Thursday, 9 November 2017

Vent Axia Lo-Carbon - Review & Install Guide

Vent Axia Lo-Carbon - Intro


For the most part the instructions give a good of idea how to install this thing. But the template that comes with the heat recovery fan is pants.


Vent Axia Lo-Carbon - Install Guide


There is one inadequacy with the instructions provided. That is the cable entry point, and also no description of how long the cable should be.

1 - The Cable Needs to be Long


The cable entry point (centre left of template) is around 15 - 20cm away from where you need to connect the cable internally (top left of unit). After leaving 10cm of cable sticking out of the wall, I was left short. Despite the requirement for a long cable there is very little room behind the unit for connectors etc. which makes adapting cable length with clamp type connector difficult.




 2 - Cable "Threading"


You also have to thread the cable through the body of the extractor fan. This would be relatively hard to do with 2.5mm cable. Bit probably OK with 1.5mm or flexible.



3 - Template 


There is nothing wrong with needing a long wire, but wire not mention this on the template!





4 - Run Off a Socket?

Yes you can run this off a socket. Handy if you want on and off to be timed. 




Vent Axia Lo-Carbon - Review

It seems to work OK, in terms of heat recovery. It is a bit noisy however. I used to ventilate my garden office with a couple of 120mm fans from a PC, which was better in terms of noise.

If I went again I would likley buy a passive MHRV unit for £99, some ducting and use PC fans again.

This vent axia lo carbon does have a boost function which shifts a lot of air, and also a summer bypass flap, so you can set it to just extract in the summer. 

Its a good bit of kit . . . . just a little too noisey. 

All the best,

dorkythorpy

Obviously this system could burn your house down if connected up incorrectly, and any cutting of wires will void any warranties. Do all of the above at your own risk. After all I have just written about what I am doing, it is your choice if you decide to do any of the above.


Environmental Consultants London

Monday, 6 November 2017

How to Install a Vented Tumble Drier

1- How to Install a Vented Tumble Drier - Intro


A condenser tumble drier is easy to install. Because you do not need a hole in the wall of your house. However with a vented tumble drier you need a pipe or duct that takes the warm moist air out of the tumble drier, and blows it outside.

2 -How to Install a Vented Tumble Drier - What Tools will You Need?


A professional would use a large diamond core bit, to make a perfect round hole. However this tool is not really worth buying for 1 job. Although they are about £20 on Ebay so not too bad.

Basic - Hammer and Masonry Chisel (It is be harder to do a neat job without a drill)

Intermediate - Drill with 120mm long masonry bit & Hammer and Chisel

Well Equipped - SDS Drill with chisel function

Pro - Diamond or Tungsten Core Bit

You will also need a tape measure, a marker pen and a vacuum cleaner is ideal for tidy up.

3 -How to Install a Vented Tumble Drier - What Materials?

A vent kit may be you cheapest option, and will likley come with instructions, so that could be a good bet if you are doing this for the first time, or not a keen DIYer.

If you are short of cash or need to get your drier up and running quickly, you could make the hole and pull the flexible duct through that is supplied with the direr, as a short term solution. Just make sure you allow the duct to hang downwards externally, so water will not run in.

You can also use a peice of 100mm waste pipe, and and a vent cover externally. This is what I used.

4 -How to Install a Vented Tumble Drier - Where to Make Your Hole?


Most tumble driers designed for domestic use will have a 100mm vent duct. Ideally you do not want you vent pipe to exit the wall any lower than 1 meter, to prevent rodents using it as a door. Realistically you will be limited to the the height of your kitchen worktop which is usually about 90cm. In short keep the vent hole a high as possible.

In the example shown below the drier is installed in a cupboard (door must be left open when in use) and the vent exits more than 1 meter above external ground level.

Important: The rigid duct should slop down hill towards the outside of the property. Otherwise the rain will run through the pipe in to you kitchen. Also condensation.

5 - How to Install a Vented Tumble Drier - Making the Hole 

A vent kit may be you cheapest option, and will likley come with instructions, so that could be a good bet if you are doing this for the first time, or not a keen DIYer.

