Your best Homemade Invention/Idea

Submitted: Thursday, Apr 29, 2010 at 01:16
ThreadID: 78067 Views:5795 Replies:14 FollowUps:18
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It seems there are some real clever buggers around here, and alot of people who make gear up to suit there purposes.


Let us know what your best idea has been, and how you came about it. drop a pic even if possible. It seems that its sometimes better to make it yourself as you need to think outside the box for customemade gadgets.

My only accessory would be a portable battery box to run my lights and chargers when camping. made with a 18a/hr batter, some mdf and couple of 12v plugs and a switch. Gave it a paint and its been out in the rain no worries with swelling or anything. Very strong and cheaper then anything that was available. Plus i can even jump start with it, did so the other day. Even use it to play the DVD player and provide lighting for the little fella when the power goes off.

Oh and also made up a box for my hotplate to go in too, so its not sliding around the back of the car, spreading grease and ash everywhere.

What devices have you created?
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Reply By: Sand Man (SA) - Thursday, Apr 29, 2010 at 07:18

Thursday, Apr 29, 2010 at 07:18
I must be getting getting lazy, or simply don't have enough leisure hours to make everything myself.

The only time I make something is when it's not commercially available already.

My favourite home made piece of equipment was the air hose I made up to connect to the spare tyre to provide pressure to operate the Tanami Pump when transferring fuel. Now even that is redundant with the current rig as I don't have a rear mounted spare.
So, I bought a small pistol grip air compressor to do the job. Kind of looks like a 12 volt drill but it does the job extremely well and safe enough to use on diesel I believe.

So even when buying commercially available products, one can still "think outside the square".

Come to think of it, I am lazy as this solution is so I don't have to get Big Red out of the cargo drawers:-)


Bill.
Bill


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Follow Up By: Dion - Thursday, Apr 29, 2010 at 07:45

Thursday, Apr 29, 2010 at 07:45
Bill,
can you tell us more about this small pistol grip air compressor?

Cheers,
Dion.
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Follow Up By: Sand Man (SA) - Thursday, Apr 29, 2010 at 18:44

Thursday, Apr 29, 2010 at 18:44
Sure Dion.

It's called a 12 volt Cordless Inflator.
I bought mine from a Tool Supplier when they had a 50% off special. It was advertised in a sale catalogue.

Here is reference to the same product but the real colour is yellow.

Scorpion Cordless Inflator


Bill.

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Reply By: Robin Miller - Thursday, Apr 29, 2010 at 08:00

Thursday, Apr 29, 2010 at 08:00
Working for ever in R & D we have made lots of inventions and this has flowed over to playing with things for the car like $2 shovel holder and , electronic manual override for the car and improvements to 12v stoves which have been subject of posts on this site , but this year it has been a fuel guage which takes the signal from the normal tanks sender and converts it to litres left in the tank whilst at the same time improving the accuracy by linearizing the readout caused by odd shapes in the tank, this then allows the gauge to read out a truer " Km's left before running out of fue"l under various 4wd conditions - now if only I could come up with a better spell check system !
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Follow Up By: Member - Darryl P (SA) - Thursday, Apr 29, 2010 at 08:09

Thursday, Apr 29, 2010 at 08:09
where do you get it
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Follow Up By: Battery Value Pty Ltd - Thursday, Apr 29, 2010 at 11:27

Thursday, Apr 29, 2010 at 11:27
Hello Robin,

2Ah for starting is still a conservative figure:

250A*5s/3600s=0.35Ah

if you allow for 5 seconds of cranking ;)

I remember manually cranking an old Land Rover Series 3 'Santana' with a 2.25 Litre diesel - didn't take that much effort (was a bit younger then too).

