Welcome to my Adventures

The pupose of this Blog is to keep in contact with many good
friends spread out all over the world.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Why South Africa is becoming a FAILED STATE

The primary reason why our crime rate will never be reduced is simply that it would be economic suicide. It has as usual, to do with money. Not the money the criminals get from it but the vast sums of VAT it generates for the Fiscus. Just work out how much of taxes are generated alone from car theft, one of the only growth industries in the decimated South African Economy. I was told that about 30% of the price of a car is some hidden taxes, never mind the 15% of VAT on top of that.
Little wonder our cars are among the most expensive in the world. There are tens of thousands of cars stoles every year. The same goes for the hundreds of thousands of residential burglaries. All replacement goods being bought generating lots of cash for the bankrupt State. And bankrupt we are.
If you think about it it is really a remarkable achievement, considering our immense natural resources. From Gold, Platinum, Iron Ore, Coal etc to our magnificent wildlife, breathtaking scenery from the famous Kruger Park to our beautiful coastline and we can't make it work???
We have about twenty thousand murders a year. Now we all know how expensive funerals are.
Just work out the VAT generated by that. If the victim does not die immediately and requires extensive Intensive Care for a week or two before he pegs, that can cost a cool million and you can calculate the VAT on that yourself. You get the picture. Add to that the damage done to cars by our estimated 750 million potholes. Lots of new wheels and tires needed. Lots more VAT.
At least that creates badly needed jobs, Insurance Companies need more staff to handle all these claims, more Undertakers and grave diggers for all these murdered people.
Our Education System has been totally destroyed. Churning out 'Graduates' who have no clue what they have been studying for he past 4 years. I employ Engineers in my Company so I have first hand
knowledge of what Our Universities produce. I have stopped interviewing local graduates a long time ago. Example: When a recently graduated Electronic Engineer can't use a Soldering Iron then something is not well somewhere. That that chap also could not make himself a cup of coffee because he could not figure out how to open our Russel Hobs Kettles lid to poor water in speaks for itself.
Our manufacturing industry has disappeared a long time ago. They simply are unable to compete with manufacturers in Asia. Goods produced in South Africa are often of poor quality as well as workmanship, yet more expensive than equivalent Imports. But that need not be so.
My Company designs and manufactures high quality Electronics for almost thirty years. Much is for export to all major countries including China. Over a quarter Million items shipped, from the simple to the sophisticated, never to be seen again.  So it is possible. 
Just last weekend, which was a long one due to Monday being a holiday we had again the usual carnage on our roads. The worst accident killed 24 in one crash alone. The Mini Taxi in which they were traveling was overloaded, instead of a maximum of 16 passengers it carried 27. Plus all their
luggage. So when the taxi, which was travelling too fast, approached a bend, due to its excessive weight the driver could not stay on his side of the road and crashed head on into a bus coming the other way.
24 young people killed. My son is a Helicopter Pilot, one of his regular jobs is to fly the EMS Air Ambulance in the Eastern Cape. He says that the majority of airlifts involves two kinds of emergencies. Car crashes, mostly due to speeding and alcohol consumption, the other category involves teenage pregnancies which have complications during birth, involving girls between 14 and 17 years. Heart attacks are a distant third.
Every year we have the usual Road Safety Campaigns, costing Millions. But all to no avail.
The reason is really quite simple. Our road death toll is exactly in line were it should be.
One only has to compare our figures with other nations. And one fact stands out. All backward nations have the same number of deaths per hundred thousand kilometers. Has to do with the low
IQ of such nations. Lots of data available on the Web. By comparison, advanced Nations have a very
low figure, due to its population having a much higher average IQ. Does not take a Rocket Scientist
to figure that one out.
Lots of Fake Driving Licenses around. Some are even 'legit' i.e. not forgeries but registered on the system. That is because some Official has been bribed to issue a license without the necessary test
being done. And that practice is particularly prevalent in heavy truck licenses were the stakes are much higher.
Even our Civil Aviation Authority is not immune to such practices. My son, being a professional
pilot has heard of numerous cases where Commercial Pilots Licenses were fraudulently obtained.
Same modus operandi. Officials accepting bribes. That practice has been stopped I was told as two officials were criminally charged. But as corruption is so prevalent in SA I doubt very much such
practices can ever be eradicated.
To be continued............










Saturday, November 4, 2017

Checkpoint: #Blessed Part I

I sincerely wish that as many people as possible see this and share it with  other intelligent fellow humans. Little is known in the First World about African Culture. It goes even much deeper than this.
Body parts of murdered children are being sold for 'medicinal' use, babies as young as 6 months raped
as this will cure AIDS. And the list goes on and on and on...................... 

Friday, May 26, 2017

Crime in this country is out of control

This article appeared in the Midrand Reporter 26.May 2017 www.midrandreporter.co.za

The pen is mightier than the sword by Sipho Siso

When Donald Trump described South Africa as a lawless state that has been overrun by criminals, we dismissed it as racist dogma coming from an American presidential hopeful seeking to paint us black-but crime is now back with a vengeance.
In the past weeks, several young women have been raped and murdered and their bodies dumped and burned in an open veld.
These events must serve as a remainder to all that there is something sick about the new South African society, contrary to what we tried to create soon after independence.
I would rather not repeat this, but, for the sake of perspective, I guess I will have to.
A young boy was cornered in a street in Soweto, stabbed multiple times and while bleeding to death, his assailant drank the young boys blood and rejoiced in a sick ritual fulfillment act.
Somewhere in a remote area of the Eastern Cape, an uncle grabbed 'umshana wakhe' (his sister's boy child) and slaughtered him like a goat, and kept eating him piece by piece and until only his hands remained. The granny caring for the boy only discovered it then.
As he ate piece by piece of his sisters child over several days, everybody in the home was worried about the boys mysterious disappearance.
The uncle pretended to be one of the family members who was worried sick, yet he knew very well what gruesome act he had just committed on the defenseless young boy who so loved his uncle and would not exchange him for anything.
In another instance, a father in Khayelitsha suffocated his two year old child to death while the infant was peacefully asleep. Then he called the child's grandmother to rush her to the hospital because the infant was not breathing.
Somewhere in the notorious Cape Flats, a toddler went missing from the yard, only to be found buried in a shallow grave among the mielies adjacent to her home.
In Sandton, Diepkloof girl Karabo Mokoena was murdered and her body dumped in Bramley. It was discovered by a passerby in a smoldering fire. Her boyfriend, the person who pretended to love her most, is currently behind bars.
While people were at the memorial service for Karabo, the body of another young girl was found burnt in Naledi and just next day the bodies of two more young women were discovered in Soweto.
Josi FM DJ Mandla Hlatshwayo and his friend Oupa Duma were shot to death at point-blank rang after coming to the rescue of a woman who was being robbed in Pimville, Soweto.
In Jo-burg CBD, 11 men allegedly took turns to repeatedly rape a pregnant woman and when the police pounced on them, some were queuing to have another round.
I can go on and on, the list is endless, especially considering those unrecognized and no-name tag persons out there on our streets who are consumed by relentless crime on a daily basis. You only
need to read 'Alex News' to understand the extend and magnitude of crime in the new South Africa. It has reached unprecedented levels in the history of the country - except for the apartheid state-sponsored crimes against non-whites.
This tells us we need a fresh start and to implement a cleansing process and create a clearinghouse to flush out all criminals, local or foreign, national or international, who have found a safe heaven in our beautiful and beloved country and are abusing our hospitality.
Denials just for the sake of being politically correct will do us no good.
President Jacob Zuma does not feel the pinch because he has a whole army surrounding him 24/7 wherever he goes. Ordinary citizens who bear the brunt of the vicious crimes need to stand up and say enough is enough. The police also need to to their work and stop taking bribes at every opportunity.
South Africa is no place to raise children anymore, because, if they walk out of your house to go and play outside, you worry whether they will come back alive or in a body bag.
It's just not live-able anymore.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

RIP South Africa

Our newspapers and all other media are overloaded with articles such as this one.
The country has been managed into bankruptcy by one of the most corrupt, dysfunctional
and dishonest regime on the continent.

