Tuesday, April 22, 2014

150 mph Hurricane A/C Pad?

I'm sure you already know that it's becoming more and more difficult and expensive to live today. The increasing expense comes from not only inflation but mostly from the worst offender, the government; Fed, State, County and City and all their mandates that always drive costs up. The people in government are truly brain dead and simply don't care of the cost to we tax payers every time they decide to create another regulation to help something or someone, other than the tax payers!

Here's a perfect example of a new mandates/regulations:
I just replaced my A/C Heat Pump system. A Florida mandate now requires the cement pad for the A/C unit be rated to keep the unit in place in winds of 150 mph! They have to be kidding! I doubt my house would still be standing after a day of 150 mph hurricane winds. This moron mandate cost me an additional $100. I had a perfectly fine cement A/C pad that's been in use for 18 years but now I have to use the certified/mandated one or the install won't pass inspection.

On top of that they also mandate that when you replace the A/C compressor you must replace the entire air handler inside the house even if it doesn't need to be replaced. The air handler normally can be simply repaired because there's two major things that fail; the 'A' Coil or Squirrel Cage fan. Now to be fair if you change manufacturers or BTU output it may be wise to change the air handler to get the maximum efficiency from their design.

Building Code Inspections:
I'm in favor of building inspections because Florida is loaded with unqualified self-proclaimed contractors and for people not knowledgeable in the building trades they will normally get cheated by these people. My install had to be city inspected. The problem for me was they would only tell me what 'day' they would show up but no time frame. So I wasted an entire day waiting. He finally did show and spent no more than 6 minutes here. He visually checked to breakers for correct amps, looked at the air handler then went outside to look at the install and mandated cement pad.

Here's the new A/C unit on the mandated pad. Note the yellow label on the pad. Also mounted on top the unit you'll see some 1/2 inch hardware cloth (screen). I created a tent shape to prevent the millions of leaves that fall in my yard and make it through the A/C grill and pile up in the bottom inside the unit. Those leaves hold moisture and rust out the unit before its time.

A closer view of the label and one of the four anchor straps holding the unit to the pad.

A close up of the label.

Here's another photo of the leaf guard I made. It works, look at the leaves on ground. This is every 2 weeks and during fall it gets ankle deep so I'm constantly blowing and raking.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Shipping Container Cabin

I thought this was one of the better shipping containers I've seen converted into a cabin. Looks quite inviting, cozy and not claustrophobic. I don't have any details of the inside, wish I did. Use your imagination!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Simple Low Cost Portable Solar PV System

Since upgrading my 45 watt Harbor Freight system that ran flawlessly for 6 years to my now 200 watt system I decided to make the 45 watt system portable and totally self-contained. The reason is if I have to 'bug out' I can take the system with and keep my "AA" batteries for night lighting, AM/FM Shortwave and two way radios charged and operational if in a grid-down situation.

Two years ago the wiring connection to the PV Cells leaked water and shorted out completely one of the three 15 watt panels rendering that one useless. If you install your own system be certain water can not infiltrate the cell area under the glass through the electrical connecting box on the back side of the panel. So the bottom line is I have just two 15 watt panels equaling 30 watts of charging power. This is plenty for recharging "AA" batteries for radios, battery powered lights or power tool batteries.

This project was less than $40 for the new charge controller and connectors. I had an old but still functional car battery. That's it the total cost!

If I wanted to make a brand new system I'd buy a 100 watt panel from Home Depot and the total cost of a very powerful 100 watt system would be under $200.

This is a very simple project that anyone can do.

Here's how I converted my old panels into a portable system.
The charge controller is less than $20 and as you can see very small. It is rated for 7 amps it can handle up to a 105 watt panel.

The polarized connectors I used for the connections.

Rear view of the panels

Close up of the panel wire showing how I used epoxy to prevent ripping the wires out of the panel connector box

All wires connected and ready to work. The alligator clips attach to the battery. The 12v socket next to them is where I plug in my 12v extension cord.

The 12 foot extension cord I made with two 12v sockets to power the battery chargers and/or radios.

Side view of working panels leaning against my van.

The panels are putting out 17.5 volts.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Help one of our readers

I received an e-mail from one of my long time readers asking if I could help her cousin by posting this for her. Please read the website below as it will clearly explain the situation. I can see this same thing easily happening to me and to many of you out there. Here's a case where elected people fail to do their job and follow the options presented in the law that Guy was arrested for. I signed the petition.

"I would like to ask you for your support for my cousin who finds himself in a terrible situation.  At the age of 58 he is facing a potential multi-year prison sentence on gun charges in NJ.  I know, it sounds awful.  Here's the thing, it was an honest mistake and a legal remedy exists for folks that find themselves in his exact position but the local prosecutor is refusing to apply the legal remedy.

My cousin is very active in his church and community.  He is a good man.  He has never been in legal trouble before.  His website explains the details far better than I can in this e-mail"  http://www.wesupportourguy.com

What can you do ?
1.  Sign the online petition
2.  Send letters, call and/or email Chris Christie and the other two politicians on the website
3.  Share the link to the website with your friends and online communities asking for support
4.  Write letters to other officials (I have a long list I can share)

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Ramen Noodle Soup & Maruchan Instant Lunch

'Ramen Noodle Soup' and 'Maruchan Instant Lunch' are staples of low cost and pretty good eating. They also lend themselves to bulking up by adding other foods to them such as rice, beans, freeze-dried veggies or a variety of can meats. The 'Ramen Noodle Soup' is part of my long term storage. They are also good for camping, back-packing, canoe trips or any activity that the weight of food is a concern.

Another good use for these products would be when a disaster event strikes and your unprepared neighbors come knocking on your door begging for some food they know you have. Just hand then a couple packages of this soup.

What's the difference between these two products?
All you need is water and they both cook in three minutes.

Instant Lunch net weight is 2.25oz, 64g and comes with its own serving cup.
Instant Lunch contains vegetables; peas, corn and carrots.

Ramen Noodle Soup net weight is 3.0oz, 85g is just packaged without a serving cup.
Ramen Noodle Soup does not contain the same vegetables; peas, corn and carrots.

Does one product have an advantage over the other?
Yes, I think so! The Ramon Noodle Soup has 3/4 ounce more noodles than the Instant Lunch cup. 3/4 of an ounce may seem trivial but if that serving is all your eating for that meal or day it will mean a lot.

How I use the Ramon Noodle Soup I stock:
I don't like doing dishes so that's one of the reasons why I purchased 16 ounce paper cups plus they are safer to use than Styrofoam cups if microwaving and I also use plastic spoons. Clean up is as quick as a toss in the garbage. Another benefit is during an event aftermath when clean safe water may be in short supply, doing dishes may not be possible.

I lay the package on a counter top and use the side of my fist gently striking the package to break up the noodles inside. The noodles now being smaller pieces are easier to eat with a plastic spoon after cooking.  Otherwise the noodles are endlessly long and difficult to handle with a plastic spoon.

After breaking up the noodles I put them and the flavor/spices into a 16 ounce paper cup and add water 1/2 inch from the top. If cold water then microwave it for 1:45 seconds or use hot water from a stove top or campfire. Then let the hot water soak into the noodles for 3 minutes and eat!

Ramon Noodle Soup label.

Instant Lunch label.

16 ounce paper cups I use.

Ingredients into paper cup.

Water added to ingredients.

Just out of the microwave and ready to eat in three minutes. Stir well to mix all the seasoning throughout the noodles. Enjoy!