fused interrupt switch actually) with the blue vertical stripes. I’m definitely going to have to make a list of all these people I’m waiting for, before I forget who they are..!!

All the batteries are now on a custom made stand. The wiring is all but finished, needing20160528_113511 the aforementioned fuses to close the final circuit; once the batteries are full of course. Once the filling process is over, all those battery terminals get covered to make sure it’s impossible to short them.  I’m rather pleased with how it all turned out, looks quite professional……

The pile of timber in the shed has grown, but I haven’t seen the sawmillers in well over a week, I have no idea what’s happening on that front either.  There are seven logs left to mill, and one of them is too large for me to roll towards the mill on my own.

20160528_115613Last weekend, Trev the excavator operator turned up and started scraping topsoil off the base clay, stockpiling it in huge growing mounds…. and also found loads of floaters (rocks to you) which no doubt Glenda will find use for as landscaping material once the house is built.  The machine had only been going for one hour when its bottom radiator hose burst, silencing it for good.  Trev was back today, but must have had the wrong part…. all 12cm of it.  It’s still sitting exactly where it stopped a week ago. Such is life…. all good things come to those who wait.  But a bit more action would be nice…..

Earlier this week, mother nature turned on an amazing frosty show…. coldest morning I’ve seen here yet, -1.5C in the shed, making it hard to get out of bed…..  but out of bed I did get, the sunrise alone was worth putting on four layers and breaking out the down jacket!

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View “from the bedroom”

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Across the road

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5 responses

28 05 2016
Tom

Hah that electrolyte sounds like good fun. I’m looking forward to hearing how these batteries perform for you. Is that a Victron-blue charge controller I see mounted on your new stand? Any worries about how warm that will get backing onto wood?

28 05 2016
mikestasse

It’s actually a Victron Multiplus inverter, and the plywood is mounted on the S facing steel wall of the shipping container, so there’s an air gap between the two….

28 05 2016
Doone Wyborn

You can buy RO water in the supermarket as drinking water. Two brands are Pureau in 10 litre casks and Moore’s Ultrapure in 5 litre plastic bottles. Use a cheap Chinese conductivity meter (about $15) to test, but I’ve tested both brands as zero dissolved salts.

28 05 2016
mikestasse

Thanks Doone, I’ll check it out….

29 05 2016
foodnstuff

Not only patience but perseverance, Mike. When it’s all done and dusted, you will have certainly earned it!

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