Lots Of Time Outside Today

Song: “By The Light Of The Silvery Moon” by Little Richard

Mood: 7

Nightmares: 0

Ghosts: Lots

More of the same last night. I had to get out of bed twice to check whether the back door was closed and locked, but I think I only woke J up once (sorry).

It was very nice out today. More specifically, it was very nice in the shade. I went for my walk late in the morning and sat out on the deck stairs for a little while after I got back. I found it uncomfortable in the sun but as the afternoon went on, the shadows in the back yard started to lengthen so I went back outside and spent over two hours puttering around.

I’ve been looking at automating the garden. Yes, our garden is tiny, and no, it doesn’t take much time for watering or upkeep… I just think that it’d be neat. One of the things I’m trying to do is get water from the side of the house to the garden without using a hose. That’s where that laminar nozzle I was talking about a few days ago comes in. I finished printing it the other day and tried it out today. It was a spectacular, leaky failure. Instead of taking another three days to print another, I think I’ll go with some of the plans I saw on a few websites.

To run a little microcontroller in the garden means I need power, so I dug up and cleaned a couple of old solar panels that were under a pile of junk in the garage (I really need to get in there and tidy things up). I set up and tested my two reliable Arduino Leonardos (the one that FA gave me and the knockoff I got a little while ago), one as a transmitter with a soil moisture meter and the other as a receiver with a little display and they worked great inside. I brought them outside, intending to power them from the solar panels. I tried them with 9V batteries first, and everything worked perfectly – the one in the garden was sending a nice clear signal to the one by the side of the house.

When I hooked them up to solar panels, though, I couldn’t get a reading. I tried swapping panels, swapping wires, swapping transceivers, etc, etc, etc. The genuine Leonardo would power up and the display would show that it was waiting for a signal, but it never got past that. I played around with them for quite a while but couldn’t get the two of them talking.

I took a break and grabbed a lawn chair out of the garage and sat in the shade for a while, enjoying the breeze. Aside from the sound of distant lawnmowers all around, it was quite peaceful. I looked up at the giant elm tree that’s hanging over our yard and focused on it, watching the leaves and branches move in the breeze. It was quite nice.

Elm Tree

J got home a little while later and came outside to chat about our days. Before we went back inside, I gave the Arduinos another try but ended up with the same results.

I was supposed to have a Dr W appointment this afternoon but he called and left a voicemail asking to reschedule, so it’s been changed to next week. It wasn’t any problem, and J’s aunt got her afternoon back, so that was good.

J and I watched another episode of Stranger Things. We’re on the second season now, and… it’s great but I have some questions. They’re also introducing new characters and they’re still doing a great job of poking all the right 1980s buttons. Dig Dug, Regan/Mondale, Dragon’s Lair, and Baby Fae (the one who got the babboon heart) are just some of the memories sprinkled around the episode.

After we finished the show, I tinkered around with the Arduinos again and discovered (with that delightful burning electronics smell that makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up) that the reason the receiver wasn’t showing any information was because the transmitter was dead, a victim of the solar panel. This was a first for me – I’ve hooked a lot of things up to a lot of solar panels over the years and this is the first time that I’ve ever burnt out electronics with a little 5W panel. I did some digging and discovered to my dismay that, while the genuine Arduino can accept power supplies up to 20V, the knockoff could only tolerate up to 12V (and it used pretty crappy components, too). I’m using a 12V solar panel but when there isn’t much of a load on them they can put out higher voltages. So… yeah. I guess that’s what I get for buying the cheapest one I could find.

I’m not sure what the weather is supposed to be like, but I’m hoping that tomorrow is a repeat of today (minus the burning electronics). I left the chair outside leaning against the house, so maybe I’ll get in some more tree-staring. Hopefully the neighbours don’t think I’m too weird.

Stay safe.

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