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TrolleyDriver's Compost Thermometer

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Re: TrolleyDriver's Compost Thermometer

Post  trolleydriver on 9/8/2016, 2:58 pm

@trolleydriver wrote:
@landarch wrote:... Here's an interesting DIY digital compost thermometer for cheap...

http://www.instructables.com/id/2-DIY-compost-thermometer-build/
Thanks Landarch for the link to that DIY compost thermometer.

I have ordered 3 digital refrigerator thermometers from a seller on Ebay. The total cost is around $5 Canadian with free shipping from Hong Kong. Downside is uncertain delivery time ... anywhere from August 31 to October 7!!!  Looking forward to making my own compost thermometer.

I found a package from Hong Kong in my mailbox today.  The three digital refrigerator thermometers have arrived safely in Canada. Now if I can find time I may be able to rig up some kind of compost thermometer using one of these babies. BTW they came with batteries included. 

Temp is a bit high on the one in the photo. After I let them settle down they are showing 26.8, 27.0 and 27.2 Celsius. Close enough for me.


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Re: TrolleyDriver's Compost Thermometer

Post  sanderson on 9/9/2016, 2:28 am


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Re: TrolleyDriver's Compost Thermometer

Post  has55 on 9/9/2016, 10:52 am

@trolleydriver wrote:
@trolleydriver wrote:
@landarch wrote:... Here's an interesting DIY digital compost thermometer for cheap...

http://www.instructables.com/id/2-DIY-compost-thermometer-build/
Thanks Landarch for the link to that DIY compost thermometer.

I have ordered 3 digital refrigerator thermometers from a seller on Ebay. The total cost is around $5 Canadian with free shipping from Hong Kong. Downside is uncertain delivery time ... anywhere from August 31 to October 7!!!  Looking forward to making my own compost thermometer.

I found a package from Hong Kong in my mailbox today.  The three digital refrigerator thermometers have arrived safely in Canada. Now if I can find time I may be able to rig up some kind of compost thermometer using one of these babies. BTW they came with batteries included. 

Temp is a bit high on the one in the photo. After I let them settle down they are showing 26.8, 27.0 and 27.2 Celsius. Close enough for me.

I want to make one too. thank you for sharing. This is not my gift in inventing or modification. It's take a lots for me to think it through. I been racking my brain and searching the net on how to make a simple one that anyone can follow and build. Looking forward to your future post. Do you have theme of that eBay seller?

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Re: TrolleyDriver's Compost Thermometer

Post  trolleydriver on 9/9/2016, 12:34 pm

has55 ... the name of the Ebay seller was w2013ss .  There are a lot of sellers in China and Hong Kong selling the same item.  Search for "Digital LCD Thermometer for Refrigerator" on the EBay website.

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Re: TrolleyDriver's Compost Thermometer

Post  has55 on 9/9/2016, 2:04 pm

@trolleydriver wrote:has55 ... the name of the Ebay seller was w2013ss .  There are a lot of sellers in China and Hong Kong selling the same item.  Search for "Digital LCD Thermometer for Refrigerator" on the EBay website.
Thank you.

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Re: TrolleyDriver's Compost Thermometer

Post  trolleydriver on 9/13/2016, 1:39 pm

Yesterday I emptied my plastic compost bin, sifted out the finished compost and restocked the bin with uncomposted and new materials.

Today I checked the temperature. I used a stick to make a hole in the centre of the pile. Then I pushed the probe of one my digital refrigerator thermometers down the hole and covered it up. I left it for a while and the thermometer showed 39 Celsius (see photo below). The outside air temperature is 25 Celsius. So the pile is heating up. It is already in the range of the thermophile micro-organisms which is where it needs to be. I don't expect this to last too long as our night temperatures are starting to go down to single digits Celsius and the compost pile will eventually go dormant.

The following is a link to a good website on compositing and the linked page describes the different temperature ranges and organisms that thrive in each range.

http://www.homecompostingmadeeasy.com/ 


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Re: TrolleyDriver's Compost Thermometer

Post  plantoid on 9/13/2016, 3:08 pm

@has55 wrote:
@trolleydriver wrote:
@trolleydriver wrote:
@landarch wrote:... Here's an interesting DIY digital compost thermometer for cheap...

http://www.instructables.com/id/2-DIY-compost-thermometer-build/
Thanks Landarch for the link to that DIY compost thermometer.

I have ordered 3 digital refrigerator thermometers from a seller on Ebay. The total cost is around $5 Canadian with free shipping from Hong Kong. Downside is uncertain delivery time ... anywhere from August 31 to October 7!!!  Looking forward to making my own compost thermometer.

I found a package from Hong Kong in my mailbox today.  The three digital refrigerator thermometers have arrived safely in Canada. Now if I can find time I may be able to rig up some kind of compost thermometer using one of these babies. BTW they came with batteries included. 

