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fratermus Frater Mus

Living offgrid in a campervan since 2018 w/ pibble+boxer Muffin.

LIKE dogs, books, thoughtful people of all flavors DISLIKE bullies, sh1tposters, partisans, noise

Posts 64
Comments 366
vehicle security system
  • If employee vehicles are in danger perhaps the employer (or property owner) could hire a security detail? Might present this as a benefit to them to keep customers from getting scared off by crime?

    I worked at a place in a ratty part of time once. Literal crackheads and prostitutes wandering through our lot. After a couple break-ins the company put up a fence.

  • vehicle security system
  • people are starting to catch onto my patterns and hover around my vehicle like vultures. Please tell me the best security system you know of.

    A free first step would be to have no observable pattern. And/or leaving that general area if possible.

    I would think about the actual threat model and what I could do about it. If someone steals your doodad with an airtag on it are you going to find it and take it back from them?

  • Linux during the mid to late 90s (Windows 95 and 98 era)
  • Do normal people who don’t do this stuff for a living use Linux now, outside handheld gaming devices?

    I run into folks using linux fairly often in tech hobbies. Ham operators, DIY solar folk, people dorking around with a RasPi, etc. And some Normals who want a lighter experience than Win.

    Last dedicated windows box I ran at home was Windows NT 4, IIRC. Last time I had to use it at work was Win7 (?) before I retired. I do have a Win7 virtual somewhere around here I spin up every couple years to run something obscure I can't get to run in WINE.

  • Linux during the mid to late 90s (Windows 95 and 98 era)
  • Was it mainly a hobbyist thing at the time

    Yes, I'd say so. Lots of tech geeks were playing with it but no Normals. Getting audio running was not always pleasant....

  • Capitan, NM, betting dinner on the weather
  • I picked up a solar garden light from walmart. I pop the hood and trap the light in the lid so the light is under the hood and the minipanel outside it. I haven't had a problem since then, but it it could be coincidence, or my being more careful scouting for mouseholes before pitching camp.

  • cheap solar panels at Home Depot, with a catch
  • I put it under a secondary cover and used it for my outside DC outlet, and replaced my external solar panel outlet with a CNLINKO LP-28 2-Pin IP67 Waterproof Connector rated up to 50A.

    That connector looks interesting. It addresses one of my unstated concerns, the panel wires pulling down on the connector. This one looks like it has enough "neck" to relieve the strain. If I were doing the van again I'd mount all the inlets in one place under a secondary cover as you describe.

  • appears to be DOA

    The domain name is up for purchase ($9999.99 according to my registrar), so it looks like it's lost rather than just temporarily parked for a slightly overdue bill.

    Luckily the site was recently backed up by the Internet Archive and the archived All, gpx, and csv links seem to work.

    Linux in the military
  • When I was in the army the S1 desk jockeys were using dedicated word processors with 8" floppies. Get off my lawn! :-)

  • Is this whole "Tiny House/Van" movement genuinely Solarpunk? Or just another thing people are doing to cope under capitalism?
  • Is this whole "Tiny House/Van" movement genuinely Solarpunk?

    Is it claiming to be? I've met hundreds of folks living in solar-enabled campervans and none of them ever mentioned solarpunk.

  • July 2024 I'll finally be freed from my extortionate Verizon contract, have been aiming for Starlink but...
  • I have Visible (Verizon MVNO) for $25/month. I put the SIM in an LTE router I got off amazon (open box) for $42.

  • Could my 10 year old SDF account still exist?
  • Could my 10 year old SDF account still exist?

    Mine does. I finally remembered to log back in and there she is...

    Caveat: the hostname had changed; I signed up at IIRC (no longer extant) and now it is on

    I found my notes from ten years ago so I know what my username was

    Another caveat: I think usernames were truncated to 8 chars in that time period. Don't know if that's the case now or not, or if extra chars are thrown away anyhow.

  • experiment: $6 quasi-swampcooler from walmart experiment: $6 swampcooler

    This spring I was in a walmart somewhere and saw a Pelonis 1 gallon humidifier on clearance for $6. Walmart usually has the worst clearance prices so I was surprised to see it for 75% off.

    >> a swamp cooler and humidifier of this design are doing the same thing: blowing air through a wetted, porous medium. The goals are different (humidification vs cooling) but the mechanism is the same.

