Turquoise Energy Newsletter #166 -March 2022
Turquoise Energy News #166
covering March 2022 (Posted April 4rd 2022)
Lawnhill BC Canada - by Craig Carmichael

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

Month In "Brief" (Project Summaries etc.)
 - Gardening - Handheld Bandsaw: Milling & Improvements - Various... - Ni-Zn Batteries & Open Loop Air Heat Pumping thoughts

In Passing (Miscellaneous topics, editorial comments & opinionated rants)
  - Justice & Elimination of Antisocial Predators - Ukraine (again/more) - Smol Thots - ESD

- Detailed Project Reports -

Electric Transport - Electric Hubcap Motor Systems [no reports]

Other "Green" & Electric Equipment Projects
* Spring Gardening
* Plastic Recycling 2.0 Development (for Vertical Axis Wind & Water Plant, multi-use flat sheets)

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

March in Brief


   While wanting to get going on making plastic things including the windplant or waterplant, various alarming statistics for global food, fertilizer and probable global production (or lack thereof) of wheat this year got me concerned enough to spend a lot of time on plants and the garden. I bought some well-reputed "everbearing" raspberry canes at a store.

   To make a place for them, in the north part of the garden I started cutting huge roots from the stump of a spruce tree next to the garden, cut down in 2017. I managed to cut out about one or two roots a day and plant one or two of the eight canes. One day Perry came over and we got the rest of them out, and some of the swamp grass that made tough, dense clods that are very hard to dig through. I figured raspberries in the northeast side of the garden, and the northwest was good for a short row of peas along the fence and some potatoes - all in the grass that was inevitably going to regrow with a vengeance since there was no way I could clear all the roots out be hand. Even if I had time, my back wouldn't take it.
   Having prepped it that far, I planted two rows of potatos on April Fools day.  (More under "Other Green Projects" - "Spring Gardening")

   I'm sure all this would be much easier with a backhoe or excavator. Someone gave a neighbor a backhoe for a bottle of liquor a few months ago (but a new tire was hundreds of dollars). A friend just bought a small excavator. I don't seem to be keeping up with the Joneses around here with just a lawn tractor! Shouldn't I at least be looking for a real tractor with a front end loader?

Handheld Bandsaw Mill - Milling and "Production Prototype" Improvements

4 inch thick slabs. The closer stack are 16 feet long and the one at the rear left are 12 feet.

   After having my virtually dead spruce tree cut down, I chopped it into 4 inch thick slabs. Then I got my handlheld bandsaw mill back from Wayne, who has been too busy to get all the details to his engineer in Thailand, and who Wayne says has been too busy himself to do anything with it anyway.
   Anyway it needed some improvements and I started with the band tensioning system. I had to in order to mill as one of the threads had stripped. Then when I started pushing it I quickly noticed (again) that there was nothing stopping one's left knee from touching the center of the main wheel bearing. I lengthened the rear height bar's left end to cover over it. The bar was still hard on the knee when pushing, and I cut a section of water pipe insulation and put it around it.
   I could see more I wanted to do with the saw, but having started I continued milling until the slab was gone, yielding twelve 2 by 4s - nine 12 foot plus one each 10, 7 and 6 foot. With prices around here and what they've risen to since I last bought lumber (besides plywood), that's around 300$ worth I won't need to buy for the two remaining cabin walls.

I got one slab milled one day in March, into twelve 12 foot long 2 by 4s.
(I'm starting to remember the little tricks and techniques to make it easier.)

   Improving this tool being on my mind again, it occurred to me to go see a welder, JP, and ask if he had any 3/4 inch square stainless steel tube - an "unobtainium" material I've been trying to get for quite some time, or knew where to get some. (Not everything is totally convenient living on a remote island.) He said. "That tube is the size of a metal tube chair." He had a stack of 5 or 6 grimy old metal office chairs, sure enough made from the exact same size square tubing! I traded one with arms for JP taking his elderly dad for a ride in my Nissan Leaf. (I found out later JP has a reputation as a wild driver and no one would ever lend him their car! But his dad was on board and it came back intact.) The chair frame is probably chrome plated steel rather than stainless, but it'll do! There wasn't a lot left of it by the time I had my 6 pieces cut out.


   For solar power, this March did way better than March 2021 (when there was hardly any sun): 214.48 KWH versus 139.15 KWH. Is the weather improving? March 2019 gave 222.12 KWH, and with fewer solar panels. The daily figures are trending larger as the sun gets higher. With trees growing a little taller every year, having a couple of them gone, and minor improvements to the equipment, don't hurt either.

   Mostly in February I took footage for a video about "Plastic Recycling 2.0", but I haven't found time to put it together. Well, maybe in April?

   Near the end of the month I started getting bothered that I had done so little energy project work. On the 29th I put together a DC to DC down converter with 36 and 12 volt T-plugs for someone, including printing a new batch of shells for the 36V sockets.
   (Then I planted two 10 foot rows of potatos. More under "gardening".)

Latest molded PP disk. (Is that Wile E. Coyote, flattened under a manhole cover?)

   On the 30th I made a windplant rotor top/bottom disc and while it was in the oven I made a minor revision to the 36V T-Socket shell design, transplanted lettuce into the greenhouse and the last raspberry cane into the big garden, and cut the stump in my driveway down near the ground (from 2017 - it was 6 feet across the long axis)

   Before dark I cut down an alder tree. I sort of thought I might want to mill it or even a couple of them into boards and had been putting it off and putting it off, but it occurred to me that before the leaves come out is the best time: I'm already late as the buds are out, so in spite of all the other things I'm doing or trying to do, it's now or else wait until next year - again. They've grown considerably in the 5 years since I arrived and are casting more shade on the garden, and on the solar panels in the winter.
   The next day I cut down a small spruce that was in the way and then another alder tree. Someone from Husquevarna on Youtube had an idea that one should cut a hinge 70° and that way the tree folded on the hinge until it was almost down. It sounded reasonable and I tried it on the spruce. But the spruce had so many branches it only fell 70° before being stopped by them, so it was hung up on the stump. So much for that new idea! (Some other ideas from the video for limbing the log were good.) If I cut it loose it would jump back sprung by the branches and perhaps hit me - could be very dangerous. I remembered I had an extension pole saw - a small electric chainsaw on the end of an extendable pole - and reached way up and cut it apart in short chunks from the top end down, standing well back. Everything of any size that I didn't save to mill was good firewood. The small stuff still made a big pile of branches to be burned.
   The second alder was 16 inches around and leaning heavily. It "barber chaired" - a split going 7 feet up the trunk as I made the back cut. I was expecting it and stood to the side. Still rather dangerous. A ton of log or tree doesn't stop whatever it's doing just for some human in its path.

There was a cluster of stumps around the first alder, the second one is behind.
There are still plenty more alders in the grove to the right.
Branches from the second tree would have been hitting the eaves-trough of my neighbor's shop by next year.

Ni-Zn Batteries, Open Loop Air Heat Pumping (thoughts)

gave passing thoughts to a couple of other "on hold" projects. For zinc electrodes, it seemed much the most convenient way to get a thick zinc plating onto a copper foil backing/current collector was by electrolysis. But the coatings came out "fluffy" with thin links between the copper and zinc and between particles of zinc. Dendrite growth is after all zinc's big problem as a battery electrode. This time it occurred to me for next time to try plating the zinc on, maybe adding some zinc powder into the gaps, and then squash it all down with the jeweler's rolling mill to make it more of a solid plating. (Then paint on the dopant layer and then the agar zinc ion blocker to make it a 'forever' lasting electrode.)
   Why not then use these zinced plates and (for now) unroll nickel oxyhydroxide positive electrodes from Ni-MH "D" cells, which I still have lots of including 'dead' ones?
   And I thought about Ovshinsky's flooded nickel-metal hydride cells used in the GM EV-1 in the late 1990s. They had lasted many years. All patents have long since expired. Anyway why could I not make "prismatic" nickel-zinc cells with similar constructions? At the worst I would have to tie the positive plates together with nylon machine screws using graphite washer spacers to make everything conduct.

