2006/01/10 Put Mini ITX Board together with HDD and loaded s/w all runs ok power consumption about 20W (no Raid shared HDDs yet) but they will be here soon...
2006/01/26 Updated From old site now on my own server. New Index Page and FTP server on line no real content as no hard drive yet.

2006/01/28 Hard drives here raid shared two 300G to give me some peace on mind about not loosing my files FTP server on line PW and USER ID required. Power consumption now 35W.  If you wish to explore try emailing me I may be feeling generous.

2006/01/29 Tidied file location redid links and Completely Ballsed it up no idea why. (see below)
2006/01/30 Spent hours trying to work out why some links work and others don't when they all should... eventually tried using it via a real HTTP server in loop back ( vice files  and it all works fine... Go figure... F****** Microsoft.


  1. Interesting reading
  4. I guess I should now add having now lost my boyish naivety I am now less inclined to feel generous !!!
2006/01/31 Updated the Personal file with picture of Susie with a link to some pictures of Susie. That was hard...
2006/02/02Added link to "Pictures" that offers link to various galleries (only one so far)
2006/02/03Started using Dreamweaver yesterday Dream my ass it's a fucking nightmare trying to add a bookmark that actually works has nearly driven me mad It adds it but it does not work F*** Me Gently Ahhhhh... Well actually it does but NOT within dreamweaver only in the real world This shit is no better than Frontpage Frankly Frontpage is easier to use...
2006/02/11 Been working on Solar tracker so not done much here. But have created a default gallery page to make my life easy er and to try to get my head round using dreamweaver. Bought a web cam thought I'd like to put an updated every 1-5 min's picture of the Veg. garden somewhere (not that it looks much at the moment). Any way spent the night talking to a mate on MSN with it and got pissed... more fun than playing with a web page... he

2006/02/15 Web Cam up and running.

2006/02/16 He's back could this be team work...
2006/02/18 Web cam unstable so removed... Caused Server restart in middle of the night so will use on another m/c when needed...

2006/02/18 More interesting stuff to read

2006/02/21 Just tinkering added a set of desktop wallpapers to the pictures page.

2006/02/25 As Basil Fawlty's Spanish waiter would say Keh?

2006/03/06 Re-built server different operating system... Apache now running. RAID removed using single 300G HDD using about 26W idle and 38W running about 138WH or 30AH at 24V a day when running on the PV's... The capacity of the batteries is 1300AH...about 28KWH But they also run the house lights and a freezer and two fridges... the fridges and freezer use about 2500KWH per day the lights vary but about 500WH per day in winter...
2006/04/17 Been busy working on the new Motor speed and position controller that will point my solar cells. Decided to change the TCP port the http server is on it's now 8001 vice 80 don't know if I will leave it this way but so far no-one has probed it on the new port. Whereas I was see daily sometimes hourly probes on PORT 80... Beginning to feel less paranoid now... Wibble... Twitch... (I hear voices Kill them all!)
2006/04/18 Have changed the format a little started to add pages showing current projects including the Veg. garden. added some more wallpapers.
2006/04/22 I like the format of the Pictures main page and am considering changing the front Page as I don't like that. I have done quite a bit of work on the Project page still loads to do if I want to include all the ones I've done that I like, there are quite a few to choose from. Though I only have pictures of the more recent ones. Aren't digital cameras a wonder....
2006/04/23 Changed the front page.
2006/05/06 I have mainly been working on my projects and updating the info on the projects part of the web page as I go. Although I have a couple of old ones done.
2007/02/24 No Changes still busy with projects etc. Did buy a metal detector and go looking for stuff... Found a lot but nothing exciting. If all the shotgun cartridges represent something killed it's a cruel but Tasty world...

2008/02/07 Moved this lot from my own server to here. All but the CGI's that talk to my solar power control stuff. The whole deal (unlimited everything) inc DNS just over a tenner for two years.

The Motor controller is finished and tracking the sun (must update the web page) reworking the Solar panel power conditioner my I wish I had not started that one. I have also started the larger CHP project this has started with the purchase of an old mini engine that I am experimenting building my own ECU. There are some pictures on here somewhere.

2008/02/08 Seeing as I finished the motor Controller project last year some time I have updated the appropriate page.
2008/02/14 More work done on motor controller page cct description up to data cct. checked most of the pages links and they are functional. upload more pictures for the Micro CHP 2 project. put link on front page to PV system info.
2008/06/18 As stated before I moved the web page from my own server to a public one vice a couple of months ago has faster access and it was cheap (I like cheap) £11 for unlimited space and sub domains ftp etc and URL and DNS for two years. Have not been able to work on Micro CHP 2 as been doing the list of shit to do round the house i.e. Pergola Patio and Fireplace on top of that there is the Unreal Tournament gaming room and the workshops are all being moved around I,m separating the electronic w/s and mechanical completely. Doing the pergola has stuffed up the gardening completely man is it a mess. Rogue potatoes and weeds. Bugger... never mind if it'll stop raining I can have a BBQ or two... and enjoy my friends company under my pergola.
2008/07/24 Added proper links on the projects page to Household projects i.e. Pergola, Patio and Fireplace also added some pages on repair of KDW432 Dishwasher (grrr Gnash pile of crap)...
2008/08/10 Still working on the house and workshop prefacing the stone for my fire place and and a new door to access the workshop without getting wet in the winter. have also put wheels on engine frame ready to restart work on ECU. If I ever get the house stuff done in time. Dishwasher still going TFFT... Not been feeling so good so has slowed me down a lot so Clive, a mate of mine, helped with the w/s door (did most of it actually) so took him out for a curry with some other mates last night... Damn good night. Still waiting for the quote for the new roof on my w/s and canopy by back door.
2008/08/11 Backed up entire web page to my own server as this was way out of date. had the quote for the new roof F.M.Pink... way to expensive £4000 of materials alone... Guess I need to rethink that plan, may be rob a bank first... or may be find a rich widow with too much money and a desire for short fat hairy fifty year olds... Nah not likely have to be the bank job...
2008/08/13 no immediate plans for a bank job so as the roof is still serviceable I guess i will just insulate it and do just the canopy by my back door. Need quote for canopy now wonder how chuffing much that will be.
2008/08/15 I have been prefacing the stone for my fireplace this part of the fireplace job has taken ages as I have been pondering the best way to do it and whether I should how much to take off etc. etc. and I have never attempted anything like this before.
2008/08/16 As I am not having a new roof I have been planning the rewire of the electronic and mechanical workshops, Battery room and and gaming room. which was to be done after the new roof. Also put up some new shelving in electronic workshop. to try to keep the place tidy. Gonna have to take the ceiling down. to do insulation and then replace it with something better... not looking forward to that job and it's still rain and I have not had a BBQ for ages.
2008/08/25 A quiet night on nights so I actually started the Micro CHP 2 page I have written up what has been done to this point and why nothing more has been done since. Oh yes I have actually finished the stone for my fireplace. just needs fitting and the hearth doing. Contemplating doing the Chimney Lining the quote was £1080 frankly I think that's not a bad price. I don't have any scaffolding and my damn chimney is VERY high. I'm rather inclined to think F*** that and write the cheque... If nothing else I will be able to get on with something else.
2008/09/10 Nearly finished fireplace only plastering and decorating to do. Update the web page constructed a proper page for Fireplace and fireplace stone also for Pergola. Still in the middle of doing the page on the workshop door. I think this web page is beginning to look like a web page and I may actually advertise it so folks can actually find it. The chap that's going to line my chimney cannot come to do the chuffing job till 8th December 2008. WTF??? Anyway ordered the stove trying to find someone to fit it sooner but the world is doing the same as me it seems. If that sodding stone had gone easier then I'd have finished it weeks ago... Oh bugger.
2008/09/18 Spent bloody hours bringing this lot up to date as you can see above only to have that cheap web host go off line and disappear off the planet. BUGGER... Spent some considerable time doing some of it all again on my own server. Guess that'll teach me to back it up EVERY time... Oh yes and I have found another chap who says he can do my chimney sooner :-) he's coming to see the job on Sunday.
2008/09/18 Surprise surprise the web host is still not back up, so still on home server. Rearranged more files the directory structure is much tidier and probably how it will stay now. Going to have to spend this weekend patching up and rubbing down the living room wall Em wants to paint it on Monday. can't standing in the way of that.. Guess you may find it interesting to know about two weeks ago I put the PV system onto a permanent constant 24.5V charge max 10Amps. I usually only do this in the winter, but because the weather has been so CRAP I have had to do it a couple of times this summer. This still allows the PV to charge the system battery when the sun shines to voltages above 24.5V max is 28V so I still gain what ever power the PV provide but it does prevent the batteries going completely flat. A sort of UPS mode handy in a power cut... Unless things seriously improve I guess it'll stay this way till spring... Added a page ( for Graham to hold his holding page till he decides where to put and what to do with some web space.
2008/09/22 Typical would you believe I get all this lot together almost perfect and NUVISIONHOSTING disappear off the planet, gone bust I expect. To be fair they were totally useless anyway and anyone on AOL could not access it. So I've lost about £6. Guess I'm looking for a new host. Luckily I have everything backed up on my own server so I have transferred back to it. Every cloud has a silver lining I guess this has spurred me on to sort out the Java clock and date so the scripts are mine to control and the fonts fit in with the page...
2008/10/03 Added PHP as a module to Apache so I can start to think about the control web page for the PV's etc. This functional gribbit.php
2008/10/04 I have installed MySQL on the server today and downloaded wsnguest application to test it is working the way it should I will probably leave it running and see if anyone uses it when I get it going.
2008/10-06 is started this will be the PV and house passworded control page, it is however just a holding page for the moment. Also there is this will take over from and supply data only to the world. (ok any nerk interested enough to look and lucky enough to have tripped over it) YOU perhaps. wsnguest is not running PHP is ok and MySQL seems ok but it fails on connect_MySQL() line 27 of the setup script have not sussed why yet... May be I have to set up a data base first.
2008/10/07 Spent some considerable time talking to my software guru friend Nigel. trying to sus out why PHP fails to connect to MySQL and as usual he did it. The PHP.ini file name was not being found turn out this was because the file name was corrupt.. This is now good WSNGUEST still does not run but I suspect this is a wsnguest problem rather than a PHP/MySQL one probably the data base is not set up correctly.
2008/10/09 Spent first couple of days of my two weeks off doing stuff for My sister, my parents and others finally got round to my stuff on Wednesday. Built distribution panel last Saturday and spent yesterday mounting it and putting up cable tray round workshop and battery room ready for rewire. I've had to strip out the Inverter feeds to w/s and house to enable this. So the only thing that the panels are running at the moment is the server about 800W/hrs /day and typically the sun is shining.
2008/10/27 is now on the just host server. PHP and MySQL are running fine on my server for the last 2 weeks has an Unreal tournament BBS on it. The PHP problems turned out to be it could not find <php.ini> 'cos the file name had a space in front of it. No idea how that happened. And yes it was a bitch to find. Now the Sodding PSU on my server has blown up so it is now running on a spare 250VAC ATX PSU using 100W vice 65W while I await the arrival of a new 24VDC ATX PSU from ITX-Warehouse... Is there no end to the shit this thing can throw... Ahhhhh Grrrrrr

2008/11/08 Server working now for a week with one 300GB HDD is not enough space really, but I will buy a bigger HDD when the 1TB prices come down. I have already bought a very neat IDE->SATA (bi directional) adaptor for about £4 from dealexstream. Power consumption is down Dramatically to 20W with new PSU and 1 HDD. But 300GB not enough space when prices fall a bit I will get a 1TB drive and that should do for a while... There were some unexpected problems moving the data from one drive to one another. I have a very useful util. by Maxdor that copies the whole drive boot sector the lot so you do not have to reinstall and rebuild the system disk just copy it. BUT it seems MySQL is not at all happy when you do this. The user name passwords must be hashed in some way that is affected by the move because none of them worked after the move not even the root login. I had to uninstall it delete all the files (but not the databases) and reinstall it. the recreate the users with the same passwords before UT-BBS etc would work...

2008/11/09 I have ordered (yes Andy I liked that one too) some DS18S20 temperature measurement ICs to try out for the temperature monitoring on the cooler <110 C on my engine and around the house and workshop. They are one wire serial com's and multi drop. They look very good but we will see...
2008/11/23 I have had the last two weeks off and have, amongst other things,started putting a new ceiling in the workshop and started to dry line the walls all this to improve the insulation so it will be warmer and cost me less to run. I have stripped out the old ceiling, erected all the new ceiling supports and placed the insulation. I have got a little leveling to do before I can put the vapour barrier and the plaster board up. The dry lining of the wall has been started. But alas not much will get done for a while as I have little time to myself when working 12hr days or nights. But at least it looks like the job is well underway.

2008/12/31 Not done a lot more in the workshop only fitted the timber for dry lining 2 of the three walls and put in the insulation. The Ceiling still not sealed and plasterboarded, don't like the cold brrrr. However on a warmer note the living room log stove was in and working for Christmas which was nice and in fact it is burning away behind me as I type. I lit it as I was feeling a tad nesh due to the fact I have just got over a 4 day bout of man flu. See if you can spot the day it was installed on the indoor temperature graph. And I guess there is the small matter that one lady driver drove into the side of my prize 1994 Toyota Corolla estate with only 146,000 miles on the clock (and STILL going strong) that I have had since it was 3 years old and converted it to scrap metal. I was gutted. I have been unable to make up my mind what I fancy next (may be a Mitsubishi shogun) the sawn off shogun (three door) but who knows but for the time being I have a 1993 Ford mondeo (89,000 miles) for a mere £250. MOT 6 month Tax 2 - bargain. AND this car has electric windows and an interior light that works. Thanks Graham, he found it on ebay and it was local.

