Category Archives: House Stuff

3W E12 (candelabra) 2300K LED bulbs

So I’ve been trying to find good LED replacements for the incandescent candelabra bulbs I have at my house (422 of them).

Last year the Phillips 2700K was the best I could find, but I still hated it. It’s ugly and gives off a weird purplish light… Yeah no thanks.

Earlier this year I tried one of the Archipelago 2700K LEDs… Eh… Kind of greenish light.

On top of it, I wanted something warmer than 2700K, which seemed impossible to find.

Finally I called China… Straight to an LED manufacturer, and they were able to send samples at 3 different color temperatures… 2100K, 2300K and 2500K.

And guess what? The 2300K is perfect… I finally found the perfect LED candelabra. Good color temp, the bulb itself isn’t ugly, dims just fine, etc… Needless to say, I ordered 422 of them direct from the manufacturer and they are about half the cost of anything else to boot.

40 watt bulbs going down to 3 watts as soon as the order is delivered. :)

Solar Power Panels

Well, I decided a long time ago that it would be neat to put a big solar voltaic system at my new place and try to generate 100% of the electricity needed for the house (and servers and everything else I use since I work from home).

So I ended up going with a system that will be able to generate 42.8kW of power (35.7kW will be the “practical” rating for it), which consists of 252 panels (each panel can general 170 watts of power). The idea is to generate more electricity than you need during the day (running the SDG&E meter backwards), then draw on it at night.

I hope the system has some sort of SNMP probing ability… would be cool to pull up a graph of power output over time.

We Have A Foundation/Slab

The foundation/slab was (finally) poured for the house today, so I figure I’ll post another time lapse video (it ends this afternoon).

Sorry the quality is lame and it’s little, YouTube downsamples the video, not me… To give you an idea of how the “real” video looks, this is the last frame of the video:


Lots Of Conduit

It’s hard to see, since this is just one area, and it’s all buried anyway, but there is lots and lots of conduit under the house (the grey pipes). That way you can run wires or whatever else to different locations in the house as needed in the future (for example maybe you need some super-duper fiber-optic cable to run your holographic TV in 15 years). Just feed the wire to the pipe that goes to the family room TV area, and you are done (no ripping up walls or floors). :)

BTW, it looks like we will be (finally) pouring the slab/foundation for the main house on Tuesday.

Wolf Stove – DF606DG

I picked appliances for the house a few weeks ago, and I ended up with a pretty cool stove (I ended up with the 6 burner, 22″ griddle configuration).

The best part about it is this:

Certified by Star-K to meet religious regulations

Huh? Must be a Jewish/kosher thing I’m thinking… {shrug}

http://subzero.com/wolf/description.asp?category=dual%20fuel%20ranges&id=30

This will be great because I should be able to cook up some bad ass Top Ramen with this thing.

I Have A Basement

This is a live webcam shot (well live as of this posting) of my basement. The only reason I think it’s cool is because the three important sides are backfilled now, so we can finally start digging the footings for the main house (the front side isn’t backfilled yet because the dirt from the footings will be put in there, and there’s nothing above it, so there’s no slab there).

Plumbing Fixtures

I met with my interior designer today and I actually got *all* the plumbing fixtures picked out for the house. Faucets, shower stuff, toilets, sinks, bathtubs, etc.

There’s a lot of sinks… so it’s not as easy as it sounds. Just glad that’s over.

Basement Construction Time Lapse

I threw together a time lapse of the basement being built. The end of it is today, when they took all the forms off the basement walls and we actually have freestanding concrete walls. Now for the waterproofing of the walls… :)

The movie runs through 4 hours per second. The resolution is a bit lame, but hey… can’t keep YouTube from down sampling it.

Concrete In Basement and Pool

Today we are getting concrete poured in the basement walls as well as concrete sprayed into the pool. I’m guessing it’s pretty much just going to be a zillion concrete trucks coming and going all day (it looks like they do 4 trucks at a time… 2 for basement and 2 for pool).

