Turning the light on in Puerto Rico, one solar generator at a time

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I was so desperate trying to find a way to help my friends and my family and the people in Puerto Rico, I was actually trying to find out a way to make a battery by myself,” Camacho said.

That’s when he came across Jehu Garcia, who lives more than 3,000 miles away in California.

“This is the United States. People shouldn’t be without power,” said Garcia.

Garcia is a YouTuber who is teaching people how to build solar generators.

So, he went to Puerto Rico to do just that.

“Most people think of Puerto Rico as being a disaster zone – as a tragedy. I see it as an opportunity,” Garcia said.

“You can imagine what we could do with a little bit of power from the sun,” Camacho said.

Each solar generator (like GOAL ZERO YETI 150 )contains batteries, an inverter, a solar change controller and different connectors to get the power flowing. A simple extension cord connects the generator to the solar panels.

“We could light up a fridge with lights. You could name it, we could do it,” Camacho said.

So far they’ve turned on the lights for about 30 families across the island.

“Being able to do this for my country, for my island, I feel really blessed,” Camacho said.

Their goal is to collect enough donations, and/or recycled material to make their generators, to reach every single person who is still living in the dark.

“I think they will stand up, they will surpass this, and will help themselves and I think we just need a little bit of help,” said Garcia.

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robot vacuum clean

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Do you wish your Google Home or Amazon Echo could help clean your house? If you answered yes, consider getting the Neato Botvac D3 Connected (MSRP $399). This robot vacuum is one of the most affordable smart automated floor cleaners.

And our tests proved that it cleans well, too. While it lacks the superior navigation of its higher-end cousins, the laser-guided D3 still excels at dirt pickup, cleaning as well as robot vacuums that cost twice the price.

A quick survey of various retailers show that the D3 sells for around $350, making it a little cheaper than its direct smart competitors, chief among them the iRobot 690, which retails for around $375.

Well, you can start your D3 from anywhere with the free smart phone app via a WiFi connection. Imagine finding out at the last minute you’re going to have house guests over. At the tap of a button, you can give your floors a good once over and make your home a little more presentable. Nothing can be done about that week’s worth of dishes in the sink, though.

The D3 is also compatible with Google Home, Amazon Alexa, and Facebook Chatbot. You can start or stop the vacuum and check battery levels all with the sound of your voice. What you can’t do is tell the D3 to get back to its dock, which is a bummer. However, if you let the D3 finish a cycle, we found that it always makes it back to the dock.

Also see: iRobot Roomba 650

Do the not-smart features measure up?

In a word, yes. Our extensive tests showed that the D3 is a powerhouse. A powerful motor, strong brush, and smart design made it one of our top-scoring vacuums for dirt pickup. On average, the D3 picked up 11.7 grams of dirt per run. Over the course of the week, you can expect around 82 grams of dust and crumbs to be whisked off the floor,—comparable to a light cleaning by a normal vacuum cleaner.

There are some downsides, including its heft and height. The D3’s flat front helps it clean against baseboards, but that design feature—along with its 3.9-inch height—gives it some trouble getting into tight spots. More than once during testing, we had to reset this robot because it got caught on furniture or a high-pile throw rug.

We also wish it had a virtual wall like iRobot vacuums do. Instead, the only way to keep the D3 from going where it shouldn’t is by pressing a magnetic strip on the floor, which you have to purchase separately.

None of these issues are deal breakers, nor are the unique to this Neato. But these examples do reinforce the idea that the D3 is most at home on bare floors in open spaces.

Worth it?

If you want to be on the cutting edge of technology and give Alexa or Google Home one more thing to control, the Neato Botvac D3 Connected is an affordable choice. But even if you don’t care about connectivity, its dirt pickup performance alone is worthy of our recommendation.

