Wednesday, 22 January 2020

Like Spinal Surgery

You might remember the dent in the lens of Jan’s Panasonic Lumix which happened when she accidentally dropped it shortly after we had purchased the camera in 2014.  The dent in the front of the lens cover meant sometimes the protective shutters wouldn’t fully open, which resulted in half a photo. 

After all these years the camera probably isn’t worth sending to a Panasonic dealer to be repaired.  I’ve decided to have a go myself. 

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After ratting through the various containers in the shed I’ve found a range of jewellers screwdrivers, tweezers and a guitar pick.  The phone will be used to take photos in the hope they will assist with the re-assembly.  Magnifying glass because my eyesight these days is rather woeful.  Everything laid out on a pillowslip in the hope I’ll find all the small screws.

The problem with this camera is any work has to be completed using the spinal surgery method.  This is where the surgeon goes to the spine through the stomach.  Well the camera is the same.  The small part I need to access is in the very front and the only way to access it is to remove everything from behind.

Jan’s small pantry storage containers were used to hold the components as I removed them.  The idea being none will get lost and I will have the right sequence to reassemble (well that’s the theory)

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The last small front part of the lens is in the middle of the photo above.  I’m still try to work out how it comes apart.  Rather than rush it I’ve taken a break and gone to do something else whilst I contemplate.

Ever since we arrived in this house one of the garden taps in the backyard has been seized and the timber mounting post has rotted.

I managed to disassemble the tap, clean the interior and replace the very perished washer with a ceramic version.  The tap now works.

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A trip to the local hardware store resulted in the purchase of a 1200mm steel ‘star’ post.  A block of hardwood offcut was then screwed to the top of the post.  You might have noticed in the photo below that I’ve fitted a second piece of hardwood horizontally across the top of the larger timber block.  If I had left the end grain of the larger mounting block facing upwards to the weather it would start to absorb moisture and rot.  The horizontal piece should delay that process.

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The stones around the base were removed along with the remains of the original timber post.  I needed to check where the copper pipe ran because I didn’t want to damage the pipe driving in the steel post.

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All finished

Whilst resting after all this strenuous activity I started playing with carefully examining the Garmin Oregon GPS.  There are grey lines across the top of the display.

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Where the hell did they come from?  It looks like the screen needs to be replaced!  Then I decided to do more investigating.  By turning the display backlight down to the minimal setting the lines disappeared.

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It appears the lines are caused by a fault in the backlighting rather than the actual display.  I wonder if it is possible to fix the backlighting without replacing the screen?  Another project!

Monday, 20 January 2020

Failure and a start

Local courier driver, Mr Boo delivered Jan’s new kitchen sink mixer tap this morning.  Mr Boo isn’t his real name, but he’s ethnic Chinese and very friendly.  We don’t know his name but have nicknamed him Mr Boo after the travelling green grocer who used to visit when we lived in Singapore.  nothing racist in the comment Meghan.

The problem with the new tap is it isn’t the same as the old and I won’t be able to fit it.

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Jan has decided to return it whilst I will look for a replacement valve component for the original mixer.  So a failure! Sad smile  Although we might save some money if I can repair the original.

On a more positive note I made a start on another project.  The house has an ‘open plan’ design which I assume is to make the interior more spacious.  However it does mean almost all of the house has to be heated or cooled.  Obvious there is an additional expense in heating or cooling the entire house.  Most of our time inside is spent in the front room and we’ve decide to fit a door which will significantly reduce the area to be heated or cooled.

Today I marked everything out before cutting the cornices.  Next I bolted 70x35mm pine framing timber into the opening to create the basic shape.

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Jan has already decided she wants a painted timber door with glass panels.  I’ve found a suitable supplier but the purchase will have to wait until we can borrow my BIL’s trailer.  It won’t be the first time I’ve hung a door.

In the meantime I’ve been examining Jan’s Panasonic Lumix compact camera.  She dropped it within a few months of purchase and damaged the inbuilt lens cover.  We never had it repaired and now it probably so old (but unused) it wouldn’t be worth paying to have it repaired.  I’m thinking I might try and disassemble the camera before attempting to repair the dented component.

