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August 17, 2015

Operation Lux One Year Results

Operation Lux has been running over one year on the roof of Elmwood Park taking measurements minute by minute of sunlight intensity. Now that I have a complete years worth of data (less some downtime from last September) I decided to analyze it.

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Here are the most important results from the operation—the average amount of light received during a day for each of the months throughout the year. The thick black trace is the yearly average, but as the chart shows each individual month can differ significantly.

Shown are monthly averages of light for the entire year. Clearly visible are the effects of the sun's declination with daylight beginning shortly before 6:00 am and lasting until after 8:00 pm in the summer months, but not until after 8:00 am and only until 5:30 pm in the winter.

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Here we see the average amount of light in a 24 hour period for each in watt hours per square meter. Notice how much less light hits the roof in January, December and November than the rest of the year. Factors include the angle of the sun, the tree line around our house, cloud cover, and snow.

So in the summer months I see no problems having my 50 watt solar panel power the web server. But for a couple of the winter months there may not be enough light to keep the server battery from running low. This is why I have designed the Sun Dragon with a relay to switch itself to auxiliary power. This will allow the battery to recharge from solar power for however long is needed. Thus the Sun Dragon may not be 100% solar powered all the time, but it should be close.

During the summer months there is much more power available than the server needs. I have been thinking about what can be done about this. One option is to have the server contribute to some distributed computing projects such as Einstein@Home when there is excess power available. Because of the quantity of power, I may have to add a couple of additional computers to fully utilize this power. This is only a concept right now.

   Went on a run in the morning with Zach despite the heat and humidity.  Zach can run more than 4 miles, but I don't think that is something I am going to be able to do for sometime.  So we just ran a single mile.  I did the mile in 8 minutes, 13 seconds with an average heart rate of 169 bpm (92% max) and a peak of 184 bpm (101% max).  The peak was at the end where I ran as fast as I could still move for about 1/2 a block.  While I don't really enjoy running, I do like how much it makes me work.  So this is something I might have to look into doing more often.
   The other day at coffee it started raining with the sun out, so I took a picture.
   Last night I decided to go for an all-out run on my standard Airport-Ashton loop bike ride.  The goal was to push hard and get a baseline for heart rate for what I would consider vigorous exercise.  This is a 12.4 mile loop with one large hill climb.  Winds were from the west and pretty steady, which means I had a strong headwind on the first part of the trip.  The results: loop completed in 50 minutes, 24 seconds with an average heart rate of 163 beats/minute (89% of max) and a maximum of 177 beats/minute (98% of max).  I kept my heart rate under the recommended maximum for my age, 183 bpm and it is estimated I burned 730 calories with this single ride.  My average speed was 14.76 mph which I think is among the highest in my records.
   Today I am feeling the consequences of this ride.  To me, that is a good thing.  I hardly get Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) which means I'm not really pushing my mussels that hard.  When it does happen, it means I was really making my leg mussels work.  So today I did a very similar loop, but made it a 15 mile ride with a 1.33 mile hike.  Taking it very easy, including a granny gear ride up Hell Hill I averaged a heart rate of 142 bpm (78% max) with a maximum of 165 (90% max).  According to the Mayo Clinic, these levels still qualify as vigorous exercise intensity (70-85% of max).  According to this page, my slow ride places me in The Target Heart Rate Zone which is "is an area of moderate intensity activity that leads to improvements in your aerobic capacity and burns fat.  This zone provides many benefits for all fitness levels, including those who want to lose weight, those who are training for an athletic event, or those who are looking to have more energy and get fit."  My 89% qualifies as The High Intensity/Anaerobic Zone which says it is "recommended for highly fit individuals, such as athletes.  This zone places a high demand on the cardiovascular system and does not burn much fat."  I'll take being being in a category of highly fit individuals.
   Pictured is Steve and Zach out with me exploring a coffee shop we had not yet been.
   My last day of work today before my leave of absence.  After today I switch to school.  Work has been keeping me busy, and so I have two weeks to find a place in Platteville to live for the next 9 months in addition to all the other preparatory items to get ready to be a student again.  But my company is pretty cool.  While they don't want me to go (they have work that needs to be done) they are working with me so I can continue to work on my degree.
   Here are the remaining battery banks on the electric Studebaker truck.
  A work project (that didn't involve me) where they converted a Studebaker truck to be an all electric vehicle.  It is very quiet with the tires and frame vibrations making more noise than anything else.  Pictured is the engine compartment with one of the banks of batteries.