Battery notes for me.

Should be simple to keep this straight but I always falter at connecting a positive to a negative.

The illustration on the left would give you forty eight volts if each battery was twelve volts. Amperage would not increase when connected in series.

On the right it would maintain twelve volts but increase the amperage or time that you could draw down the energy in those batteries.

Mushrooms in the woods

Can anyone identify these for me and tell me what they are? I think they might be chicken of the woods but they are growing on a downed log that might be hickory or some hemlock.
A quick glance through Cornell returned this link, which indicates to avoid them if it is growing on an evergreen. “Be wary of Chickens growing on conifers (in the Northeast) as they are a different species and can cause poisoning. Chicken of the Woods can make a fine chicken substitute as long as you make sure to fully cook the mushroom.” I am in the Northeast, so I suppose I need to go back and see what these were growing on.

Big Al

When I lived in Schenectady we had different neighbors over the twenty years there. The last one just before we left was Big Al. He was one serious piece of work. I’d come home and find him on the front steps silver paint on his face from the can he was huffing. He said he worked at a group home with kids but I don’t think he was ever away from the house that long.
In the evening his buddies would show up and hang with him on the porch. Music banging out from a red Nissan Four Runner and the windows in every house on the block shaking. Sunday morning after the party was over I’d come out and pick up the bottles and baggies from the front yard. I was miserable those months when Big Al lived next to me.
I’d come home every night and there is Big Al sitting on the porch steps stoned out of his mind. He’d say hello to me and I’d say hello back, neither of us very friendly. In the middle of the night I’d look out in my driveway  between the two houses and Big Al’s buddy with the BMW would be tucked up in there out of site and they’d be sitting in the car conducting their business.
Every now and then Big Al and his girlfriend would fight loudly with the windows open, the baby would cry and they’d shout at each other. We’d had worse neighbors for the fighting but these two really set the bar for the drug dealing.

One day a pair of sneakers showed up draped over the power lines going to the house. Pat from across the street took them down and two days later a new pair of sneakers was back up on the wires, this time pink high heeled sneakers. Young kids twelve or thirteen years old would stop by and get their “stuff” from Big Al. He always had a little something for his customers.
Big Al’s friends all wore red shirts and caps like a uniform. The one kid had a pit bull that he would bring just for company. The dog had a nice spike collar and the kid had a tough time keeping him on the leash, but I never saw the dog get loose.
Neighbors would call the cops on the noise and they’d say they couldn’t do anything unless it continued after eleven O’clock when the noise ordinance would kick in. Neighbors would call the cops on the drug dealing but unless someone filed an official complaint they weren’t interested in doing anything more than lending a sympathetic ear. This was around the corner from Steinmetz Middle School (renamed Cities in Schools or some such thing), within site of the signs that say drug free school zone. Those signs were real useful. The Schenectady Police Department was about as useless as tits on a bull.
One Sunday morning after a particularly boisterous Saturday night I came out to a huge pile of garbage in my front yard. It looked like a couple of trash bags had exploded right there. It turned out that Pat across the street had come out early and picked up all the garbage from the night before shoved it in a  couple of bags and thrown them in the open front door of Big Al’s apartment. Big Al’s girlfriend came down the stairs found this mess started crying and went to Big Al who made the assumption that I had gathered all the trash up and thrown it into his front hallway. In his rage he took all the trash and threw it in my yard. I couldn’t blame him for coming to this conclusion because he was aware I wasn’t pleased with him, but I swear it wasn’t me.
Pat from across the street saw what happened and came out told me not to worry he would get it cleaned up since he had caused the issue and told me to take the wife and go get breakfast. I don’t really blame pat for any of this as I was probably thinking of doing something similar to throwing it all in the front door, maybe setting it on fire once I got it in there. I got back from breakfast and Pat is sitting across the street smoking a joint that Big Al gave him after they worked something out. All I really know is my yard was clean again.
Things like this went on for a few more weeks but we saw an eviction notice on the front door of Big Al’s apartment. Then about a month later the final eviction notice was tacked to the front door by the Sheriffs department. I hate to say it but I did find some pleasure in his misfortune.
I had a camera setup that I could use to watch the house while I was at work and the day I saw Big Al, the girlfriend and the baby headed down the street with all their stuff in tow I celebrated. It had been six long months of Big Al holding the neighborhood hostage.
That night I came home and the kids across the street were out front playing basketball for the first time that summer, people were out on their porches and the whole neighborhood felt transformed.
Big Al couldn’t have gone far as they left on foot but it was far enough away I didn’t have to deal with him anymore. About a week later I was out front mowing the lawn and trimming the hedges a couple of young guys about fifteen years old came and sat on Big Al’s porch waiting for Big Al. I let them sit there and went about my business for about an hour. Finally as I finished up I asked what they were doing the one kid told me waiting for Al. I sadly told them Big Al had moved about a week ago. The older of the two griped “how come we are always the last to know”? I smiled and drug my bag of lawn clippings back up the driveway to the garage as they walked away.
Some time in the next couple of weeks the landlord came by with a couple of young guys and cleaned out the apartment. For two weeks they dragged stuff down to the curb and filled it. Six feet tall, two feet wide and thirty feet long two weeks for trash pick up and a couple of truck loads that they hauled away on their own. Every door in that apartment had holes punched in them and I don’t believe Big Al ever took the trash out once while he lived there.