For those of you who have been following the Meghan and Harry story I have some social media news.  They are not leaving because of racism.  Apparently Meghan has twice failed the “Life in the UK Test” and without it she can’t apply for ILR (Indefinite Leave to Remain).  This means she is in the same position as the likes of Marilyn and David who can only annually spend a maximum of six months in the UK.  Smile  Smile

Sunday, 19 January 2020

Lepin

Here is an observation for all our readers who are grandparents.  No doubt you have heard and seen Lego, but did you know there was Chinese Lego which is 100% compatible with the more well known Lego.  It’s called Lepin and is considerably cheaper than Lego.
I priced a large Lego model of the Millennium Falcon from Amazon Australia.  The price was $1517.  The Lepin model is slightly larger and has more pieces.  The cost was US$199 (Aust $289).  The Lego version was five times the price.  The Lepin price does not include shipping or any local taxes.  However I suspect the Lepin will still be cheaper.
Are the models the same.  After looking at the photos they look very similar but, not quite the same.  Moreover the Chinese version is slightly larger and has more pieces. 
Lego is manufactured in Denmark, Hungary, Czech Republic Mexico and China.
Is it illegal to buy Lepin? 
In late 2018 Lego took Lepin to court in China for breach of copyright and they won.  In May 2019 Lepin announced it was ceasing production but would continue to sell existing stock.  Since then Lepin has resurfaced in various forms and locations.  Production continues.  As far as I am aware it is illegal to sell Lepin in the USA and EU.  However it isn’t illegal to own Lepin or purchase it overseas.   Note it is possible any Lepin entering the USA or EU may be confiscated.
I believe Lego has a valid claim when it states their designers do all the hard and expensive work designing their models which Lepin then copies with minor changes.  This significantly reduces Lepin’s R&D costs and they also have cheap production costs in China.  Well they did until Lego established a factory in China!
According to it’s website Lepin was founded in 2003.  It claims to manufacture a wide range of toy brick products.  However when you look at their range of the more popular items it seems to replicate the Lego range. 
I remember a conversation I had with an American manufacturer of container handling machines.  He informed me the company would never establish a manufacturing presence in China.  The short term gain in reduced labour costs would quickly vanish when the Chinese stole their intellectual property and established a parallel production system.
So why did Lego establish a factory in China.  Surely they realised their product would be copied?  I suspect the answer lies in this press release <link>.  Growth in US and EU markets is now in low single figures whereas Lego sales in China have reached double digits. 
I believe Lego knew exactly what was going to happen if it started production in China.  However the flattening of sales in their traditional markets led them to believe significant financial revenue could be made in China.  Lego knew the risks of doing business in China and still went ahead.  I have little sympathy for them.   

Saturday, 18 January 2020

It’s been hot!

You know it’s been hot when the apples on your tree looks like this…..

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This has happened despite the tree being watered for 30 minutes three times weekly.  I would have removed the fruit as a lost cause but Jan thinks it might be possible to salvage something from them. 

Meanwhile the tomatoes are looking somewhat unhappy with the higher leaves turning yellow.  They are also covered by the automatic water watering system….. Not that it appears to be doing much good!   I’ve raised the height of the lawnmower another notch in the hope longer blades of grass may survive the heat.

Another problem has been the kitchen sink mixer tap.  It started to leak and the steady drip was annoying Jan.  This wasn’t an issue for me….. Being slightly deaf does have some advantages. Smile

One of us needed the problem fixed which resulted in me working out how to remove the tap.  It’s one of those complicated mixer taps consisting of Hot & Cold along with a water filter system.

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Eventually I managed to remove the mixer.  It was at this point I failed to obey the first principle “Look for the easy things first”.  I managed to dismantle everything except for the main mixer valve.  This was (of course) the part leaking. 

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Frustrated I informed Jan I couldn’t fix the leak and she would need to purchase a replacement.  That was done online the same day.  However today my sister and Brother-in-Law (the plumber) visited and he showed me how to remove the last part of the mixer.

I need to replace the blue component in the photo below.

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Actually we have decided not to replace it at this time.  Why pay to have two working taps when only one is required.

On a more successful note, the extension to the bathroom sewer connection is progressing. 

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I need to do a little more excavating before fitting the new sewer pipe to the bathroom toilet. 

