Friday, 26 July 2013

Can you braze with a propane / butane blow torch?

Can you braze with a propane or butane blow torch? - Intro

Being stingy I thought I would try and see if I could braze with a standard propane / butane plumbers blow torch. As the one pictured below. This is the type of propane / butane torch often used by plumbers or chefs for making creme catalan etc.

I have read a very good book on the subject, and for anyone thinking of attempting some brazing I would recommend it it is called "Soldering and Brazing" in the "Work Shop Practice Series". It covers all sorts of brazing methods, and yes you can use a propane, or butane torch. 

There are different gases available which you can use, MAP gas is a slightly higher temperature gas than propane, although we are talking 2100c instead of 1900c, so I am not sure how much difference that will make.   I used sievert power gas, which seems to be fine heat wise, technique is probably more important. But for more recent projects I have used sievert ultra gas.

The torch you use will likely have a greater impact on the heat output than the gas. If you intend to buy a torch look at the heat output which can range from 0.5 to 2.5 KW or more. The book doesn't really say how much you need, so I can't comment either, like I say technique seems to be most important. 

Make sure you get the right flux to work with the solder / rods you have purchased. If in doubt buy the flux and rods together to avoid confusion. The joint will need to be well fluxed to make sure the filler material runs properly. Silver solder is good at filling very small cracks. I have bicycle frame (pictures below) which I repaired using Silverflo 55, and a patch.

Can you braze with a propane or butane blow torch? - Which Filler Material

I was not expecting to be using normal brass brazing rods, because the torch would not be hot enough, instead I was hoping to use a low temperature silver solder such as JM Silverflo 55. It turns out that with the right sort of propane torch you will be able to braze with brass rods. Using a silver solder with a lower melting temperature, however will be easier.

Write up:

M Silverflo 55 is widely recognised as the best quality general purpose silver solder with a silver content of 55%. It is suitable for use on copper, copper alloys, brasses, bronze, carbon steels, tool steels, stainless steels, nickel alloys, molybdenum and tungsten alloys. It provides a high strength joint on similar and dissimilar materials with joints as small as 0.04mm feasible. Working temperatures of between 600 and 650 degrees celsius with a high fluid state. Can be used with many heat sources such as propane, butane and oxy-acetylene.

By way of comparison standard brass filler material melts at around 800c - 900c.

 Can you braze with a propane or butane blow torch? - Results

This was my first attempt at brazing for 16 years, perhaps I have forgotten how to do it. Not enough flux perhaps. The result however ugly is very strong.

Can you braze with a propane or butane blow torch? - Next Repair

For my next repair job I purchased a chromoly bike frame with a crack in it.  Picture of frame are shown below.

I used the same solder as before (Silverflo 55) and I used a "patch" across the crack made from a plate from a bicycle chain. The result was a virtually indestructible joint, which I have ridden hard on for 100's of miles, over rough terrain.

One slight question mark, it that in order to get the work piece up to temperature you have to apply heat for quite a long time, and the heat spread through the work piece is considerable and this may have effects on the properties of the metal. But as I said it worked fine, and I am still alive.

Can you braze with a propane or butane blow torch? - Conclusion

For a ugly, unsatisfactory,  but functional braze yes you can use a propane or butane torch.

Friday, 19 July 2013

How to Move a Piano

How to Move a Piano - Intro

On purchasing a piano on ebay for £16.47 I was well pleased. But then I began to think of going to pick it up. . . . perhaps a 200kg / 400 lb piano, which is 1.5 meters long. Quite a task. A minimum of four men (or female body builders) will be needed to move the piano, and for everyones sake invloved it may be safer to use 6 people to move the piano.

But where do you get all of these people from? OK so if you are moving the piano from a few doors down then you could ask you neighbours, our you school / colledge mates move the piano  if it was 20 minutes away, but what if like me you bought a piano that is around a 2 hour drive from where you live?

How to Move a Piano - Getting Help

So strange town 2 hours drive away, how do you get help.

Option 1 - Employment Agency. An employment agency will hire you some labourers for £8 - £10 an hour, normally for a minimum of 4 hours. Based a minimum of yourself and 3 extra guys this will work out at around £120 for a pick up.