It is better to start from inside, but you will need to have a think about where you hole will emerge on the outside of the house. Are there an pipes or cables in the wall? Is there a meter box (!) or similar close to where you hole will emerge?

Take a piece of you rigid ducting or in my case 100m waste pipe, and us it as a stencil, position the hole as discussed in section 5.

A - Draw Around your Chosen Ducting

Next take your drill and make a series of hole around the line the you have just drawn.

B - Drill A Series of Holes & Chisel Out

Now you will need to chisel out the bit of the wall you have made you holes around, it is better to chisel because it make less dust. When you have finished chiselling you should have the following. .


C - Remove Insulation
Once you have chiselled out your hole, your will likley see the insulation in the wall cavity, this can look like wool, polystyrene or it could be foil coated.

If it is wooly (as pictured) poke it out of the way. If polystyrene or foil backed foam, you will need to cut a circular piece. I did this from outside. I like working outside!


D - Check Holes Line Up

When you are looking through the hole, there is likley to be a strong draft blowing dust etc.through it. It will slow you down if you have any eye full of fibreglass so don't get too close. 

E - Install Ducting
Next tap through you rigid duct. It may not go through first time, you may nee to get the old hammer and chisel out again to remove extra bits of masonry before it will slide through. When it is flush / parallel with the wall on in the inside, mark the pipe flush with the wall on the outside, and then slide it out a bit to cut with a saw. 

The rigid duct is now installed, first go inside and slide you tumble drier in to position, you can then reach through the pipe from the outside and pull the flexible duct in to your rigid duct. Then install the vent extract external cover.

F - Install External Vent Cover

Comments appreciated good or bad.

Environmental Consultants London

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Netgear WN3000RP Review

Netgear WN3000RP Review - Intro


There are a great many wifi range extenders on the market. If you are a fan of Netgear products (TP Link are a good alternative) then you may have come across the Netgear WN3000RP.

Summary: A good quality piece of equipment that performs well once setup, but let down by a very glitchy user interface.

Netgear WN3000RP Review - The Good


This small booster will work as a range booster or an access point. Quick explanation:

Booster: Picks up a wireless signal using aerials attached and fires it back out again at increased "strength".

Access Point: Allow access to a wired network. You could route a wired network through the WN3000RP so at to provide wireless access to that network.

I have used both features at two different houses and they work well . . .  once setup. The wireless access point I am running at the moment take ethernet from a powerline adaptor, and spews forth internet goodness in to our home.  This enable me to keep the router near the broadband source, and have an access point where we actually use wireless devices.

Because the WN3000RP allows access to our wider home network, it also allows us to use network printers and other back resources that are sited 100 meters from the house in my office.

The signal strength will pass through a 18" or 40cm thick stone wall. Although it is a little weak. In our old house which was built from concrete blocks the coverage was strong throughout the whole house.

Netgear WN3000RP Review - The Bad


Because the aerials are on the side it takes up too much room when using a multi-socket, so that is a bit annoying.

Netgear WN3000RP Review - The Ugly


The setup process is trying. In order to set this thing up you connect to it over wireless and then log in using the default password etc. As soon as you change any of the settings you are disconnected which you would expect. However, half the time when you do finally manage to re-connect you will find no progress has been made.

Choosing a SSID (Wireless Network Name) other then the one suggested creates all sorts of problems, so best avoided for you own sanity. All in all very frustrating. It could be that all range extenders are like this, it is the only one I have every had.


Environmental Consultants London

Friday, 13 October 2017

How Many Tons can You Shovel by Hand in 1 Hour / 1 Day

How Many Tons can You Shovel by Hand in 1 Hour or 1 Day

This is a quick note to say how many tons a fit healthy strong(ish) person can shovel in 1 day if properly motivated.

Recently I received 16 metric tons (16,000kgs) of crushed lime stone delivered tipped out of a lorry in to a heap. I manged to load this in to wheel barrows with a normal shovel during 7 hours of shovelling.

This would give an approx rate of 2 tons per hour, with a short walk included to empty the wheelbarrow. A few notes from this example:


  • The Gravel was Easy to Shovel (30mm max gravel size) 
  • The gravel was spread over a 30 meter long drive way.
  • I am a well fed, 90kg bloke who keeps fit.
  • You can shovel 16 tons in one day.

