Monday, July 11, 2016

Weather station's solar panels...

Weather station's solar panels... Some time ago I purchased a Weatherhawk 621 weather station, but with all the things going on around here I never got around to installing it. The technology it uses is interesting - it measures all the usual weather factors without using any moving parts. Wind speed and direction is calculated via an ultrasonic system that measures the speed of sound in both directions along three axis 120 degrees apart. Precipitation is measured via a gigahertz radar that measures reflectivity to measure the non-vapor water in the column of air over the station, and the Doppler effect to measure the rate of fall.

It's a heated model, so that no ice will accumulate on the radar antenna and ultrasonic transducers. Because of this, the power consumed by the station is much higher in the winter. The station will be mounted a long way from any power source, so I'm going to use solar panels to charge a couple of truck batteries, and a controller to give me a constant 24 volts. Those solar panels will be pointed toward true south (not magnetic south) to maximize the light they'll catch. But what angle from the vertical should they be?

I'd have guessed something like 45 degrees from the vertical. When I calculate it, though, I come up with approximately 30 degrees from vertical (closer to straight up and down than flat). We're at roughly 41.5 degrees latitude here in Paradise. Add the earth's 23.5 degree tilt to that, and mid-winter the sun's elevation at noon is just 90 - (41.5 + 23.5) = 25 degrees. The rest of the winter it's between 25 and 35 degrees. Splitting the difference to work well all winter long, we get about 30 degrees. That's what we get for living so close to the North Pole!!!

Singing along...

Singing along...  One of the constants of my childhood was the family singing together, led by my mom.  We'd sing at all sorts of times and places, but most especially, we sang while in the car on a long trip.  My mom was always the one to initiate this, leading us with mainly folk songs, such as You Are My Sunshine, Clementine, or Go Tell Aunt Rhody.  Mom loved to sing herself, and often sang while she worked – but she really loved listening to her kids singing along with her.  We were mostly terrible singers (especially me!), only occasionally being able to hold a tune, but that didn't seem to matter to mom.

Dad seemed to enjoy listening to us, and would sing along himself during these family songfests.  But I cannot recall him ever initiating the singing when mom wasn't there.

I remember coming into the house one time when I was a teenager, probably in the late '60s.  Mom was alone in the house and unaware of my entry.  I heard her in our living room singing an old country & western song I didn't know (and still don't), singing along to a record playing low.  When I walked into the living room, I saw that tears were streaming down her face, and that she was sobbing while she sang.  When she saw me she stopped, and seeing my reaction (I was shocked) explained that the song she was listening to was her dad's favorite.  She had been extraordinarily close to her dad, and he had passed away a few years before then.

Someone could have done nearly the same thing with me a few minutes ago.  I was listening to a YouTube video of “You Are My Sunshine”, and it brought back instant memories of mom...

Paradise ponders...

Paradise ponders...  Yesterday afternoon I mowed our back yard and lit off the sprinklers.  This morning the sprinklers were still going, and I had this bejeweled view of our pines in the early morning light.  Shortly after I finished the back yard, I started mowing our “golf course” out front.  About 15 minutes into that effort, the skies opened and it started pouring rain.  The grass got very slippery, and as I was mowing alongside my hand line (irrigation pipe), the mower slid sideways, up and over the pipe, chewing a sprinkler head into about a million pieces.  This was a solid brass RainBird 30 sprinkler, too – warranted for life, but I'm pretty sure not against destruction by mower :)

This morning I ran up to Valley Implement and purchased a replacement sprinkler plus a patch for a hole in the 3" pipe that the mower also made.  The repairs took only a few minutes (once I had the right parts), and after that I mowed the rest of our yard.  I've got the irrigation going now on the front yard, too.  That means I've got a total of 20 sprinkler heads going simultaneously, and thankfully our water pressure is high enough today for that to all work well.

A couple of puppy videos below for your daily puppy fix:

Got my hair cut this morning.  The barber was terribly disappointed that I wouldn't let him trim my beard :)