Back again

I was so glad it was Monday for I could resume working on my latest small project which was to install the circuitry for the two 5 amp power outlets I wished to install in the main hallway. Taking days off make me restless but I know I must have days of rest and Sundays are those days I take. I would have started working as soon as I had eaten breakfast but breakfast was delayed, I was going to spend time on the gym equipment first. So later after breakfast I continued with the project first of all installing the cables and fitting the two power outlets for the lights. By the time I had done that part of the work it was time for lunch so I stopped work for an hour then began installing the photocell and its cabling. The picture below was taken just as it got dark enough outside to switch on the circuit to the lights.

Following that part of the installation which incidentally took longer than I thought it would, I was finally able to connect the time switch and the work was completed by five o’clock.

Yes, the walls need painting but there are plans afoot regarding the whole room anyway. A very old sink unit requires replacing and the room needs a general face-lift. It is the room we call the laundry but it also houses three chest freezers too. The time switch is on the left in the picture. We had to wait till almost eight o’clock before the lights came on.

The picture above was taken from a position just inside the ground floor wet room. The door to the cellar is just in the picture on the extreme right. The black and white ‘box’ on the right is in fact the ‘Smart Meter‘ interface unit which monitors both the electric and gas consumption. The time switch is set to be on between the hours of 4 pm and 2 am but the lights will only switch on if the photocell senses it is dark outside.

Shirley Anne

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Galloping on

It was the last day of March, the day before Easter Day and I had planned to do part or all of two electrical jobs at home before taking Sunday off from work. I therefore arose early for breakfast before driving off to the electrical supplier for the materials I would need. A couple of weeks ago I had replaced the old fluorescent light unit in E’s workshop at the top of the house but she needed another which she could switch on independently from the first. I had to purchase the new LED light for that work. I had the rest of the materials I would need in my stock. The second job was to start the work of installing two 5 amp power outlets for table lamps in the main hallway downstairs. I had those in stock too but I needed other things, a time switch, a photocell unit, pattresses, some extra cable and sundry items. Pattresses are the back boxes on which switches and power outlets can be mounted if it is a surface installation. The pattresses would otherwise be metal boxes recessed into the wall. These two jobs were surface installations especially the work in the cellar for the brick walls down there are not rendered with plaster. The main part of installing the circuitry and supplies for the two 5 amp power outlets would be carried out in the cellar rooms beneath the hallway. On my return home from the supplier E and I had a coffee and then we carried all the necessary materials, tools, ladder and vacuum cleaner to the top of the house and I began installing the new light and circuitry. Here is the finished work……  The second picture is the newer light and its switch is on the wall right of centre and to the left of a white card standing there. The supply was taken from the adjacent loft area shown here with the door open..

This is the area I wrote about in which there is a water storage tank and hot water cylinder. The new unpainted door leads into the workshop where the new lights are. It was one-fifteen and time for lunch when I finished the work. Soon after lunch I began the work in the cellar for the other job. 

In the picture above the grey illuminated switch supplies the rear floodlights outside all of which are LED’s so there is little power consumption. The switches below it are the switches for the individual circuits to those lights. To the left is a wide white plastic trunking to accommodate the wiring and to its left is a new pattress box and wooden board I fitted on the day. It will house the new time switch for controlling the 5 amp power outlets in the hallway. A photocell unit will be fitted outside to work in conjunction with the time switch and the cable for that can be seen hanging loosely on the right ready for running out to supply it. In the picture below the roll of cable hanging by the door frame was positioned at the other end in the new pattress ready for connecting and clipped to the yellow wall shown.

The roll will be run out to the first 5 amp power outlet position and from there continue to the second outlet…….but all that would be done on Monday as by then it was four-thirty and I’d had enough for one day

Shirley Anne

 

Construction over

It was now Saturday morning and after an early breakfast I went into the cellar to begin the final stage of constructing the pit, the cosmetic work that is! I had sealed and later given the lining of the pit and the floor a coat of paint but hadn’t done the brickwork that had been exposed when the floor was lowered. See yesterday’s post. I had thought about rendering the bricks with cement but when I got downstairs and looked at them I decided simply a coat of paint would do….

At the same time I gave the rest of the pit another coat of paint and might have to do the same for the bricks later. there was one small spot on the floor of the pit where the sealant hadn’t dried out completely and it refused the application of paint so I have left it until it does. It is in the corner by the wall and is just out of sight in the picture. When the paint had dried, which I would leave until Monday, I planned to move the power outlet to a position above that same corner. A switched fuse box will be installed where the power socket is now situated. If you are an electrician you will know why and if you are not it will allow more outlets to be installed later should they be needed. The fuse will limit power usage from all the outlets. Technical stuff over. So it looks like we will be able to finally get the Trainer into position in the pit within the next few days. That in itself may not be as easy at it sounds.

