Topics


Website-BUG: Login-Cookie-Handling over multiple PCs with feed

I had this problem in the past sporadically but never saw a pattern till recently:I come to instructables.com, i am already logged in and click on "feed" at the top. After a while an error pops up telling me a Rerouting-error happened. (Umleitungsfehler in German). I noticed, this always happens after the following action-pattern: - I visit instructables.com and log in on computer A and i DONT log out there but only close the browse. - I visit instructables.com on computer B. I am seemingly already signed in from the last visit here on Computer B at instructables.com. - If i now click feed (On Computer B), the error happens. - If i logout and log back in on Computer B, the error is gone on this computer B, even over Firefox-restarts As far as i undestand, as soon as i log in on computer A, a new login-cookie is created on Computer A and the cookie on Computer B will no longer be valid next time. Now, if i come to instructables with computer B, the cookie somehow still is interpreted valid and logs me in (I appear to be logged in with my avatar visible at the top right). However, if i want to go to my feed, it seems Instructables checks again the cookie and figures out that i have a no longer valid login-cookie on this Computer B due to my login on Computer A and refuses to redirect me to my feed. This gets sorted with Re-Log on Computer B, creating a NEW login-cookie on Computer B and all is well again on Computer B. Now i can play the same game on Computer A with re-log. :) I hope, this error-report helps you guys in pinpointing and fixing an issue with a Login-bug as it seems And Why to hell do i have to define in which channel this belongs and you dont have a channel "website of Instructables"?!? I hope this is not lost in "Circuits" - "Software" which was the closest i could find to a website-problem... Geez...

Topic by Orngrimm    |  last reply


23 stage no-capacitor full auto coilgun

  *********I have updated my design since posting this topic. The video is the more current design than what is written below.**********    I came to the conclusion that using capacitors to provide the power for a coil gun is a stupid idea. A bold statement I know. The reason is that they are big and heavy, take time to charge, and need charging circuits. Also, the sharp rise in current that comes from capacitors is bad unless you are making an induction style coilgun, because the induced currents will hurt efficiency.    If coil guns are ever going to be a practical hand held weapon it will need to be lighter, simpler / less delicate, and more powerful than what you will find on the internet if you look up coil guns. A rate of fire that is competitive with conventional guns will also be needed if a coil gun will be used for anything other than target shooting or maybe hobby hunting. So I designed a coilgun to meet these requirements. Visit my website for a full explanation of the design: http://www.ourbadscience.com/#!em-guns/cwjy     I realized that a coilgun would not be a practical infantry weapon until batteries are more advanced anyway, so that just adds to the list of why capacitors are out. It will be powered directly off of the batteries, and have many coil stages. This allows a very high rate of fire. To get that rate of fire with capacitors you would need several capacitor banks charging at offset times, so after each bank fires another is just finished charging. That would be terribly bulky.    The lower voltage from the batteries will give comparatively slow current rise in the coils which normally would make the coil timing weird. I plan to use an unconventional coil timing though. All the coils will be activated at once, and the coils behind the projectile will be shut off as it passes them. This will have several advantages: -The coils will only be powering up for a split second at the beginning. Most coils will already be at full power when the projectile gets to them (that is not the case in most coil guns). -Induced current will not be any issue. -Since the coils will all act as one coil, the projectile will be drawn toward the center of all the coils that are on. Timing of the shut off of the coils will not need to be perfect.    This will be a pre-tuned passively timed system. I want to use a small adjustable electronic timer for the switch-off timing. This will require some work in the initial adjustment of the timing, but even actively switched coil guns (with optical sensors or something) require that. the advantage of a passive system over an active system is cost and simplicity, and you can pack the coils tighter on the barrel if you are not putting a sensor between each stage. That matters with 23 stages! As I said check out my website to see more details and pictures for this and other projects: http://www.ourbadscience.com/#!em-guns/cwjy

Topic by Jaycub    |  last reply


How to revive & care for my Calathea SurpriseStar? Answered

I am new Urban Botanist and I recently bought Calathea SupriseStar as a houseplant. Clearly they are very very attractive house plant. But I have managed to make some of their leaves very very crunchy & some are droopy. I know they do not like light much, I have kept them aware from window sill & providing them with indirect sunlight. I do live in the UK, so this means the flat does get a bit cold & when the heater is switched on - it does get a bit dry. I try to generate humidity & mist the leaves. What can I do to revive the droopy & crispy leaves. I absolutely love this plant, want to do what it does to fix it.

