Turquoise Energy Newsletter #146 - July 2020
Turquoise Energy News #146
covering July 2020 (Posted (ouch!) September 12th 2020 AD / 25 AI - After Internet)
Lawnhill BC Canada - by Craig Carmichael

www.TurquoiseEnergy.com = www.ElectricCaik.com = www.ElectricHubcap.com

Month In "Brief" (Project Summaries etc.)
 - 100 amp-hour LG Lithium Ion Batteries

In Passing (Miscellaneous topics, editorial comments & opinionated rants)
  - Gardening and Chickens [with Sept. addendum] - Population and Pandemics - Small Thots - ESD

- Detailed Project Reports -
Electric Transport - Electric Hubcap Motor Systems
* Miles Truck: 5:1 Planetary Gear replacing 40 pound transmission (Why isn't this finished?)

Other "Green" Electric Equipment Projects
* Better CAT 12V Equipment [all rendered obsolete at end of August - see "T-Plugs" next issue #147]

Electricity Generation
* My Solar Power System: - Monthly Solar Production log et cetera - Notes.

Electricity Storage
* Turquoise Battery Project (NiMnOx-Zn in Mixed Alkali-Salt electrolyte) - No Report

July in Brief

Beach by my house, July 14th

   This issue is bound to be a disappointment to everybody following my energy projects. My time and energy for doing them has for the moment become more and more limited, to the point where I'm doing very little. One might say I could easily have skipped this issue, except perhaps for the sake of continuity, a diary for anyone interested, and a bit of miscellaneous.
   I still haven't got back to the NiMnOx-Zn cells, and I only thought about some 3D printing - making nice cases for LED COB lights - without doing any, and so on.
   Even the truck transmission, my "less than a week" project in June that got complicated for want of a shaft that fit at both ends, mostly sat, tho I did come up with a 'new' shaft idea and get it half done. (see under Electric Transport projects.)
   But that has resulted in a new project, to make a "steady" for my machine lathe in order to turn the last part. (A project making another project... It reminds me of my early home renovations on my 1879 'carriage house' in the 1970s-80s: There was no point replastering a wall until I had ripped parts of it open to do wiring, and I couldn't do the wiring until something else was done... and somehow it always went around in a circle to where nothing else could be done until the wall was replastered.)

   The month started with a bit of a shock: I couldn't connect to www.saers.com/recorder/craig to upload TE News #145. I thought perhaps someone had changed something on the internet and made both of my copies of Filezilla obsolete. (as when Sea Monkey on the old iMac suddenly could no longer connect with any SHTTP site, anywhere.) I could still view my site with the browser to look, but not with SFTP to upload. I probably haven't communicated with Nik Saers in ten years. It seemed a bit much to prevail on someone whose accounts I've been using for free for 20 years when we now have so little in common.
   And I had been thinking for quite some time that I should put my material, much of which I, at least, consider valuable for posterity, onto something with more guaranteed permanence. That means some host where it won't disappear the moment I stop paying monthly bills. I thought that might be sites.google.com , but I couldn't see how to upload my pages to it.
   I had tried to use it before, creating a page with their editor, and it was an exercise in frustration. I could only link to a document, storing it in a different, unrelated place, on google docs. That was aggravating enough, but then I discovered that no one but me, logged in, was able to access it. A fat lot of good that was! Apparently I would have to delve through its idiosyncrasies until it did what I wanted. (Then I went to someone else's sites.google.com website and found he had accidentally barred access - or failed to un-bar access - to many of his free documents too.)
   I had had little stomach for that, and as August first arrived, I still hadn't gone back and tried again. So it would be two TE Newses at once, at least a month late, when I did get it to work. (I finally asked TE News readers at the end of August and got several other suggestions, from which I picked neocities.org, and I started turquoiseenergy.neocities.org . TurquoiseEnergy.com will point there when it's all ready.)

