Bryan Matthews

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since May 05, 2013
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Recent posts by Bryan Matthews

Wow, this forum keeps on amazing me. Can we get a search toolbar engine. Lately I seem to be googling: permies and then whatever I need to know. This would make no exception. Have been looking for a theory to feed people on how karma/postive living/being a happy giving person and mostly what it is about. This theory makes sense in every way. Being just the number of spoons or maybe the quality of what is on the spoon. You could have people that hand out a lot of spoons, but it is from a poisoned spoon. Or you have people that just have lots of tiny quality tea spoons for everyone. My mind is racing a bit.

But I love handing out spoons in every way possible. If it is by always showing up on time or even 5 minutes early at work(work in shifts). Just so your colleagues have a peace of mind they can transfer the shift easily and leave on time. This creates spoons for me to take/be given back. When I am late, which happens sometimes. And the incentive for them to do the same for me or other team members.

Bosses/managers/teamleaders know about this or atleast ways of draining people into a machine that just will say, I'll do it, can I go after then? I have worked in a great team varying from 11 to 16 people including manager teamleader. And with about 1 full year of absolutely no manager/teamleader. Okay our old MG/TL was now the floor department manager(guy who sits down the hall in the office). So we had some. But our team consisted of people who were friends and/more than just co-workers(being IT we would have LAN parties and such, so one part went gaming the other part had to stay home to keep the department running). The way we were able to run our own desk and have a MG that does what he needs to(which is, help me when I cannot do my work. Not the other way around). And a lot of other things that created spoons for the team. Pretty much everyone I worked with now has a above average salary and/or live standard/way of thinking. Come to think of it we could have used the spoon theory to infect others.

Can there be a spoon subforum on this site. Would love to talk about the way people hand out their spoons and or have them given to them. You don't know how people think about actions. Or how much a seamingly small thing for you, might be a huge difference for them! My quess is that posting and sharing will be like handing out spoons for some. Or seeing some bad spoons dissappear.
4 years ago

paul wheaton wrote:

Bryan Matthews wrote:

paul wheaton wrote:The challenging part is the shipping. I think I have optimized the shipping part. So, as odd as it sounds, we would offer price breaks at 4 bricks and 9 bricks.

Would you be interested in having a European Printer supplier for your card decks? This would save transport money/co2. Prices can stay the same because of all products sold here from the USA normally have import/export taxes.

I would be open to this. I thought Maddy might do it, but she seems uninterested.

In that case if the time arrives, email/purple me. Whatever you prefer regarding this matter.

Make me an offer that i can't refuse will love! My email is paul at

Have sent my offer, awaiting your reply.
Okay that clears up a lot for my plans so far. No car batteries for a permanent solution, will be trying it for test/experience. As I am located in the middle of Europe, the US prices won't help me regarding the parts for solarcell/completed solar panel. So as stubborn as I am, will be looking into making my own and buying one probably.

Met a guy recently who has a campervan rental company. He uses old diesel bastards, cleans them out, and pretty much just makes them into a theme campervan. He uses a solar panel/charger/batteries system. And his vans rarely need to be put on extra power. Was talking to him about my idea. He will get me some of his data from his sets. As he said it would fit my personal profile atm. He also would be interested in hooking me up with a set when he orders a couple next time. He has a 12v refridgerator/freezer unit in his campers too. And regarding the current state of my fridge(pretty neat) I can still sell it or trade it.

I will be looking into what prices a completed set cost now and the solar panels/cells itself. Will keep everyone updated this. And if anyone has suggestions, please post them!!!

Dillon Nichols wrote:One died while monitoring some pretty heavy loads a couple months after I bought it; another when I'd had it a year and had only used it a handful of times... I am assuming the deaths are down to crappy manufacturing/QC, but a brief postmortem showed no terribly obvious causes of failure beyond that.

So, unfortunately not really anything to learn here except 'cheap chinese gadget is built to cheap chinese quality standards'... Last time I looked there really wasn't much in the way of alternatives though.

