More battery gibbering & queskins, among other stuff


Date: Sat Sep 06 1997 - 21:59:14 EDT


I get the feeling that I'm, like, deconstructing the entire philosophy of
batteries here. First, there's all the info that every's sent me about
charging and discharging and why I don't need a charge card. Then there's the
stuff about taking a meter and a resistor to hamfests to check out the batts
before parting with cash. And then, while Thelonious Monk & Co is playing
"Criss-cross" (which sounds a lot like the first Ornette Coleman album . . .
but that's another story), I have these things happening:

1. When I put raw DC out of a cheap wall-wart into my charge controller &c, I
get a signal that the batts are charging. Then, after a while (like maybe an
hour or more), the LED blinks and I get the message that it's topping-off
time. Then, when I unplug the wall-wart, the LED goes out and I turn on the
radios. After about an hour or so of just sitting there letting noises out of
the speakers, the batts seem to go south. VCOs unlock. Digital shaft encoders
don't shaft or encode. Life becomes complex. I plug in a direct 13.6 VDC to
the radios and all is well in radio land.

2. The batts in use right now are two 6-V, 4.5 Ahr batts what I bought from
Roger at Midwest Surplus in nearby Fairborn. $6.50 a whack. Whack! Whack! I
tried tasting them before I plunked down the cash and remember that they were
each around 5 or 6 volts. Roger asked me what the hell I was doing and I said
that I was checkin' 'em to see if they had any electricity left in 'em. He
said that I'd have to charge 'em first anyway (which I did when I got 'em
home) so just buy 'em and be done with it.
   Now Roger's an ok guy to me. He's nuts. He speaks my kind of
old-biker-on-meds gibberish with me. He has a soda machine in the back that
my youngest feeds when we go shopping together and do our Beavis & Butt-head
act. Everything I've ever bought from Roger has worked or been right or
whatever, so I don't have much reason not to believe that he knows how to
spell potato.

3. So, am I nuts or should I just go out and spend $24-something for a 12v
cell fresh out of the box somewhere?

4. And then there's the solar panel question: When I use the wall-wart to
charge the batts, the LED comes on nice and bright and blinks nice and bright
when topping off occurs. When I plug in the solar panel on a bright day and
take the time to get all the shadows off the panel &c, the LED comes on kinda
half-hearted and stays that way for hours. Once, when the batts had gone
south after a couple hours, I plugged in the solar panel and could still pull
the VCO off frequency by turning up the volume (yeah, by turning up the
volume . . . as in: there wasn't enough current to run the AF amp and keep
everything synchronized at the same time . . . like me without meds or
something). The PV puts out about 18 volts open circuit and gets to about 12
v on loads (like on a boom box playing a tape [of El Gran Combo de Puerto
Rico, fer instance]).

Oh, goody. "Rhythm-a-ning" I first heard this nearly 33 years ago on the VOA
"Jazz Hour" (more like 45 minutes) with Willis Connover. Now there as a real
radio guy . . . you should have heard the on-the-air live memorial concert
that the VOA had after Willis' death some time back, maybe a year.

Ok, so (a) did I get burned on the batts? (b) should I consider putting two
of these solar panels in series or parallel or something? (c) should I get
any more Thelonious reissue CDs?

And I had a neat QSO a couple minutes back with (catch this callsign . . .)
NY0G in Spalding, NE. Bud gave me a 339 but said that I was clear copy. When
I told him what I was running, he cut back to 5 watts on his Yaesu
900-something. I could still hear him good. So we chatted for a while and
then his wife came home (I use that one now and then too) so we QRTd and QRUd
and LSDd and everything and that was that. Him on a longwire at 30 ft and me
with the dead motor winding wire stapled to the attic rafters. Not bad for a
couple half-bakes.

Now, about this caffeine shortage . . . I hear the clone of Fidel is working
on it. On MIR. With Elvis.

.. . . maybe Rahsaan Roland Kirk CDs. The guy who used to run a local band
instrument company claimed to have made Kirk's two weird-butt saxophonish
lookin' extra instruments. No, not the siren whistles, just the manzello and
the strich. Whatever.

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