Harbor Freight Solar Panels

I got a set of Harbor Freight Solar Panels and started to set them up for use over at the cabin/shed.

I am thinking I’ll mount this on the side of the shed and make the bottom tilt out away from the shed to get the right angle for the sun.

Mounted and screwed down so they don’t move around in the winter winds. When I get this completed the bottom will come out away from the shed.

Ryobi RYi2200 Invertor Generator

Planning on doing a little camping, running power tools away from the house, and  during a power outage to get some lights and comfort items like TV. My main reasons for the inverter generator were quieter running and less fuel use. I can’t run my well pump or furnace off this but for my uses it should work.
This unit started after a half dozen pulls and ran fine (part of the handle on the starter cord flew off  while tugging on the cord). I tested it with a 3/8th inch drill attached and it worked well enough for that. We used it to run the pump on the air mattress no problems, I want to try charging a battery with it and see how that works. It started on the second pull and ran well.
Moving a few things around in the garage I found the piece that flew off and popped it back onto the starter cord. This does weigh a few pounds more than a comparable Honda or Yamaha and at 63 db compared to 53 db for the Honda it is louder. It is a tough lift over the top of the tailgate at 57 lbs but with the gate down not so bad.
I put this inside an insulted plywood box with a sheet of tin for a cover. I’m hoping this helps to keep the noise down a bit, not that it is that loud running at idle but I’m hoping to be able to listen to the birds and critters running around.
My number one reason for picking this generator was the price at $549 from Home Depot it was among the cheapest inverter generators I could find locally. It also has a three year warranty that I hope I’ll never have to test.

  • 2200 Starting / 1800 Running Watts
  • 8.75 hours run time at 400 watts and 5 hours at 900 watts
  • 106cc OHC, 4 Cycle Engine
  • Outlets: 120-volt AC (2), 12-volt DC (1) Parallel kit Capable
  • Quieter than a conversation 63 db(A) a conversation is 65 db(A)
  • 51 lbs.
  • 3 Year warranty
  • MFG Model # : RYI2200
  • MFG Part # : RYI2200

I used a chart from Don Rowe to guesstimate average usage of the things I would connect.

I liked the option to hook up 12 volts directly from the generator to a battery, and the possibility to get a second unit and their connector to run them in tandem.


I first went to the local Home Depot as they had the best price I could find at $549 and they are local to me. The box looked like it had been run over and a sales associate offered to have their rental center start it to make sure it worked before I bought it.
Over in rental they laid it on it’s side and dumped the included twelve ounces of oil in, then stood it back up and added gasoline. A half dozen pulls and it started up but as soon as they turned on the auto idle it puffed some smoke and quit. The guy there thought it was out of gas and added more gas. It wouldn’t restart again, even after changing the spark plug and giving it another try. After about a half hour of fiddling I left and went over to another Home Depot nearby and got one there, that didn’t look like it had been run over.

For a comparison of the Yamaha and Honda generators have a look here.
One thing I would like to add is a larger fuel tank.
Generator attached to BERG System

A link here for the B.E.R.G. system for extended run time up to 72 hours.

Trip to Florida

So I’m thinking while I am doing recovery from my first heart surgery (haven’t gotten to this point yet), I’ll have Kirsten find a cheap used RV and for the last month or so of recovery, travel down to Florida. I’m figuring to replace the hoses and belts as a precautionary measure before leaving.
Mom said she will travel with us so we can have three drivers and take shifts. First shift driving, second shift as copilot, and third shift sleeping in the back while someone else is driving down the highway.
A little Class B camper should do it for us I see a few Falcon’s on Craigslist for 5 to 10k.
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Finally movement on the shed

This weekend I got back to working on the shed after a two month hiatus. Things went pretty well and I have a skeleton up and three of the five roof rafters. If the rain holds off tomorrow I’ll get the last two rafters up and maybe even some tin if I am motivated.
Most of the wood for this project is from the shed that I tore down this spring and scraps laying around the house. I had to buy two two 2x8x8, one 4×6 treated lumber for the floor, and the cedar siding but I just trimmed the 2×4’s down and reused them and the tin from the old roof. I have a few holes up there that will need to be plugged to keep the rain out.

I completed the roof tonight, I need to trim a few pieces of tin and some of the wood. Some of the recycled wood is very shall we say curvy?