Sunday, November 17, 2013

I now use a multi tool when I am out and about

I have to admit that multi tools are so useful when you need to travel light. I also think that I have found the best multi tool for the money. I never really used any multi tool before because I always thought that a multi tool would be not as good as a good set of dedicated tools. Sure, that thought still stays, but when I actually started to use one, I have realized why people at speak highly about them. Reality is that I had some bad experience with multi tools in the past, because I bought a $10 Chinese multi tool (which I can’t remember the name). The tool basically broke after just a few uses. So, since that experience, I gave up with multi tools. … Until I saw one, it is a Leatherman Wave, the NEW Wave to be exact. I started reading its review and found a great multi tool comparison table, and I thought why not give it a try. To be honest with you, I was wondering if I will waste money one more time because it is quite pricey. But I was amazed with how useful and strong the tool is. Overall, the tool has 16 tools, and the few most pronounced things are very sharp knife blades and good pliers. This model has 2 versions, one with and other without electric crimper. The one with the crimper is what I bought. If you do not use crimper often, you can get the normal version. Other than the tool itself, I also bought the optional bit driver and driver extender which add more tools and versatility to the multi tool overall.
You can see more about the Wave here .

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

I am in rare form this evening

Does anyone remember the eulogy given by billy graham on the national funeral for the 9/11 victims? Keep that in mind as I pose this question: What would you say if someone said "you know, a good lot of those killed in the WTC deserve to burn in hell, and are doing so".
Would you be pissed and start looking for the secret service phone number? Maybe turn in a commie, or worse a terrorist? Now consider that billy graham said this and as far as I know it's been almost 10 years and he's not been called on it. I'll do it. What an asshole. And what a bunch of brain washed flag waving jackasses who got teary eyed at his service in front of the nation and world without critically listening. That is all.

Sunday, August 17, 2008


Check it. Went to water batteries the other day and this snake, the same who I always see eating chicken eggs out in the hen house was hanging out in my house on my batteries. Which are kept clean btw so there should not be any concern about the snake getting acid on it's belly. I kept trying to pick it up and get it outside and it kept slithying out of my hands back onto or behind the battery. After several minutes of this it started making very feebly strikes so I left it alone. I came back 20 minutes later and it was gone. I have only a small house of 840 square feet so it seems like there would not be too many places for a snake of this size to hide. I checked them. I guess it got out the same way it got in. ??? Regarding the serpent's grumpiness--it had glazed eyes. It is going to shed in a few days and I know they get pissed easily in such a state. I've escorted this one out of the hen house several times and it's never tried to bite before.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

heating water with wood

I normally heat water using home built solar panels. When it is below freezing it's a good idea to circulate anti-freeze in the solar panels and have a heat exchanger beside the water tank. I've never got around to that. So, in winters past I've instead run a very shoddy loop of copper coils in front of the air outlet on the biodiesel powered furnace. By pumping water to this loop and back to the water tank I've had very hot water.
Last year I installed a wood stove and have been pleased with wood heat. It seems to offer savings compared to biodiesel or other fuel oils. I've wondered if it was possible to heat water using wood and without consuming any electricity for the pumping. It's kind of a crappy idea to run a 15 watt pump all winter long if it can be avoided.
After some reading I built something very simple and it's worked first try. Here are Flickr Photos.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Ontario bans incandescent bulbs

Going off grid with solar has been all about about reducing consumption. So when I see governments forbid these dingy colored , asinine little heaters I experience shameful joy, trepidation and an immediate need to fit what is an act of aggression into a anarcho/panarcho/libertarian justification.
The joy of course because replacing 60 watt bulbs with 14 watt bulbs is projected to allow 600,000 additional Ontarians to exist on the same amount of electricity. But, there's shame too. Should there even exist a government with the power to dictate choices like that? Should there even exist a government? No to both. So celebrating the exercise of majority power over property rights and freedom is flawed. But then what about the ownership of our atmosphere? It is certainly a shared resource and I can see no way to for it to be privatized. There is a collective interest in it's maintenance. For one reason or another the atmosphere is not being well cared for and some of the players who might suffer from regulation are hardly my capitalist heros. They claim to be, of course. But instead of nimble competence in a free market they've used lobbying power to divvy up the market into fiefdoms. Consider eminent domain land seizures by electric utilities, government guaranteed regional monopolies for power generation and distribution, industry lobbied Inspectoriates that prevent free adoption of individual alternative energy production and new building methods while at the same time providing life-long employment for a new welfare class of otherwise useless government employed losers who are too tired to work in the building trade and end up as inspectors. There's dozens of more crimes I could list.
GE makes a bunch of incandescent bulbs and are the epitome of military-industrial complex. I wish this regulation could kill them. But they also make CF lamps and likely other future lighting technologies. I wonder if they are not behind the whole thing. Get people spending $2.50 a lamp instead of $0.25. But it's just a tiny slice of their business anyway. They may be too big to care. If it were to impact their shareholder value there's no doubt a government welfare check in the mail.
But what else might the regulatoriate try to impose? If they can have this why not enhanced road tax on alt-energy cars and tax on off-grid solar producers? Grow your own food on your own land and you are probably stealing from all the poor souls that maintain your air and soil and water. How long before every type of regulation is applied to food production? Oh, wait. Duh. Already is. We have a system that pays farmers to produce less so that well lobbied cartels can maximize profits while producing less and costing consumers more in a world where not everyone is well fed. Farmers can double their income by adding a second mail box.
How long before it is claimed that Nasa maintains the sun and there are no free rides?