2009/04/13 Is it really 4 month since I did anything here. How time flies when your working your ass off. The workshop is finished and I have moved back in (TFFT)... I have even had my first BBQ of the season to celebrate. I've not restarted any projects yet as the Freezer room next to the w/s still needs finishing. I need to be finish painting it and to install a sink and worktop. This will mean I no longer have to take nasty chemicals into the house. After that there is the Gaming room to do and the bath room needs an extractor fan too, not to mention a patio that need to be laid.. Have I mentioned I hate DIY, it seems appropriate at this point to do so... The garden however is a different matter I have rotovated and planted so far... Onions beetroot and cabbage There is to be no potatoes this year as they are cheap take up a lot of space and are just not worth the trouble.
2009/04/18 About 2 weeks ago I increased the size of the server HDD to 1T from 550G as it was filling up with recorded video. The mother board of the Mini ITX 800 mother board is a tad old and has no SATA and only one PCI slot. So I bought an IDE (PATA as now seems popular to call it) to SATA adaptor seemed to work ok apart from the fat that the MB would not boot from it. It all worked for a while but when moving large qualities of data around to or from the the 1T drive the m/c locks up. Hoping it was not the adaptor I replaced RAM reloaded the operating system. But no the only thing that stopped it was to remove the adaptor and the 1T drive. BUGGER... So till they produce a 1T IDE drive there will be no video on the server. BTW it does not look promising that they will produce the said IDE 1T drive 750G seems to be the largest at the moment and they are over £100... I did get some new new(er) MB's with SATA to try as a server but circumstances have dictated that I use them elsewhere. Double BUGGER... On the plus side the server is using about 18Watts which pleases me no end. (tight git)...
2009/05/04 The PV Charge Regulator Died in December 2008. The fan died and the Power FET's overheated and melted the junctions and died. I have been unable to repair it and fully test it as the w/s was out of Commission. Now the workshop is operational again I have repaired it, tested it and it is now fully functional. 3GCL ENERGY. I still have a lot to do around the property but at least now I can do some of the projects I actually WANT to do...
2009/05/06 I have set the CHP Engine up in the Dirty workshop and run the 485 BUS to it and reconnected all the cabling. Apart from the Starter Battery not being to happy all seems ok so far. I have Set up the 3GCL Energy monitoring web page to. reflect the status of the engine. I have also started to review what i have written so I can get started on it again...
2009/08/25 I have completed the freezer room rewire the decorating still needs to be completed. The canopy between the house and workshop is completed too. Next DIY job is widen the house access gates. Meanwhile I have now got the weather station on the web and I hope to have the gas and electric meter on the web soon too. If all goes to plan.
2009/10/10 The gas and electric meter have not moved forward as I have had to complete several outside DIY jobs before the winter sets in hard. I have however finished the Patio under the pergola and widened the drive gates so I can get the car in off the road. .Those nasty yellow stripy hat people have started handing out tickets and I need to ensure I don't get one.
2009/10/30 Did some work on the web page not done any real work this week off. Most of the big DIY stuff is done so taking a well earned rest and saving some money I have spent a fortune. Changed the projects section to separate the DIY from the projects and started a SIAYM section. This is because I have Slipped the odd job Across my Mates and felt they deserved some recognition. Oh yes had a birthday and went out for Sunday lunch with my family and a curry and beer with me mates.
2009/11/08 I have had a tinker with the software that talks to PV charge regulator, Solar tracker and CHP stuff. I have for years monitored the battery state and when it get a bit low changed over to mains and if it get lower charged the battery off the mains to ensure some backup should the mains fail. This function is now done by the software. I guess I should have done this years ago, But i like to keep and eye on it and it never really occurred to me... I have also added the Insolation (power from the sun in W/m^2) to the web page.
2009/11/23 Chuffin' hell where does the time go. Really not done much of anything. apart from go to work. No electric/gas meter on the web. Only achievements outside that is I finally have my ford mondeo (£250) running correctly it had the habit of missing fairly regularly. I had changed the plugs the leads the coil pack and the Crank sensor to no avail. Whilst running I had disconnected in turn each of the fuel injectors and each made the appropriate difference. having scratched my head for quite a while I disconnected the MAF whilst the engine was running. To my surprise it made absolutely no difference. Having disconnected and reconnected it a few time with no change in engine speed or tone. I left it disconnected and drove around. NO CHANGE engine still missed and run ok otherwise. AH HA... I got a new MAF (ok one from the scrappy) and put that in disconnecting and reconnecting that one did make a change in engine tone. I have now driven it for a week and it has not missed once. (kiss of death)... So I am fairly sure it's fixed. Robs car played up too. Intermittently it would not start. On investigation - no spark. usual things plugs leads and coil pack. no change... Changed crank sensor and has work fine since. Why do cars go wrong in the winter when it's wet and cold... At least I can now get the car through the widened gates and under the new canopy to work on in the dry. Great timing.
2009/11/28 Just when things are beginning to look good and I thought everything is running well the dam AZ drive motor has failed. Due to all the rain I think. It's cold and wet and horrid outside I hate the winter. I guess I'll just have to get out there and see WTF is wrong with it but it will have to wait till I'm off work this monday. As father Jack would say ARSE...
2009/12/02 Well I checked out the motor pointed the panels south so the get some power at least. Motor runs ok but going to finally water proof everything they way it should be and actually finish the job properly now I have the time. (The tide of DIY at a low ebb) Not sure how yet but I'll think of something I usually do...
2009/12/18 I have had 3 weeks off I have finally finished the prototype energy monitor it is now logging electric and gas use and displaying the data on the web in real time. I have a PCB still to design and build but the s/w and circuit design is done. Took a couple of days to find the last few bugs it always does. The unit talks to the server via the 485 multi drop buss and the server makes the data available on the web. It also logs the data every 10 min's to file for later analysis. This will be eventually to a MySQL database (when i have sussed out how) and the graphical data will also be available on the web. Seems there is some excellent graphical stuff out there that runs under PHP The az drive on the panels is still stuffed and i have had no inspiration yet.
2009/12/30 It finally came to me a couple of days ago a Vanish washing powder container to protect and water proof the motor and it's feedback pcb. I have removed the drive assembly and have put the container around the motor to keep it dry and protected from the Wx. Hell it even looks the part (TF they do a white one as well as the pink).
2010/01/01 I start this new decade still at work while some of my friends have retired, a position I would have liked to have been in myself. However I don't believe I can afford to do it yet. At least I'm still being paid and today, new years day, at x2.5 so no complaints. The az drive repair has not moved forward much, the new motor is fitted inside it protective cover, the pcb for the positional feedback is yet to be drilled, have it's components fitted and itself fitted to the assembly. Work just gets in the way. I have another 3 weeks off after this w/e so with luck get it all done then. (seems I still have shed loads of leave [120hrs] to use up before april)
2010/01/05 The New Az Drive is tested ok on the bench and is now fitted and ready to test. Unfortunately I need some help as I cannot be in two places at once and it is too damn wet to have my laptop outside (it's snowing) so the test will have to wait for company or dryer weather.
2010/01/06 06:30 Got up early this morning there is about 4 inches of snow and the world looks very pretty. I have taken some photos and put them in the Wx. Pictures section. I'll try to take some more when it is light.12:41 I have taken some more pictures and measured the snow 13.5cm just less than 5.5 ins.
2010/01/18 Snow all gone yesterday now the river in flood. The Az drive working well and Mains Monitor is collecting data. I have have a nice comparison between untracked PV panels and tracked. demonstrates nicely the Difference between tracking and not. I have been looking for a suitable RMS to dc chip to measure the real time mains current and voltage . I have found one (they are not cheap) but will have to try it and see how it performs and if it does what I need. I have also seen some nice comparisons in energy use between days when I home alone and when the kids are home. But there was no surprises there...
2010/02/03 About a week or so back the fan failed on the PV Charge Regulator and combined with some freak sunshine (400W on the PV's) the pass transistors have over heated and died. I have changed them out and put a huge heat sink on them, added a temperature probe (LM335) with s/w monitor and a shut down if the temperature goes over 70C (adjustable). I have also added the s/w to switch the fan on and off at 50C (Adjustable) but this requires some hardware mod's and is not yet implemented. When I put it all back together it still did not work. It looks like the transistors dieing have killed the FET driver chip too, alas I ran out of time. When I can get back to it I will investigate further. It is running monitoring the battery use etc and the pass transistor temperature but not conditioning the power from the PV's.
2010/02/04 The logging of energy use is coming along nicely but I have decided it would be useful to log daily totals separately so after I got home from work I added data logging of daily totals gas/electric/PV. energy use this is being logged to monthly files. I have made no progress towards using a MySQL data base or the PHP display of the graphs.
2010/02/05 During some quiet time over the last few days I have added the s/w for a house temperature monitor to the mains Gas/electric monitoring prototype. I calibrated it this morning before going to work and it now appears to be working fine and this is being logged to file with all the rest of the data. This was always my plan but once I had written the s/w for the PV-Reg Pass transistor temperature monitor. I just reused the bits of it i needed. This again Uses the LM335. I also plan to added temperature monitors to the PV's themselves (efficiency goes down as temperature goes up) and to the air temperature around them. I'll add this to the Sun Tracking modules.
2010/02/06 I finally found time to change the FET driver chip today and the system is running again. The PV's were delivering 360W and the temperature of the transistors rose from 5C to 12C. The other day with 300W they rose from 5C to 30C with the old heat sink and fan. Well pleased with that.. Mind you the new heat sink is HUGE... I have also changed the transistor connections from soldered to screwed to enable me to change them more easily. On a different tack Robs peugeot 106 has been loosing coolant regularly since we changed the anti freeze. He has had to top it up and bleed it roughly every week since.. We have investigated that today too and found the radiator cap was passing slightly (a quiet bubbly sound when engine is hot). We have replaced it and hopefully that will have sorted it.
2010/02/08 I'm off this week so I've have added the software to the main server program to display the current value of and change the Fan on and Shutdown temperature set points in the PV-Reg. I would really like a good day of sunshine while I'm here to see it all work properly or not. In simulation just the numbers change, in reality things get hot and you can check for hot spots etc. But it is winter I suppose and the forecast is not hopeful.
2010/02/16 PV's working fine I have seen some sunshine and the PV's have produced 450W without melt down in fact the transistor barely got above 25C. The house temperature and RH, the transistor temp, PV panel temp and air temp are now all displayed on the Energy use webpage. I have still got some work to achieve the mains current and Voltage readings to my satisfaction. Robs car is still playing up and loosing coolant with the new rad cap it now remain pressurized even after cooling over night.. ARSE probably the head gasket. ARSE again...
2010/02/20 On the robs car subject the starter motor is stuffed now too. I don't think that was a bargain (actually I never did but chuffin convinced now). I have three weeks at work and Rob has to go back to Cardiff so we can't get started on it yet. It runs ok as long as he keeps the coolant level up. But we must do it soon. I CHUFFIN HATE working on cars it's always cold wet and miserable they are usually heavy, ignorant and the bolts are ceased. And you can bet your ass a small job is usually magnified beyond recognition by piss poor design. I am not looking forward to my next week off a week of purgatory. My only consolation is my mate Graham who like these sort of things has said he will help. (TFFT)
2010/02/21 I spent yesterday finding out what is wrong with the Mains Monitor program when doing the RMS thing on ADC channel one (Current Measurement). It works perfectly in simulation but fails after a while in the real world. I patched round different sections and discovered there was an issue in the square root routine there are certain numbers it will not resolve i.e. 0x1A43 and others. I now have done what I should have done in the beginning and put a limit on the number of iterations it can perform. I have to put the measuring and scaling hardware on the prototype and test it and then It is getting towards the time i produced a PCB design for it.
2010/03/06 I have made some modifications to the server program and I am now running Fridges and Freezers off Batteries with PV charge during the day and mains charging if necessary over night between 01:00 and 06:00 (off peak times) I'm am not on an off peak tariff but it is a thought. We'll see how it goes...
2010/03/09 Rob and Myself stripped the ancillary stuff off his car today so that Graham can come and help us remove the head tomorrow.
2010/03/10 We (Graham Rob and Myself) removed the head today and took it to be skimmed (£21.50 bargain). Rob is going to do the hand lapping of the valve while we are at work the next 4 days. well put it all back together next week.
2010/03/15 I picked up a starter motor from the scrappy for £25 a tad steep I thought, but better than the price of a new one £68. Valves all done, "new"starter fitted, head back together and fitted. Rob also removed each wheel freed up and greased the alloys where they mate with the hub be a shame for them not to come apart on the side of the rod with a puncture.
2010/03/16 Today we removed the sump and oil pump and cleaned them up along with the crank. We then filled the crank with diesel and ram the starter with no plugs fitted and the injector electrics disconnected. to flush the oil ways. The drained down again replaced the oil filter and filled with oil. reconnected al the ancillary bits, filled the coolant system with water and started it. FMP it worked.
2010/03/17 Today we drove it around a bit (quite a bit) we even went to the scrappy again and got a cigarette lighter for it (not fitted standard) Then we stopped the drivers seat from creaking. Rob washed it and all is good with the world. To my great surprise no bolts broke, the job went well and the weather was wonderful.. FMP There some PICCIES if you want to see
2010/03/18 Rob went to cardiff in the car yesterday evening (it got there and is still ok) I spent the day catching up on the house work that has not been done 'cos I was too busy. (should I admit to that publicly not sure really)
2010/03/22 Emma's car brakes failed today... She coped really well and no accident TFFT... I collected car and brought it home. Turns out the break pipe was corroded and had burst. Very lucky she in front at traffic lights and not need to break HARD. Have not got the time to deal with it myself so I have arranged for a garage to do it.
2010/03/25 Picked Em's car up today and paid £92.50 £15 worth of bits 2 hrs at £32.00 and the damned VAT. not bad. They had to run a new pipe front to back and put it over the petrol tank too.
2010/03/25 Added the Head gasket page to the DIY section of this web page.
2010/03/27-2249 We took part in Earth Hour this year I had never heard of it before My daughter Em told me about it, you turn your lights out for 1 hour 2030-2130 today in support of action against climate change. We turned all the lights out and went over completely to batteries used no Mains Electric or Gas from 2020-2210. Angel Smug git...Angel Soapbox mode ON:- It takes about 30,000kWh to produce a car. I use about 60lt fuel (petrol) per month i.e. about 600kWh. So to produce a car it takes 50 months worth of the fuel it takes to run it. i.e. about 4 years fuel consumption. So if I make my car last 8 years instead of changing it every 4 years I have reduced MY Energy burden on the planet to 2/3rds... (vernacularly speaking)... That's why I run an old banger... Soapbox mode OFF... And I guess 'cos I'm to damn tight to buy a new one.Oh Yes
2010/03/25 Added the new Az drive page.
2010/03/30 I have started redoing the PV system page. I did the old one Many many years ago and I don;t like the way it's done and things are very different now anyway so I have decided to redo it as an ongoing thing i.e. each time I change or repair some part of it I shall add to it. as a consequence this means doing the history of the system so far, this is now well on it's way but not ready for release yet.
2010/04/02 Changed to the new PV system page still requires work but is nearly up to date
2010/04/23 Susie's Birthday today she would have been 57. I have been off this week and have done the garden not doing a lot just spuds onions runners and parsnips. Nothing exciting but stuff I like and will actually eat. I planted way to many beetroot last year... I have been tidying up mostly, no work on any of the projects just trying to make room so i can empty the gaming room so I can do the insulation, ceiling and rewire. I have burnt loads and a big pile of stuff to go to the tip/scrappy. I have even found someone to have the piano I inherited when I bought the house.
2010/04/28 Graham popped round today and changed the cam shaft oil seal (never seen it done before) was astounded how quick he did it... there a few are piccies...
2010/04/29 Started to place the timber supports in the gaming room for the plasterboard ceiling and have planned what i am going to do for the rewire. It is actually starting to look like I have done something.
2010/05/08 The gaming room is moving alone the fuse board is on the wall wired and powered. The 16 port network switch is on the wall powered and working. Some of the cable tray, power and network sockets are up and wired. Unfortunately I have run out of bits and time so it is going to have to wait a while as I'm now at work for a couple of weeks...
2010/05/10 The Az drive has been tripping out recently. It seems it is traveling to close to the az motor and fouling against the az motor then stalling and tripping... OoPS. I originally hard coded some software limits into the controller to stop it going to close to the motor and never got round to making them adjustable... Since the new az drive produces shed loads more pulses the number of pulses backed off from the end stop is not enough. Also the sun is moving further round closer to the end stop this is why the problem has just manifested itself. I guess it's time to put proper angular s/w limits in so I have started the job today. This will need a change in the server s/w so I can alter the values from there...
2010/05/17 I've been working so not done a lot. I've planted out the tomatoes, lettuce and the cucumbers the spuds are coming as are the parsnips and onions but no sign of the beans yet. Only thing I have done with the panels is start the programming for the s/w limits. and change the logging to include some more detail. and as I write I think I may make the log available to read online... (as you can see I did)
2010/05/18 Today was a beautiful day so I spent it in the garden. I have cut back the hedge mowed the lawn. I have weeded everything and set up the automatic watering for the spuds. And I have finally put the pipe work from the freezer room through the workshop to the Veg Garden tap so the watering can actually work when needed. Then I sat and had a beer or two before coming in and writing it all up on this webpage.
2010/05/24 First day off today I have finished the Az/El Tracker software upgrade to include variable angular s/w limits completed the bench testing this morning and deployed it on the az tracker first then the El tracker. I have re-calibrated all the angles max min and s/w limit. And the s/w has run all day no problems. Guess i will watch it for a while but it looks very promising. There is always more to do but for the moment it should be fine. Also picked up the last of the cable tray for gaming room and had four bonfires at the farm and one here. Been a surprisingly busy day... And BTW dare I say all the problems with Robs car are fixed or is that tempting fate...
2010/05/26 Az/El still behaving ok. Been working on the gaming room rewire. Power is on but i still have the lights and a shed load of RJ45s to terminate.
2010/06/05 Very Busy day today I had organized with Clive to come and help get the plasterboard up in the gaming room. but on top of that Rob found a pot hole with that chuffing pile of crap PUG106 of his and bent the sodding offside rear stub axle. (I knew I was tempting FATE) Graham is coming to guide us through that nightmare. So with Rob helping Graham, Clive helping me. and me flitting between the jobs too. By the end of the day my bloody feet were well beyond the painful they usually are. But that finally died away with 800mg Ibuprofen, two application of Ibulieve gel and several cans of lager with a very pleasant BBQ for everyone involved. BTW we did not get the plasterboard finished and we could not get a new stub axle for love nor money so Next Saturday we have to do it all again... ho hum... Incidentally the stub axle was hardly bent at all a straight edge showed nothing wrong but rotating it 180 degrees cleared the fouling so it is definitely bent. The clearance between the tyre and radius arm on the good side is 2mm FMP only to 2mm we have bought some 5mm Spacers and improved that a bit (5mm actually)...
2010/06/06-07 Transferred all the data for to new commercial server took sodding ages...
2010/06/08-0457 so long in fact I just finished the last data sheet transfer...
2010/06/08 FMP Talk about speaking too soon. I was awoken from nights to discover Robs immobiliser is playing up. Chuffin thing won't go at all now... Where the F*** is a gallon of petrol and a match when you need it! Sorry please forgive the outburst but I FUCKIN' HATE THAT CAR !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
2010/06/09 After some research on the alarm/immobiliser I have the car running and he can use it but the Fob still does not do what it is supposed to. I have Checked it's operation and it Transmits a good strong signal on 433.82MHz so I guess the problem is in the Rx end. (Kinda guessed that).
2010/06/10 I have bought a Water Meter (£11) and am going to try and integrate it into the monitoring system in the hope I can get enough information to decide if I will save money going over to a meter from paying water rates. I do water the spuds in my garden however and that uses a fair bit of water...
2010/06/11 Well we got Robs car going but he drove it for a day or two and the front right CV went BANG.. and now it's stuffed again... FMP
2010/06/12 Installed the water meter in the freezer room this morning. i have put it in there as that is where all the gardening water is fed from and that I now know 150lts in 30 min's my usual watering cycle every other day. The water meter is not yet connected to the monitoring system but I have prototyped a pulse counter that works just fine I need to complete the design and connect it up. Clive came again and we did the rest of the gaming room insulation, plastic membrane and we tried to complete the plasterboard but unfortunately I need to order another two sheets to finish the job.
2010/06/17 The plaster board is here so that job is waiting. We got two drive shafts from a local scrappy (had them on the shelf) put them in they were as bad as the ones we had taken out. Money back you'll be lucky... Credit note FMP...(that lesson is learned and learned well) Ordered two brand spankers (should have done that in the first place) they arrive Monday. gonna change the wheel bearings too as they a tad wobbly/rumbly.

2010/06/21 Drive shafts are here, excellent service from the supplier. Wheel bearings (complete struts) taken to local garage to be done they have the tools and I don't... that lot was £200 in all.

2010/06/22 I spent the afternoon putting it all back together (yes, with a lot of help from Graham, Rob is away working) then tightening all the bolts etc. refilling the gearbox with oil. Had to get a Big Torque wrench to do the hub nuts (245Nm). The bearings feel much better and it drives well TFFT ( I can see why he likes it but I'll NEVER buy another Peugeot). The elevation drive fault is probably the drive jack AGAIN. It is not completely stuffed but the bearing sounds graunchy. New one ordered so I can remove the old one and see how stuffed it is... I also ordered some lathe tools to help fix the old ones... (maybe). Maybe tomorrow I can do some stuff I want to do (and so can Graham).
2010/06/25 After work I finished prototyping the pulse squarer for the water meter pulse counter. It is built on Vero Board. It is installed and seems to be working fine. The results can be seen on the Energy Use Page. Installing one in the house is not going to be any where near as easy. The water entry point is under the work top in the back of a corner unit...
2010/06/28 A day off from work at last. New elevation Jack is here and has been changed out. I also did some modifications to the wiring (added plug/sockets) to make changing it easy next time. I now have two dead ones I think I had better see if I can repair/re-engineer them to be stronger and more durable.. to be honest they are a very poor design... I have some ideas having looked at it I'll let you know how I get on...
2010/07/03 I have spent 8hrs playing with JGraph and PHP and have finally got some graphs on my web page. PV Power, Battery Voltage, Battery Current. Water use etc... they can be accessed from the Energy use page

2010/07/11 Last night, with some help from a friend via skype I finally spent some time reading the system log and analysing the com's timeout problems that have plagued the system for months. We spotted a few thing that gave pointers and as I woke early (05:00) this morning I went out with me trusty scope, a USB to 485 adaptor and laptop to watch what happens in real time for a while. On the scope I noticed the computer would send it's next poll request packet, quickly after receipt of a good response. Sometimes very quick and there would be no response to that quick packet. I have now introduced a delay between receipt of a good packet and tx of next request and I have not seen a time out for a while now. Looks like the PIC chips can now keep up. Further investigation and careful scope watching shows in fact the problem to be in the pic chip s/w. It releases the buss too soon i.e. before the tx has reached the idle state. So if another packet starts quickly after it the Rx end gets confused. More work needed...

