ScrapHappy November 2022: Dalexa – the model

As my reader will remember, last month’s ScrapHappy turned your humble blogger into a vicious fictional killing machine (well, my voice at any rate) whilst proving, if proof were needed, that he is one hinge short of a working door. In case you missed this, the blog is here and the accompanying nonsense on YouTube is here. This lunacy involved not one piece of ScrapHappiness (a recycled thermionic valve no less) but also some sheer ridiculousness to create the Dalexa model (and I use model in a very loose sense of the word). Here is how it was done, so that future generations don’t make the same mistake:

You will primarily require an old lightbulb, but not so old that it has a filament as they are tricky to prise apart. You will also need some glue, some dalekanium (or bits of paper with it printed on) and an old covid test strip. Oh, and a couple of old white LEDs, some wire, a resistor and a battery.

Opening the lightbulb without damaging it or yourself requires delicacy and skill. Oh well, the lightbulb casing wasn’t too badly mangled…

The inner non-workings of a lightbulb

The inner non-workings of a lightbulb

Then, the casings from three covid tests (all thoroughly cleaned, as a Dalek with Covid would be weird) need cutting in half (there’s a top and a bottom), and some dalekanium glued on.

110822_1243_ScrapHappyN3.jpg

Nearly everything you need for a Dalexa

How to make dalekanium when you're not on Skaro

How to make dalekanium when you’re not on Skaro

Finally, attach the dalekanium to the inverted lightbulb casing, add LEDs and a battery and *EXTERMINATE!* One Dalexa.

They are scowling at it in barely disguised fury right now on Skaro.

oOo

Categories: General silliness, ScrapHappy, Sustainable Stuff | Tags: , , | 11 Comments

ScrapHappy October 2022: Someone else’s Scrap…

A relic from a bygone age - not so bygone now!

A relic from a bygone age – not so bygone now!

Now I may be wrong (I usually am, it is my default state) but I think that one can rejoice in someone else’s ScrapHappiness and, indeed, claim a little of it for one’s own. So, before anyone puts their hand up to raise an objection, here is this month’s offering which comes in the form of a kit from the National Museum of Computing (NMOC), here in the UK at the legendary Bletchley Park.

First, the scrappy bit of this – this is a kit of electronic bits and bobs that when correctly assembled, makes a thing. Technical, I know, but I’ll explain later what the thing does as that isn’t important right now. The nifty bit about this kit is that it uses a type of electronic component that is pretty much the first type of active electronic component ever devised by humans. It is a (thermionic) valve, and not the “ooh, there’s water leaking out of it” kind but the “look, it’s glowing” kind. The real scrappygoodness (that is a word, I know, I just made it up) is the valve. It’s a piece of scrap, lying around unloved and, more importantly, unbroken. Where did it come from originally? Well…

Way back in 1955, the UK decided that one television channel (BBC1, then known as the BBC Television Service) was insufficient and that another one was needed. Cue ITV, which would be transmitted on a whole new band of frequencies so high that, well, your average TV set couldn’t receive them. Genius, I know, but you have to remember that there weren’t that many TV sets in the UK at that point. I’m going to guess around 12, but there may have been more. Anyway, in order to use existing TV sets to show the new-fangled ITV, a set-top box (“Band III convertor”) was built that would let that happen. And it did.

And you won’t be surprised that most of those set-top boxes were scrapped a few years later. It would appear though, that many ended up taken apart – they had two useful valves in them and I am guessing there were lots of people who would use them to build their own electronics.

Many decades later, and NMOC have a large stock of these valves, salvaged from defunct set-top boxes (and other places too). They designed this kit to give these old valves a new lease of life, and raise much-needed funds to run the museum.

An OK Valve

An OK Valve

There is something almost alien-looking about valve tech

There is something almost alien-looking about valve tech

Finished and Working!

Finished and Working!

I built the kit – it was pretty easy and the instructions were, on the whole, very clear. I had two issues, one of which resulted in another piece of scraphappiness and the other resulted in a bit of DIY-like swearing. There seemed to be a capacitor missing in the kit so I found an old one (probably out of a light bulb) which fitted the bill. The swearing was caused by the thing not working but, on closer inspection, I had put two of the boards too close to one another and they were touching, and not in a good way.

So, does it work and what does it do? Well…

Video link to where I sound like a sci-fi villain

oOo

Many other people contribute to Kate and Gun’s wonderful ScrapHappy every month – check out what they have been up to too!

 

KateGun, EvaSue, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, 
Jill, Jan, Moira, Sandra, Chris, Alys,
Claire, Jean, Jon, Dawn, Jule, Gwen,
Sunny, Kjerstin, Sue L, Vera,
Nanette, Ann, Dawn 2, Carol,
Preeti, Debbierose, Nóilin and Viv

 
 

Categories: General silliness, recycling, ScrapHappy, Sustainable Stuff | Tags: , , , | 15 Comments

ScrapHappy September 2022: Nothing to see here (again)

The base of an LED lightbulb and the cases of some old (clean!) Covid tests - what will these become then?

