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Solar distiller showdown take-2

December 13, 2019 — BarryK

Yesterday I tested three solar water distillers side-by-side:

https://bkhome.org/news/201912/solar-distiller-showdown.html

There was a hiccup with the F-Cubed panel, the cloth becoming partly dry, so have repeated the test today. Friday, 13 December, 2019, in Perth, Australia.

Two changes from yesterday. This time I lowered the water container for the F-Cubed panel, down one rung on the ladder -- so the water container went from 1430mm above ground, down to 1120mm. Secondly, put a bit more insulation under the basin-type distiller -- previously had one 12mm MDF, this time added a 16mm plywood sheet and a towel:

img1

The test proceeded same as yesterday, here are the results:

Time
am/pm
Sun
W/m2
Amb.
degC
Top, degC
C1000, wick, basin
Comments
8.00
840
34.7
38.3
39.7
33.8

9.00
970
35.4
58.2
49.5
44.8
Official: 34degC, 23km/h
10.00
960
36.9
67.2
59.1
58.4
Official: 36degC, 23km/h
11.00
1030
38.7
72.4
66.0
70.9

12.00
1012
39.9
74.5
72.0
79.2
Dry patches in C1000
1.00
960
40.8
69.1
70.8
81.5
Official: 39degC, 13km/h
2.00
1005
40.0
73.5
69.8
79.6
Official: 40degC, 11km/h
3.00
970
40.9
68.3
63.9
75.3
Official: 41degC, 14km/h
4.30
890
38.7
49.6
47.9
61.7
Official: 39degC, 26km/h

Stopped at 5.30pm.

About midday, dry patches were starting to appear in the cloth of the C1000, at the bottom. I moved the water container back up to the higher rung, and that fixed it, quite quickly. Lesson: better to have more water flowing through than not enough!

Notice how hot the basin-type got! One good thing -- that will kill any pathogens inside the distiller.

Here are the results:


C1000
wick
basin
Tally (litres)
6.77
1.53
2.06
Normalized (litres/m2)
6.77
4.60
5.89

Wow, stellar performance! So, the simple basin-type is 87% as efficient as the F-Cubed C1000 distiller. Pretty good. 

I am wondering if my wick-type distiller might have performed better with more water flow through it. Waste water output reduced to just about nothing in the afternoon, but I could not see if the cloth was drying out. Although I very much like the basin-type because of it's simplicity, both in construction and usage, I might do one more test with the wick-type, with the water container higher up ....maybe. 

Tags: nomad

Solar distiller showdown

December 12, 2019 — BarryK

Today, Thursday, December 12, 2019, in Perth, Western Australia, latitude 31 degrees in the Southern Hemisphere, it is mid-summer. The prediction for today is 40 deg C (104 Fahrenheit) and sunny. I decided it is time for a showdown, a "shootout" between the F-Cubed Carocell 1000, my tilted wicking-type prototype #4, and my simple basin-type prototype #2.

There were individual tests done on these:

https://bkhome.org/news/201906/testing-f-cubed-carocell-1000-solar-distiller.html

https://bkhome.org/news/201911/solar-distiller-prototype-4-first-test.html

https://bkhome.org/news/201912/testing-basin-type-solar-distiller-prototype-2.html

In those tests, I published comparative efficiency figures, however, they were based on tests taken at different times of the year, different weather conditions, and also some figures published by the F-Cubed company.

The only way to accurately compare them is to test them together. Which I have done today.

I started putting them out in my backyard about 7.00am. A gusty breeze. They are in the shade of my garage, but that is only a temporary situation. This photo shows the shading:

img1

...which does put the F-Cubed panel at a disadvantage, however, none of them were producing any output at this time, and the shade rapidly disappeared. By 8.00am, there was just a bit of shade in the bottom corner of the F-Cubed panel.

One good thing, the placement, and being mid-summer, avoids the afternoon shade from the patio, so I was able to run the test until late afternoon.

