Friday, October 28, 2016

Fixing a Broken Lid on a "Sip" by Swell

If you bought a Sip by Swell from Target, congratulations, they are really a great product.  Insulated well, they keep your drinks cold or hot.  If you were unfortunate enough, however, to try and disinfect the lid by boiling it, only to find that the lid no longer stayed tight, well, I'm sorry for your loss.

I spent way too much time trying to figure out why the lid was broken, turns out the entire plastic assembly inside became disconnected from the metal casing, not just the top of it.  So, yeah, the screw part is plastic, not metal.

I thought then that I could just remove the metal casing to fix it, but during the process of trying to remove the casing with a pair of "long nosed vice grips" aka pliers, I luckily crimped the side sufficiently to lock the metal casing in place with the plastic threading.  So, voila, repaired.

I'm not sure if it counts as serendipity.  I mean, I did try to get a repaired lid, that is, top, but not a repaired top in this fashion.  Maybe the Persian Princesses of Serendip would know.  Have a good one!

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Salvaging: Safety First

So, I cut myself the other day salvaging parts from an old dishwasher somebody left on the parkside.  It wasn't that bad, or at least that's what I tell myself.  I should have been wearing my work gloves, but it was one of those cliche thoughts, "What could go wrong?"  I mean, I don't like being paranoid, and it really did seem unlikely that I would generate enough force to put a 1/8" deep cut in my finger just from pulling off the electric motor.  Before you ask, yes I unscrewed it first.  Maybe it was from doing it at 5:30 in the morning.  It was dark.  Maybe it's like the darkside.  It's dark so the metal is more dangerous.  Maybe it was like my cave moment.  Or maybe the dishwasher was cursed!

I guess my hand hit the metal framing at the bottom and that was enough to cut it.  I was dumbfounded when I looked at my finger.  Blood was flowing.  My first reaction was to try to put pressure on it, but I decided to let the blood flow a little bit to make sure any dirt or crud would come out.  I mean, it was bleeding pretty substantially, but I had enough sense to know that it wasn't so bad that it wouldn't stop on its own.  I busted out the first aid kit when I got home, and put antibacteria cream on it and a bandage.  Now, of course, I wear gloves over the bandage, even a pair of vinyl gloves for when I do dishes, and, of course, the lesson here is, always wear gloves when doing your salvage jobs!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Generator Odyssey

Update:  Incidentally, the best electric motor I found for generating electricity was out of an old dishwasher.  Unfortunately, however, it doesn't have the proper crank or assembly to really make it practical for generating electricity.  However, if you feel inspired, it can generate something, and with a diode, I believe it would feed it back to the grid even.  Anyway, more info below.

So I was looking at some of my old video logs, and thought I'd write about generators.  I tried using an old fan to generate energy for the grid.  So I was spinning the generator for quite some time, and even burned out two fans with this experimentation, one was a salvage job I found on the sidewalk.  But, I never tested the fan with a light bulb.

You may have better luck, if you have a fan you don't need anymore that doesn't work, you could try wiring the plug using some spare wire to a lamp.  Connect positive to positive and negative to negative then spin the fan and see if you can generate light.  Maybe you can tinker with it, and get it to work.  I also tried doing it with a diode but that didn't work with any of the fans I had access to.

I did manage to light a lightbulb using an asynchronous motor that I pulled out of a dead microwave, which I still have somewhere.  It was the motor that spun the tray.  But it only generates about 6W (watts), which isn't enough to be practical.  I mean I hooked it up to our battery charger and spun it for like an hour, but it wasn't enough to charge the AA batteries enough to be noticeable, and of course my volt meter needs a specialized 12V battery so I couldn't test the batteries to see how much, if anything, was getting in.

I also bought some small solar panels, which can charge AA rechargeable batteries for $15 a piece, which worked for me before, but I tried hooking them up in series to charge my cellphone, but it didn't generate enough voltage.  So, I reset them and use them now to charge AA batteries for flashlights and remote controls.  Solar powered flash light anyone?

All the work with little to no gain has left me somewhat bitter.  I guess Sisyphus finally got tired.  As much as I'd like to completely not use electronics, not using them has proven more difficult.  But, I'm still trying to find replacements in order to conserve energy.  Basically, I only play anything when I get tired of meditating, because my ability to concentrate on the space and light in my own mind isn't strong enough of a distraction to overcome the static outside.  Well, I guess that isn't entirely true.  If I really knew, for a fact, that electronics were evil, because they were completely devoid of spirit, or the sacred, or the divine, I could cut it cold turkey.  The Abyss.

Anyway hope this helps if you are considering creating an electric generating home gym.

Have a good one.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Ceiling Fans




I've found people have often said that you want a fan to be blowing down on you in order to keep you cool.  Well, this isn't always the case.  If it's cooler outside than inside, having the fan blow upward toward the ceiling will cause air and heat to flow out through the roof (via fissures in the ceiling and thermodynamics).  It's not as good as having a fan blow up into the attic, which is doable, I've seen it, but if you're a renter, or are just starting out, having the fan blow up will cause a vacuum which will cause air to flow in from the outside.

I wouldn't recommend this though if it is already cooler inside than outside, in that case, having the fan blow down on you will feel better, temporarily, but you may want to switch the fan at night to blow up, to pull cooler air in, if you need it.

Peace, hope, and love to you.

Windows: Building Envelope Improvements

So, I recently hacked some window coverings into the window that I found in a dumpster.  They were these large pieces of white styrofoam that I found in a dumpster.  I managed to fix the pieces into the window that only had those tinny aluminum mini-blinds.  My wife complained at first, but it was an improvement, and kept the heat out rather effectively.

We did end up getting curtains, and moved those pieces of styrofoam into the attic/crawl space to work as additional insulation.  Now everybody is happy .

Friday, June 17, 2016

Grey Water Recycling on a Budget

Update:  We moved and our new place has a dishwasher.  I don't recycle water much at all anymore, except maybe the rinse water, which I reuse in our tiny garden.  I recycled once, maybe twice since we've lived here, when I felt compelled to wash dishes by hand; it is infrequent.  I do, however, use the energy saving mode on our dishwasher, and I don't use heated drying, opting instead to open the dishwasher up when it's done and let it air dry.  Usually that's not quite enough, especially for plastics, so I dry it with a towel before putting the dishes away. 

The key to capturing grey dish water is to capture only the rinse water, and not to rinse the dishes in the already captured water.

It's also a good idea to clean the bucket periodically.  Once a week with less than a teaspoon of bleach should do the trick.

Also covering the bucket when not in use will ensure mosquitoes can't breed, even if they do manage to find a way inside your home.

Have a magical day!