PostHeaderIcon Desulfating Lead Acid Batteries Homestead Chickens And More

On a dark and gray day, the forklift batteries were pulling in 450 to 480 watts. I had left the inverter and modem on for a little bit which brought them down to 163 watts and a decent 13.7 volts at 63 degrees, but the production was good for a day that was lacking sunshine.

The new chickens have acclimated well to their surroundings at the Off Grid homestead. There are three areas for them to sleep and lay–the coop, the chicken tractor, and the old rabbit hutch. In the coop, the original chickens line up on two perches inside when they are holing up from the weather or sleeping at night. The tractor seems to be where the new birds have decided to stay. It has two seperate areas…one is an enclosed coop above and the other a somewhat more open area beneath. The old rabbit hutch has become the laying facility. They go in, lay their eggs and leave, making it convenient for gathering. Right now, there is one nesting space, but dividers are cut and will be added to create three additional nesting boxes. This day brought five eggs in varying sizes and colors…white, off-white, and light brown…due to the different varieties of hens.

A couple of days before, I hooked the badly sulfated golf cart batteries to my homemade Bedini motor, and I soon discovered the CLEN desulfator was interfering with the Bedini. The CLEN uses electronics to put a high voltage pulse into the batteries which brakes up the sulfation on the plates, whereas the Bedini uses radiant energy. Each time the desulfator pulsed, there was a distinct dimming of the light on the Bedini motor. I disconnected when I realized there was an issue, but I am now going to leave them both running to see what happens, just out of curiosity.

Doing a quick check, the sulfated golf cart batteries showed a surprising 12.63 volts after just a couple days on the Bedini motor. When the voltage stops going up, it will be time to shut off the Bedini, put a load on them, then recharge them again.

To round out my day, I was excited to receive what appears to be a pretty amazing book “Collapse : Suburban Survival Solutions.” Glancing through, I saw it has some extremely interesting information. I’m looking forward to some late nights reading and researching.

See the full video here: YouTube Video

Please donate to help keep The Off Grid Project ™ going: Please Donate

Join The Off Grid Project ™ and The Do It Yourself World ™ forum and share your ideas, tips and projects.
The Do It Yourself World Forum

The Off Grid Project ™ is presented by The Do It Yourself World ™.
The Do It Yourself World

PostHeaderIcon Beautiful New Addition To The Off Grid Homestead

The day after the latest batch of snow, the chickens needed to be dug out once again, and the solar panels required cleaning. Thankfully, the sun decided to put in a nice, long appearance, bringing the temperatures in the meadow up to a high of 44-46. Not only did this make it nicer to work, it also aided in the snow removal process by melting off some of it.

Once the new snow had been cleared out of the way, it was time to unveil my latest Craig’s List haul . . . chickens! A nearby family had been downsizing and had to get rid of a batch. It was first-come, first-served, and I was able to bring 11 new hens and 4 roosters to the Off Grid homestead. They are a variety of types, but all a year or a little under, so the egg layers will be producing right away. Since they were new, I needed to clip their wings to prevent them from trying to fly off before they became used to their environment. As I did so, the “king” rooster verbalized his feelings about these invaders to his territory.

Before the temperatures dropped for the night, I made sure everyone was settled in with fresh bedding. The original chickens use only one of the three coops, so the new residents just need to choose where they will be sleeping and establish their positions while they all get to know one another.

As a great ending to what was already a very positive day, an update on the solar output showed the batteries were at 71 degrees. That’s exciting progress!

To catch up on my path to self-sufficiency at the Off-Grid Project and the Tiny House on Wheels, and to see the accompanying video to this post, go to:
YouTube Video

Please donate to help keep The Off Grid Project ™ going: Please Donate

Join The Off Grid Project ™ and The Do It Yourself World ™ forum and share your ideas, tips and projects.
The Do It Yourself World Forum

The Off Grid Project ™ is presented by The Do It Yourself World ™.
The Do It Yourself World

PostHeaderIcon How A Blocking Diode Works & Testing A Diode With A Multimeter

A blocking diode is used to allow electricity to flow in one direction but block the flow in another direction. This can be compared to a one way valve. In this article I will show you how to test a diode to see if it is good or not, how a diode works, and how to use it.

I had a blocking diode fail in my wind turbine setup about a week ago. This diode was between my DC wind turbine and the battery bank. The diode allowed power to flow from the wind turbine into the batteries but blocked the flow of energy back from the batteries into the wind turbine. Without a blocking diode on a wind turbine the battery bank would just power the wind turbine like a big fan motor until the batteries were fully depleted.

How to test a blocking diode

There is a silver band on most diodes. The diode body is black. The silver bandk shows the negative side of the diode and the unmarked side is the positive side.

How to identify a diode markings

Pointing to the negative silver band on the diode

To test a diode with a multimeter, simply set the meter on the Ohms setting. Chose a mid range on the meter.

Take one of your test leads from the meter and hold it onto one of the diode wires. Do the same with the other meter lead on the other wire. If the diode is forward conducting then you will see a resistance reading. Mine was just under 20,000 Ohms. When you reverse the meter leads you should see an infinite reading, or no reading depending on your specific Ohm meter. If you get these results then your diode is good and working fine.

