Thursday, December 31, 2009


How I made a portable electric switchable outlet (PESO)

Once start reading, all must be read.

The benefits of having one of these devices are enormous in terms of tool safety. It is essentially the same as an outlet strip but made out of metal not plastic and it doesn’t have surge protection. For instance you can turn all devices off at once such as dust collector and table saw. In some situations you cannot reach the plug at the wall outlet before havoc has gone too far. Also in the case of electric motor failure of your tool device you do not want to take the time to get electrocuted to turn it off at the machine itself. Commercial outlet strips have a high plastic content prone to failure and work down time. And the switches on these are hard to access and turn on and off. I don’t know if you ever noticed but turning off a table saw requires you to lean or orientate your body more so in the direction of that spinning blade. This read like a when we last left Batman and Robin they were…..episode. As far as whether these are up to code, I feel they are safer because they are more reliable, reduce down time because the more durable parts are stocked at local hardware store. And the switch is a little less ambiguous.

None of these problems come with PESO.

I used the proper screw in box wire clamp for the one with the orange cord. I also added a GCFI outlet protection to the one on the right because I had an extra one; it may not protect against a frayed extension cord to the unit but may provide added protection if you have not gone to the code required GFCI outlets in your garage.

I used matched components and wire to 15 amps but if my breaker was 20 amps I would have bought that switch, outlet and wire. I followed the wiring directions and diagrams of the outlet and switch. And made a picture of how it would all be connected first. This was helpful to me. The outlet I bought with a switch in an outlet position or as the other outlet it is a needed a careful break of the tab that connects the outlet to the incorporated switch before I ran the hot from switch to GFCI outlet to switch outlet. This GFCI was by no means a substitute for GFCI outlets in my building structures. And I do not rely on it as such because the wire to the line from here will always remain a source of concern. Does the one with the GFCI outlet in this position look safer to you? There is still current to the box, if you used this in standing water YOU WOULD STILL GET ELECTROCUTED. However if your power drill or tool overheated and there was a “BURNOUT SHORT” in the tool you would be protected.
I used a deep square box because it sits more balanced and stout and checked the contraption with a GFCI outlet tester before committing to use.

A word about electrical wiring: Wires come in different gauges. Common household gauges are 10 gauge, 12gauge and 14 gauge. Always match grade and size to components and end use or load. The lower number the thicker the gauge and the safer the wire. To thick a gauge is hard to bend and screw onto some terminals without stripping them. But it is better to go thicker. When using wiring terminals “candy cane” your wiring ends so that the end of the wire flows clockwise or the same way you tighten the wire. When I was a boy I watched an electrician in our house and when using wire twist on connecters he would use electrical tape over the connector to wire in the same direction the connector was tightened in. I have found this a good procedure to follow. When you work on a house circuit to replace an outlet always turn off the circuit breaker to the circuit the outlet is on and use an electric current detector to see if current is still present. You may also use the inexpensive connector to determine which of two wires are live. When fixing an extension cord end the white wire goes to the silver screw, the black to the brass colored screw and the green or bare copper wire in outlets to the green colored screw. Always make sure and take special effort that your ground connection is the best connection i.e. won’t loosen up easy or capable of being jarred loose. In terms of GFCI outlets they are now required by code in many parts of your house. Terms relevant to them are line and load. Line is the source of power your i.e. both your circuit panel box, and the line to the electric wire on the telephone pole in your backyard. Load is the where the power is consumed i.e. power drill, your furnace, toaster. When putting in GFCI outlets you only need to put one in a circuit before that wire strings to other outlets. And it will protect all the outlets on the load side or “underneath” it. GFCI’s should always be tested with the $7 dollar tester available at your local hardware store. Outlets in your kitchen maybe 20amp so you may need 20 amp GFCI outlets for these.
I had the utility company come to our house and tighten all connections in the breaker panel and behind the meter. These connections as well as those in lamp fixtures and outlets in your house can become loose over time, which is dangerous. i.e. Because a “thinner” connection means possible overheating and a source of fire. And a lose wire such as neutral or ground can be an unseen source of electrocution, which could happen just by changing a light bulb. The lineman had rubber electricians gloves on that must have been ½” thick, I forget what the volt rating was on them but it was high.

Disclaimer: This article is meant to be thought provoking and lead you to a more informed conversation with your electrician. Do not try this for yourself! You probably do not have the competence to do this! I make no warranty to the safety of your work or competence. You are responsible for your own safety and the safety of those around you at all times in life. Never exceed your own competence without doing so using scientifically proven safety protocols and methods, which you should have working knowledge of before having an aspiration. An inventor should always expect catastrophic failure and plan to compensate for it; that is the nature of invention.


Tuesday, December 29, 2009


Freeware Like Donation
This functional industrial art gallery of is sponsored by me for your viewing pleasure and enjoyment. If you were inspired or saw something you could relate to artistically please consider making a donation for the written and graphic freeware. If you were so inspired to create one like these also consider making an ever so small non tax deductible contribution to my PayPal account. How much does a movie cost today and what do we get out of them? Just click'ums that donate button a few spaces below this paragraph and it will take you to my authentic PayPal account.

