Category Archives: /dev/random

Just random idle chatter

Solar 1 year on

this time last year we had the solar installed well by this time it was well on the roof … this date last year we had the meter replaced and the solar turned on.

The statistics:

  • kWh Imported 4295.3
  • kWh Exported 3199.9
  • kWh generated according to the inverter 4936
  • Fit Collected at 8c kWh $255.99
  • kWh not purchased or sold 1736.1

I’m currently on a flat rate of 29.084 c/kWh (note my rate has gone up since solar was installed) minus 10% discount  plus 5.5  c /kWh for green energy = 31.94 c /kWh. So the amount not purchased or sold is what I saved by not buying 1736.1*31.94c = $554.51 + the money I got from Fit $255.99 so in a year it’s saved me ~$810.5.

Has the solar been a good investment no…the capital cost was around $8.5k so with the amount saved it’ll take 10 years to pay back. The main reason for this is that we export way too much and the fit is so low if we got paid what it costs us it would of saved us ~$1500 a year and only 5.5 years to pay back.  Do I care if it was a solid investment not really.

If we look at how green it is if we take imported – exported (1095 kWh)  that’s how much power I’ve used from other generators which for my area is black coal, but that has been offset by my green power money purchasing green power from wind and biogass. so does my house run emissions free when it comes to electricity according to an accountant yes, because every kWh of power I’ve used has been purchased from a green source  but maybe not according to an engineer.

Other interesting notes on the power bill:

average kWh used per day including solar from April to may 2013 before purchasing the EV was 12.1 kwh

average kWh used per day including solar from July 2013 to April 2014 post purchasing the EV is 16.5 kwh

so the effect of owning an EV on our power bills is about 4.4 kwh per day $1.40 increased cost. Note: this would also include seasonal cost extras like summertime air con and winter time heating so I won’t have a clear picture until we 1 year of EV ownership.

Quad copter update

because I got a comment asking for more info on the last post here is a bit of an updated

I got my quad flying but flying a quad is harder than you think see video below

If you want to fly any model aircraft i recommending finding your local club mine is this one http://www.comsoa.com

not only can you get lessons but they have insurance encase your plane falls from the sky. (remember it’s a flying lawn mower i have scars on my arms to prove it)

Currently i haven’t got a lot of time to fly haven’t in a couple months as miss 2 and the newborn are keeping me very busy.

 

Jdrones ArduCopter Quad

So I decided to build a quad mainly the one designed by the diydrones.com people, there are 2 suppliers of the kit jdrones and udrones. one is based in Asia the other in the US.

I decided to be slack and buy the pre-soldered kit, I can solder and it’s not like it was anything hard like surface mount. Big NOTE when they say pre-soldered they don’t mean the entire kit has be soldered you still have to solder 24 bullet connectors and the power distribution board, and for some reason they give you the magnetometer attached by cable not soldered directly to a header on a board like they recommend.

So what I purchased from Jdrones

  • ArduCopter Quad v1.1 KIT, KIT, Pre-Soldered, Tested + Software
  • Upgraded with the 880kv motors 30amp esc and larger props.
  • Also wanted to be able to do low altitude hover so I brought a sonar
  • http://store.jdrones.com/product_p/cbl3psnr01.htm (cable)
  • http://store.jdrones.com/product_p/mb1200.htm (sonar)
  • http://store.jdrones.com/product_p/mntmx12pc01.htm (mount)
  • What I forgot to buy is some headers: http://store.jdrones.com/product_p/conhead20angle.htm and http://store.jdrones.com/product_p/conhead20str.htm

Ok so this isn’t enough to make it fly and yes you’ve just spent nearly a AU$1000 you’ll also need to get a Battery, and a radio. For that I tried the hobbyking.com shop. Note: if it’s not in stock in the Australian warehouse delivery times seem a bit slow.Also LiPo battery’s can not be shipped by air, make sure you buy in Australia for those.

battery: ZIPPY Flightmax 2650mAh 3S1P 40C also need some connectors XT60 Battery charger I’m using a cheap only does 2S and 3S batteries get it from jaycar Lipo balanced charger

Lastly is the radio the most expensive single item after the kit. I’m trying to get my hand on this but apparently the queue is long and the might take months. why so popular you ask well it cost like $60. and something with that many channels cost normally around $200+ so If nothing ships soon I’m looking at buying one of these Futaba 7c and probably from the more local hobby store dune planes

What you need to know about the TX RX radio is basically get 2.4 GHz otherwise the local model aircraft club will not let you fly near them. and you need at least 6 channels and any more than 8 channels is pointless

The diydrone has a very smart and easily programmable flight controller if you want cheap and no as intelligent have a look at kkmulticopter

Engagement Party

Linux suitable for every event

Linux suitable for every event

Today Kymberly and I had our engagement party. If you haven’t kept pace and I don’t blame you since I haven’t updated the blog. But yes, we are engaged. I asked Kym to marry me on the 16th of June, and she said yes. Romantic stories are for another blog far far away.