Testing a diode with a multi-meter

Testing a diode with a multimeter

But if your diode has failed like mine and conducting in both directions then you will see a resistance reading in both directions. This means that the diode is defective and should be disposed of. My diode actually shorted out just like a wire. It had almost no resistance at all and was conducting in both directions.

You can see the full video here: YouTube Video

Please donate to help keep The Off Grid Project ™ going: Please Donate

Join The Off Grid Project ™ and The Do It Yourself World ™ forum and share your ideas, tips and projects.
The Do It Yourself World Forum

The Off Grid Project ™ is presented by The Do It Yourself World ™.
The Do It Yourself World

PostHeaderIcon Heavy Snow Storm & Preparing For Maple Syrup Season

With a storm on the way bringing up to 9 inches of new snow, it was necessary to chop and split wood to get a nice pile ready for about three days of heat.

I also ran into town for some provisions and to get parts for the generator since the gray skies and snow made for poor solar production.

A quick check around 10:00 am, however, prior to the beginnings of the storm, showed the solar pulling in 500 watts of power with the batteries at 14.9 volts, 28.3 amps and maintaining a nice 42 degrees. Not necessarily ideal, but still a good 20 degrees warmer than the outside temperatures.

While in town, I stopped at the post office and picked up packages containing items I had ordered for future projects and improvements. I purchased 10 amp bypass diodes with a 1000 volt rating for the solar panels and two 25 amp blocking diodes, also with a 1000 volt rating, for the wind turbines.

More exciting, for those who share my love for pure maple syrup, was the bigger package that had arrived. In preparation for the upcoming season, I added ten taps, or spiles, with backflow preventers to the ten plastic and five metal ones I had used the previous year. I also purchased fifty feet of tubing and five T-adaptors which allow two spiles to empty into one bucket.

I am looking forward to maple syrup season and don’t have too much longer to wait. In about two weeks, the cold weather should be coming to somewhat of an end. Once the days get warmer and the nights are freezing, it’s time, and I’ll be ready.

For the full video: YouTube Video

Please donate to help keep The Off Grid Project ™ going: Please Donate

Join The Off Grid Project ™ and The Do It Yourself World ™ forum and share your ideas, tips and projects.
The Do It Yourself World Forum

The Off Grid Project ™ is presented by The Do It Yourself World ™.
The Do It Yourself World

PostHeaderIcon Day Carry Survival Bag And Packaging My Own Farm Fresh Eggs

After having insulated the forklift battery the day before, I wanted to check on how it was managing. With the outside temperature at 11 degrees, coupled with about a 10mph wind, the battery bank was 39 degrees at 7:30 am. The previous evening, at last check, it had been 47 degrees, so it was pretty exciting to find it had only lost 7 degrees overnight. Hopefully, once it reaches a temperature of 50 to 60 degrees, it will make a difference on the standby voltage.

Since the day ended up getting rather blustery with winds gusting up to 30 mph, I decided it was a good day to get my eggs safely packaged into cartons and begin packing my day carry survival bag.

I have a bug out bag in my car complete with everything necessary for long-term survival but my truck is without one. I began to think about the “what ifs” regarding the possibility of something happening if I am on the road with the truck rather than the car. On the same token, in my good jeans, I always carry a Leatherman tool and tiny pocket Leatherman, but not so with my work pants. What if I were to run to town wearing my work pants? My solution was to put together a day carry bag which will go with me when I leave the Tiny House on Wheels, no matter what.

For this purpose, I use a Fieldlines pistol case with a removable padded pistol pouch in the middle that holds my tablet perfectly. It also has magazine pouches on both sides, making it a great organizer for survival gear. The bag is far from complete, but so far it contains . . .

A pocket fisherman and clip on reel
Pen and pencil
Knife
LED flashlight and a wind-up LED light for back up
Tissues
First Aid kit
Lighter and matches, both strike anywhere and waterproof
Granola bar
Multi-tool and silverware kit with can opener, knife, fork and spoon
Hand warmers for being stranded in cold weather
A 10-pack of Coleman travel towels
Carabiner for adding water bottles when on the road
Survival bracelet that someone had sent me
Survival kit in a can
Ear plugs for aid in sleeping in louder environments
Key ring with thermometer, compass and wind chill indicator

As for the eggs, I had picked up five egg cartons labeled “Farm Fresh Eggs” from Tractor Supply at 49 cents each for what I estimated to be about 50 eggs. My chickens are still laying about four to five eggs a day. The last few days, unfortunately, I have lost about half to freezing due to the arctic chill temperatures. They lay their eggs in one coop and stay in another, so not being quick enough can result in frozen eggs. What I had already collected, however, turned out to be 48 in total (since I had eaten a couple for lunch earlier), and I hope to begin making a little pocket change from selling them. The average market price for organic eggs is $3.50 a dozen, an amount which does not allow for much profit when taking into consideration the cost of the cartons, feed, and other slight “overhead” costs. The best feeling is the one I get from knowing I have taken the first step on the path to self-sufficiency at the Off Grid homestead.

For the full video, including Analyzing status of battery banks: YouTube Video

Please donate to help keep The Off Grid Project ™ going: Please Donate

Join The Off Grid Project ™ and The Do It Yourself World ™ forum and share your ideas, tips and projects.
The Do It Yourself World Forum

The Off Grid Project ™ is presented by The Do It Yourself World ™.
The Do It Yourself World