Saturday, 11 January 2020

Swan Settlers Market

Congratulations…. you found us at our changed blog address!  Hopefully it wasn’t too difficult.

We’ve been ‘house bound’ for several weeks but today decided to brave the heat and head to the Swan Settlers Market.  We live in Swan Shire which includes the Swan Valley; a major grape and wine region. 

It was our first trip to the market. 

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I noticed a vintage wool press in the middle of the building which gives a hint to a bygone industry.  Sheep have been replaced with grapes.  Jan found the market somewhat disappointing; mostly Tat and blinge with a few stalls selling jams and chutney.    Somehow I suspect it will be our only visit!

Apart from digging the swimming pool, all projects are on hold.  Priority is to complete the replacement of the bath with the new toilet but I can’t do that until the location of the main sewer pipe is established.  I could just keep digging, but it’s likely I’d just have a bigger hole to fill.  Brother-in-law the plumber returns from his Christmas holiday shortly and will hopefully be able to provide some free advice.

Yes Don…… I rarely check my spelling and grammar having realised 30 years ago I tend to read what I think I wrote rather than what’s actually there!

Dave I also managed to subconsciously filter out the Farcebook Ads.  (well most of them).  I do tend to notice the Ads offering Russian brides and viagra.  Mind you; I think that’s because I informed Farcebook I was single and born in 1901. Smile

As for the international news…..

Any competent incident investigator would be clearing the evidence from the scene that quickly.  Therefore I’m inclined to believe 70/30 the Iranians shot down the Ukranian 737 and are attempting to cover it up.  Just the same as the Russians tried with MH370 over eastern Ukraine.

Someone needs to tell that 35 year old with a family he should get a real job and also move out of his grandmother’s house.   <humour mode off>.  I do have some sympathy for Harry.  It used to be him and William together.  Then William found someone and started a family.  Harry also wanted a family, but struggled to find someone willing to accept the ‘confinement’ of the role.  Eventually it became the ‘Fab 4’, but that was short lived.  Then he gets told the family is slimming down and he is no longer part of the inner circle.  Perhaps it’s not surprising he has kicked over the traces.

