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Author Topic: Bee idea for your old computer.  (Read 1656 times)
BlueBee
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« on: January 09, 2011, 10:39:01 PM »

If you canít get your computer fixed, Iíve got an idea for you experimental beekeeps out there.

First off though, if your power supply died, you might be able to fix it.  There is high probability the output caps on the 5v or 12v rails have failed.  This is often clearly evident by a simple visual inspection.  If you see the tops of the caps puffed up and leaking, your caps are bad.  The output caps experience the most stress in a power supply and are located right where all your wires are connected to the PCB.  If you have a descent soldering iron you can easily replace the caps.  Digikey is a source for new caps.   Just make sure you match the voltage ratings and put the new ones in with the right polarity.   Wear safety glasses.

If you have a spare computer supply (or a fixed one as in above), these things are great for powering anything that can use a lot of amps at 12volts.  Most donít require a minimum load to pump out 12volts.  To function outside your computer, you have to jumper the green wire on the 20 pin motherboard connector with a black pin (ground).   The high current 12volt source is ideal to run your old cordless drills if you want to make them ďwiredĒ.   However my favorite use of old power supplies is heating my bee hives in the winter.  A 500watt power supply can generate a LOT of bee heat. 

The advantage of a power supply for a bee heater is the low voltage DC as opposed to deadly high voltage AC.  120V AC is so deadly because it can easily break thru the insulation of your skin and travel thru your body.  It only takes 50mA of AC to stop a heart.

I use a series of 2watt resistors (Electronic Goldmine) potted in cement for my heaters.  This design prevents any exposed hot spots that wax cappings can fall on.  You definitely donít want any wax to drop on something hot (like a toaster element) and flash over in a hive full of hydrocarbons!   
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AllenF
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« Reply #1 on: January 10, 2011, 10:52:28 AM »

And what about old desk top computer cases that have been now gutted?  Figure out your bee space and make custom frames to make a bee hive computer maybe?   
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BlueBee
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« Reply #2 on: January 10, 2011, 12:01:05 PM »

Allen, I love your idea for an old computer case.  That might win product of the year at the big CES show in Vegas!  Get working on it.

For those having trouble falling to sleep, hereís another use for old computer parts.  I use a old stock CPU cooler (fan + heatsink) powered by a 12volt wall adaptor to generate white noise at night and help send me off to bee dreamland.  The darn stock CPU coolers are too loud to use inside a computer after all....
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BlueBee
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« Reply #3 on: January 18, 2011, 08:09:27 PM »

Since I figured out how to post photos, here is a photo of the bee heaters I mentioned in my earlier post for old computer power supplies.   Obviously these are NOT necessary for full sized hives, but if youíre an experimenter or just playing around with some smaller colonies, these can be fun to play with.



Uploaded with ImageShack.us

I would include a photo of the finished potted up heaters, but theyíre all in my hives grin  Weíre expecting 0F this week.

There are numerous ways to make heat, the nice attribute of this approach is the surface of the heater doesnít get extremely hot and it doesnít put off visible light.  Iíve used 1.8 Ohm resistors here because they were cheap but any resistors will work as long as you check your math and donít exceed the power rating of each resistor.

If you donít have a spare computer power supply, a landscaping light transformer will work too; 12Volts AC in that case.  It is nice to have a thermostat on your system too so you donít overheat your bees!
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hardwood
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« Reply #4 on: January 18, 2011, 08:17:52 PM »

Pretty cool BlueBee!

Scott
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« Reply #5 on: January 18, 2011, 08:33:12 PM »

You should be OK in full size hives,  but I would cut back for smaller nucs.   I've had pretty good luck with ~14 watts in 10 frame equipment.  But this year I have a swarm in an owl box that I picked up in the fall and built a box around and 14w is too much.
 
Nifty idea,  I like it Smiley
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