   A home project was a driveway gate. Nothing untoward or suspicious has happened in 3 years, but if things get somewhat rough even around here, as seems almost inevitable, I don't want people driving in and (eg) stealing lumber, firewood, chickens, garden produce or the perhaps the solar panels on the lawn or other equipment. They'll at least have to walk in and carry it, which will hopefully mean they'll look for an easier mark. (An armed home invasion while I'm here might be problematic. Hopefully very unlikely. But I'm starting to keep the doors locked at night now to get into the habit.)
   I bought a pre-made 10 foot metal pipe gate at Ranch Feeds. It is intended to bolt through a wooden post. Perry helped me with that. By luck we 'scored' a cedar post that was just right and set it in a hole over 3 feet deep in concrete. ("Want a post? Take your pick." my neighbor Clint said, unsolicited, waving at a small pile of them.) Then I left it a few days for the cement to harden up. The gate is heavy and I didn't want to break the concrete. Often one puts a wheelbarrow wheel on the swinging end of such a wide gate for its weight to ride on, but the driveway has to be level for that. All ready to bolt up the gate, it sat the rest of the month (and into September!), unfinished. And it needs a post to close it to on the other side.

   I got a prescription for quite a good supply of migraine medicines - Sumatriptan and Cambia powder - and I phoned Jim Harrington in Victoria who lives right by much the cheapest drug store I know of and asked if he could pick them up and mail them to me.
   While we were talking, he pointed me to a web site "BatteryHookup.com" where they were selling 3.7 volt, 120 amp-hour LG brand lithium cells that hadn't quite fit properly into some EV car (the 'Bolt' IIRC), more or less for half price for new cells. I ordered 35 for around 3000 $C - potentially for the Miles truck, the Chevy Sprint, the DC solar power system, or for sale. They arrived and sat doing nothing. Then I ordered some "balance chargers" for 10 cells/36 volts. Eventually I got someone to order some aluminum bar to make interconnections between the short (sliced off during removal) ribbon connectors.
   One problem with 3.7 volt lithium ion cells is one can't very well make a 12 volt battery. 3 cells gives 11.1 volts, but 4 cells makes 14.8. It seems to me a lot of higher power equipment balks when voltages are down around 11, LED lights might be dim or shut off, and typical battery chargers will put too much voltage across them. But 14.8 is higher than a lot of chargers want to go, and it's high enough that 12 volt appliances might start blowing up when the battery is on charge, which would have to be at well over 15 volts. (24 or 36 volts is no problem: 10 cells is 37 volts - close enough to 36; and 7 is 25.9 - at least fairly close to 24. 13 cells is 48.1 volts - almost dead on, but many people seem to use 14 cells anyway, which is 51.8 volts. I prefer to stay under 40 where no careless, unthinking or ignorant person like me gets electrocuted.)
   So I came up with the idea to sell my older lithium iron phosphate 3.2 volt cells to anyone wanting 12 volt solar equipment.
   Perhaps I'll put 20 of the cells in the Miles mini cargo truck, freeing up 3 - 12 volt LiPO batteries as well as the remaining 6 golf cart batteries. (Let's see... 74 volts times 120 amp-hours is 8880 watt-hours. Well, that should certainly get it in into town. I'm less sure about back again without a recharge. 3 solar panels on the roof - realistically 750W in good sunshine in the summer - might recharge it in 12 hours. Really, a couple of days.

   Two credit card companies locked out my cards because of "suspicious transactions" - one for the batteries (if not also for the costly migraine medications), and then the other for the DHL collect & customs charges for the batteries. I spent an hour on the phone the first time but never got through to RBC. A week later I tried again and got through to both.

   On the morning of the 18th I had a dream wherein I was handling some wooden panels and then some scrap bits of lumber - hardly more than firewood. A voice said "In 6 weeks there'll be nothing left." Having cut my own lumber already, in view of the uncertain supply chain I took this to mean plywood for my building project. I called Home Hardware in Prince Rupert, but their prices didn't seem much better than the building supply store here on the island. On Monday Mike loaned me their pickup truck and I bought and took home 20 sheets of the 1/4" birch, and 20 sheets of gyproc plus 8 bags of fiberglass insulation for good measure. Yet another 2000$ bill! (I should have skipped the gyproc. The price was a gyp.) Actually, that's still not enough plywood for the whole building. I should probably get more. (And just when am I actually going to get it all finished anyway?)
   In the weeks afterward there were videos on youtube where people were complaining about lack of lumber and high prices at building supply stores.