There are some hangups—mainly the D3’s propensity to get caught in tight spaces and its lack of a virtual wall. But even though its competitors are already starting to jump on the Wi-Fi bandwagon, none so far have been able to match Neato’s $350 sale price for a connected vacuum.

Aluminium sliding gate ANTILLES

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PRODUCT FEATURES OF YOUR SLIDING GATE:

– 100 % recyclable aluminium gate
– Profiles assembled by tenons and mortises
– Reinforced 6mm profile to support gate automation
– Left or right opening available (street view)
– Standard or bespoke configuration available
– Vertical, horizontal or diagonal slat filling
– Extremely stable, will not warp, drop, bend or twist overtime
– Different standard and bespoke RAL colours available
– Seaside resistant heatproof lacquering product certification scheme
– Resistant to corrosion and rust
– QUALICOAT© label
– Factory ISO 9001 : 2008 certification
– Easy maintenance, we say ZERO maintenance
– For a maximum safety during transport, all our products are packed in foam and shrink wrapped

DELIVERY OF YOUR SLIDING GATE WILL CONTAIN:

– 1 Aluminium leaf with opening to the left or right (from external view)
– 1 Door handle (interior / exterior)
– 1 Integrated single-point locking with 3 keys (European standard)
– 1 Close stop
– 2 Galvanised drive tracks
– 1 Reception stop
– 4 End caps
– 10 year manufacturer guarantee

DO YOU WANT YOUR SLIDING GATE AUTOMATED?

Our team of experts has selected for you one of the best automatic gate driver systems available on the market, easy control and access.

See also MIGHTY MULE 560 the best gate opener system

GATE SAFETY & ACCESS CONTROL EQUIPMENT:

As soon as you have decided for an automation system, we propose different accessories to improve your access and protection to and of your property. Check out in the menu bar Automation, Access Control and Gate remotes.

SLIDING GATE AUTOMATION MOTOSTAR LINESTAR:

– Incorporated electronic circuit board in the control panel.
– LED light integrated in circuit board for an easy diagnosis of the state of the electronics in your gate operator.
– Easy installation with 1 single cable up to 3 devices.
– Automatic slowdowns.
– Includes release hatch for manual opening in case of power failure.
– Support any sliding gate with a weight up to 400 Kg

YOUR GATE AUTOMATION WILL INCLUDE:

– LINESTAR sliding gate automation system
– 1x CLICKSTAR remote control (4 channels)
– 1x pair of INFRASTAR photo safety cells (10m reach)
– LUMISTAR flashing light (inludes a wall fixing support)
– Battery for remote control and installation and user manual

+ 4-6m of drive rack (depending on gate size)

Are Amazon Basics batteries just rebranded Eneloops?

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All sorts of rumors exist about whether the factory that makes Eneloops contracts out to other brands, such as AmazonBasics, because of the sale from Sanyo to Panasonic. But no matter what corporate evidence someone wants to go dig up, our tests don’t agree.

The AA AmazonBasics powered our test flashlight for only 2 hours, 12 minutes compared with 2 hours, 45 minutes from the true Eneloops. Even in last year’s inconclusive camera flash tests, the AmazonBasics batteries strobed only 80 percent as many times before being completely run down. Though our tests of AAA batteries showed that the AmazonBasics are on par with their name-brand competitors, the AA version aren’t a great deal for most people—especially at a price of around $2.12 per battery.

The competition

Most batteries we tested did surprisingly well, and if we happened to see any of our top four on sale for $2.25 or less, we’d probably go ahead and grab them.

The new Powerex Precharged AA batteries performed well in all our bench tests, with 2,470 mAh (3 Wh) available for discharge of 2,600 mAh (3.1 Wh) of stated capacity. That’s over 25 percent higher than either of our picks in terms of raw capacity, but you’re really paying a premium for that extra energy. The new batteries are retailing for roughly a dollar more per battery than our top pick—a huge difference if you want to stock up. If you have a specific need for the extra capacity, and don’t mind the cost, we’re sure they’d be great. But they’re just not necessary for what most people need around the house.

