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  1. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    That's really interesting, Joe. Are there systems like that actually in use today, or is some of this on the horizon for residential applications (i.e., prohibitively expensive at the moment)?

    I was struck by your mention of diminishing returns. That gets to my philosophy of heating old houses that were originally designed to be fueled with cheap coal: The house was designed to be made comfortable with existing equipment (cast iron radiators, large diameter piping, etc.). You can insulate, replace windows, drop ceilings, etc. and try to compensate by burning less oil or gas, or you can find a cheaper fuel and heat the place like it was designed to be heated. I could easily spend $40,000 or $50,000 on more insulation and new windows for my big old house, or invest $10,000 in a really good woodburning system and wind up being a lot more comfortable in the end.

    People say, "yes, but you're wasting wood, which is a valuable resource." But if you know anything about forest management, you know that the amount of low-grade wood left to rot in most of the forests in the Northeast is where the real waste exists. Using something that would otherwise rot in the woods is not, in my mind, wasting it. Anyone on this board knows that people routinely throw this valuable fuel away--in fact, they pay to have it removed. Burning it in an efficient, clean-burning appliance is even better.

    Nobody is going to argue that insulation and other energy conservation strategies are a bad thing, and I insulate my house as much as possible. But I think there's something to be said for working with what you have, which in my case is a circa 1865 farmhouse with an excellent heating system. Going to great lengths to save oil and gas, on the other hand, is well worth the effort and expense.

    This sounds like a rant, which it's not intended to be. Thanks for your excellent description of a smart heating control system.

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  2. drizler

    drizler Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2005
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    954
    Loc:
    Chazy, NY 12921
    Its all lies, there is no Swedish Blonde . The father in law got one of those new Viessman's to replace the 1978 version in his place in the Alps. Something like 17 grand but it is supposed to use a third less oil than the old one. Hell I wish I had his old one as it makes my 1995 Peerless look like the crap it is. Too bad about the blonde. Why is it we are the most backwards when it comes to modernization? Christ nearly everyone drives turbodiesels over there and they aren't all that teeny tiny. Best of all they have mostly 6 speed trannys. What a monster leap of technology. Is it we can't count to 6 or do they have a patent on the number 6? Simply amazing. This stuff really makes me wonder.
  3. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    For better or worse, we've never had much incentive to become more efficient. We've enjoyed cheap gas and oil, while they've been paying through the nose for decades. We have this vast forest resource that we abuse, while they've been forced to get the most out of the resources at their disposal. I can't exlpain why we're not moving more quickly to emmulate their example, but I suspect it's just a matter of time.
  4. ISeeDeadBTUs

    ISeeDeadBTUs Guest

    Of my utmost concern there most definitly IS the Swedish Blonde. I could give you her name and address, but I am guessing her husband would not appreciate it. Plus, I haven't talked with her in over 25 years myself, and no way yer gettin in line ahead of me. Anyway, having said that . . .

    Wasting forest resources . . .hhmmmm. . .like NYS buying more land in the ADK. Metro area peeps think there should be more. Too bad most of the existing Park hasn't been even seen by a human in many years. Now, to add insult to injury, NYS is not going to pay taxes on the land anymore. I hope the locals all get together one weekend and go in and cut down every freakin tree and what they can't burn themselves they sell really cheap to people like me. Dumbhass NYS would probably not notice for months, maybe years.
  5. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    It's a joke, ain't no question about that.

    The state also owns a bunch of land outside the two "forever wild" parks and you'd think that strapped for cash as the state always seems to be, they'd cut some timber on the public land where it's allowed. It certainly could use some management. But when you ask the DEC, they say, "we don't have the money to pay foresters to mark the timber and administer the sales." Well, you say, "maybe if you had some timber sale income, you could afford to hire the foresters you need and send any surplus to the state." But guess what? All timber sale income goes directly into the General Fund, so the DEC has to beg the Gov. and legislature for more funding for said foresters in their regular budget. And that's not going to happen. They're more concerned with buying more land that they can not manage, and now, not pay taxes on than they are responsibly managing a publicly-owned resource.