All state institutions are in disarray, Post Office on strike for months, South African
Airways bankrupt, again, Escom, our monopolistic electricity provider not only bankrupt
but has managed to reduce its generation fleet to scrap because of lack of maintenance. Daily black-outs are the norm. As I am typing this I hear my neighbors generator starting up.
Lo and Behold an other round of load-shedding. And that on a Saturday morning when demand
is light because heavy industry and most businesses have shut for the weekend.

Luckily it does not affect me at all. I installed a 6kWp Solar PV System over 3 years ago
because we had a similar but not as severe crisis then. So being a forward looking chap
I realized then that is going to be our future because electricity is totally beyond
the level of understanding of our collective leadership.

I had a quick look at the performance log of my Solar System. Manufactured by MLT Drives
in Cape Town. Started in the early 1980's by a chap from Belgium. Today the leading
Solar Co in the country. Doing all their own engineering and design.
In the period form 1. Jan. 2105 to 4.Feb 2015 we generated 909 kWh of usable, that is 230VAC
power. That excludes the energy to keep the 48V/1660Ah Battery fully charged as well as the
losses in the 2 MPPT's and the inverter. I estimate that the conversion efficiency is 80%
So that computes to a total energy harvest of 1.1 Mega Watt Hours.
That despite January beig usually a wet month. We had only a few poor days thanks to the fact
that is rains in Johannesburg during the high summer usually after 4pm. By then we already
collected all the sunshine and so very little is lost.

The effect of that lack of energy has massive implications.
Billions of Rands lost due to businesses shutting down,and reducing our GDP by 1.5%.
And then the President blamed the Settlers who arrived in 1652 for the crisis. No Joke.
Look it up on Google.
Laying off staff, daily traffic chaos as traffic lights not working, Police Force corrupt,
unreliable and very often involved in major crimes. Anyone can hire a Police Uniform,
guns, including assault rifles from off duty cops. These are then used to commit violent
armed robberies and are then returned to the corrupt cop before he goes back on duty.
Just last week 30 of them attacked a bank inside a large Mall in JHB attempting to rob it.
Many shoppers were shot in the crossfire.
In the news this very minute. The Gardens Shopping Center in Cape Town attacked by 4 armed
criminals who escaped by car jacking a shopper in the parking lot.

Large Mobs attacking dozens of shops run by foreign nationals were attacked and looted.
Police either standing by and watching or taking part in the looting themselves.
Millions of desperate Africans from all over Africa are in the country, many illegally as
their own countries are a shambles, run into the ground by their 'leaders'.
Zimbabwe comes to mind. Once the breadbasket of Africa, today the remaining population
has taken to eating insects to stay alive. Millions of Zimbabweans are in South Africa
as refugees.

As millions of African Refugees flocked south to South Africa during the past 100 years, looking for
a better life I would like to point out that there is no other landmass south of Cape Town.
I do not think Antarctica would be a preferred destination.
So it would be in the best interest of everybody not to fuck up South Africa completely as there
is just nothing further south waiting with open arms.




Tuesday, September 16, 2014

It's a DOGS life

For many years I have been supporting a number of charitable organizations with not unsubstantial donations. Organizations such as the SPCA (Society for the prevention
of cruelty to animals), Meals on Wheels, Cancer as well as Muscular Dystrophy etc.
However I have stopped all donations a long time ago. When one becomes aware that
large sums of monies are being stolen by employees of such organizations that is
where I draw the line.
It has become a national sport here in South Africa. Everybody, from our top Public
Servants to Supermarket workers are on a massive spree of embezzlement, theft,
on a grand scale.
Even trusted employees abuse that trust by engaging in massive theft. Happened to
one of my largest clients. He was shocked to discover that the worker he trusted
most was selling stolen items to his very own customer, who blew the whistle.

That is the sorry state of the nation. Not a day goes by without reports of massive
corruption being discovered in all of our newspapers.

So Charity starts at home. And I have taken that literally. For years now I feed
my three dogs Roast Chicken every meal. They love it. If I am late too feed them
they let me know in no uncertain terms.
I buy a Roasted Chicken when ever I go shopping so I don't have the hassle of
doing it myself. I used to do it myself but it's not worth the effort if one can
get a ready chicken over the counter.
I also buy them some good pellets from my Vet (the imported variety, don't trust
the local crap any longer).


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

100 000 PhD's

Every morning, when I wake up I never know what hare brained schemes our clueless leadership will dream
up to justify their multimillion salaries.
The latest attempt is to produce 100 000 PhD's by 2030. Now that about 6000 per year, up from about 1800
a year at present. I watched a video on a news channel where a Professor was interviewed. And by the way
that chap was from Nigeria I think judging by his accent. He claims that we are using the wrong model
to train PhD's. We are using the British model which is not suitable for Africans as it requires graduates to just go on with research on their own as it is the norm anywhere else.
No, we plan to have formal classes they will have to attend for at least 2 years, in other words being spoon fed, coached or coaxed along. Not a very promising start to a illustrious scientific career.
Besides, where will we find large numbers of required supervisors? In Nigeria? This will give 419 scams
a new lease on life.
But then again, since the pass mark to enter tertiary institutions is at the moment 30%, yes that is correct, it is little wonder that such hilarious schemes are being considered.
As I say elsewhere on this Blog I had some dealings with recently graduated 'Engineers'.
Totally clueless. Universities are being forced to push though quotas who then find it nearly impossible
to find employment as no employer has a use for them. Not in my company, for sure.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The rot continues

Just to add to my last post about the poor quality of South African manufactured goods.
Last week my pool pump which I had recently purchased seized up. It already had a problem
when it was brand new but it somewhat recovered and did start although one could hear the
bearings might have a problem. So they took it away and it was returned today. Installed and it runs
like a induction motor should. Nice and quiet.
The reason why I bought this particular pump was that the previous pump had the very same
problem. It would not start (I checked the capacitor with my fancy LCR bridge of course as the
capacitor is the usual culprit for the motor not starting) but the cap was fine.
I always had to turn the impeller by hand, which meant opening the filter, turning the impeller, closing
the filter and switching on. This could have been maybe a problem with the winding's.
So I scrapped it.
Bottom line is it had to be replaced despite not being very old. I have my pool for thirty years and
all previous pumps lasted 10 years.
Now the repair crew connected the pipes and I connected the power cable. When I connected
the Earth wire, that is the yellow/green one, I asked the chap if he knows what that wire is for.
Not to my surprise he had no idea. So I explained to the two of them, as both had no clue how
the Earth Leakage System works and especially what it is for.  As there is a circuit breaker as well
as an Earth Leakage Trip I explained the reason for them. The were very grateful for  me taking
the time and educating them a little. But this should have been the responsibility of their employer.
The one chap is with that pool company for at least 10 years and is installing pool pumps every day.
One further interesting bit of information of how local companies are cutting corners came as a little
shock to me. Not even in my stingiest moments would I have thought of that one.
The pump comes with a 1m  length of 3 core cable. That cable is by far too undersized for the motor.
It has a label on it stating that that cable is only there for testing purposes and must be replaced with
the correct wire size when being installed. Of course when the pump got installed by that very same
chap who was here today he had no intention, or the knowledge for that matter, to fit the correct cable.
That means that there must be hundreds, if not more, pumps out there running with that incorrect cable.
That is why I always supervise any local employee of a South African Company and show them the
correct way. As I said, most are grateful for it. Makes their job a little bit more interesting.
There is also a label on the pump stating it must be installed by a qualified electrician. Well now we
are stretching it a bit. Why bother when you can get away with a chap who has no clue what
the little yellow/green wire is for.


