Gadget Review: USB-C AA Batteries


Two AA batteries with SUB-C leads going into them.

Supertoys last all summer long! But batteries do not. The last set of rechargeable batteries I had leaked everywhere, and I could never find the right charging lead for the gizmo which pumped power into them. So let's cut out the middle-man and plug a USB-C cable straight into our batteries! What? These were the […]

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We pay 12p / kWh for electricity - thanks to a smart tariff and battery


Screenshot of our electricity bill showing 320kWh consumption.

I love my solar panels. But the solar panels don't love the British midwinter. Most of the year, my panels produce more electricity than I can use. But in winter we're lucky if they produce 3kWh per day - and most of the time it is considerably less. So our winter electricity bills must be […]

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eInk Display for Octopus's Agile Energy Tariff


An eInk screen with a line graph on it. The graph shows the current price of power. The eInk is mounted in a wooden frame.

I'm a little bit obsessed with building eInk displays. They're pretty cheap second hand. They're low energy, passive displays, with good-enough performance for occasional updates. Here's a new one which shows me what the current cost of my electricity is: Background After installing solar panels, a smart electricity meter, and a solar battery - the […]

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One month with a solar battery - real statistics


Graph with multiple lines. There's a spike about 6AM which is probably a kettle being boiled. Another near lunchtime which might be a microwave. The evening has a couple of hours of high use - which is probably a washing machine.

August is meant to be full of gloriously hot days. An endless parade of sunshine and drinks in the park. This year it seemed mostly grey, miserable, and prone to pissing it down at a moment's notice. We all know that solar panels' efficiency wilts in the heat, but do they get a tan work […]

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Using *over* 100% of our solar battery capacity in one day!


Line graph showing the battery's state of charge.

Please imagine I have an extreme-YouTube-shocked-face as this post's thumbnail image. We recently got a 4.8kWh solar battery installed. Batteries are still somewhat complex beasties. In order to prevent damage to the internal structure, a BMS (Battery Management System) ensures that each cell in the battery gets a fair share of wear and tear. One […]

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Solar Battery Statistics - Day One


A complex graph with multiple overlapping coloured lines.

We recently upgraded our home solar storage to 4.8kWh. The battery has sensors to detect how much solar power we're generating, and how much electricity we're buying from (or selling to) the grid. That means... GRAPHS AND STATISTICS! Our battery was commissioned just after midday. This graph shows: 1630 - it was fully charged. 2000 […]

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Review: Moixa 4.8kWh Solar Battery


Large box attached to the wall. A white metal case with blue polka dots covers it. There is a small black and white screen in the middle.

I have upgradeitis. If something newer and shinier comes out, my stupid monkey-brain compels me to buy it. Seven years ago, we installed a solar battery. It was part of an experimental project which looked at creating a community power-grid, so it came at a subsidised price. As I explained to BBC Click, the 2kWh […]

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Gadget Review: SMT1500i UPS + Linux Instructions


Back of UPS with lots of ports.

I never get power cuts. But, we've had two in the last week. They've both been fixed quickly, but it takes an age for my cable modem to reboot - and then an age for my smarthome to reconnect to the WiFi. So it was time to invest in an Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS). My […]

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Review: A portable battery with USB Power Delivery


Ports on a battery.

The fine folks at Poweradd have sent me one of their gadgets to review. This is their 26800mAh USB-C power bank with Power Delivery. It's pretty similar to most normal portable batteries - but because it has USB-C-PD, it can charge MacBooks, Nintendo Switches, and other high-power devices! Let's take a look: In the box […]

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Solar Battery and Alexa - in 30 lines of code


A list of phrases used to activate the device

Amazon Alexa is a fun little bit of kit. But it can be tricky getting it to work with all your smart devices. Not every company has an Alexa skill - just like not every company has an app. Using Flask-Ask it is possible to bring Alexa smarts to a range of previously mute devices. […]

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