There was some haziness in the sky, which persisted for most of the day, though still got fairly high sun intensity readings -- but perhaps, the distilled water output might not be quite as high as if the sky was clear blue.

Here are the tabulated readings. The "Top" temperature measurements are taken with the IR meter, held about 3 inches above the glass, about 3/4 of the way up. Ambient readings were obtained by pointing the IR meter into the patio.

Time
am/pm
Sun
W/m2
Amb.
degC
Top, degC
C1000, wick, basin
Comments
8.00
840
26.5
30.7
29.1
25.7
No water o/p yet
9.00
900
29.4
50.3
44.5
40.1
Official: 28degC, 23km/h
10.00
950
30.8
63.3
54.8
53.8
Official: 31degC, 21km/h
11.00
910
34.1
70.2
62.5
64.1
Official: 34degC, 26km/h
12.30
750
36.4
66.8
61.9
70.7
Problem with C1000 panel
1.00
1005
37.2
66.8
61.9
70.7
C1000 almost recovered
2.20
965
37.0
66.0
62.3
73.4
Official: 38degC at 2.00pm
3.15
960
36.8
65.8
59.1
71.0

4.00
950
36.0
58.9
53.2
65.5
Official: 39degC, 16km/h
5.00
855
36.6
45
46.8
56.8
Official: 39degC, 18km/h

The test was stopped at 5.45pm.

There was a problem around midday with the C1000 panel. I had reduced the water inlet flow, by turning the tap from the water container to nearly off. This was because I thought too much water was flowing through the still. I probably should have just lowered the water container to reduce the head. Anyway, at 12.30pm discovered that most of the wicking cloth had gone dry.

This is a bad situation, as it can take awhile for the cloth to wet right through again. When dry, water tends to run over the surface, instead of seeping into the cloth. Anyway, it recovered fairly quickly, and the cloth looked Ok by about 1.00pm. It will be expected that this will reduce the distilled water output.

Notice also the sun irradiance (intensity) was only 750 watts per metre-squared. This was due to increased haziness in the sky around midday.

Here are the results, the accumulated distilled water output for the day:


C1000
Wick
Basin
Tally (litres)
5.32
1.27
1.86
Normalized (litres/m2)
5.32
3.817
5.314

There was only 5.32 litres from the C1000 panel, I would have expected about 6 litres. This test will have to be repeated, probably tomorrow.

The table shows the simple-basin-type giving almost as much output as the C1000, and even higher than the previous test of 1.85 litres (see previous test link at top of this page). That previous test was a hotter day, and higher sun intensity -- so how come I got an extra 0.01 litres today?

In the previous test of the basin-type, the distiller was sitting on a small picnic table, same today, but I placed a 12mm thick sheet of MDF on the table, so there was more insulation, which is known to be an important factor for efficiency.

Note, the distillers were not moved all day. They were oriented facing due North.

My tilted wicking-type distiller gave very poor performance. It is now eliminated. Though, will probably include it in tomorrow's showdown, since it is setup. 

Tags: nomad

Developing and coding for EasyOS

December 11, 2019 — BarryK

As I posted earlier today, I have started to write more documentation:

https://bkhome.org/news/201912/documentation-for-ultra-secure-web-browsing.html

I have now written an introduction to writing programs for EasyOS:

https://easyos.org/dev/coding-for-easyos.html 


Tags: easy

Documentation for ultra-secure web browsing

December 10, 2019 — BarryK

In preparation for major releases of EasyOS, expected to be Buster 2.2 and Pyro 1.3, I am embarking on adding to the documentation. Here is a start:

https://easyos.org/user/ultra-secure-web-browsing.html

For maximum security with this "Copy session to RAM & disable drives", you will need to be using the 5.4.x kernel. Right now, that means Buster 2.1.9.1 and Pyro 1.2.9.1. 