Sunday, December 1, 2013

Name and Shame

Recently one of our useless Government Departments, could have been Trade and Industry, but I'm not
sure, started a nation wide campaign to encourage people to buy South African manufactured goods since
the nations economy is in such dire straights with a expected GDP figure of 1.7 to 1.9%. The worst in 20
years or so. Mainly due to political interference and other meddling by people (mostly Communists)
whom I would not entrust 50 cents with. Our Engineering and manufacturing sector has shrunk alarmingly
over the same 20 years mainly due to much better  imported products available and at a much better
price than the local equivalent. Of course one must not forget that vast numbers of competent engineers
and other manufacturing specialists have emigrated leaving the incompetent and useless to carry on.
And carry on they do. I will cite only 2 recent examples of our shoddy products.
The sad thing really is though when one calls up the manufacturer one is given the cold shoulder or fudged off
with empty promises.
The first example is a rather expensive Can Opener, was the most expensive on the  supermarket shelf.
When I tried to open a can it did not work at all, all it did was to deform the can so that no other opener
could either. Thankfully I had an imported Swiss Army Knife which came to the rescue.
So my secretary called up the Manufacturer, Prestige Housewares, not once but at least three times.
Speaking to a number of senior people whose names and the dates of the calls we have on record.
We were promised vouchers etc to be send per post but nothing ever materialized.We were told they
are aware of problems with hat particular model.
I have since come across the same can opener again. Has been re-branded and has a slight change to one of its components. So I bought it just to see if the problem has been fixed. Not to my surprise, it still is not working. I managed to open a can but it took an extreme effort, far beyond what one could expect a woman or a child to manage. Yet the Kenwood electric Can Opener I bought only costs 3 times the price and it works beautifully. It says 'Designed and Engineered in the UK. Made in China.
The second incident which unfortunately will have a much greater impact on their sales happened just this
weekend. I bought a 2000 m range siren from SIRENCO  at a cost of over R 7000.00 to fit to my already massive security system as we have
residential burglaries and robberies (that is when the thugs break into your home while you are inside
and rape the women and kill everybody who does not comply) at an ever increasing frequency.
Just last Sunday they broke into my Neighbors house for the seventh time, while she was out, thankfully.

When I installed the siren I looked at the leaflet which has the dimensions of the mounting holes one
has to drill into the wall. Then I drilled the holes at the exact locations.
When I then tried to mount the siren to the wall I discovered that the holes on the siren base plate
were offset by 3 mm or more. The whole siren would have been hanging at a stupid angle making the
guy who installed it look incompetent while the real problem was that the factory, suffering from
the above mentioned incompetent and useless leftovers drilled the holes in the wrong place.
See photo below.
So I had to start from scratch. My fault really, I should have checked the base plate myself, knowing
the siren was manufactured in South Africa.
It is not just a question of drilling new 10mm holes into concrete. The old holes had to be filled
with cement so as not to be an eye sore etc. Took 2 hours extra because some moron is refusing to do
his job.
Now since that addition to my security system was only the first of many to come, I have now decided
not to use that manufacturer ever again. I already ordered 25 sirens made by Klaxon UK which have
very similar specs, cost 20% less, despite being imported. That means despite shipping costs, import duty
the local agents mark-up etc I can get a guaranteed product, which  incidentally is also a lot smaller and lighter, cheaper than the local crap.
And 75 more are on order for next year. This amounts to a R 650.000 order being lost because nobody
gives a shit at the factory. And then we wonder why South African Manufacturers go out of business by the
dozens. I read that 400.000, yes that is correct, small businesses closed down last year.
And then we are surprised when we have a 40% unemployment rate, yes that is correct as well.
Youth unemployment is at 50% plus.

And this need not be so. My company has designed and manufactured over 20 thousand units
of varying complexity, from the simple to the sophisticated. These are in use in coal mines all over
the globe. We have very few problems, often they are a misapplication of the device.
So that proves it can be done. But one has to have an interest in ones job as well as some
professional pride in ones work. But that seems to be sadly lacking in the 'new improved South Africa'.


This are just a few examples of the stupidity of our South African manufacturers. Sure, the suffer badly from
a total lack of skilled manpower, but that is no excuse. I would really like to ask a Psychiatrist what is going on in peoples minds. I already have approached a Psychologist , a chap who lives in my street, a while ago
but he did not want to give me a written opinion, instead he referred me to a Market Research Organisation.
More and more people are shunning local products because they get better and cheaper ones from overseas. Economics 101.




  

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Another addition to the family

Got a pleasant surprise this last Sunday when I went to visit Mark, my son, who had just returned from a 3 week stint flying helicopters in Magadascar. As usual there is an election going on there and then no expense is spared flying candidates around or collecting ballot papers. For the 5 years between elections nobody gives a hoot about the population. Just like any other self respecting third world nation. The choppers where paid for by the World Food Program I understand. Mark says the country is a very beautiful place, but extremely poor. A bit like Haiti, same mentality. Anyway, back to the pleasant surprise. We planed to go to a restaurant for some early lunch. So Mark informed me he had sold his BMW and bought a little two seater. When I saw this little car I was not really surprised. There was a magnificent Audi R8 looking at me. What a beast. A 4.2l V8 with manual transmission. We then took a drive into Pretoria, Mark and Candy in the R8 and I took my grandson in my Porsche Cayman S Sport. Not many Dad's have the privilege to watch the kids become successful people in their own right. So it was a proud day for me. But then again, the apple does not fall far from the.....

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

The never ending story

I'm sure that most of the followers of my blog will be aware that one of my passions is education. Formal or otherwise. That is why I get upset when I read of the latest hare brained scheme to overcome the dismal performance statistics of our universities. I've read that only 5% of Africans complete their undergraduate studies. Now in order to improve that it is being considered at the University of Natal I believe to teach Physics in Zulu, as this is the mother tonge of the majority of the students as their command of the English language is very shaky at best. But then it was discovered that none of the vocabulary used in the teaching of physics, like 'vector, displacement, momentum, conductivity' exist in the native language. The same foolish idea was mooted a few years ago to have the official aviation language in the province to include Zulu. Again that grandiose idea had to be scrapped for the same reason. Someone pointed out to the official in charge of aviation that we have a wee problem. No such fancy words exist in Zulu. Can you imagine the tower at the international airport in Durban directing an incoming 747 from London to use runway 32? I'm sure the captain of that 747 would have a few choice words in the Queens English for that ATC controller. We don't seem to get it. My approach would be to teach the students English. After all they have just spent 12 years at primary and high school. Might have been an ideal opportunity to teach them something useful. I do not know any potential employer of a physics major who could have use for a physicist who can't speak English. Let alone write a report of his latest nuclear experiment.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

From bad to worse. 187 cops arrested in two months this year

In my daily perusal of the local papers I am not able to find anything positive being reported. One of the least negative stories is this one. Not very confidence inspiring but an eye opener. It was reported in the Sunday Times that one hundred and eighty seven police officers were arrested over two months this year for crimes including murder, rape, and robbery. Between July 8 and August 26, 39 officers were arrested for murder, 14 for rape, 20 for robbery and 23 for corruption. The paper obtained the figures from a document issue by the police's human resources department earlier this month. The arrests made during the two months also include nine officers for possession of drugs, and another nine for drunk driving. Eight were arrested for theft and five for assault.. Two were arrested for hijacking. Mean wile, the Sunday Independent reported that the Gauteng Government paid out almost R100-million in civil claims against the police for 2011 and 2012. By 2012 the number of claims nearly doubled to 1427, from 652 lodged in 2011. The figures were given in a parliamentary reply to Gauteng community safety MEC Faith Mazibuko. Mazibuko said the increase in claims was due to people's increased awareness of their constitutional rights and certain law firms specialising in such claims.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Four Free State cops arrested

