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  1. Thanks to JimmyBoy for giving me the link to a water testing facility in Phnom Penh. Website: http://www.watershedasia.org/laboratory/ Here is their current price list: WaterSHED_Laboratory_Price_List.pdf
  2. Well, it took a while to find one. In fact, we ended up having to order it from Phnom Penh. Probably even paid too much for it ($130 USD, all in). But, we got it, and it is for the whole house. Oh, it comes with a beefy bracket, too, and the mounting screws with washers (4), to mount it to the bracket. Put the tape measure on it. The filter is a standard 20" X 4.5" charcoal filter. Replacement cost, by the way, he told me is $60 each. Much cleaner water for the family to drink.
  3. Hey Kid, It took me a while to remember to ask local residents what they are paying for power in that area. But, I did finally get that information. I am referring to the question you asked in my Solar Array Project thread: I found out the current rates for that area are 1,300r (Riel) (.325c US) per kilowatt hour. I estimate we will ultimately use about 100 kilowatt hours per month. At that rate, it would take about twenty-six (26) months to recoup my initial investment. This is with no problems, and with nothing having to be replaced, system wide. Of course, the batteries I am currently using may not last two years. If they do not, the current cost of replacement would be $480 USD. This would be for four (4) 130AH deep cycle flooded cells. If this were to happen, an additional fifteen (15) months would be tacked on. Regardless, forty-one (41) months for a system to start "earning its keep", is not a bad return on investment.
  4. Part of a previous project I wanted to work on in Battambang, was to initially get a fairly constant (clean) water supply to the house. Ultimately, I want to drill a well. However, I wanted to do whatever it took to get the home in order so that it was "barang" livable, first. So, my priorities, in order of importance, were - 1. Constant source of power - solar array. 2. Semi-constant source of water - rain water collection / harvesting. 3. Western toilet installed on grounds. 4. Pressurized water system, including DC pump, storage tank(s), and possibly a well. 5. Possible solar water heating project. 6. Anything else that I would need as a creature comfort. Since item number one was covered here, and will be completed by this up coming Tuesday, I figured why not go ahead and start on item number two, which will begin tomorrow. No better time than the present, I say. Currently, there are three of the Cambodian style water storage "jars" on the property. They provide a total volume of 3,150 liters, currently. Obviously, I will need much more. However, considering I will cover a well in item number four, above, I shouldn't need to depend on the 3,150 liters for too long. At the moment, I have 55 m2 of roof area, from which to collect water. I realize this doesn't sound like much. But, considering the volume of water that is dumped during these monsoon rains, and after having watched the water fill some of the smaller tanks simply from the water falling from the sky, I figure the roof will make short time of filling three - one thousand liter tanks. Some how, I just do not see Cambodia following along in the "typical" parameters that would apply to most mathematics calculations. In fact, according to the calculation to determine how much water you can harvest from a given roof area, the roof in question should only be able to provide a bit over 3,000 liters, over the course of an entire year! Let me tell you, folks, I found that quite laughable, to be completely honest. It was so funny, and so "out there", that I actually calculated the variable three times! Each time, it came up the same, exact figure. Anyway, tomorrow, the concrete pad for the tanks will be formed, poured, and will hopefully cure before the afternoon rains set in. Then, the gutters will go on the house, the PVC will be routed from the downspouts, and the tanks will be set in place and linked together via a 1/2" PVC pipe and a few other fittings. Considering we should still get a fair amount of rain through October, this should be a decent time to set in to test this new project out. Breakdown for labor and material costs: $49 USD - labor rate for one installer (boss) and three laborers. *Salary breakdown: $17 (journeyman), $7 (laborer), $10 (laborer), $15 (laborer) $57 USD - PVC, rain gutters, and all accessories necessary for assembly. $40 USD - big rocks for filler as sub foundation for concrete slab. $15 USD - small rocks for filler as sub foundation for concrete slab. $25 USD - sand to mix with cement. (We only used about 3/5ths of the sand for the project.) $33 USD - cement for foundation. $04 USD - We had to purchase 3 more 90 degree 2 1/2" elbows due to an - oooppps! $223 USD - TOTAL * The reason for the salary differences is because the laborers were there before the actual construction, moving the sand, rock, and cement to the work site. Please understand that, had I just made a simple harvesting system, I could have done so MUCH cheaper. However, I am using a design of a "First Flush System", similar to one made by a guy on YouTube, to prevent the initial water from the roof to be sent to the tanks. This alone, added significant cost to the over all collection system. But, it also guarantees cleaner water will be delivered to the storage tanks. ============================================ UPDATE 22-12-13: Since this thread was started, we have added another 30m2 of rain water catchment area to the farm house. Also, the original figure of 20m2 was incorrect. It was 25m2. UPDATE 18-01-14: The added roof, with steel supports and trusses, cost $13 / m2. The total cost was included in a $1,000 USD extension project. But, comes to $390 USD, total. Additionally, we finally got around to finishing connecting the added roof collection area to the rainwater harvesting system. We bought two additional lengths of 2.5" PVC. However, we only needed length for the job. The cost for each length was $4.00 USD.
