Posts Tagged ‘internet’

Yipee! Internet is back!

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2005

24 Hours without any internet, it was like cutting my right arm off.

I had a text message from a friend who uses the same Internet Service Provider, that I’d like to share with you.

“like me u had 2 spend a nite watching tv with the missus!!”

Thanks David, it made me laugh out loud, on the Park & Ride bus this evening.

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Internet Outage!

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2005

It seems that Eclipse Internet has an Outage!

A Big One! No Eclipse Internet users can connect to the Internet….

I’ve have no 2Mb broadband connection, nor do any of the folk I’ve recommended, best go and hide……

….and 38,666 bps dial-up is no substiute for a 2Meg Broadband Connection.

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Do you suffer from high electricity bills?

Tuesday, November 1st, 2005

If the answer is yes, then please read on, I’ve found an electronic wattage
and current meter which I’ve been using in my fish house for about a week, to
analyse running costs and efficiency of heaters, filters, air pumps and
compressors in order to reduce my electricity bill or possibly complete the
calculations and switch to Economy 7. I’m so impressed with this device, I want
to share my experiences with you, so you too can reduce your electricity bills.

The Wattage and current meter in use:-


1. Plugged into a standard UK Socket. The unit has seven modes of
operation that can be selected using the Function Button.. When first connecting
the units to AC it shows the date, day and time. This can be set using the Set
and Change buttons.



2. An electrical appliance is
connected to the socket, Voltage Display

Maximum current is 13A, 220-250v AC that can be drawn by an electrical
appliance, so this should be ample for most electrical appliances fitted with a
standard 13A plug. Mode 1 shows the present voltage (V) and frequency (Hz) being
supplied to the appliance. I’ve connected an Eheim 1260 External pond pump to
the meter for these tests. . The display shows 241v and 50Hz in the photograph.


3. Amps display

The present current strength (A) and the power factor received by the
appliance are displayed. The display shows 0.45A and 0.80 power factor in the



4. Wattage display

In this mode, the power is displayed in Watts. The photograph shows 87.12 W,
this is an interesting measurement, because the manufacturer states this has a
power rating of 65 watts. I have found this mode very helpful, in checking
appliances for efficiency. You cannot always believe, what is typed on the
sticker, and certainly with air compressors and blowers, wattage increases under
heavy load and clogged air stones.


The wattage display has another display which is very useful, especially for
measuring Maximum wattage drawn by an appliance(s). When pressing the 2-Price
button in wattage display, it shows the maximum wattage recorded and pressing
the 2-button display again displays the date and time at which it was recorded.
The photograph shows a maximum recorded wattage of 1222W (1.2kW). This was
previously recorded when the unit was connected to a multi-channel thermostat
controlling the temperatures in six aquariums in the fish house.


This display shows the date and time the maximum wattage was recorded. The
photograph shows 15:56 Sunday, this coincides with me opening and closing the
fish house doors, when completing partial water changes. I’ve also now been able
to graph, temperature drops in the fish house, with external temperature outside
temperature, and add extra insulation, I’ll also be using a fan heater in the
colder evenings with a electronic plug-in thermostat, to come on to keep the
ambient fish house temperature at approx 25 degreesC.





5. Operation Duration

The total time displayed during which the connected appliance has been
switched on. If the electrical appliance draws no current, no time is recorded.
The photograph shows the multi-channel thermostat has been connected for a total
of 62 hours and 11 minutes.


6. kWh display

A very important mode, in this mode, the cumulative total electricity
consumption by the connected appliances in kWh is displayed. This is important
because it is this unit, that we are charged for by our electricity suppliers,
and is often referred to as the Unit charge. I currently pay 8.1p per kWh to
Npower. If the 2-Price button is selected, you can toggle between Peak and
Off-Peak settings, if you have Economy 7.In this photograph 20.38kWh have been
consumed. Most watt meters end here, but there’s more…


7. Electricity price per kWh

This is mode 7, but I’ve jumped to this mode for a reason. This unit, allows
you to program the cost of Electricity price per kWh, at day and night rates if
you have Economy 7. I’ve set the meter at 8.1p per kWh in the photograph. Other
current and watt meters do not allow you to set a cost, and you need to complete
the maths, not difficult, but if you have a device that can automatically
calculate the cost, and display it, you can easily see at a glance, how much an
item is costing you, and how hard it’s hitting your pocket.