Wednesday, 8 January 2020

Fuel Capacity

Fuel and water become critical considerations when planning remote outback journeys in Australia.  This year I’m thinking of crossing the southern deserts using the Anne Beadell Highway.  Of course the word ‘highway’ is just Australian humour.  It’s a 1400km 4WD track from Laverton in Western Australia to Coober Pedy in South Australia.  The track was built by the legendary outback surveyor Len Beadell to support the tests being conducted at the Woomera Rocket Range in South Australia.  The scientists needed to know where the rockets landed and as there were no roads Len was tasked with building them. 
Len named many of the roads after his family with whom he was separated for many years during their survey and construction.  Anne Beadell was Len’s wife.  Connie Sue is named after his daughter and the Gary Track after his son.
The Anne Beadell highway was also the access road to Totem 1 and 2.  The Ground Zero points for the British above ground nuclear tests.
I know from my 2018 trip across the Gunbarrel Highway towing a trailer the Isuzu fuel consumption can be as low as 12.6 litres per 100km.  On good unsealed roads in 2WD we managed to achieve 8.2 litres per 100km.  The Anne Beadell is similar to the Gunbarrel, although less frequently travelled.  Therefore I’m using the figure of 12.6.  A distance of 1350km means I’ll need at total of 170 litres.   However the lIkurlka Aboriginal Roadhouse is located on the junction of the East-West Anne Beadell and North-South on the Aboriginal Business Road approximately 570km from Laverton.  The roadhouse is owned by the local Spinifex people and it’s primary purpose is to support the local aboriginal communities.  However it does sell fuel to travellers using the Anne Beadell highway.  It also has efpos facilities.
Provided the roadhouse does have diesel for sale the journey will consist of a 570km leg and a 780km leg,  My estimated fuel consumption for each leg is 72 & 100 litres. 
The Isuzu 4WD has a fuel capacity of 65 litres which means I need to carry more fuel.  It is possible to replace the factory tank with a larger ‘after market’ version which would increase the capacity to 114 litres.  That is sufficient to complete the track provided I can refuel at Ilikurlka.   However the larger tank would cost approximately $1400.  Additionally, this would mean all the fuel was in one tank under the vehicle where it might get punctured leaving me stranded.  Towing a trailer provides me with the ability to carry fuel in multiple containers.
The off road camper trailer already has carrying points for two 20 litre jerricans and after looking closely at the trailer I identified a location where a third can could be fitted. 
Today I cut up some old angle steel from the bench I demolished in the garage and fabricated a 3rd jerrican holder.
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Angle iron around the base
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Another angle iron bracket to secure the top.  The rubber strap will prevent it bouncing out of the holder.
Next I started thinking about the front of the trailer.  There’s a large aluminium box on the front which contains the 12V freezer.  I think I can fabricate a mounting for two jerricans in this location.
The front of the aluminium freezer box isn’t vertical.  The top leans forward.  This means the jerrican mounting brackets will also need to lean forward.  I’ve started cutting up more of that surplus angle iron for my jerrican bracket.
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‘B’ is the face of the freezer box which isn’t vertical.  I’ve started fabricating mounting points for the bracket.  It’s a slow job as I have to cut all the steel by hand with a hacksaw and it’s tough going for an old fella! Smile
The result of all this is the ability to carry five jerricans (100 litres) on the trailer and 65 litres in the 4WD tank.  A range of slightly more than 1300km at 12.2ltr/100km.    Obviously not quite sufficient to complete the journey without stopping at the roadhouse.  Moreover I haven’t factored in a reserve.  However the 12.2ltr/100km is also worst case.
Mick I hadn’t realised the GoDaddy domain name was set to auto-renewal and wonder if that might be a reason for the significant increase.  It will be interesting to see if I get a lower subscription figure after the current subscription lapses on 10 Jan.
Dave have you noticed the significant increase in advertising on Farcebook? 
Hi Ade, I agree blogging will still be here for some time.  My assumption is Farcebook purchased Instagram because their young subscribers were moving to it.  I’ve never looked back at the old posts (a good solder never looks behind Smile  The bushfires are particularly bad in NSW and Victoria this year.  They are also the two states most prone to major bush fires.  My own opinion is the reason things are so significant this year is the drought (climate change?) leading to very dry conditions.  Additionally there has been a failure to do sufficient ‘controlled burns’ during the winter months to reduce the amount of fuel (bark, leaves. etc) on the ground.  I suspect the latter is a result of financial cuts and the influence of conservationists.  Whilst the combined area of land destroyed by fire equates to the size of Ireland it’s also important to remember Australia is a vast country where 90% of the population lives close to the coast.
Just a Reminder
If you stop seeing our blog posts it is probably because we have not renewed our blog domain name (www.narrowboat-waiouru.co.uk).  We have reverted to the Blogger address www.narrowboat-waiouru.blogspot.com.blogspot.com.

Tuesday, 7 January 2020

60% Completed

Here in the jones household we have been discussing the status of the security screen on the front door.  It’s quite a strong metal screen with three point locks, grill and an insect screen.  The problem is it looks tired with paint peeling in some places. 

Do we replaced it at $400-900 or refurbish.  In the end we decide on the latter and I removed the door from the frame before pressure cleaning it with the water pressure washer.  This removed all the dirty and the loose paint.  The frame was then carefully sanded to provide something for the new paint to ‘key’ to when I started on the next step. 

As you may recall; I hate painting.  Notwithstanding this we made a trip to the local hardware store where Jan selected a gloss enamel paint.  I’d made it clear; if she chose a pot of paint then she would be doing the hand painting.  Aerosol paint was selected. 

Today was very hot with little wind.  Ideal weather to spray paint as the sunlight would bake the paint.

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The more difficult side has been completed and I’m rather pleased with the quality of the finish.  It can bake in the full heat of the afternoon and tomorrow morning I’ll paint the reverse.

I’ve also been spending some time in the workshop fabricating parts for my jerrican holders  from pieces of scrap steel.  More on that later.

Monday, 6 January 2020

Changing Blog Address

Just a brief post to my readers explaining I have decided to not renew my domain name subscription with GoDaddy when it expires on 20 January of this year.

