Turquoise Energy Report #181 - June 2023
Turquoise Energy News Report #181
Covering June 2023 (Posted July 12th 2023)
Lawnhill BC Canada - by Craig Carmichael
[CraigXC at Post dot com]

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

Month In "Brief" (Project Summaries etc.)
  - Two Videos: Bandmill, NiMn2Ox electrode - "Premium" Peltier Cooler Experiments - & Better Peltier modules? - June Gardening - Electric Fields & Tinnitus Experiment - Magnetic Variable Torque Converter - Sprint "Mileage" - "Long" Highway Trip in Nissan Leaf - Moscow: Electric River Ferries - China: World's Largest Wind Turbine

In Passing (Miscellaneous topics, editorial comments & opinionated rants)
  - Discriminatory Laws and Policies - Scattered Thots - ESD

- Detailed Project Reports -

Electric Transport - Electric Hubcap Motor Systems  [No Reports]

Other "Green" & Electric Equipment Projects
* Premium Peltier Cooler Experiments: Copper Cools Better! - Better Peltier Modules with Beryllium Oxide Ceramic?
* June Gardening

Electricity Storage: Batteries [no report]

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

June in Brief

Before dawn from my window at 3:15 AM solar time ("5:03 AM" PDT), July 12th
(Rats - even edited, the camera didn't capture the colors of the orange sky and the sea - way overexposed!)

   Double digits into July -- Another very late report, again, for June! The excuse is it's summer and the days are 17 hours long here instead of December's 7 hours. The weather is conducive to getting things done outside, and then I'm too tired to do a bunch of editing and proofreading to get TE News ready to post. But after planting vegetables until almost the end of June, I am now getting other much needed and long delayed work done out in the yard. (Along with still watering & tending to the gardens and fruit trees.) And living alone, I do like to get out and socialize in the daytime - usually somewhere 1/2 hour drive away; an hour round trip. That eats into many of my work days.

Two Videos

   About the start of July I posted two videos on TurquoiseEnergy youtube channel. The first was an update of the handheld bandsaw mill. I made the improvements to the saw in about 2020 and it's covered in past TE News issues, but those following only on youtube haven't seen it. I took advantage of wanting to split some yellow cedar 4 by 4s into 2 by 2s. Not a big job for the mill, but something to get some footage of it cutting.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yb7BkgBvXCs&t=915s - Handheld Bandsaw Mill Update #2: 2023

   The second was about mixing up a batch of nickel manganese oxide for a positive battery electrode by dissolving the powders in acetone to reform into epitaxial (mixed substances) crystals, which I did last winter/spring. I had wanted to test the cell before I posted it. Now I have a pile of footage to put together about assembling and testing the cell.

https://youtu.be/9WjVIBCuMFw -  Exploring Battery Making #5 - Nickel-Manganates Positive Electrode

"Premium" Peltier Cooler Experiments - & Better Peltier modules?

First Heatsink assembly: Hot, Peltier module, block (thru cooler wall), Cold   
   Having cast a copper heat transfer block, I bought a pricey copper heatsink and ran some tests with the same camping cooler. Then I got another copper heatsink for the cold side too, and ran some more. Instead of 12.5 cooling, with all copper heat transfer components it got about 16 colder than the room. In a 20 room that makes for refrigerator temperatures, from about 30 watts of power at 10 volts. If it's 30 out, that still makes for 14 in the cooler instead of 17.5. Owing to difference of shapes and numbers of fins in the heatsinks, it's hard to tell exactly what features caused the improvement, but it was right in line with my expectations ("4 colder") for how much better copper would be than alume.
   (I should have tried running at a higher voltage. With the better components, the 'maximum cooling' voltage might have shifted up.)

"Exploded view" of a Peltier module. Thermocouples & conductor pads separated in different places.
   And, looking for a way to improve heat transfer in and out of Peltier modules themselves, I discovered in a table that while being an electrical insulator, beryllium oxide ceramic actually has better heat conductivity than alume metal! It's the highest of any non-metal except diamond. A Peltier module made with that instead of alume oxide (only 15% as good) would probably drop the cooler another 4 - right down to freezing!

   So there's a way to make a better peltier module without even any breakthroughs in thermocouple technology! I was unable to find any made with BeO, or a reason it hasn't been done. No papers on the subject, nothing.
   Various vacuum tubes and solid state power devices do use BeO ceramic. Has no one considered it?

June Gardening

   Spring food gardening continued to be my main preoccupation in June. I continued the spring plantings I had started in April and continued through May, and finally had the main garden fully planted by June 26th and considered it "done". The main work was ground preparation - and then keeping all the things I had planted watered, daily. I was handicapped and slowed by the "tennis elbow" I acquired in mid May. It took me some days to realize it was more than just tired muscles (which I also had), and in that time I probably made it worse. It was still causing pain into July.

The last corner of the main garden, cleared & planted at last!
(Grass at foreground is on the center path through the garden. Maybe I'll till it out next year?)
(Should get that plastic melting oven done and make more slabs to finish lining the edges of the garden to keep grass from
growing in... or, now that I can deal with grass more easily with the rototiller + claw/rake + dirt sieve, maybe just finish lining that one side?)

"Carpathian" variety English Walnut is growing well.
(Lots of water, check for bugs!)

   The rototiller I got last fall, along with "the claw" (four long, hard tines rake), a shovel and the dirt siever, made it possible to turn the ground in the gardens from tall grass with an "impenetrable" thatch of roots into plantable soil with most of the grass and weed roots removed. I had been wanting to do this for a few years but breaking through the roots with a shovel and a bad back was just too hard.
   Here the northwest corner has had the tall grass dealt with and I can garden! I planted the beaked hazelnut by the fence, but mostly just filled it with potatos.

(I went a long way to filling in a large 'pit' with all the buckets of grass, weeds and roots. I suppose it will sink down a lot again as it rots. But for now I can finally mow around that big flowering current with the lawn tractor.)

Electric Fields & Tinnitus Experiment

   On various occasions in my life I have searched for auditory irritants that would explain my tinnitus. Could there be something plugged into an outlet, or wired into the house, perhaps ultrasonic, that could explain the ringing in my ears?
   Recently, corroborative stories from others clued me in: they explained my own one time in about 1990 when this plague mysteriously left me just for a few days. In that, I was mostly away from electricity entirely for a couple of weeks, in an older camping trailer with alume skin, diagonally across a big field from any power. The high voltage lines ended at the far corner of that farm.
   So!, the audio irritant isn't anything plugged into the wall, it's the 60 Hz AC electromagnetic field itself, flowing through long wires everywhere, all around! I have become sure that 'forever' ringing tinnitus is essentially caused by electric power line fields - the chief and virtually inescapable culprit among other contributing factors such as hearing loss. They're virtually impossible to escape from. All the roads we travel have power lines running along them, and every building is wired and electrified. But which is the biggest culprit, the high voltage out on the poles, or the 120/240 volts right in the house? The three phase high voltage was closer to my house in Victoria, but my bedroom there had only a few wires - a light and a couple of plugs. My bedroom here is lavishly wired, with plugs on every wall, wires running under the floor to the garage, well pump controls and workshop, electric baseboard heat (with the thermostat on another wall, so wired across), lights in the room and closet ceilings, and who knows what else in the attic above. And my tinnitus is much worse here than it was in Victoria. 'Unbearable' or 'piercing' are fair descriptions. But I also note that when driving in an electric car, my tinnitus seems to get worse. In the converted Mazda RX7, my first EV, I thought it might be the power electronics in the car. But that's behind the metal hood and firewall. Now I'm pretty sure it's because one is always driving right underneath high voltage power lines - right over most every street, road and highway. The car is metal, but the windows provide plenty of entry space. In a petroleum powered car, the noise level is sufficient that the 'extra' tinnitus goes unnoticed, and perhaps the extra after stopping is subconsciously attributed to the car noise.

