I have had the SG-237 for nearly 5 years and it has worked perfectly matching my random length wire across the bands, due to changes to the garden, I had to power down the SG-237 for a few weeks, on powering up, nothing would tune.
Checking current to the tuner showed that no power was being drawn, so off came the lid, and out came the voltmeter.
Tracing 12v through the circuit, it appeared their was a break between jumper J5 and the fuse holder, (the 2A fuse was in tact), but I couldn’t see any damage to the PCB tracks.
The reply from the SGC support ticket was within two days and their tech support said this was a very unusual fault and bridging from J5 to the base of the fuse holder was fine.
I can only deduce that the track link is made within one of the layers of the multi layer PCB, I did try and re float all the relevant solder connections, but this didn’t work unfortunately.
In the end, I soldered a link from the diode, bypassing J5 as I’ll never remove the link to the fuse holder, this link now removes another future point of failure and everything works just fine 🙂
I bought my bird bath second hand for £10 and have had it for several years, I’ve always hated the colour and topping it up with the watering can every day was getting to be a pain.
So I thought I would ‘ kill two birds with one stone’, (I know, not the best phase considering the context), anyway, a nice little project in the making.
My original design ended up way to complex, the plan was to use a Programmable Logic Controller to drain the bowl and refill it everyday, plus some other tweaks such as overfilling the bath to flush out waste and only draining down at night etc.
I did a relality check and simplified the design to simply fill when the level in the bowl gets low, however, the plumbing manifold was made to allow auto draining if I choose to do it later.
Current Operation – This is very simple and needs no manual intervention. With the water supply and power on, the liquid level controller keeps the solenoid fill valve closed as long as a circuit is made via the water from the common connector (metal tank connector) to the low level brass stud.
When the water level drops below the low level stud and the contact to the common connector is missing, the controller, after a short delay, powers the fill solenoid valve and water enters the bird bath, once the water touches the upper contact (high level), the solenoid power is removed and the valve closes.
How it was made – As the bird bath is made of plastic and the top bowl lifts off the column, I was able to put hardware out of view inside the base.
First job was to drill and fit the 15mm Tank Connector (£2.79) and a small length of 15mm copper pipe in the top bowl, this will connect to the filling manifold via a push fit coupling, the copper stub will also act as a ‘Common’ connector for the level sensor circuit.
The manifold is made of 15mm copper pipe with end fed fittings, the manifold is connected via a 15mm ‘push fit’ connection to the bowl stub, thiis makes maintenance very easy as it all comes apart quickly. The finished pipework is fully lagged.
The liquid level control PCB was off eBay (£3.65 and) fitted neatly inside an IP rated enclosure I already had, in the picture above you can see an earth wire which is soldered to the stub pipe from the bowl and the black cable is a two core to the high and low level stud contacts.
The solenoid is 1/2″ version, 12vDC and connects to the water supply via 15mm tap connectors with fibre washers (£1.50 @ B&Q), I fitted a flywheel diode across the terminals to avoid pitting the PCB relay contacts, the valve was off eBay and cost £4.32.
The studs are Pan Head 12mm x 4mm brass machine screws commonly used for metal conduit box lids, the studs are positioned at the low level and high level marks. On the underside I have used hot melt glue to secure the sensor connecting wire.
Finished project and a new colour, Winsor Green. The water supply to the bird bath is via a hose from an outside tap, the connection at the bird bath is via a hozelok connector with an isolating ball valve, the valve is ‘gagged in’ so the when the solenoid opens, the bath fill is quite slow,
12vDC to power the circuit board and solenoid is fed from an external IP rated socket with a small plug in PSU.
I installed 150W/M electric underfloor heating in the kitchen and utility, each area was controlled using a seperate TS700 programmable touch screen controller, these were bought off eBay for £20 each.
The TS700 worked fine but wasn’t very user friendly to programme and so you ended up not making any changes after the initial setup.
Looking for an alernative controller which will be within my buget and fit the same footprint as the TS700 and be Smart, I came across the BHT-002 series of WiFi enabled Thermostats on Aliexpress.com.
The Smart aspect means I can use an App (Beca Smart) to control and programme the controller, also as its App based, I can share permissions with familiy so they also can control the floor heating, another bonus is the ability to have control via Alexa.
The BHT-002 Series of controller has different versions, the one I selected was 240v AC and capable of switching 16A, it has a backlit display and WiFi connectivity.
Connection to the iPhone App was painless and the instructions an setup are considerably easier than the TS700, the cost from Aliexpress was £20 each, unfortunatly I had to pay £11.07 Customs Duty when they came into the UK, but they were a breeze to swop over from the TS700 and work perfectly.
A nice touch is the comfort light on the controller to show it is powered, all in all, a really good move to make the change.
Link to previous blog on the longwire installation: HERE
The existing steel tube is outside of my physical strength to bring down from the vertical and put back up again, I was very reliant on a local scaffolder to do this for me, for which I was ever grateful.
