Window Blinds

I have an airconditioner unit (old style) that sticks out about 5 inches (12cm.) further than the frame. Into the kitchen. I currently have curtains but want to have blinds of some kind for a more modern look. How can I have blinds if the place for attachment is not the same across the window. Any help will be usefull, I'm stuck.

Topic by craftyv 5 years ago  |  last reply 5 years ago


Faux Window

I'm looking for ideas to make a fake window for my cubicle at work. Ideally, it would be lightweight and provide something other than the flourescent lights above. I really like the look of Bright Blinds (see attached photo). I'm thinking a DIY version of that with maybe a poster with a view behind the blinds? I'd love some input on how to go about this project! Thanks!

Topic by gharper1 6 years ago  |  last reply 6 years ago


DIY Blackout Blinds?

Does anyone have any ideas on how to create a super cheap, super easy way to create some blackout shades for my bedroom without buying expensive custom-sized blackout blinds? I fact, I already have custom-sized blackout blinds -- except they're roller blinds, and when they're deployed, although their size is exactly the same as my windows (about 70" wide by 20" tall) when they're rolled down, and the sun is shining on them, the light literally blasts through on all sides, rendering them almost useless. What  I need is a light barrier that makes the room pitch dark even if the sun is blasting directly on the windows. I looked at this site: http://www.blackoutez.com -- but after ordering, and even if they do ship to Canada, it's liable to be prohibitively expensive. What I need is something cheap, easily mountable, easily unmountable and able to be stowed in a closet every day, then brought out every night for the next day. I thought of using those dollar store poster boards, maybe taped together with duct tape. Black ones would probably do a good job of blocking the light and they're pretty big -- maybe 48" x 36" -- but there is still the problem of how to attach them to the tops of the windows. So again, here are the criteria: Cheap, maybe less than $50 all together Block ALL light completely Easily mounted, easily unmounted Able to be stowed quickly and easily Durable, able to be used every day for months Able to recite the Gettysburg Address with no cue cards (Okay, I'm willing to forego the last one!) Turn your inner geniuses loose! Thanks in advance Nickster

Topic by Sassori 4 years ago  |  last reply 4 years ago


Solar Power Blinds

Im just posting this as a thought,cause I thought it would be cool if you had some blinds on say the south side of your house and you glue or attached strips of solar panels to the out side facing panles and you would turn them to the sun I know its possible and you could even lift them up  

Topic by RelientOwl 9 years ago  |  last reply 8 years ago


Automatic window cover motor

I have a problem in my apartment with an outdoor light right outside my window. If i dont close my curtains at night my room pretty much looks like daylight. I like to wake up to the sun though so I started looking at automatic curtain openers, saw the price and decided it cant be that hard to diy. My idea is to have a curtain that rolls up rather then goes to the side. I am trying to think of a way to make this simple cheap and quiet. really all I need is a rod and fairly quiet motor that I can plug into a wall. I was thinking a rotisserie motor would be pretty good but have never been near one to hear how loud they are. It might solve the problem of a rod as well depending on how long of a stick I can get for it. Anyone have any other ideas of a better way to do this?

Topic by iamme9182 10 years ago  |  last reply 10 years ago


How can I make roller blinds.

Hi, Can I get an instructable on how to make simple window blinds/shades. One piece of fabric stitched top an bottom but how do i do the pulley thing. I know it can be purchased but that's no fun. TIA

Topic by kberry_78 10 years ago  |  last reply 8 years ago


How to clean venetian blinds ?

What is the easiest way to clean the slats on venetian window blinds ?

Question by 10 years ago  |  last reply 6 years ago


Installing two sets of vertical blinds

I installed two sets of vertical blinds on my BIG picture window.....how do I get rid of the gap in the middle where the sets meet?

Question by xoelaxo 10 years ago  |  last reply 10 years ago


Automatic Blind Opener Advice

Hi, I am thinking of putting together something that will able to automatically open and close my blinds as the darkness outside dictates. Ideally, I am hoping to attach the opening/closing pole to a DC Motor, which would be controlled by a light sensor. I was also toying with the idea of powering the system with a rechargeable 9V battery that could be topped up with a small solar panel attached to the window. Is this idea doable and, if so, any advice on parts and putting it together would be very much appreciated.

Topic by elsmandino 3 years ago  |  last reply 3 years ago


new blinds flapping in wind

I purchased a horizontal blind for my (single) sliding glass door (SGD) which was a mistake. I should've bought a vertical blind since whenever I open the SGD a bit the wind catches the blind like a sail and it makes a racket when it smacks against the frame. Obviously a vertical blind could've been opened a bit more than the SGD so the wind would not catch it. Any thoughts on how to remedy my problem would be appreciated! Dan

Topic by DanB3 4 years ago  |  last reply 4 years ago


Help- My Printer is BLIND!

