Intrinsic Safety Demonstration

At Turck‘s intrinsic safety seminar hosed by Automated Dynamics, I saw a very good demonstration of how safety barrier devices work:  They limit energy to a level that a spark produced will be too weak to ignite the gas surrounding the device it is protecting*.  I sat on the front row and took a little video of this in action.

* provided the device doesn’t store energy through capacitance or inductance

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No Arc Flash PPE Required for PLC Panels

I’ve heard that PLC and I/O panels need to be designed to exclude 120V wires or circuits because of arc flash requirements.  On Table 130.7(C)(15)(A)(a) of the 2015 NFPA 70E, it states as long as no exposed energized equipment over 120V exists, no Arc Flash PPE is required to work on control circuits 120V and below.NFPA 70E

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Judge Napolitano on libertarianism and Catholicism

Judge Napolitano talks about the relationship between libertarianism and Catholicism starting around the 6 minute mark:

the essence of libertarianism is the primacy of the individual over the state …and as far as it is conceivable, absolute freedom of the individual to make his or her own choices.  That’s actually also the teachings of Jesus Christ:  I’ve come to set you free.  …   The doctrine on religious freedom, the doctrine on free will is such that free will is the greatest gift God gave is.  It is so perfect a gift that we are free to abuse it, and history and the modern era is filled with examples of its abuse..   So I see no inconsistency between the observation that the individual is greater than the state, and the Church’s teaching on free will at all.  But I’m also not unaware of the Church’s social policy and the social policy of the church is that I am my brother’s keeper and that I should help my brother out.  I accept that and I embrace it as long as I am free to accept and embrace it as long as I am not forced to do it through the mechanism of government.


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Petting Zoo : CUMC Princeton One Year Anniversary

CUMC had their one year anniversary this last weekend, and had a petting zoo as part of the celebration.

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Concrete Foundation for Shop

After months of delays due to rain, and then delays caused by the delays, I finally have the foundation for the new shop poured.

These are the templates I made for the anchor bolts


70+ cubic yards of select fill moved in to make a pad   Continue reading

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Aiden Turns 4 Years Old

Our little one is getting old!

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Trip to Johnson Space Center NASA in Houston

Here are a few pictures from our recent family trip to NASA in Houston.


Boeing 747 with the Space Shuttle piggy backed on the top.  They are creating a new exhibit with this, which should be fun to see when it is complete! Continue reading

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Troy Bilt Chipper Shredder Review

Since we have been thinning out the trees and brush around our house, the piles of cut limbs are getting taller and more numerous.  I was planning on renting a big chipper over a weekend and taking care of it all at one time, but I decided to buy a small residential chipper for about the same price to see if I could make it work.

I found a decent one on craigslist, and after replacing the needle valve seat in the carburetor it runs well.   It is a Troy Bilt Model 24A-424B766 (CS4265) with a Briggs & Stratton 6.5 HP engine model 121312-0322-E1.  It is advertised to chip up to a 3″ branch.  In reality, a 2″ is about all it will handle.  I was able to push in long branches (10′ long) and it will eat them up with no problems.  It does lag down with some pieces of wood, like the Osage orange tree branches, where are very hard and dense.  Common replacement part numbers are below the video.

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Computer Time

Inside a computer, the definition of time gets confusing, because we haven’t always agreed on the definition of time and we periodically add bits of time (usually seconds) based on unpredictable events that occur with a giant water-covered rock flying through space around other huge rocks and stars.  Here is a chart of a the popular forms of time in the digital world:

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Program to Email Memory Contents of Redlion HMI for Troubleshooting

The Redlion HMIs have the capability of creating and deleting files on the flash memory card and emailing out files.  The program below is called from a button on a diagnostics screen.  This is used to collect the contents of a group of memory tags (variables), format them so they can be read with a spreadsheet program, store as a file on the flash memory card, then email that file out.

// program to store all the current regression data in a file and email it out

cstring line;
int FileNum, index;
//delete old file
FileNum = OpenFile("RegDiags.csv", 1);

// create the file
// wait for file to be created
while(GetDriveStatus('C') != 5) {}
// open the file and write the 'main' header information
FileNum = OpenFile("RegDiags.csv", 2); 

//write memory contents to text file
WriteFileLine(FileNum, "Regression1.lastTimeStamp");
WriteFileLine(FileNum, Regression1.lastTimeStamp.AsText);

WriteFileLine(FileNum, "Regression1.period");
WriteFileLine(FileNum, Regression1.period.AsText);

WriteFileLine(FileNum, "Regression1.slope");
WriteFileLine(FileNum, Regression1.slope.AsText);

WriteFileLine(FileNum, "Regression1.slope_scaled");
WriteFileLine(FileNum, Regression1.slope_scaled.AsText);

WriteFileLine(FileNum, "Regression1.slopeValid");
WriteFileLine(FileNum, Regression1.slopeValid.AsText);

// build up heading text line for spreadsheet viewing
line = "Sensor1x,Sensor1y,Sensor2x,Sensor2y,";
// write the line to the file
WriteFileLine(FileNum, line);

//write a line for each element in the array
for (index = 1; index <= 1500; index++){
 line = Regression1.x[index].AsText;
 line += ",";
 line += Regression1.y[index].AsText;
 line += ",";
 line += Regression2.x[index].AsText;
 line += ",";
 line += Regression2.y[index].AsText;
 line += ",";
 WriteFileLine(FileNum, line);


//email file to list 1
SendFile(1, "RegDiags.csv");


  • The Redlion HMI retains the contents of variables that have the ‘retentive’ option checked, even when a new database is loaded.  Because of this, I was able to load a new database containing this program, and extract all the data I needed.
  • The “.AsText” suffix can be used with any tag to represent the value (integer, float, or binary) as text so it can be written to a file.
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