Friday, September 15, 2017

Running water in an Outhouse
Scott Symmes2:52 PM


Running water in an outhouse is a pure luxury experience. It is wonderful to be able to wash your hands in clean water and grey water flows to a suitable location.
This feat was achieved when I was running PVC pipes to fill the Cowboy Hot Tub. It was a matter of making a few extra lengths that ran to some rain barrels. For now, water from the lake is pumped into the rain barrels. In the future, runoff from the metal roof we flow into the barrels.
I did have a proper "P" trap, so a coil of garden hose was used for the drain pipe. It was hooked up to a vent pipe that leads to the pit for the outhouse. At first, I was concerned the human waste odours would come up the sink, but the extra coil in the hose seems to prevent it. See pictures below for more info.
1.5" PVC pipe running from the water pump to the rain barrels

Water in one of the rain barrels. Yellow rope is just in case for movement. A 1/4 cup of bleach was added for safety. 

A simple hose bib attached a "Rain Barrel Spigot" kit from the hardware store.






Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Portable Green Waste Processing Table
Scott Symmes12:22 PM

Monday, September 19, 2016

Wood Stove Generator Project - Part 1
Scott Symmes10:00 PM

Since the winter season was approaching, I started to think about new ways to generate power to charge the "electronics battery". This a 12-volt, 55 amp hour, AGM battery I keep inside the main cabin. The main purpose was for the kid's low voltage electronics, my wife's laptop and to charge the on-demand hot water heater.  I like to save the main battery bank for big stuff; running the vacuum cleaner, LED lights and the occasional use of the DVD player for movies. This system works, especially in the winter time when snow is covering the solar panels and the batteries charge life was short. In my mind, it doesn't make sense to run a big inverter to charge a small device.
I had an idea on how to generate a few watts of power from the wood stove heat.  I would use a bunch of Peltier thermoelectric modules, two pieces of aluminum and an ammo box. I was hoping to have it all self-contained in the ammo box, placed next to the woodstove and charge a battery. The overall budget for the project would be less than $100.

The project started off with (10) 100W TEC Thermoelectric Cooler Peltier from eBay, The cost was $3.83 each with free shipping. The model was #TEC1-12709 (12 volts at 9 amps). I should have purchased a TEG module, but the cost was too much money at the time. The TEC doesn't necessarily generate 100 watts, it consumes 100 watts when a battery was applied. 
The "hot side" of the modules would be placed on a piece of aluminum and secured into place. It would then be attached to the side of the ammo box and the box would be filled with water or snow. A water jacket or block would be perfect, but I have quite wrapped my head around it. 
In the next week, I will mess around with this idea and see what I can come up with. Below is a few pictures of the progress.
Aluminum plate. Actual an old bus stop sign

Assembling the modules on the plate (white wafers)

For the first test, all the positive on one and negative on the other. (Parallel wiring)  
Used Silver Arctic thermal paste and electricians tape

Made a crude cooling fin from a Starbucks aluminum can.
Overhead shot of the rig


Basic cooling fins for the "cold" side. Worked better with a 12-volt fan blowing over the fins.

Ammo box on it's side. That is where the generator will be fixed too.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

2015 Channel Recap for the Cedar Workshop YouTube Channel
Scott Symmes2:01 PM



Put together a Year 2015 recap of all videos produced on the Cedar Workshop YouTube.










Would like thank everyone for watching and sharing these videos. Happy New Year!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Make a Cheap 360 Degree Smartphone Mount
Scott Symmes10:48 PM


A short, 1 minutes video that will show you how to make a cheap 360-degree mount for a smartphone. It can be used to film a 180-degree pan or a complete 360-degree shot.
Total cost for this project was $16.00
The materials consist of an egg timer from IKEA, 2 part epoxy and a car mobile phone mount from a dollar store, like Dollarama.
Works fantastic with a time-lapse function on an iPhone camera and capturing activity happening around the camera. 

Music creditL HTML by YouTube creator music library

Friday, November 6, 2015

Fixing a Pull Cord for a Vintage Homelite Super XL-12 Chainsaw
Scott Symmes3:24 PM

The first chainsaw I had purchased for our off-grid property was an used 1979 Homelite Super XL 12 for $75.00. It worked great, lots of power (54 cc), a 18" bar and with a sharp chain, it cut through Pine logs with ease.
The only negatives, no chain brake and the pull cord rope breaks. I used it for firewood season and the rope broke twice. We had a handy family friend that fixed it the first time, but after the second, the saw was parked and the backup electric Poulan chainsaw was used.
Four years later, after an aggressive purge of the work shop, I saw the protective plastic chainsaw case sitting in the corner. Thought I would pull it out and take another stab at fixing it. Started to dismantle the case that housed the pull cord. It was easy enough, but, after removing the last bolt and taking out the round pulley that contains the pull cord, a coiled up banding jumped out and unravelled all over the shop. I watched a few YouTube videos on how to fix the coiled up spring inside for the pull cord. I took a stab at coiling up the spring, off camera. Had to put the pull cord pulley flat on a board. I kept turning the pulley until it was pretty tight. Then with the aid of zip ties and my spouse's help, I managed to slip the coil into the pull cord case. Wow, that was difficult for a beginner. I wonder how the old timers do it? There must be an easier way.
Once the white and blue case was back on, bolts tightened, chain was sharpened and fuel mixed, I tried it out on a fresh piece of Douglas Fir. Boy, did it tear through the wood. Only had a the throttle open a quarter and it made easy work of the log.
The bar is 18" long. Good length for the weekend warrior.

The exhaust adds a cool sound to these saws!



Tuesday, May 26, 2015

On the Bench- Dismantling a Thermoelectric Coleman Cooler
Scott Symmes10:52 AM

Found a PowerChill 40 Quart Thermoelectric Coleman Cooler at the city recycle centre (junk yard). It's a fairly large, insulated cooler that has a 80 watt Peltier Cooling Module.  The cooler would be connected to a vehicles battery through the 12 volt DC power plug. As you drive to your favorite campsite and it keeps food cool while in transport.
Unfortunately for me, a scraper that was looking for copper had cut the 8 foot long cord, fuse and male power port. Went online for a replacement cord and found out it requires 12 Volts DC at 8 amps to run properly. I'm sure I could rig up and power cord from all my spare cords and DC parts.
But before I do that, I wanted to check out how the unit actually works and maybe build something similar to use in the Frost King Ice Box refrigerator. We currently use the ice box to store beverages and vegetables. The fan on the back, running via solar panel, during the day would do a good job. 



Exterior of the fan housing. Notice the cut cord at the bottom right.