Four police constables have been arrested for crimes in the Free State, police said on Friday. They were arrested on Monday for separate crimes of attempted murder, driving under the influence of alcohol, corruption and theft, said Brigadier Billy Jones. In the first incident a 36 year old constable assaulted his wife during an argument during which he fired 4 shots at her with his service pistol, but she was not hit. The suspect was arrested and his official firearm and ammunition were booked into the evidence room. In the second incident a 29 year old constable was arrested for allegedly driving under the influence of alcohol. He was off duty at the time and was released on a warning. In the third incident a 28 year old constable was arrested for corruption an theft after allegedly selling his official firearm to a Lesotho man in a tavern for R900. Jones said the firearm had not been recovered, but the buyer had been arrested and charged with theft of a police firearm. The fourth incident involved a 25 year old constable who was arrested for attempted murder. It is alleged that the suspect was on duty and was involved in an argument over a girlfriend with the victim, he said. The victim alleges that a shot was fired at him with the service pistol of the constable, which missed him. Observation: In this report two incidents are reported were police officials discharge their service pistols in which 5 shots were fired which all missed their intended target!

Mpumalanga municipality faces collapse

An administrative support team has been sent in to prevent the total collapse of the Thaba Chweu municipality in Mpumalanga, a SAPA correspondent reported. While the municipality has been placed under administration twice in the past eight years, this time it had been decided to send in a support team. The municipality is now close to total collapse Premier David Mabuza's spokesperson Zibonele Mncwango said. The municipality has been facing problems since 2005 when it was first place under administration. In 2009 it was placed again under administration, after residents attacked police, damaged former mayor Clara Ndlovu's house, and burnt tires in protest against poor service delivery and the disappearance of R3.2 million from council coffers. One protester was shot dead. Social grants offices, as well as the kitchen of the local police barracks, were set alight. In a February 2012 report by the human settlements portfolio committee, Thaba Chweu was mentioned as one of the most bankrupt and dysfunctional municipalities in South Africa. In October last year, the municipality was again under the spotlight when the Hawks finally arrested four municipal officials-three years after the 3.2 million went missing.

Escom to cut power in two municipalities

Escom has issued notices to cut the power supply to two municipalities in the Free State with a debt of R400 million, it said on Friday. The two municipalities would not have power in December if the matter was not resolved. The municipalities' failure to pay had jeopardised the financial sustainability of the supply. An opposition spokesman said that it was unacceptable for the municipality to take payment on Escoms behalf with the authority to cut residents' electricity supply in event of non-payment, but themselves failed to pay Escom. In the end, the people bear the brunt of poor management by the ANC government. Our councillors will engage with the municipal managers in order to negotiate repayment options he said. This is not only happening at these two municipalities. It is widespread. One of the reason is I believe the fact that due to poor finacial management and corruption the monies collected are misused or just 'disapear'.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Batteries, tyres 'disapear' from cop cars

I've been trying hard to look for some positive news to report. But when looking through the online news feeds one is bombarded with the usual staple. Corruption, murder, rape, robberies the list goes on and on. Came across this on news24 this morning. 'Batteries, tires 'disapear' from cop cars. This is a report from 'The Witness' a Durban newspaper. Durban eThekwini metro police apparently do not have to look far to nab thieves helping themselves to car batteries and tires from police vehicles. Spokesperson Senior Superintendent Eugene Msomi on Sunday admitted that a number of internal investigations were under way concerning the thefts at Durban and Albert Park. He would not give any figures. However a senior officer said he has little faith that the issue will be dealt with, as the people who are supposed to report it to the safety committee failed to do so. Batteries 'Lost'. It is alleged that the officers often get away with stripping vehicles, with no explanation on how the vehicles "lose" batteries while parked on the premises. The Witness understands a number of internal investigations were conducted, but never yielded successful results. The senior officer, who asked not to be named, said the unit had been facing a lot of challenges for years. He said vehicles were often assigned to officers for daily operations with brand new tires, but a few days later they had worn tires. "It's clear that the tires are being stripped and sold. As officers come back to change shifts, no one notices. He said council vehicles parked on the premises are often found with no batteries. He said it was shocking that metro police entrusted to enforce the law were the ones who break it.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Annual Provincial Crime Statistics

Involvement of police officers in criminal activities is cause for concern in Gauteng. Premier Nomvula Mokonyane said on Friday. Releasing the 2012/13 provincial crime statistics in Johannesburg, Mokonyane said a number of law enforcement officers were evidently involved in crime. "A worrisome statistic shows that 18 out of 50 provincial policing precincts were reported as CRIME-INFESTED DENS" that recorded police collusion and "OUTRIGHT CORRUPTION" she said. "The Johannesburg central police precinct tops the list with approximatelely 13000 criminal cases that were perpetrated by officers in uniform". She also revealed that vehicle hijackings in Gauteng had risen the past financial year. Robberies at residential premises had also gone up by 3.6%. She remained upbeat that crime was under control in Gauteng. Yes for a change I agree with that statement by her. Crime is under control. But what she failed to communicate was that crime was under the control of the police and Government. Protect the Criminals and serve Ourselves. That's my unshakable opinion!!!!!!!!! Apparently there were over 680 000 arrests last year of which 360 000 resulted in convictions. Now our prison population is a constant 160 000 we are told. So where are those 360 000 convicted criminals being kept?. On the other hand I have a lot of sympathy for her. Crime has to be kept at these extremely high levels for a very simple reason. Just consider this. We have between 300000 and 500000 private security guards, hundreds if not thousands private security companies employing these guards. Thousands of response vehicles need to be purchased together with hundreds of thousands of bullet-proof vests, guns, ammunition, a few thousand more admin staff, managers, plus all of the Government structures overseeing the massive security industry. It is already 3 times bigger then our Defense Force and Police combined. No wonder the Government is becoming very concerned about such a massive paramilitary force roaming the county side. If crime would be eradicated we would have a massive problem with all of those hundreds of thousands suddenly becoming unemployed. Alone the loss of tax revenue would cripple the treasury in a hurry. Not only would these security companies go out of business but also the thousands of other small to medium businesses involved in manufacturing security gates, electric fences, Alarm and CCTV systems. Vehicle Tracking companies would have no use for their hundreds of Response teams, their helicopters and pilots and trackers would be unemployed as well. This is a multi Billion Rand industry. Doctors and Nurses could be put to better uses than treating gunshot and rape victims. Undertakers would go under as their regular customers would be absent. My guess is that at least 30% if not a lot more of tax revenue is directly generated by crime. Thousands of stolen cars need to be replaced annually. I wonder how much of our GDP is actually as a direct result of crime. 20%, 40% ?????? It is also obvious that 99% of those in the private security industry do not have the intellect to perform jobs in most other sectors. So there is no alternative to keep crime at these levels just to keep social stability. It's an oxymoron.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Little Wonder

Came across a interesting statistic last week. In one of our On-Line Newspapers. What it revealed was not surprising but it put things into perspective. What it said was the following: South Africa has 3.03 Million Public Servants. The USA has 2.97 Million Public Servants. I am a bit surprised though, I thought the US would need a lot more to run itself, but that's what it said. We have a population of 50 Million, The US population is 6 times larger and it's GDP is 45 times as big. The article also said something about corruption, etc, etc, etc.......
Little Wonder that when the vast majority of Revenue goes to paying inflated salaries there is very little
left for anything else.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

