Turquoise Energy Newsletter #160 - September 2021
Turquoise Energy News #160
covering September 2021 (Posted October 4th 2021)
Lawnhill BC Canada - by Craig Carmichael

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

Month In "Brief" (Project Summaries etc.)
 -  Handheld Bandsaw Mill Kit - Cabin Wall - CNC Router Setup - Plastics & Shredder - Other Things

In Passing (Miscellaneous topics, editorial comments & opinionated rants)
 - Factors in the Climate - many Smol Thots - ESD

- Detailed Project Reports -

Electric Transport - Electric Hubcap Motor Systems [no reports]

Other "Green" & Electric Equipment Projects
* Handheld Bandsaw Mill Kit progress
* CNC Router Setup
* Plastic & Plastic Shredder
* Greenhouse, Gardening

Electricity Generation
* My Solar Power System: - Daily/Monthly Solar Production log et cetera - Monthly Summaries and Estimates

September in Brief

   Well, I didn't get TE News #159 finished and sent until the 9th. With almost 1/3 of the month gone before starting on much of anything else, and then very much wanting to finish the south wall of my cabin before winter, as one might imagine I didn't get a whole lot of energy project work done.

   First of all here's a good picture of the last peltier cooling tests I missed putting in last issue, actually from September 2nd. (If I remember I'll edit that issue and repost it - an advantage of publishing on line!)

Handheld Bandsaw Mill Kit

   I finally got the band guide wheels nicely lined up, then made a safety cover for the band of very thin alium. sheet I happened to have. At first I thought it was awfully thin - almost "tinfoil" - but when folded into the desired shape and screwed onto the "backbone" rails, it seemed stiff enough, and it added almost no weight to the saw. I ripped a 2 by 6 into two 2 by 3s as a test cut. I haven't got much done since except to better plan a couple of parts to make next. I really must finish this up and get the kit happening!

Cabin Wall

[Unless you're interested in this just skip past the whole stack of almost daily pictures of the progress below.]

[13th] Having finally got back to this about the end of August by putting in the door and [finally] extending the siding over and beyond the door, I set about doing the next 1/4 of the south wall. Surely I could at least finish the south side exterior before it gets too cold and damp, and the daylight too short, to do much outside work? I can't do the West wall until I "evict" the travel trailer and my friend's camper/mini-motorhome, but when 3 walls are done - next summer I trust - I might just get some wiring, insulation and interior gyproc done in and near the East end, just to reduce the stacks of "stuff" lying around waiting to be installed. I could put some temporary cover over the west end.
   (Hmm... this picture from my new video camera makes the roofline look like it sags in the middle. It is straight. And the colors are different from the cellphone's.)

[14th] I stapled up tyvec over the exposed plywood (best to do in case it rains!) and got it all ready for the window. It was sunny, if a bit breezy, the whole morning. I finished about actual noon ["1:48 PM" on the clock]. I got a camera and took a picture. Within a minute it was pouring rain! Apparently I had weatherproofed the wall and put the tools inside in the nick of time.

[15th to 20th] I put the window in and got a couple of sections of aluminum siding shell on. On the 19th I finished the framing to the corner with a 28 by 28 inch opening for a bathroom(?) window, put up the plywood and when the rain dropped to a drizzle the next day I finally finished the tyvec with scraps. (I used one roll of tyvec virtually completely on the first two walls, and have one unopened roll left for the other two. I'm sure that without the tyvek the plywood on the first half of the wall would have become trash over last winter!)

[26th] Day by day I get a few more pieces of siding on, even if it's only 1 or 2 or 3. On this evening, 3-1/2 columns left to go. The rain is wet, but it keeps the bugs down and - so far - it's not too cold to work. I'm trying to finish the wall before it is.
   I bought the siding as a 'package deal' and had never added up how much there was compared to how much was needed. I now counted up my remaining sheets and figured there was enough to do the long north wall, but not the west end. (Maybe doing the gable end and the corners with the remaining scraps could make it sort-of match the other walls?) However, the aluminum is already fully employed covering my stacks of lumber and my utility trailer! I'll have to figure something out for all that next summer. I can use up some of the lumber. (If I do a wooden floor with 2 by 6 framing I might not have much more than scraps left.)

The interior of the wall. Not much to look at!

   On the 29th the siding cover finally reached the end of the wall. The last piece needs cutting (to be determined...) and is held on with a screw for now, and there is the small window and other details to be done, but the essential shell is on over the tyvec to protect the wood underneath and at last to keep most of the interior, and the travel trailer, dry and out of the salty air sometimes blowing up from the ocean. Good time! It started to rain just as I finished, has been pouring rain a lot, and each day is shorter and cooler than the last.

CNC Router Setup

   I wanted the CNC router to work so I could work on at least two other projects, including the unipolar "Electric Hubcap" axial flux motor for EV conversions.

   I tried to get the old computer set up to run the CNC table. I ended up mounting the Geckodrive G540 four axis stepper motor driver on the back of the computer itself, eliminating a big box with a noisy fan, but I had various problems. Finally I took the seemingly unreliable computer to a computer tech to repair - perhaps by replacing the motherboard?

