Donkey Boiler

Discussion in 'Designing, building, making and powering your life' started by mutley, Nov 30, 2009.

  1. mutley

    mutley Junior Member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2008
    Messages:
    22
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Hi guys,
    I have an outside bath - no electricity & i am looking to build a donkey boiler & give the kids some hotwater.... I have no idea how to do this ?? has anyone got one ? or no how to build one.
    Where the hot water comes out i guess i would also need a hose to get into the bath ?/

    I should change ny username to 'No idea"
    Thanks hopefully in advance

    Mutley
     
  2. matto

    matto Junior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2009
    Messages:
    685
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Re: Donkey Boiler

    hey mutley,
    you and me both, but your off to a good start here.
    i had never heard of a donkey boiler, but have been reading of other ways to heat efficiently
    check out an earlier post from milkwood permaculture, close enough to you for a visit if need be
    https://permaculture.org.au/2009/09/01/t ... ed-shower/
    also darren from permaculture.biz made this compost shower that switched on a light
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ILzxOH6n7-c
    short of that you can always save that effort and build up your bath enough to light a fire directly underneath to heat the water in the tub, build it in your vege garden for a nice view and recycle the water. i have a friend with one and found that burning cardboard underneath or kindling is enough. otherwise it will get to hot. i can get some fotos soon if you like.
    good luck and keep experimenting.
    matto
     
  3. pebble

    pebble Junior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2007
    Messages:
    2,721
    Likes Received:
    7
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Location:
    inland Otago, NZ
    Climate:
    Inland maritime/hot/dry/frosty
    Re: Donkey Boiler

    Yeah, just light a fire underneath (assuming it's steel or iron and not plastic). It does get hot, so you can either wait until it cools down once the fire is out (it's a skill not getting distracted and then finding the bath too cold), or you can put a wooden rack in the bottom of the bath so you don't burn your bum. Kids are best to wait until the fire is out completely but the water will stay hot for quite a while.

    You can do that plain (stick the bath on some blocks and put a fire underneath) or fancy (build a brick fireplace under the bath and even a chimney if you want).


    For something more complicated but that you could use with a plastic bath, there's a company in NZ making this very cool and very expensive portable water heater:

    https://www.kiwitub.com/technical/howitworks.htm

    That might give you some ideas of the principle. The water in the bath circulates via pipes through a heating mechanism. You have to get the pipes at the right height and angle (similar to a wetback in a fire with a hot water cylinder) and they have to be below the water level (so you have to drill holes in the bath).
     
  4. 9anda1f

    9anda1f Administrator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2006
    Messages:
    3,046
    Likes Received:
    199
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    E Washington, USA
    Climate:
    Semi-Arid Shrub Steppe (BsK)
    Re: Donkey Boiler

    Is this the type of donkey boiler you're looking to build?
    [​IMG]
    from this site: https://www.travelblog.org/Oceania/Australia/Queensland/blog-418376.html
     
  5. ppp

    ppp Junior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2007
    Messages:
    550
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Re: Donkey Boiler

    good picture 9andalf..
    though i don't think it needs to be that fancy...

    the important parts are
    1) use the existing hole, find a small (minimum say 300mm long) piece of threaded pipe which fits.. this is the "out pipe".

    2) "in" hole : Next put a hole in the top of the drum (the drum is on the side) the idea is that to get hot water out, you pour some cold water in and it displaces the hot out the "out" pipe.

    An improvement is to make the "in" hole with a pipe going to near the bottom (other side) of the drum. The advantage is that the cold water is sent to the bottom where it won't mix with the hot water you want..
     
  6. pebble

    pebble Junior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2007
    Messages:
    2,721
    Likes Received:
    7
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Location:
    inland Otago, NZ
    Climate:
    Inland maritime/hot/dry/frosty
    Re: Donkey Boiler

    That's cool. How much mixing of the hot and cold water would there be I wonder?
     
  7. ppp

    ppp Junior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2007
    Messages:
    550
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Re: Donkey Boiler

    from experience, you should get good hot water even within the pipe going to the bottom. Best to separate the in and out pipe a fair bit to improve your chances.

