• Just found this forum. Maybe I'll find some friends to help out here.

    I quit my job doing reverse engineering, troubleshooting, and design of small electronics (military grade mostly) a couple years ago.

    Now I live in Haiti, working to make life a little easier for missionaries down here. Currently I'm mostly an electrician (with a bit of a specialty in solar power), plumber, welder, etc, but I'm looking to establish a more engineering role.

    Some projects that I would like to see come through include, in ascending order of difficulty:
    -An online database of prices for hardware and materials and where to find them. Possibly to include taxi rates, labor rates, etc and recommendations of store. Prices may vary by orders of magnitude depending on where you shop.
    Help Needed: I've only got an idea, so I need a web developer to make it happen.

    -A Craigslist-like website to connect NGO (non-government organizations) for ride and resource sharing, as well as exchange of goods. (ie. someone gets a 40' container of food or clothes and has more than they need, or upgrades a generator and can sell their old one). This could even incorporate the database idea previously mentioned.
    Especially important could be "shipping sharing" as small organizations may not be able to support getting a 40; container themselves and would be better off sharing with other small organizations.
    Help Needed: I've only got an idea, so I need a web developer to make it happen.

    -Trade skills classes, and a possible establishment of building codes where there are none. I am going to start with week-long electricians classes for current professional haitian electricians to learn what I consider my codes. This should cover basic ideas with grounding, circuit protection, wire ampacity, etc as I am terrified that there will be a large surge in residential fires since more people are building with wood since the earthquake.
    Help Needed: I'm a EE, not an electrician. I need someone who understands the theory behind electrical code to explain why we do what we do in the states, so I can adapt that to a safe practice here in Haiti. I've tried reading code books, but it only give the best practices, and I need to know what variances I can put in cause the best practices are not always practical here.
    Eventually, I could use some instructors too. I'll probably stick to 1-week "intense" courses, but would really only be able to consider instructors who have at least 1-2 trips of 3rd world experience in a given field.

    -An inverter/generator research, scavenge, and possibly repair facility. There are a lot of units being thrown away cause they are BER (Beyond Economic Repair). However, economic repair is highly contingent on labor rates.
    I propose putting up a warehouse, and stockpiling malfunctioning units. First, to evaluate the units, find what is broken and catalogue them. This would work for research, and possibly lead to development of solutions to mitigate there failures. Plus, potentially units could be scavenged to provide low cost, refurb units to people who do not have the resources to buy new equipment.
    Help Needed: First, I need the financial resources to procure a warehouse type setup. This may be able to happen, cause I'm not picky. I just need a roof and a fenced area. Beyond that, I can tarp it up and survive. I've already got some good data logging equipment and a couple low-end oscopes to get me started.

    -The research of the last idea leads to this: An electronics assembly factory. I am in coordination with a missions organization that really wants this to happen, and has land and possibly solar panels and a generator that I could use. Our first idea is small scale battery chargers and inverters. Think 150W-400W inverters, mod-sine wave to start. Eventually to scale up to 4kW plus for solar power systems if possible, but we're starting plenty small to keep capital down and cause there is actually more of a market for small devices than large ones.
    For reference, unemployment is 80%. Our primary goal is sustainable employment. Also, typical haitians have power less than 12 hours a day. Battery chargers and inverters are commonly used, if a person can scrape together enough money to buy them.
    Also, in my experiences, Haitians can learn quickly and I am confident from the levels of skill I have seen that I can get them to soldering up to military standards even if I need to. (Obviously not all of them, but I could get enough to get a factory going and put the rest in other jobs.)

    Help Needed: I know nothing about inverter design. Pretty much the same with battery chargers. Anyone got ideas for me?

    So, that's my introduction and my plea for help.

    I've had quite a few other ideas along the way too, so if you have ideas regarding:
    best architectural practices for passive ventilation (or even exhaust fan assisted) in the topics (to reduce A/C power usage)
    radiant cooling using well-drawn water
    modifying an A/C unit to use water-pumped cooling (to double the A/C as a water heater) (*I know it won't get "hot" but it won't be quite as cold to shower in*)
    power line regulation
    use of switching voltage regulators instead of expensive MPPT charge controllers for solar panels (1 reg per panel, all output at same voltage to a PWN based charge controller) for possible cost savings

    Or honestly, even if you've encountered other 3rd world problems you'd like to share, Im game to help with that as well.

    God Bless,
    Travis Knipple

    B.S.E.E., Cedarville University, 2007

    Founder/Resident Engineer for South Haiti
    F1 Missions Engineering
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