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   Sun Dragon falls off-line after 120 days of runtime.  Looks like the battery completely died.  This is strange because the power curve show a sudden increase in voltage drop despite nothing having changed on the system.  High CPU load can account for increased energy usage, but the charts do not show such an increase.  I will have to keep an eye on the setup.
   Pictured are the rusty parts replaced on the garage door the other day.  Can't imagine why it failed.
   The results of an other subsurface scattering experiment.  This rendering took 2 days to complicate.  The material I was trying to design is suppose to be a translucent plastic, but looks more like gelatin.  As I played with various settings in Kerkythea I found the results differed significantly depending on which rendering engine, and level of detail.  Marks it hard to tweak parameters when each rendering method will produce different results and results take days.  So for now I am going to concede that I don't make a great creator of materials.
   Sometime over the summer one of the extension spring cables used to counterweight the garage door broke.  The stored energy from the spring did a fair bit of damage do the wood beam framing the structure, but luckily no one was hurt when this happened.  Since then the door has remained closed as without the counter weight the door is quite heavy.  Now that alternate side parking is in effect I have been parking in the garage so the driveway can accommodate an other car.  And with this came the incentive to repair the counter weight.
   When I inspected the setup I found that the cable had broken off the anchor point on the garage door.  There was a metal plate that bolts through the garage door and contained a hook to connect the counter weight cable, all made of rust.  The rust finally disintegrated enough of the metal that it broke under the force from the cable.  So after a couple of trips to the hardware store (because I didn't realize there were separate left and right brackets) I had all the parts I needed to do the repair.  Getting the old bracket off took some work.  But with the mass of a large hammer at velocities only a computer programmer would use, enough force was generated to dislodge the old bolts.  They had badly deformed due to rust, which is probably why they didn't want to come out.  After they had been removed, the new bracket went in pretty quick.  Then I went about connecting extension spring cable.  For this I needed Xiphos because it was hard to pull on the spring and direct the cable at the same time.  With the two of us I had the cable back on and a crazy thing happened: everything worked.  The garage door moves easily again.  For some reason I was thinking this was going to be harder than it was.
Load Controller

Load Controller

   My project this afternoon.  As part of the stationary cycle generator I needed a controller.  It must perform several tasks.  For a variable load I setup a PWM controlled by a potentiometer.  This switches a FET that dumps the power into some high wattage load resisters.  In this way, the duty cycle of the FET will determine how much load is being placed on the generator.
   For this project I picked up a 4x20 character display and used an Arduino Uno for control.  It took a bit of searching around to find the correct settings to use the display with a common library, but after that the project was done quickly.  A scaled the potentiometer input with some dead zones at the ends so there is a full range from 0-100% PWM duty cycle.  In addition, I can measure the input voltage.  Since I know the total resistance I can calculate current, and with current and voltage I can measure wattage.  This will allow measurement of total power, and that can be translated into calories.  However, I am not dumping 100% of the energy into load resisters.  Some of the power generated will be dumped into the solar powered web server battery.  I have some hall effect current sensor modules on order which should help with this.
   The electronics of this project is the easy part.  It is the mechanical assembly I am still fretting over.
 
Dragon Vase

Dragon Vase

   Today I worked on trying to create a vase with dragon line art. I experimented with several methods of texturing before I settled on this. The surface uses a porcelain with the dragon line art projected onto it. I wanted something with a little more sub-surface scattering like an actual ceramic glaze, but so far I haven't narrowed in on settings that will produce the desired effect. Nonetheless, I am pleased with the results.
Royalty

Royalty

   I would argue that the king in chess is the weakest piece in the game.  While it can maneuver more than the pawn, the king is far more vulnerable.  In addition, the pawn can be promoted to a queen—the most powerful piece on the board.  So when I draw the king and queen, I allowed the king to be taller than the queen (which is typical for chess) but only because of the cross.  The queen—who is significantly more useful—is drawn to look larger because her role is much more important.
 
The King Is Dead

The King Is Dead

   I made a post to social media for a good checkmate with several pieces still on the board.  My English professor recommended the Légal Trap and it was exactly what I was looking for.  It takes all of 8 moves and offers the attacker's queen as bate for the fatal setup.  If the bate is taken, the bishop places the opponent in check.  They are forced to move the king out of check, and a knight moves to place the opponent in checkmate.
   Thanks Professor Freedom!
   This is one of my projects I've been working on.  Zach and I searched online for a cheap stationary exercise cycle and found this one.  The computer that controls the tension is broken, and on inspection I found the chip that drives the tension motor overheated and burned out.  It also burned off all markings, making it difficult to find a replacement.  The tension can be manually set (which it has) and all the other function work just fine.
   The house has been using this machine to exercise.  I found my laptop and a couple of rubber bands makes a good platform to watch episodes of Star Trek.  Each episode is 45 minutes in length and a pretty good length of time to keep my legs muscle from atrophy over the winter months.  But I want better than to simply peddle while watching T.V.
   My hope is to connect a peppermint magnet DC motor to the machine and use the power to charge the Sun Dragon's battery.  The amount of solar energy available this time of year is terribly limited.  Using exercise energy to compensate might just be the trick.  Besides, I like the idea of exercising, watching T.V., and charging my web server all at once.