Turquoise Energy News #166
2022 (Posted April 4rd 2022)
Lawnhill BC Canada - by Craig Carmichael
(Project Summaries etc.)
- Gardening - Handheld Bandsaw: Milling & Improvements -
Various... - Ni-Zn Batteries & Open Loop Air Heat Pumping thoughts
(Miscellaneous topics, editorial comments & opinionated rants)
- Justice & Elimination of Antisocial Predators - Ukraine
(again/more) - Smol
Thots - ESD
Transport - Electric Hubcap Motor Systems [no reports]
& Electric Equipment Projects
* Spring Gardening
* Plastic Recycling 2.0 Development (for Vertical Axis Wind
& Water Plant, multi-use flat sheets)
* My Solar Power System:
Solar Production log et cetera - Monthly/Annual Summaries,
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
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"
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
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
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
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)
I 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
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).
(Miscellaneous topics, editorial comments & opinionated rants)
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.
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.
High oil prices..........Russia
2016 election ...........Russia
Russia.......................Russia......... why not?
Gained weight? Russia
Marital issues? Russia
Leaky faucet? Russia
"Leaky faucet" - nope. That one is Chinese quality control.
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
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
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
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 probably explains the timing of Russia's forceful preemptive
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
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
What a monkey wrench into the works! The people there
today are mostly
Russian speaking (speakers of which have been made into second class
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
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
[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
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
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
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
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
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
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
* 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
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
of and not tried... and even of how not to do something - why
work or proved impractical. Sometimes they set out inventive thoughts
almost as they occur - and are the actual organization and elaboration
in writing of those thoughts. They are thus partly a diary and are not
extensively proof-read for literary perfection, consistency,
completeness and elimination of duplications before
publication. I hope they 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.
Other "Green" & Electric Equipment Projects
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...
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.)
The carrots I planted in the bucket in early
December next to the woodstove under LED grow lights
In the big rectangular green pot
are 3 rows of onion sets. I hope they transplant well -
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
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
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
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
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
[14th] I loaded the mold
and put it in the oven. One of the springs holding the frame together
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
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.
oozed out the edges (especially at the top) instead of filling
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
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
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
[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.
Someone asked me, what about cleaning the sand in the ropes? Ropes off
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
it easier to get out of the mold. And go in between to about 670 grams
Optimum times may vary a bit with different size molds,
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
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
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
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.
-- Greenhouse Light, Power Usage
The flat LED COB light is just left of the greenhouse "shower" door,
about 1 watt on "low".
14th, waiting for plastic in the oven, I ran a skinny (#18 AWG)
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
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
(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
he wanted to hunt (as well as just more freezer space). It says on 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
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:
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.
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.
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
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
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
Daily KWH from solar panels. (Compare March 2022
with February 2022 & with March 2021.)
(15 solar panels)
(15 sol. panels but
2 mostly in shade)
|March 2021 (11 solar
panels) (Snow, not one
bright sunny day the
Monthly Summaries: Solar Generated KWH [& Power used from
March 1-31: 116.19 + ------ + 105.93 = 222.12 KWH - solar [786 KWH
April - 1-30: 136.87 + ------ + 121.97 = 258.84 KWH [608 KWH]
May - 1-31: 156.23 + ------ + 147.47 = 303.70 KWH [543 KWH] (11th
solar panel connected on lawn on 26th)
June - 1-30: 146.63 + 15.65 + 115.26 = 277.54 KWH [374 KWH] (36V, 250W
Hot Water Heater installed on 7th)
July - 1-31: 134.06 + 19.06 + 120.86 = 273.98 KWH [342 KWH]
August 1-31:127.47 + 11.44+91.82+(8/10)*96.29 = 307.76 KWH [334 KWH]
(12th 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 =
KWH, solar + wind [711 KWH + 414 (while away) = 1125 from grid]
Jan. - 6-31: 17.52 + ------* + 10.61 = 28.13 KWH,
wind [1111 KWH from grid]
Feb. - 1-29: 56.83 + ------* + 35.17 = 92.00 KWH,
solar + wind [963 KWH from grid]
* 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
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
May - 1-31: 181.97 + 131.21 = 313.18 KWH
Solar [723 KWH from grid]
June - 1-30: 164.04 + 119.81 = 283.82 KWH Solar [455 KWH
July - 1-31: 190.13 + 110.05 = 300.18 KWH Solar [340
KWH from grid]
August- 1-31: 121.81 + 83.62 = 205.43 KWH Solar [385KWH
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
[1039 KWH grid]
April - 1-30: 161.83 + 112.35 + .44(DC) = 274.62 KWH
[680 KWH from grid]
May - 1-31: 156.25 + 97.22 + 1.29(DC) = 254.76
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
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
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
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)
reach the house anyway. February production from house was up maybe 15%
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!)
* 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
* Huh! One day each: 9, 10, 11, 12 ,13 KWH.
March 2019-Feb. 2020: 2196.15 KWH Solar [used 7927 KWH from
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