Status Updates

Shower Upgrade and Trailer Photos? (February 3, 2012)

Some Good News (January 29, 2009)

The “Accident” (January 21, 2007, appended on May 2, 2010)

The Lotus Dome Prototype Is Nearing Completion (August 13, 2003)

Shower Upgrade and Trailer Photos? (February 3, 2012)

A couple of updates (it's only been two years!  ;-)  ):

Shower Upgrade

After a week of trials and tests, the Eccotemp L5 water heater now runs with just 0.25 GPM (i.e. a quart per minute) of water being pumped through it; it took 65 seconds to fill a 34 oz. yoghurt cup!

Here are a few of the details:

A hand-made shower head was installed with a screen made from the top of the very same plastic yoghurt container. The screen has eleven holes punched through it using the smallest sewing needle I have.

A new 12V DC SHURflo Aqua King Mini (replacing the well-worn Nautilus!) is running on a 6V (nominal) feed. (The voltage range is approximately 7.05V when the OutBack MX-60 is in “Float” mode during the day, and 6.19V at night.) With the custom shower nozzle, the water spray is very strong and very hot! Yea!  ;-)

To get the Eccotemp L5 propane water heater to run at such a low water volume requires some "gentle encouragement," confirming my concerns regarding the (outstanding!) heater's excessive "safety features" (as elaborated upon HERE).

Photos of the Trailer?

One of the challenges of the trailer's unique design is that people want pictures of it, but it is not a simple solution:

When viewed from the outside, it just looks like a big, pointed box with a bubble on top. One needs to be inside it (much like a Lotus Dome) to begin to understand how it impacts one's perceptions and lifestyle—how one lives in this world. I have lived in "Sam" for four-and-a-half years and am now in my fifth winter.

I have tried taking pictures of the trailer's interior, but they are too confusing as it is too narrow a space (at just seven feet wide) to get a clear idea of how one moves around in it—it is so unlike any conventional interior. One primary aspect of the interior is that almost every component is suspended from the roof!

Like a Lotus Dome, the energetic experience of being inside the trailer can't be understood even by standing outside it, much less from a 2D photograph, but at least with the Lotus Dome, it is a large enough space such that a photograph (or one of the engineering renderings here on this Web site) can invoke some idea of such an environment, however limited.

Right now, all I can do is to continue to refine the infrastructure; the inner healing of my psyche and stabilizing my life is still a “work in progress” . . . 

Thank you for your patience!

Some Good News (January 29, 2009)

Greetings, folks!

I finally can report some good news (if there are any of you still out there!):

Since July of 2007, I have been living in a trailer that was built to test the infrastructure of the Lotus Dome—it is basically a Lotus Dome without the organic shape. The only opaque surfaces are the floor and just over half of the ceiling. It is fully mobile and has been pulled off-road over some very rough terrain to some remote locations. Currently in the middle of winter, I am at 7,500 feet in elevation in the mountains of UT, on an exposed ridge to test wind resistance, and have been thrilled with “Sam” (as I have named her). She has been up as high as 9,500 feet in elevation and is fully vented as is necessary because no matter how cold it is outside, she gets too hot inside without some fresh air! (In the summer, she is fully shaded.)

Sam is completely self-contained, with a custom, 218-gallon water tank as part of the roof, an Eccotemp L5 water heater with a .5 GPM shower head from Zodi (with a HotTap HP as backup), a Sun-Mar Excel NE composting toilet, and a Rinnai Bantam propane heater—all of which needed to be customized to some degree to work under extreme conditions. Sam is divided into four living quarters—not including the (wonderful!) roof deck: a kitchen/shower area with a dual-sloping, Herculiner-coated floor, an office area, the Romper Room (for working out and for use as a shop), and the Lounge, which has a CA King, all-natural latex mattress. Sam generates no waste of any kind and the only signs of her presence after we leave are the tire marks which are easily swept away.

The total weight of the trailer is 2,000 pounds, including the solar array, which goes to an Outback MX-60 controller, which feeds the Trojan T-105 storage batteries, which are monitored by a TriMetric 2020 meter, and which feed an AIMS 2500W DC/AC inverter. Thus I can run any 120VAC power tools that can be plugged into a regular household outlet (though I prefer to us DC appliances whenever possible). The HughesNet satellite modem completes my connection to the (self-proclaimed) “real world.”

I am still rebuilding my life, but until I can afford to finish the Lotus Dome prototype, I cannot go into production. The prototype is still sitting in a storage unit, ninety percent done.

Thank you for taking the time to read this!



The “Accident” (January 21, 2007, appended on May 2, 2010)

Dear Ones,

Please excuse my lack of updates over the past three years. There have been some “challenges” . . .

I live in a very remote region of the Southwest at 7,000+ feet and I’m told I fell down a mountain in a mountain-hiking accident on January 18, 2005 and spent a month in an ICU of a distant hospital. It took a few miracles to get me there alive. I’m told I fell about two hundred feet head-first into an ice wall.

I have no memory of the accident or the first two and a half weeks in the hospital. I had a shredded skull, severe brain damage, a blown ear drum, damaged eyes, and a variety of other “inconveniences.” I was told by the neurosurgery department that the severe brain damage would have left anyone else brain dead, at best. They don’t know how long it will take me to recover as they have never before seen someone survive such severe brain damage. I’ve also learned from others in the medical world that the University of Utah is considered by many to be the finest medical facility on the planet right now—it is not clear if I would have survived going anywhere else. I got there minutes before dying.

I am homeless, living on disability payments, and dealing with a variety of challenges. The good news is that I am finally able to get online occasionally again! (Now I’m working on restoring my brain!) Every time I go to the hospital for (yet) more head surgery, they ask me in pre-op if I have any allergies. I tell them that I recently discovered that I’m allergic to falling down mountains.

Because of the accident, I have had, and am still having, some powerful spiritual lessons that I am dealing with—gladly, deeply, but also very painfully. For months prior to the accident I had been asking in my meditations for an even deeper level of patience and an even deeper level of compassion. The “Gang Upstairs” obviously got the request—falling down a mountain is NOT something I would do without “assistance.” Now in my meditations I ask that if I haven’t yet learned my lessons, please just give me two more weeks before we do that again!

I will get better, at least as good as I was! It’s just going to take a lot of effort and time. I will never give up on the Lotus Dome, but I have no way to predict my future . . .



2010.5.2 Update: If anyone is curious, below is the portion of a University of Utah medical report that describes the clinical analysis of my condition immediately after the accident:
“ . . . he sustained 10 minute loss of consciousness, and an initial Glasgow Coma score of 9. He was noted to have a left temporal epidural hematoma with mass effect and compression of the left lateral ventricle, with midline shift on CT scan. There was also an over lying temporal bone fracture with right temporal parenchymal contusion. He had craniotomy for the epidural hemorrhage, and was noted to have a laceration of the middle meningeal artery.”

The Lotus Dome Prototype Is Nearing Completion (August 13, 2003)

After considerable effort, the fabrication of a thirty-foot diameter Lotus Dome prototype is over ninety-percent done. All that remains is to purchase the clear polycarbonate and to make up some final pieces of hardware.

Very exciting!

All available funds, however, have been exhausted. So if you know of anyone who is as excited about standing inside the prototype as I am and would be able to provide a loan for $24,000.00 for the completion of the prototype, please have them contact me. A loan of $50,000 would allow me to finish the prototype and pay the bills that have accumulated getting the prototype to this point.

Thank you for your patience—there's not much more to go!

Richard Fairbanks
Fairbanks Productions, Inc.


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