Recently in Declan Category

Happiness defined

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New Panels

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Last month we installed two more 175W solar panels to our array. For those keeping track we now have eight 85W BP solar panels, four 165W Sharp panels, and two 175W Sharp panels for a grand total of 1360W.

Unfortunately one of the realities of building an array piecemeal is that the sizes of the panels change from model-to-model and year-to-year. We really didn't want to buy new racks so we decided to modify the existing racks that hold the BP Solar panels. We added two new mounting rails and moved the two existing rails to the sides. The new panels squeeze quite nicely in the middle.

This required that new holes be drilled to mate the horizontal rails to the rack uprights. If you look closely you can see a piece of wood we were using a blocker to prevent us from accidently drilling into the back of a panel. With Dad, J.P. and I it took most of the day to get the racks modified, panels mounted and wired.

Most of the time that we worked Declan played outside in the sand pile (side note: a pleasant side effect of straw bale construction is that you usually end up with enough leftover sand for a good play area.) He's a remarkably self-sufficient kid.

We've been really lucky, so far this fall and we've had lots of sun. We call this time of year the "100 days of grey" because we typically go from late October to early January with little or no sun. In the last four weeks we've had many sunny days and have really seen the benefit of our new panels. Here's a picture of the readout form our Outback MX-60 charge controller. You can see that the panels are bringing in 31.4A but the MX-60 is upping that to 38.3A. Typically we have to run the generator weekly through the 100 days of grey to keep the batteries charged but in the last four weeks we've only run it twice. In addition to saving money on gas, we really appreciate the peace and quiet.

Tobogganing

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The tobogganing conditions the last couple of weeks have been stellar. We have 2' of hard pack snow than runs smooth down the back hills and almost right to the house. Conditions are best in the morning after a good cold night when the crust is still frozen. By mid-afternoon this crust is slushy and the hills are slower.

This is the view from the top.

The view from the top

Of course to get there you have quite a walk ahead of you.

Climbing to the top of the hill.

Savour the view for a few minutes, catch your breath and then it's time to come down.

Tobogganing. Tobogganing.

The run from the top is too long and steep for the kids to do themselves but there is a nice hill about half way that Gil can handle on his own. The longest runs are around 300m. We toboggan from the back property line almost all the way to the house for our final run.

Tobogganing. Tobogganing.

Though sometimes speed gets the better of you and you and the GT part company.

Tobogganing. Declan thinks that a soother counts as protective headgear. Declan.

Introducing Declan Hunter

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Born: Oct 2, 2005
Weight: 7 lbs 3 oz.
Length: 22 inches

Declan Hunter

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