    The donkey is a huge leap forward from a pot of water because you don't have to pour and handle dangerously hot water. Also.. you can have a shower / plumbed water by running your water supply (from elevated tank) ? into the bottom, and the hot water comes out the top. The only difference is that it has to all be well sealed.
     
  8. SueinWA

    SueinWA Junior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2005
    Messages:
    1,251
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Re: Donkey Boiler

    Why not use solar-heated water?

    The simplest would be to get some flexible black plastic water pipe, zigzag it back and forth on the roof (would have to hold it down somehow), have intake at one end (garden hose from tap), loose output end with a simple on/off valve that will run into a tub.

    A more expensive high-class one would be of copper pipe painted black, but you could do that later.

    Sue
     
  9. raincrow

    raincrow Junior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2009
    Messages:
    54
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Lots of good info herehttps://www.fastonline.org/CD3WD_40/JF/JF_OTHER/SMALL/How%20to%20build%20a%20safe,%20effective%20wood-fired%20hot%20water%20heater....pdf
     
  10. Cracko

    Cracko Junior Member

    Joined:
    May 22, 2015
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Hi mutley,

    To explain the principle you take a 44 gallon Castrol Oil drum (No connection, we all know them, I'm in South Africa) and put it over a fire as in the picture on the other site. The bungs go top and bottom simply because you supply cold water at the bottom. Either from a borehole, dam, council supply or so. The top bung takes the hot water to your bath, shower or kitchen sink. See this link for two good pictures and good description.

    https://www.ourterritory.com/outback/donkey.htm

    To make the system automatic you have to have incoming pressure, say a small pump or farm dam above the house, a bulk storage tank. You can also use the sun's heat by connecting a coiled pipe between the bottom and top bungs with T piece connections. Hot water rises of itself and will do so in both the donkey and the pipe. This will make stoking the fire unnecessary, but you will have hot water only in later daytime.

    To make an equal pressure system insert a pressure relief valve BEFORE the split for normal cold water and the donkey. Also VERY IMPORTANT add another PRESSURE RELIEF VALVE at the top bung for when the water gets too hot. This will give you something similar to a city geyser as goes convenience.

    The plastic piping on the Katherine site works simply because the water acts as a heat sink. In a safe place try this. Fill a small paper grocery or candy bag with about 2 inches of water and put it on a gas burner. Anyone for Tea?! That is before the flame gets to the paper. Matric classroom science project.
     
  11. Benjy136

    Benjy136 Junior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2012
    Messages:
    1,104
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    38
    It's early morning here (Not yet light) and I'm not sure if I'm thinking good yet, but, reading your post, I was wondering if you could put, instead of a relief valve, a steam engine of sorts to pump your water, if the source is downhill and a one-way valve on the water intake to keep the drum filled when not in use. Once the fire is lit and the water gets HOT, the engine turns, pumping the water. Of course, the pump would have a "disconnect between it and the engine which would serve as an "off and On" switch for the water. Just thinking.....I think? While we're at it, why not hook up a "bicycle generator" to the arrangement to give you power for lights. To carry this down the line, we add a deep cycle storage battery....and......
     
  12. Cracko

    Cracko Junior Member

    Joined:
    May 22, 2015
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Apologies for answering only now.

    Without more detail, I think you're into perpetual motion here. The relief valve is there for the sole purpose of keeping the donkey from exploding and to keep you from worrying when it may happen. If the steam from the donkey gets the pump to run, filling the donkey up further, it may be something like a nuclear reactor going critical. Perpetual motion indeed. Tell me when you made it work. We can take out a patent.
     
  13. Benjy136

    Benjy136 Junior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2012
    Messages:
    1,104
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Oh Cracko, you crack me up. The pump stops by way of the "disconnect" which is a clutch. The fire must be started first. When the water gets over 212F, that's when the fun starts. Instead of the steam (energy) being wasted, it is used to pump water and/or charge a storage battery, which can be used for multiple purposes. The aforementioned pump could be replaced by a 12V one and started by the Battery. Now if we can just build (or find ready-made) that steam engine.
    I didn't say it would be cheap. Just convenient and off-grid. For that matter, a solar collector and storage battery-pump set-up and put back that pop-off thingy would work. Wouldn't it maybe be easier to put the whole set-up below the water source? Then you could use the steam engine to work for light at night.

