Sunday, December 29, 2013

December 29th

I've decided I want to play with time lapse photography.  The first thing I need it an intervalometer, and rather than buy one, I decided to start out by making one.  I built an IR blaster from 2 940nm infrared LEDs and an old headphone plug:

You solder the anode on one LED to the cathode of the other, then solder those to the 2 end pins (positive and negative, ignore ground) on the headphone plug.

I've covered this up with heatshrink.  Of course, I soldered it wrong first time, and had to take it to pieces and redo it.

I didn't seem to work with the Android app I was planning to use on my Nexus, so I tested it with an AA battery - connecting the battery one way would light up one LED, and the other way would light up the other, so the connections would seem to work fine.  I couldn't see anything using my camera (CCDs can see infrared).  I then tried my cell phone, and that worked just fine in that I could see the lights lighting up on the camera.  So I tried the DSLR again, and that worked just fine.  Doy.

December 28th

I've put some of the stuff back into the van, and installed a USB charger, so I can charge 2 USB devices (up to 2.1A) without having to plug in a USB charger into the cigarette lighter socket.  It's only powered up when the stereo is powered up.  I'm going to install one in the back, too, but I'm waiting for some switches I've ordered to show up - I don't want these powered all the time.

In the evening we went to get me some parts for some projects, then we watched "RED 2" and "Man of Steel".  Both are pretty good movies, but I'm not sure I like the idea that Russell Crowe is Superman's dad.

Friday, December 27, 2013

December 26th

Back to work.  Ah well.

In the evening, we watched "R.I.P.D.", which is pretty much "Men In Black" with dead people instead of aliens.  Oh, sorry, spoilers.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

December 25th

We celebrated the holiday by playing Warcraft (discovering some of the limitations of a "starter" account), putting back the headliner in the van (but not the shelves just yet - I have some other stuff to do before I can get those back in) and watching "World War Z".  For some reason, I'd expected more zombie warring.  In the evening, we had the traditional meal of spaghetti bolognese.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

December 24th

I had the day off work, so after the Warcraft dailies, I took the headliner out of the cab of van and reglued it (it's been drooping), and cleared a bunch of leaves from the back garden.  Believe it or not, the bins, including the green waste, get emptied tomorrow.

In the evening, we watched "Despicable Me" and "Elysium".  One was a comedy of improbable events, and the other is an animated movie with Steve Carell.

December 23rd

In the evening, we watched "The World's End", as we like Simon Pegg and Nick Frost.  It was odd, but funny.  I think I prefer "Shaun of the Dead" though.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

December 22nd

I tinkered around the house for a while, then went over to the airfield to go out.  It was hazy, but the air was pretty stable.  When I got back to Lincoln, it was quite busy there, but there were no problems.  I pulled up and watched a couple of RVs do a break over the runway... eh, the Red Arrows do it better :o)

December 21st

After doing my daily stuff in Warcraft, I pulled the van out to play with the solar panel - basically the solar controller draws power all the time, and I wanted to fit a diode to see if I could stop that.  Well, I could, but it didn't help any, so I ended up taking that back out again.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

December 15th

After the usual Warcraft dailies, I went out and cleared a bunch of dead leaves from the front garden.  Joy.  I then went to the airfield and took the plane out for an hour and a half.  I came back when I got cold, and did a couple of circuits before putting it away and going to meet Vic for her dinner break at work.

December 14th

The "key in" alarm buzzer on the van has been causing me problems - I use it as a safety switch for the alarm, so you can't arm the alarm and immobilise the van while you're driving it.  It's been thinking that the key is in, even when it isn't, which means that the remote locking doesn't work.  Bugger.  I bought a new ignition switch, and decided to look at the current one and see if it'd help.  The offending (gray and black) wire comes out of the switch, but I still have no idea how it works.  I pulled the steering wheel, switchgear and suchlike to get to the ignition switch, and it was then a fairly simple replacement.  Putting it all back together was a little more challenging, but it's all back together, and the switch now works correctly.  Yay.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

December 13th

I got up at 0 dark 00 and headed in to San Francisco to swap Krispy Kreme donuts for mince pies.  Oh, and work.  The LED light installation on the side of the Bay Bridge is quite impressive in the dark.