   So in spite of trying to be frugal, my spending is far exceeding my meager income. I spent some time ordering miscellaneous things - mostly for solar power - and on financial issues.
   I put together a quote for a solar power system. It was about 2200$. I heard nothing back. (The sale went through in August. Yay, money!)
   Someone I met in Sandspit was also interested when he found I sold solar equipment. He was thinking of 20 panels for his house, which sounds about right to me now to offset one's annual electricity usage. Occasionally something comes of such chance encounters. (This gentleman had taken electronics at NAIT (where I almost took electronics myself in 1973 but then decided on Malaspina College and BCIT instead), and he had also once worked for the Canadian Ministry of Transport in airport electronics - almost 20 years after me but he didn't look a lot younger. He said that then they centralized everything to Vancouver (Richmond/YVR?) and said he could transfer there from Sandspit/YZP. Instead he quit. They said he was "bushed". That's someone who doesn't want to come back "to civilization" after having lived in a more isolated community.
   But today "isolated" locales are much less isolated than they used to be before the internet. Just the delivery times are slower and the charges are higher. (And as of 2020 and the coronavirus, not being in a population center has come to have some distinct advantages.)

In Passing
(Miscellaneous topics, editorial comments & opinionated rants)

Gardening & Chickens

The "field garden" on the 9th. Near to far:
Potatoes (not seen), Kamut Wheat, Rid Fife Wheat,
Violet Queen Potatoes (in there somewhere),
Tall Telephone Pole Peas (1" chicken wire instead of netting),
more Kamut, foot path overgrowing with yet more potatoes.
Right toward far end:
Carrots (they didn't grow!), Quinoa (eaten by slugs),
replanted with Chard and Zucchini, Leeks (didn't grow),
Left far end:
Potatoes, Corn under a cover which quickly
ripped to shreds and was useless.
A couple of attempts at white plastic slug fences
are vaguely visible near the gate.

A 'slug ring' (plastic milk carton) around a tender young zucchini
and a coroplast 'slug fence' piece against the edge of the greenhouse.
With rings protecting them, the zucchinis (at least!) did well.
(The young beans vanished when the grilles over the seedlings were removed.)

   Plants are growing. I got some good cabbage and broccoli. A bird kept going into my greenhouse and ate an entire row of peas - not, mostly, the plants but the actual peas. At the start of the month they seemed just about ready to start picking. A week later... the same! That was because the bird was eating them just before they were ready. By the end of the month, the whole crop was gone. I didn't get any.

Slugs continued to take a toll and one day I forgot to close a gate and a deer ate the leaves off my potted crab apple tree, which I was hoping would have flowers at the right time to pollinate one or both of my apple trees (which bloom at separate times - no cross pollination there!) next year. (I'm still hoping, but it's definitely been set back, maybe by a year!)

A gardener's chart of how various soil
deficiencies affect appearance of leaves.
(Wow, I'm don't think I have the
skills to discern between them!)
Let's see... yellow edges, green veins & stems, on my
apple tree. Doesn't seem to match any of these!
'-Ca', maybe? Earlier symptom of '-K'?

A camel, a deer... and wire fences to keep them out
of the honeysuckle bush, fruit trees and the gardens.

   As the chickens got bigger, one day it dawned on me that I had three roosters, and only one odd looking hen with fluffy cheek feathers. Ugh! At least two more roast chickens coming up soon, and so much for any idea of giving or selling surplus eggs!

[Sept. 8th] Since I haven't posted the newsletter yet here's some end of summer results.
   The quinoa grew slowly in very cloudy August weather, and then birds started beheading the flowering tops. And the leaves have been badly eaten by bugs - lots of little holes until little is left of them. (Leafhoppers?) Finally sunny days in September and the flowers - what few bits are left - are turning red, but I don't think I'll be getting much quinoa.
   The corn by the house, under plastic covers in the spring, ripened. Pollination was poor. One cob had just 20 kernels; most others were about 1/2 a cob. I'll try again next year - I'll make it one larger patch in the field garden with a better cover, planted with the "early peaches and cream" seeds.
   The peas grew well even in this cool, cloudy summer. I didn't like single use pea netting and had been using 2" mesh chicken wire or 2" squares construction wire. Birds got a good portion of the peas by the house as well as all the early ones in the greenhouse. For the ones in the field garden I used 1" mesh chicken wire instead of 2". (And I got it up over 6 feet tall. Some peas reached the top.) My idea was that the birds couldn't fly through it and would have a harder time. It seemed to get almost no bird damage and I got well ove 1 Kg of peas into the freezer from it. What a seemingly little thing to make all the difference!
   Kamut and red fife wheat grew well in the open field. If I try growing more in some future year, kamut with its big kernels grew best and seems to be the outstanding choice - at least for the BC northern west coast.

