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Heirloom quality


1970s buildings “obsolete?” Heck, that’s newer than prolly 50% of the housing in any city east of the Mississippi. Added insulation and double-paned glass is hardly cost-prohibitive relative to “tear-down” home improvement.

My current rental is circa 1930s and lacks nothing in function (though finding resin/cotton utility wiring gives one pause), and I understand those “obsolete” rowhouses in Georgetown are rather desired…

Roads, bridges and houses aren’t iPhones or betamax…highly unlikely the outlive their usefulness before material failure.

@meanjoe75fan Yeah just depends on how energy efficient you want to be. Replacing old windows with triple pane energy saving windows can be very expensive-like 10-30K depending. You can’t get enough (18-24") insulation in a lot of roofs due to the rafters, and 2x6 walls are pretty much minimum construction plus wind barrier etc. Plus depending on the heating units being replaced, it can get pretty hard to do the necessary piping or ductwork for a 90% heating unit. Not to mention obsolesence for low and high voltage wiring, and floor layouts for handicapped and so on. Yep there is a lot of housing stock and commercial buildings that should be looked at for replacement.

I would think that the general consensus is that older buildings are a desired asset, rather than an obsolete inconvenience. Propose razing a block of Georgetown in favor of “modern construction” and see how that flies…

Tear down remodeling might save money on energy costs, but enough for a sub-decade payback? Any longer generally isn’t cost effective.

I guess we’ll agree to disagree, but if yours was the majority consensus, real estate wouldn’t be an investment-grade purchase like it is.

Keith, I am a bit irritated that I have to pay extra on an electric bill for something that is shipped elsewhere. In this case, power to the Southeast. However, that is not my main issue with the wind farm here. What grates on me are the constant green stories about power from nothing and that this farm puts out 235 Megawatts. No way. There are 140 GE 1.6 MW turbines so in theory that’s about 235MW but that would only be applicable if every turbine was running and all were at the max output. The turbines run comparatively little and will never put out the max.

It’s like having 140 cars with 100 amp alternators and claiming 14,000 amps of output. The cars are not running all of the time and anytime an alternator reaches even near its max output then it won’t be very long before the alternator goes up in smoke.

The turbines use existing power from the grid to provide lighting, power the control panels, control blade yaw and pitch, and so on. They do this 24/7 whether a blade turns or not and this huge amount of power is not figured in when referring to 235MW output. Even when the wind speed is low enough to prevent the blades from operating and is variable the turbines are always yawing around.

As a matter of fact, today was the first time in a week that any of those turbines have even been n operation even with wind present every day and when they are operating the number actually turning varies from 10 to 80 percent of the total. Most of the time the majority are inert even with the wind blowing and often none of them are in operation with a decent wind blowing.

Referring to induction generators which are like old time car generators which can be made to motor with a battery, this may be the case with wind turbines. I found it somewhat ironic that about 3 weeks ago while on the highway I noted that 3 adjacent turbines were spinning; 2 of them at about 3-4 RPM and a third one at about 8-10 RPM even though the wind speed was at zero and had been for over 24 hours.
With the wind blowing and turbines active, the question of how much of that is due to the wind and how much is induction comes to mind.

The wind farm company stiffed the subcontractor on the concrete foundation work so now there’s a 150 something mechanic liens against property owners who allowed towers, cables, and a substation to be placed on their land. With no lease payments forthcoming and liens in place there’s a fair number of people who are not happy at this point.

Kevin, why do you think I don’t know what I am talking about? I said that the 600 kVDC lines will not light up fluorescent lights and they will not. Did you miss one little detail, DC, it stands for direct current. Direct current does not generate moving E and H fields, therefore fluorescent bulbs will be unaffected. I do make an occasional mistake once in a while, and I acknowledge them when I do, but this isn’t one of them.

OK4450, I feel your pain. We too got stiffed by the wind farm company, that is their mode of operation. They are a group of speculators who put up a wind farm on the cheap, stiff as many vendors as they can, sue as many as they can, collect all the government stimulus money they can and then sell the wind farm within a year to a group of investors or to a large utility company.

BTW, this transmission line is 3500 MW so it must be fed from a number of wind farms, not just the one near you. I understand that the farms are located in Texas county, OK., the original dust bowl.

Triedaq, we used to take semiconductor diodes, and wire them across the socket pins for the 80 tubes.

Russia makes tubes today. I am not sure about the 80 tubes. But there are horribly expensive tube stereos, costing thousands of dollars. I gave an old RCA tube manual to my SIL, and he uses it fixing those stereos. I work with him if I am there, because I was raised on tube.

