Solar in northern Idaho?

softdownsoftdown Solar Expert Posts: 3,247 ✭✭✭✭
Any members eking out an existence up there?

Was born in Idaho but really don't remember. Spent the night, some time ago, in Coeur d'Alene and loved it.

If anybody has pertinent knowledge or experience - I have a few questions for you. Like part time work opportunities - I am semi-retired.
First Bank:16 180 watt Grape Solar with  FM80 controller and 3648 Inverter....Fullriver 8D AGM solar batteries. Second Bank/MacGyver Special: 10 165(?) watt BP Solar with Renogy MPPT 40A controller/ and Xantrex C-35 PWM controller/ and Morningstar PWM controller...Cotek 24V PSW inverter....forklift and diesel locomotive batteries

Comments

  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 30,656 admin
    My wife, pretty much a city girl, is looking at other places too such as Idaho... She found that Northern Idaho can have issues with Radon Gas. May need to force ventilate under home/basement (I am no expert).

    https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2015-07/documents/zonemapcolor.pdf

    -Bill


    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 5,241 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited May 24 #3
    Four clients and I know the best power system guy up there that I sub to when needed.

    Too much winter for me but a beautiful state and forest galore. My cousin always takes a drive there before 4th of July. They have the "costco" of Fireworks in Boise. Kind of a pyromaniacs sweet dream coming home with a trunk full of goodies.

    For work I would use Linkedin.
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail [email protected]

  • softdownsoftdown Solar Expert Posts: 3,247 ✭✭✭✭
    BB. said:
    My wife, pretty much a city girl, is looking at other places too such as Idaho... She found that Northern Idaho can have issues with Radon Gas. May need to force ventilate under home/basement (I am no expert).

    https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2015-07/documents/zonemapcolor.pdf

    -Bill



    Always an issue with a few things. Radon is basically uranium off gassing. Uranium is a common element in granite and the mountains are built of granite - more or less. Colorado also has plenty of radon - and more than its share of a few cancers. Not an expert on this!

    A trouble with Wyoming is its dependency on coal and gas. Plus it is known for the wind. I truly loved pre-wolves Jackson Hole - now some of the most expensive real estate anywhere - I am told. I would regularly spot moose or elk every 20 minutes during a morning Yellowstone drive.

    Has to be a deep red state - I have developed certain opinions best kept to myself.

    Curiously northern Idaho, as I recall, has a mild climate (in certain areas I think) due to influences from the Pacific. Though I don't mind cold weather as much as many. The darkness is what I dislike but I feel I must go north. Plus the combo of heat and humidity - ugh.

    Two avid hobbies are hiking and 4 wheeling. So mountains are a requisite unless one enjoys what I think of as "ghetto hikes".

    Southeastern Siberia held my interest until I read a book. I might try it anyway - but the logistics are uncommonly challenging without a cargo boat - which costs as much as a nice house. Boats are always breaking as well. Kind of like motor homes in a way.

    I think there may be radon shields? Ventilation isn't so hard though.

    This time I have a backhoe and much, much more experience. Plus a clear head. Lost my folks unexpectedly and this place was built in a chaotic state of mind. Going to try to be picky as hell this time - with building site. May need to sell it to finance my last 5-10 years of grid/easier living. Something like that. I figure I have 20-25 healthy years left in me - based on health and genetics and priorities. Two decades is a long time. Took forever to hit 20 it seemed.
    First Bank:16 180 watt Grape Solar with  FM80 controller and 3648 Inverter....Fullriver 8D AGM solar batteries. Second Bank/MacGyver Special: 10 165(?) watt BP Solar with Renogy MPPT 40A controller/ and Xantrex C-35 PWM controller/ and Morningstar PWM controller...Cotek 24V PSW inverter....forklift and diesel locomotive batteries
  • softdownsoftdown Solar Expert Posts: 3,247 ✭✭✭✭
    edited May 24 #5
    First Bank:16 180 watt Grape Solar with  FM80 controller and 3648 Inverter....Fullriver 8D AGM solar batteries. Second Bank/MacGyver Special: 10 165(?) watt BP Solar with Renogy MPPT 40A controller/ and Xantrex C-35 PWM controller/ and Morningstar PWM controller...Cotek 24V PSW inverter....forklift and diesel locomotive batteries
  • softdownsoftdown Solar Expert Posts: 3,247 ✭✭✭✭
    https://visitidaho.org/  Lots of info.