Plastics & Shredder

   In the meantime I tried to order some 2 inch thick UHMW-PE plastic to route into motor body part molds once it was working. But it ended up looking like it was too heavy for the post office and with freight it would be almost 900$!
   I decided I would have to divert into getting some of my plastic recycling equipment working so I could shred up HD-PE food packages and plastic buckets, or whatever, to press into the blocks I needed. I wanted to get the recycling machines ready to work anyway, and making such blocks for making molds was one of the things I wanted to be able to do. Of course the last thing I need is a diversion into yet another project before I can start on the motor, but 900$ savings is a considerable incentive to change the priorities. And it would improve production to make the mold parts thicker than 2 inches - maybe 3 or more - if only to make it easier to stuff in the PP-epoxy composite material, evenly, before clamping it down.
   On October 2nd I went to the refuse station and found a big basket full of empty HDPE engine oil containers. Those should shred down nicely if I got the plastic shredder all assembled. They also had a 45 gallon drum of very thick HDPE (like, ~10mm thick!). I didn't think the shredder would handle that. But later I thought that I could just cut the sides of the barrel into about 17 by 17 inch squares and stack them up. Then clamp them together with a top and a bottom metal plate, and flatten them and melt them together in the kitchen oven. Presto, there's my "225 $" pieces free for the cutting, from plastic waste!

Other Things

   On the 18th I finally thought to put away the beehive. Unlikely as it was that I'd catch a swarm in August, there was certainly no chance now until spring. Why have it sitting out in the weather all winter? Woodbugs had already started a considerable colony inside. I could put it back out in March. In the meantime, the lid is rather undersize for the hive with the thick insulated walls and I should make a bigger one, and maybe a few other minor improvements and adjustments.

   Having spent considerable time in the early summer on giving the Sprint a "96% efficient" drive train and getting it running with the 36 volt forklift motor (hopefully to be replaced with the unipolar Electric Hubcap motor), and then making a much needed firewood shed, finishing the cabin's south wall took priority before colder weather made working outside miserable. I was already working in light rain a couple of times to keep the construction moving. Other projects were inevitably getting shuffled and for the time being, lost.

   I wanted to get the third and last 36 volt, 120 amp-hour lithium-ion battery stack assembled so I would have two sets for the 72 volt Miles EV mini cargo truck as well as have one remaining in the EV Chevy Sprint. But I didn't get there.
   And I wanted to 3D print some more 12 volt plug and socket shells and wall plates, but didn't get to them.
   And somehow I didn't get to rewiring the batteries in the ground effect craft and moving them farther aft for a more balanced weight distribution flight test, either.

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

Factors in the Climate

   I have written previously about how I'm pretty sure the persisting jet trails in the stratosphere are disrupting the global wind circulations. There are factors both natural and man-made that are changing the weather more rapidly than is explained by orbital cycles such as precession of Earth's axial spin that occur over tens of thousands of years:

1. Changes in the sun's output
2. Changes in the Earth's magnetic field affecting the Earth's reception of the suns rays
3. Changes in the magma circuits inside the Earth
4. Global warming due to production of carbon dioxide, both human and volcanic
5. Disturbances to the global wind patterns owing to the persisting stratospheric jet trails.

1. I once heard the sun's output varies by about 1%. More recently I've heard hints of somewhat larger figures. (It probably varied far more in the distant past before there was life in the solar system - or before the solar system formed.) At times of maximum sunspot cycles its output is greatest, while no sunspots corresponds with a "quiet" and cooler star. And the sunspot cycle from one minimum to the next is 10.7 Earth years.
   If we said that Earth's average temperature is around 295°K (22°C), then I should think a 1% increase would bring it up to 298° (25°C), or else a 1% decrease would take it down to 292° (19°C). Not insubstantial. Of course all is seasonal and dependent on latitude, but it probably makes more difference than most factors.

2. So far I don't know much of anything about this except to understand it's a factor, and that changes in the sun's magnetic field greatly affect the Earth's field. (So I'll say no more. "It is better to keep one's mouth closed and be thought a fool than to open it and prove the point." -- some philosopher of old.)

3. A decade and more ago magma circuits deep inside the Earth rose nearer to the crust under the Pacific ocean, and the warmer ocean temperatures thus attained changed air circulation patterns and brought a lot of "el niño" weather to the Americas. Today (as I understand it) there is now more of the shallower magma under Antarctica and under the Antarctic peninsula, also denoted as "underground volcanic activity", and this is a major factor in the increasingly rapid melting of glaciers there from beneath, such as the dreaded Thwaites "doomsday" glacier, which by some recent estimates could apparently be responsible for up to 3 meters of sea level rise by mid century.
   Globally we have probably had around 10000 years of relatively stable sea levels, and it is hardly within our collective memories that things have ever been any different except in local areas that have sunk or risen. Yet during the ice ages, there was a lot more land than there is now including more and larger pacific islands, and an extended North American west coast shoreline, which areas are now under the oceans by perhaps 10 to 20 meters or more. Haida Gwaii BC where I am, now 65Km between the nearest points to another island near the mainland, was connected to it. Most of the islands of Indonesia were part of the Asian mainland, with the narrow Bali-Lombok strait dividing Asiatic life from Australian life.

