Posts by WìldLiving

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UKHippy is a long running online community and of likeminded people exploring all interpretations on what it means to be living an alternative lifestyle -- we welcome discussions on everything related to sustainability, the environment, alternative spirituality, music, festivals, politics and more -- membership of this website is free but supported by the community.

    Hi AW, your sewing machine sounds fab! It did occur to me (in a moment of clarity!) that maybe I should try to replace the zip myself as the stitches are nice and large and would probably take me the best part of a day to do one. I've been surfing for replacement awning zips and found YKK Ltd but their UK product list is "under construction" although I'm sure Fleabay will come up with something once I've unstitched this one and measured it. It's the plastic teeth that are the problem. Can you recommend any really good awning cleaner, preferably without too many nasty substances?

    Moira :)

    Hi AW... Managed to contact Sunncamp re the awning and they say the height from the top rail to ground is between 235 and 250 cm but the guy couldn't say what the width was, as apparently it's quite an old model but probably the same as a 220 as the "300" threw him a little. So, sadly that means it's too wide as my current one is 180 wide and just stops at my "kitchen" window.

    Did think maybe I could get the zips replaced if I can find a good repairer, if anyone can recommend one, and maybe put a canopy up in the interim and pray for lots of sun and a light breeze!

    Thanks for your help. Moira :)

    Hi AW, yes am looking to buy. Will look up the suncamp. Something tells me they don't do acrylic "roofs" but if it's the right size I could always try fixing my current acrylic roof on top?? Thanks, Moira :-)

    Hello peeps

    Am looking for an acrylic porch awning, eg Dorema etc... Mine has been up permanently for over two years and both zips have now broken. I need one that's 180 cm wide (anything bigger will obscure the "kitchen" window) and the height from top rail to ground needs to be not less than 225ccm.


    Moira :)

    Hi SootyF... I don't really want to start making it bigger...but I know what you mean. I've seen some hotter climes designs where the hose is coiled in a very large "bowl" for want of a better word. Mine's already 1m sq. I could put some foil on the inside edges of the frame, maybe, to reflect some light that way.

    What I did scoop up yesterday from the someone's boot, at the local tip, was a load of polystyrene sheets, destined for the incinerator. I've fashioned a couple to sit above the water level in the reservoir to keep more heat in the water.

    What I keep forgetting to buy is a decent thermometer, d'oh!!

    Also, I meant to ask Alice's Wonderland where "biogas" comes from... I was distracted by the construction of his heater (way too complicated for me) that I forgot to ask....

    Waving... :)

    I saw someone on tv use some big plastic coke bottles or similar to insulate their pipe. The cut the bottoms off and strung them together over the pipe. They painted the bottom half (when they are laying on their side) black to sbdprb the heat.

    Thanks for the tip BF... I might put some painted bottles around the pipes from the heater to the reservoir...:waves:

    Hi again... I took a better pic today so you can see the workings inside...

    solar water heater resized 2.jpg

    If I let the sun do its stuff before I turn the low flow rate pump (200 lph - the size of 2 matchboxes!), then it comes out PIPING hot... but obviously cools down as it circulates, but it's still hand-hot when the pump's running. I only put about 20-30 litres max water at any one time I fixed just over 25m of 15mm barrier pipe, leaving a gap between the pipe to maximise the amount of pipe being heated. Have found some old single glazed window frames that I will try to take apart without breaking the panes, to lay on top of the secondary glazing panels. Still got some ultra matt black painting to do .... and put some insulation on the north-facing side and maybe concoct some internal method of keeping heat in rather than condensating on the double-glazed panel sitting on top.


    Hello everyone.... Sorry, I went a bit quiet whilst building my water heater! What was only meant to be a weekend project ended up taking a bit longer but I got there in the end... and I have to say I'm quite proud of my efforts! Was just about to insert a pic but realised I'll probably have to resize it before posting it... so back in a bit... or a bit longer or how long's a piece of string!

    PS No, Aman I've never heard of a compost water heater but sounds great... if you've got a big smouldering heap! ~

    ok , maybe go with copper pipe , but for weight and cheapness i reckon hosepipe. Black is optional but obviously best and bigger the bore the more water it will be heating ,my calc say that 1 metre of 40 mm waste pipe holds about 5 litres , so a metre square board could hold about 15 lengths each with 2 x 90% bends on the end (dont recall off hand how big the bends are), 15 x 5 = 75 litres of hot water :) ,how you incorporate that into a shower is beyond me ......