Question by AnjanaM6    |  last reply


Which contest should I enter?

I'm planning on publishing an instructable (A pikachu pillow) But I'm not sure if I should put it in the 1-hour challenge or the rainbow contest! Can someone give me some advice? Thanks :DZakbobdop

Question by zakbobdop    |  last reply


DIY WiFi Door opener/closer

Let's pretend for a second that I know nothing about electronics, but I'm VERY good at following directions/tutorials.I have a goat barn that is far enough away from the house so that I'd like to have a linear actuated door that I can open/close from my phone at my convenience. But I have a couple other needs that could make this difficult.Needs: Wifi enabled to open/close from smartphone Manual opening/closing as well View webcam feedThat's at a minimum.Wants (in the future or to be added later): add a speaker to play an audio file to call the dog/goats in before closing the door. add a timer for an automatic feeder for the dog/goats.I think that's all. If anyone could help me out, it'd be greatly appreciated.

Question by beoirsicnarf    |  last reply


what color is good for lucid dreaming? Answered

I want to make a lucid dreaming mask so that i could lucidly dream, i already have the program written down for the timing, but I need to know what color led's to use. here is a link about what i would like: http://blog.makezine.com/2008/06/19/how-to-build-a-lucid-drea/. i just really need to know what color would induce lucid dreaming the easiest. thanks

Question by techno guy    |  last reply


Q: Others having difficulties about reading private messages in istructables profile page?

HiI just wonder, is it just me.. Or is there some known, wider issues on istructables page, that prevents reading private messages?I have tried couple days to read my messages, but when i click "Inbox", i end to the front page of the instructables, instead to my mail. :( ThanksTuomas

Topic by The other Finnish guy    |  last reply


Cleaning an old train tail light from soot marks and repurposing it.

Recently, I bought an old train tail light. What is the best way to remove the soot marks and how could I repurpose it? So what could I put in the lamp instead of a light source? My ideas were plants, an art object made of clay or something electronic, such as a custom-made Bluetooth speaker. Which ideas do you have?

Question by Bestrenommiert    |  last reply


Last update make this site pointless.

Tanks for making this site pointless by removing RECENT option.

Topic by gonzzo    |  last reply


Would a system of gears increase or decrease output?

In a scenario where you have a waterwheel on a river that was turning a wheel, would adding a system of gears increase the wheel speed or decrease the wheel speed due to friction. I have included a doodle to help visualize what I mean. The left side, side x, doesn't have any gears while the right side, side y, does have gears. The gears are made up of pieces that have a small side and a large side. I am pretty sure that the output would be much faster if friction wasn't involved, but I have a feeling that the friction would actually make it slower if gears were added. So, could anyone explain if x side would be faster or y side and explain why? Thank you

Question by Sserdna    |  last reply


Call of Duty 4 magic spray

I was playing Call of Duty 4, and there was a part in the game where a S.A.S agent used some kind of aerosol spray that made the part of the fence that he sprayed brittle and was easily removed. I have never heard of anything in my comings and goings in chemistry that matches this, but according to the game developers they say every weapon is real. Has anyone heard of a spray or anything like this?

Topic by Sedgewick17    |  last reply


What to do with old window counter weights?

My house was built in 1915 and we are replacing the windows to get better efficiency. Now I have all these weights. I can have them thrown into a landfill but that seems like a bad idea. I've seen people doing things with homemade forges but I don't have one. Would these be useful? Could they be melted down? Or could they be toxic?

Question by Bitter73    |  last reply


fast and easy way to get 3.3v from 5v without a lm317? Answered

I got a dvd player but the power supply was missing. i can get the 5v and the 12v, but other than a lm317 (which i dont have) i cant get 3.3v. ive looked at all sorts of things to try and find a 3.3v regulator, but everything i have searched up lead to several misleading results. so i was wondering, what value resistor could i use to get 3.3v from 5v or what devices could i look in to find a 3.3v regulator? i have several computer motherboards, a bunch of cd drives, a couple hard drives, etc. please help! thanks in advance,           zack247.

Question by zack247    |  last reply


Be aware of the new LED light-door knocking scam!