Experiment: I got the idea one day to turn off the whole power to the house for the night. It's June. Perfect, I wouldn't need heat. In my long, sprawling house, my bed at the far end of the dwelling space is about 45 feet from where the aerial wires enter the house, where they are in a pipe and so shielded to the breaker panel.

Procedure: I turned my computers off and at bedtime flipped off the main breaker. It feels really weird doing that. Barring trouble, the house is never without power! Fridge and freezer would be off along with the well pump... water heater... and what else? Well, they wouldn't thaw in 8 hours and I had already had a bath. 2 clocks to reset. I had a 3 watt LED light in the livingroom running on the 36V DC system (which surely can't make a 60Hz electromagnetic field) which I left on for a night light.

Observations: I knew 8 hours wouldn't eliminate my tinnitus or even come close. The one time in my adult life I was away from electricity (and free from tinnitus) it took days to fade. But might it be long enough to sense something? Anything? It's tricky because there's no way to measure dB's occurring only inside your head. However, I was pretty sure by morning that the intensity had faded substantially. It felt at least somewhat more peaceful. And within about 20 minutes of turning the power back on, it was bothering me more again. (In an hour, sitting here writing this, it is definitely louder.)

   The next night I did it again. This time I didn't notice the ringing fading much, if any, by morning, but as the day went on I did notice it seeming to get worse and worse. Then I drove into town, 1/2 hour each way, and again in the car it loudly clamored for my attention.
   By bedtime I was tempted to turn the power off again. I didn't.

Conclusions: It's hard to draw firm conclusions owing to it apparently taking days for the ringing in the ears to subside entirely once the source of irritation is removed (at least in my case). The 120/240V AC power inside the house seems to be a significant contributor to my tinnitus. Turning it off for 8 hours seemed to be noticeably helping. The 14,400V AC power line on the power poles is farther away at its closest point, but it runs along the property from one end to the other and beyond. How much it contributes could not be determined with this experiment since I can't turn it off. If the power poles are a lesser effect than the power in the bedroom, it's surely only because they are farther away. (~95 feet - unfortunate that the house was built so close to the road when the property is 800 feet deep.)

   I'm sure it would be folly to turn off the power every night with food in freezer/fridge and the potential of losing water pressure. Changing the extensive house wiring would be totally impractical. So my biggest conclusion is that I want to get on with and finish that cabin, shielded by aluminum clad walls and metal roof, and try further experiments then. I can move my bedroom out there, and also use it for any other activities that will work out there instead of being in the house. I'm now pretty sure the idea I already had to absolutely minimize 120V line voltage wiring and to use only "BX" shielded AC wires is the best, instead of just guessing it would help. (One could wrap alume tape around appliance cords, too, with a piece of copper wire enclosed in the wrap to ground it?) I'll wire the cabin mostly with 36V DC for LED lights and lower power plugs. The four solar panels on the roof can be employed with, um, what batteries? (Aha! The one from the e-bike is 36V!)

Still experimenting.

Magnetic Variable Torque Converter  I finished filing out the center hole in the rather dubious poured copper disk, and attached it to the shaft. That's as far as I got. (Months are going by! Yikes!)

Sprint "Mileage"

   On June 4th I drove the Sprint around a bit in the yard, hauling some heavy pails of fertilizers to the potato garden and back. At the end of the day, the DC solar meter said "22" had been used. 2 to 3 for the usual daily wastage... Huh? just 20 WH for the car? That didn't make sense. But I had never tried to measure it before. How far had I driven it? -- Oops, the units are x10 watt-hours, so 200 WH, not 20.
   Before dark I went out again and got figures. According to the car's meters I drove 1.1Km (back and forth to the far end 4 times) and used 7 amp-hours. (There were no fractions, so that means somewhere between 6 and 8 depending on round-off. We'll just go with 7.) 36V * 7 AH = 252 watt-hours, or 252/1.1 = 229 WH/Km. That's mostly at under 20 Km/H but on rough ground (seemed quite fast!) with a lot of back and forth, starting and stopping, so probably considerably more than it would use on the street.
   The next day (June 5th) it seemed from the solar DC charging (340 WH) that the car had used around 290 WH/Km. That is at least in the ballpark, but quite high.

   But also noted: afterward my DIY forward-reverse switch made from copper water pipes, taking the full amps of the motor, was boiling hot with a hiss if I touched a wet finger to most of the contacts. Electric heat, the biggest user of energy! - how much of the total is that taking up? Maybe I should bypass it and try the test again? (I'll have to push the car to go backward again? Ug!) Still I want to build that ultra-efficient unipolar "Electric Hubcap" axial flux BLDC motor! Will I ever get to it?

[June 12th] I backed out of the garage and then un-wired the forward-reverse switch. Start readings: 119AH, 3.3Km. I managed to get the car stuck in the rough and used surely a couple of amp-hours spinning the wheel trying to get it out. (Having no reverse provides extra challenges.) Then I thought to tow it out with the Leaf -- It pulled up the rough slope easily.
   Undaunted, I tried again from 111AH, 4.5Km. This time I drove 1.0Km using 5AH. At 36 volts: 180 watt-hours. That still seems a little high, but better than last time. Of course it was still bumpy, hilly lawn with as much maneuvering and turning as straight driving. And of course, an ultra-efficient drive train is only partial compensation for a lower efficiency motor (series wound brushed DC). (The Sprint hit 21.8 KmPH at one point, but in both cars 15-17 seemed pretty fast on this terrain. Later I drove on somebody's long road into his place that made my bumpy grass lane seem like a highway!)

"Long" Highway Trip in Nissan Leaf

On the 9th I Drove to Masset (170Km round trip) in the electric Nissan Leaf that doesn't go 170Km, and charged at the new 'ChargePoint' charging station.
   The distance to Masset (as it happens) is exactly twice that of my usual longest drive to Port Clements, which is en route: 42.5Km and 85Km. So driving just one way to Masset is as far as I usually ever drive on a charge. And I knew that the less energy I used on the way up, the shorter the charging would be to get back to "enough" to get home - aiming for over 90%.
   I filled the tires to the maximum 44 PSI and drove the whole trip at around 65 KmPH instead of my usual 75-85. I must have pulled over and let traffic by about a dozen times. I wouldn't have dared make the trip at all except on such un-busy highways. But if I remember right somehow it had 40% remaining when I reached Masset (after lunch and a 2-3% 120V charge at the cafe midway), and 35% when I got home. The slow speed and warm weather made the difference. I was getting between 1.4 and 1.5 Km for each percent of battery drop instead of maybe 1.2. (In cold weather it can be down to 1.0 - even worse in snow.) The meter figure said 8.2 WH/Km and even 8.4 at one point, instead of mid to lower end of 7.x.

   I had a hard time at the 'ChargePoint' charger - the 'FLO' card I had got and thought I had opened an account on said "unrecognized card". I had to find the charger ID number and (after considerable back and forth) get a guy at Chargepoint on the phone to unlock the unit remotely. I'd have had to charge at least 6 hours at a regular plug-in to get home. Anyway this was a 5.8KW charger and it was fully charged ("98%") in a little over two hours. I would have loved to have tried all this out at a charging station closer to home where it wasn't vital that it work, but that's the only one on the island so far. I think I'll suggest the municipality get a Chargepoint card so they can help the next ignorant visitor - it's right outside their office, and it was their phone I was using. Or am I the only one? (Apparently with a cellphone I could have downloaded an app, got a 'ChargePoint' account, and done it all myself.)
   Later I went to the computer and put the minimum 10$ on my FLO card account. I suspect that even tho the card and the charger were both supposedly "free", that it didn't acknowledge my account because there was no money in it. I'll try again and hope I don't have to call for support again. (It also makes me a bit nervous that just possibly someone else might be using the charger, and there's only one!)
   I was talking with Tom, and he didn't think FLO cards worked at all on Chargepoint chargers. He said he would mail me a Chargepoint card he had no more use for, and since thecharger is free it didn't need money on its account.