The AA Duracell Rechargeables were the only batteries to have a higher available capacity than the packaging claimed—2,473 compared with 2,400 mAh—but they were in sixth place on our flashlight test, lasting just 2:43. Finding the current generation for sale anywhere other than Walmart is surprisingly hard, and their retail price averages about 45 cents more per battery than our pick.

The EBL 8-pack High Capacity 2,800-mAh Ni-MH Rechargeable Batteries are among the least expensive AA batteries we’ve found, and they had the highest available capacity in all our tests. At an average of 2,487 mAh (3 Wh), an EBL bests our pick by a good 15 percent. But because of the technological trade-off between capacity and longevity, we’re not willing to put much stock in their cycle claims: 1,200 in some places and 1,500 in others.

Sunjack USB Battery Charger is compatible with most smartphones, tablets or power packs. it is one of the best battery charger on the market.

What is a Solar Powered Emergency Generator?

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Whether you want to run small power tools in a remote shed or provide emergency power in the event of a power cut, a generator can be extremely useful.

The problem with most traditional generators is that they are noisy, have to be run outside and, if you are to rely on them, need to be tested regularly and topped up with fresh fuel: all too often, a petrol or diesel powered generator hasn’t been properly maintained or has stale fuel, and fails when it is required.

Petrol and diesel generators also provide very poor quality of power, with ‘spikes’ and power drops. This makes them unsuitable for powering a lot of electronic equipment and can damage sensitive equipment such as PCs and flat screen TVs.

The answer? A solar power generator to provide you with environmentally friendly, portable, easy to use and instant power.

What is a Solar Powered Emergency Generator?

A solar power generator ( for example: GOAL ZERO YETI 1250 SOLAR GENERATOR KIT ) is a battery based power supply that is charged up using solar panels. 12v lighting and mains power is taken from the batteries using an easily available inverter and this is then used to provide emergency power when needed.

Unlike petrol or diesel powered generators, a solar power generator can be used indoors – carried directly to where it is needed. It emits no fumes and is silent in operation. Depending on the size of the battery and the amount of power required, it can provide as much or as little power as you need.

There can be two types of solar power generators – an ‘all in one’ solar power generator where the solar panel is part of the generator, or a split solar power generator where the solar panels are fitted to an outside wall or roof, and the rest of the generator simply plugs into the panel to recharge.

All solar energy systems use the same basic materials, so no matter if you are planning a very simple system like this one, or a big off-grid house installation, the basic ‘building blocks’ are the same. This means that if you are interested in understanding solar energy without spending a fortune, the skills and knowledge you gain from a small system has a direct benefit for working on much larger systems.

In either case, the product is the same – only the packaging is different. A split solar power generator would work better if you are trying to provide electrical power to an outbuilding such as a shed or lock-up garage whereas an all-in-one solar power generator is a better solution for power on-the-move.

What you will need:

To build a simple solar power generator, you will need the following parts:

  • Solar photovoltaic (PV) panel – collects daylight and converts it into electricity
  • 12v Leisure Battery – stores the electricity for use later on
  • Solar Charge Controller – stops the solar panel from overcharging the battery
  • 12v – 240v Power Inverter – converts the power in the battery to 240v AC
  • 12v low-energy light (optional) – an efficient way of providing bright lighting
  • Tool case (optional) – useful for packaging everything neatly together

Sewing Kindness: Church quilters send comfort where needed

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Quilts made by a congregation in Ormond Beach provide comfort and more to area residents and people around the world.

As part of the nationwide organization Lutheran World Relief, members of Grace Lutheran Church meet weekly and prepare quilts for distribution. Of the 346,170 quilts made nationally in 2016 to be distributed worldwide to those in need, 107 came from the quilting club at Grace Lutheran.