No comment required

Massive Power Fail in Johannesburg

Johannesburg experienced the biggest blackout since the load shedding fiasco in 2008. Dozens of suburbs, probably affecting a few hundred thousand residents as well as businesses were left in the dark for up to 72 hours. This was due to what City Power, the entity responsible for the distribution of electricity in Johannesburg, has referred to as Sabotage. This 'sabotage' was carried out not by Right Wing Organizations opposed to the Government of the Day but by disgruntled City Power Employees upset due to a change in their working conditions. So they switched off a number of substations. No problem. Just another day in Africa. It even affected the home of Nelson Mandela who had just been released from Hospital were he spent 3 months in critical condition due to a recurring lung infection. I can just hear him gasping for air as the respirator came to a grinding halt. Apparently City Power had a Container size generator at his house within a very short time. This town is becoming a joke run by people who would make any Circus proud to have them. I was not affected as I have installed a large PV System with a 1660 Ah battery bank. I have a 3 to 5 day autonomy. Nothing short of a nuclear disaster will affect me. The weather has been absolutely fantastic for the past few months. Blue skies day after day. We had only a handful of overcast days this winter (our May to August). Temperatures in the mid 20s most days. Have been generating lots of Solar Power. 40kWh a day. This is now going to increase by 20% as spring has arrived and summer is is around the corner.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

SAPS criminality audit reveals serious mismanagement

At a presentation to the Portfolio Committee on Police, South African Police Service (SAPS) officials revealed that none of the police officers found to have criminal records during a recently completed criminality audit have been fired. A few weeks ago, the SAPS announced that there were 1448 criminal cops within the police service, ranging from thieves to rapists and murderes. Today they revealed that 306 of these SAPS members had criminal records before they joined the SAPS and 1142 committed crimes whilst in the police. This includes one Major-General. In fact the vast majority of the 1448 are top brass. All are still employed by the SAPS today and have yet to be fired. The 1448 leaves out details of the other 8000 police officers who were excluded from the audit because they had already been fired or their crimes were considered 'petty offences'. Any offence is an offence and the police should be held to a higher standard. Statement issued by Dianne Kohler Barnard MP, August 14 2013

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Power Fail

At last some  positive feedback. Last Friday there was a major power fail in the area. Lasted from just
before midnight to 11am the next morning. I was not even aware if it. Only noticed it when I looked
at the system log the next day.  There were a few shorter power fails as well a few days earlier, again
the system took care of it.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Bell 430 Conversion completed

Just got some news from Mark that he completed the Bell 430 Conversion. Now he is the pilot in command.
He send me these photos. It is quite an achievement. Although he says he likes the Bell 407 better as in that one he can do things (by this he means some fancy flying) while the 430 is more like a fixed wing
aircraft which due to it's size has to be flown like a plane.
Congratulations Captain!!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Electric Kettle Syndrome

In this post I will try and give a realistic appraisal of the many reasons why South Africa has become a fully fledged Third World Country. No further efforts will ever be able to reverse that. We have regressed too far.
Last week one of our illustrious leaders declared that that Science will be the salvation
of South Africa. Since every other means to save the sinking ship has failed.
First of all let me state that the white mans science can not fix the black mans problems. It is as simple as that.
Just for starters the education system is in a state of paralysis if not worse.
We do not produce any graduates of the required caliber let alone in sufficient numbers.
We do not offer sufficiently advanced courses in the few Universities which still function to produce innovative engineers and scientists.
All we offer is some watered down subjects tailored in such a way that even retards can pass.
We have no major industries, like ship building, a home grown automotive industry let alone
more high tech ones like Semiconductor or Bio technology or any other requiring a fair number
of intelligent, educated human beings.
We import everything from toothbrushes to airliners. We export raw materials which we then re import
as finished goods. There is talk of forcing industries to beneficiate these raw materials before the are
exported. Great idea. But who will do the job? We do not have the suitably educated personnel or
the expertise let lone the electricity needed.
Right at this moment we have a number of smelters shut down as there is not sufficient electricity to run them.

If one compares the achievements of the rest of the world over the past 40 or so years with what has
been achieved here in the same period we should hang our heads in shame.
This is little wonder when one considers that emigration of skilled people is encouraged.
A number of politicians openly stated that they don't mind at all if skilled people leave.
Well, a million or so did. And I am also not going to hang around forever.
And by the way it's not a case of the rats leaving the ship. It's the other way, more like the ship
leaving the rats.

No major infrastructure projects successfully completed come to mind. There are a few on the go
but it remains to be seen if they will ever be completed on time let alone on budget.
Our beloved Gautrain, the high speed rail linking the airport with Jhb and Pretoria is still being
plagued by cable theft forcing it to stop operations. Besides it is rather expensive so the majority of the
population can not afford it.

Most of our once beautiful infrastructure is in a sorry state, roads and rail network in dire need of repair.
Especially the rail network is so poor that most goods have to be moved by heavy trucks instead of by rail.
This exacerbates the road infrastructure problem.  A while ago I had to see a client 150 km southeast of
Johannesburg. Knowing that the roads are bad in that area I did not use my Porsche with its low ground
clearance. I went in a 4x4 with 20 inch tires. To keep a long story short I had to turn back halfway as the
road was in such a shocking state that it was becoming extremely dangerous to drive. Potholes galore.
So I turned back and returned by helicopter the next day.

I keep a Go Pro camera in the Porsche so I have a video of any accident I might be involved in.
When I review these videos I always keep count of the traffic lights I go through. Then I count how many
are not working. The average number of faulty Traffic lights is about 40%. After a few days of rain
that figure goes up to 60%.
I once saw a photo of a submerged street in New Zealand after a river burst it's banks.
The road must have been 5 feet (1.5m) under water. But the traffic light was still working.

Then of course is the problem with our electricity supply. On very shaky grounds. Partly because
of lack of maintenance and partly because of lack of forward planning.
I have installed a R500,000 ($50,000) Solar Photo Voltaic System almost 2 years ago.
We had rolling blackouts a few times per week often lasting 12 hours.
So I got extremely pissed off and installed the PV System. No problems since then.
Thank God for the intelligent mans technology.

Large chunks of all major cities are run down and virtual no go areas. Although some effort
is being made to improve the situation, once again it had reached a point where no intervention
can do much except to fix the worst problems.
Whole buildings have been abandoned by their owners when the area turned bad and the original
tenants moved out. So the rent money stopped. Then the buildings got high jacked by criminals
renting it out to the poor. With no electricity, water or lifts they soon became hell holes.

Crime is so bad these days due to failed economic policies that unemployment is at an all time high.
Youth unemployment is at 50%. Other unemployment is not far behind.

Our police force is battling not only criminals but is being choked by criminality within it's own ranks
to a degree that the internal watchdog is unable to cope.
Police corruption is endemic. Ordinary people are just seen as a meal ticket for personal enrichment.
I don't have to cite examples. The papers are full of them.
Only last week 4 cops were arrested for rape. 2 in the Cape and 2 in Johannesburg.
This is an ongoing problem with them. Nothing new. Over a 1000 cops in Johannesburg have been
or are under investigation for criminal activities.

Being very involved in aviation I have a particular interest in our Air Force.
Just today there were a number of newspaper articles reporting on the sorry state of affairs in what
is one of the oldest Air Forces in the World.
Apparently all 18 Augustas 109 Helicopters have been grounded due to lack of funds.
The same also applies to our Grippen Fighter Jets. Their maintenance contract has expired and has
not been renewed it said in the newspaper story. Most are in long time storage and are being
cannibalised for spares to keep the others flying.
It also reported that the Air Force is considering selling off the Helicopter operations.
Not sure what that means. Outsourcing? To a private company?
As one defence analyst remarked. A army without helicopters is a Dinosaur stuck in a swamp and                an Air Force without fighter jets is a sitting duck.
The same also applies to the Police Air wing. 40% of aircraft are not serviceable.
A friend who flies for the police says he has not flown in months.

