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Great projects designed using Southern Enginering

Don't forget - Statically, before a guy dies in the south, the last four words usually heard is:

Duel Shower Heads

I knocked out 3.5 inches of wall board all the way around the shower, cut into the pipe leading to the showerhead, spliced in a 3 way adapter, and welded piping around the wall to the other side, and installed a 2nd showerhead on the other side! Then I filled in the hole by placing decorator tiles around the top, making a rather nice trim. The duel water shower is real nice (you can rinse your hair and rinse your ass at the same time), and of course, makes it easy for Lynda and I to run in from the hottub, and both get warm water, without someone (usually Lynda) waiting for the other (usually me) to get warm first. This will be a very welcome addition come winter.

Spa Filters

The "normal" hot tub filters I am supposed to use cost $39. They are identical to the $4 filters, except they have a moulded screw in mount. Here, I used about $3 worth of PCV pipe and fittings to achieve the same result. As you can see, I cut though the pipe to allow the water to flow.

Ink Cartridge Rifilling

I am a great believer in ink cartridge refilling, and have tried numerous experminents to achive better results. I once had a dream of swawing off the top of the printer and cartridge and adding a Ink "I.V." to the unit. This resulted in multi colored walls.

Don't try this!!!
I will discuss a better solution below.

Newsflash: May 23, 2003 - I would like to say my idea has been vendicated (and stolen)! There is a company selling a similar setup for over 500 dollars at a company called DotInkJet. Here is a pic of the 500 dollar retail setup:

Newsflash: July 17, 2016 - These setups are now very cheap on eay.

The better way:

First, get the proper ink in bulk from a reputable dealer.

Not that buying refilled (or remanufactured cartridges) that have the print head built into the cartridge may not be a great idea, because you may have a very limited number of refills that can be done on these cartridges. The remanufactured cartridges that have the print heads in the cartridge are simply cleaned and refilled. No electronics are replaced.

Next, get a new ink cartridge, and print a test page so you have something to compare against. On your test page, use large patterns of the following pure colors: Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Red, Green, Blue, and Black. The catridge containts the colors Cyan, Magenta, and Yellow, and creates the other colors by mixing Cyan, Magenta, and Yellow. It turns out that the best method for Lexmark color Z11 and Z22 cartridges (so far) is take a new ink cartridge and seperate the top of the cartridge by applying finger nail polish remover to the edges of the top cover, waiting a few minutes, then pull. You then want to bust out the clear plastic window using a screwdriver. From there, using a pair of needle nose pliers, carefully start pulling the foam out of the chambers (one by one) and when you see ink, cut off the excess foam, then stuff the foam back down in the chamber. You will now be able to see the proper ink level for a full cartridge by looking into the chamber, and no longer have to guess how much ink to add! This avoids the problem of letting the ink run dry (that will burn up your print head), and also avoids the problem of overfilling (that will cause the ink wells to flood). Simply tape the top of the cartridge back on, and every so often, take it off and squit some ink in the chambers, filling until the top of the sponge is saturated. You will now have the proper amount of ink in each chamber. You can do this operation while the cartridge is still in the printer! If the cartridge ever cloggs, take it out and set in in very hot running water untill you see ink flowing into the water, and perhaps gently push on the sponges using a popcicle stick (or simply put your mouth over the top of the cartridge and blow like hell). If the ink cartridge ever starts spewing ink, do the oppoiste, by putting your mouth over the top of the cartridge and suck gently (avoid drinking the ink unless you have added ample measures of tequela. You can also just run the thing under hot water till the excess ink gets diluted. Dry off the cartridge, and carefully press the bottom against a folded paper towel untill you see three color ink spots. I then print two or three test pages. The first two pages may not print correctly, but in the end, you should get a test page that looks exactly like the original. Finally, if the cartridge gives out after a few refills, dont give up! Pull the sponges out, rinse them really well, then squeeze the excess water out and allow to dry. While you wait for the sponges to dry, give the ink cartridge a good cleaning in very hot waterby allowing water to flow through from the chambers until the water is clear, dry off, then reassemble and ink that puppy up!

The Test Page

Pulling out the foam

The finished product

Video Conferencing from a Laptop

Kensington makes a great flexable "Fly Light" that attaches to the USB port of a Laptop, and provides light so you can use your computer in low light conditions. Mate it with one of those cheap USB video cameras using plastic ties, and you get a great little unit that can support the camera and provide enough light to video conference from just about anywhere. It also looks cool (kinda like the alians from George Orwell's "War of the Worlds".

Keeping you water heater in tip top condition!

If you are like me (lazy), you probably do not drain the crud from the bottom of your water heater. Sure, its a chore to hook up a garden hose every month to the little plastic hose bib on the drain outlet to get the job done, and if you do it often, you will eventually strip the theads of the hose bib. A better solution is to attach some PCV pipe to the hose bib, and cut the other end into the drain pipe comming out of the saftey valve! Its cheap, its easy, and takes only a few minutes. Once it is done, all you have to do is turn the knob on for a minute, then turn it off, and all that goop at the bottom of your water heater will shoot out the side of the house! Don't forget to excercise the safety release on occasion. We found out the hard way just how much goop can settle at the bottom of your water heater (robbing you of hot water and shorting the life of the heater - not to mention the awfull stuff gets mixed in with your water - clogging filters and so forth). We once attached a hose to the drain outlet in hopes of filling the hot tub with hot water, and all we got was a bunch of slime. You may notice that we cut in an additional garden hose outlet at the top of the hotwater heater on the hot water side, so now we can have hot water form a garden hose on demand (also an easy project)! Finally, if you notice the bottom of a couple of rockets attached to the top of the water heater, they are intended to alert the neighbors should the heater ever blow while we are away.

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