Sunday, December 30, 2012

Sun Touch heating mat

Here is my newest idea & my test of the product so far. Below is the Sun Touch tile floor heating mat approx. 6 ft x 30 inches. The specs for this size say it will use about 180 watts,  put out about 540 btu, well I measured about 162 watts maybe or 1.35 amps.  Just like everything else, you only seam to get about 90% of what you pay for. 

My Idea was to install this under my mattress and it would be a nice slow heating system where none of the heat would get lost. Just to make sure it works - I wired the mat directly into a plug & plugged it into the wall outlet or extension cord. Since I have misplaced the stupid $150 thermostat I decided to just install this on a regular switch or a timer with 30, 60 or 240 minutes, works just as well and is  much cheaper.

On my first try I put the mat over a tarp which was laying on carpet and put my sleeping mat on top, after 15 minutes it was barely warm - so the heat was going in all directions. Maybe it was 80-90 degrees if I was lucky. On my second try I put a 1/2" foam board under the mat and this time I could feel the heat was coming all straight up at me, when I inserted my hand I would guess it was about 120+ deg right where the foam was. I would guess that if you want your tile floor hot in the morning you had better get up about 1 hour early, this thing does not work fast. 

My idea when installing this mat under my bed is to cut a 1/2" plywood board 30" x 72" and install the mat under some tiles on this board. Then it will then be laid over 1/2 - 3/4" foam board & the mattress will be put on top of the tiles, this way the heating unit can be removed in the summer time when not needed and save maybe 80 lbs in weight.

Testing the mat with a regular plug.

Ops wrong spec sheet, for this mat it says 180 watts
but only uses 165 when tested.

When laid over a foam board the mat got quite hot.

Follow up electric heating is working great..... :D :D 

I roller out the 30" x 60" tile floor wire heating matt directly under the mattress onto the plywood and it does take
about 1.5 to 2 hours - but then the temp got up to 112 deg :D :D at a nice steady 160 watts
with a 12" mattress it keeps it just perfect.

I will next try put the whole thing on a dimmer switch & see if I can find the magic 85- 90 deg set point.
that is much cheaper then the $130 fancy controller. I just put the outdoor remote probe under the mattress - cost $25 for both 
Why heat the whole trailer when you can just heat your sleeping compartment ?

Tonight I will try my experiment with the hot water heating hopefully & report back results. 

:beer: :beer:

Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Dehumidifier trailer test

        I purchased this small 25 pint unit at Home Depot for around $158.  It's pulling about 8 ounces of water from the air per hour of run time. Set on low fan speed the unit runs very quiet and one can still watch the TV in the background. The unit uses about 400 watts per hour. Adding the TV and cooler I am using about 500 watts per hour and the 500 watts = about 1,500 Btu which heats the trailer very nicely to about 20 deg above the exterior temperature.

       I would strongly recommend this unit, or a larger unit to anybody living inside a RV during the winter months where the humidity is above 45% as the high moisture is causing lots of hidden problems to your unit.

Cost from Home Depot $158

Controls for the unit.

Measuring the power used

Starting interior temp was 55.7 degrees

Monday, December 10, 2012

My New Lark Trailer Design - first try with Sketchup

             Here we go, this is my first try with what I would like inside the new solar concept trailer, as I get better using the program I will post updated changes. Today  Dec 10, 2012 I mailed the letter to the Lark Factory to see if they can build to this design, with all my future diagrams the design seams pretty easy to understand exactly what I am looking for. The nice part is, if the Lark Factory downloads the free program I can e Mail  them my design directly & they can spin the model around in 360 deg view , making it super easy to understand exactly what my design is. If only all customers are this easy to deal with in what they are looking for.

For those of you who would also like to play with the program here are the links: click below

Get the free version ONLY !!! and Install the Mac version 

Here you can watch video's how to use program : Click below

Click on the picture to get a larger view

Here is the view of the rear cargo door

Nice looking rear gate I liked ,
diamond plate, 7 LED lights & chrome sides and top

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Almost completed trailer update

         Slowly I am coming the end of first phase of my construction, a few small minor touches are still needed. Soon I may be hitting the road for the coming adventure. The first stop will be Santa Cruz along the ocean. 

            I have also decided to see If I can get the Lark Factory in Georgia to build a newer bigger, better stronger unit for the upcoming part 2. The letter to the factory has been sent and I am waiting for a response from them, hopefully they will be on board with the next adventure. 

          Here is a recap of some of the current features to date. Remember this is my very first attempt at building a cargo trailer, almost everything I did I have never ever done before and extensive research & steep learning curve was required to complete this project.

