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  • Monday, April 14, 2014 - 14:00
    The Return of the Secret-Knock Gumball Machine

    ErrorGifThe triumphant return of the Secret-Knock Gumball Machine. New and improved!

    Read more on MAKE


  • Monday, April 14, 2014 - 14:00
    From the Forums: Gorgeous Multi-NeoPixel-Ring Projection Project! #neopixel


    Slurrybowl

    slurry bowl shared a gorgeous multi-NeoPixel-Ring projection project on the Adafruit Forums:

    Here is a picture of the project

    Read More.


    Featured Adafruit Product!

    PID 1586

    NeoPixel Ring – 24 x WS2812 5050 RGB LED with Integrated Drivers: Round and round and round they go! 24 ultra bright smart LED NeoPixels are arranged in a circle with 2.6″ (66mm) outer diameter. The rings are ‘chainable’ – connect the output pin of one to the input pin of another. Use only one microcontroller pin to control as many as you can chain together! Each LED is addressable as the driver chip is inside the LED. Each one has ~18mA constant current drive so the color will be very consistent even if the voltage varies, and no external choke resistors are required making the design slim. Power the whole thing with 5VDC and you’re ready to rock. (read more)

  • Monday, April 14, 2014 - 13:54
    PCB Shopper – Tools for electronics hobbyists and professionals #manufacturing #makerbusiness


    Pcbshopperbanner

    PCB Shopper » Tools for electronics hobbyists and professionals.

    This calculator will show you the prices for prototype printed circuit boards from different manufacturers. Fill out the form with your board’s specifications, and click “Get prices”.

    Currently, we only support U.S. dollars and shipping to the U.S. Quality and features may vary between manufacturers. We calculate prices for 12 manufacturers: Accutrace PCB4U • Advanced Circuits (4PCB) • AP Circuits • Elecrow • ExpressPCB • Gold Phoenix • ITEAD Studio • OSH Park • PCB Fab Express • PCB-POOL • Seeed Studio • Smart Prototyping

  • Monday, April 14, 2014 - 13:50
    “Computer For Apollo” (1965)



    MIT TechTV – “Computer For Apollo” (1965) – Science Reporter TV Series.

    This 1965 “Science Reporter” television program features the Apollo guidance computer and navigation equipment, which involve less than 60 lbs of microcircuits and memory cores. Scientists and engineers Eldon Hall, Ramon Alonzo and Albert Hopkins (of the MIT Instrumentation Laboratory) and Jack Poundstone (Raytheon Space Division in Waltham MA) explain and demonstrate key features of the instruments, and detail project challenges such as controlling the trajectory of the spacecraft, the operation of the onboard telescope, and the computer construction and its memory. The program was presented by MIT in association with WGBH-TV Boston, and hosted by MIT reporter John Fitch; it was produced for NASA.

  • Monday, April 14, 2014 - 13:49
    What it Took to Make the Octopart PCB Reference Card #manufacturing #makerbusiness
  • Monday, April 14, 2014 - 13:30
    New technique allows particles to switch the quantum state of each other


    NewImage

    Via SciTechDaily.

    Using a laser to place individual rubidium atoms near the surface of a lattice of light, scientists at MIT and Harvard University have developed a new method for connecting particles — one that could help in the development of powerful quantum computing systems.

    The new technique, described in a paper published today in the journal Nature, allows researchers to couple a lone atom of rubidium, a metal, with a single photon, or light particle. This allows both the atom and photon to switch the quantum state of the other particle, providing a mechanism through which quantum-level computing operations could take place.

    Moreover, the scientists believe their technique will allow them to increase the number of useful interactions occurring within a small space, thus scaling up the amount of quantum computing processing available.

    “This is a major advance of this system,” says Vladan Vuletić, a professor in MIT’s Department of Physics and Research Laboratory for Electronics (RLE), and a co-author of the paper. “We have demonstrated basically an atom can switch the phase of a photon. And the photon can switch the phase of an atom.”

    That is, photons can have two polarization states, and interaction with the atom can change the photon from one state to another; conversely, interaction with the photon can change the atom’s phase, which is equivalent to changing the quantum state of the atom from its “ground” state to its “excited” state. In this way the atom-photon coupling can serve as a quantum switch to transmit information — the equivalent of a transistor in a classical computing system. And by placing many atoms within the same field of light, the researchers may be able to build networks that can process quantum information more effectively.