So here is the story- my grandma moved out of our house, and I got an older Windows 2000 computer. I also got a working (at the time) printer (jetprinter...HP...I think) and hooked it up in my room about a month later. The ink was low, so we spent ~30 dollars on new cartriges. So, even then, I hooked it up... hit print, and buzz click whirr...just like it should...and bloop: load paper is displayed on the screen. But wait...it had paper..a bunch! So I took it out, restartyed the computer, turned off (and then on) the printer seperately, and tried to print agian. No worky. Supposedly the printer is still out of paper, even though it is sitting right there! Is it blind?!?!?!Any help would be appreciated. It is a good printer (or was), and the ink in it alone is new and worth $30!

Topic by John Smith 11 years ago  |  last reply 11 years ago



how do i install the windows xp blue luna theme on windows 7?

I want to install the original windows xp home edition theme (i think its called Luna). and windows blinds doesn't work so i installed UXstyle core with is an in memory uxtheme.dll pitcher but after running that and putting the theme in the themes folder i don't know were to go from here any help would be appreciated

Question by Goomanhimer 9 years ago  |  last reply 8 years ago


Is it possible to make your own venetian blinds? Answered

I need custom-fit blinds for about 18 windows and to pay retail for that many of them, especially since I'd like to have higher quality than your basic white PVC blinds, it's going to be well into the thousands. So I'm wondering if somebody can explain how to make your own venetian blinds. I have some skill precision cutting wood and metal, so that part wouldn't be too difficult whether I chose to use wood or aluminum, but I think I would have a problem figuring out how to create the pulley system so the blinds will not only go up and down, but also open and close.  

Question by noahbody_ 8 years ago  |  last reply 7 years ago


Has anyone ever mated flexible solar panels to vertical window blinds?

If you think about the amount of square footage that your average window or sliding glass door has, that's a LOT of potential space for solar panels! Are there any manufacturers that do this or has anyone here posted something about this?

Question by javajunkie1976 7 years ago  |  last reply 7 years ago


Windows that self-close to regulate temperature

I like letting the outside air blow through my apartment, but I also like the temperature and humidity to be in a good range. So I go around opening all the windows when it's a good temperature outside, and then forgetting to close them later. I wish windows could be programmed to open themselves automatically to regulate the temperature. I bet this could save a lot of money on heating and air conditioning, while allowing fresh air from outside to come in. I'm imagining a bunch of slats of glass that can rotate like Venetian blinds that are controlled by bimetallic strips or something :) Maybe there would be two layers for better insulation, and one layer could open to allow more heat exchange but not air flow, and both could open at the same time to allow air to flow. For modifying an already-existing window, it would have to install motors and stuff. Anyone have any ideas about how something like this could be made?

Topic by endolith 11 years ago  |  last reply 10 years ago


What gauge wire should I use for doing circuit board work?

Particularly the motorized window blinds controller.

Question by 10 years ago  |  last reply 10 years ago


Green bamboo

I am sewing some window blinds for a friend on a very tight budget. I'd like to know if I can use slim bamboo canes straight from the garden as a weight. It will be sewn into a cotton fabric channel at the bottom of the blind. Or should I be only using dried bamboo? ie I am hoping that it wont go mouldy??

Question by LyndaA11 7 months ago  |  last reply 13 days ago


How do you make a window seat? My daughter really wants one for her room.?

What materials? How wide? Would you have to take down curtains or blinds? How long does it take to make?

Question by GDheart 7 years ago  |  last reply 7 years ago


Would this automatic curtains / blinds controller design work?