“They are used in any situation — refugee, hurricanes, earthquakes,” said Ann Jacoby, who has been involved in the effort for 10 years. “We usually receive a report for the ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church Association) telling us where they all went.”

This year, each box of quilts had a bar code on it to allow the destinations to be tracked more closely. “It’s our first year with the bar code and we’re excited to hear about that,” said Jacoby.

The club supplies not only the labor, but all of the fabric, batting, yarn, sewing supplies for 60-inch-by-80-inch quilts.

“It’s all donated by members,” said Barbara McCormick, group leader. “Sometimes people remember us in their will so we can buy batting.”

The quilts are not the traditional hand-quilted type, explained McCormick, but are completed as a team effort. Some women cut squares, some sew the squares together at home, some prepare sheets, others sew the binding, and they come together to tie the quilts, which means to secure the batting and fabric with yarn.

“Everybody can do something,” said McCormick.

Their goal is to complete three handmade quilts a week, and at least 100 quilts each year.

The Sunday before the quilts are sent to a regional collection center, they hang in the sanctuary for a blessing.

“We bring them in the church and hang them around the communion rail and on the pews. They are all brought in and the pastor has a special dedication for them,” said McCormick. “The next Tuesday, we pack them up and send them to their shipping place.”

Quilts are also shared locally. Six children’s quilts were recently delivered to Family Renew Community, which provides housing and services to homeless families in 32 apartments at three locations in Volusia County.

“They are absolutely adorable. The families move into completely furnished apartments, and we’ll put them on the beds. It makes the children so happy and the parents love it,” said Claris Mac’Kie, a consultant at Family Renew Community. “They know people in the community care, and you can see their faces soften.”

The children keep the quilts and will take them when they leave, said Mac’Kie.

The group is adding quilts weekly to the current stash of 21, which again is filling up a storage unit at the church, waiting to be distributed.

Whether the quilts stay locally or are sent far off, stories come back to the quilters.

One year, a woman received a quilt and took it apart to make a dress for a job interview, shared Jacoby. Another time, she said, quilts that were sent to Haiti were used in outdoor hospitals as room dividers to help give the patients privacy.

“It’s not only that you’re helping someone else, it’s a good fellowship time for the women who work on them,” said McCormick.

In addition to quilts, the Lutheran World Relief organization sends blankets, school kits, personal care kits, fabric, baby items and soap out to 16 countries around the world.

“It’s really cool, it’s a great program,” said Jacoby.

4 Tips For Mobile-Marketing Success in 2017

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Today’s online shoppers depend more and more on mobile to juggle their various interests and tasks: In addition to their laptops, users are turning on smartphones, tablets and even smartwatches to consume information.

And, with mobile eclipsing desktops at a faster pace than ever, mobile marketing is no longer just the option it was just a few months ago. Today, marketers looking to build the ever-crucial consumer relationship have to get on board with the digital age.

If your marketing strategy has “success” on its 2017 agenda, these four mobile-marketing tips will be key.

1. Make sure your site is mobile friendly.

Last year, marketers learned that few consumers want to pinch and zoom their way to a purchase. New SEO changes also debuted, prompting a mad dash by most companies to implement those changes so their sites would be mobile-responsive.

Now that it’s 2017, marketers who failed to get on board are already feeling the effects; for whose who have yet to remedy non-responsive sites, the next few months won’t be forgiving. Marketers who have taken the necessary precautions, however, can move on to optimize their users’ mobile experiences.

Creating a mobile-friendly experience that streamlines a customer’s checkout process will make all the difference. Start by decreasing the length of your bandwidth as much as possible. Mobile users are far less patient than those using a desktop. A slow loading page can snipe out conversion rates faster than the words “other options.”

Use social media logins to reduce the hassle of having to create an account. Customers who have the time to rethink purchases are more likely to re-shelve products. Your aim for a mobile-friendly site is that it get consumers out the door as fast as possible, hopefully with a bag in tow.

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