Population and Pandemics

The threat and in fact the inevitability of a devastating pandemic is terribly real. The UNEP has well identified the looming crisis. Unfortunately, we are way beyond the point of being able to prevent it. Any "solutions" anyone may try now will be of little effect overall, although they may modify the flow of events. Sometime between now and maybe 2040 (probably sooner) the human population will start being brought down below 3 billion or so, by something either not yet known or some deadly mutation of a present virus.
   What has happened? The population bubble. We know population bubbles of most any kind (even crop monoculture) end with some pestilence striking down the population of whatever has grown out of balance with nature. You can look around for many examples.
   When I was born (1955) the population was 2.75 billion.This was already much the largest it had ever been in world history. It just grew and grew like a cancer. 3 billion (1960) seemed to be a shock to older people - I was too young to take much note. 4 billion in 1974 was a great shock to all. But no one seemed able or willing to do anything about it. Not so long after that - if not even before - it was probably already too late to prevent serious trouble. 5 billion in 1987(?) was another shock. By 1982 there were homeless people in the USA. I, and I think many, started to get numb to it by 6 billion in 1999 and 7 billion in 2012. There are still oodles of people everywhere who don't understand the pass we have come to. Blaming all our myriad of problems on politicians and corporations (which have indeed made many blunders and done some awful things), they still don't realize there are just far too many of us.
   Mass extinctions are already happening. We really are invading every last piece of ecosystem and strip mining some of the remaining species and food sources, especially in the ocean it would seem. There is no way this can end without a huge collapse. The big pandemic (or pandemics), whatever it turns out to be and whenever it strikes, will (I trust) cause a human population bubble collapse before a worldwide ecosystem collapse. Thus for the planet and for humanity's future, it will be a blessing - if well disguised for those living through it.

   I think most people will only become aware of this in retrospect. After that they will keep their families small to avoid the results of overcrowded cities and overtaxing the planet and its resources. 2 billion is probably needlessly small. 3 billion may be about the limit for everyone to have a high quality of life - something few enjoy today - and community, social and global cooperation instead of today's ruthless competition for resources.

(By gosh, as if on cue Brad mentions some new epidemic in Kazakhstan!:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=56e_BgVxaLI )

Small Thots

* With long observation and personal experience, I have concluded that the biggest single cause of tooth decay is carbonated beverages. Any carbonated beverages: soda water, pop and cola of any flavor, beer, 'sparkling' wines. The carbon dioxide that makes it fizzy is acidic. It penetrates everywhere in the mouth, and it attacks and softens tooth enamel and probably makes an oral environment friendly to tooth decay bacteria. Of course, the worst is to be sipping such beverages over a period of time during the day, thus giving much time for these forces to proceed.

* On a lesser note, coffee is also acidic and attacks tooth enamel, but different coffees have quite different degrees of effect. These are just humble, loosely held opinions, but it seems to me:
1. Dark roast is more acidic than light roast.
2. Some coffees are worse or better. For example Columbian Supremo seems quite acidic, while Nicaraguan SHG is much less so. (and doesn't give me a "buzz".)
3. Creamed coffee has less effect than black coffee and evaporated (canned) milk is better than fresh cream.

* I should try unroasted coffee. Some say it's better for you. I tried once before but didn't think much of it. But I recently saw on line a 'recipe' in which the mix, hot water with unground beans, is left overnight (cold) to soak up the flavor, and it is supposed to become quite dark. That might be better than the "weak tea" effect I got before.

* "Never before have so many opportunities existed for pathogens to pass from wild and domestic animals to people." - UN Environment Program.
   Higher and higher populations and densities of people in huge cities, and higher and higher densities of livestock to feed those people, plus encroachment on more and more wild habitat of all types, have set the stage. CV19 seems to be just a rehearsal, but it could itself mutate into something with a far higher mortality rate.
   One way or another a plague or plagues to cut the human population down to size seems inevitable. And unfortunately, that will have to be considered good. Considering the environmental damage our huge population is doing, it's essential to drastically curtail our numbers in a relatively short time, and how else could it be done? Today, war might destroy the environment so completely that the planet wouldn't support higher life at all.
    An estimate I heard a few years ago was for the timing to be between anywhere from 2020 and 2040, but with the most likely time to be around 2030, and the likely surviving population to be around two billion.

* The Yangtze river and much of central China, its biggest crop area, has endured horrible flooding. The huge 3 Gorges Dam is in danger of bursting. While some countries are dumping milk, animals and crops into landfills, China is buying food from anywhere in the world it can find it.

