In my book, gadgets span a wide spectrum, and they don’t necessarily need to include electronics. Take the Lockwood 001-1K1SCDP Deadlatch for example: this thing is a marvelously engineered piece of machinery. The little ‘Lock Alert’ window that shows red or green to show whether the deadlock is enabled is a fantastic idea, and it also has the smarts to release the deadlock when the lock is opened from the outside key. Add the excellent ‘snick-snack’ sound of a finely engineered lock barrel, and this thing defintely rates in gadget territory.

Not that we live in a particularly dangerous area, but when our old ‘night latch’ went from failing to stay unlatched during the day, to not always latching locked, I decided it was time to upgrade. The Lockwood was very simple to install, and luckily used exactly the same position for the barrel as our old lock, so no drilling was required. I did have to get the chisel out to enlarge the area for the clash-plate, but there is something quite nice about using a chisel – it makes you feel like you’re really doing some modifications.

As with any gadget or system, I was not content to do it by the book, so I decided to upgrade the ‘jam reinforcer’. I guess you could say I overclocked our deadbolt. Have a look at the picture at left. Those puppies are 80mm long spring steel woodscrews. When screwed all the way in, they go damn near clear through the door jam. Again, not that I’m expecting a break-in, but pity the poor bastard that tries to jemmy this deadlock. As with any overclock or frivolous upgrade, you might notice the sheer pointlessness of my efforts: we have a glass pane front door. Still, it’s the thought that counts, and I’ll know there are ruddy great steel screws holding the door closed when I leave in the morning.

Read on for the ultimate overclock: the FluidMaster Quiet Float Valve (for high and low pressure cisterns)…

At the same time as purchasing the new deadlock, I was also tasked with acquiring a washer to stop a dripping toilet cistern. I found the appropriate plumbing section, and tracked down the cistern washers. But lo! What is this? Sitting there very invitingly was the one and only FluidMaster Quiet Float Valve (FQFV from now on…). I mean look at that packaging… how could I, a red-blooded gadget freak pass that up? And it was only about US$15 – not much more expensive than the replacement washer ($2)!

I’ve gotta say: if you’re looking for a new side-entry cistern valve, then you can’t go past the FQFV. It has a very smooth, definitive action. The shutoff is near instantaneous. None of this inexorable reduction in flow until finally the ballcock bounces to a stop with the valve going ‘pssshh pssshh pssshh’, eeking out those last few drops. No way! This baby goes full blast right up till the last couple of millilitres, then ‘pssshh’ – a nice quick shutoff.

The float on the FQFV is attached to a long plastic screw, so the water level can be adjusted simply by turning the screw a couple of turns either way. Bending ballcock arms is a thing of the past. Plus with the fill spout underwater at all times, it’s as silent as a water-cooled Athlon.

In case you’re wondering. Yes, I am taking the piss. Pun intended. I’ll be here all week.

2 Replies to “Housemodding”

  1. Don’t crims usually come in through the windows cause most people have secured their doors reasonably well :(.

    I take a bit of a blase attitude to the whole thing. Living in flats I’ve been robbed a couple of times…you just have to remember that everything is insured and they’re all just random possessions anyway.

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