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Home Improvement

Use A Single Cat5 Cable For Both Phone and Ethernet

Cool Tools, DIY, Electronics, Hacks & Mods, Home Automation, Home Improvement, Home Theater, Videos
June 11, 2016 No Comments

As I’m trying to building up my YouTube Channel (please subscribe!) — I’ve decided to revisit my most popular posts here at Mavromatic. The plan is to create videos of these posts so people can watch instead of just read. I find that video often times makes the process of understanding complex things a little easier.

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Best Interior Trim/Cabinet Paint: Benjamin Moore Advanced

DIY, Home Improvement
May 28, 2013 1 Comment

advance_satin_usI’ve been in search of the best interior trim/cabinet paint for almost a decade. I’ve tried as many different types and brands I could find and I think I found a winner.

A bit of background first — I’m not a professional painter but I do consider myself a paint enthusiast in the search of the ultimate interior finish for cabinets and trim. I also prefer airless (Graco) or HVLP (Fuji 4-stage) spraying application over brushing on the paint. For some reason I can’t stand the “brush strokes” — no matter how good a painter is, I like the perfect smooth finish of spraying (OCD?).


Since I prefer spraying the finish on, I opt for water based paints for the ease of clean up. Over the years I tried the following trim/cabinet paints:

The break down goes like this — the Sherwin William ProClassic line provided a decent finish. To me, it lays down more like a latex-y finish than oil. Satin actually turned out more of a duller, flat finish. I used that for all this doors and trim in my home and it has held up well.

The early version of the Acrylic Latex Enamel paint seemed to sag when applied with a spray gun and was quite a challenge — even when using a fine finish tip and light coats. Apparently, this was a known issue with the early formulation and Sherwin William’s adjusted the formula to fix that. I gave the latest formulation a try and it was much better but the finish didn’t level as nice compared to the newer “hybrid” water based Acrylic-Alkyd finishes.

I’m a big fan of the new “hybrid” paints where it’s like oil but with the ease of clean up of water based paint. The only drawback is that it takes a lot longer for it to cure over the Interior Acrylic Latex Enamel finishes. So be sure to give the paint extra time to fully cure before placing items on a bookcase/cabinet — something that could be an issue for most projects that you want to finish in a weekend.

Between the Sherwin William’s ProClassic Interior Waterbased Acrylic-Alkyd Enamel and the Benjamin Moore ADVANCE®Waterborne Interior Alkyd Paint it was very close — both are great finishes but I’m really preferring the overall application, smell and finish to the Benjamin Moore Advanced paint.

WINNER: Benjamin Moore ADVANCE® Waterborne Interior Alkyd Paint

Feel free to post any questions and I’d love to hear your experiences as well!


Gladiator Garageworks – Possibly the best garage system and made in the U.S.A.

Accessories, Cool Tools, DIY, Favorite Tools, Home Improvement
March 6, 2013 1 Comment

I’ve been meaning to organize my garage and turn a section into a place where I can work on my Myro Control stuff. I have been researching and looking at all sorts of “Garage Systems” and everything I have seen is either VERY expensive or VERY cheaply made using flimsy metal or thin wood/melamine.

My dream garage would be filled with Lista Cabinets (as seen on American Chopper) as they offer both of my requirements: American Made and modular cabinets on casters. The only drawback being cost.

Sears Craftsmen’s popped into my mind — thinking everything Craftsmen’s would be American made, right? Uh, nope. Then right next to the Craftsmen benches was this product called Gladiator Garageworks by Whirlpool Corporation. Modular cabinets on casters, check. Made in the U.S.A.? YES! Apparently all their “premium” welded case products are made in the U.S.A. That includes the benches and the gearbox. The ones you need to assemble are not so keep that in mind.

The only design element I’m not too big on is the “tread” or “diamond plate” texture on the doors. I would have liked a smooth finish or options for different colors (silver, red, black, blue, etc) like the Lista Cabinets offer. Not a huge deal and the pattern is growing on me.

Overall, I dig them! The price, the quality and the fact they are Made in the U.S.A. — I couldn’t be happier.

Off to finish organizing the garage!

Gladiator Garage Works

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Obihai OBi100 – Google Voice To POTS (Plain Old Telephone Service)

DIY, Electronics, Home Appliances, Home Automation, Home Improvement
September 2, 2011 3 Comments

I’ve been on the look out for a device that can leverage Google Voice *and* offer up a POTS port that can be tied into my whole house Panasonic telephone system (Hybrid-PBX) as a CO line.  The search is finally over — Obihai’s OBi100 does exactly what I need for less than $50 and NO monthly fees!    I ordered the OBi100 from Amazon for only $43.99 when it arrived the setup was easy and was up and running within 30 mins. If you were to base the sound quality on looks alone, you’d suspect it’s terrible, however, it’s not! I couldn’t perceive any notable sound quality differences from my landline service and there were no issues sending or receiving faxes over the line either. This little device is a must have for any Google Voice user! If you have any questions feel free to post in the comments.

– Obihai:
What is it?
– Obihai: How to use it with Google Voice
– Buy now via AMAZON: OBi100 VoIP Telephone Adapter and Voice Service Bridge

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Russound RNET to Sonos Bridge

Hacks & Mods, Home Automation, Home Improvement, Home Theater
July 22, 2010 11 Comments

(This product is now available for purchase)

Also, check out PART 2, which goes into more details >

Here’s a sneak peak at my latest project — the RNET to Sonos Bridge. All coded using an Arduino and Ethernet Shield. What this little device allows you to do is control a Sonos device using any Russound whole house audio system that supports RNET sources. It allows next, previous, play, pause and I’m working on playlist access and support. Current track metadata gets sent to these keypads as a multi-field message.

I’m pretty much code complete but I’m running into a few memory issues… The Arduino only has <2K of available RAM that I can work with. I have an Arduino Mega (which offers 8K) on order to see if that solves things.  I think I can still optimize my code to make it work with the 328.

I’ll post more when I get it 100% stable.

Update: Got it working!  With about 500bytes left of RAM on the 328 chipset… this was a fun little project.  Below is a video:

Also running on E6 Color Keypads:

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TorZo Petrified/Infused Polymer Surfaces

Home Improvement
March 18, 2010 No Comments

My wife’s blog, frillas, typically covers home decor products, but TorZo’s surfaces has caught my attention.  It’s manufactured in the Pacific Northwest (Oregon) using renewable materials ranging from wheat, wood chips, sugar cane stalk, sunflower seed, and fibers.   I particularly like the look of the Tiikeri line (pictured above) which is composed of 50% sugar cane stalk and  the remaining 50% consists of an inert non-hazardous acrylic polymer.

Check out their complete product line here and if you are looking for some cool surfaces made from renewable materials TorZo’s product line should definitely be considered!  I’m trying to figure out how we can incorporate this product in our home…

TorZo Surfaces

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