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70Instructables4,274,491Views533CommentsOconomowoc, WI - SE WisconsinJoined December 22nd, 2007
Ordinary guy with no special skills, just trying to change the world one backyard invention at a time. See more at: http://300mpg.org/ On Twitter - @300MPGBen and at Ecoprojecteer.net

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  • bennelson commented on bennelson's instructable Build Your Own Electric Car!11 hours ago
    Build Your Own Electric Car!

    I had to look up what an 1800S was. Cool Car! As I write this (January 2018) there are plenty of great electric cars out there a person can buy used at a good price. One great reason to still convert a car is if it is something not available as an electric, such as an old sports car, a convertible, or at this point, even just a pickup truck. (EV pickups are great, and I'm shocked that we still don't have a mainstream manufacturer of electric trucks!) Take a look at EVAlbum.com for inspiration or try contacting a local chapter of the Electric Auto Association to see if you can find somebody nearby to work with!

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  • bennelson commented on bennelson's instructable DIY Solar Garage3 days ago
    DIY Solar Garage

    Hi Allen,Thanks for the kind words. For me, one of the best parts of working on any project is just all that I learn while working on it. I'm glad to be able to pass on any part of what I learn to encourage others to do that same!

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  • bennelson commented on bennelson's instructable DIY Solar Garage1 week ago
    DIY Solar Garage

    Tax incentives definitely should be a part of the consideration!That IS one thing that I noticed is that by doing it myself, I got less tax incentives, but overall, my total cost was considerably lower. For example, I really only "lost" the incentive that would have been on the labor from a solar installer. I still got the full incentive for all the cost of all the equipment and other aspects of the project.One of the reasons why I write on Instructables and do presentations on DIY is to let people know what goes into a project. If a person decides that the DIY approach is NOT for them, that's still something worth learning!

    Tax incentives definitely should be a part of the consideration!That IS one thing that I noticed is that I got a less tax incentives, but overall, my total cost was considerably lower too.One of the reasons why I write on Instructables and do presentation on DIY is to let people know what goes into a project. If a person decides that the D.I.Y. approach is NOT for them, that's still something worth learning!

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  • bennelson's instructable DIY Solar Garage's weekly stats: 1 week ago
    • DIY Solar Garage
      35,945 views
      415 favorites
      35 comments
  • bennelson commented on bennelson's instructable DIY Solar Garage1 week ago
    DIY Solar Garage

    Looks great!Probably the biggest disadvantage of a ground-mount system is the cost of actually building the mounting system, including digging and concrete. However, you can put up a larger system than would fit on a roof!Nice job getting Grandfathered!

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  • bennelson commented on bennelson's instructable DIY Solar Garage2 weeks ago
    DIY Solar Garage

    And of course, always check http://www.dsireusa.org for all incentives and policies in your area!

    Hi EEGeek!Yes, it's true, while not exactly the same as money in your pocket, Wisconsin does have a law which prevents property taxes from increasing based solely on renewable energy added to a property. (My property tax actually DID increase because of the garage re-build, but only because of the new building, not the solar.)I hadn't heard anything recently about a new "connection fee" for grid-tie through WE Energies (The major, investor-owner utility in our area.) Unfortunately, the Public Service Commission hasn't done a great job at protecting consumers in our area. Last I checked, WE Energies has a set monthly meter fee of about $18, which you pay no matter how much energy you use or not. It's a flat "you are connected to the grid" fee. One thing bad about that...

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    Hi EEGeek!Yes, it's true, while not exactly the same as money in your pocket, Wisconsin does have a law which prevents property taxes from increasing based solely on renewable energy added to a property. (My property tax actually DID increase because of the garage re-build, but only because of the new building, not the solar.)I hadn't heard anything recently about a new "connection fee" for grid-tie through WE Energies (The major, investor-owner utility in our area.) Unfortunately, the Public Service Commission hasn't done a great job at protecting consumers in our area. Last I checked, WE Energies has a set monthly meter fee of about $18, which you pay no matter how much energy you use or not. It's a flat "you are connected to the grid" fee. One thing bad about that is that it does NOT encourage people to conserve energy.WE Energies also requires a second meter. They charge a monthly fee for monitoring the meter, but I think it's about $1.70. So at a minimum, you'll be spending about $20 a month as a WE Energies customer if you don't even use a single kWh of electric energy.My power company is Oconomowoc City Utilities, which is a municipally run non-profit and a part of the WPPI Energy electric utility co-op. On my bill. I pay a $6 a month flat user fee and no additional fee for feeding in to the grid.

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  • bennelson entered DIY Solar Garage in the Epilog Challenge 9 contest 2 weeks ago
  • bennelson commented on bennelson's instructable Build a Dutch-Door!2 weeks ago
    Build a Dutch-Door!

    Looks great!

    Nice and simple approach to the hardware and weatherstripping. Well done!

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  • DIY Open-Source Plug-in Hybrid Pickup Truck

    No. This is one of those projects that sort of fell between my skill-sets, my budget, and what was affordable and appropriate technology.I still love the idea of the project, but at this point, a used Chevy Volt would be about the same price as what it would cost for the batteries, charger, motor controller, etc. for a DIY project.I really believe that a commercially built plug-in hybrid pickup truck has a HUGE market potential.A Ford F-150 Energi would be a fantastic vehicle.In the mean time, electric vehicles have really been taking off. Even my Mitsubishi iMiEV works great pulling a trailer. So it's a very useful vehicle, but range becomes SO limiting when pulling that extra weight. A plug-in hybrid truck would be great for so many people.I even pitched the details of my plug-in hybr...