BTW, definitely like your creative mind!
Don't worry about spell checking, you've got a fully error redundant spelling system in your own head ;)

Best regards, Peter
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Follow Up By: Member - joc45 (WA) - Thursday, Apr 29, 2010 at 11:29

Thursday, Apr 29, 2010 at 11:29
Hi Robin,
The tank idea is great. A friend did similar for his Hyundai wagon, with a nice digital readout. In calibrating it, his poor wife had to put in 1/2 litre at a time into the tank while he recorded the resistance values of the sender from empty to full, then programmed the values into a lookup table.
Have you posted the project, or is it company-confidential? :-)

cheers,
Gerry
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Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Thursday, Apr 29, 2010 at 13:21

Thursday, Apr 29, 2010 at 13:21
Ha Ha Guys

That was the hardest part - searching for a wife like Gerrys friend, to pour in the petrol from a jug as I had to do the difficult part of recording the voltage at each point.

Its not a company thing so you can't buy it anywhere and unless you were a bit into playing with electrical stuff it probably isn't worth messing around with.

Always surprized me there is no commercial or even electronic hobbyist project like it.

If there was interest I could do a post about it as it is achieveable because rather than do my own design of the processer board I used modules from the Picaxe family which is a school hobbiest line of product designed to give a low entry threshold into this stuff.

What it basically entails is reading the voltage from your fuel gauge for every couple of liters and plotting a curve of your fuel tank.

A small Picaxe mirco reads the voltage and simple software inside the Picaxe converts this into a number and sends this to an LCD display (another Picaxe device).

Their are a number of real world issues solved by the software e.g. averaging the massive readings swings offsetting for loaded/unloaded vehicle and user inputs for expected fuel consumption in different type of terrain.

For instance in sand I use 22lt/100km, on the road 15lt, the gauge knows I have 100lt left and tells me I have 454 km or 666 on bitumen range.
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Reply By: Member - Mfewster(SA) - Thursday, Apr 29, 2010 at 08:12

Thursday, Apr 29, 2010 at 08:12
My best ever has been one of the simplest. Nothing to do with 4wd however. Do you know that modern toilet cisterns need mains pressure? If you install a water tank you either need 30feet of head or an electric pump, which I think sort of negates the point of putting in a tank. I built a device that enables me to switch between mains water and a tank, which means I can use the original cistern/valve mechanism. The base of the tank is only just higher than the cistern (on the outside wall of course)
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Reply By: Ray - Thursday, Apr 29, 2010 at 08:30

Thursday, Apr 29, 2010 at 08:30
A lot cheaper than those commercial thumpers
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Follow Up By: Maîneÿ . . .- Thursday, Apr 29, 2010 at 10:06

Thursday, Apr 29, 2010 at 10:06
Think he meant an 18ah battery :)

Wonder if my 10ah battery will jump start ?

Maîneÿ . . .
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Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Thursday, Apr 29, 2010 at 10:28

Thursday, Apr 29, 2010 at 10:28
Not really but sort of Mainey.

An 18AH lead acid battery or smaller has to much resistance to start cars but what happens is that if you connect it across your flat battery for a minute or so it puts some of its charge into the cars battery and the refreshed battery starts the car.

A modern EFI petrol can consume less than 2ah starting a car.

Have once demonstrated starting the car with a pack of AA batteries in a holder but these days carry a small 2AH Lithium battery and a solar panel for this purpose instead.
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Follow Up By: Muntoo - Friday, Apr 30, 2010 at 12:59

Friday, Apr 30, 2010 at 12:59
Thats weird becuase this battery was dead flat, and i hooked little battery up to flat battery, walked around car, opened door and started it. I dont think it would of had time to equalise would it?

I would like to know how you do the AA trick though. I suppose you just link them together to make 12v or something?
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Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Friday, Apr 30, 2010 at 13:13

Friday, Apr 30, 2010 at 13:13
Hi Muntoo

It could well have (must have) got enough to charge in that short time , the 18ah battery would of course be assiting and could supply maybe 100 of the 300 or so amps needed.

