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Old 11-10-2009, 08:43 PM   #121
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Re: "Paradigm Shift"

Any chance of getting another photo of the inside showing the pipe as it goes from the stove to the window? I'm curious how sharp an angle you have. Is it 90 degrees? If so, do you have to worry about a "hot spot" on the first elbow from the stove? I've only very limited experience with wood stoves, so would be worried about that.

Good to see you're posting again. I gained a LOT of information about alternative building techniques from your album.

How are the window treatments doing at insulating the bus during the winter? Do you add any other insulation to help retain heat?
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Old 11-10-2009, 11:03 PM   #122
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Re: "Paradigm Shift"

I haven't read all the posts, so if someone has suggested this already then I apologize!! My suggestion? Replace that 545 transmission with an Allison MT643. Most of the school bus mechanics I talk to did not care for the 565, and had to have them replaced all too often for repeated failures. The MT643 is by far the better choice. With an operational 4th gear you could then probably hit 55-60mph. If that is not fast enough, you can change the rear end gears, or add a 2-spd aux transmission. Many buses are geared or goverened to 55mph since they were not designed to do alot of highway driving, just mostly stop-n-go in an urban enviroment.
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Old 11-11-2009, 11:12 AM   #123
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Re: "Paradigm Shift"

Smitty, thanks for the info about the creosote and stovepipe tee. Right now, $$ is a consideration (poor student), so I'll keep an eye on the pipe ('cause I can't afford to replace my home, either...); on the other hand, I'm mostly burning dry White Oak or Chestnut Oak, so creosote buildup shouldn't be as bad as with some other woods, such as Pine. It would be really handy to have a tee on the pipe, though, instead of the ell, so next month I might be able to afford one. I looked at the insulated pipe, and would like to replace all of the pipe with that a little at a time.

dburt, you nailed it. The bus is geared 6.5:1 at the rear end, so without an overdrive, it's maximum powered speed (based on tire size, RPM, etc.) is 50 mph, period. I have gotten it up a tiny bit faster than that on a steep hill or two. I would love to have an MT643, and if I have funds when I have to replace the tranny, that's what I will get; however, until the tranny absolutely dies, I'll probably just get the rear-end re-geared to something closer to 4:1. Ideally, I want to get it geared to match a common gear for driven front axles so that I can convert it to 4WD (what's the fun of life if there's no challenge.)

TygerCub, the angle is 90 degrees. I'll try to post some more pictures tomorrow. I'm not aware of any hotspot yet - .

I ran the stove pretty hot the first time I used it because I had to cook the hi-temp stove paint. Last night (the second time I have run it) I tried to see how small a fire would produce usable heat, and how long and slow I could make that fire run. Using a 12 or 15 sticks of small (1" square or less) split wood, and three split logs about 4" square, I ran the stove from about 9PM until 3AM when I banked it for the night, and I still had a few coals to get the fire started again this morning. The stove has really good characteristics and engineering. The night wasn't all that cold, but at that rate of burning, the bus was WARM!!!! Not just tolerable or bearable, but WARM!!! Last night I was really COMFORTABLE. I should have put in a woodstove years ago. The two 1500W space heaters that were just adequate for SC winters are not enough up here in VA, even though it's only 5 or 10 degrees colder here.

So... running the stove low and slow, neither the back wall nor the ceiling got more than just barely warm. The wooden window framing that is within about 2" of the stovepipe where it exits the window only got slightly warm. The other night when I ran the stove HOT, these areas were hot.

I'm comfortable with the stove so far, but will keep my eye on it. I'll keep the creosote advice in mind, too. I'm being VERY careful.

The nicest thing about this project, though: when I went to execute the design, I didn't make any major mistakes. Everything lined up, stovepipe, window plate holes, stove mounting holes, and hearth. NO big screwups!
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Old 11-11-2009, 05:06 PM   #124
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Re: "Paradigm Shift"

I spoke with a fellow at work who cuts down trees as a hobby (the man's a human chain saw), and consequently burns a lot of wood in woodstoves in his home as well as his workshop/garage. Looking at your photos, he said you should be okay for a season with your current set up, but recommended the following advice:[*]You MUST clean out your stove pipe before you burn any wood next season. To not do this would be a huge fire risk.[*]While the dryer vent hole is "okay", he recommended you spend a couple of bucks to get an aluminum dryer vent tube and run it down to your air intake on the front of your stove. This will draw cold air into your stove and make it burn more efficiently. He recommends adding one of those elbows on the end of the pipe to help direct the fresh air closer to the air intake, but still allow you to open the door to add wood.[*]He was a little worried about your ceiling and the wood partition behind the stove. He recommended putting a light gage metal heat shield about 2" above the stove and out a little bit beyond the elbow. If you can't do that, he said using a fan to blow the heat off the pipe would help some.[*]Last but not least, he recommended you flip the window opening so the pipe exits a little bit lower than it is now. It would only add a couple more inches away from the wood over the window, but he said that could be a problem.