Hopefully the transition to a standard Blogger address will be transparent, however if you discover you can no longer read our blog at www.narrowboat-waiouru.co.uk then it will be because the address has changed to the free Blogger address which is www.narrowboat-waiouru.blogspot.com

Why the change?

I changed to www.narrowboat-waiouru.co.uk because I wanted more control over the blog address.  When you use the Google Blogger address it’s owned by Google.  At the time I was considering moving away from Blogger as my platform and having our own blog address would make that easier. 

Cost has been another factor.  When I first obtained the independent domain name the annual rental cost was £5.  Next year GoDaddy wants £19.99.  A 400% increase which I consider excessive.  Perhaps GoDaddy is raising the subscription because the blog is so popular <hahahaha!> 

Finally, blogging is slowly dying.  Young people tend not to read or write blogs.  It’s too much of a ‘one way’ medium with limited interaction.  Farcebook became the social media platform of choice for the young as it provided greater and faster interaction.  But today Farcebook is also dying as the young move to the likes of Instagram and Twitter.  The discretionary spending and marketing opportunities are with the young rather than the ‘wrinklies’, therefore blogging is dying.  However I doubt google will close down Blogger in the short to medium future.  It doesn’t cost them much to maintain the platform and their attempt to replace it with Google+ failed spectacularly.

I will continue to write and hopefully you’ll find some of the content interesting.

Wednesday, 1 January 2020

Another Year

On this morning last year we woke at dawn to discover someone had kindly left us a battered old two seat sofa chair on the front lawn.  This year we didn’t have to wait until daybreak!  At 1am one of the West Australian police helicopters arrived from the northwest and proceeded to do numerous circuits overhead.  The noise reached the point where I thought the aircraft was going to land on our roof.

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We are at the tip of the red arrow

I’m not sure who the helicopter was searching for, but Jan informs me the local community Facebook page reports two people of interest were taken into custody.  Technology on the helicopter must have changed over the last decade.  Previously the aircraft had a powerful searchlight which would sweep over the area.  Now there is no visible light and I therefore assume the aircraft is fitted with a range of night vision equipment.  I have just completed a quick search of the West Australian Police Air wing website and read their helicopters are equipped with Forward Looking Infra Red systems <link here>.  It looks like technology originally developed for the military.

No readers….. they weren’t after two wrinkly old retirees. Smile   But I could have done with the beauty sleep…

Happy New Year

Monday, 30 December 2019

Engine Problems

This battery issue may interest boaties

Recently the 4x4 engine has struggled to start.  Initially I thought it might be a fuel starvation problem as I recently changed both the primary and secondary fuel filters.  Eventually I established that wasn’t the problem.  The issue was the 12V starter battery.  Whilst there was just enough charge in the battery to turn the engine over the voltage was insufficient to cause it to fire. 

I believe the cause is a combination of the vehicle ‘smart alternator system’ and frequent short trips.  The smart alternator system reduces the voltage produced by the alternator.  This make miniscule fuel savings, but when your competing for fuel efficiency and emissions standards I guess every little helps.

Of course these days a vehicle is far more complex than when I first started tinkering with them.  All those on-board computers.  Well I read a forum post where another Isuzu owner had been able to modify his vehicle and disable to smart alternator.  today I did the same taking about 30 minutes.  The cost was horrendous….. 11p.

That money was spent at Jaycars (Maplin equivalent) purchasing a 10K resistor.  Without knowing the load on the resistor I opted for one rated at 1 Watt. 

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OK, I had to spend 22p as they came in a pack of two.

I’m going to modify the wiring into the negative battery terminal and circumvent the smart system.

I made a patch lead Using some small spade connectors, spare cable and shrink wrap.  My plan was to make the modification reversible.

In order to trick the smart system into not working I need to permanently connect the sensor wire to a 12V+ supply.  however it also needs a small load which is why I’m using the 10K resistor.

The 12V+ wire was White/Green and the sensor wire Brown/Red.  My plan was to use spade connectors thereby allowing me to reverse the modification should it be a failure.

My patch lead

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Heat shrink went over the connections when they were completed.

It was easier to compete the work on the vehicle if the negative post clamp was removed.  This give access to the plug underneath the clamp.  Removing the plug is relatively easy (once I had worked out how).  Place the end of a small flat tipped screwdriver underneath the base of the tag and leaver it up slightly to release the catch.

