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   The Sun Dragon continues to be the web server for, but somehow lost DNS.  It refused to resolve any domain name.  I fought with it for quite awhile before I rebooted the machine.  After the reboot, everything was fine.  I hate rebooting and why this fixed anything I cannot say.  The Sun Dragon had been running over 100 days before the reboot.
   Ride out to Indian Lake County Park yesterday afternoon, and the first time this season I've done this ride.  The ride out is just over 14 miles and I had a bit of headwind as I traveled west.  Once at the park I ate lunch and then went on a hike.  My knee still doesn't like my run from a few days ago so I couldn't walk long.  Oddly, biking doesn't seem to effect it—just walking down hills.  When it was time to go I didn't feel I had traveled enough so decided to bike into Waunakee.  This would add a few miles to my trip, but not as many as I had hoped.  I completed the loop with 32 miles cycled, and 1.18 hiked.  Since this was a cross-country trip I wasn't interested in keeping a high heart rate, but nonetheless averaged 143 BPM—78% of my maximum rate which is within the hard physical activity range (70-90%).

August 26, 2015 Goes Solar

Sun Dragon's Current Circuit

Sun Dragon's Current Circuit

   All web services of have moved to the Sun Dragon, making completely solar powered.  This is a major milestone in the Solar Power Server Project.  The Micro Dragon will still continue to run e-mail and DNS since the IP connection at Elmwood Park isn't static.  So far it appears all the site works.  I had to do some fighting with SHTML, and CGI scripts for older sites, but I think they are functional.  The spelling module of Apache also isn't included by default, so I had to correct links in a few sites the old server allowed me to be lazy with.  I will watch the error log over the new few days to see what 404 message come up to see if there is anything I missed.  But so far so good.

3 comments have been made.

From Agnes (


September 03, 2015 at 3:25 AM

Great news! Keep up the good job.


From Edward Bailey (http://


December 09, 2019 at 4:52 AM

Thanks for the great and nice post.

From steven (


March 03, 2020 at 7:39 AM


   Decided to bike all over today, logging 25.61 miles of travel.  It was mostly destination based.  Visit to the eye doctor to update my prescription, then to buy some supplies, and then visiting friends for dinner.  I like the idea that an appointment a mere 7 miles away is plenty close to bike.
   Did a mile run in the morning did it in 7 minutes, 41 seconds.  My average heart rate was 173 BPM (94.5% of max) and I peaked at 181 BPM (98.9% max).  As much as I like those numbers, I don't think I will be running again for awhile.  My knee was quite upset afterward and I had to hop down stairs.  Seem the jarring from running disagrees with me.
   In the evening I did a bike ride out to see the wind turbines on Kickaboo Road.  I had strong winds from the west blowing between 16-23 MPH, with gusts from 21-29 MPH (the range with the report when I left, and the report when I returned).  This loop was 21.3 miles and I leisurely biked it in 1 hour, 38 minutes.  Average heart rate of 141 (77.0%) with a peak of 163 (89.0%).

August 22, 2015 Moves to Solar Power Web Server

For the past day,, the photoblog/new section of the site has been running from the solar powered web server. When I am comfortable everything is working without issues, I plan on moving all web services from the Micro Dragon to the Sun Dragon. This is a major step.

Voltage/current monitor quit unexpectedly during the day. I restarted with monitor and it seemed to work just fine. Not sure what the problem is but I will have to keep an eye on it.

Steve and Xen at Coffee

Steve and Xen at Coffee

Had a problem installing webmin. As I was installing the dependencies, I had a package fail with the following error message

** initializing cache. This may take a while **

Can't locate loadable object for module AptPkg in @INC (@INC contains: /etc/perl /usr/local/lib/perl/5.18.2 /usr/local/share/perl/5.18.2 /usr/lib/perl5 /usr/share/perl5 /usr/lib/perl/5.18 /usr/share/perl/5.18 /usr/local/lib/site_perl .) at /usr/lib/perl5/AptPkg/ line 6.

Compilation failed in require at /usr/lib/perl5/AptPkg/ line 6.

BEGIN failed--compilation aborted at /usr/lib/perl5/AptPkg/ line 6.

Compilation failed in require at /usr/bin/apt-show-versions line 43.

