little 4-pin KIK

I took this pic a week ago and and I think I forgot to post it:


It’s a little 4-pin Key  in Knob style core in the batch I got from Moofalo.

forest fires in the distance

The other day when I hiked to the nearby high points I noticed smoke in the distance to the east;  this appears to be the White River fire.  In this pic my spot is roughly in the center and you can see the White River fire in the next county to the east.:

Last night the wind turned easterly and picked up a bit;  I woke up about midnight smelling faint smoke from it.  I got up and made sure it wasn’t something closer (it wasn’t).

Today I can’t smell it anymore;  used to it I guess.  But the valleys to the east are hazy with smoke.   Compare today’s pic with the previous one:

The distances are great enough that I’m not worried about the fires themselves, but hiking in the smoke isn’t fun.  It’s also warmer than I like (86F right now) so I am thinking seriously about relocating to the cost again for a bit.  It’s the only reliably-cool place within a couple hours drive.

I’ll check back in later with a decision.


relocated to just south of seaside.  20F cooler.  Might get nuts;  didn’t realize it was a holiday weekend.

NOT recommended: Renogy Rover Elite solar charge controller

Reasons not to get involved with the Rover Elite controllers from Renogy.

  1.  the setpoints are unconfigurable, except for the Absorption setting in Li mode
  2. even in that mode Vabs is settable only in .2v increments
  3. the cable interface (or chip behind it) is nonstandard for Renogy (and its sources).  The external display for it costs more than the options on other Renogy controllers (surprise!).  It does not offer any more info that the limited set on the unit’s display.  Example:  no way to see panel amps.
  4. it costs more than the 2210AN that is highly configurable and supports normal external meters/dongles/etc

Why did Renogy do this?

Continue reading “NOT recommended: Renogy Rover Elite solar charge controller”

relocated to High Rock Spring area outside Estacada, OR

My 14d at that popular (crowded, trashy) spot was almost up, and I was ready to move on.    I made a run through the day use / camping area I’d been hiking to and dropped off trash and filled the water tank.

I actually wanted to do a stretch of stealthing to  reprovision and find some open wifi, but a heat wave in the area had temps in the 80s-90s in every nearby town of any size.  I decided Continue reading “relocated to High Rock Spring area outside Estacada, OR”

battery checkup

A few days ago I noted the tall conifers were impeding my ability to get a full charge on the SLAs.    I ended up setting Vfloat == Vabs to get more absorption time and let endAmps drop further.


After four charging days of eternal absorption endAmps finally fell back down to normal levels and was still dropping slowly.  This suggests (but does not prove) there was no permanent loss of capacity.

I’ll keep the controller configged this way for the near future to see what happens.     I do not have the option (or desire) to upgrade to a top-tier controller with serious endAmps monitoring.  The mid-range Victrons’ adaptable absorption feature is reported to get confused with “false sundown” events and can short-stroke Absorption.  Then I’m in the same situation only with less money.

my WAG (wild ass guess) about what was going on

In general,

  1. Slow charging extends Bulk and truncates Absorption.   In my normal open-air camping the somewhat overpaneled system (2:6:1) starts making power quite early.  there’s not a lot of power available at those solar angles, but it’s something coming in rather than nothing.  I think this slow, gradual charging was making for short absorption that fit in the 180min window.
  2. Fast charging  makes for quicker bulk and longer absorption.  In this case the sun was largely blocked until it was quite high in the sky, about 11am.  Bulk was shorter and Absorption would have been longer but it was chopped off by my controller’s 180min max.

picked for orange belt: Master lock 150

The 150 is a 5-pin lock, and all 5 drivers at least are reported to be security pins.  I could definitely feel counter-rotation in there when picking on spool pins.

I was watching a video on the lock on YT at the time;  you can see it in the background.   This is my first raked lock.  I prefer single pin picking but the video said it was vulnerable to raking.

Also first pick in the vise.  Much easier on the left hand, and I think also makes for more direct feedback.  Probably because the hand isn’t damping the vibrations and sounds.

next steps

the green belt locks I own are the Master 410 LOTO (lockout/tagout) and the 911, and only video is accepted as proof.  The 410 is not guttable (nondestructively) so if I pick that one I’ll have to gut (disassemble) the 911 on video.  If the 911 is picked then I would continue to gut that one.

For some reason the 911 makes me happy.  I hope that’s the one I pick first for green.  I’m not very good so this will likely take a while…

I have my old generic gopro set up for when I can consistently pick and record the proof.

solar charge controller analogies

I was in a weird mood today:

PWM is like a turtle on its back when battery voltage is low. It struggles until it can get back on its feet, after which everything is fine. Adding in isolator charging turns the turtle over and onto his feet.

Example: When the battery is 10.5v a 100w Renogy poly {on PWM} would make a maximum of 59.91w (5.63A x 10.5v). At 12.1v it would make max 68W. At 13v it makes max 73w.

MPPT is a weeble that can’t get flipped onto its back, but costs 3x as much.