    Willie tells me I have entirely too much time on my hands, but I'm 83, own as far as I can see (without my specs, which is about 50ft.), and still have an active imagination. If you pop in to "Hello From South Carolina" off of General Chat you'll see what I mean. Right now we're having a discussion on Climate Change. We all have a sense of humor, and don't mind calling each other out. We're up to and over 200 pages. Our core make-up is Brian, Packo, Songbird and myself. We lost a key player, ECO, who is most likely doing Permy work in a remote area without access. We all miss her, as she contributed much to the group. I'm doing my part by not breathing any more than I absolutely have to.

    Love is the answer

    Uncle Ben
     
  14. Cracko

    Cracko Junior Member

    Joined:
    May 22, 2015
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Hello Ben,

    Beautiful! Thanks for taking it in the spirit said. I did say "with what I know" about your set up. Obviously I did not get your drift. You lead by about 15 years, so it seems I've struck a vein for good friends. Yes, it would be better to have the setup below the water source. I just tried to take all comers into account, but that actually set me to thinking.

    I was amazed when, as a young man, I saw my first real working water wheel as in the old style mill. Very powerful machine, with a sluice gate and all. Level with the ground level dam wall top and about ten feet down built into the fall of the river. some three feet wide. Slow start, but went like the clappers at full speed. Talking of climate change, this is a very much forgotten power source. All you need is very accurate cutting and welding to make a balanced wheel and you can make it any size. I think maybe even small streams could be suitable as concerns going off grid in the mountains. Hook a genny/alty to it with the right inverter. The buckets were about ten to twenty gallon size. You could make it self regulating in speed as well, I guess. Top speed would disallow bucket fills to capacity, aided by sluice gate regulation. Thing is, I like these to be on auto pilot as much as possible. I am also extremely lazy, like to do things with the least input possible. Simple goes broke least, no need to fix it.

    Will definitely go say Hello to South Carolina.

    Yeah, love does make a difference, innit?

    Cracky.
     
  15. Benjy136

    Benjy136 Junior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2012
    Messages:
    1,104
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Cracky;
    Thanks for taking my post in the same theme as it was intended. Not stiffly scientific, and not beyond all reason. Applicable, while a little outlandish. (where do you find a miniature steam engine today?) In my youth I would have actually tried to build the contraption. I lived on a piece of land in Arkansas (pronounced Ark'an saw) that had a stream running through it going down to Lake Deegray. There were two Novaculite (hard rock used for whetstones, often called Arkansas whetstone) outcroppings, one on each side of the stream the water had carved a channel through over time. I made a water-wheel to drive a pump to bring water up to the area I was camping in (before I built a house there) The water level was about 4 meters below the top of the gully the stream ran through. Not having seen the gully at flood stage, I had no idea that cloudbursts on the mountain above the stream's source would send water, rocks and trees down the gully at a height of close to three and a half meters. Bye bye water-wheel as well as anything connected to it. The pipe snagged my tent off it's pegs and left me to start all over. I thought about using concrete to imbed a turbine generator between the outcroppings, but with all the rock (which I later used to wall up one side of the foundation of the house I later built) the flood brought down, I didn't see much future for the turbine. I finnaly drilled a well for my water through 70 meters of novaculite, burning up four diamond bits. Best water since I left my mountain home in the Catskill mts., but that's another story.

    Love is the answer

    Uncle Ben
     
  16. Cracko

    Cracko Junior Member

    Joined:
    May 22, 2015
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Ah Benjy, you certainly have ways to get the kids do the work for you. Go to www.tinypower.com and slaver over all of them. Kit form or ready to run.

    Your story of the river wheel reminded me of the '60's 70's poster where the steam locomotive went off the end of the washed away bridge. Sorry to hear that. You certainly have done a lot of things in your life. Skipped the tops of the Carolina site, but I'll have to read it all before I venture anything. Would like to know the general ambience first. Well better than now.

    OK. Disclaimer forever. I do not punt commercial sites because I have affiliations with them. I do; however; drop names where I see it can help others. For what it's worth on bugs and companion planting, look at Mother Earth News. Duncan Carver's Worm Farming Secrets and Uncle Jim's Worm Farming. Marjorie Wildcraft is another interesting lady.