    First Bank:16 180 watt Grape Solar with  FM80 controller and 3648 Inverter....Fullriver 8D AGM solar batteries. Second Bank/MacGyver Special: 10 165(?) watt BP Solar with Renogy MPPT 40A controller/ and Xantrex C-35 PWM controller/ and Morningstar PWM controller...Cotek 24V PSW inverter....forklift and diesel locomotive batteries
  • Ralph DayRalph Day Solar Expert Posts: 918 ✭✭✭✭
    I just finished a Radon mitigation project...I hope.  Our local health unit was doing a testing survey in our area...you get the 3 month test done for free.  I found out I have higher than acceptable levels, high enough that something should be done.

    The basement of my house holds the wood stove that does all my heating, so the air down there is the same air as in my main living space...hence the venting project.  The sump pump pit has floor and footing drains coming in to it, and the natural chimney effect of the house and various fans (like my battery box vent fan, takagi water heater fan, bathroom and kitchen fan) all helped to draw any radon contaminated atmosphere into my living envelope.

    A 4 inch hole in the block wall, a cap over the sump pit and a 12 volt 5x5 inch fan to drive it all outside.  Total costs probably $150 bucks (the rental of the core drill was $70 of that, but worth it!)

    Here's the result 
  • softdownsoftdown Solar Expert Posts: 3,247 ✭✭✭✭
    Well done I hope! Radon covers so much of the continent - can you tell us where this is?

    The map shows about 1/3 of the continental US with significant radon. I have no idea what percentage need to mitigate their levels.

    I tested my Denver area home for radon and found no measurable levels for example. The mountains are far better known for significant radon.

    Why do the Pacific Coast mountains and Black Hills relatively free while the Rockies and Appalachians are inundated I may wonder.

    N. Dakota, Iowa and Maine? Weird. I question the legitimacy of this map. 
    First Bank:16 180 watt Grape Solar with  FM80 controller and 3648 Inverter....Fullriver 8D AGM solar batteries. Second Bank/MacGyver Special: 10 165(?) watt BP Solar with Renogy MPPT 40A controller/ and Xantrex C-35 PWM controller/ and Morningstar PWM controller...Cotek 24V PSW inverter....forklift and diesel locomotive batteries
  • Ralph DayRalph Day Solar Expert Posts: 918 ✭✭✭✭
    edited May 26 #9
    Im situated in Prince Edward County, Ontario.  It's what sticks down into Lake Ontario from the North side.  Limestone base, clay subsoil that the basement is built into.  Uranium is decaying somewhere in that mix.  Fissures in the limestone maybe bringing radon from the igneous rock below...I don't know.
  • just startingjust starting Registered Users Posts: 235 ✭✭✭
    I actually do radon mitigation, it's weird I worked underground mining for 10 years and never heard of it until I was offered a job in Colorado installing systems.
    200ah LiFePO4 24v Electrodacus Sbms40 quad breaker chest freezer to fridge- Samlex PST 1524 - Samlex pst3024  - 1hp shallow well pump-Marey 4.3 GPM on demand waterheater - mama bear Fisher wood burning stove, 30" fridgarair oven ,fridegaire dishwasher  Unique 290l stainless D.C. Fridge-unique 120l portable fridge/freezer 
  • aksalaaksala Registered Users Posts: 57 ✭✭
    I just moved from N. Idaho a year ago. Now living off-grid in Alaska. I loved where we were in N. Idaho. Technically we lived in Priest River but we were on 10 acres and about a 12 minute drive to the town of Priest River. About a 15 minute drive to Spirit Lake and a good 50 minutes to CDA or 45 minutes to Post Falls. The closer you get to Bonners Ferry the cheaper it will become, job opportunities less and more snow. 

    Prices are moving upwards as more folks figure out how nice an area it is. And folks with money coming from the cities can buy more for less. The house we sold a year ago has already gone up by over $100K in a year. So I suggest you start looking and move fast if you find what you're looking for. Still some nice land to be had for a serious off-grid place around Priest River and Sandpoint. I find Sandpoint to be as big a town as I would ever need, and not crowded. Priest River was about perfect. Never once would I sit in a line for gas or groceries. 

    Building off grid will certainly open up some less expensive building sites. Just keep in mind having to keep the road access open in the winter if that's important to you. It gets DEEP there sometimes. 
  • softdownsoftdown Solar Expert Posts: 3,247 ✭✭✭✭
    Just got back last night. Figuring I am two years too late - did not like the prices or availability. Other than that, N Idaho is pretty great in many respects. But figure on $100,000 for five basic acres and not that much to choose from either.

