Author Topic: Glenn's Underground Cabin Update  (Read 2199083 times)

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Offline glenn kangiser

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Re: Glenn's Underground Cabin Update
« Reply #1375 on: September 24, 2009, 03:34:21 PM »
Thanks, Don.  

I have been kicking series or series/parallel around a bit.  Think I will go series/parallel for more of a buffer and the MPPT will still run them at optimum.  The other thing is that if the controller goes out, I bypass it and hook the panels direct to the batteries.  In series/parallel the voltage would be low enough to do that - - straight series, it would not.  

Feel free to copy this over to the off grid topic also if you like, Don.


BTW, what voltage would the Outback take on VOC?
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Offline MountainDon

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Re: Glenn's Underground Cabin Update
« Reply #1376 on: September 24, 2009, 04:19:34 PM »

BTW, what voltage would the Outback take on VOC?

The FM60 and 80 will handle Voc up to 150 VDC input. They also have a wide operational range, -40 degrees C up to 60 degrees C.-, de-rated some above 40 C.  Some others are not rated for below freezing, some like the BZ 500 are rated to -20 C (-4 ) which could be ify up at the cabin.

FWIW, some inverters are not very well suited to cold weather. The Xantrex I was considering was not rated for below freezing.  >:(  Considering the weather in the mountains that would not be a good one for winter, or even some spring and fall days. Another vote in the favor of the Outback equipment.

Weight =  14# for the FM60
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Offline glenn kangiser

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Re: Glenn's Underground Cabin Update
« Reply #1377 on: September 24, 2009, 08:24:53 PM »
Thanks, Don.

I like the Outback stuff - it is likely the best, but I like to add to our system in affordable amounts of 500 watts at a time and MPPT likes all panels to be the same type - brand - size, etc. for optimum operation, so the BZ works out well for us. 

Moneywise at $179 for a 500 watt MPPT controller, nothing comes close.
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Offline MountainDon

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Re: Glenn's Underground Cabin Update
« Reply #1378 on: September 24, 2009, 08:44:16 PM »
... MPPT likes all panels to be the same type...

If one is matching panels in series it is more important to try to match the Voc and the Vmp values.
If one is matching in a parallel connection then it is best to try to match the Ioc and Imp values.



 Nothing wrong with using sets of panels with their own controller either.
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Offline glenn kangiser

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Re: Glenn's Underground Cabin Update
« Reply #1379 on: September 26, 2009, 03:49:33 AM »
Thanks, Don.  I am surprised at the amount of slightly different values.
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Offline glenn kangiser

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Re: Glenn's Underground Cabin Update
« Reply #1380 on: September 29, 2009, 08:12:32 PM »
The panels were delivered from Sun today --- just time for a quick check to see to it that they weren't broken.

Seals are leaking propane on the old cylinder I used on the tracker.  It was experimental to start with so I used an old scrapped cylinder.

Think I will use a newer bigger one and upgrade it soon.  We need the power and I want to use it to power other panels on other posts - I will use mechanical linkage.... I think.  The big one will be the master tracker - the rest will be slaves.
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Offline glenn kangiser

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Re: Glenn's Underground Cabin Update
« Reply #1381 on: October 19, 2009, 07:06:55 PM »
I decided to rebuild the existing tracker cylinder and picked up new seals in Fresno a few days back.  May get it back together some day ....meanwhile I just tied the tracker to a good southerly position.

We have pretty well decided that the light duty plunger pier concrete floor is the most desirable as far as cleaning, ease  of construction, environmental friendliness and durability go.  We are also able to add the color to the surface to make it look a bit better.  We are currently working on 2 more sections so we will have a 17 x 21 foot area done when they are complete.  Did the 3rd of 4 sections tonight.
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Offline Ernest T. Bass

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Re: Glenn's Underground Cabin Update
« Reply #1382 on: October 20, 2009, 06:22:24 PM »
That floor has always intrigued me... Sounds neat. Where do you buy the jute netting? We're actually going to be doing a little ferro-cementing in our root cellar tomorrow, which is practically the same thing. 'Cept chicken wire has gotten really expensive... Do you think the jute would be strong enough in a vertical retaining-wall type situation?

