Winner - The great MPPT solar charge controller competition

So I asked the invention engine what kind of competition I should hold to give away that first solar charge controller I bought, and it said I should ask everyone else.


It said I should get a load of people to submit their ideas.

I asked it why people should spend their precious time helping me out with their ideas.

It said I should provide some kind of incentive.

Like a competition.

So the first ever 120 Things in 20 years competition is as follows...

Whoever can come up with the best idea for a competition wins.

The prize is that solar controller I had so much trouble with because it didn't match my solar panel's too high voltage.

There is only one rule*, and that is the winner wont be anyone who enters by simply adding another layer of competition to the competition to see what the competition should be.

I already thought of that one, and I've decided I probably wont give the prize to me, although I am currently in the lead so I may change my mind.

Mrs 120 Things and I will judge the winner at our own discretion, in our own time, whenever we feel like it, if we feel like it, and reserve all rights to do whatever we want without reservation or regard for others.

120 Things in 20 years thinks the invention engine may have just gained consciousness, or at least the beginnings of a consciousness-free sense of humour.

click the comments thingy to enter or offer derisive laughter

Winner - The first 120 things in 20 years competition

So a while ago, I bought a MPPT solar charge controller.

It turns out the nice ebay based company I bought it from was a fraud, and sold me a product that wouldn't work with my solar panel in spite of my having asked them and then double checking. My solar panel had too high a voltage, but the listing said it would be fine.


The result was that I was sent a product that didn't work as advertised.

Eventually ebay made them give me my money back. The company insisted I return their product at my expense.

I posted it to their registered address, but the post office in China said there was nobody by that name at that address.

So China Post returned it to sender.


All this is old news to anyone who follows this blog, but this is the new bit.

I thought I'd give it away because it's of no use to me, and might be exactly what someone else wanted. But who to give it to?

I thought I'd hold a competition, and give it to the winner, but I cant think of a decent theme.

The current plan for the first ever 120 things in 20 years competition is to run it through the invention engine and see what it thinks.

so... stay tuned I guess. It's late, and I'm going to bed.

Tomorrow, the competition begins!

Epic adventurer - New solar panels

Bullwinkle III is about to be born.

Bullwinkle was the first incarnation of my little boat. It was originally a SunDance 4.3m one man racing catamaran.

I went halves in it with a friend.

It was old and slow but built solidly.

We broke it.

We fixed it up, but it wasn't strong enough to put it under the kind of strain that a boat sees when it's under sail, so the sail had to go.

I put a 1.8m square of marine grade plywood on it and turned it into a fishing barge. I added a large deep cycle battery and an electric trolling motor. This gave me a range of around 6km which is surprisingly enough to catch lots of fish and more importantly, lots of blue swimmer crabs. This incarnation was Bullwinkle II. With the aid of some rope, and some plastic hand reels as pulleys, two empty milk crates as seats, and a pram wheel as a steering wheel, it was quite comfortable. the only downside was that people kept boating up to us to see if we needed help because we looked like a sinking dingy. A sinking dingy with two people standing on it fishing.

Then came Bullwinkle II.V which was essentially the same as Bullwinkle II but it also had a 3hp two stroke motor, but that was just annoying.

So today I spent the money I've received from you nice people clicking my blog's ads on two new 180w solar panels. They have apparently been built, and are now being put on a ship in China.

Thanks clickers.

Thanks China.

Thanks boats.

So now I can finally build Bullwinkle III.

I have the hulls, the decking, a motor, the frame of my 1.8m grow house (the one that let the sun dissolve it's cover), and an office chair.

That should be plenty enough junk to solar boat the length of the mighty River Murray.

120 Things in 20 years just remembered that I hadn't ever gone camping alone, so the night before last I drove to the river with my swag, and tried it. Nothing bad happened.

Thinking - meat based analogue communication

We used to have this bird named "Spork".
Sometimes he was named "Pogo" because he didn't have enough legs. (he always didn't have enough legs, he just wasn't always called pogo (that sounds suspiciously like something Clevinger (Catch 22) might say)) (and what's with all the nested parenthesis?)))
Spork lived in a sectioned off bit of the house near my desk where I spent most of the day, so we got pretty close. As close as a human that really likes magpies can get to a magpie that almost always hates humans. I say "almost", because if you turned him on his back with his one leg in the air, he would relax so much you could push him around on the floor like a kid playing with a matchbox car. If you tried that when he was upright, he'd peck your eyes out in a heartbeat. One of his fast bird heartbeats as well, not some dopey slow human heartbeat. Except Shaan when she offered Spork her (maybe smurf) keyring. Sporked liked Shaan and her keyring.
Anyway... I would whistle "Doo, du do du, and he would instantly reply "Do du do, du dooo do". It was almost as if he could help himself. He had to finish the tune. (I originally taught him the entire tune, but it took the first few notes for him to realise that it was time to sing)
We had to give him up when we had to move back to the flat lands from Cudlee Creek. We also miss all the other creatures we shared our lives with (a goat, an emu, a pig, three sheep, an owl, and various chickens) all still missed terribly.
Anyway... Some nice bird rescue people took in Spork to live with all their other magpies, a magpie loving dog that protected them all from foxes, and a parrot that nobody could understand because it spoke too fast. I suggested it was horse race calling as a result of being pre-owned by a gambler with a radio, and there was a general agreement that that might just be the case.
Really odd sulphur crested cockatoo.
But... it occurred to me that Spork now lived only 30 km away as the crow flies.
That's only 5 magpie families or so. The other night I found myself trying to teach my local magpies the first (my) half of the tune so they might in turn teach the next groups radiating out from them. I managed to add one extra note to the current call of my local group, but interestingly I managed to get a complete (my half) call from a group further in the distance.
So, so far so good. So, so. You don't see the word "so" followed by the word "so" that much.
And... once I teach the local magpies the first half of the tune and get them to teach the next closets magpies( and so on, and so on), in 5-30 years or so, I hope to hear the second half of the tune (Spork's half) in reply.
If so, I expect a Nobel prize for developing very slow, organic, analogue communication, and creating the first "bird meat" based communication protocol that doesn't require tying things to their feet.

120 things in 20 years - So... that's where my life is at.

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