    Wow, Shroom... you're a marvel! I'd never need 75 litres of hot water in one go though so it sounds as though I could reduce the amount of copper but use a bigger diameter pipe. I "rescued" a large bit of osb that the farmers had put on their bonfire this afternoon which I can get a decent piece out of.. Obviously hose pipe is cheaper than copper and I doubt I'll find some copper lying in a skip somewhere, so I'll have to do some sums... I've got some "rescued" single glazing if I need to make a cover to reduce wicking by the wind/(rain) etc but then I would probably need to insulate the back panel...or just get some intumescent paint? Thanks for your help :angel: Moira:waves:

    I quickly sussed-out that a fridge on gaz or 12v was just a waste,I buy uht milk and any frozen stuff is put in a coolbox/bag and I consume it long before it turns, a nice cool larder was most people's only option in the UK not so long back and it costs nowt.

    I made an "eco" fridge from a large terracotta pot with a galvanised bucket in the middle and sand tamped inbetween the two... I wet the sand, put water in the bucket and then put my milk in the water. Now during the hotter weather I will put some insulation around the pot, some gravel on the sand, stick a lid on and switch to skimmed milk! I keep topping up the water to keep the sand wet and cool. I got the basic idea from YouTube, but the guy used 2 terracotta pots instead of the inner galvanised bucket and water. I have to change the water every so often because of algae etc (and make sure I wipe the cartons/bottles before I used them), but if I'm careful I can lift the bucket out without losing the wall of sand! I might try the 2 pot version this year for butter and cheese etc. Fortunately, being a veggie I don't need to keep meat... Right, now my bottle of Crabbie's should be nice and cold! Cheers... what a lovely few days we've had!:waves:

    The reason a lot of solar water heaters use miles of pipes is that it increases the surface area so gets hotter quicker , same as the radiator (leave a hosepipe in the sun for a few hours then turn the tap on,chances are it will be too hot) , dont see how a metal beer keg is gonna be any more efficient than a black bucket ?
    Simplicity is a piece of black board with a lot of black pipe fixed to it , tap at the bottom and a funnel at the top,leave it in the sun for an hour or 2 and you should get enough for a very good wash,then top up via the funnel ....

    Hi Shroom... I thought people preferred metal to plastic because of the heat conductivity being higher with metal.. There's an army surplus store in Banbury and I thought I could rig something up in an old jerry can depending on capacity..

    However, tubing is probably what I will verge towards with super absorbant black paint on the backing board, but a small version... Would I still need a bit of glass / plexi over the top... ? I'm afraid of melting the tubing...

    My other question is regarding using my Whale pump to pump the water to my shower which has hot n cold mixer.. and my water current reservoir outside obviously pumps cold in from so I don't burn myself! ... Presumably I would have to pre-mix hot n cold in a reservoir beforehand to the Goldilocks temperature each time...? :waves:

    Hi Colin... and thanks for the tip, I hadn't realised that's what went on! Do they still sell those mini beer kegs in supermarkets, can't remember what they're called... and I'm going back many blue moons! Party 7s is coming at me from my last grey cell...??? :waves:

    [quote='jonathanh1989','']Thanks for all the input Wildliving.

    So would you recommend 4 batteries? I could get 2 cheap ones or 4 expensive ones. Bimble sell Crown, Sterling (expensive), Rolls (Very expensive!).

    You need to get deep cycle leisure batteries, with a high aH rating..although the higher the rating the bigger the batteries get and they're already quite chunky and heavy around the 115aH mark...I'm quite strong but they're still heavy! I got my first battery off the internet but my others I got from Halfords because they give you a 1 year guarantee and it's easy to take a faulty battery back to Halfords (in the UK at least). I think they're £89. I've got 3 from Halfords and (touch wood) never had a problem with any of them and they offer to carry them to the car for you (if you're a lady!) :clap:

    Measure your battery compartment before buying, if you're planning on keeping one in there so you can fit a battery and controller in easily. If you connect them in parallel, to get double amps capacity, make sure you get short, thick cables (auto electricians will make you pairs, likewise for cables from your main source battery to the inverter (if you go down that route). Mine go through the battery compartment, through the underbed storage to the interior of the caravan, being the shortest distance to reduce power loss. If you're storing a battery in the compartment, make sure your solar controller and inverter cables have "washer" ends crimped on so that you can hold them down with screws otherwise clamps can get dislodged and won't fit in the battery compartment easily. Also, make sure the batteries have "pins". I've noticed that some Halfords 115aH batteries don't have them and you would then have to use clamps.