ChinaFlooding (DuByne)  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=erONP33MBlA

* A Pictorial Commentary on Wall Street from 1929.

(Eccentric Silliness Department)

* White people and Black people are the salt and the pepper of the Earth? (Pass the ketchup and the mustard, please!)

* Definitions change as one gets older.  Underage female: One who could still potentially get pregnant.

* Coronavirus was obviously released by Toyota. So we can predict that soon the Coronavirus Mk II will be released, and then the Corollavirus. After the Corollavirus is released, all Coronavirus models will be dropped.

* Someone advises "The easiest way to find something lost around the house is to buy a replacement."

   "in depth reports" for each project are below. I hope they may be useful to anyone who wants to get into a similar project, to glean ideas for how something might be done, as well as things that might have been tried, or just thought of and not tried... and even of how not to do something - why it didn't work or proved impractical. Sometimes they set out inventive thoughts almost as they occur - and are the actual organization and elaboration in writing of those thoughts. They are thus partly a diary and are not extensively proof-read for literary perfection, consistency, completeness and elimination of duplications before publication. I hope they add to the body of wisdom for other researchers and developers to help them find more productive paths and avoid potential pitfalls and dead ends.

Electric Transport

Miles Electric Truck: New Planetary Gearbox

(14th?) I tried fastening down the assembly with shaft with the bulged end. But it didn't sound secure and soon it started slipping too, just like all previous shaft ends. I think it pushed through past the splined area in the socket in the motor - just a little too long. (Why would the socket on the motor not be splined to right to the inner end? And how could the inner end of a socket be larger diameter than the outer end?!? Perhaps the whole splined socket was an assembly put on over top of a more regular 1-1/8" keyed motor shaft? But there was no visible sign of attachment. Not being willing to dismount and disassemble the large, heavy and well mounted motor, these questions will have to remain unanswered.)

(16th?)   I finally decided nothing was going to work reliably except the original splined piece from the transmission. And I finally realized that the way to attach it to some other shaft was to cut the big gear assembly right off the end and leave the bearing attachment area as a short shaft length that could be turned down a bit to fit into a 1 inch shaft coupler, which I had. Then a plain 1 inch shaft could fit into the other side of the coupler, and the other end could be turned down to 19mm to fit into the planetary gear. Both shafts could have a square keyslot milled into them so they wouldn't slip in the shaft coupler.
(17th) I cut the gear off the end with the angle grinder/zip disk and faced the end off on the lathe. I briefly tried to turn down the polished bearing seat but nothing came off. Case hardened? I decided to grind it while it was turning on the lathe, but got on to other things.
   On some later date I got it done. Rather than making it an easy fit and putting in a square key, I made it a hard fit and pressed the shaft into the coupler with 3 tons of force. I don't think that's going anywhere. Then I found a suitable looking 1.0 inch shaft and turned one end for a similar fit into the other end of the coupler (but didn't press it on). I had to turn the other end to 19mm diameter to fit the planetary gearbox. This was the tricky part. The bore in my lathe was less than 1 inch, so the rather long shaft stuck out its full length from the chuck. I turned it around and the chuck gripped the 'extra' little bit at the end, but the tool had a hard time starting into the middle of the shaft. (Hmm, probably it was dull.)
(31st) I cut the extra bit off that end (perhaps a mistake) and took it to my neighbor Ron's larger lathe, but unexpectedly I still had trouble getting the shaft into the chuck straight even with just a couple of inches sticking out. It wobbled horribly each time I tried. I'm still not sure why. Then I tried a steady with the shaft sticking out. That seemed good but I was still having a hard time with it. I didn't know where his tools were and mine were too far away, and I couldn't properly tighten a couple of things down. Also he had tossed everything into that shop after completing a project of his own before a trip. The space was hopelessly cluttered and I could barely get in and out to the lathe, stepping over things. I finally gave up in frustration with things shifting and it not a quarter done, and said "If I need to have a steady anyway, why don't I make one of my own, with a bearing holder especially for doing shafts, which is mostly all I turn that would use one? Then I can use my own lathe in my own shop."
   And so this short, simple, project from early June has generated yet another "short, simple" project before it can be completed. Ouch!

Other "Green" Electric Equipment Projects

Better CAT 12V and HAT 36V Wall Plates

(9th) Someone said he could get me lots of solar installation business. I said I wasn't looking for a contracting business. I had too many inventive projects I was hardly finding time to work on as it is. And there is another person on Haida Gwaii who already does that.
   But we got talking about a "minimalist" off-grid solar system that one could just deliver and the customer could just set the panel and battery somewhere, connect the wires and have a light or two, USB charging and a small AC inverter.