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Offline glenn kangiser

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Re: Glenn's Underground Cabin Update
« Reply #1383 on: October 20, 2009, 06:33:46 PM »
I go to the feed store or Home Depot and get 1x1 weave jute  erosion control netting. It is a big roll for around $80 - maybe 1000 square feet?

I have used it on a wall and sprayed cement on it.  It needs a backer or it's hard to catch.  Works better than chicken wire on floors though.  I'm sure I recall reading of houses made of it and cement in India though.  By retaining wall what do you mean you are holding, Andrew?
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Offline Ernest T. Bass

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Re: Glenn's Underground Cabin Update
« Reply #1384 on: October 20, 2009, 06:46:51 PM »
Well, we did kind of a PSP style root cellar, but undersized some of the planking/shoring, and it's bowing inward from the weight of the earth... We figured we'd try a layer of ferro cement to reinforce a section between a couple posts and see what happens.

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Offline glenn kangiser

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Re: Glenn's Underground Cabin Update
« Reply #1385 on: October 20, 2009, 07:42:09 PM »
That's cool and it's common for that to happen, Andrew.  Happened to me at first too.

You could just put some shelves in anchored to the posts and let them reinforce the wall boards.  I did that in one place.

I find that 2x material will span about 8' with little bowing - 1x I limit to 4' on walls.
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Offline Ernest T. Bass

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Re: Glenn's Underground Cabin Update
« Reply #1386 on: October 21, 2009, 04:36:28 AM »
Yeah.. We used fairly heavy slabwood spanning 6'. Most are nearly 2'' at their thickest, but some taper more than I figured would be problematic.. Oh well. Hopefully we can arrest the problem without having to re-excavate. This heavy clay has crushed many a plastic septic tank... Thanks for the shelving idea; we need those anyway!

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Offline glenn kangiser

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Re: Glenn's Underground Cabin Update
« Reply #1387 on: October 21, 2009, 04:53:05 AM »
Hand backfilling only, allowing gravity to finish compaction helps as well as keeping over-excavation to a minimum limiting loose fill. That cuts down on the weight that is against the wall.

I think the shelves will take care of it.  Are the posts secure enough at the bottom so that they don't push inward?

Also, out of curiosity, how big is it?
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Offline Ernest T. Bass

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Re: Glenn's Underground Cabin Update
« Reply #1388 on: October 21, 2009, 09:32:16 AM »
We actually did backfill by hand, and we made a little slip frame and put just sand up against the plastic. It's 12x12.. The concrete piers under the posts ended up being pretty shallow, so we poured a reinforced concrete "cross" under the floor, bracing the bottoms of the intermediate posts against each other.

Only thing with the shelves is, how would you attach them to an already bowed wall? We never compacted the fill, so I would think a good sized pole and a jack or two could push the walls back out, but we don't have access to any..

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Offline glenn kangiser

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Re: Glenn's Underground Cabin Update
« Reply #1389 on: October 21, 2009, 06:32:41 PM »
I pretty much left the bow in as it is hard to impossible to get out.  You could just put a couple vertical 1x or 2x each side of the bow and space the shelves out a bit - attach them at the posts - I used 2x shelves.

Sand is pretty well compacted when it gets into place.  Probably won't give much, but hard to say.Good idea on bracing them against each other.
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Offline glenn kangiser

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Re: Glenn's Underground Cabin Update
« Reply #1390 on: October 28, 2009, 05:14:37 PM »
I have been working on cutting extra wood this year as I may get the great room reasonably usable for winter.  We moved the Franklin fireplace down there a year or two ago and since most of the floor is now in, once I get the area under the stove finished we can have a fire and continue working on the room during the winter.

The main drive shaft went out on the sawmill and while I nearly finished it a few weeks ago with the help of Whitlock, I still haven't put it back on the saw.  One more pulley to install first.  I need the saw to make boards to work on the great room.  It's never simple around here. d*
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Offline glenn kangiser

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Re: Glenn's Underground Cabin Update
« Reply #1391 on: November 02, 2009, 08:48:58 AM »
Sassy and I have been working more on the great room since the floor is nearly done in there.

I had roughed out the West side with the backhoe about 6 years ago  d* but stopped and worked on other things after that.  Now we are hand digging - with the jack hammer, shovels and a wheelbarrow and of course wheeling the diggin's out to the lower side as recommended by Mike Oehler in the book.  Never push a wheelbarrow uphill when you can avoid it he advised.