I am not sure if I could have repeated this the following day! But I dare say you would get used to the work after a couple of weeks!

I worked as hard as this for my own benefit, it was stressful and I was exhausted afterwards. I would not expect one of my employees to move the same amount. 

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

TDA2030A & TDA2030 Amplifier Observations

TDA2030A & TDA2030 Amplifier Observations - Intro


I have recently built portable battery powered speakers using a PAM8403 and a PAM8610. They are very efficient "Class D" amplifiers and can be run on high volume for hours and hours on one set of AA batteries (1.3ah).

However, I would like more bass! So I have tried this TDA2030A "Class AB" board to see how it compares. The TDA2030A is almost identical to the TDA2030. The former have a slightly higher max wattage rating.

This amplifier can be built on to boards that can handle up to 22V although 36V is achievable in some applications. I was limited to 16V by the capacitors that were installed on my pre built board, purchased from ebay (fluxworkshop).



TDA2030A & TDA2030 Amplifier Observations - Current


This is perhaps the TDA2030A amps most troubling characteristic. It requires 3.5A of current (max current), this means that with anything other than top end AA batteries such as "Eneloop" you will not be able to run this on AA batteries. They would also drain quickly even if you could!

The limiting factor it appears with the use of AA cells is the battery holder box. After testing one of the springs had melted and slumped.. I have read elsewhere that the cheap AA battery holders are only good up to about 1.5A.

So . .  you will need a power supply from the mains. . .or lithium high drain cells or an SLA Battery. Again the battery holder for the lithium cells will have to be good quality.

By comparison the PAM8403 and a PAM8610 draw about 1.0A of current which is ideal for use with AA batteries and cheap holders.

I tried the following batteries:


  1. 6 x AA 1.3ah Uniross Batteries in Holders - Not Good
  2. 5 x 4.5ah NiMh (Battery Pack from Silva Headtorch) - OK
  3. 1 x 12V SLA (Actually LiPO4 but in SLA Type Package - Nominal current 7A) - Fine


TDA2030A & TDA2030 Amplifier Observations - Voltages 


To get good performance out of this amplifier you will need to run it higher than the minimum voltage of 6V, in fact even at 9V the output is distorted and low power. The sound is clean when at low volume (60db), but push past that level and the sound is terrible.

I have read else where that this chip sings better at 22 volts, but I can't try that. I can report that at 15V (SLA fresh off charge) it performs well. Running with no distortion at full volume (70- 75db).


TDA2030A & TDA2030 Amplifier Observations - Heatsink


The board I purchased came with a very small heatsink. It looked small to me, so I salvaged a heat sink from an ancient graphics card and used that. I also applied some thermal paste between the chip and the sink. 

A Larger Heatsink - Perhaps Not Required
The TDA2030A (or TDA2030) as I configured it does not generate very much heat, the heat sink as pictured above get slightly warm to the touch, so a small heatsink, such as the top picture in the post would probably be OK. 


TDA2030A & TDA2030 Amplifier Observations - How Loud

I would estimate 75db, specs say 85db. So specs say around 10 time more than I do! But this is running at 22V instead of 16V.

In comparison to PAM8403 the TDA2030A is louder, but PAM8610 running at 12V and 1A is far far louder. 

TDA2030A & TDA2030 Amplifier Observations - Sound Quality


The sound quality of this small "Class AB" amplifier is pretty good. It has better than the "Class D" Amplifiers that I have tried. 

I would describe the sound from this amplifier as richer, than the other class D offerings. There seems to be more depth to the sound, it is less flat than the Class D amps. 

I am sorry for the subjective nature of this appraisal, but that is the best I can do. 

TDA2030A & TDA2030 Amplifier Observations -  Pros & Cons


Con - If you were build and battery powered portable speaker with this it would like cost 3 x times that of a Class D build because of the battery. 