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This is a slightly better view of the tag
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the next step was to remove the wiring loom insulation tape from around the wires to gain access.  The wires aren't very thick so they probably don't carry much of a load.  Hopefully my 1Watt resistor is sufficient.

I then cut the Brown/Red wire and connect the patch lead to the battery terminal end.  This was done with spade connectors.  I also put a spade connector on the other end of the cut Brown/Red wire.  this will allow me to reverse the process.


I next cut some insulation off the White/Green wire and join the other end of the patch lead by soldering the join before taped it.

My finished wiring looked like this

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A - Patch lead connection to the battery end of the Brown/Red wire
B - Resistor.  It's bi-directional so it doesn't matter which way it faces
C - Other end of the patch lead soldered to the White/Green wire
D - Cut end of the Brown/Red wire blanked off with a spade connector.


I taped the wires back together with black insulation tape and refitted the plug to the terminal before reconnecting the clamp.

The vehicle started <hooray>


My UltraGauge shows the alternator producing 14V.

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I thought this was quite good as I've only just finished reconditioning and fully recharging the battery.

 
I'm now going to monitor the alternator output to see if it drops back to those previously low numbers.  Hopefully the battery will now be more fully charged and its life extended.

Interestingly, the vehicle comes with a 5 year warranty…. except for the battery which only has one year.  I assume those clever Isuzu engineers know their smart alternator system is likely to lead to premature battery failure.

Thursday, 26 December 2019

A Cautionary Tale

Merry Christmas readers.  Yes a day late… and how do I know that?  The local supermarket has hot cross buns for sale so it must be boxing day!

We had a very quiet Christmas Day.  Jan seemed rather disappointed in the morning as she had put out stockings in the hope Pip & Mick’s <nb Oleanna> stocking fillers would also visit us.  Apparently not!  Christmas Dinner was home made hamburgers and very delicious they were.

Much of the time leading to Christmas has been spent inside.  A combination of hot weather and a bad back.  During this period I spent many frustrating hours attempting to setup and configure a very old desktop pc as a PVR (Personal Video Recorder).  The pc has three old TV tuner cards which provides the opportunity to simultaneously record six TV channels.  The operating system is Xubuntu 18.04 which is the most current version of Linux I could find for a 32bit computer.  The TV capture software is MythTV, a rather powerful software with many functions including advert stripping.

Commercial Australian TV companies do not allow the public to download their EPG’s (Electronic Program Guides).  To get around this I’m using a another program named ‘Shepherd’ which integrates with MythTV.  In simple terms Shepherd visits each of the TV company websites and peels off a copy of their EPG webpage.  The data is then checked with the International TV and Movie databases for additional information before it’s recompiled and made available for download by subscribers.  This project is almost completed.

My cautionary tale is about Christmas Day.  I decided to continue with the excavations for the second toilet.  Some care was required as my back is still very stiff.  Anyway, I started digging only to discover there were six (YES SIX) buried pipes in the immediate vicinity of the bathroom window.  There is one large white PVC pipe which I suspect is the stormwater from the roof.  The remainder are copper pipes.  I assume water and (perhaps) gas. 

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After digging with the long handled shovel for several minutes and accidentally striking the copper pipes a couple of times a small warning bell started to ring in the back of my head.  Then it got LOUDER!!!!

What was it going to cost us if I accidentally broke a water or gas pipe on Christmas Day?????  Time to stop digging and drink cold beer!

Meanwhile I’ve discovered the free advice from the plumber was incorrect.  He informed me there was no concrete pad under the bath and implied the digging would be easy as it would be sand.

Well there is a concrete pad under what was once the bath.  The only area not concreted is around the bath drain pipe.

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What else has gone wrong?  After replacing the four batteries in the tyre sensors the TPMS still makes that beeping noise.  Obviously my guess about the flat batteries being the cause was wrong.  Looks like the TPMS will have to be discarded.  Fortunately after market TPMS systems have become much cheaper in the two years since purchasing the existing unit.

