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An Eye in the Sky Provides New Perspectives

Dan Slentz says his new tower camera is good for more than watching the weather

Frequent Workbench contributor Dan Slentz has just had a new high-definition weather camera — with full pan, tilt and zoom capability — installed about 200 feet up on his station’s thousand-foot transmitting tower. 

Since the site is on a high point in northeast Ohio, there are numerous other TV and FM facilities nearby. So in addition to monitoring the weather, Dan occasionally has fun scoping out the surrounding towers as well as his own. 

As the accompanying images show, Dan can eyeball a neighbor’s tower and zoom to the upper portion of its five-bay antenna. Dan also spotted some rust and peeling paint on another adjacent tower. With PTZ capability, he can even monitor the building below on a fine winter day. 

A drone provides great images without the expense of a climber; but this fixed camera provides Dan an instant and constant live view right from his desktop. Let us know if you agree!

[Click to toggle between photos]

Better than Dick Tracy

Continuing the camera theme, Radio World Editor in Chief Paul McLane recently sent me a headline from the website Engadget, reporting that Samsung has brought more “smart home” features to its Galaxy Watch devices

Among other things, this now allows users to view live feeds from their home and doorbell Ring and Nest cameras on their smartwatches. This is done via Samsung’s SmartThings ecosystem

Users are also able to control an expanding selection of devices including smart air purifiers, thermostats and blinds. Galaxy Watch also supports TVs, air conditioners, lights and other devices.

Users of Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 now can watch video from Ring or Nest security cameras on their watches.

When Paul read that story, he had a mental image of an engineer checking a feed from a transmitter site security camera. Now if only the Samsung can adjust PTZ!

Hot hot hot

Dan Slentz also shared a video that’s worth watching if you store or charge batteries at your studio or transmitter site. 

A TV station had a fire break out in its studios, disrupting its ability to produce local newscasts. The flames started at about 1:30 in the morning, in a locker area where batteries were stored. And you can watch, because the outbreak was caught on a security camera. Find it here.

After you watch the news report, be sure to scroll down to see the complete video of the fire. Watch to the end. It’s hard to believe that a battery can cause all that damage!

A warty problem

Like many of us, Terry Skelton has boxes and boxes of wall-warts. Searching through them is a pain. Trying to read the embossed print on black is just about impossible — a guy could go blind, Terry says. 

He finally started using a paint-pen to mark their voltage and center pin polarity, as shown in the accompanying photo. It may not be pretty, but then again, wall warts will probably be out of sight under a counter anyway. Finding the correct voltage at least gets one in the ballpark; then you can look visually for the right connector size and type.

Use a white paint pen to label a black wall wart with voltage and tip polarity.

Keep those drains clean

And Engineer Rolf Taylor shares a seasonable tip about air conditioning drains. It’s time to add a little bleach or anti-algae tablets to the condensate trays. You’ll find tablets online and at big box stores. 

If you are planning a new or renovated system with a condensate drain, Rolf recommends that you spec a RectorSeal EZ Trap with safety switch. As shown in the last photo, the trap is clear plastic so you can see if an algae plug is beginning to form. The assembly also comes with a flexible bristle brush for cleaning the trap assembly. This rig can be wired through the control interlock of the air conditioner, so the HVAC system will be turned off before condensate flooding occurs. 

RectoSeal’s condensate trap with safety switch can be wired up to turn the HVAC system off before condensate flooding occurs.

Find it on Amazon. Also you can see available variations of the trap here.

The tip jar is open! Workbench submissions are encouraged and qualify for SBE recertification credit. Email [email protected].

[Read Another Workbench by John Bisset]