Life, The Universe, and Everything

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Life, The Universe, and Everything

Postby Doug Coulter » Sat Feb 03, 2018 11:10 am

Either has a sense of humor or is testing mine.
20180202-1237-mixed-2.jpg
The stuff I've been building

I'm all ready to go with more tests of the new more versatile and powerful AC drive, needing to just hook up one 6" piece of HV wire and...
20180202-1235-mixed-1.jpg
Living room ceiling falls on me

This is also the remote control room for the fusor. But wait, there's more!
My main batteries fail after a long slow degradation, it happens all at once....(this is a $7080 problem). https://www.wholesalesolar.com/9960129/ ... 2v-battery
Glad I postponed the $3k surgery for the cancer on my forehead.
So, the main backup generator, that Lister, is not suited to just running the place - too big and noisy, it's more of a quick-charge thing, so I run the little Honda.
Whose low oil sensor has failed and it seizes up.
I put it in the shop overnight, and put a few drops of oil in the sparkplug hole, and next day it would rotate - and after putting oil in the crankcase, run again - whew.
But only one or two days. It starts burning oil - no surprise - and fouling the plug. So I go to pull the plug, which breaks and falls down into never-never land where it would take a day of R&R to even see the pieces again.
So I order a replacement, and since a new Honda is ~$1k..I'm trying a Wen version (Yamaha copy) which seems pretty OK. Not that I'm ever going to use the front panel type A USB connector to charge anything.
But the little forklift charger I run off these is kinda wimpy, so I pull one of the 30v@10A power supplies I got to run the fusor to give it a hand.
And it lets out the magic smoke for unknown reasons...these of course weren't free either.

So, a bit of delay while I get the rest of what that obnoxious time-traveler did fixed up and ready to go again...or whatever caused all this stuff to fail at once. Hey, I know it's a big universe and that rare things do happen - even fairly unrelated rare things can happen together sometimes. I'm no stranger to cascade failures - like you're on a ladder, get shocked, grab something, the ladder falls anyway, and now you pull down whatever you grabbed, which then causes other things it was holding up to fall, and as they roll around they knock over other stuff - been there, done that.

But this wasn't like that - this stuff is uncorrelated, normally.

Much thanks to BillF for helping with some of the supplies and some of the grunt work to make it so I have to look out the window to see the sky again, and have to get my water out of the tap instead of it raining indoors...still a lot to do on this (and get another new power supply, and figure out where to come up with $10k or so).

I don't guess the internet (DSL) going down for two days so I couldn't even post this counts...after all, that was the phone company.

Maybe the magic settings for the fusor are 42...
Posting as just me, not as the forum owner. Everything I say is "in my opinion" and YMMV -- which should go for everyone without saying.
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Re: Life, The Universe, and Everything

Postby Donovan Ready » Sat Feb 03, 2018 11:39 am

Good Lord, man. :shock:
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Re: Life, The Universe, and Everything

Postby Doug Coulter » Sat Feb 03, 2018 1:18 pm

Yeah, at least in one episode, Federation time travelers went back to help Zephram Cochrame....
"Interesting times." The kiddies from youtube (and other media is also hitting on me) of course want me to hurry up and make more videos and solve fusion before they age to 15 or so...the thing about having a life is you also have a live, and have to pay attention to other things now and then.
I'll get there, but whoa Nellie - that was a lot of crap to go bad all at once, and it's maybe not over yet. Not looking forward to paying for those batteries, moving a little over 2000 lbs each way...roofing, ceiling work...but it'll get done because it has to. I could add more things, but whew, even my fingers get tired.

I know I'm spoiled. Life usually goes more like this, for me:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fj6r3-sQr58

"I swear, I was only cutting onions."
Posting as just me, not as the forum owner. Everything I say is "in my opinion" and YMMV -- which should go for everyone without saying.
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Re: Life, The Universe, and Everything

Postby Donovan Ready » Sat Feb 03, 2018 2:03 pm

That is one of the best videos on YouTube, as far as I'm concerned. Half the audience know the words, fer Pete's sake!