   Let's see... 2+ hours charging, and I spent almost 350$ in all the main stores in Masset. It would have been cheaper to buy gas and blow town quickly! (but I got some good stuff, most of which I had already wanted.)

   I didn't know these chargers were 5.8KW. So... they call a 3.8KW charger "3KW", but a 5.8KW charger "6KW". Hmpf! It sounds like double, but it's only 1.5 times more.

   More new EV chargers have gone in: a Tesla one [J1772] at the Skidegate Band office that needs no card, which I tried out for a minute just to see it work, and one I haven't seen yet at Sandspit airport. That one I might use as a Sandspit round trip is near the limit of the Leaf's range.

New Electric River Ferries

   These "bus like" vessels are for traveling along and crossing the Moscow river. Apparently there are places when travel time can be cut by taking a ferry instead of roads & bridges, and a ferry service cut 30 years ago has been reinstated in electric form. And you get a great view! From the article it sounded like this was an initiative of the mayor of Moscow, Sergei Sobyanin.
   President Vladimir Putin (of course) took part in the opening ceremony and rode on one. He praised the work, "Everything is simple, constructive, nicely done", and thought there should be more like them, on routes between cities as well.

Two of the Eight new E-Ferries, "Sinichkha" and "Yaooza"
(Yowza?!? What kind of a name is that?)

From the article:

The first route has a length of more than 6.5 km and connects Kiev railway station with a pier on Shelepikhinskaya embankment. According to experts, its carrying capacity will be 15-16 thousand passengers per day.

It is noted that eight electric vessels with a capacity of up to 50 people, named after the capital's rivers, will run along the route: Sinichka, Setun, Presnya, Filka, Skhodnya, Ramenka, Yauza and Neglinka ".

The President boarded the Skhodnya and got acquainted with the equipment of the passenger cabin of the ship.

During the President's visit, Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin explained that the ship's dock at each berthing station also performs a charging function.

The mayor also announced on his Telegram channel that the main elements of the electric ships were produced in Russia, including all the software. Sobyanin noted that USB chargers are installed in the cabin of the ships, free Wi-Fi is available, and platforms for transporting scooters and bicycles are provided. According to him, until June 23 inclusive, travel on the new mode of transport will be free.

According to the data provided by the mayor, passengers will be able to get from the Kievsky railway station to the Moscow City business center in about 20 minutes. Another regular route, Avtozavodsky Bridge - Pechatniki, 13 km long, is planned to be launched before the end of the year.

Hey, Vancouver -- Burrard Inlet, Fraser Delta!?!
BC -- Small Gulf Islands Electric Ferries?

World's Largest Wind Turbine

China is installing (has installed?) the world's biggest wind turbine, offshore, diameter 160 meters. Each rotation of the blade generates more electricity than my solar system makes on a whole summer day. (hmm, what is the RPM - or RPDay?)

From the article:

According to the China Media Group company, the turbine has a capacity of 16 megawatts (MW), which will allow it to generate 34 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity each time it completes a turn.


It is estimated that the annual electricity production is 66 million kWh, allowing to satisfy the normal electricity consumption of 36,000 families of three members. This power generation capacity represents a saving of 22,000 tons of standard coal, as well as a reduction of 54,000 tons of carbon dioxide.

   Personally, having tried running a cheap windplant over my roof, I found both the bearings that aim it and the actual propeller blade bearings were going bad quickly in the salty sea air of a good easterly wind at my house. I thus question how long a windplant on the ocean lasts, and how much maintenance it requires. (I suppose bearings for such huge machines are made replaceable, and the housing is a long way above the water.) And for all the reputation of Haida Gwaii as a windy place and at the best point on my roof, most of the month it just sat without turning. When wind did blow, it might produce 50 or 200 watts for a few hours. Outperforming the solar panels was a rare event. Perhaps wind is economic at huge scales in especially windy locations, and perhaps if I had put up a really tall tower (above the trees) it would have fared better, but for home use solar PV with no moving parts to wear out seems more practical, and someone else I talked with recently was saying the same thing. Even in the winter when there's little sun in the clouds this far north, the windplant didn't seem to add much.

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

Discriminatory Laws and Policies

   Discrimination has been enshrined in a new New Zealand Law: Surgeons now must weigh in Race/Ethnicity in their calculations of priorities, where someone of Maori and Pasifica extraction will get treatment ahead of someone of another race in a condition of similar seriousness. Surgeons aren't happy with being told not to use their best judgment as to patient priorities. This is of course only one example of many prejudiced laws, statutes or policies in force or being enacted in many lands.

   How can one solve past or even present discriminations by making laws that create new discriminations now and into the future? Racial discrimination enshrined in present laws or policies should be identified and eliminated, whether it favors or disfavors blacks, Latinos, whites, indigenouses, Chinese, Jews, Christians, men, women or any other grouping. Any individual wronged by discriminatory laws or practices should be compensated as far as is possible and reasonable, on an individual basis. Beyond that, the past is history. It can't be undone, and long past events can't be fairly judged by today's social conditions and moral standards. If we were to judge most of our ancestors by today's standards, we would condemn most all them for being cruel barbarians, and then we would have no ancestors.
   The present is the only time when choices can be made. We cannot now decide to change the past. It has already happened. most of it long before our time.
   In the darkest hours of World War Two many in the UK parliament wanted Inquiries set up to assess blame for who was responsible for Britain being so unprepared for war in such dangerous times. The new prime minister Winston Churchill had been out of office for a decade. Yet he had been clearly and repeatedly and with increasing urgency warning in parliament for at least six years (backed by facts and figures from inside sources) that the government needed to prepare, and so he had at least as much right to cast blame and render judgments as anyone. Instead he said: "If the present seeks to sit in judgment on the past, it will lose the future." Everyone stopped looking backward with resentment and righteous indignation. They forgave and forgot. Instead of getting trapped in rehashing the past, they all united and focused their energies on the present effort to save the future.
   Is this not the way forward at most any time?

   In spirit, all normal minded people are equal. We are each indwelt by the Spirit of the Universal Father, the first source and center of all infinity, and are entitled to equality of treatment. That does not of course mean we all have like talents, like desires and like preferences in all things, nor equal and like life experience, temperament or outlook, nor that five year olds are the same as adults nor women the same as men. We are each unique. But we are ALL human beings. EQUALITY is the start of the seven core values of being human, and laws and actions giving any group preferential treatment or perpetuating discrimination or inequality in any form will set group against group, creating divisive feelings - prejudice and potential strife - instead of uniting us.

   Even the limited use of racial classifications divided the US Supreme Court for decades. In 2017, Chief Justice John Roberts declared:

"The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race."

   How simple is that?

Scattered Thots

* Running loud power tools without hearing protection is a deaf defying act.

* When someone expresses the thought that being invaded by a foreign power might be an improvement, you know he doesn't think much of the present government.

* A line appearing on Fox News, "Wannabe Dictator Speaks at the White House after Having His Political Rival Arrested", won its writer immediate unemployment. In truth it's the entire unelected, oligarchic, dictatorial Washington establishment that fears and hates with an intense passion anyone who tries to interfere with their hegemony. They despised Trump from that moment in 2015 when he pointed out that they knew and had lied about "weapons of mass destruction" to "justify" invading Iraq, and said he would get America out of foreign wars and entanglements to focus on "Making America Great Again". He was hampered and blocked at every turn. Now he has repeatedly said that if elected president again he would end the Ukraine conflict in 24 hours. No wonder they hate him! Why, the whole US war and arms manufacturing machine would grind to a halt without any wars! The US establishment would be adrift and aimless, without purpose! ...also deprived of its greatest "windfall" source of ill-gotten wealth.