    “You can now imagine having several atoms placed there, to make several of these devices — which are only a few hundred nanometers thick, 1,000 times thinner than a human hair — and couple them together to make them exchange information,” Vuletić adds.

    Read more.

  • Monday, April 14, 2014 - 13:00
    Bare-metal Programming On The Teensy 3

    Teensy

    The Teensy 3.x series of boards are amazing pieces of work, with a tiny, breadboard-friendly  footprint, an improbable amount of IO pins, and a powerful processor, all for under $20. [Karl Lunt] loves nearly all the features of the Teensy 3, except for one: the Arduino IDE. Yes, the most terrible, most popular IDE in existence. To fix this problem, [Karl] set up a bare-metal development environment, and lucky us, he’s chosen to share it with us.

    [Karl] is using CodeBench Lite for the compiler, linker, assembler, and all that other gcc fun, but the CodeSourcery suite doesn’t have an IDE. Visual Studio 2008 Express is [Karl]‘s environment of choice, but just about every other IDE out there will do the same job. Of course a make utility will be needed, and grabbing the docs for the Freescale K20 microcontroller wouldn’t be a bad idea, either.

    The end result is [Karl] being able to develop for the Teensy 3.X with the IDE of his choice. He was able to quickly set up a ‘blink a LED’ program with the new toolchain, although uploading the files to the Teensy does require the Teensy Loader app.

     

    Filed under: ARM, Microcontrollers

  • Monday, April 14, 2014 - 13:00
    We Will Live Again: A documentary short about the caretakers of 99 cryogenically frozen human bodies



    Vimeo Staff Picks posted this eerie documentary from Brooklyn Underground Films.

    WE WILL LIVE AGAIN looks inside the unusual and extraordinary operations of the Cryonics Institute. The film follows Ben Best and Andy Zawacki, the caretakers of 99 deceased human bodies stored at below freezing temperatures in cryopreservation. The Institute and Cryonics Movement were founded by Robert Ettinger who, in his nineties and long retired from running the facility, still self-publishes books on cryonics, awaiting the end of his life and eagerly anticipating the next.

    Read more.

  • Monday, April 14, 2014 - 12:00
    ‘RoboClam’ – a robot modeled after the razor clam – could anchor submarines


    74105761 newsimage roboclam

    MIT researchers have developed the RoboClam, a miniature robot that tunnels like a razor clam, with underwater anchoring technology in mind, via BBC.

    The device mimics the digging action used by razor clams to turn solid soil into liquid “quicksand”, helping them slide through.

    A prototype is described in the journal Bioinspiration and Biomimetics by engineers from MIT in Boston, US.

    They set out to design a new low-power, light-weight anchor for autonomous underwater vehicles.

    “Luckily, nature had already done the work for us,” said Dr Kerstin Nordstrom, of the University of Maryland, who collaborated on the research.

    The answer was poking out of mudflats off the coast at nearby Gloucester, MA.

    The Atlantic razor clam, Ensis directus, has been dubbed “the Ferrari of underwater diggers”.

    An animal of its modest frame (10-20cm) should only be strong enough to penetrate 2cm into packed sand. But it can burrow up to 70cm in just over a minute.

    Compared to existing anchor technology “the razor clam is about 10 times more efficient,” Dr Nordstrom told BBC News.

    To dig for half a kilometre, it would only use the energy in an AA battery.

    “But when you try plunging the shell into the sand, it doesn’t actually penetrate very far,” said Dr Nordstrom.

    “What this shows is the clam must be actively doing something to the ground when it digs.”

    RoboClam testing apparatus

    The prototype was bulky but RoboClam will be developed into a sleeker unit

    To find out the razor clam’s secret, they studied its digging action and modelled it mechanically.

    The repeated open-shut of the clam’s valves turned the hard-packed soil around it into quicksand.

    74134863 img 2870

    Read more.

  • Monday, April 14, 2014 - 11:11
    Thanks for making our birthday so great! #ArduinoD14

    ArduinoD14

    It’s been a couple of weeks since we celebrated with all of you the beginning of our tenth year. We’ve been receiving videos and pictures and want to share them in this post (Explore the tagboard of #ArduinoD14).

    The first Arduino Day around the World was a huge success largely due to the dedication of each of the communities joining the party! We had more than 240 community events sharing with us this moment of celebration and we sincerely appreciate the efforts and thank you again for the support within the Arduino Open Source Community!