My intention has always been to replace the galvanised steel 6m scaffold tube supporting my longwire with a lightweight Glass Reinforced Plastic (GRP) composite version, the two main reasons are maintainability and performance.
Performance is related to the effect on the antennas radiation pattern by the influence of the steel tube, use of a non conducting supporting tube will remove this effect.
The 6m tube in RED was bought from Engineered Composites Ltd of Chester, the total cost including VAT and UK Delivery was £130.54.
The GRP scaffold tube is only available from Engineering Composites in 6m lengths and in either Red or Yellow, I choose red as it was going to painted light grey anyway and red is way cooler than yellow, didn’t want the neighbours to think I’d installed a Gas vent pipe :-).
I used Ultra Grip Primer before applying the top coat, and it seems ok, time will tell how effective it has been.
GRP tube installed without any assistance as its 75% lighter than its steel equivalent, I noticed that the tube has a greater deflection that the steel version which is only to be expected, the highest wind the steel tube had to cope with was a gust of 62mph, so it will be interesting to see how this copes with wind!
The bedroom over the garage was always colder than the rest of the bedrooms, I decided to remove the existing single radiator and replace it with a Stelrad Compact K2 double radiator, this will give a heat output of 1645 Watts against the original radiators 907 Watts.
As the heating system needed to be drained down to enable me to make pipework modifications, I thought this would be a good time to add an air separator into the system.
My system already has two Automatic Air Vents, the difference with an air separator is that the heated water passes through a ‘packing’ which creates a turbulent water flow, any entrained air or micro bubbles are liberated, rising to the top of the device and vented.
The unit was very easy to install, the instructions contained a cutting gauge and the fitting location was ideal.
I had just enough room to install the Spirovent RV2 on the bottom pipe which is the flow from the boiler, the manufactures instructions suggest that the unit should be installed at the point where the heated exit water is the hottest, so this was ideal.
After the radiator was replaced and the Spirovent RV2 installed, I slowly used my filling loop via a pressure regulator to refill the system, checking for leaks and venting the system until all are had been removed and the pressure stabilised at 1.5 bar.
After the system had been running for a few days and all the air had been vented, I used the Magnaclean Pro 2 as a dosing pot, and replenished the Fernox F1, again after a few days I used the Fernox test kit to confirm that the inhibitors concentration was satisfactory.
On Youtube one of the respected UK plumbing engineer asserted that the circulating heating water should be treated more like a heat transfer medium and more effort should be paid to its treatment, going so far as to say that the customer shouldn’t top the system up with the filling loop, introducing aerated water. He has a point, but in reality this will never happen.
As a DIY home improvent project, I’m installing electric mat underfloor heating, whilst researching this I noted in the American market they sold a device called ‘Loudmouth‘ which warns of damage to to the heating cable during installation, rather then complete the floor only to find the heating cable was not working!
In the UK underfloor heating manufactures sell a version of ‘Loudmouth’, the prices vary from £9.99 to £30.00, I bought one online for £10.49 inc P & P after searching the internet in vain for a schematic in order to build one. (Damage-Sensor-Instructions).
As I’m installing more than one mat at the same time in different areas, I thought I’d simulate the one I bought and make a quick blog.
The parts were from eBay apart from those I had in the workshop, total cost £5.61:
- 4.5v (3 x AA) battery box with integral switch – £1.84
- S8050 Transistors (Pk 5) or J3Y for SMD – £0.99
- 3v Buzzer (Pk 2) – £2.38
- Resistors, LED, Veroboard already had.
All the parts fit neatly inside a battery box in the space left by the lack of one of the AA batteries, the unit works on 3v, so only two batteries are needed.
How To Use
Before unboxing the underfloor heating mat, measure and record the mats element resistance and resistance to the sheath, if this meets with the manufactures instructions, the alert unit can be connected after the mat is laid out.
Turning on, the LED will light and the buzzer will sound, the LED stays permanently lit, this acts as a confidence check that the unit has power.
Connecting the Brown and Blue wires together will silence the buzzer, touching the Green/Yellow wire to the connected Brown and Blue wires will cause the buzzer to sound.
In use, the Brown, Blue and Green/Yellow wires will be connected to the underfloor heating mat cold lead cable wires, the heating element wires are a continuous circuit, damaging the cable will break the circuit causing the buzzer to sound and alerting you to stop and check and repair the damage before progressing. The element wires are contained within an earthed sheath, the Green/Yellow monitors the sheath for shorts circuits to the elements, and will again alert if damage is detected.
Logic table for the alert to sound
- Brown & Blue – Open Circuit
- Green/Yellow, Brown & Blue – Short Circuit
- Green/Yellow & Brown – Short Circuit
- Green/Yellow & Blue – Short Circuit
I’ve had a Homebase portable air conditioning unit (Model 636212) for ages, the unit removes 9000BTU of heat and is ideal for my home office, especially with the hot weather we are experiencing at the moment (May, June July 2018).