   I thought that might be workable. It could help me sell some solar panels and components that were just lying around. The things I wanted for such a system were 12 volt outlets and plugs, and ready-to-use lights to plug in.
   A couple of lights might come from lamps, perhaps at the thrift shop, with the AC plugs cut off and replaced with the CAT 12 volt plugs, and with the 12-72 volt DC light bulbs that screw into regular 120 V light sockets. (I'd rather do globe lights or something with a nice 4000°K color temperature, but let's keep things simple!)

   I didn't want to do any more of the CAT wall plates that one inserts individual 12V CAT sockets into. The HAT plates with the blade holes directly through the single cover plate just look nicer, cleaner. Eric had suggested turning the sockets sideways to simplify the wiring. That seemed like a good idea. So that set the agenda:
1) Design a new HAT wall plate with the sideways sockets.
2) Change the blade sizes and spacings to make a similar CAT wall plate.

   At the same time I thought I should use the higher temperature nylon printer filament for fire safety.

   I got an initial design done and set about printing it. The Ultimaker Cura 'slicer' gave me a version that would take over 2 hours to print in "draft" mode. All went well for about 3 layers (and 45 minutes), then the piece started curling up at the corners. I hadn't had that problem printing smaller individual plugs and sockets, so it was a bit of a surprise.
   Next I changed a couple of temperature settings, and I 'sliced' it into layers using Skeinforge instead of Cura. The prints are even coarser than Cura "draft" mode, but it said it would take only an hour. That was better for a sample that would almost surely need few changes anyway. But in printing about the fourth layer, the same thing happened.
   I changed things a bit more and tried Cura again. No improvement. At this point I asked myself why I was struggling with nylon for what was after all a sample prototype, and changed to PLA filament. By this time the afternoon had gone by and I had figured out and made most of the changes that would have been wanted, and put a single sample socket 'hairpin' together with a wire.

   The plate in PLA printed great and came out nicely. A HAT plug plugged in fine. (just the one blade into the one 'hairpin', otherwise into empty holes) Only a couple of screw hole sizes seemed to need a little adjustment - as usual coming out a little smaller than the radius specified in the numbers. (It was weaker than I might have hoped. Cura had made even the little parts hollow inside where they should be able to take a little punishment. What's a couple of minutes extra printing time in two hours?!? But I think I can change that default in the settings.)

   Now since I made it just to get the design right (not that having it won't be helpful!), the next thing will be to make another almost the same, adjusting the blade sizes and spacings for CAT 12V. No doubt 12 volts is what will be most desired for a "minimalist" solar system.

(11th) I adjusted things and designed, then printed (PLA again), the CAT version. I cut some thin (5mm wide) strips of copper from a sheet, cut them to 30mm long, bent them into "hairpins", soldered three to each of two wires (#14 AWG solid) for "+" and "-", inserted them into the spaces, and screwed the back covers on. I tested it by plugging in a 12 volt lamp, and all three worked.
   But I fear it's not easy to get very consistent and uniform 'hairpin' connectors cutting and bending them up by hand. Production requires something to punch them out, preferably including the interconnect wires. Made by hand they'd be much too expensive and of suspect quality. [See next issue #147 - "T-Plugs" replace "CAT" plugs.]

Lumber Milling: More Wall Studs and the Last of the Spruce (Yay!)

   On the 12th at long last I got back to milling my spruce logs with the handheld bandsaw mill I created in 2018 (see TE News issues from that year), having stopped (again) last fall when the the weather became inclement, with just three 6 inch wide by 12 foot long cants remaining. I cut nine 2x6s.
   The next morning I sharpened the band and got two more and finally an 8 foot one from the diagonal bottom of the tapered cant. (11 of 2x6 by 12 feet makes wall studs for 1/2 of one long wall of the building project - and more since the long ones aren't needed where there are windows or doors.) I set the next cant up on edge to mill it. It seemed unstable and might tip over, so I cut three 2x6s to reduce the height. Somehow the band seemed dull after just the 6 boards, so I stopped there. (Hit sand or something?) I had other things to do. In another couple of sessions they'll all be done, and I can at last clean up that whole area of the lawn!
   The last cant made 12 foot 2x4s and they were at last done, during July.