Tags: easy

Sound fix for 5.4 kernel on Apollo Lake

December 10, 2019 — BarryK

I have posted about sound being broken on my Acer Aspire 1 laptop, model A114-31-C014. Booting EasyOS with the 5.4.1 or 5.4.2, the kernel reports no sound devices:

https://bkhome.org/news/201912/kernel-541-audio-broken-on-aspire1-laptop.html

There was a fix reported on an Arch Linux forum, however that was a different problem:

https://bkhome.org/news/201912/audio-fix-for-54x-kernel.html

Many days have been spent trying to fix this, but I got up this morning determined to give it another go. I examined the kernel modules loaded by the 5.2.21 kernel, compared with the 5.4.2 kernel, and began a process of elimination.

I found a module that is loading and breaking sound, 'snd_soc_skl':

# lspci -nnk
...
00:0e.0 Audio device [0403]: Intel Corporation Atom/Celeron/Pentium Processor N4200/N3350/E3900 Series Audio Cluster [8086:5a98] (rev 0b)
Subsystem: Acer Incorporated [ALI] Atom/Celeron/Pentium Processor N4200/N3350/E3900 Series Audio Cluster [1025:1195]
Kernel driver in use: snd_soc_skl
Kernel modules: snd_soc_skl, snd_hda_intel
...

'snd_soc_skl' is for the Sky Lake CPU, it should not be loading for my Apollo Lake N3450 CPU.

After removing that module, running 'depmod' and rebooting:

00:0e.0 Audio device [0403]: Intel Corporation Atom/Celeron/Pentium Processor N4200/N3350/E3900 Series Audio Cluster [8086:5a98] (rev 0b)
Subsystem: Acer Incorporated [ALI] Atom/Celeron/Pentium Processor N4200/N3350/E3900 Series Audio Cluster [1025:1195]
Kernel driver in use: snd_hda_intel
Kernel modules: snd_hda_intel

...and sound works. Now I need to find where to report this... 

Tags: easy

Easy Pyro versions 1.2.9 and 1.2.9.1 released

December 09, 2019 — BarryK

EasyOS Pyro is the "old" series, superseded by the Buster series, however Pyro is still receiving updates that match those of Buster releases. The latest Easy Buster is 2.1.9 and 2.1.9.1, announced earlier today:

https://bkhome.org/news/201912/easy-buster-219-and-2191-released.html

Easy Pyro is built with packages compiled from source in 'oe-qky-src', my port of OpenEmbedded, and the first releases were for Quirky Linux, mid-2017. Since then, there have been some package upgrades, such as for Qt5 and Xorg, later in 2018 and early 2019, however the core packages are mostly 2017 vintage.

Although many of the packages are getting a bit "long in the tooth", the Pyro series still works great. Although the Buster series is intended to be the replacement, many users like Pyro, me included, so it is still getting updates.

Please read the above link for the Buster announcement, as the features also apply to Pyro. Except, of course, Pyro is not built with DEBs.

Here is the primary download site:

http://distro.ibiblio.org/easyos/amd64/releases/pyro/1.2.9/

Mirrored here:

https://ftp.nluug.nl/os/Linux/distr/easyos/amd64/releases/pyro/1.2.9/

As for Buster, there are two versions, 1.2.9 has the 5.2.21 kernel, 1.2.9.1 has the 5.4.1 kernel.

Release notes:

http://distro.ibiblio.org/easyos/amd64/releases/pyro/1.2.9/release-notes-pyro-1.2.9-1.2.9.1.htm

Feedback is welcome here:

http://murga-linux.com/puppy/viewtopic.php?p=1044017#1044017 

Tags: easy

Easy Buster 2.1.9 and 2.1.9.1 released

December 09, 2019 — BarryK
Another release of EasyOS Buster series, versions 2.1.9 and 2.1.9.1. The reason for the two version numbers, is the 2.1.9 build is with the 5.2.21 kernel, and 2.1.9.1 is with the 5.4.2 kernel.

And the reason for building with two different kernels, is that audio does not work on some hardware with the 5.4.x kernel (so far, 5.4, 5.4.1 and 5.4.2).