Saturday, April 1, 2006

today I finshed a serial port expander for my online energy meter. It lets the software I've written on the PDA talk to both the Pentametric power meter and the Outback charge controller and inverter. The problem was that the PDA has only 1 serial port. The expander acts as a 10 position switch that lets the PDA decide which of 10 devices will be connected to the PDA. Support for only 2 devices is complete. Number 3 will be an AVR butterfly microcontroller. The PDA will then be able to tell the microcontroller to turn things off. There are a variety of loads around the house and shop that are not always needed or only needed in conjunction with certain loads. One example is the 220 volt transformer. It's only needed when the well pump is running or 220 volt machine tools are being used. That transformer takes 13 watts 24 hours/day. I will also be setting the PDA to allow internet remote control of loads.
The energy server web page now sports some new data that this upgrade made possible.
Under "links" click on "real time power meter" to check it out or browse

Monday, January 9, 2006

Generator maintenance

I use a backup generator sometimes. Mainly at night if I'm doing a lot of machine shop work. About a month ago I noticed my backup generator was starting to sound like crap. I figured it was time to take the head and cylinder off and the piston out for a decarbonizing. This thing really takes an abusing and deserves a better user than I. In the summer I run it on new SVO and in the winter I mix it 10 or 20 percent with kerosene. Neither are heated. I've been meaning to get around to that. Between decarbonizing I pull the injector out about every couple of months and scrape the 0.050" layer or hard garbage off it that's starting to block the orifice, interfering with the spray pattern. This is an Indian copy of a Lister 6/1 CS. It is a very simple single cylinder unit with an iron piston 4.5" in diameter. Iron seems ideal for this kind of abuse. I can scrape at it as much as I like with scrap aluminum and the surface is pristine when I'm done. The piston has a flat crown. It was faced flat on a lathe and you can see the tool marks. I mean flat. There are no recesses for valves. The cylinder head is flat iron too. There's no hemispherical combustion chamber here. Both of these features make it an easy scrape. It ends up taking most of the day to do this. (disassembly, scrape, reassembly). I could just pull the head off and scrape top of the piston and cylinder head, but there's some deposits between the top of the piston and the first ring that I like to get. There's also the problem of getting debris between the piston and cylinder and having it score the cylinder over time. It's just seems right to take it all the way instead. The two times I've done this the results were satisfying - easy starting and quite running. As much fun as this is I'm looking for ways to increase the service interval.
These liquid cooled engines have no thermostats. Since they are huge (750 lbs) for their 6 hp output it takes a while to get the temperature up. When it's really cold out(30's) I've not felt the engine get too hot to touch even after a couple of hours of running. Most people running these are using 30 gallons or more of water in a simple thermosiphon cooling system. This massive cooling capacity adds to the problem of getting the engine temperature up. It is said that getting the temp up will aid greatly in running clean and efficient. George at recommends a napa thermostat. It's a tiny thing about 1.25" in diameter that costs $4. The water outlet flange that comes with the engine is plenty thick to accommodate a recess needed for the thermostat to fit in and the iron machines very nicely. The cylinder head has a hole where the flange bolts up to it but it's mostly blocked by casting that was never removed. I guess they didn't think it worthwhile to finish the job since the machine has decent coolant flow already. That hole needs to be taken out to nearly the inner diameter of the gasket. If done carefully it's easy to get a good fit with the thermostat nicely clamped between the head and water outlet flange. I did include a small pinhole, as was recommended, in the thermostat so that steam would not build up in the head. I guess you could have a situation where steam build up in the water passages was preventing water from contacting the thermostat. Maybe the steam prevents hot water from opening the thermostat and there is a delay before any water flows and the head gets too hot?
It works well. The freshly decarbed engine heats up fast even when it's below freezing. It's a 195F thermostat and that's about where the head is at. It's too early to say if I'll get a better maintenance interval but I feel like it's an improvement. I don't think any of this excuses the cold SVO or SVO mix I'm running. That really needs to get done too.
I pity anyone who is abusing a multicylinder engine this way unless they really like working hard.