Hi all, I have been searching for ways to make an easy and cheap automatic curtains/blinds controller but have not really seen any that actually meets my basic needs but also does not require lots of complex IC components. Please let me know of any instructables I may have missed. So here is my design - hoping everyone can help to validate it and discuss design faults and improvements (mainly to reduce costs). The Requirements: 1) Costs: Total costs should be around $20 per curtain. I think professional systems cost about $100-$200 per curtain controller. 2) Parts: Easy to build and put together with some soldering. Parts are easy to find/buy or substitute for similar components. 3) Function: At least 2 buttons. One UP button and one DOWN button for manual triggering (wireless buttons would be better). 4) Function: One press of Button A fully opens the blinds with the motor stopping at the correct place to avoid damage to the blinds or the motor. The opposite goes for Button B to close the blinds. 5) Function: The controller should never be able to open or close the blinds past the normal safe positions, causing damage. 6) Optional Parts: Complete system is small enough to fit inside the blinds/curtain's cover / awning. I think it should be easy to fit in most covers anyway. Briefly how it should all work: With the curtains rolled up, you would press button A, which would roll the curtains DOWN, then stopping at the correct place (covering the whole window). Pressing button A once again would not do anything or further roll DOWN the curtains. Then, press button B and the curtains should start rolling UP constantly, stopping just before it gets to the top. Pressing button B once again would not do anything or further roll UP the curtains, avoiding damage to curtains or motor. Design/diagram below (sorry for the poor details, i used MS-Visio to draw it out). The Parts/Components (under $30 at time or writing): 1) 5-10kg servo $7 (using 5volts) that can be power in forward or reverse spin. Slow spinning speeds would be best for safe and low power operation? 2) Some hand made adapter to firmly connect the servo motor shaft to the curtain's shaft to spin/roll the curtains ($0 free). 3) A wireless power relay $14, (12 volts) with 2 channels and "constant on power" functions (links below). I guess wired relays are fine, but I would want to hide the wires to the buttons. 4) 2x 5V regulators $2, to reduce the 12v power from the Relay to 5v for the Servo. 5) 2x Magnetic or reed switches $5 (12 volts) that is Normally On (normally connected). 6) 4x Rare earth magnets $1 to work with the reed switches. These are small, thin and easy to hide, but are very strong. 7) A power source for the relay, 4x 18650 batteries?. Should be 12 volts or depending on what relay & servo combo you use. (links below) Construction: 1) Make an adapter to connect the servo to the blind's shaft. I dont have a picture of one or the steps for this as every servo & curtain combo situation will be different, but im sure it should be simple to make. Fail or malfunction of this part would cause too much damage to anything really? 2) For best practice, use temporary wiring to connect all the components together as per diagram and test out the functions as if they were installed in their places and on the blinds. 3) Glue or connect the adapter, curtain shaft and servo shaft together. Also mount the servo firmly somewhere, on the wall or curtain cover so it doesnt end up spinning itself. 4) Position both magnetic switches on the wall, behind and just under the curtain's roll of fabric as per diagram. A lot of testing and playing around will be needed to create the correct gap between each switch and curtain.    Switch A   (Limiter A) will be the most difficult to position. It will be used to stop the servo from rolling the blinds too far down. This means the magnet glued on the blinds is up high on top, which will be rolled inside layers of fabric and may spin close to Limiter A multiple times which may cut the circuit/power earlier than intended as the magnet spins round and round. Limiter B should be easier. 5) Wire the 2 channels on the relay to the Servo and the Limiters. The 5V regulators goes between both channels of the Relay's power OUT and the Servo's two power Inputs. Screw or glue the relay to somewhere firm like inside the curtain covers. 6) Glue the rare earth magnets to the desired positions, or sew them on if you dont trust the glue. The magnets will physically cut the power to the servo by activating the Magnetic reed switches, so using 2 magnets would be even better, just incase the servo you use spins really fast or has a lag. 7) Connect the relay to the battery/power cable. Of course double check all is good before adding power. In my case, I will have 12v power cables available to use. 8) Put the curtain cover back on to hide everything. Hopefully you did not create creases in the curtain fabric where the magnets are glued. Oh and maybe remove the curtain draw strings (used to pull up & down the curtains) to avoid breaking the Servo? Detailed explanation of how it should work: - The blinds are fully rolled up. - Press Button A once, Relay provides power to Channel A, Servo spins clockwise constantly (rolling down the curtain). - Servo's positive line A is cut (circuit open) when Magnet A rolls out and comes close to Limiter A. Relay is still outputting power to Channel A but no power goes to the Servo. - Press Button A once again, the Servo should not do anything. The Relay should then stop outputting power to Channel A. - Further presses of Button A does nothing but toggles Channel A's power on and off. Magnet A & Limiter A still disabling power to the Servo. - Press Button B once, Relay provides power to Channel B, Servo spins anti-clockwise constantly (rolling UP the curtain). - Servo's positive line B is cut when Magnet B rolls up close to Limiter B. Relay is still outputting power to Channel B. - Press Button B once again, the Servo should not do anything. - With this "latch" functionality of the Relay (see link below and product details), it is also possible to stop the curtains mid way, which might be useful for some people, i dont think i will use it. For future upgrades: I think it would be possible to control this controller from a PC program, by directly connecting IO cables to the Relay's button A & B on the PCB. Sending pulses from the PC as though it were remote button presses. Or just bring the remote to the PC's IO ports and connect there. Would anyone disagree? Links: - An example Servo: http://www.ebay.com.au/sch/i.html?_nkw=High+torque+Metal+Gear+RC+Servo - The wireless Relay: http://www.ebay.com.au/sch/i.html?rt=nc&LH;_PrefLoc=2&_nkw=2CH%2012V%20Wireless%20Relay - The 5v Regulators (L7805): http://www.ebay.com.au/sch/i.html?rt=nc&LH;_PrefLoc=2&_nkw=5v%20regulators&_fln=1&_trksid=p3286.c0.m283 - The magnetic reed switches: http://www.ebay.com.au/sch/i.html?_nkw=reed+switch - The rare earth magnets: http://www.ebay.com.au/sch/i.html?_nkw=rare+earth+magnets+n38 - Design/diagram: http://i50.tinypic.com/118emas.jpg

Question by sonhy 6 years ago  |  last reply 4 years ago


AXE023 MOTOR DRIVER BOARD HELP?

