Here comes the rain – get it sorted with Xylem’s pumps

As I write this we are enjoying the tail end of a tropical storm, and the rain is pouring down outside the windows. So it seems quite apt that I am writing about a rainwater pump – although maybe not so apt that it’s solar powered.

Xylem-Pumps

It’s all very well collecting rainwater in your water butts, and even using grey water – from baths and washing up – in your garden. But actually getting it out of your chosen receptacle can be a bit of a chore.

The RainPerfect solar-powered rainwater pump aims to make the task simple by pumping stored rainwater at up to 0.9 bar through an ordinary garden hose, making it easier to water all around the garden, even if you have a sloping site.

Xylem

The pump also lets you use low-pressure sprinklers or use a hand spray nozzle. The RainPerfect pump can fit onto the top of most water butts and barrels, and as it has no wires, and no running costs, is a cheap option. So if you pay for your water on a meter, you’re wining twice over – lower water bills and no electricity charges either.

The RainPerfect solar-powered pump costs £94.99 from retailers. See www.rainperfectpump.com for more.

The makers, Xylem, also make the new AquaCharge portable pump, should you wish to get rid of water (which also might be quite handy if this weather continues!)

The pump is powered by a rechargeable battery and can be used to pump out aquariums, garden ponds and even hot tubs. It’s also useful for DIY tasks such as unblocking sinks and baths, and washing machines that won’t empty.

The AquaCharge has its own 2.4 metre (8ft) hose or can be connected to a standard garden hose.

It costs £61.55 inc VAT from retailers and from www.jabscoshop.com.

Top Ways To Rainproof Your Gadgets

The one problem with the smartest gadgets is that they’re still at risk if the weather’s not looking too clever. The latest pieces of kit can’t afford to be fair-weather technology and with autumn looming, we explore the rainy-day solutions promising to safeguard our gadgets against the Great British elements.

Waterproof-gadgets

Make your tablet watertight

One of the newer faces in our personal gadget inventory; the touchscreen tablet PC / iPad is becoming an evermore present element. But don’t let monsoon conditions get in your way of your precious portable processor. Slip on an Overboard iPad case and your trusty tablet will enjoy complete submersion down to 6m / 19ft. Ideal for checking your emails at the swim-up bar or posting a frantic Facebook status from the middle of a soggy festival moshpit. Use its patented “Slideseal” technology to lock your device into this thermoplastic polyurethane pouch, you can still access every touchscreen function and slip your hand into the back hand loop to switch your orientation between landscape and portrait. Overboard has just added a marine mount to its line-up, so you can even strap your daredevil device on to the hull of a boat if you really can’t prise yourself off your computer even when out on the water.

Safeguard your smartphone

No more ducking into doorways to save your prized smartphone when a call comes through on a drizzly day. Simply slip on a LifeProof Life Jacket and go about your business (or pleasure) without fear of a flash flood drowning your device. This fully submersible iPhone 4/4s (also fits other smartphones) case is made from high-density foam and even floats – ideal if a downturn in the weather inspires you to actively take the plunge and pursue a career in professional watersports.

Don’t drown your digital camera

If you’re still pursuing the purity and complexity of snap not achievable on your smartphone, don’t let your digital camera hold you back from getting right to the heart of the action. Treat it to a DiCaPac waterproof case and treat your portfolio to the most dramatic, gritty action shots whether you’re braving the rain-sodden high street or hope to launch a glittering photography career by capturing that long-pursued snap of the Loch Ness Monster by sneaking up on him underwater.

Drizzle-proof your digital music

Don’t let your prized mp3 player go out on a song when the weather’s iffy. Instead, swathe in the latest wet-weather gear and get to the heart of the action to the beat of your best rainy-day playlist. Why not try the Grace Digital ecoExtreme? This portable, waterproof speaker stores your mp3 player and broadcasts out your tunes; ideal for soaking up the last days of summer on the beach, when out on the kayak or persevering with a damp barbecue and need to run a summery soundtrack to brighten up the mood.

It’s clear that as technology becomes evermore portable, valuable and central to our worlds, there’s a mounting need to make it British-weatherproof. With the droves of accessories clamouring to clothe our every electronic device, there’s no need to restrict the use of our kit to drier days.

Video: RainPerfect solar-powered garden water pump

Given the downpours of the last few weeks, it seems a long time ago since many of the UK’s water companies felt the need to impose a hosepipe ban. Here at Latest Gadgets we’re optimistically hoping the summer will return soon and when it does, we thought the RainPerfect might come in handy!

