Archive for the ‘Life Stuff’ Category


   Posted by: RobPatton   in Life Stuff


   Posted by: RobPatton   in Life Stuff, Tech

Charles has a Power Wheels Jeep that is about 2.5 years old.  It doesn’t get used much by just him, but when we have company or when the neighborhood kids are over, its not unusual to see kids piled all over it  till you can just about hear it cry in pain.





Like every other one, about 2 years in, despite good treatment, the battery started perform to only about 50% its rated capacity.   Earlier in the game, I had cut the wires to their proprietary plug, and added anderson power pole connectors Power Poles link so that I could connect and use my own computerized (faster) charger.




The Orig battery was a 9.5 ah custom everything battery making it impossible to find an exact replacement without going to them




In my desire to “upgrade” without actually going crazy.  I wanted run-time, not top speed.    The solution found was a pair of 10.5 ah batteries side by side on end.  This yields 2.21 times the run time of a factory battery, at about the same cost of the one they want you to buy.   Short custom cable ,and we’re good.  It worked fine.

Not willing to leave well enough alone, I had purchased some battery meters from ebay for 5$ish each.


So I added a momentary push buttom, and this to the top of the battery.




So now at any time, Charles can check his “Gas Gauge” and know what the battery status is.




And it looks good in the Jeep..




At some point I’ll consider moving the gauge and button onto the dash, but for now, this works just fine..




   Posted by: RobPatton   in Cars, Life Stuff

The Subaru 360 was the first automobile mass-produced by Fuji Heavy Industries’ Subaru division. A number of innovative features were used to design a very small and inexpensive car to address government plans to produce a small “people’s car” with an engine no larger than 360 cc when most in Japan could not afford a car. The body size and the engine capacity were designed to match within Japan’s kei car regulation. Nicknamed the “ladybug” in Japan, it was one of Japan’s most popular cars, and among the smallest cars in the world to attract a significant following.

Approximately 10,000 360s was exported to the United States by Malcolm Bricklin, with an original price of $1,297.

The Subaru 360 received notoriety in 1969, when Consumer Reports magazine branded the automobile “Not Acceptable” because of safety concerns and lack of power. Because the car weighed under 1000 pounds, it was exempt from normal safety standards, but it was reported that it fared badly in a test crash against a large American car with the bumper ending up in the passenger compartment of the Subaru.

Sales soon collapsed, as there were various rumors of Subaru 360s being tossed overboard or being shredded to pieces. It was also reported that many 360s sat on dealers’ lots for two or three years without ever being purchased.

About this car:

It was produced from 1958-1971, and were the first line of vehicles produced by Fuji Heavy Industries

It is a 2 cyl, 356cc engine, producing 25HP.   It is a 2-stroke engine.

The car is 118 inches long, 51 inches wide, and 54 inches tall, a checks in at 900 pounds. It offers seating for 4 people.

It rides on 4.8 x 10″ wheels, with a top speed of 60 (more like 50/55)

About this time is when my father noticed this cute little car sitting ignored on a local lot.  I’m not able to find documentation that shows how much he paid for it, but I’m sure it was well under the $1297.

Those that did buy them found parts and service hard to find, since Subaru did not import them they were not obligated to honor them





   Posted by: RobPatton   in Life Stuff

Cabinetmaker Jeff Sonksen paints portraits on Seminole Wekiva Trail. He has quite a talent, and I’ve got a project I hope he’ll be interested in. Its just a mile and some past me, so we took a ride up this weekend to take some pics…


   Posted by: RobPatton   in Life Stuff, Money

  1. “Beware of little expenses; a small leak will sink a great ship.” – Benjamin Franklin
  2. “He who does not economize will have to agonize.” – Confucius
  3. “The safe way to double your money is to fold it over once and put it in your pocket.” – Frank McKinney Hubbard
  4. “By sowing frugality we reap liberty, a golden harvest.” – Agesilaus
  5. “Without frugality none can be rich, and with it very few would be poor.” – Samuel Johnson
  6. “The way to wealth depends on just two words, industry and frugality.” – Benjamin Franklin
  7. “Too many people spend money they haven’t earned, to buy things they don’t want, to impress people they don’t like.” – Will Rogers
  8. “We make ourselves rich by making our wants few.” — Henry David Thoreau
  9. “Frugality is one of the most beautiful and joyful words in the English language, and yet one that we are culturally cut off from understanding and enjoying. The consumption society has made us feel that happiness lies in having things, and has failed to teach us the happiness of not having things.” – Elise Boulding
  10. “If you realize that you have enough, you are truly rich.” – Lao Tzu

   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 Life Stuff

For his 3rd birthday, Charles received a toy store worth of toys, most of which we haven’t even opened yet. My fear is that he would just create piles of toy projects around the house, and be so overloaded that he wouldn’t actually play with any one thing.