BEGIN failed--compilation aborted at /usr/bin/apt-show-versions line 43.

dpkg: error processing package apt-show-versions (--configure):

subprocess installed post-installation script returned error exit status 2

dpkg: dependency problems prevent configuration of webmin:

webmin depends on apt-show-versions; however:

Package apt-show-versions is not configured yet.


dpkg: error processing package webmin (--configure):

dependency problems - leaving unconfigured

No apport report written because the error message indicates its a followup error from a previous failure.

Errors were encountered while processing:



I wasn't sure what apt-show-versions does, or why it was unable to find AptPkg with the includes. But after doing a quick search for AptPkg I found it is part of the Ubuntu package libapt-pkg-perl. That was already installed. So, I forced it to reinstall.

apt-get install --reinstall libapt-pkg-perl

That seemed to take care of the problem.

August 20, 2015

The Sun Dragon Tracks Current

Fully Self-Monitoring Sun-Dragon

Fully Self-Monitoring Sun-Dragon

So current tracking on the Sun Dragon has been a major problem. It started when I kept blowing up high end operational amplifiers. They would work fine on the breadboard, but fry when I moved the setup to the Sun Dragon. I decided I was tired of the op amps and moved to using a 16-bit serial A/D. Again, this setup worked great on the test system but burned the chips up instantly when they were moved to the Sun Dragon. After some investigation and many replaced parts I made the discovery I didn't like. The charger system uses a common positive and several different grounds. By trying to measure the current I was connecting these grounds together and causing all my problems.

Aside from getting rid of the charger that I don't like, the only way around this problem is to use isolation. So, I ordered an isolated power supply and a synchronous serial bus isolator. My initial order was messed up as I ordered the wrong part. It was an isolator, but designed to be used with several other parts to do the isolation—not what I wanted. The correct parts arrived yesterday and I went about getting them setup.

The basics are simple. I have a microcontroller that talks to some 16-bit A/D chips using an SPI bus. To isolate the A/D chips that are doing the measurements, I need to connect them to an isolated power supply. And to communicate to these chips, I need to go through an SPI isolator.

The isolated power supply is connected to my normal 5 volt power supply, and generates a 5 volt supply for the A/D. Internally there is a high-speed oscillator that turns the 5 volts DC into AC. This goes through a transformer, which isolates the ground, and then converter back to DC. Both the isolated and non-isolated supplies go into the SPI isolator. This device is a high-speed bi-directional optocoupler—light is a pretty good electrical isolator.

My initial attempts to get the system working did not accomplish much. So I set the project down for the night and tried it again the following day. I had an idea, which turned out to be the problem. The isolated side of the SPI bus did not have pull-up resisters on the signals. Normally SPI signals are pull up, and whatever is talking will pull the signal down. This is generally done at the SPI master source. But the isolator keeps the source separated from the rest of the bus. Once I added some 10k pull up resisters, my SPI communications was working just like it should. I let the setup run overnight.

This morning it was time to integrate the isolated setup with the Sun Dragon. This is usually where stuff blows up. This time, however, everything worked as expected. The isolated A/D kept the grounds from being connected and now the Sun Dragon can manage its own current readings. That is a major hurdle for the project—long overdue but now functional.

The only part of the project that remains is the backup power relay. So far this summer I haven't needed to use any backup power, and the Sun Dragon has run for 96 days completely on solar power. However I don't expect that will be the case come winter when days are short and often overcast. I decided to change how this works as well. Rather than simply switch to a separate voltage source, I decided it would be best to also switch on the AC to that voltage source. Wall warts are notoriously inefficient, even when nothing is connected to them. So the ability to leave it without power until it is actually needed would be for the best.

   Last night I did my standard airport-Ashton run, and made the loop in a record 47 minutes, 55 seconds.  Because I started in the evening, I had no traffic and almost no wind.  On the 12.2 mile trip I averaged 15.28 MPH, had an average heart rate of 159 BPM (86.9% of my maximum) and a maximum heart rate of 172 BPM (94.0% of my max).  This was the my first ride after taking it easy for a couple of days of recovery from Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS).  While I didn't get my heart rate as high as I would have liked I nonetheless did a record setting run.
   Today I did it again.  I had two stop lights, a stop to remove an outer shirt, and strong winds from the south-west.  This trip took me 50 minutes, 14 seconds for an average speed of 14.56 MPH.  However, my average heart rate was 161 BPM (88% of max) and my maximum was 175 BPM (95.6% of max).  I've turned a 50 minute bike ride with a hill climb into a sprint.