It might just be a local thing for now here in AU but history shows a good scam often is picked up globally...The topic of the scam is a FREE upgrade of your old incandescent lights to modern and cost efficient LED lights.Down here we have these government sponsored and energy related initiatives for home owners and landlords on a more or less regular base.Sometimes it is solar cells, then solar hot water systems or better insulation, now we again have LED lights as last time not everyone took the offer.The offical way to benefit is to apply for it, usually a quick online process.After that a certified guy or girl makes an appointment and replaces the number of lights you specified.But to address more people and get around landlords door knockers are also used.These offcial guys provide you with some flyers highlighting the program, details about the process and so on.And if you are interested sign you up on a list for your replacement.It means you don't sign anything, you just confirm your ID and end on a list.A a week or two later you see a bunch of students running with little ladders and boxes of lightbulbs knocking on doors.So far so good and sometimes you even get older people replacing the bulbs for free.You can quite easy identify the official guys down here as the display ID tags with picture and those tags not just look professional but also contain all vital info and signs that correspond to the official government initiative.The scammers jumping on the money train however show a slightly different approach.Usually students with good language and promotional skills come in a nice dress and knock on your door.They come with a more less well made copy of the government flyer, usually not in the right format and not on nice, glossy paper.They also usually only show you a badge after you ask then to but won't follow the official code and have it displayed on the dress.Said badge, in my case, was of bad quality and was just an ink jet print laminated in bulk and cut straight, not even with the standard rounded edges...I played along anyway and showed interest, so I was asked if it is ok to have a quick look to check how many lights are required.Keep in mind here that the official guys won't need that info - they take this info by the actual amount of lights the students replace later on!I told the guy I only need 6 lights as the rest was already replaced by myself.Needless to say he insisted stating that he needs to confrim the amount as a requirement for the free replacment because the installer needs to know how many light are required...You would expect now to see someone walking through your house with the head tilted to the ceiling....2 minutes, maybe three...It took almost 10 minutes, for each light he filled a bit out on his form.Like lvining room, 3 lights, ladder required, toilet, one light, cover needs to be removed.....This time was used to get an impression of what is visibly available in the rooms...Once done the nice guy wanted me to sign his now filled out form and asked for my name so he can put it in the form.Don't know why I felt this urgent need but I asked nicely if I could actually have a quick read of the form before I sign.Reluctantly he agreed and handed my the form.What I spotted right away was that it was two pages that were not connected in any way, like with a stapler, not numbered either.The first page had all the details of my lights and requirements plus some not really clear looking government inignias.Like what you would end up with if you embed in a word document from a web page.Low quality instead of coming from a proper and official print shop.Page two then only needed my name, address and signature under the long list of fineprints.I did not even have to read it all to know it indeed is a bdly made scam.The FREE LED lights are still free, but each one comes with an installation fee of $35.This fee covers checking the fittings and light switches and if required their replacement at the costs of the occupant plus of course the disposal of the old lights.The offcial cooling off period for this type of contract is honored though.Well, that is until you read it all and double check the first page.14 days are granted for this officially and in the contract I was supposed to sign.With the exception that I automatically agree to have the replacement done at the convinience of the installer.Also added was a clause that states the contract is binding and the payment is required within 7 days once the lights are replaced.Page 1 though already had next Friday listed for the replacements of my lights....Means my cooling off period is reduced to 7 days....To cancel the contract I would have to send it in writing and with confirmation.And the arrival needs to be confirmed at least 48 hours prior to the installation date so the installer can shedule accordingly.Basically means I have to send this cancellation letter the same day I sign the contract to have any chance at all to avoid paying at least $35 per LED light.Needless to say I refused to provide my name and did not sign despite all well meant attempts to convince me otherwise.And although I can neither deny nor confirm to have made a specific phone call, some cop car picked the guy up shortly after when he was knocking on another door further down the street...Be aware if some really nice guy or girl offers you a FREE service after you opened your door!Be suspicious if they "require" entry to confirm or check certain things!It is quite possible this requirement is only to check for valuables!Do the smart thing and take what they offer in paperwork and ask them to come back a few days later so you can have a good read.Don't let them pressure you in any way!!!If it is a free service then you don't need to rush things and any official door knocker will be happy to give you the parperwork and tell you if you want to have it done you can simple use the details on the info material and register yourself online.And if you go that route you will see an official government portal for it.Even if a scammer goes as far as creating a website for the scam it won't provide you any of the standards you expect from your government.If you really decide to sign something on the spot or to provide personal details then at least read all the fineprints and everything else on all the documents!That means unless you know legal talk that you should have someone check it for you!