Option 2 - If where you are going is near some pubs / bars why not walk around and offer cash / beer to drinkers in exchange for a lift. Of course the major down side to this is that you have no way of knowing it will work until you reach you destination to move the piano.

Option 3 - Road Workers / Scaffolders - These guys are as hard as nails and also love cash jobs. Moving a piano in to a van for example requires quite a high lift and a friend of mine used 3 normal chaps and 2 road workers to get the job done.

How to Move a Piano - Stuff to Take

Most vans / trailer will easily cope with 200 kg so the main thing to consider in the height and length. An open top trailer will be good that is over 1.6 metrs long.

Planks of wood to make ramps, and rope for tieing the piano down are also a good idea. Also some padding like old coats, carpet or cushions to stop the piano get scratched against the side of the trailer. 

Visual Impact Assessment for Wind Turbine

Environmental Permit Applications  

Desktop Study

Sustainability Consultants

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Belling Classic 90Ei Induction Review

 Belling Classic 90Ei Induction Review - Intro

Range Cookers are all of a sudden very trendy. They take up loads of room in your kitchen and leave you with hardly any work top. They have 2 or 3 oven (1 or 2 more than you need). . . . BUT they are trendy. So we bought one.

 Belling Classic 90Ei Induction Review - Size

At 90 cm across the  Belling Classic 90Ei is rather large and you might expect it to have more than 4 hobs, but it does not. Why? I don't suppose you need any more than 4 in a domestic setting.

The up stand at the rear of the hot plate can be removed if needed, and this is easily done. For a modern looking cooker I found this up stand with its swirly writing a peculiar addition. But it is away in the skip now so that is dealt with.

 Belling Classic 90Ei Induction Review - Pros

By far the best bit of this  Belling Classic 90Ei is the "power" setting on the front right hand hob, it can boil a pint of water in less than a minute. Control of heat is nearly as good as gas, and far better than ceramic. Example: with a ceramic cooker you would have to move you pan off of the heat to stop a boil over, with  the Belling Classic 90Ei press a button or two and the heat stops, and the pan instantly (nearly) stops boiling.

Induction also offers the plus point that the hob its self does not get very hot (heat is provided to pan via magnetic resonance rather than "heat" per-say), and so . . . you do not get gunk welded to the surface of the hob. we haven't had to scrub ours since we bought it! 3 months plus.

Those of you that have used a combined grill and oven will know that an occasionally used grill will smoke out the whole house when you use it. the  Belling Classic 90Ei has a seprate grill, which means the elements do not get covered in fat from oven cooking, and so you don't get an smoke!

Handles are good for hanging tea towels on.

The tall oven does not have a window to clean.

You have a spare oven if one breaks.

There is space to place roasting tins on the top of the hobs, whilst using other rings.

 Belling Classic 90Ei Induction Review - Cons

Heavy - Hard for one person to move.

Annoying vents at rear that crumbs fall down.

Electronic controls for hob can be a bit fiddly some times.

Large Pizza will not fit in tall oven (will fit in window oven)!

Visual Impact Assessment for Wind Turbine

 Desktop Study to Discharge Planning Condition

Belling Classic 90Ei
Reviewed by Kermit Green on July 17 2013
Rating: 3.7

Monday, 15 July 2013

Massey Ferguson 35

Towbar Wiring Gudie - VAG

Towbar Wiring Gudie - VAG - Intro


Towbar Wiring Gudie - VAG - Complications

If you read various forums on line regarding the installation of towbar wiring  you will see all sorts of horror stories relating to ECU etc. In the opast when fitting a towbar I have just used scotch clips or soldered the towbar electrics directly on to the existing lighting wires, which on a G reg VW Golf, N Reg Peogeout 106, 2003 Reg Renault Kangoo have all worked fine with no issues. But newer cars are more intelligent with sensores everywhere and you may (i have read) get probelms by this direct wiring appraoch.

Towbar Wiring Gudie - VAG - Why?

Our newer 2006  Audi A4 has an in built computer that tells you when you have a bulb fualt, bing bing bing. If I were to directly wire a towbar lighting to the exist wiring i would probably start to see faults, becuase the current flowing through the wires would incraes and the car would "know".

Towbar Wiring Gudie - VAG - What to Do.

