Clearing Snow From Your Car

The scenario when you begin clearing snow from your car:

You just got up to go to work and your car has 50mm of snow all over it. You get your warm clothes on and rush outside to begin clearing snow from your car. What do you use?

  • Hands. “Oh! That’s so cold.”
  • Hands with gloves on. “Oh! They’re so wet and cold – the gloves are ruined and I still haven’t moved much snow.”
  • A piece of cardboard. “Oh! The snow has melted and soaked into it and now it’s disintegrating.”
  • A Soft-bristled Hand Brush. “Oh! That’s great. It’s moving large amounts of snow very easily and is resistant to the wet. The bristles are so soft they aren’t damaging my car’s paintwork. I’ll soon have it all swept off and my hands are staying relatively warm and dry.”

Soft-bristled Hand Brushes – Available from hardware stores. Example.

Don’t forget to carry one with you.

NOTE: Some hand brushes are sold as ‘Banister Brushes’. Some may have soft bristles but others have stiff bristles. A soft flexible bristle is required to prevent the paintwork getting scratched.

How Many Parts Make A Shower Head?

How Many Parts?

You may be surprised to learn that the shower head that came with my Mira Sport Thermostatic Shower is made from 22 separate parts. If you count them in the featured image above you will see 21 but take note that the main body of the shower head, on the right, is made from two inseparable parts of plastic.

I can also tell you that the main body of the shower head retains water after use. Some drops can be removed by shaking it in various ways but some always remains inside. If the shower isn’t used regularly this water will become stagnant and may hold dangerous bacteria. I would recommend turning the shower on at least once per week to refresh the water in the shower head.

This all came to light when I wanted to do a good job of cleaning mould and calcium off the shower head. I felt the best job would be done by dismantling it and cleaning all the parts individually since some mould looked as if it had penetrated inside.

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Keeping Birds Off TV Aerials

Introduction

In my previous post “Freeview Aerial Direction” you may have noticed something unusual about my Yagi TV antenna/aerial. Yes, amongst the array of directors in front of the dipole and on the reflector at the back there are some Zip Ties (Cable Ties – often used for anchoring a cable to something else). In this case their purpose is to prevent birds from landing on my aerial. The problem I have is that when they take off they tend to deposit their droppings on my solar panels and so reduce their efficiency. So this post describes a simple method of keeping birds off TV aerials.

My Method For Keeping Birds Off TV Aerials

I asked my aerial erector if he could do something about it. He told me I could pay for some specific spikes to be fitted to my aerial or he would happily attach some zip ties for no extra cost if I had them to hand. I gave him a bunch and the result is shown in the featured image. In between the directors they are fixed to square tubing so they don’t rotate under gravity to point downwards. On the reflector where some round bar is used they are left long and threaded through to stop them moving out of place. Being plastic (an electrical insulator) they have no effect on the signal.

Zip ties are commonly available in DIY and electrical stores. I used black ones because they are usually more resistant to UV (ultra-violet) light.

Addendum

It’s now April 2014 and I have to advise that a wood pigeon has been seen perched in the centre of my aerial. It neatly fitted itself between two zip ties. If I could do it again I would increase the number if zip ties and have them closer together.

Terrestrial Freeview TV Aerial Direction

Introduction

In November 2012 I had my terrestrial TV aerial relocated to another corner of my chimney stack so that it doesn’t overhang my solar panels. Birds were perching on it and making a mess on them. Consequently I needed to check my TV aerial direction to be sure it points to the transmitter.

The aerial engineer (Martin Downing) worked until it was dusk when he re-attached my aerial to the chimney stack. That left him little time to adjust my TV aerial direction. I could see from the ground that the initial direction didn’t align with the aerials of my neighbours. I checked the TV picture and on some channels I got interference on my digital Freeview signal causing blocking (corrupt squares of varying sizes) on the picture. So I asked him to rotate it until it matched the other aerials nearby. The picture has been good since.

In this article I show how terrestrial TV aerial direction is accurately set using a compass instead of measuring the signal strength.

I accept that measuring signal strength at the aerial is the best method especially when an aerial is pointing towards an obstruction such as a building or electricity pylon.

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