4. Atmospheric CO2 increase causing global warming has been "the" topic of political climate discussion to the exclusion of every other factor for many years now. It seems all climatic anomalies are being blamed on it. It seems to me that while not insignificant, and while long term burning fossil carbon is a threat, certainly not desirable or sustainable, it's pretty small peanuts compared to other factors. Water vapor is a more effective greenhouse gas.
   Perhaps of interest: Some have said volcanoes put out far more CO2 than all human causes. Others say this isn't true, that volcanoes put out much less than has been claimed. Is blaming volcanoes just a way to mentally excuse petroleum combustion?

5. I've mentioned jet trails in previous issues of TE News (#109, #129...): the persisting stratospheric clouds, up where clouds are usually rare, would seem by themselves to neatly explain many of the weather anomalies and cataclyms of recent years. The microcrystalline salt (aluminum sulfate?) or salts that many suspect may be being used as nucleation seed to form these clouds aren't themselves the real problem.
   I won't go over it too far again, except to stress a couple of points I may or may not have made very clear: Normally the warmer air at the ground rises into the cooler air above, especially around the equator and at the jet stream latitude, causing (along with Earth's rotation) all the other global wind circulation patterns. With the high altitude blanketing clouds, the warmer air extends into the stratosphere in uneven patches in broad areas where many jets have been. This disrupts the whole of the circulations including the jet streams. Warm air flows into the usually more isolated arctic and consequent arctic outflows go as far south as the Tropic of Cancer.
   The very tall warmer air column also holds more moisture way up into the stratosphere, causing both "rivers from the sky" floods (& giant hail & blizzards) and "epic" droughts such as most of the western USA, especially this year with unprecedented destruction of our food supply. If the air doesn't get cooler as clouds rise up into and over mountains, will they not just pass over them instead of raining on the slopes? Are droughts then not inevitable in the places that rain usually falls, while atmospheric moisture builds up to extreme levels to cause the unprecedented floods elsewhere?

   (I wish we could get some of that dry weather here this fall: just TWO nice sunny days this September!)

Smol Thots

* Ever get exasperated with glued-on labels, where if you try to peel quickly they rip, and to pull them off cleanly takes a coon's age? If you're not in a hurry, here's a way to peel them off, working very slowly, but automaticly! Clamp a pair of vise-grips to a loose corner and put the item between two chairs or something. The pull will eventually peel the label off. (What was that sudden "clunk" in the middle of the night?!? Maybe put some packaging foam or a blanket on the floor underneath?)

* If you like to wash your dishes right after using them, I commend a bottle for dishsoap that has a squirt trigger on the top, often available with liquid hand soap in them. You can put the dishcloth or a plate under it and punch a dollop of dishsoap right onto it, without having to pick up the bottle, invert it and squeeze, and getting your hand slimy with the concentrated leftover soap that always oozes down the outside of the bottle.
   (The other thing that really aids washing of a few dishes immediately after using them is to have hot water without a long delay and wasted hot water, ie, not running from a tank somewhere way across the house. Unfortunately this is often problematic. I will certainly try hard to provide for rapid hot water in the kitchen when I'm setting up the cabin utilities.)

* [12th-13th] I had an odd dream in which I went through an empty store to get to another store in the corner of a mall - a Radio Shack or something. I looked at the shelves which I had thought to be full of merchandise and suddenly noticed they were empty. Oh, the store must be reorganizing. Then I realized the whole store was empty: gone, "For Rent"! So were the two adjacent ones on the other side of the corner including a former muffin or coffee place.
   There was a real estate agent there, desperately trying to rent out the stores. I said to her "It's the real retail apocalypse!"

   Of course a closed electronics store(s) could be an allegory for closure of on line businesses such as AliExpress, BangGood, DealExtreme who sell electronics (and maybe even Amazon and eBay?) leaving us all unable to order from the "Chinese mall". With the deteriorating shipping situation, and Xi Jinping busily shutting down the Chinese economy through Covid and over-regulation/micro-management, this would be no surprise. (In fact when I awoke, the things in the dream didn't really surprise me. ...Except, why did I have to walk through one store to get to another?)
   The moral of the story is perhaps to order everything I think I'll want now. I already do that.
   At the end of the month power failures in China were in the news. They were either insignificant "scheduled power outages" or "devastating disruptions to the Chinese economy", depending who you listen to. (Fuel shortages seem to be spreading in China - and globally. From the sounds of things it may already be almost too late to expect orders to be delivered?)

* I keep hearing that the virus is killing zillions of people, always somewhere else. Then I heard "Northern BC" and I don't personally know anyone here who's even had it, although there were two very small, short outbreaks in 2020. Tourists have been freely coming and going all summer, many of whom must have driven all through Northern BC for days or weeks to get here. Covid can hit the elderly hard, while young adults and especially children seem to have little more to fear from it than a mild flu-like illness.

