Saturday, January 12, 2008

Return of the Univent

The cold frame that I got for Christmas (see Christmas Loot!) has been awaiting better weather so that I could put it to use. At long last the sun emerged today, and I got a few outdoor chores done. I also dragged the cold frame out from the garage and into the living room to try installing the evil Univent one more time, this time without injuring my fingers.

The difficulty before was that the jaws of the thing stayed wide open when the temperature-sensitive cylinder was in place, making it difficult to install. It was also devilishly hard to get the cylinder in place without the jaws snapping shut and causing bodily harm.

Then it hit me -- the cylinder is temperature sensitive! It closes the lid or greenhouse window or whatever when the temperature is cold!

Well, okay, genius, I thought, put the contraption in the freezer. Duh.

As you can see from the picture, the jaws are closed when the cylinder is cold. Okay, so I took the cylinder itself out of the freezer, installed it in the jaws, and put them back for the photo. But this conveys the idea.

Things would have been so much easier if the company had just put that little tidbit in the instructions.

The next challenge was actually installing the Univent in the cold frame, make all the more difficult when I discovered that the screws I needed were missing. After finding a packet of screws of suitable size in the basement tool box, I set to work. One difficulty still remained: the metal bracket that holds the redwood slats together in the lid is smack in the way of the metal pad on the Univent that needs to be screwed to the lid. I had to do a little jury-rigging with some bits of metal, but I think this will do, since the metal pad only had to push the lid up:

The shot is taken as the cold frame sits upside-down in my living room. Thus it is the bottom of the lid that you see, and the bits sticking out on the right are the bits I had to put in there to make the thing sit right.

Now to find out if it actually works in the real world. I found a place for it outdoors. If the sun comes out tomorrow and warms the inside up, I'd better see it open the lid, or the evil thing is definitely going back where it came from.

1 comment:

Dee/reddirtramblings said...

I'm so impressed that you figured this out and kept at it. Once it is installed, you will be so glad. Just think, fresh greens for the table all winter long.