A Field Guide to Household Technology by Ed Sobey

By Ed Sobey

Illustrating how a fireplace alarm detects smoke and what the “plasma” is in a plasma display tv, this interesting guide explains how daily loved ones units functionality and function. greater than a hundred and eighty diverse family applied sciences are coated, together with devices special to residence constructions and houseboats. units are grouped in line with their "habitats"—the lounge, family members room, den, bed room, kitchen, toilet, and basement—and characteristic a detailed description of what the gadget does and the way it really works, in addition to a photo for simple identity. With useful sidebars describing comparable technical concerns, comparable to why an inexpensive dimmer swap can intrude with radio reception, this guide for curious readers presents rigorously particular descriptions and the heritage at the back of a few of the older family applied sciences like toasters and taps to more moderen applied sciences like movement detectors, TiVo, and satellite tv for pc radio.

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It broadcasts the time each minute. Once a radio-controlled clock is set for its time zone, its internal radio receives the signals from Boulder and displays the time. This unit also shows the indoor and outdoor temperature, which is sent by radio waves from its companion outdoor sensor (see Remote Thermometer in chapter 11). How does Boulder set its watch? The Institute operates atomic clocks. These high-tech devices count the natural oscillations of an element such as cesium. Knowing how fast the oscillations occur, the atomic clock counts the oscillations and records the time elapsed.

The inside of the TV screen is lined with phosphorus dots that light up when hit with a beam of light. There are more than 300,000 phosphorus dots on a HDTV screen. Go ahead, try to count them. I N TE R E S T I N G FAC TS Although still rare, HDTV sets are selling well and some predict that they will be very common by 2009. 38 A F I E L D G U I D E TO H O U S E H O L D T E C H N O LO G Y Antenna Rotator Control Box B E H AV I O R Allows television users to rotate the roof-mounted antenna so they can get the best possible signal from the television station.

The americium radiation ionizes gases in the air (predominantly nitrogen and oxygen), creating positive and negative ions. The ions permit a small current to flow between two charge plates, powered by a ninevolt battery. ) Smoke particles attach to the ions and reduce the current flow between the two plates. Sensing a decreased current, the alarm switches on that horrible buzzer. I N TE R E S T I N G FAC TS Although almost every home has smoke detectors, these devices weren’t around until just a few years ago.

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