Topic by Downunder35m  


chainmaile aspect ratio

First of all , I welcome all . I fell in love with chainmail . I love its simple complexity , its beauty . I respect the time it takes to create a piece of jewelry . I made a couple of bracelets and necklaces for my kids and for my wife. I had no idea about the aspect ratio , or how a pattern should be loose or tight. Once the AR is firmly determined and once in range . I'm having fun , but I would like to know what your AR experience with certain patterns. Anybody willing to share some wisdom? DP ( Croatia )

Topic by Damir Podvinski    |  last reply


How do you determine the length of an antenna and the size of a fractal antenna? Answered

In an instructable, the formula for calculating antenna length was given as "length in meters =300 / frequency in MHz".  The example given was for a Bluetooth antenna with a frequency of 2450MHz.  The antenna length was calculated as 300/2450 = 0.1225m = 12cm.  The author then divided it by 4 to make a "quarter wave" antenna length of 30mm.  Why divide it by 4 and what is the benefit of a "quarter wave" antenna.  What is the effect of the conductor leading to the antenna?  If the 30mm antenna is soldered to a 4mm lead, does that result in a 34mm antenna?  For a fractal antenna, should the 30mm length of wire be folded into a fractal shape or should the total fractal antenna be 30mm in width?  I have read somewhere that one of the benefits of a fractal antenna is that they are able to receive signals of different wave lengths.

Question by fcampbell    |  last reply


Hackerboxes - Worlds of Wifi

I keep getting these errors while trying to program the wifi scanner in the #42 Worlds of Wifi Hackerbox set. The instructables say "as shown here" but there's no link nor any additional information. Ive downloaded everything that it said to download yet can't seem to get the program to upload. here are the errors:Leaving...Hard resetting via RTS pin... Invalid library found in C:\Users\mike\Documents\Arduino\libraries\examples: no headers files (.h) found in C:\Users\mike\Documents\Arduino\libraries\examples Invalid library found in C:\Users\mike\Documents\Arduino\libraries\NDEF: no headers files (.h) found in C:\Users\mike\Documents\Arduino\libraries\NDEF Invalid library found in C:\Users\mike\Documents\Arduino\libraries\NdefMemoryTest: no headers files (.h) found in C:\Users\mike\Documents\Arduino\libraries\NdefMemoryTest Invalid library found in C:\Users\mike\Documents\Arduino\libraries\NdefMessageTest: no headers files (.h) found in C:\Users\mike\Documents\Arduino\libraries\NdefMessageTest Invalid library found in C:\Users\mike\Documents\Arduino\libraries\NdefUnitTest: no headers files (.h) found in C:\Users\mike\Documents\Arduino\libraries\NdefUnitTest Invalid library found in C:\Users\mike\Documents\Arduino\libraries\NfcTagTest: no headers files (.h) found in C:\Users\mike\Documents\Arduino\libraries\NfcTagTest Invalid library found in C:\Users\mike\Documents\Arduino\libraries\PN532-master: no headers files (.h) found in C:\Users\mike\Documents\Arduino\libraries\PN532-master Invalid library found in C:\Users\mike\Documents\Arduino\libraries\tests: no headers files (.h) found in C:\Users\mike\Documents\Arduino\libraries\tests Invalid library found in C:\Users\mike\Documents\Arduino\libraries\examples: no headers files (.h) found in C:\Users\mike\Documents\Arduino\libraries\examples Invalid library found in C:\Users\mike\Documents\Arduino\libraries\NDEF: no headers files (.h) found in C:\Users\mike\Documents\Arduino\libraries\NDEF Invalid library found in C:\Users\mike\Documents\Arduino\libraries\NdefMemoryTest: no headers files (.h) found in C:\Users\mike\Documents\Arduino\libraries\NdefMemoryTest Invalid library found in C:\Users\mike\Documents\Arduino\libraries\NdefMessageTest: no headers files (.h) found in C:\Users\mike\Documents\Arduino\libraries\NdefMessageTest Invalid library found in C:\Users\mike\Documents\Arduino\libraries\NdefUnitTest: no headers files (.h) found in C:\Users\mike\Documents\Arduino\libraries\NdefUnitTest Invalid library found in C:\Users\mike\Documents\Arduino\libraries\NfcTagTest: no headers files (.h) found in C:\Users\mike\Documents\Arduino\libraries\NfcTagTest Invalid library found in C:\Users\mike\Documents\Arduino\libraries\PN532-master: no headers files (.h) found in C:\Users\mike\Documents\Arduino\libraries\PN532-master Invalid library found in C:\Users\mike\Documents\Arduino\libraries\tests: no headers files (.h) found in C:\Users\mike\Documents\Arduino\libraries\tests