I assumed the tubes would be something modern, but not so, The old designs unchanged.

Keith it escapes me why you thought that I said your DC line would light a flourescent tube,I was referring to my 500kv line ,I do not understand why power companies would choose to use DC to transmit power anyway,that was one of the faults Teslas polyphase system addressed(much superior to Edisons and Fords DC current,I know that the collapsing field transformers will not work on DC unless there is an interupter or vibrator in the circut,But you are telling me there is no radiation on an air insulated 600,000 volt line? Thats a lot of voltage it seems to me like it would radiate under the proper conditions ,unless I’m wrong a current flowing through a conductor creates an electromagnetic field ,didnt Faraday prove that?Besides I didnt notice the part about the DC,apparently the 500 KV line near my house is alternating current ,my apologies but it will light up a flourescent tube(seems mighty wasteful to me) And I no longer support wind farms ,they dont seem to be cost effective,the only way I like subsidies is when they help the individual consumer-Kevin

@itlandes–If I still used the old Hallicrafters, I think I would do what you suggest. I know that many tubes are still available, but the tubes are quite expensive. Back in the 1980s, the church I attend decided to sponsor a Vietnamese refugee family. To help them learn English, someone thought it would be useful for the refugee family to have a television. Three non-working portable black and white sets wound up at my house. I swapped parts around and had one set that I was sure would work if I would replace a tube in the tuner. I checked with RadioShack and the tube was $15. The night before I was at K-Mart and they had a blue light special for a new portable black and white set for $60. I reasoned that it made more sense to buy a new set-- the cost of the tube was 25% of the cost of a new set and I didn’t know how long the other tubes might last. It was suggested that I call GoodWill, which I did. I thought GoodWill might give me a better price on a tube. Well, the manager of the repair section did not want to sell a tube. He told me that tubes were valuable. After a discussion, he asked me about the set I had. I told him that I had 3 non-working portables. He then asked if I would trade these sets for a working console. I agreed to the trade. However, the console was an enormous old DuMont from the 1950s. I had to enlist the help of a friend with a station wagon to deliver the set to the refugee family. The family lived in an upstairs apartment. About a year later, the refugee family had learned enough English and decided to move to California. They asked me what to do with the television. The answer was “Leave it for the next occupant”. My back still ached from delivering it in the first place.

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Oh on the old versus new buildings,two cities near here(almost sister cities-in the same county,I wont name them.One kept all the old buildings and mills and the traindepot and made sure all the old brick 2 story houses were restored period correct,the other city rushed willy-nilly into the 20th and 21st century and razed most old structures and the train depot,guess which city gets more tourists and is pleasent to be in? To be fair the “modern” city had more industry for awhile then the scenic city,but the industry is mostly gone now so old school wins in this one-Kevin(hurrah for heirloom,this was before Bauhaus)

Kevin, my apologies. I misunderstood the intent of your posts.

Onto another subject, I did not say that there was not a field around the DC lines, I said that it was not a moving field. The fields created are opposing fields, so to some extent, they cancel themselves out. But because of the distance required for air insulation, some of the field does escape. But it does not radiate in the sense that a moving field radiates.

AC is not as efficient for long distance transmission lines as DC is. AC is more efficient for the distribution grid. On the distribution grid, there are many different voltage requirements. The most common are the 240/120 residential service and the 240, 277 and 480 volt requirements of business and industry. AC allows a single distribution system with transformers to provide the correct voltage.

For long distance power transmission, the timing required for the efficient transmission of AC power is difficult to achieve. The wavelength for 60 HZ AC is around 3100 miles. If a transmission line is 775 miles long, it is a quarter wavelength long. Now if the power on this line is used to sync the inverters at the wind farm, by the time it gets to the wind farm, it will be 90° behind the current at the substation buying the power. Then the generated current travels the 775 miles to the substation, it is another 90° behind, or a total of 180° out of phase. That is not going to have a desirable result.

You can’t use a radio signal because the radio signal doesn’t travel any faster than the AC power. An internet or satellite connection would even be worse.

Keeping all the power on the transmission lines used for the long haul circuits correctly timed is turning into a nightmare. If not done perfectly, the losses on the transmission grid can be huge. I think you will be seeing more long haul circuits using DC for this reason.

