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Old 05-03-2018, 02:11 PM   #61
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Fwiw, the meter loop, ground rod & conduit:


We put PVC sleeves in the concrete forms when we poured the walls, to create the pathways for this and other entry points; electric, hvac, cameras, air vents, hose bibs, etc. Various sizes from one inch to three inches depending on what was needed - the electric service entrance is 2" pipe going thru a 3" sleeve in the wall; when the project is done we'll fill/seal the gaps, probably with plain mortar. The sleeve to the right is for other stuff and is currently just being used for a heavy 240-volt 30-amp extension cord I made up to serve our inside power needs until the permanent power is done, which the utility company will hopefully finish in the next few days. Our side of things is completely done, with the cable from the meter loop/disconnect to the main breaker panel approximately 35 feet away, in place and terminated. That was an ordeal in itself as I was on my own with it. Biggest issue was that LB at the bottom, making a 4/0-4/0-4/0-2/0 cable take a sharp 90-degree turn in a small space like that. No fun at all - pull inside as much as I could, go back out and re-shape & push, back and forth probably ten times in all. But done finally.

With the house having steel columns at every corner and numerous other places along the outside walls, I'm likely to do some additional ground rods around the perimeter, grounded to the structural columns of the building in a few places. Was talking to one of my sons who does distribution-box CAD work for telecom utility providers all over the country, and in his work they're actually required to put six ground rods at every distribution-box point; four wired in a loop for the low voltage, and two others (isolated) for any electric power service. I had two at our old house (it was steel-framed as well), and now having an easy way to drive them it seems like an inexpensive "can't hurt" kind of thing.

This particular section of concrete is rough looking, with drips from imperfect forming when pouring the cap on top of the poured wall, but it is what it is. We fought concrete-contractor issues almost all the way thru this project, and while the finished product is insanely strong, there are definitely some cosmetic issues. Fortunately, they're mostly only visible on the back wall and this one side, which is pretty much out of sight and will be largely covered by mechanical junk. May or may not do a cosmetic skim coat on top of the concrete later; going to wait and see how other things shake out.
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Old 05-15-2018, 07:43 AM   #62
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Lot of plumbing going on currently, which I'm not involved in. Saturday I installed the storm cellar FEMA doors. (Do NOT recommend doing that yourself unless you don't have a choice; I didn't have much choice.)

Electrical utility finally got permanent power connected thru the permanent meter loop yesterday; so the main breaker panel and one subpanel are up & hot, giving us permanent power in two of the three basement sections. Second subpanel and transfer switch in the storm cellar are 90% in, and I should have them done & hot in the next few days, giving permanent power in the last section. Was going to finish them saturday, but decided to do the storm cellar doors instead, which gives us lockable storage actually in the house, as opposed to trundling everything back to the conex every night to lock up.

Moving a little slow right now. Caught some kind of either food poisoning or bug and was bad sick from late saturday until last night. Lost 12.5 lbs in 36 hours; not the good way.
 
Old 05-15-2018, 11:30 AM   #63
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Get that checked out, John. That weight loss sounds like more than food poisoning.
 
 
Old 05-15-2018, 12:58 PM   #64
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Quote:
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Get that checked out, John. That weight loss sounds like more than food poisoning.
Was definitely bad. First time I recall being literally stuck on the toilet and leaning over puking violently into the tub next to me. Horrible night and day, but much better now. I'm substantially better now, just somewhat wrung out.
 
Old 05-17-2018, 06:18 AM   #65
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Got the storm-cellar subpanel and transfer switch wired back to the main breaker panel and a few receptacles on that wall, so now have power and (temporary) lights in the storm cellar space. Storm cellar will become our main work space now since it opens right onto the main downstairs living space. It'll be real handy to not be dragging around and stepping over extension cords all over the place.
 
Old 08-20-2018, 05:48 AM   #66
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Haven't updated this in quite a while; been very busy with work (short-handed), and some family medical issues the last few months.

Plumbing is long done and insulation in the living space is done (still a little left to do in the storm cellar).

We're up to the point of finishing the interior of the downstairs living space. Sheetrock is up, taped, floated, and textured; and painting is nearly done - should be finished today or tomorrow. My wife is doing most of the painting herself, and I'm staying pretty much right on her heels with electrical trim-out. This weekend I got 13 light fixtures put up (11 of them can lights), and probably 30-35 outlet & switch boxes made up and finished out.

One thing that I lucked into was a great deal on wall outlets with USB charging ports built in; got a handful of them some months ago on woot.com. Not using them everywhere, but at bed headboard locations, a couple locations above countertops, and a few other places where having permanent USB charging ports could be handy:


Fwiw, if you don't get the woot daily deal emails, it may be worth checking into. I bought these electrical outlets, exercise equipment, radios for work, wifi extenders, and even our raven MPV from woot. They started as a typical closeout site, but were bought by amazon a few years ago and have turned into amazon's liquidation site.

www.woot.com
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Old 08-20-2018, 04:07 PM   #67
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I finally found a contractor to re-do my deck and put in a side walk. It took two years. The contractor told me it's a matter of help; he can't find any that are reliable. He won't take a job until he knows he can finish it. He say's most worker's won't show up until the Wolf is at the door.
 
