Browsed by
Month: October 2019

Telescope

Telescope

I put a new 16″ primary mirror in my telescope a few months back, and last night I got around to installing the center dot and mounting the glass in the tube.

The center reflective marker is critical for performing collimation, which is the process of getting the primary and secondary mirrors aligned such that the wavefronts are both centered, and collinear. I use a laser collimator which allows excellent alignment of both the primary and secondary mirrors.

It looks to be cold and clear tonight, so hopefully I can get it out and see the seeing. Audrey is particularly interested in looking at Jupiter.

Tanks

Tanks

Our WWIII Nuclear Fallout shelter has arrived, complete with 2 fully rotating gun turrets. Installation is underway.

Just kidding. This is the water tank for the stormwater management system. 25,000 litres of water storage. It is composed of three pieces with what are pretty much gigantic exhaust clamps to hook them together. Concrete is poured on the inside of the tank as well once placed.

The water from the house gutters goes into a filter bed first (with plants), then into this tank, and then the outflow goes down the hill 1000ft to a stream.

Needless to say this is massively over engineered. The excavators think it is pretty cool, as does Audrey.

Kristin was driving back to our old house when she passed these on an articulating truck on Skyline and she thought they must be for some huge commercial project somewhere. Ha!

light

light

Every time I look at the light pollution overlay, I think ‘damn, east coast sucks for astronomy!’. It is amazing how defined the line is between east and west, as if people just stopped at that longitude. Those dark swaths in Oregon, Nevada, Utah, Idaho, and Montana are pretty awesome.

House

House

Fall colors are really coming in as the trees change, and interior trim work has started. Audrey refers to the house as ‘furry’ at this stage, as all of the insulation is done. We are experimenting with doing a lightly trimmed window in a more modern way ( not drywall wrapped, but similar with wood trim).

The flat roof sections still need to be installed (metal roof there), and the siding and exterior trim is at about 80%. Painting is following the trim closely and should hopefully finish up next week.

The driveway is getting prepped, and power has been conduit routed along the driveway on both sides. I did a power outlet every 75 feet or so on both sides of the driveway all the way from the house to the gate, with the front half fed by a dedicated meter at the gate, and the back half fed by the house.

It looks like we will need about 28,000 sq ft of asphalt. Back of the envelope says that is a tad over 1 million pounds of asphalt, and probably another half a million pounds of rock.

Based on the remaining work I would guess we will move in late January to early February, which isn’t terrible given we started the project in June of 2017.

Gate

Gate

In order to get power at the gate, which is about 1000ft from the house I added a dedicated meter. I’m pretty lucky that when this driveway was originally laid out there were 6 extra 2″ conduits installed all the way from the house to the street that I can use for data and control. I just got a 1000ft roll of 12 fiber single mode, plus 3000ft of shielded Cat6A.

Next up is to dig the footers for the gate and the control system. I’d like to have the control system automatically detect our cars and open the gate without interaction. Some kind of RF system should work for that… something to research. I considered putting an HID reader, and then I can add my friends HID cards (from their work, etc)…

I also need to figure out some kind of small fiber splice cabinet to terminate the fiber into, as well as to house a switch and few other things.

Audio

Audio

Back into the whole-house-audio stuff.. I mentioned previously the need for something to handle 12 audio zones, and in those 12 zones a total of 38 speakers (19 stereo pairs). I have so far found three reasonable solutions, but would love to hear if anyone knows of something that I missed. The key requirement is to simply be able to play a number of sources in any combination of zones.. however the number of sources is pretty small, so 3 or 4 sources. There really isn’t a reason I would want 12 different things playing on all 12 different zones.

Solution 1: HTD (Home Theater Direct) – They sell a ‘Lync’ system that is exactly 12 zones, and if you buy more 12 channel amps as many speakers as those zones need. It has room controls (touch pads over Cat5+), supports voice assistant integration (alexa, etc), phone/app control, etc. The switching matrix by default has 5 inputs, but can support 12 additional ones… but really that isn’t needed as the practical use case is almost entirely listen to music or podcasts, both of which can stream off an Apple TV or the like. The pricing of the HTD stuff is very good, and they support end user installation and configuration.

Solution 2: Russound – Their MCA-88 system can support up to 36 zones, so 12 is doable, and they have the same streaming support, input support, and room controls. Their in room controller is a bit older tech looking, but the single biggest negative is the Russound stuff requires a dealer to install/config. I really really really dislike that as I don’t want to have to rely on someone else to do configuration changes, and I certainly don’t need the installation help.

Solution 3: Sonos – Sonos now sells either a dedicated ‘AMP’ module that is a sonos controller and amp mixed together, or just a standalone line-level output Sonos controller called ‘PORT’. I really don’t need a dedicated sonos controller for every speaker pair (and the cost would be pretty high at 19*$700). If I used the PORT modules as sources and drove those into a multi-channel amp system that would work, but I would still need 12 of the PORT modules for 12 zone, which is paying for independent functionality that isn’t needed. I could use a Sonos PORT as as ‘source’ in either of the above two systems if I wanted that functionality.

I’m leaning towards HTD.

Audio 2

Audio 2

I have color coded the house speakers for determining R and L channels. I’m not sure if it is better to have the imaging in the same direction, or the opposite. If I were to reverse some of them, there would be more intercepting area where you would hear a stereo effect.

The blue lines represent zones, and there will be 12 zones for the upper 2 floors, 38 speakers, plus 2 more zones and 6 more speakers on the lower level. I’m going to need 4 of those 12 channel amps, which do 100w per channel for a total of 4400w (44 speakers total).

The little red rhombuses are the subwoofers, which I also need to assign to zones.

Any input on the layout and channel orientation?

Pictures

Pictures

Just a tad over 1 year ago (390 days) vs today, and increase of 12,878 pictures 274 videos, and 4 selfies. That is an average of 33 pictures per day. I suspect the house building is a significant contributor to that. It is only ~540GB in storage space, although the Photo archive doesn’t include the video from my GoPro and drone, which in total is about 2TBs.

My ‘core’ archive, the stuff I keep backed up in multiple places and multiple locations is right at 8TB right now, as that represents almost all of my personal pictures, videos, every email I have sent or received since 1996, source code, and lots of misc stuff. I wonder what that will be in 10 years?

What is the size your critical digital archive?

Shop Packing

Shop Packing

More cool stuff in my shop packing.. What goes well with lasers? A box of radioactive stuff!

A made a short video testing out a few of the samples:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UMhcZT0PZ-A

It’s fun to collect different sources. Those radioactive vacuum tubes are pretty zesty, and getting harder to find. At 810uSv/hr at a few inches, that is a pretty good radiator given the metal enclosure and the primary alpha decay of Radium226->Po218 (and the alpha is probably blocked by the case).

Background radiation here in Portland is around 0.16 uSv/hr, so that is 5000x background levels. Probably not something you want to keep on your nightstand.

trees

trees

The trees be a changing. It is interesting to note the higher ratio of deciduous trees near the house as a result of the previous clearing of large fir trees, which allows the maples to come in quickly.

As for the house, insulation work is still going on inside, and siding and painting outside. The driveway is getting prepped, and I think in the next 2 weeks I will pull the 1000ft 12ct fiber from the house to the gate. #DoneIn2020