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Wednesday, 22 May 2019 Dereel Images for 22 May 2019
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Cooktop woes
Topic: food and drink, general, Stones Road house, opinion Link here

So how do I adjust the minimum flame on my new gas cooker? Back to RTFM, where I read, obviously added as an afterthought:

 
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OK, screw the screw tight. No change.

Damn these second-rate gas cookers! I should have tested it when it arrived 6 months ago, not after cutting holes into the work surface. But what choice do I have? I spent a lot of time in October comparing what's available, and this seemed to be about the only usable one. I can always use the old trick of setting the controls between “full” and “off”, so for the time being at any rate it stays, and I grumble.

And the induction cooker? That works, of course. The basic disadvantages remain: the controls are slow and barely visible—grey markings on black background, in the middle of the front, an area that's typically in shadow:


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But now it's under the range hood, so I can turn the light on:


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I need to find a way to highlight the positions of the controls that won't wipe off.


How far to walk the dogs?
Topic: general, technology, opinion Link here

I've been walking the dogs further than previously; instead of the 600 odd metres to Bliss Road and back, we're going further afield. Today I was on my own, as Yvonne was in town, and I went to the end of Grassy Gully Road, a distance I estimated at 2.4 km. OK, try to process the GPS data:

 
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Two problems: first, the obviously wrong track. I went up and down a road, so the two lines should overlap or at any rate be very close together. But this level of accuracy appears to be state of the art.

And then there are all those squiggles at the west end (in front of our house). They represent places I was that had nothing to do with walking the dogs. How do I get rid of them? I can't find a good site to help me, but I knew what time I left, and I know the data format:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" ?><gpx version="1.0" creator="GPSLogger 102 - http://gpslogger.mendhak.com/" xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance" xmlns="http://www.topografix.com/GPX/1/0" xsi:schemaLocation="http://www.topografix.com/GPX/1/0 http://www.topografix.com/GPX/1/0/gpx.xsd"><time>2019-05-22T03:06:31.000Z</time><trk><trkseg><trkpt lat="-37.80013333333333" lon="143.75100166666667"><ele>345.3</ele><time>2019-05-22T03:06:31.000Z</time><course>0.0</course><speed>0.0</speed><geoidheight>-6.4</geoidheight><src>gps</src><hdop>99.99</hdop><vdop>1.00</vdop><pdop>99.99</pdop></trkpt>
...
<trkpt lat="-37.800145" lon="143.75139833333333"><ele>353.2</ele><time>2019-05-22T03:25:29.000Z</time><course>146.7</course><speed>0.0</speed><geoidheight>-6.4</geoidheight><src>gps</src><sat>3</sat><hdop>93.94</hdop><vdop>52.34</vdop><pdop>99.99</pdop></trkpt>
<trkpt lat="-37.80019666666667" lon="143.75133833333334"><ele>361.1</ele><time>2019-05-22T04:03:36.000Z</time><course>61.18</course><speed>0.0</speed><geoidheight>-6.4</geoidheight><src>gps</src><sat>5</sat><hdop>1.89</hdop><vdop>0.96</vdop><pdop>2.12</pdop></trkpt>

The times are in UTC, 10 hours behind the local time. In this particular case I knew that I left shortly after 14:00, so I just needed to remove the trackpoints before this time, and also the ones after my return. Then I got:

 
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Upload that to Wikiloc and I get:

 
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That doesn't seem to be much of an improvement, but at least I now get details and even more details, which tell me that I had only just done 2 km. That must be because I stopped before the end (there are dogs in the property on the north side, and they overly excite our dogs). Now wouldn't it be nice for it to display things like speed and average speed? The whole thing took (only) 33 minutes, or a little under 4 km/h (mainly because the dogs were busy investigating the sides of the road).


Thursday, 23 May 2019 Dereel Images for 23 May 2019
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Understanding solar electricity charge transitions
Topic: Stones Road house, general Link here

I'm still trying to come to terms with the solar electricity inverter. As I've noted a number of times over the last month, it doesn't make sense to start charging from the grid when the battery charge level drops to 20%. So how about getting it to start at 19% and stop at 20%? That way it would only charge when it had been off the grid, which is what I would want.