Old 08-20-2018, 11:49 PM   #68
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Ive been watching WOOT since Mar 2005 and have bought a LOT of stuff off there and been lucky enough to get more than a few Bags Of Crap lol
 
Old 08-21-2018, 04:53 AM   #69
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...been lucky enough to get more than a few Bags Of Crap lol
I've never bought one of the Bags of Crap specials; never could bring myself to gamble on the unknown like that. One thing I do really like is their "$5 no matter what" shipping.

Bought one of the Raven MPV7100 a couple years ago; kind of a semi-four-wheeler thing with hybrid gas/electric drive and 7,000 watt onboard generator. Not as robust as a normal four-wheeler (somewhat between a four-wheeler and a riding mower), but very handy for power in remote areas, since the generator is built into the vehicle. Paid only $1299 for it vs the $3400 they were going for at Lowes, and darn if shipping all the way from Utah wasn't just $5.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_c...&v=w6KcCguQHHU

Last edited by John in AR; 08-21-2018 at 04:55 AM.
 
Old 08-21-2018, 07:51 PM   #70
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those are odd lookin lolol looks like an atv but is a mower lol

the bags of crap have always been worth more than the 3 bucks they cost BUT sometimes you do get just that ... crap haha every bag I have gotten has had around 5 items in it worth around 25+ bucks

Im a prime member so now shipping is free O__o
 
Old 08-26-2018, 05:56 AM   #71
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Downstairs living space painting of ceiling & walls is completely done; will still have a little more painting to do when finishing baseboard and cabinets.

Almost completely done with downstairs electrical as well, with only one circuit not fired up, because there’s one outside receptacle on that circuit that I can’t get to to terminate. It’s blocked by a pile of debris left by the sheetrock contractor and I’ll probably get it cleared and finished this week.

Other than that, electrical is pretty close to done; a few more permanent light fixtures to purhase and install, and two more switch boxes to finsh trimming out. But almost all outlets are functional and can finally turn on the lights in every room with the normal flip of a wall switch.

HVAC is also in and up & running except for one relatively unusual add-on that the contractor forgot and has to come back & finish. We’re putting in a REME HALO plasma purifier in, and he just forgot about it until they had the system almost done. It was nice to have A/C the last few days; as much for humidity control as actual cooling.
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Old 08-27-2018, 08:50 AM   #72
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Glad you got the A/C up and running . It's been a pretty humid summer here in the Northwest corner of the State. I don't want to imagine what it's like over there.
 
Old 08-27-2018, 12:31 PM   #73
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Pretty nasty here; only 92 degrees, but 60-70% humidity. Tough on us old guys...

NW arkansas can be pretty bad too. My oldest son & his wife live up there and they've lost two cable modems to storms in the last several weeks. Not a big deal for some people, but he's a work-from-home CAD engineer, so it's a very big deal for him work-wise.


On the house, my wife just called and told me they've got the last exterior door installed now. We'd just had plastic over the one door opening for the last few days, but now all are in and things are finally lockable in the living space, as they have been for probably three months or so in the storm cellar.

And one confession - I goofed on my electrical circuit counts. Not functional problems with any circuits, just number-of-circuit problems. I'd originally planned to use a 40-space main panel, but when I decided to go with several sub-panels, I switched to just a 30-space main. Naturally, I forgot and ran my circuits based on the 40-space plan, so now the main panel has to have some of the normal breakers swapped to tandem breakers to fit more circuits in the same space.

Each subpanel requires a double-space 240-volt breaker in the main, so three of them take up six of the 30 total spaces. Plus, we later decided to go with separate upstairs & downstairs HVAC systems for efficiency's sake; and since each one also takes a double-space 240-volt breaker, that means 4 more of the 30 spaces dedicated solely to HVAC use. So 10 of the 30 total slots taken just by subpanels and HVAC, leaving only 20 available on the main panel.

Then clothes dryers (one upstairs, one down) take two spaces each, downstairs countertop cooktop takes two, upstairs stove takes two, and oven takes two. So that's another ten of the 30 spoken for.

Minor problem really; just an annoyance as much as anything, as the removed normal breakers can still be used in the subpanels. But very glad I have the subpanels scattered around - one to feed a storage/work space and hopefully someday a greenhouse off that end of the house, one for upstairs general utility circuits, and one (on a transfer switch for backup power) in the storm cellar.

Thank god for subpanels...

Last edited by John in AR; 08-27-2018 at 12:34 PM.
 