* The whole economy has been adversely and seriously affected by the measures taken since early 2020 to combat the virus outbreak. It looks like we'll soon be facing increasing food shortages and even famine while our attention is still focused on covid!, Covid!, COVID! and a statisticly few deaths here and there. And now many who were working hard before have no desire - or ability - to go back to the rat race eking out a bare living and barely keeping a roof over their heads, and as the prices of everything go up and up without wages keeping pace.
   And now as we enter fall, it is starting to be reported there is expected to be a global shortage of fuels this winter as well: coal, petroleum products and "natural gas" (methane). Such shortages can become immediately life threatening if or when the weather turns cold and heating demand exceeds capacity or supply.
   Will we starve - and freeze - en masse because of leadership which has had only covid on their minds to the virtual exclusion of every other consideration? Every sign is pointing to a massive death toll ahead in the coming years, and most actions by governments are abetting that result. Farmers are not only being flooded out and droughted out and going out of business in droves (with Bill Gates and other ultra-rich buying up their foreclosed(?) lands), but the government is paying others more to leave their land fallow than they could earn for a good crop. Maybe, as some assert, it's a growing, insidious "mass hysteria" mindset?
   And yet we are way overpopulated. At some point, life starts to become cheap. A Rwandan who lived through the mass genocide there said that life had become too hard. There were so many people that most were barely eking out a bare living from small patches of marginal ground. At some point some subconscious "mass hysteria" decision was made to start murdering each other in mobs to reduce the population. Then the lucky ones could have larger fields, make a decent living. Even where there were no "other" ethnic groups to scapegoat (was it the Hutus and Tsutsies, or the Hootsies and Tutus? ...anyway...), mob violence murdered indiscriminately. (per the book Collapse: how nations choose to fail or succeed by Jared Diamond. [I may not have the exact title words... oops, was it "Collapse" or "Upheaval"?)
   Diamond points to many similarities between collapsing societies of the past and the almost global situation today.

* After hearing of the volcano going off on La Palma I went to the Canary Islands with Google Earth. I got the wrong island, Gran Canarias, which had a town called "Las Palmas" on it. There I stumbled across and ended up "visiting" a local museum, Museo de Guayadeque, built into the side of a ravine by the same name (Barranco Guayadeque), partly within a dug out cave. People who had been there had posted hundreds of photos and a couple of videos, and there were [photos of] artifacts and of the museum's signs explaining about the formation of the ravine and about the earlier settlers who had made caves in its side for houses. (Spanish, English and German.)

  I was already in awe of maps like Google's with their maps and satellite images and ability to zoom in to see houses or out to see a city, a region or even the whole world. "Streetviews" allowed me even to peruse cities like Reykjavik and Nuuk in the far north. (I had wondered about trees. Small ones in Iceland; none in Greenland!) User posted places and photos add yet another dimension. Of course I will never visit this museum in person. It's utterly amazing how the internet and some creative software, along with data and images acquired elsewhere, have opened up the whole world to the armchair traveler!
   I later found a small museum in the Azores. There were little garden plots with stones around them (retain moisture? protect from wind?), but there were no signs (or at least no pictures of signs) saying what anything was or was for. Then there was a "white sturgeon" hatchery or preserve in Vanderhoof, BC. (Wow, a huge fish!)

   Maybe I'll try for something more upscale next time. The Louvre? There were a couple of Fabulous British museums in London we went to when I was a kid - I wonder what's in those now?

(Eccentric Silliness Department)

City names game

Example: Where the cat wipes its feet. (BC Town) -- Kitimat.

[Answers below]

1. Sproutsville (national capital)
2. Charlatan! (Canada provincial capital)
3. Play the violin yourself (Vancouver Island BC small town)
4. "Canada's Hot Spot" set Canadian record high (49°C) then lit on fire July 2021 (former BC small town)
5. Town is a bit "gimpy" (Queensland)
6. Pharmaceutical Cap (Alberta town)
7. Is that a light colored male cow? (European Asian city)
8. An overgrown ox (national capital)
9. White House (Western Africa city)
10. A huge load of Dirty Laundry (national capital)

1. Brussels
2. Charlottetown
3. Youbou
4. Lytton
5. Gympie
6. Medicine Hat
7. Istanbul?
8. Moscow
9. Casablanca
10. Washington

   "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 may 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

[No Reports]

Other "Green" & Electric Equipment Projects

CNC Router Setup

   In fits and starts, at long last I started getting set up to run the CNC router table. I had at least two projects which I couldn't start on without it: the improved and somewhat larger unipolar "Electric Hubcap" motor, and the rotary air compressor/decompressor for the Open Loop Air Heat Pumping for highly economical building heating. In addition it might be the best way to make UHMW wheels for the bandsaw mill.