(Wouldn't something more like my idea in March [TE News #178, in "scattered thoughts"]
to allow the residents of each oblast (province/state) of Ukraine to vote, by choice ranking,
for any one of several options for their own future national affiliation, make more sense than this war?)

   But then, Trump has said that if re-elected he would dismantle the entire unelected "deep state". Wouldn't that be too good to be true? The battle lines are drawn. They will pull anything and everything to prevent him from running for president again, or failing that, rig the election regardless of how blatantly. Their survival as unelected oligarchs and democracy have become completely incompatible. If the CIA, NSA, DHS... ... ... and the utterly corrupted FBI, DOJ... ... ... and various feral major corporations will (as seems inevitable) not go peacefully into the night, I suspect there will be much bloodshed and maybe a complete breakdown of the US federal government.

* Will society break down? Trust keeps it together. If not trust in rule of law and democratic fairness, at least trust that basic order will be maintained. Trust that there will be grocery stores with food. Trust that traffic will flow freely and supplies will reach those stores without being hijacked or diverted by force. It is said that we are always just a few meals away from anarchy.
   In recent years, bit by bit, event by event, trend by trend, that trust is being eroded. Food shortages and empty grocery shelves are increasing. In at least USA the supply chains are breaking down and stores are closing owing to widespread theft and violence. (For example, in Chicago four of eight Wallmarts recently shut down, leaving "food desert" neighborhoods where there are no grocery stores.) I'm not sure things are so much better in big Canadian cities.

   When trust is lost, there will inevitably be mass panic in the cities, and people all over will try to get what they need for themselves and their families NOW. Everything gets looted. Society's future is cast adrift. Planning for next week, next year becomes impossible when whatever one produces or has is likely to be stolen by desperate people. In the typical pattern of famine, farmers stop farming because their produce is confiscated by the government or stolen. Not only their work, but the resources they need to continue, such as seeds for next planting season, have been taken from them.
   In most Western nations, those in positions of authority aren't even trying to fix anything. They've assumed things will always carry on regardless of their actions, or have given up. Either way they have abdicated the responsibilities of their offices even before being elected to them. Their interest is in getting "rich", and the promises they keep are to their donors, not to the electorate. I don't know when the day of loss of trust and mass panic will happen. It could be a month or a year or five years off. I don't know if it will start community by community, state by state, nation by nation, the whole West, or entirely worldwide nearly all at once, but today's news is ever worse than last year's and walking city streets ever less safe. It will probably be contagious once it starts. That day or period will mark the definite end of twentieth century civilization and the start of the mass depopulation that accompanies the ends of civilizations. With famines, "famine epidemics" of one sort or another typicly break out and disease does much of the actual killing of the weakened population.

* I heard recently that someone from USA, sick of the increasing deterioration and violence, plans to buy a Victoria BC business for 250,000$. He doesn't really care about the business. But if he buys it he can quickly become a Canadian permanent resident and move to Canada. I hope he's not just jumping from one frying pan into another.

* Anybody remember the 1980s when the first mass-produced printers for computers were dot matrix impact printers with a carriage having 9 pins striking ink ribbons against the paper? The paper was continuous fan-folded sheets with side sections having perforated holes, and the paper feed mechanism had cogs that fit into the holes. Then you would tear these perforated edges off and the perforated sheets apart, and be left with 8.5 x 11 inch sheets with fuzzy edges. Nobody had a name for these edge strips. Language columnist Mike Duffy from Victoria weekly newspaper "Monday Magazine" finally came up with an appropriate name: the "perfory". It was brilliant - they were strips at at the periphery of the paper and perforated to tear off, with punched out holes, and then you tore them off and discarded them. Owing to the fact that at just about that time that whole printing system became obsolete, replaced by inkjet printers, the term never had the chance to come into common use. I bet it would have!
   (Are there local weekly newspapers any more, either?)

* And like forgotten computer printing mechanisms, we usually are taught how things are today, not how they were, and we assume they have "always" been this way. I've seen maps of Canada since my early school days. I was surprised to run across this map of Canada from 1912 in some video. The organization was considerably different then! NorthEast Territory? Assiniboia? Athabasca? (I remember being surprised when I learned that Newfoundland wasn't part of Canada until 1947, too.)

(Eccentric Silliness Department)

* Me making bread: Yeast is Yeast and West is West, and never the dough shall rise. (Yeast is yeast -- Isn't it?)

* I've always thought the Boeng's catchline should be "Boeng: Aircraft that bounce!" (Bouncing has to be better than crashing, right?)

* Did you know that a chicken can fall from a 20 story building and always land unhurt, right way up? (Finding the chicken afterward may be a problem. It may be on a balcony along the hall and two floors down, or even across the road!)

* Q: How did the chicken cross the road? A: It went to the crosswalk and waited for the traffic to stop. (It got the idea from BC deer.)

* Q: How did the chicken cross the road? A: It flew over it -- Not a dumb cluck!

* Q: How did the chicken cross the road? A: Chicken? You mean that pile of squashed feathers in the far lane?

   "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

Premium Peltier Cooler Experiments: Copper Cools Better

Buying Copper Heatsinks

[1st] The (first) copper heatsink arrived. The fins were very closely spaced, but they were so thin that air just passed right through. It seems to me that should be better than fat alume fins, even beyond that it was copper. Surely excellent heat transfer to air! I do wonder when they are so thin and with no taper how far up the fins the temperature climbs. It's probably not worth having fins longer than 30mm (if that) unless the air flow is very slow.

The heat transfer assembled in the open.                     
[3rd] I drilled the bolt holes and tapped them for the 1/4" - 20 nylon screws. I would try an intermediate arrangement: the copper hot side heatsink with a graphite gasket to the Peltier module, Peltier via grahite gasket to the copper block & through the cooler wall, to the original alume cold side heatsink. Since I now didn't want to solder the copper block to the alume heatsink, I just butted them together like the original [alume block] arrangement. I got the cooler together again, but my confidence that the Peltier module and the two graphite heat transfer sheets were properly aligned was low because they were inside the cooler wall where you can't see them as you put it together, and the wires of the Peltier were pushing it around.

   Anyway the room temperature was about 22.3c and I started the cooler with 10.0 volts, which was soon doing 3.07A, 30.7W. (Was the fan that noisy before? I checked TE News #174 to refresh my memory. Evidently it was. Looking at it, the fan blades are very close to the rough heatsink fins - probably where the "buzz" comes from. 30 watts at 10 volts was also the same power.) In the tests below I started to regret that I didn't record the times taken for reaching different temperatures with different voltages for comparison. But the way I was doing it then I don't think I could have. Those tests only started from room tempeature once; everything else was "difference".

Temperature sensor position (my ref - to be consistent!)
14:20?? 22.3
14:40 18.6
14:45 17.8
14:50 17.5 - 30.6W
15:05 16.1 - 30.6
15:31 14.5 - 30.5W
16:37 12.2 - 30.4
16:45  Room 20.5
17:14 11.8 - 30.4 => 10.5V
17:30 11.6 - 33.4W

17:38 11.6 => 9.5V (27.2W)
19:35 11.0 - 27.4W
19:38 Room 20.0

Well, that was disappointing performance. 9 drop instead of 12+. Well, it's not as well sealed around the heatsinks as before, and worse, the gaskets may not be well aligned. And just perhaps, more conductive metal notwithstanding, the thin, narrowly spaced "skieved" fins are not as effective as thicker, wider spaced ones.
   I wondered what would happen if there was no gasket (or heatsink paste) between the module and the copper? In theory they were both "perfectly" flat and "should" touch everywhere. I always feel like heatsink paste is actually holding the pieces apart. But they are both hard and unyielding, so in another theory they "should" only touch at 3 points. If there were gaps, tightening the screws wouldn't do much. I decided to try it out. I took it apart again and put it together without the gaskets. I also put in a piece of foam rubber on top of the hot side copper heatsink hoping to better direct the cooling air through the thin, narrowly spaced fins.