If you VAG car is a clever car witha bulb snsing computer you will need to buy a dedictaed wiring kit, or perhaps you could make do with a by-pass relay. Both of these work by powering the towbar electrics from a sepearte supply. Expect to pay around £15 to £30 for a bypass relay.

With a by-pass relay you may be able to find a suitable power source towards the rear of the car, a 10A cigaret type power socket for example. But in most cases you will need to run a supply from the frount of the car.

For dedicated wiring kit you will need to pay £100 instead of £7, and dismatle the entire car to fit the wiring. . .

Both of these methods keep the current in the wiring very sinilar to pre towbar levels, and the computer will not notice.

Towbar Wiring Gudie - VAG -Really?

If you ECU does not have anything to do with your lights, then  maybe you can get away with direct wiring, but owing to the fact that ECUs cost so much and a by pass relay is only £30 max, is it worth the risk??

I have wired the tow lights directly to the existing wires on my VW Polo 51 (2001) plate. It works fine.

Eco Label

Illustrator Devon 

Monday, 8 July 2013

Can yo use a Laptop 2.5" Hardisk in a Desktop PC?

Can yo use a Laptop 2.5" Hardisk in a Desktop PC? - Intro

First off there is very little advantage for do this, but if you have a spare 2.5" hard disk and are building PC it will work, and is partculalrly hassle free, if you are using SATA. I was repairing a computer for a family memeber and so a throwing in a spare laptop hardrive to replace a 3.5" SATA drive, was quick and free.

Can yo use a Laptop 2.5" Hardisk in a Desktop PC? - What you will need

For a neat SATA installation you will need some 3.5" to 2.5" bay convertors, you can also get them that look like this.

For an IDE swap (cheaper just to buy a new IDE drive off of ebay). You will need the above plus a IDE ribbon convertor. Becuase a 2.5" drive is powered through the ribbon unlike the 3.5" drives.

Can yo use a Laptop 2.5" Hardisk in a Desktop PC? - How to

Physically putting in the drive is easy, and doesn't really need explaining, hopefully your drive bay adaptor will have come with all of the nessassary srews.

You could do a fresh install, or you could clone the xisting OS on to your smaller drive.

Can yo use a Laptop 2.5" Hardisk in a Desktop PC? - Pros

  1. Less power consumption
  2. Queiter PC
  3. You can fit 2 drives per 3.5" bay doubling your box space.
 Can yo use a Laptop 2.5" Hardisk in a Desktop PC? - Cons

  1. Lower performance- seek times on 2.5" drive are longer than the 3,5" counsins, 5000 RPM approx as aposse to 7000 RPM approx.

Friday, 5 July 2013

T5530 Thin Client - Display Issues

T5530 Thin Client - Display Issues - Intro

I while ago I wrote a post on using thin clients in the home, a good idea if you can hold of a copy of windows server, 2003, 2008 or 2008 R2 would all allow for 3 users to be logged on, thus reducing your hard wear costs to a third. This would work all well and good except for the fact I am using a rather bunk thin client the HP T5530, which is not performing very well at all.

T5530 Thin Client - Display Issues - Symptoms

It soon became apparent that even slightly graphically intensive operatioins such as rapid scrolling, never mind watching videos is not possible on the T5530. There is significant lag in commands issued from mouse / keyboard to things happening on screen. Video comes over is chunks with gaps and is unwatchable.

 T5530 Thin Client - Display Issues - Diagnosis

So how am I sure the T5530 is at fault: You can watch vdieo fine via remote desktop from a standard pc over the same network. View from a XW8400, over a wired connection through a router, the remote dektop experince is flawless. Doing the same with the T5530 is not possible.

T5530 Thin Client - Display Issues - A Cure?

If you are running Windows CE 4.0 on your T5530 then you might consider swapping to CE 5.0, for this you will need to visit the HP website download windows CE 5.0 for the T5530.

  1. Download this file.
  2. Run the file.
  3. Choose to intsall the image on a USb pen drive.
  4. Insert Pendrive in to T5530
  5. Switch on.
  6. Follow on screen prompts.
  7. Switch off when it tells you to "power cycle"
 This help a bit, and certainly made the remote worksation by usable, but by golly it is no good for video.