Two things he recommended for long-term use (and these are the things you should save up to do)...[*]Buy a "thimble" to use around the pipe where it exits the window. [*]Use double-walled pipe... Triple walled if you have the money to do so.

Hope this helps you out. It certainly was enlightening for me to sit and chat with this fella this afternoon. Funny guy.
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Old 11-11-2009, 05:19 PM   #125
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Re: "Paradigm Shift"

as previously mentioned keep your chimney clean, I would also have a couple of 10lb dry chem fire extinguishers and some fire-x chimney flares real handy just in case.

I like the corrigated metal heat shield on the wall.
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Old 11-12-2009, 07:12 PM   #126
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Re: "Paradigm Shift"

Hey, Paul Iossi and TygerCub, thanks for the advice. I added some pics of the air intake in action. I'm sorry it wasn't clear from the earlier pics how it would be installed. It is exactly what you photoshopped, TygerCub (only not as pretty as yours!). I have a handy chemical extinguisher, and I'm going to get some stove flares, and will clean that stack regularly (I can take it off easily, so why not!)

I may reprise the hearth on that back wooden wall. I had thought about more sheet metal, but I don't want to fill upthat whole corner with corrugated roofing. I think a stone wall that matches the hearth would look nice there. The heat shield design over the stovepipe is one iteration of what I have been considering for that, but I'm still thinking on it. If I can, I'd like to incorporate some artistic design in it... sheet metal eagle with wings spread sitting on the hot pipe? Something just a bit more....expressive...than the strictly functional...but not kitschy. We'll see how that turns out.

Thanks again!
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Old 12-01-2009, 12:16 PM   #127
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Re: "Paradigm Shift"

How to get power throughout the bus? Hmmmm..... Power is the ability to do things. YOU walk around in the bus -- YOU are the power!

First, I recommed the book, "RV Electrical Systems' by Bill and Jan Moeller. ISBN 0-07-042778-X. List price is $US 22.95. It is my Bible for electrical work in the bus. It covers EVERYTHING. 120VAC, 12VCD, Solar, wiring, pumps, controllers, inverters, etc. Get the book. It will save you its purchase price in time and effort. READ first, plan, read again, plan some more, read more, plan more....then EXECUTE.

Decide what KIND of power you want -- nuclear (can't get it - okay, maybe on the blackmarket in Russia - but not from IRAQ who had no nuclear program to justify a war...ooops...sorry...); steam (good if you are an engineer, maybe); grid-electric -- plenty of juice there at a price; solar -- plenty of power but a big investment. WOODSTOVE! I wish I had started with a woodstove years ago. I just installed one, and it is a huge improvement. It is also a back up cookstove, back up water heater, and a first class dryer of damp laundry hung up in the bus (nice in rainy weather!).

Figure out your demands. Mine are low. I need a couple of 12VDC flourescents, a vent fan for my composting toilet, the waterpump, a socket to charge my laptop or other devices, and a small car stereo system. Very small daily amp-hour needs.

Pre-plan! Want 12VDC someday, like I did 5 years ago? WIRE FOR IT NOW, when you're wiring for 120VAC. I double wired when I built. Now in my conversion process, all I have to do is connect the light fixtures to the 12VDC wiring and install 12VDC florescent bulbs (they make them to fit regular sockets), and add some 12VDC striplights in my kitchen and bath (these use standard T-8 bulbs, but they have 12VDC ballasts in them.) I don't have to re-wire! 12VDC florescents use about 1/4 the electricty as 12VDC incandescent bulbs, which is a huge savings in terms of the size demands put on a battery bank by your lighting needs.

Locate your electrical system panels as close to the middle of the bus as design parameters allow. This means the shortest runs to wiring in the front or the back (important with 12VDC, not so much with 120VAC.)

I was going to install a $700 DC submersible pump in the well on the land I just bought. "WAS" -- I don't have $700. I need water. I could get a 120VAC shallow well pump for $150, and a generator for $300, but I don't have $450. I need water. How do people get water out of a well without power? BY HAND! So...