8. Cost

This is what we all want to know and calculate, we can gather the the
manufacturers wattage for an appliance, calculate the kWh and complete the maths
to finally calculate the cost, BUT manufacturers specifications are incorrect,
it is very difficult to account for thermostatically controlled appliances,
aquarium thermostats and heaters, that are not connected 24 hours a day, fridge
freezers etc



Actual measurement of the appliance under test is the only true method, of
costing an appliance.

In this photograph it shows a value of 1.65 GBP, this is how much it costs me
to heat six fish tanks in my fish house for a period of 63 hours and 11 minutes,
maximum wattage recorded was 1.2kW at 15:56 Sunday 30th October 2005, when I
opened and closed the fish house door! I hope this information has been useful.

Some technical details on the current and wattage meter are as follows:-

  • Modern electronic monitoring system permits readout of electricity
    consumption and running costs of connected appliances.
  • Clear display, including actual time and day of the week.
  • Voltage and frequency display in AC volts (V) and Hertz (Hz).
  • Display of present current consumption and true power in amps (A) and cos
  • Power consumption display in Watts (W).
  • Display of metered period in hours and minutes.
  • Display of total current consumption during metered period in kWh.
  • Display of total costs of metered current consumed.
  • Display of local electricity tariff per kWh. (user programmable).
  • Maximum power recorded against date and time.
  • Helps to save costs and electricity.
  • Maximum current 13 Amps.
  • Made in Germany.
  • Battery backup, so you don’t have to re-input date and time, price per
  • Available mail order from
    via the Internet.

This wattage and current meter is unique, do not be fooled by cheaper units
made in China, this is the only unit that can be programmed with your
Electricity Unit charge (price per kWh, available from you electricity bill),
that will give you a real cost displayed in pounds and pence, it’s also the only
unit that records maximum power drawn, which is time stamped. I believe this is
available exclusively from 
, but don’t quote me on that. I’ve already purchased two units.

I’m not easily impressed with electronic gadgets but this wattage and current
meter rocks big time, and "it does what it says on the tin", don’t take my word
for it, purchase one and test it for yourself. An excellent Christmas Present.

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PC Thermometer Trial

Friday, October 28th, 2005

This was a project I started many months ago, but like many projects, I started it and didn’t completely finish it, due to time, and juggling life the universe and everything. You’ll notice on the side-bar on the right, a real-time update of temperature from the fish house, measuring internal fish house temperature and external (outdoor) temperature. I still need to calibrate the temperature probes correctly.

The webcam computer breaking has given me the chance to re-install the operating system, and correctly configure it with the excellent PC application created by Spiny aka Alan Norman at The application pctemp.exe runs on a standard PC using a midi or game (joystick) port. It’s an excellent application, and also logs to a *.csv file for import into a spreadsheet, also graphs the output to screen, and can upload the data to a webserver. It easily allows me to view the temperature of my fish house, and later fish tanks anywhere in the world via the internet. I didn’t have a game port on my micro-pc I use in the fish house, so I’m using a USB game port controller, isn’t just about everything available now in a USB connection. Full details of how to configure and connect, create your own temperature probes is on Spiny Norman’s website.

Many Thanks again to Spiny for his efforts in developing this application.

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Mopani or Bogwood?

Thursday, September 29th, 2005

again early this is morning to collect a parcel from the local Sorting Office,
it turned out to be a small piece of Mopani or Bogwood, I’d purchased. The
Sorting Office, also had my remaining order from
Java-Plants, 25 Vallis Torta, which
were placed in a water vat at 28 degree C, until I had chance this evening to
disinfect in my vat of potassium permanganate solution. (yes still having
planting issues in the display tank!).