   On the OLAHP, say!, I have the CNC router table working now. I could make the air compressor-decompressor! I very much like the design of the "Liquid Piston" engine's cylinder setup as a base for it. That avoids the finicky sliding plate dividers of the "ROVAC" design. But it needs a pair of gears for the shaft to drive the off-center piston. I made UHMW gears in 2016 and I still have the required rotary table that I can mount on the milling machine, but at that time I chose a poor set of gear cutters. The #5 gear tooth size is too large for... for almost anything! So I've ordered a set of #3 involute gear cutters, thinking #1 is too small for most anything and hoping to find good middle ground. I still have to wrap my head around where the holes and fittings go to pull the air in and push it out, but if I ever get the chance to build it, I'll be ready (I hope).

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

Justice & Elimination of Antisocial Predators

   Justice or social judgement is a group function. For any important decision the knowledge, opinions, blind spots and prejudices of one person are too likely to result in less than optimum and fair decisions. A group decision helps to overcome the worst of these tendencies. And someone in the group may even have some insight that will result in a wholly better outcome than others have thought of.


   In Alberta, Canada before world war two, one the the first social welfare programs was created
to help the needy. But it was reasoned that a whole class of unproductive people living on welfare generation after generation would arise if nothing was done to prevent it.
   Therefore, at the same time a sterilization program was enacted. To be considered for mandated sterilization someone had to meet certain conditions:

1) They had to be on welfare - living off the government; the public purse. No one not living on welfare was considered.

2) A doctor, a social worker and a judge had to all agree that the person was not fit to raise a productive family who would be normal assets to the next generation. One trusts that it was usually the mentally inferior who were selected.

   I don't know but I suppose, that the person (if sufficiently mentally competent) would be told, and would have the choice to find work and get off welfare instead.

   With the war and Hitler's horrible eugenics programs, doing anything about future generations however humane and sensible became taboo and the sterilization part of the program was ended.


   One day I listened to a Keiser Report where an ex police officer was interviewed. On the subject of corruption he said that if a common person was committing a crime or defrauding people of their money, he could arrest them, take them to the police station in handcuffs and charge them for the crime. But if a bank ot other institution was robbing people of millions or billions of dollars through some shady scheme, that came under the jurisdiction of the financial regulators, and he wasn't allowed to touch it or arrest any of those in charge of the scheme. The banking regulators have long since been controlled by those running the banks, and so where in the 1930s hundreds of bankers went to jail for causing the great crash, in 2008 the only one who went to jail was Bernie Madoff, who told police all about his own crimes, and about all the banksters who had enabled him to do it. None of the others were investigated. The banks were "too big to fail"... or even to have those in charge of them replaced.
   And of course, there is corruption within politics. The banksters took control of the regulators by "donating" to campaign funds of anyone likely to be elected, so no matter who was, they were beholden to the banks.

   Now it occurs to me that it would obviously be improper to have a policeman barge into a corporate or government office unannounced and on his own initiative arrest and take a high executive down to the police station to be charged with a crime. The possibilities for abuse would be huge.
   However, high executives are indeed committing crimes that are apparent to all those paying attention, and in fact they are the crimes of greatest detriment to the whole of society, which partly as a result is presently falling apart. What happens? The bank gets a fine. The actual, individual culprit(s) in the organization is(are) never held responsible. The bank is a for-profit corporation and so its customers have to pay for the fine as well as suffering the losses from the crime itself. When someone in a position of power is indeed committing some crime that is evident enough, if would only make sense that they could be removed by the police.

   So we come back to the group judgment function. If an individual policeman who sees the crime being perpetrated can't arrest the perpetrator, why not select some number of law enforcement officers or officials, perhaps a small committee within a police department including the chief of police or other high ranking officer and maybe an accountant or other specialist, who must agree they should be charged before action can be initiated, but once agreed, can send officers to arrest the official? This is not a court assessment of guilt, which comes later, but a consensus by law enforcement that there is enough evidence to lay charges. Executives shouldn't be able to commit crimes and hide behind a corporate façade and a complicit "financial non-enforcement" unit with the police told to lay off.
   Public officials shouldn't be exempt either. The higher up the ladder of power, the greater the consensus should be. Obviously one would arrest a chief executive (and remember this is for commission of a criminal offense, not a political act a legislature might deem worthy of non-confidence or impeachment) only with great circumspection. But there should be no immunity for anyone. A crime by anyone is a crime. All must be equal in the eyes of the law.

Ukraine (again/more)

   I've been following the unfolding Ukrainian saga since the Maidan Square rebellion in Kiev (lately spelled "Kyiv"?) in 2014, and lately much closer. I want to go into it - again - because of the shoddy, shallow and profoundly misleading coverage given to it in our Western mass media, even at the risk of potentially leaning in another direction in the attempt to shine light into the center. I use sources such as the many reporting on youtube, zerohedge and RT Spanish, where there was for some time a "Minuto à Minuto" thread that posted every new news brief about the conflict from every side as it occurred. (My almost non-existent Spanish reading ability has reached the point where I can sometimes scan items to see if it looks interesting enough to copy into Deepl.com translator.)
   Russia did not attack Ukraine without ongoing provocation and a USA and NATO that have utterly refused to dialog or acknowledge that Russian people have any place in this world. Russia is certainly not bent on restoring the Soviet Union.

   In fact, the more I look, the more I see covert American fingers agitating to provoke war and chaos as they have done in so many countries, with tens of billions of dollars of military "aid" going to Ukrainian extremists over the years since about 2010. Russia says it wants to "denazify and demilitarize" the Ukraine, and it seems it was to a great extent "nazified and militarized" by the USA.

Up through the middle part of the 20th century, communism was an ideological struggle and the USSR wanted to "communize" the world. Those days and the USSR are long gone now and Russia is now simply one nation among many, still largest in land area but now 9th largest in population, between Bangladesh and Mexico. Some people made fun of how in the West everything gets blamed on Russia in comments under a video:


You'll swallow our propaganda and be happy.

Supply chain.............Russia
High oil prices..........Russia
Domestic terrorism...Russia
2016 election ...........Russia

Russia.......................Russia......... why not?


Gained weight?        Russia
Marital issues?         Russia
Dog sick?                 Russia
Car broke?               Russia
Leaky faucet?          Russia


"Leaky faucet" - nope.  That one is Chinese quality control.


ugly wife?               Russia.


I thought covid caused all that


   Ukrainian politics are a bit complex with vehemently different sides. "Before the revolution, corruption. After the revolution, corruption." If violent Neonazis could put an end to it, maybe they weren't so bad? Some want ties to the East, many would rather lean to the West. The tides of public opinion are strongly torn.
   Volodomir Zelensky won the 2019 presidential election in a landslide (72% IIRC) on a campaign of ending the war in the Donbass. Voters probably thought he meant making peace, abiding by the Minsk agreements. Instead Zelensky seems to have thought he could successfully invade and declare victory, and end the war that way. The same wealthy oligarch who funded his election campaign also helped fund the extremists, who obviously were also getting American funding and weapons.

   Am I just making this up? Distorting the facts? Exaggerating? Here are some links to news videos many may find credible. These two BBC news documentary videos from 2014 and 2015 sound the alarm. Here we see where the trouble really started to brew (not that all was peace and tranquility before), with well armed Neonazi extremist groups growing and starting to dictate to the Ukraine government. (Yes, real Nazi symbols or similar and real Nazi terror tactics.)

Feb 28, 2014
BBC -- Neo-Nazi threat in new Ukraine: NEWSNIGHT

And July 23, 2015
BBC -- The far-right group threatening to overthrow Ukraine's government - Newsnight

   And here's a video, one of a number by Vice News from the Donbas "front", May 29, 2014. One can see the same sort of extremist passions that were rife in Europe in the 1930s. The Ukrainian "Donbas batallion" speaks of "dialog" as they invade a local police station armed to the teeth and harangue the hapless officers.