I'm going to build a derrick over my well and use a bucket and winch to get 10 gallons out at a time (I use about 25 gallons a week). Much cheaper. I have the money for lumber to build a derrick, and for 6" PVC pipe to make a 10 gallon bucket that will fit down my 8" well casing. I can fill the tank on my bus (40 gallons) in 4 cycles of the bucket every week-and-a-half or so. I will still have water no matter whether I have electricity or not! No pumps to buy, repair, break, etc.

Refrigeration..... Get rid of it. What's in most refrigerators? Science projects and random condiments. And Beer. Cook what you can eat. Most leftovers can sit out overnight and still be good the next day -- especially in cold weather if you can make a cold well in your bus (i.e. don't insulate the bottom or sides of the stair-well, but put an insulated cover on the top of it -- In cold weather it's just like a fridge. I am well versed in safe food handling techniques, and mine would not qualify as such with regard to storing leftovers unrefrigerated overnight, but I also haven't gotten food poisoning in five years, so the way I'm doing it must not be too risky. If I have leftovers, I either pack them for lunch the next day or wrap them for dinner the next night, and put them somewhere cool. They keep fine.

Beer tastes good at earth temperature -- dig a hole. Liquor doesn't need to be refrigerated.... (I quit drinking over 20 years ago, but my friends didn't!)

Anyway...much food does not need to be refrigerated. Cheese, salami, cereal, bread, milk (in powdered form), crackers, nuts, beans (dry), apples, oranges, grapefruit, tomatoes, celery, pickled foods, etc. Canned meats and fish are easy to keep. WHY spend money, electricity, and space on refrigeration when you don't need to. In this country, you can't drive home without passing at least one grocery store. LET THEM STORE FOOD COLD. If you need ice cream, buy enough for the meal, not enough for a month! same with meat, fish, poultry. Imagine if you never had to clean out the refrigerator again....

Wash clothes by hand in a tub. It takes the same time as sitting on your but in a laundromat. Hang the to dry by solar power (or inside where your woodstove is nice and toasty.)

Hot water is a huge luxury. Think solar. It may not be a complete answer in all seasons and at all latitudes, but it is a substantial part of the answer (or it will be for me when I get a solar hot water heater built.)

Get the reference book. Think about your demands. Question your demands. Understand the limitations and requirements of the power supply you are working with. Daydream. Doodle. Plan. Execute.

Have fun!
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Old 12-01-2009, 07:01 PM   #128
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Re: "Paradigm Shift"

Well, I just paid my heating bill for the next two weeks! About four hours of tramping up a mountainside, cutting up some dead fall, throwing it down the mountainside, and splitting. My landlord is letting me take dead wood. This stuff is fantastic white oak. Probably been down at least 5 years, but solid throughout. Wo0t!
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Old 12-03-2009, 11:03 PM   #129
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Re: "Paradigm Shift"

Quote:
Originally Posted by emberglow
Wow - you are full of win.
Not so much that as full of poor-student-counting-days-to-next-financial-aid-check.

Quote:
I do wish more people would recognize that it isn't necessary to do things the way everyone else does, just because - uh - everyone else does it that way . Crazy thought, that..
Honestly, I'm doing this, living this way, in large part to prove that point. I preach the benefits of "considered living" to my friends. I'm also doing it because, frankly, I'm pretty poor, income wise.

Quote:
Meanwhile, regarding steam. You have a woodstove. That is practically begging to be a steam generator too. Have any old copper tubing kicking around? That and a dead water heater should give enough capacity to spin a small turbine and generate power. Not a lot, but then it doesn't sound like you need a lot. And there's plenty of waste heat going up your flue. If you're burning the wood anyway, might as well extract every last BTU you can..

Just a thought anyway..
Yes, young grasshopper, you see the path.

Look up "Icy balls" on the internet. Don't serve the god of refrigeration, enslave him.
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Old 12-04-2009, 03:25 PM   #130
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Re: "Paradigm Shift"

Wow, that's an amazingly simple refrigerator. I knew they still made gas-absorption refrigerators ( you can find 'em at Lehman's: http://www.lehmans.com/store/Applian..._all=&sort_by=) for rural homes, but I didn't know they were that simple.

Nice stove! I don't recall reading where you got it from, but I'm looking for something similar for when I build my skoolie. Mind sharing where you found her?

I have to say I'm impressed by how well Paradigm Shift is turning out. Your bus looks good!
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