Saturday, April 26, 2014

A Warm Space

I want to thank my readers.

I originally started blogging to keep my mind sharp and to catch up on all the conversation that I either did not have time for when I worked or it would have been politically awkward when I worked.

One of the more common Bible quotes where I worked was the first half of John 8:32:
"The Truth will set you free..."

An additional benefit, one that I did not anticipate, is that blogging holds my feet to the fire.  If I report that I intend to run seven miles in the afternoon, then I feel obligated to report on the run and include pictures of the run.

Gas thieves

About five years ago the ERJ household was the victim of a serial gasoline thief.  I would come home from work and find empty gas cans strewn beside my garage.  Or I would need to refill a mower or rototiller and find all the gas cans empty...even though I had filled them (20 gallons) the week before.

I have a friend "Grandpa Ed" who is in the salvage business.  He thinks kindly of me because I loaded him up a life time supply of 30-30 Winchester and 44-40 Winchester cartridges.

I asked Grandpa Ed to find an old refrigerator for me.  The picture in my head was to store my cans of gas in the refrigerator and to secure the door with a lock and hasp. I also thought there would be some advantage in that the temperature swings would be moderated.  Most gasoline has some butane in the mix (particularly in cold weather) and the butane will evaporate out of the mix when it gets hot.

The thefts ended as abruptly as the started.  Then about a month after they stopped, an industrial refrigerator showed  up beside my driveway.  I tucked the refrigerator out of sight for a future project and promptly forgot about it.

A warm space

Until today.

After writing the last post I kernoodled around looking for some way to both heat the inside of that refrigerator and to control the temperature.

This is what I came up with.

The trays are very stout.  There is a vent on the top of the cabinet that I snuck the extension cord through.  The exterior is aluminum and the door looks like stainless steel.  After installing the extention cord I covered the top of the cabinet with plastic film and then 3 inches of fiberglass insulation.

This is a tub with two gallons of water and a 200W submersible aquarium heater. Aquarium heaters are designed for an operating range between 72 F-to-85 F.  That is right in the sweetspot for my needs.  I paid about $30 for the heater and another $10 for the extension cord. at a local brick-and-mortar store because I was in a hurry.

Starting temperature is 50 degrees Fahrenheit.  Target temperature is 80 degrees F.  I will add a muffin fan if I cannot heat the inside evenly with convection alone.

It may take a while to come up to temperature.  In addition to two gallons of water, I have about 60 pounds of seed potatoes (Kennebec and Canela Russet), a seedling tray and a bundle of grafted oak trees and a bundle of cuttings I am trying to root.
Again, I want to thank you guys.  Your interest motivated me get off top-dead-center and I got something done.

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