Sunday, November 12, 2017


The Aukey Cortex 4K VR headset aims to compete with the big boys. A 4K VR headset for PC, being the first of its kind, aims to compete with the likes of the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive. While the name Aukey may not ring any bells, the idea of a 4K VR headset for PC gaming and 3D movies sounds amazing. But is it too ambitious? This review will dive into the specifics of this new headset.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Why There’s Room for Competition in Home Solar Loans

When a group of clean energy enthusiasts wanted to find better options for people to install clean energy solutions in their homes, buy electric vehicles and invest in clean energy, they thought about starting a green bank, but Blake Jones of Colorado-based Namasté Solar says they decided to start a credit union instead.

Now the group says they have been given a federal charter for the Clean Energy Credit Union (CECU) — a first of its kind, national not-for-profit financial services cooperative that will focus exclusively on providing affordable loans for clean energy products and services.

This credit union will raise the bar for the solar loans (for example: GOAL ZERO NOMAD 7 PLUS ) market. There already are several big names in solar loans in the U.S., such as Mosaic and EnerBankUSA. But Jones, who is board chair for the new credit union, told Renewable Energy World that existing lenders specializing in home solar systems are too expensive. He said, for example, they are backed by venture capital firms and that money is expensive.

He said there is clearly room for competition. The credit union is a not-for-profit, and Jones said it doesn’t have any stockholders to pay or venture capital firms looking for a return on investment. And, the credit union will seek out depositors interested in investing in clean energy in a secure way.

Jones said that the money from federally insured deposits is the cheapest cost of funds in the market — which is why banks and credit unions typically have been able to provide the most competitive loans for any products.

CECU wants to harness that federal deposit insurance to pass on those cheaper borrowing cost and help homeowners who want to put solar on their roofs or own an electric vehicle.

The loans from CECU will be tailored for the needs of solar owners.

Jones said that banks and traditional credit unions just don’t offer the kinds of long-term loans that are necessary for homeowners to keep payments low enough to be in line with what is being realized in electricity bill savings from solar generation.

Now that CECU has its federal charter, it will move into a crowdfunding phase that Jones said will help build up the credit union’s ability to give out more loans. An official launch of the credit union, which will be web-based, is scheduled for later this year. At that time, CECU will serve members of the American Solar Energy Society, initially offering federally insured savings accounts, clean energy CDs, and loans.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Solar charge controller without microcontroller

What is solar charge controller?

Solar charge controller ( for example: RENOGY 40 AMP MPPT CHARGE CONTROLLER )
is an electronics device connected between battery and solar panels. It is used to regulate charges flow from solar panels towards battery. In other words solar charge controller is used to control flow of charges from solar panels to battery. It provide protection from overflow of charges from solar panels to battery and it is also used to protect batteries from under voltages. Its mean solar charge controllers provide protection against under and over voltages of batteries in charging and discharging of batteries.

How to design solar charge controller ?

Many methods have been developed for solar charge controllers. Many types of solar cvharge controllers are available in market. But mainly three type of solar charge controllers are used.
Simple solar charge controller: This type of solar charge controllers use analog electronics to control flow of charges.
PWM based solar charge controllers: This type of solar charge controllers used microcontrollers to charge batteries through pulse width modulation method.
MPPT solar charge controllers: MPPT stands for maximum power point tracking. This type of charge controller used MPPT techniques to charge battery from solar panels.

I have seen many people searching on different websites about solar charge controllers. But they don’t know about use of microcontrollers. All high rating solar charge controllers use microcontrollers. So I decided to post an articles on solar charge controller without microcontroller. In this article I am going to post a circuit diagram of 15 Ampere solar charge controller which do not use any microcontroller. This is very simple circuit diagram of charge controllers.
How to select solar charge controller ?

Before making or purchasing any charge controller for your solar panels, the question must come into your mind. What should be the rating of your charge controller? Let me give you one example, after this example you will get th answer of this question. For example you have 200 watt solar panels which have open-circuit voltage of 24volt and closed circuit voltage would be around 18 volt. By using simple power formula you can calculate rating of required charge controller for your solar panel. You know about power formula for DC power that is we know the values of power and voltage which is P = 200W and V = 18 V. By putting above values in power formula:

I = 200 / 18 = 11.11 Ampere

So calculated value of current is 11.11A. Lets suppose voltage of solar panels may reduce to lower value 15 volt. In that case current will increase. So you should select charge controller of little higher value than calculated. I hope you got the answer of question “How to select solar charge controller”.
Circuit diagram of 15A solar charge controller :

Circuit diagram of 15A solar charge controller is shown below. If you want to use this circuit for higher rating, you can use more than one solar charge controller in series to increase current rating of charge controller. Circuit diagram shown below is simplest circuit diagram of charge controller. Because It do not have any microcontroller. This circuit of charge controller used analog electronics instead of digital electronics.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Americana: An American patchwork

Have you ever thought of taking a history lesson from your bedcovers? While it may seem unlikely, the fabric of our nation has been preserved in the ubiquitous craft and art form of quilting.

