WrethaOffGrid | |

I ran across this article today, I found it very interesting and informative, I hope you can get something out of it too.The article is about keeping your food cold when you don’t have much power.

http://www.backwoodshome.com/articles/hackleman56.html

We might be getting a propane refrigerator, I have been learning more about them, they sound like a really perfect way (for us) to keep our food cold, we have been using a small, cube fridge, it’s pretty small, and doesn’t use THAT much power, but it is our biggest power drain, if we can get a propane powered fridge, it would help us conserve the power we generate each day for use on other things, like surfing the internet! :) Ever since we got internet access, we use the laptop much more often, surfing the internet for hours each day, more at night, so we pretty much use up our batteries, the inverter starts complaining each time the fridge powers up, if we don’t shut down the computer, the inverter will eventually continually beep and shut down. When that happens, nothing works until the next day when the sun comes up.

Our Newest Test Project

Bob has been experimenting with a smaller windmill style generator. We found out that you can use a cordless drill motor, it contains a permanent magnet motor, combine that with a fan and a tail, set up in a windy spot, and you get electricity.

Yes, that is a Ryobi drill mounted there, this is the test model, the wire isn’t really hooked up to anything, though Bob just walked through with a 12 volt (?) led light, we are going to test it. We had had it hooked up to a volt meter, with a fairly light wind, the highest we have seen is 6 volts so far.

Bob got this put up yesterday, it’s been windy for the last few days to a week, once he got this up, the wind just died… typical huh… anyhoo, there is light and variable wind today, so we will be putting our test model through it’s paces.

Update, the led lights do light up, woo hoo!

.

17 Comments

Anonymous seth said…

you might want to consider a chest type fridge, more efficient than stardard type. just food for thought.
Seth

May 12, 2008 6:23 PM

Delete

Blogger Wretha said…

Thanks Seth, we have considered that, would probably have to make one though, the few that are available to buy tend to be expensive.

Wretha

May 12, 2008 9:28 PM

Delete

Anonymous seth said…

I did read of a fellow that took a standard chest freezer and turned it into a very efficient fridge by adding an external thermostat. www.treehugger.com/files/2005/07/man_retrofits_f.php thermostat
interesting reading
Seth

May 12, 2008 9:51 PM

Delete

Blogger Wretha said…

Thanks, great minds think alike, I’ve seen that one already, good site though, food for thought! Keep ’em coming… :)

Wretha

May 12, 2008 10:19 PM

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Blogger Tracy said…

Hi Wretha; having used a couple of propane refrigerators, I can heartily recommend finding another way. In my experience, they just use too much propane. Granted, I was using old RV fridges (I tried 3 different ones) so YMMV.
The homebrewing supply houses (morebeer.com, for example) have a thermostatic controller for about $60 that can be used to control a chest freezer. I would add a small fan inside (to run only when the compressor cycles) to prevent stratification.
The money you would save by doing this, compared to the price of a fullsize Dometic or whatever, would buy at least a couple of 60 watt PV panels; which would probably cover the electricity usage of the fridge, and then some.

May 13, 2008 10:53 AM

Delete

Blogger Wretha said…

Hi Tracy, I’ll look into that, thanks! I realize that I forgot to mention that we will be getting the propane fridge nearly free, it’s a used unit in a friend’s unused trailer. I haven’t seen it, I know nothing else about it, not even sure how free it will be, we may trade a carton of cigarettes or something like that. Hopefully I’ll know more by the weekend.

Wretha

May 13, 2008 12:37 PM

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Blogger Tracy said…

I have some ideas for my propane fridges. One possibility is rejetting it to work on methane gas, with a digester to produce the gas. That would work well at my homestead in the Southeast, where you plant watermelons by throwing the seeds & running for your life.
For my Terlingua land, a better idea would be to use a Fresnel lens to concentrate solar power onto a copper heat sink (painted black) which is connected to the refrigerant boiler.

May 13, 2008 10:32 PM

Delete

Blogger Wretha said…

Tracy, throw watermelon seeds and run for your life? That’s funny!

Wretha

May 14, 2008 12:05 AM

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Blogger The Scavenger said…

Dragon sent me your way and I am glad he did. I love the cordless drill wind generator idea and would love to know more about how it is working for you. Always looking for ways to generate some power. Great Blog

May 15, 2008 3:41 PM

Delete

Blogger Wretha said…

Hi Scavenger, welcome to my ramblings… I’m glad you like it.

The drill wind generator is sort of on hold for a bit, just a little bit though, need to make more juice for the batteries, they are HUNGRY. :)

I’ll post more about them as we work on them, stay tuned! I’m checking out your site too.

ps
thanks Dragon!