    Priest Lake is now higher than Sandpoint. Sandpoint prices drove me to Priest Lake. Priest Lake drove me back to Colorado. Guess I will have to wait for the next recession. Not paying $100,000 for a few basic acres.

    I should sell my Denver home while the selling is good.
    First Bank:16 180 watt Grape Solar with  FM80 controller and 3648 Inverter....Fullriver 8D AGM solar batteries. Second Bank/MacGyver Special: 10 165(?) watt BP Solar with Renogy MPPT 40A controller/ and Xantrex C-35 PWM controller/ and Morningstar PWM controller...Cotek 24V PSW inverter....forklift and diesel locomotive batteries
  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 8,828 ✭✭✭✭✭
    softdown said:
    .....
    .....
    Guess I will have to wait for the next recession. Not paying $100,000 for a few basic acres.

    I should sell my Denver home while the selling is good.
    Recession coming soon, as soon as folks figure out they are broke and have maxed out their CC & mortgages
    I'd say sell now and rent for 6 months.  Feces ought to be hitting the propeller pretty soon.

    Powerfab top of pole PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
    || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
    || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

    solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
    gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister ,

  • softdownsoftdown Solar Expert Posts: 3,247 ✭✭✭✭
    Had a friend valiantly deploring me to sell in 2011. House maybe tripled in value since then. Nobody knows for sure. The economy may be strong next year.

    N. Idaho is a long ways though. Perhaps I should look harder at Wyoming. Wyoming is about as red as it can be - important to me. Reds don't riot - for one thing.
    First Bank:16 180 watt Grape Solar with  FM80 controller and 3648 Inverter....Fullriver 8D AGM solar batteries. Second Bank/MacGyver Special: 10 165(?) watt BP Solar with Renogy MPPT 40A controller/ and Xantrex C-35 PWM controller/ and Morningstar PWM controller...Cotek 24V PSW inverter....forklift and diesel locomotive batteries
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 30,656 admin
    Not sure what is going to happen... But watch interest rates. If they stay low, housing prices will stay high/go higher (in my humble opinion). At 3.x% interest vs 9.x% interest, people can afford a 3x larger home for the same payment (at least interest portion).

    Lots of confusing stuff going on. Feds are printing money and taking rates towards 0% (how big of place can you afford at 0% interest? Infinity?).

    But you have a lot of government using housing prices for property taxes. The local governments do good with high housing prices (lots of taxes to collect). If housing prices drop, then they either lose revenues or have to hike taxes (some places are already talking about large increases because of COVID-19 loss of sales/income taxes).

    https://www.texastribune.org/2020/05/17/coronavirus-updates-texas/

    [5:25 p.m.] Texas’ disaster declaration does not allow cities and counties to raise their tax rates beyond the state’s 3.5% cap without voter approval, Gov. Greg Abbott said in a Friday interview with KVUE, weighing into a political debate brewing between local and state officials.

    ...

    The Texas Municipal League, which represents city governments, argues that Abbott’s disaster declaration due to coronavirus triggers that section of the property tax law. Cities can increase taxes by 8% and most will not need to hold an election to significantly raise taxes next year, if they are raising money to respond to the disaster, according to TML.

    And, with many people either fleeing or thinking of fleeing the city cores (COVID, Work from Home, Riots, etc.)--You might see rural prices increase while urban areas stay flat or even fall...

    https://www.sfgate.com/ontheblock/article/san-francisco-rents-drop-coronavirus-15311467.php

    Rents for one-bedroom apartments in San Francisco have dropped by 9.2% since June 2019, according to Zumper. That's the biggest decline since the rental site started recording such data in 2015, and brings median one-bedroom prices down to levels not seen since March 2017.

    With the economy faltering and unemployment numbers skyrocketing, Zumper's Crystal Chen said she expected to see a dip, but as a long-time SF resident, she said the nearly double-digit year-over-year decline was "still shocking." Plus, prices are unlikely to plateau anytime soon.

    Median one-bedroom prices in San Francisco dropped almost 3% just in the last month alone.

    She attributes the decrease in demand — also seen in other expensive cities such as New York, Boston and San Jose, though to a lesser degree — to a new prioritization for renters that puts cost and space over location. This is especially true in tech-heavy locations like San Francisco, where workers may be able to work from home indefinitely. "As more and more companies move into remote work, many renters don’t want to pay the big-city price tag when they are unable to use the amenities and are looking for more affordable options outside of large, metropolitan areas," she said. "If everyone is stuck at home, people are prioritizing having more space and comfort over city life."

