Learning to Trust the Person I Used to Be

By , April 21, 2015

In my life I seem to find a lot of opportunities to revisit past efforts. Typically, I complete a project, then, years later, return to it to maintain, upgrade, improve or renew it in some way. Inevitably, I’ll continue to do this throughout my life. This means I must learn to trust myself.

In far too many of these projects I fail to preserve my notes. Each project seems to require pages of calculations, designs, exploration of options, lists of requirements, and other documentation. If I remember to preserve it, I get to refer back to it the next time I address the project. If not, I go through it all again.

On those occasions when I have to start from scratch, I always question every decision I made previously. I question everything, assume that I didn’t think of the particulars that occur to me this time around. And, inevitably, I often found that I did it right the first time. I have to learn to trust my earlier self’s judgment. I have to trust the person I used to be.

I can site a lot of examples of this. However, if you regularly read this blog, you already know I’m thinking about the ongoing power system upgrade chronicled in the Power Shift posts (start with Power Shift: A New/Old Battery Bank). I’ve searched thoroughly for notes on the power system, particularly how and why I set up the current solar panels, but have found very little. This has led to startling and at times even embarrassing realizations regarding my competency the first time around.

I mentioned in a previous post that I want a DC power disconnect, a simple switch to turn off the power connection between the charge controller and the battery bank. I worked long and hard to design this, trying to figure out whether or not I needed or wanted a fuse in the line, if so what size, what type of switch I wanted, and many other questions. I searched the shed (see In Praise of Pack Rats) for several switches I knew would be in there.

Eventually, I found one I liked, figured out what I needed to support it, made a list of components to be purchased, and even built a wooden backing for it so that it would look nice on the cabin wall.

Since I needed to go to town to buy some of the components, I turned to work on other aspects of the PV system. This included evaluating the PV cutoff to see if it might be better off moved inside the cabin from its position on an outer wall. A large part of this evaluation involved tracing the various wires in and out of it to remind myself where they went and what they did.

In the process, I found that we already have a DC disconnect!

When I created the original system, I ran the PV wiring through the disconnect box twice, to take advantage of its two fuse slots. Somewhere I got the idea of running the positive connection from the charger to the battery through the box a second time, so that throwing the large switch on the box would disconnect incoming PV power and power from the charger to the battery. The fuse involved meets the needs of the new PV array; the fuse that has always been on the positive terminal of the battery bank backs it up well.

In other words, I spent a few days assuming I didn’t have the sense to do the job correctly the first time, then discovered that, in fact, I did.

One of these days, I may learn to trust the person I used to be. If not, I’m doomed to continue wasting valuable time, effort, and money.

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