Shirley Anne

Garaged

It was me who was garaged, spent quite a few hours in there working on the floodlight project. I was up and about very early on Tuesday so I could get on the treadmill for a time. I had been using the cross trainer on Sunday and had spent almost an hour exercising on it. Finally my muscles have gotten used to the machine and this time I had no problems. If you remember I had problems using it initially as I wasn’t used to it. Anyway as E and I had spent Monday doing other things I did no exercising that day. So on Tuesday I spent three-quarters of an hour on the treadmill before breakfast. After breakfast it was time to put on my overalls and get the electrical work done in the garage. I have to say at this point this project has fought me all the way for as I worked through it I was beset with one problem after another. Usually most jobs have a problem or two but this one was challenging to say the least. The electrical circuit is simplicity itself but the execution of it at times was frustrating. Anyway I worked through from late morning until three o’clock except for a lunch break in order to finish the work. 

The top picture shows the reverse of the reed switch bracket screwed in position and the wiring installed and connected. It is operating on a 12 volt AC supply so there is no danger it being easy to access. It operates a relay inside the grey box on the far right in the next picture. The external photo cell unit is wired into the same box (the cable is that entering the box at top right). Another cable leaves the box to supply the floodlight shown in the bottom picture. There you have it, when it goes dark outside and the garage door is opened, on comes the floodlight……

All I need to do now is to replace the door cover which I removed several weeks ago before any of this work was started. Hopefully I will get the safety edge gear refitted on the timber I purchased to make a better job than that originally done by the installer.

Shirley Anne

Sea shells

Trotting off to bed at nine in the evening meant I was rather tired and to be sure I fell asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow on Friday (26) night. Of course that meant I woke early on Saturday morning but it served a purpose. I could take an early morning walk and in doing so that in itself served a purpose too. E had mentioned a couple of days earlier that she would like some sea shells for use in her crafting hobby so I took along a couple of bags and on my way back home along the sea front I collected the said shells, a couple of hundred of them. They would keep her occupied for ages! At the same time I gathered some more pebbles and stones for use in the garden. I was back home at nine o’clock so had the rest of the morning before lunch free. I decided to do some more preparatory work for the garage project so I manufactured the bracket that would hold the reed switch and also secure the magnet on the door which would operate it.

The bracket will be screwed to the frame so that when the magnet reaches the fully open door position it will lie directly beneath the switch and operate it. There was one small snag just as there is always just one snag or another and that was to do with the positioning of the magnet. There was only one place it could be fitted and that was on top of the cover of the alarm box which is attached to the bottom of the door. It is the only place it can go if the circuit is to be installed. That wasn’t a problem, I removed the top of the box which in fact holds the electronic circuitry and there was a space beneath the circuit board which allowed me to drill two fixing holes for the magnet. The magnet is the white coloured strip on the grey box…..

The snag was that when the door was on its downward journey the newly fitted magnet interrupted the safety edge beam and stops the door then raises it automatically as it is supposed to. The safety edging strips needed to be moved further out by inserting some packing behind them. As a temporary measure I used nuts but I have to say I wasn’t pleased with the way they had been originally installed. I propose to remedy that by using some lengths of wood to secure the strips more firmly than they are at the moment. The safety edge is the black strip running vertically on the edge of the white framework. Behind it is a length of plastic strip which hasn’t been securely fixed. The opposite side of the door is the same. Simply poor workmanship on behalf of the installer. It will be corrected.

One job leads to another….

Saturday 27th January also marked the 45th anniversary of E and I meeting for the first time. Time for a celebration meal later in the week methinks.

Shirley Anne

More goings on

Up early, off for a walk, collected some more stones, returned home a couple of hours later and had a late breakfast. It was Thursday. It began well enough, bright and sunny but the clouds began to drift in and drop their load of rain. It got colder as forecast but it wasn’t too bad. E went to do the weekly shopping before noon, the second time in two weeks. She traditionally goes shopping in the afternoon but I fancy she has decided earlier is better. I think it is too as it leaves the rest of the day for her to do other things. I could go shopping with her but as she takes along her mom my presence wouldn’t be appreciated, I would spoil their routine. As it happens I don’t much like shopping for food so it suits me fine to stay away. I was able to concentrate on my little project. Having collected the necessary components I needed to build the interface unit for controlling the light in the garage I discovered I had a more suitable relay for the job. Initially I thought I had only one which operates on a 12 volt DC (direct current) supply which necessitates the use of a rectifier but I found I had one that operates on a 12 volt AC supply so I didn’t require the rectifier. This made the task far easier as I only required two components in the unit……