When my friend Pam George died suddenly, our friend and avid quilter, Amy Anderson, gathered some of Pam's clothing to make quilts for her grieving children.

Amy's concept of remaking used clothing into quilts goes back to the practical needs of our first settlers. The old saying, “Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without,” suggests that throwing away the good parts of clothing with the worn out parts is simply wasteful.

Practical quilts are a way of preserving usefulness of worn blankets or clothing by stitching them together in layers to providing warmth.

Once Americans began to prosper, they also began to see quilting as an art form. They became more decorative than simply utilitarian.

Quilting bees became a common social event where women gathered to quilt each other's projects.

Both of the World Wars had quilt-making as part of the war efforts, but mostly for auction to raise money for troops or the Red Cross.

When the Great Depression reversed earlier prosperity, many quilts reflected the downturn, reverting to being made of scraps of used clothing and leftover fabric. Their purpose returned to providing warmth more than decoration.

The art of quilting fell out of fashion in the 1950s and early 1960s, but the back to nature, eco-friendly and family history movement that started in the late 1960s revived interest. Symbolic and traditional quilts have become more common since that time.

Keeping craft alive

My daughter-in-law, Lindsay Stephenson, knew of my keen interest in American slave history. She made me a set of quilt blocks in patterns representative of a slave ship, an auction block, the Underground Railroad and a slave cabin.

The quilts from the area of Gee's Bend, Alabama, are important to American folk art. The quilts are made by African-American quilters and their ancestors. They have a distinctly handmade look, most often using primary colors.

The Anabaptists emigrated to Pennsylvania early in the 1700s. The Mennonites and Amish have developed distinct patterns and color schemes. The Amish quilt patterns most often include a black background.

My friend Kathy Porter was the 2016 president of the Utah Quilt Guild. She recently showed me dozens of astonishingly intricate and beautiful "art" quilts she had made. She demonstrated for me the process of "paper piecing." The tiny bits of fabric are sewn directly to the pattern in a designated order. Some pieces are barely a quarter inch, and the process is so painstaking, it would cross the most patient person's eyes.

Kathy explained that art quilts most often are appliqued. Bits of colored fabric are glued in place like brush strokes of paint. When the design is finished, a felt or cotton filler and quilt back is applied by machine-stitching through the three layers. The quilting itself can add another dimension of pattern to the artwork. This type of art is intended for vertical display.

Kathy admits that most people have a life and fit their quilting into scraps of time. She makes quilts and fits her life in between.

There are quilt guilds all over the country. The Utah Quilt Guild alone has more than 1,000 members and includes members from several neighboring states. The guild is divided into regional guilds which are further subdivided into "bees" of 30-50 members that meet at least monthly.

There are many quilting techniques and hundreds of patterns within the techniques. Kathy showed me prize-winning art quilts, bed quilts, applique quilts, paper pieced quilts, and what she calls “fast” quilts. Her sewing and storage rooms are treasure troves of colors, patterns and quilting supplies. Her quilting machine dominates her basement family room.

With quilt guilds going strong all over the country, they promise to continue to preserve and to innovate this beautiful craft of American art.

Only in America. God bless it.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Understanding Your Roof Replacement Estimate

You've decided you need a new roof. Several contractors have given you estimates. How do you know which is right for you? It is important to understand exactly what the contractor is proposing when making a decision on your roof replacement. There are usually several products/services included on most re-roofing quotes.


The primary item on a roof replacement estimate is the actual roofing material. The estimate will list the manufacturer and type of shingles the contractor intends to use. It will also show the style of shingle. Architectural or dimensional shingles are the most popular. They create more interest and often mimic the look of other roofing materials such as slate or tile. It may include color choice or options if design was part of the initial discussion. The estimate will also indicate the length of the manufacturer's warranty for that type.


If your roof has chimneys, dormers, and walls, then you will see flashing on your estimate. Flashing prevents water from seeping behind and under shingles, causing water damage to the structure.

Flashing is usually thin sheets of aluminum or galvanized steel. Many professional roofers will fashion their own from sheet metal. Flashing is installed over joints in the roof & wall construction. Possible areas are valleys, chimneys, dormers, windows, pipes, skylights, porches, decks and edges.

New flashing is often installed with a new roof. If flashing deteriorates or comes loose it can cause severe damage to your home. It is important to make sure it is installed properly to avoid unnecessary damage.


One item that should be included on every roof replacement estimate is underlayment. Underlayment is a layer of protective material between the roof deck or plywood and the shingles. Often called felt paper, it is the first layer of waterproofing for your roof.

Manufacturers reinforce the underlayment with fiberglass to strengthen and resist tearing, make installation easier and improve its waterproofing effectiveness.

Manufacturers are constantly developing new underlayment technology. Newer synthetic underlayment further increases the effectiveness, ease & safety to install and increases longevity. Some manufacturers have developed organic and green underlayment products.

It is usually recommended to use underlayment from the same manufacturer as your shingles as they are designed to work together. It may be required for a valid warranty.

A contractor will choose the best type of underlayment for your roof replacement based on the type of roof and climate in which you live. If you have any questions regarding their choice, they are the best resource for your specific project.


Drip edge is another important and sometimes overlooked part of a roofing or re-roofing job. Even though manufacturers recommend it, and some require it for a valid warranty, some contractors do not include drip edge on their estimates.

Drip edge is metal strips applied along gutter lines, eaves and some rakes. It stops water from getting under the shingles and damaging the deck plywood and protects fascia. Properly applied drip edge will lengthen the life of the roof and further protect the home from water damage.

Drip edge is not expensive to include in a roof replacement project and the benefits greatly out way the cost.


The purpose of a roof is to protect the home from the elements; wind, rain, ice, etc. In most climates, ice and/or water are a concern you can't ignore.

Ice and water protection should be discussed for almost every residential roofing project and will likely appear on your estimate. Ice and water barriers allow proper water flow preventing damage caused by high wind and rain storms and ice build-up known as ice dams. It strongly adheres to the plywood roof deck providing a second line of defense to the underlayment. The barrier is applied to the most vulnerable parts of the roof. Depending on the type of roof this could be the valleys, eaves and rakes, or the entire deck surface. Contractors may also suggest applying it around chimneys and other areas where leaks are likely to occur.


A valley is the angle formed by the intersection of two sloping roof planes to provide water runoff. Because of the amount of water passing through that area of a roof, it is important to consider how the area will be protected when replacing an asphalt shingle roof.

There are different methods for shingling the area with dimensional asphalt roofing material. Closed cut valleys are most popular aesthetically. In a closed cut valley application, shingles from one side of the valley extend across the valley while shingles from the other side are trimmed back a few inches from the valley centerline. Any flashing is not exposed. When using the open cut valley roofing method the flashing is visible. Open cut valleys may be used to create visual interest or enhance features on some design styles.

Some contractors will use ice and water shield under the shingles, others will choose to install metal flashing. Further, some contractors will install both for extra protection. A professional roofing contractor will consider many factors and make a recommendation as to the best method and style for the specific project. A detailed estimate will include these recommendations.


All roofs need to be vented to allow moisture to escape and prevent damage to the roof and the entire home. There are several types of roof ventilation systems. The most popular are ridge vents. They are installed along the ridge or peak of the roof and allow hot air to escape and draw cool air in the soffit vents.

A detailed roof replacement estimate will include which type and style of vent is going to be installed. Ridge vents come in several styles to match the home, shingle design, and homeowner's preference as to how much they stand out or blend in with the rest of the new roof.


If the home has a chimney, a professional roofing contractor may recommend installing a cricket if there isn't one already. A cricket is a peaked construction at the back of a chimney to help prevent snow and ice build-up and to deflect water around the chimney.


Pipes and fans on the roof should be addressed in the estimate. These are vents that allow air to escape the home from the attic, bathroom, or other household needs. A contractor will indicate how they will treat these during the project. Will they keep the same ones, replace with new pipes or recommend a different type of ventilation or fan.


When replacing a roof, it is a good time to consider replacing gutters as well. Either on your request or their recommendation, an option for gutter replacement may appear on the estimate. It may specify the length in feet, type of material, the type of construction (seamless, sectional), the size or width in inches and the size of the downspouts that will be used. Gutter estimates may include leaf protection, which is a covering that allows water to flow and keeps leaves and other debris from causing clogs in the gutter and downspouts.


Often replacing soffit and fascia will be recommended.

Fascia - Connects the roof to the soffit, where gutters are attached.

Soffit - Covers the underside of the roof overhang.

Both of these play a large part in protecting the structure of the home.


Under all the underlayment, ice & water shield and shingle material is the decking. This is the wood that makes the solid structure of the rooftop. During a roof replacement project, it may be discovered that some of this decking has been damaged and needs to be replaced. A roofing contractor may indicate this expense in different ways. If they see obvious damage they will note that in the estimate and the type of material that will be used. This could be plywood, Luan or other coverings. However, sometimes this damage is hidden until the replacement project has begun. Some contractors will also include the additional costs that may be incurred if a problem is found.


Most roof replacement estimates will mention warranties and guarantees with limitations and for a specific number of years.

