Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Free Stuff

I guess I've been talking about the Wyze cameras enough to get the attention of another camera manufacturer.  I was contacted by the folks at EZVIZ and they are sending me a free camera to test out and review.  80,105,75, .16",B

Monday, May 30, 2022

Option 2


So the plan is to build an FPV rover (a project that has been on my mind for years thanks to the Mars rovers).  My recent experience with the Wyze cameras got me to thinking about it again.  My first thought was to use the parts I posted a photo of on Friday to enable wifi control of a toy RC car.  The micro controller and motor driver circuits will come in handy (and together they were only 15 bucks) in the event that I progress to the point of attempting to make a rover that is autonomous which is the ultimate goal.  I found some tutorials online that are pretty thorough, but I am not very confident I can get that to work so if I run into a snag, there is another option that seems to make perfect sense for this stage of development.  I already know the Wyze camera is easy to power by battery and works fine over my boosted wifi out to about 500 meters - but the remote control that comes with this rc toy car is only good to about 100 meters.  After doing a little digging on YouTube, I discovered the transmitter above which comes with a receiver that is easy to replace in the toy car and should give me control out to 600 meters - and no programming skills needed.  We shall see... 97,103,65,0,B

Sunday, May 29, 2022


Revelation 3:15  I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. 16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. 

Saturday, May 28, 2022

up the hill...

From the video description: Funny thing about this video is that you really can't see anything I'm doing to rig this up until the very end. Sorry about that - but I don't feel like re-shooting it. I added a catchy tune for the soundtrack to keep you viewers entertained. This is for a neighbor that I recently did a solar and Starlink install for. We first rigged up his Wyze Cam V3 running it off a 50' extension cord coming from his battery bank and inverter. I have a Wyze Cam V3 that I installed at the end of my driveway, 230 meters from my house. I added a wifi repeater that bumps the signal out that far but no power out there, so I set up a similar system to power mine. I used a 12V / 10 Ah sealed lead acid battery, a 30-watt solar panel, and a cheap PWM charge controller I had on hand. In testing I found that it was a bit overkill (power wise) for the camera, so I have been experimenting with scaling the system smaller. For the system in the video, I used a 12 V / 5 Ah sealed lead acid battery ($15.99), a 10-watt solar panel ($25.99), and another PWM charge controller ($12.31) that I had to buy. The cheap PWM charge controller is nice in that it already has a USB port to plug the camera directly into (plug'n'play). I mounted the charge controller to the battery using silicone calk, electrical tape, and baling wire - and rigged it within a large, inverted coffee can to make it "water proof". In testing the system, I found that the 5 Ah battery worked fine without being drained too much powering the camera overnight and was fully charged again in about 5 hours of full sunlight with the 10 watt solar panel. We get A LOT of sun out here, so this works just fine for me. A larger system will be required to run the camera for extended periods of cloudy days. Comment below if you have any questions. (NOTE: When connecting up any system like this, ALWAYS connect the battery to the charge controller first - then connect the solar panel to the charge controller. There are no fuses in the systems I installed but it is always a good idea to fuse the positive lines for all components. This is NOT a how to do it perfectly right - this is a HOW I DID IT. PROCEED AT YOUR OWN RISK IF YOU FOLLOW MY INSTRUCTIONS.) Battery Solar Panel Charge Controller (You will also need some wire to connect the battery to the charge controller and extra wire if the solar panel is going to be further away from the charge controller.) 99,103,76,0,B

Friday, May 27, 2022

Outside my comfort zone...


hmmm...what are these for?

Thursday, May 26, 2022

just a little smaller...


One more test with the Wyze Cam V3 remote setup.  I found that the 20-watt panel I used in the last test had the 12 volt 5 amp hour battery fully charged within 2 hours as soon as the sun was up so I checked out how a 10 watt panel works today.  Fully charged in 4 hours (which sounds about right) so that works for me.  Going to install the new gear for my neighbor's camera tomorrow - and put away that extension cord.  99,102,57,0,B  

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

State of the water supply...


Been a pretty lean year so far rain-wise.  Less than a half inch since the beginning of 2022.  Checked my tanks this morning and I have 7,900 gallons on tap.  Tank prices have really gone through the roof since then.  When I bought mine 14 years ago, a 3,000 gallon tank from this company was $975 including shipping.  87,91,56,0,B

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Farewell BBT


The cord is finally cut to my old landline.  After 4 months of back and forth with BBT, every cell phone provider, the Public Utilities Commission of Texas, and the FCC - not a single person could explain to me why my landline number from Big Bend Telephone cannot be ported out while the FCC rules on the matter are quite clear.  My old phone number is officially history now.  BBT served me well over the years, but they just cannot compete with my new service providers.  I am quite happy with Starlink broadband internet and my smart phone with Mint Mobile.  Funny thing is...the blue conduit sticking out of the ground with a plug in it was installed with my phone line 14 years ago for a "future fiber optic upgrade".  BBT has finally gotten around to installing fiber in some areas (not mine), but the new service is still dismally slower and more expensive than Starlink.  88,93,60,0,B   

Monday, May 23, 2022

a little rain...