The jack hammer is a medium sized one from Harbor Freight.  I have used it mining and here and so far it has been working very well.  It is not as heavy as the Bosch Brute but still packs a pretty decent punch.  It pulls around 15 amps and runs off of our inverter just fine.
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Offline Sassy

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Re: Glenn's Underground Cabin Update
« Reply #1392 on: November 02, 2009, 09:05:44 AM »
Even I can handle the jackhammer  c*  Building up lots of muscles shoveling up all the dirt & rocks...  don't know how Glenn wheels that big wheelbarrow out there - it would pull me right over the hill  :o 

It's so exciting to be working on this part of the cabin - it' such an open, neat area.   :)

Didn't know how in the world we'd do that side of the room - but you know Glenn, he's got all kinds of stuff hidden in his brain  [crz] [scared] [rofl2]

Really like how he is using the old corrugated roofing on the walls... 
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Offline tiger0383

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Re: Glenn's Underground Cabin Update
« Reply #1393 on: November 03, 2009, 01:52:22 AM »
Good work Glenn.  [cool]

I have been following your work for awhile now (about 2 months or so) I am from down under and looking at doing something similar to this myself on a place that i am looking at. The land is a vast land that is mostly, read about 99%, FLAT. Still trying to figure out excatly how i am going to do this but what i wanted to know is, roughly how much has it cost so far? I am aware that you have your own sawmill (lucky buggar) and used your own wood.

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Re: Glenn's Underground Cabin Update
« Reply #1394 on: November 03, 2009, 05:47:56 AM »
"The main drive shaft went out on the sawmill and while I nearly finished it a few weeks ago with the help of Whitlock, I still haven't put it back on the saw.  One more pulley to install first.  I need the saw to make boards to work on the great room.  It's never simple around here."

I call that the list of "in order tos"....one of my friends calls it the list of "before you cans".  >:(

Offline glenn kangiser

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Re: Glenn's Underground Cabin Update
« Reply #1395 on: November 03, 2009, 07:22:02 AM »
w* to the forum, Tiger and thanks for making your first posting on the Underground Complex. :)

We have a few members from down under.  Don't hear from them too often but enjoy it when we do.

Flat land is not too bad if you have machinery.  You can build a mound around the same construction.  A few hundred years from now they will be able to write history about the mysterious mound builders in the outback.

Cost is a bit hard to nail down. I'll break it down a bit with some good guesses.  I have purposely kept costs down as a protest against the American System of government prescribed housing, using materials built by companies willing to spend thousands on testing so that their materials will be able to be required by the codes.  

We recently stopped a government septic scam that would have possibly cost every California  homeowner and new builder thousands for testing every few years and around forty thousand or more for a system that had to be monitored.  They even brought the guy they were in bed with to the town hall meeting.  It ended with them having to leave towns with police protection as they tried to sell their scam.  People were actually throwing things at them.

So - with recycling - such as the corrugated from the old mine building (famous down under I hear) we have kept costs down. We use things that are given to us, made by us or recycled.  The local glass shop as well as a few gave us most of the glass.  I bought some of the logs from a local logger - his seconds.  I brought a few eucalyptus from our other property in the valley and used them in a few places as a test.

I would say in cash outlays for the main bare structure we have around $6000.  Much of this cost was for purchased logs to speed up the process.  That is the basic shelter.

The solar power is more expensive. Lets forget experimentation costs and guess as if I knew what I was doing.  Batteries - set of 8 is the minimum required for our size system - around $2000.  

Inverters - we have a large system as I wanted to make 240v to use our existing pump.  New they would be around $6000 - I think we have around $2400 in the pair of Trace 4024s buying them used from a friend and Ebay.

Wind generator - around $2500 and I made the tower.  

Tracker - $200 materials - I built the rest.  

Solar panels - around 3200 watts at around $4.00 per watt but the last 500 watts (3700 total I think)was at around $2.50 with a regulator.  Round it out to  $16000 might be close.  

I use a welder for a generator but already have several -

The above guesses don't count the other equipment that I already own anyway.  Bobcat - medium truck cranes - backhoe.

The point is that this can all be done by hand but at a slower pace - smaller- more friends help -  etc.  