Old 09-19-2018, 07:55 AM   #74
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Got the storm cellar divider wall framed & sheetrocked. Just a single wall dividing off part of the storm cellar, a space big enough for a couple beds so folks can sleep while others are up doing whatever, if stuck in there overnight. The wall itself wasn't really a priority, and wasn't initially planning to bother with it for a while, but decided that having the wall in place early would make some of the wiring much simpler. Basically it's a concrete & steel-beam room, and since it's a pain to do any kind of electrical or framing work in there, I decided that doing it in this order would make it a little less of a pain.

Once that was up, I was able to run lighting and outlet wiring with no conduit or surface-mount boxes, so that's done now.

Prior to that, I had to run conduit along the walls for all electrical circuits, anchoring to the concrete along the way. Just really slows things down, but unavoidable in a lot of the room because the walls, floor, and ceiling are concrete, and the ceiling 'joists' are heavy steel I-beams. No easy way to do much in there. Other than 2-3 more boxes and another 10-12 feet of conduit for the air filtration intake fan, electrical rough-in is pretty much done in there now; and trim-out is even done on all but two circuits.

Kitchen cabinets are in process of being built; lowers are built and about to be painted, uppers not yet. Still doing it pretty much by ourselves with just occasional on & off help, which hugely slows things down. My wife is doing subway tile around the bathtub, did the interior painting of walls & ceiling herself, things like that. She's had some medical issues lately that derailed things for a while overall, and also make her unable to do as much as she used to. I've been pretty much staying right on her heels with the electrical & other stuff. We're supposed to get some test results back on her tomorrow that will hopefully tell us more about how things are likely to go in the near future; fingers crossed.
 
Old 09-25-2018, 07:57 AM   #75
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Storm cellar, pretty much current except the unfinished electrical boxes on the concrete walls are all trimmed out & functional now. The sheetrock wall is to divide off one space for a couple beds, so people can sleep if necessary while others are up & doing whatever. The open end will be closed off with either a partial wall and heavy acoustic curtain, or just curtain. (Yes, that's a loveseat under a sheet there. My wife wanted it in there so people can relax while eating lunch & such. Her current medical issues make it necessary for her to rest more often than she used to.)



Those lights are still the temp ones; we're putting semi-hidden light strips inside the I-beam flanges. Reason for the tape on the deadbolt holes on the doors is simply because we're using temporary knobs during construction. The permanent knobs and deadbolts will put in place once there's no need for anyone else to have a key.
 
Old 09-25-2018, 08:03 AM   #76
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We lucked into a deal when a store closed up a couple years ago, and bought a bunch of commercial shelving at a silly low price. These are in a storage space on the opposite end of the house from the storm cellar. This pic is when I first stuck them in there; my wife was out of town and I took this to to text her, to show her that they were in place. We're now using them for storing tools and supplies.

Very handy and very stout. We got something like 90 feet of them for $200.
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Old 12-20-2018, 08:53 AM   #77
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Well, finally...

Not completely & truly 'finished', but moved in & spent our first night there last night. Only the downstairs is livable; the top (main) floor isn't. But it's a hugely major milestone for us.

I've mentioned in PM's to some here that my wife has had some significant medical issues come up this year - full story is that in May we found out she has stage four cancer. No idea of how long she has, but it was important to me that we get to the point where she can wake up christmas morning in her new house, and now she can.
 
Old 12-20-2018, 10:37 AM   #78
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Good news on the house and my prayers and best wishes to your wife. Hang in there it is all we can do.
 
Old 12-31-2018, 08:51 AM   #79
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...my prayers and best wishes to your wife. Hang in there it is all we can do.
Thanks. Reason for not responding sooner is that the day after my above post (the 21st), her dad passed away unexpectedly, and we buried him the day before Christmas. Her mom lives fairly near us but all her sisters still live in Houston, so she's trying to take care of her mom now as well as herself.

I'm really ready for her to catch a break; she's had problem after problem dumped on her this year; stuff that's out of our control. Really hoping that this coming year will be bring some good news, rather than the progression that the doctors talk about.
 
Old 01-28-2019, 03:45 PM   #80
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The good part of being in the middle of nowhere is that there's no one and nothing around. The bad part of being in the middle of nowhere is pretty much the same - there aren't even things around that you wish were around.

For our business, I just about have to have internet service at the house. I get calls sometimes in the evenings & weekends where I have to look at a system live online, there are times I have to order things last-second (because of those calls, usually), etc. And of course, there’s the typical “we’re used to having it and don’t want to do without it” aspect as well. Thing is, where we are the only two options are satellite service or a point-to-point tower-based service from a company about 30 miles away. Having had pretty disappointing satellite internet for a couple years, I wanted to avoid that if we feasibly could, so we had the point-to-point people survey the area. After three surveys including one with a remote drone, it turns out that they can reach signal from their closest tower; but they need to erect a 60-foot tower at our house to do so.

So today, they came out and poured the concrete base for a six-story tower at one end of the house. Yay for looking even more industrial than we already did…
 
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