From the useless invention of the month club..

Yes, I know, you all want to know about the soap opera that is my life. Well, today, we’re going to get a little more literal with the soap part than usual, because it’s time for my useless invention of the month.

Here’s the idea. Take your typical bath/shower valve assembly. Now remove it. Replace the two valves with two spring-loaded voice-coil style actuators (i.e. the more current you put into them, the wider they open, when all current is removed, they default closed). Add manual valves to ajust the close-stop (for the old fashoned or for bathing in a power failure]

Now add a microcontroller and DC power supply. [since there’s going to be water around, we don’t really want a AC-operated device. Also, pot everything just to be sure]

Add some buttons, like:





Add a optical sensor that tells the widget when the tub is full, so it can automatically turn off.

Now, you can all probably visualize where this is going. You set your flow and temp once, and store it in a preset. Then, in the morning, you just whack that preset button. Whala, a shower that is the perfect temp. Even if someone flushes the toilet during your shower, the computer automatically ajusts to keep the shower temp the same (though the flow rate may massively decrease). With ‘BATH-UNTIL-HOT’ pushed, the unit flows water to the bath spigot until the water is up to your temp, then turns on the shower. No more uncertainty about shower temp in the morning, no more fiddling with valves..

The whole widget could probably be made for about $100 in parts, and be made reliable enough to last 50+ years. [Don’t forget the clamping zener and the MOV on the input to the power supply!]

We did mention that this device will only save you about 10 seconds a day and is more or less totally useless, right?

Thank you, drive through.


2 Responses to “From the useless invention of the month club..”

  1. jcurious Says:

    build pulse right into it as well ;).. hell.. add a “respond to music”… hell you could tie it into my idea of my audio-delay-for-appliance-use system.. ie. music (and video) go through this box and is delayed by maybe 5seconds.. (give or take) to give time for the system to respond so that the music is “felt” at the same time it is heard.. (this idea stems from my equaly useless engine rev to music 😉 )… one of these days I’ll fine a useful use for my audio-delay-for-appliance-use system 😉

    yes.. you too could have all your appliances blending-mixing-washing-etc to a brand new beat 😉

  2. jdcatron Says:

    Dependant on the state of your building’s plumbing, it could save a bit more than ten seconds..though probably not more than, say, three minutes a day.

    It could also save water (since one of the problems with the local plumbing where I am right now is that sometimes it takes upwards of five minutes for the water to leave “freezing cold” and start making it’s way up to “reasonable temperature, if low pressure”, but sometimes it takes less than ten seconds — and a great deal of the variability involves behavior of individuals whom cannot be perceived [because they are in other apartments]) so perhaps it is not as useless as you think.

    Oh, and, hey…you said you were headed out this way, but you never showed. What’s up with that?


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