2010/07/14 I have taken the kitchen apart and installed the House water meter. It is now producing data, scary stuff actually there is just me here today and has only been operating a couple of hour and it reads 84L god knows what it'll be by the end of the day. The down side is that i have yet to put the kitchen back together... (I'm on nights it can wait till tomorrow)
2010/07/24 Well the kitchen is back together and the house water meter is working and logging data and I'm back on nights again. I've not had time to do much more on the com's issue but i know the problem if not the solution. Seems I need to hold the tx enable on a tad longer (about 1 bit at 2400Baud 416uS) without waiting around in program doing nothing for 4160/2 instruction cycles... it may require hardware solution... a diode resistor and capacitor maybe... however I would prefer some sort of software solution, but that does not appear easy without a major change in the timing as TMR0 interrupts have a period of 5ms way to long to be useful.
2010/08/06 I have spent a little time tinkering with a software solution but regular saves to EEP hold things up and prevent it working the way i'd like as these are done in main program. and a lot of hanging around is done waiting for the writes to finish. I have been working to make the EEPROM save interrupt driven but that is rather complicated too though I am well on the way to getting that going. perhaps the original problem will be s/w solvable then... (doubt it). Most of what I have done this week is cure a water leak at the farm and rebuild the chamber containing the stop taps (had to destroy part of it to remove old steel pipe and replace with plastic). Then been tidying the loft and taking shed loads of stuff to the charity shop.

2010-08-09 Yesterday I scraped everything i had written for the EEP saves using interrupts and went back to an old idea. I.e.dump the EEPAddrs and Data to a HnT buffer and check in main program loop if data to go then start it leaving interrupts to do the rest. I originally rejected it as it used two bytes of buffer for EVERY byte of data to be written. But it is simple lays the data down in the correct order and is now running. I think it may need a little tweaking (disable interrupts during load of data then enable again to prevent data loss) but does seem to work ok.

2010-08-27 I have changed the Graphs on the energy monitoring page so that you can select a date to see (default is today). That required a free download java calendar (very good to) and some PHP work of my own. Took a while as I have never done that sort of thing before. But came together quite well in the end. I have also taken a look at the tracking s/w trying to find the bug that causes the irregular trips on the Az drive. I have found one and cured it. It was obscure and I am not yet convinced it was the cause. However it has been a few days since it has happened (we need a week or two to be sure). During the debug got the new saved to EEP stuff working too and that seems to be ok. not seen to many (any actually so far) com's time outs on the az drive since...
2010-09-27 Autumn is well and truly here. We've had our first frost's and it feels very chilly. The Az tripping has stopped so I guess I've found that bug. I have pulled me onions and they are sat on a table drying still waiting for me to put them away (2 weeks now). I have bought a scaffold tower working height 9.2m so i can get to my chimney and sweep it from above. There is a kink in the bottom end i cannot get the brush round without damaging the liner. It has given me the opportunity to remove the old satellite dish and i can finally cut the hedge easily. Your right it wasn't cheap, but i'd rather be 8m up scaffold than up a ladder. I have also built a pen to store the wood for the log stove and filled it for the winter. So it may have been a while since I updated this but I have not been idle (all of the time).
2010-09-30 I lifted my spuds this morning and they're not a bad crop at all. I'm well pleased and a good size too. I spent most of the afternoon working on a computer that has been virused by Rob's girlfriends sister... I must get one of those T shirts that say "NO I won't do your 'kin Computer" and there is another waiting to be done too. I am still running two servers as not ready to cut across to the new one. That is going to be a tad complicated if I do not want to loose any energy use data. The new one is performing very well so far...
2010-11-01 I have had most of October off. I have tidied the garden, cut and split the logs for winter, Taken all the scrap to the scrappy £26 :), The junk to the tip ,put a new Cat. on Robs car, Tidied the workshop, and Designed the PCB for the Generic controller that will take over the house monitoring. Replacing the prototype that has been doing the job for the last 12months. And providing the basis for the new stuff that will be installed. I have yet to make the first and actually check it works. Oh yes and I have completed the replacement of the old server with a new. It is still a Mini ITX board but this one is a dual core 1G6 and it has 3T of storage so far.
2010-11-18 I am running a newer version of operating system on the server and a couple of new services too. I mention this as the server it self has locked up 3 times now for reasons I am not sure off. I am investigating by not running certain things for a while and seeing if it stays up. I have built the generic controller PCB it works. However I am doing a re-write on the s/w for it as is a different processor (bigger PIC 18F452 vice 252) same code but will have a lot of facilities not on the Energy use monitor prototype in use now. i.e. LCD Display, thermostat, humidistat, time switch that sort of thing. A lot of that is written and tested but the command structure to set it up over the com's link is yet to be written. I managed to hold off on the central heating till November 8th. I Used the log stove a few times but as of the 8th the central heating is on and heating the house to about 17C. I still use the log stove when in the lounge for any time and to heat the house in general. I usually limit the use of the w/s in winter as it cost a fortune to keep warm even after i insulated it it seems. If I start early 0700 and work late 2100 it can be as much as 10kWh a Whole english pound. So I write code in the lounge mostly and just do the hardware stuff in the w/s.

2010-12-21 Well I found out why the server was locking up Haupage do produce some really SHITE S/W so I have uninstalled the USB TV recorder and things are a lot better. It turns out Get-iPlayer is not much better but that is free and I don't have to leave it running so I am not gonna whinge about that. I still think however I will still go back to XP service pack 2 When I get the chance. I never had any shit with that... it is on the cards to go LINUX on the server but that means a complete re-write of my server S/W complete with a web interface. I will need a long time to get that going before I switch

It's a year since I put the prototype Utilities Monitor in my meter cupboard to monitor Electric gas and water use. I Apart from the server lockup (thanks Haupage) I have a full years data for electric and nearly a year for gas and in July I will have for water.. As a result t's fairly certain I am going for a water meter and I know I have reduced my gas and Electric use. I have spent the last 8 weeks designing building and programming a generic Monitor/Controller. It has 4 counters, two Time switches and 8 A/Ds. It is all but finished and ready to deploy as the new utilities monitor. I have to make some more changes to the server s/w and when that is done it'll get deployed. I have several other jobs for the same unit.
That 'kin car of Robs is Jinxed. It's brakes failed at 60mph approaching a roundabout. It seems both Rear Brake shoes disintegrated, Frost damage we think and as a result the slave cylinders popped out so no brake fluid pressure i.e. no front bakes and as the handbrake is rear wheel too, you'll be havin' none of that either. He and the car survived the excitement. However the engine nearly got out and walked when jammed into first to get some serious engine braking. Brakes are now repaired. NEVER Buy a peugeot unless you gonna SCRAP it.

2010-12-22 I was supposed to be alone for a few days this week (I'm Off till after Crimbly) and I was going to switch everything off. No Power No gas. No I'm not a masochist. I wanted to see how the batteries, log stove etc all held up under poor conditions when i could just switch it all back on if I not like it. Much better than finding out when your stuffed and can do sod all about it. As there is 4inches of snow out side and driving conditions are not good. Em has come to stay a while (easier to get to work) and Rob has been snowed off for his job erecting seats in the smoke. So I have NOT been alone so I have not been able to kill the power. The batteries will never survive the kids TV's Lights play stations etc etc for longer that 2 days. So I have just turned the heating down to 10C (it's not come on for two days the log stove has kept it warm enough)

However tonight Em is at work and Rob has gone to Cardiff. so I am Finally Home alone if only for a few hours. The power and gas are off I am running just the server, big freezer and this net book off the batteries. Nothing else. As this will be for only a few hours not days, the data will be useless but at least it's fun sat here with an oil lamp and a log stove.
If you're interested the temperature for the last couple of day up stairs has been 11-14C and in the living room with door open and stove going (not flat out) have been 16-18. Quite acceptable. out side it has been around +1 to -2 not that cold... When I were a lad there were ice on the inside o' the winders and me dads teeth froze in the glass beside 'is bed... yeah yeah I know...

2011-01-05 29 years today since i went to work for BT... As mentioned above the C/H has been turned down to 10C. I am now back at work after Crimbly and so the log fire has not been lit for 3days. There is no-one else home Rob is off working and Em is back in her flat now the snow has gone. So I have let the temperature settle at 10C. Today will be the first stable day and should give me a good indication as to how much gas will be used to maintain that temperature. 'tis Bloody chilly getting out of the bath take it from me...

The s/w for the generic controller is done including the server stuff and is now ready to deploy. This will require some installation of cables and sensors etc so will have to wait till i have time. I have had a little spare time since it was finished so I have been testing it to investigate the packet loss problems on the 485 network and yes I do believe I have found the problem. A bug in the Rx/Tx Head and tail buffer routines. I have implemented a temporary fix and tested it and looks good I've even had the com's up to 38400 on the bench. This will need to be tested in the field. But I am hopeful. I will try the speed increase at the same time as deploying the new Energy monitor (generic controller set up to do that job) After that is the Freezer Monitor. This will be another generic controller so just needs a bit of C++ on the server. Then Hopefully back to my Engine Controller...
2011-01-06 I have modified the HnT routines and they are now under test. The problem was the HnT was loaded under interrupt and unloaded in main program. I had inadvertently used the same Byte to temporarily store the data going in and going out of the buffer, everything else was separated to ensure the load would not affect the unload during interrupt. This one mistake meant that every now and again maybe after an hour or two sometimes less the unload byte would be corrupted with the load byte and the packet CRC would then fail and the packet would be scrapped. Causing packet loss and Poll timeout. I have now corrected this and there are separate byte for load and unload.
2011-01-12 at about 1200hrs day today the PV-Reg battery trip went. I think one or both the power FET's went and then the trip but cannot be sure. It was not passing excessive current about 6Amps charge from the PV's. They seem to go each year around this time for one reason or another. Curious.

2011-01-18 Not replaced the FET/commutation diodes yet but i have up graded the s/w on all units to 38400B and deployed the finished Generic controller as an energy monitor. It work fine had a little fine tuning of the s/w to do to get the counter multiplier and offsets correct under the guise of energy monitor vice G/C but all good now. The meter reader chap will be amazed how tidy the meter box now looks LOL. I will probably do the FET/DIODES replacement tomorrow after I check data is being recorded correctly.

Incidentally the s/w bug in the HnT routines sadly would not have been a problem. After giving it some more thought the com's on the system are simplex and those problems would only have shown up on a full duplex system... there are still packet losses and i still have no idea WTF the reason is... It's the same if the buss is 150m or 150cm long.
2011-02-04 Main system is now running 38400baud and it has been about two weeks packet failure rate has increased a tad but is consistent with the increase in packets per second. Two of the new Generic controllers are now deployed the Energy monitor in the house and the freezer room monitor in (yes ) the freezer room. Both working well still a little work to do i.e. Frost Stat needs wiring up as does the Heater and relay box to control it..
2011-02-11 I have wired up the frost stat and the freezer controller now controls the temperature of freezer 1 (set to be a big fridge i.e. 4C) all that is working well and the graphs etc are available on the web I have used the counter sections of the devices to monitor the door activity and log entry/egress to the web and a log file. Wiring the Yard gates is a big job requiring conduit and stuff i have bought it all but run out of time as usual. And the weather when i have had some time has been crap.
2011-02-14 The Batch of PCB I have is way out of day and I spent a day and a half trying to get the damn stuff to produce a PCB one side worked ok with some coaxing but the other side would not even develop I was well pissed off. I have bought some more and will try to get it cut today if there is time. I'm at work, Bummer Dude, but the three weeks off was good. I spent most of yesterday helping Em's boyfriend put a split charger into their camper van. Not complicated but getting it in tidy takes time.. I have to say I was pleased with the results we had, Nice Job...
2011-03-02 Turns out it was the developer that was shot not the PCB one more done ok at least one more to do. Made some Minor changes to the Generic Controller s/w there are now operation, energy monitor, freezer room and workshop. PV tracking system did a double pirouette the other day missed the micro switch end stop not sure why... still needs investigating properly. (I knew I should have put a mechanical end stop)

2011-03-05 I have had a look at the micro switch Limit arrangement on the PV Az drive. Everything checks out ok electrically. The only thing I can see wrong is the chain drive is a tad loose and i guess this has allowed the pin to miss/jump over the micro switch. It does not look like it could, but I guess must have. So when I have some spare time I will install a Hardware Limit, tighten the chain up and test it all again...

Using the new GC controllers I now have a Fridge/Freezer, Frost Stat,Air Compressor and the Workshop temperatures under Remote/Auto control and the Outside light switching on and off with Sun Rise and Sun Set. Not to mention all door openings and closings being logged... it's getting very 1984 round here...
2011-03-13 I put the conduit up to the Yard Gates on Saturday and with some help from my good friend Wendy, I pulled the wiring in today. They are now being monitored and logged. The PV Az drive is still Halted and I am still considering how I am going to install a hardware end stop. I have had several ideas none of which I am completely happy with yet though one does look vaguely promising.
2011-03-24 I put the mechanical stop on the Az drive today and refitted the micro switches re-calibrated the end of travel angles and set the thing to do the job again. However I have added some more software to it to report in greater detail what is going on when the thing goes walkabout and trips. Hopefully I will be able to get to the route cause

2011-06-05 I believe I have discovered the main reason for the Az trips there is definitely an error in the software that means if the motor drives past the target it does not realise it has to go stop and go back the other way. Chuffing thought I'd done that but must have been drinking or something. This combined with a stop tolerance of +/-2 pulses is the main reason it trips. I have temporarily widened the tolerance and will have to re-write that section of code.

Since the last entry 2011-03-24 I have started replacing the fascia and guttering on the workshop and sheds along with repainting the exterior wood work. I have completed about half of it so far. Whilst doing that I had to replace one of the roof support that had gone rotten. I replaced it with a steel support and bolted timber to the steel to provide something to screw the doors to. This new guttering dumps it's water to a 2200Ltr collection system that has a pumped output to the garden watering taps. This switches the pump on when water is called for this is all plumbed in and working. The collection system fill level is monitored by the Computer System and is available on the web.

I have also started extending the canopy by 1.2m in length. this was started by repairing and raising a wall. what with rotovating and planting the Veg. garden weeding and hedge cutting I have been rather busy and it does not look like letting up for a while. A high tide period in the sea of shit to do...


2011-06-30 It is certain that the main reason for the tripping was the small stop window and the s/w in the tracking unit not checking the direction. There are however other minor issues that require looking into as well.

I have after a few month of development finally got a tipping bucket rain gauge built that actually works quite well. It is now operational and the results are available on the web. I must have made at least 4 different versions trying to get the damn thing to behave the way it should and be reliable. The spec is 3ml per tip with a 200mm diameter funnel. Giving about 0.1mm rain sensitivity

The sheds fascia and guttering is now all replaced and connected properly to the water collection system whose IBC's are now mostly painted black to exclude the light and prevent the growth of algae and turning the water green. I am try to empty the system so i can Paint the backs of the IBC's So this system is pretty much complete and working. At least for the moment, I am considering connecting the downstairs toilet to it. to help use the water collected the garden simply does not require enough of it so far this year anyway. The weather is set to improve so this may change.

If your interested I water the Veg. garden automatically every 2 days 150L over and area 6m x 5m 30m^2 that is about 5mm Rain (equivalent) every two days. This happens even if it is raining at the time.


