Tuesday, September 04, 2007

UPS mods, Tree removal, etc.

Some pretty random stuff here (this isn't a single subject blog by any means)...

UPS modifications continue

I collected another dozen UPS units from the recycling center at work over the past year and converted them to use an external power source.

We gave away 6 of them at the Utah County ARES (UCARES) picnic last night.

They can be used as chargers (about 1 amp max) or maintainers (floats at about 14.0 volts) for almost any sealed lead acid (SLA) battery and also as Uninteruptible Power Supplies (funny huh, since they were originally intended for UPS use!) and as (semi) portable inverters*. Hopefully there will be a few more happy batteries in happy valley. I hope to get more, but never know what the winds of change will bring...

*You do have to know how to turn them on when the AC mains are off. Hold (don't push and release) the power button until it starts beeping. While it is still beeping, release it. It should turn on and, if the battery can provide enough power for the load, it should stay on.
Neighborhood cat killed

Itok killed another cat the other night. We found it lying in the grass the next morning. (I didn't include any pictures for this event.) It was completely intact with no blood showing on the outside. I think this is the third or fourth one now that hasn't survived (at least one did when it made it up a tree and I went out and saved it - at 1:30 in the morning!). He doesn't tear them up or anything, he seems to just play with them. Anything that runs is apparently fair game. I don't know why these cats come into our completely fenced (6 foot high all the way around) back yard, but I guess they just can't help it.

People, don't let your cats run around - they get into my bushes and flower beds and use them as a litter box! If they come in my backyard (as they seem prone to do), they'll probably die.

Tree removal

When we moved into our West facing house 11 years ago, the front lawn was barren, so we planted a tree - a Navajo Globe Willow.

We loved it. It grew fast covered the entire front of our house with shade, gave the kids a place to swing, we hung a hammock from it for a number of years, etc. Unfortunately, Willows are generally considered "trash trees" because they drop a lot of junk in your yard. This one was no exception. Two or three years ago, wind took off a chunk of it and it took quite a while for us to cut it up and haul it away. It didn't seem to hurt the tree much (you couldn't even tell from the road in front because the tree was so big) other than the place on the trunk. Well, Sunday, the wind took off another piece of it and since it has been smelling funny (people tell me they tend to do that when they get old or infected), it was time to take the whole thing out.

It was quite a job and I'm quite sunburned. Luckily, a neighbor around the corner was having a tree removed the same day (for some reason I didn't think they'd be working on Labor Day) and I was able to convince them to let me pay them to haul my mess away and grind the stump down. Since I had felled it and cut it up already, it was a relatively small job for them even though the tree completely filled their 8 ton truck.

I'm glad that's over!