Author Archives: writinghouse

About writinghouse

I am an Author, Database Consultant and Guitar Player. I have no idea what that makes me.

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

ScrapHappy July 2022: Water way to go – bin and gone (to the shop)

Aw! A little baby dalek...

Aw! A little baby dalek…

So, my reader will remember that, last month, I built a water butt stand (read here for the gory details) and mentioned in passing that the old water butt was in need of a retirement plan. And here is that plan – it will be a new compost bin at The Snail of happiness shop!

Having removed the bottom (now the top, just soooo confusing) of the butt, I decided to add one of those plastic handles you find on boxes with computers or air fryers in, to make it easier to open.

A lid? We can handle it...

A lid? We can handle it…

I decided to attach hinges (made from cable ties found by the side of various roads) and fashion a “lid-holding-down” device (Patent Pending) from a piece of the old greenhouse, and using the broken tap on the water butt. This is what happens when I am left unsupervised.

For once, I am not unhinged...

For once, I am not unhinged…

Lid-holding device installed

Lid-holding device installed

Lid-holding device in the "not holding the lid" position...

Lid-holding device in the “not holding the lid” position…

Hello! I raise my hat to you in welcome...

Hello! I raise my hat to you in welcome…

Now it is ready to be transported to the shop, to begin its new life composting stuff!

oOo

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

ScrapHappy June 2022: Stand, by Me

 

Remains of the Day, er, water butt stand

Remains of the Day, er, water butt stand

As promised/threatened*, I have finally built a new water butt stand using yet more of the wood recovered from The Snail of Happiness shop. The old stand was built from a pallet and enhanced** with newer wood over a few years, but that familiar cry of “woodlice ate my butt stand!” rang out once more across Chez Snail causing consternation and a call to the police by the neighbours.

Worst. Table. Ever

Worst. Table. Ever

I built the stand in three parts in the stock room/teaching space in the shop, then disassembled it to carry it home. Despite having no real clue what I was doing, I was able to take the stand apart and remove it from the shop, put it in the car and relocate it in its new home. Time will tell if it is as strong as it needs to be – it could certainly handle yours truly sitting on it looking slightly aloof (which adds a kilo or two).

Once back at Chez Snail, I used yacht varnish (on the off chance that the stand turned into a yacht) to protect the wood from the Welsh elements (which are, broadly speaking, dragons, rain, seaweed-in-bread and close harmony singing).

Me: Ha! It's so good, it can support me! Also me: Please stay up, please stay up, please stay up...

Me: Ha! It’s so good, it can support me! Also me: Please stay up, please stay up, please stay up…

 

Self-assembly water butt stand

Self-assembly water butt stand

Varnishing Trick

Varnishing Trick

New stand in place

New stand in place

We will be buying a new recycled water butt as I think the old one is probably cracked (I know that feeling!) but never fear, it will be transported to the shop to be used as another compost bin!

Borg assimilated my water butt!

Borg assimilated my water butt!

oOo

* Delete as deemed wildly appropriate

** Shored up

 

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, ScrapHappy, Sustainable Stuff | Tags: , , , , | 17 Comments

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