2011-07-17 It looks like my two weeks off is going to be one week off as I have cover. The world at work is not what it was and frankly has not been for a very long time. Three of the older chaps (out of fifteen working shift) have decided "early release scheme" or not (and in these cases NOT) they have had a tit full and they're off Finger . They have handed their notice in and are retiring before our employer completely fucks up the pension. Those in charge are frantically trying to recruited. But, not that many are interested. I wonder why. This of course was seen coming and no preparation was done. To be fair as with ALL big companies the local management have absolutely NO power whatsoever and those that have the power don't care... Why employ a manager and not allow him to manage... Ok OK I'll get off my soap box... I'm only jealous that I cannot afford to leave yet... Crying

Any way back to my week off I am hoping (Wx permitting) to complete the canopy extension. After that I have a shed load of wood to log for next winter. I have (I am now fairly sure) stopped the Az drive tripping so I may actually be able to get back to my engine and do some more there. Grin

2011-07-22 I have finished the canopy ,it is much better bigger. there is room to put the car under properly in winter and room for 4 tables and a BBQ if it rains.
2011-08-17 This summer I found that the rain water system collect far more water than was needed for to water my garden. I have now extended the system to flush the downstairs toilet as I am on a water meter now this should reduce my costs a little. A rough guess is about 500ltr a week around £80 worth of water a year. With the tank and pipe work out side and therefore exposed to very low temperatures (not below ground) I have put a home made trace heater arrangement to help stop the pipes freezing. If you buy trace heater it is very expensive. This does not include heating the tanks themselves they are on there own. I have used tri rated 7/0.2 mm wire passing about 6A powered from a Transformer and temperature regulated from the freezer room Generic controller. The System is in needs soak testing to check its effectiveness. It's no good waiting for the cold and then finding it does not work.
2011-08-22 The cutting moving and splitting logs for this winter is finally finished. I now have a nice big pile about 3m^3.
2011-09-01 I have changed the trace heater supply to a SMPSU I can now control the voltage and therefore the power. It also has the added advantage that the PSU has inrush control unlike the transformer. I have discovered (Guess I should have known) that Toroidal transformers are the worst type for inrush current. This can be as much as 80 times full load current if they go into saturation. It was heavy took out a 16A trip instantly and regularly that is at least 40A. (x2.5)
2011-09-02 I have a few of these power supplies all work except one. Seeing as they are proving to be useful I have taken it apart and and found one of the pass transistors a BUY69A and anti surge 12R 10W resistor has popped. Yes a bipolar transistor they are very old design. Spares have been ordered.
2011-09-04 Trace heater running much better no more trips. I have upped the voltage to 21V 8A 168W. To test I have set the temperature to 25C (will be 5C) this is maintaining 25C (ambient +5) inside the freezer room. The pipe work out side rises to 30C (Ambient +5 it is higher up) and the pipe work outside lower down in a disappointing ambient +1.5. that is why i have increased the power. I may have to add more heater wire out there.
2011-09-05 After some monitoring and tinkering with the trace heater out side next to the water tank. I now believe the temperature in not rising significantly because of water circulation to and from the tank. i.e. the trace heater is trying to heat the entire tank 1000L. I also believe these circulation current will be enough to stop it freezing in winter (ever the optimist). so i am going to leave it and hope. The electrics for this and the Water pump just need boxing up now.
2011-09-06 Robs Car Failed MOT he's away working, so Graham and myself (mostly Graham) changed the exhaust centre pipe new £44 and rear box swapped from my scrap 106. Tightened font offside Wheel bearing. Swapped knackered rear nearside Shock absorber off Robs 106 with one off my Scrap 106. If this passes the MOT the scrap one has finally earned it's keep. It cost me £60 and was acquired for the engine so I can play with it. I had intended stripping it for bits as well as the engine This was on my list of "shit to do" but has not been done as it is low priority.
2011-09-16 I have put the rest wire on the pergola to support the grapes. They have covered the whole of one side of the pergola and started across the top. So I needed to get the support across the top.
2011-09-19 the last couple of nights have been slow so I have at last got round to updating some of the project pages on here. These have only been photos for years with no write up. There is only a couple left to do now.
2011-10-02 I have just cut the hedge and the lawn the place looks tidy again and I have finally put the shelves up in the freezer room.
2011-10-03 I spent the day connecting the upstairs toilet to the rain water supply so I can pee for free everywhere in the house. It took ages but looks a good job in the end. It is done in the same manner as downstairs i.e. you can choose mains or rain water easily.
2011-10-04 Rob and I put up scaffold ready to replace guttering at rear of house. In the afternoon I lifted my spuds. I had eaten about a row and a half of the four rows and the three and half rows left yielded about 1cwt.
2011-10-05 Removed old gutter prepared and repainted old fascia and fitted new gutter, Took all day glad that sodding job is over just the front to do now and that will wait till next year.
2011-10-13 I have been on nights so not done a lot but interestingly we have not had a lot of rain over the last week and since I have the toilets connected to the rain water system I am rather astounded how the quickly 2000L will disappear.We have used about 1200L in 10 days just flushing the loo.
2011-11-06 While the tanks were low I did some experimenting to see at what water level the pump sucked in air. It can do this as the level indication float chamber is in side where it won't freeze which puts it closer to the pump than I would have liked. This means that the level in the float chamber falls when the pump starts and this can allow air in when the water level is low. This occurred at 300L if the pump was allowed to move water at full bore, but filling the toilets it occurs at about 150L. I have put a relay box under the control of the system that turns the pump off at when the tank indicates 0L and will not turn it back on till the tanks indicate above 300L. This should ensure the pump does not pull in air and run dry and stuff it's seals up. It has rained shed loads since and the tanks are full again. But it is still rather surprising how much water is flushed.
2011-11-09 The winter so far has been very mild temperatures have rare dropped below 10C and I have only seen ground frosts twice so far. This means that the trace heater has not come on yet and that system is not yet tested under real conditions. There has been talk of it getting colder like last year -15C but no sign of it yet. I have set up a fan heater in the freezer room that will keep the whole room from going below 2Deg C but I am hoping that will not be needed...
2011-11-11 No power from PV-Reg not got time to look at it now but probably the sodding FET's again.
2011-11-12 Yes it is the FET's but this time the blow every time replace have replace all driver chips too.. looks like a REAL fault I will have to set the thing up to run on the bench and fault it properly
2011-11-28 I have set the unit up on the bench and run a screened cable to the battery current sensor and preamp that run back to the bench where it is. this despite the length of the cable seems to work fine. After some inspection of the waveforms around the FET's and their driver chips I eventually found a dry joint. This was on one of the screw terminals that delivered the FET drive to the isolation transformer that then passed the signal on the the Driver cct itself. This meant the drive signal was not good and caused when the pulse length became long enough the FET to be turn on permanently at this point the FET tried to dump the contents of a 400uF capacitor charged to 160V into the batteries (24V 2200Ah) which of course would look pretty much like a short circuit. This causing an annoying DINK! noise from the inductor and one of the FET's to expire. It is all sorted now but I do have a small pile of dead IRFP260s if any one wants them. I actually ran out of IRF260 and to test the unit after I was again convinced I had found the fault I used a IRFPC50 £5 vice £1.50, 11A vice 20A, Rds 0.6 vice 0.06 and Vds 600 vice 200 and only one of them. it has work fine since. The New IRF260s still have yet to arrive (cheap from china via ebay). One good thing did come out of all this. That is after it was working again and I inspected all the waveforms and watched it working for the first time since I designed and built it about 8 years ago it gave me a warm smug feeling to see it working so well. Nice clean waveforms, tracking the peak power point etc just nice. I had forgotten that feeling. It's gonna stay on the bench for a while and I am even thinking about putting it in a box LOL.
2011-12-05 I have spent the morning mounting all the PCBs (PCU/CPU/Switcher) together as one lump rather than separated and only joined by the connection wires. It's a lot tidier but it's still not in a box though.
2011-12-17 The weather has finally turned cold and the trace heater etc has started to work. I don't have a good idea how much energy the system uses as Rob mate is getting married and the house is full of army lads and i have cranked the heating up so energy use is up considerably.
2011-12-27 The weather warmed again before I could get a good idea of the power usage of the anti-icing stuff, ah well next time. It is still warm now, very different from last year. I have been tinkering with the graphs and web pages again. Mostly just tidying up really but some real changes. I have added some indication to the Misc. Data page that shows when the trace heater, rain water pump, workshop heating and the compressor are on. While I was at it as I have a few friends that pump their car tyres up with my compressor occasionally so I have added on/off buttons to the same page to enable them (or anyone I guess) to turn on/off my compressor from their computer or mobile phone. While I was at it I tidied up the PV_CGI.exe that runs to provide live data from the server program that talks to all the individual control units dotted around the place. I did start some time ago enabling all the stuff to be controlled from the web but that was a passworded link. I never really used it and the code fell well behind the changes to the rest of the system so no longer worked. As I have had little hardware stuff to do I have started playing with that again. I'm afraid as you can do things some serious things like kill the power to the house this will remain passworded.

2011-12-31 I thought it best to do an equalisation charge on the batteries as I had not done one for at least 12 months and I did not want any of them collapsing. Things you wish you had not done. The system is a tad upset now. It basically relies on the AH reading and voltage of the batteries to judge how charged it is. The equalisation pushed the AH reading higher than normal. Fictitiously high so waiting for the AH figure to fall to a point where the batteries would require topping up off the mains has taken them much lower in Ah than normal. They have sat around 23.5 Volts for the last week. The system is not sorting it self out so Today I have intervened and dropped the AH reading by 150AH to 1450. in the hope they will come back up. With hindsight I should have done this after the equalisation charge. It could be of course one of the cells has collapsed and is dragging the others down. I am hoping this is not the case.


2012-01-02 The PV Tracking system has not moved for the last couple of days I left it a while incase it was an end of the year issue with software but no change this morning. But when I went to find out it seems that last light at midnight the com's stopped and I had to shut everything down and start it again. This lost  any data  that  may have told WTF had gone wrong before ARSE.

2012-01-24 Tracking system has shown no further signs of problems however the server itself has decided it does not like the cold and dies when it goes below 8C (ish) I have switched off the case cooling fan and restricted the air through the ventilation port and it is now fine (so far). I have noticed that now the toilets flush with rain water, sometimes the ball valves get blocked and weep. This wastes water so I have fitted a Y strainer filter in the hope this helps. BUT looking at the stuff that settles out in the bottom of the cistern under a microscope. This is very small stuff indeed. The largest is the thickness of a human hair. Filtering that will be a problem. So I am looking into pressure sand filters now. They are used in swimming pool systems and they seam to cost a lot. But look easy enough to make if you have the container that will put up with the required pressure...
2012-02-03 Last night the temperature went down to -12C on the PV and -7C air temperature My Rain water collection system has two tanks the un-insulated IBC by the computer room is frozen solid and the insulated one by the freezer room is still mostly liquid. This is due to the insulation only as the pipes are trace heated but not the tanks.. I had a minor freeze up in the pipes as they enter the house (exposed pipe) but the system as a whole is working well, now that pipe is thawed and insulated. However the usable water is diminishing fast as the remainder of the water turns to ice...
2012-03-02 As I said above my batteries were not happy I hoped an equalisation charge may sort them out. It Didn't. So about 2 weeks ago I tested the voltage across each battery (34 of them). I found 5 strings (out of 17) with uneven voltage distribution across the batteries in a string. This is NOT a good sign. I isolated those strings till I could test the batteries properly. This I did today. Each string is two 12V 115AH batteries in series. I tested each battery in each string on load (40Amps @ 12V). In each string at least one of the battery voltages collapsed from 12V to 2-4V I have removed these batteries and rearranged the remaining to make new strings.So I have lost a total of three strings. This makes the AH of the batteries now to be 14 x 115AH = 1610AH if they were new they are far from it so I have optimistically gone for 1500 and changed all the control system settings accordingly. I will watch what happens for a while to see they behave correctly.
2012-03-03 I have load tested all the remaining batteries today and found 2 more that collapse under load. those have now been removed and setting adjustments made. This is getting serious I may have to spend money soon unless I can come across some replacements. At least now the battery as a whole seems to hold it's own under load and not drop to 23.5 volts so dam quick.
2012-03-17 I have some replacement batteries amounting 200AH. So far that is all and they are as yet unconnected. I have had a tinker with the server s/w and it now sends me an mail under certain circumstances.
2012-03-20 Today I have changed out the PIR light that shines on my drive to an energy saving type they have at last come down in price it was about £14+VAT. I have also buried the D54 so I can get on with planting the Veg. patch. It needs to be rotovated again and then I can plant. my spuds. I said to my Dad I know we are still getting frost but is it to early to plant my spuds. He replied with a grin "I planted mine 3 weeks ago". So I guess I should pull my finger out. He's 84 BTW...
2012-03-22 Rotovated and planted spuds today 49 plants in 7 rows. set up watering stuff.
2012-04-03 I have decided to put the watering under system control as it will manage the water use better than just a timed water every 3 days. The system knows how much rain water i have in reserve how much rain there has been so can decide if watering is needed and can be done with the available reserve. I have written some s/w but it still needs testing.

2012-04-08 Got the Irrigation System S/W working the way it should. It still needs to be checked that I can adjust all the variables. I also wrote the web display stuff the web page and the CGI stuff. I have left it running to see if it does what i think it should. The solenoid valve is not here yet so it is not actually putting any water anywhere.


2012-04-14 The Solenoid Valve arrived today so I fitted it and checked there was no leaks and that it worked. It did and it has been left operational set to a 10mm required rain fall over 7 days. The current last 7 days adds up to 23mm including the 2.7mm irrigation test I did today. The garden looks soaked. I have left the system set to irrigate for 5 mins (about 50Lt) if the tanks fill this stops the overflow water going down the drain and wasting.


2012-05-08 I wrote the s/w to dump the water on the garden when the tanks full, it worked fine. Alas it not such a good idea under current conditions as the garden was drenched by the equivalent of 2 inches of rain in 6 hrs oops not good. Then solenoid Valve died instead of taking 100mA it now takes 900mA so the volt drop stops it working. It has to go back as faulty. To China I am NOT happy That'll teach me to buy cheap. Well maybe not...

Any way summer is coming (despite the frosts and persistent rain) so I have moved back into the workshop. I have made some changes a couple more monitors 4x22" and one 19" are now on the server. This allows me to write the s/w read the data sheets and monitor my shares on a device that runs all the time the only extra power is the monitors no extra PC. I have not measured the power consumption of the monitors yet but I will.
I have finally restarted the engine (ECU) s/w. I am using a newer bigger chip. So far it only communicates with the server. Nothing clever has been written yet just the stuff so enable me to see what is going on inside it.
I did manage to blow up my PIC programmer. In the time since I last worked on the ECU I changed and standardised the Pin outs on all the 485 bus com's cables This cable now also carries the power to most of the devices hanging off it. Hummm pity I did not remember that what used to be ground is now +24V. When I plugged the USB programmer into the PIC chip there was a very nasty CLUNK!!! from my USB hard drive and all the screens on the server went blank. ARSE... Fortunately the PIC Chip and programmer took the brunt and EVERYTHING else survived. TFFT.
I tried somewhat unsuccessfully to make some more Generic Controller PCB's on my recent week off. I think the board and developer was too old. I have not made any boards for over 12 months and the stuff goes off. Any way I produced one out of three that was barely usable. So as I want a few I looked around on the net and found This crowd I have sent off the gerber file, opened my wallet and am expectant. I chose the 15 day turnaround 'cos I can wait and I'm tight. They should arrive this week. Ok Ok I went for 5 and that cost £91. considering I had buggered about for 3 days and trashed three boards That is cheap. Also I did some design work for BT a while back and had 5 Prototype PCBs about twice as big made for that and that was £300 OUCH... (They paid of course).
Work has an early release scheme, 12 months pay to leave... I have been very very tempted but my pension will not be enough till I am at least 58. So I have to either wait without pay for three years or stay at work. I hate work but probably not enough to do that. So I'll have wait a while longer. F.Fkty.F.F.F.

2012-05-10 Still on nights. I am making some small headway to some kind of an operating system for the engine. Similar to what is in the rest of the units but for this new chip. Coms are up and running ADC are sampling and averaging and EEPROM background saves are close. I have started defining the Crank timing state machine and will hopefully start coding that soon.

My New monitors have arrived and are installed in the w/s and work well I can see it all at a glance. They look the part too...
And no I still don't want to be at work but also no I have not "pressed the button". but I'd still like to.
2012-05-12 Had to work a surprise day today. Worked on s/w when I could I have discovered at the current Baud rate I am unable to run a multiplication routine in interrupt to do the RMS calculation I shall have to find another solution. and keep the damn interrupts less than 150-200uS ARSE... I think I can pump the clock speed a little (40Mhz maybe)

2012-06-12 0518 At work first night after two weeks off. Went to Porthcawl in a caravan weather was rough to say the least but it was fun never the less. Huge waves over the harbour wall spray and foam everywhere but no noticeable damage. So was good to see. There was even a firework display it was almost like being a kid again LOL.

I re-wrote the Multiplication routine to use a function that was not available when I first wrote it. the 8x8 multiply. This routine now takes 15uS a tenth of the time it did. Doing that and the fact that I could really use some Floating point math routines has started me writing some in PIC chip machine code. They are coming along ok but are not yet finished. I guess I should say here I have been avoiding doing these for about 20 years. I started and stopped ('cos I was to lazy) in the days of the Z80 and CPM. I have always found a way round having to do them but I am tired of bodges and work around's. So I am giving it a proper go. I may yet regret it.

2012-06-22 It seems my boiler is playing up it sometime fails to light when the shower is turned on. It is probably the pressure differential i/p to o/p not high enough. I will have to investigate as I know sod all about this boiler.

