alternatasha a site to catalog random projects

alternatasha
hacking a video greeting card
hacking a video greeting card

Note: this is less of a hack and more of a ‘repurpose’, a true hack (possibly soon) might include real modification to the hardware/software. Shown above is a brochure I got in the mail.  Although not totally new (see here), I was still very much surprised to see this tech sent to me for free.  […]

temperature sensor
temperature sensor

It’s winter time, and I need to monitor temperature throughout my place.  I had an extra Maxim DS18B20 “One-Wire” digital temperature sensor.  This can easily be read by any arduino-type microprocessor board.  I decided to use the Seeeduino Stalker for the task.  WIth its numerous digital pins, it made sense for me to hook up […]

removing a cast iron fitting
removing a cast iron fitting

This steam pipe ran into the wall and stopped there.  It had no purpose, and I needed to install a main vent somewhere on that line.  Too nervous to tap a hole in its typical spot (at the end of the main), I decided to use this unused pipe at the top of the riser […]

main vents for steam heat
main vents for steam heat

These cracked radiator vents, labelled “USAV 880B,” were masking an even greater problem in the crawl space — no real air elimination vents on the mains.  The one that was located on the southern main, turned out to be an old Hoffman #43, a convector air valve, not a mains one.  Who knows how well […]

home heating index
home heating index

How efficient, in terms of heat, is your home? The Home Heating Index (HHI) is a simple calculation that gives you a number with which to categorize your home heating efficiency. A simple guide here takes you step by step through the calculation.  Basically, you find the ‘Heating Degree Days’ (HDD) for your area here. […]

wireless home sensor network, part I
wireless home sensor network, part I

Currently, home sensor networks, whether utilizing Xbee, Wifi, or other frequencies, are relatively expensive, unavailable, or simply unuseful. A low-quality security camera needs several other pieces in order to work properly, looks too industrial for a home, and carries a high price tag. Simple sensors, such as temperature and humidity loggers (such as the popular […]

D-cell battery capacity testing
D-cell battery capacity testing

Introduction Single-use D-cells bought in foreign countries were tested to get a rough idea of battery capacity (in mAH) in order to compare the overall value in purchasing disposable batteries as opposed to rechargeable ones. As battery capacity is a function of the C-rate at which the current is drawn, one type of circuit for […]

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