Pro - Slightly Better Sound Sound / Richness

TDA2030A & TDA2030 Amplifier Observations - Photos

Very Small Package

Large Battery in Webbing Pouch

Bag of Spanners! (Ugly)

Environmental Permit Applications

Friday, 8 September 2017

Use Apple Pay Without Passcode

Use Apple Pay Without Passcode - Intro


You can NOT do this!

Despite being able to use my "real" contactless card without a passcode, Apple have decided I am a child, and need to be controlled.

There is a slightly less annoying work around. . . . .  or you could just buy a roll of gaffa tape!


Use Apple Pay Without Passcode - Work Around

First off you need to disable touch ID, it is rubbish anyway, being completely unreliable and denies you access to your phone just when you need it, normally when you are in a rush or in a meeting. 

Go To:

Settings > Touch ID and Passcode

If you do not have a passcode then set one up (Turn Passcode On). When you are choosing your new passcode, you will see small writing "passcode options", here you can choose a 4 digit passcode (like the old days), which will keep you safe without wasting your precious time. 


If you are currently using a 6 digit passcode then you will need to:

Settings > Touch ID and Passcode > Turn Passcode Off

and then. . . .

Settings > Touch ID and Passcode > Turn Passcode On

First Turn Passcode On (Turn On and Off to get 4 digit code)

you will then see the above screen with the "Passcode Options". 

Next we need to minimise the number of times you will be required to input the passcode, which can be got down to about 3 or 4 times day using the below option. 

Settings > Touch ID and Passcode > Require Password

By default this is set to "Immediately" which is really annoying. Select "4 hours" or what ever you feel is good for you.


Choose 4 Hour Delay before passcode is required. 

Use Apple Pay Without Passcode -  Conclusion

So you can now use apple pay, only have to use you passcode 3 or 4 times day, and when you pay. It would be very nice if I only had to use passcode when I paid, but like I say I am child and can not be trusted, thank goodness apple are there to protect me!

If like me you are on and off you phone all day perhaps 50 + times (who isn't) this workaround will allow you to use apple pay, whilst only having enter passcode 2 or 3 times a day. 

I hope this keeps you sane, if all else fails just use some gaffa tape to stick your contactless card to the back of you phone. 

Waste Transfer Station Permit

Illustrator Devon

Monday, 28 August 2017

Bor Yueh BY-201 Front Rack Review

Bor Yueh BY-201 Front Rack Review - Intro



I needed to fit a child seat to the rear of my bike, and wanted panniers for shopping too. So front rack is the route I went. This unlike a "lowrider" rack allows you to use full size rear panniers on the front of your bike.

A few years ago, people would have started talking about centre of gravity, but thanks to the marketing powers of firms like Salsa, "bike packing" sees luggage mounted all over bikes, typically very high up. I am not saying it is good, but it has become more trendy to have an unstably loaded bicycle. So I should not need to justify the whole COG thing.

Update: 06/09/2017

I have tested this rack with a 35kg load. Which consisted of 2 large panniers and a medium sized child. I travelled 10 miles with this load and bumped down curbs, and did some violent steering. All good. So a bit stronger than that 10kg mentioned on the website.



Smallish RAck - Full Size Panniers



Bor Yueh BY-201 Front Rack Review - Fitting


The rack comes with a selection of nuts and bolts for fitting, as well as plates for mounting, and what not. The only criticism here would be that the bolts are all screw driver type bolts and not allen key variants / jobbies.
No Caption - Self Explanatory 

You will require a hole in the fork crown (where the mudguards are bolted on) and also some forward facing rack mounts on the bottom of the forks. I doubt this would fit on to mudguard mounts, although there are some spacers provided which may get this to work.

Bor Yueh BY-201 Front Rack Review - In Use


I have owned one of these a few years ago. They are a good rack. Issues it for 2 or 3 years with no issues. So this is a 2nd purchase, which must count for something.

As mentioned in the intro this puts your luggage above 6" above low rider height. This really doesn't bother me in the slightest, and I can use any of the rear panniers I already have on the front of this bike.

Bor Yueh BY-201 Front Rack Review - Photos


View from Above - Lack of Allen Bolts is a Shame

Fixing are however, Sturdy

Mounting Point at Fork Crown