          If your interested in something like this project, materials like these are approx. $30k including the trailer , the labor involved is over 500 hours - not including the research of another 500- 1000 hours to find the stuff. If you would like to get your own custom built trailer let me know, maybe we can work out something. You may want to compare this to a tiny house at the , most of their units which are the same size are going for over $50k but do not include a off grid 840 watt solar system - their units are more designed to be connected to water & sewer utilities on a property, where this unit is designed to be closer to 100% self contained. One single person could be out in this trailer for 20-30 days , the limiting factor being food and water carried on board. This would also be the perfect BOV ...Bug Out Vehicle if one would so desire.

The 100% one of a kind glass tile shower,
installed on Schluter Kerdi foam board

The 100% one of a kind glass tile shower

The 37 gallon front water storage tank,
Reverse Osmoses 2 tank water filter

The upper bathroom cabinet

The bathroom

The 45,000 Btu DCS burner

The 45,000 Btu DCS burner & ARB 63 Q cooler

View of 9" thick queen bed out the rear drop down door,
2 - 360 degree 12 volt fans, with 1-4 hour shut off timers

27" -  only 35 watt LCD 1080 TV

Matching Glass tile counter top,
 1750 watt Magnum inverter
DVR - recorder , HD22 100 hour recorder & 
2nd  TV 

A peak inside the electric panel,
it looks scary but everything works great

400 amp hour Surrette L16 Batteries

The 20+ different colored LED lights
One of 2-  360 deg 12 volt fan

The 20+ different colored LED lights

Rear cabinets & 2nd 37 gallon water tank

Carpet on the rear deck

The Jacuzzi 180,000 Btu Water heater

Front view 
 180,000 Btu Jacuzzi water heater,
Cabinet for propane bottles,
700 Line color camera & DVR

The roof holds the 840 watt solar system
4 x 210 watts panels.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Fire at the crack house, midnight Van BBQ

         Now I know none of you guys will believe this, but these crack heads whet inside the crack house to get loaded first before "I called the fire department" , they stayed inside the whole time for 2+ hours until the 3 cops left - so they would not get busted for DWI.  This kind of shit happens all the now I could make a 25 year long movie with 2000 episodes about this crack house alone.
This is the worst house in California, not just in the city of San Jose.

It took the fire department 12 minutes to arrive from the start of the fire, they are about 1 mile away.

After about 3 hours & 3 squad cars watching & waiting , the tow truck finally arrived.

Car arrives 43:17

Car catches fire 10 seconds latter 

Driver jumps out & goes into the crack house.
Stays inside for 3 hours till cops leave.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Quality Construction Work - without permits ?

Most people say this is insane and cannot happen, 
but here it is ....believe it or not !!

Now I have shared these with you before, here are some more nice pictures of the high quality un permitted construction work during the last 18 months. This work has progressed nicely under the careful supervision of San Jose Code enforcement & Building Inspection Department - none of which employees make less then $88,000 - $200,00 per year Plus excellent Benefits. Your Calif tax dollar hard at work.

Illegal side setback zoning violation & illegal structurally unsound 2 nd story addition.

The best part is the fine owner of this property committed loan fraud for $700,000 and the bank is not even interested in foreclosing on the property, after 4 years non payment, a duplex that has been turned into a illegal 6 plex. You only hear the stories about the mean bank that foreclosed on a 110 year,
little old lady....nobody prints these kind of horror stories in the news. 

Why does the bank not just foreclose, maybe because it would come with too many problems ? MAYBE !!

If someone could tell "ME" my why city can't condemn this house and have the utilities, gas , water & electric turned off ..... I would be willing to pay you a small fortune for that :-))

Here you can see the illegal 5 ft side set back zone addition &
 the roof addition, this house is "SO BAD"  that the property owner on that side 
can no longer rent out his house & he is loosing $1,800 per month on rent.

Here is the view from the left side of the 2nd story addition.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Direct TV & DVR HIGH DEF 1080p cargo trailer

Now another worlds first !! For a cargo trailer.

Since I have not posted in a while - I had to do something big, so now OTTCT has high def Direct TV -DVR with all the premium movie & sports Chanel's. The receiver does record in HD about 100 hours.

Some of you don't like to watch TV while camping - but that's not the point - its just another toy to install.

The dish is very difficult to set up as it must be aligned on different 3 axes - to focus on 3 satellites at the same time.

Can someone give me programming lessons ?

Here is the receiver an HR22 / 100

If you want the very best receiver get the HR 34

more receiver info at this link below.