Anyway I really wanted to share our lovely Engagement Cake… If you know why you have an engagement cake be sure to tell me. But it kept the future mother in-law happy.

Gate Opening Triggered Door Bell

Background dad’s bike which has happy sat out the frount of our house for the past 6 years was stolen a couple nights ago. managed to take the bike not wake up the dog or anything.

So I starting thinking how can I set of a alarm when people open the front gate or any gate which leads to our stuff.

So pretty simple hard hack

Requirements

  • Door bell
  • Magnetic Reed Switch NO (normally open)

Method

  1. Pull apart door bell switch, the part with the button on it.
  2. locate the button
  3. solder the Magnetic Reed Switch across the button so that if the switch is ON it shorts out the button.
  4. put back together.

Pictures will follow.

For those who don’t know magnetic reed switches are things you see on doors and windows where they actually installed a real security system

Install the door bell / switch tomorrow see how it goes.

Notes:

  • With the HPM door bell it only rings once and doesn’t ring again until you’ve closed the gate and reopened it.
  • Yes I know it would be much easier to secure the bike eg. not full view of the street or not locked up.
  • Need to look at adding a override device so when you come home at 3 am in the morning you don’t wake the whole house.

New Job

This afternoon after an interview before Easter. I was offered the job of Access Grid Support Officer working for 17000 at the University of Newcastle.

It looks like it’s going to be a great part time job while I’m at Uni.

Basics of the Job is that I’ll be running and tech support for the Universities Teleconference suite. (or Access grid)  The University has 2 of these rooms both located at the top of the maths building. (one equipped with smart boards a the other a touch screen TV)

At the moment the only group using the room is the Maths department for topological groups and other distance education courses. But there are plans to open the rooms up to other departments as well as offering a commercial service to the public sector.

I’ve been told the software running the room is open source, which should be another plus.

Uni, new degree and blog fame.

Firstly I’ve had a hard time getting to the rhythm of uni life again. For those who care I’ve changed degrees. I decided to after spending a lot of time last year in the engineering building, it holds my interest more than maths I changed degrees this year from my B. Mathematics degree to a B. Engineering (computer) / B. Mathematics Combined. Of course this makes everything feel weird as I go from ELEC1700 first year subject to a 3rd year subject in programmable logic then number theory.

A lot of people had a good laugh at my last blog post actually it has been my most popular to date. I didn’t really mind people laughing since if I did I wouldn’t of blogged. I did get a couple strange comments though, a lot of if its a server config use a server.. someone said to use a Mac ?! and this guy from windows watch, miss labeled Mandriva as a live cd which it isn’t (sorta technically you can argue) and then segwayed into why having no screen or keyboard is good.

I don’t really see my computer as a serious server, yes it’s on 24/7, it is my personal SVN server but why spend a tonne of money I don’t have just so I can easier sync my uni work between my laptops and desktop, and have some revision control on the programs and latex files I write.

Just a note for me while I slowly re-build my computer. Some documentation that comes in handy.

I’ve also applied for a Job with 17000 to be the techincal help with the access grid room. It would be a nice job since it looks to require you to sit in the room during the access grid lectures, and work the equipment and according to my mates in the maths deparment the lectures can be pretty interesting. Haven’t heard back yet, and I’m not sure I will get it since I did direct them to this blog as a refrence and the last couple of posts don’t make me look smart…

linux too f*@King easy to install

Ok I have a computer it generally stays on 24/7. it does important work like download files during off-peak download periods. It also is my svn server. samba etc…

It is also used by my family to surf the web since it’s always on and they don’t need to wait for computers to boot.

Ok so the short of the story is my computer got reformatted.

Distributing the blame

  • Me – should of know better than to leave a mandriva install disk in the drive, (virtualbox install is why it was there) and when I finished my linux install I SHOULD of changed the BIOS setting to disable boot from CD.
  • Dad – shouldn’t of turned off the computer he knows is always on.
  • Mum – shouldn’t of continued to click yes through the mandrivia install, by the time i found the computer it was asking for a username and password for the new mandriva install. so it already had FORMATED and INSTALLED mandriva.

Coming soon !! more blog entries on the success or failure of data recovery tools in linux. If you have any pointers please tell me.

Aside welcome planet.linux.org.au readers !