One of the toys he got was a Thomas the train set. Battery powered Thomas, with a planned layout for how you build the tracks, but the pieces allow you to build pretty much whatever you want, in whatever form, limited only by the number of pieces that you have.  Realizing quickly that we need more pieces (Ok, mabee *I* wanted more pieces)  I made a random search on craigslist, and found someone cleaning out a group of about 8 Thomas the train sets of parts.   After a bleach washing of all the parts, I put them all out on tables to see what we had ended up with.

When Charles sees this, hes gonna crap his pullup.


   Posted by: RobPatton   in Life Stuff

Dad’s 1yr – What was KAB1341? (a followup to a vague Facebook posting)

Back in the 60s and early 70s, microwave communication was a big thing, and it was what my dad was into, communications. This was back before wifi, back before large installs of fiber, etc. If you needed to go a long distance, microwave communication was what you used. Being into the communications world, he decided to move into the UHF 2-way radio world. Radios that they would have had for work, but this would be his very own. So, in the mid 70s, my father erected a tower, and built his own commercial repeater. Shortly after he added a phone patch, this would allow you to make telephone calls using the radio system. His personal, 1 cell cellular network.

This doesn’t sound so impressive till you realize that this was 1975(ish), roughly 8 years before traditional cell service would be released to the public.

A couple years later I recall fun afternoons of flying in our 1968 Cessna 150 (N3983J) with the radio/phone patch at my disposal. I was the coolest kid on the block when I could both call you from the plane, then fly over your house and wave at you looking up from your yard. Good times….

The FCC requires every station on the air, to identify itself at regular intervals (15mins, or so). Even if the repeater is not in use, it needs to continue the station identification day and night. Since this was before the invention of solid-state audio chips, so my father’s solution was to have a timed relay that turned on an 8-track tape playing his station identification. Night and day you’d hear the click clack of relays in the garage as the 8-track tape would proclaim to the world – “This is station KAB1341”

The system has been long since shut down, but sits untouched where it has been since 1975, the 8 track tape still in its place, ready to identify its repeater. Later in life, my father returned to Ham Radio achieving EXTRA CLASS, the highest level of license a Amateur Radio operator can hold. While others changed their call-signs as each level of upgrade, my father choose to stay with his original call-sign of KD4FZK.  In typical Ham fashion, he was known as “The Fat Zoo Keeper” calling on the last 3 characters of his call.

I tell you this story on the 1-year anniversary of the death of my father in the hopes that more could understand his gifts, and the amazing things he did in his life.

My father was very active in shooting, and had many trophys to show for his marksmanship skills., My good friend Alex and I skipped work, and went to the gun rage today.  This trip, as well as our trip to Beefy King after,  was more of an opportunity for me to be with my father, in spirit.  The shotgun used here was his, and was the first time I had ever shot this gun.  The 44 automag pistol was mine, but was a match to one he often talked about shooting when he did own one in the 70s.

Established in 1968, Beefy King is located next to the Herndon airport, and a place we loved to stop at after going flying on Saturdays. It will always be a place I go to connect with my father.  I’m pretty sure little has changed inside the store since those days long ago 🙂 I often wonder if my gather had ever stopped by one day, and sat in the very seat I’m in to enjoy his lunch.

Beefy King

Dad, its been a  year, and I miss you more.


   Posted by: RobPatton   in Life Stuff, Tech

FAMiLab is a non-profit community-based art and technology collective running out of Orlando, Fl (i.e. a hackerspace). The ultimate goal of the FAMiLab is to provide a safe space where hackers, makers, and crafters can wield their imagination in any way they see fit. Think of the FAMiLab as a club for geeks! Be ye art geek, LARP geek, code geek, lab geek, or any geek in between–we would like you to join us at the lab and teach a workshop, lead a lecture, or simply work on a project while surrounded by awesome people. If you can think it, and can find the supplies, it’s fair game at the lab.


   Posted by: RobPatton   in Life Stuff, Tech

From the paper this week…Voxeo in the news