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    No. This is one of those projects that sort of fell between my skill-sets, my budget, and what was affordable and appropriate technology.I still love the idea of the project, but at this point, a used Chevy Volt would be about the same price as what it would cost for the batteries, charger, motor controller, etc. for a DIY project.I really believe that a commercially built plug-in hybrid pickup truck has a HUGE market potential.A Ford F-150 Energi would be a fantastic vehicle.In the mean time, electric vehicles have really been taking off. Even my Mitsubishi iMiEV works great pulling a trailer. So it's a very useful vehicle, but range becomes SO limiting when pulling that extra weight. A plug-in hybrid truck would be great for so many people.I even pitched the details of my plug-in hybrid truck design at a private event in Vienna, Austria to help design the car of the future. Some of the smartest people in transportation in the world were there, and they all liked my design.I'm sure we'll be seeing plug in pickups pretty soon. In the mean time, I have other projects I'm working on, and not the time and budget for the truck.

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  • bennelson commented on bennelson's instructable Build Your Own Electric Car!6 months ago
    Build Your Own Electric Car!

    When the car is turned on, the airbag light flashes a certain number of times. It's a "self-test" and indicates that the airbags are working properly. The controls for the air-bags are a separate car computer from all the other car functions. In the Metro, it's mounted near the bottom of the central console. I did NOT modify the airbags, the daytime running lights, or the seatbelts in any way, so as to keep all the original safety equipment in stock and working condition.

    Been there, done that, wrote the Instructable on it. https://www.instructables.com/id/DIY-Plug-In-Hybrid-Car/ It worked fine, but the main drawbacks were how much cargo space got used up, and the noise from the generator. Generator exhaust was routed through the bottom of the cargo area and through a riding lawn mower muffler!

    I have a friend who built two frames for XR3s. Those are a neat concept and the finished one looks really cool. Building the frame is the hardest part for a hobbyist. My friend had lots of experience with metal, welding, and fabricating, so he built those two frames to sell to other guys who were interested in building XR3s but didn't have the skill and experience for the frame part of it.I still like the idea of doing a diesel/electric plug-in hybrid pickup truck. It would be a similar concept, only using a stock vehicle like a Ford Ranger or Chevy S10.

    My latest project is a solar garage. It provides all the power I need for my entire house and an electric car. Electric Cars and Solar Power go GREAT together! You can see a few photos at: http://300mpg.org/2017/06/26/game-of-drones/

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  • bennelson commented on bennelson's instructable Build Your Own Electric Car!6 months ago
    Build Your Own Electric Car!

    Mother Earth News built a Hybrid with a system similar to what you describe. They had plans available for purchase. A friend gave me an old copy of the plans. Pretty neat stuff!http://www.motherearthnews.com/green-transportation/electric-car-conversion-zmaz79jazraw

    Right now (July 2017) is a GREAT TIME to buy a used electric car. When I originally built this car, there weren't any available. An electric car conversion still makes a lot of sense for a classic car or an unusual car which you wouldn't otherwise have available as an electric. If you just want nice clean transportation for everyday travel, a used Nissan Leaf, Chevy Volt, or similar vehicle makes a good choice.

    You also have to remember that a car needs a differential to split the power from the gas engine or electric motor to the two drive wheels. In most front-wheel-drive cars, the transmission and differential are one combined unit. I would typically just drive in 3rd gear (for my single-speed gear reduction) and the two "half-shafts" from the transmission connect the power to the two front wheels.There are pickup truck conversions which use a large electric motor more or less directly on the differential on the rear of the truck. In a pickup, the transmission is separate from the differential, and it is POSSIBLE to skip the transmission entirely, but still best to have gear reduction.

    The motor that I used didn't have an identification plate on it, so I had no way of reading the actual specs on it. It was originally designed for 36 or 48 volts. I ran the motor in the car mostly at 72V, but also experimented with running it at all the way up to 144V DC.On a series-wound DC motor, speed is proportional to voltage, so a higher system voltage will mean a higher top speed.I've gotten a speeding ticket in this car.

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  • bennelson commented on bennelson's instructable Build your own Electric Car!10 months ago
    Build your own Electric Car!

    Hello!I just tested them, and the links worked fine on my computer. Maybe it's just some difference between the web browser on my computer vs. yours. I haven't head any comments from anyone else about the links not working. It's even possible that the particular web page in question was down briefly while you were trying to go to it.Thank you for bringing this to my attention. If the links still don't work for you, please just use a Google search to try to bring them up.Thanks,-Ben Nelson

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  • bennelson commented on bennelson's instructable Build Your Own ELECTRIC MOTORCYCLE1 year ago
    Build Your Own ELECTRIC MOTORCYCLE

    It's not really that one or the other - series or parallel - connections are more efficient than each other. In series connections, voltage increases. In parallel connections, current or capacity increases. However, with DC motors, speed is proportional to voltage. Therefore, connecting your batteries in series is the preferred way to go. You get a higher voltage, thus higher top speed from your motor. Also, higher voltage means lower current draw for the same amount of power. Lower current means that you can use thinner cabling, which is less expensive, easier to work with, and saves weight.

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  • bennelson commented on bennelson's instructable Medieval Coloring Book1 year ago
    Medieval Coloring Book

    The designs vary a bit. Some of the earlier ones are pretty simple - good to keep a little kid busy for a few minutes. The designs that are more detailed are great for adults. Those are better when you have some quiet time to yourself, and DO take a while!

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  • bennelson commented on bennelson's instructable Medieval Coloring Book1 year ago
    Medieval Coloring Book

    Absolutely! Great link.

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  • bennelson commented on bennelson's instructable Princess Castle Bunk-Bed1 year ago
    Princess Castle Bunk-Bed

    I TOTALLY want to see someone make Castle Grayskull!!!

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