    Wireguard self hosting - Some tricks I don't see mentioned in too many tutorials
  • Wireguard self hosting

    I parsed this as Wireguard self-loathing and thought "that's a little harsh". :-)

  • What is/was your distrohopping journey?
  • warning: some non-linux included below

    • minix
    • slackware
    • early Debian
    • FreeBSD (ftp installs instead of 20 floppies! OMG!)
    • Debian
    • Crunchbang <-- loved that original project
    • Solaris (friend gave me a Sparc 5)
    • DSL, Puppy linux (had a tiny netbook)
    • **Debian on workstations and servers since ~2014 **
    • various debian-based distros on RPI

    I do spin up other distros in a VM from time to time to see what's what. Most recently NixOS since people won't STFU about it. :-)

  • whippets are not high energy dogs
  • Yeah, they look like horses and act like cats. My grey was the finest doggo I ever had.

  • Chase Oliver Is the Libertarian Party's Presidential Pick Chase Oliver is the Libertarian Party's Presidential pick
  • I’m not a fan of the Mises Caucus, so I think this is hilarious.

    Same. the Mises Caucus was to the LP as Trump was to the GOP - a takeover by opportunists.

    I know next to nothing about Chase Oliver

    Seems broadly in line with (pre-Mises Caucus) libertarianism. Definitely more in line with my thinking than anything the D or R parties are putting out.

    being gay and young will certainly set him apart from the old men he’s competing against

    I don't think young and gay necessarily carries intrinsic benefit, but I agree there is some instrumental benefit. It will set him apart as you say, and also will reveal bigots and reactionaries for what they are.

  • cheap solar panels at Home Depot, with a catch
  • Is there a good online tool for calculating the cosign of solar Zenith

    There are an online calculators like this one from NOAA. This fork adds the ability to update the time with a click rather than manually. There are others but I haven't played with them much.

    Since I travel constantly I've been on casual lookout for an app that does the calcs for us based on local time / position but I haven't seen any. Several apps show the solar zenith angle and we can take the COS of that manually with a calculator with trig functions. The standard android calculator app will do it.

    so I can know how much solar my my panels could be making in ideal conditions?

    Yeah, it's an imperfect tool for our purposes but better than nothing. Combining it with data from a solar irradiance meter would be great but right now I can't justify ~$100 to devote to the cause. :-)

  • cheap solar panels at Home Depot, with a catch

    TL:DR: I saw a set of cheap panels with weird specs at Home Depot. I bought some to experiment on and to use as portables to augment my mounted solar.


    Home Depot is selling 200w of panel for $114. That's $0.57/Watt. Not amazing compared to used panels (typically $0.33/Watt) but HD is all over the place and has free ship-to-store.

    It also comes with mounting brackets and one of those single-stage PWM controllers. I'm not bagging on that kind of controller, but it's not a great fit for this particular set of panels.


    The panels are a weird design, apparently 24 cells in series. Normal "12v nominal" panels have 36 in series for ~18Vmp. These have a Vmp of 12.0v, so I think we would call them "8v nominal".

    This makes them practically unusable in parallel for charging lead or LiFePO4.

    You could run the panels in series on the PWM controller since it has a 50v input max and the series Voc would be 30v. But, due to the way PWM works the panels would be running at in the 14v range at the most. This is way, way off the 24.0Vmp of the series array. I'd expect a max harvest of ~120w with that kind of setup. If these were normal panels in parallel and on PWM I'd expect a max of ~160w. We can go into the math on that if anyone wants.

    The best case scenario IMO would be to run the panels in series with an MPPT controller. This would get us closer to ~170w max harvest.

    some other thoughts:

    • The panels might work well enough in parallel for 3S Li-NMC because of that chemistry's lower voltage
    • HD has a 10% discount program for veterans if you provide them with a bit of documentation.
    Community Boundaries and the All feed
  • I’d rather mods who don’t want outside participation to be able to stop their communities from showing in All.

    Agreed. Niche communities can get hammered with downvotes and "I don't want to read this" comments from readers of ALL.

    It's confounding: "show me everything", then "I don't like the content in your niche community". WTF?

  • The solar panels on top of my campervan have generated 1 megawatt hour of energy as of today
  • I physically damaged one of the 3x 190w in that array. Since the originals were obscure NOS I couldn't find another one to replace it. It was summertime so I was able to get by with 380w but that would not be sufficient to meet needs during other seasons.

    So I started looking for replacements that would fill the available space. I ended up with 3x of the Trina 250w that flooded the market, the ones that Will Prowse would make famous in his video.

    I made the swap on BLM land outside Las Cruces, NM and donated the 2x 190w to a family in a skoolie the next camp over. They had a 2x 100w set out so I figured they could use them. The deal was they had to come over and carry them them, I wasn't going to deliver. :-)

  • The solar panels on top of my campervan have generated 1 megawatt hour of energy as of today
  • Interesting. I'd never looked at my "lifetime" numbers before; I am keenly interested in daily harvests to understand the power budget but haven't thought about the overall harvest.