[June 6th] -- @ 9.5V: (room 19.3)
9:53 AM, 19.3, 27.4W -- In the previous test 27.4 Watts with 9.5V was maintained. Here....
9:58,   18.8, 26.6 -- The dropping in power probably indicates poorer heat transfer from the Peltier to one or both heatsinks. So much for that theory! Good argument for graphite gaskets or heatsink paste.
10:03, 18.0 26.6 -- At this point we're not expecting much - and sure enough!
10:51 15.9 26.7
11:05 14.2 26.7
11:50 Room 19.1
12:34 12.4 26.6W - Less than 7 drop!

(Try again with heatsink compound, or just wait for the second copper heatsink?)

[June 12th] I thought to try again simply without the foam that I hoped was directing air more through the thin, narrowly spaced copper heatsink fins.

9:05 AM: room 19.8. 9.50V.
9:10 26.3W -- again the drop in power suggests poor heat transfer somewhere. In fact, being even lower already suggests the heatsinking was better with the foam. Starting with the Peltier at room temperature, it's about 31W. Within a second there's heat in the module's thermocouples and within a few a temperature difference across the ceramic, the junctions and into the heatsinks, dropping power already about 10% and meaning the thermocouples inside have to work against a higher temperature differential. If only there was some way to thermally connect the thermocouples directly to the metal heatsinks without electricly connecting all the separate thermocouples!
9:35 17.2, 26.3W - Hmm, but it's cooling faster than last time! Maybe the extra .3W was actually the fan working harder to push the air?
9:55 16.1
10:05 15.6 -- Okay, that's 4.2 drop from room temperature in an hour without the foam instead of just 3.5. Foam rubber wasn't helpful! It's still not great, so I ended the test.

   I took the cooler assembly apart thinking to put in heatsink grease. I noticed a tiny bit of something stuck to the hot side heatsink. That would have held the Peltier from perfect, flat contact across the face! I wiped off the surfaces again and put it back together as it was, no heatsink paste, no graphite. Wow, what a difference it made!

10:14 AM. Room: 20.0. Cooler already 19.4 or less. Start ~32W - dropped fast.
10:19 17.9, 26.8W -- A bit early to tell since the cooler's plastic inside face was starting somewhat below room, but power's up.
10:24 17.3, 26.7W -- I turned the voltage up to 10.0 momentarily. Power went up to 29.6W, which is more than even with the graphite.
10:33 16.5, 26.6W
10:36 16.2
10:46 15.6, 26.6W
11:22 14.0, 26.6
11:29 13.8, 26.6W

   It was better than the previous, but didn't seem it would drop by over 10, so I took it apart and put in some silicone heatsink compound (including between the Cu block and the Al inside heatsink).

11:45 room 20.0, cooler 18.9; 9.50V, start 32W -- This time the watts dropped quite slowly.
11:50 16.8, 28.3W -- Say, that's more like it!
11:55 15.6, 28.1W
12:01 14.6
12:05 14.1
12:18 12.8
12:22 12.4
12:25 12.1, 28.1W
12:30 11.8
12:38 11.2
12:49 10.6
13:06 9.9 -- Passed 10 drop, anyway. (& I think the room is warmer now.)
14:06 8.2, 28.1W -- Another hour, a little cooler.
14:10 room 21.0 -- 12.8 drop @ 9.5V, 28.1W.

So... 12.8 below room temperature. The best it was with the original configuration was 12.5. Pretty small gain. But 12.5 was at 10 volts. This test was at 9.50 volts. I turned it up to 10.01V, put the sensor back inside, and left it a while longer. (I wonder if the fans need oiling? They might run faster - or quieter! - at the same voltage? I oiled the shaft at both ends. No notable change in sound.) After I closed it again the temperature rose a bit instead of falling. It turned out the room was also getting warmer. It seemed to be a little over 21, but I got busy and didn't record the exact reading.

   I left it running at 9.0V. At ~16:00, the room was 21.4 and the cooler was 7.8. That's a 13.6 spread! Maybe the copper parts are helping after all. Oh... the sensor was in a different place, seemingly closer to the fan air's exit. Seems to make a notable difference, so it might not be a fair test.

[26th] Near the end of the month the cooling side copper heatsink arrived. I cut it to the same width and bent some "tabs" onto the outer fins so it would hold the plastic cover on the same way the old one did. I marked off the bolt holes. It's about 1cm shorter than the original.

[July 1st] I finally drilled the holes and put it together. (Hmm, I've taken better fotos!) I also put in a little spring clip to hold the temperature sensor in the same place every time. It seems quieter now - not that buzz it had before. I had (in drilling the holes) placed the new cold side heatsink a little farther from the fan since it was shorter anyway. and its fins are different. and it doesn't hold the top of the plastic [air duct] cover tight against the inside wall.

11:43 - 9.50V, 20.1, room 19.7, 31.1W
11:46 - 19.4 28.3W
11:48 - 18.7 28.1W
11:51 to 11:53 - Opened it, tightened clamping screws. After: 28.3W
11:55 - 17.5 28.3W
12:08 - 14.0, 28.3
12:10 13.3
12:20 12.2
12:25 11.6, 28.3
12:35 10.6, 28.3
13:05 8.5, 28.2W
13:15 8.1
13:25 7.5 28.2
14:53 5.2, 28.2W   YES! Refrigerator temperature!
14:54 10.00V (changed it), 5.2, 31.4W
15:06 5.0, 31.3W
15:12 4.9 Room: 20.5
15:21 4.8, 31.3W
15:35 4.7, 31.3, room 20.5
15:43 4.6, 31.3W, room 20.5
15:45 10.49V (changed again), 4.6, 34.4W
15:50 4.5 -- 16.0 Drop!

   The cooler's temperature didn't seem to drop any farther in another 10 minutes, staying at 4.5 - 4.6, so I stopped measuring. (I should have tried a still higher voltage. It may be that with the better heat transfer, the 'maximum cooling' voltage may have gone up a little more, eg to 11V.)

[Note: Since I didn't have a fixed temperature sensor position in the cooler in my earlier tests, exact comparisons to smaller fractions of a degree with those may be inaccurate. The general improvements however are observable.]

Conclusions & Remarks

   With the original alume heat transfer components, the greatest temperature drop I measured inside this same Coleman cooler was 12.5 [TE News #174]. In line with my general expectations, the 16.0 drop measured using copper components is 3.5 colder. Since a peltier cooler is struggling to get down toward practical refrigeration temperatures where food will stay fresh, any improvement is significant. One would however have to make copper parts much more cheaply than the one-off retail prices I paid for the heatsinks for a commercial unit to be practical. Although I wasn't successful in my amateur attempts to cast copper heatsinks, I'm sure they could be cast or extruded for a much lower cost. (The 100$ heatsinks were probably less than 5$ of actual copper.) The improved cooler would still cost a premium over the "cheap" alume versions. It should also have the Peltier Unit Isolation noted below.

   Interestingly, the copper cold side heatsink seemed to make more difference than the copper warm side heatsink. This may be because the original cold side heatsink to me seemed a little underpowered for its job - too few or too small fins, with a rather thin (for alume) body.
   But I may have just put the whole thing together a little better on this last attempt, too.

   I note that Wikipedia says Peltier camping coolers can cool up to 20 below ambient (Eg: "45 to 25"). Not in my experience! Maybe with a quite small cooler, or one with 4-5 inches of insulation? My shallow chest fridge did freeze water in the ice tray... if no fan was running to circulate the cold to the rest of the fridge, and if the room wasn't very warm.

