Holy Crap!

hydroponic setup

panels for pool pump
more panels
PV panels

That’s what I said the first time I rode the scooter!  With the new 2KW controller and 1KW motor the thing is now officially dangerous.  It’s a little unstable at lower speeds but it smooths out over 20mph.  It’s good to be getting around on electricity harvested from my solar panels again.

The hydroponic setup is going well, we should have some beans and peas soon.  My neighbor made some great lemonade from our lemons this week with more to come.

I wanted to reply to a comment I got about the earlier rant about the value of manual skills in the modern era.  I can refer you to the comment to “another rant”, the basic gist is that he was grateful for his skills and that he would be “livin’ large while the others will be clawing out an existance” after it hits the fan.  I can understand this thought process and at times I share it, but my point is not to be devisive but rather cooperative.  I try to say “we” instead of “us” and “they”.  We should all learn more skills so that we can be more self sufficient and produce more locally and depend less on things transported from far away.  The hope is to avoid things hitting the fan or keep it from hitting so hard so that we can all live large or at least maintain basics for survival.

I don’t talk much about the similarity between conservation/self sufficiency and survivalism.  I try to focus on optimism and survivalism feels like giving up.  One fortunate aspect of this issue is that the two are very similar.  The argument could be made that the difference is only philosophical and/or situational.  At this point in time it seems to me that an isolationist survivalism is unnecessary and simple self sufficiency has it’s advantages: reduced costs, independance from market fluctuations, preservation of other resources and simple pride in being able to take care of yourself.  If it does really hit the fan at some point, one would be ready.  For now, I would rather spread the word and form a small community full of people that can each take care of themselves as well as have different talents.  This to me has better odds in the long run that simply buying a lot of guns and ammunition and trying to defend what’s mine.  Preparing to be independant can be the same thing as preparing for armegeddon but I’m not convinced that the end of days will happen anytime soon.  As it is said, prepare for the worst, hope for the best and be happy with anything in between.  And it doesn’t hurt to try to make a better tomorrow.

And on that note, it’s been a good year.  We’ve made some steps foreward, some easier than others.  It was Armegeddon Week on the History channel.  Food for thought, though I think a bit pessimistic.  I hope all of my readers (Yes! I actually have a few) are well and I wish them well in their endeavours this coming year.  Feel free to share your experiences as well!  I hope this coming year goes better than the History Channel is predicting!


some good news

Just heard today that the new parts for the scooter have been shipped!  Should be about 5 days.  In the meantime, I will put the last pack of four betteries back in the electric jeep, make some mods to the front battery box so that the grille can be put back on, hook up the e-brake cables and take it for a test drive!

Just to fill in some blanks from the last post, I have made some changes to keep Sparky from bursting into flames again.  The manufacturer has modified the BMS modules, I will fuse all of the sense/shunt wires, the plastic cases and all other plastics have all been replaced with self extinguishing flame resistant polycarbonate.  I took a blowtorch to it and it will not burn.  Also as per the wife’s instructions, the vehicle will not be kept in the garage under our bedroom once the BMS has been installed.

We ate the first yield from the hydroponic garden today!  Some lettuce was eaten as part of tacos tonight.  There are even a few immature beans on the vines.  This from seed about 6 weeks ago!  Also on the topic of sustainability, lemons are ripe and grapefruits are almost ready.  We have about 20-25 lemons on this 7 foot high lemon tree that gets sun about 3 hours per day.  We also have innumerable grapefruit on these two 25 foot tall trees in the back yard.  They are not pink, but these yellow things with a lot of seeds, but taste that is worth the seeds.  It sounds like one would get sick of them, but I drink grapefruit juice every morning as a habit, and it keeps well when frozen.

Sometime in the next week or two, we will be getting the indoor herb garden going.  I think we were the only people in the hydroponic store NOT trying to grow cannibus.

Hope to be posting again soon,


Still waiting

The new controller and motor still aren’t here, darn it!  At least the deck for the scooter is done.  A nice piece of lexan.  I will post pictures soon as the new loptop is here and the card recepticle for the camera actually works.

The hydroponic setup is having issues.  I was recently told that the pipes should not be continuously filled with water, they should drain nearly completely.  So I need to eliminate the check valves and move the fill lines to the bottom of the pipe so that they can drain back through the pump.  Also as per Murphy’s law, the reservoir is leaking so a new barrel needs to be placed.

These are relatively quick modifications fortunately.  The cool thing is that I have been re-connecting the high voltage wiring on the battery pack for Sparky.   Given that I am nearly done on these other projects, I can finally get moving on something a bit more fun and get the electric car running again.  I don’t think I’ve told the story about the real setback on Sparky’s conversion to lithium yet.  The first time I charged it about 5 months ago, the next day with everything including the charger turned off, it caught fire.  Fortunately my daughter went into the garage to put something in recycling, and she noticed smoke, by the time I was awakened and ran downstairs, there were 18″ flames coming from one of the battery management circut boards and it’s plastic enclosure.  Knowing the potential dangers of this kind of project, I had an industrial sized fire extinguisher handy and it made short work of the fire, but the damage was done.  I had lost two batteries, one BMS (Battery Management System) module and most of the nearby wires for a total loss of about $600.  I finally have most of the parts I need to make repairs and complete some upgrades and now the time to do it!  Time to get back to work.


little progress

Well, once again it has been a while.  One of those money and time things again.  I finally finished a realtively large project at work, so projects at home will get goint again.  The hydroponic setup is finally completely up and running.  Hopefully, in a few days I will be able to post a few pictures of planting technique and equipment.  Of course I am no authority, so we’ll see how things work and modify as needed.

Either tomorrow or Tuesday I will check in on the scooter.  The throttle problem is likely due to a defective controller.  I checked with the guy at electricscooterparts.com and he says the controller is not supposed to smell like that.  Who knew?  A replacement/upgrade has been ordered and should be in early this week.  This will also include a 1 killowatt motor for twice the power.  Last week I finally set up a file on the EV album.  evalbum.com  This was for Sparky, the electric cherokee, but by the numbers, there seems to be more interest in the frankenscooter, so I will try to set up a file for it and get some better picures of it on both this site and the evalbum.

Since putting the link on the EV album, this blog has seen up to 50 hits per day up from an old record of about ten per day.  Woo Hoo!  I always thought that it would be cool if this site went sort of viral, getting tens of thousands of hits per day.  Realistic or not, it would be cool.  That said, I find this whole thing fun simply in the recording of my brain droppings and sharing pictures with a few friends.  Either way, this has been enjoyable for me and I hope for you as well.

More to come,