This is an ideal piece of bogwood for my angelfish to spawn on, and also for
my "plecos" to graze on. When I’ve soaked it and disinfected it, I’ll place it
in my tank, and post a picture here in the blog.

I’ve also have a small community of Endler
Livebearers, these seem to be very
popular on eBay at present, and are selling for very high prices, I was recently
given some male Endlers because my females seem to be rather thin. These fish
have finished their quarantine period, and after studying them closely, I don’t
believe they are True Endlers, possibly Guppy hybrids, so I have not mixed them
with my true Endler community, just to be safe, Male Guppies will hybridise with
the females very easily.

I have also moved all the male True Endlers, and separated them from the
females because the females were being harassed too much, and I noticed three
young fry in amongst the java fern which has grown out of control in my display
tank, so I dumped some in the Endlers’ aquarium in the fish house. I’m a little
confused, because every time I examine pictures on the internet of Endlers’ they
all look slightly different, so I still don’t know what True Endlers’ look like!

The nice man "Mark" at
telephone today and left a message to let me know, I
should get my water deflectors tomorrow by post.

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Interpet Prime Gravel Cleaner vs Algarde De-Luxe Gravel Cleaner

Sunday, September 25th, 2005

So you want to clean that gravel at the bottom of the tank?

I purchased an Internet Prime Gravel Cleaner recently to replace an aging
Algarde De-luxe Gravel Cleaner that broke, after using it, I find it easier to
use than the Algarde Garvel Cleaner, it primes easier just by plunging it into
the tank, just make sure the other end of the pipe is in the bucket or you get
water on the floor, as I did, first time in use it, the Algarde Gravel Cleaner,
has a pump mechanism to get it started, but I found the
Gravel Cleaner got easily blocked with mulm which reduced the syphon action.

Thumbs Up for the Interpet Prime Gravel Cleaner – a great improvement over the
original Algarde Gravel Cleaner but at a cost, The Interpet Prime Gravel Cleaner
is more expensive that the original Algarde Gravel Cleaner.

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Discus Breeding Cones

Sunday, September 18th, 2005

I went to the Harrogate Flower Show today to purchase some garden peat to<br /> condition some water in hope to get some breeding pairs of

I went to the Harrogate Flower Show today to purchase some garden peat to
condition some water in hope to get some breeding pairs of Angelfish to spawn.
Unfortunately, there was no peat or even compost on sale so on returning from
Harrogate, visited Moorland Nurseries, Forest Moor Road, Knaresborough, North
Yorkshire HG5 8JY to collect some garden peat, I purchased an 80l bag, which was
very heavy a bit overkill for my needs, but I can use the rest for potting on
seeds and plants.

Whilst at the garden centre also had time to visit
, the
tropical fish shop and my local
This is an excellent tropical fish, with an excellent display of tropical fish,
Tropica plants, dry
goods and the full Dennerle
range. Some very interesting Botia loaches were on display from Asia, their
mail order business on the internet at
, carries some
very useful information on the
I purchased a pair of Discus Spawning Cones manufactured by JBL, I prefer these
"tough plastic" cones, to ceramic/terracotta, as they are easier to clean and
disinfect and are un-breakable, and much cheaper from this tropical fish shop,
than purchasing from eBay!

Back to what’s happening in the fish house, all fish are well, air ring main
is currently undergoing pressure testing, air pump is connected up, fixed in
place, and I’ve tested for air leaks, using a water mister and washing up
liquid, no leaks   were found, touch wood! It’s currently violently
aerating an 18l container of water with an airstone. One of the display tanks,
has an algal bloom, possibly causes by too much vegetable matter from courgettes
and cucumber, partial water change required this week, I’m working the late
shift at the office, so I’ll have to re-plan my evenings.

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