Monday, 1 December 2014

November in a Nutshell

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Did you say nuts?

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No, she said "nutshell" fluff for ears.

I flew to Glasgow again.  Got to take a photo of the most ironic sign I've encountered:
At the entrance to a hospital, HUGE posters all around...
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A huge sign with cigarette stubs in the post.

Santa is at the airport again, this time he's been denied his lovely fashion model entourage and has a nice reindeer that you may pose with for photos but please do not sit on the reindeer!

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Yeah, November kind of flew by.  I honestly couldn't tell you how I spent it other than I did.

This evening (okay, it's December, but only just!) I decided to act upon an idea I've had since the end of Tech wave.

You know those great glass lighthouse lamps they have at Ceabhar?  Well, I was very kindly given one that had suffered fiddling fingers and had become a little unsafe.  The railing had been wiggled too often and the spines were a health and safety issue.  It's been sitting, plugged in, by my monitor since then.

I've been wanting to convert it to LED and batteries, make it more portable and less energy consuming.  Tonight I got onto that.

So, I took two of these:
One of these:
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And spent a while with wires and solder and tape and stuff.

Initially I started with one keychain, 3V is enough to power the LED I had (a non-working lamp from Jo's trike) and got it all wired in, push button on the bottom of the base that would click on under the weight of the tower.  I had removed the LEDs and the battery by removing the solder, unfortunately this also disconnected the solar panel and the copper pad was too delicate, it let go of the panel and melted upon contact with my soldering iron.  One small solar panel down, but a working (unrechargeable) lighthouse done.

While sitting at my computer I remembered the second keychain I had.  A ha!  Snipped the unwanted bits off the board, thus leaving the solar panel and charging circuit intact.  I also discovered that 4V makes the LED brighter, so I connected the second battery in series for added oomph.

 photo Circuit_zps0f960a06.jpg

Yeah, it's messy, it's a prototype.  I've got some unwanted acrylic offcuts from the tech wave hanging about, going to use those to make a "smarter" base.  I'm also going to find a switch that you flick instead so the whole thing can sit better and be turned off without either standing it on something or flipping the circuit "board" around.

It works though.
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And, because I saved the panel this time, it will charge!
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To sum up:
* 3hrs of tinkering time
* 2 solar-panel LED keychains
* Some spare wire, solder, soldering iron
* tape
* cardboard
* Lamp (or glass item to be lit)
* Patience
* LED "bulb"

Equals sun-charged LED lamp lighthouse.  Shame it's winter and there may well not be enough sun to recharge the second battery.  But the circuit is in to catch what it can and I can leave it on all night if I want and not feel guilty about power consumed.

Speaking of sun, I shall leave you with these two shots from Baugh of the sun setting behind the golfball:

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And Madam Doglet's opinion of the colder weather:
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