Ian austenyml month, 2004THE Spring
Alvin J. Patented loading tape measure
The researchers in 1868 did not seem entirely inappropriate on the shelves of a modern hardware store.
The evolution of the tape measures, like most hand tools used in home decoration projects, is mainly a matter of cosmetics and materials.
However, after a century and a half, the tools of the home craftsman are being transformed and the battery and microprocessor are incorporated into the simplest layout and measurement equipment.
One reason for this trend may be the market saturation of cordless electric drills, saws and other tools intended to be done --it-yourselfers.
Brent Palmisano, laser product manager at Black & Decker, said: "Traditional power tools have begun . ".
"Now, we are looking at how to make tasks easier and how to eliminate a lot of errors from this process.
"A long time ago, some construction professionals turned to digital tools.
The surveyor has given up the rods, chains and optical recorders for the laser
Computer-based measuring equipment.
But other professionals have resisted.
For example, most carpenters rely on traditional tape measurements and levels because the tool is both sturdy and cheap.
I 've tried a variety of electronic devices to see if electronics can make some home repair tasks easier.
With one exception, these tools are designed and priced for home users rather than professionals.
This usually means that they don't look easy to bear the pain of falling off a high ladder, and it's not easy to spend the day in the rain.
Most of the devices I use depend on 9-volt batteries.
Unfortunately, unlike the manufacturer of the smoke detector, it seems that the tool manufacturer is reluctant to design a convenient snapshot
In the compartments of those rectangular batteries.
Instead, two wires are hung with clumsy plastic clips to connect the battery.
Even the most reluctant family handyman must occasionally hang pictures or put them on the shelves.
Three devices I 've tried, including two multi-purpose gadgets, Black & Decker's $70 Bulleye and $55 Stanley intelliiser Pro, and Zircon il, which costs $40, all of this is trying to eliminate marriage disputes that arise when one side remains stable while the other side leaves its mark on the wall.
For these three devices, the physical marking will be replaced by the projected laser beam.
After determining where to hang, for example, a painting (
Another problem with family tension, these gadgets are not relieved)
Look for flat nails to hang on the wall--
At least in theory.
The pins are good for the wall panels, but the walls covered with plaster are not very easy to accept.
With intelliilaser, the user must use the manual level of three built-in devices
At bubble level.
This system may not be particularly convenient, but it does mean it can be leveled on the floor and walls individually.
The laser in bull eye and iLine is mounted on a mechanical pendulum that automatically adjusts them.
The bull's eye is more ambitious of both, and it is equipped with accessories that extend the laser line and allow for use outdoors.
But unlike the other two devices, the Bulleye provides only horizontal lines.
It cannot produce vertical lines.
The simplicity of ILine is in stark contrast to the bull's eyes, which have the waist and style of a sports utility vehicle.
ILine is about the size and shape of the burger.
It has no buttons or switches.
After nailing it to the wall, you open its lid and a flat laser beam appears.
The lack of absolute accuracy in measuring the electronic size of things with sound waves rather than printed steel tape measure.
But they can measure the room well and let you make an estimate of the paint or wallpaper.
Unlike tape measure, they eliminate the difficulty of measuring high and hard wallsto-reach areas.
Sonin laser targeting Range Finder and Stanley smart measurements ($60 per unit) project a red laser point to indicate the measurement point.
But the volume of these points is small, covering up one of the main problems of sonar measurement.
The width of the beam emitted by the unit expands by about 1 feet every 10 feet.
It's not a problem in an empty house.
But in the cluttered living room, when the sound beam expands, it bounces back from the furniture or other surfaces, which may result in inaccurate readings.
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Both units have been built-in calculators.
The 1 laser length meter provides a preview of what many expect to be the next category of gadgets for consumers.
Designed for professionals, it uses a laser range machine to provide accurate to 1/16 measurements at a distance of up to 300 feet. The LT-
1 has a digital display so you don't have to decipher the score like you did with a tape measure. But the LT-
$498 for 1 can also buy a large number of tape measure-
Or pay for a handyman who does a small job. (The LT-
1 manufactured by Leica geographic systems, which sells very similar products under the Leica DISTO brand. )
On the wall, the stud sensor is the first electronic device found in a large number of home kits.
Earlier models were relatively expensive, but once relied on speculation.
Bolt sensors can now be found for less than $10.
The more expensive model is much less expensive than their ancestors, and it offers higher sensitivity and additional features.
For several years I have used an early expensive model that belongs to a neighbor.
When I finally bought a $20 Stanley smart sensor, I found it to work a lot better than my neighbor's gadget, albeit at a low price.
Chris Harrison, global product manager for Stanley measurement and layout tools, said that like MP3 players and PC, the stud sensor benefits from lower-cost, more-capable microprocessor.
In order to find the only wooden nail that the smart sensor can locate, the sensor measures the change of wall density.
To do this, the sensor accumulates a weak charge on the wall.
When the device moves along the surface, the charge remains relatively constant.
But when the unit encounters a bolt, it can detect a sharp drop
This fee was canceled due to additional density. (
Metal rivets, commonly used in high
High-rise building with magnetic inspection system. )
Sensor manufacturers stress that these devices are accurate only if they are in an area without bolts when they are turned on and have a few seconds to adjust. (
When most of the sensors I try are ready to use, they will beep or flash. )
Except for one of the sensors I 've tried, all the ads are flashing a series of lights
LEDs when a bolt is nearby.
When the unit is concentrated on a bolt, all the diodes are lit and beeping.
There is a sound prompt for the pro of intelliexplorer.
But instead of the lights, it shows an animated bull --
Focus on a small LCD screen.
This image sometimes makes me feel more intuitive about the position of the stallion, but it's hard to see the screen in case of insufficient light.
All sensors easily detect bolts behind the wall panel.
But most of my walls have plaster. and-
Because the difference in density between areas with bolts and no bolts is less noticeable on this wall, I have to move most of the sensors slowly to get an accurate reading.
Stanley multi-purpose model and StudSensor Pro SL for $29-
Paid $ month for StudSensor Pro SL, no matter from the zirconia--
Able to scan walls up to 1. 5 inches deep.
They are usually easier to use on plasterand-lath walls.
Intelligent laser, zirconium Pro SL-
The eyes of the AC and Bulls promise that they can find the live wires hidden behind the walls by detecting the magnetic field.
But I find that all three provide only the most vague indication of where these wires lurk.
Even worse, on the wall in the basement, I can also find the wires by looking at the exposed back, and none of the three sensors can find some live cables.
Even though these gadgets have superhuman wall-crossing capabilities, they are sometimes more bland ---
Just like turning off the power before drilling near the socket-
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A version of this article was printed on page G00005 of the National edition on April 8, 2004, with the title: basic knowledge;
Measure twice, cut once and replace the battery.