Plural Form

Take a figure of a historical patent, meticulously drawn before there was software. It's a Plural Grating Spectrograph. Wonder about the appeal of antique technical drawings. So modest, so sublime. Copy it, multiply it. Slowly rotate the color wheel, until the purples meet the reds again. This is an impossible spectrum. There are no purples … Continue reading Plural Form

Tribute to a Pragmatic Swiss Solar Pioneer – Who Called to Action in 1989

He is called a pragmatic doer, knowing his physics and engineering, devoid of ideology. This is how Josef Jenni is introduced in the preface to his document called How can we achieve the energy transition (Wie erreichen wir die Energiewende). It's a manifesto and a technical overview - by the pioneer whose company had built … Continue reading Tribute to a Pragmatic Swiss Solar Pioneer – Who Called to Action in 1989

Innovation and Scarcity (and Panic)

I tried to avoid such words. They sounded like hollow buzzwords in times of abundance, used by advertizers playing on fears. But our complacent world is taught a lesson, right now, at furious speed. I am following news as everybody else, I am reading about gloomy forecasts. An Austria paper mill has announced today it … Continue reading Innovation and Scarcity (and Panic)

Technology and Technics. Flolloping Floopily.

Once I started to create spam poetry and search term poetry, and I believed it was original. Then I discovered that great poets of the virtual scrapyard had come before me. Finally, I found serious articles about so-called Found Poetry and I found poets publishing their spam poetry in earnest. I learned about the Sokal … Continue reading Technology and Technics. Flolloping Floopily.

Enthalpy

When you move from fundamental principles (in physics)  to calculating something 'useful' (in engineering), you seem to move from energy to enthalpy. Enthalpy is measured in Joule, as well as energy. It is assigned to a 'system', a part of the physical world separated from other parts by interfaces. The canonical example is a vessel … Continue reading Enthalpy

The Solar Self-Building Movement

Every year the International Energy Agency publishes a detailed report on worldwide usage of solar thermal energy. The last one from 2019 is based on data from 2017. Countries are ranked by their installed capacity: Collectors' thermal heating power under standard operating conditions is linked to their area: 0.7 kWth (kilo Watt thermal) per square … Continue reading The Solar Self-Building Movement

Cloudy Troubleshooting (2)

Unrelated to part 1 - but the same genre. Actors this time: File Cloud: A cloud service for syncing and sharing files. We won't drop a brand name, will we? Client: Another user of File Cloud. [Redacted]: Once known for reliability and as The Best Network. Dark Platform: Wannabe hackers' playground. elkement: Somebody who sometimes just wants to be an … Continue reading Cloudy Troubleshooting (2)

Infinite Loop: Theory and Practice Revisited.

I've unlocked a new achievement as a blogger, or a new milestone as a life-form. As a dinosaur telling the same old stories over and over again. I started drafting a blog post, as I always do since a while: I do it in my mind only, twist and turn in for days or weeks … Continue reading Infinite Loop: Theory and Practice Revisited.

Where Are the Files? [Winsol – UVR16x2]

Recently somebody has asked me where the log files are stored. This question is more interesting then it seems. We are using the freely programmable controller UVR16x2 (and its predecessor) UVR1611) ... .. and their Control and Monitoring Interface - CMI: The CMI is a data logger and runs a web server. It logs data … Continue reading Where Are the Files? [Winsol – UVR16x2]

Cloudy Troubleshooting

Actors: Cloud: Service provider delivering an application over the internet. Client: Business using the Cloud Telco: Service provider operating part of the network infrastructure connecting them. elkement: Somebody who always ends up playing intermediary. ~ Client: Cloud logs us off ever so often! We can't work like this! elkement: Cloud, what timeouts do you use? … Continue reading Cloudy Troubleshooting

Logging Fun with UVR16x2: Photovoltaic Generator – Modbus – CAN Bus

The Data Kraken wants to grow new tentacles. I am playing with the CMI - Control and Monitoring Interface - the logger / 'ethernet gateway' connected to our control units (UVR1611, UVR16x2) via CAN bus. The CMI has become a little Data Kraken itself: Inputs and outputs can be created for CAN bus and Modbus, … Continue reading Logging Fun with UVR16x2: Photovoltaic Generator – Modbus – CAN Bus

Things You Find in Your Hydraulic Schematic

Building an ice storage powered heat pump system is a DIY adventure - for a Leonardo da Vinci of plumbing, electrical engineering, carpentry, masonry, and computer technology. But that holistic approach is already demonstrated clearly in our hydraulic schematics. Actually, here it is even more daring and bold: There is Plutonium - Pu - everywhere … Continue reading Things You Find in Your Hydraulic Schematic

Cooling Potential

I had an interesting discussion about the cooling potential of our heat pump system - in a climate warmer than ours. Recently I've shown data for the past heating season, including also passive cooling performance: After the heating season, tank temperature is limited to 10°C as long as possible - the collector is bypassed in … Continue reading Cooling Potential

Reverse Engineering Fun

Recently I read a lot about reverse engineering -  in relation to malware research. I for one simply wanted to get ancient and hardly documented HVAC engineering software to work. The software in question should have shown a photo of the front panel of a device - knobs and displays - augmented with current system's … Continue reading Reverse Engineering Fun

The Collector Size Paradox

Collector harvest does not change much if we only use half the collector. Perhaps counter-intuitive but explained by the characteristics of heat exchangers connected in series: Especially if one of the heat exchangers (in the tank or collector) is already much superior to the other one, it does not help to optimize the good one further.

