An old thermostat contains a mercury switch which you can use to sense mechanical rotational position. This is especially valuable for outdoor projects since the switches are sealed. I am intending to use these for low voltage (about 12 volts) control where the switched current won't be more than an amp.
Honeywell/34 that had been removed from a church. The date on the "new" manual is 1994. According to the manual: this thermostat is actually a small but powerful computer. So far it is working fine. The default temperature of 20C is a bit too warm but nice as I enjoy the heat while it is not too cool outside. The furnace is not working hard yet, the outside temp is about 5C. Replacing a thermostat is best done on a day when you don't actually need the heat.
SAFETY REMINDER: Mercury is toxic and we must take a lot of care NOT TO BREAK THE VIAL and let the mercury escape. It is best to work over a pan so that should the vial be damaged, the mercury will escape into the pan. Keep a pill bottle handy for any escaped mercury metal.
Cabot Head. Three is ideal since if I have trouble with any one I will still have the two I need.
Could we use the whole tilt-able mount assembly to have a fine adjustment built in to our own mount? For what I have in mind I don't want temperature to be a factor so I would like to replace all or most of the bi-metal spring which is the sensing element for temperature in this thermostat. Newer ones use a thermistor or a semiconductor sensing element and they don't contain a mercury switch.
One possible use of these type of switches is for limit switches in a solar tracking array or for a float switch.
It is not possible to easily buy mercury switches since they have all but been banned for new construction. However by gathering these as they are being removed from service saves them from the landfill and keeps them available for a future use.
Link here goes to the motor drive of the project. The main index is diy solar parabolic trough gen2 intro
DRAFT - may change over the next day or two as I add/change - comments welcome - comments are moderated
Oct 28 - Added T87 and edits
Lion's Head, Ontario