Sunday, October 14, 2018

The defective smoke alarm

Four years ago, tired of changing 9v batteries, I bought a set of smoke detectors with sealed lithium batteries guaranteed for 10 years. At which point you have to replace the entire unit. 

Yeah. Yeah.  Seemed like a good idea at the time.

A month ago, the smoke alarm at the top of the stairs went off in the middle of the day.  Thankfully,  it was not the usual middle of the night claxon.  Still startling.  And scared the dogs.

Anyway, the other 5 weren’t shrieking, I figured the unusually high humidity was affecting it. I unwired this one and set it on the bottom shelf of the desk to look at later. 

Then didn’t.

A few days ago – in the middle of the night – it went off again.  With a sealed unit, I couldn't rip out the battery. So I threw it in the freezer.  That shut it up.

Except last night I got up to go to the bathroom and heard a weird, quiet, repetitive beeping.  I tracked it down to the freezer. 

The smoke alarm was going off IN THE FREEZER. 

I  closed the freezer door and the sound was muffled enough not to be heard in the bedroom. I went back to sleep and forgot about it.

But just a few minutes ago, I heard more subtle beeping.  Yep, it was going off again! 

I took it out to the garage and smashed it with a sledge hammer. 

Never again will I buy units with sealed batteries!

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Lego Ghostbuster Firehouse

I recently assembled Lego's Ghostbuster Firehouse.  There are 4,634 pieces partitioned into 14 different sets of packaging. The instruction comprise of 600 steps

The build was pleasingly accurate, and the interior details were impressive. But I had issues with the project. 

Why did they print the instructions on a black background?  Artistic decisions like that should be guided by usability.

Some of the steps seem unnecessarily complex.  Like doing a single 4 across four double twos instead of across one double four.  That seemed to me just an excuse to ramp up the piece count.

And maybe I'm slow, but it took me a while to figure out how to attach the ghosts to the building.  A simple picture showing the removal of the brick facing would have saved me a lot of time. 

The firehouse shared the Creative Expert technique of having each floor lift off the one below it to expose the interior.  The firehouse also has a side that opens to all three floors. However, I had a difficult time opening and closing the "arms".  Nine out of ten times one of the separating floors would detach from the arm as I opened it. And it was a little tricky to close again without scraping the bottom floor.  Perhaps, like the attached ghosts, there is an undocumented secret to opening the side without issue. 

I am very disappointed that the scale is different from the Creative Expert buildings, despite the same size mini-figures. I had hoped to use this as the fire station in my street scene tableau since the retired fire station kit is far too expensive.  

The other buildings average 4 1/2" per floor.  The firehouse is just over 5".  Besides it's longer than the others.  I know it's not unheard of for a neighborhood to have different sized buildings, but the firehouse just doesn't fit in with my street like I had hoped.

Once my sister sees it, I will probably disassemble it.