Monday, October 14, 2013

summer holiday

So, (and not for the first time)

I reached a lull in posting, not that I was doing nothing, but I had nothing to write about.
I've been doing a few projects, but have yet to write them up.

I'm going to start writing again, but perhaps at a slower frequency.
I've tried posting once every few days, (years ago) and found that far too hard to keep up with.

I wish I'd done once a week, then I'd still have a ton of posts cued for release.

I tried once a week, but without some hardcore time spent writing and having a stack ready and scheduled for release I couldn't keep on top of writing here, making else where and a job and a family!

So now I think I'll just post as and when I need to. when I'm inspired to write a lesson, rather than looking for stuff to pad a blog, and posting when I have completed a project rather than trying to do smaller projects so that I can update more frequently.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

First accidental explosion

So Make asks what was your first accidental explosion...

For me it's something that I won't forget. not because it was especially dangerous. but because I was so young and so paniced.

To start with it might be a good idea to set the scene.

1, I have always been interested in hacking electronics, this started from the day I took an old record player out of a skip and salvaged the components out of it using a soldering iron borrowed from my grandad.
I'd borrow books from the library to learn how to put circuits together and how to build different things.

2, As a young boy I was always interested in pirates, as in the swashbuckling kind, I used to have a book about pirates, and frequently would play "make believe pirates" I suspect (thinking about the house I was living in at the time) that I was about 7.

Hence we come to my first accidental explosion...

So one day I'm playing pirates, and I'm make believing that I'm exploring some kind of cave searching for buried treasure, in order to explore said cave I need a candle.

So I go to my "parts box" and select a light bulb, some wire and a 9v box battery. I wrap some wire around the bulb and around the "turret" terminal of the box battery, then press the other terminal of the light bulb directly onto the battery, "et voila" I have a candle, and go back to exploring my imaginary cave.

My candle however is not very reliable, I try securing parts with tape etc, but for some reason the bulb keeps going out.

Then bang, the battery explodes.

(the battery has shorted on my cello taped bits of wire (that bridge the battery connections), the current flowing has heated the insides of the battery, caused the electrolyte to expand and eventually the seal has blown.)

This is where the panic set in, the battery has exploded in my hands, (exploded is not the right term, all that's really happened is the bottom of the battery has blown out) my left hand is now covered in electrolyte, except I'm seven and have no idea what electrolyte is, I've no idea how battery's work -just that they make my toys go, in fact the only thing that I know about battery is the words battery acid. So as far as seven year old me is concerned the electrolyte from the alkaline box battery is acid, and my hand will melt any time soon.

After I realised that my hand wasn't melting I did find that the acid was just a weird murky jelly, and the inside of batteries apparently contained black sticks (carbon rods)...

So that's my first accidental explosion.