Question by The CynicsC  


1000 LEDs controller

I want to make a project with 1000 LEDs, basically its a display or panel to used it in parties or shows, but all the information that I found was only with a commercial controller called "T1000s", my question is, how can I control this amount of LEDs to show images or gifs with an Arduino or other microcontroller. Thanks for the time and have a good day!!

Question by LuisF40    |  last reply


Q: why does a 220v (down-step) regulator output 300v?

Hi, bought this 220v regulator (see photo). strangely enough the volt-meter shows almost 300v on the output (at zero load). otherwise it works fine. any ideas? gracias

Question by la xerra    |  last reply


what paintball gun do you have

What paintball gun do you have?

Topic by nerfer192    |  last reply


How to make a waterproof clock?

I really hope someone can help me. I really need a clock I can have outside. I teach classes outside and I need to know what time it is. Waterproof clock prices are exorbitant... I bet they're easy to make. Nothing comes up when I google waterproof clock works. I have this huge metal disk I found by the side of the road and it would be cool to make that into a gigantic outdoor clock. But how to make sure it's not destroyed the first time it rains...? Can anyone help? THANK YOU!

Topic by kwilt    |  last reply



Native iOS and Android App Retirement

Hello Community! In an ongoing effort to make sure that Instructables is able to focus its product development efforts where they count most for existing an new authors, we are officially retiring our native iOS and Android apps. Note that this does not affect mobile web. I expect continued investment in mobile technologies for years to come, but we will focus on the experience of people using Instructables through their mobile web browsers, rather than through downloaded apps. For those keeping score, this isn't exactly news. We have not released new versions of either app in over two years, and they have become steadily buggier and buggier during that time due primarily to changes in their respective environments. Android 2 and iOS 5 were current when we released them originally, and Android 7 and iOS 10 are very different beasts. Simply keeping up -- even without adding anything new or fixing any bugs -- requires a constant investment of development time from Instructables, and prevents that time from going to projects with greater impact. The original purposes for the apps were: 1) To lower the bar to Instructables authorship by providing direct access to upload photos taken on smart phones 2) To improve the browsing experience by making it faster Since they were released, mobile technologies have progressed to the point that #1 is no longer a concern. Our mobile web editor already has full support for uploading images directly from your phone. #2 is also coming into striking distance soon, as browser manufacturers begin to standardize their implementation of offline content for mobile web sites, sometimes referred to collectively as "progressive web apps". We'll be watching these technologies closely, and we'll be among the first to speed up your browsing experience with offline components when cross-browser solutions become available. We have already developed (and will continue to expand on) Accelerated Mobile Pages, which mean we display nearly instantaneously when you tap an AMP result on mobile from Google. You can identify these pages via a lightning bolt in mobile search results: In short, the reasons that we developed the native apps no longer apply, and we're dropping support for them in favor of putting those energies where they are able to have greater impact for the community: Mobile Web. The apps will soon be removed from sale from their respective download stores. For existing users who have downloaded these apps and are using them currently: feel free to continue doing so, though we would urge you to upload your Instructable Drafts to the website as soon as possible. While we don't expect the editing process to break, no support is available should you experience issues in the future. You can also use the apps to browse Instructables, though I believe there are already some issues that have started adding friction to this experience. Thanks, all, for your continued support of our vibrant community! ~Devs

Topic by pseaton    |  last reply


Middle School Teachers

Are you a Middle School teacher? If so, say hello and connect with other 6th-8th grade educators. Feel free to share where you are from, what grade level(s) and subjects you teach, and anything exciting you did with your students this year or plans you have for next year. :)

Topic by WeTeachThemSTEM    |  last reply


wen scroll saw adapt kit Answered

Need to change my wen scroll to all painless blades. What do I need and were do I get it ? Help, New to this

