Archive for the 'Ephemera' Category

Electrify your shed, solar power in the allotment. Well pumps and light!

July 29, 2013
Where most of the thinking goes on.

The now electrified shed/greenhouse

It’s that time of the year again, and the summery weather has released me from my wintry slumber, and in the mood for invention! So I recently upgraded our allotment shed with a 12v solar battery, a well pump (That pumps out of our well) , a solar panel and 12v plug and lighting.

The system consists of a 10 Watt solar panel, which is connected to a 10 Amp charge regulator (all from eBay). Cost was around 30 pounds. Together they charge three 12 volt, 7 Amp Hour ride on ride-on toy batteries, connected in parallel (Scrounged over the last few years, but not very expensive).

The batteries are charging very quickly from even this small panel, providing plenty of power for the caravan sump pump that is suspended down the well (A whale submersible 12v pump, again purchased online). The aim is to give our allotment the ability to survive without mains water. And it very almost does. We learnt very quickly that you have to pump the water into barrels every day, as the well refills daily and a hot day can use up all the well water! Four barrels seem optimal.  The barrels are attached using hose connectors, the type that you use to fix broken hoses. I drilled a hole into the top of each barrel using a hole-saw, and screwed them in. If you attach all the barrels with hose connectors they will fill up one after another. Slightly higher than all the other hose connections is the drain away, and that drains directly into the fish-pond if the barrels ever fill up completely.

15 minutes is about enough to fill one barrel, so you will want to keep an eye on it. I also discovered that the pump hardly made a dent on the battery, at least during a sunny day. We have now lighting in the shed, thanks to a 12v LED bulb all the way from China, and a caravan plug. The magic of a 12v caravan plug is that you can plug in a converter that lets you use 12v car socket devices, such as mobile phone chargers!

Have a look in the gallery, and give it a go. You don’t need to use fancy toggle switches to control everything, but I heartily recommend it!


In other cat related news

August 12, 2011

From the ever brilliant local newspapers, came a front page I just had to share. All the local newspapers in Stafford are a great read, especially as they focus mainly on bin related news and spinechilling tales of ‘young people seen hanging around at the park’  (The park that has a modus operandi of ‘place where young people of the local area can hang out’). Never a dull moment!

But getting a whole two cat related articles on the front page of the newspaper is in my opinion a work of art, especially as one article should actually read ‘Cat may have been put in skip, or then maybe not, or perhaps it was?’ ! Sherlock Holmes would be shocked.

And its not like there isn’t any other News Going On At The Moment.

Note: To the people who lost cats, sorry to hear about that. I am fond of the furry things myself (comes with the Librarian badge I suppose), so I hope they catch the awful people responsible for killing your cats.

A quick interlude

January 17, 2011

My bi-yearly blog entry is as ever random, however I have been working on something longer. All about my experiences using Calibre, Linux and a Kindle for all my e-book reader needs. Spoiler, its pretty awesome.

In the interim, here’s a picture of the top tube of my single-speed road bike.

Holiday in Scotland

August 1, 2010

A candle outside my tent on the banks of Loch Lomond.  The weather was uncharacteristically excellent, although the midges were swarming with a furious vengeance.

My salad bring all the vegetarians to my yard, and they’re like, it’s significantly crunchier than ours.

July 3, 2010

My herb and salad garden seems to be going great. Without any pesticides and only organic fertiliser. It is strange to think only a few months ago this was nothing but an overgrown pile of broken glass and numerous large unidentifiable metal objects.

The wooden stakes? They are a frame for a DIY cloche I made to speed up the growth of the seedlings with sheets of recycled plastic painting sheets. It worked a treat!

Possibly the best greetings card in the world?

June 26, 2010

Could this be the best/worst greetings card in the world? If it fails to tickle the ‘kittens and flowers’ part of the brain, then sadly you are either asleep, or too manly to admit it.

It also found that it’s excellent for testing the functionality of the  printer/scanner at work, as its has everything you need (Bright colours, images, text and a reflective surface!)

On the important subject of why you should always check the size of eBay purchases

January 10, 2010

John and the Surprisingly Large DishOoops. It looked a lot smaller in the picture on the auction.

I was going to use it to create a point to point wireless connection but I may have to use it for its obvious original use. Knocking satellites from orbit and frightening the neighbours.

I am mostly ….

May 16, 2009

Working in various UK libraries, riding my bike to wherever those places may be located, and glaring in a bemused manner at my bafflingly slow GPRS mobile internet connection. It feels a bit odd to be so out of touch.

But at long last, the sun came out.


eBook Reader, The Last Millennium

December 15, 2008
Palm m500

Palm m500

Thank goodness for the endless march of technology, as it makes hugging the trailing edge so much easier for us tech laggards. I have used a wonderful palm as an eBook reader for many years now, however the wear and tear of everyday life has turned it from a solid companion to a slightly troublesome pal. Superglue and a homemade cable helped but I think that the inevitable progress of entropy cannot be ignored, so I suppose I need to upgrade.

Read the rest of this entry »

Greg Palast, Man with a Hat

October 9, 2008

I always enjoy reports by Greg Palast, and this report from the BBC about voter intimidation and fraud in the US is an informative and mighty interesting piece of investigative journalism. It helps too that I just like his style, that man knows how to wear a hat.