Archive for the ‘electricity’ Category

Andysworld! Advent Calendar – Dec 13 – x10 Computer Controlled Outside Christmas Tree Lights using VMware ESXi 5.0, a Windows 2008 Virtual Server and Web Services

Tuesday, December 13th, 2011

We’ve now also, added the Christmas Tree lights outside, in the Magnolia Tree.

I also got a little bored, and decided rather than using a traditional plug-in 240v 24 hour timer, I would add them to the X10 Computer Controlled System, so I can turn them off via a VMware Virtual Server, running Windows 2008 Web Services!

Lindsey asked “Why? I replied, because I can do stuff like that!

So in thoery I could grant access to this Website, on the Internet to turn them off remotely, or let other people turn them on or off!


The website is basic, but it functions, just need some graphics and CSS!

Update: I’d already written this blog, and submitted for publishing, before catching an Episode of “The Big Bang Theory” – The Cooper-Hofstadter Polarisation (s1e9) – at this very start of the episode, Howard Wolowitz also demonstrates a light and stereo being power-on via x10, and enabling public access to do the same thing, which Penny also states “Why?” – you can get a really cheap wireless remote from Radio Shack!

Okay, so I’m a nerd! But we all knew that!

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Andysworld! Advent Calendar – Dec 11 – Fix the 44 year old Pifco Christmas Tree Lights AGAIN!

Sunday, December 11th, 2011

A few minutes repairing and testing the 44 year old Christmas Tree lights, it’s a yearly event, after bringing the Christmas Decorations down from the attic.

It did not take me as long to fix this year, only four bulbs needed replacing to get them working again!

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An exciting Saturday…. No Electricity or internet for 11 hours and worst of all No Strictly Come Dancing!

Sunday, October 9th, 2011

I’ll set the scene, at the beginning of September (September 5th 2011) 

  1. one of the power supplies on a computers workstation, went bang and failed – reported here on Andysworld!,
  2. another power supply on another workstation, failed – OCZ power supply.
  3. Humax Fox-SAT STB power supply failed – reported here on Andysworld!.
  4. An electronic X10 switch failed which operates the backyard lamp.

Diagnosing the fault with the backyard lamp, I noticed and reported to Boot Ferrule Man, (a qualified Electrician) and my neighbour, the mains voltage coming into the house was 256v AC! (which I suspect had blown and damaged the electronic X10 switch).  Boot Ferrule Man stated that was far too high, and out of tolerence, but when I checked on the internet, I was confused by the reported tolerences of AC voltage supply in the UK. At this time, I had not associated this “possible fault” with the other items 1-3 above.

Saturday 8th October 2011, a neighbour in the shire, knocked on the door at 11.00am, asking if we had, had any damage the previous night (7th October 2011) at 9.00, because a few properties in the shire, had items which had stopped working, lightbulbs, Freeview STB, Washing Machines, Central heating pumps, Sky Boxes, television mast head amplifiers etc

We had not noticed any, issues that evening. they reported the fault to YEDL, later Saturday afternoon (3.15pm), a YEDL Engineer visited our house, and disconnected us, because they found the electrical impedance to the property was at 1.3 ohms, the maximum impedance allowable is 0.35 ohms, and stated that they had tested that day 280V AC, at a few properties, the fault lay in the common neutral to all the houses, and their was a fault outside of the property, possibly due to water ingress into the underground cabling.  I asked the YEDL engineers, what time did they think service would resume, and they stated, the Digging Team was scheduled to arrive at 6.15pm, and they could not do any work, until thy arrived, so they tidied their YEDL VANs! They gave me a time of 10.00pm! I noticed that the YEDL, are going through a re-branding to CE Electric UK. These were some of the labels on the VANs, although they still had YEDL uniforms!

So I decided to power-up the petrol generator for the fish house.

Coincidence you may think, because in April 2010, they were fixing a joint underground, see here.

The YEDL engineers arrived on site, to fix the fault, but had to wait for the “digging team” before they could start work, the digging team eventually arrived at approx 7.30pm, because I just come back from the Chinese with our dinner, to eat in the dark with our headtorches, and my NEW ZEBRALIGHT!, which of course I purchased from my friendly Boot Ferrule Man. ZEBRALIGHT! Review coming soon!

Our electricity was not re-connected and tested until approx 2.30am, so with hindsight, it was a good job, I connected the petrol generator for the fish house, and this is the longest runtime, I’ve had it running 11 hours@3000Watts.

New Impedance tested to house is 0.29 ohms.

A few photos of the event!

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Real-Time Energy Usage Monitor

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

Real-Time Energy Usage Monitor is operating again correctly, just been offline since October 2009!

I’ll try and get the temperature guage fixed for the website again.

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No Electricity today!

Tuesday, April 6th, 2010

I’m without electricity today, and again YEDL hide behind notifying you 7 days before the electricity is due to be turned off, and you have to make your own arrangements. I understand this is the minimum requirements an electricity provider must meet.

