Archive for the ‘House Stuff’ Category


   Posted by: RobPatton   in House Stuff, Tech

For those that haven’t seen it in person, here is a rough version of my latest project. Normally you want your cameras looking away from the house, but during the ongoing home construction project we have, I wanted a camera to be looking at the house from a distance. My plan is to grab 1 frame per hour, and then assemble them into a movie when we’re done.

For this project, I needed to make sure I had a high end IP camera, preferably one that could do a 180 degree view, and the whole project needed to be able to run on batteries, as power cords would really get in the way with heavy equipment running.


So, for networking, I picked what I could find locally, a EnGenius ENH202 N wireless bridge. It came with its own POE injector, and its well made, and is able to handle a med length run while still keeping the connection speed high.


The camera of choice is an Axis M3007PV. Its 5MP, and is capable of a panoramic 180degree view, needed for this project.



Next, the boxes of all the electronics.

In this box you will find a power distribution terminal, 24VDC in, a 24 to 12 DC converter, since other things need 12VDC to operate, Two DC power POE injectors (the left runs from 9-36v) the right runs on 24VDC. I also have a voltage divider installed here, for use in the next item.


Box 2 contains a weatherproof location for an Arduino microcontroller. In this project, I wanted to be able to monitor the battery voltage. The Arduino can monitor 0-5VDC easily, and with a simple voltage divider, I can take input voltage, divide it by 11, and read about 2.2v. In software I do the math to convert it back, and boom, I’ve got 24.5ish volts.


And when I hit an internal (or external) IP, The arduino serves up a web page with battery info, including this.





   Posted by: RobPatton   in Food!, House Stuff, Life Stuff, Treehugger Stuff

I’m not sure why they call it canning, since you put the stuff in jars, but I guess “jarring” sounds bad.

My friend from work Kristen was kind enough to bring me back quite a large supply of food from Plant City last week, and I finally got around to getting everything in order to cook and can this stuff.  It was a fairly simple process (I had my Mother over to help me through it)

Clean everything, clean it again, cut tomatoes up, cook them, run them through a colander, cook that again, clean everything,  pour that into jars, add lids, and DONE.

That case of Tomatoes yielded 13 pints of Tomato juice, which I can later convert to pizza sauce/etc


   Posted by: RobPatton   in House Stuff


Typical re certification stamp:

MM -> 2 digit re certification month
XXX ->3 character Re-qualifier’s registration number
YY -> 2 digit re certification year
E ->States the cylinder has been externally examined

WC -> Water capacity of the cylinder.
TW -> Tare weight of the cylinder (what the tank weighs empty)
ICC, DOT, BTE, CTC or TC -> Specification number eg. TC4BA240
10 89 -> Date of manufacture (October. 1989)

Propane cylinders must be re certified every 10 years. This means that the relief valve must be replaced and the cylinder must be visually inspected. A new stamp in embedded into the steel collar to show the latest inspection date. In order to replace the relief valve, the cylinder must be completely empty of propane. If the cylinder is not empty when brought to be re certified, the propane must be burnt off.
Propane cylinders may not be re certifiable due to excessive rust, pitting, gouging, or denting. Cylinders are not re certifiable if they have been involved in a fire, show signs of bulging, dented welds, or collars or foot rings that are broken or damaged.


   Posted by: RobPatton   in House Stuff, Solar Power, Tech

Since I moved to the new house, I took all my solar stuff down, all that is left is some conduit, and a few other things that make holes in the roof.  I’ll remove these when I’m ready to put a new roof on, later this year.


I’d like to avoid mounting panels on the house, this time.  First of all I have plenty of space, so I shouldn’t have to, second, the roof has a much steeper angle, and will make work much harder, and the panels less efficient.  Third, I think it will look better not having panels obvious from the street.  For these reasons I am looking into ground mounting panels.   Examples:


This will make placement much easier, and maintenance much easier. They will also run cooler as they wont be attached to a hot roof.  Now just to see how hard this will be to get drawn, approved, and purchased.


