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Gadget Freak
Gadget Freak Case #197: Controlling Solar Water Flow
10/25/2011

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Rob Spiegel
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Re: Similar article from PE 1976
Rob Spiegel   5/15/2012 3:03:56 PM
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Hi Jerald,

If you revamp and update this device, you could submit it to the Design Gadget Freak column. We pay $500 for complete Gadget Freak entries. If you're interested, send me a note at rob.spiegel@ubm.com and I'll send along the details.

78RPM
User Rank
Gold
Similar article from PE 1976
78RPM   5/14/2012 5:07:38 PM
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I wrote an article for Popular Electronics magazine in 1976 for a similar circuit. You can see the aritcle complete with circuit diagrams here:

http://www.epanorama.net/sff/Power%20Electronics/Motor_Control/Solar%20Controller%20-%20Attic%20Fan%20Controller.pdf

Nowadays, I would update the power supply with a voltage regulator IC and update the op amp, but I think you'll like the simplicity. Hint: two precision thermistors, a 25-turn pot and a voltage comparator op amp.

Jerald M. Cogswell

Rob Spiegel
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Gadget Freak projects
Rob Spiegel   11/21/2011 3:44:50 PM
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Hi George.

Nope, don't have to figure it out. It will say Gadget Freak Jr. in the headline.

George Kaye
User Rank
Silver
Re: Gadget Freak projects
George Kaye   11/21/2011 3:40:47 PM
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Rob,

Are the articles identified as Jr and Sr or is it a Jr if it looks like a casual report? In other words, do I have to figure it out?

Thanks,

George

Rob Spiegel
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Gadget Freak projects
Rob Spiegel   11/21/2011 2:59:24 PM
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Hi, George,

 

The regular Gadget Freak is the presentation of a gadget that has been submitted to us. It includes a video, photos, a schematic, building instructions and a BOM.

The Gadget Freak Jr.s is when we find a gadget presentation online and we send along the presentation and links. It's more like reporting on gadgets out in the world.

Hope that helps.

George Kaye
User Rank
Silver
Re: Gadget Freak projects
George Kaye   11/21/2011 2:52:58 PM
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Rob, Thanks for the reply. I didn't know there was a GF and GF Jr.

How do I tell the difference between GF and GF Jr?

I think I would find GF Jr frustrating without valid info and links, But thanks for the heads up.

Rob Spiegel
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Gadget Freak projects
Rob Spiegel   11/21/2011 2:21:31 PM
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Points well taken, George. I tried the link above the video for the build instructions and it's working. The build instructions also include the schematic.

If the link still doesn't work when you clink on it, you might try another browser.

We include build instructions, a schematic, photos, a BOM, and a video with every Gadget Freak. Those are the minimum requirements. 

Gadget Freak Jr. is different in that it's more of a reported story rather than a full Gadget Freak.

Technophile
User Rank
Bronze
Re: Safety issue, details on woodstove heat exchanger?
Technophile   10/27/2011 4:29:53 AM
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Excellent article at www.woodheat.org/heating-water-with-a-wood-stove.html

 

George Kaye
User Rank
Silver
Gadget Freak projects
George Kaye   10/27/2011 2:20:00 AM
I grew up on Popular Electronics. Every project was very well documented with schematics and wiring diagrams and parts lists. I seem to see too many of these GF articles not even up to the standards of PE in the good old days - 50's and 60's.

This column needs to be presented with better editing. I agree that many of these GF cases are incomplete and have indecipherable or incorrect schematics and incomplete parts lists like this one and dead end links. Even Design News has had too many errors lately.

I know the audience is full of engineers but who needs to have work so hard to read the article? When these projects are presented with a half baked presentation it is disrespectful to the author and to the readers. And a pain in the @ss to read. It takes the fun out of it.

So PLEASE put a little time into editing and put everything, photos, schematics, BOM's etc into the article on the same page or have links that work.

 

William K.
User Rank
Platinum
Gadget freak: controlling solar water flow
William K.   10/26/2011 9:17:53 PM
I found that a far simpler means of solar water heating was to submerge a black plastic sheet in the pool when it was not in use. The sheet did ned to be well below the surface, so as to heat a larger volume of water, it could even be on the bottom, out of the way. It was not hard to remove for serious pool use, and it consumed no energy, and it was very cheap.

Most gadget freak write-ups, it appears to me, are incomplete in one way or another. The result is that the missing order number for the dual temperature controller is to be expected. Just attempt to find a circuit, or some other critical build information. Usually some vital information is missing. That is what to expect.

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