You can see the relay on the left inside the box and the transformer to the right. I rigged it up for testing by plugging it into a wall socket as it will be done when installed in the garage. I connected the reed switch (shown lying on the lid) in order to test the circuit. As the magnet was brought close to the reed switch the relay was activated. The integral switch in the relay will be used to switch on the light. The whole unit will only power up when the outside photo cell senses it is dark. The next phase is to install the wiring to the photo cell. Next I have to fix the reed switch in such a position to allow an existing magnet on the door to operate it when the door is opened and to install the wiring to the switch itself. Finally I have to purchase an LED floodlight then install the wiring to the control unit. As time permits I will get those things done.

Shirley Anne

Goings on

I wrote yesterday about our neighbour’s panic attack after she had discovered her dog had died. She doesn’t enjoy good health and is reliant upon her oxygen bottles else struggles to breathe some of the time. E and I were concerned that she was over-stressed but she finally calmed down whilst we were there. Today, Wednesday I called in to see her after I had earlier phoned to see if she was alright. Thankfully she had settled down and was her usual self. I had been exercising on the gym equipment soon after getting out of bed but at that time it was too early to call next door to check upon her. After my breakfast late in the morning I decided to sort out what pieces of electrical equipment I had in stock with which to build the circuit for the garage light project I have been mentioning in previous posts. Finally I was able to gather enough bits and bobs to make progress…..It always seems the way when searching for the right parts I have some of them but not all of them. I then find I have other suitable parts but not all of them are usable with the first lot. An example would be a reed switch which is only suitable in low-voltage situations., as here… That means a transformer is required and also a low-voltage relay. A low-voltage relay would use an alternating current and could be used directly with the transformer, if I had a suitable relay. I found I had a low-voltage relay which uses direct current and therefore added to the transformer I needed a rectifier too! Fortunately I did possess all the parts necessary after salvaging them from redundant electrical gear I had. I even found a suitable box in which to install them, see picture above. I left off working on the project as it was by now lunch time and after lunch I had some gardening work to do. First of all I had to sweep up more leaves again and it was then I began to notice montbretia and bluebells here and there in the flowerbeds. Once again I set about digging them out. This is an ongoing task. Most were removed early last year but I always knew there would be more appearing for a time.

Shirley Anne

Panic

On Monday evening I set my alarm to rise early on Tuesday morning and went to bed but not feeling as tired as I might. I use my mobile phones’ alarm feature having not had an alarm clock for many years. I didn’t invest in a new clock when the old one gave up the ghost because by then I had a mobile phone.

English: Alarm clock 日本語: 目覚まし時計
Alarm clock Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Anyway I found it very difficult to get to sleep even though I had been busy during the day but did manage a few though interrupted hours. As usual for me I awoke fifteen minutes before the alarm was due to go off so I cancelled the alarm and arose shortly afterward. I didn’t fall into the trap of going back to sleep because it was prayer time and I had to be up anyway. I would be taking the van in for its MOT Test at eight-thirty. Again, as is usual for me I arrived fifteen minutes beforehand. I had asked E if she would pick me up soon after eight-thirty but on my arrival I was informed that I could wait as they would have the test completed within the hour. I phoned E to let her know she could remain at home. It was just as well I phoned when I did because she was about to exit the front door. The van passed the examination and I was soon driving back home. Normally I would have gone for a walk but decided to take a break instead. I had other things to do anyway. In the afternoon I spent some time dismantling an alarm unit I had manufactured many years ago in order to salvage some of its internal components. I had been thinking of getting to grips with the garage door project to automatically switch on the light (see older posts). Having finally come up with a practical solution I needed to source the components. By late afternoon I took a break from that and watched some television, that is I watched a program on BBC iPlayer which I had previously missed. About three-quarters of the way through E came downstairs in a bit of a panic and asked if I could go next door with her. Something had happened regarding our neighbour and my first instinct was that she was in desperate need of help. She has been suffering with emphysema for a couple of years and has to use an oxygen bottle several times during the day. She is very poorly. We were there in minutes. Our neighbour was in a state of panic too and she could hardly breathe. As we have a key to her house door we were able to enter without her having to let us in. She was immensely distraught. We immediately set about calming her down and getting her to use the oxygen cylinder. After a few minutes we were able to find out what the problem was. She struggled to tell us that she had found her dog had died two hours earlier and she hadn’t noticed. Her son had already taken the animal to the local vet. Rigour mortise  had already set in. He arrived back home a half-hour later and we chatted a while before we returned home. Thankfully this time our neighbour was alright.