Here is the newer Direct antenna thats required

Here is the newer 5 element LNA

below is a link for a complete tripod set up- thats affordable

One last link to a meter to help you find your sat signals

Below is the link for John ..
as he thinks he has the mobile version on his cargo trailer
its available for only $1,750 

Sunday, October 21, 2012

license plate tracking Part 2

New License plate holder flashes to blind camera

How it Works

 While the noPhoto is a highly advanced piece of equipment, the concept behind its operation is elegantly simple.  Here is how a typical traffic camera encounter would happen with the noPhoto installed on your car:

  1. The traffic camera fires its flash to illuminate your car for a picture
  2. The noPhoto detects the flash, analyzes it, and sends the proper firing sequence to its own xenon flashes
  3. The noPhoto precisely times and fires the flash at the exact moment needed to overexpose the traffic camera
  4. Since the traffic camera is not expecting the additional light from the noPhoto, all of its automated settings are incorrect and the image is completely overexposed.  Your license plate cannot be seen you and you will not get a ticket in the mail.
to get more info:

Sunday, September 30, 2012

License plate tracking

I saw this from the wall street journal and found it be quite disturbing, if you care to read the article in full.

Subject: License plate tracking

For more than two years, the police in San Leandro, Calif., photographed Mike Katz-Lacabe's Toyota Tercel almost weekly. They have shots of it cruising along Estudillo Avenue near the library, parked at his friend's house and near a coffee shop he likes. In one case, they snapped a photo of him and his two daughters getting out of a car in his driveway.
Mr. Katz-Lacabe isn't charged with, or suspected of, any crime. Local police are tracking his vehicle automatically, using cameras mounted on a patrol car that record every nearby vehicle—license plate, time and location.
"Why are they keeping all this data?" says Mr. Katz-Lacabe, who obtained the photos of his car through a public-records request. "I've done nothing wrong."

Until recently it was far too expensive for police to track the locations of innocent people such as Mr. Katz-Lacabe. But as surveillance technologies decline in cost and grow in sophistication, police are rapidly adopting them. Private companies are joining, too. At least two start-up companies, both founded by "repo men"—specialists in repossessing cars or property from deadbeats—are currently deploying camera-equipped cars nationwide to photograph people's license plates, hoping to profit from the data they collect.

The rise of license-plate tracking is a case study in how storing and studying people's everyday activities, even the seemingly mundane, has become the default rather than the exception. Cellphone-location data, online searches, credit-card purchases, social-network comments and more are gathered, mixed-and-matched, and stored in vast databases.
Data about a typical American is collected in more than 20 different ways during everyday activities, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis. Fifteen years ago, more than half of these types of surveillance tools were unavailable or not in widespread use, says Col. Lisa Shay, a professor of electrical engineering at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point who studies tracking.
"What would the 1950s Soviet Union have done with the technology we have now?" says Col. Shay. "We don't have a police state in this country, but we have the technology."
Law-enforcement agents say they are using this information only to catch bad guys.
During the past five years, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has distributed more than $50 million in federal grants to law-enforcement agencies—ranging from sprawling Los Angeles to little Crisp County, Ga., pop. 23,000—for automated license-plate recognition systems. A 2010 study estimates that more than a third of large U.S. police agencies use automated plate-reading systems.
The information captured is considerable. Through a public-records act request, The Journal obtained two years' worth of plate information from the Riverside County Sheriff's Department in California. From Sept. 10, 2010, to Aug. 27, 2012, the sheriff's cameras captured about 6 million license-plate scans.
The sheriff's 49 camera-equipped vehicles scanned about 2 million unique plates. The average plate in the database was scanned three times over the two-year period. Less than 1% of plates were tracked extensively—hundreds of times, and occasionally thousands.
First Amendment Issues
A report by the International Association of Chiefs of Police warns that "recording driving habits" could raise First Amendment concerns. It noted that plate readers might record "vehicles parked at addiction-counseling meetings, doctors' offices, health clinics, or even staging areas for political protests." The association urged members to consider establishing "more specific criteria for granting access" to the information and to designate it only for "official use."