Shot from web cam:

Cellular Signal Amplifier

More than anything, this is just a bookmark for myself. That way when/if I need it at a later date, I remember what it was! :)

These units are Single Band which means there are 3 separate units to serve the different carriers. Each WorkBase can fill up to 40,000 square feet and lets up to 68 users (per unit) have full reception at all times. WorkBase is optimal for warehouse stores, grocery stores, cruise ships and office buildings.

http://www.signalwide.com/workbase.html

12′ Ceilings Are High

I didn’t realize how tall 12 foot ceilings are until I walked around the guest house today (since it now has trusses it’s easy to gauge). They are pretty high up there.

The nice thing about it is we can setup some interesting stuff indoors… like a climbing wall, base jumping, hang gliding indoors, etc.

…Unless It’s Night Time

It doesn’t work so well inside a dome at night with the infrared illuminator on. :)

If 2Wire’s crappy router would let me remotely configure it, maybe I could open up the ports on the firewall so I could get into the camera configuration…. but no, I have to drive there. So dumb.

I Almost Have The Camera Live

It’s mounted on a pole, it’s had Internet connectivity to the site since Thursday, it’s been plugged in since Friday and I was planning on hooking up the Ethernet cable and configuring it on Friday, but I was too tore up to leave my home.

Figuring I would do it today, I went to the site and wired up the Ethernet cable and all that. Then I realized I forgot the stupid little $0.05 connector that connects 2 RJ-45 ends together. How dandy! :) I guess another trip tomorrow is in order now.

BTW, it looks like the roof trusses were delivered this morning for the guest house and attached garage.

AT&T U-Verse Is Going To Be Rad

I was talking to the SBC/AT&T guys that installed the Internet connectivity at the job site today and having fiber to the door is going to have some really cool advantages early next year (right now they just run phone and 6Mbps Internet across it). At that point the “standard” Internet connectivity on it should be 20Mbps down/3Mbps up. But they were also talking about the U-Verse television service which more or less streams television on demand. They were saying you could be watching a football game for example and you could control which camera angle you want to watch the game from. :)

That’s going to be pretty dope!

AT&T U-Verse

My new place has fiber to the door, so there’s some bad news, and some great news to go along with that. The bad news is that I can’t get DSL. The great news is I can get something way better and cheaper (6Mbit connectivity over fiber for $27/month).

If all goes well, we should have Internet out on the job site on Thursday. Yay!

Guest House Foundation

Went up to the site today to see what’s been going on in the last 2 weeks (since I’ve been gone), and it looks like lots of stuff has been happening…

  • Guest house/garage has it’s concrete slab poured

  • Basement looks like it’s just about ready to have it’s slab poured
  • Framing of the guest house has started (2 walls were standing, and the rest of the walls looked like they were about to be put up)
  • Pool is completely dug out
  • Underground pool equipment room is dug out
  • Transformer and temporary power has been installed
  • Temporary phone lines have been installed (it’s wired to the trailer at least, I couldn’t see into the temp phone box if fiber was pulled through the conduit or not yet)

It’s starting to look like a real construction site now with loads of wood and crap strewn all around. hah

I’ll find out tomorrow for certain on the phone line… if we can get Internet soon, maybe I’ll finally get my camera installed up there.

Update

The phone lines are installed (and there is even a phone number for the trailer that’s working). Now just need to get SBC/AT&T to put a DSL line on it.

Property In Playa Hermosa

Anne’s aunt is a real estate agent and lives in Playa Hermosa, so we went to check out a house she was selling. A pretty nice place with a decent (hah) view… I think it was around 4,500 square feet and rents as a vacation rental for $5,000/week. It’s currently on the market for ~$1.4M… probably an excellent investment since Playa Hermosa is about to blow up with a bunch of 5 star hotels coming in and a new marina for yachts.