But that doesn't work. There's no way to explicitly tell it when to start. There seem to be the following parameters:

So would it to make sense to set SOCmin or SOCrecx to 19%? Tried the former, without much success. It still switched in at 20%. And I'm concerned that if I do things wrong, I may end up with no power. In the end set the charge power to 50 W and the charge limit to 30%. The battery has a capacity of 6.4 kWh, so this means 640 Wh at 50 W, or 12.8 hours to charge.

That seemed to work, but when I came into the office this morning I had:

 
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Oh. Charge was below 30%, so it looks like it was charging from both. In the database I had:

+---------------------+------+---------+------+------+---------+--------+-------+--------+------+
| tstamp              | Pac  | Status  | SOC  | VBat | PacGrid | PacBat | PacPV | FromPV | W1   |
+---------------------+------+---------+------+------+---------+--------+-------+--------+------+
| 2019-05-23 08:34:32 |  -55 | On-grid |   29 |  268 |       0 |  -1331 |  1276 | 0      | 2562 |
+---------------------+------+---------+------+------+---------+--------+-------+--------+------+

But why? Once it becomes feasible to charge from the PV array, it should stop charging from the grid, even if the limit hasn't been reached.

In passing, it's worth comparing these numbers. PacPV is 1276, matching “PV Generation” in the display. PacBat is -1331, matching “Battery charge from Grid” in the display. W1 is 2562, matching “Grid Consumption” in the display. But what's the relationship between the number in the middle and Pac? The number in the middle is the sum of PacPV and W1. Pac is PacPV + PacBat. The power supplied to the house is clearly PacPV + PacBat + W1, or 2507, a number that shows up nowhere.

While I was scratching my head, I got this:

 
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+---------------------+------+---------+------+------+---------+--------+-------+--------+------+
| tstamp              | Pac  | Status  | SOC  | VBat | PacGrid | PacBat | PacPV | FromPV | W1   |
+---------------------+------+---------+------+------+---------+--------+-------+--------+------+
| 2019-05-23 08:38:18 | 2437 | On-grid |   29 |  263 |       0 |    874 |  1250 | 0      |  145 |
+---------------------+------+---------+------+------+---------+--------+-------+--------+------+

Now PacPV, PacBat and W1 are as before, but Pac is the number in the middle + W1, and it matches the power actually being provided to the house. Again the “dashboard” doesn't show this value.

Still below 30%, but now it's discharging the battery! It took me a while to realize that we had had a state transition in between:

+---------------------+------+---------+------+------+---------+--------+-------+--------+------+
| tstamp              | Pac  | Status  | SOC  | VBat | PacGrid | PacBat | PacPV | FromPV | W1   |
+---------------------+------+---------+------+------+---------+--------+-------+--------+------+
| 2019-05-23 08:37:20 |  -52 | On-grid |   29 |  267 |       0 |  -1365 |  1312 | 0      | 2159 |
| 2019-05-23 08:37:21 | 1904 | On-grid |   30 |  267 |       0 |    225 |  1264 | 0      |  206 |
| 2019-05-23 08:37:23 | 2437 | On-grid |   30 |  267 |       0 |   1222 |  1215 | 0      |   93 |
+---------------------+------+---------+------+------+---------+--------+-------+--------+------+

So that probably makes sense after all.

And then there's this:

 
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+---------------------+------+---------+------+------+---------+--------+-------+--------+-------+
| tstamp              | Pac  | Status  | SOC  | VBat | PacGrid | PacBat | PacPV | FromPV | W1    |
+---------------------+------+---------+------+------+---------+--------+-------+--------+-------+
| 2019-05-23 11:46:33 | 3738 | On-grid |   92 |  269 |       0 |   -540 |  4278 | 0      | -2788 |
+---------------------+------+---------+------+------+---------+--------+-------+--------+-------+

Now PacPV, PacBat and W1 are as before. The number in the dashboard is the power being supplied to the house (for once!), and Pac is PacPV + PacBat.

The battery isn't fully charged, but it is only charging at a little over 500 W (from the PV array). It has enough power over to export the maximum permissible power to the grid. Why isn't it charging any faster? Some slow-down because it's nearly full? I have the feeling that I've seen it charging faster at this level.