Here is the primary download site, courtesy of ibiblio.org:

http://distro.ibiblio.org/easyos/amd64/releases/buster/2.1.9/

...the German and French builds are 2.1.9 only, as is the ISO file. I have only uploaded the English build of 2.1.9.1.

Thanks to NLUUG, the files are mirrored here:

https://ftp.nluug.nl/os/Linux/distr/easyos/amd64/releases/buster/2.1.9/

The reason that I am keen to use the 5.4.x kernel is due to the new "lockdown" feature. This is used in the "Copy session to RAM & disabled drives" kernel boot option, which takes security to a new high. This boot option runs Easy entirely in RAM, with no access to the drives, except for ones that you plugin after bootup. Kernel lockdown decreases the risk, however small, of someone figuring out some very clever way to make PC drives accessable.

Try 2.1.9.1, if audio does not work you will have to fall back to 2.1.9.

There are release notes here:

http://distro.ibiblio.org/easyos/amd64/releases/buster/2.1.9/release-notes-2.1.9-2.1.9.1.htm

If you need help with writing the downloaded file to a USB-stick, or anything else with installing and booting, read this:

http://distro.ibiblio.org/easyos/amd64/releases/buster/2.1.9/readme.htm

The next release of Easy Pyro, the older series of EasyOS, but still being updated, is expected to be uploaded in a couple of days.

Feedback is welcome:

http://murga-linux.com/puppy/viewtopic.php?p=1044017#1044017 

Tags: easy

Audio fix for 5.4.x kernel

December 08, 2019 — BarryK

Oh joy, a fix! Feodor sent me an email, with these links:

https://bbs.archlinux.org/viewtopic.php?id=251157

https://bugs.archlinux.org/task/64720

The last 4-5 days have been frustrating. I tried various processes of elimination, trying to fix sound. Finally, gave up and compiled older kernels for the next releases of Easy Buster and Easy Pyro.

Blog post a few days ago:

https://bkhome.org/news/201912/kernel-541-audio-broken-on-aspire1-laptop.html

Logged into gmail this morning, and there was the email from Feodor.

Looks like we are back in business with 5.4.x. OK, I will now compile the 5.4.2 kernel, for Buster and for Pyro, with SND_HDA_INTEL_DETECT_DMIC disabled. 

EDIT:
Oh... bother. I found that this is already disabled:

# HD-Audio
#
CONFIG_SND_HDA=m
CONFIG_SND_HDA_INTEL=m
# CONFIG_SND_HDA_INTEL_DETECT_DMIC is not set
CONFIG_SND_HDA_HWDEP=y
CONFIG_SND_HDA_RECONFIG=y
CONFIG_SND_HDA_INPUT_BEEP=y
CONFIG_SND_HDA_INPUT_BEEP_MODE=1
CONFIG_SND_HDA_PATCH_LOADER=y
CONFIG_SND_HDA_CODEC_REALTEK=m
CONFIG_SND_HDA_CODEC_ANALOG=m
CONFIG_SND_HDA_CODEC_SIGMATEL=m
CONFIG_SND_HDA_CODEC_VIA=m
CONFIG_SND_HDA_CODEC_HDMI=m
CONFIG_SND_HDA_CODEC_CIRRUS=m
CONFIG_SND_HDA_CODEC_CONEXANT=m
CONFIG_SND_HDA_CODEC_CA0110=m
CONFIG_SND_HDA_CODEC_CA0132=m
# CONFIG_SND_HDA_CODEC_CA0132_DSP is not set
CONFIG_SND_HDA_CODEC_CMEDIA=m
CONFIG_SND_HDA_CODEC_SI3054=m
CONFIG_SND_HDA_GENERIC=m
CONFIG_SND_HDA_POWER_SAVE_DEFAULT=0
# end of HD-Audio

So, that was a fix for others, but not for my laptop. 

Tags: easy