Meeting the Donbas Battalion: Russian Roulette in Ukraine (Dispatch 39)

   How is it we have forgotten about these violent passions and the ongoing violence and war that set the stage for what has occurred this year?

   The Russian, Tatar, Ukrainian and other peoples living in the Donbass as elsewhere in general don't hate each other. They have lived together peaceably and intermarried. But the Ukrainian extremists speak of "the right to self determination". They don't see the hypocrisy of applying that to themselves but not to the Eastern and Crimean peoples who don't want to be part of their new Ukraine. "Let them move to Russia." they say. In other words in pursuit of their own "right to self determination" they would turn others into homeless refugees. Nor do they respect that right for others within their own jurisdiction, ruling it with "an iron fist" and Nazi-like atrocities.

   Russia captured secret documents showing that Ukraine had been preparing to launch a major offensive intended to wipe out the Donetsk and Lugansk republics, seemingly about March 1st.
   Authentic looking as it is, Russia could certainly have faked such a paper... except it merely confirms what was already obvious, and why 30,000 more people had recently fled from the Donbass into Russia (on top of 200,000 prior refugees and 14,000 civilians dead since 2014) to escape the recently intensified shelling and what was surely coming.

   If one sees someone beating one's friend, one may first ask him to cease and desist, even a number of times. What to do when he agrees to stop but continues the aggression? Will one let one's bleeding friend be beaten to death, or at some point intervene? And if America is the world's policeman, he was cheering the beater on - and arming him heavily. If one chooses to intervene to try to save one's friend, what form will that take? One may indeed be dismayed by the form it took - escalating a war is not a pretty thing - but can one offer a superior or peaceful alternative that would also work against violence? Russia tried without avail for eight years.
   Did Russia not give a strong warning to Ukraine concerning their obvious intentions by holding military exercises next to the Ukrainian border in the weeks just before they acted? Russia's attack may have preempted Ukraine's by under a week. The intensified shelling and oncoming Ukrainian aggression probab
ly explains the timing of Russia's forceful preemptive reaction.

   Here it is from the horse's mouth: In a talk recorded by Republic World (India) Putin speaks of why they executed the "special military operation" in Ukraine and touches on a number of other topics: how the sanctions on Russia are going to harm the whole global economy and cause famine in poorer countries around the world, how in recent years Western leaders have cared nothing for their own people as the gulf between the many poor and the few ultra-rich widens, and even the World Economic Forum's (WEF) "New World Order". These other topics are in fact nothing new: many astute people in our own Western countries have been saying the same things.

Putin Claims Russia Was Forced To Attack Ukraine; 'Prevented Attack On Donbas, Crimea'

   I had initially thought Russia should just retake the occupied parts of the Donbass (or "Donbas") on behalf of the two republics and stay out of Ukraine proper, and then see what would happen. There might be no need to go farther? Perhaps confronted by Russia the extremists would have had to stand down and eventually more peaceable intentions, conditions and people would prevail? This ignores at least three things however. The first is that the three heavily fortified lines of defenses set up by the extremists and Ukrainian forces probably against just such a scenario might have made it a very costly campaign. The second is that the feigned indignation from the Western establishments would have been no less. All the same sanctions would doubtless have been imposed. And third, there's the increased genocide that would doubtless be unleashed on Russian speaking people on the Ukrainian side of the border. I am forced to the conclusion that it was better to outflank them and hopefully eliminate the worst of the violent Neonaziism from behind and in front. Last I checked they were still taking out their vengeance in Mariupol by wrecking the city, and by shelling Donetsk and towns now retaken by the Donbass republics.

   Ukrainian leader Zelensky said that peace negotiations must take place for the sake of the Ukrainian people. However, in his last sentence he said that ceding any territories of Ukraine - Crimea, Lugansk (lately "Luhansk"?) and Donetsk - was totally unacceptable. Those three regions were all parts of Russia until Kruschev transferred them to Ukraine in 1953. It didn't seem to matter much when they were all part of the Soviet Union. (I understand that once upon a time the Donbass was largely Ukrainian, but many generations have passed since then.)
   What a monkey wrench into the works! The people there today are mostly Russian speaking (speakers of which have been made into second class citizens within Ukraine). They never wanted to be part of Ukraine and they protested, then finally seceded from the "new Ukraine" because of the 2014 Kiev rebellion. Ukraine has not been in control of them (except for having invaded large, more rural parts of Lugansk and Donetsk) for almost 8 years now, and they have been embittered by the attacks. These peoples will not rejoin Ukraine willingly. With these as preconditions negotiations are harpooned before they start.
   I ask myself, what does Ukraine have to gain by continuing to fight? Are the Americans pressing them on? Are the Neonazis driving the agenda? It is claimed the Americans - or is it these extremists? - have threatened to kill two Ukrainian presidents if they wouldn't follow their orders. (Poroshenko signed the first Minsk accord to bring peace to the Donbass and the neonazis called him a traitor and continued attacking. At one point later he said he had resigned, but somehow he was still president afterward.)
   But if Western Ukraine wants closer ties with the West and they don't like people who speak Russian and lean Eastward, why would they even want back the people who kept the country split between East and West? Or do they think they can have the territories, depopulated, for Ukrainian "liebensraum"?

* Sometime earlier in the month, a news article quoted Putin as saying Russia's demands are: Recognition that Crimea (90+% Russian population) is part of Russia, recognition of the Donetsk (>75% Russian) and Lugansk republics (majority Russian) presumably with their original borders - territories their own forces armed with Russian (and captured Ukrainian) weapons have now been taking back in the melee, with Mariupol on the Sea of Azov being much in the news), Ukraine not to join NATO or to get nuclear weapons. With those agreed to, the Russian army would pack up and go home.
   The writer expressed surprise that that was all Russia wanted, and thought they must want more than that. He thought of some other things they might actually want, like to take Odessa (largely Russian speaking but in the more Western part of Ukraine) and cut Ukraine off from the Black sea. Or an American general thought they might hold up to the Dnieper river to retain an overland route from Russia to Crimea. But today they already have one with the Crimean Bridge from the Novorossisk area. (even if it is around 14 Km long!) I don't see holding any parts of "Ukrainian" Ukraine being on the Russian agenda. That would needlessly perpetuate hard feelings that would lead to breaking of deals signed under duress and continuing conflict.

   Zelensky now says Ukraine won't join NATO. There's one key concession. It does not now have nuclear weapons (Thank God!) and if there is peace surely there is no need for them.
   Personally I think the obvious solution is for Ukraine to recognize the independent Donbass republics, and that Crimea is obviously Russian, and end the war immediately - Basicly the Minsk agreements already signed. How else can the festering sores of a nation split in two in most every way be healed? (Restoring the course of the river that used to flow into Crimea and supplied its water might be a nice gesture too. Ukraine diverted it into the sea just above the border. Russia has spent billions since supplying fresh water to Crimea.)
[24th] Now I read that  TheFreeThoughtProject.com  says the US State Department is pressing Zelensky not to negotiate a compromise settlement when he otherwise would, because "The war is bigger than Ukraine and Russia." Apparently it's about "principles of national self determination" that Russia has violated. The USA (which has violated "national self determination" in about 70 countries since World War 2) then may well be the main obstacle.

* Putin gave an address on the occasion of the 8th anniversary of Crimea voting to rejoin Russia in which he said among other things that the main objective was an end to the suffering and genocide in the Donbass, and stated that they [Russians] had not had such unity in a long time.
   By March 20th the advancing forces had found that not only had the Ukrainian extremists been shelling and bombing the republics, they had committed many atrocities against Russian speaking people in the parts of the Donbass they had controlled, including to the elderly, women and children. These crimes are being documented.

