Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Wiring completed except for the controller... will do that tonight.  Also need to add some black construction paper to keep the light from bleeding front to back or vice-versa.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Picture with the battery mounted.  Please be sure to remove the sticker from the bottom of the battery before you mount it otherwise the glue will be sticking to the paper and it will peel off.  Observe the space under the battery which allows the light from the LED to reach the inner-C ring.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Completed first layer (back) inner-C LED mounting and connected the row wire.  I like this approach better because it spaces things out more (KAKAKAKA vs. AKKAAKKA).

Friday, May 27, 2011

I installed the replacement DPST switch in the factory slider switch location.  You have to be mindful not to glue in the channel where the plastic switch slides (ruined my first switch this way).  The LEDs in this location are slightly wider then where they should be so I angle them slightly so you can't see a difference from the outside.  I tack it in place with hot-melt glue for speed and then fill in and around with E-6000 again not getting any inside the switch mechanism.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Some of you have been asking for a better picture of the recharging port connection.  Basically I mirror the hole for the factory slider switch on the opposite side just big enough for the port to easily fit through.  I then attach the supplied extension/connector cable to it to hold it in place.  I then apply E-6000 from the inside and let it dry overnight.  Note that the battery is not mounted yet in this picture.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Some awesome pictures of a custom disc we did at Singatronic (Singapore).


Friday, May 13, 2011

Blogger Downtime

No, I am not moving my blog to WordPress... I have been very pleased with this free service that Google provides.  Also having spent my share of all-nighters (one of which was on Christmas Eve) trying to pull a changeset from a server and restoring the data... it is not fun and my heart goes out to those guys.

To my knowledge the content was never unavailable - authors just couldn't post new content.  Posts from yesterday had to be manually moved from one copy of the database to another when they made the decision to revert.

I watched Twitter for @Blogger matches yesterday - in case you missed those it was pretty hilarious.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Inner-C SMD Ribbon Installed

This is the prototype of the SMD version but I am extremely confident in the electronics package because of previous work I have done.  The kit only comes out to $19.99!  It is simpler for DIY (minimal soldering) and much brighter but not animated.  The blade is operated independently from the inner C rings using the factory pushbutton.  The factory power switch location is used to turn on the whole thing.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Using a cutting wheel and respirator I cut the top of the inner C ring at a 30° angle towards the inside of the disc so that they pick up more light from the LEDs.  This leaves it slightly more diffused/frosted for a very soft but bright light.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Virtual Rain Sensor

A little side project this weekend... the wife left the sprinkler on all day for our garden by mistake so she asked me to automate it.  We already have the X10 CK11A Computer Control Active Home System, an X10 PUM01 Pro Universal Module, and a Rain Bird JTV075-ASV 3/4-Inch Jar Top Anti-Siphon Valve.  The only thing missing was a rain sensor like the Rain Bird RSD Rain Sensor which we have used in the past.  Then it hit me!  There are shortcomings of these hard-wired rain sensors...
  • Mounted to the house they won't be accurate from all directions
  • No output of dryness level (only a water or don't water switch)
  • No input of sprinkler water received (unless you mount it where it gets hit)
  • They will allow the sprinkler to run even during rainfall 
  • No input of weather forecast data (percentage) or per-storm rainfall totals
  • Decent brand with freeze sensor and adjustable soil permeability is over $30.
So I set out to create a Virtual Rain Sensor.  A program that gathers information from a database regarding the weather observations for the past 3-7 days (configurable interval and weather location).  It then runs the CIMIS algorithm to calculate losses through transpiration and evaporation based on sunlight, wind, temperature, relative humidity, barometric pressure, and elevation.  We then apply the gains through rainfall from mother nature.  It also pulls the forecast for the next day and the average per-storm rainfall total for the current day and calculates a predicted rainfall total for the next day. 

Taking all this into consideration (and whether the current observation or forecast low is at or below freezing) we calculate the duration of our watering based on our inches per hour calibration (using a coffee can in your garden you run the sprinklers for an hour and then measure how many inches of water you collected).

The application runs as a service on any Windows operating system (XP or 2003 Server minimum).  Every 3 to 7 days it will download a small packet of weather data from our servers and make a decision.  The details of this decision will be recorded and viewable on a dedicated website.

Holler if you are interested in trying this out.  I will send you an application customized to your location.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Refer to my earlier post, regarding Zentia

Refer to my other post, using Loctite

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Started a new forum for you guys to exchange pictures and ideas.  The comments are getting out-of-hand!  ;)

Let me know what you think about how it is currently organized - it makes sense to me but I am also juggling a few orders here so who knows!?

Also let me know if you are interested in moderating one or more of the forums and what your qualifications are (if any).

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Shout out to...

I received my Zentai suit today and my wife already put it on the dress form!  They made it crew neck and no socks.  It zips up in the back which will be hidden by the disc mount and armor.

I also have been having great success with Loctite black polyurethane instead of the black hot-melt glue sticks in holding the battery cover and inner-C rings in place.  It takes a while to cure completely but it is strong enough to work with after 3 days.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Lately I have been playing catch-up with the blade casting since the mold was out of commission for a few weeks.  The new vertical mold technique works awesome... we have made 5 perfect blades in as many days.

The inner-C ring started deteriorating on Sunday so I poured a new mold last night.  Shouldn't skip a beat!