A country blessed with every resource under the sun, including our superb climate, wildlife,
astounding vistas, gold and many other minerals and we can't make it work????

Has it ever occurred to anybody why countries with the least natural resources have the greatest
industrial output.  Oops sorry, for got to mention that these countries have a working education
system and an intelligent workforce.

Now let me explain what is meant by title of this post 'The Electric Kettle Syndrome'.
This will explain most of the above comments.
A while ago I evaluated a few recent graduates from our top engineering universities as
possible candidates for some job vacancies due to our rapid growth.
One of them always comes to mind immediately whenever that topic crops up.
Besides having absolutely no understanding of the subject matter he spent 4 years studying
he also was totally unable to reason logically. Now that is one of the main attributes of an
Electronic Engineer. At least in my humble opinion. If you can't analyse problems logically
how the hell are you going to solve them.
But what really put him out of the race was that he was unable to operate our electric kettle
to make himself a cup of coffee. He could not figure out how to open the lid to pour water in.
Admittedly it is a fancy Russel Hobbs kettle found only in upmarket homes but he was a
professional electronic engineer. And we depend on  people like this to innovate and be the
driving force of the economy.  Why am I crying? Must be somebody cutting onions in the kitchen.



To be continued........




Thursday, May 9, 2013

Friday, February 8, 2013

More Cop's Troubles

I've been getting a lot of requests from friends in Europe and the US who hear and see suddenly a lot of negative reporting in their electronic media regarding South Africa's fast accelerating slide into a Third World Banana Republic. During a phone call to one of our European Client's the person on the other end was very concerned about my personal safety after just having seen a full page, extremely negative, report on the conditions inside this country. Corruption, violence against women and children, nepotism, maladministration, Police brutality etc, etc. And this in a publication usually not known for such negative reporting. It seem even the liberal press in the First World is waking up. I had to tell him that whenever I go out I have a personal armed guard following me in his bulletproof car. Comes at a price, but it is a lot cheaper than a coffin and a funeral. It is nothing short of amazing how many press reports, on a daily basis deal with corrupt cops. Motorists are being harassed, abducted or carjacked on a daily basis. I am posting a few more press reports about this. Getting very tired just posting negative stories but these are the majority of reports of what is being published. I will look for some positive stories as well. One that comes to mind is that our beloved government, being cash strapped as usual, are now looking for some innovative ways to raise more taxes. One such grandiose scheme is to introduce a 'Graduate' tax. Meaning that graduates from tertiary institutions will be subject to an additional tax over and above income tax. Ingenious. Will do wonders to encourage young people to get a degree or two. Will they be taxed per degree? So if you do a Bachelor's then a Masters and then to crown it all a PhD you will have to pay 90% of income tax.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Should one lough or cry?

I've been getting a lot of these pamphlets in my mailbox recently. Must say, the claims made are nothing short of miraculous. Makes western medicine, for which I have personally not a very high regard, almost primitive by comparison. The vast majority of South Africans rely on 'Sangomas' or Herbalists as they are also known for their primary health care.
 There was even an attempt made to pull them into the mainstream of health providers so patients could put in a claim to their Medical Aid Societies. For the little good they do there is a lot of serious concern. For instance one reads often in the local press of a Sangoma being arrested for being in possession of human body parts which are an important ingredient in the potions they concoct. Often these body parts are being removed from the victim while still alive as that makes the 'Muti', the concoction more potent.
Sadly many of the victims are small children, murdered for their organs.

 One of the more hilarious stories one hears a lot is that criminals pay a lot of money to their Sangoma to make them bullet proof when they plan a robbery or something in that line of work. A incident that still has me rolling on the floor is that 4 of them planed to rob a bank in the middle of Johannesburg. So they explained to the Sangoma what they really need him to do was to make them invisible. Which the Sangoma proceeded to do, after a lot of cash was paid over first. When they carried out the robbery the next day they were clearly visible on the CCTV surveillance tape. They did not even bother to hide their faces because they were 'invisible'.

Another upstanding member of the 'Protect and Serve Brigade"

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Audi R8 Crash Docket lost

Got this e-mail from my crime watch chapter today. Nothing new or surprising. Dockets are being 'lost' for years. Then the court case is being thrown out by the Magistrate. A very effective way to escape justice. As I said before, most of the Law Enforcement - Justice Complex has been thoroughly subverted. It has become the laughing stock of the nation. Only a few weeks ago some prisoners were being transported in a police truck to or from a court appearance. Someone in the police department supplied them with some explosives which they detonated inside the truck killing a few fellow prisoners. They then escaped. Nothing money can't buy in this country.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Arlarming Escalation to a Lawless Society

I read with shock a few days ago that a AUDI R8 broke into 3 pieces after hitting a pole and a wall in the middle of Johannesburg killing the driver and a policeman passenger. From the photos of the crash site
it was impossible to make out the make of the car.
Since I also drive a Porsche, a car in the same bracket, this was of personal interest to me.
From the little that is known what happened at 4am that morning is that it appears that the driver was
stopped by police. It is alleged that they searched the car and found a small amount of Marijuana.
This is a ruse used by the police to solicit bribes as they threaten you with arrest. This has been reported a number of times in the press. Apparently, it is claimed, they plant the drugs as they search
the car. And what better target than a well heeled motorist. The more expensive the car the bigger the bribe. Does not take much education to figure that one out.
One officer was seen by a  passing motorist  as well as a CCTV camera to be sitting in the car and
driving down the road just before the crash. Speculation is that the driver was driving to an ATM to
draw cash for a bribe. What happened then is a mystery. We'll see what comes out in the wash.
That is not an isolated incident. Cops asking for bribes is becoming our new national sport, maybe
to compensate for the dismal performance of our national soccer team or their lousy pay.
A fellow Porsche driver was carjacked and kidnapped  for 24 hours by 'policemen' in uniform
just a few km from where I live. Also at night. An other motorist in the same area was also carjacked
by 'police' in uniform and taken to an ATM to draw cash. Then they keep them hostage until
after midnight when the ATM will dish out the maximum daily limit again. There have been instances
where the victim was kept hostage for days so the ATM could be looted over and over again,
with the victims locked in the boot of their cars. The case of a lady in Durban last year comes to mind.
She barely survived the ordeal.
A few years back I was standing at the checkout in my supermarket and saw the headline of the
Sunday Times scream in 2inch letters: 'Rolex Gang strikes again'. So I read the front page story while
waiting in the queue. To my shock it reported that one of my clients, a fellow Porsche driver, was
followed home by some criminals who shot him nine times and stole his expensive watch. In his driveway.
He survived. He had been shot once before while leaving his business! But I don't think that he would
be used to it by now. Getting shot that is.
Than there was the newspaper report that a Policeman in full uniform took part in a business robbery
in Pretoria. He was apprehended quickly thanks to some CCTV footage I believe.
It is estimated that 50% of drivers licenses are 'bought'. These are legitimate documents which have
been obtained from corrupt officials for a substantial 'facilitation fee'. And that is the official estimate.
Efforts are being made by the authorities to counteract this but once the drivers licence is issued it is next
to impossible to find out it was obtained by fraudulent means. And that applies to all types of licenses,
from cars to trucks even commercial Pilots Licenses have been obtained that way. Even my son,
who is a commercial pilot was offered the opportunity. He declined as he had no problems passing
all of the rather stiff exams. But people who struggled were tempted to go that route. That scam I believe
has now been stopped but there a pilots out there with a fake commercial licence.
In order to avoid  to fall victim to the above mentioned dangers I do not drive before 9am and after
3pm. Ever. I have not been on the road at night for years. I also use the services
of a Professional Armed Escort whenever I have to go to a meeting who follows me in his car.
It is a sad fact, reported many times in the newspapers, that policemen hire out their service pistols
to criminals while they are off duty. The guns are then used to commit crimes and are returned to the
policeman before he goes back on duty.
My biggest client was having dinner at a restaurant a while back. Some guys stormed in and robbed
the patrons of their belongings. They took his Glock pistol. He is a highly trained self defence expert
as well as a fine marksman. But he said he could not use the gun in a crowded restaurant. It would have
caused a bloodbath. However as the gang fled in their car he took down the registration number.
It turned out that the car was registered to the police. The culprits were off duty policemen moonlighting
for a little extra income. He got his gun back after a year or so.
And so the list gets longer and longer. There are daily reports in all the papers telling similar stories.
And one of our police commissioner's was convicted of corruption for accepting payments from a drug
king pin. And his successor was declared unfit for the job due to some shady dealings involving hundreds
of millions. But as one of our favourite little saying goes: Blue Sky's, Barbeque's and ...... everything
is just perfect.
The situation will not improve until the citizens of this county will eventually learn that dishonesty and
criminality are not the correct ideals to be handed down to the next generation.
There is a reason why some societies are successful and others fail.......


