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Wed Jan 25 - The Sim - Basic Decisions

This article may be deja vu to some readers, if it is there's always something more interesting to read.

Sim Location
I'm going to put the sim in a corner of this room where there's a large window just to either side. I've decided to put the cooler on the right side of the sim. It'll fit between the floor and the window sill. Heated air will exit through the window. I threw together this room plan, a top view that's not to scale:

Room layout
Construction Materials
The sim and the cooler will be metal frame covered with… something. I initially thought sheets of wood but I have poor wood joinery skills so the joints will probably look like crap. I don't know what makes me think my metalworking skills are any better. I'll end up using whatever absorbs sound and vibration best, either wood or “metal with sound insulation attached to the inside”.

The metal frame will be mild steel because it's easy to weld and braze. Here's the stuff:

Steel for frames

2023/01/25 11:15 · john · 1 Comment

Tue Jan 24 - The Cooler

As I mentioned in a previous article the first step in the computer project is to build a radiator. I've decided to call it a cooler instead of a radiator. I'll summarize why I'm doing this:

  • The computer will run hot whenever I'm flying
  • Hot computers are noisy because of all the cooling fans
  • Hot computers can overheat the room during the summer

So I need something that will:

  • Keep the computer cool
  • Be relatively quiet
  • Not overheat the room

The best way to accomplish all three is to use a cooler that's separate from the computer. I can't buy a cooler so I must design one and build it.

The cooler will be part of a cooling system. The system will be smart. Electronic circuits will monitor temps and automatically adjust the speed of cooling fans and a pump. This will reduce operating costs and keep things as quiet as possible. Here's what I have in mind:

2023/01/24 18:30 · john · 0 Comments

Tue Jan 24 - Forget About the Fitting

After Dead Poets I took a power nap and then sat down at the computer to order electrical fittings. I soon found out it's not going to work. Here's why:

I chose a very large company that makes electrical fittings and searched their on-line catalog for the fitting I'm looking for:

Look at the jewel!
As you can see, Hubbel\Raco's part number is 1941. Punching “raco 1941” into ebay returns just one vendor selling them for $10.98 each. At Amazon you'll see this same vendor selling the same fitting for the same price.

I found other on-line sellers that offer 1941s at anywhere from $11 to $28 EACH – IF they only had 'em 'in stock:


Another large company that makes electrical fittings is Halex, their part number (91530) is all over ebay. But do your homework before you buy. Halex 91530 really truly looks like this:

… which isn't approved for use with flexible metal conduit. It's for NM (plastic covered cable). What e-bay vendors are doing is putting 91530 in the product description next to a picture of… anything they want. Buy one and you'll get a 91530… and be disappointed. I already have a bunch of 91530s and I don't want any more.

So I talked with an electrical inspector. I described what I was doing and how I can't find the fitting I want at a reasonable price. He's heard this story before. Yes, Code says that all boxes must remain uncovered. He doesn't allow boxes within walls, ceilings, or floors but would have no problem with my installation. It's similar to a box for a ceiling fan. The box is in the ceiling and covered - by the ceiling fan! In my case the box is in a wall and covered – by a space heater!

My installation is fine as is. I'm continuing with the project.

2023/01/24 15:35 · john · 0 Comments

Mon Jan 23 - I Don't Get It

I don't get it

2023/01/23 21:18 · john · 0 Comments

Mon Jan 23 - My Kingdom For a Fitting

Neighbor Kevin read my recent article on the craft room heater where I said I needed a certain fitting. He called my yesterday evening with suggestions on how to acquire said fitting. See, that type of stuff was how he earned a crust back in the day (he was an industrial controls guy and very good at it) so he had some very good suggestions.

So today I drove around town for a fitting. First stop: Graingers. They did some checking but couldn't help. Less than a mile away was Crescent. They checked, no fitting, and offered this suggestion:

“Ya take a short piece of rigid metallic tubing maybe a couple inches or so and thread yer half-inch conduit fitting into one end and yer 3/8 flex fitting into the other end. It'll be the same as what yer lookin' fer 'cept a little longer.”

My next stop was Van Meter. No fitting but he did offer a suggestion, “Take a short piece of rigid metallic tubing a few inches long and thread a half-inch conduit fitting….” Rather than cut him off I let him describe the same process I heard not more than ten minutes prior.

My final stop was Springfield. I showed my cell phone which had the picture from my blog article on it. He leaned forward, squinted at my phone, straightened up and said “No No no nope, don't have any of those and you probably won't find any in the Quad Cities.”


Kevin called me shortly after that. He was lookin' at a bunch of EBay vendors that had the fitting for sale at very good prices and that I could probably have a bunch of them in hand in a few days.

Now why didn't I think of that?

So tonight I'll order a baker's dozen of those bad boys and the next time I need such stuff my first step will be to call Kevin.

2023/01/23 19:20 · john · 0 Comments

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