* Around mid month it seemed from videos that Russia's forces were faring badly, especially around Kiev and Kharkov (now "Kharkiv"?), and I started to think their plan to invade carefully with minimal "collateral damage" and civilian casualties instead of "blitzkrieg" destroying the infrastructure (power, water, cell towers and internet...) with air attacks and then storming the country quickly like in American invasions, wasn't working out well. The Ukrainian forces are very determined and the slower pace gave them time to rally, rearm and organize, and to blow up bridges, roads and rail lines to impede the Russian advance. Belarus forces were said to be demoralized and withdrawing. It is hard to gain a definite impression of the progress or lack thereof as different sources give wildly different views, but near the end of the month Russia was withdrawing forces from near those cities.
   In Mariupol (in Donbass, pop. 500,000) where the most fanatic "Azov Battalion" was stationed and soon cut off from the Ukraine, the worst humanitarian crisis unfolded. Humanitarian evacuation corridors were established but the Neonazis held onto the population (and the regular Ukrainian military) as hostages and shot those who tried to leave. There was no food, water, electricity or heat. The Donbass forces (apparently the whole able-bodied male population of Donetsk was conscripted) had to beat them out neighborhood by neighborhood. On the 21st it was demanded that they surrender the city, and that if they did they would be allowed to go back to Ukraine. They didn't. Later Ukraine said they should try to sneak out disguised as civilians. By April 1st the Donetsk People's Republic ("DPR") forces had reduced their domain to a couple of neighborhoods and a huge factory complex.
   I would guess Ukraine must have had a lot more ordinance and ammunition before the start of the fighting than most of us suspected. (Billion of dollars worth from USA just since the start of 2022, it would seem.) But after all, they had been planning to soon invade and presumably exterminate the Donbass. (Would they really have gone for Crimea next?!? It seems absurd.)

   As the end of the month approached, Zelensky started talking about Ukrainian neutrality, no atomic weapons, and giving up some of eastern Donbass. From that it didn't sound like he was ready to give up the whole region. He wants to meet with Putin.
   Russia attacked a fuel depot and military targets at Lvov (now "Lviv"?) in the west of Ukraine with missiles and cruise missiles. (Including a school being used as a military depot. Military installations in such buildings sound in Western news propaganda like civilian targets. Do you ever hear it explained that it was a military installation and that there are no children in the school?) Russia has mostly left the west end of the country alone, but surely they don't like all the advanced anti-aircraft, anti-tank and other ordinance coming in unchallenged for Ukraine from the West through Poland.
   A military analyst thought the Northern Russian forces were trying to surround and cut off the powerful Ukrainian/Extremist forces in the East of the country and in the Donbass, that were to have attacked the Donbass republics. This would be the obvious move if they are able. A force coming up from Crimea might be trying to cut Ukraine in two farther west, or to take Odessa and cut Ukraine off from the Black Sea.
   At the end of the month troops were massing on the Western borders of Ukraine and Belarus. (Polish and um... Lithuanian?) This threatens to increase the entire scale of the war. Let us pray this doesn't escalate to a nuclear exchange! Such an event might well be the end of the world and humanity.
   On April first two Ukrainian marked helicopters flew low over the Russian border and destroyed an oil refinery near Belgorod with unguided missiles. At first Ukraine denied it was them, but later they said it was. Some commenting under these reports suspected it was an American "false flag" provocation designed to increase suspicion and animosity - probably to ensure no peace deal would be signed. It might be working - Russia then destroyed the Ukrainian military headquarters in Kiev with a supersonic cruise missile. (Note that that means they could probably have destroyed it any time but didn't until now. OTOH it does look like they have been shelling rather indiscriminately around Kiev as they withdraw from that area... or is it the Ukrainian military occupying schools and apartments? Who can tell?)

* Another Indian general (than the one I quoted last month) on Republic World says the US military industrial complex (MIC) loves the war and wants it to go on and on, the longer the better. They make a killing from arms and munitions sales. Switzerland has offered to mediate or host negotiations. The USA OTOH has not offered to help broker or mediate a peace deal. On the contrary, the USA has supplied 13.6 billion dollars to Ukraine this year, and now a new 800 million dollar arms package. Oh goody for the MIC armaments manufacturers and the American oligarchs! Fourteen Billion Dollars! For Ukraine?!? And according to a chart [WorldPopulationReview.com] the USA's total military budget for 2022 was forecast as Seven Hundred and Fifty Billion Dollars! (Wasn't that the total US budget just a few years ago?) It's looking more and more like the whole thing is another American instigated proxy war. As the other Indian general said last month, "USA will fight Russia to the last Ukrainian."
   And these vast sums will be paid for by?... It's another excuse to grab any wealth American citizens still have. Two thirds of them now are already struggling to make ends meet, paycheque to paycheque, with no savings. Russia's 2022 military budget forecast was listed as 48 billion dollars - 6% of USA's.

= = = = =

   What good will profits to the US MIC and their ultra-rich oligarchs be when the food runs out in USA and their own nation collapses into chaos? The sanctions cripple the whole world economy, not just Russia's. Amid growing shortages and rapidly rising prices, violence and theft is quickly on the rise in the USA. Stores are shoplifted from, looted and even burned, holes are drilled in the bottom of vehicle tanks to steal increasingly costly gasoline (why bother with siphoning it?), and "The Great Train Robbery" has nothing on the continuing pillage - mass package theft from locked shipping containers by mobs of looters when the trains come to a stop in Los Angeles. Hence the looting of society by the most wealthy is now being reflected in looting by the poorest. (moral decline... or simple desperation?) Nothing effective is being done to stop the chaos. The slowly simmering "American Spring" crisis may be sudden and will surely be overwhelming when it fully breaks. The government will probably collapse.
   It may be the financial system that collapses first. Inflation by the month instead of by the year will soon lead to everyone suddenly going out and spending whatever money they have and buying anything of value for any price until no one wants the money any more.
   It's all coming to a theatre much too near you!


   What does all this mean for everyone everywhere? The longer the war goes on, the faster the whole world falls apart. Collapse of economies, supply chains and food supplies everywhere is being fast-tracked.
   As the world's supply of food dries up there is apparently no seed in Ukraine ("the breadbasket of Europe") as well as no fertilizer to plant crops in the coming weeks. A peace agreement ASAP would be timely. No crops this year in Ukraine and no exports from Russia will/would almost certainly mean famine in the Middle East. If the West tries to supply food to Ukraine and or the Middle East to avert famine there, already scanty food in Europe and North America will become unaffordable if not unavailable. There are already massive runs on grocery stores in China, and it seems that already over 40 million people in the USA aren't really getting enough to eat. Bread lines at food banks became huge starting 2 or 3 years ago. Russia, which has been building up its agricultural base and stocking up food supplies in recent years, will probably get dragged into the muddle anyway and we'll all be in it together rather soon now.
   This is partly because the planet is so overpopulated that any downturn in food production and distribution is bound to be catastrophic, and partly because of lack of effective leadership from those in power throughout the Western world. There is no attempt to help struggling farmers and increase - or prevent the decrease - of food production. Fertilizer has quite suddenly become unaffordable for 2022 (300% to 500% price increases) and also unavailable as Russian exports have been cut off. This will considerably curtail the productivity of farmland. Governments around the world are likely to fail and a considerable degree of anarchy is likely to reign. The process was already happening: the "everything shortage" was already being felt. This conflict, dragging on and with all the "sanctions" helping to destroy trade, is only accelerating it.
   At the end of the month it sounded like India was going to export some wheat to Egypt "to stabilize the market". India grows as much wheat as Ukraine and Russia. It apparently has surplus from a good harvest last year. (Nice someone had a good harvest last year! India doesn't usually export much in order to feed their own 1.3 billion population.) It may be then that the worst disaster can be staved off another year - if India can deliver.

