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Live in Wales. Enjoy doing stuff for b3ta. Nuff said.

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» DIY Techno-hacks

ALARM clock
Alarm clock not loud enough.
Removed sounder from an old car alarm, screwed it to the back and soldered it in.
Alarm clock now loud enough.
(Fri 21st Aug 2009, 17:43, More)

» How clean is your house?

Shitholes
I've been to a few whilst on my travels.

SHITHOLE #1: Sandfields Estate, Port Talbot

The sign on the door said something along the lines of "This house is for the benefit of our dogs, if you don't like it - tough" which gave a clue as to what lay within.

You know when people have an outhouse that they've been keeping coal in? That grimy dirtiness? Well in this case it wasn't the outhouse. It was the hallway. Proceed into the living room, admire the shelves that have been attached to the walls with a nail gun, and settle down on the brown (may or may not be its natural colour) carpet to do my work.

Now one of my work tools is an anti-static mat. It stops things getting zapped by static. It stops me leaving bits of wire everywhere. It stops me burning a hole in your carpet with my soldering iron. In this case it had a fourth purpose: it keeps my knees off your carpet.

SHITHOLE #2: Loughor, Near Swansea

Doesn't look as bad as shithole #1, but looks can be deceiving. I kneel down on the floor to get to work and - aaaagh, what's that seeping through my jeans? Dog piss, that's what.

I ended up kneeling on an anti-static bag for the duration of the job. Once I left I made a bee-line for Tesco as my jeans were absolutely BUZZING. Straight to the clothes aisles, bought my first ever pair of 501s, went straight to the toilets and changed into them. The jeans went in the bag and straight in the wash when I got home. The antistatic bag, which had served its master well for several months, was a lost cause and went in the bin.

SHITHOLE #3: Godreaman, Aberdare

You get some places where you could eat your dinner off the floor. Others look like somebody's beaten you to it. This fell into the latter category.

Now my house is a tip, but at least any bits found in the carpet are bits of plastic, metal, wood and the like, as I'm still doing the house up years after moving in. This house had carpet like mine, but replace all the bits of DIY detritus with bits of food and you get the picture. They can't have had a dog, 'cos a terrier would feast for a week on the contents of the living room flooring. Another "kneel on the mat" moment for me.

SHITHOLE #4: Cwmbran

This was a repair job in a bedroom, overlooking the main road and the shopping centre. All I'll say is the sheets on this lad's bed clearly hadn't been changed in a looooong time. As in "ever". The sheets were the same colour as the background of the "Main Board, Talk Board, etc." bar at the top of this page, or maybe a little darker.

SHITHOLE #5: Treorchy, Rhondda

The money spent on the gardenful of inflatable Christmas decorations would be better spent on a vacuum cleaner and a bottle of Flash All-Purpose, as you could smell the house from outside the front door. No mat required on this job, so managed to work by squatting down, my feet were the only thing that were going to touch THAT floor!

I've kept a pot of Vick's Vapo-rub in the car in the past, to rub under my nostrils when visiting such "problem places" like the coroners do. Every time I've visited this one though, I've forgotten the pot. Bugger.

I had to use the loo there on one occasion. Bath was crammed full of washing, so goodness knows where they put that when they want to actually USE the bath, anything that hit the floor would have to go on a boil wash!

If I can think of any more shitholes I've visited I'll be sure to post them here.
(Fri 26th Mar 2010, 20:38, More)

» DIY Techno-hacks

The electrombrero
Made in time for Millennium New Years Eve:-

Take two old sombreros bought when on holiday in Spain with the school.
Add 32 LEDs around the rim (red on the red sombrero, green on the green one).
Add a PCB inside the top (above head level) containing four chips and a handful of other bits and bobs, plus a touch of programming.

Result: a pair of sombreros with a 64-pattern, variable-speed light chaser on each. Still got them. They still work.
(Fri 21st Aug 2009, 18:06, More)

» DIY Techno-hacks

Another alarm one
Not content with my car alarm just making a racket if you broke in, I decided to add my own "enhancements".

Output normally used to flash indicators routed to a delay timer.
After a few flashes, delay timer would switch on.
Delay timer fed another siren. A LOUD siren. INSIDE the car.
Delay timer also fed a step-up converter that kicked out 500 volts AC to wires conveniently placed on the bonnet catch. A thief can't shut the alarm up without opening the bonnet, but can't open the bonnet unless he shuts the alarm up, otherwise he gets a belt off it.

I never felt the full force of this nasty beastie (although I did get a taster of it when testing the circuit, thanks to a wet soldering iron sponge) but one of my mates did when I asked him to pop the bonnet when the alarm was going off :-)

The 500V power supply is still lurking in a box somewhere...
(Fri 21st Aug 2009, 17:56, More)

» Stuff I've found

A friend of mine
found a bag of super-strength cannabis in Tescos loo. She did the decent thing of course: over the next few weeks the stash was wrapped in paper and incinerated.
(Tue 11th Nov 2008, 1:59, More)
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