   The computer running the CNC system has to have a special "real time operating system". The stepper motors have to be driven with signals that come in a timed sequence, not whenever the OS gets around to it. I had an old computer that I thought should be adequate for the relatively simple job of machine control. A friend had sent me DVDs to install "Linux CNC" before I had adequate internet to download them, but I had never got around to trying them. Now that I finally did, I discovered that the computer only had a CD drive, not a DVD drive. It was also so old it wouldn't boot off a USB memory stick even if it was a bootable one, so the DVD seemed to be the only option.
   I found a computer tech who had a couple of old EISA DVD drives and bought them from him. (He wasn't positive they'd work, so I got both rather than having to drive all the way back into town if the one I got didn't.) I changed out the CD drive for the DVD.
   Then I tried to boot the Linux CNC desktop disk. It got to a menu and froze. I was pretty sure the system on the disk (2019) must be for a 64 bit CPU, and that this old one was 32 bits.
   I went back into town the next day and bought blank DVDs. At linuxcnc.org I found a page of archives of old version disk images. I picked one from 2012. (It was small enough to fit on a CD! I hadn't needed any DVD stuff except to find out that I didn't need it.) But my system wouldn't burn the DVD. After an hour or so of trying to figure out where the "Burn" button was, I went to the web and found a DVD burner program. Its documentation mentioned that recent releases of Ubuntu had dropped the built in DVD burner. You'd think the Ubuntu user guide might have mentioned that little detail where it was saying "just click the [non-existent] "Burn" button, you lamebrain!"

   I managed to get the disk to boot the computer, and had it reformat and install itself onto the hard drive.

   I had a big box that had the old stepper motor drivers in it, but there were only two axes and I couldn't find the specs for them. So I bought a modern little "Geckodrive G540 Multiaxis Step Drive" 4 axis board, quite a while ago now. I had stuck it on the back of the big case with no other function than the power supply and a "panic button" to stop everything. Why wouldn't I just put it on the back of the computer case instead, and ditch the extra boat anchor?
   I cut off a blank part of the back cover (just enough room!) and mounted the Geckodrive in it. Then I went back to the Geckodrive info and discovered it was supposed to have 18 to 36 volts. The computer had 12 volts. I used a T12 plug and socket to hook up its power, since I had none of the usual computer internal connectors. The board indicators flashed on and the "power" one stayed on. If the stepper motors won't work reliably, I'll have to add a higher voltage power adapter to power it. But it seems to me they only need a volt or two.

[29th] The computer would work sometimes and not other times. When I put a new battery in for the clock and "bios" settings, at first it had no video or anything. I think I just wiggled the wires and the next boot it had a display again. Finally on one boot it acknowledged that it had a keyboard and went into "setup", but it crashed while I was setting the date.
   That was about the last straw. This day I finally took it in to a technician, hoping he could either get it all going reliably as it is, or (probably better) put a new motherboard into it. (and to think I used to repair computers!)

Plastic & Plastic Shredder

[30th] Another piece to the puzzle was to get some UHMW-PE plastic to route the motor molds into once the CNC router was working. Here I ran into a problem: the price and shipping cost for it. Inasmuch as the suppliers seem to only want to deal in whole square feet, and I needed 1.5 by 1.5 foot pieces, I was going to get a piece 3 feet by 3 feet: 9 square feet. I had anticipated 40 $/sq.ft. for 2 inch UHMW (360$), but it was 50: 450$ for the piece. Then, the weight of that size piece would have been a little over the 30 Kg maximum that the post office would handle - and seemingly, the couriers too. The cost for freight shipping was going to be 350$. Add in almost 100$ in taxes and it made almost 900$!

    I scrounged around my storages, and in some stores, but I didn't come up with anything like enough, or large enough pieces. HDPE would work. I might have been able to get a friend to pick me up 9 extra large kitchen cutting boards (plus I have one now) and I could pin them together in two stacks of five to make two molds. (Actually some pieces of the stacks would be the same... I think... so I could use those in both molds and reduce the total.) But at this point, I think I'd be better off to get my plastic recycling equipment running, and chip up a whole pile of HDPE food packages to melt down and compress into the blocks I need. Well, that was after all one of the things I wanted to be able to do with the plastic recycling equipment.

[Oct. 2nd] I'm going to try sawing a 45 gallon (200 liter), thick-walled HDPE drum into ~17 by ~17 inch squares, clamp them together with a metal plate top and bottom with C-clamps, and press them flat and melt them together in the kitchen oven. They only need to be softened sufficiently to bend and retain their new (flat) shape and stick together. No special equipment needed! Free material!
   But I had already looked at the plastic shredder and I found I had two heavy 12 inch pulleys from older Sprint transmission experiments, a single and a double. One of those might provide good inertia to keep the shredder turning when it came to a hard bit, and thus reduce the power required. (Based on hearing of a plastic shredder in Masset, I want to drive it with a belt so if something jams it will slip, instead of bending the cutting blades.) Now I'm thinking of how to put it together.
   Now if I only had an AC motor somewhere between a 1/4 HP washing machine motor and the 7-1/2 HP 3600 RPM one on my old sawmill, I could set it up. (I suppose if I used the worm gear to drop the speed way down along with pulleys fr the slip, a small motor would probably work -- but not very fast.