Electricity Generation

My Solar Power System

DC-to-DC Converters with Isolated Output

   What's in a name? In wanting to charge series lithium cells individually or in pairs in a string of solar batteries, I had searched many times using terms like "DC-DC Converter Isolated" numerous times, and found nothing useful. On the 6th I searched instead for "DC to DC Isolator": "isolator" instead of "isolated", and without the word "converter". Suddenly there were all kinds of isolated output DC-DC converters! The key component that would be on the circuit board, a small transformer instead of just a single inductor coil, carefully hidden away in all my previous search results, was now visible in many.

   It's nice to have finally found what I've been looking for, but it's certainly aggravating to have been looking for so long for something that I thought should be - and is - so common and widely available.
   I picked a couple that sounded about right. It was however inauspicious that there were no diagrams, and also no markings on the circuit board as to which connection pin does what. I haven't seen any "open circuit board" components yet that have come with spec sheets, and apparently these need a little mod to make them adjustable. They won't be much use if I can't get the required voltage, or if I blow something up from connecting the isolator wrong.

Month of July Log of Solar Power Generated [and grid power consumed]

(All times are in PST where the clock is 48 minutes ahead of sun, not PDT which is an hour and 48 minutes ahead. DC power output readings - mostly the kitchen hot water heater for some months, then just lights - are reset to zero daily (for just lights, occasionally), while the others are cumulative.)

Solar: House, Trailer  => total KWH [grid power meter reading(s)@time] Sky conditions

30th 608.33, 1425.68 => 15.71 [55Km; 75396@21:30] Mostly sunny, scattered clouds.

(June 30th: Added a 12th solar panel and put in shorter, heavier wire to the 3 now on the lawn.)

01st 619.76, 1432.49 => 18.24 [75402@21:30] Sunny.
02d  622.31, 1434.00 =>   4.06 [75406@21:30] Rain. Oh well, we needed it. Cold. Didn't need that.
03rd 632.04, 1439.63 => 15.36 [40Km;Laundry; 75422@21:30] clouds, cool AM,PM, but sunny & warm throughout middle of day.
04th 641.71, 24.75** => 15.17 [55Km; 75433@21:00] Some sun, some clouds. **The meter quit working - blank display! Est. 5.50 KWH; Replaced meter.
05th 646.68, 27.48 =>   7.70 [75438@21:00] Clouds.
06th 650.06, 29.64 =>   5.54 [75446@20:00] Clouds.
07th 655.80, 32.48 =>   8.58 [55Km; 75464@22:00] Cloudz.
08th 664.64, 37.25 => 13.61 [75470@21:00] Light clouds then (gasp!) some sun.
09th 672.34, 41.39 => 11.84 [75475@20:30] Mostly light clouds, a bit of sun.
10th 681.13, 46.28 => 13.68 [10+90Km; 75494@22:00] Variable.
11th 685.73, 48.89 =>   7.23 [55Km; 75512@21:00] Rain, clouds.
12th 691.62, 52.11 =>   9.11 [75516@21:00] cloudy.
13th 698.90, 56.17 => 11.34 [75521@21:00; 35Km] mostly cloudy.
14th 704.74, 59.31 =>   8.98 [55Km; 75538@21:30]
15th 707.08, 60.66 =>   4.69 [75548@21:00] apparently very cloudy.
16th 710.45, 62.52 =>   5.23 [75553@21:00] clouds an drain.
17th 715.92, 65.46 =>   8.43 [85Km; 75571@21:30] mostly more clouds and rain.
18th 723.78, 69.75 => 12.15 [55Km;75588@21:30] Thinner clouds, occasional moments of sunshine.
19th 732.49, 74.48 => 13.44 [75598@20:30] thin clouds & some sun.
20th 734.51, 75.69 =>   3.23 [55Km; 75609@20:30] clouds and rain.
21th 743.53, 80.74 => 14.07 [75615@21:30] Sun and a few clouds and jet trails.
22th 746.61, 82.97 =>   5.31 [75630@21:30] cloudz and a cupil ov showirz.
23rd 749.46, 85.25 =>   5.13 [75636@21:30] (I'm starting to suspect some problem with the lawn panels.)
24th 753.09, 88.69 =>   7.07 [85Km; much laundry; 75660@22:00] Cloudy, some rain.
25th This day is a blank  4.77 (est.) [55Km; ?????] Clouds again.
26th 758.58, 92.74 =>   4.77 (est.) [75678@21:30] 9.54 KWH made over TWO days - 4.77 each day. Yet more clouds. (Yes, one of the plugs had popped off at the lawn panels. When I soldered the wire on, the shell didn't seem to fit right and they don't click together. Did I use one brand of pin and a different brand shell?)
27th 762.78, 95.08 =>   6.53 [forgot to plug in car friday(25th), now did; 75691@21:30] Sigh - Cloudy again!
28th 770.66, 99.61 => 12.41 [55Km; 75703@21:00] Partly sunny! Yay!
29th 780.79, 105.29 => 15.81 [75707@21:00] SUNNY ALL DAY but with continuous spreading jet trails.
30th 790.51, 110.66 => 15.09 [75Km; 75727@21:00] Pretty much same as yesterday.
31st 798.46, 115.35 => 12.64 [75736@20:00] Sunny with cloudy periods.