Shirley Anne

Back to it for a time

Having recently purchased an Elliptical Cross Trainer there was a need to install a power outlet close to where I intended to locate it, (read yesterdays post). It was Monday morning and I had spent some time on the treadmill before eating breakfast during which time I planned how I was going to install the outlet. After returning upstairs to dress for the day my fist task was to check the cellar’s socket outlet circuit and decide where to break into it. There are regulations to observe of course so simply taking a supply from the nearest outlet is not always possible. There exists an outlet close-by but on the other side of the wall to the where the proposed new one was to be fitted. However because of the regulations I had to take the supply from elsewhere. The next-nearest place was another outlet four metres away. I took a supply from that one. The work itself took a mere forty minutes but I was down in the cellar for three hours! It was all about access and the removal of items no longer wanted causing the work to take so long. While I was carrying out the work I received a call from an old customer asking if I could repair her faulty lights but I had to tell her that I am now retired from my electrical work.  Not however at home! A few days ago  I talked about accumulated waste materials, items of furniture and other paraphernalia stored in the cellar rooms and no longer needed. The two rooms in which I was carrying out the work had plenty of such items. So the work was two-fold, carry out the new installation and remove and tidy up the areas. While I was downstairs I made use of the washing machine too for there were clothes needing to be washed. It is amazing how sidetracked one can be when carrying out a task. I expected that of course, especially working in the cellar. Slowly but surely waste was removed and gardening items like plant pots and other things taken to the greenhouses where they should have been in the first place. Our eldest son used to do a spot of DJ work and was also involved with the church’s audio and sound systems. Consequently he accumulated large speakers, lighting equipment, amplifiers and mixing desks with enough cabling to surround a village! All of this equipment is stored in the cellar and some of it in the boiler room where we now have the gym equipment. That had to be moved too. This is why I spent three hours down there. Finally I got the power outlet installed and ready for use just before lunch. Electrical work it seems is still part of my life for a while.

Shirley Anne

Coincidence

Dishwasher, open and loaded with dishes
Dishwasher, open and loaded with dishes (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A week or so ago I went next door to disconnect a dishwasher for my neighbour who was having a new one delivered and didn’t want to pay for the disconnection of the old one. I obliged and did the job for her though she employed someone else to install the new one at my request. I could foresee likely problems because of the layout of her services and advised the services of her plumber. All went well apparently and her new dishwasher is working fine. On Monday last week E informed me that she was having problems with our dishwasher. First of all it went into an alarm status which according to E was soon dealt with by switching the machine off and then starting it again. It evidently hadn’t worked and we were at a loss as to what the fault might be. Basically it wasn’t filling with water and E asked if I could check it out. Although I have never serviced or repaired dishwashers I was prepared to check the basics. As with most modern equipment they are not readily serviceable unless by a service engineer who is familiar with the operation. Naturally I was keen to see if there was anything I could do in searching out the fault so I gave it a go. A number of months ago I ended up servicing a fridge-freezer at home because the service engineer hadn’t solved the problem we had with the unit. On that occasion I was successful in locating and correcting the problem but this time I wasn’t even sure I could easily gain access to any tangible electrical or mechanical components if at all. I was right in that assumption, everything was well-hidden behind panels which had no obvious signs on how to remove them. First thing was to establish that the water supply to the machine was in order which it was, though that investigation led me to discover a problem with the manual water supply valve. It was jammed in the open position and I had to turn off the water supply to the house before I could check it out. I did that later but first I removed a couple of small panels on the machine in order to get at the inlet valve on the dishwasher. These valves are electrically operated (solenoid valves) and control the water flow into the machine. The valve was not electrically faulty but I wasn’t able to check for a mechanical fault. It appeared to me that the neutral supply to the valve was not there and if so the fault would lie further inside the machine. It was decision-making time. Should I make the attempt to strip down the machine, remembering I had no way of knowing the best way to approach it or if on getting inside I would be able to locate the fault anyway? If we called for the services of an engineer the cost would be high and if a fault was found it would cost money for any replacement parts and the time to fit them. Was the machine worth repairing as it was over fifteen years old? Probably not, so we opted to disconnect it permanently and purchase a new machine. As I don’t use the dishwasher, or haven’t bothered using it in the past I let E choose which model to purchase. We went on-line and purchased a new one which hopefully will be in use as you read this. I removed the manual valve to clean it out but I thought I might have to replace it instead.

Shirley Anne