Your leaking thatched hut during the restoration of a pre-Enlightenment state.


Hello, my name is Judas Gutenberg and this is my blaag (pronounced as you would the vomit noise "hyroop-bleuach").


decay & ruin
Biosphere II
dead malls
Irving housing

got that wrong

appropriate tech
Arduino μcontrollers
Backwoods Home
Fractal antenna

fun social media stuff

(nobody does!)

Like my brownhouse:
   specifics of cabin power usage
Sunday, January 2 2022

location: 800 feet west of Woodworth Lake, Fulton County, NY

Our performance on yesterday's New York Times Spelling Bee had been particularly bad; we hadn't gotten either of the two panagrams ("acronym" and "monocracy," though, before checking our results, Gretchen had wondered this morning if the latter was a word). Today, though, we got to genius fairly rapidly and had no trouble finding the one panagram: workload.
My first chore of the day was to hook up the two-wire generator turn-on to the correct connectors in the Sol-Ark inverter. I still wanted to have a back-up generator turn-on system via the thermostat in the bathroom, so I just pulled down some slack in the Cat-5 cable carrying this signal (it happened to be strung directly above the inverter) so that I run the relevant wires up through a cable port. I then connected the Sol-Ark in parallel with the thermostat in the bathroom so that either could turn on the generator. (Since the generator turn-on and turn-off logic in the Sol-Ark is primitive and not as configurable as I'd like, it might some day be useful to add a digital switch in series with the Sol-Ark leg of the two-wire turn-on so I can override it in some cases.) Once I had the Sol-Ark connected to the Generac's two-wire turn-on, the generator came to life, indicating things were working as expected. Of course, I couldn't be certain that the Sol-Ark would turn off the generator once it had charged the battery. So we had to wait and see. About three and a half hours later, the battery was 100% full and the generator was turned off (though, according to the manual, the generator should've been turned off when the battery reached 95% full). All of this is to say that finally, after some finishing work on my part, these systems seemed to be interacting correctly (if, to my thinking, a bit crudely).
With that stuff working, we could then isolate parts of the cabin by turning off various circuit breakers and checking the power consumption in the Sol-Ark graphicsl display. In so doing, we determined the following approximate power consumption values:

consumption source power usage
boiler 200 W when running
refrigerator 250 W when running
Sol-Ark itself 80 W
well pump unknown

The setup seemed to be drawing 500 watts most of the time, which, given our 18 kilowatt-hour battery, means our cabin will only be able to run on battery power for about 18 hours before needing some sort of input (either from the sun or the generator). Gretchen found this disappointing; the guy at the solar installation place who had sold us this system had suggested we could run off the battery for something like a week. But we've already established the limits of those guys' knowledge. Perhaps the most surprising thing about the setup is that the 200 square feet of solar panel are capable of generating 200 watts of power even on a completely overcast day such as today.

In the mid-afternoon, after another squabble which ended when I told Gretchen "shut up" (she'd been annoyingly and, with dare I say a bit of entitlement, listing all the chores I needed to do at the cabin), I drove up to the top of the driveway hill about hundred feet from the cabin and loaded up the many pieces firewood I'd bucked last weekend. A light rain was falling when I began, but it turned to sleet and then snow by the time I was done loading the wood. This made me nervous, but Gretchen told me it wasn't expected to accumulate more than an inch. Most of the wood ended up as a disorganized pile in front of the cabin, though I did split a few dry pieces and bring them in for immediate use as fuel.

Later I had Gretchen mark some places in the closet of the smaller of the two downstairs bedrooms so I could install real wooden shelves. It was a bit of challenge finding the studs (particularly in the outside wall, where the drywall is glued to the studs without any fasteners I might find with a magnet), but eventually that project was done and I could do the last cabin chore of the weekend: grouting enough of the tile for me to be able to install the toilet and sink.
I'd had a piece of leftover pizza from Gretchen's half of the Little Anthony's pizza for lunch (the first real food since the burger yesterday at about 1:00pm). And I had another slice a little before we left the cabin at around 7:00pm. Other dinner items included two beers, one of which continued as a road beer on the drive back home (though drunk as a passenger, not as a driver).

We've been experimenting with different routes to and from the cabin. On the drive to to cabin yesterday afternoon, I'd tried going straight on Route 67 across Comrie to find a route to Perry that didn't involve driving down Comrie, which provides Johnstown's its ugly "big-box district," or "motor mile." But I'd made a wrong a turn that put us back on Comrie a few blocks later. On our way out this evening, though, Gretchen successfully avoided Comrie by staying southbound on Perry (instead of turning east on Townsend) and then taking Main to State, which is Route 67. All we had to with Comrie was cross it. This provided a much prettier view of Johnstown, which has a good number of pretty Victorian houses that, unlike Gloversville, don't tend to be run down.
We timed how long it took us to drive from where Stoner branches off Route 67 to South Arterial in Amsterdam, and found it took ten minutes.
Once out on the Thruway, I noticed Ramona was licking Neville neurotically, something he seemed to enjoy. She did this for most the 22 miles to Albany, suggesting that it was her way of dealing with the stress of being a passenger in the back of a vehicle. She might not like the faux leather seats of the Forester as much as the softer cloth seats of our other cars; she tends to slip and slide around on the smooth surface, particularly when one of us slams on the brakes.

Gretchen had messaged Powerful to make her a pot of rice, and it was waiting for her when we got back to the house in Hurley.

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