Last week I was in the living room when a loud, buzzing insect flew past me. I’d left a door open so I wasn’t too surprised. From the flash of blue I thought it might be a big blow-fly. I followed it into the kitchen and was able to get a close view as it buzzed against the window. It was clearly no fly but looked more like a big, dark native bee and had distinctive blue spots on its abdomen. I took a few photos, to help with identification, and then opened the kitchen window to let him go on his way.
The photos are not very good – he was keen to escape and not at all interested in posing nicely for me. But they are good enough for identification.
It turns out he was a Cuckoo Bee.
I needed to rearrange the pump and filter setup of our above ground pool. The only problem with the new arrangement is that the drain-hole for the filter (Astralpool ZX100) points towards the pool wall instead of away from it. This side of the pool is on the shady side, and takes a long time to dry out, so I don’t want that area getting wet unnecessarily. So I investigated the possibility of replacing the drain plug with some kind of valve or tap, so I could drain the water away through a hose.
Astralpool ZX cartridge filter
The drain plug has two threaded sections and can be removed completely if unscrewed carefully. At first I thought the plug was anchored inside the filter housing so that the plug wouldn’t come free and get lost. But the ‘anchor’ is just a second threaded section. Be careful unscrewing or re-screwing the plug – it would be easy to cross-thread it.
It was difficult to find a suitable valve to replace the plug. The plug appeared to have a 1/4″ BSP thread. (But a lot of pool equipment is designed in or for the USA so there was a real possibility the thread was actually the US equivalent: NPT). This is pretty small so I was looking for a tiny valve. I wandered around Bunnings for some time without much success. I was looking for 1/4″ BSP male on one end and a barb on the other to attach a piece of hose. Actually at first I had many possibilities in mind, including some sort of bulkhead fitting for the inside of the filter case and a female threaded valve outside. I also thought of using a home brew kettle valve but they are expensive.
I couldn’t find what I wanted so I searched ebay and eventually found a 1/4″ BSP to barb brass ball valve. It was only $3 including postage from China. Designed for use in either pneumatic or hydraulic systems it should be able to handle 12-15 psi of slightly salty water. It took a while to arrive from China but it fits perfectly. I thought I may need to use some teflon tape on the threads but so far the rubber o-ring from the plug is making a water-tight seal.
The new brass ball valve and the original ABS drain plug.
I attached a piece of hose from an old washing machine. Ready to screw into the filter housing.
Last year Barbara got an android tablet for her birthday: a Cube U30GT-H. Yesterday it wouldn’t start up properly. It doesn’t have a reset button (or hole) so I decided to update the firmware. I used the method here: http://www.slatedroid.com/topic/33528-firmware-upgrade-instructions/ which is clear and in English.
It is a good idea to use a good-quality USB cable instead of that supplied with the Cube, and use a rear usb port on the PC rather than a front port. The cable from Conrad’s LG phone fits. Apparently the flashing process in very finicky so the physical connection needs to be perfect.
Firstly I used the latest stock ROM from Cube, V1.11 (U30GT-H_V1.11_20121229.zip), which is available from here: http://www.51cube.com/ch/DownShow.asp?ID=127 and used the instructions above. It worked fine but had too many Chinese apps which cannot be removed.
Encouraged by my success I decided to try a cleaned, rooted ROM from here http://www.slatedroid.com/topic/43132-new-900-supersport-rom-for-cube-u30gt-h-111/. It uses a different method to flash the firmware but the instructions and flash tool are included.
Post script, 14 March 2014
After the Cube refused to startup again I tried to reinstall the firmware but my new Win8.1 PC refused to recognise the Cube when connected by USB. I tried a few different 64 bit rockchip drivers without success. Eventually I tried using an old laptop with 32 bit WinXP and it went fine: 32 bit driver worked, flash tool recognised the device and reinstalled the supersport firmware.