|Automatic mechanical for Jon|
|... and the 'exhibition back' window|
Both turned out fine, although the transfer material is not completely clear so it gives a slightly mottled look to the dial which I quite like. I have also played around with using a transfer like this on a light silver background, and then spraying over with a coloured transparent 'candy' paint, which looks very good (the colour conceals the mottling) but you have to be very careful when spraying as the thinners eats the transfer if it is laid on too thick. How did I find this out, I hear you wonder.
Owen's watch was a similar case style, but with a different dial setup, different hands, and a quartz movement. Not much point in an exhibition back, as there are no oily bits or whizzy things to watch. I cunningly left the difficult part of putting the whole thing together for Owen to finish off, and last time I saw them both it was working like a charm.
|Decorative back, but no window|
|Orange or what?|
Finally got it finished a couple of weeks ago, made a cream leather strap to go with it, and it looks pretty good - very noticeable and striking, though I guess not to everyone's taste.
Its quite hard to capture the colour in a picture, if the light is too bright the colour just glares, and if its too dark it looks flat and washed out. Trust me, though, it is very definitely ORANGE!.
On the subject of devices to tell the time, I mentioned in my last blog that I was building a Arduino-based clock. This now finished, and it does exactly what I wanted it to do - it tells the time in large, bright numbers, so that my dodgy eyes can see the time from across the room; it automatically dims the display after dark; and best of all, it takes power failures (we get probably two or three every month) and spits them out because it has a battery powered module on board that will remember the time for around ten years of no power. As soon as the power comes back on, the time automatically shows correctly. Oh, and it automatically deals with the annual silliness of moving the clocks forward and backwards for reasons that probably made some sense in 1503 but is just a nonsensical waste of time and money now.
A bit less of that hooray! malarkey when I tried to apply the same treatment to the amp in the kitchen. This has two possible inputs, one from an iPod and the other from a Chromecast Audio jobbie, so the Arduino needs to monitor two different audio inputs and decide which one is live and switch the amp input accordingly. This all worked perfectly on the bench, so with great ceremony I re-installed it in the kitchen and waited for the applause. Still waiting...... It turns out that I tested it using the iPod running on its internal battery, which worked fine, but I have discovered that the same iPod makes a very faint signal on the audio line every time the power supply.charger kicks in - about every five minutes - and although the noise is inaudible, its enough to switch the amp on. Disconnect the power, and its fine. I have changed the power supply at least four times, tried different cables, added a ground loop isolator, and altered the Arduino audio threshold and the best result I can get is that it now only does the phantom switch-on around twice a day. Unfortunately, this does not impress The Boss too much.
She's also not too gruntled over my current Arduino project, which is an automatic watering system for a planter box that I recently built. She was even less gruntled when I told her it was called "Watermation". I thought that this would be an easy project, but it turned out to be more complex that that. It has a pair of moisture sensors that monitor the dampness in a couple of the plant pots, and when one or other of them decides its too dry, a pump switches on for a short period and pumps water from a reservoir onto the plants. I was a bit paranoid about leaks on my solid wood floor, so I installed another moisture sensor in the bottom of the box to act as a leak detector, flashing a LED and sounding an alarm it it detects water. Then of course its necessary to monitor the water level in the reservoir, so a cheap ultrasonic module watches that and another LED turns on if it drops too far. The pump came out of an ancient Toyota screen washer, but the Arduino can't handle the juice it needs on its own, so there's a relay module to do the switching, and another module that allows the pump speed to be controlled by twiddling a knob. Most excellent. I still need to finish off the pipework to each of the plants, and a bit of trial and error is needed to ensure an adequate supply of wet stuff to each one without having so many holes in the pipes that there is not enough pressure left to feed the ones at the far end.
|Ultrasonic level sensor|
|All the 'lectrics strapped to the water reservoir|