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Tuesday, 21 May 2019 Dereel Images for 21 May 2019
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Finally the kitchen stoves
Topic: general, food and drink Link here

Mike Simpson (“Mike for odd jobs”, phone 0419 935 147) along today to finally install the new stoves that I bought 6 months ago. That all went much faster than I had expected, only just over an hour. The change is obvious:


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In some ways, discovered that “it's just what I asked for and not what I want”: the contrast between the gas cooker on the left and the induction cooker on the right is rather more than I had expected:


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And of course the minimum setting on the gas flames is too high, just like it was with the previous cooktop:


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In case that's not clear, these are the maximum and minimum settings.

Took a quick look at the “operation manual”, which described installation and adjustment of 5 different models, one of which looked somewhat like ours. They referred to “Fig. 8” for adjustments. Where's “Fig. 8”? Not in this “manual”. Mañana.

The interesting thing is that we now have space round the cooktops, for the first time in three years, and maybe since we moved in to Stones Road; after getting my first induction cooker, I've had one to the right of the cooktop area. And before that, at least for much of the year that had elapsed between moving in and getting the induction cooker, I had had a toaster oven there. The toaster oven is now in a cupboard; for the number of times I use it it doesn't seem worth having it take up worktop space.


Gas and plumbing: talk to the experts
Topic: general, opinion Link here

One of the issues in installing the new cooktops was that the gas hose was no longer long enough. Looking at the prospect of having to call in three different specialists (Mike, the joiner, for the carpentry, a plumber for the gas and an electrician for the electrics), I asked Yvonne (coincidentally in town) to drop in at The Haymarket in Ballarat and pick up a hose that could connect the stove to a gas bottle until the plumber came. I gave her the threaded protective cover of the connector as an indication of what we're looking for.

She called me from there and put me on to Cheryl, who told me that she couldn't do anything without knowing the thread. A plastic cover wasn't enough. I pointed out to her that the thing had a thread, but it seems that she neither checked nor believed me. In any case it would have to be a special order.

Told her to forget it, and off to tell Mike of my amazement. He was surprised, too: it's a perfectly standard ½" thread, just the same as the one for the old cooktop. He removed the old hose and confirmed that the other end, too, had a male ½" thread. Told me (indirectly Yvonne) to go to Ballarat Gas and Plumbing (for once a sensible name), where she found the item with no difficulty. Brought it back home, and Mike fitted it for us. No plumber needed. But I'm still amazed at the incompetence at The Haymarket. I won't forget that one in a hurry.


Firmware updates for solar electricity system
Topic: Stones Road house, technology, opinion Link here

Fyodor Torgovnikov along this morning and took a look at the solar electricity installation. My main concern had been that the inverter had stopped charging from the PV array, but his main concern was the battery. He had some reason: like all modern equipment that uses networks, it had to be its own Wi-Fi access point rather than join in to an existing network. I found an Android app that displayed network cells, but I lost my way through the maze of twisty little passages past the flood of advertisements, and couldn't find it again. What I did see was my own network, the inverter's private network (though it does exactly the same thing as http://inverter.lemis.com/) and the battery network—but only after Fyodor had power cycled the battery.

He installed new firmware both on the battery and in the inverter, and showed me ways through another maze of little twisty menus, the one that brought me to some limited configurability of the inverter.

In particular, I'm now able to set limits for at what SOC (state of charge) level to turn battery charge from the grid on and off. It had been on at 20% and off at 30%, but it seems that Fyodor changed it remotely some time in the last 24 hours. In the evening I discovered that it turned on and off at 20%, which effectively mean that it started charging when the charge dropped to 20% and turned off again when it hit 21%. That seemed even less sensible. Adjusted it to stop at 25%, but I think I need to start it at 19%, so it only ever comes on if there has been a grid outage that takes it below 20%.

One thing that did come out of of the discussion was that our issues in the last couple of days don't appear to be related to overvoltage: we barely hit the maximum of 253 V; Fyodor has seen others as high as 270 V.


Chicken filo “air fried”
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

Yvonne bought some chicken filo parcels recently. They're intended to be baked in a conventional oven (and nothing else, according to the label): 25-30 minutes at 180° in a normal oven and 160° in a fan-forced oven.

What settings do I use in an “air fryer”? Decided to set it as a conventional fan-forced oven and keep an eye on it. That proved to be a good idea:


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Apart from the fact that it leaked filling, the only issue was the food itself: about an appetizer portion, though Yvonne thought it was plenty. I sometimes wonder how she survives on the little that she eats.


Wednesday, 22 May 2019 Dereel Images for 22 May 2019
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Cooktop woes
Topic: food and drink, general, Stones Road house, opinion Link here

So how do I adjust the minimum flame on my new gas cooker? Back to RTFM, where I read, obviously added as an afterthought:

 
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OK, screw the screw tight. No change.

Damn these second-rate gas cookers! I should have tested it when it arrived 6 months ago, not after cutting holes into the work surface. But what choice do I have? I spent a lot of time in October comparing what's available, and this seemed to be about the only usable one. I can always use the old trick of setting the controls between “full” and “off”, so for the time being at any rate it stays, and I grumble.

And the induction cooker? That works, of course. The basic disadvantages remain: the controls are slow and barely visible—grey markings on black background, in the middle of the front, an area that's typically in shadow:


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But now it's under the range hood, so I can turn the light on:


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I need to find a way to highlight the positions of the controls that won't wipe off.


How far to walk the dogs?
Topic: general, technology, opinion Link here

I've been walking the dogs further than previously; instead of the 600 odd metres to Bliss Road and back, we're going further afield. Today I was on my own, as Yvonne was in town, and I went to the end of Grassy Gully Road, a distance I estimated at 2.4 km. OK, try to process the GPS data:

 
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Two problems: first, the obviously wrong track. I went up and down a road, so the two lines should overlap or at any rate be very close together. But this level of accuracy appears to be state of the art.

And then there are all those squiggles at the west end (in front of our house). They represent places I was that had nothing to do with walking the dogs. How do I get rid of them? I can't find a good site to help me, but I knew what time I left, and I know the data format:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" ?><gpx version="1.0" creator="GPSLogger 102 - http://gpslogger.mendhak.com/" xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance" xmlns="http://www.topografix.com/GPX/1/0" xsi:schemaLocation="http://www.topografix.com/GPX/1/0 http://www.topografix.com/GPX/1/0/gpx.xsd"><time>2019-05-22T03:06:31.000Z</time><trk><trkseg><trkpt lat="-37.80013333333333" lon="143.75100166666667"><ele>345.3</ele><time>2019-05-22T03:06:31.000Z</time><course>0.0</course><speed>0.0</speed><geoidheight>-6.4</geoidheight><src>gps</src><hdop>99.99</hdop><vdop>1.00</vdop><pdop>99.99</pdop></trkpt>
...
<trkpt lat="-37.800145" lon="143.75139833333333"><ele>353.2</ele><time>2019-05-22T03:25:29.000Z</time><course>146.7</course><speed>0.0</speed><geoidheight>-6.4</geoidheight><src>gps</src><sat>3</sat><hdop>93.94</hdop><vdop>52.34</vdop><pdop>99.99</pdop></trkpt>
<trkpt lat="-37.80019666666667" lon="143.75133833333334"><ele>361.1</ele><time>2019-05-22T04:03:36.000Z</time><course>61.18</course><speed>0.0</speed><geoidheight>-6.4</geoidheight><src>gps</src><sat>5</sat><hdop>1.89</hdop><vdop>0.96</vdop><pdop>2.12</pdop></trkpt>

The times are in UTC, 10 hours behind the local time. In this particular case I knew that I left shortly after 14:00, so I just needed to remove the trackpoints before this time, and also the ones after my return. Then I got:

 
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Upload that to Wikiloc and I get:

 
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That doesn't seem to be much of an improvement, but at least I now get details and even more details, which tell me that I had only just done 2 km. That must be because I stopped before the end (there are dogs in the property on the north side, and they overly excite our dogs). Now wouldn't it be nice for it to display things like speed and average speed? The whole thing took (only) 33 minutes, or a little under 4 km/h (mainly because the dogs were busy investigating the sides of the road).


This page contains (roughly) yesterday's and today's entries. I have a horror of reverse chronological documents, so all my diary entries are chronological. This page normally contains the last two days, but if I fall behind it may contain more. You can find older entries in the archive. Note that I often update a diary entry a day or two after I write it.     Do you have a comment about something I have written? This is a diary, not a “blog”, and there is deliberately no provision for directly adding comments. But I welcome feedback and try to reply to all messages I receive. See the diary overview for more details. If you do send me a message relating to something I have written, please indicate whether you'd prefer me not to mention your name. Otherwise I'll assume that it's OK to do so.


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