Archive for January, 2012

LED lighting, continued

Cool Tools, Flexible LED Strip Lights, has some nice pictures of LED strip lights installed as counter lights in a kitchen.

One problem with the LED strips is that you might want a housing so they aren’t installed bare but protected inside a fixture. That might make mounting easier and result in a less ‘industrial’ look. Here’s the Amazon link to one:

Superbright LED’s as linked by Cool Tools has a selection of these housings in both aluminum and MDF with lenses, end caps and other accessories. The problem is that they seem rather expensive. The Amazon item is nearly $10/foot and doesn’t include the LED’s.

An aluminum U channel extrusion can be found at the hardware store for less than $2 a foot. It might be possible to use one of those to make your own LED strip lighting housing. There appears to be a lot of this for 3/8″ thick glass edges and that is about the right width to handle one LED strip. The prices are all over the map. National Mfg. N342295 U Channel is a half inch wide, .08 high and 4 feet long for $6.19. Check your local hardware or big box home improvement store with a chunk of your light strip and see what might work. These stores will often have a selection of plastic sheets and things you could use for a diffuser.

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Fuel cell update: why it isn’t in your RV yet (still)

For now, the PowerTrekk is clearly as much of a lifestyle product — it comes in a choice of red, yellow or green — as a practical alternative to rechargeable batteries.

Extreme Tech says Portable fuel cells arrive: Will your next battery be a water fountain? — but it’s all about charging cell phones and such. 4 watts just isn’t that big a power level to do much.

One problem is that Fuel Cells need a rather clean hydrogen supply. The Signa Chemistry fuel cell uses a compound that will react with water to outgas hydrogen for its $199 fuel cell. A ‘puck’ with this compound will be sold at REI at a cost of about $4. The puck is equivalent to 6 AA batteries. They do plan on larger fuel cells like their briefcase sized DPS300 due at the end of 2012.

The article does have a nice table that compares capacity and cost between these fuel cells, gensets, and batteries. That indicates the fuel cell energy density by weight is about 13 times that of a rechargeable lithium battery. The prices in the table indicate that SiGNa Energy plans a fixed cost of $125 and a 3 kWh variable cost at $19 for their fuel cell. For comparison, 3 kWh is about 5 times the usable energy capacity of the typical RV lead acid battery.

If SiGNa pulls this off, they might make an impact in the RV market. Don’t hold your breath, though, as promises like this have been made for years and years.

Update Note: One drawback of fuel cells compared to batteries is that the power level is only a couple of hundred watts. To run an inverter for a microwave or similar appliance would need a much larger power rating.

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Find your antipode

Ever wonder about that idea of ‘digging to China’ ? Free Map Tools has a map tunneling tool that will show you your antipodes on a map. For the territory, the antipode is in the Indian Ocean off Madagascar.

The site has a few other tools that might be fun to play with …

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SNU Newsletter

SNU Folks,

Happy New Year!

The January 2012 Newsletter has been posted

Links to photo galleries and additional information mentioned in articles in this newsletter can also be found there, too.

Topics in the January newsletter

December lunch review -|- January lunch in Fernley -|- SNU Community Service -|- Prez Notes -|- SNU website  -|- WBCCI song book

Lunch in Fernley at the Black Bear

Saturday December 17, 2011 The SNU will have lunch at the Overland Basque Restaurant in Fallon. Time, 11:30 am. Please RSVP to or call 775 972 5011. We need to know how many people to reserve a table for. The Overland is located at 125 E. Center Street Fallon, NV Off Hwy 95 in downtown Fallon, NV

SNU 2012 Rally Schedule

Join now or renew your membership on-line

For the latest on the Sierra Nevada Unit, check the website homepage

Check Zephyrs and find out what else is new on the


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memorabilia: ‘old style’

Nowadays, with computers and stuff, the memorabilia made to remember participation in events and activities can get rather flashy. Not so long ago, it was hand crafted and had an appeal of its own.

See the photo gallery!

This collection was from the Wally Byam Caravan Club’s Monterey Bay Unit ca 80’s.

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