Tweeking the home electric system, what have you forgot? : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

PG&E gave me a wonderful excuse to test my home solar/generator system today. The power was out from 8am to 3:30pm for "repairs" I had to rely on home power for the whole day. I found that I had undersized my cable from the Solar Array and could not get "peak performance" untill I increased the wire gauge from 12 to 10 for the long run out to the moveable array. I had used a 20amp fuse tail in a place that a 30 amp was called for and the wire became warm. I was able to run the fidge, microwave, and computers (like I'll need them) silent (solar) all day and only run down the batts by about 20%. Can't wait for the SunPower fridge to arrive in June.

Just like testing Y2K software, test your hardware under real conditions. 1 or $2 parts are easy to get today... They may be critial part of your supply package. Run your tests now while you still can.

Best of luck to you all, test test test.... till you get it right.

-- helium (, April 21, 1999


I agree totally --helium. I have just finished my solar food dehydrator. I am now in the testing stage. The sun isn't co-operating here in the Northwest yet, but I took some temp readings about noon today any way. The outside temp was 55.6 F and inside the 'box' it was a full 15* degrees warmer!! Now this is on a cloudy day, so the collector area didn't have a chance to kick in. I really excited about this weekend. The suns supposed to come out for real and maybe reach 80* which should create at least 100* in the dehydrator, which is plenty. I will have to tweak the damper to achieve max air flow and am considering adding a $15 solar fan if I need. This little kit is from Fry's electronic and comes complete with panel and fan assembly for $15 bucks. Will try bananas first ..4 lbs for $1.00 right now at Safeway . I'll be at the book store tommorrow, as I could not find the specific info I need on individual food items (ie; size of pieces, mixing various foods-moisture content etc) on the net. I have spent the evening hours learning how to build a website so I can share the schematic I made of my design with the folks here. I may be able to share with you all tommorrow.(fingerscrossed) The family has just given up hope that I'll regain my senses and they 'huumor me, or just talk behind my back. I'm sure they will enjoy the fruit and veggies in the middle of the STORM. Well back to "Extra HTML Tags" and "Tables" and "Images" OH MY! Come on TOTO, let's go. (Boy this sure is different than running the CAT or the backhoe!!!)

-- spun@lright (, April 22, 1999.

spun - I have a really good general book called "How to Dry Foods." It was put out in 1979 by HP books and was authored by Deanna DeLong. Although I have always used the plug in dehydrator, it has been my bible for food dehydration. The only failure I ever had was watermellon, which stuck to the rack and couldn't be easilly scraped off.

I am drying bosch pears and figi apples tonight. I dip them in a combination of lemon juice and "Ever Fresh" before drying so they don't turn all brown.

-- marsh (, April 22, 1999.

Thanks for the tip marsh, I think I read somewhere in the prep articles that 100* F was nominal, does this agree with your expeience?

-- spun@lright (, April 22, 1999.

Would there be any reason not to dry food inside of a parked car? :-)

I noticed the good food dehydrators have two downsides - (1) they are expensive, and (2) they use electricity. Spun, I too would like to test out a non-electric method. (Also I would love to know where on the net is discussed methods for drying specific foods.)

If 100 degrees is plenty, what would higher temps do? My car's temperature, measured today sitting in the sun (it has a black interior), got up to 125 degrees. Outside, it was between 70-80 degrees. So, come L.A. summer it could get up to 145. Anything wrong with this idea? (a car that smells like broccoli and cauliflower?) I might use my $30 Solar cookit, but it is small and will be busy cooking things!

-- Debbie (, April 22, 1999.

I have two of those sliding glass doors that were replaced when I moved in and that the owner of my home doesn't want. I suppose they would be good for a greenhouse-box or solar dehydrator? -- well maybe -- they are really LARGE and HEAVY, is the thing. If there are any other brilliant ideas you guys have for what could be done with them, I'd sure like to hear them.

PJ in TX

-- PJ Gaenir (, April 22, 1999.

Spun - the apples I am drying start at 150 F for two hours then 130 until dry but plyable. Bananas are the same. Pears 160 then 130. They recommend that you do not dry meat unless in an electrical dehydrator after a good soak in marinade. (Now they even suggest boiling the marinade and simmering the meat in it for a brief time. You can dry fruit in the sun. 2-3 days in the sun and then in the shade until done. They used to sulfur fruit before drying, but I don't like that so I use the lemon mixture dip.

The book does have a section on solar dryers. She says that they elevate the temp. 20-30 F over just sun-drying. The food must be turned and rotated to promote even drying. She gives resources for plans as Popular Mechanics Jan. 1979; Popular Science, October 1976 and Organic Gardening July 1979. There is also the plan at the Survival Library site.

-- marsh (, April 22, 1999.

Debbie, I am surely no expert but I'm pretty sure that you won't have to explain the brocolli smell in your car. The biggest problem you would have is producing enough air flow to carry the moisture away. hence the term dehydrator. But I'm glad you let us know about the possibile temp ranges in 70*+ Sun and I am trying like cazy to get the plans (I designed and built it from) out to you all. I'll email you when I post it OK?

-- spun@lright (, April 22, 1999.

--marsh I used the basic principles on the Survival Library article ,but I made some radical and what I would think are great improvements ie: with nearly a 16 cubic foot drying box, costing approx $60 to build, and (re)assembly with a phillips screwdriver in under an hour , while weighing in at a mere 35lbs. Makes it very transportable, say to a friends or a Y2K challegened realative. Why not let them babysit their own food prep!!

-- spun@lright (, April 22, 1999.

Somewhere on the web, I read about dehydrating ground beef after it has been cooked. What you do is brown the meat until it is done, drain and rinse well to get all of the fat off. Place the ground beef on the trays and dry until they feel about like a pebble. I have put some up, and plan on trying it in some food, possibly this weekend. If it turns out that this works well, I will dehydrate more this way to keep.

-- (cannot-say@this.time), April 22, 1999.

PJ, use those doors for a cold frame! Do you still have the door frame? Maybe you can make one or drill some holes for hinges or something. Yeah, I know, Florida, but it does get a bit chilly on occasion in winter and you could grow tomatoes, cucumbers, etc. all through the winter. Thompson and Morgan (on the Web somewhere) have seeds of tomatoes especially for greenhouse growing.

I have half a dozen old aluminum-framed screens which serve as insect barriers, shade devices for newly-planted things and lettuce, bubblewrap sandwich supports for my planters during frosts, and (duct-taped together) for barricading the living room when we had six amazingly active kittens.

Yes, you must get solarized. Talk to Roy at Four Winds--he has a neat web page

-- Old Git (, April 22, 1999.

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