I try to Build A Motorized Window Blinds Controller with a AXE023 MOTOR DRIVER BOARD CANT SET UP THE CODE. ANYBOBY CAN HELP ME PLEASE THANK YOU

Question by POWERFTK 10 years ago


Raise & Lower Spice Rack

I built a small spice rack that hangs on the underside of my kitchen cupboards (it is hidden behind the valence), and I want to have it raise and lower using a simple motor mechanism but I am a complete novice and I have no idea where to start. Right now I can just raise and lower it by pulling a string, in the same you would raise and lower window blinds. Any thoughts?

Topic by Northern1 6 years ago  |  last reply 6 years ago


HOW CAN I MAKE A TYPE OF PRIVACY WINDOWS(INSTANT TINT AT A FLIP OF SWITCH FOR WHEN PRIVACY NEEDED ANYWHERE/ANYTIME)? Answered

WHAT I AM TRYING TO ACCOMPLISH HERE IS A SAFE, HOPEFULLY INEXPENSIVE, RELIABLE, REASONABLE, AND VERY EFFECTIVE KIND OF INSTANT WITH VARIABLE OR ADJUSTABLE KIND OF TINT OR PRIVACY FEATURE TO WINDOW(s) IN PERCENTAGE AS TO HOW MUCH VISIBILITY IS ALLOWED THRU A WINDOW(s) FROM BOTH IN & OUT.CONCEPT IDEA: WHAT I WAS THINKING OF IS A FEATURE WE CAN ADD I GUESS SIMILAR TO TINT FILM THAT IS INSTANTLY, AT A FLIP OF SWITCH FOR WHEN PRIVACY NEEDED ANYWHERE AT ANYTIME ALSO ALLOWING VARIABLE "PRIVACY" TYPE OF SWITCH(SO A MAIN ON/OFF POWER SWITCH, AN INSTANT "ON" 100% DARKEN SWITCH, AND THE VARIABLE TYPE OF "DIMMER" AS TO IF WE NEED A VISIBILITY RATIO GIVING 0%-100%) - FIRST OF ALL WE NEED TO ACHIEVE AS CLOSE AS POSSIBLE 100% VISIBILITY TO SEE THRU THIS GIVEN WINDSHIELD(s) BOTH WAYS FROM INSIDE AND OUTSIDE BUT IF I NEEDED OR WANTED INSTANT PRIVACY, I CAN FLIP A SWITCH AND/OR ADJUST (MAYBE A TYPE OF ROTORY DIMMER LIKE SWITCH)THE AMOUNT OF VISIBILITY THAT WILL CHANGE HOW MUCH CAN BE SEEN BOTH IN AND OUT.OK SO FOR BETTER UNDERSTANDING.... WHAT I WANT TO FIND/CREATE IS BASICALLY A KIND OF TINT FOR MY CAR (AND EVEN MY HOME OR OFFICE.) I GUESS MY FOCUS IS IN THE AUTOMOTIVE AREA BEING THAT WHERE I LIVE, WE HAVE ENFORCED LEGAL RESTRICTIONS BY LAW AS TO HOW MUCH LIGHT CAN BE PASS THRU THE TINT FILM AND WINDSHIELD OF A VEHICLE. HERE IN HAWAII A PASSENGER CAR HAVING MINIMAL OF 6 WINDOWS 1. FRONT WINDSHIELD2. REAR WINDSHIELD3. FRONT DRIVER DOOR WINDOW4. PASSENGER FRONT DOOR WINDOW5 & 6. PASSENGER REARS OR 1/4 WINDOWS BY LAW A FILM ADDED TO THE WINDOW CAN ONLY BE 35% DARKNESS TO THE SIDES AND REAR OF THE PASSENGER 2/3/4 DOOR VEHICLE AND ALLOWABLE 4 INCH VISOR TO THE VERY FRONT WINDSHIELD = CONSIDERED FOLLOWING THE LAW. OF COURSE PEOPLE DO GO DARKER AS IN UP TO 2.5% OR MORE COMMON IS THE 5%-20% ALL AROUND WHICH IS PRETTY DARK AND I CAN SEE WHY WE HAVE SUCH LAWS AS ESPECIALLY AT NIGHT BEING INSIDE A VEHICLE WITH 2.5%-20% ALL AROUND CAN & WILL GET DIFFICULT TO DRIVE ACCURATELY. ESPECIALLY PERTAINING TO REVERSING! LAWS IS SLIGHTLY DIFFERENT FOR 5-DOOR PASSENGER CARS, STATION WAGONS, VANS, SUV's, LIMO's AND TRUCKS. BUT WE WILL JUST STICK WITH THE MAIN 35% TO REAR AND SIDES. ITS EASIER....IN CONCLUSION, IF I OR WE CAN CREATE A TYPE OF METHOD OR DEVICE THAT CAN GIVE US THIS EFFECT OF PRIVACY AT OUR LUXURY. THE ADVANTAGES I'M AIMING FOR IS IT IS 100% LEGAL