Written November 23rd, 2013
As the Warsaw Poland conference on global warming draws to a close today, I am reminded that there is only one solution to the problem, "Think Globally, Act Locally". I am taken back in time to the 1950's when the incandescent bulb was king and most all of our parents (Great Depression era children) would scream "If your not in the room...... turn off the light..." Their concern, of course, was the bill from the electric company but their effort could be part of the solution to today's problem.
In particular I had a friend who lived in "Prairie Homes", and yes,.... it was a tract of 'Ranch Style' houses. His name was Pat H. and His father Harry H. was one of the ultra conservative Americans who subscribed to the theory 'waste not, want not'. My friend Pat was an avid reader. If he was awake there was a book of some type in his hands. While visiting one day in the winter, it was cloudy and overcast, we were in Pat's room and after a game of chess he was reading a book and I a scout manual. There was 3 lights on in the room, ceiling, desk, and bedside. When Harry (Pat's dad) came home from work we received a lecture on the outrageous cost of electricity.... and how it was only necessary to have one light on to read by.... and to turn off the 'damn' lights! Oh my god! he used the 4 letter word. I was in shock. Because of the severity of his lecture and the use of the 4 letter word, it made an impression on me (remember, it was the 1950's).
As I pondered the chastising my friend Pat received, I of course went home thinking about how a photocell could be used to turn off a light when a second one came on or if sunlight was adequate to have the first bulb off. Since in the 1950's photocell technology was very expensive it was rarely used to control lighting. Even the streetlights in my home town ran from a timer and not a photocell. By the early 60's the cost had dropped and I even remember the streetlights came on during those dark and dreary winter days in Indiana when the sun hid behind a shroud. I never carried this to the next stage of actually trying to develop an automated system using a photocell, but the idea was planted.
So fast forward with me to 10 years ago and a camping trip in the High Desert and the chance encounter with a man named Charly who would push my brain into a new way of looking at "only one light at a time". Out of necessity, I designed an electrical circuit that would only allow him one light to operate at any given time in his home. The story is complex and possibly of little interest to most but following is 'Charly's Story'... I have 2 parts, one is his biographical and the next is the technical details of "One Light at a Time". So for those of you reading this who are not interested in the 'Why?' just skip to the 'Technical Details' for the 'How'. I can only imagine if Pat's dad had thought of this in the 50's a scolding could have been avoided.
Charly's Story............ Click Here: Charly's Story ~ One Light at a Time
"One Light at a Time" ~ Technical Details...... Click here: One Light at a Time ~ Technical
I started this writing several years ago but only in the last few weeks have I had the inspiration to finish it up.
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