Fri. Dec. 18, 2020 – one week ’til Christmas.

Cold and dry or maybe cold and damp.  But certainly cold.

Cold all day yesterday but above freezing by mid morning.

I spent the afternoon doing pickups that I was going to do today, so that I can go to my client’s house today instead.  And I would really like to drop off a couple of bins, and pickup some stuff, but that auction house has pickups for yesterday’s auction and they’ll be busy.

I’ll also try to get my expired ID exchanged for current for the Citizens Police Academy Alumni Association today.   The training officer will be close to somewhere I will be driving by, and is willing to make the exchange.

It will be a busy couple of days today and tomorrow.

On my way home yesterday I stopped in the Goodwill Outlet.  In the weird items category, I grabbed two new sealed tubs of Cascade dishwashing pods.  These are the very same ones I buy normally.  At ~$3 each, that was a pretty good deal compared to $19 each in the store.  I grabbed a dozen DVDs for me, and a dozen name brand ladies’ purses for the auction with the money I saved.  I should make good money on the purses, they’ve been selling really well.

The batteries I picked up will add to my future solar bank.  I now have 4 or 5 identical 65AH batteries, 3 or 4 identical 55AH batteries, and a mix of others mostly car or truck batteries.  I’ve got a 100w panel, and 70 panels at 10w.  I’ve got a couple of big inverters.  Still need charge controllers though, as the one that I have is NFG.  Once I have all the pieces, I’ll start on cobbling some sort of system together.  Or maybe 2 or 3 systems right next to each other.  Future project though.

If CWII breaks out and the Monkey Wrench Gang goes to work, solar and supplemental energy will be really important.  And if not, it will be an interesting project that I can use to run the air conditioner in my garage.

Cisterns for water, local solar and batteries, these are current tech and part of everyday life in places like Cancun Mexico.  I think we might see them here too, and too soon.  So I’ll keep stacking the stuff to make that work.

Keep stacking the stuff you think you’ll need.



Thur. Dec. 17, 2020 – hace frio hoy!

Cold.  Damp.  But maybe no rain, and maybe some sun.

Yesterday was overcast and cold until late in the day when the sun finally peeked through the clouds.  Didn’t do anything outside.  Didn’t get much done period.  What little I did do was needful, but it wasn’t my most productive day.  It was 34F when I went to bed.

So today I’ll be visiting my client.  He’s got a bunch of stuff that was working after my last visit that isn’t working anymore.  I’ll be troubleshooting and moving gear around.

Before that, I’ll going to maybe do a bit of in person shopping.  I’m hoping to pick up my prescription in the store, and there are things I would like to have in the fridge.  We’ll see how much of the list I get done around the house first, then getting ready for my site visit, then maybe the store.  Once I head to my client’s house, I’m there until dinner.

Friday will be full of pickups.  I got some Christmas presents, and a bunch of batteries for my solar project.  I grabbed a handheld ham handie talkie too at one of the auctions.  I really didn’t get too much radio gear this year.  I guess that’s a blessing with the Hamfest being canceled.

So much to do, IRL, for the Holidays, at my secondary, with auction selling and buying, and I’m falling behind because I’m just not as motivated as I was.  Mild depression?  Who knows.  This is certainly the time of year for it, and the year has been heaping on reasons in spades.  You could describe the change in mask and stay at home compliance as a sort of ‘cabin fever’ too.  Whatever, if I’m affected, lots of other people must have it worse.  If you’re feeling depressed, you’re not alone, and there is help out there, and right here for that matter.  Talking seems to help, and is the usual prescription.

I always feel better looking at the stuff I’ve put away to secure my family’s future.  I’ve got stacks of stuff to get rid of, true.  But I’ve got stacks of stuff to get us through what’s already started, and will be a long time finishing.  The trick is knowing what to stack.   Food and ways to prepare it, water and ways to purify it, shelter and ways to defend it, health and welfare materials and the knowledge to use them, these are ALWAYS good to have.  Keep stacking these and you’ll probably be alright.


Sun. Aug. 16, 2020 – same old same old, but with better music

Hot hot hot.  Humid.  So humid.

Saturday was both kinds of miserable, hot and humid.  So of course I had outdoor work to do.  I picked up the pecans in the back yard- all waste from the squirrels eating them before they’re ready.  And the dog bombs.  Then cut the grass.   With breaks, that took a couple of hours.

I hung a new solar motion light on the back of the garage.  LED and lithium batteries are huge improvements over the one it replaces.  The old one will get a new battery and be redeployed somewhere else, even though it’s lead acid an incandescent light bulbs.  This will be the second battery replacement.