   It has been said that when it collapses, the world will have to rebuild from the community level up. I think the survivors, seeing what will have happened and having all the knowledge of the past available on the internet (which may go down for a time or in some places, but will be restored eventually), will do a better job at creating stable and even sustainable societies, able to adapt to progress and social change, than any previously. But it is likely to be 3 or 4 decades before the present and the future start looking bright again.


   Okay, I'm thoroughly sick of this subject now. We'll have to see how it develops.

   Can Russia bring their "special military operation" to a successful conclusion? There seems to be no power or diplomacy in Ukraine that could bring the Neonazis under control, disband or disarm them, and they simply would not have peace. (Some find war for glory and trying to run other peoples' lives is more thrilling. Neonaziism is said to be on the rise throughout Europe. The president and a presidential candidate of Serbia have accused the USA of trying to foment a Neonazi "Maidan Rebellion" in Serbia no matter who wins the election.) In Ukraine, populations, police and politicians seem to be cowering under their thumb, like in Nazi Germany in the 1930s.
   This is not the second world war, and the Russian attack isn't Communist expansionism. We sincerely pray for the fighting to end quickly with whatever compromises are needed on all sides, and some semblance of normalcy is restored and farming and commerce resumed, and that international hotheads will not further inflame the situation and escalate the scale of the fighting. "Denazify and Demilitarize the Ukraine". The intense fighting suggests that there were far more of both extremists and militarisation than most of us realized. Putin stated that Russia does not intend to occupy Ukraine but will withdraw when the mission is accomplished. (Western media doesn't give this promise much if any press.) "Ukraine" here does not of course include the Donbass where there were celebrations and fireworks the day Russia gave them diplomatic recognition. As long as there is no negotiated settlement, Russia will attempt to continue. And certainly Zelensky's public demands that the Donbass and Crimea be returned to Ukraine ensure there will be no negotiated settlement. He was finally softening near the end of the month.
   (One suspects that even agreements, withdrawal and peace won't end the sanctions against Russia. Someone said USA was just looking for an excuse Europe would agree to to put them on.)

   Well it's said, "All things work together for the progress of men and angels." Sometimes it's just not immediately apparent how. But at some point the growing "everything shortage" can only end with mass deaths worldwide. And with ever more pollution, increasing encroachment on remaining wildlife habitats and species going extinct daily, the sooner everything collapses the more will be left of Earth's dying ecosystems for the rebuilding for all future generations. And a population collapse from around 8 billion people is fewer untimely deaths than from 9 or 10 or 11 billion (to an even smaller remainder) if we ever got that far. In the very long view maybe these accelerations to the collapse that has become inevitable anyway are good things?

Smol Thots

* Thomas Sowell (Youtube) explains why Africa has such a handicap for trade: It is a "mesa" and unlike other continents there are hardly any good harbors along most of the coast, especially the Atlantic, and waterfalls or rapids before a river reaches the sea, so they're not navigable by ships. So only the most valuable things are worth carrying out for trade with the rest of the world.

* I think I get more scam phone calls with recorded voices than real phone calls. (This may say something about my social life too... but!) They're almost every day - directing me to "press One to speak to an authorized representative" or to call some number about "an important business matter of yours". The call display often gives phoney numbers. Sometimes the same ones go on and on for years. Any time, even in the wee hours of the morning - I had to unplug the phone in my bedroom long ago.
   No wonder nobody wants a listed number any more!

(Eccentric Silliness Department)

* Bumble bees are B9 in when there are just a few, but become C3H4N3O9* near their hive when their numbers grow large.

       * = Nitroglycerin -- very volatile

* An angry beaver goes into a hot beaverage.

* A horse is just a neighsayer.

* Hungary is banning grain exports. I guess they don't want their citizens to go hungary!

* When the $hit hits the fan, the fertilizer shortage will be solved.

* An intruder is someone who breaks into homes. Is an extruder someone who breaks out of them?

* "Yes, I have sternly warned Caesar to beware the Ides of April. Why, is something wrong?"

   "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

Spring Gardening


   I planted some seedlings in small square pots starting in late in February. I put them inside the window from the window greenhouse. I think it was still too cold even inside, as most of them didn't come up. Except for the few that did, I replanted them all toward the end of March. Then I started putting an LED grow light over them during the day... to make a little heat, not light!

Speaking of the window greenhouse...

The carrots I planted in the bucket in early December next to the woodstove under LED grow lights
are still pretty small - a bite or two. I guess they're not growing very fast in the cold since I moved them.

Some lettuce, cauliflower and spinach (large blue pots) are doing well as are some sunflowers (small blue, round brown) pots.

Some of the corn in the old toilet paper rolls came up great, but many tubes just sat there. I've finally planted more
in the empties (about 48 tubes). The idea is to transplant them into the greenhouse, one simply puts the whole tube
in a hole and fills the dirt in around it. Less stress than a "transplant".

   In the big rectangular green pot are 3 rows of onion sets. I hope they transplant well -
with their thin, spreading roots they're the ones that should really have been in toilet paper rolls.

PS: Once something comes up, it does much better in the oven-sterilized soil without fungus gnat larvae chopping off the roots and buds.
PPS: I moved them all in for the picture. They're usually more spread out.

The south wall garden now has chives and 3 kinds of onions planted in front of the blueberries.
Past the bare area is garlic planted last fall and coming up nicely, and the apricot tree.
Between the tree and the greenhouse was potatos and now it needs de-grassing and the soil needs reworking.

The key to getting fruit is probably to get some honey bees to pollinate the trees better.
I've covered the plywood to weatherproof it and set my insulated bee palace with extra
deep frames out on the lawn with a couple of drops of lemon grass oil to attract any
passing scouts from a swarm. (Fingers crossed!) Frames full of honey would be a bonus!

On the coast here potatos would seem to be the key to getting enough
calories to live on if there's nothing else. They grow like weeds here.
(Potatos enabled a huge population boom in Ireland until they got a fungus blight.)

Here looking about northeast at the north 2/5 of the garden, the big old spruce tree roots and
much of the tough swamp grass with almost impenetrable masses of thick roots have been dug up.

The east half has raspberries from last year, many with that nearly undiggable swamp grass
all around them and the everbearing ones, just little sticks with roots, just planted.
(Now if I dig up the swamp grass it'll uproot the raspberries.)

I put a "tent pole" stake to the left of each raspberry stick to help me avoid stepping on them while I worked on
the west half, which so far has two well fertilized, loose soil rows of 12 planted potatos, to become 3 or 3-1/2 rows.

The other 3/5 of the garden will be planted as it gets warmer.

It was days of work digging down through the mass of swamp grass roots
 to expose the tree roots and then cutting through them with a chainsaw.

   Planting the potatos involved some more weeding, digging up the soil and loosening it to 12 inches on each side of the row with the shovel, digging 6 inch deep trenches 30 inches apart, and adding fertilizers. Any soil will grow potatos, but they are heavy feeders and will do much better in loose, fertile soil. I used things I had: potassium sulfate because potatos need sulfate, woodstove ashes for potassium (ya, I already added potassium, right?), lime grit/powder (lime gets washed out in heavy rains around here), straw with chicken manure, eel grass from the ocean, some bone meal (for phosphorus) and a bit of borax. (Having used up the packaged things, later I bought some 4-20-20 fertilizer and magnesium sulfate (epsom salt) for next year. But I should also look for natural sources.)

