Building the Solar System Part 2

I successfully installed a 480 Watt solar system on my balcony. The system consists of a charge controller (40A), two 6 volt 230 AH batteries tied in series to generate 12 V, three 160 Watt panels, and a 2300 Watt DC-to-AC inverter. The only draw back so far has been the DC-to-AC converter. which uses a modified sine wave, that causes some harmonic distortion when plugged into the TV.

Designing my Solar System Part 1

Being in energy and an advocate for innovation, I decided it was time for me to install my own solar setup. I intend to build a solar system with about 800 Watt capacity to power my washing machine, desktop computer, TV and modem.

The first piece of my system arrived a 1100 Watt inverter, 12 volt DC to 110 AC that will attach directly to my battery bank. The inverter made by PowerBright is available on I tested the inverter using my car battery and it is working as intended receiving 12.40 VDC from the battery and outputting 110 AC. I plugged in my laptop charger, and it drew 78 Watts while charging my computer. The next thing I need to do is size my battery bank capacity, chose a charger controller and solar panels.

My new Briggs and Riley Compact Garment Bag

A few months ago I purchased a Briggs and Riley 22 inch carry-on suitcase. It has served its intend use for my 5-15 day domestic trips. However, for short trips 2-3 days in duration I usually throw some items in my backpack or a small duffle bag. When I arrive at the destination my shirt usually becomes wrinkled or I tend to throw too much stuff in the bag.

After studying different luggage options I decided buying a tri-fold compact garment bag was a good idea. I can place 7-10 items of clothing inside the bag and a pair of shoes. This is more than enough capacity for a short 2-3 day trip. From a size perspective, the bag conforms to all domestic carry-on regulations and is a fairly light bag and well constructed bag. One downfall of the compact garment bag is there’s really no place to store dirty clothes except in the front pocket.


Bash for Windows

I’ve been a linux user for at least 15 years, almost half of my life. Accessing my linux distribution has always come through putty or a mac terminal line. But it seems putty’s days are number as bash is coming to windows. Now I’ll be able to SSH easily into my servers and do my web-development.


Without my laptop or tablet

Tonight is the first night in 10 years where I haven’t had my work laptop, or personal laptop with me. When I left the office tonight, I put them in my drawer because I had to run some errands and I don’t like keeping my laptop in my car,especially after my car got broken into in SF. But, I never made it back to the office tonight. It feels sorta nice and sorta weird at the same time. I guess it gives me more time to read the NYT and watch Netflix from my phone.


Lenovo PC Turns on Unexpectedly

For the past few nights my Lenovo desktop (B40-30) has been turning itself on automatically in the middle of the night. At first I thought perhaps the power button was depressed by a book next to the computer. I checked and that wasn’t the case. After searching google I’ve found that this is a common problem experienced in Windows 10.

From Microsoft Community Forum: Lenovo desktop turns itself back on after upgrading to Windows 10


It turns out my wifi driver was set to automatically turn-on my desktop if prompted by wifi. This problem was solved by turning off the option to allow my desktop to be waked by the wifi network, which was checked.



A New Suitcase

The likelihood of traveling frequently by plane and not having luggage damaged by mishandling is very low, making it important to invest in well-designed luggage backed by a good warranty policy. Briggs and Riley manufactured luggage fits both of these criteria, which I was introduced to by a sales associate while visiting Harrods in London. I purchased the Baseline, U122CX a two-wheel carry on meeting the dimensional requirements for most airlines I fly on. The four-wheel bag might have been more maneuverable but I felt the space trade-off made for the four-wheel bag was too great.


The bag is extremely well-constructed with a garment system built-in to keep a suit from being wrinkled, a clever expansion system that compresses the bag by 25%, and parts that can be easily replaced. I’m very happy with my purchase and plan to buy more Briggs and Riley products in the future.


We need more trains

The Amtrak tragedy is unfortunate and we shouldn’t rush to conclusions on why the accident occurred until the investigation is completed by the NTSB. I enjoy traveling on trains, I’ve used Amtrak Acela service, Eurostar, French TGV, Taiwan High Speed Rail, and Italian High Speed Rail. Train service needs to be expanded and faster, routes between places like Boston, MA and Burlington, VT take an entire workday and this is unacceptable. Fast train service will provide more flexibility by enabling more weekend trips and reducing carbon emissions.  Improving our national rail infrastructure will require investment by the government and/or private entities.