AS IN NO ONE CAN TELL RIGHT OFF THAT I HAVE TINT IT LOOKS VERY NORMAL TILL YOU HOP IN AND I TURN IT ON OR ADJUST IT THEN BEING EITHER INSIDE OR OUTSIDE THE VISIBILITY RATE CAN BE NOTICED, IT CAN BE ADJUSTED DURING MY DRIVE RUNNING ERRANDS OR IF I END UP SITTING IN TRAFFIC UNDER DIRECT HOT & BRIGHT SUNLIGHT OR EVEN JUST PARKED AT A OPEN PUBLIC PARK, BEACH, WHATEVER... I CAN GO FROM 0%-100% INSTANTLY BY A FLIP A MAIN SWITCH, THEN BE ADJUSTED LIKE A HOUSEHOLD DIMMER KNOB ALLOWING FOR PERFECT PRIVACY OR SAFETY TO VISIBILITY DRIVING WHILE TRYING TO BLOCK OUT SUNLIGHT OR UNWANTED NOSEY PEOPLE PEEKING IN WHILE PARKED. HEY IF WE WANT TO GET MORE INTO IT AND COMPLICATED YET MORE TO LUXURY WE CAN ADJUST EACH WINDOW SEPERATELY! Ex.: I WANT/NEED THE FRONT WINDOW I SAY AROUND 60% & 5 OTHER WINDOWS MAYBE 15% BECAUSE I AM SITTING IN SLOW TRAFFIC DURING THE PEAK OF THE DIRECT SUNLIGHT AT SUN DOWN AS I'M SURE ANYONE WHO DRIVES OFTEN EXPERIENCED THAT IT CAN BE VERY BLINDING AND DANGEROUS AS YOU MAY NOT BE ABLE TO SEE THE RED TRAFFIC LIGHT OR PEDESTRIAN, ETC... THEN I GUESS AS WE TRAFFIC START MOVING AND THE SUN IS NOW GONE IT IS DARK NIGHT, I CAN SAFELY ADJUST THE VISIBILITY TO ANY OR ALL WINDOWS...SEE COMPARED TO A ONE TIME DEAL AFTER HAVING A CERTAIN PERCENT TINT INSTALLED ON YOUR WINDOWS WHERE NO MATTER WHAT IT IS ALWAYS THE SAME, BUT WORSENS AS WINDOWS GET DIRTY IT GETS LESS VISIBLE TILL YOU GET CHANCE WASH THE WINDOWS OR PEEL/STRIP YOUR TINT WHICH WILL BE COSTLY & OFTEN MESSY. IN HAWAII IT IS FINED $250+COURT FEES+TAX, ETC. PER EACH WINDOW!!! MEANING IF YOU GOT LESS THAN 35% PERCENT LIGHT RATING ON THE MEASURE TOOL USED ON 5 OUT OF YOUR 6 WINDOWS = DAAYUUMNNN EXPENSIVE $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ LOSS. AND IF YOU ARE CAUGHT HAVING EVEN MORE THEN THE 4INCH VISOR AND/OR THE WHOLE FRONT WINDSHIELD ITS FEDERAL OFFENSE AND ITS NOT GOOD... I DON'T EVEN KNOW OR WANNA FIND OUT EITHER.I HOPE I WAS AS BEST AS POSSIBLE CLEAR TO WHAT I WANT TO ACHIEVE. SORRY IF IT KIND OF LONG BUT DETAILS IS VERY IMPORTANT, AND I AM OPEN MINDED TO WHATEVER ANYONE CAN PUT ON THE TABLE IN IDEAS OR CONCEPTS TO THIS. NO WORRIES, JUST SHARE WHAT YOU THINK OR WHAT CAN BE DONE. PRETTY AWESOME IDEA RIGHT???? I HOPE TO GAIN SEVERAL IDEA CONCEPTS, DESIGN OR WHATEVER THEN MAYBE WE CAN FIGURE THE MOST EFFICIENT WELL ROUNDED BENEFICIAL TO PRODUCE. ** THANX FOR YOUR TIME

Question by KrAx 9 years ago  |  last reply 3 years ago


Semi-adhesive materials

Hi, I'm looking for some suggestions of what I'll call (out of ignorance) "semi-adhesive materials". I am looking for a large sheet that can be folded, or preferably tightly rolled (think a window blind) and a variety of shapes that can be stuck on and repositioned. I've had a look at display felt for use with hook and loop stickers. The felt is quite thick and expensive. I'm just wondering if anyone else has experimented with this kind of project. Flexible magnetic material, or some kind of static attraction or something? Cheaper the better really, but durability is a big concern too. Any pointers in directions to look would be greatly appreciated.

