A random combination of events and thoughts.

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So I’ve finished the kitchen lights – well, they were finished in the sense of not requiring anything further structural, but they had a horribly mismatched set of old incandescent bulbs pulled from the stock removed when we moved in / had the house rewired. The plan was to replace them with decorative incandescents and damn the energy usage! …I know, but every other bulb in the house is an energy saver. As it was, the 180W of incandescent and 55 or so watts of CFL power made the kitchen look like the the sun had accidentally risen on our ceiling, which was a little extreme.

However, the kitchen had always been a bit dark with the single bulb that was in here, anyway, so we wanted a couple of bulbs that would actually provide illumination. Having looked around the lowest wattage decorative incandescents with bayonet caps I could find were 25Watt, and painfully expensive per bulb (and only 3000 hours of life… urk).

Still, for the sake of the pretty, we got three of them:

Let there be light (bulbs)

And here they are on, albeit in the early evening light.


And off:


There are a few things I’ve learned from this – for next time I make lights, but mainly I’m really very happy with the way they’ve come out. Kathryn seems pleased with them too, and the sum total of 130Watts is a bit more sane. If any of the CFLs go I’ll probably try replacing them with LED bulbs, since that seems to be the next big thing in reducing power consumption. Nothing to do for the incandescents though – because they’re so preeetty. Weak, I know.

On the power usage front, the forceful application of night-time-electricity usage for our high power appliances (washing machine, dishwasher, charging the car) has led to an interesting and unexpected side effect. Organisation. And me not minding it. Whilst I can’t say I deeply enjoy prepping the washing machine for it’s night time forays into the world of cleaning, it’s certainly reduced our laundry pile. Because knowing I can only run it overnight (well, more accurately that I want to avoid running it during the day) means that I have started approaching the laundry basket with much more planning than was previously the case.

Up until now I’d just wash things when I started to get low. Which mean that the laundry basket would fill and then I’d go “OH MY GOD I’VE GOT NO (under)PANTS! *WAIL* I fail at being an adult!”. Then I’d routle through the underwear draw, find that scabby pair of pants that have gone that special shade of grey reserved for old white cloths, and with the failing elastic that means I spent the day continuously hoiking them back up, and then rapidly wash the underwear, and then probably curse the universe and do several other loads of washing in one day. Then none of it would dry because there was too much on the drying rack (yes, we don’t really use a tumble drier).

But now, now I look in the basket and go ‘what can I set up to wash overnight’ which today will, ironically, be pants, and then I queue it ready. It sits and patiently washes itself at night. Yay.

The dishwasher has so far worked along similar lines, it’s forcing organisation on a system that was previously chaotic. Which is a win for me because I fail at being an adult in so many ways. The only difficulty is remembering whether the dishwasher is ‘on’ or not, quite frequently I have to slip under the sink, switch the bypass on the timer and check that the machine is on, then slip it back onto ‘timer’. This is because there is no indication that it’s on.

The other thing it’s done is made me much more aware of our energy usage, which is much higher than I think it should be. It’s at least a few kilowatts in a day, even when we’re not at home. Most of that is, I suspect the fridge. I’ve had a bad habit of leaving the printer on standby too, which (having just checked) is around 20watts – given the rarity of use, I should have it actually switched off when we’re not using it. So I’ve switched it off (and the benighted piece of crap that’s the wireless adaptor. All pray it comes up again working). Ha. 20 watts gone.

The other thing that probably uses a lot of power is the Athlon XP powering the media server. I can’t help wondering if it wouldn’t be better to replace it with, say, another Raspberry Pi. I can’t help but feel that since it no longer has to transcode things, and could just quietly be a little media server with far less energy usage than the whacking great Athlon XP server is using. Mrr. Not sure though, as yet. Also, the big energy consumption there is probably the hard disks, and I’ve not enough money to replace the terrabyte drives with SSDs.