Plastic Recycling 2.0


[11th] I've had a couple of ideas. One
is that the pieces of rope shrivel up as they melt, causing them all to go to the center of the mold. That's doubtless part of the problem with filling the corners. I think for the next try, instead of just cutting pieces to fit into the mold, I'll cut a few pieces very short and set them in the corners, so when they shrivel they'll already still be near the corners. I bet that'll help distribute the material evenly

[14th] I loaded the mold and put it in the oven. One of the springs holding the frame together had lost its spring and it sort of came apart. Ug! I wired up a low voltage light in the greenhouse and did several other things while it was in the oven. After [at least] an hour I checked and the PP was melting. I thought I would leave it in another 20 minutes with the oven turned off to flow a bit more. But I was doing too many things. I set the timer for 20 minutes, but I forgot to unplug the oven. I opened the door and left it another 15, then I went to take the mold out and the springs finished letting the outer frame fall off. This mold takes up almost the whole oven width and depth. Only when it was half out did I see the oven element under it was still glowing.
   But really, I should have left it those 20 minutes as it was, then another 20 after turning the oven off.
   As it was, the plastic was quite viscous but still melted and I had undone the screws, allowing the lid to sag toward the bottom at one corner, and a lot of PP oozed out the back edge.

Figure 2. This plate came out pretty even in thickness, but too much plastic       
oozed out the edges (especially at the top) instead of filling everything in.        
   Putting the small pieces of rope in the corners helped. One corner was solid, another was virtually there but it didn't quite flush out the front edge near the corner. The other two weren't as bad as usual. The thickness was more uniform than the previous two, and with leaving it sandwiched between the top and the bottom until it was cool, it was flat with no warping/curve. If the mold had been solid with less PP lost out the back edge, another 20 minutes might have made it a nice job. I note that there are a couple of "cracks" where the plastic hasn't fused together (right side near the corners), and I trust these too would have been solved by more oven time and sufficient PP that it would all press together better.

   I definitely need to improve this mold.

   Even so, if I cut off the excess and the missing bits to make it a plain, solid rectangle, I could dig it in (several of them) vertically around the end wall of the greenhouse where there is no cement footing, to keep weed roots and slugs out. Unlike wood, it should last a long time half buried in the soil.

   One might also use them as tiles for a path through the greenhouse, to keep one's shoes clean. I think I'll be using up the [otherwise] rejects for these things, rather than re-melting them and trying again.

Garden Edge Pieces

   As with the greenhouse, it occurred to me to dig in slabs of plastic around the edges of the garden to stop grass and weed roots from encroaching into the garden from the lawn all around. My previous plan in mind for a long time had been to make little concrete "footing" walls, but this should be easier. (When years go by and a plan hasn't been carried out because it's too much work, another route is worth considering!)
   And the plastic makes a taller barrier to tall grass. And hopefully to slugs.

   I'd really like to make sheets about 15 inches tall and 3 or 4 or 5 feet long (as long as I can make them?) Of course, to do that I have to make a really big box mold (steel this time), and I have to make the big long oven to do the melt in. Those will be a lot of work, but they're one-time jobs. Once they're made, I can make (and sell?) the end products. (Maybe I should have got a few more hundreds of pounds of ropes while they were available down the road? Hmm, there are still a bunch of full forklift bags there!)

[26th] I've been meaning to make more and more square sheets both for the windplants and for the garden, but the mold needs reworking and I haven't found the time. The edge cracks are just too thick and too much PP is oozing out, as seen in "Figure 2" above.
   It also occurs to me that the problem with getting the corners to fill is in large part because the first thing that happens as the plastic gets hot is that the ropes shrivel up to half their original length. So the plastic mostly ends up in a blob at the center which then has to gradually ooze out again to fill the mold.
   I've tried cutting the ropes into small lengths. It seems to help (Figure 2) but it's extra work and so far not the whole answer. Now it occurs to me to "pre-melt" the ropes in batches: put a lot of them on sheets/trays in the oven and get them hot enough that they shrivel up, then set them aside to use in molds, "pre-shriveled". And just maybe they'll shrink in height a bit too, which would make it easier to fit them into the molds. It would be nice to only need 1.5 inch tall (or lower) sides for molds making only 1/4 inch thick plates.

[27th] Someone asked me, what about cleaning the sand in the ropes? Ropes off the beach almost always have some sand embedded in them. I said I sprayed them off with the hose and then dunked them in a pail of water. Big ropes I've lately started untwisting into their component smaller sections to release more sand. But a few sand grains embedded in my products are not of much significance.
   So I didn't understand the real import of the question. If one were shredding plastic into tiny bits for an extruder, any sand in the plastic would quickly dull the shredder blades. They would probably also harm an extruder screw, and maybe an injector nozzle and "fine detail" molds. So old ropes - a great source of fine polypropylene - would be considered unrecyclable. There's another score for "Plastic Recycling 2.0"! -- It's the only way that can make use of this valuable material.

[28th] I certainly don't seem to be finding time to mold more pieces, of any shape! I'm mostly working in the garden.

[30th] After getting not much done on this for a couple of weeks, I sprayed the disk mold with silicone lube, loaded it with 643g of mostly black rope pieces and put it in the oven timed for 75 minutes. I used 37 pounds of steel weights on top. (That seemed excessive, but the result was good.) The temperature of the top of the mold hit about 290°C. Perhaps that was a bit long? After 15 minutes more with the door still shut, it was 205°. I opened the door, left it another 15, and unscrewed the lid-stop screws that [supposedly] set the final thickness. I left it propped up on edge until it was cold. It was strangely hard to pry out of the mold. I had to take both screws to make the outside edge into two pieces and gingerly pry them away. Then I had to use a hammer & chisel and a screwdriver and pry the top off little by little. The bottom was only somewhat easier. Usually the piece shrinks and cracks away from the mold but this one didn't seem to have shrunk at all. Was it this particular rope? Was it because it got hotter than usual?

   I thought it was going to be the best piece yet. In some ways it is. I could see it had fully filled to the outside edges and for once it was a uniform thickness all the way around. But when I pried the top off I saw that it had a big gap... this time, in the center! and a couple of small ones, as well as a few bubbles (as usual). There's a big hole where the axle goes, but being not fussy, as there are no gaps where the screws go to hold the blades on I'll use it as a center divider in a windplant.
   Having put the screws in properly and got a fairly uniform thickness, I would say that 643 grams just wasn't quite enough PP for a proper fill. I'll add 50 or 60 next time. The oven timing and the hefty amount of weight however seem to have worked out right. I was surprised how little PP oozed out the crack between the rim and the lid.

   Then I discovered a trick that has been part of the reason for non uniform thicknesses: When I screwed them back into the lid, for the first time I noticed that one of the six depth setting machine screws looked fractionally longer than the others, sticking out a bit too far, and one was was just a touch shorter. Maybe a millimeter plus longer, less than that shorter. These screws had all come out of the same package! I replaced these and they all seemed to have very close to the same protrusion through the lid, but then I measured with a micrometer and filed the ends off some to get them all within .2mm protrusion of each other, about 5.5mm, which is then of course the thickness of the sheet (all going according to plan).

   I measured out 696 grams for the next try.

[31st] After cutting down two more trees in the day I loaded the mold and set it up. As it was dark, I waited until the next day. Again 37 pounds of weights. I set the oven time for 70 minutes, but when I came in from digging and fertilizing a row to plant potatoes it was already beeping. So it might have been near 71-75 minutes (hopefully not much more). The top of the mold read 272°C. I unplugged the oven and left it another 20. I meant to open the door, but being busy and absent minded, I checked the temperature again (190-200°) and closed it again for another 20 (160-190°). So it was in with the oven turned off for 40 minutes. I pulled it out and turned out the bottom screws. It was starting to rain so I set it on edge to cool under the porch roof. This time some PP had oozed out where the gaps were largest and I hoped it would be completely filled this time.

   When I opened it the result was as usual less than perfect. First it was again very hard to separate from the mold. This time it was thicker on one side - seemingly too much plastic so it couldn't press down to the screws all the way around. And yet in spite of a mostly good flow there was a crack with a void between a black and a green piece of rope on the thin side (seen at top, maybe 4 inches long) and some other delaminations, whereas the previous one, despite having a bit too little plastic in it, was a great melt with uniform thickness to the depth setting screws and very solid with no cracks or incomplete melted spots. I'm going to guess that the oven should be on longer rather than shorter and I'll try 80 minutes next time to try and get the plastic a bit hotter and hopefully less viscous for a better flow. Then just 15 minutes before I open the door, and hope that cooling from "still somewhat melted" to "cool" more rapidly makes it easier to get out of the mold. And go in between to about 670 grams of PP.

