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Magispook

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Experiments
« on: April 13, 2006, 04:21:16 PM »

Solar-powered Garden Light Lamp- I got a catalog from LL Bean yesterday.  It had a real neat water bottle called a Lightcap Water Bottle.  Hopefully this link will take you to it:  http://www.llbean.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/CategoryDisplay?storeId=1&catalogId=1&langId=-1&categoryId=45824&sc1=Search&feat=sr  It's a 32 ounce water bottle with a lid that has a solar panel, batteries charged by the panel, and an LED.  Put the lid on the water bottle and you have a solar powered lamp.  I liked the idea but not the $24 price.  Experiment time!  I've been wanting some white LED solar garden lights for a while now and found a set of four at Walmart for $18.44 (Brinkman Endura).  I took the top part off the light assembly (actually I didn't even have to disassemble three of them--the top part was already separate on all but the one assembled for presentation in the box).  That's (the top) the part with the panel, batteries, and LED in case I didn't make that clear.  The top was placed on a mason jar full of water.  Voila!  A solar powered LED lamp almost good enough for reading--definitely good for a night light everyday or placed in the bathroom during power outages.  I thought I might be able to get more light by placing the unit on a frosted glass instead.  Yep, much better lighting.  Since my Alladin lamp was nearby, I placed it on the chimney.  Looks great and more light than the mason jar.  Obviously the Alladin was not on but now I can use it for lighting during the summer without concern for adding more heat to the house.  I can charge these lamp tops on the windowsill during the day and place them on my glass/jars/Alladin lamps at night.  I'll have to eventually replace batteries but that will be awhile.  Meanwhile, the sun is providing light at night.  Cool, huh?
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pixelphoto

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Re: Experiments
« Reply #1 on: April 13, 2006, 07:19:39 PM »

Could you upload pics of your new creation
Thanks Mike :)
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Magispook

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Re: Experiments
« Reply #2 on: April 13, 2006, 07:53:01 PM »

Will try to Mike.  Gonna have to ask CL how again after I take the photo.  BTW, I was thinking about this neat light source during my walk and concluded if you add food coloring to the water, you will get a colored light lamp.  Purely for decorative purposes of course as there will be more absorption of the light by the coloring and consequently less light to brighten your surroundings--a tradeoff, I guess.  I couldn't find any food coloring.  The kitchen is my wife's domain.  So I put the lamp top on a jar of pickled eggs.  Yep, it works.  You get lighted colored water.  BTW, pickled eggs fluid color isn't that appealing.  If you had a small fish bowl suitably shaped and equipped with some guppies or such, you might have a neat lighted fish bowl.  My family has a superstition about live fish in the house so that's one experiment I will defer to someone else to do.  :D
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Magispook

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Re: Experiments
« Reply #3 on: April 13, 2006, 08:59:32 PM »

Well, I tried.  Must be my camera doesn't have the capability or I don't know how but I get the flash each time I try to take a photo which negates the effect I want to show of the light operating in low light conditions.  Sorry.
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pixelphoto

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Re: Experiments
« Reply #4 on: April 13, 2006, 09:11:46 PM »

Thats ok I kinda got the idea your link didnt work on llbean but i did go tot he llbean site and typed in what you called it and i found it that way looks neat they also mention putting water in it and using it that way. I guess use red food coloring to not destroy your night vision LOL :)
Thanks Mike :)
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Magispook

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Re: Experiments
« Reply #5 on: April 13, 2006, 09:56:12 PM »

I believe I fixed the link (famous last words, eh?)
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Magispook

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Re: Experiments
« Reply #6 on: April 14, 2006, 08:02:39 PM »

Still playing around with this concept.  I've found a rubbing alcohol bottle is the best lamp so far.  It's translucent.  Alcohol or water inside is optional.  The fluid does stabilize the base somewhat.  I can read by the light although the lamp needs to be close.
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Magispook

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Re: Experiments
« Reply #7 on: October 21, 2006, 09:40:58 PM »