Topic by shockerty 5 years ago  |  last reply 5 years ago


How could I tell if someone installed a phone tap, camera, or voice recorder in my room?

When I leave for work, I sometimes leave my bedroom window open. There is a medium sized gap between the screen about the size of your fist. Is there a way I could tell if someone has tapped my house? Recently my Samsung Flat-Screen has been very snowy and I remember that you could tell is something has been tapped because they interfere with your tv. The house I just moved into also has a wire panel outside my window which you can reach. My room is first floor, please help. I cannot sleep. I also read that you can tell just if you can pick up RF signals coming from the device. Can someone give me a schematic for an RF Signal detector? I can't afford the commercial ones, I once read a stat that if you suddenly wake around 2am or 3am there is %80 chance of someone staring at you. Your body naturally senses this somehow. Well, when I looked at my window, I saw a light then after a few seconds it was gone. I went outside and I heard a couple of cans fall over and my fence my shaking like it was moved. My gate is usually locked but it is a reletively short fence. I haven't slept for days. I can't stand it. I'm going today to buy some black curtains as these cheap plastic blinds aren't cutting it

Question by halo99 6 years ago  |  last reply 4 years ago


>_< Specifications... i needz them.

So... about six months ago i moved into  new place.  it's great, but the previous tenants kinda trashed the place.  they left loads of rubbish around and were generally horrible to the house.  The previous tenants did leave a few things that are kinda nifty.  First, they left tons of PVC pipe. i have something like 20 ft of 2 inch pvc pipe, 15 ft of 3/4 inch pvc, and 10 or so feet of 1.25 inch pipe.  the second thing they left was an above ground water filter.  The owner's manual to the pump can be found here online:  http://www.pooltoysource.com/images/pdf/RVR005.pdf This got me to thinking i could setup a little hydroponic rig in my house. I have a hallway window which i'm too cheap to buy a blind for, and letting a bunch of plants cover it over appeals to me.  However, there's some problems.  The owners guide is critically lacking in any sort of technical specifications and all the info on the web just relates back to the pool pump being used as such.  Sooo... if anybody knows anything about what kind of performance can be expected out of this little dandy, let me know. 

Topic by Qcks 7 years ago  |  last reply 7 years ago


Kombucha or sprout heater from a potpourri pot or other appliance?

I need something to heat a bucket of kombucha tea to 70 degrees Fahrenheit when the heat is off in the kitchen where I will be keeping it. The temperature dips below 50 degrees Fahrenheit in there. I also need something to warm sprouting jars, which I'll be keeping on a shelf that I plan to enclose with a window blind or something else to keep the heat in, but allow ventilation. I don't think I need a thermostat for either of these. The temperature doesn't have to be exact. For the kombucha, I could buy a heating pad for $60 or a heat belt for $20 and pay to have them shipped or I could go to the local aquarium store and buy some fish tank heaters, but I'd prefer to spend less, make something myself out of something old and not support an aquarium store. I'm not a big fan of fish prisons. The thrift stores around here have lots of old appliances for $2-$5 each. I thought I could make heaters using the heating element of one of the small potpourri pots I've seen at Goodwill. I saw online that these pots are heated with a wire wrapped around the (irremovable) pot. Any thoughts on how I could make heaters with this heating element that are safe and not too hot? Any ideas using other appliances? Another option would be to find a cheap heating pad (for heating people) without auto shutoff and use that on the Kombucha at least. I'm not sure that that would be warm enough though, but maybe it's a more worthwhile option that trying to make a heater. What do you think? Should I forget making something for the Kombucha and look for a heating pad instead? Thanks for your help.

