Arduino Wind Speed Data Logger

My long-term plan for providing electricity when I eventually reside on the land involves a combination of solar panels and wind turbine(s). I wanted an accurate measure of what the general wind situation was like at the location in order to determine if wind turbines were feasible and to be able to estimate how much power I would be able to extract from the wind. I decided to place some kind of wind speed data logger at the location to provide this data.

The primary issue was that ...

Mini-Cabin: New Water Collection Container

In a previous post I mentioned that the plastic garbage can I was using to collect roof runoff had developed cracks on the bottom due to freezing during the winter. This past weekend I replaced it with a new container I purchased from Amazon. It seems to be more heavy duty than the garbage can but I probably won't know until next winter if it will crack also.

Building a Mini-Cabin: Part 12 Winter

My third overnight stay in the mini-cabin took place in early January of 2010 after we had had a few significant snowfalls. The dirt road leading back to the cabin had a good amount of snow on it and getting in and out was difficult but not impossible. I added a couple of new features to the cabin, one successfully and one not so much.

One of the issued I'd been struggling with was lighting the interior of the cabin at night. I have a propane lantern that puts out decent light but ...

Building a Mini-Cabin: Part 11 Power and Heat

For my second overnight stay at the mini-cabin I added some amenities.

I bought a deep-cycle battery and inverter for power. I charge the battery at home and transport it to the mini-cabin when I go. The battery provides plenty of power to run my laptop for many hours.

I added a Big Buddy heater which will take two 1 lb. propane canisters. Rather than use the canisters, I hooked the heater up to a 20lb. propane "grill" tank. The tank sits outside on the porch and a hose ...

Building a Mini-Cabin: Part 10 Furnishing

With the construction more or less complete, I stayed overnight in the mini-cabin for the first time.

I added a bed, a "bathroom", and a "kitchen." Pictures follow:

Planting Trees

During construction of the mini-cabin we planted four small Colorado Spruce trees, primarily to see how well they would grow. I think they were about $15 each. We took some soil from the property to the nursery when we went to look for trees and Mike (of Mike's Nursery) assured us they would grow. Mike smelled our dirt and pinpointed the location of our property right away which was a neat trick so we tended to trust his assessment.

After planting the trees I got tired of hauling ...

Building a Mini-Cabin: Part 9 Shutters

I wanted to make the mini-cabin as impervious to the casual thief or trespasser as possible so I built some wooden shutters for the interior windows. The shutters are fairly solid so will make gaining entry through the windows difficult as well as preventing inspection of the contents of the cabin by any would-be pilferers.

I made the shutters out of white oak just because that's what I had laying around. They don't really match the cedar but I just won't tell my interior ...

Building a Mini-Cabin: Part 8 Interior

Here are some pictures of the interior as I was applying the siding and trim.

The siding went on all the walls and the ceiling and entire mini-cab is insulated with fiberglass insulation.

For the trim, I used red cedar from the local hardwoods dealer which I cut to the required sizes.

I used some floor patch to smooth out the gaps in the subfloor and laid some indoor-outdoor carpet on the floor. The carpet cost about $60 and it's glued down to the subfloor using a ...

Building a Mini-Cabin: Part 7 Interior Siding

With the exterior of the project largely done, I started to consider the interior. There are a few things I didn't detail in previous posts relating to the exterior so I'll summarize them briefly:

  1. I installed two Jeld-Wen windows which are 24"x36" and purchased at Home Depot. The were attached directly to the framing and covered with the siding. I also used some sticky-backed window flashing type stuff they had to keep water out. I just followed the directions on the ...

Building a Mini-Cabin: Part 6 - Porch

I added a "mini-porch" to the mini-cabin using two more deck piers and a frame made of treated 2x8's. The porch is 8 feet by 42". The frame is attached to the front of the cabin with lag bolts and the other side sits on the deck piers.

I used composite decking for the floor of the porch.

I also built some steps using 2x12's for the stringers. I found some instructions on the internets for cutting the 2x12's for a given rise/run and cut them out with a circular saw and ...

Building a Mini-Cabin: Part 5 Roof/Siding

For the roofing, I used architectural shingles over asphalt felt. I bought the architectural shingles because I had read that because of their pattern I would have to make less cuts on the ends of the runs but I don't really think that was true. I used the felt because it was a lot cheaper than some type of synthetic underlayment. The roofing felt is easy to work with but does tear easily. I put the felt up one weekend and most of it had blown off by the next weekend when I returned to ...

Building a Mini-Cabin: Part 4 Framing

Details of framing the mini-cabin are not particularly notable. I used standard 2x4 framing for the walls. The walls, including the top cap, are 7' 3-3/4" high so that the total height including the floor is 8'. I made them this height so that an 8' high sheet of siding would cover the entire exterior without any cutting.

The front wall is framed for a door and each side has one window opening.

NOTE: I know I didn't frame the door and windows properly, i.e. using a header, ...

Building a Mini-Cabin: Part 3 - Foundation/Floor

For the foundation of the mini-cabin, I used deck piers sitting on gravel filled holes. The holes are only about six inches deep. Six inches is well above the frost line so this was a big shortcut but if the structure starts to move due to frost heave I figured I could just jack it up and make it level again.

I built two 12' beams, each beam consisting of two 2x6's with a strip of 1/2" plywood sandwiched between the 2x6's, screwed and glued together. The resulting beams are 3-1/2" ...

Building a Mini-Cabin: Part 2 - Preparation

Building on land with no water, electricity, or existing structures entails certain challenges. The primary challenge is lack of electricity to operate power tools. To address this, I purchased a 3500W gas generator for about $300. The generator will run about 11 hours on a tank of gas (4 gallons) at half load. It's a cheap generator but has worked really well so far and starts easily. For $300 I think it's a bargain. the specific generator I purchased is an ETQ TG28P41 3,500 Watt 7 HP ...

Building a Mini-Cabin: Part 1 - Introduction

After purchasing 60 acres of land upon which to build my eventual retirement cabin, I was anxious to start working toward the goal of turning it into a place to live. The longer term goal is to build a cabin which I would eventually live in but that was still in the early planning stages. But I wanted to start something right away so I decided to build a small mini-cabin would would serve the following purposes:

  • Provide a place to store building supplies so I wouldn't have ...