Regarding the breaking of Chinese quality stuff. A Chinese manufacturer once said, the only reason why Made In China breaks so quickly is because your production requirements make them do it. Or something in the line of that. This is true in my opinion. Once had a batch of these tiny car-key look a like camera's and they would come in the same packaging and all. But inside some had a full hd1080p camera. While others had your first blurry picture camera in them. Kinda like the vendor at see with a binocular around his neck. And a whole bunch boxed in his stall for sale. You get to try his one and be amazed by how good it magnifies and clear the image is. But he sells you a boxed in. Which is just near the quality difference that you won't see it directly/think it is a dirty lens/whatever tricks your mind.

My dad said he had some useful stuff for me, will be visiting him soon for some consumption metering equipment. Will post here what kind of goodies I will be using. And to get your uncorrupted opinion about them.
4 years ago

elle sagenev wrote:

paul wheaton wrote:

Thekla McDaniels wrote:I also want to say I am appalled that your art work was stolen as the printing got sub contracted out to and through so many printers. I really thought there was a law against that, but I guess it is differentially enforced.

There are laws.

I suppose I could spend $20,000 in a lawsuit that would be spread out over seven years, and by the time I won, the business would be dissolved and long gone.

Come now Paul. I highly doubt you get 20k and 7 years in. As someone who works for lawyers I can say that is probably very doubtful. Send them a threatening letter, from a lawyer with law, etc., and see what happens. At the very least it might scare them out of selling the cards. Doing nothing is like giving the thieves a stamp of approval.

Besides, You don't sue the subcontractors subcontractor subcontractor. You sue the person YOU contracted with. It is their responsibility to try to recoup their costs by going down the line, not yours. Or throw all the stones at once and name every single party involved in the original complaint.

This reminds me of a documentary about a guy who makes a lot of money by buying weird Pezz dispensers(the candy things) directly from the factory. Despite strict production lines and destruction of not used Pezz dispenser he still would manage to get his hands on weird and rare collectables. To shut him down Pezz just started to produce all his weird and rare ones, making them obsolete and/or common. Maybe you can pull a stunt like that.

Steve Farmer wrote:1) You're on a budget
2) You're got some soldering kit
3) You've got special requirements regards matching panel size to window size
4) You're indoors so don't need professionally made weather hardened solar panels

So.. buy some solar cells from ebay, which will cost you about a third of the price per watt compared to a ready made panel, and custom make your own panel(s).
The main thing as you learn is to be very very careful how you handle the solar cells, they are extremely fragile. If you handle them carefully when moving, soldering and securing to a backing panel, then you will be OK.

On the batteries, technically yes you can use car batteries for light use but don't let them discharge more than 10%. ie keep them at 90% charged or higher, otherwise you will kill them.
However, don't use car batteries indoors because when you are charging they give off hydrogen gas and in certain circumstances lead and sulphur compounds. Maybe you have a balcony or roof space which can house a battery enclosure?
For any given power, Voltage is inversely proportional to current. And higher current gives higher losses in the cabling. So at low voltages eg 12, 24V, losses in cables are high. Keep your cable runs as short as possible and use good thick cables for any runs that have to be longer than a few metres.

Post some pics on here and let us know how you get on.

I am very interested in doing what you suggest, making my own panel. Not for the general bragging rights alone. Would love to be able to create my own custom solar panels for every situation there is. Also saw a youtube video once from a guy who does this. One of his tips was to got to manufacturers of panels and ask for broken/discarded solar panels. They pretty much still work, just need to be handled with more care when soldered into place. And kept in place better.

What kind of cell would you suggest? I already learnt that is easier to have cells with the strips which connect the cells together to have them presoldered on. But hey, if the price is right. I will do it myself.

Also for lighting I have bought one of those cheap ass solar charged garden light rail sets(80 leds). Primarily to use it as a cheap and effective not at home/someone at home light. Cost me 5 euro and I never had to switch it on or off. Just hung it over my existing lights which are mounted on the walls. Will buy one more so I have more than decent lighting at home. For no extra (money) charge. The battery inside is a simple rechargeable AA type battery. On a average day the lights will stay on for about 4/5 hours, recently had some really nice summer days in which the lights keep on all night.
4 years ago

Dillon Nichols wrote:Hi Bryan,

I would suggest you go ahead and get a kill-a-watt or equiv. Mine tend to die fairly promptly, which is annoying, but I haven't found anything comparable to use instead, and they're pretty handy.