The Surveillance Economy

License-plate databases contain revealing information about people's locations. Police can generally obtain it without a judge's approval. By comparison, prosecutors typically get a court order to install GPS trackers on people's cars or to track people's location via cellphone.
License-plate databases don't contain names and addresses of vehicle owners, although that information is available from separate state Department of Motor Vehicle databases. The Driver's Privacy Protection Act, passed in 1994 to thwart stalkers, limits public access to the DMV's information but nevertheless allows car owners' names and addresses to be obtained by government agencies, police, private investigators, insurers, researchers, private toll operators and, in some states, journalists. The data is still sometimes subject to abuse.
In 1998, for instance, a police lieutenant in Washington, D.C., pleaded guilty to extortion after looking up the plates of vehicles near a gay bar and blackmailing the vehicle owners.
Araby Williams/The Wall Street Journal
A license-plate-reading camera
'Nationwide Vision'
"I'm terrified that someone could get hurt because of this data," says Mike Griffin, a Baltimore auto repossession agent who uses his own fleet of camera-equipped cars to collect about a million plates a month.
Mr. Griffin says he takes extensive security measures with the data, which he contributes to a private national database.
These private databases, each containing hundreds of millions of plates, could become the largest collection of people's movements within the U.S., says Mary Ellen Callahan, former chief privacy officer for the Department of Homeland Security. "You could have a nationwide vision of where I was at a given time," says Ms. Callahan, who now runs the privacy practice at law firm Jenner & Block.
Law-enforcement officers say they use the technology to track down stolen cars, collect unpaid tickets and identify the vehicles of suspected criminals.
The two private plate-tracking companies identified by the Journal both say they act responsibly and are within their rights to collect the data. Scott A. Jackson, founder of MVConnect LLC, the parent company of one of the two firms, says he won't sell the data to the public or to marketers.
He says the plate trackers are simply shooting video in public, something that is perfectly legal. "I take absolute exception to any government telling me that I can't go into public and take video," Mr. Jackson says. "That's taking my freedoms away." He estimates his company has snapped "hundreds of millions" of photos of plates nationwide.
License-plate readers spread in the late 1960s, when film cameras were installed at some intersections to identify red-light runners. Since then, the cameras, software and computer storage have improved, and prices have fallen. This makes storing and working with large license-plate photo databases affordable and realistic.
The price of one gigabyte of storage fell to $1.68 this year from $18.95 in 2005, a decline of 91%, according to market-research firm IDC. It is expected to cost just pennies in a few years. Similarly, digital cameras and the software that can "read" letters and numbers from photos are improving dramatically.
Italian defense contractor Finmeccanica SpA introduced plate-recognition cameras to the U.S. in 2004 via its subsidiary, Elsag North America. The technology originally was used to sort mail by reading addresses. Today, a standard two-camera system mounted on a police car costs $15,000, down from $25,000 originally, says Mark Windover, Elsag's chief executive.
Rapid Adoption
Cynthia Lum, a professor at George Mason University, did a study in 2010 estimating that about 37% of large police departments were using plate readers. "It's one of the most rapidly diffusing technologies that I've ever seen," says Ms. Lum, a former police officer and deputy director of the Center for Evidence-Based Crime Policy.

