Another Illinois 'stead

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Re: Another Illinois 'stead

Postby mannytheseacow » Wed Aug 20, 2014 10:40 pm

@ Matt: Yeah, I really like that feeder a lot! There's the double sided option too, if that makes sense for you. I really like the net fencing. It keeps the goats in even when the electric is down. I'm also running about 2600' of intelli-rope now, grazing at a couple different sites for people off my property and the little jerk goats are all over the place. We haven't had any rain in over a month here and if I don't water the ground rods twice a day the fence goes down and the goats push right through it. My little buck will stick his nose right on it and test it. So yeah, I much prefer the netting to the rope for that aspect, though I can set up the rope super quick through some pretty gnarly terrain, so it would work well if we had more precipitation.

@Silver: Thanks for the nod of approval. It never ceases to amaze me when I hear how people used to do things the right way and the new way doesn't make any sense. Why don't all these farm buildings incorporate free energy?

@Guy: I get it, Guy, and thanks for sharing that. I really want to be able to shovel the floors and I can see the gravel leading to some issues. I'm already getting some jeers from my environmental friends about not using more friendly building materials and I think I might get strung up if I tried to put concrete in there (not to mention I can't afford it). I found a couple videos on youtube that explain that bottle technique that you mention and I think I can combine that with the information on floors provided in "The Hand Sculpted House" to make something that will work. I'm not too worried about insulation for the critters at this point but I think some sealed clay might be just the ticket. The building my chickens have survived the last decade in had planked walls with many holes and a big window that was just a screen, no glass; not even a drop of insulation. They're gonna think this new place is the high life!
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Re: Another Illinois 'stead

Postby mannytheseacow » Mon Aug 25, 2014 11:14 pm

The last of the last to report on here. Got the last door built over the weekend and moved the birds in last night-
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Moved the laying boxes in, moved the feed and water. The laying boxes even got spruced up with ledger rails on the front and new bottoms so all 10 boxes are useable.
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Moving the birds was the first time they've been handled since they were chicks. My turkeys are a good 25 pounds + already. I didn't realize how heavy they've gotten. Most of the details have been wrapped up except the solar powered lighting, low on the priority list.

All that got done just in time for a 2" rain that completely filled the water tank.
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I love it when a plan comes together.
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Re: Another Illinois 'stead

Postby matt walker » Tue Aug 26, 2014 3:39 am

Nice work my friend, very nice work. Tank is full, you are done!
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Re: Another Illinois 'stead

Postby mannytheseacow » Sun Nov 02, 2014 5:42 pm

I got the solar lighting idea from Matt; thanks again for that. I could have wired directly to my house and run off my existing solar but I really like the idea of being completely independent from the house with short wiring runs.

Anyway, I've had the wiring sort of half-up and working for quite a while now but I finally received the timer in the mail from Hong Kong. It took forever but was well worth the wait, for a 12 volt, 17 function timer, for $5 (stable down to -10*C).

So, I've got a single 100 watt panel and charge controller that I picked up on Amazon for $138 delivered, as a blemished/damaged item, fully guaranteed, and it works great. I also got some 10 watt flood lights. I've got a light on the goats side, a light on the feed room/trough, and two lights on the chicken's side. All have individual wall switches so I can turn them on and off as needed, but then the chickens are also wired to the timer to extend the photoperiod and laying with shorter days. It's really a sweet system in my mind. With a salvaged battery, I've got under $200 in this, it's completely separate from my house, and the loads I'm running are so small that the battery is usually fully recharged by 10am, even on cloudy days.

Here's a shot of the brains (you wiring gurus don't laugh at my sloppy wiring; Matt, Drew, I'm looking at you):
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And a shot of the floods on the chicken side:
Image
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Re: Another Illinois 'stead

Postby matt walker » Sun Nov 02, 2014 6:23 pm

Awesome set up Manny. You know what a fan I am of these cheap, simple systems. I think we are getting to the point where this stuff makes a ton of sense for the bulk of our domestic needs. What you have there would be an adequate power/lighting system for a small house, no problem. I really like the idea of the small, non distributed power systems like this. One little system for the coop. One for the house. One for the shed, or the pump house,...etc. Good job there, I need to do a similar timer set up for my chickens now, I'm short on eggs after the fall moult here.
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Re: Another Illinois 'stead

Postby mannytheseacow » Mon Nov 17, 2014 3:40 pm

Anyone interested in solar electricity might be interested in this. I'm pretty anal about keeping track of my electrical usage and solar production. I'm always looking for ways to lower my usage, and also since I'm tied to the grid I make sure my power company isn't giving me the shaft on what they're supposed to be buying from me, which is quite difficult.

Here's a graph of where I'm at:
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The line for the power company is what they are buying back from me. My usage, obviously, is the usage. My system reports back actual production, which is where things get confusing. My production is different than what the power company reports because they buy back the energy that I'm not using. So, if I'm boiling water for beer, or running the electric dryer because it's raining, I'm using my energy first before the solar company gets it. Also the power company billing varies from 22 days to 36 days, depending on the billing cycle, which varies from my monthly actual production reports. Things aren't quite matching up, but they're close. I try to keep track of things I do so I can compare back on my report to justify the results, such as if I ran an electric saw, electric oven, or made beer.

It's clear that there is a period during the winter when days are the shortest and light is not that intense that I am using more than I am producing, which, coincidentally, I am also using more electricity than the rest of the year. Part of this I attribute to heating the chicken waterer, and I also have lights on more than any other time of year. But, these peaks in my usage are higher than my average the rest of the year. And the lows in my production are near my average usage, so the way that I interpret this is that I can continue to make changes to reduce my usage.

Anyway, I hope some other nerds out there enjoy this.
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Postby Myrth » Wed Dec 03, 2014 1:49 am

I am really impressed with your solar barn lighting. That is a great setup for not a very big outlay. I will be showing this to my husband. I like it!!
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Re: Another Illinois 'stead

Postby mannytheseacow » Wed Dec 03, 2014 2:03 am

Thanks Myrth! I really owe that all to Matt for turning me on to such a simple system. If it wasn't for my 380' deep well pump I would run my whole house on this simple kind of system. Even with the shortest days of winter approaching, one panel is producing way more than I'm using. I managed to find a scratch and dent deal on mine, but even new out of the box they are reasonable: http://www.amazon.com/Renogy-100W-Mono-Starter-Kit/dp/B00BFCNFRM/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1417572161&sr=8-1&keywords=solar+panel
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Postby Myrth » Wed Dec 03, 2014 3:43 am

What type and size battery did you use?
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Re: Another Illinois 'stead

Postby mannytheseacow » Wed Dec 03, 2014 4:31 am

It's just a 12 volt battery. You can pick one up fairly inexpensively at any store that carries car, truck, and RV batteries. Mine is nothing special but a deep cell RV battery will give you oodles of storage if you need it.
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