Author Archives: pete

Making Silicone Rubber Molds

This is a nifty technology for making candles and casts, and lots of hobby and crafts. I learned how to do this at TechShop in San Jose. The smooth-on.com website also has lots of videos. It is a two part … Continue reading

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Off Grid Batteries

One question I get asked a lot is “how long do the batteries last?” Batteries fail very slowly at first, then they seem to shrink until you replace them. In the summer when there is enough sun to recharge them … Continue reading

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Kickstarter Project – PWRLNK-55

I have a Kickstarter campaign running for this little board, the PWRLNK-55, which converts the kind of voltages we see on solar panels, often around 21 Volts, down to the very useful 5 Volts used by USB and many electronic … Continue reading

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A New Batch of Mead

Mead is the oldest of fermented alcoholic beverages, a wine made from honey. There are cave drawings of honey gathering from bees hives going back almost 10,000 years. If left to sit for a while, honey with a bit of … Continue reading

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Hand Soldering Surface Mount

Most modern electronic devices are now made with Surface Mount Technology (SMT). Sometimes you see the abbreviation SMD for Surface Mount Devices. They are cheaper to mass produce, but need some manufacturing setup which is often too expensive to do … Continue reading

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Checking Up on an Old Solar Panel

I tinkered with solar cells all through high school, making small panels and using them to charge batteries, run fans and lights. I got this Arco M25 in January 1989. At that time, Arco was one of the few, if … Continue reading

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Another Year

It’s been a year since I started this blog on the way back from a trip to Vermont to see the fall foliage colors. I should put up a few shots of this year’s trip:

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Broken Windows and the Metric System

The US is the only major economy in the world that doesn’t use the metric system. Even the English are no longer using so-called English measurements. In the metric system there is only one unit for each type of thing … Continue reading

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The One to Beat July 1993

I’ve long been a laptop user. They tend to be more efficient with power usage. In the early days before I had enough solar panels, that was an important detail. I still don’t have enough power to leave a large … Continue reading

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Summit Fire

Five years ago today, I awoke to the ringing phone – “There is a fire in your area. CalFire recommends that you evacuate.” The sky was clear blue out two sets of windows and in almost every direction outside. But … Continue reading

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