Cooling Unit Thermal Isolation

   This related piece of design seems to be largely overlooked. One can insulate as thickly as one wishes, but when the power is off, the peltier unit still transfers heat rather rapidly between the cold and hot side heatsinks, so even a very well insulated cooler doesn't stay cold anything like as long as it should. IMHO the solution would be for one side to be enclosed in the insulated wall with louvered air passages. (Making that the cold side might tend to disperse condensation while the unit is turned off?) The (insulated - foam?) louvers would blow open when the fan comes on, but remain shut when the power is off. The entire peltier cooling unit, both heatsinks, would thus drift to the outer or inner temperature (depending which side was inside the cooler wall and louvered), without excessive heat transfer into the cooler from outside.

   I may yet drag out my "superinsulated" shallow chest Peltier refrigerator from storage and try some of these new configurations and more copper, and see how cold it can keep food, and for how long with the power off. (I know that when I first made it and before I cut out a hole and put the peltier cooling system in, it kept some containers of ice frozen a very long time. (a couple of days IIRC?) Afterward it thawed them out much more quickly.)

Better Peltier Modules with Beryllium Oxide Ceramic?

   I keep waiting for improved Peltier modules to make a better solid state fridge with no compressor noise. It occurred to me that "obviously" there must be considerable heat resistance through the ceramic faces. The ceramic is "only" about 1mm thick, and I thought that even a "thermally conductive" ceramic must be very high thermal resistance compared to copper or alume, and that surely they must lose at least 2 or 3 degrees from the actual temperature of the thermocouples. And it's an extra layer between the thermocouples and the heatsink.
   Peltier modules could conceivably be put together without the ceramic faces, although they do provide mechanical stability and strength. However without the electrical insulation of the ceramic the module couldn't be pressed directly against metal heatsinks. Insulating Kapton tape is only ~.03mm thick instead of the 1mm of the ceramic. Wouldn't such a thin layer conduct heat better? On checking it out I discovered that even the .03mm Kapton tape would have almost as high a thermal resistance as the alumina [AKA aluminum oxide] ceramic. Little or maybe no gain for a lot of trouble!


   On looking up the thermal conductivities, I accidently saw an interesting figure in the table: sintered beryllium oxide ceramic actually has a higher thermal conductivity than alume metal! The usual alume oxide ceramic is only 15% as good! BeO is more thermally conductive than any other non-metal except diamond.
   So the very performance improvement I had envisioned from eliminating the ceramic faces could be found instead simply by making Peltier modules with (AKA) beryllia ceramic. That's without any hoped-for thermocouple technology breakthroughs. I'm sure any manufacturer making them would highlight that they used superior material, but I haven't found any! Why are they all using alumina?

   Beryllia ceramic used to be used in certain vacuum tubes, and it is used in some power semiconductors, so it's not new. Perhaps it's considered too expensive, or perhaps there are manufacturing technical problems I don't know about, but I expect using it would provide another whole similar level of improvement to using copper heatsinks instead of alume. (...as demonstrated in the above experiments.) Maybe that "20c colder" camping cooler mentioned on Wikipedia is attainable after all!
(Hmm... Be metal: ~~1000 $/Kg. That is pricey. But for a superior Peltier module? It doesn't take much, and there's nearly twice as much mass of oxygen as beryllium in BeO oxide. atomic weights Be:9, O:16! BeO powder/dust is carcinogenic, so a manufacturing facility would need to prevent exposure.)

   I emailed someone who makes thermoelectric generators, Peltier modules and equipment using them, and he didn't know why Al2O3 is used instead of BeO. Evidently they just order what is available and economic from suppliers. I could ask about feasibility at ceramic/pottery places, but I couldn't put together Peltier modules even if I had the ceramics. (A proper factory putting together modules with superior performance might do really well even if they cost more?)

June Gardening

[13th] Some powerful gusts of wind pulled the cover off the greenhouse with the corn. I had planned to take it off at the end of the month so the corn would get more light. It's still rather chilly at night, but I'll leave it off. (And the next days were cold and rainy. And deer came through chomping off the tops of tender young corn sprouts. Ug! I think the corn will be a wipeout, but some squash and potatos sprouted here and there in the same beds. Maybe I'll get something!)

[14th] With the cover off the poles & plastic greenhouse, it was apparent at 11:30 PST that there was a tree shadow across the corn patch and that it would have been better closer to the house. That got me thinking about my original plan for a garden: move the fence by the house over and have more garden on the outside side of the sidewalk. That was the sunniest and most convenient place.
   What had stopped that plan? One thing was the lack of any way short of more labor than I was capable of to rip up the lawn and make it into a garden bed. But now I had the rototiller to assist! The other was the solar panels on the lawn there. Somehow this visual impediment had put it "out of sight out of mind". Suddenly it seemed like a great plan again. Now it seemed I had made that whole "main" garden down the hill when everything would be better up by the house, and more convenient. Oh well, I have more garden space than I would have had. In fact, with my 'tennis elbow' I don't expect to even plant the last corner.
   But I may well do it next spring. Maybe I should move the fence over and put cardboard down now, since that seems very helpful for reducing the grass. At least put the cardboard down!

[16th] When I bought my english walnut tree (carpathian) this spring I was excited and mentioned it to Dan and Jeanette, who I saw in town. They went right to the store and bought one of each cool weather variety, carpathian and manregion.
   At home they had looked them up and realized they get big, and weren't sure where they could put them. I went to their place to drop something off. I looked at them and while the carpathian looked good, the manregion's leaves were shrivelling up instead of growing. There were still some new green buds. I left a phone message saying they couldn't let it die -- I wanted it and would buy it from them. (Their hose was nearby so I watered them and noticed the water seemed to run right through the pot and out the bottom. It didn't seem to hold much of it. That was probably the trouble. It needed to be out of there and planted, or at least repotted, ASAP or sooner.)
   I didn't buy one of each in the spring. But later I had figured a place to put a second one, and having seen this one not doing well in its pot, I had already had my eye on it. Thinking they were likely to give it to me now since it was obviously dying, I cut down a pine tree by the driveway near where I wanted to plant it so it could get more light. If not... next spring the store could get more? (It was a lot of work - I had to get the pine out of the driveway - and now a zillion branches to deal with, ug!) When I finally got back in the house a phone message said they were driving from Port Clements to my place with the tree. I got it cheap. I planted it the next morning and gave it lots of water. Hopefully it will recover.

[18th] On looking at the new tree I wasn't sure it didn't look worse than when Dan brought it. I decided on mainline transfusion: I put the hose by it and left it running on low the rest of the day until bedtime, then turned it on again the next morning. And the next day. It still looked worse and worse. I switched to watering twice a day. "Fingers crossed" as they say.

[July] It didn't recover. Apparently the main trunk had already died and carried no sap, so the buds wilted. Now I'm hoping it will come back from the roots. But the one from last year that I didn't water enough didn't. (Now my brother says he'll bring a black walnut sapling from Ontario this fall! Even better!)

   The new "Carpathian" tree (watered daily until early July, now every 2nd day) is growing really well.

[22nd] Egads - I left the main garden gate open last night. I was going to plant the hazelnut tree, then somehow I got sidetracked. For a while I thought all was okay, then I noticed half of my 2 rows of romaine lettuce, expected to be ready for the little Sunday "Tlell Farmers' Market" in a couple of weeks, were eaten nearly to the ground!

[23rd] I took away the wire circles around my fruit trees (one at a time) and mowed the 3 foot tall grass and ferns around them. Later while I was watering the same trees I noticed a branch move rather violently out the corner of my eye. The wire around that tree (48") wasn't tall enough and with the grass and ferns gone, a deer was munching down the ends of the branches. I shooed it away and put some chicken wire above. Soon it was back looking for a way in. Then it moved over to the next tree considering if it could reach a branch of that one. I shooed it again and widened its wire circle.