Returning to the analysis of the various variables and displays: the values Pac and the number in the middle of the dashboard display are meaningless. There is no variable that returns the amount of power being consumed in the household, but that can be calculated: it's the sum of the values PacPV, PacBat and W1.

As I had suspected, the battery's Wi-Fi network has gone away again. Finally I have found the network display I was looking for yesterday:

 
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From left to right we have the Marriott's network from next door, my own and the inverter. The inverter is so much stronger because I'm right next to it. But the battery is nowhere to be seen.

Apart from all that, there's the issue of how much charge. Basically I have two conflicting uses of the battery:

  1. Keep power from the day for use during the night. For this, I need as low a discharge cutoff as possible.
  2. Keep power to guard against a potential failure. For this, I need as high a discharge cutoff as possible.

Fixing the gas cooker
Topic: food and drink, general, opinion Link here

Why is the “low” setting on the gas cooker so high? It was exactly the same problem with the last cooker, but I've never seen the issue before we came here.

Potentially there are three causes, by no means mutually exclusive:

  1. It could be a general problem with LPG. But that's what we had in Wantadilla and Kleins Road, which makes it unlikely.
  2. It could be a problem with the cooktops themselves. This is what I had assumed when it happened with the first cooktop, but now we have a second.
  3. It could be a problem with the pressure regulator.

The fact that the pressure regulator is the only thing in common makes it suspect. Out to take some photos:


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Is the text embossed on the body intended to be read? It's very difficult, which is probably why it states “DO NOT ATTEMPT PREPAIR” [sic]. And “INSIST YOUR GAS CO. REGULARLY SERVICE REGULATOR” sounds like a non-starter, especially since there is none.

Even while I was taking the photos it occurred to me that they had already tested the gas pressure when I first complained about the issue. Is that enough reason to discount the cause? Somewhere I have an adjustable regulator. Maybe I should play around with that.


Where's my wine?
Topic: food and drink, general, opinion Link here

On Monday this week I finally managed to get my way through the Mclaren Vale Cellars web site and order and pay for some wine. At the time I had received a confirmation along with tracking numbers. And Australia Post told me that the numbers were invalid.

The next morning, ha ha, only joking, we have now received shipping information.

And today? So nice, so nice, we do it twice:

Shipping information approved by Australia Post, Tue 21 May • 9:21am
Shipping information received by Australia Post, Tue 21 May • 8:51am

No time zone, of course. We don't need no steenking time zones. But it looks as if the second entry (on top, of course could be Victorian time (UTC+10), while the first was South Australian time (UTC+9:30). Approved? Received? Believe that who may.

And that was all. Decided against calling them up and asking what was going on. Probably Australia Post is just confused again.


Revisiting the Big Oak
Topic: general, animals Link here

For a change, took the dogs for a walk to the „Dicke Eiche“ (“Big Oak”), really a clump of rather thin eucalypts to the south of our old house in Kleins Road:


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Went quite some distance from the eagle's nest via Kleins Paddock:

 
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Or at least it seemed quite a way. On return and processing, discovered that it was only 2.01 km, coincidentally 10 m shorter than yesterday's walk.


Air-fried ćevapčići
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

Ćevapčići for dinner tonight (really left-overs from making Bratwurst). In the past I had done this sort of thing in the toaster oven, but it sounded like an ideal match for the new “Air fryer”. After 10 minutes at 210° I had:


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That's actually quite good, and for once we didn't have lots of juice underneath the meat.


This page contains (roughly) yesterday's and today's entries. I have a horror of reverse chronological documents, so all my diary entries are chronological. This page normally contains the last two days, but if I fall behind it may contain more. You can find older entries in the archive. Note that I often update a diary entry a day or two after I write it.     Do you have a comment about something I have written? This is a diary, not a “blog”, and there is deliberately no provision for directly adding comments. But I welcome feedback and try to reply to all messages I receive. See the diary overview for more details. If you do send me a message relating to something I have written, please indicate whether you'd prefer me not to mention your name. Otherwise I'll assume that it's OK to do so.


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