  5. I won an auction today, one I didn't expect to win. Honestly, I had second thoughts about even attempting it. Money is a tight with what we are putting into the farm. But, I figured if I could keep it under $160 USD, I would give it shot. I just remained apprehensive about getting it, because most on auction sites are more costly than the figure I set as my maximum bid. But, sometimes, you get surprised - you win. I did today. It's a 1,500 watts continuous, 3,000 watts intermittent, 12vdc to 220vac, 50hz, soft start pure sine wave voltage inverter. Chinese made, but most are nowadays. Will see how well this one holds up. Besides, I won't be maxing it out anyway - far from it. I figure 500 watts will be the maximum draw this ol' boy will see for some time to come. Anyway, I won the auction at $156 USD, including shipping, to Cambodia. If you have the option, you will be much better off running a pure sine wave inverter, rather than a modified sine wave inverter. Electric motors, especially aren't crazy about Modified Sine Wave power. They run much more efficiently, and are better for running your appliances. For the record, the most recent prices I got, from a Chinese company nonetheless, are as follows: 1,500 watts - MSW - plus shipping : USD118.30 + USD 53.70 (DHL) = USD172.00 2,000 watts - MSW - plus shipping: USD127.20 + USD 58.80 (DHL) = USD186.00 1,500 watts - PSW - plus shipping : USD193.00 + USD110.00 (DHL) = USD303.00 2,000 watts - PSW - plus shipping: USD221.00 + USD115.00 (DHL) = USD336.00
  6. Well, this has been like pulling hen's teeth. But, I finally found a stock of ATO automotive type blade fuses to use for my DC voltage circuits at the farm. So far, I have been able to source 10, 15, 20, 25, and 30 amp rating fuses. Why the places that carry the fuses do not carry fuse holders, I will never know. It took several hours of looking, to find a place to purchase fuse holders from. Here are the holders: If you needed to have them bundled together, but not mounted to a surface, you could piggy back them like the following image shows: I will have the tails cut short, probably removed from the plastic red cases, and skinned (stripped) to wire onto terminal blocks: For common wiring of the positive and negative circuits (rather than coming directly from the batteries for each circuit, small brass bus bars are used: .
  7. To let you folks know where all these off-grid living changes are going on, here are the map coordinates (latitude and longitude), as well as a screenshot and link to take you to the location on Google Maps. You have a choice. 1. You can visit Google Maps and enter the following, just as it reads, into the maps search window: 12.986974, 103.009465 2. You can click on the following URL, which will take you directly to the Google Maps location: http://goo.gl/maps/gySxd 3. You can enter the following coordinates into a GPS, which will compute directions directly to the property: 12.986974 North Latitude 103.009465 East Longitude
  8. I am continuing with a project I have been researching and wanting to complete for some time. After calculating everything I would need to power, including lighting, I have determined a 300 watts solar array is what I would need to start with. To begin with, the array will be made up of 3 - 100 watts solar panels. I will add additional panels to expand the total array output. I was going to order a single 285 watts Yingli, but recently decided against it due to a couple of reasons. One reason was time constraints. I want to finish this system this up coming week. It would take me about two months to get the panel here. Another reason was no guarantee of the panel being received in good condition. After all that waiting, I could end up with an issue with the panel. Knowing my luck, I figured I would go with the safer option - let the company I buy from replace a non-working panel at his cost, not mine. Not to mention, the local supplier has all the panels I need in stock, and then some. If I want to expand the system, it will be as simple as dropping by his office, picking one up and taking it to the site and installing it in the current array. I will start with four (4) deep cycle batteries, 120 amperes each, on a 12vdc system. I am leaving room for expansion panels as well. I will probably add three to five more panels, over the next several months, as power requirements increase. The batteries are connected as below, to help guarantee equal charging among each battery in the bank: I am going with a MorningStar Solar Controller for the array. The model controller is a Morningstar ProStar-30 (meter version). They have a great reputation among solar power enthusiasts, and from reviews I have read online. Take a look at their 2012-2013 catalog: Morningstar-catalog-2013.pdf UPDATE: Here is their 2013-2014 catalog: 2013-2014-MS-Catalog-Oct-EN-small.pdf I haven't decided on a voltage inverter yet, primarily because I have one already that I can use, until I have decided what to do there. All lighting will be 12vdc. The bulbs will screw into standard lighting sockets. Total cost, a modest $835 USD. I will have a complete 300 watts solar array installed and running, for this cost.
  9. On the way back to the hotel tonight, I began thinking of a business where only one guy seems to be making money in the rural (READ: The yet-to-be powered area) of Battambang. Down the - rather lengthy road where I am working on my projects, and considering there are no mains power lines anywhere along this road, residents are using 12 vdc car and deep cycle batteries to run 12vdc lighting, charging units to power their cell phones, etc., daily. This fellow charges the residents $1.75 per two days, to put these batteries on a charger and build them back up - although I don't think he knows what he is doing. He will put, no joking here, 40 or 50 batteries on a single battery charger. I can only imagine how few amperes are actually getting to these batteries. Then, without checking them, he simply returns the batteries to their owners. This was fine and good, until he made it a point to state that a (new) battery I had was "no good", due to it being old. However, when first used in an unpowered area, this same battery lasted more than a week, providing all the family needed. Not to mention, I had fully charged that very same battery for a week, prior to load testing it myself. So, I call BULLSHIT on that, without a second thought. So, I took one of my battery chargers along for a trip with me to Battambang. Today, after purchasing all the plumbing parts needed for the new Rain Water Harvesting System I designed, I asked the store owner if we could partake of some of his power, for a small, reasonable fee? Sure! He was fine with it, in fact. I will get him to leave it on the charger for three or four days, then take it home and test it again. At least I will personally know the battery was fully charged, prior to returning it to service. Anyway, I am way out on this tangent. Let me reel myself back in a bit. The idea I have is to add a second solar array, completely separated from my primary one I am installing on Tuesday. I will make one that will handle about four (4) batteries at a time, and will completely recharge them. I figure a fee of 2,000r ($.50c US), per day would be a fair rate. Many people who live on that road have batteries. We could do about $60 USD per month, consistently, possibly more. Nothing to sneeze at as a supplemental income for a Cambodian farming family. My total outlay would only be for a single controller and the panel(s) necessary. Perhaps, $400 to $600 USD, total investment?
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