01st 801.67, 117.33 =>   5.19 [oops, left water on (well pump) for hours; 75748@21:00] Clouds, rain and wind. Welcome to Autumn! The wind was so steady that the windplant had made about 400 watt-hours over a 19 hour period when I looked. (I didn't add this to the solar total.)
02nd 807.42, 120.57 =>  8.99 [75759@22:00] A little brighter but still mostly cloudy. (But any rain has been light - Jungle Creek has stopped flowing above ground on the beach.)
03rd 814.57, 124.59 => 11.17 [75767@25:00(1 AM)] Mainly cloudy AM, mainly sunny PM.

Daily KWH from solar panels. (Compare July 2020 with June 2020 & with July 2019.)

(Each Day)
July 2020 (12 panels)
June 2020 (11 panels)
July 2019 (11 Panels)
Total KWH

Monthly Tallies: Solar Generated KWH [Power used from grid KWH]
March 1-31: 116.19 + ------ + 105.93 = 222.12 KWH - solar [786 KWH - used from grid]
April - 1-30: 136.87 + ------ + 121.97 = 258.84 KWH [608 KWH]
May  - 1-31: 156.23 + ------ + 147.47 = 303.70 KWH [543 KWH] (11th solar panel connected on lawn on 26th)
June - 1-30: 146.63 + 15.65 + 115.26 = 277.54 KWH [374 KWH] (36V, 250W Hot Water Heater installed on 7th)
July  - 1-31: 134.06 + 19.06 + 120.86 = 273.98 KWH [342 KWH]
August 1-31:127.47 + 11.44+91.82+(8/10)*96.29 = 307.76 KWH [334 KWH] (12th panel connected on lawn Aug. 1)
Sept.- 1-30: 110.72 + 15.30 + 84.91 = 210.93 KWH   [408 KWH] (solar includes 2/10 of 96.29)
Oct.  - 1-31:  55.67 + 13.03 + 51.82 = 120.52 KWH, solar [635 KWH - from grid]
Nov. - 1-30:  36.51 +   6.31 + 26.29 =   69.11 KWH, solar [653 KWH - from grid]
Dec.  - 1-23: 18.98 +   .84* + 11.70 =   31.52 KWH, solar + wind [711 KWH + 414 (while away) = 1125 from grid]
Jan.  - 6-31: 17.52 + ------* + 10.61  =  28.13 KWH, solar+ wind [1111 KWH from grid]
Feb.  - 1-29: 56.83 + ------* + 35.17  =  92.00 KWH, solar + wind [963 KWH from grid]
* Now the solar DC system is only running a couple of lights - not worth reporting. So there's just the 2 grid tie systems: house and "roof over travel trailer".

One year of solar!

March - 1-31: 111.31 +   87.05 = 198.37 KWH solar total  [934 KWH from grid]
April   - 1-30: 156.09 + 115.12 = 271.21 [784 KWH from grid]
May    - 1-31: 181.97 + 131.21 = 313.18 KWH Solar [723 KWH from grid]
June   - 1-30: 164.04 + 119.81 = 283.82 KWH Solar [455 KWH from grid]
July    - 1-31: 190.13 + 110.05 = 300.18 KWH Solar [340 KWH from grid]

Things Noted - July 2020

* Not many sunny days, but perhaps more than June, or than July last year.

* Made 300 KWH (barely) for only the third time.

* The days are getting somewhat shorter already.

Electricity Storage (Batteries)

Turquoise Battery Project: Long lasting, low cost, high energy batteries

   Wow... With everything ready to make what should be the best cell so far... Sorry, no report! (for 7 months now!)

Haida Gwaii, BC Canada