Saturday, 14 December 2013

09:42 – Rainy and chilly today and tomorrow. Good days to stay inside. I’m doing laundry and kit stuff right now. Barbara’s sitting out in the den watching Glee on Netflix streaming while she does kit stuff.

We desperately need to get more kits built this weekend. We’re currently down under half a dozen CK01A chemistry kits and negative three FK01 forensic kits. By Monday morning, we should be in good shape again.

10 thoughts on “Saturday, 14 December 2013”

  1. And people worry about global warming? I say, “Bring it on!”

    There is a Rod Serling story out there that starts with a woman trying to cope with day after day of hotter and hotter temperatures. People are fleeing the city. Her neighbor is urging her to join them in fleeing the heat by going north. Somehow the Earth was dislodged from its orbit and was getting closer and closer to the Sun.

    After some time of coaxing by several people, she suddenly hears a knock at the door. As she wakes up, she realizes this has been a dream. The voice is of another neighbor who declares that she will be the last person left in the building, as everyone else has already fled because there was no more heat to any of the apartments. As she awakes, he reminded her that the Earth was somehow knocked out of its orbit and was travelling farther and farther away from the Sun and it was already approaching freezing in her apartment.

    Great story. Serling had some really cool tales to tell.

    What really bothers me about watching that Nimoy-narrated film is how power was cut to large portions of Buffalo and unable to be returned to service because of the incredible amounts of snow that prevented repairs to electric lines. People think if they can generate their own electricity, they can stay warm. What if electricity was out longer than your gasoline supply for the generator lasts?

    In Minnesota, all the houses in our neighborhood were natural gas fired hot water boilers. A thermocouple over the pilot light generated the electricity that powered the thermostat and gas valve for the boiler, so we needed no electricity at all to stay warm. They do not build those systems anymore. Tiny House has hot water heat, but requires a circulating pump to force the hot water through it. The Minnesota house was “gravity fed”. I had a 3 hour power failure a couple years ago here at Tiny House during the winter in near zero Fahrenheit weather. By the time the electricity came back on, the house temperature was around 50°F. It is scary that houses and heating systems are constructed these days that require electricity for heating, with no provision for even short-term electrical failures, let alone long ones. Everyone thinks a generator is the answer. But if you run out of gas for the generator and cannot get more, where are you?

  2. The gas solenoid is 4 or 6 volts DC and can be actuated with a battery… Bob

  3. The gas solenoid is 4 or 6 volts DC and can be actuated with a battery… Bob

    He needs 120? volts AC for his circulation pump also.

  4. He needs 120? volts AC for his circulation pump also.

    Some systems are gravity systems. The hot water rises and the cold water falls. I think it was mostly older systems and they may be slowly disappearing.

    When I lived in Oregon we could live without power for a week with no problem and had to on several occasions. Water was gravity fed from a spring. Heat in the kitchen and bathroom attached to the kitchen was from an oil fired stove with a hot surface to cook and heat water. Living room was heated by a fireplace. Rest of the house was basically left on it’s own. It was not uncommon for water to freeze in a glass in my bedroom. Lots of blankets solved that problem.

    On particularly bad snow storm busted the main power lines for the valley, such lines crossing our property. The power company brought in trucks to fix the line and got them stuck badly. We had a small D2 bulldozer and four tractors and we could not get into the field because of the mud. When it dried out a week later we hooked the dozer, two of the tractors and could not pull the truck out. Power company had to bring in a dozer with a crane, lift the truck and place material under the wheels and then use their dozer to pull the truck. Left big ruts in the field which the power company fixed come spring.

    That line being down left about 50 people, including us, that lived up the valley without power for almost 10 days. No one complained or was upset. It was just part of living 15 miles from the closest town of Rogue River.

  5. These days, in and around central Indiana (pretty flat here), rural power is more reliable than city power. Since 2009, we have only had 2 power failures at the transmitter in the middle of nowhere, and the longest was 2 minutes. The other was 11 seconds. One under-voltage by 50 volts for 13 seconds last month, which took out 2 of the 3 RF power amps in the transmitter, and is the reason why there is now a heavy duty UPS regulating the line input voltage.

    On the other hand, the studio in the city has had outages too numerous to document, some for as long as 2 hours.

    We can keep going for 17 minutes at the transmitter on UPS supplying 3100 watts (it’s a commercial unit). Studio can go for 30 minutes if the computer monitor is switched off; about 12 minutes if the monitor is left on, or not auto-powered off.

    And no, my water lines for the hot water heat are not gravity feed, but require 120v AC for the circulating pump. That pump went out once, and there is no way the water will circulate by itself. I am afraid that gravity feed technology is a lost art. All systems these days are designed as if there will never be a power failure.

  6. As a broader statement, most systems in the US are designed* as if there will never be any kind of failure, interruption, or major change. Transportation systems in major cities go completely to hell if bus workers go on strike or a bridge has to be closed or there’s some event bringing in a lot of extra people. Electric grids run near the limit of their capacity — absolute capacity, not “design maximum”. House and office building design relies on active (ie, electric-powered) systems for practically everything, and as Chuck said, if there’s no electricity then the houses have no heat and no cooking surfaces. (Our oven/range won’t come on if there’s a power failure. There’s a safety feature which cuts off the gas when the power goes out. Good job, GE.)

    * If they’re designed at all. A lot just seem to grow, with no one having put any thought into them at all.

  7. On a hot water system, circulator pumps were 120VAC &&&& mostly 4 to 6 VDC… Just the running of the furnace in the cellar, though, would supply enough heat to heat, ha… 120 VAC were for running the fan/blower in hot-air systems… I have a electric, ha, gas stove and I light the gas with a BBQ lighter when the power goes out… McGuire has it right; generate with a LP or Natural gas genset… Keep a 100# cylinder on hand, or 2, of LP or use BBQ cylinders….. Bob

  8. My comments are NOT Opinions!!!!! If you don’t know what you are doing; STOP!!!!! Gas vapors and sparks do not mix!!!!!!!!! Bob

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