    Once more we realised the importance of community by saying “Arduino is you.” Hardware, software, tutorials, and logistics aside, people enjoying time with Arduino are exemplary of the folks who make it fulfilling for us to continue with this adventure. Thank you!

    Here’s some awesome visual reports we received:

      • Antonius was at ITP in New York together with Massimo Banzi and Tom Igoe and made this video:
      • David Cuartielles featured in this video from Arduino Day Zaragoza:
      • Richard from Wevolver in Amsterdam organised a Show and Tell in collaboration with Ifabrica:

    (take a look also at the video interview they did to Gael Langevin of Project Inmoov!)

  • Monday, April 14, 2014 - 11:00
    Just the right 6B soft pencil for a Makey Makey pencil & paper controller #makeymakey #makeymakeymonday



    Giles Booth found just the right 6B soft pencil for a Makey Makey pencil & paper controller:

    First up I tried an HB pencil (I guess this equates to a No. 2 pencil in the US). No luck. Then a rather cool solid graphite pencil of my daughter’s. This almost worked, but wasn’t reliable. Then eldest son lent me his 6B Koh-I-Noor art pencil. This was The Business. Our new pencil and paper gamepad works a treat. (Don’t ask me what a 6B pencil is in US currency, but it’s soft, baby, darn soft.)

    I tweaked the Scaredy Squirrel Scratch game code so the game is started by a spacebar rather than clicking the green flag, so I could add a start button too. Awesome!

    Read More.


    Makeysm
    Makey Makey™ Monday here at Adafruit! The MaKey MaKey – by Jay Silver and Eric Rosenbaum, made by JoyLabz! Ever played Mario on Play-Doh or Piano on Bananas? Alligator clip the Internet to Your World. MaKey MaKey is an invention kit for the 21st century. Find out more details at makeymakey.com or watch the video at makeymakey.com. Turn everyday objects into touchpads and combine them with the internet. It’s a simple Invention Kit for Beginners and Experts doing art, engineering, and everything in between! If you have a cool project you’ve made with your Makey Makey be sure to send it in to be featured here!

  • Monday, April 14, 2014 - 10:30
    How to build an earth-size telescope


    NewImage

    Scientific American has an interesting post about how to build a telescope the size of the earth (sort of).

    Looking into the galactic center is hard. So much dust and gas lies between us and the center of the Milky Way that very little of the visible light emitted there makes it to us. We can peek through that dust and gas by collecting x-rays, infrared radiation, and radio waves. Even then, however, resolving the tiny speck of sky that contains the Milky Way’s central black hole, with enough clarity to see the black hole’s shadow, is extremely difficult.

    You need a telescope roughly the size of the Earth to do it. This might sound impractical. Fortunately, it’s possible to mimic the performance of an Earth-size telescope by coordinating existing radio telescopes scattered around the world.

    That’s the idea behind the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT). If all goes well, by the end of next year the EHT will be a coordinated array of radio telescopes stretching from the South Pole to Hawaii to Chile to Mexico, plus many points in between. The astronomers behind the EHT have been already been observing for years using a smaller telescope array. In 2007, a three-station version of the EHT resolved Sagittarius A*, the black hole at the center of the Milky Way, with unprecedented clarity, detecting something (“structure” is the proper term) on the scale that we would expect from the black hole’s event horizon. It was a big deal, the farthest into the inner sanctum of a black hole that anyone had ever seen. The goal now is to make the EHT powerful enough to take the black hole’s picture…

    The EHT will combine many of the world’s most advanced radio telescopes: the Submillimeter Array (SMA) and the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope (JCMT) in Hawaii; the Combined Array for Research in Millimeter-wave Astronomy (CARMA) in California; the Submillimeter Telescope (SMT) in Arizona; the Large Millimeter Telescope (LMT) near Puebla, Mexico; the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA) and the Atacama Pathfinder Experiment (APEX) in northern Chile; the South Pole Telescope (SPT); the Greenland Telescope (GLT); the Plateau de Bure interferometer in France; and the 30-meter dish at Pico Veleta in Spain. Once properly outfitted, these telescopes will set out on a few key nights each year to observe the same black hole simultaneously. Together, they will function as one giant telescope.

    Read more.