    Moira :waves:

    Electrics isn't brain surgery, all wiring and plugs need to be able to take the power drawn through them. The calculations are simple. KISS.

    You obviously haven't seen inside my brain lately then!! Electrics is like quantum physics to me... but then I'm sometimes a "bear of little brain"... which is why I opted for the inverter... it's simple enough for me to manage :clap:

    Hi everyone....:waves: I'm back online as I've invested (heavily) in a 4G sim tablet/laptop after my old one died :(. It does mean that I can sit happily in a field listening to skylarks and buzzards overhead...

    Like JonathanH, I've trawled through quite a few threads hunting for advice but I probably didn't look hard enough so apologies in advance if it's been staring me in the face! I want to build my own solar water collector, as my caravan's water heater is on its last burners and I don't want to fork out for a potentially expensive replacement yet and if we get a good summer, I feel I should make the most of the bright yellow disc in the sky and reduce my lpg consumption to the bare minimum.

    I've surfed YouTube and found various ways of doing it.. but most "Tubers" were in California or Florida etc... Has anyone made / know anyone who has made / direct me to a web page with a design - a small but efficient solar collector for the British climate which can be set up conveniently next to / on top of a caravan in "stealth mode" on a farm? There's only me and my water consumption is low...

    I've seen batch box heaters; parabolic curve designs; Fresnel lens - which looks quite dangerous! - a gazillion miles of black water pipe...evacuated tube systems which look very cumbersome. I've used the black plastic camping shower bags (batch) outdoors in the past but find they puncture quite easily - despite putting them in a "cage" to give them some rigidity...

    Any wisdom on the subject would be gratefully received...

    Thanks, Moira

    Hi Marshlander... Both my inverters are pure sinewave because I'd read modified were inferior.. I only have probs using the phone with the 500W one if I try to use it but no probs with the tablet and charging is no problem.. so maybe it's the phone. However, I know nothing...I'm from Barcelona! [panic]

    Hi Jonathan... I composed a reply late last night and promptly managed to delete it before posting! I'm not an expert but have been a "self-taught" off-grid caravan dweller for the last 3 years. A few things I've learned is always have a spare battery (I have 3 x 115 aH and 1 x 110aH leisure batteries and 3 x 120W panels - you can never have too much power; maximise winter solar gain by tilting your panels to the correct angle... in summer you can lay them almost flat... but gusting winds can lift even the heaviest panels right off unless they're bolted down; invest in a decent solar controlller for the panels (and have a bag of rice handy in case it gets damp inside, although obviously keep it somewhere dry!) and put the controller in the bag - yes, it works!) and invest in the best inverter you can - I have two, 1 x 500 and 1 x 1500 which I needed to run my 600W toaster. Never plug an electronic device directly into an inverter's usb port, however tempting it may be, always use an extension lead. I'd read about it somewhere but had clearly forgotten and then plugged a mini speaker in to charge... and it b***ered it up but luckily it wasn't a smart phone or my tablet. Someone on here will know why but I don't... Also, I find a 500W inverter charging my smart phone sends it doo-lally if I'm trying to use it at the same time but that doesn't happen on my 1500W one... I've also bought solar string lights for indoors, putting the mini panel unit on the roof...These are just some of my experiences..

    Funnily enough, I've come back on to ask the wise collective about solar water collectors as my Carver Cascade is on its last "burners" and I want to avoid possibly paying out for a new or 2nd hand unit but I also want to reduce my lpg consumption to the barest minimum (ie just cooking)... and it's daft not to have solar-heated water during a good British summer!!

    Best of luck... Moira~

    You're quite right Angio... lettuce contains mild traces of laudanum...:sleep:. in "days of olde" used to eat lettuce sandwiches before going to bed! When I suffered anxiety probs I used to hyperventilate.. basically because I was breathing from the chest and not from the tummy.... and had to be taught how to breath properly .. sounds daft but it was spot on... Also, maybe Treeboy might consider seeing a Reiki healer or buying some rose quartz.. I'm sure someone on here will direct him to the best place and how to cleanse crystals before using them...