I have made little progress with any s/w as I have been occupied with other more important things involving friends and family. I did move my PV Power regulator back to the battery room from the workshop only to find I had inadvertently booby trapped it when I moved it last time. I made an extension cable for the pre-amplifier for the battery current monitor and I got some wires reversed so it worked ok with the extension cable but was incorrect with out it. So on restoration I killed the AD623 instrument Amp.ARSE... I have no spares and the replacement is on order and taking it's damn time. I have temporarily replaced it with an INA121 for the time being so it is working but the gain is wrong so the readings I am getting are half what it should be.
2012-06-23 I cannot get over the amount of sodding rain we have had and are still having. My garden is so wet I cannot mow the lawn or weed between my onions. Yes that is legal.
2012-07-11 Onions weeded and lawn cut during a lull in the rain it was VERY wet but managed ok. I have been off 1.5 wks of 1.8 despite a high tide in the shit to do department I have actually got the Floating Point routines looking like they are working still some exhaustive testing to do. I was very surprised to find the addition harder to get working that the mutilation and the division routines. It was maintaining the correct sign in the result that presented problems. Differentiating between positive overflows from Negative fold overs. I think I have it sussed now. But need loads of numbers thrown at it to see if I have stuffed it up.
2012-07-15 Testing the FP routines has gone ok so I am going to give the routines a real job to do to be sure they hold up. Probably display the temperature real and with some sort of offset so it displays positive and negative results. They need some tidying up and polish maybe (yeah right). Any way if they are ok I can get back to the actual engine control stuff.
2012-07-19 The down stairs toilet rain water cistern float valve has been sticking open. It is a special type that uses the waters own pressure to shut off the flow. It relies upon a tiny hole being blocked by the float mechanism to allow the pressure to build behind a diaphragm that moves to close off the flow. Very clever thingy that ensures full water flow till the cistern is full, no water hammer or vibration in the plumbing. However if this tiny hole is obstructed and cannot be closed off the flow just continues for ever. The over flow takes care of this ok so there is no mess or flooding. BUT if left unnoticed it pumps the entire store of water away without conscience. It has stuck open 4 or 5 times now. I have noticed and cleared the valve and all is good... BUT yesterday just before going to work, I took a wiz and left. Fortunately Wendy was there and she eventually noticed but only after it had pumped the one tank dry and started pulling in air and making strange noises. She alerted me and I shut down the pump remotely. Luckily it then poured down with rain, about 4mm in 20 mins. The reserve showed only 280L for a while. This is now 1300L after leveling between tanks. The water moves slowly between tanks and the rain gave us another 600L or so. It seems I am going to have to dismantle the valve completely and inspect the tiny hole. there must be something that does not clear but only moves a bit when I try to blow it clear with compressed air.
2012-07-20 When I took the valve apart I could see that the tiny hole was clear so I reassembled it to see if it now worked. It did not. I dismantled it again and blew clear the hole that allowed the water behind the diaphragm. It has a small plastic thing that goes through the hole and obscures view through it, it's purpose alludes me.. I blew it clear and reassembled it. It now worked fine. So it is not the o/p getting held open it is the i/p to the pressure chamber getting blocked.
2012-07-24 I have, as a safeguard added some software that checks if too much water is used in a period of time. If it is the the pump is shutdown to conserve the water. BTW it has now been dry for 8 days and we are down to 480L of water. It is however supposed to rain very soon tonight tomorrow. We'll see...
2012-08-03 Well we have had the rain just in time and the tanks are full. I had a couple of days off and have set the Floating Point routines about telling me the temperature in the workshop. In the process of getting ready for it I discovered during a simulation my Head and Tail buffer s/w would not work full duplex. It has never had to and probably never will as the coms is a two wire 485 system and is therefore simplex. But I have fixed it anyway. So far the FP routines seem to be holding up ok.
2012-08-07 It's the end of the second day of two weeks off. There have been few disturbances for a change and I have actually achieved something, Beside mowing the lawn and starting cutting half the hedge that is. I have written the sensor part of engine timing stuff. The bit that detects the pulses and finds TDC and triggers the spark. So far it tests out ok in simulation. I still have the conversion from angle to pulses length stuff to do , that should be easier with the FP routines and of course to actually try it in the real world.
2012-08-30 My PV Az Drive failed rather spectacularly. I found it blowing around in the breeze. The actual Drive coupling failed it had chewed through the alloy metal the final gear box shaft presented to the motor drive o/p. I have manufactured a new coupling and added a flexible shaft coupler to reduce the strain on it. The photo shows the new shaft with coupling plate on the left and flexible coupler on the right. The three spring pins transfer the drive as the alloy material is very soft indeed and they are hardened steel.
2012-08-31 The time off soon turned to shit (but that's life) and the progressed stopped. Since then I have the sparks on the spark plugs and the advance and retard working at +/- 60 degrees . I have also roughed out the engine start sequence. This is still being de-bugged. I have written the fuel and throttle stepper stuff but do not have suitable connectors to connect to the steppers to test it. I am also considering the MAP (fuel/throttle/firing angle) stuff that will have to be written. Oh yes the FP routines are used in all the routines that controlling the engine/timing and are holding up well.
2012-09-10 I have the gas control valve moving and the start sequence is running in simulation just fine the real test requires the gas flow to be calibrated and the engine of course. I have some changes to make as I am going to have to expand the I/O on the uController but it should not change a lot.
2012-09-11 Took today off the s/w etc. Rob help me (he did most of it to be fair) erect my scaffolding and sweep and repair my chimney. It had to be done as winter is approaching and I have only cut a few log I have ordered a load £140 FMG £140... It should be enough for the entire winter I chufin' hope so.
2012-10-13 The quantity of logs was a tad less than hoped for but not as much as to disappoint I have since the 11th doubled the quantity of logs by logging all the cords I had in stock I now have shed loads now should be more than enough for a hard winter, but of course no cords are now in stock. I have acquired two more IBCs and when connected up I will have 4400L of rain water storage. Alas more of my batteries are really not happy as the system cannot attain a full charge. I will have to find replacements very soon as they are 10 years old and the system is dying on its feet.
2012-10-21 The tanks are now plumbed in, giving me a maximum of 4400L of rain water for loo flushing and irrigation. I also have the pipe work to connect both lots of tanks together tidily but this is not yet done. I have checked the batteries and none of them are actually dead but the internal resistance of them all is not at all good.
2012-11-19 Installed All new (well new to me) Batteries these are significantly better than the old ones they hold the charge and voltage they way they should. These are slightly bigger and 6Volt vice 12V batteries so after wiring as 24V I have 1850AH total vice the old one 2200AH. I have also move the battery stand more central to the room so I have access all round them. That make life a LOT easier.
2012-11-23 I have made some changes to the way the battery Charge Capacity is monitored. I used to set levels for switch chargers on and using batteries or mains manually. But it can be a pain when continually changing the max batteries capacity as old cells die and are removed. This has been a problem recently. I have now may these levels a percentage of the max capacity. so hopefully the only thing I have to change is the max capacity of the battery and the rest stays nicely proportional. This was completed and went on line today.

2012-12-03 It's the end of my two weeks off. I am pleased to say the central heating has not yet gone on, however the log stove gad had a fair bit of use. I decided a while back I'd try not to use the c/h this year and see how I get on would be interesting to know what it would be like. so far it has but just as cosy. I am using a bit more wood and if someone stays then the fan heater is used to warm their room upstairs so a little more electric but no where near the gas is being used that would have been...

I found a rat in me kitchen. (we know a song about that don't we children) I must had left the back door open and I think he came in that way then saw me and disappeared under the kitchen units and into the sodding cavity via a hole that had not been filled round the waste pipe when the kitchen was installed. I tried a trap but he was way to smart for that. I next heard him in the loft scurrying around so I started poisoning him. He has taken the bait 3 nights in a row and I have noticed his scurry is much less enthusiastic. The last two nights he has taken no bait and I have heard nothing. I awaiting the smell of dead rat. Then I'll know I have got the BASTARD Dead Rat

2013-02-24 Well, I have not been on here for a while then. The rat has gone the poison worked never did smell him though must have died in the wall cavity. We did have one at work that could not be found though he was decidedly unpleasant for about 2-3 weeks while he went through the JUICY stage of decomposition. Well I assume it was a rat, could of been as a result of the staff cuts.

I had visitors stay over during the Christmas period so for two weeks I did put the Central Heating on (Only set to 14C mind) but when they left it went off. and has not been back on since. I have used a few logs mind I have just started using the ones I PAID for that does hurt. But I have been out with my brother in law cutting trees for next year 10 so far more to do before spring. So hopefully all Free next year. Well just cost the time fuel effort transport, you know... The surprise is that my Energy payment have not built up a surplus with my energy supplier actually last bill in January I was -£17. This has surprised me. Maybe by the next bill I will be back Positive again we will see. To my mind it has not been that cold a winter coldest i have seen was about -5C and not for days at an end either. Perhaps with the data in a DB I can do an average temperature over a period and see what that says.
On the technical front I have finally reinstalled MySQL on the server. Installed a MySQL API in my version of Borland C++ and written the stuff to save all the House Control,Environmental and Energy use Data to a Database. There is still stuff to do I am Still rewriting all the PHP graph stuff to use the DB and when that is finished I will know for sure I have stored all the required Data in a manner that can be used. Then I will Port all the old data to the new system properly and set it to it's task and stop saving the data to the old system. The software to do porting for me is also underway as that is a lot of data. Three years worth of data every 10 mins every day. The continual charging of the batteries and Now Auto switch over when the sun shines to Inverter from mains appears to be working well. The batteries are staying up (charged) and I get the excess from the system when the sun shines. I guess things may change in the summer but for now that is how it is working.
My Mondeo is on it's last legs I bought it several years ago as a stop gap as someone had driven in the side of my Toyota Corolla and written it off. I expected it to last a month or two. It just kept going. but not any more. The heater blower redirection no longer works the clutch slips and the starter only engages one time in six.It cost me £250 I have spent about £200 on it since. It owes me nothing. In fact I would say it has been one of the most economical cars i have ever owned. The tax is up this month and MOT in a month or two so it is off to the the scrap yard... I am looking for another car I Hate looking for cars most of the time I have not got a clue what i want. I still fancy a 4x4 for fetching me logs though...
And on the personal front I am and my lady friend are on a diet. Every other day is 600kCal normal (ish) on the intervening other days. We have both actually lost a Stone. Though the loosing has slowed now. The diet is surprisingly bearable as you can always look forward to tomorrow when you can eat and usually when you get there you don't need to eat that much any more. I have to admit we do jigger with the weekend timing when I am not working to ensure a PROPER Sunday lunch. Yummy.
2013-03-13 Bought a new (10 years old) car a Nissan X-Trail, 2003, 84,000Miles 2.2 diesel, Climate control electric windows mirrors etc. £4K5 very pleased. The Mondeo is scheduled to go to the scrappy on Monday 18th. It has served very well but the clutch slips it has to be warmed up to keep running or it conks out. Basically it buggered and not worth spending the money on.
2013-03-18 I took the Mondeo to the scrappy today. 'kin Hell weighed it in at Wye Valley Reclamation. Remember I bought it 4.5 years ago for £250 I have spent about £250 over that time on small things and have pretty much run it into the ground. I got £182. FMG £182. Bet The X-Trail does no where near as well...
2013-04-06 The System is saving data to the MySQL database all the old data is transferred in and the Web Page graphs are using the database. I have also added a few more graphs as these are now so much easier to get the data for using MySQL and PHP. I have even started to log more data now I can easily expand the tables or add new ones.

2013-04-14 I have spent most of my week off sodding about doing stuff off other peoples shit to do list. I'm not bitter honest. Any way my second week off is going to be just as productive as I have to work. I have 5 12hr days of cover. The OT will be good the attending will not.. Any way I have collected a few more logs for the stove done a few more graphs. some yearly ones. The one totally astounding thing I have discovered is that the gas energy use in 2010 was 9.5MW/h The kids where home and I basically set the thermostat to 18C and walked away for the winter. I lit the fire in the living room to warm it up a bit when sat watching TV and that was that. The begriming of 2011 was much the same. By the end of 2011 the kids had gone and I changed my approach. I set the thermostat lower between 10C and 16C used the fire more often. the gas use reduced and by end of 2011 I had used about 4MWh. I did not pay a lot of attention again at the begriming of 2012 till I realised I was still using gas to HEAT in APRIL. I have now got even squeakier. I have turned the Central heating down to 5C and it stays there unless I have visitors (some stayed over Xmas 2012-2013) or I if have not lit the fire for days as I have been at work and the place has got below 8C the rest of the time I light the fire. I use a fan heater to heat the bath room when I have a shower 10C when yet wet is chuffin' chilly. I cannot be sure yet as a year has not passed but I predict a small extra saving in gas use maybe 500kWh have to wait and see. I guess i should add that the wood for the fire comes from the farm and costs me the time, effort, transport and maintenance of tools etc. I have a mate that buys his from a chap at £140 for a load and that is about 2m^3. I think that is about the going rate if not a good price. Either way I at least have the satisfaction of knowing one of my major energy sources has mostly transferred from Long Term Carbon Cycle to Short Term.

This approach is not new. It's the one my parents had when I was a lad. Heat one room well (the kitchen in their case) and spend your time in it. Warm the bathroom when you need it (more private than a tin bath in front of the fire LOL). And don't wonder round in you underpants and a T shirt complaining you're COLD... Put Some damn Clothes on. Wasted words on my kids but not on me I guess.
2013-05-12 most of my spare time the last month has been spent reorganising and re-writing the server s/w that polls all the devices round the house. a lot of tidying up has been done. It is not yet deployed as I have to be 100% sure it still does the job. I have managed to rotovate the veg patch plant me spuds, onions, shallots, cabbage and parsnips. I have cut one of trees down in my garden the one that served no purpose other than to make cutting the lawn difficult. I have cut back the plumb tree and have rotovated round its base to expand
2013-05-27 21:23Z The week before last I finally got the new version of the server s/w to a point where I could test then deploy it. It has been running since without issue.

The spuds are just coming up and the onions and shallots are coming too. The cabbage is about an inch high but the parsnips and not showing much yet. I have purchased a new Motorised valve to control the irrigation of the spuds. The solenoid I bought last year was a complete and utter failure. This valve seems much better but time will tell. I do not need to irrigate the spuds for a month or so yet.

Wendy and I have been away in Scotland and had a good time staying with a friend of ours. Spent far too much money in the Glenmorangie distillery, good tour though.

There are changes again at work they have re-organised the management structure and once again turned on us. Many have to re-apply for their jobs and some are not even getting that hope, They are just OUT. I hate what the company has become. they are full of shite, unsympathetic, uncaring and grabby small minded BASTARDS. They are making more money than ever the share price is way high. but they just doing the same as the rest (cos they can) laying off and increasing their profits. Fuck the employees and their families,They're only scum not important management (Read parasite for management) like us. Bugger me I am a pension hostage and you can bet your arse by the time I can go they will have ring fenced me (corporate bollocks term) and I will be far to important to go on release terms. Where the fuck did I put that shot gun... Just kidding... I think...
2013-05-28-2140 Not sure that I have mentioned it but I have had some problems with my drains. I have had to unblock them about every two weeks since Christmas. I have felt (with the rods) some obstruction about 6.5m out in the direction of the road. A survey can be very expensive so I had a look on ebay and found a 10m long USB camera and did my own survey. and found a misalignment of the sewer pipe. I contacted Welsh water They sent their contractor out and stared down my perfect clear drains and I said I have cleared them so you can put your camera down and check. They had no camera they gave me their bosses mobile and I chatted with him and sent him and email with the pictures I had taken. A little while later they did send a camera survey team out and found exactly the same as I did. Within a week they turned up dug repaired and restored in a day and all so far looks good. I am impressed once again by WW I have dealt with them 3 time now and each time they do what they say and do it well...
2013-06-17 I have a couple of weeks off and the plan WAS to cover over the pergola with ripply plastic. I need some timber so I order it today. It needs to be 6m long and will take till next Fricking thursday to come F Fkty F F F. Proper pissed off about that. So I went down the pub for lunch and spend the rest of the day drinking beer.
2013-06-19 at 0915Z this morning I dropped the mains supply completely. We are running on batteries with normal usage. Firstly it is to deep cycle the batteries and secondly it will be interesting to see how long it hold up under that kind of heavy usage.
2013-06-20 Could not sleep woke 0400BST got up 0430BST came down to workshop to find the server s/w had switched back to mains at 1845Z yesterday evening I had forgotten to lower the switch back setpoint to 22.5V from 24 and running the toaster (cheese and onion toasties Yummy) and other things (about 160 Amps @ 24V) This load dropped the battery voltage below 24V and it switched back to mains. ARSE. I have changed the Mains Use setpoint to 22.5 and put us back on batteries again.
I have done a bit more to the server s/w some of the stuff that needs to be done before I deploy more of the Controllers I have built. I also fetched some of the wood that is available (shorter lengths) and fitted them ready for when the rest arrives. At least I have started it.
2013-06-21 0700Z I have checked and we are still on batteries the voltage is about 23.1V AH is 943 load current about 30A. It's looking good it has held up now about 36hrs total. I should add the sun has contributed about 3.4kWh up to this point. The following are some graphical representation of the relevant data, if you're interested.
I guess I should add here that the Battery Room fuse board cannot be fed from the inverter 'cos it gets a tad incestuous when the charger comes on. This fuse board feed the mechanical Workshop where the compressor is. So the slight peaks of mains use are the compressor.
Depending on when the batteries finally give up I am hoping to charge the batteries off the Grahams Diesel Generator. (that should piss the neighbours off a tad) but I will run between 10:00 and stop around 17:00BST if I do.
2013-06-21-1030Z I decided I would pre-empt the battery collapse and put them on charged from the generator. Damn that thing is noisy.
2913-06-21-1830 That's enough noise I have used about 6L of diesel and put about 350AH back into the batteries. I have left it charging from the mains. It will be interesting to see how long a full charge takes Wister till supplying the load.
2013-06-23-0800Z Batteries finally fully charged. I have started the test over from a full charged to see how long they last under normal load no attempt to be FRUGAL.
2013-06-24 The Timber for the roof over the Pergola arrived today three days early. I spent most of the morning sorting a s/w issue on the new Freezer Room GC. It is now controlling Freezer 3 the big fridge. Then I got started on the construction of the roof supports. I am really looking forward to having it covered over. I am still considering closing off the end that is open to the garden and using it like a greenhouse as well as sitting in it round the chimnea drinking heavily.
2013-06-25-0400Z I woke up early again as you can see. We have had little rain for a while. Some sun but not shed loads so we are down to 1009L Rain water. I have switched both loos to mains water and rain water to fill the toilet cisterns.
I have placed Freezer 3 (Big Fridge) temperature on the Misc page so I can keep and eye on the temperature of me beer and the veg etc...
2013-06-27-0630 Batteries went down to 22.5V the system tripped back to mains supply last night about 2030Z. I have just put them on charge again. This is an expensive game it took over 45kWh to charge them last time. They are charging off load this time
2013-06-28-0345Z Yes awake early again. It rained yesterday. It started about 1400 Local and gradually increased till we had a reasonable downpour. We were down to about 780L it put us back up to about 1600L. I have left it the cisterns on dual supply as it is approaching the time to I will need to keep my spuds watered and that is fed from the rain water reserve. I will probably set the watering system to go in a week or so.
The rain of course stopped work on the pergola roof. I have the main frame up and the roof joists too. I had just started the cross pieces that the ripply plastic will be screwed too when I decided I was wet enough.
The batteries are still charging they are now out of the bulk charge section and in the constant voltage section and the current is down to 43A vice the current limited 84A.
2013-06-28-0817Z Seeing as it is still pissing down (on and off) I have written a PHP program to display the battery use for full period of the last Battery test. (any period actually) and the test before. If you look at the first test you can see the battery was considerably lower than a full charge at the start of the test. This is something I am going to have to address. Probably an automatic equalisation charge now and again. How often or what triggers it is yet to be decided, but my thinking is may be every 10-20 AH switched AUX_CHARGE ON/OFF cycles.
2013-06-29 I have spent the day working on the roof over the pergola. The frame is finished and 4 pieces of the ripply plastic are up. I may do some more tomorrow but being knackered I have celebrated with a chicken kebab and chips and have gone to bed.
2013-06-30 No roof or software work today all gardening. Mowed the lawn. Cut the hedge and cleared the debris. Then I weeded the veg patch after lunch I sat in the sun and did sod all.
2013-07-01 Helped a good friend move a few cars around (MOT's) then went for brunch. Back home about 1230BST and then got on with the roof I have put up another 8 sheets of ripply plastic making a total on 12 so far. Another 10 to go.
2013-08-23 Well not updated on here for a while. The roof was finished ages ago and has been in use grapes under it are doing really well never seen so many (that's probably the weather not the roof). Still thinking about whether or not to put a wall up and enclose the area completely or leave it. Still quite like the idea of enclosing it with a ripply plastic wall. This will make it a lot warmer especially in the spring before the grape foliage develops (bit like a greenhouse) and enable me to bring on my tomatoes chilies etc.
Em's wedding is getting very close now 7th September. Preparations are on target but still nervous about it coming together on the day. Camp site, Marquee, caterers and bar all seem positive. dresses Suits etc all booked and waiting... fingers crossed.
I have been preparing for winter I have all the logs cut split and stacked ready there is about 5m^2. I intend to try to not use any gas at all again this winter. I only used it last winter over christmas 'cos I had visitors and 16-13C in most of the house seemed a tad churlish. Was a nice 20C in the living room with the fire lit mind. The lowest it went was 9C when I was on days and worked ate and slept and did not light the fire for 4 days. I used the C/H to raise the temperature after that. I put about 35kWh into the house then it was back at 16C and the fire could then keep up with the heat loss and maintained the 16C.
2013-09-04 Apart from preparing for Em wedding I have been working towards enclosing the are under the pergola (that now has a roof) I think I have have a plan. I am going to try and make two 3m long sliding doors that will enable me to close it off from outside when cold and open it up when it is warm. I looked at unistrut "trolleys" but hell they are expensive so am going to have a go at making my own. bit here but have run out of time before wedding.
The Marquee goes up tomorrow, I have to be there for that then I have to install the lighting so folk can find the loos. There is heating to put in and check just incase it's cold. The logs and fire have to be set up outside and of course my tent has to go up.
2013-09-07 Today my daughter Emma got married to a really nice chap Darren. The weather was good the service was good the food was good in fact the whole day was just bloody wonderful. I am very very happy with everything and very proud of them both.
2013-09-08 Jeese woke at 0530 surprisingly no headache. got up 0730 and started clearing and taking stuff home. finished around 1530. was buggered. I had hoped someone would take me tent down or at least help, but was unsurprisingly disappointed. There was pork left over from the pig roast I was going to make a huge curry with that was gone when I got back from taking the big fridge home. and My sister said "That was really nice speech... you really surprised me..." I love people...