Strictly speaking this isn’t a ‘latest gadget’ (it came out last year) but nevertheless we thought it would be useful to do a hands on unboxing and test. In a nutshell, the RainPerfect transforms your garden water butt in to a hosepipe friendly water supply -saving you the monotonous task of filling up your watering can over and over. Furthermore, because it’s solar-powered, you don’t have to worry about the tricky job of running mains powered out to your garden.

One of the reasons we wanted to do a hands-on review of the RainPerfect is because it provides a beautifully simple system. As you can see from our video below, you simply drop the pump inside, mount the power supply on top and then put your solar-panel in a sun-friendly spot. Give it a while to charge up and then connect your existing hosepipe to the RainPerfect outlet for an easy solar-powered (and hosepipe ban free!) way to water your garden.

Overall we found the product easy to set-up and we were pleasantly surprised by the water pressure both on short and long hoses. One area for improvement might be to include a more detailed charge indicator. Rather than the existing traffic-light system, it would be good to have a number of bars (or a percentage indicator) so you can be more confident that the battery is actually charging.

The RainPerfect is available now from a variety of suppliers for around £90-£100.

Check out our video of the RainPerfect here:

BIBO water filter dispenser: Hot or cold water on demand

Wouldn’t it be great to have boiling water without having to wait for the kettle to boil? And wouldn’t it be equally as great to have chilled water without having to wait for it to cool in the fridge? Well dream no more as now you can have boiled or chilled water in an instant with the BIBO water filter dispenser.

Bibo-Water

If your kitchen, with its mass of ‘convenience enhancing’ appliances and cooking utensils covering the work tops, looks more like the inside of the tardis than a kitchen, why not get that even bit more plush and modern by sitting a BIBO water filter dispenser comfortably on the work top, if you’ve got any room that is.

Although jests aside it does seem uncanny how we seem to happily consume cup after cup of chilled water from the water dispenser in the office at work in an attempt to maintain the golden ‘eight cups of water a day’ rule, whilst at home all yearnings for a glass of water are replaced by a longing for a glass of wine or ice-cold beer. Perhaps this has something to do with the fact chilled water at the touch of a button is not readily available to us at home like it is at work.

Encouraging daily hydration outside of the office, the BIBO water dispenser will give you an endless supply of water – hot or cold – in an instant – well not quite endless, but 7 litres which equates to approximately 30 cups of cold water and 15 litres or 60 cups of hot water an hour, by all intents and purposes may as well be endless.

The water you consume out of the BIBO dispenser will be completely pure, thanks to its ultra-sophisticated and powerful UV filter, which removes all traces of heavy metals, pesticides and other chemicals – definitely preferable to the water we consume out of taps, particularly for those living in London may I add!

This ultra-modern, health-boosting, dishwasher-proof kitchen appliance costs £363 – perhaps we will stick to waiting a couple of minutes for the kettle to boil and chancing our chocolates with comparatively unfiltered tap water.

The SteriPEN Sidewinder – The “world’s first battery free water purifier”

There are not really that many circumstances when one would require a battery free water purifier. Although the albeit limited occasions you may require to purify water without the use of electricity, the SteriPEN Sidewinder, may prove invaluable.

SteriPEN_Side

Claiming to be the “world’s first battery free water purifier”, the SteriPEN Sidewinder, with its ability to sanitize water with the crank of a handle, would make a great accessory for outdoor enthusiasts. As campers, travellers, mountaineers, or anyone exploring the off-beaten track, needn’t be worried that they may be drinking water laced with a tinge of goat faeces, and can almost immediately quench their thirst by purifying water from lakes, streams and rivers. As the SteriPEN Sidewinder, thanks to a UV system that destroys waterborne viruses, bacteria and protozoa, can sanitize up to a litre of water in just 90 seconds.

Being lightweight and portable, this eco-friendly product has no filters to clean or parts to replace, and will sit snugly beside the camping stove, Swiss army knife and sleeping bag in your rucksack. Excitedly musing over the Sidewinder’s unique capabilities, the SteriPEN website states:

“We wanted to create a product with the same reliability our customers have come to expect from steriPEN, but untethered from batteries. With a lifetime of 8,000 treatments and no replacement parts necessary, sidewinder is ideal for extended trips, and an ever-reliable tool for emergency preparedness.”

Although with a price tag of £150 we suspect that many campers may still ‘chance their chocolates’ with goat-poo infested water, or adopt the painfully slower but significantly cheaper method of boiling water on a camping stove, letting it cool down and then drinking it. Having said this, we also suspect that given the current trend for festivals such as Glastonbury to be full of the well-off middle classes, the SteriPEN Sidewinder may be a common feature at this year’s Glastonbury – Although spending 150 quid on a battery-free water purifier to sanitize water from the streams of Somerset, would probably work out cheaper than forking out for the obscenely over-priced bottled water at Glastonbury. Hmm, room for thought…