Manufacturers' warranties usually offer coverage when there is a defect in the roofing material that causes leaks under normal conditions. A manufacturer's coverage will typically cover the cost of replacing the materials, not the labor to do so. They also do not cover replacing the entire roof, just repairing or replacing the defective areas.

Manufacturers' warranties often exclude damage due to pre-existing conditions of the roof. If the shingles were installed improperly or the roof structure and gutter design was faulty, coverage may be denied. Many warranties are prorated, meaning the longer the roof is on your home the less coverage you have.

Manufacturers may recognize quality professionals that they trust. These contractors may be able to offer additional or extended manufacturers' warranties.

Be sure to understand the coverage and limitations of a manufacturer's warranty before using it to make your roofing decisions.

While a good warranty to cover defects is important, choosing your NYC roofing contractors are as much so.

Manufacturers' warranties do not cover problems arising from installation. This is where a workmanship guarantee comes in.

A workmanship guarantee is offered by the contractor and covers all defects related to installation work only. A qualified contractor will know what type of material to use on your roof and how to install it properly, reducing the possibility of roof leakage. Your contractor will also recognize potential problems such as structure, drainage and ventilation issues and address those ahead of time so they won't damage your new shingles in the future. A reputable contractor will offer a labor warranty to cover any issues that may arise for additional peace of mind.

When considering your new roof investment, be sure to look at the coverage warranties offer and especially the quality and knowledge of the company installing them.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Important Time Management Tips for Small Business Owners

If you are an entrepreneur starting a business, it may seem as though there are not enough hours in the day to complete all of your tasks. To complicate matters even more, every second that ticks on a clock represents money. So, the question is, are you earning money in your business or wasting it?

Does that sound scary? Well it should. Per Microsoft, it was discovered that small business owners only used around 60% of their day actually completing tasks to improve their profit margin. This means that if they worked a standard five-day week, they were only working on their business three days out of five. Take that information and apply it to your small business. How would you feel if you only made money 60% of the time while working on your business?

In reality, it is quite simple to waste time when you own a small business. Unless you have a plan in place for how you will spend your work hours, the time will go by quickly. The good news is that there are several tips you can use for better time management.

Organize Your Space

The easiest thing that you can do is keep your work space organized. It can be challenging to manage your time when your work space is chaotic. Recent studies have shown that over 40% of Americans consider themselves to be unorganized. This inorganization leads to them remaining at work late, at least one night a week. The good news is that there is something that can be done to eliminate it.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Roofing Bronx

Roofs provide two very important functions for your home and business. First, they protect us and our belongings from the harsh effects of weather. Certainly, roofs shelter us from rain, wind, snow, and all types of weather, but they also provide important structural support to a building or home. In addition, repairs and replacements often come at considerable expense. Depending on the type of roof, the season you require replacement or repairs, and many other factors, estimates will vary. So what factors influence your roof repair estimate?

Roof Type

There are many different types of roof, even if we only consider residential roofs. From flat roofs and shed roofs to gabled roofs, mansard roofs, and hipped roofs there are a wide variety of types. Your type may also be constructed of a wide range of materials including asphalt shingle, metal, or tile. Depending on the type of roof and the materials involved, the cost of a roofing repair can vary widely from $1 per square foot to more than $10 per square foot.

Local Regulations

As with any construction or renovation job, local authorities will require permits. As such, where you live can even have an impact on the cost of your repair or replacement. Permits are sometimes based on a flat rate in your region, or may be contingent on the size or value of your home.


Obviously a minor repair is going to cost considerably less than a replacement. In fact, the size of repair and the size of your roof are among the biggest factors that influence your repair estimate. Bronx roofing contractors will generally quote repairs and replacement based on square footage, so a smaller roof's repairs will cost less than a larger roof's repairs.

Extent of Damage

Another factor that will influence the estimate for your Roofing Bronx repair is the extent of damage. A minor leak that is limited to one area of your roof is easier and less costly to fix. Similarly, if there is minor damage around roofing fixtures that can be easily repaired, your roofing estimate will be more conservative. If however you have extensive water damage, the structure of your roof may be compromised. Your roofer may not be able to simply patch the leak and leave it at that. Instead, major construction may be required as water damage may have affected a larger area than you realize. In order to protect your home, family, and belongings, all water damaged material must be removed and replaced.

Roofing Fixtures

Generally speaking, more fixtures on your roof are associated with higher repair costs. Chimneys, skylights, and other fixtures will complicate a repair, especially if these fixtures themselves need replacement or repair.

As you can easily see, there are many factors that will influence the cost of Bronx roofing repair or replacement. That being said, estimates will not only vary depending on the features of your roof; in fact, estimates will vary depending on the roofer as well. As such, it is best to consult with a number of roofing professionals to get a number of estimates so you can choose the best roofer at the best price.