Maschine Mikro Tutorial 3 of 3

Maschine Mikro Tutorial 2 of 3

Maschine Mikro Tutorial 1 of 3

Healthy Grocery List

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I don’t know about you, but I used to dred going to the grocery store to buy stuff for meals.  It is very time consuming, you need to pay close attention to what you are picking out, and you need to try and remember everything you need to restock your refrigerator and cabinets.  Additionally, it is hard to try and choose the most healthy combination of foods while you have gummi bears and potato chips staring you down.

A method that is commonly used by people who maintain a pretty specific diet plan is to keep a grocery list of the most common foods they eat for each meal.  Sure, this sounds basic, but I have found that one of the most effective tricks to keeping me eating healthy foods, and staying on track for my dietary needs has been to create a grocery list that is associated with meals that I eat reguarly and to purchase only the specific items on my list when I am out shopping at the grocery store.

A site I have found that has been extremely helpful for me to coordinate both my grocery list and meals is called www.healthygrocerylist.com.  It is a really easy site to use, and it makes creating a grocery list a no-brainer.

Using the site is easy.  Visit the site, select a category of recipes you would like to see, and then browse through the food recipes you would like to put together for your meals.  Once you have selected a few recipes, you will then be able to generate a grocery list of all the recipe items you have selected.  It is that simple.  The grocery list outputs to a very clean, well-organized punch list.  The categories for recipes is very inclusive of many diet types, and I was also impressed with the extremely large selection of available recipes to choose from.  Selecting meals and picking your groceries based on those meals has not been easier!

 

How to make a light duty solar panel junction box

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If you have multiple solar panels and you want to connect them together to form an array, it is very helpful to create a solar panel junction box to help keep the wiring organized, and to also help eliminate reductions in voltage or watts coming from the solar panels.  In this write up, I will describe how to make a light duty solar panel junction box.  My definition of a light duty solar panel junction box is a box intended to be used to join low voltage, low amperage, low wattage solar panels together in parallel.  If you have 12 volt solar panels under 5 amps, that use 18-12 guage wiring – then this box will work for you.  If you have higher wattage solar panels that use MC4 connections, I recommend you view my write up for a heavy duty solar panel junction box.

When I created this light duty solar panel junction box, my intention was to create a solar panel array that was composed of 6 15 watt solar panels all wired in parallel.  This way the amperage and voltage would stay the same, but we would be increasing the joined wattage of the panels at the junction box.  I had started with two of the harbor freight 45 watt solar panel kits that use 12 guage wire and do not produce a lot of juice compared to larger panels.  I planned to install these panels on the roof of my garage, run the wiring to the junction box, and then run the junction box to a charge controller that would regulate my battery bank.  I wanted to keep the setup as simple and clean as possible.  The junction box you are creating is basically just an enclosed positive and negative bus bar that joins all of the positive leads of the solar panels to one bar, and all of the negative leads of the solar panels to the other bar.  Again, this is parallel wiring, so the amperage does not increase, the voltage does not increase, but the wattage does increase.

Step 1:

Go to Radio Shack and pick up the following items:

1) Project Box Enclosure

2) Barrier Strip – 8 or 12 position

3) Jumper Strip (if they do not have anymore, get a pronged electrical connector that can be used as a jumper

4) Grommets

5) 12 guage wire with two leads.  If they only have 1 lead, then get two reels – 1 red and 1 black

6) Super Glue

Step 2:

Take out the Barrier Strips and Jumpers and connect the jumpers to the barrier strip:

Step 2 option B if no jumpers are available:

Step 3:

Super Glue the new barrier strip with junctions inside the project box:

Step 4:

Drill a holes in the bottom of your project box large enough for two wire lead in the bottom of the junction box, and drill one giant hole (largest grommet size) in the top of your box for all of the leads from the solar panels, and install your grommets.  Connect one of your wires leads to one strip, and one wire to the other barrier strip.

Step 5:  Run all of the leads from your solar panels into the large top holes on your junction box.

