Steering the ESPcat

Steering is a bit like karaoke.  Everyone wants to have a go even if they are terrible at it.  When it comes to steering, we all think we have special abilities.  I remember trying to teach my daughter to drive for the very first time.  I was only young.  What did I know? It never occurred to me that someone could actually not know how to steer.  I lunged for the wheel at the last moment, saving us from the traffic island by microseconds thanks to my lightning fast reflexes. I became prematurely grey.

So it is with the ESPcat.  I continually imagine myself steering. In order to steer, one needs a steering wheel.  For a steering wheel, one needs a steering console.  That is how I met a very nice young man named Chris who sold me this:

pedistal without wheel

No, it is not an art object, it is a steering console.  First a wheel gets attached then the instruments and then you install everything and you sit on it and steer.  How hard can it be?

Speaking of instruments, I should say something about my sponsor, Schneider Electric.  Schneider is worth €41.16 billion so it is big; real big; dammed big!  With my fancy ideas about changing the world and reducing carbon footprint and all that, how do I sit with the idea of being sponsored by a giant, multinational cooperation?   I think people have the wrong idea about big corporations.  Big operations are not good nor are they evil nor kind or nasty.  They are simply machines like a diesel engine or super computer.  If the machine is designed correctly it is a good machine.  Schneider Electric is a good machine.  Schneider makes excellent energy management gadgets including solar charge controllers, power protection equipment, automation computers (PLCs) and touch screens like this:

touch screen

The plan is to mount the touch screen on the console behind the steering wheel so that while I am steering I can see how much energy is left in the lithium batteries and how much power the solar panel is providing.  Press the yellow button on the touch screen and you can look deeper into the control system and see how each component is performing.

charge level indicator

I wrote the program that goes into the touch screen.  Do you like the green?  The program is written so that what is displayed on the screen can also be displayed on a smart phone or on the Internet.

So I am dreaming about steering but first I must purchase some metal pipe and sand bags and stainless steel eye bolts so I can beach Borderline up on the mud where I can work on her easier.  I think maybe changing the world is going to be a bigger job than I thought.


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