2013-09-20 I have been constructing the sliding doors across the end of the Pergola roof. the first one is nearly done. I need to get more unistrut to construct the next but it is going according to plan so far. I am going to use the area as a sort of green house in the spring to bring on my seeds etc. It will be no use in the summer as the Grapes canopy will stop all the light.

2013-10-16-0435Z Yes back at work... Em has been married just over a month and is settled back home after the honeymoon. She and Darren are busy getting on with doing up their house. During my two weeks off (first week was really crappy weather) I have managed to strip the engine out of the peugeot 106 I bought several years ago as an MOT failure for the engine and scrap it (with a great deal of help from Graham)... The hedge is cut as is the grass and things are all looking tidy for the start of winter. I have also finished the sliding doors and managed to sit out in the rain by the chimnea in the dry and get quietly mellow on cider. a few times. I lit the fire in the house for the first time a couple of days ago as the weather has turned cold as well as wet and miserable. Winter is coming but at least we really did get a summer this time.
We did harvest 12kg of grapes off the vines and we have rushed squeezed and set them to produce wine. I have lifted the spuds and got about 75kg of them. They were surprisingly good I lifted a few about 2 months ago and they were disappointing so very pleased they have come on well. The plums on the tree did not do well the few that were ripe and looked ok all had a worm in. Incidentally the dog loves both the grapes and the plumbs worms and all but they do rather give him wind.
I have been (again) looking to see when I may escape and retire. Every month I stay, I save more towards it and every year I loose 6% less. However depending on which option I take I do see the door opening in October next year and the thought of that being a viable choice is very comforting, I may well step through.
Oh yes, I am told there is talk of power cuts this winter I have seen nothing my self. We could use a few to make the government and the people realise we are using too much for the available production capability and there is too damn many of us using it irresponsibly and to many of us full stop. We need to reduce the population. Just the two BILLION or so world wide. (Damn I sound like a fascist). Incidentally the price increasing helps concentrate peoples minds to the amount they use. My monthly payments have risen £20 that is (20/57)*100 i.e. 35% Chuffin' hell!!! and they say another 10% hike to come.
2013-10-16-2027Z So I looked up the story about power cuts on the net. it seems some energy consultant university professor is concerned we don't have enough production overhead. So what's new it's been like that for years. I am not too concerned. even if it happens it will not signal the end of the world as we know it. I remember January to March 1974... The winter of discontent provoked by the tory government (now I sound like a commie subversive). But I have done what I usually do this time of year. Switch the PV system to UPS mode. I.e. maintain a near full charge just incase the mains fails. That will give me 3-4 days at normal use probably 8-10 days if i am tight and ban the tv etc and shout at people.
2013-10-18-0440Z As winter is coming and the outside stuff is mostly done for the year it's back to the indoor stuff software and electronic hardware projects to keep me sane/occupied. I have been trying to finish off the s/w changes to the server s/w that I started at the begining of the year. tidying up and completing stuff really. It needs to be done before I move on. I am begining to get enthusiastic about the engine control s/w again and It's about time. Though I am not at all sure that CHP, i.e. Running an Engine to charging my batteries off the gas bill While heating the house with the Waste heat (most of the energy) will compare at all favourably with the Log fire with the wood for free. But it has been and will continue to be fun playing with the toys and trying to make them work together even if it is ultimately to fail or prove too exspensive to run.
2013-10-26-0539Z Still Tidying up the server s/w though I have been getting to know the enging s/w again as I have not looked at it for a year or so. surpringly the prototype still just worked, as far as it goes that is. I have spotted some minor hickups that require investigating. But I think I shall be getting the actual engine out to play with again soon.
My Rain Gauge is playing up. I have spotted on ebay a second professional jobby at about 1/5th the price of a new one but it still aint cheap at £200.
2013-11-01-1446 An interesting site was brought to my attention Yesterday. I have to say i have stared at it for hours. It's really quite interesting. I was surprised to see how much nuclear and wind we actually produce and use.
I have just about familiarised myself with enough of the engine control system to start making progress with it again so with luck on my time off over the next couple of weeks I may actually get it to run up again for real, rather than simulation.
You may have seen on my front page there are links to the prophecy of doom associated with the over population of our planet. I should add I truly believe these to be accurate. So just for a change I would like to draw your attention to something that will probably bite us in the arse before that does. Our Present and future financial condition as a country. We're alll Doooomed (in a Scotish accent). Unfortunately I ain' t kidding. I guess if we have no money and the health system collapses then the population will die off a bit and help the other problem... a little... All makes how posey your new phone is, how flash your new car is or how pretty your new dress is or anything I am up to all rather moot.
2013-12-04 0125Z Yes the world is still here :) I never said it would happen any time soon. Anyway I have spent the last months spare time working on the ECU software. I have noticed that it, on random occasions, misses one complete revolutions worth of sparks. I have spent most of that time teasing out more data about what is happening so I can work out why. This is not an easy task. I have at last got somewhere. Getting it to recognise that is had failed to complete it's task was a proper PITA as it was convinced that it was doing just fine. After that had been achieved I was able to collect data on the the rotation that had failed. Once again I have spent ages proving my own stupidity.
OK quick over view. There are 24 pulses from the Engine crank position feedback. The 24th of which is missing showing Top Dead Centre. At Pulse 6 and 18 a trigger is set to start a timer to turn on and then off the ignition coil. I at first guessed the interupts, on occasion, were probably taking too long. So I set about counting all the instruction cycles, in every interupt routine and finding out just what the longest route was. This done I proved that at 6000RPM I have twice as much time as I need. So it was not that.
Then I tried to identify the actual rotation that was failing. It turned out that the feedback was correctly identifying TDC each time and that each and every trigger point (pulse 6 and 18) was found and the timer started EVERY TIME. When Eventually I got it to identify the failed rotation I found that the delay time put into the timer was HUGE. Between 5 and 8 times larger than what would be correct. This delay is dependant on the average period between the Crank feedback pulses and the required firing point (angle). This is calculated in main program by my recently written Floating point Math Routines. ARSE! Could there be a problem with them?
Having identified the rotations that were failing. I collected the data for these rotations i.e. average pulse length and firing angle. Then I put this data into the math routines and single stepped through them checking each step was giving the result it should. All worked perfectly. Turns out though... These floating point routines have a few Result memory locations for remembering the results of a calculation so long and more complex computations can be made, a bit like the memories in a calculator. These result registers are the same ones used in the integer math routines i wrote years ago. I wrote the integer stuff knowing one day I would do the floating point stuff so made it all compatable.
So... A couple of years ago I wrote some stuff that allowes the ADC to take true RMS readings. I.e. it takes each ADC reading squares it and adds it to a register. This has to be done in interupt. Then when the correct number of samples are taken the resultant sum is moved so it can be averaged and rooted in main program as this takes way to long to be done in interupt. This routine it attached to ADC i/p 7 and is currently not used for anything but it copies its squared sum to one of these Result memory locations. So arbitrarily changing the data stored by the Ignition timing calculator and screwing up the Timer period calculation. At last Found it.. TFFT...
I have not yet cured this issue, at this point I walked away, lit the BBQ to cook tea and opened a can, it pays to end the day at least believing your ahead. Yes it is December 4th now, and the 3rd yesterday but a BBQ is always good... besides it's in my Greehouse and I had the chimea lit too.

2014-04-06 0704Z I have not been here for a while. I have not been back to the engine s/w Christmass and the list of STD (Shit To Do) has been more of a priority. The cooker oven ignitor packed up 12months ago and we have been using a blow torch to light the oven LOL so I finaly decided to buy a new cooker. I always wanted a range cooker and Wendy also loves to cook, so what the hell we bought one. That of course ment the kitchen had to be changed. I'm not ready to do a new kitchen just yet not got the dosh or the inclination. So a little reconfiguration of the existing one to make it fit was called for. When you start to move stuff in a kitchen you realise just how dirty the place really is. So I cleaned and repainted before fitting the new cooker, splashback and hood.

So the kitchen looked good again but the back hall was fairly shabby too so I had to do that next. Then the tumble drier packed in. This is in the downstairs loo stacked above the washing machine. The door is narrow and has to be removed to get the old one out and new one in so I repainted that as it was a horrid yellow colour. Just Robs old room and Ours to do now.

On the project front the new growing season is upon us so I have fitted a generic-controller in the Greenhouse this monitors and records temperature and humidity in there as well as controls the temperature of my propagator. There is also a professional rain gauge on it as of yesterday and there will be external air and soil temperature monitors too when i get round to it.

I have removed the plumb tree from the extended part veg patch and rotovated it all, though it still needs a little work before planting spuds onions etc. The weather has decided to test the new rain gauge and I am at work so I won't be planting for a while. I do have broad beans coming and my leeks, chillies, peppers and tomatoes are all coming on too. Even the runner beans are planted some of them out and some in the propagator. All in all a reasonably productive two weeks off and start to the year.


2014-04-08-0503Z Because Greenhouses get really hot in the summer and I have already seen over 30C, I have decided I need to open the door(s) if the temperature rises to high. Automatically would be nice. So I am giving that a go. I have mounted a motor That will drive some M12 Studding to enable the system to open at a preselected Temperature. If it comes together and behaves I will put details in the projects section.

Incidentally it got cool last night and the heating came on in the propagator You can see it level off at 10C at about 20:00Z.


2014-04-19-0318Z I booked an extra day off this week. The weather was going to be good so I decided to make the effort to get stuff planted. On Wednesday I got 7 rows of spuds, 2 rows parsnips, 1 row beetroot, 1 row cabbage, 2 rows cauliflower and 1 row Broccoli planted. We also went out and bought a shed load of potting compost and Wendy transplanted the tomatoes chillies and peppers to larger pots. Then I cut the grass. On the thursday I planted 24 shallots and and 100 onions. This leaves just the leeks to plant out when they are big enough.

On the 10th I increased the size of the heater in the propagator to 120W vice 60W as it was struggling to cope when the outside temperature was getting below 3C. It's quite cool tonight about 2C now and seems ok now.

The door opening motor its drive screw and connection to ther door is fitted and tested but it still needs the permenant wiring and micro switches at either end of the travel to stop it when opened and closed.

I am putting MDPE pipe in to deliver the irrigation water to my spuds with a stand pipe tap in two places. It'll be a lot tidier and the water pressure will drop a lot less as it's 25mm pipe vice the garden hose that it was the last few years. It will still be controlled by the system using a motorised Valve and use rain water. I ordered the stuff on Thursday expecting it to arrive Friday (Yesterday). Friday was of course Good Friday a sodding Bank Holiday. So I got nothing much done Yesterday. Arse...

The rain water is down to 700L and we are back to mains water to flush the loo it is supposed to rain Sunday (tomorrow) around 1800 and again on Tuesday I will be glad to see it. But the weather will be it's usual generally unreliable self I expect.


2014-04-27-0646Z On the Wednesday before I started my 4 12hr days (It's Sunday today) I bought 4 sleepers to edge my veg garden (£81.60). Two and three quarters of them are in place along the edge of the path and protecting the Irrigation supply pipe. The remaining quarter is going to protect the corner where the one standpipe is and the fourth sleeper is as yet undecided. I will probably need more.

It has rained fairly well the last week about 32mm the tanks are full and we are flushing the loo on rain water again the system was offline about 5 days. The Mains water use graph does not really show the increase well but the system cam back on line on the 24th and it shown a marked drop in use then.


2014-04-30-0406Z I have spent the last two days clearing crap from my yard. Two trips to the dump with rubble and old chipboard etc from the kitchen. One load of scrap metal to the scrappy £15.20. One small car way beyond economical repair to the scrappy too (£98), One load of old computer stuff to be recycled properly (£0.0) and one load of wood fetched ready to be logged.

I have also sprayed a small patch of particularly invasive weed (no you can't smoke it) on the farm it's about 5x5m I noticed it early this year and by the looks it has been there a while. I read that the seeds produced in late summer are rarely fertile and usually spreads by vegitative means. The rhizomes can survive for years even if the the plant is sprayed regularly. I burnt it all earlyer in the year to clear the patch to allow access but as expected it is coming back (1-2m Tall) It's not doing any harm as is but it WILL be dead when I'm done, but it will be interesting to see how it's destruction proceeds.


2014-05-05-1827Z Wendy is off on holiday with her sister and friends for a week so I am getting on with the S*** To Do I have stripped out the Lader in the kitchen and am going to paint and re-shelve it it have not been done since the house was built in 1950 and desperatly needs doing.

I have been given a Stihl 018 chainsaw that runs but does not oil I have it in bits trying to fix it. Good old Youtube... Lets hope I can and it still runs. I have even found the workshop manual,


2014-05-07-2013Z So the chainsaw is back together all oil ways clear. It runs fine but only a tiny bit of lube oil flows. New pump on order...

As for the larder all the shelves are stripped out and the holes filled just a little sanding washing and then finally painting. With luck the new shelves too before the bosses return LOL...


2014-05-15 0455Z On nights not much going on as a result. I have ordered and planted new runner bean seed as the ones I have planted have not germinated and are rotten in the pot/soil. New pump arrived was not much better in fact did not turn easily sent it back chap not happy and not had either refund or new one. I will have to chase him today.

The larder shelf supports have arrived I hope to get that started this afternoon after I have slept.

In some spare time I have added some web control stuff to the one of the control pages So I can change set points and switch on and off the Greenhouse Door and the propagator control.

Retirement is still on my mind the door opens in October (Pension reaches critical mass) and I wonder every day just WTF I am still doing here, other than taking the money that is.


2015-05-20 First new pump did not rotate well sent it back second works a treat. As my dad owned the chain saw I used before he kind of inherited the safety hat fuel can and stuff I bought, so I have bought some more. Hat £45 local supplier £12 ebay. Guess were I got mine new one from.

As well as the runner beans failing the cucumber, beetroot, parsnips and broccoli did too. That'll teach me to be tight and use old seed. I have bought new seed and replanted. The spuds, cauliflower, shallots, and onions are all doing very well though.


2014-05-24 0315Z After a bit of a re-design to add more the larder shelving is all done (TFFT I've had a right tit full of DIY this year. I don't mind a bit of woodwork but I Fricking hate painting). There is a shed load more room and even if I say so my self it does look the part. Just got to do more shopping to fill the shelves. Wendy likes it (the shelving) and things have been re-arranged so the stuff she uses regularly is where she can reach it. (she's only short I'll probably get a slap for that one if she reads this StarsLOL)

Runner beans are up in the pots but the outdoor seed has not yet come, as it has heaved down with rain the last two days they should not be long. I have turned off the propagator as the tomatoes, chilies and peppers are all quite strong now. Some have germinated grown and just died at about 50mm tall not sure WTF is going on there, though wendy says I over water. She's probably right I am a bit heavy handed with the water.

I have got interested in amateur radio again Jeese I thought I'd had the cure guess it's like being an alcoholic your never cured just abstaining. Any way my attention was drawn to this page I was completely blown away. It is the nicest and easiest way I have ever played with a radio. Anyway I have bought this Dongle, FuncubePro+ and downloaded some software, SDRSharp, to use at home. Its not quite as nice to use as the web one but still very good. However my chuffin netbook is just not up to the job. It needs a real processor not my Intel atom 1.6Ghz single core clockwork one. Ah well guess it's time I spent some more money and bought a real one. Best do it now while I'm still earning I may be retired soon...Yes


2014-06-08-1647Z Well my week off is nearly over. It's not been a good week some tosser (me) left the truck unlocked on the drive and another tosser stole my satnav (BASTARDS) guess that'll teach me. They have changed the lane arrangements at the edgar street roundabout and some woman has driven into the side of me truck. She has however done the honourable thing and admitted liability so it won't affect my NCB.

This week I have taken all the timber (Willow) that I acquired last year and have split it and put it to dry and believe me it is very very wet. The stuff I have acquired this year is still out in the yard. I will have to cover it later in the year or it will be just as wet next year when I am hoping to use it. I do have quite a bit of ash cut down in late winter ready to cord and log. But my hip has been playing up and moving that kind of crap around is not going to help.

Because some toe rag now realises there are spoils on my property to have I have put sensors on various doors, gates etc to log entry/egress and I am getting security cameras. I have decided not to electrify the place YET, but a pulsed 100,000 Volts is not at all hard to produce and I do feel properly motivated. And I have a large compost heap to put the result of contact with it to good use.

