Archive for the ‘Light’ Category

Winning at life — wrapping up the light project

The light install­a­tion is com­plete, I put it in last Sat­urday. That means I’m no longer a fail­ure at life, well not a com­plete fail­ure just a 50% fail­ure. And if there’s one thing I learnt from my Engin­eer­ing degree, 50% is a pass, think about that next time you put your life in an Engineer’s hands (fly­ing in a plane, driv­ing a car, walk­ing over a bridge or switch­ing on a power point).

The design worked a treat and the cli­ent was happy. I’m not sure what they were expect­ing but they seemed a little over­whelmed with a cus­tom solu­tion that per­fectly fixed all their prob­lems. It makes me won­der what they thought I was doing when I spent over an hour talk­ing to them about what the issues were and what they needed.

Even the install­a­tion went fant­ast­ic­ally even though there were a few little things I hadn’t fully thought and maybe a vital tool I for­got. For­tu­nately Keith agreed to come along and brought his ute full of tradie gear so I got away with it. With him tak­ing the lead on the install it even looked like a really nice pro­fes­sional job. I know I can do most of the things an exper­i­enced trades­man can do but it’s like the dif­fer­ence between me cook­ing out of a recipe book and a pro­fes­sional chef, both end products could be described as food but only one bears any resemb­lance to the picture.

There was a bit of ironic excite­ment, I was there installing a light designed to pre­vent the quad­ra­ple­gic cli­ent from burn­ing him­self. While at the same time he decided to burn a let­ter and man­aged to set his foot on fire, I heard him call­ing out and looked out the win­dow to see flames climb­ing up his leg. I man­aged to stop him burn­ing with only a little dam­age to myself, mainly due to the plastic fab­rics. Unfor­tu­nately he ended up with a huge blister cov­er­ing most of the top of the foot, at least he couldn’t feel it.

The only think I for­got to do was take some pic­tures. So this is another bor­ing lump of text, here, have a puppy.

Box of a puppies milk, complete with a picture of the puppy it was stolen from

Milk for sad­ists, stolen from 100% organic puppies

In praise of Bunnings

I wanted a three bulb halo­gen light fit­ting, prefer­ably run­ning at 12V. Bey­ond that cheaper was more import­ant that pretty and — because I wanted to play with the wir­ing — often bet­ter. I priced a few dif­fer­ent options:

  • $100 South­side Light­ing, Fyshwick
  • $90 Pro­ject Light­ing, Tug­ger­an­ong (With spe­cial TADACT discount)
  • $52.70 Bun­nings, Fysh­wick (240V)

It ended up being a bit of a no brainer. I under­stand it’s hard for a spe­cial­ist to com­pete with a massive chain like Bun­nings and I agree with sup­port­ing bet­ter ser­vice. Frankly though I would have got­ten bet­ter ser­vice from an illus­trated cata­log than I got from South­side Light­ing, maybe even some pretty mod­els too.

The dim­mers I used are designed for stand­ing lamps and came from South­side Light­ing. Mind you the product I was quoted wasn’t in stock, they did how­ever have an almost identical one that was $15 cheaper. Cata­log wins again… if I had known about the cheaper one I could have brought the quote down to $200.

To fin­ish this up and bring it back to Bun­nings. I also dis­covered this week­end that it’s 1/3rd of the price to buy a cheap exten­sion cable than to buy wire and a plug. I love mass production.

Wan­der­ing fur­ther off topic

I think we are going to see the end of most of these spe­cial­ist shops and I couldn’t be hap­pier. When a decent webpage can tell me everything I need to know with bet­ter ser­vice, they’re doing some­thing wrong. The costs are just far too high to jus­tify in the mod­ern age, these are large shops and Pro­ject Light­ing had four staff work­ing when I last went in, for two cus­tom­ers (includ­ing me).

How long until someone moves through and eats their 100% profit mar­gin with a local online ware­house. And why aren’t I doing it?

Maybe that could be October’s project.

Goal — Lighting for a quadraplegic man

My next pro­ject is a rel­at­ively simple light­ing install­a­tion for a dis­abled man.

For a while now I have been involved with TADACT (Tech­nical Aid for Dis­abled, Aus­tralian Cap­ital Ter­rit­ory). Dis­abled people don’t come off assembly lines and have unique vari­ances within their broad dis­ab­il­ity cat­egory. The stand­ard equip­ment is tar­geted at the most com­mon issues but this often isn’t quite what they need. TADACT is a group of volun­teers that modify or man­u­fac­ture spe­cialty equip­ment for dis­abled people where there isn’t an adequate com­mer­cial solution.

Late last year I vis­ited a quad­ri­ple­gic man and talked about installing a cus­tom light for him. Due to a vehicle acci­dent he has no con­trol below his chest and only crude move­ment of his arms and one thumb. He is also unable to exert any force with his arms.

He wanted a light he could con­trol from his bed. The bed­side lamps he was using were dif­fi­cult for him to con­trol due to the small switches. He didn’t like sleep­ing in the dark at night so it had dim while he slept but be bright enough to read by. He also moves his arms around at night and there’s a risk he could ser­i­ously burn him­self with the bed­side lamps, he had actu­ally burnt him­self just before I met him and received third degree burns again last week.

Tak­ing those require­ments (and a few more) I came up with a pro­posal. I would mount three halo­gen bulbs on the wall, one poin­ted at the bed and two at the roof with each set inde­pend­ently con­trol­lable. The wir­ing will be secured to the wall. There were two options pro­posed for the switch­ing, using two slid­ing foot dim­mers or jelly­bean switches and cus­tom con­trol cir­cuitry. The second option was con­sid­er­ably more expens­ive, the jelly­bean switches are spe­cially designed for dis­abled pur­poses and cost over $100 for a switch with almost the same func­tion­al­ity as a $2 switch at Jay­car. The almost is of course the slight modi­fic­a­tions that make them bet­ter for dis­abled people.

Ini­tially they decided that even the cheap option was too expens­ive. Yes­ter­day TADACT con­tac­ted me and said a local char­ity had provided fund­ing for the foot switch option. So this month’s pro­ject is to com­plete this for TADACT. The aim is to install it by the week­end of the first or second of May, prefer­ably the week­end before.

This prob­ably won’t take all of my time so I’ll use the rest to clean up some other stuff I should have done a while ago, might even do last year’s tax return…

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