Raising Hog

We have some magnificent friends that live near Mount Pleasant. They’re doing some amazing things right now that leave me inspired every time we visit. This (last) year they bred some hogs for the first time: Three sows and one boar. Two of those sows got pregnant and after the first litter was born we went down to visit. While we were there the second sow was giving birth, and so we all went down to watch. (We ALL went down, we figured it was a good learning experience for the children. Also, the first sow had given birth before our friends knew, so they never actually witnessed those miracles of piglet birth. About a month later our 2-year-old pointed at our cat Jesse that was lying on her side just like the sow was and said, “Look! Jess is having baby Jesses!”) The first piglet that we saw born was still in its caul and nobody there knew what to do, so I bravely leapt into the fray and saved the piglet. We named her on the spot:
Princess Owen
DOB: August 27th, 2016
Coloring: Red with white stripe
Breed: Duroc/Hampshire cross?

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My Solar Panel Setup


This year I had a bunch of money left over after I sold my motorcycle to my sister. The motorcycle, a 1978 Suzuki GS550, had been sitting in the garage for a season, and I had to admit that I wasn’t riding it anymore. So I sold it to my sister and have missed it ever since. 🙁

To ameliorate my loss I decided to buy some solar panels! The short version, then the details:

  • Four 100W Renogy monocrystalline panels at 12V each
  • Mounted on some unistrut from Menards and some tee posts
  • Wired as two strands of two panels in parallel (about 20A @ 12V per wire)
  • About 100 feet of two strands of 2x14AWG UF (I know it’s undersized!)
  • Two VicTec 20A PWM charge controllers (one for each strand of two panels)
  • Two Costco 6V deep cycle golf cart batteries, wired in series to be one 12V battery

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Solar Panel Datalogging with Raspberry PI and ADS1115

So I’ve had a 400W solar panel setup for almost a year now. I’ve been powering an inverter, DSL router, and some 12V LED strip lights. But now that I want to expand the system, I have to justify it by measuring its current performance and determining which parts of the system need to be expanded. Panels? Batteries? Wire gauge? Controllers? Everything?

A few years ago I bought a Raspberry PI 2 B kit that included a case, WiFi dongle, and SD card from CanaKit. Over Christmas break I searched for a PI-compatible analog to digital converter and found that the ADS1115 breakout from Adafruit was very popular. It has four single-ended (or two differential) analog inputs at 16 bits signed with a programmable gain. Very versatile, and if I later on want to measure currents by voltage drops over a small shunt resistance, it has the gain to do that. (Though I haven’t yet.)

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