    People with big morgages and low interest rates loans--They can go upside down pretty quickly--And owe more on their property than they can sell it for...

    The old English and possibly older Chinese curse: "May you live in interesting times" seems to be appropriate here.

    -Bill "It is difficult to make predictions, especially about the future" B.
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 5,241 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I thought Bill would always share his crystal ball readings with us. ;)

    People have bet against the US since George Washington. Lot's of big losers out there!  Keep your powder dry. Anchors Aweigh !
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail [email protected]

  • softdownsoftdown Solar Expert Posts: 3,247 ✭✭✭✭
    You just had to mention Washington didn't you? We have certainly lost our way though - any Constitutional aficionado should agree with that.

    I am pretty well positioned for calamity - as compared to the average Joe anyway. Just trying to squeeze from third base to the vaunted home base.

    I used to literally fantasize about living in California. Hard to believe what happened. Wouldn't it be something if California flips red?


    First Bank:16 180 watt Grape Solar with  FM80 controller and 3648 Inverter....Fullriver 8D AGM solar batteries. Second Bank/MacGyver Special: 10 165(?) watt BP Solar with Renogy MPPT 40A controller/ and Xantrex C-35 PWM controller/ and Morningstar PWM controller...Cotek 24V PSW inverter....forklift and diesel locomotive batteries
  • softdownsoftdown Solar Expert Posts: 3,247 ✭✭✭✭
    edited June 4 #18
    FWIW - I did find a very interesting 40 acre lot that just went for sale. Timbered and surrounded by national forest - think he said all sides. Closest neighbor is maybe only 1/2 mile away - he was there for archery bear hunting season. He said the power company told him there would be absolutely no more power poles after his power pole.

    Asking price - $180,000. Might be a deal with power and perc and approval for building. Especially if dividable. Would be expensive hunting property. Without power? Tough sell for most I think. Power is likely worth at least $25,000 to me. Much more for most if thinking logically. Like maybe $50,000 or so. What do you guys think?

    My hitch fell out and the trailer drug on that road. The cotter pin was damaged on another adventure. No big deal for a seasoned adventurer really.
    First Bank:16 180 watt Grape Solar with  FM80 controller and 3648 Inverter....Fullriver 8D AGM solar batteries. Second Bank/MacGyver Special: 10 165(?) watt BP Solar with Renogy MPPT 40A controller/ and Xantrex C-35 PWM controller/ and Morningstar PWM controller...Cotek 24V PSW inverter....forklift and diesel locomotive batteries
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 5,241 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Not a bad price with power and similar here in the Sierra. If you could devide it inexpensively, would tip the scale.
    All of those states are too much tax for me and no different than red california or almost red colorado.
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail [email protected]

  • softdownsoftdown Solar Expert Posts: 3,247 ✭✭✭✭
    A new patch of land with no legal framework that I am aware of? Almost nothing but risk. They may not allow building. Does it pass a perc test?

    Can it be divided? A really big and important question.

    If I lived close I could easily get these questions answered.

    I wouldn't mind dividing 40 acres with the trustworthy. Unless farming it is hard to use more than a couple acres. The rest is for privacy and space.

    Being surrounded by national forest certainly interests me. That should preclude bad neighbors.
    First Bank:16 180 watt Grape Solar with  FM80 controller and 3648 Inverter....Fullriver 8D AGM solar batteries. Second Bank/MacGyver Special: 10 165(?) watt BP Solar with Renogy MPPT 40A controller/ and Xantrex C-35 PWM controller/ and Morningstar PWM controller...Cotek 24V PSW inverter....forklift and diesel locomotive batteries
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 5,241 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Keep your eyes wide open on thinking you are safer with federal property near you. We have 3 national forests and parks near us in the Sierra.  Our sherriff spends alot of time and resources on fighting cartel drug thugs.

    People disappear here all the time and I do zero business with anyone who does not have a property address. Lucky most of the drug folks are not the brightest. Just like the young looters who end up burning down Black owned businesses thinking they are so smart and caring.

    The property is being sold by owner I take it. Since there is no agent can't you ask the county? I do this all the time here on offgrid properties that are looking like bad people are growing pot, or worse. Dangerous to my being able to breath, know what I mean?
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail [email protected]

  • softdownsoftdown Solar Expert Posts: 3,247 ✭✭✭✭
    $180,000 without power is out of my league. Waste of time to pursue that. It would have to be truly exceptional to go over $60,000 for raw land. The reason I discuss is being surrounded by nat. forests. I don't want any unknown neighbors to screw up my life.

