Building a lighted mini Christmas tree

December 18, 2017

Details to come

Bryant and Nest

August 21, 2014

OK, so for anyone who tends to Google things, it’s good to know up front that if you have an ABCD setup Bryant thermostat, you pry either can’t or do not want to use a Nest thermostat instead. First off, it needs to be rewired most likely (unless your installer did something dumb or devious). Bryant uses a serial protocol to communicate between the thermostat and the controller on the furnace. Nest is not compatible with this. However, they will tell you they are. Mostly because wire colors seem to be the primary way people use to identify thermostat wiring. That was great even just 5 years ago. Not anymore. Second, you will get a schpeel about how your Bryan thermostat which costs 3x what the Nest costs is much superior. Much of this is bunk talk by people who get paid to install OEM equipment. However, they aren’t completely wrong. The Nest is still not capable of managing multi-stage controllers the same way as the “official” units are. You will give up some capability to make the Nest work.

Please do your research. Installers generally can make this work. My Bryant unit has the wiring to make the Nest work. However, it disable some of the more energy efficient bits of the furnace. You get some, you lose some. I won’t say you can’t do it. I’ll just say you pry shouldn’t for some of the newer multi-stage serial communication furnace controllers.

I know this cause I just failed to install one. My OEM installer came out, we talked about it, and I decided to stick with the clunky older thermostat so I could keep some of the more energy efficient bits of functionality (and the humidifier, which couldn’t be hooked up, wrong # of wires).

Hacking a Make project

August 19, 2014

So for years I’ve been trying to do a LED lit little Christmas tree project. I just found the internet speedometer on Make, and it is the basis for what I want. Still don’t have it working, but will add project details as I go.

More to come.

New Brew Sculpture

February 23, 2013

I’m getting my new sculpture up. I just posted a new writeup under Brewing beer at home. Check it out.

Starting a new brewery

January 28, 2013

So I’m resurrecting the site. I’ll be posting details about my upcoming brewery build. It’s a two tier sculpture for 5 gallon batches, custom built to fit in my garage. The hope being I’ll be able to do brews all year round. More details to come, but I’ll be posting pictures an details as I go. For now, it’s still in the planning stages.

My first crack at a Dunkeweissen

February 6, 2012

Boy did I screw that up. Not only did I get the ingredients wrong, but I didn’t sparge it right, and my efficiency was pretty awful. I added a full bag of DME, but that was too much, so my OG was almost 1.060, which is a tad high. So, I’m going ahead with it. I have no idea what this will taste like, but it should be interesting.

The recipe was

  • 1.2 Kg flaked wheat
  • .6 Kg Munich malt
  • .4 Kg German Pilsner
  • .25 Special B malt
  • .2 Kg Caramel/Crystal Malt – 40L
  • .2 Kg Carafa 1
  • 1 bag Wyest 3068
  • 14 g Hallertauer Mittlefrueh

My mistake was was the .2 kg Carafa 1, which should have been .02 Kg. Now it’s very dark, but does have a very interesting aroma. It’s in the fermentation tank right now. I’ll be bottling it on Saturday.

The blonde ale was bottled last Saturday, but without any fruit additions. I want to try it first, and see what happens. The Fallen Friar goes into bottles on Saturday as well. Mostly because I leave for France on Sunday most likely for work. The blonde ale should be ready to try by the time I get back from France, so I’m looking forward to that. More to come.

Two new brews

January 16, 2012

It has been a while since I had a chance to brew some beer. But this weekend, I got to do two. Which is nice, I have some 50 empty bottles sitting in a cabinet gathering dust. Anyway, one is a Mr. Beer extract recipe that I did with one minor modification. The other is my second all grain attempt. You can find the specific recipes under my brewing menu item, but here’s the quickie.

  1. Fallen Friar – I did this beer on Sunday mostly because I have 6 leftover cans of HME in the house, and two all grain brews in the same weekend is a lot of work. It sounded good, and I had all the ingredients. The recipe mods where to swap out the Mr. Beer yeast for some Safale 34/70 dry yeast which I think will improve the flavor that comes out. And I added a cup (well, 95% of a cup, I ran out) of honey into the finished wort. I found several comments on this recipe on the web, and pretty much all of them added some form of honey or syrup. In this case, it shouldn’t change the flavor profile that much, but should increase the alcohol content about .2 – .3 percent. It will be ready to bottle in about 4 weeks.
  2. Dawn’s Blackberry Blonde Ale – This is based on a recipe I found online somewhere. It claimed it was a nice and easy to make all grain recipe that turned out light and easy. It mostly was actually. I’m adding the blackberry extract on my own in a few days, that wasn’t part of the original recipe, but I want my fiance to enjoy beer. It was somewhat simple. It’s fermenting now, and I’ll test it in 3 weeks. Here’s the ingredient list
  • .375 Kg White Wheat
  • .375 Kg Crystal Malt 10L
  • 1.8 Kg 2 row pale malt
  • Willamette and Ahtanum hops for flavor.
  • Safale US 05 dry yeast
  • Blackberry mix

For this recipe, BeerSmith estimated 1.046 OG, I got 1.046 OG out of it, which is exciting, the software estimating at about 70%. I used a new sparge method and held the gains at 155 degrees. I’m going to keep working on this method and see if I can’t up my efficiency a bit. I’m looking forward to tasting this recipe though, both to taste my all grain attempt (my first attempt died a tragic bad yeast death), and because if it works, it means I’m getting better at all grain.

Site Photos

December 24, 2011

So, I’ve updated all the photo’s on the site now to be work I’ve done with my Nikon D90  and Canon S970. Many of the photos are from my hometown of Chicago, but there is a hot air balloon ride in norther Phoenix, and some great scenery shots from a lake in norther Indiana. At some point in the somewhat near future, I’ll post more to my photo’s site after I get that setup. I may also run some posts regarding how to use a digital camera effectively. I can’t claim to be an expert, but I’ve taken pry close to ten thousand images with a variety of digital cameras in the last 5 or 6 years, and I think I’ve learned some things. Anyway, like the disclaimer says, all the photos posted to this site are my own creations, my copyright, and art I take pride in.

My new home

December 22, 2011

So this is my new home on the internet. From here, you’ll find links to projects I’m working on, blogs detailing the projects and any helpful computer work I feel should or could be shared, and posts about beer. More to come, including me making this setup a little more my own. It will come, but in time. I’ll be posting more in the following couple of weeks though, when I have time and want to contribute.