When I get an earworm, it's that movement or Pachebel's Canon in D. I can go all week.. Image
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Re: Life, The Universe, and Everything

Postby Bob Reite » Sun Feb 04, 2018 11:22 pm

What a string of "bad luck". Although I think you were expecting your main battery bank to go soon.
The more reactive the materials, the more spectacular the failures.
The testing isn't over until the prototype is destroyed.
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Re: Life, The Universe, and Everything

Postby Doug Coulter » Mon Feb 05, 2018 12:33 pm

Yeah, they were about in the middle of the failure window, 20-25 years. And man, I babied those guys the entire time. The Honda had already lasted far longer hours than any other gasoline generator I've ever even heard of, much less owned, unless you count the one in your car. I was amazed it would run again after that, but...it was one of those minature inverter-generators, and boy is it tight in there - spending a day or two just to get to the engine at all - maybe not worth it since I'm sure the cylinder is toast, and spare parts probably not real available...piston rings are probably past my speed to make here - the rest, well, I have this other big project that takes priority. Actually, a few of them.
Ceiling is coming along slowly. Working at arm's length at the top of a ladder isn't really my thing these days, but it's getting done. Still have one leak to fix (from the outside) and one maybe - but being winter, I'm putting in real insulation for the rest. The people who did this previous to me used about 3/4" thick fiberglass, poorly installed...I didn't know you could get it that useless. Maybe it'll be easier to heat and cool now. I've got the "real" 2x6x10' rafters cut and installed now...alongside and tied to the old sagging fakey ones.
20180205-1343-ceiling-1.jpg
Insulation in progress
Posting as just me, not as the forum owner. Everything I say is "in my opinion" and YMMV -- which should go for everyone without saying.
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Re: Life, The Universe, and Everything

Postby Doug Coulter » Tue Feb 13, 2018 12:30 pm

Well, got all the insulation in, the weather has tested things for leaks and it's all good, I still have to put up an actual ceiling, but the insulation is a heck of a lot better than what was there before, I can tell by how hard it is to heat. Not that surprising that 4" thick insulation properly installed would be noticeably better than < 1" kinda half installed and full of holes, over an area of most of a room.

I just pulled the trigger on 12 1300 aH batteries and 6 solar panels. I'm going to put new tin on the roof, and it's an ideal time to replace some of the 30+ year old ones anyway, so...might was well get it all out of the way at the same time (and perhaps adjust the mounting scheme to put the roof load onto a stronger area, nearer the walls).

Batteries: https://www.wholesalesolar.com/9960129/ ... 2v-battery
Panels: https://www.wholesalesolar.com/1970270/ ... olar-panel

Probably my last ever electric bill. I won't toss out the old panels that are middling good - they'll get hacked into the system somewhere, maybe with the old batteries in another building on campus as a sort of backup UPS for the place. But with the new ones, with even a hint of a sunny day, I can do the house and a full charge on the Volt in a few hours. What's maybe more important is those cloudy all day times - like now. Like in street racing, there's just no substitute for cubic inches. Even now, it has to be pretty dark for me not to get more than I'm using when in conserve mode. This will help substantially reduce any need for backup generation.

This all will of course take some time away from science, but hey, life, the universe, and everything need their due.
Posting as just me, not as the forum owner. Everything I say is "in my opinion" and YMMV -- which should go for everyone without saying.
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Re: Life, The Universe, and Everything

Postby Doug Coulter » Tue Feb 20, 2018 7:09 pm

Not sure how I managed to get that 5/8" plywood up there...took some thought as I don't have quite the muscle I used to have and this area is currently barren of available help.
Funny thing - stuff you could throw easy when you were 40 is kinda hard to even lift at 64 with emphysema, much less work on over your head and behind you on a ladder. But I got one piece up, even though it did take pretty much all day. I went with the thick/heavy stuff as it's part of a load bearing stressed member now.
20180220-2010-ceiling-2.jpg
One piece up, 3.5 to go, but only one more full size one.


The trick was that nice scaffold-ladder a previous room mate left here, a lot of cut-to-jam-fit 2x4's, the usual jack and...this little jig pre-bolted to the ceiling to catch one side of a heavy board I was balancing on the scaffold so I could have a free hand to stick a jackstand under another part of it and get on with putting in screws.
20180220-2010-ceiling-3.jpg
Jigs rule and enable things I couldn't do otherwise.


So maybe in a few days I'll have some fusor work to report. I have solar panels coming tomorrow (they can just sit but I have to get them off the truck) and need to get another 150 pounds of propane and some food, but..whew, almost back in the saddle.

And now we'll be able to hold dance parties on the roof, at least when I do the next major repair, which is replace the tin and a few of the OSB boards on the topside. The things people do to keep the rain off! But it beats rent, I suppose.
Posting as just me, not as the forum owner. Everything I say is "in my opinion" and YMMV -- which should go for everyone without saying.
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