First Outback VFX3648

Posted on 17 September 2014 | No responses

The first of many VFX’s is online and inverting as it should. There’s something to be said about generating your own power.

Charging the 48v battery bank at 2,100 watts, buying (from the generator) at around 3,500 watts while supplying the main panel with the current load / draw of 1,400 watts.

VFX3648 Mate 2

My dainty little computer hands are ruined

Posted on 17 September 2014 | No responses

Building your own home will ruin your keyboard mashers.

Rough Hand

A bit of cutting before it gets too late

Posted on 17 September 2014 | No responses

Stihl Chainsaw Ford F-450

OutBack VFX3648

Posted on 27 April 2014 | Comments Off

This week is pretty exciting…

So up until this point, I hadn’t decided which brand of circuitry was going to power the property. Outback Power Systems was always at the top of the list, but I hadn’t decided if I was going to go with the Radian or FX series inverters / controllers.

Last week, I made a few more phone calls and decided to go with VFX3648′s as well as FlexMax 80 charge controllers, the Hub10 and Mate2.

Our first iteration will be quad VFX’s with 48v strings of 6v batteries. Providing roughly 14,400 watts. The end game is eight VFX’s which of course puts us around 28 to 29,000 watts of continuous output, with solar panels as the primary float and the 30,000 watt diesel generator as backup float, as well as to run any shop equipment, etc.

Keep in mind, the average house has 200 amp service from the utility district and we are looking at a system that will provide 200 to 250 amps.

The first of the devices shows up this coming week, which means shortly, the diesel generator will be running quite a bit less and after the PV array is installed, the generator will nearly never run.

As it stands right now, while building / working on the property, the diesel generator is producing around 250 amps for 16 hours a day, while we may be only using 15 to 30 of that depending on if the well pump is running, etc. Not good for such a big generator to be basically idling for that many hours each day.

Fuel isn’t so bad, burns around 1/2 gallon of diesel an hour or more. So an average day runs about $32 in diesel.

When the VFX’s are installed, along with the battery bank, running the generator will charge the batteries and auto-start / stop the generator as needed. Next after that is the solar PV array, which will then keep the batteries topped off all day, and batteries will run everything during the dark hours with the generator auto-start if necessary.

Power independence is just weeks away. Take that! PUD.


Outback VFX3648 flexware quad

Awesome weather

Posted on 27 April 2014 | Comments Off

Nothing big, just some nice weather. Now that the weather has changed, I am really looking forward to getting a lot more of the outside work done… means spending more time on the tractor and dozer. :-)

Snapped a picture looking back at the house across some of the property.


F450 Badger Mt. Washington

First family road trip of 2014

Posted on 8 February 2014 | Comments Off

Road trip…

First family road trip of 2014 was cold outside, but nice and cozy inside. We made a little impromptu trip to southwest Washington, and then into northwest Oregon this last week.

If you don’t care about trucks, towing or trailers…Sorry.

Ford F-450 with a Reese 24,000 pound fifth wheel hitch. 36’ fifth wheel weighing in pretty light at only ~12,500 pounds.

As expected, with max towing capacity rated at 24,700 pounds, the truck drove like there was nothing there. Only issue, was stopping 22,500 pounds of steel death on a dime, to avoid the masses of idiot drivers who pull in front of you and stomp on their brakes.

As for diesel, with trailer I was getting about 12.1 miles per gallon. Normally without a trailer, I average around 13.9 to 15 or 16 miles per gallon.

Post trip, I installed an 84 gallon auxiliary / transfer tank in the bed of the truck, giving me 120 gallons of diesel with a maximum range of around 1,700 miles on a single fill up.


Here, we’re making the customary and unfortunate routine investment in the oil industry.

F-450 with Fifth Wheel at gas station
Impressive 4 mile bridge to Astoria, Oregon over the Columbia River estuary.

WA brigde to OR over Columbia river

Cape Disappointment, south of Long Beach, WA — State parks this time of year are nearly empty, but you’d best bring some heat. See next picture.

F-450 with fifth wheel in state park campground

 The parks hose bibs had to bleed all night, made for a mess in the morning. Wind chill was around 4 degrees overnight.

State park water and ice

Apparently you can drive on the beach in Long Beach, WA. Something like 14 miles of drivable beach. Having never done it before, I now understand the appeal. Was a blast taking the family out and driving the beach.

F-450 King Ranch on Beach

Beach in the State park at Cape Disappointment. Of course, this particular night it was 28 degrees with 30 mile an hour winds.

Cape Disappointment WA State park beach



My new F-450 King Ranch, brutally assaulted by a Mazda 6

Posted on 19 November 2013 | Comments Off

A few pics of the truck after it was assaulted by a Mazda that ran a stop sign… :-(

F-450 accident scene at night

Damage isn’t all that bad considering the Mazda is totaled… Point of impact was the passenger side rear wheels. Driver of the Mazda reported she was doing about 45 MPH when she ran the stop sign.

If you had to pick a place to hit that truck, the rear wheels from the side is probably the way to do it.

Ford F-450 rear wheel / axel impact

Next morning at the auto-body shop…

Ford F-450 rear axel twisted after rear wheel impact

Yup, those are suppose to be straight.

Ford F-450 with bed removed after accident

Rear wheels pulled forward and chained so it could be moved.

Ford F-450 King Ranch right read fender being painted

Paint work on fender.

Ford F-450 King Ranch truck bed being painted

Surprised they only replaced the right side of the truck bed.

Ford F-450 fresh from the body shop

Other than some minor adjustments that need to be made, the body shop did some great work.



Childhood memories and a 1985 vintage Transformer JetFire

Posted on 30 September 2013 | Comments Off

Bringing back some of the best memories I had as a child… Playing with JetFire.

Took a bit to remember the specifics, but found him on Ebay back in March of this year in excellent condition with all accessories and the original box for around $370.

IMG 4852

And of course, his new home is on my office desk.

IMG 4864  Version 2



Blog blast

Posted on 5 September 2013 | 1 response

Rather than sit for a bit and write a large blog entry, I tossed a few posts up here using MarsEdit along with some pictures for context. Blogging isn’t a real priority, but a few of the projects are interesting enough, I thought I’d share a little.

My brother took this picture a few days ago as a small storm stirred up and came across the property.

IMG 4848



Mobile office

Posted on 5 September 2013 | Comments Off

It’s been nearly impossible to balance everything that I have going on lately. Most of the frustration has been the out-of-pocket issue, while driving over the mountains. I was stuck with either dropping a few projects, or bringing the office with me.

The initial setup is a simple 13″ MacBook Pro with an AT&T MiFi permanently mounted in the truck. Pondering the installation of a Cisco ASA.

IMG 0013

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