    Caveat: mine are higher, relative to size, because I live in the vehicle and so place more loads on the system. The rig has had two setups

    • 570w array for the first 1,630 days = 2.82MWh
    • 750w array for last 457 days = 0.89MWh
    • total 3.71MWh
  • Capitan, NM, betting dinner on the weather

    ... in which I camped in a spot infested by mule deer, picked up spent brass, and trusted the local forecast enough to do my cooking off solar....


    tale of woe: solar troubleshooting solar troubleshooting

    [originally posted to reddit]

    in which I bumblefsck through figuring out why my solar setup no worky


    solar harvest during 2024 eclipse

    I was outside the zone of totality, so was still making some power.

    Notice that panel voltage did not decrease like many think, it does. Vpanel is stable above ~10%-15% insolation, depending on the panel

    0 Adjusting an IMUSA hotplate with a router speed control

    [Note: collecting/reworking info from different posts]

    I did this because the hotplate was a bit more than my offgrid rig could handle comfortably. Been using it at ~500w to very good effect.


    Nomad tip: have accounts at more than just one bank

    This is probably worth considering in general, but dealing with financial lockouts on the road is a particular kind of dumpster fire.

    TL:DR: I deposited a check and things went weird (not an NSF scenario). My bank got spooked and locked not just that one account but all of my access for two weeks.

    I scrambled to open new accounts elsewhere and move direct deposits over. Soon (like 12 hours) after completion my bank said "oopsie!" and restored my access to the accounts this morning. Having pre-existing accounts at other locations would have been stressful because one institution could not bogart my funds.


    installed an Aili-style battery monitor yesterday installed the replacement shunt

    Last post I mentioned that I’d ordered a replacement battery monitor.

    Like an idjit I smoked my old shunt by shorting it while moving stuff around. I eventually replaced it with the Aili type.

    It works fine, but I don't like how the data is presented. Totally my fault, I saw what the display looked like when I bought it. Grrr......


    New Florida initiative may ban RV stealth campers

    > House Bill 1365 was filed in January. It prohibits camping or sleeping on public property without a permit. The bill would give local municipalities the power to designate specific areas for sleeping or camping. Such properties must have restrooms, running water, security, and access to health care for mental and physical health. Also under the provision the specified areas may not negatively impact local businesses.

    Here is the info if you want to follow along

    5 2023 vanlife in review

    This year was more tumultuous than usual. A couple things were literal once in a lifetime events.

    > This year was more tumultuous than usual. A couple things were literal once in a lifetime events.


    >> [I found a] 3qt crockpot to replace the 2qt and 4qt. Back to my original setup. The Crockpot 3120 is rated at 75w/150w and I measured it at 69w/134w.


    Made it to El Paso; terrible day of solar

    >>I believed the forecast, which said it would be partly cloudy. In reality it was overcast all day, no blue sky at all. It was lightly raining most of the time. Pic to the right (PF parking lot) shows how low the cloud cover was. Clouds were obscuring the top of the nearby Franklin Mountains.


    > I noticed the panels were unusually filthy. An excellent opportunity for an experiment! I dug out the ladder, put the pushbroom head on the multi-purpose stick, and found a suitable terrycloth hand towel...

    0 winter plans

    In April I wrote about using a more limited snowbirding loop to reduce expenses. This has worked so far, and my average monthly spend has been reduced.

    including a prediction that I will need to use shore power for the first time in over 5 years :-\

    2 two years with lithium

    I just realized it’s been two years since I installed the LiFePO4.

    > I just realized it’s been two years since I installed the LiFePO4. No regrets.


    > Just before the eclipse started (0913 local) the system was making 260w.... “first contact” began and the MPPT algo started thrashing around... at full annularity (1037 local) it was making only 26w. This lines up with the prediction of “89.6% obscuration”.


    pancakes (vancakes?) w/honeycrisp and pear chutney

    I recently bought some closeout honeycrisp apples and bosch pears and ate most of them. I had one of each left over and decided to skin each and cook them down with a bit of cinnamon and lime juice. Then I decided I'd make pancakes the next morning to make use of it.

    I cooked down the fruit on the 300w lab hotplate. Tried to use it for the pancakes in the naan pan but the 4" head was too hot in center. Tried to use a flame diffiuser but 300w wasn't enough grunt to get through that. So I ended up cooking the pancakes over a single-burner propane stove.

    They tasted better than they looked. :-)