Covid19 and other horrors

Play Nice
Post Reply
User avatar
photomaster
Site Admin
Posts: 27
Joined: Mon Feb 10, 2020 1:19 pm
Location: Long island NY
Contact:

Covid19 and other horrors

Post by photomaster »

I see I haven't posted anything to my forum since the pandemic. What's there to say? Well, I'm in New York - just 50 miles from a major hot spot, NYC. This has not only changed my photography but my life as well. Where to start?

I grabbed a case of napkins and case of toilet tissue off Ebay for double what it was worth, followed by a single 5lb bag of flour for $20US. That's a 1000% mark-up. Locals wiped the grocery shelves clean of meat as I waited a month for a case of frozen chicken to be delivered. We still had plenty of food being delivered to the stores but hoarding was disrupting everyone's life and driving prices up.

Cuomo shut down the state. I found myself suddenly working off my kitchen table. I needed to purchase some telephone equipment because my "landlines" haven't been used in decades. I needed to run new phone cables and buy two conference phones to communicate with my day job. For weeks I balanced some equipment on the case of napkins - but, I had to replace the cardboard box with a folding table which I found in the closet.

I emptied the closet since my FIOS ONT was in the back and it had failed. Verizon sent a tech who passed me tools and instructions for repairing the equipment thru a crack in the door :lol: I repaired the unit but there are wires still strung across the livingroom floor. All the crap from the closet was now in a pile of shit waist deep. ugg. So, the cleaning began.

I installed a wireless dimmer switch by the front door to control the dining room light and added another wireless dimmer for my livingroom light, the livingroom doubles as my studio... rents being what they are on Long Island I cannot afford to rent studio space.
dimmer_s.jpg
dimmer_s.jpg (93.12 KiB) Viewed 522 times
Here's one change I'm making. Back in my college days I made a dimmer box for the overhead lamp using whatever parts I could afford. On the right shows what it looks like now. I can dim the light as before, but also can be controlled with a small wireless remote control. I also replaced the ugly reel type retractable extension cord with a proper outlet strip and wireless on/off switch. Instead of crawling around on my hands and knees clicking on and off switches I can control everything a lot more easier - great for those times after an exhausting photo shoot I don't need to expend more energy to power everything off.

I also moved the battery chargers to their own outlet so I keep camera batteries charged and ready, rather than draping them over my coffee pot in the kitchen! I've been such an amateur. Oh... and the broiler door at the bottom of the oven made the most annoying sound in the world. Yes, in the movie "Dumb and Dumber," JimC explains what the most annoying sound in the world was... and it was the same sound my broiler door made whenever I made chicken! Uncanny, considering I never had Jim over for chicken.

How does one oil an oven door? You can't. Oil would just burn off in a puff of blue smoke and probably set off the smoke alarm. ah! But, I used high temperature anti-seize which is good to 1600 degrees F. Even under the raw flame of my gas stove it doesn't get nearly that hot. I smeared a few dabs of goo on the oven door hinge and... silence. I may use the broiler more often!

I swapped out my garbage can for the same model. Simplehuman made some design improvements! Like, drilling a hole into the side of the inside bin to let air escape (and let the trash bag full open inside of it), plus drain holes for an occasional hose-down. My failing coffee maker was replaced with an SCA certified coffeemaker. What a difference. I'm currently at 203 brew temp with a 30sec soak but sticking to supermarket whole bean coffee rather than roasting my own. That's... more effort than I'd like.

What else? Oh, I've upgraded the 2T drives on my NAS to 4T. I only had 1T of crap so I figured a 2T would last me a lifetime. It did not. I underestimated (sigh) so B&H had a flash sale, one day only to push the 4T RED drives. I'm so happy I went with RAID1. All I needed to do was install (1) drive at a time and let the system repair itself overnight twice. Done and done. It also expanded my volume to the full 4T space, leaving me with more than 50% available in the end. NOW that should last a while, even while I rip all my X-Files DVD's onto the NAS. I ran thru all 9 years of the best television ever and am considering watching them once more.





User avatar
photomaster
Site Admin
Posts: 27
Joined: Mon Feb 10, 2020 1:19 pm
Location: Long island NY
Contact:

Smoke Alarms are the devil's playthings

Post by photomaster »

Smoke alarms. You know you hate them. Let me share you my experience with a popular brand... I forget the name. It's sounds like kitty? It's not important. This model is wired into the AC wiring directly with a battery backup. This has got to be the most annoying torture device ever designed since the car alarm. Back the old days we would install this massive battery dubbed a "smoke alarm battery" which cost a fortune, weighed about a pound, and barely lasted the year. It wasn't for years before designs switched to a more common 9v battery.

