Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Pootle's back!


With a spare radio receiver in my hand, I thought I might as well put it into my very first boat kit - Pootle. 

This George Turner kit was cheap, but also where I learned that bigger boats designed for radio control were easier to build than tiny ones that weren't. Eventually I managed to work something out and even wrote the results up for Model Boats magazine. 

Swapping the receiver was easy, and again, I replaced a couple of 2XAA packs with a flat 4XAAA version, and a bit of lead to restore the waterline. All the stuff you see above is hidden by an interior that slides in over it. 

On the water, sailing lasted about 3 minutes. The the boat wouldn't respond. Back on the bench, one of the batteries was weak, presumably dropping the voltage too low for the receiver. It might also be that RadioLink receivers don't like bots powered by a gutted servo. More work required.

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Clyde Puffer back on the water

Deans Marine radio controlled 1:72 Clyde Puffer

A whopping 5560 posts ago, this 1:72 scale Clyde Puffer was the first proper post on this blog. 15 years later, it's back, because I need to bring the radio control gear up to date for some filming. 

The model is a Deans Marine kit built a very long time ago, and now a shelf queen in its display case. For various reasons, I wanted to be able to show that it worked, which meant either finding a working 26mHz transmitter, or replacing the reciever with something more modern. 

In theory, this is easy. But since it was the afternoon after yesterday's hose reel debacle, it wasn't. 

What I had forgotten, was that binding a RadioLink TX/RX is different from the same job with a Planet set. On the Planet, you switch the boat on, press the bind button and then switch on the transmitter. 

RadioLink, it's transmitter on, boat on, press bind button. 

But if you get this wrong, 'cos you are doing the same as the Planet, it still binds, or at least appears too. But the RX just ignores controls from the TX. This is immensely annoying.

Once I had read the instructions, suddenly all was well. At the same time I swapped the 4XAA battery box for a 4XAAA flat version, aiming to lower the centre of gravity. There was also a bit of rigging repair required, the elastic thread having become brittle.

On the water, the boat lists like a yacht every time it turns and so the sail wasn't relaxing, or very long. Fortunately, I didn't need it in the water for my filming. 

For the moment, the RX has been removed again and the boat reverts to Shelf Queen duties. Maybe one day I'll fiddle with the ballast a bit more, but it's not like I'm short of boats!

Monday, July 26, 2021

Hozelock reel frustration and resolution


This is a Hozelock retracting reel. It's a nice, neat way to have a hosepipe, and gave me a whole heap of pain on a very hot Saturday, trying to fit to the wall. Definitely one of those jobs that looks simple and descends into a nightmare. 

In theory, all you do is drill four holes, pop the rawplugs in, screw the support to the wall and it's job done. 

Of course, you have to get all the holes in the right place, and that's tricky as the plastic bracket gets in the way of marking things. 

The solution - make a cardboard jig. 

Ideally, do this before drilling a series of wrong holes and using up all the plugs supplied. 

This reel is heavy. 17kg as supplied, but it will get heavier when full of water and then even worse - it's the ideal perch for next-doors cat, and he's not small. 

So, you need really strong plugs. The ones in the kit have little barbs. 

None of the plugs in our garage had these, so when we hung the support on the wall and fitted the reel, they started to pull out again. I'd put all the supplied ones in the wall, so couldn't take one to the local DIY shed to try to find a replacement. I went anyway, and nothing they had in the very limited stock, was any better. 

Fortunately, Hozelock sell spare packs, and I don't care they are six quid for four screws and four plugs, I bought two. Delivery was quick, and the reel was soon fitted to the wall. So far, it hasn't fallen off, although one of the very long screws supplied has bottomed out in the hole, but it's at the bottom so doesn't seem to be effecting things at the moment. 

Fingers crossed, and let's hope the cat doesn't put on any weight...

Sunday, July 25, 2021

Manx night time

Douglas station at night

 It's three years since I was last on the Isle of Man, so here's a random photo from the last day there.

Saturday, July 24, 2021

Saturday Film Club: Holiday 1961

This week, a plea from the producers of Look at Life for holiday weeks to be staggered to spread the season out a bit. 

Plenty of lovely footage of the British on holiday - I'm amazed at the number of heavy coats being worn in the summer heat. I know climate change has made a difference, but is it really that much hotter today?