  • Monday, April 14, 2014 - 10:00
    Neo Geo Arcade Gets Second Life with a Raspberry Pi

    neo-picade

    An old Neo Geo Arcade, a Raspberry Pi, and some time were all [Matthew] needed to build this Pi Powered Arcade Emulator Cabinet.

    Neo Geo was originally marketed by SNK as a very expensive home video console system. Much like the Nintendo Play Choice 10, SNK also marketed an arcade system, the MVS. The Neo Geo MVS allowed arcade operators to run up to six titles in a single cabinet. The MVS also allowed players to save games on memory cards.

    [Matthew's] cabinet had seen better days. Most of the electronics were gone, the CRT monitor was dead, and the power supply was blown. Aside from a bit of wear, the cabinet frame was solid and the controls were in good shape. He decided it would be a good candidate for an emulator conversion.

    We’ve seen some pretty awesome arcade conversions in the past, such as this Halloween rendition of Splatterhouse. For his conversion, [Matthew] stuck to the electronics, leaving most of the old arcade patina intact. The CRT did fire up after some components were replaced. [Matthew] ran into some refresh rate issues with the Raspberry Pi, so he opted to swap it out with a modern LCD monitor. Controls were wired up with the help of an I-PAC board.

    [Matthew] had to write a driver to handle the I-PAC, but he says it was a good learning experience. Aside from the LCD screen, the result looks like it could be found in the back of an old bowling alley, or a smokey bar next to Golden Tee. Nice work, [Matthew]!

    Filed under: video hacks

  • Monday, April 14, 2014 - 10:00
    Building a mind-boggling infinity mirror using Adafruit #Neopixels



    EETimes has posted this cool project from Designline Editor Max Maxfield.

    Hurray! It’s taken a while because I’m easily distracted, but I’ve finally finished building my infinity mirror. (See also Part 1 and Part 2 of this miniseries.)…

    As you may recall, an infinity mirror involves a relatively thin enclosure (frame) with a full mirror at the back and a partial mirror (or a half-mirror or one-way mirror) at the front. Following my previous experiments, I decided that the optimal distance between the back mirror and the front mirror for my purposes was 1 inch. With regard to the width and height of my mirror, this was easily determined by the fact that I happened to already have a one-way mirror in my possession — and this mirror was 12″ x 12″ — so everything else was derived from these measurements…

    Of course, the thing that really makes an infinity mirror so cool is the little light sources you place on the inside of the frame between the front and back mirrors. For this project, I’d already decided to use NeoPixel Strips from Adafruit; in this case, I’m using the type with 60 tri-colored LEDs per meter:

    Now, I could simply have wrapped the NeoPixel strip around the inside of the frame and left it at that. However, I intend to experiment with different lighting effects, like having individual LEDs light up in each of the corners and move around the frame in synchronization. This meant that I would need to have the same number of LEDs on each side of the frame. It turned out that I could fit 17 LEDs on each side, with a tiny extra gap in the corners, so I cut four 17-LED pieces off my NeoPixel strip.

    Any project like this is a learning experience. If I decide to create another infinity mirror in the future (and I do have some rather cool ideas in this direction) I will do some things differently. For example, I decided to attach my NeoPixel strips to the frame using superglue. When I attached the first strip, I simply stuck it on and weighed it down, as discussed below. Unfortunately, the strip slid around a little on the glue, so it ended up being a tad out of true. This wasn’t really significant, but it’s the look of the thing and my professional pride that’s at stake. If anyone ever opens this up in the future, I want them to say, “Look how perfect this is,” not “Well, that strip is a little skew-whiff, isn’t it?”

    Read more.


    Featured Adafruit Product!

    NewImage

    Adafruit NeoPixel Digital RGB LED Weatherproof Strip 60 LED -1m: You thought it couldn’t get better than our world-famous 32-LED-per-meter Digital LED strip but we will prove you wrong! You wanted twice the LEDs? We got it (well, its 1.875 times as many but that’s within a margin of error). You wanted thinner strips? Now only 12.5 mm wide, 10 mm if you remove the strip from the casing. You wanted less noticable strip color – this strip has white-colored flex PCB, which will be less visible against white-painted walls. This is the strip with white flex PCB, its identical to the black 60 LED/meter except it has a different color mask on the flex strip. Read more.


  • Monday, April 14, 2014 - 09:30
    Watch proteins do the jitterbug!