   Optimum times may vary a bit with different size molds, too.

   Well, I'm hoping that I'm developing something that may be a bit of an art form that takes practice but can end up producing good results most every time. I don't see why it can't.

Source of Steel Plate?

   I had also been looking for steel plate to make larger molds from. I figured I could weld angle iron around the edges to make side walls, in such a way as to recess it to make the edges thicker than the center. Again if I was in civilization where there was a metals store, I would have just gone and bought some. For big heavy things the internet is probably not a good place to shop.
   One day at the refuse station I had seen propane tanks and thought I could cut the top and bottom off, slit it at the seam and flatten out the metal. Somehow I had forgotten about this potential solution, but I remembered it on this day. The sides of a 100 pound tank measured 35 inches long and 46.5 inches around. That was big enough for anything I wanted to do. How hard would it be to flatten and how thick was the metal? I suspect it's still rather thin.
   Then too, Coastal Propane had larger 85 gallon tanks past their legal expiry dates for free. Those were a little too big to get into a car, but I could grab one or more with the trailer. With their larger diameter they would probably be thicker steel. And have a shallower curve to flatten out. If they were suitable the big expense would be time and zip disks to cut it. (Unless I got a lot better with the plasma cutter than the other time I tried it, or could use the HHO torch, handheld.)

   I am however having second thoughts about welding sides onto the molds, whatever they're made of. I think if I couldn't have removed the outer rim of the disk mold for these last two pieces, I'd have had a terrible time getting them out - it was bad enough as it was. I think I'll elect to bolt on at least two of four sides on any mold, unless I find the plastic falls off steel much more easily.

Off Grid Power -- Greenhouse Light, Power Usage

Greenhouse Light

     The flat LED COB light is just left of the greenhouse "shower" door, glowing with about 1 watt on "low".
   On the 14th, waiting for plastic in the oven, I ran a skinny (#18 AWG) speaker wire from my 36V DC electrical panel along the wall, around the corner and out through the wall to the greenhouse outside. I connected it to an unused breaker in the DC breaker box (5 amp) and soldered a T-Plug to the greenhouse end.
   I plugged in one of the 2$ DC to DC converters and plugged my first 12V flat COB LED light (made 3 years ago?) into that, and screwed it to the wall near the door. After dark I went out to the greenhouse and switched it on. It was great! I plucked off a couple of tender little cabbage leaves and ate them.

   I had been meaning to put a light in there for some time, but it had only just occurred to me to use the speaker wire that I got 3 or 4 months ago and the COB light. The light has "low" (1W) and "high" (9W) with a 3 position switch. I'm not sure there's any use for "low" when it'll only be turned on occasionally, to look for edibles at night. Of course by using a 36V DC circuit one eliminates any possibility of electrocution from having a 120V circuit in a damp area. And by making it a T-Plug socket I can change to another light any time - thinking of a really bright 30 by 60 cm flat panel light in case this doesn't seem to be enough light when the greenhouse is full of plants.
   I decided the speaker wire is great for this sort of low power DC wiring and bought 4 more 50 foot packages of it at the dollar store, where it was half the price I saw anywhere on line in Canada. Running DC wiring with 36 volts is an advantage in having 1/3 the current and so 1/3 the voltage drop of 12 volts, and also the voltage drop is 1/3 as significant for power loss, plus (ya, I've said it before) it's about the highest voltage that has little personal electrocution hazard.

   (Being able to pick greens easily at dinner time will increase the amount of them in my diet in the darker months!)

Off Grid Power Usage

   As well as "off grid" this little study is for if the regular power goes off for an extended period of time. Our infrastructure seems to be aging if not decaying and there are warnings about this from various quarters. Everybody's regional situation is unique, as are weather patterns. Here the diesel generator power will go off if petroleum supplies are interrupted for a period. Also I understand the generators are overdue for replacement, and emergency maintenance has caused occasional troubles. There will still be power at times from a hydro dam at Lake Moresby, but this small reservoir can't supply all the needs unless it rains continually. When the weather is dry it can't supply much or any. Also a transformer blew and the hydro power was off line for a year or so(!) until a new one came.
   The north end of this same island has a separate power grid, wholly dependent on diesels. Both grids are supplemented with a few solar panel grid-tie installations on rooftops. These are very local grids on an island for a sparse, scattered population. Most regions have various electricity sources on huge interconnected grids, and sometimes they can't be separated and may all go down at once, as happened once in the US Northeast. Texas has a large grid not connected to others, and in February 2021 in extreme cold weather, gas pipes snapped, gas generators went off line, and people lost power over wide areas. Such "extreme weather" disasters are likely to be repeated in other places.

   I bought a 4.5 cubic foot freezer for Perry & deer meat he wanted to hunt (as well as just more freezer space). It says on it that it uses 216 KWH of electricity per year. I plugged a power meter in line and found that it had used 5.24 KWH in 12 days, or 437 WH/Day. That's only about 160 KWH per year. I thought that seemed really good, then I thought about how cold that hallway has been in the winter. If the freezer was in a 20° room 216 KWH might be pretty close. As it is, it's less of a load in the winter when there's little solar power.
   But even 436 WH/Day (~11 amp-hours at 38 volts) is a big draw if you're only getting 1 KWH/day from the solar system in December. There's the gasoline 1500W generator to recharge in dire emergencies - ug! ...now about that wind and water power.
   The kitchen refrigerator is something of a killer. It uses over 1000 watt-hours/day.


   Perry found a somewhat larger free freezer to hold more deer meat. (He didn't manage to get any more deer. It seems to already be in shorter supply as beef prices go up.) It's in the Garage along with the old freezer. Considering the garage is quite cold (unheated unless it's freezing out), the high energy use figures below would be still higher in a normally heated space.

10.65 KWH (Perry's - 10 cubic feet?), 10.54 KWH (my old freezer - ) from march 14th, 11:45 PST to march 27th, 11:45 PM PST.

   These work out to:

789 WH/Day
781 WH/Day

   It would would seem my old freezer uses virtually as much energy as Perry's new one, almost twice as large. So if the grid does indeed become unreliable, my old freezer and the fridge should be the first things to go. My new freezer can be adjusted to be a chest refrigerator, and Perry's freezer is worth running if/when there's frozen food to fill it.


   What about lights? LED lights of course. In the winter again is when you most want them. To be nicely lit, they can be on 8 hours in the evening (if not all day). The little lights that let you see where you're going are almost trivial. If you want a nice 30 by 60 cm panel light on to read and work by, it's at least 10 watts, and 15 to 20 is brighter. One can of course flip lights on and off going between rooms, and if power is short that's worth doing, so presumably for one person only one bright light will be on at a time. Say for all the lights, 30 watts times 8 hours is 240 watt-hours per day.

Electricity Storage

[No Reports]

Electricity Generation

Vertical Axis Wind and Water Plant

   Where to put this? This month the project was wholly focused on making parts from recycled PP plastic, and so the article is under 'Other Green Projects' -- "Plastic Recycling 2.0", above.

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.