A solar panel this size will not be powering your fridge... If you find a panel that fits the full window, it might be rated at 40W peak output. Your actual output will be lower; among other things, you will be limited in your angle options, and the glass will take a bit of a toll. Beware of shading the panel, it can take a disproportionate toll on output.

If the fridge is key, you might consider a larger battery bank than your solar panel can reasonably recharge; charge the bank off of an AC-powered charger when AC is available, then use the solar to maintain the bank until needed, and to slow the draining of the bank. Recharge when power comes back.

You can likely power your laptop/phone/modem and some basic lighting, preferably 12V, from even cheap car batteries, although you shouldn't expect very long life or runtimes from this sort of battery. Figure out the total combined wattage you need for these items, and determine if your current 12V-230V converters are adequate. I would only ever advise use of a quality pure sine inverter, but you can experiment with modified sine/step wave units if you aren't overly attached to your devices. Decide if you want to accommodate the fridge before buying...

The 'some sort of power converter/charger for it all' you mention is a solar charge controller. Readily available in all sorts of prices and quality levels. An 'MPPT' controller will get you a bit more power out of your panel vs a 'PWM' controller. Again, I'm not a fan of the cheaper options, but they sure are cheap.

For the solar panel itself, for your situation getting the best possible fit for the window is pretty much the primary concern here.

I'd suggest getting everything up and running with the best of the batteries you have, and upgrade the batteries after that.

Can you tell me some of the reasons why yours tend to die? It is cheaper learning from your mistakes than buying and making them myself.

The fridge is not key atm, but will be in the future. Looking into either a small camper model on 12v or something similar that provides enough room to fill my one person needs.

Can you tell me which MPPT controller you have experiences with(or tell me if I can read your experiences somewhere here on the forum?)?

Thanks for the tips so far, will a whole bunch of small li-po batteries work? I have about 50 of them. They are really cute and tiny though. All from small rc stuff. Or things like phone batteries? I know there is a point where the gain/overall left power/whatever you techies call it. But willing to try anything and want to learn about it.
4 years ago

Paul Andrews wrote:Sounds like an exciting project and I hope you get permission.

Have you ever tried pounding earth to fill just one tyre? It is incredibly labour intensive.

Maybe earthbag construction might be a better bet for this project.

I hope it goes ahead whatever method you choose

Good luck


Thanks and yes I do hope we get permission too .

Never tried it on a tire but for the heck of it I know sand does not move that much/gets heavy when compacted(you are basicly creating a dense huge stone). And yes I do hope it will be labour intensive. Plans are to keep some kids busy for a while and we will get some more actual real slave laborers in the form of volunteers helping. We will be enticing and luring our friends and family to the site as well with false promises of a good holiday, plenty of healthy food and a lot of outdoor activities. Most will be true, we will just not clarify it all until they get there.

The idea is to use whatever method will be best suited. So far in general a southfacing berm built green house. Using mostly recycled materials and preferable the weirder type ones. So far a tire pounded earth berm wall is the most promising and effective. But hey there are new ideas coming everyday. As soon as we get the pre-planning ok, then we will have to decide the final structure. So anyone who has a good idea, shout out please!!
4 years ago

Heidi Hoff wrote:You might try this site from Québec. I don't know these folks personally, but they have been giving talks all around Québec, promoting the idea of food resilience through climate-appropriate production systems. They are rather high-tech, but they do offer plans and instructional videos at very reasonable prices. We might end up using these resources ourselves.

Have just downloaded the free e-book from them. Will look into their greenhouse ideas. And due to price will consider actually buying something from them( they are offering their premium bundle for a little bit less than 24% of the normal price). Do you know if there is a permies referral link for ordering?
4 years ago
In that case, please sell them to as much people as possible separately and infect as much minds as possbile. I will be putting my money in your new cards then.
4 years ago

paul wheaton wrote:The challenging part is the shipping. I think I have optimized the shipping part. So, as odd as it sounds, we would offer price breaks at 4 bricks and 9 bricks.

Would you be interested in having a European Printer supplier for your card decks? This would save transport money/co2. Prices can stay the same because of all products sold here from the USA normally have import/export taxes.

I would be open to this. I thought Maddy might do it, but she seems uninterested.

In that case if the time arrives, email/purple me. Whatever you prefer regarding this matter.