Thank you Keith,you seem to be very knowledgeble about these matters-what does the A stand for on say a 750KVA line? And I do believe if we cant get superconductors on line we need to move toward more decentralized power generation,to address the problems you referred too.Thanks for the info-Kevin ( Can the synchronization be achieved within acceptable parameters using a virtual timing device using,say atomic clocks as the master standard?)

KVA = Kilovolt-amps, I think, a measure of power (P=VI).

Thank you,equivalent to watts?-Kevin

The difference in watts and kVA is that kVA is capacity where watts are consumed, but other than that they are essentially the same. An engineer will give you the definition that kVA is apparent power where watts are real power, real power being apparent power times power factor, but that is meaningless to most people.

As far as a master timer, again there is the distance involved. Every time the master clock in Ft. Collins ticks off a second and sends out the radio signal, every “atomic clock” that receives that signal is a little behind that time, the further away, the more it lags.

The problem with timing or synchronization of the power signal is that the transmission grid is a grid. The sources of power are distributed among the grid. It is difficult to get the signal from one power station to sync up with the signal from another power station to sync up all along the portions of the grid that they serve.

I have heard people claim that half the power generated on the grid is lost on the grid. I don’t believe that but I have never seen anyone who made that claim be able to name the source or back it up. The closest I’ve seen is a college professor doing a study on a distribution grid in the midwest claimed that 60% of the current that left the substations on the grids hot lines did not return on the return (neutral) line so his conclusion was that 60% of the power was lost.

This college professor was a professor of environmental studies or something like that, he did not have an electrical engineering degree, and from reading his papers, I’m not sure he even knew how to change a light bulb.

Substations are usually located near industrial sections and business districts so that the power first leave on three phase lines for their use. Three phase circuits return power from each phase on the other two phases, not on the neutral lines. At the end of the three phase lines, the phases split into single phase lines to feed residential lines. That current returns on the neutral lines.

Some current on the residential lines may be lost to ground reactance, but it is not really lost, it returns on the next half cycle. In the end though, Kirchhoff is still valid and no current is actually lost, in spite of last weeks show. “EE is math with a hobby” caller.

Back to my point, I’m sure the transmission grid has some losses, certainly resistive losses, those are unavoidable, but I suspect that some are due to phase shifts. A DC grid would solve the problem of losses due to phase shifts, but I doubt those losses are anywhere near 50%.

Hmm,I hope the losses are not near that much.I was always fascinated by the thermal efficiency and loss in say a coal burning powerplant heating a gallon of water on the user end,The electricity consumed vs how much coal burned making the electricity to raise the gallon of water to boiling vs the amount of coal burnt directly to raise the water to the boiling point,people dont realize the economy of scale. Anyway I have wondered also why not burn the coal on the mine site rather then transport it to a remote power this marvelous country the transpotation costs are steadily rising for everything,so hopefully more local everything.
I’m rambling now but our biggest new energy source should be consevation,if we can steel ourselves to share a bit more and not require as many toys,doom and gloom can be forestalled a lot longer.The whole energy thing is a very interesting topic-Kevin Anyway thanks for the time to explain these things Keith.

Guys remember things that were built so well that the parent company had to obselete them to make room for new sales?(the 8N Ford farm tractor comes to mind and Zenith used to make tv sets that wouldnt die)-Kevin { remember when Click and Clack,said there is no such thing as a heavy duty part?}

@kmccune If you venture West of New York City you will find many “mine mouth” power station; they are built right over the coal mine. Where I live in the West there are 4 of these stations supplying nearly 85% of all the electricty consumed.

One of the biggest stations is the “Four Corners” power station where Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and Utah meet.

It is often much cheaper to transport the energy by wire than transport the coal.

Good,enuf Doc-Kevin

Honestly, I don’t see much point to building modern things to last for hundreds of years. In 50 years, that bridge you just built is going to be too small to accommodate the increased traffic load. When the Romans were building aqueducts, their population was, compared to ours, incredibly stable, as was their technology. We’ve gone from 250 million people to 300+ million people in less than 10 years. It is not inconceivable that this population will continue to expand, and it is also not inconceivable that in less than 50 years, we’re going to need all new roads whether they’re damaged or not, because as electric cars become more commonplace, the good money is on the public wanting inductive charging loops in the roadways to extend their range.

But SF,this economy as we know it is unsustainable,when we run out of oil most everybodys standard of living goes down,in VA we have some crazy laws and the sad thing is they dont seem to help anything last much longer-we build concrete bridges and destroy them with salt in the winter for example and I bet no state has more meaningless road signage(gotta keep all those convicts busy I suppose)-Kevin