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robchalmers 07-18-2009 02:00 PM

Most surreal moment of Efficiency
whats the most surreal moment of efficiency you've come across??

May driving or may be in some other avenue of life like at the store.

e.g. Last year I was on the German Autobahn - late for a flight cruising in a Merc CLS 320CDI at a speedo indicated 247km/h (on cruise control!!!?!!!) In a rare second of bravery/stupidity I took my eyes off the road to flick through the trip computer screens. now taking into account this was 4000+ lbs car witha a BIG turbo'd V6 diesel cruising at around 150mph it was still returning 30mpg(uk) - 24ish MPG(us) :eek:

e.g.2. just been to Asda, our arm of wallmart and there was an offer on milk 4pints for 1.50 or on promotion was 8pints for 3 - what the hells the point in that!

NiHaoMike 07-19-2009 01:14 AM

When I got my Kill-a-Watt, one of the first things I tested was my hybrid digital audio amplifier. At idle, it uses 1w as expected. Then I turned up the volume. I was surprised just how loud it was when it was up to 2w. I turned it all the way up and I ran out of gain at only 35w input before reaching the limit of the hardware (60w output). (And you bet it was really loud! Maybe I should try the test again with a high quality sound card with 2vpp outputs as opposed to an iPod with 0.5vpp...)

More recently, I tested a new PC power supply with a DC link connection mod. I started with an extra 330uF, 400v capacitor connected to just before the preregulator. (The power supply was powering a 64 bit PC running Survivor from a test disk.) I disconnected the capacitor and the power usage increased, but the amperage draw decreased. I don't know what really is happening.

Frank Lee 07-19-2009 03:32 AM

I think the most efficient thing I've seen is rabbits eating their own poo. That's gotta extract every last calorie out of that blade of grass.

blueflame 07-20-2009 08:09 AM

When I needed to pee on long 3rd class train journeys through Asia, I'd stop drinking water until the urge to pee disappeared, so I went all day without a pee, and never lost my seat or had to stand up.

Food sellers walked the tracks at stops, so I would pay for and receive food through the carriage window, avoiding the need to move for great lengths of time. Doing the rabbit thing may have been a little disturbing to others on the train, but I could have rigged up some 1 1/2" hoses...

Pregnant rabbits can reabsorb their kittens in times of famine too.

Life on pacific islands is sweet. Tropical fruits grow almost wild and fall into your open mouth, rich volcanic soils, fish are plentiful, clothes are a simple wrap, homes can be built in a day, ukuleles are extremely portable....

Piwoslaw 07-21-2009 01:44 AM


Originally Posted by blueflame (Post 116673)
When I needed to pee on long 3rd class train journeys through Asia, I'd stop drinking water until the urge to pee disappeared, so I went all day without a pee, and never lost my seat or had to stand up.

When I used to go skiing with my cousin, she would always complain about needing to pee, but she'd never go b/c it was hard to get out of the ski suit, especially when it's -10*C. So she'd say she is turning on the "second reabsorbtion cycle" and ski for the whole day.

bgd73 07-22-2009 02:30 AM

I have several surreal moments.
One was my first epiphany about power used for the work returned. My dad had a 350 cummins IH cabover rig when I was a kid. He offered to haul approx 60ton beam at 60 feet long with a stretch trailer. the feel of the mass, knowing rivets in the cab were the same 5-7 mpg...the feel of steel mass is incredibly dense and rubbery...120,000 pounds...:turtle:
The second was in an 87 subaru. assuming gas guage stuck, my trip went on to 60+mpg with unknown cause... that was in the 90s.
The third was just saturday. I had never seen a tornado, let alone record one in maine.
Upon driving through after I thought it had passed, my coolant reservoir filled up with cool fluid, and the engine went missing a quart of oil in 20 miles. fuel mileage unhindered.
No matter what we do to be surreal. There is the god factor beyond our acheivements.

Bicycle Bob 07-23-2009 01:11 AM

My favourite was a few passes down a hill that levelled and then resumed the descent. I could EOC at around 55 MPH and stay within a car length of where I'd have been by riding the throttle for an amazing period, especially if we had to slow or stop at the next light.

My Inner Child, OTOH, was most delighted by finally doing a power slide using pedal power, without loosing control.

Frank Lee 07-23-2009 01:26 AM

As far as fuel economy, I had a tank of E85 on a day when it was cold enough to cause the car to act up on it, causing a forced P&G (only way it would run right was to floor it). There was a powerful wind- had to have been about 40 mph blowing straight up my tailpipe- virtually no x-wind component. Pulses were much quicker than usual, glides were waaaaay longer than usual, plus I went faster than usual. IIRC I went about 170 miles this way and recorded 68 mpg for that segment. Topped off cuz I wanted to dilute that E85. Yes, I know, short fill fraught with potential measuring error... but even so it had to have been really good; me and my car have never come even close to that mark before or since.

NiHaoMike 08-08-2009 10:09 PM

I'm currently working on a small DC/DC converter for my workstation. It converts 140-370v from rectified mains voltage to 13.8v at up to 1A for backup battery charging. I couldn't figure out why it was buzzing until I removed the load resistor and the buzzing slowed down to a clicking. Then I looked at the meter I had in series with my bench power supply and it was only using 5.3mW (33uA at 160v). I then realized that the converter was essentially P&Ging (which is known as "period skipping" in power supply design).

And no, I did not expect a simple 2 transistor DC/DC converter to "period skip"...

SentraSE-R 08-10-2009 02:08 AM

I think it was the day I took an Oceanic Society boat trip to the Farallon Islands off of San Francisco. We saw six Blue Whales, the largest animals that have ever lived on Earth. But in addition, we saw eleven Humpback Whales and a California Gray Whale. All of these massive life forms were in the area feeding on tiny Krill. Efficiency in action!

Then I followed it up within a week with a trip to Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Park to see the largest biomass trees in the world.

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