    Drug cartels in California are likely different than N. Idaho. I'm sure they have meth everywhere of course.
    First Bank:16 180 watt Grape Solar with  FM80 controller and 3648 Inverter....Fullriver 8D AGM solar batteries. Second Bank/MacGyver Special: 10 165(?) watt BP Solar with Renogy MPPT 40A controller/ and Xantrex C-35 PWM controller/ and Morningstar PWM controller...Cotek 24V PSW inverter....forklift and diesel locomotive batteries
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 5,241 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I really had trouble reading what you wrote about the price and power. But land here in Mariposa is about 2K to 4K per acre in large amounts. With power and septic a five acre goes for around 50 or 70K. The dirt work is expensive and so you need to know the locals.
    If they hear you are from out of the area, they line up and are ready for you to feed them.

    As one gets older, the remote part does not sound as good, I am sure you know. The winter is what keeps the drug thugs at bay up north in my opinion. They are everywhere for sure. The legal pot laws here have the state a couple billion in the hole thinking they can compete with cartels and small recreational growers.
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail [email protected]

  • softdownsoftdown Solar Expert Posts: 3,247 ✭✭✭✭
    Funny - thinking the same thing reading your prose. Funny that.

    I don't think people try as hard to be decent as a rule. So remote sounds better all the time to me. Still feeling I can work like a good 40 year old.

    Legal pot has been great for the Colorado government. Making a fortune in tax collection. Of course our liberal government quickly mastered methodology for squandering the fortune and are bleeding profusely again. Takes a red state to have balanced books - seriously.

    No power will be available. Supposed to perk well. Can be divided into 20s but has to be sold as the whole 40. So not really dividable after all.

    I believe I can get my backhoe running and machines are generally intuitive enough. Septics are simple enough.

    60K with power and septic isn't so bad. California mountains have strong appeal to many.

    It does seem like land, in general, has gone up significantly in the past couple years.
    First Bank:16 180 watt Grape Solar with  FM80 controller and 3648 Inverter....Fullriver 8D AGM solar batteries. Second Bank/MacGyver Special: 10 165(?) watt BP Solar with Renogy MPPT 40A controller/ and Xantrex C-35 PWM controller/ and Morningstar PWM controller...Cotek 24V PSW inverter....forklift and diesel locomotive batteries
  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 8,828 ✭✭✭✭✭
    What about access?  Can you build a driveway thru federal forests ?   Maintenance of the road ?

     And the fed is fond of "land swap" my cousins got burned on that one, they bought with 3 sides federal, and 4 years later, feds did a land swap with a developer, and now they have condos looking into their backyard.
    Powerfab top of pole PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
    || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
    || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

    solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
    gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister ,

  • softdownsoftdown Solar Expert Posts: 3,247 ✭✭✭✭
    edited June 4 #26
    mike95490 said:
    What about access?  Can you build a driveway thru federal forests ?   Maintenance of the road ?

     And the fed is fond of "land swap" my cousins got burned on that one, they bought with 3 sides federal, and 4 years later, feds did a land swap with a developer, and now they have condos looking into their backyard.

    It has a primitive 1.1 mile dirt single lane road servicing it. My Prius with pulled camper made it halfway. No maintenance whatsoever. I don't foresee development since they swore off any more power poles. But things can always change. This area is quite remote. Oddly the prices are higher than with less remote areas- it is a prestigious area I guess.

    The real problem is the price due to 40 kind of un dividable acres. I would likely be trying to make it work with half the price and half the acreage.

    Wyoming, by comparison, depends on coal and gas. Gas is hurting big so prices should be decent. Plus moving there would be 3 times easier. For some reason I remembered CDA as a one day drive. It is at least two days. Long trips wear out vehicles fast. Which is why I own so many.

    EDIT:Working on too many projects. Hence grammar errors.
    First Bank:16 180 watt Grape Solar with  FM80 controller and 3648 Inverter....Fullriver 8D AGM solar batteries. Second Bank/MacGyver Special: 10 165(?) watt BP Solar with Renogy MPPT 40A controller/ and Xantrex C-35 PWM controller/ and Morningstar PWM controller...Cotek 24V PSW inverter....forklift and diesel locomotive batteries
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 30,656 admin
    Lets keep the USA's specific issue of self defense and freedom of speech out of these threads here.

    Many readers here live in areas where the laws are vastly different and we don't need to go down this subject in our forum.

    -Bill "moderator" B.
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
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