Man can shelter his family at a relatively low cost when he gets away from the illegal limits imposed by the good ol' boy system of government codes, corporate materials mandated because they paid off (through exorbitant fees)testing agencies and owned lawmakers wrote regulations requiring them, and sticks firmly to his God given right to provide shelter for his family.  

I think codes are OK for people or others who hire outside contractors - to protect them from unscrupulous ones.  They provide a minimum standard of safety.  The safety rules are good for anyone to follow.  I feel that they are ex-post facto law for owner builders who do their own building for their own families with what money they can afford.  It is a very gray area that they do not push here in the mountains.  We just sent our new building director packing for trying to citify us up here, and rip us off for every money grubbing parasitic opportunity he could find.

I firmly believe it is illegal for them to limit ones sheltering their family through monetary means and tricks regarding property laws and their right to regulate us on our PRIVATE PROPERTY making it an impossibility to provide shelter or make a living.  That fact that some of us succeed in spite of them is nothing compared to the ones who don't even try because they know it is impossible for them.

My RV garage was built for about $200 - about 14' x 24' x 2 stories plus a full loft upstairs.  It could have been made livable.

In my estimation, cost goes up when speed is desired or recycling goes down.  If you need new, it costs money.  The electrical system is a convenience but not necessary to sustain life.  Depends on your needs.  As I said - cost is hard to nail down.

My shop above around 1000 sf original- steel was all recycled or left over from jobs.  The main cost there was the concrete floor - about 10 yards at $125 or so - $1250.  Boat docks are used for some of the roof framing - free plywood between them -  

I will continue a review of the CBRI light duty concrete floor I am now doing under the fireplace area and the rest of the great room.  It costs way less than a slab floor.  

So far I would say I have about 2 yards of sand at $20, 5 bags of cement at around $10, 2 bags of fibermesh at about $6.50 and one roll of jute netting at about $80 (except two additional given to us free) Sassy's digging labor - (she's cheap)  OK - so I worked at it too.  Color for the top $30 -

Total looks like around $200 with misc boards - nails etc for 400 sf or about $.50 per square foot for the floor.

The hard claystone is dug out only as necessary for the wood.  We find that dry areas do not seem to have much problem with deterioration of the wood or insect damage even with little or no protection.  Wood preservatives are not good in underground spaces.  The active ground layer from the surface to about six inches or a foot down is the most destructive or areas that get wet and stay that way.



Where there may be a possibility of excessive moisture the wood is protected with plastic.  The gray-green clay in the top pix gets very little moisture.   The board around the inside of the wall and the floor sections are screeds I leave in place.  They will later be sanded and varnished.  The boards are direct nailed to the clay ground with 60d spikes.  Nailing to it is similar to nailing to wood.  We have successfully had untreated screeds in place in ground contact in the other section of the house for about 7 years.  If the bugs get them - big deal - tear them out and install another one.  About a 30 minute process I estimate.

« Last Edit: November 03, 2009, 07:51:56 AM by glenn kangiser »
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Offline glenn kangiser

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Re: Glenn's Underground Cabin Update
« Reply #1396 on: November 03, 2009, 07:23:45 AM »
"The main drive shaft went out on the sawmill and while I nearly finished it a few weeks ago with the help of Whitlock, I still haven't put it back on the saw.  One more pulley to install first.  I need the saw to make boards to work on the great room.  It's never simple around here."

I call that the list of "in order tos"....one of my friends calls it the list of "before you cans".  >:(

Considerations, I think every small thing I try to do around here requires at least 6 unrelated steps. d*
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Offline tiger0383

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Re: Glenn's Underground Cabin Update
« Reply #1397 on: November 03, 2009, 11:30:49 AM »
Thanks glenn,

It has given me more than what i wanted to know  8)

To give you an idea on what i will be working with, have a look at this album http://s626.photobucket.com/albums/tt344/tiger0383/karte/

Offline MountainDon

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Re: Glenn's Underground Cabin Update
« Reply #1398 on: November 03, 2009, 11:44:21 AM »
That looks a lot like parts of New Mexico, but with less vegatation
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Offline tiger0383

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Re: Glenn's Underground Cabin Update
« Reply #1399 on: November 03, 2009, 11:50:27 AM »
lol no what you cant see there is 2600 acres of natural bushalnd  8)

But yes i am looking at going underground as the temps there can range from 0 to 45 and that is degrees C.

 

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