more than a week left in february and the temperature today hit 71°F; it's supposed to be even warmer tomorrow. i opened all the windows to ventilate and warm up the house. one of the best things about an unusually warm winter day is there aren't any bugs so i don't have to worry about letting insects inside.
it was cloudy this morning but by noontime the sky went clear. however, taking a look at the graph line showed that we lost too much production to reach another 30kWh+ day (about 6kWh less compared to a clear day).
i cleaned my aquarium in the late morning. it's only been a week and a half since the last cleaning, but in that time there's been an outbreak of green thread algae. unlike hair algae which i've experienced a long time ago (when that stuff starts growing on your plants, it's easier just to throw the plants away), green thread algae is more delicate and actually looks kind of pretty swaying in the water current. the algae has taken up all the excess nutrients from the tank and now i have zero cyanobacterial slime, so it's not all bad. over time, when my plants reach a certain size, they will take up all the nutrients and the algae will disappear on its own. in the meantime, i can continue to do frequent water changes and possibly add more plants if possible.
i went to market basket for some groceries, some baking supplies (flour, sugar, blueberries), some ingredients for making a vodka sauce for dinner later. i'm still waiting for my new replacement credit card to arrive so i only had my debit card, which i rarely use nowadays. i made sure i didn't lose that one, otherwise i won't have any debit/credit cards.
i made another attempt at blueberry muffins (5th version), what i called a "lazy muffin" recipe because i didn't bother to cream the sugar and butter, which is the most labor intensive part of the recipe. instead, i just added all the wet ingredients together and mixed them all at once: a stick of butter (left out overnight, cut into smaller chunks), 3/4 cup of sugar, 2 eggs, teaspoon of vanilla extract, 1/2 cup of buttermilk. at first i thought it was working, but once i stopped mixing, many small chunks of butter floated to the surface. maybe that's why you cream the sugar and butter, to reduce the butter to a consistency where it's runny instead of clumpy. i nearly started over, but decided to continue with the recipe. the other new thing i did this time was to mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. the batter was thickening, but as soon as i added the frozen blueberries (1 cup large, 1 cup wild), the batter really hardened and it was very hard to stir.
i baked at 425°F for 10 minutes then 375°F for 30 minutes. if i really wanted to be lazy, i would've just baked at one temperature. the final product looked like. i packed up 4 of them immediately and left for the cafe to deliver them to my mother. however when i arrived she wasn't there, having gone out for a walk. also because i didn't have a good container, two of the muffins got crushed a little bit. my father and i shared one of the broken muffins, still warm from the oven. they tasted like the muffins i made last time (v4), it'd be difficult to tell them apart. the butter chunks didn't seem to matter in the end, since all the butter melts anyway during the bake.
i left the cafe before my mother came back. once i got home, spent a some time cleaning the grime and rust from my bike gears and chain. i sprayed some foaming cleanser and washed it up with a bucket of water i filled from the kitchen sink. bike parts really take a beating from all the winter road salt. my cassette/freewheel is relatively new, just replaced back in july 2016, and already they're pretty rusty (prior to that they were replaced in november 2011). the chain is also relatively new, replaced on july 2016 as well.
we nearly made another 30kWh+ day but solar production stopped at 29.61kWh. still, not too bad given how much clouds there was this morning. there was a surprising increase in production in the late afternoon, when production usually drops pretty fast. when i checked the monitoring app again, something weird happened: all the numbers in dashboard were zero. i checked my other phone as well as on the browser, and they were all the same. was something wrong with the server? so i contacted solaredge's technical support hotline via the live chat feature on their website. i was the 6th person on a waitlist and when my time came up i chatted with a tech named jake. he took some time to check out the problem, and at one point i thought he forgot about me. when he finally came back, he took a few more minutes before he finally fixed the problem, said it had something to do with a stray meter.
30 minutes later the problem came back, and i went back on live chat. i didn't get jake this time, it was somebody else, and he was pretty clueless. i stayed online with him for nearly half an hour, he couldn't fix the problem, just told me to contact my installer instead. not satisfied, i called the solaredge technical support hotline this time and talked with a tech named alexis. she took a time trying to figure out what was wrong as well. it was strange, because it took jake just a minute to fix the issue after he figured it out, but these other techs were having a lot of problems. eventually alexis told me i needed to talk with my installer, that the problem had something to do with a CT (current transformer). even then i was still pretty confused. if it was hardware-related, why did it suddenly break now, and not earlier? that's when i noticed something: in logical layout view, there was a production meter block in the flowchart that i never seen before. could that be the problem?
i wrote lucas telling him our monitoring was broken, and i just noticed a new production meter. i wasn't expecting him to reply until tomorrow, but he wrote me back and said it was something he did, that he contacted solaredge today and asked them to add the production meter because he noticed it was missing from the layout. he himself saw that the dashboard was broken, but the tech he was talking to told him to wait until tomorrow. if it was still broken by then, then it's probably hardware related and the wires of the actual production meter needed to be adjusted. lucas also assured me that we won't lose any production numbers.
weird thing is even though the dashboard is broken, i can still see production numbers in the physical layout, just no graphs. for the time being that will have to suffice until lucas can get this fixed.
by then it was 8pm. i was too tired to do any cooking, so i just heated up a pair of french bread pizza in the oven. i ate dinner while watching the olympics coverage, including the women's figure skating and the amazing battle between russians medvedeva (18) and zagitova (15).
i've converted most of the lights in my house to LED's. the biggest upgrade i made was back in june 2016, when i changed the 10 halogen recessed lights in my kitchen to 10 LED's. but there are still a few places in the house that don't use LED's: the under cabinet above sink light in the kitchen and the vanity light in the bathroom. both use halogens. i recently just changed the bathroom lightbulb with a new 50W 950 lumens halogen. a comparable LED replacement bulb of that equivalent lumens currently doesn't exist. in the kitchen, the above sink light uses 2 20W 200 lumens halogen bulbs. fortunately 20W equivalent LED G4 bulbs do exist. i ended up buying a pair from ebay, CBConcept side-pin G4 dimmable LED bulbs 1.8W 220 lumens for $9.82. they have a clamshell design with the LED's facing in one direction; i looked to make sure there's enough room to fit in these LED's.