Tuesday, November 22, 2011

DIY: Sensor floodlights installation

So this is something I was going to do as soon as we moved in (over a year ago!) but of course I kept forgetting to do it, and only happened to remember while at our local hardware store. We had a standard bayonet mount light fitting outside our front door, and I'd always forget to turn on this light when expecting visitors.

So this is what you call a standard builder's light fitting, the most basic thing imaginable that does the job. The good news is, with this light fitting (also called a batten mount) there are many direct DIY replacements available that you don't need an electrician for. This takes maybe 10-15 minutes to do and is very simple.

I chose this twin floodlight sensor DIY fitting - you can also get oysters with sensors, but I wanted a lot of light in the front. About $30 for the sensor unit and $7 for a twin pack of floodlights. They're pretty high powered at 150W each, but this light will only be on when someone triggers it at night, so I'm not too concerned about their power consumption.

So the next thing you need to do is get up on your ladder and remove the light globe, the threaded screw collar, and the plastic dome thing around the bayonet mount until it looks like this. You probably want to make sure the light is off too.

Open up your DIY sensor light. Make sure you've got the DIY version - there's also a non DIY version in case you have no bayonet mount - for that one you'll need an electrician to legally install it. I've removed the centre cap on the light - you can see a little plug right in the middle - this screws into where your original lightbulb was.

Place the unit over the original bayonet mount, rotate it so the sensor is facing the direction you want, then replace the original screw collar to hold the sensor unit in. If you want, you can also add 3 screws around the outside of the unit to stop it moving, but I've put a few of these in other houses and they stay pretty firm without additional screws.

Screw in your floodlights, adjust the angles of the lights and sensor and make them firm using the wingnuts provided.

Finally, test to make sure your lights work!

I only want these on when someone walks into the sensor range at night, so I'll wait until tonight to make the final adjustments. There are two adjustments you can make - sensitivity of the sensor, and duration of light, just turn a couple of dials on the back of the sensor. The beauty of it is, you can leave the light switch inside turned "on" all the time, but these floodlights will only come on when someone triggers them.

The next lighting-related project is to replace more of the internal plain bayonet lights with nicer ones - we've got a fancy light for the entrance that we'll need an electrician to install, but there were quite a few nice DIY fittings that I might get, once they're Tina-approved! Any electricians reading this in Melbourne and want to help us install some lights in return for some blatant promotion on our blog? Contact us! :)


Saturday, November 19, 2011

DIY: Fence painting

So, this isn't the hardest task of all, just a bit time consuming. Did this job around Halloween as there were lots of very scary little monsters wandering our street consuming chocolate. We love the look of timber paling fences, just not the colour that was there. You can paint fences the usual way with a brush and lots of swearing, or by using a sprayer. Dulux make a sprayer system which is actually reasonably priced, about $50 for the spray unit (no electricity or anything required) but you have to use their paint formulation, and there just wasn't a colour we liked, and the paint for the sprayer does cost more than plain standard fence paint.

So we ended up with the ol' paint in a bucket, colour is a dark grey, Iron-something, to go with our whole "shades of grey" colour scheme. The wooden rod is a leftover hardwood stake which I used to stir the paint.

So before painting, make sure the fence isn't wet, give it a clean to remove bits of dirt, spiders and other junk (I used a big broom) and cover up any landscaping you don't want splattered with paint. In hindsight, should've painted the fence first before doing anything else!

 Ended up using old newspaper to cover up the little solar lights I'd stuck along the side. I love these solar lights - no direct power required, you don't have to remember to turn them on or off, and they give a really nice little glow to the garden at night.

And all done. There's still a bit of fence tucked to the side of garage I'll get around to painting one day.

Could probably do with a second coat too, but from a distance it looks fine! Much more modern than before and works with our overall colour scheme. This section of fence, about 9m long and tapering at the front, took just over an hour to do. Got plenty more fence on the sides and back to get around to, but the front is starting to look acceptable.

Just got a call from Metricon customer service too (on a Saturday morning no less), asking whether the service manager had got in touch with me, so things have been followed up satisfactorily there - although we've decided to not get any further "servicing" done on the last outstanding item!


Saturday, November 12, 2011

For sale: "Special" Nintendo Wii!

So being a big boy now,, I tend to buy too many toys. One of them is for sale - Nintendo Wii. Suitable for much younger kids than myself!

Anyway, this one is special. I bought it brand new for the express purpose of modifying it for homebrew and ISOs - what does that mean? Well, if any of you have kids with a Nintendo DS, you might have heard of the R4 card. A Wii that can run homebrew is kind of similar, where you can run your "backed up" games from an external hard drive. All the hard technical stuff is done - just plug this wii in, and the homebrew channel and ISO loader is all ready to go! I've basically taken it out of the box, run it for 3 hours to modify it, then never touched it again.

The package comes with the full retail box, wii, power supply, one controller and nunchuk, sports resort original game, sensor bar etc. Asking $150 + $10 postage anywhere in Australia (if you're in Melbourne, we can meet in Niddrie for a pickup). Comment below if you're interested - best xmas present ever!

And on another note, I did get a callback from the 90 day service manager about our door issue. It turns out that the only option to fix our issue is to rip out half the master bedroom and reconstruct it. I'm of the opinion this might fix one issue but cause a dozen more, so unhappily we might just have to live with our defective doorframe :(


Thursday, November 3, 2011

DIY: Landscaping continues

So last weekend, decided to push on to get more of the front landscaping done. With the hard work of carting many wheelbarrows of aggregate around the house completed, we got 6 cubic metres of black wood mulch delivered.

We chose black wood mulch primarily for its appearance - if you've got garden beds or trees you want to mulch, black wood mulch is probably not what you want!

Anyway, with a bit of help from Tina and my parents, we got the mulch roughly spread out across the front in about an hour. It'll help keep down weeds when it's laid out a few inches thick, and gives a pretty modern, sleek look to the front.

Have done a little tidying up in the front since then, but it's come a long way from the builder's rubble that was there before!

And speaking of builders, there's still one sticking point left. Just like Megan & Stefan, and I guess pretty much anyone who's ever built a project home, Metricon haven't got back to me yet on our bowed ensuite door - noted at handover and 90 day inspection, all the way back at the start of 2011. I sent a very polite letter into the service department about a month ago, and that was met by deafening silence. Wonder if if anyone reading this blog works for Metricon and wants to look up my case and get back to me?

Coming soon (probably not)... planning to build a deck!



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