The base of an LED lightbulb and the cases of some old (clean!) Covid tests – what will these become then?

In November 2019, my ScrapHappy post read as follows:

“As the title says, no ScrapHappy news from the writinghouse this month (well, I found an M6 nut on the pavement but that is safely in a pocket somewhere awaiting the call*) but do check out all these fabulous ScrapHappyers, Scrappyers, er, you know what I mean!”

This time, a fairly typical (for me) mixture of inability to prioritise along with catching Covid on my first proper night out in two and a half years has meant no happiness with Scrap can be reported on. As a teaser, I have given you a glimpse of something I am working on but may not be ready for a while either…

I promise to try and do better next month!

oOo

* The nut is still in a pocket, somewhere. Well, I imagine it is.

Many other people contribute to Kate and Gun’s wonderful ScrapHappy every month – check out what they have been up to too!

 

KateGun, EvaSue, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, 
Jill, Jan, Moira, Sandra, Chris, Alys,
Claire, Jean, Jon, Dawn, Jule, Gwen,
Sunny, Kjerstin, Sue L, Vera,
Nanette, Ann, Dawn 2, Carol,
Preeti, Debbierose, Nóilin and Viv

 
 

Categories: repair, ScrapHappy, Sustainable Stuff | Tags: , , | 18 Comments

ScrapHappy August 2022: LED Astray

 

Fake Fir

Fake Fir

Running a shop means that the Snail and I have to think about things that we haven’t had to involve ourselves with for years. Well, since yesterday teatime anyway. One thing we haven’t bothered with in over a decade is the dreaded “C” word – Christmas. Now, as retailers, we have to think about it even though the number of days to Christmas is in triple digits. Whilst thinking about the most overcommercialised Chris since Chris De Burgh*, we remembered we had a fibre optic tree, one that sparkled and brought joy to whoever looked upon it, one which was so full of colour-changing light and happiness that we had stored it in the attic, out the way. In a bin liner, no less.

Having located it, I did what any self-respecting technerd would do, and took it to pieces. Actually, I remembered something very important about one of the reasons we stopped using it – it has a tendency to reach around 1000°C when operating for more than a couple of minutes. It isn’t hard to understand why, when you consider it uses a tiny halogen light in a relatively confined space. Time to replace that with some colour-changing LEDs from an old, er, thing that changed colour.

 

Old versus new: hot versus cold

Old versus new: hot versus cold

The original colour-changing function was brilliantly achieved by the use of a motor (I said how useful motors were in creating the internet, well, this doesn’t feel like a step-up, does it?) and a coloured wheel, which spun round. So, I removed those bits. Weirdly, although the whole thing ran on 6 volts, it was AC rather than DC (so like the mains rather than a battery). I’ll have to ponder what I do with a 6V AC motor.

The Wheel of Colour-changing Light

The Wheel of Colour-changing Light

 

My plan was to remove the halogen bulb from its casing and fit the reclaimed LED module to some metal pins so as to use the reflector. When I lightly tapped the pins (and it was a light tap, even for me), the bulb fell out, leaving the pins behind. OK, I thought, I’ll use those pins then. Fast forward to where I discovered that you cannot actually solder onto the pins because they are made of something that really, really hates solder. I used some old component leads and made my own.

New pins

New pins

 

I hooked everything up having removed the now-superfluous motor, and found a power supply that was DC and 4.5V which is all the LEDs need. This means that I can run this off a battery if needs be. I may use the 6V AC transformer the tree originally used to make a 4.5 V supply but then I was going to release an album of Wombles covers and that never happened either.**

The result is a cool-running, colour-changing Christmas tree that will now languish in its bin liner until such time as the shop needs it.

All wired up and working!

All wired up and working!

 

 

Come into the (bright green) Light

Come into the (bright green) Light

 

Tree of (multicoloured) Light

Tree of (multicoloured) Light

 

Right, I’m off to get heat stroke and thus cleanse this premature feeling of Christmas…

oOo

* Couldn’t think of another Chris, sorry.

** But it could…***

*** No, it couldn’t.

Many other people contribute to Kate and Gun’s wonderful ScrapHappy every month – check out what they have been up to too!

 

KateGun, EvaSue, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, 
Jill, Jan, Moira, Sandra, Chris, Alys,
Claire, Jean, Jon, Dawn, Jule, Gwen,
Sunny, Kjerstin, Sue L, Vera,
Nanette, Ann, Dawn 2, Carol,
Preeti, Debbierose, Nóilin and Viv

 
 

Categories: recycling, repair, ScrapHappy, Sustainable Stuff | Tags: , , , | 19 Comments

A Thought for Every Day

oOo

Categories: recycling, repair, Sustainable Stuff, Universe | Tags: , , , | 7 Comments

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