    How did things get so screwed up? The majority of voters think it's a crime to cut a tree, simple as that. Nobody's got the cojones to do the right thing if it means losing votes.
  6. ISeeDeadBTUs

    ISeeDeadBTUs Guest

    About 5 years ago we were XC in the Catskill Park, and came across a Cherry that had fallen across the trail. The DEC had gone in and removed the obstuction Not paid for by skiers/campers since there is no fee for that). STG, it was the straightest Cherry I have ever seen. . .and it just lay there in a snow bank where they draged it.

    If you've ever been to WA, you may find - as I have - that it reminds you of the ADK. One huge diferce is the way they harvest. I recall seeing swath after swath of clear-cut. I don't know enough about forest managment to know, but I wonder if the soil washes away, what with some of the downpours they get. Anyway, I just basically don't get along with people that don't believe trees should be cut. Damn ArtistTypes
  7. pbvermont

    pbvermont Member

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    what's the name of the guy who started this thread? barn....artist.
  8. sled_mack

    sled_mack New Member

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    How about that? He starts it and then gets slammed.

    I do agree with you guys about forest management. When I first moved here I did cut firewood off state land. They marked the trees to be cut in a certain area, and there were rules about where/how to leave brush piles, no dragging, etc. I stopped only because the registration and insurance on my dump truck got to be more than the cost of a load of logs delivered to my wood shed. Made the choice pretty easy. I wonder if they still do that down here? Did they ever do that up in the norther areas, outside ADK.

    Gov management of forests is like everything else. People who have no idea of how to do it are making the decisions. And those decisions are based on popular vote, not facts, reason or logic. Then the guys tasked with doing the actual management have their hands tied, but catch flak for not doing a super job.
  9. BrownianHeatingTech

    BrownianHeatingTech Minister of Fire

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    Northwood, NH
    Yeah, that's always an issue. Part of the goal in my design is going to be modularity. If the weather station gets knocked off the roof during a storm, unplug it and the system should just work based on a simpler method of operation. It should not require a programmer to come out and tell the software to ignore the weather station until it is replaced.

    A side-benefit of making the system adaptive is to make it as "transparent" to the user as possible. The computer should be doing the processing. All the user should have to do is answer a few simple questions ("what temperature do you want the kitchen at?" "what's the per-gallon price of the oil that you just had delivered?" etc)

    Other than "hobbyist" systems, I'm not aware of anyone actually selling these sorts of things as a commercial venture.

    Yup. It's all a balancing act. And we need to do the "step back, breathe for a minute, and decide if this makes any sense" test on occasion.

    Sometimes, the costs will just never be repaid by the savings.

    Joe
  10. sled_mack

    sled_mack New Member

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    Joe, Are you designing a system for your use or for commercial sale? You could probably have a means of determining if an input is bad, especially analog inputs, and have the program work around that variable without user input. Hopefully, just an alarm on the user interface letting them know there is a problem. My issue was more of what happens if the controller (PLC in my case) dies? I need one relay that swaps everything back to simple controls.
  11. BrownianHeatingTech

    BrownianHeatingTech Minister of Fire

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    Both. Initially, it's for my amusement, but I'm hoping that some development will result in a viable product.

    My comment about unplugging the weather station was more related to its (dangling off the side of the roof) condition giving false readings. If a sensor faults, it should automatically ignore it and set an error code. Digital sensors can be done that way, too - just have it select between two different resistors, rather than "on-off." If the system sees something other than one of the two expected value ranges (ie, it sees either an open circuit or a short), it knows there is a problem.

    If the actual controller fails, then it should be replaced immediately. If this is a commercial product, that should be no more difficult than calling a service tech to come out and swap it.

    Joe
  12. barnartist

    barnartist Minister of Fire

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    if the sensor falls of the roof, hhmmmmm. I hate wind.
  13. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    Full circle! I like that.
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