Got a little rain this morning in a heavy (but very brief) storm.  For a while it was looking promising as the rate was over 1/2"/hr.  The only problem is the storm only lasted about 10 minutes.  Forecast by early afternoon today called for another storm around 5PM with up to an inch more rain so I put stuff away and prepped my creek tank gear for some pumping.  Nothing as of 6:30 PM and the forecast is now down to less than a tenth of an inch - if any.  Still a slight chance of something later tonight...fingers crossed.  78,86,66, .14",B

Sunday, May 22, 2022

word of the day...mammon

Matthew 6:24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.  

Saturday, May 21, 2022

watch this...


Just got this pocket watch sent to me for repair (probable broken mainspring). I was contacted by an old high school buddy whose son inherited the watch. It was given to him this past Easter by his Great Uncle, who said it belonged to his Great Grandfather, a man named Henry Goode Claiborne. The Illinois Watch Company "Bunn Special" is a highly collectable railroad pocket watch. This one is a stem wind / lever set movement - which is set by opening the front crystal and bezel and pulling out the setting-lever. Once the lever is pulled out, the crown can be turned to set the time. The lever is then pushed back in and the crystal and bezel are closed over the dial again. This method of time setting on pocket watches was preferred by American and Canadian railroads, as lever setting watches make accidental time changes impossible. After 1908, lever setting was generally required for new watches entering service on American railroads. The serial number indicates that this watch was manufactured in 1902. 93,100,58,0,B

Friday, May 20, 2022

All carriers delivery day...


Bi-fold closet door via Fed Ex / shelves, solar panel, battery, charge controller via UPS / pocket watch via USPS.  The door and shelves came from Home Depot for a small closet job I am doing locally and cost $120 including free shipping to my door.  I priced them at McCoys and not including my travel time and gas for the 130 mile round trip, they would have cost me $175.  The pocket watch is a repair job I am going to attempt (broken mainspring) for the son of an old high school buddy of mine.  90,96,63,0,B

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Smaller is better?

Another Wyze Cam V3 remote power test coming up - parts arriving tomorrow.  Going to install this system for the neighbor up the hill that I did work for.  Fairly confident now that I can get away with half the amp hour battery capacity and a slightly smaller solar panel to keep his Wyze Cam chugging along 24-7 without having to be plugged into a long extension cord.  98,104,58,0,B

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Broadening my horizons...

Field Lab internet making a 1,100-kilometer round trip from space. 
and getting bumped out 500 meters from the router.

Monday, May 16, 2022

Monday moonlight...

Two views of the lunar eclipse last night using 2 Wyze Cameras - one looking north and one looking south. Time lapse on each camera programmed to shoot 4 frames per minute over 8 hours. 97,103,67,0,B

Sunday, May 15, 2022

moral dilemma


"God helps those who help themselves".  This passage is often represented as scripture - but in fact is not found anywhere in the Bible.  However, God will help those who take the first step of accepting Christ.  But asking for God's help is tricky business and how the help arrives is not always evident nor what may appear to be in a timely manner.

Recently a 66-year-old woman bought property right across the road from me.  I had notice someone "camping" on the 5 acre tract for 2 days so I contacted a local realtor to ask if someone had purchased the property.  I was told that "a very nice lady who used to live in Alpine bought it".  With that information, I went over to meet her and introduce myself.  There were numerous "red flags" popping up within minutes of talking to her.  She shared a lot of conflicting information about where she came from and told me she was planning on living there full time in a tent with no electricity.  I told her that was virtually impossible and at the very least she will need some kind of structure, some solar, and phone service in case of emergencies.  I also told her the vehicle she was driving was not at all appropriate for this area - a small black Hyundai sedan with highway tires and very low clearance.  It appeared to me that she has been living out of her car for some time.  She insisted she knew what she was doing and would be perfectly fine.

Over the course of a week, she spent the days just sitting in her black car with the doors open in 100+ degree daytime temperatures.  I don't think she even ran the engine to run the air conditioner (if it even worked).  She finally assembled a small tent on the third day but from what I could tell from that far away, I think she only used it to sleep in at night.  She didn't even have the ability to construct some shade over her vehicle with a dark grey tarp that she had.  A Brewster County Sheriff's Office deputy checked on her 3 times to try to convince her this was not a good idea.  He couldn't do anything else because she was on her own property.

So how can I help someone when they show absolutely no common sense for such a dire situation?   I'm talking none-zero-zilch.  I thought about this a lot.  Really the only thing I could have done for her was show her how to erect some shade over her car - but all she had was the dark grey tarp which would have been useless in providing any cooling.  Really - anything I could have done for this poor woman would have only enabled a hopeless situation.  That being said: after watching her spend her days just sitting in the black car with the doors open and wondering each morning if she was even still alive, I took her two gallons of chilled water late in the afternoon on her 5th day.  When I gave it to her, I bluntly said, "You have no business being out here.  You need to leave.  You are going to f*cking die out here because if you think it's hot now - just wait till it's over 110°!"   She just brushed it off and still insisted she was fine and asked me if I was going to town anytime soon.  I just walked away without answering her.  The next day she suffered through yet another day just sitting in her car (it got up to 103°).  

The following morning just as I was about to call Adult Protective Services, I saw her drive away.  APS investigates abuse, neglect, and exploitation of adults who are elderly or have disabilities and who live in the community.  Any adult who has a disability or is age 65 or older that is in a state of abuse, neglect or exploitation may be eligible to receive services - such as short-term shelter, home repairs, food, transportation, managing money, medical care, home healthcare services, and mental health services.  (I'm not sure if this woman is just naive, incredibly stupid, or has some mental health issues.)  Two days later, she was still gone but her tent had completely collapsed and there was a huge thunderstorm heading this way.  I was just going let it be as it was but decided to send a message to the realtor she bought the property from.  Not knowing if this women was ever coming back for the stuff she left on the property, I told the realtor if she was in contact with the women to tell her that I am going to go collect her tent and her belongings and bring them back to my place for safe keeping in case the storm hits and that she can stop by and collect the items when she comes back.  

So the storm ended up petering out and we just got a sprinkle.  Early that evening, two deputies showed up at my place and the woman was back at her property.  She had gotten the message I sent to the realtor and asked the deputy to come get her stuff from me.  The deputies both agreed with my assessment of her situation but at this point there was still nothing they could do about it.  He also told me that the women said she wanted nothing more to do with me (not a thank you for saving her stuff from the storm).  It should be noted that had the storm hit, most likely neither the woman nor the deputies would have even been able to make it out my road that evening.

The deputies left and a little while later the woman drove off and didn't return until sometime later that night.  So now we are up to yesterday.  She spent the entire day just sitting in her black car yet again (got up to 102°) - without bothering to put her tent back up.  This morning she drove off after putting up a no trespassing sign next to her pile of a tent and whatever else she left there.  I have no idea what her plans are at this point.  Perhaps she got the message?   I guess I will try calling APS if she returns.  How her help arrives certainly may not be immediately evident to her, but hopefully it will be timely enough to save her life.

Saturday, May 14, 2022

Thanks, Elon

(Skip ahead to the 13 minute mark for the launch.)
SpaceX's 13th launch of Starlink satellites this year...bringing the total number of satellites so far for 2022 to 656.  Due to a geomagnetic storm that occurred on February 4 (a day after the 3rd launch of the year), 38 of the 49 satellites from that mission failed and ultimately burned up in the earth's atmosphere.  As of May 2022, the Starlink internet satellite constellation consists of over 2,200 mass-produced small satellites in low Earth orbit (LEO), which communicate with designated ground transceivers.  Today was a new record for SpaceX in that they successfully launched 2 Starlink missions within 24 hours.  Yesterday's launch happened from their west coast facility and was the 5th mission for that particular Falcon 9 booster.  Today's group of satellites rode into space from Florida on a brand-new Falcon 9 and marked the 111th successful recovery of a first stage booster by SpaceX.  Note: It takes about 6 weeks after launch for Starlink satellites to reach operational orbit.  93,102,62,0,B

Friday, May 13, 2022

Thursday, May 12, 2022

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

the long view


Test with the new gear to remotely power the Wyze Cam V3 was a success.  Now that I know it works for sure, I'm going to permanently install it out at the end of the driveway.  Next up, I am going to replace my wanky indoor wifi extender with a better model that is rated for outdoor use.  88,101,71,0,B

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Monday, May 9, 2022

Pigs in love...


I would say the javelinas are getting a little too comfortable being around me...99,104,59,0,B

Sunday, May 8, 2022


Psalms 111 & 112 is an acrostic poem, 
the lines of which begin with the successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet.


Saturday, May 7, 2022

Identified Flying Object


The neighbor that I did some work for on his vacation getaway out here lives full time in Houston.  He got this alert on his cell phone this morning from the Wyze Cam V3 that I installed.  98,103,56,0,B

Friday, May 6, 2022



Plant growing time lapse coming Monday...

Thursday, May 5, 2022

I spoke too soon...

Every now and then, someone actually comes through with a helpful suggestion in the comments.  Thanks to MountainManMike's assistance in the comments yesterday, my weather station if alive again on Weather Underground.   88,94,63,0,B 

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

no weather sharing online...


Couldn't find the wifi console that came with my weather station so I can't connect it with Weather Underground - but at least I found the parts I needed to view the data through my local area network.  85,92,68,0,B

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

long overdue project...


Trying to get my old weather station functioning 
and back online with Weather Underground.

Monday, May 2, 2022

Mango Monday



Sunday, May 1, 2022