Saturday, January 5, 2013

Medical Rescue Stint

Mark send me this photo last week. Whenever he is back in the country he is assigned to fly Rescue
Choppers. Usually at the South Coast. This photo was taken as he was taking off to sling a body
out of a river gorge in Natal. Somebody found a body floating in the river and as the location was
extremely inaccessible by foot the chopper was sent in to do the job.
He says it was a tricky bit of flying having to balance the skids on a few rocks in the river so
the medics could load him into the stretcher and then do a vertical climb.

6.3kW on a cool overcast day. 76 Amps says we are in charge limit as well

80% cloud cover

Photo Voltaic Panel Performance

One of the less well known facts about Solar Panels is that their ability to convert sunlight into electricity depends heavily on their temperature, which is to a first approximation the ambient temperature,
in other words is it a cold or hot day. There are other factors as well influencing how hot they get
such as how much cooling is available. Cooling can be just simply wind flowing across them.
Correct mounting is also important, for instance having a gap of about 3 to 4 inches (7 to10 cm)
underneath so no hot air is being trapped below the panels.
But of course they operate best on a cool day. Even if there is a substantial cloud cover.
Such a day is today. Happened to walk past the inverter and looked at the display.
Showed 6300 Watts. The duty cycle  of the MPPT was at 63% which is an indication of the
prevailing weather condition.
It shows 76A being produced. That means we are in Charge Limit, the MPPT can't handle more
and limits the current before it would self-destruct.
Took some photos of the display and the cloud cover.
80% overcast I would say. Ambient temperature about 22 degree Celsius. A cool day for us
in Johannesburg.
By comparison, yesterday we had the most exquisite day in a long time. Deep blue sky, not a cloud
in sight all day, hot as well. 30 degrees at least. The panels never managed to go much over 5000 Watts.
I've seen this many times before. If you look at the performance curves of a solar panel it is very apparent.
Solar Panels are after all nothing more than Silicon Diodes optimised for light to electricity conversion.
And all diodes exhibit a negative temperature coefficient of about 2.2mV/deg. That means the power they
produce for a given solar radiation (called Insolation for Incident Solar Radiation) is less the hotter
they are.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Solar System Statistics

We are now running the system for exactly one year to the day.
A quick look at the data accumulated, (I keep a detailed log of
all important parameters like DC power produced, AC power
generated from that DC power, AC power consumed by the load,
AC power returned to the grid, power used to charge the batteries
etc).
So far we generated 9 MWh of Solar (DC). With a conversion efficiency
of about 80% that gave us 7.2 MWh of usable 220VAC power.

Keeping in mind that we started off with only 16 250W panels,
then added 5 more and 3 more only a few months ago plus
an upgrade to the inverter which lasted 3 weeks for which we had
to use the grid, we have  used only 1.2MWh of grid power
the whole year.

Which means we are now totally self sufficient since adding the
last 3 panels. As I said in my last post I am waiting for the new
inverter which has 2 100 Amp MPPT's which will overcome
our current bottleneck of a 80 A MPPT. During the peak hours
of sunshine we are usually in Charge Limit and loosing out on quite
a few kWh per day.

All in all I am very happy with the performance of the system.
Money well spent, but most of all, the peace of mind that brings.
Not to forget the satisfaction of a job well done.

The cost of electricity has gone up something like 120% in the last
few years and is being increased by 16% annually over the next
5 years we have been informed. That will more than double the
price of electricity in that period. And I'm sure all the other
charges associated with our municipal account will also increase
at similar rates.
Somebody has to pay for our 30 million unemployable countrymen.
There are about 5 million registered taxpayers in the country
but we have 14 million receiving some government grant or other.
And just this week it was decided by our illustrious leaders that
they intend to give a job seekers grant to an other few millions.
This is because the Education System has been completely destroyed.
To pass Matric, that is the final exam after 12 years of schooling, a pass rate
of between 30 and 40 % is required. My dog can do better than this.
This is despite the fact that most students do not take Mathematics as a
subject at all because the majority would fail the year.
So the Education Authority introduced a extremely watered down subject
called Mathematical Literacy. That is basically so they can at least understand
a Bank Statement when they see one. Not that they will ever get one themselves
as this would require getting a job first.
But this is the least of our worries. What is far more disturbing is the fact that our
Universities are producing Graduates which have absolutely no clue whatsoever
of the subject they studied for 4 years.
I had the rare pleasure of evaluating two of them. From one of the top Engineering
Universities, not the bottom of the heap.
I have never seen such lack of understanding. And by this I mean of the Basics.
I knew more before I began my studies then these two after four years.
And they are both doing their Masters at the moment. Hoo Boy.
How the hell can a reputable University even consider conferring a Degree if it was not
for political interference from  the top.
When I politely inquired about the sorry state of their competency I was equally politely
informed that they were told by their professors that in this country we only do
maintenance so electronic design knowledge will never be required.
And I was of the opinion that was the reason one went to university in the first place.
Evidently I was wrong.



Sunday, December 2, 2012

Effect of adding the last 3 panels

Since we added the last 3 250W PV panels a few months ago we now
are producing up to 40kWh a day on clear sunny days which are the norm
in Johannesburg. We must have at least 300 of such days per year.
One of the very best climates on the planet. Beautiful days and cool nights.
But even on cloudy days we produce up to 30kWh. The sunlight is more
diffused then and the ambient temperature is lower which is a major factor when it comes to the efficiency with which the panels convert sunlight into electricity.
The limiting factor as this point in time is the MPPT (Maximum Power
Point Tracker) which limits at 80 Amperes. The panels can supply more.
I have ordered a new 8kW Grid tied inverter with two 100 A MPPT's
build in but there were some delays with the design of the MPPT's I was told. Then the bottleneck of the 80A limit is gone and we should be
able to harvest the maximum power.
Since I am running the entire property on solar, including the pool pump,
2 air cons, a electronic design lab with a staff of 8, half a dozen computers
and last but not least a 3 kW kettle which is probably most heavily used item, working overtime daily I could use the extra power.
A calculation showed that we could expect 50kWh a day.
Looking at some data which gives the level of insolation at our latitudes
it says we are receiving over 6kWh per square  meter. If you multiply this
with the area of a panel and its efficiency then one comes very close to the
250W the panel can deliver. This is a very effective way to calculate the
number of panels required for a particular installation. I will do some
measurements to see how much a panel can actually deliver on a perfect
day. I am sure it will be more then 250 Watts. The 250 Watt figure is
the factory spec when the panel is tested in the factory with the industry
standard 1000W/m2 light source. Not sure what is the spectral distribution of that light source, (does it approximate sun light?)
since a PV panel is sensitive to spectral variations.

