Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Monday, August 24, 2009
I felt bad for not getting Breanna back to Davis when she expected and for imposing myself on my hosts, but at that point there wasn't much I could do. It seemed that flying had increased our transportation time rather than shortening it. However, we were warmly welcomed to stay the night and after Breanna and I made a few phone calls letting people know we would be late in returning to Davis, our adventure continued.
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Then, when I got home, I approached Cupid's cage just like I usually do to say 'hello'. Her crest went up and she headed to the back of the cage. I thought she was just being a bit nervous, but she was actually totally spooked out. So, when I opened the cage door, she hit the floor in no time flat and flapped out onto the ground. I didn't want to scare her more, so I didn't grab her, but then she flat took off--from the ground! She went up over the backyard fence and out of sight. I headed out to go look for her and couldn't find her anywhere. I figured she couldn't have gone far because she barely made it over the fence and swooped low once she did and I hadn't seen her fly up anywhere so I was totally baffled. And, naturally, since she probably could see me from wherever she was hiding, she didn't call out like she usually does because she didn't want me to know where she was! So, I headed back inside and took a nap.
I awoke to a knock at the front door from my neighbor across the street. She had seen Cupid and wanted to let me know. So I went out with her and she showed me the shrub she was sitting on. So, I walked back inside to get some cashews. When I came around the corner again and looked at Cupid again (from like 50 yards) she could tell I was after her and flew up into a tall pine tree across the street. I went over and located her with the neighbor and her husband, children and children's friends and then proceeded to ponder the situation. I realized that she was spooked by my appearance and, because that was aversive to her, she would not fancy my chasing her up a tree unless she knew I had friendly intentions. So, I went back to my house with the kids stationed on the grass at the base of the tree to keep an eye on her (four 7 & 8 year old girls). I changed into my regular EATM uniform (which is normally what she sees me in when I come home) and found a hat to put on. I came back out with my ladder and bamboo retrieval pole and then proceeded to call her name, whistle my tune to her and get her attention. She signaled that she knew it was me then by doing her head bob and making happy noises.
After making it back on the ground, I was met with cheers from the kids and sat down on the grass with them to show them Cupid up close and answer another bunch of questions and listen to their stories. Meanwhile, two friends from the zoo drove by and stopped in the middle of the road to see what I was up to, so I walked over with Cupid and the kids to say 'hi'. While in the middle of the street, another car coming the other way had a recent EATM graduate who also stopped to see what was up and her boyfriend hopped in the shotgun seat right afterwards (she was coming to pick him up). After that I excused myself saying that Cupid should probably go home now since she had had quite an adventure.
Something similar to this happens at least once a week. I am convinced that before I move out I will have climbed every tree within a quarter mile of Cupid's cage. No joke.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
I was hoping that upon completion, I'd simply plug in the coil and everything would work perfectly. That didn't happen. I'm writing this entry from the CAE lab on campus because the coil damaged a few things, my internet being one of them. Below is a picture of the assembled coil.
After tuning the safety gaps and main spark gap I placed the assembled secondary and toroid above the primary coil and connected them to a good earth ground. The first time I turned on the coil, arcs were generated from the secondary to the inside tapping point on the primary coil. I pushed the tapping point flat and ran the coil again. This time arcing occurred to the secondary ground wire. Again, I pushed that closer to the secondary to avoid the arcing problem. During the first two runs I also noticed "racing arcs" along the secondary coil. This is caused by over coupling between the primary and secondary coils. I will need to raise the secondary a bit higher to prevent this from occurring. The third time I turned on the coil, there was no arcing to the primary, but moments later I heard a loud popping sound over the spark gap and a shower of sparks and smoke shot out of the line filter. I immediately turned off the coil, but as I would later find out, the damage had been done. Below is the line filter with a hole burned into the casing just above the green ground wire.
Having run the coil twice before (and just the primary a number of times) I'm baffled as to why this occurred. With the line filter gone, I didn't want to run the coil again for fear that the house electronics would be at risk(the line filter prevents voltage spikes from traveling back into the house wiring). I then went inside to do more internet research only to find that... I didn't have internet. The router no longer shows any signs of life. I'm hoping that only the 12vdc transformer that powers the router is broken but I have yet to find out. I tried plugging an Ethernet cable directly into the cable modem, but unfortunately that hasn't worked for me either. For now it seems I'll have limited internet access and a good amount of troubleshooting to do.
Saturday, August 8, 2009
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
In the close up below, the plasma between the copper tube electrodes is clearly visible. When the coil is operating, it is EXTREMELY loud. So loud in fact, that I need ear protection if I'm going to be operating the coil for any length of time. Unfortunately, this means that I run the risk of waking up my roommates or neighbors if I want to work on it at night(which is when I seem to make the most progress). Now for the secondary coil!