Friday, July 16, 2004

Last night was an awesome class, mainly because we got out an hour and a half early. I was home and in bed shortly after midnight. Woo hoo!
Anyway, not much to report other than spending more money at Brighton Electric. I'm trying to make our well pump more efficient without the constant hassle of turning the breaker on and off. The plan is to use the pressure switch to energize a low-amp signaling circuit that will do two things. First it will activate a relay on a high-amp circuit that will send power to the transformer. Second, a one-second timer circuit will kick at the same time, then activate a second relay that will send power from the transformer to the well pump. If it works (fingers crossed) it will be a pretty slick solution to the problem. It will cut 20 to 25% of our daily electrical usage right off the top. After this is done, the next efficiency we will be working on is our lighting. Right now, we are using a 300 watt halogen light for a desk lamp. Next pay period, that will be changed. My goal is to be able to live 9 months of the year off what we can generate from the solar panels.
Speaking of solar panels, that is the next major project; building the rack for the panels. I want to make the rack big enough for 16 panels (we currently have four). That will give us a worst-case capacity of 400 amp-hours a day (meaning that we can expect about 100 amp-hours a day from the panels we have). Our battery capacity is 440 amp-hours, which lasts us about 2 days with our current usage. With efficiencies in place, that could increase, but I'm not banking on it. What all that means is that we would have to run the generator once or twice a week for 8 hours during late-December, January, February, and early-March. The rest of the year, it would just get exercised for an hour or so once a month, or when we needed to run power tools out in the garage. We would almost be living like normal people...
I've seen this referenced many places. Jerry Pournelle's site was the first. I hope for all our sakes that this is some sort of joke. Another successful, large-scale attack on U.S. soil would be... well... interesting (as in the Chinese curse). It would effectively kill the airline industry, and Debbie's job along with it. Would the Bush administration be so stupid as to attempt to cancel or delay the elections? I would hope that would result in them finding themselves on the business end of more weapons than they could ever imagine, but the process of turning citizens into subjects is well under way. Are there enough people with courage do anything other than say "moo"? When I watch the "average person" where I live, I'm not hopeful. I live in an area that prides itself on self-reliance, grit, horse sense, etc., etc., yet these same people clutch their chests over a few feet of snow in winter or dust from the gravel roads in the summer. Picturing the average northern Michigan resident doing anything that would cause them to miss the next Survivor episode is simply bizarre.
Anyway, the current plan for tonight is to meet with Debbie in Kalkaska for dinner someplace local, then home to homework and lesson prep.

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