Monday, December 30, 2013

Project Birdbath Heater - Update

I've survived the Holiday's so far so it's time for a progress update.

I've encountered a few additional problems, ones I anticipated might happen, but hoped would not:
  • Frozen bearing mount - I noticed that my windmill blades did not seem to turn very often, at first I didn't think much about it (wind was pretty minimal) but I finally got curious ad checked.  I found that the bearing that allowed the windmill to rotate into the wind was frozen.
  • Vane on back of windmill - vibration due to wind seems to have worked nuts loose, found vane on the ground under the windmill.
  • Fixing and securing bearing mount (adding set screws) caused the wood to split.
Solution to cracked mount - due to trying to secure bearing with set screws - Zip Ties (they've held up for a week now)

Rudder fell off - screws came loose due to vibration - Zip Ties to the rescue again (still holding up)

New heating element tested (v2a) - using 40 AWG Nichrome wire (18.2cm long)

Cut from steel enclosure from dead Nintendo play station power supply

Before folding closed and sealing with epoxy

The v2a element still did not work successfully. Never really got warm enough to melt the ice.

Newer element, v2b, using 40 AWG nichrome wire wrapped around heat resistant wire insulation harvested from hair curler (or hair dyer - I'm not really sure).  18.2cm of wire wrapped around insulated tubing, then coated with RTV (room temperature vulcanizing) silicone, allowed to dry, inserted into aluminum tubing and sealed with more silicone. This element uses the same length and gauge of wire as v2a but is much more compact (concentrating the heat).  Currently waiting for the silicone to dry and will hopefully test in the morning.