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Praise for the
WIB project

I have been looking for something like the WIB project for quite a while.

To make it a bit more versatile could you please make the digital outputs configurable as either inputs or outputs? Digital inputs could be used for alarm contact closures or similar, so you are emailed on your mobile to say your house is being burgled, or the bore pump in the back paddock has run out of fuel. (Yes I would need a long-haul WiFi/LAN like I have now with an IP web cam on it – all solar powered, of course).

If you are running out of code space you could offer an extended version with the dsPIC33FJ128GP802 (ie, the 128K version).

What if you tossed in a bit of code to talk to Dallas/Maxim 1-wire parts on one of the digital pins? Then you could have several DS18b20 temperature sensors and a humidity sensor as well.

One more pin for the anemometer reed switch, one for the tipping bucket rain gauge and an analog pin for the wind direction pot and bingo you’ve got a logging IP weather station in a WIB.

The mind boggles at what could be done and the variations of the “WIB” down the track. Thanks for an excellent project.

Ray Hudson,
Mareeba, Qld.

Safe disposal of
microwave ovens

My microwave oven was losing power and as it was fairly old I deemed its working life over and took it to the local recycling centre. Before I did, I removed the turntable drive motor for some future project. I knew that microwave ovens could pack a lethal punch so re-read an earlier SILICON CHIP article (December 2006) before I did so.

At the recycling centre I cheerfully asked what their procedures were when dismantling microwaves. To my surprise I had an immediate audience. They are dangerous to dismantle? No procedures existed.

The supervisor strolled over, a perfectly reasonable young lady, and said she had dismantled hundreds of microwaves without any special precautions and had never had a shock. I said that if she had, she might not be telling me this.

I gave her a copy of your article. She said that getting instructions for dismantling any of the cast-off detritus of our modern lives was next to impossible. Particularly bad was the dismantling of flat-panel screens without breaking the fluorescent lamps. Some of the staff are intellectually handicapped who are given employment by the local council so their understanding may not be high.

Her situation, she maintained, was typical of all the recycling facilities in NZ. This is hardly an encouraging picture. Surely the manufacturer or distributor of consumer goods has a responsibility for their final and safe disposal?

If this requires legislation and incurs a levy at the point of sale, that’s fine with me. This will ensure correct disposal procedures and it might just slow the rate of obsolescence of our consumer goods (might cheer your Serviceman up a bit too).

Any comment from the Australian end?

Andrew Buchanan,
Wellington, NZ.

Comment: sadly, there are not many such recycling centres in Australia.

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