    The New York Timeshas posted this great video called “The Inner Life of the Cell”.

    If you could shrink down to the size of a molecule and fly into a cell, what would you see?

    In 2006, a team of scientists and illustrators offered a gorgeous answer in the form of a three-minute video called “The Inner Life of the Cell.” Nothing quite like it had ever been made before, and it proved to be a huge hit, broadcast by museums, universities and television programs around the world.

    The video was a collaboration between BioVisions, a scientific visualization program at Harvard’s department of molecular and cellular biology, and Xvivo, a scientific animation company in Connecticut.

    Delving into the scientific literature, the scientists and animators created a video about an immune cell. The cell rolls along the interior wall of a blood vessel until it detects signs of inflammation from a nearby infection.

    NewImage

    We dive into the cell to see what happens next. Molecules swim through the cell like dolphins, relaying the signal from the outside. Certain genes switch on, and the cell makes new proteins that are put into a blob called a vesicle. An oxlike protein called kinesin hauls the vesicle across the cell, walking along a molecular cable.

    Once the vesicle reaches its destination, it releases its cargo. The new proteins cause the immune cell to stop rolling, and it flattens out and slips between the cells that make up the blood vessel wall so that it can seek out the infection.

    “The Inner Life of the Cell” was made possible by advances on many scientific fronts.

    In recent years, scientists have learned a great deal about the shapes of biological molecules, for example. They can use powerful computers to visualize the molecules in action.

    Watch Proteins Do the Jitterbug NYTimes com

    The video was so entrancing that it was easy to forget that it was not raw footage captured by some microscopic GoPro camera. It was a piece of art. The scientists and animators made choices about what to show, and how to show it.

    For one thing, they left out just about all the proteins, giving the cell the look of a nearly empty ocean. “The interior of a cell is incredibly crowded,” said Michael Astrachan, the president and creative director of Xvivo.

    Alain Viel, the director of undergraduate research at Harvard and a member of the BioVisions team, likened the inside of a cell to a rush-hour subway platform. “If there’s a big crowd in front of you, there’s a good chance you might not even see the train,” he said.

    Dr. Viel and his colleagues also chose to show the proteins moving with a stately grace. Real proteins, by contrast, are perpetually quivering. They pick up bits of energy from water molecules that bump into them, and they crash into other proteins and bounce off cell membranes.

    Read more.

    Watch Proteins Do the Jitterbug NYTimes com

  • Monday, April 14, 2014 - 09:00
    MIT unveils the shapeshifting furniture of the future



    Fast Company posted about the latest project out of MIT’s Tangible Media Group: shape-shifting furniture.

    When it was first unveiled last year, the inFORM–a shapeshifting display that you can reach through and touch–was meant to be a sort of digital scrying pool through which MIT could imagine the user interfaces of the future. Currently on display at Milan’s Design Week, the inFORM’s successor (called, appropriately enough, the Transform) is a scrying pool too, but instead of helping us imagine the interfaces of the future, it’s here to teach us what the polymorphous furniture of tomorrow will be like instead.

    Created by Daniel Leithinger and Sean Follmer and overseen by professor Hiroshi Ishii at MIT’s Tangible Media Group, the inFORM was essentially a self-aware monitor that didn’t just display light; it could display shape, too. Additionally, it could sense when users were interacting with it. Using the inFORM, you could shake hands with someone at another computer across the world, just as easily as you might Skype from someone on your laptop.

    The inFORM was an exciting look at the possibilities of future computer UIs. But it didn’t quite capture all the ideas that the Tangible Media Lab was hoping to get across. “When most people look at inFORM, what they see is a big computer interface,” Leithinger says. “And that’s even how we thought of it. But in the future, computers aren’t going to look like computers. They’re going to be embedded in everything around us.”

    With Transform, the Tangible Media Group wanted to explore what the shapeshifting furniture of tomorrow might be like. What if the design of your furniture weren’t static, but could change according to your nature, your personality, and more? Imagine a chair that could transform from an upright rocker to a sumptuous lounge, just by detecting your mood.

    Read more.

  • Monday, April 14, 2014 - 08:00
    LED Lamp that Projects its own Shade


    YOY collection at Milan 2014 dezeen ss8

    The Japanese design studio YOY has developed an LED lamp that projects its own shade, via Dezeen.