Three Years of WSJ Privacy Insights

The Wall Street Journal is conducting a long-running investigation into the transformation of personal privacy in America.
Selected findings:
A few states have guidelines for using the scanners. New Hampshire bans them. Maine requires data to be purged after 21 days unless it is part of an investigation. New Jersey requires officers to have "specific and articulable facts" of "possible criminal or terrorist activity" before looking up a car owner.
Some towns have turned down the systems. "It went beyond my sense of what we needed to do to make us safer," says Neil Fulton, the town manager of Norwich, Vt., pop. 3,414, which rejected a grant for a plate reader in April.
But many departments embrace the technology. The sheriff's department in Riverside County, Calif., which is home to about 2.2 million people, has been using automated plate readers since 2007. According to Riverside County Sheriff's Department Sgt. Lisa McConnell, "The database is available to any of our officers in the furtherance of their professional duties." The department intends to keep the records indefinitely, she says.
The Journal obtained the database (minus each car's location) through a public records act request. The tracking system isn't perfect. "It picks up any words on a reflective background," says Gary Schreiner, a technician at the sheriff's department.
As a result, some common road signs show up in the database. "ONEWAY" appears 13,873 times. In addition, some of the most-tracked plates were other government vehicles, which are identifiable by their special tags in California.
Some Riverside County residents voiced surprise that their plates are being captured. "Not knowing about it makes me feel a little uneasy," says Virginia Rose, an 86-year-old resident of Idyllwild. Her plate appears in the database four times.
Still, she said she figured it was helpful for the police. "Usually I go along with whatever police enforcement needs to do to keep us safe, so I figure they must have people stealing cars and that sort of thing," she says.
Officers can also tap private license-plate location databases such as the two being built by former repossession agents, Digital Recognition Network Inc. of Fort Worth, Texas, and MVTrac of Palatine, Ill., a unit of MVConnect.
MVTrac's Mr. Jackson, spent more than 20 years in the repossession business, says that at first he saw plate readers simply as a way to help find cars he was trying to repossess. Then he realized the opportunity to build a national network.
He began installing cameras on the vehicles of other auto-recovery agents, who pay subscription fees to use the cameras. MVTrac says hundreds of its systems are operating nationwide. The camera systems give drivers an instant alert when they scan a car wanted for repossession. The alert doesn't include the owner's identity. Agents also get a commission when a finance company buys data about a plate they scanned.
Brian L. Frank for The Wall Street Journal
Local police kept a sizable file on the locations of Mike Katz-Lacabe's cars, above, using license-plate-reading camera.
'Night Spotters'
One of MVTrac's biggest customers is Mr. Griffin in Baltimore, whose company, Final Notice & Recovery LLC, has plate-recognition systems on 10 vehicles. Mr. Griffin employs drivers working two shifts, day and night, driving each car 300 to 400 miles a day, scanning plates in the Baltimore and Washington, D.C., areas.
A retired Baltimore police officer, Patrick Wilson, leads Final Notice's team of "night spotters," who drive after dark, scanning plates. Their black vehicles have tinted windows and hood-mounted cameras. They canvas alleys, parking lots and apartment complexes to scan as many vehicles as possible.
When the night spotters find a car wanted for repossession, they call in a tow truck. They can now repossess about 15 cars a night, Mr. Wilson says, up from about six per night before using the technology.
Missing Persons
Final Notice has amassed a database of 19 million historical locations of vehicles in and around Maryland and Washington. Mr. Griffin provides police free access to location information about vehicles in stolen-car or missing-person cases, among others, he says.
Soon he hopes to start selling access to his plate data to bail bondsmen, process servers, private investigators and insurers. "In the next five years, I hope my primary business will be data gathering," he says.
The plates scanned by people such as Mr. Griffin are contributed to Mr. Jackson's central MVTrac database. Mr. Jackson declined to be specific about the total number of scans in the database, but says, "We have [photographs of] a large majority" of registered vehicles in the U.S.
Until recently, rival company Vigilant Solutions, a subsidiary of Digital Recognition Network, provided a counter on its website tallying its plate-scanning database. The latest read: about 700 million scans.
DRN says on its website that it can "combine automotive data such as where millions of people drive their cars…with household income and other valuable information" so companies can "pinpoint consumers more effectively." DRN declined to comment.
Mr. Jackson says he hasn't decided what to do with his database but will be guided by the 1994 federal law governing access to drivers' personal data. "We're not going to allow somebody to access the data to track a girlfriend, track a wife," he says.
Instead, he says he is more likely to use it to help officers track down fugitives, execute warrants and collect parking tickets. He says he is in no rush to sell the data. "Every day it just gets more valuable because we collect more information."
Araby Williams/The Wall Street Journal
Luke Smith of MVTrac, a plate-tracking start-up company founded by a 'repo man.'
Battle Over a Bill
This year California State Sen. Joe Simitian introduced legislation to limit retention of automatic plate-recognition records by private contractors to 60 days and require officers to have a warrant to access the data.
Sen. Simitian argued the police should have probable cause to get information about the location of people's cars. "Should a cop who thinks you're cute have access to your daily movements for the past 10 years without your knowledge or consent?" he says. "I think the answer to that question should be 'no.'"
Private companies and law-enforcement agencies vehemently opposed the bill, saying it would create an "overwhelming burden" on police departments and would cut into revenue from unpaid parking tickets. Mr. Simitian eventually abandoned his legislation.
The tracking of innocent people's license plates bothers people like Mr. Katz-Lacabe, a computer security consultant in San Leandro. He heard about the technology at a city council meeting there.
In 2010, Mr. Katz-Lacabe filed a California Public Records Act request for his data from the local police. He received a report containing 112 images of his vehicles dating to 2008. The file contained 107 photos of his Tercel and five of his Toyota Prius, which he says is driven less frequently.

"I was surprised there were some pictures where I could actually identify people," Mr. Katz-Lacabe says, looking at the images. "Here's one where I'm driving. Here's me in my Cal shirt."
San Leandro, with a population of about 85,000, had one Federal Signal license-plate reader installed on a police car in 2008 and installed a newer, better one this year, says Police Chief Sandra Spagnoli. She says the technology has helped locate hundreds of stolen cars and solve other crimes.
Recently, she says, a homicide suspect from Las Vegas drove through town—and the scanner spotted his plate. "He took us on a pursuit, and we caught him," she says. "We would not have been able to do that without that system."
Her department plans to retain the data indefinitely, Ms. Spagnoli says. "It's irresponsible if you have something that could solve a crime in the future, and you've dumped it."
Write to Julia Angwin at and Jennifer Valentino-DeVries
A version of this article appearedSeptember 29, 2012, on page A1 in the U.S. edition of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: New Tracking Frontier: Your License Plates.