Step 6: Connect all of the positive wires from your solar panel to one barrier strip.  Then connect all of your negative wires from the solar panel to the other barrier strip.
You will now have one positive bus bar, and one negative bus bar.  Your junction box just helped you to take all of those messy wires from the solar panel, and organize the
into one neat box that not only combines all of the panels together in parallel, but also now gives you two nice neat wires to work with.

Step 7: Connect the new single positive lead to your charge controller, and then connect the new single negative lead to your charge controller.

Step 8: Connect your charge controller to your battery.

Kill-A-Watt

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Here is a great device to use for measuring the wattage output of your solar panels back into your grid.  It is called the Kill-A-Watt from P3.  This device is usually used to help you determine what appliances in your house are using the most wattage, and to help you get control of your electricity waste in your home.  We have included the original description below so that you can see how useful this tool is – but here is how we use it for our solar panel grid-tie setup.

We use this device in line with our solar panels and our grid tie inverters to measure how many watts, and amps our solar panels are actually producing through our grid tie inverter, and how much energy we are putting back into our grid.  This device is great because it plugs into your outlet, and they you plug your grid tie inverter into it.  Once you switch on the inverter, the Kill-A-Watt, starts recording how many amps, and watts are being produced.  It will even show you how many Kw have been created and over how many hours so that you can really judge the effectiveness of your panels.  We think it is a great device and we have it hooked up to all of our solar panel arrays that are grid-tied.
HERE IS WHAT THE KILL-A-WATT is normally used for:
The Kill-A-Watt allows you to connect your appliances and assess how efficient they are. A large LCD display counts consumption by the Kilowatt-hour.  You can figure out your electrical expenses by the hour, day, week, month, even an entire year. Monitor the quality of your power by displaying Voltage, Line Frequency, and Power Factor.

  • Enables cost forecasting
  • Accurate to within 0.2%
  • Cumulative killowatt-hour monitor
  • Displays Volts, Amps, Watts, Hz, VA, KWH, Power Factor
  • Operating voltage: 115 VAC
  • Max current: 15 A
  • Max power: 1875 VA

You can find these online, ebay, or even radio shack.

Grid Tie Solar Inverter

Solar Grid Tie Inverter

What is a Plug and Play Solar Grid Tie Inverter?

A Grid Tie inverter is a simple device that takes direct solar panel electrical input, and then steps it up to a pure syne wave that can be pumped into your household grid through a recepticle.  These devices look like AC/DC inverters, and in a way they are, but they are pure syne wave inverters that output AC electricity.  So they take the power from your solar panels, and then pump them into your house grid – allowing you to input the juice you are creating to your own home electrical grid.

There are pros and cons to using these, and in our experience, here are a few things to be aware of when using these devices.
1) When these devices are on, you DO NOT want to unplug them, as you can get an electrical shock.  Since these actually push electrical out of the male plug back into your house recepticle, these work opposite of what you are used to with normal plugs, and you should never touch the male plug from the Grid Tie Inverter while it is on, as it will electrocute you.

2) These should only plugged into a dedicated GFI circuit coming directly out of your main breaker box.  You really should have a shut-off switch between your main breaker and the GFI this is plugged into to completely eliminate this device from the grid in the event of a grid shut-down.  These devices have a safety on them that shuts them down when no grid electricity is detected, but if you have this plugged into the grid, producting electricity during a black-out, there is a possibility that a line-man could get a zap from your device.

3) We have learned that regardless of what the actual watts of power these inverters claim to produce, they are really only half effecient, and you should never try to overload them with more than half their capacity or they will overheat or catch on fire.  So if you have a 600watt Grid tie inverter – expect to only run 300 watts of solar panel juice to it, and expect it only to produce about 300 watts.  This is very important to note, as these have a tendancy to over-heat and shut-down or catch on fire if you overload them.