Nowadays smoke alarms have carbon monoxide detectors as well - carbon monoxide being the silent killer. The chances of it actually reporting correctly is overshadowed by endless weekly false alarms. Google when the low battery alarm goes off in a smoke detector. It's is nearly always between the hours of 2am and 3am. Never never never have I experienced a low battery alarm during daylight hours.

The low battery alarm of my kitty is a combination of shrieking combined with a woman's voice scolding me, "Low Battery," every fucking minute. LOW BATTERY. LOW BATTERY. LOW BATTERY. LOW BATTERY. ok, fine. It's 2am and I have to buy batteries. I open the battery compartment and pull the batteries. An interlock engages to keep the door open until fresh batteries are installed. And, this does not resolve my LOW BATTERY LOW BATTERY LOW BATTERY alarm which continues every fucking 60 seconds for (at least) 7 days. You could push the "hush button" but that doubles as the "test button" so now the alarm is screaming at me, "FIRE! FIRE!" going thru all its responses for what seems like forever until I am in pain from the siren blasting and the woman scolding me (the voice should have been British but that might have been too exciting for this impromptu 2am BDSM session).

It's also mounted so high that I cannot reach the "hush button." While this model has features to lock the unit to the wall and lock the battery compartment closed until it is removed from the wall, those features were not activated for fear of someone like me hitting it with a sledge hammer. Every time I roast chicken the alarm sounds FIRE FIRE FIRE FIRE with the annunciator screaming at 85db - right at the pain threshold.

The first time the smoke alarm went off I was stunned. My brain completely shut off and I stopped what I was doing. I remember being in pain and the pain was everywhere. I couldn't locate the source of the pain. Slowly I began to focus on what was causing the pain, like being hit over the head with a hammer. Sound. LOUD fucking sound coming from the direction of the kitchen. I had to get closer to the noise which increased my pain. I couldn't reach the "hush button."

Now I'm standing in the hallway in agony as my ears are ringing. I find a ladder finally find the "hush button" but that runs a self test. Now as I am desperate to make the screaming stop the alarm begins its self-test. FIRE FIRE FIRE for another 30 seconds. I pull the batteries to no avail. It's wired into the AC directly and now it's screaming that the battery has been removed. I twist the thing off the wall and it's held with a locking AC quick connector. I wrestle with the connector while balanced on the ladder, desperately wrestling with this obnoxious fucking thing trying to get it to shut the fuck up!

With the batteries removed and the AC connector pulled, the kitty lets out one last screeeeeeeeccch! and then, silence.

This happened weekly when I made chicken.

First, I created a "fire stick" (photo attached). I should have thought of this years ago. It's super cheap to make. You find a short stick and screw a rigid door stop onto the end. Now you've got a rubber tipped pole which gently pushes the "hush button." I searched for a long while to design it - I looked at rubber tipped arrows but they were too wide. Pool cue? They were either too long or too short. How about those rubber tipped wooden sticks which the teacher would use to point at things on the map during class? ah, those are gone, replaced with telescoping pointers which won't do it.
firestick.jpg
firestick.jpg (315.24 KiB) Viewed 93 times
But, isn't there a way to hush it before I started my chicken until waiting until it began its reprehensible behavior? The previous model was much simpler. It had a battery and there was lots of room inside for a small toggle switch. Rather than pulling the batteries I could just flip the switch. This model was much more difficult to modify (photo attached)
smoke1.jpg
smoke1.jpg (214.53 KiB) Viewed 93 times
The switch would need to cut the AC power which was hard-wired directly to the PC board as well as cut the battery power. I just couldn't figure out where to mount a small switch to do all of that - DPST rather than a smaller SPST. It took me a long time to find something small enough to fit inside, which still required me to cut out the top support to make room. Even with that gone, the only toggle switch I could get to fit was a micro miniature PC mounted toggle switch with right-angle leads. I had to solder onto the leads, heat shrink over that, and epoxy the thing into place since there was no threaded nut to hold it in place.

I still had to install a DPST or DPDT since this unit has both a speaker for the nagging female voice plus the annunciator which was as loud as balls. I cut one lead of the speaker which was clearly marked +/- and ran it one half of the switch. bu-bye to the lady who lives in the smoke alarm! bu-bye! Next to the screeeeeeech maker. That had three wires. I googled some common circuits for solid state noise makers and see two transistors feeding the circuit which was grounded. Cutting the ground wire should silence it.. I'm guessing black? I snipped. I did well. With the switch open and the alarm going off the kitty sounds as quiet as a ticking clock with blinking lights.

I call it "the chicken switch." Now I can peacefully go back to making chicken on Tuesday's. Fuck you, kitty.

Post Reply