Saturday, September 15, 2007

Baby Arissa's Birthday

Last Saturday was Arissa's birthday. Arissa is my niece, Kak Lanie's third child. Kak Lanie arranged the party to be in McDonalds, with a small band of family members. MyDonalds was great, the kids liked it, there is a place for the kids to run around and play and the food is likable by kids, and adults alike. But it was so crowded. It was so crowded that even the air-conditioning in the small building cannot cope with it. It was so crowded that it was hard to even listen to yourself mumbling in your head. It was so crowded that we had to queue for like an hour to get our food. But nontheless, it was a good birthday. Arissa was a bit moody that day, but she was definitely happy to see her amazing looking cake. A princess looking cake. As you can see, Arissa (the little girl in the green dress) was mesmerized to see the pink princess looking cake. Kids these days are so pampered.

But along the way, Arissa little baby sister, Arianna (the little girl in the white dress with small pink flowers) was also enjoying the cake. She too tried to blow the candles on the princess. We all had a fun day celebrating Arissa's birthday, even though it was really crowded and hot.
The whole event was much fun. Of course it was a headache for Kak Lanie. But I'm sure it brings her joy seeing her daughters grow up and it was a well worth headache.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Fan Powered BBQ from recycling PC

About 2 weeks ago, a group of us decided to have a BBQ at a river near Ulu Yam. Naturally, the thought of eating BBQ food is nice, but the work involved setting up the fire for the BBQ would be cumbersome. There was a few problems with the BBQ plan, first we didn't have a BBQ set, and second, we are lazy.

So our first resolve was to find a BBQ set. We can obviously buy one, but that's just wasteful. Apek suggested that we use some of the old PC thrown out. These PC's were there for like more than 3 years now and are accumulating dust, rusting away or have turned into breeding grounds for mosquitoes.

After salvaging one with the least rust, we figured we can modify it to make it into a BBQ set. Hence we have solved our first problem of not having a BBQ set.

Going through the rumble of old computers, we noticed that some of the PCs were still equipped with PC fans. They were rusty, but some of them seems to be working. We thought, wouldn't it be cool if we can use these fans to provide a steady ventilation system for our BBQ set, and totally eliminating one hard work of using our hands wavering a fan up and down to light up the charcoal. These would solve problem no. 2 of being lazy.

So the rest was just tool shop class work and some artistry. Using some card board paper from old PC boxes, we created the shaft for the fans. In the future, I would probably go with something better than the card board paper, something that wouldn't catch on fire that easily. But thats all we had at that time.

We made sure all of the fans had their own shafts for air flow to blow into the PC frame, we didn't want the air flow to be blowing out from the PC frame because the heat might melt the fans.

The 3 fans mounted to our BBQ set obviously needed a power source. We found out that the fans uses 12 volts to spin at a considerable speed. This is a lot of power and we decided that an acid battery from a motorcycle would do. So we got a battery to power the fans, wired it up all together in parallel and tried to power up the fans.

Finally, it was time to test our invention. After putting a wire grill on top of the PC, we lighted some charcoal with paper underneath it and powered our fan. The air flow into the PC made sure the fire was burning rapidly to a certain level quickly. Within minutes we had a steady flame and we were ready to start cooking.

It was perfect. However, word of caution, if you intend to use card board boxes as the shaft for your fans, it might go on fire. Towards the end of the BBQ, the shaft indeed got on fire. But we were all done by then with cooking and eating. The Engineers involved in the prototype development were Ajiz, Makrie, Firdaus aka Apex and Myself. So don't you throw away your old useless PCs. Turned it into something useful.