    OK, that's related, but off topic, so I'll have to start reading and get over to South Carolina.

    Ciao,

    Cracky.
     
  17. Benjy136

    Benjy136 Junior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2012
    Messages:
    1,104
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Wow, Cracky. I was a subscriber to both Organic Gardening and Mother Earth News until they both became mostly, catalogs for books and farm-related companies. I could be found on Uncle Jim's Worms until a couple years ago. That said. I have a good buddy here on the "Hello From South Carolina" posts, who is very close to the same parallel as yourself in Queensland, Oz. Brian raises worms and woodies as a hobby and drives a big rig for a living. Before I got tied down with other needs I had one insulated shed for raising worms. Brian touted this permie site so highly I had to come here and start my own little story-book blog. You could get some pretty good belly-laughs were you to start at the beginning. I found your general location in S. Africa, but couldn't pin it down, there being so many subdivisions in Kemton Park, which has a very interesting history. I live in between two small towns, Lexington and Gilbert, which are just a few miles West of the Capitol of South Carolina, USA.

    As you might find on the other blog, site, or whatever these new-fangled electronic communication devices are called, I started raising chickens (Chooks to ozzies) a couple years ago, made a "chicken tractor" with a trap-door that, when opened, became a ramp to let the birds down into the lower area and was pulled back up to close them in at night. The sides were hardware-cloth for protected air-flow, but has insulated panels that were used for cold nights. The peak roof slid both ways (from one end to the other). The unit was three ft. (about a meter) wide and about three and a half meters long. The roof was removable for thorough cleaning. Two 20 inch bicycle wheels were attached to two hickory poles that pivoted at one third of the total distance from the front end and extended two thirds of a meter from the back. When the (long) handles were raised they were stopped by two inverted Us at a point that allowed the wheels to descend low enough to raise the front of the "tractor" several inches off the grown, but when the handles were caught by the "Us" they lifted the back of the "tractor. so that it could be transported on the wheels.

    The terms front and back may be slightly confusing, as the "tractor was "pulled" through the garden pathways, rather than pushed, because pulling is easier AND less messy than walking through the droppings that were left under the open bottom to be covered with rye-straw.

    Of course I have temporarily "retired" the invention since we installed a fence and it required much of the garden to turn the blessed contraption around. Besides, the chickens have long-since outgrown it and are now housed in their well-constructed coop at night and are free-ramge at daytime, coming back to the coop to lay, of course.
     
  18. Cracko

    Cracko Junior Member

    Joined:
    May 22, 2015
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Hi Ben,

    Ditto on websites mainly for being references to other commercial enterprises, but if you read between the lines you can still pick up a lot of things, which is where I heard of permaculture for the first time. Anyway, horses for courses. Thing that got me there, actually, was precisely the idea of companion planting for pest control. But again horses . . . I've actually become a newbie maplotter as it is called here (agricultural holding inhabitant, living on a plot) about three years ago and the farmer in me is rearing his head in no uncertain terms.

    Yes, I've seen briansworms on S Carolina. Ta for explaining chooks to me. We used to call newly bred pigeon chicks chooks here.

    But there's another reply to me from S Carolina. You? I'm sure.

    Ciao.
     
  19. Benjy136

    Benjy136 Junior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2012
    Messages:
    1,104
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Right on, Cracko. It seems we both have a friend in Brian (Briansworms). Where are you originally from?
    Companion planting actually has more than one benefit, as some plants actually improve the flavor of their neighbors (basil with tomatoes), while others deter the growth of many other plants (Sunflower close to most other food plants). I have used sunflowers as a trap plant for squash bugs. I am just piddling in my garden space, as this is a Sabbath year for the land. When I realized that, I had already planted potatoes, carrots, onions, six fruit trees, Blueberries, (already had four of them and just added six) and several herbs and flowers and other veggies, and have already dug several potatoes and onions and eaten several handfuls of blueberries. I'm still not completely positive that we Gentiles have to keep the Sabbath (Saturday), but I've been working on becoming a better Christian, and some things are more obvious than others.

    We had, what we call over here, a Gully Washer last night. We are not usually prone to tornadoes here, but around three A.M. this morning we were awakened by what I thought was thunder, but realized it could be a tornado as it just lasted so long. Sounded as though there was a long freight train passing right next to our house. We have to drive to town in a little bit, so we'll keep an eye out for possible damage in the area.