Artistically Designed and Portable Outdoor Sink

How I made an Artistically Designed and Portable Outdoor Sink (ADPOS)
The benefits of an outdoor sink for a guy or gal are numerous. You are not clogging your indoors sink with dirt or grease. You do not have to go inside to proper wash your hands. You can stay outside longer in hot weather because you can put your head under the spigot and have a mini shower- cooling off your head where the circulation is great and the skin thin. My concentric pipe design is a modern marvel designed to prove a conversation or bragging point. You can even buy special sink paint these days to suit your palette. The water drains into a bucket which can be used to water plants. If you wanted to you can also put holes in the bottom of the bucket line it with scrap cardboard as a filter and let it drain where it sits. Detriments: People will be jealous of this.

1. Find a plastic composite type sink on the curb discarded from a remodeling job or buy a used one cheaply from a resale store like Habitat for Humanity Resale Shop.
2. Cut out on the top of the perimeter of the basin, leaving only a “bowl”. A Sawzall or Sabre saw should do this with the correct blade.
3. Obtain threaded piping and proper fittings. Home Depot will cut and thread pipe you buy for free. Make out your pieces needed list.
4. You will also need pipe dope of the putty kind

If you like pipe works you can buy a pipe cutter, pipe holding vise and an electric pipe threader with complementary dies. It is labor intensive to cut and thread using the non-powered threaders.

Monday, December 28, 2009


American Ingenuity 12 28 2009
In today’s day and age I feel that we do not have as strong a basis for a manufacturing sector. I think that boy’s growing up do not take things apart to see how they work like I used to when I was a kid. Instead they spend an inordinate amount of time playing video games which they do well into college. Studies have shown that this leads to more maladjusted children, whose relationship to peers borders on antisocial. How many children playing video games never want to share?
When I was a boy I would watch my father as he built things around the house. I have early memories of him pulling out nails from old wood and bending them out to use again. They never really got completely straight and to try and pound them into wood without bending was a form of comedic art.
My father was good at improvising and fixing things also. I had a little rubber motorcycle man that was about three inches long. His hand or a part broke. He could no longer grip the handlebars. My father took dental floss wound it around the thing and put epoxy over that. I thought that was the neatest thing ever. It was not until I got into high school that I realized how unique this was. A new friend of mine broke part of his fishing rod. I told him how to fix the ferule in this manner. He wound some line around the rod and put the epoxy on it. Then after a few days he calls me up and tells me that the epoxy didn’t dry yet. Sometimes when solving other people’s problems you do not immediately go for the easiest and most obvious answer. After awhile I asked him,”Did you mix the epoxy?” “You never told me I had to mix the epoxy.” He replied. I assumed he might have known or at least read the instructions. How many of us come to these dumbfounded realizations about other people, “How could they not have known that?”
Another thing I thought was neat from my childhood was a friend who’s father took a junker steering wheel from an automobile and replaced the handlebars on his sons bicycle with this. He drove that banana seat bicycle like a car. I was envious.
I was the envy of the neighborhood by having the only zip line in the village. My father and I ran a rope from a tree house platform about 8 feet up and bastioned it offs a couple of feet of the ground to a group of lilac trees twenty feet away. We put a pulley on the rope and when the day of playing was done I would grab hold of a rope on that pulley and glide “home” to the back door. It was a blast.
So this is another start of one of my never read blogs, this blog pertaining to American Ingenuity. It has a series of projects for sons and fathers to do that might form better father son bonds. I feel we teach best when we lead by example. We always learn something by teaching. A father should not fear this. Sometimes we miss the nail and get a sore thumb, but that is part of learning.
In order for us to compete in the world economy we have to foster these skills early on even though many have convinced us that we are fated to a service economy. A service economy, by definition to me, would have a finite life. If we can reduce our energy costs in this country through renewable energy we may become more competitive on a manufacturing scale as more resources that went to the cost of energy in a factory or plant may instead be allocated to labor costs. Thereby a person with manufacturing skills might be able to earn a living wage. This is the vision and hope that I have for this country.



About Me

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Welcome to my Blogs. My name is Thomas Murphy and I love the forest and wildlife areas of Wisconsin and would like to share my thoughts and the pictures I have taken of the natural areas of Wisconsin. Come share in my collection of what I feel to some of the finest scenes and images of the forests, lakes, rivers and marshes that Wisconsin has to offer. I like to go to pristine and secluded areas where nature resides quietly and I feel the resulting “lost” images are profoundly unique. I am usually “in the moment” when I take these pictures. When I say in the moment I mean a sense of excitement often precedes what my eye captures through the camera. I never stage these shots but seem to be in the right place and time when I shoot them. And when I transfer them from my camera and view them on my computer screen I realize a sense of surrealism that resonates with me yet again to the time they were taken and exemplify the beauty of nature. Please peruse my sites and experience the beauty of being there as I did.