    From YOY:

    A series of a table lamp and a floor lamp. When switched on, a shade of light will appear on the wall. There is a LED inside the head of the pole which imitates a socket..

    YOY collection at Milan 2014 dezeen 4

    Read more.

  • Monday, April 14, 2014 - 07:00
    Air-Tensioned Bandsaw Simplifies Woodworking Life

    bandsaw

    If you’ve ever had the pleasure of owning a band-saw you’ll know exactly how much fun it is to try to replace the blade, or properly tension it even. [Richard T] got tired of it and decided to upgrade his band saw with a bit of pneumatic power.

    To remove the band saw blade or tension it you have to turn an adjustment knob on the top of the band saw — it’s kind of awkward and really annoying. [Richard] has taken the lead screw out and replaced it with a pneumatic cylinder. He’s added a little control panel with a main valve, and pressure regulator. To remove the band saw blade, he bleeds the system with the valve, and to tension it, he turns up the regulator! It’s simple and super effective.

    This is especially convenient for tensioning because you can watch the blade during the “Flutter Test” while gently turning up the regulator.

    If you look in the right places you could probably build a system like this for less than $50. For a complete explanation stick around to hear it from [Richard] himself!

    Filed under: tool hacks

  • Monday, April 14, 2014 - 07:00
    Scratch-a-Sketch #makeymakey #makeymakeymonday



    Giles Booth shared a Scratch-a-Sketch Scratch project he created for use with the MaKey-MaKey!

    First, draw some arrows and buttons for ‘pen up/down’, ‘colour change’, ‘bigger’ and ‘smaller’ in a very soft pencil on some paper. Draw tracks and wire up the arrows to the cursor keys on the Makey Makey. Pen up/down goes to the spacebar, colour change is S, bigger is W and smaller goes to key A. If you don’t have a Makey Makey, you can still use keys on your computer’s keyboard.

    The code for Scratch-a-Sketch is here – you can play online in the Flash version if you like, you don’t even need Scratch installed.

    Unlike a traditional Etch-a-Sketch, you can lift the pen up to move around without drawing, change colour and pen size, and combine keys such as 2 arrow keys to draw decent diagonal lines.

    Read More.

    Scratch a sketch


    Makeysm

    Today is Makey Makey™ Monday here at Adafruit! The MaKey MaKey – by Jay Silver and Eric Rosenbaum, made by JoyLabz! Ever played Mario on Play-Doh or Piano on Bananas? Alligator clip the Internet to Your World. MaKey MaKey is an invention kit for the 21st century. Find out more details at makeymakey.com or watch the video at makeymakey.com. Turn everyday objects into touchpads and combine them with the internet. It’s a simple Invention Kit for Beginners and Experts doing art, engineering, and everything in between! If you have a cool project you’ve made with your Makey Makey be sure to send it in to be featured here!

  • Monday, April 14, 2014 - 06:30
    How to find the right solar panel for you


    NewImage

    Thinking about going solar? Modern Farmer has the scoop on which panel is right for you.

    Whether you live in the country, city or suburbs, solar panels — those blue rectangles that soak up the sun’s rays and generate environmentally friendly electricity — have become a common sight. And they are going to become even more common as prices fall — quickly. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, the average cost of a panel sunk by 60 percent between the beginning of 2011 and mid-2013.

    At today’s low prices, investing in solar panels can pay for itself in a relatively short period, particularly in a state where electricity is expensive and/or good incentive programs exist. (A state-by-state listing can be found at dsireusa.org.) Sometimes, local governments provide incentives, and some utility companies reward customers who install panels.

    One constant anywhere in the United States is a 30 percent federal renewable energy tax credit that takes a chunk out of purchase and installation costs. Combine that with today’s lower prices and up-front costs can be recouped almost anywhere in the country within the typical 25-year life expectancy of modern solar panels, according to Andy Hershberger, president and CEO of Virginia-based Shenandoah Solar. Still, there are a few things to consider.

    “It’s good for folks to get their utility bills and look at what they use on a monthly basis and a yearly basis,” says Andy Tyson, co-founder and owner of Creative Energies, which designs and installs solar electric systems in the West.

    Such data is key to designing a system and calculating its payback period. Solar panels need sunshine, so an unshaded spot on the roof or nearby is a must. While the amount of sunshine received by a given place varies, there are very few places in the lower 48 where an unshaded panel won’t perform well, says Tyson.

    Read more.

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