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.