Thursday, December 17, 2015

Chimney Turbine fix

Another unconventional fix, this time the chimney turbine.

The Chimney Turbine
It's been there for a 4 or 5 years, rotating steadily and stealthily, until a couple of nights ago, it nearly drove me crazy as I searched for the origin of a faint noise as I used the computer in the attic. I thought it was from the hard disk, then the boiler, and finally, after a night or two I realized it was from the turbine. It didn't help that there wasn't much wind, so it only turned intermittently.

Come the weekend, and I jump on the roof to get it out, disassemble it, to find a rusty bearing at the very bottom. The hole where the axle is assembled is protected from water ingress, but I guess not protected enough, and over the years, some water accumulated, and got the bearing rusty.
The rusty bearing

A trip to the local hardware store later, and I ordered the bearings on eBay, from some German store. The local store closed at 12:00 on a saturday!
The rusty bearing opened and the new one about to be installed

They arrived today, so I prepared it all, ready for final assembly and replacing it on the roof!

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Kids Robot

I recently promised my daughter we would make a robot together, one that could make drawings.

After searching for some inspiration, I found a really simple one, here, that could be easily built and that she could understand.

So here are my plans, most steps, if not all, can be make by the children with some assistance:

Materials: a battery holder, motor, switch, tie wraps, and a piece of wood; some basic tools are also needed. I have pre-drilled the wood with 6 small holes for the feet, and 4 larger holes for the motor mount, and pre-soldered long wires to all electric components, so that the child can connect them.

Kids: Cut 3 lengths of solid core wire, strip it, and bend it to fit the holes, see next picture:

Kids: Mount like this!

Kids: Mount the motor with the tie wraps. Mount a thin flexible tube on the motor. Here I used a bit of thermo retractable sleeve. On the tip of that you mount a tip of a pencil.

Kids: Also the battery holder.

Connect it all via the switch. I used a push button, but a regular ON-OFF is also fine! even better maybe would be a ON-OFF-ON to reverse the direction!

Here it is a better view!

It then got decorated with antennae and mouth :) The kids really enjoyed it!!!

The idea is that the vibration both draws and makes the robot move. Mine was a bit too heavy to move, but I'll work on that!

I'm already thinking of the next ones! slightly more complex!

Sunday, September 27, 2015

GoPro waterproof case power supply

Back quickly, and back to electronics! Or in this case, electrics!

The problem is well known: You have a GoPro camera and would like to power it beyond the battery life for e.g. some outdoor long time-lapse movie.

There are some external batteries available, and some projects that connect a USB cable through the case, but they either require a hole in the case to pass the cable, or involve some very thin conductors, which, do not damage the case, but do potentially compromise the water proofness of the case.

So here's what I've done:

Got a USB cable and stripped it to the connector, and trimmed the connector as to be able to put the camera with the cable back in the case:

Connected the 2 power wires to two of the buttons on the case, from the inside.

Since the buttons are metallic, all that is left is to connect the other end of the USB cable to the buttons on the outside! Lo and behold, you have power to the camera via the buttons, with no damage to either camera or case, and all it costs is the price of the USB cable, which you probably have lying around anyway!

Next step is to make a nice connector to put on the outside over the buttons, with all the wiring!

Friday, September 25, 2015

I'm back! and this time with a completely different project!

I've been away from posting here, as I did not have much available time to report.

I did some things, which I still intend to report, but this time, I am redoing the upholstery on some old chairs!
These are some pretty old chairs, that belonged to my grand-mother, so they are at least 40 years old, I guess more than that.

About 15 years ago I replaced the internal foam and elastic bands on the sitting area, but left the top intact. Now, after an unfortunate incident, the cloth got destroyed, so I had to fix it!

Started by removing the bottom from the chair, and the artificial leather cover.

You can appreciate the work that went into the cutting and placing of the cover!

The round headed nails were placed by me during the foam replacement. The original nails are the flat headed, and they are very short and tapered, very interesting nails! Possibly special upholstery nails...don't know...

I then cut a piece of new material and stapled it all around. It is not as stretched as I would like to, but it was the first time...I'll try to do better for the second chair!

I also inserted some screw studs (sorry don't know the correct name) to be able to use metal screws instead of wood screws.

Overall the result is pretty neat! but I'm not gonna do the back, as that is something for a professional.
The photos aren't great, but the phone was all I had around.

I'll try to make a time-lapse movie of the repair of the second chair! stay tuned!