Having mentioned the 4x4 I should also report recently it’s had difficulty starting in the morning.  It can’t be the temperature at this time of the year.  After experimenting I thought it might be air in the fuel line as only recently both the primary and secondary fuel filters were changed.  The vehicle would start after I’d raised the bonnet and manually primed the fuel system.  However I couldn’t find any fuel leaks which might allow air into the system.  Then I discovered the battery wasn’t fully charged.  That damned ‘smart alternator’!  I now have the battery connected to our CTek 240V charger and will try to start the engine after the battery is fully charged.  It’s possible our 2½ year old battery is reaching the end of its life.  It’s the original battery and only comes with a one year warranty.  It’s capacity (430CCA) is also quite small for a large diesel engine.  If the battery requires replacing then Santa probably bought Jan a gold topped 810CCA battery this year Smile

Saturday, 21 December 2019

Tom the plumber

Well it didn’t stay cool for long. We’re back to dry and hot days.  The bushfires in Queensland and NSW have burned out just over 3 million hectares.  The landmass of Wales is 2.07 million hectares which provides some idea of the scale.  I haven’t included the fires in West and South Australia in this figure.  Even more worrying is the first month of the annual official bushfire season isn’t over.  Unless something radical happens with the weather it’s going to be a very bad period.

Meanwhile I’ve been in the backyard digging up the lawn for the planned pool.  Only three rows of turf daily as I’m old, unfit and fat!  It’s also hot!  Well I broke one of the larger pvc garden reticulation pipes two days ago.  This meant we wouldn’t be able to water the back lawn and gardens.  Obviously this was going to be an issue with the current high temperatures.  Consequentially the plan to modify the reticulation system was bought forward and yesterday both of us made the trip to my favourite store to purchase the required fittings.

When the pool is installed it will be surrounded by a liquid limestone pad.  this will make it exceedingly difficult to install any subsequent underground services (pipes, wires, etc) and I therefore decided to include a 90mm pvc duct for any future requirement,

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Nothing is ever easy and I unexpectedly hit a large tree root during this operation which necessitated me using the bowsaw to cut a channel

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This root is a mystery?  There hasn’t been a tree anywhere near here since my parents first purchased the house in 1994.  My guess is the tree was removed for the house foundations.

I’ve modified the pipe and valve layout to bypass the pool area.

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The pipes were then laid the length of the limestone cement pad.

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I’m not going to backfill the trench because the pipes might get damaged during the pool evacuations.

A new trench was then dug from the end of the pad to the back fence.  This proved hard going as the grass roots have bound very tightly.  I couldn’t drive the blade of the spade into the ground even if I jumped on it.  This was eventually solved by me using the electric grinding wheel to sharpen the edge of the spade.  The old PVC piping was then recycled and relocated into this trench.

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By now all my sweating, huffing and puffing had caught Jan’s attention and she started expressing concern about my continuing work.  This eventually led to enticements of cold beer.  <love that girl>

The work isn’t complete.  I’ve blanked off one pipe which will eventually need to go in a new trench across the other half of the yard and supply water to the flower gardens.

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The larger 90mm pipe will terminate here where it can be accessed should the need arise.

I can report the bottle of cold Aldi lager went down the throat without touching the sides!!!!

Wednesday, 18 December 2019

Success and Failure

First the failure.  This morning we purchased four new batteries for the TPMS tyre sensor.  The damned control box still beeps which means I’ve made no progress.

The good news is the camper trailer hot water system works.  I needed to purchase an adapter for the gas regulator and a cigarette lighter plug.  The latter was used to make a 12V extension cable which now has the cigarette plug at one end and an Anderson plug at the other.  This lead connects the external 12V cigarette socket on the side of the trailer to the water pump.  The trial system looks like this….

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The pump sucks the water from the jerrican into the water heater.  The shower rose has an On/Off button and with the button OFF the pump turns off.  When the shower rose is tuned on both the pump and water heater start.

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The water temperature is more than sufficient to have a shower.  I’ll have to adjust the temperature knob on the heater.  The pump, hoses and cable all fit into the compartment behind the freezer when not required. 

There are two final steps.  I need to build some method of securing the heater to the trailer.  It won’t be permanent and I need the shower system to be portable.  I also need to fit a collapsible shower cubicle to the trailer.  Actually I probably don’t required the cubicle if I’m travelling solo.  There will only be the wildlife to frighten!