Home automation Zero Carbon

EcoBee 3 Dual Fuel

In the spring of 2022, we discovered that the Nest Learning Thermostat was not operating the reversing valve. It had been fine in the fall. The Nest energizes the reversing valve to cool. Come May and time to cool it wasn’t. Oh, and the fall update stomped on the heat pump lockout setting. So the proprietor fired Nest and hired Ecobee.

Church uses a large number of Ecobee 3 Lite devices with extra area sensors and has found them to work well. So Dismal Dave bought one and installed it. It set up easily enough for heat pump operation with automatically configured staging and automatic heat pump lockout and easy configuration of the associated gas furnace. But we had some drama anyway.

Car talk Driving Electric Personal Computing

EV Voyage Management for the Rest of Us

Those of us not blessed with Telsa vehicles are unable to take advantage of Tesla’s voyage management tools and navigation. We have to make do with third party tools that are not well integrated but perfectly adequate. This post examines electric vehicle voyage planning and voyage management in an Apple Car Play and VW ID.Software environment.

Car talk

ID.4 Road Trip

Ride in the way-back, not me! I wanted the back seat. Missy wanted the back seat. So in we went. Gear went in the way-back. We had a hand truck, the boss’s chair, and our ground mats. It all fit. Missy and Me fit in the 2nd row bench seat super. We both curled up on a half. I did awaken with a start once on the way home. Did a Greyhound Scream of Death to get staff’s attention. No bickering. No teeth. Just scared little old me.

Staff tells his impressions after the break.

Car talk

Our First Time

Dave, Missy, and Rocky flew to Aylette, VA for James River Greyhounds 2022 picnic. These are always great events produced by the charity to raise funds to support capital maintenance and operations. Fun, food, people, greyhounds, lots of greyhounds. Sadly, we didn’t take a photo of the car park on the way in. The crowd was huge.

Anyway, it was Millennium Falcon’s first road trip that was long enough to require an en-route charge. An opportunity for a newbie experience, one that should have gone smoothly but didn’t because VW had not finished plug and charge. So some EA app screen fiddling was required. Unsurprisingly, there were gaps in the instructions and stupidity in UI design choices. More after the break.


Run from water!

We just had a major hurricane landfall in Florida and a category one hurricane landfall in South Carolina with tropical storm conditions in North Carolina and Virginia. When should you evacuate? Current emergency management thinking is to hide from wind (shelter in place) and run from water (evacuate). Water, the storm surge and inland flooding, cause most hurricane-related deaths during the storm. After the storm, recovery mishaps are a significant cause of death. Most involving chain saws or generators.

Rocky performs Zombie inspection of the fallen limb

Dismal Manor has a fallen limb to remove and a fence to patch so Rocky won’t go runner. Rest assured, loppers and a pruning saw will do the work. If we have a big piece, I’ll drag it up front for the city to collect with the clam shell truck.

Home automation

More Observations

QingPing Air Monitor Lite images courtesy of HomeKit Reviews.

The QingPing Air Monitor Lite has been here a couple of days. I had expected I would have a particulate problem. In reality, the house is sufficiently tight that it retains emissions from internal sources like breathing mammals and greyhound butts. What the trend curves are showing is that, with the house closed up, CO2 accumulates. Since Dismal Manor is small, this is detectable in the bedroom when all 3 of us are in the lounge. After the break, I review the findings and

Home automation

A New Dismal Gadget, an Air Quality Monitor

Dismal Dave suffers from rhinitis, a general non-specific rhinitis brought on by particulates more so than a specific allergen. Cooking smoke, Diesel smoke, jet smoke, the Great Dismal Swamp Fire smoke, pollen, and other things make the sinuses angry. To get a better feeling for what it might be correlated with, I decided to add an air quality monitor to our Apple HomeKit rig.

The bits and pieces needed to make one are inexpensive and can be ordered as a kit with a PCB. A number of DIY websites describe air quality monitor projects. But if you want a case, and there is software to write, …

There are only a few HomeKit capable residential air quality monitor finished products with the QingPing Air Quality Lite being regarded the best value of the lot. Most of the products out there are portable monitors designed for work-place safety applications.

After the break, I’ll explain my initial motivation, selection criteria, intended application, and initial experience.

Car talk

Electrify America Account Setup

The 2021 VW ID.4 comes with unlimited CCS DC fast charging and Level 2 charging courtesy of Electrify America and VW’s settlement of the Diesel emissions fraud case. To take advantage of this offer requires an Electrify America app account with public charging configured. Thanks to the smart folks of Reddit VW ID.4 group for their Cliff’s notes.

Car talk Personal Computing

Volkswagen ID.Software Updates

With the ID.Generation, VW has brought over-the-air updating to key system software of its battery electric vehicles. This process updates the MIB-3 user interface, various electrical control unit software, and importantly, the traction inverter and other important software giving your ID its personality.

Every European car v-logger seems to feel he (it’s almost always a he) should make an ID.Software Version 3 update video. But I’ll bet not a one of them has actually applied an update to an ID.3 or ID.4. Why, because they almost always use a press vehicle to make the video and not their personal daily driver.

So I spent some quality time with the Duck to find this actual page of information from the actual VW folk and not the 10 insanely great ways to update your VW’s software people. You know them. The ones killing the Internet for enthusiasts or just the actually curious. Following the break, the link and some highlights.

Personal Computing Photography

Luminar Neo HDR

Skylum developers remain at work in Ukraine. Women and children have evacuated while military age males remain in the country to be called up to fight if needed. Skylum collaboration tools are hosted internationally allowing a measure of safety from acts of Ivan. Remember Ivan? He’s back. And worse than ever.

Boy do I miss Khrushchev! When he invaded a neighbor, he just seized the joint. Putin, medieval siege warfare. He is leaving rubble, mostly destroying the economic value of the contested territory.

Anyway, Luminar Neo is now Version 1.2. Version 1.2 adds bug fixes but also integrates most of the RAW HDR development capabilities of Aurora HDR, another Skylum product.