After working all day, the traffic was horrendous, and at one point I left a space to let somebody pull in from a side road.  The woman behind them decided that I should let her in too, and I declined, at which point she totally lost her shit like a YouTube commenter being told that they're perhaps mistaken.  She pulled her car right up next to the van, and was screaming abuse at me.  Which is totally the way to act when you're in the wrong and want somebody to do you a favour.  With hindsight, I should have taken a picture of her.  After a long trip, I got home and Tilly ran past me to play in the van.

December 12th

I'm going to the office tomorrow, so I went to Krispy Kreme to get donuts.  They were out of the glazed ones that Dave requires, so we went and got dinner, then went back and picked up fresh new ones :o)

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

December 8th

It's still bloody cold, so I went out and did some shopping.  I came back with a bunch of LED bulbs to play with, and tried installing them with a dimmer - they're dimmable, after all.  While they work, they buzz awfully.  It seems that this is a problem with using incandescent dimmers rated at 600W.  I'll look at getting a proper LED dimmer to see how that changes things.  I now have more LEDs than CFLs in use :o)  I should really wait until the CFLs stop working, so I can work through the pile of them in the "bulbs" drawer.

I went and cleaned up all the sticky area where the skylight mosquito screen fits in the van, and stuck on new velcro.  I've used the stuff I've used for the tablet in the plane, and in my experience so far, it sticks bloody well, but you can get it off.  I'll leave it a day or two before putting the screen back up, so it gets the best chance to stick properly.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

December 7th

It's been bloody cold here:

so I spent the morning playing Warcraft, then went and borrowed Jim's tall ladder and took the light fitting on the kitchen ceiling apart.

Tilly and I went to the vet, where she passed her annual inspection, then when we got home, I bypassed the ballast in the light fitting and installed 2 LED fittings.  They're maybe a little less bright than the fluorescent tubes that were in there - interestingly they all have black bars on them, meaning that they probably weren't long for this earth.  I tested them in the garage, and they all flicker.  Anyways, now we're using 38W in the kitchen light rather than 128W.  They're an experiment for the moment - when less harsh LED strips arrive, I'll put those in the kitchen and move these somewhere else.

After meeting Vic for lunch, I went and did a little work on the van - in my usual "break one thing while fixing something else", I managed to tear the velcro strips off the roof removing the skylight mosquito net while replacing the cracking skylight.  But at least I don't have to worry about the skylight leaking for another few years.

Friday, December 6, 2013

December 6th

We went to the SPCA Xmas do.  It seemed more subdued than previous events, which was odd.

On the way home we stopped and got yet more tennis balls for the Mook.

December 4th

We went to dinner with Vince for the first time in ages.  It was nice to sit and chat with the old curmudgeon :o)

Monday, December 2, 2013

December 2nd

Vince called to say he'd done the annual on the plane, and there was nothing to worry about.  He came over to sign it all off for another year, so that's out of the way :o)

December 1st

I spent a big chunk of the afternoon tinkering in the van - I've installed another voltmeter, so I can check both batteries.  I also ran a wire through from the charge relay, so I can see when the batteries are linked, ie one is charged (either by the alternator or by the solar panel).  Yay.

Oh, the electrickery graphs:

Power we've paid for
Power generated

Oh, no DMARC graph, as they've decided to start charging for that.  So, um, yeah.

November 30th

I did things and stuff around the house, then went over to the airfield and flew for over an hour and a half - it's the longest flight I've done in the plane, I reckon.  I was wearing gloves, and on my first takeoff, I had a little engine blip as I moved my hand on the throttle, so I stayed near the airfield "just in case", even though I thought it was probably my lack of feeling that screwed it up.  There seemed to be a lot of people flying about, as the weather was nice, but the forecast is for it to get worse.  There was some bickering as people just appeared on long finals rather than joining the circuit and so on, but that's life.

It's my last chance to fly for a little while, as the annual's due tomorrow.