• Category Archives Computers
  • Seismograph – Part 4.5

    Just a quick update to say that things are working and that I have added a thermal graph to the data.

    This screenshot is from my groov screen. It is easier for me to add live data to there than this website….. But I try and keep some of it synched.
    Anyway, the point of this is to show that the system picked up a ‘tiny’ M1.27 at my beloved Borrego Springs a few days after I got it in the new vault.
    I like the thermal plot, it shows the amplitude of the frequency of the data. Low bass at the bottom and tops out at 20 Hz at the top.
    Blue is low amplitude and works its way up to red.
    I need to do some more reading about how to read both waveforms, but its nice to have it and let it seep in in the meanwhile.

    I plan to put some 50/50 cement/sand mix around the tub, put a water edge around the edge to help the water run away from the tub and then make a foam top to keep the bugs out.
    Once that is done, we are pretty much done with the physical vault.
    At this point I will turn my attention to the software.

    [Edit – Due to the nature of scheduled blog posts, I tinkered with the software after I made this post, but before I could blog about the changes – whoa, that does not make sense even to me – anyway, I broke the main 12 hour trace graphic. The thermal one is still working, but yeah, everything was working great when I wrote this blog, then I messed with (before this blog was published) and broke it…. Perhaps by the time this blog goes live it will be working again – duno… anyway, time is weird. My names thebaldgeek and Im normal.]

  • Temperature sensing

    We shot this video first.
    The plan was to do this one first as it was the simplest and use it as a sort of template for the others.
    For the most part it worked.

    Fun fact for this one.
    The groov controlled fish tank is just outside the server room, so when Paul used some audio processing to remove the humm of the servers, you can hear the bubbling of the fish tank.
    We had to find a happy ballance between the two.
    Also I did not move my arm enough when wiring the module, so it gets in the way, we fixed that on the other videos, but figured it was not worth a reshoot.

    That said, we re-shot this entire video 3 times. The first we just did not like internally to Opto. It just did not tell a story.
    The second we played to a group of students. They gave such compelling feedback that we went back to the script and re-wrote the whole thing. Again.
    This is the third go around you see here.

  • Seismograph – Part 4

    Made the last physical change to reduce the urban noise this past weekend.
    We did a speed read of the USGS seismic vault construction guideline, you can pull it down and check it out here; https://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2002/ofr-02-0144/ofr-02-0144.pdf

    In short, they recomend a bunch of things that I cant come at, either size wise, or cost wise.
    We tried to take the guts of the vault and reproduce it in the backyard.

    One thing to note from the recommendations, we don’t have to worry about the thermal aspects of the vault since the Raspberry Pi seismograph is not adversely affected by temperature changes.

    This is the big picture. We are going to dig a hole, put some cement in the bottom, stick the plastic bucket into the hole – grounding it in the wet cement – then put some more wet cement in the bottom of the bucket, then put a plate (USGS said glass, bit short on that so using some steel) on the cement and that’s hopefully that.

    So, lets get going…..

    Hole dug, and wet cement in the bottom.
    As per the PDF, we put a mound in the middle then pushed the tub down and settled it.

    It probably did not matter much, but we made sure it was level in both directions.
    The USGS said that we should put wet cement around the whole bin, but I was short on cement, so we just left it at the bottom. We could get some more and put it around the whole thing at a latter date, but, well, lets see how things go with just the bottom stuck down.

    Wet cement in the bottom, the plate on top and leveled in both directions.

    The Raspberry Pi setup is the same. I did not feel the need to change anything in this regard.
    The Ethernet brings both network and power. The POE adapter splits it off and routes it to the appropriate port.

    The fake rock is just sitting there for now, but the plan is to dig it in a little around the edge, put some sort of edging around to ‘seal’ the ‘rock’ to the ground and thus tub.
    We are planing a small garden around the corner of the retaining wall, both to ‘hide’ the rock a bit, but also to finish that part of the lawn, the grass never grows all that great, probably due to the grape fruit tree shade.

    The fake rock and tub are not the best, I like the seal on the old bucket better, but it was just too small and shallow. We could not find a longer one with the same seal, so we just have to make do.
    The big issue is bugs. A close second is water/moisture.

    So, the 300 dollar question, how is the urban noise?
    Duno. Its only been in place a few hours Sunday afternoon, we need to watch it for 2-3 days at the very least to get a feel for things.
    Don’t forget that you can view its almost live output here; http://thebaldgeek.net/index.php/seismograph/

  • Solar traffic jam

    The solar eclipse on the 21st is getting some press over here.

    I liked this guys take on it.


    In short, he thinks there is going to be a whopper of a traffic jam.

    Traffic, along with weather, will be the chief challenges for people wanting to see the total solar eclipse of August 21, 2017. I analyze how the U.S. population is distributed with respect to the U.S. road network and the path of total solar eclipse to predict how many people will visit the path of totality and the resulting traffic congestion. Using advanced ArcGIS.com software by Esri, U.S. Census data, and a road network model of every street in the USA, I present estimates for where people will gather for the eclipse and in what numbers.

    The main reason I love this guys article is because of all the data he pulls and uses to make his point.
    Will it happen?

    Duno. I will not be amongst it.
    I do not have the holiday time, I don’t like crowds and I have more (to me) interesting things to watch – like the electricity grid.

  • Solar duck curve

    I really need to get to that blog about the duck curve… But it just ain’t going to happen between now and the 21st.

    Ok Ok, here is the quick version.
    We have so much solar in California, Hawaii and Australia that each day, the sun rises and the power stations have to produce less power as all that power from solar panels gets injected into the grid.
    Then, the people go home from work and turn on their home AC and plasma TV’s… just as the sun is setting, so now the power stations have to ramp up their base load.
    The resulting curve looks like a ducks back (the green line).

    Hence, duck curve.
    (Yes, it changes shape a bit on the weekends, but not that much).

    Stop and think about this….. power has to be used at the same time it is produced. Or flip it around, you have to produce the exact amount of power that is required in real time. The power grid is NOT a battery. There is NO flywheel. It is all done, it HAS to be all done, in real time.

    So, what if there is more solar than you can use? Just ask Hawaii.
    Bad things happen. The solar feeds back into the power station and tries to run it in reverse. This is bad. Very Very VERY bad. (Trust me on this one).

    Another challenge? The amount of ramping up and down the power companies have to do each day. They have to shed generation in the mornings as the sun rises and then ramp up the generators in the evening.
    Very complex and very expensive.

    Another challenge? Wind turbines. We get sunny windy days. Bleh.

    Another challenge? Clouds. None in Southern California, but other parts of the state have some (or so I am told). As the clouds come and go, so does the solar power.

    Can this get any tricker?

    Yup. August 21st 2017.
    There will be a solar eclipse across the USA.


    The grid has never (ever) been tested like this. Ever.

    I am going to be sitting at work looking at my groov web pages.
    I have grid frequency, grid voltage, solar radiation and grid base load graphs… I will be cooking my popcorn before the lights go out…..