15 of the 24 PV panels. 6kW total installed capacity

The last 3 panels added

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Crazy 5000km Helicopter Flight

Mark, that is my son, has been on a few tours to the Sudan late last year and once or twice this year.
He is a commercial Chopper Pilot and is flying Long Rangers as well as Bell HU1's amongst other
types like Bell 407's Robinson R22, R44 etc.
The Helicopters and crew's are supplied by South African Aviation Companies to virtually all African
Countries for a variety of tasks.
In the Sudan, which has almost no roads and the few it has have been beneficiated with land mines, the only
way to go anywhere is by helicopter.
He's job was to take workers and supplies to the oil fields and back amongst other things.
Then the North and South had their much publicized split which culminated in the obligatory
exchange of gunfire and bombs. True to form, nothing new.
So everybody had to get out from there. There was some advance warning so everybody
got out safely. They did not want to leave the choppers behind so someone had to fly them
back to South Africa. Since Mark at that time was on tour he took the Long Ranger, fitted the
ferry tanks and set of for Kampala (Uganda) to have some new Rotor Blades fitted. That took a week.
As he was the only pilot (he had a passenger, one of the fixed wing engineers who also had to get
out) it was up to him to get them and the chopper back safely.
I am going to upload a lot of the flight documentation (flight plans, military clearances etc.)
The first leg was to go across Lake Victoria in a single engine chopper
(a 2 hour flight across water with no floats or life jackets)
into Tanzania, across the well known Serengeti to Mount Kilimanjaro where they spent the night
at the hotel.
A few years earlier one of his class mates was the co-pilot of a plane that crashed into the mountain
a few feet below the summit. As it involved a number of wealthy international tourists the crash made
headlines around the world.
Then further on to Dar Es Salam and then due south along the coastline into Mocambique
re-fueling a number of times along the way. Finally across the South African border at the Kruger Park.
Then the last leg from Kruger Park (Nelspruit Airport) to Lanseria Airport in Johannesburg.
The whole trip lasted 9 days. The flying part alone was 5 days (40 hours). 5000 km exactly.
Lots of red tape on the way as usual when flying in Africa.
Since most choppers do not have an auto pilot all of the flying is done by the pilot. And a chopper
needs to be hand flown from take off to landing. One can lock the throttle, that helps a bit but there is
no lapse of concentration allowed.
As I said I will upload a lot of the documentation which he accumulated. Have already scanned in
most of it. Not many people have the opportunity to go on such an adventure. Flying in Africa is still
a hazardous business due to the sheer size of the continent alone. It is also a very beautiful continent, not
yet dragged into the 20th century, let alone the 21st.
At the moment Mark is in Angola on a 3 month contract. They took 6 choppers up to Luanda
(13 hours flying time). Last time I had an e-mail from him he was taking some ballot boxes
and election officials around.

The Water Lab Report

More panels and a new inverter

Had a spot on the roof which was begging for some Solar Panels.
Fitted 3 more 250 Watt mono-chrystaline. Now we are full house
so to speak. Total installed Solar Capacity is now 6 kW.
                                                                     
At the moment we are at the end of winter so we are 20 to 30%
down on what is available in summer. Saw a maximum of
6000 Watts being generated 3 days ago. For the past two days
we had the most extreme weather ever experienced in South Africa.
We had snowfall in all 9 provinces with many roads closed and
icy conditions. No sun in sight. Still managed to get a total of 30 kWh
for these two days. Almost breaking even with consumption.
Today the weather was back to normal, beautiful blue skys with
no cloud in sight but still a bit on the cool side. Managed 35kWh.

Also ordered a new model of the Grid tied Inverter.
Also 8kVA but with 2 100 Amp MPPT (Maximum Power Trackers).
Will split the 24 Panels into 2 groups of 2x12 and feed one each to
the 2 MPPT. So that will give me some redundancy.
Will keep the old inverter as a back-up. Its only 2 years old but
it was one of the first of the 8kVA models produced by the
manufacturer and it had a problem after two months of operations
which necessitated a major repair. Been working fine since.
But you never know. So the new one is coming this week.
It's an upgraded version which carries a 5 year warranty.
Not exactly cheap at almost R70,000 ($9,000) but as I said
before, my Porsche deserves a warm garage.

An other interesting little episode happened 2 months ago when I
checked the water levels in my 1660Ah battery bank.
Was getting a bit low so I shopped around for some distilled water.
Not as easy as you would expect. Bought 5 liters from one of my
suppliers I also use for my business. He sourced some from some
shady supplier. I phoned them asking for a spec sheet for the
distilled water they are selling for as much money as I would pay
for a bottle of Whisky. Got a spec sheet but it was very cagey.
So I also bought a 25 liter container from the manufacturer of the
batteries. Should have thought of it earlier, but they are 30km
away so the first option was more convenient.
So I filled 3 little bottles with the 2 distilled waters I bought and
one more with some tap water from my tap in the kitchen.
(As a control).
Then took them to a approved Water Laboratory in Pretoria
and had them analyzed.
No surprises there. The water from the battery manufacturer
was proper distilled water. The other two were ordinary tap
water. The one from my own tap and the other that very
expensive one. These two were virtually identical!

So my supplier then demanded from the supplier of the
expensive tap water that they pay for the water analysis.
This they did to my surprise considering the cost of the analysis
was R2200 ($275). Hopefully this will teach them a lesson.

If I would have used that water to top up the batteries and they
would become contaminated with all the impurities and develop
a much reduced capacity my warranty would be invalid.
Since the batteries are the most expensive component of the
system costing R96,000 ($12,000) it pays to be careful.


Friday, April 27, 2012

I installed this medium size Solar System in December 2011. Due to the continual Black-outs as well as
Load-Shedding because of  the incompetence of everybody involved in the provision of electricity I decided
to become independent from the Grid. The system is producing 50% more KWh than we are using on average. We did an upgrade in late March where we added 5 more 250 Watt panels and reconfigured
all of the panels as 3x7.
(Three 250Watt panels in series and 7 of these in parallel.) This modification proved most beneficial
as the MPPT (Multi point Power Tracker) now has the required headroom to adjust the maximum power point (that is the point on the solar panel operating characteristic) where the panels produce the highest
power for the prevailing weather conditions.

Since the upgrade (24 March 2012) we produced approx. 900 kWh of solar energy. 27kWh per day average. Usage was approx. 700 kWh. So despite a few days with relatively low insolation (that is the term used to describe how  much sunlight is reaching the earths surface) we had an excess of 200kWh which was returned to the grid.
Only yesterday we had a cold and totally overcast day and still we managed 9kWh, 40% of the demand.

The systems performance can be monitored either On-line via a G3 link or connecting one of our Laptops
to the inverter and having access to all data as well as being able to set all of the operating modes.
All relevant performance data is stored on a memory card and can be accessed and plotted with the
software package provided. When using the SCADA functionality one can monitor the entire system
with all its connected sources and loads. Very much like a real power station.
I will post some graphs in the near future. Of course this does not come cheap. But my Porsche deserves
a warm garage.

Vorna Valley Johannesburg

Vorna Valley Johannesburg
I live right in the middle of the picture

My Life Philosophy

My Life Philosophy