I’m still waiting (optimistically) to hear back about our potential Solar Panels. I ended up ringing the guy today because he’s gone very quiet. If we are going to get them, it’d be nice to get them now, whilst there’s still some summer left (I also have this cunning ploy, which is, I think they’ll be putting scaffolding up, so I could nip up and change the chimney pot that’s broken at the same time, saving 300 quid). But as yet, they’ve not rung me back. It’s cruel, you know, getting me all excited about solar panels and then going quiet. :(

Anyhow, the car charger has so far worked too, which has made me happy. This whole ‘it charges at night’ thing seems to be working quite well… we’re waiting to hear from the Polar Network people about an installation date for our Type 2 charger. I also need to get one for my mums house, since it looks likely that we’ll be able to take the EV down there too.

Incidentally, the EV has so far resisted naming. We went with ‘Puck’ for a while, but it’s not really stuck.

In other news, a month in I’m still loving the EV. The little strange indicator light that came on (this one) turned out to mean, in this instance, that the key-fob battery was getting low. I suspect it of being a ‘there is a fault with a battery other than the 12v one’ light, the specific purpose of which is only easily distinguished by having a can-bus connector with which to diagnose the fault. Well, the people in the garage say that’s what the light is for. I’m a little unclear, because whilst that’s what the garage said, and changing the battery in the remote fob has worked (it seems), my contact at Mitsubishi says that Mitsubishi Japan have not yet supplied him with a definitive answer. This is what comes of having a more-or-less pre-production EV. Again. Oops.

Ignoring that though, the car’s delightful. We made our trip to Cardiff in her, which was so uneventful as to be uneventtastic. And which cost us the cost of parking. We’ve pootled all over Bristol and Bath, and never once had a problem with range – which seems to be most people’s concern. A lot of people seem very interested – Kathryn reports that she gets a lot of questions about the car. I’ve just been really pleased with it. Obviously, winter will be the next challenge. Range drops quite a lot in the cold, and with things like lights, heater and wipers we may find we need to use the minor more (particularly for longer journeys that, in the summer at least, are EVable). But given that it’s not a car intended for long journeys, that’s not wholly unreasonable.

It is very pleasing to not have to fill up with petrol. Indeed, it’s almost glee inducing passing the petrol station near our house on my way to other places and thinking ‘nope’.

In other, other news, I’ve finally decided to upgrade my Macbook. It’s spent the last few days/weeks with the fan running almost continuously. I suspect that what it’s in need of is a reinstall. But the problem with reinstalling is… wait for it… I don’t really want to reinstall on the small drive in the machine with the knowledge that I’m going to need to do it again when I finally do upgrade. So rather than do it twice I’ve bitten the bullet and ordered the new drive and memory. Hopefully this should make the laptop a bit happier – as will not having had 18 billion metric tons of crap installed on it. It should also make it faster. Although I will then have to suck-it-up and buy the back up software I’m using which switched a while ago from ad-supported to pay-for, but on a voluntary upgrade thing, but obviously, now I’ll have to download the new version. Still glee for faster computerdom. We hope. Also, hopefully extending its life a little by not running it so hot.

Less glee inducing is that the Type II charging connector from the EV, which theoretically is winging its way from somewhere in Britain to our house, with which I’m hoping to wire the hacktastic Type II connector, well, it’s not arrived yet. It says on Amazon’s site ‘Dispatched’* and that was a week ago. I’m not sure what means they are using to get it to our house, perhaps this is delivery via a herd of caterpillars tethered to a sleigh of some sort. At any rate, it’s annoying. Anyhow, time’s a wasting.

I’ve pruned the tomatoes, which was one of the jobs to do today. I might go and play in the garden after I’ve done some washing up :)

* And we’ll not get into the qualms I’m having about using Amazon after hearing about the way they treat workers. Because I’m having serious qualms, but also struggling to come up with anything near a decent alternative.


Kate is lord and mistress of all she surveys at pyoor.org...