Built a solar window heater (lots of plans on line and I cobbled something together loosely based on them).  I was going to use an old mobile home storm glass window and it broke just as I was in the process of placing it on the frame (too much horizontal stress I guess).  Checked into the price of plexiglass or glass and it was too much for my budget at this time.  Yesterday I came up with an alternative that worked.  I bought one of those plastic window insulator kits that involves taping a plastic sheet to the window frame then tightening/sealing it with a blow dryer.  Worked well and cost me a dollar.  My wife refuses to allow it outside because the south side of our house is the one seen from the street--aesthetic problem as she sees it.  So I put it in the window from inside of my home office.  No worries about outside hazards like windblown twigs, cats, dogs, birds, etc.  You really can't see it in the window from outside unless you walk right up to the window and peer in.  I'm powering the 12 volt computer muffin fan I use as the blower with a solar panel.  I figured if there is enough light to produce electricity, there is enough to heat up the window heater.  The logic was good but not completely efficient.  I found that there is plenty heat in there even when there is not enough light to cause sufficient solar panel electrical output.  No problem, I have a 12 volt wall-wart to power an "02cool" fan.  It works great with the muffin fan.   ::)
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Magispook

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Re: Experiments
« Reply #8 on: January 27, 2007, 10:38:46 AM »

A unique request - I've been doing a lot of reading lately about solar heating and cooking.  One concept I recently read about in "Sunshine to Dollars" by Steven Harris is a solar oven that can bake 20 loaves of bread at one time.  It's made from the metal liner of an upright freezer "rescued" from the junkyard, inside of it painted flat black, some insulation around the outside of the box, placed on a door on the ground (serving as insulation from the ground), and covered with a double pane sliding glass door.  He was able to obtain those parts but, other than the flat black paint, I suspect I will have a tough time getting at least two of the other components.  However, the concept is, I believe, sound and adaptable.  So here's my idea and a request that some of you may be able to help with:  I have a black pick-up truck.  During the winter, I put a cap on the back because I do a lot of road time and like to have the option of having a place to stay (back of the truck under shelter--I have a good BOB to furnish the basic comforts inside that shelter) and it is a bear to install and remove that cap by myself.  Hence, my request is that someone with a black truck or knows someone with a black truck substitute the pick-up bed for the freezer box.  Duct tape clear plastic painting tarp over the bed of the truck and put some duct tape over the tailgate to get an adequate seal.  Place an oven thermometer in the bed before you seal it then park the truck where it will get plenty of sunshine.  Obviously you would get better heating with some insulation around the bed but I'm curious what kind of temps would occur with such a setup.  Any volunteers?
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Magispook

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Re: Experiments
« Reply #9 on: February 21, 2007, 07:50:30 PM »

Razor sharpener - Lehman's sells a handy little device that sharpens shaving razors so you get longer life out of 'em.  I read somewhere that the device is actually a mirror with guides.  You place the razor on the mirror between the guides and stroke it downwards a few times.  It so happens my grandpa was a hobo during the depression and my mom told me a long time ago that he used to sharpen his razors with a piece of glass.  SOoo, I've been down-stroking my disposable razor against the bathroom mirror after each shave since the first of the month.  Typically, I get about one and a half to two weeks use of a razor.  So far, the experimental sharpening has gone well and I have no plans to replace the razor yet.  Will report how long it lasted if I remember to do so but three weeks so far which is beyond my typical usage.
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Magispook

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Re: Experiments
« Reply #10 on: February 27, 2007, 07:07:47 PM »

Razor sharpener - Used the razor for twenty-six days.  Assuming a conservative two razors a month (most times I use up one every three weeks), I figure I would save about nine razors a year using this method.  Could save more if I bought the device.  Nice to know should times get leaner or razors become scarce or significantly more expensive. :)
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Magispook

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Re: Experiments
« Reply #11 on: March 17, 2007, 07:26:11 PM »

Razor sharpener revisited - Did a variation of my razor experiment.  Previously I sharped the razor each time before and after use.  This time I used the razor without sharpening until I felt it needed to be sharpened.  That strategy did not work.  So sharpen each time.  Boy that hurt.  The things I do for this thread.   ::)
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Magispook

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Re: Experiments
« Reply #12 on: March 18, 2007, 10:02:00 AM »

Umbrella parabolic solar cooker - Saw a neat picture of an umbrella with a shiny inner surface modified to be a parabolic solar cooker.  Thought I could do that with an umbrella and a space blanket.  So I dismantled an umbrella and lined the bottom of the fabric with a space blanket and reassembled.  Doesn't work worth a carp.  I can feel heat reflected back but there is no concentration of the sun's rays into a focal point like my solar sizzler.  Oh well, it cost me the rest of a space blanket I had already cut up for other purposes.  Nothing ventured, nothing gained. 
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pixelphoto

