Monday, December 10, 2018

Hampture Update for December 10, 2018: I Bought New Hamsters!

Thursday, September 13, 2018

RIP George and Scott.

I went on vacation recently, leaving a certain roommate in charge of feeding my hamsters. In retrospect I should not have entrusted him with this task. I arrived home to find them dead in their cages because he'd forgotten about them. Because of this, I've had him evicted.

I will be holding off on buying new hamsters for a while, to mourn the loss of George and Scott. They were very old at least, and lived full lives. Still, it's an infuriatingly senseless way for them to die.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Lake Test

While on vacation I took the opportunity to test out the life support gear with a real habitat, in a real lake. Depth was about 4 feet, power coming in from the solar panels averaged 39 watts, power draw from the air pump and heaters totaled 8 watts. 

Looks like I was overly conservative in prior estimates. In the Summer at least, this should prove to be more than necessary by a long shot. It's nice to have that safety margin when lives are on the line.

Not much to see underwater as I kicked up a lot of sand and debris walking around, emplacing the habitat. I didn't get many photos as the battery ran out soon after this and I forgot the charger for this specific type of camera battery. Fuck you, Olympus, let me charge your camera the same way I charge my phone!

This one's a bit more clear, the debris cloud has settled but it's off kilter. Still gives a good idea of what conditions are like in the lake and what sort of scenery a hamsternaut would see outside the habitat.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Possible Locations for MegaHab: River, Wetlands, or Pond?

 So, which site looks most promising? Site A, site B or site C? Also, shout out to the dudes at the wetlands with the kayak, they helped me film the brief bit of underwater footage.

MegaHab Life Support Equipment

Just a rundown of the equipment I've bought with donations I saved up since 2010. This may seem like overkill but it can't just be for show, and it can't leave anything to chance. It has to actually do the job, hence the possibly unnecessary excess of battery capacity and solar generation capacity shown here.

Friday, June 29, 2018

I have a Patreon now!

Here it is. Several of you suggested I set one up in order to attract more funding for the larger, more expensive later stages of the Hampture project. Well now it's up, and with any luck the best is yet to come.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Possibility of using hydro power to supply electricity

So this little backpacking gadget was kickstarted successfully back in 2016. It's $250 IIRC and works by tethering it to a tree and letting the drag of moving water spin the blades. It occurs to me that one of the two sites I have been considering for megahab is a river.

Hydro power has many benefits over solar. The first is that it's non-stop. I don't have to put a big expensive battery on-site, (though I'd probably want to) and the turbine itself is underwater while in use, so it's unlikely to be spotted and stolen.

The problem is that this unit has no cable for sending power back to shore. It stores power in an internal battery pack. This means you have to remove it from the water and unscrew the casing to get at the battery and use it to charge your phone or whatever.

This isn't acceptable if I want to use this thing to power, say, an aquarium air compressor. I need it to send power to a battery on land where the air compressor is. It also occurs to me that the output may be enough to power just the air pump, but probably not the heated floor of the habitat as well.

This unit from Canadian company Idenergie is on sale right now for $9,500 (normally $12,500). That's way out of my budget (even the $250 backpacker's turbine is pushing it) but it outputs between 100 and 500 watts depending on water speed.

Even a reliable 100 watts would be more than enough for both the heater and the air pump. It could actually power two pumps in tandem, which I'd want for redundancy's sake. It's also submersible and thus unlikely to be noticed.

I think I can make the battery pack submersible. Putting it in a water tight housing with silicone sealed hull penetration points for the cables ought to suffice. This would prevent it from being noticed and stolen as well.

But then, what to do about the air compressor? Is there some way to emplace it securely on the bottom of a slow moving river, and have it suck air down from the surface using something like a long flexible snorkel tube with a float/buoy at the top to keep it above water level? (and a rain guard).

Perhaps, for example, the battery and inverter could be in the same airtight weighted housing as the air pump. This way the pump could also provide an overpressure in its own housing to guard against leaks, and purge the ongoing buildup of hydrogen gas vented by the battery.

If so, the entire setup could be submerged. The only indication of its presence would be the small floating buoy for the air intake, and the bubbles coming up from the habitat air exhaust:

The longevity of this setup is limited only by the durability of the turbine and the lifespan of the battery. As dwarf hamsters live around 3 years at most, it's conceivably possible to establish a habitat system that will be self-supporting for the entire lifespan of the animal.

A large enough habitat could also conceivably stock three years worth of food, the only limiting factor being spoilage. If that can be overcome, then the duration of submersion would be extended to the entire lifespan of the occupant.

This is achievable only for systems with a single hamster however due to the food requirements doubling if you add another. But then hamsters are antisocial and not to be cohabitated anyways.