The garden is less full of weeds than it was but everything is very wet still so not a lot done there this week. The green house has been tidied and plant moved to bigger pots and we spend a lot of time in there.

I may have mentioned that when I run the hot tap in the kitchen it takes about 4L of water before it STARTS to get warm I usually capture this and save it to a larger container before moving it to the rain water storage. I have now put a pump to do the moving I got fed up of carrying 25L of it around.

I have put new disks and Pads on the fester and Graham is welding a new sill on it so it will pass the MOT. It only has to do another year as I am convinced I want to retire in October.

2014-06-09-1933Z The Cameras and the warning signs are on there way. They weren't cheap but if it nails one of the little bastards that'll be great and if it deters them all and I never have any more problems that'll be better.
2014-06-13-2103Z The kit is here and the signs are up neighbours are informed. Just need to fit the cameras can't do that while I'm stuck at work on nights. On the last night of the first week of them. I have my own nights to do next week. I had to be up in the day to deal with my car going off for repair and the hire car coming what a pain. The was a major outage in one of our links in Cambridge that caused a shed load of problems too was busy at work too. End of October is only 4.5 months away.
2014-06-18-2018Z Cameras up and operational lets hope I never catch anyone 'cos they are deterred and don't even try.

2014-07-09-1717Z As from the 7th of this month BT are running a Paid leaver scheme 9 month pay to leave, thank you god WorshipGuess I have to make some decisions. This week however I have been reminded that I am not the only one who my money bails out of the shite. They have been reminded if I retire they are on their own I simply won't have it and can't do it. I have till the 4th of August to sign up and last leaving date is end Sept very close to when I want to go. I see no reason not to at this point.

2014-07-15 12:24L I have just woken early whilst on nights (1050BST) to be part of the Paid Leaver Scheme audio conference. Apart from feeling hung over (with no alcohol input) 'cos I'm sleep deprived. despite the payout quote being marginally lower than expected I still see no reason not to go.
2014-07-15-1942Z Just over an hour ago 1834Z I pushed the button. I know have to wait to see if they will let me go.
2014-07-24-2109Z Still waiting no news yet...
2014-07-28-1600Z Yessss!!! I have a date 30th September outstanding Leave etc to be discussed. :Yes...
2014-08-01-1630Z It has been quite dry untill about 2 weeks ago I have not really watered my grapes much. Now it is really quite wet. Every sodding grape has split and gone mouldy so I have started to cut back and chuck them away. what a waste. I guess I will water them like I do the spuds, to assist growth and reduce splitting when it rains a lot. ARSE no wine for me this year ARSE
Wendy likes the water so I have bought her a paddling pool LOL it's 3.7m diameter and 0.75m deep it contains about 7500L of water (about £20 to fill) but I can use this later to flush the loo. It's great we have spent hours wallowing in it. I have had to get some pool chlorine to kill the algae. The filter was not special so I have modified that and it works a treat now and it's easyer to clean. Bonzer...
2014-08-20 0507Z woke up early this morning. Applying for my pension as turned complicated because of my AVC contributions and the BT pension help desk is no 'kin use at all... all they were interested in was signing my enquirey off. May be, BT, the ficken help desk should be in this country. Arrrrrg... Anyway I have another number to ring maybe this person will actually give a rats, but I guess the overall difference will be slight not inconsequencial but slight. .There is talk of a beer and curry night here to celebrate my retirement probably October not sure what the weather will be though.
With Wendy's help I have finally tidied my workshop this year and can actually get in there, I'm there now. I have started tidying some of the incompleted but running projetcs stuff into boxes so they can be fixed in properly and are not occupying space on my bench.
I have increased the size of my battery bank as the oportunity arrose and have equalized all the bats and are running the yearly full discharge test I am nearly three days in. We are not being at all frugal everything is still being used and running as normal possibly more concidering I am in the w/s and have the computer system up with six of its eight screens active. The only thing still on the mains is the pool filter 'cos this is fed from the Mech W/S and there is no inverter feed in there only mains.

2014-08-24-1100Z I finaly got round to putting the new Fridge freezer on the system monitor only to start with as I need to shut things down to move the relay box that control the on/off function to control it. After a couple of days monitoring it became obvious that the temperature variation in the freezer was way out side what I would have liked. So on the 22nd I decided to shut down, cut the relay box wires and move it to the current location of the fridge freezer.

Easy enough... Unless your a tosser and forget that this Controller is the first one you ever built and is wired differently. There were reminders and I did look but still managed to connect +24V to the unprotected output of the PIC Controller. There is now a semicircular hole the size of 1p in the side of the chip and a very pungent smell of toasty electronics. ARSE...
Fortunately I had a spare new one this is now in service and working fine took a little while to calibrate all the counters etc. As it stood it had the address of the Greenhouse monitor so I had to shut down this one put the new one on the system and change it's address. Yep I forgot to reactivate the greenhouse controller. So all the rain we had last night was not registerd.
2014-08-24-1433Z Still discharing Batteries they're down to 33% now Voltage showing 23.5 with -102.5A Discharge so they're holding up well.
The House fridge is now under system control and the 12C hysterisis (-12C->-24C) that it's own thermostat has is gone it now has about 4C hysterisis.
We have decided the pool is unlikely to be used again the weather is much cooler now. So I have turned the pump off and will transfer the water to the Toilet flush system when it is looking low.
The security camera I put up has been working for over a month now and records a good picture I have however I installed some IR flood lights to improve some of the dark areas and I'm very pleased with the results..
2014-08-24-1647 Chips fer tea oven on... 22.9V -122.5A 31.7% won't be long now do not want to collapse any cells 22.5V will be the lowest I allow.
2014-08-25-0853Z The batteries are still carrying the load but as I am on nights tonight and change over is imminent I may start the charge cycle before I go and just check it all is ok rather than let it do it with me stuck at work for 12 sodding hours.
2014-08-25-1240Z Day 6 on batteries is over starting Day 7 Now at 18.7% Capacity. The oven is on again (I have cooked a chilli for us at work tonight and can't resist a bit now with some chips) The Battery current is -130A Voltage at 22.5V It has to be less than 22.5V for thirty Mins to Drop Back to mains and sit there or less than 22V to drop back immediately and start the Charge cycle.
2014-08-25-1306Z Dinner is cooked and we are still on Batteries. 17.9% capacity 23.0V and now -24.9A happy Pretty sure this should hold together till tomorrow. Either way it won't or should not start a charge cycle without me 80A is a lot of current to maintain for 30-40hrs and I have a fair few new conections to check under load. They are tight but could still be HR and get hot...
2014-08-26-0700Z Batteries down to nearly 10% 22.8V I have gone back on mains and manually started the charge cycle. It's in bulk at about 82Amps this should last about 40 hours...
2014-08-26-1946Z Batteries at 38% still in bulk at 82Amps the electric use so far today is 38kWh Ouch no surprise I guess seeing as I have used 90kWh out of them...
2014-08-28-1854Z The battery Voltage intermittantly spiked at 28V droping the charger out of BULK to Silent (i.e. wait for voltage to drop). This was at about 80% Charge, to soon for my liking. I have popped a small charger on remotely (I was on nights at work) and then put a bigger one on when I got home. The last charge stage will take a long time to complete and raise them to a full charge. I will then do another equalize and put them back into service.
2014-08-29-0526Z Battery Capacity at 92% Voltage has climbed slowly to about 26.0V Charge current way down at 10Amps thats about 330mA a string. I'll watch that for 24hrs and then see if it's ready for an Equalise.
2014-09-01 1030Z I should be at work today but I simply could not face it. The job is changing rapidly now new stuff coming in it is definitly not engineering anymore it is a call centre. But they expect you to fix the problems as well as take the calls. They have forgotten life is a serial thing, no parallel processing, you can only give your full attention to one fricken thing at a time. So I took leave this will use up the last of it before I officially become retired at the end of September. I have 11 more attendances. 3 nights 8 days 4 of which are weekends and one of those is all OT.
I put the Batteries on an equalise charge this morning, but they only took about 5Amps so pretty sure they are equalised already. So I have dropped them off that and put them back into service.
2014-09-03-1034Z Many Months ago my mate and shift partner Graham loaned me a 3kW deisel generator to try some battery charging tests etc. I did the tests all fine and good the genrator seemed to run well. A couple of weeks ago he said to let another mutual friend borrow it to provide power for a fete. Mark came round and tested it. It did not start well or run at all well. When I took a look I initialy thought that perhaps it was contaminated fuel. So Changed out the fuel completely and used the stuff I put my truck. Tax paid and all. No change in fact it progressively got worse. In the end it did not start at all. As far as the fete was concerned we managed to engineer a different solution and that went ahead with what turned out to be a better plan anyway. Mains provided from Marks house run with my 32/16Amp mains distirbution stuff.
The generator however was now in need of repair. I went to remove the injector to watch its spray pattern as it tried to inject and found that the clamp bar that holds it in place was loose. One nut was missing and the other about six turns way from finger tight. I clamped it down and tried again still no start. I took the injector out completely and turned it upside down to check its injection pattern and instead of four nice puffs it squirted 4 solid jets of deisel. It's Buggered. I guess the hot gasses leaking past it have stuffed it up. ARSE.
This thing is unlabled no make or model so I guessed it was a chinese copy of something. a little surfing and I guessed it was a copy of a Yanmar. A trip down to Deisel Tec in Hereford (who are very helpful indeed) They found no identifation numbers on it either and they too guessed it was probably a Yanmar they had an injector tip but it had five jets instead of four. They contacted their supplier and ordered the most common Yamar jet it arrived was fitted and it has 4 jets. Spot on. Chuffin exspensive at £45 mind.
I fitted it it a couple of days ago and ran it it ran fine. I double nutted it to be sure it does not vibrate loose again. But today I have just load tested it properly 3kW for 30mins and again it has run fine. A little smokey to start 'cos of all the unburnt fuel in the cylinder but that cleared quickly. TFFT.Time to hand it back and run...
2014-09-03-1430Z I'm chuffin knackered. I have lifted my spuds this afternoon 8 rows 4m long. The first two rows never came to much and the yeild was as expected crap. The rest were better and I guess over all it's acceptable about a wheel barrow full in all. They are in the big fridge now.
2014-09-26 1517Z At work and it's finally gone quiet for a while. Just two more days to go (Sat and Sun OT gimme gimme ). I've decided to have a retirement party at home. A beer and curry night, bring yer own beer I'll do the curries. Hope the weather is good for that. Hopefully there should be a few there. I have finaly had the confirmation of my Pension payments etc. TFFT. all as they predicted. Just a matter of getting used to being my own boss (well... besides Wendy LOL)
2014-10-01 0900Z Today is Officailly my first day of retirement, though in reality it is my third day since work. I would have been on nights and I'm not TFFT that is a wonderful feeling. The shit to do is being done at a reasonable rate but not rushed 'cos there is now no shortage of time. I've had time to do some gardening, play radios and do some DIY and even tickle along some of my projects even read the damn news for a change oh yes and look after wendy as she has not been well.
2014-10-05 1908Z Wendy is feeling better Happy We have been preparing for my retirement party. We have tidied the yard, freezer room, workshop and greenhouse. Also the spare bedrooms as some need to stay over. We have so far cooked 3 gallons of Chicken Tikka Masala 1 gall vindaloo and 1 gall Chilli. But there is still 1 gallon Veg curry, 2 more gallons of vindaloo and 2 gallons chilli to do. then the bulk of the food is ready. Just the rice, chips and garlic bread to do on the day.
2015-03-08-0930Z Good god has it been 5 months since I put an update here. Consider that an indication that I have thoroughly enjoyed my retirement. Since I have Found lots to do and keep me interested. I have taken up Amateur radio again though not in a big way just do a lot of listening not always on the amateur bands. Though the antennas do look impresssive when at full height.
The party went well a fair few turned up out of the 10 gallons of curry/chilli produced (I shit you not) the small mountain of chips and rice, there was less than two gallons left. This I reboiled and refroze and have eaten since. We were still drinking and talking at 0430 the next morning. If any of you are reading this thank you coming chaps you made the evening well worth the effort.
I'm still writing software though that is more tweaking what I have already done, than anything new. I have started a Weather data collection unit as the commercial thing I have (cheap) does not allow me to access the data directly.
Spring is upon us I have cleared the greenhouse planted broad beans in pots in the greenhouse and leaks, tomatoes, cucumbers, cabbage and broccoli in pots in my propagator maintaining 8C. The broad beans are coming. The last two days have been rather wonderful weather I actually managed to rotovate the whole garden. Many because the soil here is light, sandy and dries easily unlike the clay of the farm.
2015-04-26-2036Z I've been gardening as the weather has been so nice. The Broad Beans, Onions, spuds and Parsnips are planted out. The tomatoes, peppers, runner beans, radish (for Em), lettuce, cabbage, cauliflower, swede and cucumber are in the propagator germinated and coming on nicely. I have planted chillis as an afterthought they have yet to germinate.
My Scam 12m pump up mast has developed a fairly serious leak on the bottom seal so that is going to require some work. Shop watch has gone digital so they are no longer listenable. Pubwatch is still Analogue and fairly entertaining on a Friday/Saturday night. I have written a PHP/MySQL coms log to record my amature contacts they are few always been more of a listener than talker. and a Frequency Use Database page to record where stuff is heard.
The Damn Car, Nissan XTrail Turbo bearings colapsed then to get thorugh the MOT need work on the steering and rear ARB Bushes. Then FMG the rear offside Break started sticking on so took that in to be done it was totally seized and broke coming apart Humph that thing is now costing a lot of money... ARSE
I have a couple of Raspberry PI2s one in the w/s recording any thing I want off air to my server and one in the bedroom so we Can watch it
2015-07-21-0700Z The spuds are looking good as are the oniions. The tomatoes are comings and some are ripening, the cucumbers are begining to develope and the grapes are looking as though they will ripen soon. The place has flowers for the first time in a long time and does look very pretty.
The scam 12 mast is still leaking a tad but works so will have to wait. The TS-430 needs attention but the FT-290 seens to be workiing ok. I have looked at new rigs but undecided what to get and besides every time there is a pile of cash something steels it. I have put up a Co-Linear antenna for 2m 70cm and PMR446 on the side of the house and that works very well. I have hung a full size G5RV off the support pole of that which seems to work better than the 20m dipole I had before, but with the TS-430 playing up its hard to judge.
. Oh yes and that damned XTRAIL has had to have the front brakes sorted as well. I will never buy another nissan EVER again they are designed to fall apart at 10 years old.
The wx monitoring device has progressed very slowly. The device I have used for the atmospheric pressure (MS5611-01BA03) has been a proper PITA. I have never used SPI before but the concept is simple. However there is 4 modes. It took me quite a while to work out that the sodding chip required the /CS line to actually change just before you talk not remain active permanently. (I think it is something to do with the 3-5V conversion on the tiny PCB it sits on). When I finally got it to respond the timing was erratic. This turned out to be the Coms routines answering the ADC data request taking 65mS to do the necessary calculations. Causing a delay to some of the SPI stuff done in main program. I transferred the load to the timing interrupt and all is now good. Then I spent quite a while getting the math to calculate the temperature and Pressure correct. This is all done floating Point and the data sheet has a horrible explanation (if you can call it that) but does have an example. When it all worked and the example data was giving the correct results. With Real data, the pressure seemed to be correct but the Temperature was 8-12C higher than ambient, I was expecting ambient. It took me a while to realise that if you turn it off, walk away for 30mins and turn it on, the first reading you get is ambient followed by a steady rise to 8-12 above ambient as the Chuffin thing runs warm. WTF I was hoping to use it to read the ambient Temp FFS
Anyway during all of this I NEEDED a decent scope that actually worked. Borrowing one worked for a while but in the end I bought a RIGOL DS1054Z. Damn... That really is a good bit of kit well pleased with that. I have also spotted the mini VNA Pro (Vector Network Analyser) Wow that is a thing of beauty too. Maybe next on the test equipment acquisition list.
2015-08-23 0749Z Lots has happened in the last month. Most important Wendy has decided to come live with permanently and give up her own house. To that end we have spent pretty much every spare moment the last month moving her stuff here. There is still some stuff that others have said they want (sheds etc) that we have no room for that they still need to move but the job of moving is nearly complete.
Em and Darren had a party here (a BBQ) for about 50 folks to celebrate the birth of their daughter Eleanor (Ellie) Sue Dixon. that went well shed loads of scoff went and we were only left with a little so the planning worked out well.
Rob (my son) has a new truck (VW Amrok) to help him in his job. Very nice bit of kit. we fitted a load liner to the rear of it yesterday to protect the pickup bed.

I have bought an FTDX 3000 radio to play with got a very good price from a fellow amateur G0DLT. But under sad circumstances, he has recently lost his father to cancer.

