Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Night 2 & 3 (Its getting better!)

Well the living conditions are getting better anyway. I discovered that the battery in this lap top has gone belly up and the only way I can use this computer is either running off of the generator or inverter / batteries. I was bored with nothing to do and was determined to stay up late rather than go to bed about 7:30 or 8:00 to beat the cold and I did. (11:50 PM.) Beats the heck out of waking up at 1:00 or 2:00 AM and being stuck in the bed until sunrise to stay warm! I didn't have to beat the cold because I managed to get one of the two tarps up on the sealing, seal off all gaps going in to the back part and it made a world of difference. With the burner turned as low as it would go without going out it stayed comfortable in here until about 6:00 AM when I turned the burner up some. Didn't take long for it to get comfortable again. The Iron Dungeon is becoming more like a home. You're right Tigger) Sealing off the back part good also stopped the rainy sealing in the back part because I stayed out of there until I'd opened up the front door to let the humidity that had built up in here all night from the burner out.

Lighting is 22 solar lights from Harbor Freight and they put out plenty of light for me to see except for reading. I did compose some email last night after going out about 10:00 PM and drilling a hole through the front I built just big enough for an extension cord to go through so I could run this computer off of the inverter. I managed to see the keyboard from the light of the screen with one of the solar lights on each side of the keyboard. I'll go out shortly and use my home built dish to connect to the internet to publish this and send the waiting email in the outbox. I have the stuff to build the dish so it could be mounted outside where I could use this computer and be connected in here, but unfortunately this computer won't work with it so far. I may wind up pulling my desk top out of storage and try to get it setup on it and use it for internet to send mail and what ever else and use this one to do my offline work and transfer the data by flash drive. Don't want the desktop to drain the batteries by running it a lot.

BTW the picture is what I saw at sunrise yesterday morning. I had a write up all set to go, but lost it when I discovered the battery was capoot in this computer and took it off the inverter.

Heard my first cayote since I've been here and that was about 6:30. Sound real close and that could be a real bad thing for it! Can you say buckshot?


  1. nice sunrise! Moisture will cut down on your efficiency of your heater. Long term Id check out a small wood stove that can burn sticks and desert brush.

  2. I dont have your Email, I need to send you a messege.

  3. Got all four of the batteries I doctored up and online now. Still have 6 more to go. According to BillyBob I should have 400 AH now. (2 sets of 6 volt 200 AH @ 12 volts). I only need 4 more of the ones I haven't doctored to come out good and I'm pretty sure I'll make that. If not I can get more. The 800 AH requirement by Big Bend Telephone should be met. Hopefully all 6 of the remaining will work out and I'll have 1000 AH of batteries. If not I may get more anyway. Not bad for $5 a battery. Legally places that have old batteries can't sell them for over the salvage price (which is $6 ea) Pretty soon I plan to take my spare 12 horse motor and hook a 130 AMP alternator up to it for fast charging until I can get my wind genny up. It will be used for backup after that. I'm considering building another ATV with it and have it where I can switch between ATV mode and Charger mode. Sort of a Transformer. ;)

    OGT try t.guy&tffn.net but change the & to an AT sign.

  4. Did you ever consider getting a small 400 Amp inverter for just running your computer? That way you won't drain more than you need. For many people who live in their vehicles full time (VanDwellers), this is something that is commonly done to save power. Also the 12V electric blanket is another trick used to keep warm. Other ideas to keep warm might be to setup some kind of heatsink/heatstorage like maybe some waterjugs or hot rocks/bricks. If you had a wood burner you could stack up a bunch of bricks and when the fire went out you would have heat for awhile. Oh well my 2 cents or 1 cent after taxes...

  5. The adventure continues!
    Looks like you're slowly and surely working out the details. The wood stove idea sounds great, but there doesn't seem to be very much wood around there. If you had to drive to Alpine and buy wood on a regular basis, it would be time/cost prohibitive. If you can make it to a big enough sporting goods store, you can find an assortment of quality propane heaters designed for campers and hunters. I think that's what John Wells uses in his little house. You could buy a few 20 pound propane tanks, and they would last you for a while. While you're at that sporting goods store, pick up a good propane camping stove. They will have a good variety to choose from, and you'll need one to cook on anyway.

  6. Being in the propane business, I definitely recommend propane for heating, cooking and water heating. I'll keep my eye out for a small heater you can plumb into the chateau. Are you in a 20' or 40' box? Looks like a 20' in the pictures. There is surely a dealer in your area and most rent 150 or 250 gallon tanks for a dollar a year, and they deliver the gas. ANything special I should be keeping an eye out for? Let me know.

  7. Dennis, I'm with you on the propane. I think it will be the cheapest and best way to go. I checked on a 250 gallon tank and here its $10 a month for the tank rental + the gas. Sounds like Highway robery compared to what you say, but they're the only game in town unless you want to keep filling BBQ or RV sized tanks.

    Another very windy day here and enough sand in the air to make life not so good.

  8. If your laptop battery is cactus, then you might as well open it up to see why. The reason I say this is because I was about to pay $120 for a new one for my netbook laptop where the battery wasn't even being detected anymore. Once I get it open, I found a dry solder joint and a loose wire. rewired the loose cable, re soldered all the joints, and the battery works now, albeit, with less capacity as before due to sitting so long without charge, but 95% capacity is still enough for me to run the thing for about 3.5 hours.


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