Daily Archives: July 20, 2018

My First Invention . . .

I think I’ve been ’inventing’ things my entire life, or at least as far back as I can remember.

The first real ‘viable’ invention was when I was about 6 (1954ish) and we were living in Gulf Shores, AL where my parents had a motel on the beach.

White's By The Sea Sign

We had just gotten a TV, because there was finally something to watch. Or at least more than one station on the air. WALA, channel 10 in Mobile, AL, WKRG channel 5, also in Mobile, and WEAR channel 3 in Pensacola, FL. (For some reason, I remember those call signs and channels. But I can’t remember where I left my glasses.)

But besides the fact that the stations were about 50 miles away, the Mobile and Pensacola stations were in opposite directions from us. So the 50 foot tall antenna had to be turned to point toward Mobile or Pensacola, depending on what we were watching. And guess who got to go outside and turn the antenna pole.

So I decided to try using my Erector Set motor, one just like this one,

Erector Set Motor

to make the antenna turn. Of course, even with the different  gears, it didn’t have the power to make it rotate. So I kept adding gears, including some from a couple of bikes I had around. eventually ending up with a bike chain driving it.

And it worked.

But there was a small problem. The motor was geared down so much that it only took about 90 minutes to make the 180 degree turn.

So after this, I’ve always thought that I invented the antenna rotor. After all, I had never heard of one before, and mine worked fine. I just needed a bigger motor

Of course I guess I’m still inventing things, like my remote-control waste tank dump system. I put it aside when we left on our trip, and I probably won’t get back to it until we’re finished with selling the house.

Our RV Advenutes LOGO 4

Readers might remember back in March when I replaced the battery in my 6 year old malfunctioning Garmin Nuvi 1490 LMT GPS. And for $15 my GPS was good to go again.

For about 4 months.

Then it started almost-constantly shutting down and then turning back on, all by itself. Googling said it might be a problem with a bad update downloaded from Garmin. But I hadn’t updated the unit during the time frame when it started acting up. I figured it could be a problem with the 12volt power cord, but shaking it or wiggling it didn’t seem to make any difference.

But before I replace the unit, (I already have one picked out) I decided to risk $6.89 to get a new cord from eBay to be sure it’s not something internal with the circuitry inside the plug.

Luckily I’ll be able to move all my stored locations for the old one to the new one if I replace it. I would hate to lose all 6 years worth of data.

We’ve got a buyer coming tomorrow afternoon to look at the house and make us an offer. So we’ll see how it goes.

Thought for the Day:

Women and cats will do as they please. Men and dogs should just relax and get used to the idea. – Robert A. Heinlein


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