Topic by vegagitator 10 years ago  |  last reply 10 years ago


UV filtration in your fish tank or small fish pond

Year after year the topic "I have a fish tank" seems to go more out of control. What was once a hobby just to have some fish can now be a design feature both in your home and inside the tank. Realistic looking lasdscapes, optical illusions that make you think the tank is much bigger and the list goes on. But one thing that now always pops up is the must have thing of UV filtration. Or to be precise: UV-C sterilisation! Now, if we trust Wiki and our big water suppliers then UV-C will literally kill anything alive that comes into contact with. So of course it would be a good thing to have for your tank - or not? UV-C is very dangerous for your eyesight and quite harmful for your skin! Looking into a proper UV-C lamp without protection means you can go blind! Even good sunglasses might not have enough protection in the UV-C range, so only use them for additional protection but never without and glass between you and the lamp! Don't be a fool! Treat UV-C seriously! You would not look into the full sun with your sunglasses and would not expose your eyes or skin to a powerful laser, UV-C is to be treated the same way! Let's start by using some boring text to explain the concept a little bit. On a large scale special and quite powerful systems are used to treat our drinking or pool water. Here special UV-C lights with a wavelenghts of 260nm or below are used to shine through the water passing by. There are two key factors here. a) the wavelenght b) the water flow rate and the corresponding time the water is in contact with the UV light To ensure all bacteria, viruses, algae and other harmful organics are dead the water must circulate for long enough so even the last water molecule had a few seconds of exposure. All this only works good with "crystal clear" water for obvious reasons as otherwise the UV has to be even more powerful to pass through. Single cell organisms literally crack into pieces similar to being exposed to gamma rays, more complex cells like algae have their cell membranes damages and the DNA suffers as well causing reproduction loss and early death. Even some chemicals break down, most importantly here chlorine based substances. Differences within the UV-C range! If you bothered to check Wiki about the topic of UV-C you will already know that only certain wavelengths within this spectrum will actuall be powerful enough to do what we want it to do. And here is the first problem for us hobby users. Most cheaply advertised "sterlisation lamps" you find in places like Ebay are actually totally useless. Stating to be selling a UV-C light to sterilze your water in such a case is still not considered to be fraud though. Simply because it still does what it supposed to do, just very slow and with very little effect. Only the so called "short wave" UV-C range is powerful enough! To avoid loosing business during the times of the biggest hype in 20 years no seller will actuall state the available wavelengths. That means without this info anywhere you can be certain the advertised lamp is of little to no use. Even those advertised to be short wave UV-C might not be the real deal. However, if a decent manufacturer is behind the actual lamp used it is possible to check the datasheet for these performance figures - but again most cheap systems come with no-name lamps inside. Check the prices for a reputable UV-C light with the same lamp fitting, e.g. G23 and you will see it might cost more than your entire system. Ok, you have a poper short wave UV-C lamp or consider getting a canister filter with one in it.... Never, ever test your lamp without proper protection!!!!! UV-C will damage your eye within seconds! If you system or lamp does not provide a viewing port or shine through area then you have to place a piece of glass between you and the light! UV-C won't be able to penetrate normal window glass but will pass through quartz glass. Place the lamp in a box and cover with the glass. How make proper use of UV-C sterilisation... The replacement lights are quite expensive, so let's see how to get the most out of them. As said before exposure is the key factor so the flow rate of the UV system must match tank size and flow rate of your filter system. Canister filters with a build in lamp should be designed to match but I will tell you later what to look for ;) Most of us will prefer to have a in-line system if there is already a good canister filter at work, so I will focus on those and rop in solutions. If you compare in-line system you might notice that some quite small and low power units claim to allow for the same flow rates as for example 40W units. Some are fraud and just want to sell while others use simple physics to make the claim true. A good system will utilise an auger like "ramp" that forces the water to circulate around the tube many times - causing up to ten times longer exposure rates. Others create this sprial effect more like a vortex with some diverters and modified inlets. The later seems to be less efficient though with low power lamps. An in-line system should be on the outlet side of your canister filter so the best quality water will pass through it. A drop in solution should be used alone and without the existing normal filter pump you might have in there. Ok, got it, but how do I actually use it now? Despite common thinking a UV-C system should not run 24/7 like your normal filter. You really only need it to solve problems you should not have in a healthy tank! It is not a magical solution to make your underlaying problems go away ;) Let's start with the most common reason someone buys a UV-C system: An algae or bacterial outbreak causing greenish or milky water. If that developed slowly over a period of weeks then you would be better off to do a good clean of the tank and filter plus a decent water exchange. A few drops of meds will do the rest. And if you constantly get algae growing on your glass, ornaments and plants then your nutrient levels and water quality is not right anyway and needs a good check. But of course there is also the problem of light - too much for too long and unwanted gree appears everywhere. If in doubt reduce the light power, shade out natural light or reduce the on time for your lights. Having said that we now face the problem of a sudden outbreak after introducing new fish or plants. If you don't have a quarantaine tank chances are that sooner or later you get unwanted or even harmful guest into your tank. Here the UV-C will be beneficial, which is why a canister filter with build in light should have a seperate switch or power supply for the light. After an outbreak or while introducing new life into your tank the UV-C will remove a lot of the things that we don't want to bring along. For new life I leave the light on non stop for a week, that is for a small 4ft tank with 200 liters. To control an outbreak it depends on how bad it is. I assume here you can still see the back of your tank  but that the water either appears greenish or slightly milky from bacteria. As a personal thing I prefer