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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Removing A Bra Wire From A Washing Machine

Introduction

“Oh no! I’ll have to spend the rest of the day removing a bra wire from a washing machine now!”

The exclamation above probably describes how you felt if you ever heard a “tick, tick, tick” when your washing machine rotated slowly followed by a loud rasping sound when it speeded up.

Here is the featured image if you cannot see it.

removing a bra wire from a washing machine
Mangled Bra Wire

It can be very expensive to pay someone for removing a bra wire from a washing machine. The wire normally gets caught under the heating element which is situated at the bottom, between the inner drum (the one you can see through the door with all the holes) and the outer drum which surrounds it and holds the water. The wire can lie dormant and not touch the inner drum, but if you know it’s in there then that’s worrying. It can catch on the holes of the drum in such a way that it sticks through one, in which case you can probably grab it with your pliers and pull it out. If it pops through a hole while it is whizzing around it could do serious damage to the parts it is caught on, between the drums, or it could puncture the hose connecting the outer drum to the pump.

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Spilt Paint On My Patio

Introduction

“Oh dear! My quarter full tin of paint, for hardwood windows, was resting on a sheet of cardboard when a gust of wind lifted the cardboard and tipped over my paint pot.”

The spilt paint on my patio slabs created a 20cm mahogany puddle with splashes around it. There would have been photos but I had to swear first and then get on with cleaning it up.

How I Cleaned Up The Spilt Paint On My Patio

I began the clean-up process of removing the spilt paint on my patio without delay, before the paint puddle spread out or started to set. This is how I dealt with it. I went and got a roll of paper towels (a kitchen roll) and ripped off two sheets still joined together. I folded it double and with both hands I scooped it towards the middle of the puddle from the far side, then with more paper towels I scooped it towards the middle of the puddle from the near side leaving the tissue in the middle to soak it up. I then used more paper towels to pick up the messy towels and take them to the refuse bin. I then repeated this doing it in a way that would not spread the pint outwards. I always moved the paper to the middle of the puddle. Then I cleaned my hands so that I didn’t spread it around.

After I had removed a lot of the paint I poured paintbrush cleaner (the variety that can be washed off with water) on the remaining paint puddle and the splashes. I then used a hand-held scrubbing brush to work the paintbrush cleaner into the paint. I added more paintbrush cleaner and I could see it washed the slab where I had poured it so that I could see the concrete colour showing through. This was a good sign that the paintbrush cleaner was working to dissolve and remove the paint. By this time several slabs looked to be in a terrible state, but having done this before (using paintbrush cleaner to remove wet paint from concrete) I knew that the time had come to hose it all away.

I did just that. I washed this area of my patio with clean water from a hosepipe. The paintbrush cleaner went milky, as it does when mixed with water, but after plenty of water was used the patio was as clean as it was before the paint was spilt.

My only remaining problem was – the hosepipe had splashed the window I had just painted, doh!

Street Photography in Kabul

Would You Believe There’s Street Photography In Kabul

I just watched a video which has impressed me as a technologist and photographer. It’s all about Street Photography in Kabul, i.e. taking very primitive instant photos in the street. If you are a technologist or photography see if you are impressed too. Watch the video of How to use an Afghan box camera (a “kamra-e-faoree”) below:

You will find more to read about the Afghan Box Camera here.

Should You Worry About Your Bath Overflowing?

“Me, worry about my bath overflowing? Its got an overflow pipe.”

“Oh! Has it?”

Why you DO NEED to worry about your bath overflowing?

I know someone who has had a bad experience with a bath overflowing, but it wasn’t their bath overflowing. It was in a flat two floors above. Interestingly the flat in between on the floor immediately below the bath didn’t get wet. How can that happen?

Well lets start with the overflowing bath. The person, whose bath it was, admitted it had overflowed but not very much. I suspect this means that the water did actually run over the rim of the bath. That means it rose above the bath overflow outlet (assuming there was one.) On my bath, water would start to go down the overflow pipe when it is within 8cm of the top of the bath. The top of my bath is 8cm above the bottom of the overflow. So if it is full to the point where it will overflow the rim of the bath the head of water pushing out through the overflow will be 0.08m whereas the head of water from the water level in my header tank in the loft is 2m. Alternative forms of hot water provision can be at mains pressure which usually has a lot more than 2m head. My point is that the tap’s pipe diameter and overflow pipe diameter are similar but the input pressure is a lot higher than the output pressure. Consequently baths can fill faster than they can overflow. So eventually a system with no faults may eventually overflow the rim of the bath if the taps are turned full on. So DON’T LEAVE BATH TAPS RUNNING WHEN YOU LEAVE THE BATHROOM. You may be distracted and forget about them. Continue reading “Should You Worry About Your Bath Overflowing?”