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Re: Experiments
« Reply #13 on: March 18, 2007, 12:40:46 PM »

Your experiement may not work as a cooker but could still work as a heat reflector. Think if you had a small camp fire with two people lost in the woods. Put this umbrella contraption on one side of you and the fire on the other that way it reflects some of your body heat and heat from the fire back to the people //// could work.
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Magispook

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Re: Experiments
« Reply #14 on: March 18, 2007, 08:01:54 PM »

You're right.  There was a lot of heat reflected from the sun--just not a focused beam.  Never thought of using the umbrella as a camp reflector.  As a sun shade, yes, but not as a reflector.  Great idea!  :)
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weaver

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Re: Experiments
« Reply #15 on: March 18, 2007, 08:55:31 PM »

The problem is that an umbrella is not a parabola. You might do better to take a small satellite dish and line it with foil.
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Magispook

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Re: Experiments
« Reply #16 on: March 19, 2007, 08:27:29 PM »

Can you imagine coating one of those great big satellite dishes from the old days?  I believe they are "C" or "D" band.  You'd know where the focal point is because that's where the feedhorn is set.  Talk about a death ray....... ;D
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Magispook

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Re: Experiments
« Reply #17 on: April 22, 2007, 10:42:20 AM »

Solar Window Heater Update - Yesterday I convinced my wife I needed to test out the solar window heater as it was designed i.e. most of it outside the house instead of placed vertically in the window inside the house.  So I placed it at about a 39 degree angle (the right angle for here in north-central WV) and directed the air intake and warm air output into my office via the window.  I'm using a 5 watt solar panel to power the fan.  At about 7:30 a.m. the fan kicked on and I had so-so heated air output.  However, by 10:00 a.m., I checked the room temperature (68 degrees) and then the output temperature.  Right now, the temperature is 120 degrees and my thermometer doesn't go any higher.  I truly believe I can get much higher temperatures than I'm getting right now if I was using glass instead of plastic sheeting over the heat collector (you may recall I broke the %$@%#% glass as I was putting it on the heater and have yet to find an inexpensive replacement).  So, I believe this experiment has been a success.  Now if only I could convince my wife it really doesn't detract from the appearance of the house.............. :devil
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Magispook

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Re: Experiments
« Reply #18 on: April 22, 2007, 01:28:48 PM »

Thermos Cooking (Tried Again) - Finally got some wheat to try cooking in a thermos as described by Kurt Saxon.  It works.   :)
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Magispook

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Re: Experiments
« Reply #19 on: May 27, 2007, 04:16:24 PM »

Got four of the black Berkey candles and was going to put them in our present metal Berkey but decided against it as we run city water through it right now and there is no need to use the black candles for such a light job.  So I decided to do something along the line of the Berkey Lite water filters with the LED base and see-thru containers.  Got the LED base from a humidifer I couldn't fix and was going to throw away.  Got one of those 5 gallon see-thru water bottles like they have on office water dispensers.  Found it actually.  I was unable to find another one so modified my plans somewhat.  I would have had to find a faucet anyhow.  So......for the bottom part where the filtered water collects and is dispensed, I used a 5 gallon insulated water container with faucet and lid I had purchased from Sam's Club a few years back.  It is bright orange with a Gatorade logo on it.  With the lid removed, the see-thru bottle nests quite nicely on top.  I cut off the top part of the bottle (the portion with neck and lid) and will use it inverted with coffee filters in the neck for a prefilter.  I cut off that top off with a dremel tool (makes work so much easier) and drilled two holes in the bottom for the filters.  I have about twice the capacity as I have with the current Berkey but the new unit definitely has the hybrid look with that bright orange bottom and see-thru top capped by a white lid.  So my wife doesn't want this nice functional filter in her kitchen preferring the steel Berkey instead for some reason.   Oh well, it works as I had envisioned and will go to the bug-out/picnic section of storage.  I put the candles back in the box they came in, placed the box and severed top in the bottle, and can use the insulated water container both for its intended use and as filtered water container with the Berkey modification when needed.  I like dual purpose equipment when I have an alternate back-up.  Bottom line: this particular experiment worked quite well.   :)
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