Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Spring Has Sprung

The last of the late winter snow is melting off, and the critters are coming out of their winter quarters.  Gathered around the bird feeders in the back yard today were seen 4 chipmunks frolicking in and out of their hole, two gray squirrels greed fully chomping up seeds spilled from the bird feeders (one was actually seen hanging upside down by its tail as it scrapped out the contents of the feeder onto the rim and then to the ground), a rabbit hopped by on the perimeter, a pair of doves wandered around area, and multiple smaller birds were diving in and out to lunch on the rest of the seeds the squirrels had spilled all around the yard.   In the background, you can hear the rat-ta-ta-ta-tat of a woodpecker working on a tree down by the fence line, the warbling call of another singer, and see the first shoots of the bulbs poking their heads out of the rapidly departing snow.  The resident ground hog hasn’t been up yet today, nor has the very old skunk affectionately called “Yellow Beard” for its dingy off color streak across its back, but then he likes to patrol at night. 

For me that means it’s time to start planning the garden, preparing the lawn mower, and cleaning up the branches, twigs, and bush shed leaves from the winter’s winds passing through.  With the advent of warmer weather, it’s also time to start planning more outdoor activities, getting out of the house, and enjoying the great outdoors.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Some Days Arer Better Than Others

Some days are better than others.  Today was one of those days.  After experiencing a wonderful week in North Carolina at an inspirational conference and meeting some special people, we headed home back to Maryland via a special side track to see my wife’s back doctor.  Results were absolutely wonderful.
Not to brag, but my wife claims her Doctor (Alvin Anthony in Rocky Mount, NC) is the best back and spine doctor in the nation.  Anyway, she can walk again without pain.  Love it. Well worth the trip and the hospitality is wonderful throughout the area.  Hope you all have a chance to experience the area and enjoy the scenery.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Effect of Solar Storms

Solar flares produce high energy particles and radiation that can be dangerous to living organisms. However, at the surface of the Earth we (living things) are well protected from the effects of solar flares and other solar activity by the Earth's magnetic field and atmosphere. 

The x-rays from flares are stopped by our atmosphere well above the Earth's surface. The energetic particles produced at the Sun in flares seldom reach the Earth. When they do, the Earth's magnetic field prevents almost all of them from reaching the Earth's surface. 

The most serious effects on human activity occur during major geomagnetic storms. Major geomagnetic storms are induced by coronal mass ejections (CMEs), usually associated with flares.  A CME drives a shock wave which can continuously produce energetic particles as it propagates through interplanetary space. When a CME reaches the Earth, its impact disturbs the Earth's magnetosphere, setting off a geomagnetic storm. 

One serious problem that can occur during geomagnetic storms has been the temporary loss of electrical power over a large region. The best known case of this occurred in 1989 in Quebec. High currents in the magnetosphere induce high currents in power lines, blowing out electric transformers and power stations. This is most likely to happen at high latitudes, where the induced currents are greatest, and in regions having long power lines and where the ground is poorly conducting.

auroraThese are the most serious problems that have occurred as a result of short-term solar activity and the resulting geomagnetic storms. A positive aspect of geomagnetic storms, from an aesthetic point of view, is that the Earth's auroras are enhanced.

The damage to satellites and power grids can be very expensive and disruptive. Fortunately, this kind of damage is not frequent. Geomagnetic storms are more disruptive now than in the past because of our greater dependence on technical systems that can be affected by electric currents and energetic particles high in the Earth's magnetosphere.

Could a solar flare or CME be large enough to cause a nation-wide or planet-wide cataclysm? It is impossible to give a definitive answer to this question, but it never hurts to be prepared.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Solar Panel Startup Basics

Getting started in using Solar for various purposes can be a little confounding for a novice, but this diagram I recently ran across may help in explaining the various pieces of the puzzle.  Each piece of equipment serves a specific function in going from the sun (gathering the energy) through to using the energy for light, heat, or in an appliance.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

The Power is out, Now What?

What do you do when the power is off, you are out of batteries, and your phone needs charging?  Use a Portable Solar Panel and charger and let the sun be your go-to energy source.  Portable Solar Panels and Chargers allow users to both run and recharge their handheld devices through their USB ports. 

Portable Solar Chargers can recharge themselves whenever Sunlight or other bright lights are available. As a source of emergency power for small devices, Portable Solar Chargers can be a lifesaving tool for travelers, hikers, and other away from home excursions. They can be a great item for campers, survival packs, and other emergency supply boxes. No need to carry an extra supply of batteries.

Easy to carry, light weight, and compact, economical Portable Solar Panels and Chargers are an ideal way to insure you always have a backup power source for your portable needs.  Portable Solar Panels and Chargers can provide power for tablets, GPS, smart phones, portable game systems, action cameras, dash cams and most USB devices. You can even recharge your MP3 player and power your portable Bluetooth speaker when away from home.

Solar on the Road

You’re off to see the country in your rolling home on wheels and looking forward to finding that perfect spot to stop, sit back, and enjoy the scenery, peace and quiet.  So you follow your plan, hit the road, and look for that perfect place.  You find a wonderful overlook, with a spacious parking area, a beautiful view, and set up for the night.  Then you crank up the generator to run the battery and turn on the TV to watch the latest news.  But your spouse is annoyed by the noise of the auxiliary generator running all the time, and lets you know about it.  

Now, you can charge the batteries while the engine is running and you are on the road, but when you don’t run the engine or the auxiliary generator, you are not charging the batteries, rather you are drawing power and depleting them. Not only that, when you run the generators you are using up precious (and expensive) gasoline. 

Your solution, use solar panels on the roof, or portable solar panels to charge the batteries without having to use the generators.  They are quiet, easy to use, and as long as there is light, they can be your go-to source of power for most all of your on the go electrical needs.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Portable Solar: A Potential Life Saver

Most people these days are weighed down by a variety of portable electronic devices. All these devices use batteries, with charges that last from a few hours to a several days. If you are one of these people, you know how inconvenient it is when your cell phone or laptop's battery die when there is no electric outlet available that you can use to charge your battery.

It is at times like these that a portable solar power battery charger will come in really handy. It frees you from the necessity of a wall adapter for your device. You can just plug your device into the solar charger and it will use the sunlight in a electrochemical process to charge the battery. Many solar battery chargers are able to use any light available, including man made light, to generate energy.

Solar power is often recommended because it is an environmentally friendly and renewable way to provide energy. In direct sunlight, one solar panel can charge a 12 volt battery at a rate of 7 amps.

Battery disposal is starting to become a problem; some landfills are starting to restrict the disposal of batteries because the is some concern that some materials in batteries can contaminate ground water. That is one reason using rechargeable batteries is becoming a must. And now that portable solar power battery chargers are becoming cheaper and more powerful, you can recharge your batteries almost anywhere and any time.

You can recharge most batteries in less than three hours with a modern solar charger in direct sunlight. It is becoming an indispensable part of the frequent traveler's gear.