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Unscheduled maintenance

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Said Jez: "And you? Is your Sunday scheduled to within an inch of its life, or are you playing it by ear?", and I reply "Well, it started out as an unscheduled day. I had a list of maintenance items that need attending, so I just chose different ones at random. I swept out the generator shed, getting rid of the wood rat droppings; They got it because I left the door ajar the last few months since the generator heat exhaust was too constricted by building exhaust opening. I recently had the handy man open up another hole for a second vent, and after readjusting the exhaust shroud, all was well - except that someone tossed a bunch of stuff next to and, unfortunately, into the air intake fan blades. With the motor jammed, it burned out when the generator last ran. Time for another trip to Home Depot for a replacement. Then I decided to do the yearly photovoltaic maintenance which consists of tightening all the DC wiring connections. All looked good, and since it was a sunny day, I then decided to check the photovoltaic panels to test their output. I have 60 panels arranged in 15 4-panel modules, each module delivering 48-70V. Testing the voltage drop across each module's buss fuse, I saw 100mV down to 40mV (for modules partly shaded). All looked OK except for module #8 which reads 0mV. As it was far too hot in the afternoon to go climb the metal roof, I shall do this unplanned chore tomorrow morning. I hope it's just a corroded connector.

The east lawn has been mowed, and it looks fabulous. The automated spot watering of the lavender bushes, the aloes, and the rosemary bushes is working well. I still need to trim the redwood modesty 'bush' that separates the hot tub from view of the north entry door. The 'bush' wants very much to be a tree.

Oh yes, I redid the phone wiring. I finally got a much nicer and modern punch down block, replacing an ancient phone company punch down block that I salvaged from some old equipment years ago. The spline connectors just did not grip the wires tightly enough, so we often had noise and crackle in he phone lines. This new block is perfect - silence is not sizzly.

With that out of the way, I tinkered with the inverters serial port. It is a proprietary system that converts the inverters' remoting port into RS232 ASCII output. Calling it a protocol would be an outright lie. What Trace did was to output the data sent to the LCD. They added some input commands, literally one character sequences that mimic the buttons on the unit: L=menu_heading_up, R=menu_heading_down, U=menu_item_up, etc. Anyway, I am writing a program to gather the data periodically to then send it to me. In this way, I can catch problems before they develop into a serious situation..

Having a fun filled vacation.

Current Locale:
Santa Cruz Mountains
My temperment:
content content
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On August 14th, 2006 03:42 pm (UTC), elimloth replied:
And writing programs to interrogate inverters etc and send me data (presumably posted to a webserver somewhere as a live feed) is something I shall be exploring later.

Yes, that is my intention. The little moniritring app will send me email but also post the readings to a WEB site. A little bit of AJAX based scripting will generate nice charts and usage graphs.
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