Question by Craigpick    |  last reply


555 monostable timer

I've no idea what I'm talking about here but can only explain what im looking for which is help. I'm basically looking for a relay or multifunction relay not really sure but here's the plan. When my smart plug is turned on (at certain programmed times through the smart plug app) to provide power to a 12v 6amp pump (I have 240v ac to 12v DC transformer pluged into smart plug I'm in uk) I would like for this pump to turn itself back off after 10 or 15 seconds. I cannot for the life of me find an analogue or digital timer that can do seconds. The smart plug can work down to minutes and not seconds. So basically smart plug on = pump run for 15 seconds cuts itself off and then the smart plug turns off once the minute is up and when plug is on again at next programmed interval it does same thing. Any help would be great as I've no idea what I can buy or try to make thanks When trying to research I hear about 555 monostable circuit but I don't know how to wire something up or what to buy to make this work.

Topic by croyf85    |  last reply


Moon light timer

I would like to build a led light that switches on and off with the moon. On when the moon rises and off when the moon sets. Would also like no leds on at new moon and an additional led comes on until full moon is reached. The process then reverses an an led goes off until new moon with no leds on. I would also love the light output to be 4150k the colour of moon light and about 1 lumen at 1metre distance.

Topic by Ausie Steam    |  last reply


Rotary Tool neck thread size

I have several ideas for rotary tool accessories that would make my life easier, but they would have to be attached at the neck. So I need to cut out a hole, and tap it out to the right thread size. Anyone know what that is?

Topic by BoomGuy    |  last reply


Feeding baby praying mantis (newly hatched)

FYI to anyone who has or wants to know what you can feed praying mantis babies right after they hatch. The egg sack i have been "protecting" (i thought) til spring has just hatched a day ago and its only december, my plan was to let them go after they hatched in the spring, but since i didnt keep the sack cold, it hatched now. After i freaked out for abit seeing i have about 50 or more TINY mantis all over the container i put the sack in, i called and called ALL over but no one would take them, and i cant let them just die. Everything i read about them says they only eat LIVE bugs..and they have to be small...really really small..like pinhead crickets or fruit flies...well...YUCK..i dont want that in the house...but if thats what they need then so be it..UNTIL...i called a bait store and the guy (i wanted to KISS him for this info) told me to put RAW MEAT on a string so it sticks in small peices and hang it in the container..IT WORKS!! they went right for it!! SOOOO.........if you dont want or cant get tiny live food for them...FEED THEM RAW HAMBURER MEAT on a string!! this picture is the mom, isnt she beautiful! haha..i mean it!

Topic by Chiana    |  last reply


Instructables - New vs Update Existing Answered

I have a couple of projects I've posted that I've made substantial changes to that I'd like to share. What is your stance on posting these changes as a new instructable vs updating the existing one?

Question by AndrewHoover    |  last reply


powerwasher won't throw out water from gun with motor running

Honda GC190 motor 3000pst powerwasher with a annovi reverbi pump RMV 2.5 G30  when all hoses are connected and the water is on, motor off, water passes thru nozzle, when the motor is on, the water does not pass out at all? How should I trouble shoot??

Question by natmac    |  last reply


Yin or Yang? Which is going to be the easiest transition for my Dauschund, Millie?

I have a miniature Dauschund hound, Miss Millie, who is 3 years old. This is only my second ever dog, so bare with me please. Like any other wiener dog, she has personality up the wahzoo. Never have I nor my husband ever heard such a vocal canine. she's got spunk! But then I digress, sorry about that. Anywhoos, we run our business here at our house, actually out in the garage and basement. Millie will have nothing to do with either structure /room, so she ends up sleeping a lot inside the house. The last thing we want is for her health or well being to suffer, so alas....my question : When bringing another dog around an established territory of another (especially a Dauschund! Lol) Will the relationship develop better with a female pup or should we become looking for a stud puppy? Any help would be appreciated. My husband wants another girl, but I think it will make things harder for everyone involved. Please just confirm my answer, LOL, and I can be on my merry way. But seriously ,HELP!!

Question by Missinmymillie    |  last reply


What is going on? I want to see ALL the instructables, not a "homepage"

What is going on? I want to see ALL the instructables, not a "homepage". Stop messing with what works.