Wretha

May 15, 2008 7:47 PM

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Blogger Panhandle Tex said…

Not to rain on your parade but from the couple of propane refrigerators that I have had, they just don’t work to well, cooler than room temperature, but not what I would call cold. Perhaps that is the best way to put it, they make things cool, not cold. Granted these were older “full size” fridges.

Panhandle Tex

May 15, 2008 10:24 PM

Delete

Blogger Panhandle Tex said…

Opps, forgot to mention the idea of using an alternator for a wind generator. I have never tried it, but 25-30 years ago it was the hot idea.

Panhandle Tex

May 15, 2008 10:26 PM

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Blogger Wretha said…

Panhandle Tex, I’ll let everyone know how it goes with the propane fridge. We are still working on the wind systems, I’ll post more about things as they happen.

Thanks for your input. :)

Wretha

May 16, 2008 1:03 AM

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Blogger Tracy said…

Couple more comments: First, my RV propane fridges would freeze the entire interior, even in 100 degree weather, if you cranked them up. They just used a lot of gas doing it.
Second, about automotive alternators: not a good idea unless you rebuild them into PMGs. In stock form, they are less than 50% efficient. Somebody tried to tell me that, but did I listen? Nooo, I had to find out the hard way, just like everything else.

May 16, 2008 2:48 AM

Delete

Anonymous Jeff Earnest said…

Hey Wretha,

Scavenger provided me the link to your Blog, I too am interested in the progress of the RYOBI wind generated power… I’ve a couple of cordless drills who’s batteries have long since passed, and like the idea of supplementing my solar with ‘anything else’ alternative. In Florida, if it’s not sunny, it’s probably windy. Please let us know more about the drill mill as ya’ll progress…

Jeff

May 19, 2008 10:06 AM

Delete

Blogger Wretha said…

Hi Jeff, welcome to my ramblings… :) I’m not sure when we will actually do something with the Ryobi drill wind generator, it’s been set aside for now so that we can finish the bedroom and deck addition to the cabin. We have guests coming next month and more the month after that, gotta get things done around here so our guests can have a good place to lay their heads. As soon as we pick up the windmill project again, I will be sure to write about it.

Thank you for your interest, BTW, I checked out your site, very cool, I wished you were closer by, I would definately be interested in trying some cheese & milk.

Wretha

May 19, 2008 4:29 PM

Delete

Anonymous Anonymous said…

Wretha,

Check out
http://fourmileisland.com/IceBox.htm

I don’t think you can use it now with summer coming, but it’s something you and your hubby can look into this fall/winter.

TheMajor’sLady
www.lornkanaga.livejournal.com

May 22, 2008 6:21 PM

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18 Responses to “Propane Fridge & Wind Power Experiment”

  1. Kim Barnes

    I am living off the grid through the summer months on a private Island in Ontario. with solar wind turbines and have done it all my self and have found out so much trying to always improve what im doing using a propane fridge 1970s still working I had a friend of mine tell me that his friend is using a electric lg fridge he said if you run the generator until the fridge makes ice that at that point it draws very little power then run it off a inverter and he swears he has no problems with it any one have any experience with this ?also from what im seeing is the solar controllers have a long way to go to me this is the biggest problem .your controller has a high set point depending on what type of battery your using most over charging a cures after 13.8 and when the suns at peak instead of filling your battery’s it trips the breaker and then wants to dump this isnt right so i have a idea instead of sending it into dump it would turn on a 30 watt light bulb at that point allows it to stop dumping and continues charging.The controller gives you a false reading and how you know this is during full sun the controller says its full but once the sun goes down you will see a realistic reading so any of you thats has more experience that me I would love to pick your branes I have built a wind turbine with a gm altenator but you have to replace the stator and rotor with a liberty style and added a 11 blades .if your trying to get enough power to get it to 12volts it has to spin at 3800rpms and that would take a fast blade and 40 mile winds to hit that with inproved rotor using rare eart magnets and the stator be wound with twice as much windings it will put out around 30 amps at 30 mile hour winds but to see winds at 30 mile a hour doest happen very often .solars is best but on windy nights it will help you well there is my input any one that has been doing this for a while again I would love to hear from you but so far 5 years using my system I have all the power I need from april through 1st week of October 500 watts of solar panels 10 agm battery’s 125 amps each run in series a 3000 watt syn wave inverter all run to the breaker box 2 master breakers one for the solar and one for the generator .there is a awesome inverter out there called the outback that works with out switching and also automaticly recharges your battery’s if the battery’s get low by starting the generator about 1800 hope this helps some of you also Ihope some one that’s has more experience than me to pick your brain kim

    Reply
  2. Anonymous

    Wretha,

    Check out
    http://fourmileisland.com/IceBox.htm

    I don’t think you can use it now with summer coming, but it’s something you and your hubby can look into this fall/winter.