to to remove and clean my filter material before treating a severe outbreak. Once done I fill the filter with a mix of activate carbon material and fine filter wool. Reason for this quite simple: The outbreak causing stuff is already in your filter material and will be a constant source of re-infection. And since breaking down all this bad stuff causes even more bad stuff to be produced as biological waste we want to discard it properly once done. Using just fine filter wool and activated carbon also reduces the flow rate bit if compacted ;) Now we can turn on the light and pump and forget about it for a while. It is not recommended to run UV lights on a timer as you want them on all time to prevent short lifespan and have ongoing treatment of the water. Good idea to take a picture at the same of a day from now on to compare and check results. After 3 days the water should definately be clearer, if not then either your filter material is packed too losse or the lamp is no good. Once the water appears to be clear do a readin test - take a newspaper behind the tank and check if the text is clear - blurry means the water is still not clean. You will reach a point where the water quality will not further improve as much as in the days before. This is the time where you discard or clean out to dry your filter material and put the original stuff back in. The activated carbon should be discarded of course. You cleaned filter material will now need a certain time to grow enough good bacteria to go back to the old performance. During this time you should still leave the light on. In most cases with enough fish and plants in the tank a week should be sufficient. After that you can leave the light off and keep the tank fit and healthy. Special case: Algae everywhere! Especially after getting a new plant you can end up with quite pesty algae growth. Be it these long ghost hair types or in a bad case the black stuff growing on plants, ornaments and the glass. I have even seen tanks with algae covering the entire bottom of the tank causing the gravel to look like carpet. Here I can only advise to set up a quarantaine tank for your fish. Then remove all infested material for manual removal and cleaning. Infested plants should be cut clean and what can be boiled should be boiled in water for a few minutes. Now start scrubbing in the tank with ongoing water replacements. I prefer to let everything settle over night without any bubbler or pump running. This way I can suck up a lot of sediment the next day. If you can remove all plants and fish you can now use hydrogen peroxide and add it to your tank water. But this is only feasable for small desktop tanks. Before using the UV as above to cure an outbreak you should consider all water one last time. Allow at least 2 weeks with ongoing water checks before adding plants back in and another week before placing your fish back in the tank. The week before adding fish should be used to monitor the plats for any signs of algae you might have missed - if you find any remove it! A week after the fish is back in you can turn off the UV light. Underwater UV-C light!? In most online stores you will find quite cheap UV lights to be advertised as underwater or in tank use. Although it might sound tempting you should be well aware of the dangers of using them. The glass of your tank will block the harmfull UV rays but the water surface won't, so either don't ever look at it or use proper sunglasses with real UV protection. Apart from the dangers to you these lamps are not just cheap in price but also cheaply produced. That means there is no way of telling how much or how little UV-C is produced. If they are good then you still need to know in what type of tank setup you can use them. As plants can tolerate a bit of UV a placement as far away from the nearest plant should do, especially if you can place a bubble wall betwenn light and plants. The fish is another thing as some seem to be unaware of the danger in their tank. This means they can get too close to the light but I have not found any articles explaining how harmful UV-C is to fish or their eyesight. I guess once your fish starts to bounce into everything you know... ;) My advise is to stay away from the idea of hanging a UV-C lamp in your tank, the risk for you and your tank is just not justified. If you need to go cheap then get two or thre of these lamps so you have spares. But use them externally ;) Meaning: Take a UV proof plastic container of small size and place the light in there. To be really safe tape the lid and all holes for the hoses with black tape. Place the container above the water level of your tank and if you only have an internal filter pump push a suitable sized hose into the outlet to feed into you canister. Check how high you pump can make it and place the outlet or overflow slightly below this level. When to change the light? If you made it all the way down here then you might already had the benefit of using light to "cure" your tank. Now we are faced with the high replacement cost for the lamp itself. Ususally only flouroscent tubes are used. It is always good to check after purchase what type of lamp and manufacturer (if there is one) was used. In some cases the system itself is like an inkjet printer: Just a cheap way to make you buy the consumables. Let's say you new in-line filter was priced at $100 to have a nice round number, some are cheaper some much more expensive. The lamp used might be an exotic type and not even be available easy, so before you buy your system check where you can get spares, not just the lamp of course. A replacement lamp can be as ceap as 20 bucks or cost even more than your system if you need to order it elsewhere. The quartz glass sleeve can break too meaning you then need a lamp and cylinder. Going with a reputable brand and paying a bit more certainly helps to get spares in the future. Let's just assume you either got your system in bulk due to the price of replacement lamps or can get them at a reasonable price. UV-C lamps are not like your normal flouroscent light tubes you have around or maybe even on top of your tank. Consider them like the tubes used in the now unhealthy tanning beds. After a certain amount of time they no longer produce enough of the short wave UV light that we need. As you can't see it and most of us won't have the means to specifically measure it we have to trust manufacturers recommendations. For most good brands the numbers are the same: 8000 hours max. Considering the costs it does make sense to keep written track of the usage. Not too hard since we won't use them like normal lights but instead have them on for a week or more without turning them off. I recommend to have a replacement at hand long before you need it. A lamp can fail premature, crack or simply burn out. The 8000 hours are based on 24 hour usage, so one day on, one day off. This could mean for us the lifetime can be slightly longer but I would not go over 9000 hours. As a rule of thumb: If the water does not show good signs of getting clear on day thre the lamp is due.

Topic by Downunder35m 1 year ago  |  last reply 1 year ago