Topic by carlos66ba    |  last reply


What is this green globby goo in my driveway? Answered

What is this stuff?? I noticed this green slime in my driveway one day. It's sorta gel-like, has some air bubbles, and is centered around greenery. I can sorta pick it up with a stick and it jiggles and doesn't really come apart. It reminds me of seaweed kinda. It was mainly located in the center of my driveway where we have weed growth. The appearance happened to coincide with a long bought of rain (nearly several weeks). I also noticed some in areas of our lawn and near the edges of our gardens. This is in Northeastern Vermont, photo taken this summer, '09. PS--I apologize if this is too picture heavy. Please let me know if it is. I just like sharing all the neat photos of this strange substance that looks like Slimer from Ghostbusters!

Question by Pompom    |  last reply


TV antennas and what is possible indoors

Back in my young years a TV antenna was on the roof, quite big and only required to get 3 or 4 channels at best.The basic design of these Yagi antennas has not really changed since then.Same for the antennas required to get UHF and VHF channels at the same time.They either comes as two seperate antennas with a mixer or as a UHF antenna with some added loops for UHF.To talk some basics:For UHF you can get away with quite small dimensions for your antenna bits.After all a quarter wavelengths here is only around 15cm long.With VHF though we get already 30 to 40cm here depending on the channels.So called bradband antennas claim to be able to get a wide range of frequencies.That however is only true for their dedicated frequency band.If you take a normal whip style antenna then this becomes obvious - just compare the lenghts required and you realise "going the middle way" will mean neither UHF nor VHF would get any usable reception.For a long time now there is the option of so called "fractal antennas" to get better TV reception....Fractal antenna? What the heck is that?The theories behind them are about as old as fractal antenna designs that were not even considered to be fractals.Let me explain with the example of a standard FM radio antenna.For them we use frequencies from about 88 to 108MHz.And of course, for our cars they are always on the roof or mounted somewhere around the wheel arches.Some cars however does not seem to have any antenna depsite having a working radio.In this special case rest ensured they do have one, usually behind the plastic bumper bar ;)I like to go off road every now and then and lost count how many times I had to replace my antenna after getting to close to some bushes and trees.As a solution I used some thin wire to create a L-style anteanna on the inside of my windscreen.And funny enough it picks up more stations than a "proper" antenna outside.Really old design and if you think about it then an antenna with a kink that looks like L is ""self similar" - the definition of a fractal ;)More complex shapes like the Sierpinski models do exactly the same just in one more dimension.Cell phones use them as well as you WiFi router that has no external antenna anymore.Their designs and looks are so different that it is next to impossible to list the currently used shapes here.What it comes down to, when you just take a very basic flat or wire shape is that the straight single segment of the active antenna is split into one or many shorter segments that change the angle.They all have similar relations to the wavelenght still.Means really long segments might be half of a wavelength while the shortest bits are just 1/64 of a wavelength.Think of it (far too simple of course) like amny matched antennas combined into a single one.With that often comes a destinct radiation pattern, usually with a quite narrow beam angle that provides a quite high gain.Are fractal antennas any better than for example a proper Yagi antenna?You can ask 100 people and you get 100 different opinions for this one.This is mostly due to some simple facts like:Not caring about actual comparisons.Not being accurate enough when building the fractal antenna.Using just very basic equippment to compare results.For example when you have a 30 year old and quite small TV antenna on your roof and struggle with digital TV reception than you might want to just replace it all.In some case even the old rabbit ears on your TV set will work better.But take modern Yagi antenna with 12 or more segments and even station that are 100 miles away have a good chance.Comes down to possible gain, frequency match and of course how well the antenna is aimed at the transmitter.Then why is it that some fractal antennas still seem to perform so much better?The big antenna scam....If you paid attention during the intial DVB-T rollout in your country then noticed two things.a) You were told you need a TV or set top box capable of receiving DVB-T signals.b) You need a suitable antenna.Well, A is obvious but for B a lot of people got scammed badly.You see, in almost all cases the frequencies allocated for TV signal did not change at all.And an antenna really does not care if the incoming signal is analog or digital - it only cares about the frequency.But more and more local stations often meant that the trnsmit power is limited.After all it makes no sense to have a 500kW transmitter if the area to cover is only about 20 square km big.So people were told they need new antennas once the noticed digital TV is more like playing Tetris, blocks everywhere....You analog TV had no problem with a slightly weak signal, you did not really notice it unless the weather was really bad as well.All the benefits of digital TV however only work with a proper signal strength.If your areas still has both analog and digital TV channels then have a look on how your local transmitter provides the signals ;)Part of the big scam was hiding a very simple fact:All analog TV is transmitted in a horizontal orientation while almost all digital TV is transmitted in a VERTICAL orientation.Ok, we already gain and ignored it but why would the orientation be important?Your radio antenna is vertical because the FM signal is transmitted the same way - the "waves" if you like go up and down like a sine wave.You still get reception if you turn the antenna 90° to make it a horizontal one but you will realise that weak station are no longer available.The same happened with digital TV.And if there is only digital TV left in your area then simple turning your antenna 90 on the mast to have the single elements vertical instead of horizontal gives you top reception again ;)If you struggle to get all station then just try it out before buying a new antenna ;)Modern fractal TV antennas come paper thin and often with rediculous claims in terms of gain and range.On Fleabuy you can even find models claiming to get stations from over 2000 miles away LOLSome even come with the fake claim of being omnidirectional, meaning it does not matter where you place them or how you orient them.A fractal antenna can't change basic phsyics though...High gain mean highly directional or at least with a very flat radiation pattern instead of being more like a sphere.A high bandwidth means you compromise on the gain and/or the phsical dimensions.For example a thin whip antenna is quite limited in the optimum bandwidth while a piece of tubing provides amuch higher bandwidth but at the expense of gain (and some other problems).A fractal antenna can compromise between the two worlds much better than anything straight.And you would even need to make the traces on the plastic extremely wide because you can simply add different lengths for different frequencies.Means a wideband fractal antenna for FM, VHF and UHF basically is three different antennas combined into a single one.It also means that there is usually always more than just one single element of the antenna that is receiving a signal.If you experimented with WiFi antennas for your router or modem than you certainly found the famous Pringles can antenna - highly directional and with an insane amount of gain.Works exactly like a simple directional microphone.And you could, at least in theory do the same with a TV antenna - if there wouldn't be the problem of the wavelenght.A pringles can works for WiFi because the wavelenght only requires an antenna of about 3cm in lenght.You might not want a row of steel drums with a diameter of around 80cm on your roof just to watch the news though...Ok, if I need a new antenna anyway then should I get a fractal antenna or not?I try to make it simple:Roof option not possible or too costly AND your transmitter is not too far away then try one of the cheap paper thin antennas you find online.If you already have an antenna on the roof that is suitable for the frequencies you need then check it to know if it is still any good.With age and weather comes corrosion and some antennas are connected badly in this regard.Sometimes you are lucky and all it takes is to cut off a few cm of cable to get back to clean copper and to give the terminals on the antenna a good fine sanding or a wire brush treatment.In other cases you might find an amplifier under the roof that has faulty power supply ;)And well, certain animals love to chew through your cable...If all is goo from antenna to TV then as said try to flip the antenna 90° to get it vertical.No, I did not mean to point it up to the sky..... ;)I mean rotate it around the x-axis if X is pointing in the direction of the transmitter...