SDG&E Digital Meters

So I was checking out some of the stuff that should be installed soon at the construction site (most notably electricity). I guess SDG&E is going to be putting in a digital electric meter vs. the “old school” mechanical type.

I Googled around a bit to find out what’s up with them… I guess they are going to be taking measurements hourly and make that data available to consumers. Maybe I’ll cobble together an API for it so I can generate my own charts for the data or something. {shrug}

Customers will be chosen by the utility for the test, and their rates will be unaffected, Geier said. While installing the electric meters for the pilot project, SDG&E also will install wireless gas-reading devices at the same customer locations.

Speaking of SDG&E, if you are reading this Todd, make it happen! ;)

Basement All Dug Out

So it looks like the basement is more or less dug out now… ended up being about 1000 cubic yards of dirt. They should start hauling the dirt away later this week.

To get a general scale, Stephanie is standing over there, and she’s not a little kid like the picture makes her look. You can’t really tell how big the hole in the ground is from that angle, but it’s pretty big. The basement is about the size of a 3 bedroom apartment. :)

Lots Of Digging

Went up to the site yesterday, and there’s lots of digging going on now. 3 tractors up there (a normal backhoe, a little one for doing foundation footings and then a bit excavator one for digging the basement). It’s hard to tell how much dirt was pulled out, but check out the picture of the excavator (the cab where the dude sits is enclosed on the left side of it). I figure the basement and pool will probably generate ~650 cubic yards of dirt that will need to be hauled away.

Videolarm Camera Dome

I bought an exterior dome for the camera I got (to be installed at the construction site), and the damn thing was missing the two electrical transformers it was supposed to come with. No biggie though, Videolarm shipping them out today, so should have them soon.

I guess it’s not terribly important right now since there’s no electricity at the site anyway…

Update

Wow… the transformers came fast too (they overnighted them).

A Ditch

So had the “pre-construction” meeting today with the HOA. Everything looks a-okay, and we are cleared (finally) for full blown construction.

I meandered up to the site after the meeting, and the half ditch is now a full ditch, with conduit pipes and gas lines in it even. The more interesting part is the basement digging should be underway on Monday, and the basement should be completely dug by the middle of next week.

Speaking of all that crap, I finally got around to ordering the network camera that I’m going to install at the site. I also ordered a dome for it (which arrived today, but the package was missing the transformers… nice). I made a PHP class/API for the camera (to control it and all that), so maybe later I’ll post it here once I’ve had some time with it to test it in real life. Now we just need electricity at the site (which should be soon).

Half A Ditch

Shawn, myself and Allison went to take a peek at my property today and there’s half a ditch now (about 150′, with another 150′ to go). It’s so SDG&E can install a transformer. I guess that means construction started… sorta.

We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ WDID!

The only thing that could should have held us up today as far as being issued building permits was the Waste Discharge Identification Number (see this post). But the county of San Diego agreed that we weren’t disturbing more than 1 acre, because landscaping isn’t a land disturbance (only the foundation, pool and driveway square footage count towards the 1 acre threshold).

So what does that mean? Well, it *should* have meant that we have building permits now, but instead… the county couldn’t find the permit number for the existing retaining wall that’s already on the site (they ended up finding it after a few hours of looking, but they didn’t find it until 5 minutes before they closed). So hopefully when Mike goes back to county tomorrow they will still know where it is and issue us permits.

Rancho Santa Fe Fire Department

Guess what? The fire department gave their stamp of approval without any changes needed. So now we go back to the city on Monday and get the last 8 things checked off (over the counter). One of the eight items has not been completed yet (we need a Waste Discharge Identification Number (WDID) obtained from the State Water Resources Control Board since the area of land disturbance is more than 1 acre. This basically just tells the state that there might be a lot of water usage in the storm drainage system during construction I guess. {shrug}

We should have the WDID number in 10 days or so… so we’ll know Monday if the city will be nice and give us permits without it (yet) or if we just need to sit and wait another 10 days for the WDID number.