I also made ready a new motion LED light to replace my current incandescent floods in the back yard.  They’re about to fail, and I don’t see the benefit of putting two new incan lamps in them.  I did have to cut out the motion sensor, as I just want these lights to be switched.  Since I got them super cheap at auction, there’s just a bit more work to do.  It’s a simple matter of clipping 2 wires, and it’s done now.   Unless they aren’t bright enough, or cause flickering in the cams, or noise in the RF band, I’ll put them up soon.  Maybe today.  I’ll save the incans for a bit until I’m sure I like them.  They’ll be a bit cheaper to run at 40 watts total, instead of 200w, which was down from the 600w the fixtures came with.

Speaking of auctions, I won a couple of big batteries for my solar system last night.  They are 12v 65AH SLA batteries and I got 2.  They are supposed to be new, sitting on the shelf.  Before fees I paid $40 each.  They should be a good match for my big inverter, and will motivate me to get some panels up, and a charge controller for them.   I missed a bunch more because I was eating dinner and not watching the bids.  (4, NIB, at 12v and 55AH went for $35 each.  I was crying when I realized I didn’t get to raise my bids.)

I also got some really heavy wire that should be good for battery connections, and some other industrial stuff like a lifetime supply of wire wheels for the benchtop grinder.   I clean up a lot of rust, so I use up a lot of wheels.  I should be good for a long time now.

Today I’m hoping to get a few more things knocked out around the house and garage.  I’m sure it will be hot, so I’ll need breaks indoors to cool off.

The insurgents in Portland, Chicago, Atlanta, and elsewhere aren’t cooling off, in fact the conflicts are heating up with some people starting to push back.  CWII could be about to go hot.  What do you think the elections will look like if there is martial law in a dozen cities?

Keep stacking.  Keep training.  Keep your head on a swivel.


Friday, 6 January 2017

09:52 – The cold weather is moving in. We’re expecting 4 to 6 inches (10 to 15 cm) of snow over the next couple of days, with the low temperature Sunday evening to be 8F (-13C). And, as nearly always, a stiff breeze and gusty winds.

In accidental prepping this week, I doubled our PV solar capacity. Back in early November, I ordered a Renogy 400 Watt 12 Volt Monocrystalline Solar Starter Kit with Wanderer. When we were de-cluttering the garage Tuesday, we finally opened that package, which was a box about 2×4 feet plus and a foot or so thick, weighing close to 90 pounds. Inside that outer box, we found two slip-fit thinner boxes, apparently identical, each of which obviously held two of the four solar panels. We opened one, and indeed found two solar panels and nothing else. I assumed, foolishly as it turned out, that the second internal box was identical to the first and that therefore we were missing the other components (charge controller, cables, connectors, etc.) that were supposed to come with the starter kit.

So Wednesday I called Amazon Business tech support and spoke to a very helpful woman named Diana. Based on shipping weights, she agreed with me that there must have been a second box, and couldn’t figure out what had happened to it. So she shipped me a replacement solar starter kit and said just to have UPS pick up the initial partial shipment. Amazon shipped it that day. Then yesterday as we continued cleaning up and organizing the garage, we opened the second internal box from the initial shipment, which (like the first box) looked large enough to contain only the two solar panels. But in fact it also included the rest of the components. placed against the back of one of the solar panels.

I talked to Barbara about it, and said that I’d intended to order a second kit this year, so why not just keep the second kit. She agreed, and I emailed Diana to confess my mistake and tell her just to charge our credit card for the replacement shipment as though it were a new order. That order is to arrive today, so we’ll now have 800W worth of PV solar panels, two Renogy Wanderer PWM charge controllers, and associated cabling and connectors.

The Wanderer charge controller supports four panels feeding a 12VDC battery bank, or eight feeding a 24VDC battery bank. I haven’t decided yet whether to configure it as a dual 12V system or a single 24V system. There are advantages either way, and of course I could if necessary reconfigure it on-the-fly.

But what really matters is that 400W of PV panels was marginal for our emergency needs, while 800W should more than suffice. Renogy claims that “ideal output” of the four-panel setup is 2,000 Wh/day, which obviously assumes five hours/day of full sunlight with a non-tracking mount. Taking into account cloudy days, losses in cabling and the inverter, and so on, it’s much safer to assume actual output at 1,200 Wh/day. With eight panels, that gives us 2.4 kWh/day, which will suffice to let us use our well pump normally, provide minimal LED lighting, communications, etc.