OSHA is there for the employee’s welfare… except when it isn’t.

Perhaps at the expense of employee safety and redress for workplace injury, during May 2021 OSHA changed “the law” on a dime going from this statement in the FAQ…


Are adverse reactions to the COVID-19 vaccine recordable on the OSHA recordkeeping log?
In general, an adverse reaction to the COVID-19 vaccine is recordable if the reaction is: (1) work-related, (2) a new case, and (3) meets one or more of the general recording criteria in 29 CFR 1904.7 (e.g., days away from work, restricted work or transfer to another job, medical treatment beyond first aid).




Are adverse reactions to the COVID-19 vaccine recordable on the OSHA recordkeeping log?
DOL and OSHA, as well as other federal agencies, are working diligently to encourage COVID-19 vaccinations. OSHA does not wish to have any appearance of discouraging workers from receiving COVID-19 vaccination, and also does not wish to disincentivize employers’ vaccination efforts. As a result, OSHA will not enforce 29 CFR 1904’s recording requirements to require any employers to record worker side effects from COVID-19 vaccination through May 2022. We will reevaluate the agency’s position at that time to determine the best course of action moving forward.

The employer requiring a vaccine is obviously on the hook for any health liability since the entire health chain has immunity from any bad health effects on vaccine recipients… but OSHA rules designed to protect the employee have bailed on your behalf via selective enforcement.

06 May 2021 · Topic: Health · Tags: , ,

Applying some science to understanding excess deaths from COVID-19, we take a deep dive into the death data from various countries and US states.

Facebook may be misleading its readers to thinking the COVID vaccines authorized for emergency use by the FDA have met the standard for FDA approval.

How to view the modem status pins on a serial port in Ubuntu linux.

12 November 2014 · Topic: Music · Tags:

Whoa there!!!

I know… I know what you might be thinking. What is a post like this doing in an engineering blog. Engineers are often musicians and writers. Not necessarily great ones mind you, but sometimes when you watch your family during the holidays, words just pop into your head.

Here is a retread of the 400+ year old hymn (We Wish You a Merry Christmas) out for Christmas 2014.

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.

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

Grandma buys us gifts from offshore,
Grandma buys us gifts from offshore,
Grandma buys us gifts from offshore,
They don’t last one year.


Grandpa pees with the door open,
Grandpa pees with the door open,
Grandpa pees with the door open,
So we can all hear.


My cousins bring the main entree,
My cousins bring the main entree,
My cousins bring the main entree,
Its the rump of a deer.


The in-laws are always fighting,
The in-laws are always fighting,
The in-laws are always fighting,
The kids hide in fear.


My sis gives the gift of ammo,
My sis gives the gift of ammo,
My sis gives the gift of ammo,
We all can now cheer.


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.

Merry Christmas

Copyright John S. Huggins

You think I’m making the lyrics up?

HahahaHAaah LOL LOL LOL lol… sigh… no 🙁

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?


Of the four initial acoustic guitars with installed pickup systems, only two, using Drum & Strum installed LR Baggs units, worked flawlessly. Other plain acoustics using sound-hole pickup systems also worked well. I can’t say the same about two other “high end” guitars with built-in electronics that caused no end of trouble during our sound check. The first guitar clipped and then… fed back and then… became unusable. A second of the same brand was swapped in – didn’t work. The quick thinking owners of these issue prone guitars borrowed our Norman and a “save the day” PRS acoustic (PRS Acoustic? Who knew?) that wandered in the door in response to a plea for functioning guitars. I’m not going to mention the brand of the otherwise superb guitars with coffee can sounding electronics other than to say some trade names rhyme with “depression.” My guess is the guitars’ batteries were low and these things seem to eat batteries like candy. I’m surprised the guitars from this maker don’t come with a replacement battery bandolier to wear on stage. Or, perhaps, they should just swallow their pride and create an external power supply solution. Alembic does this very well so this is not an odd concept.

Now I come to the point of this message. The above Norman guitar and my Fender (yes Fender) 12 string acoustic both had LR Baggs pickups installed last year: Anthem SL and Anthem respectively. Since these two guitars were never scheduled to play at the same time, they shared one LR Baggs Venue DI with easy, pop-free, swapping via the mute/tune switch on the Venue. This show vindicated my decision to choose LR Baggs for my pickup and DI needs.