Data for the Heat Pump System: Heating Season 2016-2017

I update the documentation of measurement data [PDF] about twice a year. This post is to provide a quick overview for the past season. The PDF also contains the technical configuration and sizing data. Based on typical questions from an 'international audience' I add a summary here plus some 'cultural' context: Building: The house is … Continue reading Data for the Heat Pump System: Heating Season 2016-2017

Computers, Science, and History Thereof

I am reading three online resources in parallel - on the history and the basics of computing, computer science, software engineering, and the related culture and 'philosophy'. An accidental combination I find most enjoyable. Joel on Software: Joel Spolsky's blog - a collection of classic essays. What every developer needs to know about Unicode. New terms … Continue reading Computers, Science, and History Thereof

Tinkering, Science, and (Not) Sharing It

I stumbled upon this research paper called PVC polyhedra: We describe how to construct a dodecahedron, tetrahedron, cube, and octahedron out of pvc pipes using standard fittings. ... In particular, if we take a connector that takes three pipes each at 120 degree angles from the others (this is called a “true wye”) and we … Continue reading Tinkering, Science, and (Not) Sharing It

Simulations: Levels of Consciousness

In a recent post I showed these results of simulations for our heat pump system: I focused on the technical details - this post will be more philosophical. What is a 'simulation' - opposed to simplified calculations of monthly or yearly average temperatures or energies? The latter are provided by tools used by governmental agencies … Continue reading Simulations: Levels of Consciousness

Simulating Peak Ice

This year ice in the tank was finally melted between March 5 to March 10 - as 'visual inspection' showed. Level sensor Mr. Bubble was confused during the melting phase; thus it was an interesting exercise to compare simulations to measurements. Simulations use the measured ambient temperature and solar radiation as an input, data points … Continue reading Simulating Peak Ice

Mr. Bubble Was Confused. A Cliffhanger.

This year we experienced a record-breaking January in Austria - the coldest since 30 years. Our heat pump system produced 14m3 of ice in the underground tank. The volume of ice is measured by Mr. Bubble, the winner of The Ultimate Level Sensor Casting Show run by the Chief Engineer last year: The classic, analog … Continue reading Mr. Bubble Was Confused. A Cliffhanger.

Where to Find What?

I have confessed on this blog that I have Mr. Monk DVDs for a reason. We like to categorize, tag, painstakingly re-organize, and re-use. This is reflected in our Innovations in Agriculture ... ... as well as in my periodical Raking The Virtual Zen Garden: Updating collections of web resources, especially those related to the … Continue reading Where to Find What?

Ice Storage Hierarchy of Needs

Data Kraken - the tentacled tangled pieces of software for data analysis - has a secret theoretical sibling, an older one: Before we built our heat source from a cellar, I developed numerical simulations of the future heat pump system. Today this simulation tool comprises e.g. a model of our control system, real-live weather data, … Continue reading Ice Storage Hierarchy of Needs

Earth, Air, Water, and Ice.

In my attempts at Ice Storage Heat Source popularization I have been facing one big challenge: How can you - succinctly, using pictures - answer questions like: How much energy does the collector harvest? or What's the contribution of ground? or Why do you need a collector if the monthly performance factor just drops a … Continue reading Earth, Air, Water, and Ice.

Give the ‘Thing’ a Subnet of Its Own!

To my surprise, the most clicked post ever on this blog is this: Network Sniffing for Everyone: Getting to Know Your Things (As in Internet of Things) ... a step-by-step guide to sniff the network traffic of your 'things' contacting their mothership, plus a brief introduction to networking. I wanted to show how you can … Continue reading Give the ‘Thing’ a Subnet of Its Own!

And Now for Something Completely Different: Rotation Heat Pump!

Heat pumps for space heating are all very similar: Refrigerant evaporates, pressure is increased by a scroll compressor, refrigerant condenses, pressure is reduced in an expansion value. *yawn* The question is: Can a compression heat pump be built in a completely different way? Austrian start-up ECOP did it: They  invented the so-called Rotation Heat Pump. … Continue reading And Now for Something Completely Different: Rotation Heat Pump!

Same Procedure as Every Autumn: New Data for the Heat Pump System

October - time for updating documentation of the heat pump system again! Consolidated data are available in this PDF document. In the last season there were no special experiments - like last year's Ice Storage Challenge or using the wood stove. Winter was rather mild, so we needed only ~16.700kWh for space heating plus hot … Continue reading Same Procedure as Every Autumn: New Data for the Heat Pump System

Re-Visiting Carnot’s Theorem

The proof by contradiction used in physics textbooks is one of those arguments that appear surprising, then self-evident, then deceptive in its simplicity. You - or maybe only: I - cannot resist turning it over and over in your head again, viewing it from different angles. tl;dr: I just wanted to introduce the time-honored tradition … Continue reading Re-Visiting Carnot’s Theorem

Hacking My Heat Pump – Part 2: Logging Energy Values

In the last post, I showed how to use Raspberry Pi as CAN bus logger - using a test bus connected to control unit UVR1611. Now I have connected it to my heat pump's bus. Credits for software and instructions: juerg5524.ch messpunkt.org SK Pang Special thanks to SK Pang Electronics who provided me with CAN … Continue reading Hacking My Heat Pump – Part 2: Logging Energy Values

Hacking My Heat Pump – Part 1: CAN Bus Testing with UVR1611

In the old times, measuring data manually sometimes meant braving the elements: Now, nearly all measurements are automated: In order to calculate the seasonal performance factor of the heat pump system we have still used the 'official' energy reading provided by the heat pump's display. Can't this be automated, too? Our Stiebel-Eltron WPF7 basic is … Continue reading Hacking My Heat Pump – Part 1: CAN Bus Testing with UVR1611