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Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Even The Simple Things - Magnetic Liquid Crystal Thermometer

Keeping It Warm! or Cool!
    OK...What the heck is a "Magnetic Liquid Crystal Thermometer" anyway? Well, I know it sounds like a complex piece of technology from Star Trek, but it isn't. It's simply a way of measuring temperature by using some principles of liquid crystals. Liquid crystals are what's used in calculators and many other display technologies. We can get into the technology a bit later, but it really doesn't matter HOW it works to make it a VERY useful gizmo. These things are essentially flat, read out temperature pretty accurately and since they are magnetic, can be placed almost anyplace you can use a magnet. On-board an RV they have MANY uses!

On The Fridge
First and foremost, they are incredibly useful at determining comfortable temperatures inside your RV. Does your furnace heat some space to higher temperatures than others? Your A/C cool unevenly? Put a few of these babies around and find out. Many years ago I used to get one of these attached to an advertisement from a local insurance agent. It had each one with a copy of their business card and a yearly calendar. At the end of the year, I would cut off everything but the thermometer and keep them. I just counted, I have 12 of them! I wish the local insurance broker was still sending out advertisements via US Mail....they are incredibly useful

A Variety Of Styles And Temperature Ranges
That's not to say they are hard to find nor expensive. A quick look online reveals a 5 pack can be had from multiple vendors for around 6 dollars. I have seen them with both vertical and horizontal orientations in both Fahrenheit and Celsius or even both on the same strip.  On most of them, the actual display of the temperature will change color as the temp gets higher. So Blue for cold and going up to bright orange for hot. Sometimes it's the numbers that change color, sometimes a bar across the bottom. Either way works nicely.

On The Range Hood
How does it work? Well...that's a bit complicated but it's basically how the crystals reflect and diffuse light at different temperatures. Heat your crystals or cool them down and you will change the amount of distance between them.This will change the way light is reflected back from them and the color that you see. Pretty cool, huh?

Science aside, these are incredibly useful. The only drawback is the range of temperatures that they measure. They are limited to about a 30-degree spread. So if you buy one that starts at 44 degrees it will read all the way up to 74 degrees. The ones I have go from 64 to 94 in 4-degree increments. I have seen ones that go from 0 to 105 in 10 degree increments, but have never used one. Many of them are used for aquariums...not a bad place to know the temperature! But I prefer the air temps in my RV! These work great with my indirect read IR thermometer I keep in a cabinet.

Be Seeing You...Down The Road,

Rich "The Wanderman"
www.thewanderman.com

10 comments:

  1. Enjoyed the article on the thermometers. Just wondering what is below the thermometer in the picture of the range hood. Magnetic led lights?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yes, those are LED lights similar to those given away free from Harbor Freight.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wolfe,
      You beat me to it! $2.99 or 3.99 at harbor freight. Free if you are lucky enough to get that particular coupon in the flyer or ad.

      Rich "The Wanderman"

      Delete
    2. I'll beat you again...since I can't attach images here, here's a link...

      https://images.harborfreight.com/cpi/emails/4817/c1/images/b_1.jpg

      Delete
  3. These $0.50 color-changing thermos are great for surface temperatures on aquariums (not a good RV pet!), but I prefer the $1 remote-probe digital thermometers for refrigerators (so you don't have to open them to check) and for checking the outside temperature while toasty inside.

    Taking AG10 type batteries is the only downside to them, but you can get those for pennies at dollar stores too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wolfe,
      I have a remote probe setup on my fridge. I believe there was an article about that a while back. These are cheap and can be stuck up anywhere and never require batteries. I suppose each will have it's own use.

      And what's wrong with a pet goldfish in an RV ;)

      Rich "The Wanderman"

      Delete
    2. The fish depend on how many wheels you leave on the ground in turns... 3 of 8 should be enough, right?

      Delete
    3. Wolfe,
      Sure...three's company...you know?

      Rich "The Wanderman"

      Delete
  4. In the spirit of checking the temperature of the room you're currently standing in, I present the battery-free "weather station stick" to be placed outside the RV...

    Stick is dry, it's sunny.
    Stick is wet, it's raining.
    Stick is white, it's snowing.
    Stick is bent, it's windy.
    Stick is broken, it's hailing.
    Stick is gone, it's a tornado.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wolfe!
      I used have something similar...a weather station Rock. it was placed on a windowsill and worked the same way! ;)

      Rich "The Wanderman"

      Delete

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