28th 2542.86, 53.95, .00 => 6.73 [93707@16:30]

01st 2546.42, 56.17, .27 => 6.05 [55Km; 93735@18:00]
02nd2550.90, 58.57, .00 => 6.88 [93759@20:00] -- wanted to put out newsletter here
03rd 2554.75, 60.72, .00 => 6.00 [93784@18:30]
04th 2559.40, 63.67, .08 => 7.68 [93809@19:00]
05th 2561.21, 64.70, .20 => 3.04 [55Km; 93848@19:00] The bad days in March are like the good days in December.
06th 2566.67, 68.32, .07 => 9.15 [65Km; 93881@18:00]
07th 2568.99, 68.97, .13 => 3.10 [93917@18:30] -- finally got to it here! What happened?
08th 2574.47, 70.98, .17 => 7.66 [50Km; 93959@19:00] Something is wrong with the 700W grid tie at the cabin. (See monthly notes below - otherwise should have been 9+KWH) Connections okay. Good voltages. Swapped AC cables. Swapped it for the spare and the spare does exactly the same thing: red light flashes green for an instant every few seconds, then goes back to red. The 1000W inverter on the other two panels kept working fine throughout. I think I want some more of those ones!
09th 2580.11, 75.79, .19 => 10.64 [93987@18:00] Sunny day except for some light chemtrails. I unplugged Perry's RV and the 700W grid tie started working again. Twice the collection over the day! I ran 150 feet of ex. cord to the garage and plugged it in there. The one at the cabin started working, but the 700W one in the garage stopped working! Egads! I ordered a 1400W grid tie to have extra capacity. The problem was the dual-power heater in the RV. It had a diode to cut 500W to 250W by powering just 1/2 of each cycle! (Is that even legal?) So the cycle halves were uneven in voltage, and the grid tie didn't like it.
10th 2582.43, 77.30, .04 => 3.87 [94020@18:30]
11th 2585.75, 79.97, .18 => 6.17 [90Km; 94073@19:00]
12th 2590.40, 83.05, .00 => 7.73 [75Km; 94110@19:00]
13th 2591.80, 84.01, .26 => 2.61 [65Km; 94161@23:00]
14th 2595.03, 86.35, .16 => 5.73 [94200@22:30] Hmm, a bum switch wasn't feeding 3 solar panels to a house grid tie. These particular Chinese switches that I bought a bag of are crap -- breaking down by not making contact or jamming. (I've ordered some new ones, different brand.)
15th 2598.96, 88.42, .19 => 6.19 [55Km; 94239@18:30]
16th 2602.35, 90.12, .06 => 5.15 [94277@19:30]
17th 2606.57, 93.09, .17 => 7.36 [94309@18:30]
18th 2611.74, 96.76, .00 => 8.84 [85Km; 94358@19:30] Quite a bit of sun. Also a little rain.
19th 2616.20, 100.1, .00 => 7.80 [55Km; 94395@19:00] Awk, Snow! (Didn't stay.) Hey, that KWH meter only has 4 digits!
20th 2618.35, 101.9, .37 => 4.31 [94436@19:30] Wind, rain. (Ran Sprint car - recharge .37)
21st 2620.71, 103.5, .10 => 4.06 [94472@19:00; 55Km] More of it.
22nd 2623.88,105.9, .17 => 5.74 [94519@19:00] I reset the KWH meter at the cabin to improve the precision.
23rd 2630.59, 04.88, .0 => 11.59 [80Km; 94561@19:00] Much sun & a few sprinkles
24th 2632.52, 06.33, .29 => 3.71 [94608@19:30]
25th 2637.63, 09.76, .00 => 8.54 [94628@19:30]
26th 2640.20, 11.49, .00 => 5.30 [60Km; 94667@19:00]
27th 2644.93, 14.87, .43 => 8.54 [94697@20:00; 60Km]
28th 2652.87, 20.01, .13=>13.21 [94729@19:30] Sunny but some haze (Left a switch on DC - coulda made more!)
29th 2658.25, 23.07, .00 => 8.44 [65Km; 94767@20:30]
30th 2666.00, 27.34, .00=>12.02 [94804@20:00] Sunny much of the day. Cut down an alder tree
31st 2671.39, 30.34, .00 => 8.39 [94831@19:30] Cut down a spruce and an alder. - just a bit less shade on the garden etc. (& some firewood, maybe alder lumber?)

1st  2679.02, 34.79, .00 => 12.08 [85Km; 94876@19:30]
2nd 2681.12, 36.12, .43 =>   3.76 [55km; 94909@19:30] rain, wind, even flakes of sleet in evening.
3rd 2689.83, 41.50, .00 => 14.09 [94939@22:00] Drizzle AM, then sunny PM.

Daily KWH from solar panels. (Compare March 2022 with February 2022 & with March 2021.)

Days of
__ KWH
March 2022
(15 solar panels)
February 2022
(15 sol. panels but
2 mostly in shade)
March 2021 (11 solar
panels) (Snow, not one
bright sunny day the
Whole month)














Total KWH
Km Driven
on Electricity
1001.6 Km
(~160 KWH?)
893.8 Km
(~130 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 solar 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 (usually) worth reporting. So there's just the 2 grid tie systems: house and "roof over travel trailer" (AKA "Cabin").
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]
Oct.   -  1-31:   77.52 +   41.85 + 4.10(DC) = 123.47 KWH Solar [1066 KWH from grid; 150 KWH (est) used by car]
Nov.  -   1-31:  34.69 +  18.92 + 3.82 = 57.43 KWH Solar [1474 KWH from grid (ouch!); 140 (est) used by car]
Dec. - 1-31: 24.00 + 5.22 + 3.76 = 32.98 [1589 KWH from grid (ouch again! Must be the -10°'s); 120 KWH used by car]

Jan.  - 1-31: 32.83 + 20.54 + 4.57 - 57.94 KWH Solar [2556 from grid] Double ouch! Trailer 400W heater, Perry's RV 500W heater, bedroom heat, car using extra power (100 KWH with less driving)... and so little sun!
Feb.  - 1-28: 66.63 + 32.09 + 3.42(DC) = 102.14 KWH Solar [1118 KWH from grid; 130 (est) used by car]
Three years of solar!
March - 1-31: 128.53 + 82.29 + 3.66(DC) = 214.48 [1124 KWH from grid]

Things Noted - March 2022

* The two new(est) solar panels on the pole, seemingly always in at least part shadow in the winter, are finally getting some sun as it rises higher. (& a couple of branches were trimmed off a tree just south of it by the power line.)

* In February a spruce tree that didn't look very healthy last year was virtually dead and I had it cut down. (More 2" by 4"s for the cabin walls!) That'll be a few shadows off the house solar panels in late morning - except in summer, when the shadows from that set of 4 (now 3) trees don't reach the house anyway. February production from house was up maybe 15% (but also with 2 new "always in shade" panels and switching of all panels to AC (manual switches) when not needed for DC/batteries) and I look forward improved results in spring and fall.

* This March seems a lot nicer than last March! - much higher production. (The new panels & switches don't hurt, either!)

A Problem
*  On the 8th something seemed to be wrong with the 700W grid tie at the cabin. Connections okay. Good voltages. Swapped AC cables. Swapped it for the spare unit and it does exactly the same thing: red light flashes green for an instant every few seconds, then goes back to red. The 1000W inverter on the other two panels kept working fine throughout. On the 9th I unplugged Perry's RV and the 700W grid tie started working again. Twice the collection over the day! I ran 150 feet of ext. cord to the garage and plugged the RV in there. The one at the cabin kept working, but the 700W one in the garage stopped working! Egads! I ordered a 1400W grid tie to have extra capacity.
   But the problem was the dual-power heater in the RV. It had a diode to cut 500W to 250W by powering the heating element just 1/2 of each cycle! (Is that even legal?) So the cycle halves were uneven in current, and the grid tie didn't like it and exercised discretion, normally the better part of valor.

* [30th] I passed by in the garage and looked at the solar power meter. Gasp! A record 1804 Watts was going into the plug in the garage! Theoreticly that should have blown the breaker (by 4 watts). This will only increase as the sun gets higher. I need to split the panels onto two circuits.

* Huh! One day each: 9, 10, 11, 12 ,13 KWH.


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]
March 2021-Feb. 2022: 2063.05 KWH Solar [used 10977 KWH from grid]

Haida Gwaii, BC Canada