LED Lights tripping my circuit breaker!

I recently moved into a brand new home. After a few weeks, the circuit breaker in my office would trip every week or so, but recently it began to happen every night. I figured all my office equipment was using too much power and I need to have an additional circuit installed. It seemed odd, however, that it only happened at night when power usage was at its lowest. Another thought was that maybe a device was shorting, so I tried to narrow it down by unplugging every nonessential device. Still, the breaker would trip.

My office is on the same circuit as the outside lights, but it never dawned on me they could be the culprits. I had replaced the two porch lights with some motion sensor LED flood lights, and bulbs in the two sconces with night sensor LEDs. I also installed a Ring doorbell which has IR LEDs. Surely, these low-power LEDs couldn’t be causing the problem, right? Well, apparently, the answer is yes they can.

I didn’t know this, but I’ve learned that when LED lights are turned on, there is a short but large electrical surge (called the inrush current) and, according to this article, can be 253 times the LED’s rated current! My theory is that when some combination of the motion floodlights and Ring doorbell simultaneously sensed motion, it would trip my breaker. It sort of makes sense. As more and more people moved into the neighborhood, night activity like car headlights, roaming cats, etc. would increase. To test this, I replaced the floodlights with regular LED bulbs and the breaker has not tripped once in the last several days.

I suppose I could try a different brand of motion floodlights, but I think I’m going to just install a solar powered one and avoid the problem all together.

The new Nikon Z7/Z6 stops the ship from sinking and that’s what is really important

Did the new Nikon mirrorless Z7/Z6 cameras leapfrog the competition? Do they crush the competition feature for feature? Did they hit it out of the ballpark?

Nope. And they didn’t have to. The thing that all the major reviewers miss is that this stops the ship from sinking. Many former Nikon shooters have already jumped ship onto the USS Sony or USS Fuji and many, like me, were strongly considering the move. I am no longer scared of investing in something new or, perhaps more importantly, how I’m going to sell all of my Nikon gear to switch to a new system, how I’m going to tolerate an unfamiliar menu system, subpar egonomics, etc. Nikon did it right and made it a priority to have solid backwards compatibility with F mount lens. Well done.

What is interesting is, if you asked me a week ago, if I was ready to jump if Nikon released a solid mirrorless camera, I would have said, “HELL YEAH.” However, today I sit without a confirmation for a pre-order in my inbox.

I feel good about my D500 and D750. They still take awesome pictures. Would it be cool to have an EVF, silent shooting, more resolution? Of course. However, I feel like I have time now. There is no longer a feeling of urgency to get started with a new system. Let others be the guinea pigs. Let the firmware mature. Perhaps, I even need to wait for the Z7 II.

Thank you Nikon for restoring my trust in your brand and vision.

PS I’m SO glad I didn’t buy a D850 :-)

Salida , CO – Aug 2018

We took at late-starting day trip to Salida, CO. I was pretty sure we would not make the full 2-1/2 hour drive, but figured we’d see some pretty scenery before turning back. Well, an hour out from the city, there was no way I was going to turn back! Happy we toughed it out. Cute city. Good food (OMG the sweet corn brown-butter sea salt ice cream with toasted marshmallow topping was to DIE FOR!) There were a couple weddings going on and one of the couples rode a raft down the river! Anyways, here are some shots from my Nikon.

Ring Doorbell Windows 10 Volume Problem Solved!

Whenever I ran the Ring Doorbell Windows app, it would always lower the volume on any other application (music, video, etc.) that was running. As soon as I closed the Live View, the volume on the other apps would return to normal. I contacted their support and was told that it could be a driver issue. Obviously, they didn’t really know why it was happening.

Well, I did some more digging and discovered that in the Sounds dialog, there is a Communications tab. By default, the “When Windows detects communications activity” option was set to “Reduce the volume of other sounds by 80%”. That sure sounded like what was happening, so I changed it to “Do nothing”. BINGO! That fixed it!

I never even knew that setting existed. To get to the Sounds dialog, click the Windows icon on your desktop to bring up the menu. Type Sound and it will appear. It will say Control Panel underneath.

