Saturday, November 14, 2015

An interesting day!

The primary goal of heading out today was to get my car serviced, which happened this week. Now I don't have to worry about it all. Sure, they were on about rotating tyres and the age of my battery and radiator flushes. My tyres rotate quite well as I drive down the road and anything else gets done when needed. In other words, the battery gets replaced when it stops starting right away.

Speaking of batteries, two of my purchases arrived today. The first was a 5A solar panel and the second was my enamelled copper wire. I'd have got on with making electro magnets had I not completely forgotten to purchase appropriate bolts.

With this wire, I should be able to make far better electro magnets than the Chinese supplied and make sure they work with my setup! I could have saved a lot of time by doing this from the start.

The solar panel is 12v, 5A and is intended for use as a battery keeper. A quick test using a 12v panel lamp proved the panel works well even out of direct light. Note that the panel is sitting on a shaded step on the bus with the lamp connected. The plan is to put a cigarette lighter socket plug on it, put the panel on the dashboard where sun will shine on it and to plug it into the electrical system. That should slowly trickle charge the battery and ensure it doesn't go flat.

Another thing I got was a 70A welder. Looking at the reviews, it seems most of the complaints come from people that can't read. Looking on the sides of the welding rod boxes, amp ranges are specified. A rod for 25-45A will work well as long as the power is turned down. A rod for 45-90A will work well. A rod for 90-135A will not work. I was pretty careful to read what it said on the boxes!

Now the next issue is the welder needs a 20A power supply. That doesn't exist right now. It will have to be installed on a separate pole outside. Fortunately I have a suitable box. The first task though was to hack my way through a jungle to get to the box.

Having reached the pole, I investigated the box. It's going to be "interesting" wiring it up with a potential 200A running through it all. Fortunately there are spaces where breakers have been removed and there's a hole in the bottom of the box. There's plenty conduit taken from the hillbilly installation that can be used.

As the conduit is a bit of a funky shape, there will need to be a separate pole for the new outlet. Clearly I'd have to buy more electric cable. It's all doable though it might be next weekend before I get started. Right now I have several projects all needing extra parts or preparation work. It's a little frustrating!

To add to the frustration, my multimeter has indeed died. It seems the needle is sticking. I have no idea why as it has been stored dry, never abused and not used a great deal! It worked a few months ago. Clearly I need to replace it as its now unreliable even if I did get it to work again.

It's probably had a reasonable innings since I bought it about a decade ago. I remember buying an inexpensive meter. EBay came up trumps. $4.99 got me a replacement with a digital display, shipped from Texas. I'm not in a great hurry for it so I can afford to wait a week. There's plenty else I can do without a meter.

My latest plan is to continue on with eliminating the handbasin in the bathroom, turning the vanity top into a straight countertop. That makes far more sense to me. I can use the counter for a gas cooker or for a plastic bowl to do my washing etc.

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