We Wish You a White Trash Christmas

I haven’t posted in a while, but want to get this retread of the 400+ year old hymn (We Wish You a Merry Christmas) out for Christmas 2014…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ahem…

We Wish You a White Trash Christmas

We wish you a white trash Christmas,
We wish you a white trash Christmas,
We wish you a white trash Christmas,
And a tasty cold beer.

Chorus
Good tidings we bring to you and your kin,
We wish you a white-trash Christmas
And a tasty cold beer.

LR Baggs Anthem, Anthem SL and Venue DI

What follows is a letter of praise sent to the staff at LR Baggs.

===========================

After producing a Christmas music/drama variety show at our Church last Sunday I feel compelled to share my experiences with LR Baggs vs. other solutions that arrived during sound check. As many of you likely understand, sound check for a slew of different music groups is a nightmare at worst and challenging at best. Without going into too many details, sound check is a time for the house system to wring out its gear and mentally prepare for the segue between groups. This is not the time to debug the internal electronics for the performers’ acoustic guitars. Right?

Hoverman TV Antenna

Thanks to the efforts of a great many antenna enthusiasts, the Hoverman design is reborn to help TV viewers obtain off the air (OTA) television signals.

On my hamradio site I document some history, manufacture and testing of a modern version of the venerable Doyt Hoverman UHF TV antenna.

Please enjoy Superbowl TV Antenna.

LED Dimmer using Current Mirror

The circuit below is a straight forward way to provide continuous control over the intensity of one or more LEDs using a current regulator circuit based on a crude current mirror.

Linear LED Intensity Controller

Linear Regulator LED Intensity Controller

Summary

  • Q1 buffers the potentiometer voltage a little.
  • Size R2 for maximum current through the LEDs.
  • Q3 “mirrors” the current pushed through Q2 despite the voltage drop of the LED string.
  • The compliance range of Q3 is the battery voltage less about 1V.
  • R3 and R4 are optional, but improve the balance of the mirror by reducing the variability of emitter resistance.

Drawing a Schematic? Know your Drawing Standards.

Before you start on your next electrical schematic diagram you need to understand what a drawing is, how it is organized and who governs the format of drawings.

Many times schematics are thought to be exempt from this formality, but nothing could be farther from the truth.

Solar Wannabee – The story of one family’s hope for Green Energy

The desire to be green exists in most of us I am sure. However, not all of us have cash on hand to “contribute” to the solar industry. What follows is the analysis of one family’s planning to use free solar energy without breaking the bank.

Preface:

My wife thinks I am a greeny weeny in my quest to harness the free energy from that big star out there. I say I am just trying to use Star Power. I like that name better than Solar Energy.

PV Solar Inverters and FCC Part 15

When you shop for a PV Solar Grid Tie inverter you are well advised to ensure the unit complies not only with UL testing, but also passes some form of Part 15 Class B test.

This gives you the best chance of not corrupting the communication ability of a licensed communications service such as FEMA and even Amateur Radio.

Even with Part 15 compliance there is a bit of risk involved with installing DC to AC inverters as they are inherently very noisy in radio communication bands. The better ones do their job and do it quietly.

JACK/PLUG – Jack, Plug, Male, Female Connectors

This following is a myth.

“JACK/PLUG – In electronics, a jack is a female part into which one inserts a plug, the male part.”

While often the case, the real definition is the jack is the more fixed of a connector pair and the plug is the less fixed connector of the same pair. Where two connectors are neither less or more fixed with respect to each other, both are a plug.

This was quite sensibly defined most recently in the IEEE-200-1975 standard. This standard was renewed in the 1980s and withdrawn in the 1990s. Even so it and IEEE-315-1975 form the basis on how to create reference designators in and around electrical equipment.

Can Lithium Batteries Compete with Lead?

I was talking with a friend of mine who specifies battery technologies for a living. Our conversation drifted to the topic of electric vehicles and, more specifically, the batteries for them.

I suggested the idea that many times the good old lead acid battery is hard to beat for many applications, even ones with severe weight requirements because:

  • Joule for joule they are heavier than newer battery types include Lithium chemistry variants, but they are not an order of magnitude heavier
  • Most everyone knows how to deal with a lead acid battery

Solar and Wind – When are they Energy and Financially Positive?

Recently my interests have turned again to alternative energy sources. Whenever I do this, I always find myself looking at the big picture of every energy sub-topic including sources, transmission and use.

For example…

Hybrid automobiles seem to be an interesting idea initially. However, if you take a step back and look at the entire energy equation you begin to see they don’t provide a benefit worth the extra costs frequently paid for the hybrid option. This benefit changes, of course, with the price of fuel, but generally, the market seems to price up the very benefit they claim to provide. We will examine more of this topic in another post. For now the point is the term “Hybrid Car” seems to be just a term the owner can brag about – even if the real benefit is not really there.