Let me preface my final point by stating I am an electrical engineer by trade with over two decades of circuit design experience including plenty of analog work. When I was first turned on to LR Baggs I reviewed their, and other, products with a critical eye towards value, not price. Once I discovered the Anthem Mic/UST hybrid with crossover mixing approach I thought to myself “Hey, that’s good thinking.”  Believe me, I was hesitant to put a $299 Anthem system into a $250 Fender 12 string, but this particular guitar has earned its stripes and I was tired of micing it. I purchased the Anthems for installation by the local luthier at Drum and Strum. Other than a bit of gain difference between the two guitars, the Anthem SL-Norman combo has more signal, the whole LR Baggs approach has earned the highest accolade I can give an analog audio system… and that sums to one simple word…


With my examples of LR Baggs product installations, you don’t notice the system is there. It just works well. It is transparent. My cheap guitar benefits greatly and others notice. Can you tell a difference between the Anthem vs. natural sound? Of course you can, but you have to focus to notice. Whereas the high end guitars mentioned above have pickup systems that are unmistakably “electric”  sounding when and if they work; The owners of these guitars deserve better.

There is a saying “You only buy quality once.”  So far this is ringing true for my handpicked LR Baggs solution for my not-so-high-end guitars. You did not let me down. The sting felt to the wallet when I purchased your products has long since faded away in the Joyful Noise of beautiful acoustic sounds celebrating Christmas.

So thank you LR Baggs for making my electrified acoustics not part of the problem during sound check and the performance.

Merry Christmas.


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.

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


  • 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.
  • DS2 is optional, but you should be able to fit as many LEDs as the voltage range allows between 9V and the collector of Q3.
  • The lowest 20% or so of potentiometer swing results in insufficient voltage to overcome the two Vbe drops of Q1 and Q2 leaving the upper 80% to control brightness.


Circuit Description
This circuit is simply a voltage to current converter with almost all battery voltage available on the output.

There isn’t a way to reliably control an LED with voltage as it is very much a current device. The attached circuit will take a voltage, set with the pot, buffer it a bit with Q1 and apply that voltage to R2. R2 changes voltage to a current which flows through the left side of the current mirror Q2 and Q3. Q3 will do whatever it takes to draw the same current through the series LEDs. Q3 essentially becomes a linear current regulator, controlled by the voltage made by pot R1, which is exactly what you want to regulate LED brightness.

The current mirror ratio is close to 1:1, but variances in transistors will cause some imbalance. The addition of R3 and R4 help to immunize the current ratio from transistor tolerances and alleviate the need for a matched pair of transistors.

There are simpler ways to create a controllable current regulator, but not by much. This is pretty robust.

R2 Controls Max Current
Note that the max current is governed by R2 which is sized just like you would for an LED in series with a battery. One small difference is Q1 and Q2 both have ~0.7 volt drop so the voltage across R2 is about 9-(2*0.7) or a little over 7V.

Potentiometer Partial Use
The LED is off for the first 20% or so of its setting due to the Vbe of Q1 and Q2. The remaining 80% smoothly controls current through the LED. If this bothers you, place one forward bias diode in series between the bottom of the pot and its ground connection. This will raise the minimum voltage 0.7 V or so and reduce the dead zone a bit. It’s up to you if adding one more component is worth expanding the potentiometer range a tiny bit.

Voltage to Current Converter
This circuit simply converts a voltage appearing on top of R2 to current through the LED, while keeping full voltage available for the LED string. In this example, R1 and Q1 provide the voltage, but any voltage will do.

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.
More »

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.


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.

Being green is certainly a goal all of us should adopt. Available green energy options cost from cheap to ridiculous. Difficulty ranges from easy to difficult. A conservative at heart, my green options have to stand the test of at least basic financial scrutiny. An electrical engineer by trade, I am a brutal reviewer of the soundness of the various systems.

The Internet documents a large amount of do it yourself (DIY) projects. The home-brew approach is nothing new in the alternative energy crowd. I have a book from the early seventies that discusses most of the same things we see documented today. The Internet is a great library of these efforts. Your initial research will be rewarded with more data than you can digest in one sitting. Don’t fret. It takes a while and you need to watch out for some very incorrect information from folks who just don’t know what they are doing. The good news is many folks have done a fine job of documenting their experiments with real data available for your review. Very nice.

My stated goal is to harness “Star Power” to offset at least some of my energy consumption and do so with economic common sense.