Topic by Downunder35m  


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I have a UHF CB radio in the car that is now quite outdated.Waiting for a 80CH replacement to arrive so the old one can be used as a fixed station in the house.Recently I made a new straight whip for the car as the fibreglass one snapped off.Now the problem I am facing is a total between reality and computer simulation.Here is what I did:Started with a straight steel wire on the elevated mounting - this spring mount is supposed to provide a ground plane as it was originally for a ground independent antenna.Simple math tells that a 1/2 Lambda whip should be around 33cm long, so I started with 40 and used my truted SWR meter.As it turned out my antenna was too short !?Tried again with a longer wire and got a good SWR reading of 1.09 with a total whip lenght of 49cm.As the elevated mount basically turns the entire antenna assembly into a vertical dipol I decided to simulate the thing in Mmangal.Should be straight forward, diameter and length of the ground rod, wire length and diameter for the actual whip.But with the same dimensions I have working fine on the car Mmangal tell me my antenna is totally out of whack.Calculated SWR is well over the 15 and the antenna is not anywhere near resonant in the 470MHz band.Mmangal is mainly for lower frequencies but shouldn't it work for the 70cm band as well?If I design the antenna as a classic ground plane with 3 or 4 radiating elements sloped at 42° I still get nowhere with my whip length.Since my SWR meter is correct and the antenna working really well I am wondering where my problem with Mmangal might be?Anyone here using it for 470MHz or with some insight on how to get the correct values for a vertical dipol antenna with a rod for ground and wire for the whip?

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