Handheld Bandsaw Mill Kit

   I showed the bandmill to an old logger. "But does how much have you cut?" I showed him the roof and walls of the carport, 2 by 6s and 2 by 4s, and said also the cabin walls and there's still a big pile of lumber (I forgot to mention the firewood shed). When he saw that the carport was spruce with knots, he was really impressed, saying that would have been hard to mill. (And he talked about winning the world wars with tough Haida Gwaii spruce aircraft, especially mentioning the De Haviland Mosquito, an outstanding wooden fighter-bomber of world war two that could outrun the German fighters.) He asked how long each board took and I said "a couple of minutes". (As I think about it, 6 feet per minute in spruce is about the best with the sharpest band. It goes up from there.) Again he was impressed, saying that was faster than an Alaska mill. I myself had thought it was roughly on a par, but he might be right too.

[16th] I made another attempt to silver solder a saw band together. I did everything I could as well as I could, with about 5-6mm tapered ends. Unsatisfied the first try, I added a bunch more flux powder and heated it again. This time it worked. It wasn't quite straight (ugg!) but it ran and it didn't break. I adjusted the tension and spun it around a bit. (Not as tight as usual - I really didn't want the solder joint to break!)
   Then I put the saw together, tensioned the band, mounted the skillsaw and put on the V-belt. Nothing bad happened when I flicked the trigger. I set the cutting depth bars to 3 inches. I set up a couple of blocks to hold a 2 by 6 and made it into two 2 by 3s. The cut was a bit wavy, probably because of the loose band tension, but it worked. So far so good!

   Later I checked my e-mails and found someone inquiring about the saw after reading the December 2017 article I had written about the idea for the saw in Haida Gwaii Trader! I pointed him to TE News and the "Carmichael Mill Update" video on youtube, and said I was making it into a kit. He seemed interested in making one himself rather than buying a kit. Still, it shows there's people out there who get the same idea and then check to see what might already be available.

[17th] I checked in with Wayne and looking at the saw we came up with a few ideas for potential improvements. One of them was to make the two end pieces for the band tension and alignment adjustment into a single piece crossing across one end. I cut the piece and then realized that if the end was covered, it wouldn't be possible to change the cutting band without disassembling and removing the mechanism. Back to the previous!

[25th] Hmm, I seem to be getting sidetracked. We had also talked about hinging the top band guard along with the motor mounting to reduce the number of screws to remove to change the band. Finally I decided that was needless complexity. Instead, the guard and right hand handle could all be held on with three screws. A fourth screw would have to make a slit in the motor mount. These could be thumbscrews to eliminate the need for a screwdriver if desired. Then the only "extra" would be removing one flathead bolt from the left end stop and loosening the other. I hadn't found any way around that unless the end stop was to only be fastened to one post instead of both. In the prototype there was only one post on the left and the end stop was pretty short so the issue hadn't cropped up, but on that I had had a pretty strange and clumsy cutting depth adjustment setup. The new one is more robust.
   Still, there had only been one depth adjustment at each end to move both rails instead of one at each corner. Was there some way to get that bit of "easier" back without losing the "rugged simplicity"?

North Coast Gardening & Greenhouse

[13th] I went down to the garden for the first time in a few days. The squash plant was growing wildly with more and more stems over an ever larger area. I found one tiny squash starting, but mostly just flowers. I picked a little container of peas and beans, and a big beet. I looked at the few remaining carrots. The leaves seemed to have finally grown some and I plucked one. To my almost astonishment it was a juicy "full size" white carrot, 5 inches long and over an inch in diameter. There were a few more to be had, but not many. If only it was a bed full of them! The double row of carrots in the greenhouse were still tiny. But maybe they're growing better now with the roof letting some decent light through?

   I plucked a tiny cob of corn and opened it. There were a few little half grown kernels, but not many. I had rubbed the tassels onto the silks and had at least hoped there'd be lots of kernels, even if they weren't ripe. Did that mean corn wouldn't work well in the greenhouse next year, either?
   Another day I found a tiny cob with full, well developed kernels. That was better! There were a couple of those.
   It wasn't much for all the work I put in from early spring until September, but I think everything is set to grow some good corn next year.

   In mid month as the weather got cooler I harvested the quinoa. It was hardly red yet, but it looked more like it would rot than bloom, and seeds were already formed. I dried it near the woodstove and peeled the flower/seed parts easily off the stems. They only come off easily after they're dry.

   Toward the end of the month I finally started getting some good size tomatoes instead of just little cherry tomatoes. ...and then a flood of them! They don't keep long, so I gave some away. Then they started going mouldy and rotting on the vine, so I pulled it out. This is so typical of west coast tomato gardening, even on Vancouver Island at the southern end of BC - nothing, nothing, nothing then all at once in late September just as cold weather starts cutting them down. (My mom had a recipie for "green tomato chutney" - what to do with all those unripe tomatoes that will rot if left any longer on the vine.)

   I had put one plant with relatively small tomatoes in a pot, and I finally brought it in for the winter LED indoor garden in the corner of the dining area, along with a "hot cherry" red pepper that had already overwintered there last winter. I revised the whole corner, lowering the full spectrum lights (wider front to back) to light the tall plants at floor level. (I think I may have put them a bit too high up. The outdoor light switch was in the way.)
   I intend to put the narrower red-blue lights above to grow winter lettuce and whatever - spinach?

