Current Time as a Fraction of Current Year

I had the need to represent time as a fraction of a year, so I came up with this little program to do the conversion for me.  (using in Redlion Crimson 3) Continue reading

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Undocumented Secrets of Integrating BACnet MSTP

After too many hours of struggling though trial and error, packet sniffing, and lots of various materials found on the Internet, I have uncovered a few very important secrets that were not readily apparent in the official vendor documentation I had available.

The device I was working with:  Trane UC400 BACnet Communications Interface

In general, none of the BACnet configuration software or documentation makes reference to the number of data bits, parity, or stop bits used.  Baud is the only thing that is set.  The problem is that unless you are integrating with something specific to BACnet, you will need to set these parameters.  Here they are: Continue reading

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Water Flowing around the Gallimore House

Due to all the rain and melting snow, we have water pooling and flowing in areas I’ve never seen water at before.  Here are a two videos of the streams surrounding us right now.

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Build Your Own Non-Linear Response

It is common to control the speed of a pump based on a sensor reading.  But what if you want the pump speed to change at a different rate at different parts of the sensor range?  If the response isn’t approximated by an equation, you can break down the response in to segments and use a new equation for each segment.  That is exactly what is done here.

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Calculating the Volume of Irregular-Shaped Tanks

This is a quick demo and code listing I used to calculate the volume of a tank that is a combination of box, cylinder, and sphere shapes.  The controller is a Red Lion G3 Graphite.

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First Impressions of a RedLion Graphite HMI

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320 amp Meter Base Pictures

This gallery contains 14 photos.

This is the new meter base I’m about to install Like this:Like Loading…

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Stop Crimping RJ-45s

IMG_20141212_183254355I am on a quest to convince people, especially controls and automation people, to stop crimping RJ-45 ends on Ethernet cables. Everyone else in the world terminates Ethernet to a punchdown block jack and then uses a pre-tested, pre-molded patch cable to connect to the device. The reason to avoid crimping on the RJ-45’s is that it is difficult to reliably crimp the ends on correctly, especially if you have to use an electrician who would rather be bending 3″ rigid conduit and is trying to use the Mickey Mouse crimp tool he bought at the dollar store.

It’s easy if you already have a 19″ rack, but what do you do inside a panel? Several options: Continue reading

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The Two Wolves Inside Me

An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. “A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy.

“It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.” He continued, “The other is good – he is joy,
peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.”

two-wolvesThe grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”

The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”

(credit to

Here is the same story, but it is called “Grandfather Tells”
which is also known as “The Wolves Within”

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Review of the YHS-302A Process Calibrator Meter With Multimeter

IMG_20141204_220320471For about 1/4 the cost of a Fluke, I decided to take a risk and buy a Chinese process meter.  This company makes a clone of the 787, but I opted for the YHS-302A model (which now seems to be the YHS 7011) because it seemed to have more bells and whistles. (see bottom of article for update)

Things I like:

  • price
  • came with alligator clips, probes, battery charger, and temperature sensor
  • ability to supply 24VDC from top connector
  • durable and solid feel
  • ability to measure frequency, capacitance, temperature, and diodes all from one meter
  • ability to source a current/voltage/frequency while measuring anything else simultaneously
  • came with a big carry case with room for extra leads and adapters

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