07/10/2010 – 90-Amp Flux Welder Okay, this is another one of my hair brained ideas. I recently purchased a small solar panel setup from Harbor Freight. The frame for the three panels are pretty lame. I’m afraid that one good gust of wind and the panels would end up on the ground–shattered into pieces. I decided I needed something a bit more sturdy. I searched the web and what seemed like 100’s of web sites looking for something that would work as a good frame and a rotating stand. Nada… at least not in the price range I was will to pay for. I decided I could make one fairly easely. After a quick check of the weeky sales flyer at Harbor Freight, they had their 90-amp flux welder on sale. In addition to the sale price, I had a 20% off coupon that make the deal worth getting. My cheap $89 welder actually cost me close to $200 by the time I got all of the accessories required. Leather bib and gloves, welders helmet, .030 flud wire, metal brushes, etc, etc. I’ve never welded a day in my life but I was gonna learn real quick! Lesson #1 — Don’t weld on the nice new WOODEN table you just built. Hot weld splatter will leave burn marks. Lesson #2 — Don’t weld near the table saw where there is a pile of wood dust and shavings lay’n around. : > Lesson #3 — Don’t touch the hot metal you just welded for at least 10-minutes. It stays hot for a long time! Lesson #4 — Don’t try to weld galvanized pipe until you read the warning about toxic fumes and welding.
Tag Archives: Home Projects
06/18/2010: TED 5002 Arrived TED is a home energy monitoring system. You can monitor specific circuits, just portions of the house or the entire energy usage at one big view. I researched various systems and settled on the TED (The Energy Detective) due to its high user rating and that they just received approval from Google to start publishing data on Googles’ PowerMeter interface. Our average gas & electrical bill was running around $190 @ month and kept increasing a little each and every month on a steady basis. I purchased the TED 5002-C model that comes with dual clamps so I could monitor two individual circuits and move the clamps around for various readings throughout the house. The system is very slick and works as advertised. Yea, it has a few minor quarks but overall it has worked well and provides some solid insight into power usage. I quickly discovered we left the lights on in the garage way too often; the living room plasma TV sucks up 500 watts and the wall warts don’t really eat up that much power in comparison to the big picture. I also discovered that our Koi pond, which runs two filter pumps 24×7 used up 40% of our electrical usage. With a few changes (and ripping out the Koi pond) we’ve reduced our bill to $93 in August and $96 in September. The numbers are now automatically fed to our iGoogle page and I’m looking into some solar panels for how it might fit into the house and backyard for further savings. See more info and photos on my tech page here.
02/15/2010: Davis Weather Station Install No sure what really got me started into thinking about a dedicated weather station here at the house. It may have been work or some other external force telling me I needed a new tech toy to play with. There are a lot of weather systems from cheap $100 systems that only seem to last a year or two and then the more quality simi professional systems that run $500-$1000 (and up) that has all the bells and whisles and provides accurate information. After a ton of reviews and reading lots of news groups, I went with the Davis Vantage Pro system. The system feeds data to my Windows Home Server and then creates graphs and data feeds for a community web site I manage (http://www.murocdata.com/ovh/ovh-wx.htm). Check out the site and my weather info.