   Posted by: RobPatton   in House Stuff, Treehugger Stuff

I’m was invited to be on the beta program for wattvision’s product, and the hardware arrived today.  It is a small sensor that attaches to the outside of your meter, and a small box that connects via wifi to the internet.  took about 30 secs to install, and it works pretty well.


   Posted by: RobPatton   in House Stuff, Tech


A lot has changed just in the past 30 days on this project.  I’m running on the B-Rad fork of this, and currently my WDTV has:

Ethernet via a wii usb net adaptor, and thus it has IP.


FTP Server




It can also now mount CIFS or NFS shares for streaming goodness

Rss Feed reader scrolls across the bottom

Weather widget (for 5 day weather and temp high low)

Quick and dirty instructions

  • Copy files to root of thumb drive
  • plug thumb drive in
  • plug network adaptor in
  • boot
  • finds new firmware
  • install
  • reboots
  • note IP address on boot. (it will do strange things during its first boot)
  • http://ip address/osd/weather
  • Put in city and F
  • save
  • note cron error
  • click to install cron
  • http://ip address/osd/rss
  • change rss feed
  • http://ip address
  • shares
  • cifs shares
  • enter share info
  • Done
  • Seems as though you need to leave these files in the root of an attached thumb/hd, otherwise it cant run the webserver/etc I just have a 1 gig thumb drive connected, but i’ve also putthe files on the hd that was attached.

You can find my archive at

I’ve also realized tonight, that this thing can play an .iso image of a dvd as well as a .mt2s (direct rip of a BD), an .mt, and mkv, divx, mpg1,2,4, h264, etc etc etc.  I’m not sure what it CANT play, but I’m looking..


   Posted by: RobPatton   in House Stuff, Life Stuff, Things I want, Treehugger Stuff

Propane is an interesting fuel.  Unlike Gasoline or Diesel, its CLEAN burning, it never goes bad, and its safe to keep around.  Its also a dandy way of getting your steaks from raw to mmm mmm good.I have several propane devices.  BBQ grill, turkey cooker, infared heater, and generator.   Since I have all these items, I have a bunch of propane tanks.  In my hurricane prep work this weekend, I tried to sort out what tanks were full, and which were not.

In this process I learned:

Every tank will have “tare weight” stamped into it, indicating how much is weighs, empty.

A standard bbq grill tank, aka a 20 pound tank, weighs about 37 pounds, full.  It weighs about 17 pounds, empty.I (somehow) have 3 tanks that weigh 21 pounds.

I can’t go get this refilled and just pay for 16 pounds of propane.  Its an all or nothing deal with a fill of this size. Same goes if you do a Blue Rhino swap out.

It would be ideal to have a pump, and transfer the propane from tank to tank.  To good to be true. They are to expensive to make it worth buying one, even though it looks very simple… The Krug Pump, has been around for 50 years.


Current Inventory:
8 – 20 pound
1 – 40 pound
1 – 100 pound


   Posted by: RobPatton   in House Stuff, Life Stuff

You’ve wondered to yourself, why is he always cleaning, how much could he have to do?

This is an example… I have boxes and boxes and boxes of “stuff”  This is stuff:



   Posted by: RobPatton   in House Stuff, Solar Power, Tech, Treehugger Stuff

I’ve crossed another milestone, a new record has been set here.

A new peak output, I’ve produced 16amps of 120v during the day on solar.


Next step should get me over 20amps! Perhaps this weekend?


   Posted by: RobPatton   in House Stuff, Solar Power, Treehugger Stuff

Well, my good buddy Jim (and his son Alex) came over today to help me (read: let me watch him work) put the last 6 solar panels up on the roof.

Jim as been my solar teacher, years ahead of anything I’ve done. Hes great with helping preach the word of renewable energy.  With his HUGE solar install, and his Plug-in Prius, he stays on the bleeding edge of Alternative Tech.  He still insists on using his Sony Floppy disk camera, though…..


This go round we tried out a new flashing that the company makes, and it works VERY well.


Six of them to add for today’s install


Today’s upgrade yields me 50% more power, followed shortly by the tracker which will more than double what I had before today.  It should be good times for free power…


All he asked is for some BBQ (actually he asked for Sonnys, he got Bubbalous) and a charge for his (nearly world famous) car….