   After I had everything nice and looking like a kept lawn, some squirrel or something went up both pear trees and nipped off the stems of each and every tiny growing pear, and left them on the ground. (There weren't very many. But it's the first time they were going to produce any pears, with me having got a flowering branch from another variety this spring and got cross polination.) I think the creature did in some apples, too, because I thought there were more.

Note to self: DO NOT mow under fruit trees from flowering time until the fruit is harvested, no matter how tall and gnarly the grass, weeds and ferns. Those are what keep the squirrels(?) away - not to mention the deer! Just another of various gardening secrets one doesn't learn in a week or even in a year or two when gardening in a new place.

[22nd-24th] I pulled up the ground cover from the last unprepared corner of the garden, which I hadn't got into for a couple of years: old swimming pool vinyl and much decaying cardboard with all its little plastic tape and barcode label bits. (Bits of PLASTIC - Plastic is Everywhere! - GRR!)
   Then rototill, rake up roots and sieve the dirt. I planted some edible pod peas, bush beans and a short row of romaine lettuce, with room for a few more rows of somethings. In the next couple of days I had cleared and planted more beans right to the fence: All spring planting, Finished at last (26th)!

Other corners of the main garden: NW, SE, S. half (NE is raspberries... & grass)

   I kept planting more corn until July, but it didn't seem to grow. I finally realized that in spite of putting some boards over it to discourage them, the deer were ducking under and eating the tender corn seedlings, and the tips of taller ones. I'll have no corn this year! They also polished off a couple of volunteer cabbages in the same patch. But they seem to have left the squashes with their prickly leaves, so maybe I'll get a few of those. This is good to know for next year: squashes can be grown in the open! (Hmm... the slugs haven't been bad this year. Squashes need slug protection when small.)
   And way off in my far potato patch, apparently no one told the deer potato leaves are poisonous and they have done much damage - apparently mostly to varieties with lighter green leaves. (Is that why I seem to have no purple or pink flesh potatos any more?) I had thought that potatos was at least one crop that didn't need to be fenced in!

   And there was some volunteer quinoa and sunflowers at the septic tank field - leftover chicken feed - until the deer ate those and just left the thistles, and some grain which they'll no doubt munch up when the seed is ripening.

   Some venison for the freezer this fall is starting to seem more and more a just and fair proposition. On this archipelago they are an introduced species with no predators besides hunters, and they are spoiling the forest by overgrazing the understory plants.

   I plan for next year to double my 'south wall of house' garden (where plants that like it warmer grow best and it's easiest to keep the deer out). I had been thinking of this for years, but again the small rototiller should now make it practical to turn lawn into garden. If I had done it before, I might never have made the big "main" garden. But I'm presently spreading thick grass clippings, cardboard and some plastic ground cover over the area to smother the grass and make it much easier next spring. I should have done it years ago.
   I'm also frequently bringing a bucket of seaweed from the beach for fertilizer and mulch on the gardens. Why add mostly packaged fertilizer to loose, sandy soil when you live next to an ocean beach? (Not that I don't supplement a bit when planting - lime/calcium, woodstove ashes, borax, and a little "NPK" fertilizer, bone meal when planting trees and bushes...)

Electricity Storage

(No Reports)

Electricity Generation

My Solar Power System

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

(All times are in PST: clock 48 minutes ahead of local sun time, 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: Chevy Sprint electric car, inverters in power outages or other 36V loads), while the grid tied readings are cumulative.)

Daily Figures

Notes: House Main meter (6 digits) accumulates. DC meter now accumulates until [before] it loses precision (9.999 WH => 0010 KWH), then is reset. House East and Cabin meters (4 digits) are reset to 0 when they get near 99.99 (which goes to "100.0") - owing to loss of second decimal precision.

Km = Nissan Leaf electric car drove distance, then car was charged.

New Order of Daily Solar Readings (Beginning May 2022):

Date House, House, House, Cabin => Total KWH Solar [Notable power Uses; Grid power meter@time] Sky/weather
        Main       DC      East  Cabin
31st 4885.08, 7.22, 37.55, 34.89 => 19.53 [7902@21:00]

1st 4889.18, 7.24, 40.54, 37.51 =>   9.73 [55Km; 7924@21:30] 12 - ug!
2nd4895.64, 7.30, 45.67, 42.09 => 16.23 [85Km; 7952@21:30] 16.6 max but mostly closer to 12.
3rd 4904.99, 7.70, 53.24, 48.49 => 23.72 [55Km; 7970@21:00] lost 3/4?KWH with cabin cord unplugged ~1Hr for mowing lawn. DC use: charged some batteries.
4th 4912.88, 7.92, 59.43, 54.33 => 20.14 [35Km; 7992@21:00] DC use: Ran Chevy Sprint around the yard.
5th 4920.43, 8.26, 65.98, 59.93 => 21.04 [7999@21:00] ~300 WH to run the Sprint 1 Km? Well, it is rough ground, and not a very efficient motor.
6th 4930.11, 8,47, 73.98, 66.74 => 24.70 [55Km; 8016@21:00; 50Km] Best in 2 weeks notwithstanding the spreading jet trails.
7th 4940.01, 8,57, 81.91, 68.97 => 20.16 [80.32@21:30] Something seems wrong down at the cabin... was expecting 6KWH there, 24 total!
8th 4947.85, 8.63, 87.77, 70.37 => 15.16 [90Km; 8044@21:00] Didn't have time to look at it - just 1.4 KWH, from small grid tie on 1 collector.
9th 4955.54, 8.69, 93.71, 71.74 => 15.06 [175Km; 8074@22:00] Main grid tie for cabin definitely not working - no blown fuses, nothing, just doesn't put out. Red light stays on as if no AC connection. (Yes I tried another cord.) I drove the Leaf to Masset... at 65KmPH. Charged at new charging station there, so only last 90Km was recharged from my own charging station.
10th 4963.89, 8.80,   7.06, 73.59 => 17.37 [105Km; 8095@21:30]
11th 4973.29, 8.89, 14.27, 77.43 => 20.54 [35Km; 8110@21:00] Cabin: Moved 2 more collectors to the "700W" grid tie.
12th 4980.02, 9.63, 20.03, 81.34 => 17.14 [8118@21:00] Why the DC was so big: Ran the Sprint car around the acreage a couple of times and then plugged it in; Ran some Peltier cooler tests. Ordered 2 more 1000W grid ties. I don't like the "1400W" ones (like the one that just failed) because they don't seem to put out much (any?) more power than the "1000W" -- they just get really hot before the cooling fan comes on.
13th 4991.77+0.48, 9.72, 29.12, 86.17=> 25.76 [55Km; 8134@21:30] Gee, sunny! - should have been YTD record if cabin grid tie had been working. Something funny happened in a brief power failure in the morning and I accidently reset KWH on the house meter to zero. (I remembered seeing the last two digits (.77) just before I did it, and the coarser unit KWH '91' (not '90' or '92') was derived from the relation to the carport reading, so I'm pretty sure I got the exact figure.)
14th   8.83, 9.78, 36.01, 90.25 => 16.38 [70Km; 8152@21:30]
15th 12.23,   .06, 38.36, 92.14 =>   7.70 [8166@21:30] Cold & rainy.
16th 17.17,   .12, 41.98, 94.86 => 11.34 [90Km; 8190@21:30] 8 at night.
17th 24.88,   .26, 46.08, 98.66 => 16.75 [110Km; 8215@21:30] -- Unplugged 1000W grid tie to plug in chainsaw & forgot to plug it back in. Oops.
18th 31.48,   .32, 49.69,   3.59 => 13.86 [8228@21:30] Still pretty cool. "Tuque weather"
19th 42.04,   .39, 55.84,   7.76 => 20.95 [8239@22:00] Wow! Sunny & warm today - almost hot! (didn't check thermometer.)
20th 52.24,   .45, 61.43, 12.29 => 20.37 [70Km; 8257@21:30] Beautiful again!
21st 61.18,   .53, 66.12, 16.64 => 18.06 [20Km;8270@21:30] Summer solstice! (& it was nice out!)
22d  72.25,   .60, 71.98, 21.19 => 21.44 [8279@21:30] Sunny, even hot. Evening: Exchanged 1000W grid tie in carport with 700W in cabin - Surely will get more from the 4 collectors on the cabin with 1000W one, and not much less from the 2 on the pole with the 700W. But I discovered the 1000W one had been doing nothing since 17th, when I unplugged it to plug in the electric chainsaw to cut down pine tree, and forgot about it. Oops! No wonder KWH seemed to be down even more in spite of the sunniest days, right at the summer solstice. All told must have been missing 4-5 KWH/Day. (Now, if there's another sunny day, we should see the difference.)
23rd   77.68,   .66, 76.03, 24.88 => 13.23 [90Km; 8298@22:00] Cloudy. No rain.
24th   87.17,   .73, 83.26, 31.69 => 23.60 [60Km; 8312@21:30] Sunny PM. Warm. (21?) Definitely improved KWH!
25th   95.70,   .81, 89.67, 37.81 => 21.14 [3Km; 8317@21:00] Sunny AM, Cloudy PM.
26th 103.25,   .89, 95.31, 42.85 => 18.32 [8327@21:00] Light clouds. FINISHED planting garden!
27th 112.81,   .98,   8.19, 50.31 => 25.33 [8333@24:00] Almost totally sunny - a few jet trails later PM. (Expect > 10 KWH from house! A grid tie keeps resetting to zero, working gradually up to 500W, and then dropping again - in a clear blue sky. ???) Oh, wait... I had the house power shut off overnight until ? 9AM. Might have lost a KWH or so in the morning, including some from house.
28th 118.67, 1.04, 12.47, 54.20 => 14.09 [55Km; 8342@21:30] Rained overnite. Light cloud.
29th 123.95, 1.10, 16.11, 57.96 => 12.74 [8350@21:00] A few sprinkles of "mist" rain.
30th 130.86, 1.14, 21.09, 62.54 => 16.51 [55Km; 8366@21:00] Too cool - had to turn on bedroom heat early AM. It shows!