   I repotted the coffee plants in bigger pots with some fresh, enriched soil around them. There are some dying leaves, but also some healthy new ones sprouting out. The person who gave them to me said that in the Phillippines such small plants do flower. Maybe the fresh soil and larger pots will do it?


[30th] The polyethylene sheets I had done the triangular top openings in my window greenhouse with had finally degraded and ripped, letting the wind and rain blow through. I was wondering what to do, then it occurred to me I had saved a bunch of transparent rectangular pizza container tops from co-op "you cook" deli pizzas over the last year or so [PETE?]. They seemed a bit brittle, but I cut them and stapled them up on both sides. How long they'll last is to be determined.

  Having got zero strawberries for two years from prolific, healthy looking plants with great flowers, spreading all over the garden bed by the house, I finally went to a nursery and bought three new strawberry plants. They had flowers and berries on them when I bought them, and they gave a second crop before it got cold. (even a berry October 1st! Obviously an "everbearing" variety.) They had runners going out wildly from the pots by mid September. I did my very best to eliminate all the unproductive plants from a section of the garden, and I put in two of the new ones, planting all the runners too. (The third is in front of the LED garden above, complete with grass in the pot and runners.) Every year I expect good strawberries and don't get them. I have high hopes again for next year!

   The grass and weeds have definitely got the better of my large lower garden. They grew up under the peas when I couldn't get in there... and many other places. I think of a concrete stub wall to keep out the grass, weeds and slugs, but it will still be a huge chore to eliminate the grass again before I can grow anything there next year. Unless I get more peas and big, tall things started to where they can outpace the weeds?

Electricity Generation

My Solar Power System

Daily/Monthly/Yearly Log of Solar Power Generated [and grid power consumed]

(All times are in PST: clock 48 minutes ahead of sun, not PDT which is an hour and 48 minutes ahead. (DC) battery system power output readings are reset to zero daily (often just for LED lights, occasionally used with other loads: Electric car, inverters in power outages or other 36V loads), while the grid tied readings are cumulative.)

Solar: House, Trailer, (DC@house)  => total KWH [grid power meter reading(s)@time] Sky conditions
Km = electric car drove distance, then car was charged.

31st 2212.84, 980.50,(.39) =>   5.52 [95Km; 86478@20:00] Sunny & warm! Power was off for best 3(?) hours of the day, or there would have been twice(?) as much solar energy.

01st 2219.70, 984.36,(.68) => 11.11 [86488@20:30; 35Km] Another sunny, warm day... August 32nd!
2nd  2220.86, 985.11,(.36) =>   2.27 [86505@19:00] Rain, wind, cold, snivel. Autumn has struck!
03rd 2225.00, 987.55,(.51) =>   7.54 [85Km; 86528@21:00] Bit o' sun, some rain.
04th 2228.24, 989.43,(.00) =>   5.12 [55Km; 86547@19:30] About the same.
05th 2230.14, 990.52,(.19) =>   3.18 [86557@20:00] Rain and misery. Unless it improves very soon I don't think the corn and quinoa are going to ripen. (The corn is in the greenhouse. -- I brought the quinoa inside before it goes mouldy. I'll see if there's any seed worth saving - it seems likely it was about ready, even if it was just starting to turn red. Sun came out for a while after tree shadows covered the greenhouse. Not much help!)
06th 2232.17, 991.59,(.00) =>   3.10 [86579@20:00] Rain.
07th 2237.82, 994.72,(.00) =>   8.78 [86590@19:30] mix clouds & some sun.
08th 2241.50, 996.68,(.16) =>   5.80 [55Km; 86617@21:00] scattered clouds then overcast then some rain.
09th 2248.89,1000.92,(.00) => 11.63 [86626@20:00] Wow, a sunny day!
10th 2253.14,1003.32,(.16) =>   6.81 [85Km; 86653@19:30] Rain AM; sunny PM
11th 2256.74,1005.29,(.14) =>   5.71 [55Km; 86672@19:30] rain, sun, clouds
12th 2260.84,1007.54,(.00) =>   6.35 [55Km; 86695@19:00] More fall weather
13th 2263.22,1008.84,(.20) =>   3.88 [86707@18:30] mostly cloudy
14th 2267.73,1011.17,(.00) =>   6.84 [86720@21:00] AM Sunny. PM Rain/Sun (I was robbed, I tell you! I worked on the cabin all morning and just when I was finished, went in the house to pour a coffee, ready to take my shirt off and relax in the sun - Pow; Downpour! But later there was sun again.)
15th 2273.04,1013.87,(.14) =>   8.15 [86742@19:30] Some Good Sun!
16th 2274.10,1014.35,(.00) =>   1.54 [55Km; 86769] Wind, rain
17th 2275.60,1015.10,(.00) =>   2.25 [Accidently reset monthly trip meter at 531Km; 90Km; 86800@20:30] Wind, rain
18th 2279.01,1017.01,(.00) =>   5.32 [55Km; 86816@19:30] wind, rain, scarce moments of sun
19th ~2282.40,~1018.70,0  =>   5.08 [(no drive; forgot meter read] drizzle
20th 2283.81,1019.49,(.16) =>   2.36 [86849@21:00] The man who got booed and shouted out of every neighborhood he entered won the election?!? Are our elections fair? (Well, it should certainly be harder to rig our elections than US elections.)
21st 2286.71, 1021.17, .00 =>   4.58 [50Km; 86871@23:25]
22nd2289.85, 1022.86, .00 =>   4.83 [40Km; 86898@21:00]
23rd 2291.01, 1023.55, .16 =>   2.01 [55Km; 86924@21:30] clouds and rain - pretty dull.
24th 2292.65, 1023.77, .00 =>   1.86 [100Km; 86957@19:00] Cabin power production was off much of the day (ground fault breaker tripped in rain)
25th 2296.58, 1026.06, .00 =>   6.22 [86969@19:00] Some sun! Cabin was off (unplugged) for a while.
26th 2297.77, 1026.61, .14 =>   1.88 [86989@22:30] Dreary & rain again
27th 2299.93, 1027.81, .00 =>   3.36 [87003@19:00] and again
28th 2302.52, 1029.34, .00 =>   4.12 [87027@20:30] A bit of brightness here and there
29th 2304.33, 1030.27, .21 =>   2.95 [55Km; 87050@19:00] Sunny early morning, then worse and worse
30th 2307.19, 1031.84, .09 =>   4.52 [30Km; 87068@18:30] A bit of sun in afternoon (continued raining anyway).