With the AA alkalines I always carry 10 spare and carry them in a plastic battery holder from dick smith designed to deliver 12v from nicad batteries (i.e. holds 10 not normal 8 )- this means that the 10 batteries are series connected in the holder and hence put out 10 * 1.5 or 15v and which hence transfers current to the main battery much faster.
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Follow Up By: Muntoo - Friday, Apr 30, 2010 at 18:35

Friday, Apr 30, 2010 at 18:35
Awesome, thanks for that Robin. Never knew that.
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Reply By: Member - John and Val - Thursday, Apr 29, 2010 at 10:48

Thursday, Apr 29, 2010 at 10:48
Where to start!!! One of the things that has given us a lot of fun over the years is constantly thinking of ways to improve our Troopy's camping comfort and functionality. We are actually writing some blogs that cover this topic so watch this space. But here are a couple of starters -

"Overhead lockers" along the roof over the bed that are made from shock cord and shadecloth. Very useful for putting lots of small things in, books, watches, specs etc at night.

Speakers with inbuilt bed lights photo is here in our Profile. Not shown in the photo are the curtains that hook into place for privacy and warmth.

There are a couple of other photos in our profile showing some of the other things that we have done - drawers system, tent that goes onto the back of the vehicle etc.

Our camping lights are based on one that we bought at the Bellingen markets years ago - 12v/20W dichroic halogen lamp in a metal frame that we mounted on a wooden base with a strong magnet in it. Gives a bright white light and is very robust.

Cheers,
J and V
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Follow Up By: Member -Signman - Thursday, Apr 29, 2010 at 12:04

Thursday, Apr 29, 2010 at 12:04
Hiya J&V
I would be interested in looking at pics of your soft 'overhead lockers'...
Could you post here, or on your blog??


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Follow Up By: Member - John and Val - Thursday, Apr 29, 2010 at 12:21

Thursday, Apr 29, 2010 at 12:21
Hi Signman,

Click on the link where it says "here in our profile" and they show up pretty well.
Cheers
J and V
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Follow Up By: Member -Signman - Thursday, Apr 29, 2010 at 12:26

Thursday, Apr 29, 2010 at 12:26
Coooool- thanks for that.


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Reply By: HGMonaro - Thursday, Apr 29, 2010 at 12:11

Thursday, Apr 29, 2010 at 12:11
caravaning wise, one of our best inventions is some shock cord we use as an interior clothes line. Couple of hooks on a length of shock cord to suit. Our wind-up happens to have spots we can afix it to. Comes in handy when you want to dry some stuff overnight but don't want to leave it outside. We also have them for outside. We run them under our bed ends or around our bed fly poles if errected.
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Reply By: Wilko - Thursday, Apr 29, 2010 at 15:17

Thursday, Apr 29, 2010 at 15:17
I use fibreglass fence post to put an canvas awnings (Over windows on my CT) under tension. I hammer it into the ground on an angle then bend it to meet the eyelet. Then( with the aid of a snap hook) I attach it to the eyelet.

The awnings are taught and easy to "shut"

Cheers Wilko
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Follow Up By: StormyKnight - Friday, Apr 30, 2010 at 18:54

Friday, Apr 30, 2010 at 18:54
This is smart.....I see a fishing rod nearly every trip & never would have thought of that!
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Reply By: Ianw - Thursday, Apr 29, 2010 at 19:09

Thursday, Apr 29, 2010 at 19:09
Haven't done a lot lately, but back in my youth at high school I had the nickname of Gyro Gearloose. (comic character inventor). In the early 70s I drew up a design for headlight wipers as going to footy training I could not see due to mud on lights. In 73 I drew up a design for a fold up tent on a trailer. Couldn't afford to build it tho'. (unfortunately) In 75 I built and fitted automatic windscreen wipers for my Monaro. Worked exceptionally well. Same year I designed and fitted automatic dipping headlights. Had problems with that one, in towns it would dip up and down as I went past streetlights, in the country on the Eyre Hwy it would dip when a car was 10 ks away! Was ready to commercialise these two but got posted overseas for 2 years. Never pursued it when I came back. In early 80s I designed and built a computer for fitting to tractors. Based on a Z80 chip, it computed speed, distance, and area ploughed in metric and imperial. Actually built and sold 20 of those. Some are still in use today. I haven't done much since then, got too old and lost interest I guess !!
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Reply By: Farmboywa - Thursday, Apr 29, 2010 at 21:27

