It's not finished by any means, but the backyard desk is now fully functional, and I am about to enjoy a cold Goose Creek IPA from my solar-powered refrigerator. A small fan keeps me cool and blows away the mosquitos. The inverter just shut off, although the solar panels are still pumping out a little juice, just not enough to keep up with the demand with everything running. I will be adding another battery on Tuesday, and another solar panel in a couple of weeks, then may add another battery or two. This is totally doing solar on a very low budget, but it will provide enough power that I can build phase two, a 10' x 12' shed that will hold 15 panels when fully populated. For now, I have to disassemble some things that are not fully screwed or glued, in order to build a lockable door for the battery compartment, then everything goes back together after next Tuesday, as the final completion. I can then charge all of my devices, and commence phase two of my solar project. I expect to have the book available for purchase, or at least as a pre-order, by February 1st.
My solar project is coming along nicely. I will mount the two panels I have tomorrow, and see if my two-year-old Walmart battery will come up enough. I also have a new AGM battery, frightfully expensive, that is working very well. My Harbor Freight inverter (750 watt square wave) died, so I grabbed my 1500 watt pure sine wave that I intended to use for this project anyway, and it is working great! Then I have to cut joists to support the battery shelf, build the door for the battery cabinet, build the 2' x 8' desk which will jut out to the rear, and build a framework to support two tarps to keep the sun and rain from making the place miserable, and I will have a new outdoor office, and plenty of power to build the larger project, a 10 x 12 shed that will hold 15 solar panels when fully populated in a year or two. each panel should be good for about 1 kwh per day. I already have an 8000 watt (32,000 watts peak) split phase 220 volt inverter for that project.
Our backyard solar project has started, and we will start working on the Solar Energy book once we have some results! I am building just a desk at first. I sunk two 4x4 PT posts in the ground, then a couple of legs about four feet in front of them (43 inches to be precise.) I then screwed two horizontal supports between them, and ran another support at a 30-degree angle, up to the top of the posts. I need to add some more support, then will put three solar panels on to a 4 x 8 sheet of OSB, which I painted with a new Rustoleum product that I loved. It comes in quarts (like that old elephant joke) and is labeled as a premium latex paint for wood, metal, and other surfaces. That will go on the 30-degree angled support. I have some 3/8" plywood as well, which I will use as a shelf on the horizontal supports, to store the batteries, controllers, and inverter. I am using all old scrap I had lying around for this project, except for a 1 x 4 x 8 board that bought to use instead of the expensive solar panel clips, and, of course, not including the solar products, which I began to accumulate some time ago. There will be a 2' x 8' shelf hanging off the back, several inches below the horizontal shelf, which will serve as my writing desk. This whole unit will also provide all of the energy needed to build a 10' x 12' shed that will accommodate 15 solar panels. Since we average somewhere near ten hours a day of sun in the sunshine state, each 100-watt panel should provide somewhere in the area of one kilowatt-hour of electricity per day. I will be using a 110-volt 1500-watt full-sine-wave inverter. It will allow me to run a small refrigerator, and some other things right away, as well as charging all of my devices, from cell phone to the 19.2 volt batteries for my drill and saws. I will start buying an average of one panel, one battery, and one charge controller per month, so should have the larger one fully populated in a little over a year, and if I switched to gas appliances, I could, with careful husbanding of resources, run my whole home on a total of 18 kwh per day. I have an 8,000-watt (32,000 Peak) inverter for that project, which will put out 40 Amps of 220-volt split phase power, so I should be able to run anything in my home on that inverter. Expect the solar book to be on the shelves shortly after the end of the year.
My last two orders from CreateSpace have included defective product! First, I ordered five copies of HOW TO BUY A CAR Without Losing Your Shirt, and pulled one to check it out. The cover had just been modified, and maybe a couple of small things on the inside, and I had added the first chapter from our new book, COMPOSITION as a teaser to try to get pre-orders for that book. I was not altogether pleased by the cover, and have since reduced the size of the image in order to make it a bit sharper, and avoid losing the curve of the buyer's shoulder. But then. I opened it up, and found the interior title page was for someone else's book entirely! Further study the next day, after I complained, showed that there appeared a complete copy of the other author's book, followed by about the last half of that same book, followed by about the last half of my own book. The interior contained THREE of the bar codes that signify that it is the last page of the book, on three different pages! That is absolutely poor quality control, and should have been noticed before the book shipped. The other four books were all right, though I spent considerable time checking them out. Then I ordered one copy of COMPOSITION, and when it arrived, I noticed that many pages were cut on a bias, such that the line separating the header and the footer, and all of the text, seemed to be going up hill. This was inconsistent from page to page. I don't know if they have hired some utterly incompetent new employees, or installed a new printing machine, or what, but I have never noticed these kinds of problems before. Maybe I got the only two bad books that they have turned out in the last year, but I doubt this. I think if you are buying copies for book-signing events, you should check each book over carefully. And if you are selling books to customers through CS or Amazon, you should buy a sample copy for yourself and make sure that it is all right. I took some photos, but I cannot access them right now, so I will try to post them to this blog page later.