Turquoise Energy News #146
2020 (Posted (ouch!) September 12th 2020 AD / 25 AI - After Internet)
Lawnhill BC Canada - by Craig Carmichael
(Project Summaries etc.)
- 100 amp-hour LG Lithium Ion Batteries
(Miscellaneous topics, editorial comments & opinionated rants)
- Gardening and Chickens [with Sept. addendum] - Population and
Pandemics - Small Thots - ESD
Transport - Electric Hubcap Motor Systems
* Miles Truck: 5:1 Planetary Gear replacing 40 pound transmission (Why
isn't this finished?)
Electric Equipment Projects
* Better CAT 12V Equipment [all rendered obsolete at end of August -
"T-Plugs" next issue #147]
* My Solar Power System: -
Solar Production log et cetera - Notes.
* Turquoise Battery Project
(NiMnOx-Zn in Mixed Alkali-Salt electrolyte) - No
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
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
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
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
(I finally asked TE News readers at the end of August and got several
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
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
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
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
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 -
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
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
I put together a quote for a solar power system. It was
about 2200$. I heard nothing back. (The sale went through in August.
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
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
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
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.
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.)
(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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
(By gosh, as if on cue Brad mentions some new epidemic in Kazakhstan!:
* 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
* "Never before have so many opportunities existed for pathogens to
pass from wild and domestic animals to people." - UN Environment
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
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
* 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
of and not tried... and even of how not to do something - why
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.
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!
"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
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
(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"
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
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.
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
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]
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
water heater for some months, then just lights - are reset to zero
daily (for just lights, occasionally), while the others are
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,
(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;
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!)
09th 672.34, 41.39 => 11.84 [75475@20:30] Mostly light clouds, a bit
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
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
21th 743.53, 80.74 => 14.07 [75615@21:30] Sun and a few clouds and
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
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
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.)
|July 2020 (12 panels)
|June 2020 (11 panels)
|July 2019 (11 Panels)
Monthly Tallies: Solar Generated KWH [Power used from grid KWH]
March 1-31: 116.19 + ------ + 105.93 = 222.12 KWH - solar [786 KWH -
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 =
KWH, solar + wind [711 KWH + 414 (while away) = 1125 from grid]
Jan. - 6-31: 17.52 + ------* + 10.61 = 28.13 KWH,
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
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
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
* Made 300 KWH (barely) for only the third time.
* The days are getting somewhat shorter already.
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