SpaceX Falcon Heavy USSF-67 launch

Most of the SpaceX Falcon launches we see from the house are Dragon CRS missions headed toward the ISS, so I wasn’t expecting to be able to see today’s Falcon Heavy USSF-67 launch since it was supposed to be headed to a geosynchronous orbit.

We stepped outside to have a look anyway just in case and much to my surprise, we saw the exhaust trail pretty clearly a little bit lower toward the horizon. This photo was a couple minutes after the launch and just after the side boosters separated.

Exhaust trail from the SpaceX Falcon Heavy USSF-67 mission launch
Exhaust trail from the SpaceX Falcon Heavy USSF-67 mission launch

Here the side boosters have begun turning back toward their landing pads while the center booster continues on.

Exhaust trail from the SpaceX Falcon Heavy USSF-67 mission launch. Exhaust trail from the side boosters turning back is visible on the right
Exhaust trail from the SpaceX Falcon Heavy USSF-67 mission launch. Exhaust trail from the side boosters turning back is visible on the right

The two side boosters are visible as two specks of light. After this, we could see them flash every now and then as their steering jets fired.

Exhaust trail from the SpaceX Falcon Heavy USSF-67 mission launch. Exhaust trail and the two side boosters turning back is visible on the right
Exhaust trail from the SpaceX Falcon Heavy USSF-67 mission launch. Exhaust trail and the two side boosters turning back is visible on the right
Exhaust trail from the SpaceX Falcon Heavy USSF-67 mission launch. Exhaust trail and the two side boosters turning back is visible on the right
Exhaust trail from the SpaceX Falcon Heavy USSF-67 mission launch. Exhaust trail and the two side boosters turning back is visible on the right

This was the first time we’d seen a Falcon Heavy and the two side boosters from the house. It was pretty cool.

Christmas Nativity 2022

Christmas eve, and Mary and Joseph are settling down in the stable.

Mary and Joseph have arrived at the stable. A few shepherds are hanging around tending to their animals.
Mary and Joseph have arrived at the stable. A few shepherds are hanging around tending to their animals.

The animals are on the way in the Ark. This year, they’re joined by two Christmas lobsters. If you didn’t know that lobsters were present at the birth of Jesus, then you should watch Love Actually.

Animals on the Ark making their way to the stable. Two Christmas lobsters have joined the party.
Animals on the Ark making their way to the stable. Two Christmas lobsters have joined the party.

Christmas morning! The shepherds have come to the stable with their flock to see the new baby.

Shepherds and some of their flock gathered to see the new baby
Shepherds and some of their flock gathered to see the new baby

The wise men from the East have gathered to marvel at the new star. As usual, Lt. Cmdr. Data has joined them as their guide.

Wise men have gathered to marvel at the new star. Lt Cmdr Data guides the way with his star charts.
Wise men have gathered to marvel at the new star. Lt Cmdr Data guides the way with his star charts.

All the animals have arrived at the stable to see the new baby!

The animals, joined by the Christmas lobsters this year, have left the Ark and arrived at the stable. Some of the tree ornaments hitched a ride as the Ark passed by.
The animals, joined by the Christmas lobsters this year, have left the Ark and arrived at the stable. Some of the tree ornaments hitched a ride as the Ark passed by.

Power supplies on the workbench

I’ve got a number of power supplies that I can use to supply power to the various projects that I’ve got on the workbench.

There’s the obvious wall power and a variety of wall warts of different voltages and current ratings. I’ve got wall warts and power supplies ranging from 5V all the way up to big chunky 28V power supplies.

A power strip mounted to the side of a bookshelf with a 5V wall wart power supply and flashlight plugged in
A power strip mounted to the side of a bookshelf with a 5V wall wart power supply and flashlight plugged in

For projects that require a beefier power supply I’ve got an unregulated power supply that gives me up to 30VDC or 25VAC. It doesn’t get used too often, but comes in handy when it’s needed. There are also a few 13.8V power supplies that I can steal from the radios in a pinch.

Power supply offering unregulated 0-30V DC and 0-25V AC
Power supply offering unregulated 0-30V DC and 0-25V AC

Most of my projects don’t have big current draws though, so more often than not, I’m just using batteries to power my projects. One that I use most often is a 12V battery pack made by wiring 2 quad C-cell battery holders together and putting a standard 3.5mm DC barrel connector on it.

A battery pack of 8 C-cells connected to a Sparkfun RedBoard
A battery pack of 8 C-cells connected to a Sparkfun RedBoard

DC barrel connectors can be easily attached to those snap connectors used for 9V batteries providing another power source (here’s one from Sparkfun if you don’t want to make one).

A 9V battery connected to a Sparkfun RedBoard
A 9V battery connected to a Sparkfun RedBoard

Some battery holders I have also use those snap connectors, so I can have battery power sources ranging from 3V to practically as high as I need.

Batteries in a variety of battery holders
Batteries in a variety of battery holders

I’m often using mostly used batteries pulled out of other things like TV remotes, smoke detectors, etc. Usually they still have plenty of juice left to power my smaller projects.

While charging up some old sealed lead acid (SLA) batteries pulled from my battery backup UPSs, I got to thinking about how I could put them to use as an additional power source. I’ve got plenty of three terminal voltage regulators that would provide the voltages that I’d need.

I sketched out block diagrams for a couple of possible concepts. One would switch between several different voltages but provide just a single output, while the second would provide multiple outputs and have toggle switches turn to each one on or off.

Block diagram for a potential battery powered power supply with a variety of switched voltages
Block diagram for a potential battery powered power supply with a variety of switched voltages
Block diagram for a potential battery powered power supply providing multiple voltages
Block diagram for a potential battery powered power supply providing multiple voltages

Probably wouldn’t do 3.3V, but the others would definitely be feasible. 12V would probably be just a direct connection to the battery rather than going through a voltage regulator. Since I’ve got 2 SLA batteries, I could even put them in series for a 24V source and give myself a wider range of regulated voltages.

Still in the concept stage for this and haven’t started building anything yet. Seems like it could be a fun project.

Hunkering down for Hurricane Ian

After plowing through most of Florida and causing much devastation as a Category 4 storm, Hurricane Ian is heading toward us as a much milder, but very large Category 1 hurricane.

NHC forecast track for Hurricane Ian, 30-Sep-2022 0500EDT

The tropical storm force wind field (yellow blob) is about the largest I can remember seeing from a storm. The forecast track for Ian has been shifting more east over the past few days after the storm crossed over Florida, giving it a chance to regain a bit of strength before coming on shore again. Good for us, but maybe not so much for places further north along the coast. Looking like Ian will make another landfall around the Pawley’s Island/Myrtle Beach area of SC.

Flooding is pretty much the main concern, and with a projected high tide of 9 feet, there’s definitely going to be some of that in the lower areas

Not expecting anything too serious to happen here at the house. Patio furniture got moved into the garage, and we’re set to deal with any extended power outages if that happens (hopefully not).

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