01st 2308.05, 1032.37, .00 =>   1.39 [87088@21:30] Just rain.
02nd2311.00, 1034.19, .00 =>   4.77 [55Km;87105@20:00] Sun, deluge, on, off, on, off, on, off
03rd 2313.97, 1035.73, .25 =>   4.76 [87132@18:30] More of the same.
04th 2315.62, 1036.44, .00 =>   2.36 [87147@18:30] yet mor.

   I have recorded 2-1/2 years of daily solar collection data. Unless somebody says they care, I don't think I'll bother logging every day any more. I will still note, at least, monthly totals.

Daily KWH from solar panels. (Compare September 2021 with August 2021 & with September 2020.)

Days of
__ KWH
September 2021 (12 panels)
August 2021 (12 panels)
Sept. 2020 (12 Panels)

















Total KWH
Km Driven
on Electricity
1072 Km (531+541)
(~155 KWH)
1187 (Leaf)
(around ~165 KWH)

Monthly Summaries: 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 used from grid]
Nov. - 1-30:  36.51 +   6.31 + 26.29 =   69.11 KWH, solar [653 KWH used 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]
* The solar DC system was running the kitchen hot water tank. Now it's 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]
August- 1-31: 121.81 + 83.62   = 205.43 KWH Solar [385KWH from Grid]
Sept.  - 1-30: 110.68 + 65.09   = 175.77 KWH Solar [564 KWH used from grid]
Oct.  -   1-31:   67.28 + 42.55   = 109.83 KWH Solar [1360 KWH from grid -- Renters!]
Nov.  -  1-30:   35.70  + 20.79  = 56.49 KWH of Solar [1301 KWH from grid]
Dec.  -  1-31:   19.78  + 11.31  = 31.09 KWH Solar [1078 KWH used from grid]

Jan.   -  1-31:   25.47 + 18.58  = 44.05 KWH Solar [1185 KWH used from grid]
Feb.   -  1-28:   47.18 + 33.22  = 80.40 KWH Solar [1121 KWH used from grid]
Two years of solar!
March - 1-31:   81.73 +  55.22 + 2.2 (DC) = 139.15 KWH Solar [1039 KWH grid]
April  -  1-30: 161.83 + 112.35 + .44(DC)  = 274.62 KWH Solar [680 KWH from grid]
May   -  1-31: 156.25 +  97.22 + 1.29(DC) = 254.76 KWH Solar [678 KWH from grid]
June  -  1-30: 197.84 + 112.07 + 2.21(DC) = 312.12 KWH Solar [& 448 KWH from grid]
July   -  1-31: 204.35 + 121.21 + 4.06(DC) = 329.62 KWH Solar [426 KWH from grid; 150(?) KWH used by Nissan Leaf]
August- 1-31: 176.19 + 102.91 + 5.37(DC) = 284.47 KWH Solar [477 KWH from grid; 165 KWH (est) used by car]
Sept. -  1-30:   94.35 +   51.34 + 3.30(DC) = 152.29 KWH Solar [590 KWH from grid; 155 KWH (est) used by car]

Things Noted - September 2021

* Those 1000W solar grid ties from China really don't perform well when the sky is variable. When a cloud comes, they drop back to 0, and take a minute and more to creep back up to full output. By then another cloud has come along and killed it again.

* 2 really nice, sunny days this September compared to 8 in September 2020!


March 2019-Feb. 2020: 2196.15 KWH Solar [used   7927 KWH from grid]
March 2020-Feb. 2021: 2069.82 KWH Solar [used 11294 KWH from grid]

(See TE News #156 for the two year writeup... which technicly should have been two months earlier.)

Haida Gwaii, BC Canada