Highlights include:

  • Philanthropists Welcome
  • Incentives
  • Return on Investment
  • Energy Payback
  • Evaluation Criteria
  • PV Solar Electric
  • Wind Electric
  • Thermal Solar Hot Water

Philanthropists Welcome

What we are about to reveal below is just how un-economic many of the alternative energy approaches are. Many folks still pour cash into systems that cannot ever hope to be cash positive in any reasonable amount of time. They know this and still choose to do it because of their honest desire to be “good” to the Earth. I applaud anyone who contributes their hard earned cash towards the reduction in energy consumption from fossil fuels, etc. without expectation of financial reward. This is what I will call “Environmental Philanthropy.” Bravo to all of you who do this and accept my sincere thanks for what you are doing for your fellow man.


Unless you pay no attention to just about everything, you know there are exceptional financial incentives available in the form of tax credits and other benefits from Federal all the way down to local governments. These are OK, but there is a potential flaw in partaking of these benefits. You are spreading your costs to your fellow citizens in exchange for helping reduce energy consumption. Our elected representatives think this is an OK thing to do so we are stuck with it. In the case of federal tax credits, you are also financing it and putting the burden on your children in the future.

This is the way it is and I will be taking advantage of these credits if I can.

Return on Investment

If you take a closer look at these incentives you will realize they are very much an artificial stimulus for the various alternative energy suppliers and installers out there. Upon scrutiny you will see commercial providers rarely provide a cost effective solution for their green wannabe customers and, thus, rely on tax credits to help fund their operations. This is a form of corporate welfare. This is not to say the alternative energy industry does not provide good quality products with superb installation… they do. As we will discuss below, most have pricing that, even with incentives, provides a return on investment (ROI) that is beyond ridiculous.

Story time…

Once upon a time in the 1990s I was in Flagstaff, Arizona working with Lowell Observatory on a new telescope installation. I noticed a shop on US66 (yes, the famous Route 66) called “SOLAR ENERGY STORE.” Cool I thought. I made a point to stop by that store during a weekend break because I really was eager to critique the latest solar energy methods available. I walked in the door and what did I see? Wood Stoves… lots and lots of wood stoves. I love wood stoves too, but could not figure out why they were in the SOLAR ENERGY STORE. I asked a salesman where were the solar energy products? He said “We have not had those hear since the 1980s.” I reminded him the name of his store with a clear expectation of an explanation on my face. He said since the Carter tax credits expired in the Reagan years, solar energy was just not viable and not worth selling.


I blinked. I paused. “You mean your industry can only survive if subsidized?”


I believe subsidies should help folks who cannot otherwise afford items get them if the result helps the whole. I do not think they should help prop up an industry that refuses to grow up and produce products that are financially sensible to purchase and use.

So, in the text below, tax credits and other benefits will be ignored and the systems rated for their ROI on their initial costs because it does not matter if the purchase funds are from cash reserves or from our children’s future. Only the selfish would evaluate ROI based on the net cost after rebates are applied. It is up to you ensure tax credits applied to your system return good value for those credits.

Here is the next point. If any equipment vendor suggests a return on investment of more than 3-5 years something is terribly wrong with this picture.

There is an old saying about poker players; If you can’t spot the sucker at the poker table, it is probably you. The same goes here. You should never accept return on investment periods for capital equipment more than five years with three years being more like it. It does not matter if the equipment can and does survive 20 or more years. If you break even just as the equipment’s life ends, who made the profit? Put another way, did the equipment ever save you any money (via reduced energy costs) or did the whole benefit just flow to the organization that sold you the gear by taking all your future savings up front. YOU are the one putting up your hard earned cash so you deserve all or most of the benefit realized from YOUR money. It does not matter where you obtained the cash be it savings, home equity line or other. Somehow or another you executed a financial transaction to get cash in hand. This investment needs to work for you.

You need to understand any business that tries to charge you so much money for an alternative energy system based on a return on investment scaled to most of the lifetime of the equipment is structuring the deal to benefit themselves, not you.

Energy Payback

If you have a little greeny weeny in you, be sure you understand how much energy it took to build, deliver and install the energy system you are planning. Things seem to be headed the right way in this regard, but you need to understand all your best efforts may result in a net energy loss which spoils the whole reason many invest into alternative energy in the first place.

Evaluation Criteria
For this post, the following criteria will be applied…

  • Return on Investment
  • Energy Payback
  • Total System Cost
  • Difficulty of installation

PV Solar Electric

It is no secret the cost of Photo Voltaic Solar Energy systems provide no practical return on investment for the investor. Where traditional energy sources are available, these systems are purely a philanthropic exercise. Vendors suggest ROI periods measured in decades. It amazes me customers with any business savvy whatsoever would accept this ROI from any investment short of, say, a house.