The radio is modern has pretty much all the bells and whistles. and is therefore not simple to drive using all the available features. But I have pushed a lot of buttons scratched me head and RTFM and now mostly I know what I'm doing. It has an internal Antenna tuner but that is not capable of tuning up my G5RV on 40m/20m or 10m but I have a manual tuner and that copes fine for the moment. The future probably holds a hex beam Grin
The weather monitor software is moving forward slowly still the One Wire coms is working still need some work to get it doing all the stuff I need but it is fetching data from the temperature sensors.
We are eating the spuds from the garden the Onions are drying off ready to store. The grapes will be done soon (I hope) as they are about ripe. The tomatoes are ripening slowly, the cucumbers are doing ok we have had a few of them. and there are more coming. There are no peppers but the buds are there.
2015-09-03-2103Z Wendy's house move is finaly moving towards being complete the summer house was moved today and the bulk of Tara's stuff is gone. we are back on schedule for handing the keys in Friday next. I have to say I was becoming very concerned that we would have to extend the deadline. It is going to be nice to have her settled here properly and not have to worry about her other home.
I have got the one-wire coms talking to the DS18B20 and DS18S20 temperature sensor I have their addresses the crc check is written and the calculation of the temperature is done. They are working.
I have spent much of the day talking to JD and researching precipitation sensors, both conductive and optical. I am thinking of using one to indicate there was/is rain even when there was/is not enough to tip the rain gauge. (0.25mm). They look simple in concept (when you read it and not have to dream it up) so may be I will play at that tomorrow,
2015-10-02-0733Z Wendy is moved... It has been 3 weeks since the key was handed in "on time" and no comeback from the landlord at least so far. She is still attending slimming world and still loosing weight and still very pleased. her new car passed the MOT with a little work on the breaks and a new tyre.
I went to wash the windscreen on my truck the other day only to find the bottle empty. I found the Screen wash can and dumped it in the washer bottle, went to fill the now empty can with water to top the bottle up. Why am I smelling paraffin I think. ARSE... fortunately paraffin floats I shoved the garden hose to the bottom of the bottle and chased out the paraffin with hot water and washing up liquid. I still could not wash the damn windscreen both front and rear pumps had seized. After some sodding about and getting wet I had removed them and freed them up. All is now operational for the winter.
It's October, Autumn is here the mornings are getting cooler as are the nights. Incidentally I did see the Super moon total lunar eclipse on the 28th Sept 0200Z (ish) It was actually clear. There is talk of the worst winter since 1962-3. The snow then was over my head at the farm where we lived. I was only five though. They say there is a cooling of the gulf stream, where we get 25% of our heat from and it could start as early as late October. We will see, as usual it will be what it will be. I guess they have to write about something. However I have tested the central heating it works fine it is now set to 5C i.e. just incase but not really in use. I have not yet lit and tested the log stove it has not been cool enough, but I expect no problems. My ready to burn wood pile is full, that's about 5M^3. The still drying but ready soon pile if full that's about 2m^3 and there is still stuff corded for next year under sheet in the yard that's probably about 2.0m^3 when logged and split. The freezer is almost full, I have not shopped for October yet. So I say Bring it on... Anyway Hereford very rarely gets any snow even when the rest of England can't move for it.
The spuds we have not yet eaten are harvested and in store. There is still a few swede and leaks in the garden the rest is bare apart from some weeds. The tomato plants are gone they gave us some but not loads, the cucumbers did better, would you believe the peppers are still coming. My Dad's chilies however, are ripe, dried, flaked and in my larder.
I have started to think about and do the PCB design for the weather monitor. Which usually means changes to the cct design and software as I make things fit. Its usually an iterative process. I have found an optical precipitation detector it's about £45. and can be a later addition to this unit with a minor software change, so I'll thinking about that. It's always difficult to prize the wallet open.
We have put Wendys paddling pool away. It's a shame we did not get a lot of use out of it, probably only five or six days. At least I have my yard back. It contains about eight tonnes of water. During the emptying I found the chuffin' drains were blocked and spent an very rewarding hour poking turds with a stick. Ok Ok... Draining rods...
2015-10-24-1456Z I have a new windows 10 laptop. Trying to get that to run with all my old software and hardware is proving to be a challenge but I have not given up yet. I needed a fast m/c to run all the SDR software and rig control stuff in my workshop/shack. But also to run games I fancy getting back into gaming and the gaming night we used to have here. Beer curry and shooting the shit out of everyone. Magic...
2015-10-28-2112Z W10? actually I quite like it. I have to search for create restore point every time I install one of my old programs because I can't find it normally? I installed of them and it tried and died. Would not run would not uninstall could not find it on the chuffing HDD. So had to rebuild the entire fricken laptop from scratch. Ho Hum... Any way I have played with it for a while and I am finally getting somewhere with making it my own. I have had to find new programs to do some of the job I used to do with XP. The only on presenting a real problem is Borland C++.
2015-10-29-0946Z A Friend of mine has a challenge. He has a 80' tower that comes down to about 30' but he is unable to tilt it over as there is too much on top and to much in the way and would be an immense task. So He wants to remove the antenna rotator and leave the antennas up. Ahhhhh He said the rotator is in a Cage with a bearing fixed to the tower about 2' above the rotator so the job is feasible. Anyway I went out the other day to take a look and see if I could make any suggestions. I did and I have fabricated a clamp that fixes to the three uprights of the rotator cage and can clamp the center antenna pole in position. We now await ladders (that have been loaned out) to return and we'll give it a go.
2015-11-02 2004Z I have spent the last few days creating a Tool Share web page as I was requested to do so This is so that a group of us can publish what tools we have and wish to share and keep tabs on who actually has them You'll need a username and password to gain entry but it's here. Then of course actually entering all the tools and photos etc. anyway it is done now. It will be interesting now it's done to see if anyone actually uses it. I have my doubts...
2015-11-04-2130Z Today I bottled the wine from my grapes grown in the greenhouse.. The Juice was fermented in an opaque container and when put into clear glass bottles it is still a little cloudy. There was 16.5 litre bottles of it so I felt the 0.5l needed to be tidied up before it went off. Turns out it really quite good. so I'm really pleased. the remaining 16L has been stashed and I preparing to have a go at cider or even apple wine.. not sure which yet....
2016-01-02-1938Z Christmas has gone well and we had a good time at Wendy's sisters on new years eve.
On the wine front I have drunk 8 of the 16 bottles of wine and given away a few too. Very Nice it is too. I have made apple wine that is still fermenting away. How that turns out is yet to be seen.
I bought a new laprtop Intel Core i7 2G6 8G RAM 1T HDD Windows 10. FMG W10 is great as long as you don't want to actually DO ANYTHING that you ALWAYS did before. Borland C++, EasyPCB, Powerdesk, PGP, to name a few that will not run. I have loaded virtual box and run what I need on a virtual WinXP machine.
I have started the PCB design for the weather monitor (on a virtual machine) so may be soon that will be done and i can make it.
The winter has been really warm so far and my central heating has still not been turned on. I am still just using the log stove. I have used a few logs but not a lot though.
2016-01-20 1100Z During the high winds we had in December the Gearbox of the Az Drive on the PV panels has broken. I was able to lock off the Az Drive so that the panels did not move in the wind. I was lucky that Wendy spotted they were FLAPPING ABOUT. I have acquired a new one but wish to dismember the old one to see if there is anything I can do to the new one to prevent it going the same way.
The Washing machine heater element has gone leaky to earth again. I'm sure they are designed to go faulty after 18 months or so. It has been replaced easy enough job to do but it cost nearly £30 FMG If I had had to buy it with the sensor thingy it would have been £48 chuffing hell I sure the whole damn machine only cost £250 delivered.
The Pump up mast will not even erect with some manual assistance as it did at the begging of the winter. It is going to definitely have to come apart soon as I cannot use the Cob Web Antenna.
It has gone a lot cooler Winter has finally arrived. It was -3C on my air sensor early this morning and -1.7C now. I am leaving the stove going over night backed off and it is working full time during the day. Temperature in lounge is 19C by the back door it is 16.4C on the landing it's 14.3C and in my bedroom it's 14.9C. As a consequence my Log consumption has increased.
2016-04-29 1800Z Not had a lot of time to do this Web stuff. Grandad day care has bit in hard and takes up a lot of time as there are two grand children under 3. My Parents are needing more support too. But I have spent most of the spare time of the last two months writing a new version of my server software to run on a Rasberry Pi or if that can't cope a Linux m/c of some sort. The Pi seems to be ok at the moment, though php graphs take a while the normal page load are 30time quicker.
However my priorities are going to have to change. The world is turning to shit around me and consequently there are quite few things that "need" to be done on the property this year and I have not got the time for all of them so some of them are going to have to be contracted out. New Drive, New Yard Gates are the really big two jobs and they are not gonna be cheap. The Yard Fence repairs, access to the top of the canopy so I can clean it, the patio at the rear by my veg patch, service my log burning stove, repair the central heating boiler will be done by me. It seems the boiler Accumulator bladder is burst. It's cheaper to add an external one rather than pay some government imposed CORGI chap to rob me blind and say can't replace that Tank have to be a new boiler sonny that'll be \A31500... Nope it actually cost me \A330 for the accumulator and about \A310 for misc bits to fit it...
I have rotovated the veg patch and planted the spuds five rows seven plants each, Desire. This was done in between the rain and frost that are still going on. It's the end of april and there was a frost again this morning nearly -2C. I have 200 onions still to do. My tomatoes are coming on in the warm of the house and it's too cold to put them out in the greenhouse with the continuing frosts. There is no point planting the parsnips even if I could get out there to do it as they will rot before they germinate. This year is late.
2016-05-10 0446Z Wendy is away on Holiday this week and is having a lot of fun with her sister and frend. It nice to see her looking so happy in the photos, She love the pool and has been working very hard as her colegue is off sick recoperting from a wrist operation for 6 weeks. This week away will be a welcome rest and an ideal oportunity for her employer to asses her REAL value.
I started a patio in her favorite spot to sun bath in the garden. I have used some slabs we rescued from her place before she gave it up. They are 2'6" by 2' 2inches thick concrete and a proper bloody pig to move around and lay, but it is moving forward when it stops raining. I have removed the gates to the yard and the timber to repair/re-inforce the ripply tin fencing is here and will be fitted when it stops raining. As the timber arrived late in the day yesterday and Jon was here to help with it, we took the oprotunity to take the pump up mast down, dismantle the base clean it up regrease and put new O ring seals in it. It is now back together and I had my first Antenna errection in six months. Very happy with it again, though there was sod all on the radio yesterday on HF. It is forcast to rain again today so I doubt anything useful will be done outside.
I have already done the boiler repair and that is working fine. I fitted an external expansion vessle and the pressure no longer exceeds the over pressure valve setting and no longer dumps the excess water. The Az drive on the PV panels is fixed too, I have even put a new cover over the chain drive and gear box as it never had one before. There is still the Log stove to service/repair but I have not yet spent the dosh and got the bits I was going to use next months income surplus to do that. Guess I will have to forward spend again.
2016-05-11 1100Z I have still got that damned cough and am very breathless so I have achieved little since Monday when JD and I did the mast. At least it is pissing down with rain as well so I don't feel quite so guilty about doing nothing. I have even lit the sodding fire 'cos I feel so cold.
2016-06-07-2048Z The cough has finaly gone I have been feeling OK for about a week TFFT.
The patio at the back is finished and and the sleepers have been put round the last bit of my veg garden. The patio has even been used for a BBQ.
I have replaced the timber that supports the ripply tin fence of my yard and started painting it. Looking in, the LHS has two coats on the outside and that is finished and looks good. On the inside it has two coats over half and needs completing. The RHS has one coat on the outside and needs another, it looks crap at the moment. The inside has not been touched. The steel support that had rusted off has been dug up and replaced.
The chap that is fitting the sliding gate came today and the job of fitting it has been started. It looks like it should be a good job.
The onions have been planted and are up about a foot tall. The parsnips have been planted later this year we'll see if they germinate this time and the greenhouse has tomatoe plants in it about 3 foot tall. I have smaller ones to plant out in the garden. The grapes are looking good there are loads and I have started training one of the branches out of the green hous off down the garden.
I have extended the compost area and it is now two pallets long one wide I have yet to turn the contents of the original area over into the new area but I have started put new stuff at the bottom of the new area. I.e. I have mowed the lawn and cut the hedge for the first time mowed up the cuttings and dumped that lot in there like I usually do.
I have however not touched any software for about two weeks as the outside jobs must take presidence this time of year. The PVs are tracking ok and producing power. I have just changed my energy supplier to sainsburys??? they, according to uswitch, are the cheapest for me.
I have worked a few coutries on the HF bands and the mast continues to work well after it's new seals.
I have a new camera to be fitted to watch the outside of the recently painted fence to try and catch the little twot that paints his "tag" on there. Not that plod with actually give toss even if I have video of it and his name and address.

The new year is here nearly halfway through the first month. It's showing little sign of improvment over last year which delivered crap by the truck load. Life got very busy towards the end mostly with other peoples "stuff" all of which was important so I have not had a lot of time for my own which I admit was less important. I did manage to get the firewood ready for winter something we'll be grateful for now.

I did build a Gieger Counter and connect it to the prototype weather monitor that is running on my system it displays the data on the Environmental page at the bottom under the Test section. The finished wx monitor has got no further. In fact from a hardware oint of view I am do a total reconcideration and that will mean a re-write of the software too.

The Pi Server I was writing the cpp and php code for, to do the data collection died and did it's best to loose everything. I was lucky I only lost the webpage graphical data display php code modications. I had had to modify the original code to make it work with the latest version of PHP MySQL JQuery and JPGraph. All of which have changed default settings and or depricated version of code I was using. I now have a R-Pi 3B and have loaded it with all the required Code and php pages and re-modified the code to make it work and backed it up. So I am about where I was last February. The cpp code for data collection I had backed up and lost none of that TFFT 'cos that took me ages to do. I have of course got a shedload more to do to finish it. I trying to move away from building my own hardware and use some of the miriad of available pre built hardware so I can reduce the workload and speed to operational. This will need me to research new hardware and then learning how the drive it. Always an interesting thing to do.

From a radio point of view I have hardly entered my shack/workshop for three months just not had the time and I have not had the antenna up or radios on at all for that period.

Guess I've not been here for a while. So what have I/We been up to?

Wendy and I decided to get married in February last year and the preparations are well under way for the 14th July this year (2018). Registry office and Party back here at home. Lets hope the weather is good. It's not been to special so far. I'll probaly put a page up with some photos on after the event. I haven't really done any kind of personal update since Susan died in 2005. Doesn't seems that long ago, But I know I'm very luck to have found someone else as special that'll put up with me. Wendy is away on her hen WEEK in Portugal perhaps this is why I have found time to do this shh don't tell her...

I have pretty much completed the server s/w re-Write. The data collection program now runs under Linux on a Raspberry Pi3 vice mini-ITX under windows Borland C++. The Web server is on an Synology DS416P NAS drive a very expensive and ineffectual piece of crap I deeply regret spending money on. Really can think of one thing it actually does well. OK the web server is OK. Though it did update and nothing worked for a week before I finally worked out for myself (Their Help desk is crap too) that while it works out of the box, none of the setting it uses to actually work are set in a fashion that it can remember them after it's first update. You then have to configure it over again. The Second Update it survived ok. It has a very nice Web interface to this unlike any other server i.e. the ones I'm used to. This is assuming you can find it, their help files are crap too. best place to look is the web. The MySQL server runs on the Pi as well. This is because if you're moving files or anything vaguely network intensive on the DS416P it's MySQL server ignores your requests to connect and you loose the data. (I have GBethernet) While I'm whinging the TV record feature works OK MOST of the time. BUT the Phone application often does not display a full days TV program listing for you to choose what to record. The security camera recording Application freezes and looses image in the play back files and this is after having to buy licences to use more than 2 fricken cameras and a memory upgrade from 1G to 8G.
So all in all IMHO it only has half an ARSE.

Because the weather has not been special the garden was planted late but it's all done now and the spuds are showing signs of coming. I glad I'm not an arrible farmer. Because the party is going to be here It'll HAVE to look tidy this year at least for they day LOL.

Oh Yes. Last year Wendy and I joined the Hereford Amateur Radio Society I was last a member when I was in my 20s and I had Joined when I was 12. In October 2017 Wendy decided to take her Amateur Radio Foundation Licence and PASSED. Then a month later took her Intermediate Licence and PASSED that too. So From Nothing to Intermediate in two months a very Good effort. Since then we have both been involved in the Amateur Radio Licence courses Run by H.A.R.S. and should continue to do so and taken part in a few contests. But as usual time is short so enthusiasm has to be tempered with necessity.


The preparation for the wedding and party are moving along slowly but surely. Outside preparations have been delay by the bad weather. I have finally replaced the sunken concrete on the drive and laid some Brick pavers where the bins are kept. Wendy has replaced the hanging basket and support hooks by the front door. So the front of the house is looking a lot tidier. I have ordered some Industrial bug zappers to keep the flies down. We still have to arrange glasses hire and check that the gazebos are all operational.

On the software front the new System Control web pages are nearly completed just a few to complete. There are still a few operational routines to write. For example the irrigation stuff is not yet written and so is the rain water level trips and alarms stuff. There is bound to be more too. But it is online and running ok doing the job well.

The scouts WiFi link went down and has had to be replaced. I have a temporary Access point up at the moment but as bits and time become available I will put a proper point to point link and separate Network Access point up.


Good god has it been a year since I looked in here. Well we're Married it went really well the party in the garden was amazing. Everyone said how relaxed and how good the food was. (It was good too) We left the canvascover over the yard for the rest of the summer and put the pool up in it. That was good too.

Since the I have pretty much finished re-writing the server s/w it now runs in a RPi3B and RPi3B+ as a redundant pair. Loging data to themselves and to the DS416 as the main MySQL server. Yes it still misses the occasion entry but less since I stopped it doing the security stuff it did such a really crap job I went back to the old software. There is a Linux version I will try it looks good. As well as finishing the control web pages I have also re-written all the RC+M web display pages and graphs. Centralising a lot of the config and attributes. Making changes etc much quicker. I have started using GIT a version control system and save to GIT-HUB when done here. It's a little bit of a drag at the start but now the most difficult thing is remembering my GIT-HUB password. This is in the hope that a Hardware failure will not trash all my work becaus Backups are old.

Did I mention I allowed a W10 update and a Dell update on my laptop. One after the other. When that job was finished I had lost nearly everything from the last 3 months include wedding photos and had to buy a new hard drive as well. I now run Linux mint. No more shit from W10. Dell can go shove too... In fairness I have dual boot W10 and Linux mint. Linux is used every days and W10 is allowed a day once a month to update usually takes a day.

There has been a problem with the Pi's they lock up after about a week or two. I did find a couple of memory leaks in My C++ MySQL software. Me not freeing up the result every time during iterative fetches. I can find no more. But it still locks up. I have resorted to a cron job that reboots each Pi at the same time twice a week. Then restarts tmux and the RC+M program. No more shit from that. Interstingly I have two KODI Pi's as well they lock up regulary too though the symptoms are different...

Amateur Radio has taken a back seat for the last 18 months or so not really had a lot of time to turn them on and play. I have taken up helping out the H.A.R.S. with their Amatuer Radio License Coarses. That only takes up a five or six of weekends a year. Wendy and I do spend quite some time looking after Parents and Grand Children.

The Garden is looking good. Lots of reasonable Wx early on, to allow planting and weeding looks every bit as good as it did for the wedding last year. Amazed and pleased. We're eating strawberies now (well Wendy is I can't stand 'em). The irrigation s/w is written and tested but as it's raining (9.75mm so far today) regularly, it's not needed.