Thursday, Apr 29, 2010 at 21:27
Reversing guide made from a 150mm x 120mm x 450mm block of oregon pine centrally slotted to stand / wedge a 75mm x 20mm x 1200mm board into. The guide is positioned on the ground just forward of the tow hitch of the vehicle to be towed. If you miss the guide with the towing vehicles towball the guide will act as a buffer between the two vehicles. Saves a lot of hand waving and yelling by the co-driver. The block of pine doubles as a jacking platform or a step and if necessary could be chopped up for firewood. Happy Days.
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Reply By: equinox - Thursday, Apr 29, 2010 at 21:47

Thursday, Apr 29, 2010 at 21:47
Freezing my butt off in the tent led me to this idea:

Put 2 inches of sand in a metal bucket.
Fill 2 thirds of the bucket up with very hot coals.
Cover the coals with another 2 inches of sand (prevent smoke release)
Place bucket and stand or brick and do not knock it over.

I have done this a few times and it is very effective to warm the tent to enable you to get off to sleep. Still haven't worked out how to stop freezing in the morning.

Cheers
Alan






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In whatever comes our way.

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Follow Up By: Member - John and Val - Friday, Apr 30, 2010 at 08:58

Friday, Apr 30, 2010 at 08:58
Alan,

I guess you would need a bit of ventilation in the tent - is carbon monoxide a potential issue here?

And it would have to be a metal bucket ( once I cleaned out a fireplace using a plastic bucket only to have it melt around the top of the ash as coals came to life once they got some air!)

Val
J and V
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Reply By: Jenny M - Thursday, Apr 29, 2010 at 22:29

Thursday, Apr 29, 2010 at 22:29
not really an invention but a great idea - we have fitted a box fan into the 4 seasons hatch recess over the bed - just like having a ceiling fan - gentle breeze and very quiet.
Have also built timber tool box which fits into step recess at the door - lifts out for use as a step and holds tent pegs, spare hose fittings, deflappers etc. - all things should have 2 uses.
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Follow Up By: Rossco 09 - Friday, Apr 30, 2010 at 11:33

Friday, Apr 30, 2010 at 11:33
EXCELLENT! I have several 4 seasons hatches in the sleeping areas of our bus. Quiet 24v fans mounted in the hatches would be perfect for getting fresh air in the bus or in reverse to get hot air out.

Cheers.
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Follow Up By: Jenny M - Friday, Apr 30, 2010 at 22:04

Friday, Apr 30, 2010 at 22:04
just make sure the fan is small enough to enable you to still open the hatch without having to move the fan -cheers
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Reply By: Wok - Friday, Apr 30, 2010 at 16:43

Friday, Apr 30, 2010 at 16:43
Outside the round: Tentpole carrier

I built two rectangular PVC tentpole carriers,each holds six SupaPeg aluminium poles.....much easier to mount on the trayback.The poles slide in alternately to fit comfortably.

The tubes came from Bunnings and are 100mmX65mm...wooden bungs from scrap lumber, butt hinges & a few screws.

eng hoe
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Reply By: Maîneÿ . . .- Friday, Apr 30, 2010 at 20:54

Friday, Apr 30, 2010 at 20:54
I made up a fishing rod holder that can be held up against the vehicle roof with cable ties and it keeps six fishing rods out of the way and safe from being broken
Most reels usually go into a seperate box when travelling, however the whole thing is also free standing, so can store the rods with some of the reels fitted when not travelling, as shown in photo

Image Could Not Be FoundMaîneÿ . . .
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Reply By: Member - Kiwi_In_Aussie(Wagga) - Saturday, May 01, 2010 at 08:34

Saturday, May 01, 2010 at 08:34
Again - not so much an 'invention' as a 'make life easy' thingy :-)

I found that when I washed my dishes, knives, forks etc I had nowhere to put them to drain while I finished washing the rest of the cooking gear

Not wanting to set up a table etc I made this little tray that sticks to the window and I put my dished etc in here prio to using the tea-towel

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