A few weeks ago, every third house in the hamlet, didn’t have any electricity. I have repeatedly notified YEDL about the state of the transformer supplying the hamlet!


As you can see it’s covered in ivy! That cannot be good!

A few more exciting pictures…

The water in the holes with eletricity cables canot be any good! Water and electricity don’t usually mix! Also a picture of the generator in the generator shed, supply electricity to the fish house.

Wattson 389 Watts

Wattson 389 Watts

Not been this low for a while, with everything in the house, unplugged, just fridge on!

‘YEDL – Sorry for any Inconvience’ – Umm, me don’t think so!

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Broken Storage Heater – Fixed

Thursday, January 7th, 2010

The thermal fuselinks obtained from have fixed the night storage heater. Just in time as external night temperatures plument to below -7 degrees C. We walked to the local town again yesterday to obtain coffee for Lindsey. The local roads are no better, and are worse with the overnight snowfall.

the long walk home in a blizzard

the long walk home in a blizzard

But we were lucky, because a nice man in his 4×4 Mercedes Benz with snow tyres gave us a lift back to the hamlet!

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Broken Storage Heater

Tuesday, January 5th, 2010

I noticed the other day that one of our storage heaters (the only heating we have), was cold as ice.

storage heater thermal fuselink

storage heater thermal fuselink

and this is the reason why! The thermal fuselink has blown, indicating that the storage heater has over heated, and the thermal fuse has blown, a safety feature. I spoke to a very nice man from, and ordered some replacement thermal fuselinks (blue!). He also emailed me the service manuals for these Creda storage heaters. The thermal fuselinks arrived very promptly today, Thanks Roger!

So quickly fitted the new fuselink.

new fuselink fitted

new fuselink fitted

closeup of new thermal fuselink

closeup of new thermal fuselink

It has a temperature of 145 degrees C written on it, so I assume this is the temperature at which it blows! Hopefully the room will be warmer this evening, I’ll have to wait for the Ecnomoy 7 electric to come on at 12.30am, to check it’s working!

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X10 Computer Control

Saturday, December 19th, 2009

With this blog post comes a warning, this post is for Geeks, Nerds, Techno-freaks, or people that just like 100% Tech! (you’ve been warned!).

This isn’t new Tech, the X10 protocol was invented 30 years ago, the X10 protocol sends packets of information across house hold mains wiring to receivers to turn items on or off. Computer software is then used to build macros and timers, which can be downloaded to the standalone programmable computer interface to instruct various modules (appliances) to turn on or off, so no need for a computer to be left on and running. What X10 can do for you is limited only by your imagination or programming skills!

I’ve recently invested in X10 computer control, because

  1. various appliances which need timers.
  2. take more advantage of Economy 7 and reduce electrical consumption.
  3. and I like my tech!

okay, I could do this with manual/electronic timers from a well known DIY store, but there would be no fun, but on a serious note, the timers I’ve been purchasing in the last few years, have all failed, the manual segment timers (which I need for the fish house, because digital timers will not start the ballast units on the lighting circuit, because digital timers will not start-up fluorescent tubes). Also various other projects, and I also wanted to create a moonlight light in the fish house, a ceiling rose light which comes on before tank lighting (goes off), and then on before tank lighting goes off – since I’ve turned off fish house main lighting 2 x 70 watt tubes, the fish frighten to easily from dark –> light (vice versa).

So I’ve purchased a Marmitek CM15PRO standalone programmable computer interface, and various X10 Modules, the modules I’ve purchased are plugin modules which plug in to a standard UK 13Amp socket, your appliance then plugs into this socket, you can also get DIN rail modules, wall switches, micro modules as well, and wired modules, and also lamp modules which plug into bayonet or edison screw light fittings. The modules I’ve purchased are:-

  1. AM12 Appliance / Switch Module
  2. AM12W Appliance / Switch Module (Wired)
  3. LM15 Bayonet Lamp module

The following screen shot shows all the modules (appliances) in the house, that are currently being computer controlled. The green light currently indicates they are on. Macros and timers vary the on and off times for every module.

Active Home Professional Software

All Rooms in the house with modules

Screen shot of the software, rooms can be created to organise your modules.

ActiveHome Professional screen shot

ActiveHome Professional screen shot

Here are some pictures of the computer interface and the actual modules in use:-

Now if you think this Tech is OTT, it gets worse, I’ve also found that sometimes I need to be able to control these modules when I’m not at my main production workstation. I could purchase an X10 remote control to send signals to the transceiver to send to the units, but hey that’s too easy, lets find a Tech way to do it!

I leave this to another exciting Geek, Nerdy, Techno-freak blog entry here!

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Wattson is back…

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009

Real time energy readings back, I have a theory about why my Wattson crashes…more later

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Real-Time Energy (electricity) Usage from my Wattson (electric) Smart Meter

Sunday, June 21st, 2009

I’ve updated my Real-Time Energy Usage widget in the right hand side panel to update every 10 seconds.

So if you wait and watch, after 10 seconds, it should change!

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