  • Return on Investment – Decades which is hopelessly ridiculous. Ebay seems to have bare PV cells available for about $1/Watt which drastically reduces the installed price to $3/Watt and ROI, but not enough.
  • Energy Payback – One to four years if operated full time… and getting better I sense. The Ebay “seconds” PV cells may eliminate this concern since you are using cells destined for the trash.
  • Total System Cost – $10,000 – $50,000 and maybe more based on about $4/Watt. This assumes you are trying to replace the energy consumption of a typical home. You can scale the size down and realize less benefits. The cost per Watt goes up a bit, but the same ROI issues are true no matter how you scale the system.
  • Difficulty of installation – The concepts are easy to follow, but this is serious electrical work and should only be accomplished by a licensed electrician with knowledge of PV Solar.

Wind Electric

If you have a windy wide open backyard a wind turbine might be sensible. I looked at various DC and AC approaches and find merit in many of them. My favorite wind turbine approach uses higher voltage three phase AC from the turbine all the way to the load point where it is rectified, regulated and applied to the load; The higher voltage requires less copper wire for the same net power transfer. The load can be a battery system and/or a grid tie inverter. The cost per watt are still pretty high at $4/Watt, but plenty of DIY efforts can tame this cost.

  • Return on Investment – Dozens of years unless you put your own time into it and, perhaps, find components on the cheap.
  • Energy Payback – I could not find data on Energy Payback for this approach. Like with PV Solar using slightly cosmetically defective or recycled components may help this greatly.
  • Total System Cost – $1000 will get you started.
  • Difficulty of installation – This depends on your electrical and mechanical capabilities. The AC voltage approach can and does use voltages well above the level than can kill you. A licensed electrician is essential.

Thermal Solar

Using heat from the sun has been around since time began. Nature offers many examples including cold-blooded animals positioning themselves to partake in the morning sun’s heat after a chilly night. Camping equipment vendors offer “Solar Shower” black bags which absorb heat and transfer it to a few gallons of water inside ready for a warm shower later. A good architect will design a house to make good use of Winter’s lower angle solar rays to heat a room with well placed windows and eaves. What the above examples imply is it is not very difficult to make use of free heat from the Sun.

Often the #2 energy hog in a house, the water heater is a logical focus for solar heating.

  • Return on Investment – The Energy Industry seems to have the same game in play where they price their equipment at the level of your eventual savings thereby leaving you will little benefit. Fortunately solar heat collectors can work with low grade heat allowing for ample compromise in collector construction. Plus DIY is alive a well in the thermal solar realm leaving plenty of opportunity for the ambitious handyman. Most thermal solar assemblies rely on a storage tank. Money can be saved if you time your solar install with the end-of-service replacement of your water heater; For a few hundred dollars more, you can get a larger tank with built-in heat transfer coils ready for your later install of the thermal solar panels and associated plumbing (This assumes an indirect thermal system). Thermal Solar Collectors are possible to build at home thanks to their relative simplicity.
  • Energy Payback – The materials needed for thermal collectors seem routine enough to not stress the EP too much. I don’t know the details though. It certainly takes energy to manufacture a decent hot water storage tank. However, as explained in the previous bullet, if you replace an aging water heater you are investing a regular maintenance expense into your system.
  • Total System Cost – The Rheem Solar Water Heating products are north of $800 up to $2000 depending on model. I suspect with panels we are talking $1000-$3000. DIY on the panels can save big.
  • Difficulty of installation – This is a plumbing task and, if you build your own collectors, a carpentry task. It might make good sense to let a plumber do the replacement of your water heater with your solar water heater. This way, you greatly reduce the risk of an incomplete job leaving you are your family without hot water. One important addition to the usual hot water heater connection is a water tempering valve. These are pretty expensive, but required if your solar install is a success as temperatures in the tank will be much hotter than you want for your home’s fixtures. Here again the benefit of a good plumber will make this install neat, tidy and functional.

You may have noticed, in the above words about thermal systems, the idea of replacing your water heater with a new unit rather than adding a thermal storage tank to an existing system. The goal here is to make use of the solar hot water as directly as possible. If you have the classic heat storage tank feeding a traditional water heater, that heater still needs to maintain the temperature of the tank during times of no hot water flow. If you, instead, use the one tank approach, the solar heat is directly heating and maintaining the temperature in that one tank. This maximizes efficiency. Plus the Rheem products have the usual electric back up during very cloudy days or moments of high demand. This important point will ensure your family will never notice a lack of hot water maintaining peace.


Of all the many possible ways of utilizing solar energy, the thermal system provides the best possible return on investment both in energy and dollars.

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