    Are you familiar with Yackons, or yakons? I was sent a few rhizomes from one of the gang in Australia. All but one succumbed to the reversal of seasons. One is sprouting again this year with several sprouts around it. It did not bloom last year so I didn't dig around it for tubers. I mulched it and caged it in to protect it from the Chickens, as I let them into the garden after harvest time. We had a long cold spell where the temperature dropped into the mid-teens F., so I was glad to see it sprout this Spring.

    I checked the site you put up for miniature steam engines. Impressive, to say the least. I'm making what we call a "Rocket stove" and may find a use for one of those engines. I really am never sure where I'm going when I start on a project. Sometimes when I set out to resolve one problem, I'll get into another zone entirely, like the solar powered grow lights using a couple of deep-cycle storage batteries to extend "daylight" in my greenhouse led to building a solar powered "Swamp cooler" to bring down the temperature without having to shade the plants. Another time I bought a small solar-powered fan to fasten on the car window to remove hot air and ended up building a hybrid dehydrator using the same principal I had previously used to make a solar water heater back in Arkansas, except that instead of letting convection, alone, move the hot air through the trays, the fan moved it faster, and the brighter the sun, the faster the fan turned, so that the air didn't get too hot and stayed at 160F, which was perfect for the fruit. In a cloudy day I even had reflective "wings" that unfolded to the angle desired to concentrate more sunlight onto the collecting surface. It has wheels for convenience and the angle can be adjusted from level up to thirty degrees, though it is only used until the Sun is, perhaps only 20 degrees from vertical. We've dried figs, grapes, kiwis, tomatoes, blueberries (not much of these, as they are eaten soon after picking) and a few strawberries. It's time to pull it out again, and dust it off..

    Well. Time to get off my duff if we're going to town.

    Love is the answer.

    Uncle Ben
     
  20. Cracko

    Cracko Junior Member

    Joined:
    May 22, 2015
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Hi Ben,

    I've seen Brian on your Carolina site only and I see his PC is playing up. I'm reading slowly from the front and there's a lot to assimilate. I did reply to your comment on Global Warming. I see it at the bottom of page 266 on Carolina. There is another reply from there, so maybe you saw that already. I am answering first in first out.

    Beautiful stuff on the steam engines, hey?! I thought that kinda things to be long lost already. We have a "patented" Rocket stove here sold as complete, maybe it comes from the States. Basically a wide water pipe with a slow combustion type stove around it. I once built a boiler tank from copper sheeting; about 10 inches high and about 8 inches diameter. Somewhat like a 750 gram (1.6 lb) instant coffee tin. Lit a paraffin (kerosene, I think) wick under it about two and half inch diameter. Turned real low and running 24/7 it gave really scalding hot water for about . . . oh yes, there was a two plate kerosene stove for hot food also. Both together used about 20 litres (4.4 UK gals) per month. Shucks, forgot to include the mantel kerosene lamp for about 4 hours a night as well. Plumbed the boiler into an insulated water tank. Lagged the pipes with newspapers.

    I googled yakon and came up with some yacon stuff. There's a site yaconsyruphealthsomething and also a wikipedia site. Otherwise never heard of it. Seems to be great for diabetes and slimming and so on. On the google page that comes up you will see it comes from the Andes originally, if I have the right thing in mind.

    Born and bred on the wrong side of the tracks in Johannesburg. God fearing parents and I learned that to be a contradiction in terms. No need to fear Him. In young adulthood I learned to forgive, literally and in each and every instance, anything thinkable that irks or unsettles or worries or can in any way be described as negative. Rituals and things have fallen by the wayside. One thing that worried me was God saying; "I do not want your sacrifices. I want your hearts and minds". Try forgiveness, it works!! WARNING. It's going to give you wake up calls like you've never know before! But the peace comes immediately. And oh yes, go out into the silence of the night, be still and look at the stars and you will hear Him speak.

    I'm a city slicker, Ben. Just had the good fortune to have a father who never lost his sense of wonder at the world. Gone these forty one years, but he never died, still my anchor.

    Ah Ben, you have the knack to get me.

    Cracko.
     

Share This Page

-->