Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Hit and Miss

The latest project here under the Shadetree is this old hit and miss engine. It's on what's left of an old Economy Tractor. We'll have this thing popping and hopping real soon. These things are a blast to hear run. They are quite primitive with nothing mechanical operating the intake valve. The only thing that opens it is the vacuum created by the intake stroke thats sucks the valve open and draws in air and gasoline.

It has a governor that controls the speed of the engine by holding the exhaust valve open and the engine freewheels until it slows down enough to let the exhaust valve operate. It will then fire once or twice and go back to coasting. That's where the hit and miss moniker comes from.

Sunday, May 26, 2019

One Tuff Kitty

A few days ago I literally stumbled onto One Tuff Kitty out in my shed. At first I thought he was dead but was apparently abandoned by his mother. Not sure how he got there and he was in pretty bad shape. From online research I think he was about 3 weeks old... He was a strong willed little thing... so tiny... kitty formula and ointment for his eyes and for a couple of days I thought he might pull through. It was not to be though and yesterday he went on up to Kitty Heaven... but not before finding his way into my heart.

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Duke uses Facebook for Customer Support ?

I spent about 40 minutes on the phone yesterday with Duke Energy's so called customer service about 38 of those minutes were listening to some loud obnoxious music. I looked on their website for a contact me link so I could send them an email... they don't have that either. They do however have someone manning facebook and twitter and encourage you to submit your customer service issues there. I find that both sad and unsatisfactory for a company of their size....with a CEO whose salary was 21 million in 2017. I find it hard to imagine how one person is worth that kind of money in a publicly held company. But it has become the nature of things in this country unfortunately. It's not about pubic service anymore... It about lining the pocketbooks of the elite few.

I found this link about CEO salaries of publicly held companies in the country... the top 200 CEO's salaries in 2017 add up to a combined total of $3,149,726,435... That's a lot of fat.


26 CEOs Who Made More Than Their Companies Paid In Federal Tax   thats from 2012 before the most recent round of tax breaks

They have a website where supposedly you can monitor your smart meter... I've never actually seen it because the website is broken.... which was part of my reason for calling them in the first place.

I did post on their facebook page that I though they should have a way of contacting customer service on their own webpage... if you think so too perhaps you could go there and comment too.

Facebook Duke Energy

Monday, January 7, 2019

A Ride Back in Time

My friend Clarence recently acquired this very cool truck… which I actually found on facebook ads. It was ready to roll right from the gitgo πŸ˜‰ has a few minor issues but has taken us around Little Mountain a few times now. Working on the ahooogah horn…amazing that you can get new brushes for that right online. Didn’t need brushes though… it has an ungrounded motor inside and requires two leads to make it work… it was missing one but still had the original connectors inside… quite amazing.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Irons in the Fire

Planning to build a picnic shed by the pond on Clarence's place... I found this pic online and think we're going to do something along this line in the near future.

Monday, December 17, 2018

2018 in Review

2018 has been a bit hectic... and my blog a bit neglected... I'm going to end 2018 about the same way I started this year with a return to the handyman proa. It been taking up space in a shop that belongs to my good friend Clarence Gibbs. The shop now has heat and air and a pretty good start on the tools needed to become the center of  handyman festivities. I need to make a call on the proa project to either get it on the water or get it out of the way and move on to something else. I'm moving my home automation related posts to  Electrick Handyman. I recently discovered upython that can be installed on ESP 32 and the 8266. I also finally broke down and got a Raspberry Pi... it's a full blown computer on a card with a linux variant operating system and it can run a program called Node-Red which is a cool tool for allowing the ESP 32 and other devices to communicate with each other using the mosquito or msqtt protocol. I will be posting updates on that undertaking on Electrick Handyman as well.

Friday, April 6, 2018

The Cottonwood Trail

I've been doing handyman work as a sideline for a little over a year now and it has been both enjoyable and profitable. I would like to thank all of you that have allowed me to be your handyman. One of my more interesting encounters led to my discovery of the Cottonwood Trail on Lawsons Fork Creek. It seems I'm becoming more connected to this creek.. It seems to be everywhere I'm fond of frequenting. I enjoy riding a motorcycle and often ride on Hanging Rock road which borders the creek there at Valley Falls. It also borders the property at USC Upstate... its not so obvious there but I recently discovered that there are some nice trails alongside the creek there. Most recently I discovered the Cottonwood Trail by accident... I have a customer whose property is very close to the creek in the Fernwood area. After finishing a job there I saw a sign for the trail and decided to check it out. It is a 115 acre preserve complete with a boardwalk and nice trails in the heart of Spartanburg... if you've never been there you should check it out.

This is the view from my friends window... Lawsons Fork Creek is just across the road... they had this killer piece of glass art... A 12 inch cube of  fused glass with an incredible amount of detail in the colored cube in the center.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Handyman's ESP32 Home Automation Web Server

The ESP32 Handyman home automation web server is up and running. The ESP32 connects to your local WiFi network and then you can connect via your cell phone or your computer or tablet and control eight devices. These are hard wired to an eight relay device which you can see in my previous post. The ESP32 serves up the webpage and switches the eight relays which are in turn wired to the devices you want to control. Virtually all of my lighting is led types. In my shed / shop area I have at least ten led light fixtures all on one circuit. I checked the load with an amp meter and it was less than two amps. The relay switches are rated for 10 amps so no problem there.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Alexa Home Automation R&D

I spent the last couple of weeks getting up to speed on some of the home automation tools that are available off the shelf and home brew versions as well. Many of the components can be used with the Alexa and similar devices. I picked up a couple of the Echo Dot 2nd generation devices and have some of the remote control devices that work with it on the way.  I can see where this thing might be a bit addictive as well as being capable of some pretty sophisticated uses.

I picked up one of these ESP32 boards and it's what got me on the home automation bandwagon. I didn't really know much about it when I bought it but in researching some of its capabilities I learned that it and its predecessor the ESP8266 can be used as a remote device to be controlled by an Alexa. The 32 board is still pretty bleeding edge but has a ton of capability. It has both WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity and a great deal of  information about them is available on the web.

It was a fairly easy undertaking to set up the ESP32 device as a webserver on my home wifi network that can control via a web page... 8 relays that can control lights or other low current devices.

Control by Alexa is not so well supported on the ESP32 but there are many examples using the ESP8266. I have a couple of them on the way.

I also have some Sonoff devices on the way as well that work with the Alexa or with a phone app right off the shelf.

I will be posting more on this undertaking as these parts arrive and get put online.

Stay tuned πŸ˜€

Sunday, March 4, 2018

It's Been Busy

Time flies when you are having fun. Close to having the old G Model Allis Chalmers ready to go.These are funky rear engine tractors from the late forties. Designed as a cultivator to plow between the rows of plants... you could look down between your legs and see it at work.

Made a little smoke yesterday with the old Allis Chalmers G model. I had done a valve job on it...
the block looks a bit like a 4 cylinder Briggs and Stratton with the valves in the block. Got the head back on yesterday and tried it with a little starting fluid just to see if it would fire. Put a new gas line on it and it fired right up... purred like a kitten.