I have a number of Sonoff devices so I thought I’d add remote control to the air conditioning unit, using a Jog Switch (SKU437888).
The Homebase unit is turned on and off via a simple push to make button, wiring the Sonoff relay normally open contacts in parallel across the on/off switch allows a single pulse from the relay contacts to either start or stop the air conditioning unit.
The low voltage to the Sonoff is from the internal Power Supply Board, this gives out 17v DC which is well within the operating range of the device (7v -30v AD/DC).
The picture above shows the unboxed module fixed for testing, total cost was £6.50 and took about 30 minutes, what makes this more impressive is that the EWeLink App allows ‘Scenes’ to be setup with other Sonoff devices.
I have set the Server Cabinet Sonoff which operates the internal fan to trigger the air conditioning at 34°C, turning OFF when the temperature falls below 31°C.
Project Lightning Chatteris Roll Out Map:
The Pin map shows the position of street cabinets, hovering over each pin will show its location and cabinet number, the see images of the cabinet, click the green circular cross below the map:
- GREEN pins are completed VMSD1i Street Cabinets – either L3 or L4 (identifier stenciled on cabinet);
- RED pins are not identified Street Cabinets;
- PURPLE pins are Main Node locations (VMVH1);
- BLUE pins are VMDD3I Double Cabinet;
- RED CROSS pins denote photographs need updating.
I currently have a Vaillant Thermocompact 624 System boiler which was installed in 2002 and some of the parts are now obsolete, so its only a matter of time before it needs replacement.
All new boilers now have to reach an ERP (Energy Related Product) minimum efficiency of 92.5% and only condensing boilers can achieve this, it does this by recovering the latent heat within the exhaust flue gases, this causes the water component of the flue gasses to condense and require disposal.
The boiler condensate produced varies in quantity and is acidic, therefore, only plastic parts can be used within the drain system (no copper or cast iron pipes unless the condensate has been neutralized first).
My existing boiler has no need for a condensate drain, however, when this packs in, any new boiler will.
I have read that if the condensate drains runs outside into a gully or soak-away, that the external pipe unless lagged or trace heated can freeze in the winter, and if the condensate can’t run away freely, the boiler will lockout until the pipe is thawed out.
So, thats the backstory, fortunately for me, the boiler is in the garage and also a portion of a 11/2″ (40mm) drain pipe runs inside the garage, before going through the wall to connect into the soil stack, the drain pipe carries the waste water from the washing machine, dishwasher and utility sink.
The pipe used was 22.5mm plastic overflow pipe from the boiler to the drain pipe clamp, the picture below shows the capped boiler condensate pipe in advance of the installation.
Fitting this pipe without taking the garage apart was a ‘challenge’ and took ages!
This pipe runs behind dado trunking where I used plastic cement to fix a 90 degree bend and ‘Tee’ with a capped stub so I can flush through if needed.
In this picture you can also see an earth clamp, this is fitted to the 15mm copper gas pipe and is the main bonding conductor for the gas, unfortunatly it does not comply to BS7671 Electrical Regulations, in so much as it is futher than 600mm from the point of entry and it is also installed after a branch, so I took the oppertunity to install a new clamp and 16mm2 main bonding conductor directly from the meters outgoing gas pipe to the consumer units earth bar, I could have used 10mm2 as I have a PME supply, but as I had the wire already, I made use of that.
After doing the first drain I rechecked the pipe layout on a Vaillant EcoTech and it showed the condensate oulet on the other side of the boiler, so it was out with the drill again and fit another drain.
This is the new gas main bonding conductor clamp fitted with the cable sealed after being routed of the enclosure, note the quality pipe soldering done by the British Gas Smartmeter man……Nice!
The additional uncapped drain below was a lot easier to fit as I removed the boilers isolator and frost stat to make more room.
The drain has to have a fall of 43mm per meter, the pipe was taken to a 90 degree bend and then on to the drain pipe, the pipe is supported every 300mm.
The picture shows a 75mm deep trap in the 22.5mm pipe, this then goes on to a McAlpine CONVALVE R28-NRV, this Non Return Valve will allow the flow from the boiler, but will restrict any back-flow from the drain pipe.
Installation of the NRV was very simple, I had to chisel the breeze block slightly so the clamp could fit without touching the wall, then drill a 15mm hole in the drain, debur the hole and fasten the 4 clamp screws and that’s it.
As the main drain pipe was at an angle and the condensate pipe came in vertically (the NVR will only work in this position), warming a small length of pipe and with an internal bending spring, I put a slight bend in the pipe, this was then cut to length and fitted between the pipe clamp and the NVR.
Once fully installed and all joints cemented, I ran a full bore water hose to check for leaks, once everything was checked, the exposed pipes were boxed in to stop any accidental damage (this pipe does form part of the boilers flue system when connected) and the garage was put back together again.
Not sure when my boiler will fail, but at least I’ve saved the plumber some time and effort and therefore I’ve saved some money in the long run.