 T5530 Thin Client - Display Issues - Conclusion

The T5530 was evidently designed to used for text only applications, and it struggles to do that. For multimedia use at home you would do far better to  reuse an old windows xp machine as a thin client.

Desktop Study

Monday, 1 July 2013

DIY Green Roof

DIY Green Roof - Intro

When building my Garden Office I opted for a DIY bio-diverse green roof. I read the guides , bought the seeds and then got to it.

DIY Green Roof - 1 Year in and already well established.

DIY Green Roof - Things I would do differently.

First off this is a guide of how I did it. I would advise the following changes.

  1.  Thicker OSB or Plywood for roof 18mm minimum.
  2. A thicker layer of growing medium minimum 2" or 50mm.
  3.  Perhaps use sedum plants instead of seeds.

DIY Green Roof - The Roof Structure.

In order to support the weight of the green roof your roof structure will have to be fairly robust.

The DIY green roof on my garden office is supported by 4" x 2" (100mm x 50mm) timbers at 4 foot (60 cm) spacings. Board supporting the roof is 12mm OSB, which perhaps should be 18 mm. Opt for tanalised / treated timber where you can it is often not any more expensive and may well last longer. For a better quality build you may wish to substitute the OSB for Exterior Ply of a similar thickness.

To water proof on top of this goes 3 layers of visqueen damp proof membrane, one on top of the other. Obviously being careful with this is paramount, any holes and you will have leaks.

As above let the damp proof memebrane hang down over the edge by 8" or so, as we will dress over this with some wood next.

DIY Green Roof - The Roof Structure.

So at this point the garden office / shed should be  habitable and dry inside. The rest of the work is just for decoration, although it will add some protection to the water proof membrane.

After adding the decorative timbers the roof should look like this.

Here we can see the different types of timber used, and method of fixing (screws). Don't use to many screws as you want to keep holes in the damp proof membrane (DPM) on the vertical elements only. The above timber will give you a growing medium thickness of just 1". Which is only suitable for sedum, grass will not survive on this DIY green roof without constant watering.

DIY Green Roof - Prepare growing medium.

Sedum grows best in very well drained soils, and so compost is no good for a green roof. You will need a sandy  and gravelly mix. I used a mix of the following for my growing medium.

  1. 4 Bags Pea Gravel
  2. 4 Bag Limestone Ballast
  3. 4 Bags Silver Sand
  4. 2 Bag Compost 
  5. 2 Bark Bark Chippings
The above will cover 8 meters squared to a depth of 25mm / 1".  And looks something like this. I would recommend doubling these quantities and having a 50 mm thick layer of growing medium.

DIY Green Roof - Sewing the sedum.

Planting the sedum is probably the trickiest bit, I avoided standing on the growing medium (protect that DPM), by sowing the seeds in strips perhaps 25% of the roof area at a time. If you were using small plants then you may wish to adopt the same principal.

The main thing to remember is not to puncture the membrane on the roof. Tip a bucket full of the green roof growing medium on the roof and then carefully spread around using a piece of wood, then use a piece of wood long enough as a screed. To level off the growing medium.

Sedum seeds are very very very small, and so you should mix them with dry sand to aid sowing, mix 400 or so seeds with 1 or 2 eggs cup full of sand and then sprinkle them on the the green roof, use your bit of wood to squiggle about the top layer of the growing medium to cover them over slightly, only VERY slightly, you are just trying to bed the seeds in to the surface. Not dig them in.

The sedum seeds will need to be watered until they are established, they germinate after about 2 weeks, and until they start to look fairly well developed you should continue watering. The thicker your growing medium the longer you can leave between watering.

DIY Green Roof - Did it work.

After sowing my seeds at the time of publishing in July, we then proceeded to have a very long dry spell, which I thought had done for my seed, as they had got wet for a week or two prior to the dry spell. BUT behold! I was applying some wood stain and noticed sprouts. . .

At present these little sdums which were sown from seed direct to the 1" thivk growing medium are around 10 - 15mm high. Will they survive the frost yet, I do not know.

Update: July 2014

It is now roughly 1 year since I planted this green roof with sedum, things are going well. We have had some prolonged dry spells and the roof has not suffered, the plants are flowering so it has been a success.

Update: 26/09/2016

Sunlight and Daylight Assessment

Visual Impact Assessment for Wind Turbine