I’m not sure if other versions of Windows do the same thing, but I wouldn’t be surprised. Good luck!

Perfect guitar hanging system by String Swing

Floor and wall space is at a premium in my office and I was looking for a way to hang my guitars so I could free up the space the cases took up. I was just about to order the typical hangers–where the guitar hangs parallel to the wall–until I stumbled onto String Swing’s Slatwall Rail System.

They have these special hangers that hang the guitar perpendicular to the wall using up much less wall space. Unfortunately, the wall space I was targeting was 28 inches wide and their rail was 48 inches. So, I contacted the company and was told they would be happy to custom cut it for me for a nominal charge of just $2.

Anne, the salesperson, walked me through everything I needed, including mounting hardware. Turns out they have all kinds of different types of hangers you can choose from. You can get the 5 Guitar Rail and Hangers Bundle on Amazon for $100, but unless it fits your needs perfectly, I suggest you call String Swing up and let them put together something tailored to your specific needs. Mine ended up costing much less than the bundle ($65). I went with the fixed 90-degree hangers to maximize the number of guitars I could fit into my narrow space. I was hoping my three guitars would fit and they easily did. In fact, I could probably fit a fourth, if need be.

The materials are very sturdy and I am 100% confident the guitars will stay up. You really need to get the screws into studs and only my right and middle pairs of screws are. The left pair are using drywall anchors, which in my case is fine for such a short length. All of the necessary mounting hardware came with my order. Since the location of studs will vary from wall to wall, you need to pre-drill your own holes through the rail. Since it’s made of aluminum, the drilling is pretty easy. It probably took me less than 30 minutes to install everything.

String Swing specializes in displays for everything musical. All of their products are manufactured in Wisconsin and guaranteed for life! It’s a family-run business and I highly recommend you check them out if you need a musical instrument stand or display.

Rampart Reservoir, Aug 2018

Rampart Reservoir is about an hour and 15 minutes from my new home in Colorado Springs. Kimberly and I had a picnic on some of the large rocks on the shore. It’s been a while since I’ve taken some landscapes, so I brought my trusty Nikon D750. I really prefer it’s colors for landscapes over my D500. It was nice to have something new to shoot. The water level was really low, but that uncovered some interesting rock formations and sand. Too bad I was lazy and didn’t bring any good lens. Oh well, plenty of time to return.

Remote into a high-end gaming-level Windows 10 machine for $35 a month

I’ve been intrigued by the idea of remoting into a cloud-based computer for years. Historically, it’s been expensive and the machines were limited in CPU power, RAM and storage. A french company called Blade is changing this with their Shadow service. For $35 a month, you get remote access to an Intel Xeon processor with eight dedicated threads, 12GB of DDR4 memory, 256GB of storage and NVidia GTX 1080 equivalent graphics. What’s really cool is that the hardware evolves and automatically upgrades. You don’t have to keep upgrading your computer!

You can remote in from your computer or mobile device (Windows, Mac and Android available now, iOS coming soon) and the minimum bandwidth is just 5Mbps. That will get you 720p at 60 fps. Faster connections will get you up to 4k resolution. (Note: Dual screens are not yet supported but will be in the future according to the FAQ.) Keep in mind that your local bandwidth is only used for display and remote control, the host computer has a 1Gb per second Internet connection!

Although it’s billed as a gaming service, it’s still just a Windows 10 machine so you could use it as an everyday computer as well. The question I have is how it will work with local storage which will be essential for resource intensive work like video and graphics editing.

$35 a month may seem steep, but it’s a lot cheaper than buying a similarly spec’d PC. Also, in lieu of using your own PC, you can also buy their Shadow Box for $139.95 or $9.95 per month to rent.

Check their website for availability. The west coast is already up and the east coast is scheduled for August 9. Look for a nationwide rollout by October.

A Service that Lets You Use Windows 10 on Any Computer or Phone Is Going Nationwide

Back at CES in January, French company Blade seemed to promise the moon. For a monthly fee, the company would give users access to a high-end Windows 10 machine, with the latest CPU from Intel and a beefy Nvidia 1080 GPU built in.