    TheMajor’sLady
    http://www.lornkanaga.livejournal.com

    Reply
  3. Wretha

    Hi Jeff, welcome to my ramblings… :) I’m not sure when we will actually do something with the Ryobi drill wind generator, it’s been set aside for now so that we can finish the bedroom and deck addition to the cabin. We have guests coming next month and more the month after that, gotta get things done around here so our guests can have a good place to lay their heads. As soon as we pick up the windmill project again, I will be sure to write about it.

    Thank you for your interest, BTW, I checked out your site, very cool, I wished you were closer by, I would definately be interested in trying some cheese & milk.

    Wretha

    Reply
  4. Jeff Earnest

    Hey Wretha,

    Scavenger provided me the link to your Blog, I too am interested in the progress of the RYOBI wind generated power… I’ve a couple of cordless drills who’s batteries have long since passed, and like the idea of supplementing my solar with ‘anything else’ alternative. In Florida, if it’s not sunny, it’s probably windy. Please let us know more about the drill mill as ya’ll progress…

    Jeff

    Reply
  5. Tracy

    Couple more comments: First, my RV propane fridges would freeze the entire interior, even in 100 degree weather, if you cranked them up. They just used a lot of gas doing it.
    Second, about automotive alternators: not a good idea unless you rebuild them into PMGs. In stock form, they are less than 50% efficient. Somebody tried to tell me that, but did I listen? Nooo, I had to find out the hard way, just like everything else.

    Reply
  6. Wretha

    Panhandle Tex, I’ll let everyone know how it goes with the propane fridge. We are still working on the wind systems, I’ll post more about things as they happen.

    Thanks for your input. :)

    Wretha

    Reply
  7. Panhandle Tex

    Opps, forgot to mention the idea of using an alternator for a wind generator. I have never tried it, but 25-30 years ago it was the hot idea.

    Panhandle Tex

    Reply
  8. Panhandle Tex

    Not to rain on your parade but from the couple of propane refrigerators that I have had, they just don’t work to well, cooler than room temperature, but not what I would call cold. Perhaps that is the best way to put it, they make things cool, not cold. Granted these were older “full size” fridges.

    Panhandle Tex

    Reply
  9. Wretha

    Hi Scavenger, welcome to my ramblings… I’m glad you like it.

    The drill wind generator is sort of on hold for a bit, just a little bit though, need to make more juice for the batteries, they are HUNGRY. :)

    I’ll post more about them as we work on them, stay tuned! I’m checking out your site too.

    ps
    thanks Dragon!

    Wretha

    Reply
  10. The Scavenger

    Dragon sent me your way and I am glad he did. I love the cordless drill wind generator idea and would love to know more about how it is working for you. Always looking for ways to generate some power. Great Blog

    Reply
  11. Wretha

    Tracy, throw watermelon seeds and run for your life? That’s funny!

    Wretha

    Reply
  12. Tracy

    I have some ideas for my propane fridges. One possibility is rejetting it to work on methane gas, with a digester to produce the gas. That would work well at my homestead in the Southeast, where you plant watermelons by throwing the seeds & running for your life.
    For my Terlingua land, a better idea would be to use a Fresnel lens to concentrate solar power onto a copper heat sink (painted black) which is connected to the refrigerant boiler.

    Reply
  13. Wretha

    Hi Tracy, I’ll look into that, thanks! I realize that I forgot to mention that we will be getting the propane fridge nearly free, it’s a used unit in a friend’s unused trailer. I haven’t seen it, I know nothing else about it, not even sure how free it will be, we may trade a carton of cigarettes or something like that. Hopefully I’ll know more by the weekend.

    Wretha

    Reply
  14. Tracy

    Hi Wretha; having used a couple of propane refrigerators, I can heartily recommend finding another way. In my experience, they just use too much propane. Granted, I was using old RV fridges (I tried 3 different ones) so YMMV.
    The homebrewing supply houses (morebeer.com, for example) have a thermostatic controller for about $60 that can be used to control a chest freezer. I would add a small fan inside (to run only when the compressor cycles) to prevent stratification.
    The money you would save by doing this, compared to the price of a fullsize Dometic or whatever, would buy at least a couple of 60 watt PV panels; which would probably cover the electricity usage of the fridge, and then some.

    Reply
  15. Wretha

    Thanks, great minds think alike, I’ve seen that one already, good site though, food for thought! Keep ’em coming… :)

    Wretha

    Reply
  16. seth

    I did read of a fellow that took a standard chest freezer and turned it into a very efficient fridge by adding an external thermostat. http://www.treehugger.com/files/2005/07/man_retrofits_f.php thermostat
    interesting reading
    Seth

    Reply
  17. Wretha

    Thanks Seth, we have considered that, would probably have to make one though, the few that are available to buy tend to be expensive.

    Wretha

    Reply
  18. seth

    you might want to consider a chest type fridge, more efficient than stardard type. just food for thought.
    Seth

    Reply

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