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May 18, 2019

Happy Birthday Zen

   The Janesville Renaissance Faire this afternoon.  It rained pretty hard in the early afternoon but was just a quick front.  The faire is small, but I was able to spend some time looking at custom artwork.  The large faires can't host small artists and must mass produce their work, but the small faires like this are pretty good for artists.
   We've had the new water heater for almost a week now, and I'm most pleased with it.  Nice to be able to fully fill the bathtub.  Soft water takes some getting used to as it feels, well, soft.  When washing ones hands it doesn't feel like the soap is gone.  I've never had a water softener before and learned that 120 lbs of slat is only about 1/3rd full.  No problem.  Next week I'll get another 120 lbs and the same the week after that.  I don't mind incremental projects.
   Reinstalled shelve above the washing machine.  It's main purpose is to hold the soap above the washer's soap receptacle.  Everyone here is far too lazy to put the detergent in a measuring cup first. Much easier simply to push the button at the bottom of the container and pour it directly into the washer.  We can't set the detergent on the washer as it will shake it off during the spin cycle.  So in order to continue being lazy, I had to put the shelve back up.
   Replacement control board for the furnace arrived today.  Just took a few minutes to disconnect the old one and put in the new one.  Rather than trying to figure out what wires did what, I simply photographed the wiring, and used the picture as a reference for putting things back together.  Running the test cycle confirmed the draft motor was now switching on like it was supposed to.  Furnace is in working order again.  Good thing too because it appears May doesn't want to warm up yet and we have some chilly days ahead.
   A lot of cleanup this weekend.  This is the location where the old water heater used to be located.  After it was removed I cleaned out a bunch of items that came with the house and scrubbed the floor.  Area is in much better shape now. 
   Our furnace stopped working about two weeks ago.  It shouldn't matter because it is May, but this month has been much cooler than normal.  Investigation points to a dead relay on the control board.  The relay controls the draft blower.  I was manually able to wire the daft motor to an extension cord and this allows the furnace to run.  I have manually run it this way a few times in the morning when the house is fairly chilly.  A replacement control board is on order.
   Xiphos and I put the garage back into order after the Mayo de Mustache gathering.  I've moved my bike back to the garage for the summer season.  One of the items I had been wanted to do was build a shelve for cycling gear, which I did today.  That and I ran power for my battery chargers.  I should be good for the season now.  This last week has been cooler than usual with my Friday ride to breakfast at 39°F/3.9°C.  My concern is that this cool spring will quickly give way to a hot summer and avoid the nice comfortable temperatures.
   I was having some problems using Python 3 with os.O_DIRECT when opening a file. 
    inputFile = fileName, os.O_DIRECT | os.O_RDONLY )
    try :
      with mmap.mmap( inputFile, 0, access=mmap.ACCESS_READ ) as inputMap :
        hasher.update( inputMap )
    except ValueError :
      # Value error means the file is empty.

   Problem was, I kept getting a Permission denied error about not being able to open the file.  Turns out that there can be alignment issues when using the O_DIRECT flag.  The example for memory mapping I followed used this flag, but it isn't needed.  Everything worked fine once it was removed.
   Our water heater has been dying for sometime and after a lot of searching I finally found someone willing to install the tankless replacement I wanted.  I worked form home to be here for the plumber.  Took him a little over 4 hours to install the tankless heater and water softener, but it is done. 
   The selection of the tankless heater was done for a number of reasons.  I had a 100,000 BTU unit at the Garage, selected because it was small.  That worked pretty well although the water flow was low.  A lot has changed since 2003.  Modern units are condensing meaning higher efficiency and more power.  Most units now are are just under 200,000 BTU.  The one I selected was highly reviewed.  I wanted whatever water heater we used to be condensing as the old water heater was the last item to use the chimney, and I don't really want a chimney forever.  We also have 6 people living here, and hot water has been an issue when people shower back to back.  This heater should be able to address these issues.
   So far I'm pleased with the performance.  The standard 120°F/49°C water temperature is not quite as hot as I would like but I can change that.  The flow rate seems fine.  It is more than enough for showers, although the bathtub fills much slower.  The water softener is only on hot water, but should prevent the lime buildup I'm sure contributed to the breakdown of the last heater.