1st 137.45, 1.48, 26.65, 67.37 => 17.32 [8478@22:00] Bedroom heat burns electricity - and at the wrong time of day! Cloudy again.
2d  146.83, 1.59, 34.26, 74.18 => 23.91 [85Km; 8395@21:30] Sunny & clear
3rd 157.39, 1.61, 40.97, 81.64 => 24.75 [8404@21:00] Clouded over toward eve.
4th 167.72, 1.65, 45.30, 89.38 => 22.44 [50Km; 8416@21:00] Something is wrong with a "700W" grid tie in the carport. Collection from carport is half, and its light stays green even if it's unplugged from the AC. The other two turn red if unplugged. Are the wired-in ones for 3x the price more reliable? (Do you know if they've quit?) I have the two 1000W plugin ones coming, but I'm losing quite a lot of KWH through the peak summer period!
5th 178.59, 1.68, 51.27, 96.26 => 23.75 [8423@21:00] 25 out! Swapped two grid ties in carport - now the good one is on 2 panels instead of 1. Cabin was off line for an hour midday. (3/4 KWH lost?)
6th 189.05, 1.75, 59.31,   7.76 => 26.33 [55Km; 8433@21:00] (best since May.) 26!
7th 199.73, 1.80, 67.19, 12.29 => 23.14 [90Km; 8445@21:00] Cabin was off half the day ~ -3.5KWH? Not as warm out, still sunny & warm. Very foggy eve.
8th 206.26, 1.87, 72.07, 14.93 => 13.84 [55Km; 8462@21:00; 50Km] Cloudy, cooler.
9th 211.03, [off], 75.74, 18.22 => 11.73 [35Km; 8474@21:00] A few drops ov rain. [using Sprint around acreage - unplugged DC]
10t 221.09, 2.11, 83.95, 25.57 => 25.93 [8480@22:00]
11t 229.79, 2.16, 91.03, 31.66 => 21.92 [65Km; 8493@21:00]

Chart of daily KWH from solar panels.    (Compare JUNE 2023 (left) with May 2023 & with June 2022.)

Days of
__ KWH
June 2023
 ..18 collectors)
May 2023
(18 solars)
June 2022
(18 s. panels)



























1 (All time
  1-day record
  31.00 KWH
Total KWH
for month
642.52 (All time
 monthly record
Km Driven
on Electricity
 1407.7 Km
(190 KWH?)
1207.4 Km
(175 KWH?)
934.1 Km
(~140 KWH?)

Things Noted - June 2023

* Sunshine: May was very sunny - much sunnier than June -- and than May 2022. But little rain in June. Just clouds.

Monthly Summaries: Solar Generated KWH [& Power used from grid KWH]

As these tables are getting long, I'm not repeating the log of monthly reports. The reports for the first four full years (March 2019 to February 2023) may be found in TE News #177, February 2023.

2023 - (House roof, lawn + DC + Cabin + Carport, Pole) Solar
Jan KWH: 40.57 + 3.06 + 28.31 + 21.85 = 93.79 Solar [grid: 1163; car (these are very rough estimates): 130]
Feb KWH: 59.19 + 2.70 + 38.10 + 32.47 = 132.46 Solar [grid: 1079; car: 110]
Four years of solar!
Mar KWH: 149.49 + 2.72 + 53.85 +    92.08 = 298.14 Solar [grid: 981; car: 140]
Apr KWH: 176.57 + 2.71 + 121.21 + 108.34 = 408.83 [grid: 676; car: 160]
May KWH:266.04 + 2.04 + 194.13 + 180.31 = 642.52 [grid: 500; car: 175]
Jun KWH: 237.55 + 3.70 + 172.56 + 126.31 = 540.12 [grid: 464; car: 190]

Annual Totals

1. March 2019-Feb. 2020: 2196.15 KWH Solar [used   7927 KWH from grid]
2. March 2020-Feb. 2021: 2069.82 KWH Solar [used 11294 KWH from grid] (More electric heat - BR, Trailer & Perry's RV)
3. March 2021-Feb. 2022: 2063.05 KWH Solar [used 10977 KWH from grid]
4a. March 2022-August 2022: in (the best) 6 months, about 2725 KWH solar - more than in any previous entire year!
4. March2022-Feb. 2023: 3793.37 KWH Solar [used 12038 KWH from grid]

Money Saved or Earned - @ 12 [All BC residential elec. rate] ; @ 50 [2018 cost of diesel fuel to BC Hydro] ; @ 1$ per KWH [actual total cost to BC Hydro in 2022 according to an employee]:
1. 263.42$ ; 1097.58$ ; 2196.15$
2. 248.38$ ; 1034.91$ ; 2069.82$
3. 247.57$ ; 1031.53$ ; 2063.05$
4. 455.20$ ; 1896.69$ ; 3793.37$

   It can be seen that the benefit to the society as a whole on Haida Gwaii from solar power installations is much greater than the cost savings to the individual user of electricity, thanks to the heavy subsidization of our power owing to the BC government policy of having the same power rate across the entire province regardless of the cost of production. And it can be insurance: With some extra equipment and a battery, sufficient solar can deliver essential power in electrical outages however long. (Feb 28th 2023: And it's probably well over 1$/KWH by now the way inflation of diesel fuel and other costs is running.)

Haida Gwaii, BC Canada