4) You can stack these devices to try and get more power output from them, but we do not recommend this.  It is best to keep them running separately on their own circuits when using more than one on your grid.  What happens with these units is when they are stacked, they actually become master and slave units, and the slave unit hardly gets any say in the amount of power or output it produces.  The master likes to take over, and they you are overloading that device.  So keep them on separate circuits, and pnly feed them from separate solar panel arrays.


INSTALLATION:

Installing a Grid Tie Inverter is very simple.  Just connect the Red leads from the solar panels to the Red DC Input pole on the inverter, and connect the Black leads from the solar panels to the Black DC Input pole on the inverter.  Connect a ground wire to the ground lead and connect this to a ground terminal on your house.  Then plug the male AC Output plug connection into a dedicated GFI outlet on your house.  ONCE THIS IS PLUGGED IN, DO NOT EVER DISCONNECT IT WHILE THE UNIT IS ON!  Then turn on the inverter.  It will indicate that it is generating power to the grid by the LED lights on the side.  We recommend that you plug in a Kill-a-watt meter between your GFI and inverter to measure how much juice it is pushing back into the grid.

What is a Pitbike?

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A “pitbike” is a 50CC, 110, or 125cc bike that is ridden in the pits at motocross races, BMX races, etc, and is driven by an adult.  Gernally pitbikes have a  50cc engine.   Some Pro racers used them to get around the track/pits when not racing, and this how they really caught on.

Nowdays, pitbikes have become very popular with general public and dirt bike racers as well for actually taking onto the dirt track and using them to do stunts, tricks, and racing with them.  The idea here is to modify the stock pitbike by giving it bigger handlebars, changing out the sproket, and even boring out the engine.  This has been done in Europe for quite some time, and has been catching on in the States.

To me, these bikes (50CC) are great for anyone really interested in teaching your kids to ride dirt bikes and even for anyone interested in getting into learning how to do motorcycle stunts and tricks.  Yes believe it or not – even adults that want to learn how to do stunts and tricks can do a lot with a 50CC pitbike.  I learned how to do a lot of fun stunts and tricks on a 50CC before I tried them with my 1000CC street bike.

50CC – 125CC Dirt Bikes

Young riders generally purchase dirt bikes with engine sizes from 50 cc to 150 cc, whereas older ones tend to purchase 250 cc, 450 cc and 650 cc bikes. Most of the 125cc dirt bikes which are sold have a four-stroke, air-cooled engine with a single cylinder. These really powerful bikes are definitely meant for younger riders. In fact, the 125cc four-stroke engine is known as a racing motor since dirt bikes possessing this engine are common in the lineup for motorcycle races. They are very good on rough and difficult tracks due to their body framework and control. Dirt bikes with 125cc engines are also popular for doing stunts and tricks.

popular pitbikes in the 50CC range include the XR50

Peter Tkacz’s Photography

Check out my buddy Peter Tkacz’s photography.  He shoots some really cool old school film photography.

Tkacz-designs.com

STOP SOPA and PIPA

STOP-SOPA

On Jan 24th, Congress will vote to pass internet censorship in the Senate, even though the vast majority of Americans are opposed. We need to kill the bill – PIPA in the Senate and SOPA in the House – to protect our rights to free speech, privacy, and prosperity.   CONGRESS NEEDS TO HEAR FROM YOU!  PLEASE GO TO THE LINK BELOW AND SIGN THE PETITION:

http://fightforthefuture.org/pipa

The video above discusses the Senate version of the House’s Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). In the Senate the bill is called the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA). SOPA has gotten more attention than PIPA because it was moving faster in the legislative process. But PIPA is just as dangerous, and now it is moving faster.

PIPA would give the government new powers to block Americans’ access websites that corporations don’t like. The bill lets corporations and the US government censor entire websites and cut sites off from advertising, payments and donations.

This legislation will stifle free speech and innovation, and even threaten popular web services like Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook.

The bill is scheduled for a test vote in the Senate on Jan. 24th: We need to act now to let our lawmakers know just how terrible it is. Will you fill out the form above to ask your lawmakers to oppose the legislation and support a filibuster?