Archive for the ‘Projects’ Category

Canadian Tire’s fancy new range – Vermont Castings

June 6th, 2019 No comments

Source: Canadian Tire’s fancy new range » strategy

Yet, as we know, Vermont Castings USA no longer makes grills, at least accordning to this email I rec’d when asking for a local part supplier:

> Our Recommendation is as follows:
> We no longer manufacture Grills or Grill parts. There is a company that
> may have parts available, please follow the link below.
> Thank you!
> Jocelyn
> Vermont Castings Consumer Support

So did VC sell their name to CT, or did VC sell to a cheap (Chinese?) manufacturer and selling to CT.

Following links at CT, downloading the manual for a current model says support & etc is at, which is a CT property.

No mention of “china” in that manual.  They do have to declare this sort of thing, no?

On attempting to email via their support pages, was told:

If you have questions about a Vermont Castings BBQ that you purchased prior to 2018, please contact us by phone directly at 1-844-586-4660 so that we can help support

Something’s fishy…


Categories: Projects, Weird Tags:

The Dandelion Battle

June 4th, 2019 No comments


So the backyard looked like this last week:

This week, after a mowing, two days later it looks like this:

These beasts are large diameter, sometimes with 12 or more heads.  Our existing tools aren’t working.

Lee Valley sells this:

but 68$C is a tad high.  That’s not more that a cheap pistol-style water nozzle with a Female hose thread. 10$C at Home Depot.  2.50$C for a Male Hose Thread to 3/8″? barb.  Got some hydraulic tube from QM ($$$???)

The drill a slightly large hole in the ID of the pipe; as close as possible but still allowing insertion.  Clean with 99% iso-p, apply JB Weld Original, wait 48 hours.

Testing shows the process works:


  1. JB Weld has failed me!  After 4 or 5 uses, started leaking, and very quickly tube came off nozzle.  Will do something more rigid , likely better threads cut (use M10 for both tap & die, not M10 for one and M9 for the other (no matter the pitch, mixup like that makes for a non-functioning thread)
  2. need to make a plug for business end to restrict water to a fine high pressure stream.  Tried the hammer-it-closed method, but needs something smaller.
    1. thinking get some plastic rod (bolts?) that can be threaded into the tip, with a hole drilled down the center of the drill (chop off bolt head); the hole can be sized by starting small and working upwards to find the optimum.
  3. This is a dirty wet job.
Categories: My Work, Projects Tags:

autoCut – automatic lawn mower

May 13th, 2019 No comments


Likely never do.  Would have to restrict it to back yard, or fence front yard.  Imagine the liability issues!!

Categories: Projects, Robotics, Want Tags:

Buy Class C RV, rent out, pay for itself?

April 22nd, 2019 No comments

Buy a Class C RV with $100K loan; 10y @ 6% would be ~$1102/month.

Could rent out for April 1 to Oct. 31, (30 weeks, less 2 for us, so 28 weeks) @ $250/week = $7000 (see Note 1 for a first look)

Need $1102/month for loan = $13.2K/year; so need to come up with: 13.2 – 7 = $6.2K = $517/month

So this ain’t a “have other people pay for your toys” affair.  And shouldn’t do unless can handle the whole amount, if for somehow the rental thing doesn’t work.


  1. See here for renting out an RV: Revy; this guy is asking for $250/week; it would be necessary to know if he gets this 28+ weeks a year.
  2. Much of this makes more sense for a good used RV, maybe $20K invested to get it “good” so it’s not a problem renting
  3. Need to factor in insurance!
  4. Example RV: 24’=Jayco-2017-EX-RENTAL-100K$
  5. This reminds me much similar to something Jason Hudson heard about (go scammed into?) re: buying a sailboat in Florida, rent via 3rd party, reserve some weeks for self while still working, own it when retired.  I think I dismissed that scheme back when I heard about it, but then, maybe possible here?