Temp is a bit high on the one in the photo. After I let them settle down they are showing 26.8, 27.0 and 27.2 Celsius. Close enough for me.

I want to make one too. thank you for sharing. This is not my gift in inventing or modification. It's take a lots for me to think it through. I been racking my brain and searching the net on how to make a simple one that anyone can follow and build. Looking forward to your future post. Do you have theme of that eBay seller?
   I have also have a digital thermometer set up .
  I closed up one end of a half inch dia copper water pipe tube shaped it to a bit of the spade end on a flat screwdriver point &  then soldered it closed to prevent moisture getting inside and causing corrosion etc.

Evey time I want to check the pile temp I simply push the closed end of the tube into the pile and slide the sensing bulb down to the bottom of the tube ..after 15 seconds it's hot enough for an accurate reading  .

 Being copper the tube readily conducts heat and it does it very evenly around the sensing bulb.
 Once I've done my measuring I wash the tube clean inside & out ( just in case anything has fallen down the tube ) , dry it off then put it upside down in a corner by the work bench in my garage so it can drain any water out  plus it's safely out of the way  .

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Re: TrolleyDriver's Compost Thermometer

Post  sanderson on 9/13/2016, 3:09 pm

TD, I couldn't open the link - message 404

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Re: TrolleyDriver's Compost Thermometer

Post  trolleydriver on 9/13/2016, 3:55 pm

@sanderson wrote:TD,  I couldn't open the link - message 404

sanderson ... Please change the link to 

http://www.homecompostingmadeeasy.com/


plantoid ... thanks for the info

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Re: TrolleyDriver's Compost Thermometer

Post  trolleydriver on 9/14/2016, 12:48 pm

Things are cooking up in my two day old compost pile. Yesterday's core temp was 39 Celsius. Today it is reading 47 Celsius (116 F) with an ambient outdoor temp of 17 C (62 F). Still within the lower end of the thermophile microorganisms operating range (32-93C or 90-200F). BTW the size of the pile is 2 feet x 2 feet x 2 feet. Next year I hope to build a 3x3x3.


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Re: TrolleyDriver's Compost Thermometer

Post  trolleydriver on 9/14/2016, 5:29 pm

@trolleydriver wrote:Things are cooking up in my two day old compost pile. Yesterday's core temp was 39 Celsius. Today it is reading 47 Celsius (116 F) with an ambient outdoor temp of 17 C (62 F). Still within the lower end of the thermophile microorganisms operating range (32-93C or 90-200F). BTW the size of the pile is 2 feet x 2 feet x 2 feet. Next year I hope to build a 3x3x3.


Four hours later it is up to 49C (120F)

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Re: TrolleyDriver's Compost Thermometer

Post  sanderson on 9/14/2016, 9:28 pm

Lift off! Are you going to turn it soon? For oxygen and checking moisture?

Last December I made a 3x3x3 pile and temps kept going back up to 160*F for 19 days! Just wait until you build that 3x3x3!

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Re: TrolleyDriver's Compost Thermometer

Post  trolleydriver on 9/14/2016, 11:05 pm

@sanderson wrote:Lift off!  Are you going to turn it soon?  For oxygen and checking moisture?

Last December I made a 3x3x3 pile and temps kept going back up to 160*F for 19 days!  Just wait until you build that 3x3x3!  
I dread the thought of turning it. The work hurts my back and saps my energy even though it's not a big pile. 

In the past, I did not monitor temperature and did not turn the pile frequently, if at all. My approach is to build an initial pile and then use the continuous compost method by adding new material (e.g., kitchen scraps) on ongoing basis, sometimes daily. The kitchen scraps are pushed into the centre of the pile and they seem to disappear quickly except for things like corn cobs. I also add some larger quantities of new material (e.g., old veggie plants, leaves, dried grass) to the top of the pile as they become available. Sometimes I'll mix up the existing pile to get some of outside stuff into the middle.

With this new pile I am monitoring the temperature daily. When it starts to cool down I may turn it and make sure the moisture content is OK. The weather here will soon turn cooler (even tonight's low will be 6 Celsius, 43F). Eventually it will become more difficult to keep the pile hot due to the outside temps. At that stage I will just let it sit until next Spring.

I currently have two large garbage bins plus a plastic tote filled with finished compost which is ready to go to work. I would have had more but I used during the Spring and Summer. So I'm a happy compost camper.

Here's an interesting discussion on whether or not to turn the compost pile:

http://www.envirolet.com/compostmyths.html

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Re: TrolleyDriver's Compost Thermometer

Post  trolleydriver on 9/15/2016, 12:34 pm

As of noon today (after a very cool overnight down to 6C ambient) the compost pile is still maintaining a respectable 48.5C (119 F) temperature. I left the thermometer in the pile overnight which may not be a good idea in the long-term since I expect the moisture and heat will corrode the probe.


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Re: TrolleyDriver's Compost Thermometer

Post  trolleydriver on 9/16/2016, 4:57 pm

One day later and the compost temperature was down to 45C (113F). So I decided to bite the bullet and turn the pile. Sanderson will be proud of me.    okay

Now it's not easy to turn a pile that is sitting inside a plastic compost bin so I had to compromise. I took off at least a one foot depth from the top and put it onto a tarp. I then mixed up what was left in the bin. On top of this I put a mixture of straw, newly mowed grass clippings, fresh kitchen scraps (incl coffee grounds) and the stuff I had taken out earlier. Some of this I mixed in with the top layer of what was already left in the bin then used the rest to fill up the bin.

I've put the thermometer probe back down in the middle and will check tomorrow to see what has happened. 


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Re: TrolleyDriver's Compost Thermometer

Post  sanderson on 9/16/2016, 10:32 pm



I tip the whole thing over onto a tarp. When it is full, I need husband's help. I toss around with the pitch fork and put it back in.

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Re: TrolleyDriver's Compost Thermometer

Post  trolleydriver on 9/17/2016, 11:10 am

Less than one full day after turning the compost pile, those little workers inside are starting to build up some heat again (45.9C or 114.6F).


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Re: TrolleyDriver's Compost Thermometer

Post  trolleydriver on 9/18/2016, 3:21 pm

And now we're cookin' with gas.  Temp is up to 52.1C (126F) which is the hottest I have seen so far. Turning the pile has helped to get things heated up.


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Re: TrolleyDriver's Compost Thermometer

Post  sanderson on 9/19/2016, 2:30 am

@trolleydriver wrote: Turning the pile has helped to get things heated up.]
Wink

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Re: TrolleyDriver's Compost Thermometer

Post  trolleydriver on 9/19/2016, 9:14 am

@sanderson wrote:
@trolleydriver wrote: Turning the pile has helped to get things heated up.]
Wink
52.4 Celsius as of 8:00 am today. Outside temperature is going up to 27C today.  I wonder if that will make any difference.

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Re: TrolleyDriver's Compost Thermometer

Post  trolleydriver on 9/19/2016, 2:06 pm

It's really taken off now ... 57 Celsius (134.6 F). 


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Re: TrolleyDriver's Compost Thermometer

Post  plantoid on 9/19/2016, 3:22 pm

@trolleydriver wrote:And now we're cookin' with gas.  Temp is up to 52.1C (126F) which is the hottest I have seen so far. Turning the pile has helped to get things heated up.



See what you've done  ,  you've given all those little bits of microbes , fungi & bacteria a scungeful of oxygen and now they're running around like demented loons getting all hot and worked up . Laughing

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Re: TrolleyDriver's Compost Thermometer

Post  trolleydriver on 9/20/2016, 9:19 am

Compost temp is down to 51C this morning. This is day 4 since it was last turned. Looks like it's time for another turning. Not sure I will find time to do it today.

Now here is my dilemma. In the past I have used the continuous composting method which means that I add new material (e.g., kitchen scraps, straw, leaves, etc.) on an ongoing basis. The finished compost ends up at the bottom of the bin. If I need a small amount I can open the little door and take what I need. Every few months I remove all the contents and sift them. I set aside what goes through the screen with the assumption that it is finished compost. What does not go through the screen goes back into the bin along with new materials.

Now I'm wondering if I should try to take the entire contents of what is currently in the compost bin to the finished compost stage without adding any new materials. With cold weather coming on soon that may not be possible. It also means that I have to start another compost pile for new material (kitchen scraps, fall leaves, plants from the garden, etc.).

For me the continuous composting and sifting method may be easier.

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Re: TrolleyDriver's Compost Thermometer

Post  trolleydriver on 9/20/2016, 12:22 pm

I turned the contents of the compost bin again. Back down to 28.5C but already climbing within the first hour.

The contents smelled OK so I think the right kind of bacteria are working. The moisture content seems to be OK as well. So let's see what happens now. 

Our outdoor high temps are 27C and 26C for the next two days and then things really cool off with highs in the 15 to 18C range and overnight temps getting down to 4C (39F) on one night. Won't be long now and we will get some frost. I'll keep the compost experiment going as long a I can.

sanderson ... Is it ok for me to continue posting about my compost attempts on this "Compost thermometer" thread? I think I have taken the thread away from its original intended path. So maybe I should be posting this stuff on another thread.

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Re: TrolleyDriver's Compost Thermometer

Post  sanderson on 9/20/2016, 3:34 pm

Yes, it did drift away and I am partly the blame for not corralling it sooner. I may split off some of the replies to another thread when I have more time to concentrate.

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Re: TrolleyDriver's Compost Thermometer

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