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This is Peter and Maureen Scargill's Spanish website. We live in Galera in Andalusia (for clarity, that is the English spelling - Mid-Spain they spell it Andalucia and pronounce it "And-a-loo-thee-a").

We've had a home in Spain for more than 14 years and it is now our permanent base though we retain a small home in the UK.

If you're familiar with what3words, we live at dossier.bath.sawn

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Archive for the ‘electronics’ Category

Where do the weeks go?

HuescarI can’t believe it is a week since I wrote in here.  It’s been a quiet but productive week – we’ve had a few sessions down in the village – we’ve been to the lake and I’ve fixed the loo (most important).

Today after starting the morning with (wait for it) breakfast in the hot tub!! I’m putting up new mesh on the windows now that our far-too-bright cats have figured out that this is a potential escape mechanism.

In between jobs I’m improving my cave control APP for the phone – learning in leaps and bounds – and I’ve a spot of cementing to do later. Still some reliability aspects to sort – that watering system has to work EVERY time not most times… but I’m getting there.

Meanwhile, apart from some storms which always seem to be somewhere else, the weather has been great. typically 30c or higher during the day and still t-shirt weather at midnight.

Oh if you get a chance – check out “Legends” – there’s an entire series 1 available on Sky catchup – bloody marvelous television.

Right – on with the jobs – you can’t beat Sunday morning with your fingers covered in clear silicon sealant.

A little Experimenting in the Sun


Solar experiment

Just doing a spot of experimenting with the currently reliable weather here in Galera. What you see here is a cheap 10 amp solar regulator which has 3 pairs of wires – one goes to the solar panel, another goes to the battery – the third pair go to the “load”.

The “load” in this case is a little 12v-5v convertor sitting on top of the battery – I plan to hook that to my Raspberry Pi at some point…   but then over on the right is a standard 8-battery charger. I realised when looking at the instruction that it’s power supply was a 12v job – and that the unit could handle anywhere from 11v to 14v input – in other words absolutely ideal for powering from a lead-acid battery such as a car battery or alarm battery (the latter is what you see here).

Solar panel

The solar panel shown on the left here is way too small to be a great deal of use – it is able to put out about 400ma which means it will take maybe 16 hours to fully charge that 7aH alarm battery – I have a MUCH bigger panel but that will have to wait for our July trip in the car as I could not fit it into the case. That has a 3 amp output which will charge the little battery in under 3 hours and is better suited to charging a car battery.

The regulator is great, I now have two of these – cheap as chips from Ebay – will allow a maximum 10 amps load and protects the battery from overcharging and over-discharge (simple lead acid batteries do NOT like being fully discharged and rarely recover from this unless they are what are called “deep discharge” types. 

soilSo with the setup above I’m happily charging my little AA and AAA batteries FOC from the sun – soon I’ll find a more practical application for this. I’ve a larger setup on the Pergola and that’s powering a bright hanging lamp without any issue.

While that is going on I have my soil moisture sensor under test.. that’s producing an analog out put which I’m hoping to use to provide sensible watering for Maureen’s plants shortly. The sensor will indirectly control an (already fitted and tested over a year) cheap washing machine valve which controls the cold water feed to the plants.

Just as well as she picked up a boatload of new plants from the garden centre yesterday.

All good fun.

Garden Centre

Early morning in Bedrock

Galera7am here in Bedrock as we start our second full day here in May. It’s been a challenge organising this holiday break,between turmoil in our professional lives and the new cottage extensions, which took a detour last week when the new bathroom plumbing burst, soaking the place and requiring professional de-humidifiers running around the clock to fix.

Thankfully as I sit here the builders are correcting that issue and in a couple of weeks we expect to be able to get on with the job of converting Hollyberry Cottage into not only a fantastically improved holiday rental cottage but also a great place for us to shack up in the winter.

LakeMissed the all important G7 drinking session last night. Between overdoing it when we arrived here on Wednesday and just so much to do, we decided to give the first session a miss – no doubt we’ll make up for it over the weekend.

We arrived mid-Wednesday at Alicante airport and for the first time managed to find our way to Brico-Depot in Crevillent just a short hop on the way here from Alicante. The place is great, all the major stores are there including Carrefour and Aldi etc. When we arrived Wednesday night the weeds had taken over (it’s hot here but it hasn’t been hot for long enough to kill them off yet) so as well as readying the place we’ve been clearing the path. It’s starting to look good already and this morning Maureen is of with some of the women to have fun while I sort out some tech work I have to complete via Skype with my friend Aidan in the UK.

testing solar panelsMy other jobs for this weekend include getting the watering system back up and tested. I’ve brought much more meaty power supplies with me to Spain this time to handle the rather unpredictable power here – though I suspect I’ve not brought enough.  As an experiment I brought another solar regulator along with an alarm 12v battery and panel –I want to see if I can run the router and new Raspberry Pi controller off the sun entirely. I suspect that’ll have to wait for our June/July run in which we’re bringing the car from the UK as I just could not fit the second large solar panel into the travel case!!

lampsI’ve recently started to work on my tech blog which now regularly achieves around 750 users a day and the new tech Facebook page just tipped 1000 likes – all of which imposes a slight responsibility to keep them up to date but first, we need to get into that lake and enjoy the fine weather Spain is having right now, it’s a little misty but typically sailing past 30c in the afternoon with peaks around 40c which might sound a bit much to Brits starved of sunshine but trust me – you get used to it and it beats the pants off the UK, in particular because that means you can sit outside at night without a jumper on!

Thankfully as you see in the graph (my systems have been logging temperature and humidity for a couple of years now) the humidity is finally dropping rapidly – we picked a good time to arrive.

Graph of temperature and humidity

So looking forward to a couple of weeks at least of fine weather before any more painting. We’re off to Baza this afternoon so that Maureen can pick up some supplies at the garden centre after we’ve had a soak in the lake.