Rental sites:

  • Canadian (only?)
  • reasonably easy to understand insurance coverage
  • !!! motorhomes limited to Ontario, Quebec, Alberta !!!

  • better site (has map view, has availability calendar for each rental.
  • but US only?

  • Canadian
  • !!! motorhomes limited to Ontario, Quebec, Alberta !!!
  • some shenanigans going on in their FAQs.
  •     links to .pdf files missing
  •     lotsa bad formatting, misspellings.
  •     looks like a dead site?
Categories: Projects Tags:

Cedric’s Robot Rules

April 15th, 2019 No comments

Nah, not trying to up Asimov.  Just ideas for my robots:

  1. All robots must have a spring-mounted “head”, like 6″ long, so the head bobbles around as the robot moves.
    1. Head ideas: baby doll head, Barbie, GI Joe, poop icon
  2. All robots must make a sound as they’re active.  Should be related to the head (see 1. above), e.g., robot should quack if the head it a duck, etc.
    1. silly sounds allowed; eg, Roomba should say “ouch” when it hits things.
    2. of course, such sounds should be easily mutable.
  3. All robots will have a BRS (Big Red Switch) that will remove energy (electrical, pneumatic, hydraulic, whatever) from the robot without fail.  This will be a hard-contact on the incoming mains power.  This BRS may include a Molly Guard to prevent accidental power offs.
    1. The purpose of this BRS is to ensure the robots can’t take over the world.  We can always just turn them off.
Categories: Projects Tags: ,

Logitech K380 Bluetooth Keyboard – Notes

April 5th, 2019 No comments

Tiny.  Smaller than my laptop’s keyboard.


Major drawbacks:

  • lacks HOME, END, PGUP, PGDN
    • ?maybe ALT or CTRL with arrows?
    • good news everybody!  fn+arrows=these missing keys.  but ugh! this means 2-hands required!
Categories: I Want, Projects Tags:

Projects list

March 28th, 2019 No comments

A list of projects.

Should be able to extract a list from Trello? ToDoist? Other project software installed Gere.

1. Toaster to burn any image on bread

2. Kicker motor starter

3. Yard exploring robot (eventually poop detector)


Categories: Projects Tags:

Replacing DC wall warts with Laptop power supply

March 5th, 2019 No comments


Dell laptop power supply, ??watts.

  1. Corona neon light: 14.2V @ 0.22A = 3.1W
  2. Round PIR lights (3xAAA batteries last ~3 months at basement stair landing: 6.1V @ 0.6A = 3.7W
    1. basement staair landing
    2. 2 x above behind bar
    3. 2 x inside cabinet; will get more or use other type later, so eventually 1 per door
  3. TO-DO: Plasma globe: wall wart sez 24V * 0.5A (max), so 12W
  4. Bud goal light?
    1. On, no light or buzzer: 12v @ 0.01A = 0.12W
    2. Light flashing only: 12V @ 0.4A = 4.8W
    3. Light & horn, quiet: 12V @ 0.44A = 5.8W (this is the preferred volume)
    4. Light & horn, loudest: 12V @ 1.5A = 18W




???? laptop power supply, ??watts.

  1. over stove light: ??V @ ??A = ??W
  2. under counter PIR lights:



Categories: Projects Tags:

IR Light toaster

February 8th, 2019 1 comment

Toast bread with any image.  40×40 array of ir led, one per side.  Bluetooth, WiFi, USB, SD card for images.  Small panel to select image.

Power required should be similar to existing toaster.  1500w for 2slices of bread. Maybe less if it led arrays are more efficient.

IR LED array probably not feasible.

Do it like a printer?  Single hot point, back & forth, moving down each pass.  Or a bar style, multiple LEDs in line, one scan horiz or vert.  A thermal printer might be a good start.





Categories: Projects Tags:

How TV-B-Gone’s Mitch Altman Created the ArduTouch Music Synthesizer – IEEE Spectrum

November 30th, 2018 No comments
Categories: I Want, Projects Tags: