Thursday, December 29, 2011

Sofa repair

As we moved the sofa this morning for the annual cleaning underneath we noticed the right arm seemed loose. We turned this huge, heavy sofa over and observed the arm's wood framing was broken!

Notice the top piece is suppose to be 2 inches to the left with the top piece set into the notch. Staples are all loose.

I was able to fully disconnect this piece except for the fabric, which will allow me to get more glue into the joint. I cut off all the staples.

I found some two and a half inch wood screws and was able to grind off one quarter inch which with the half inch wood spacer made all fit perfectly.

Looks like the repair may work!

Probably stronger than new. (It is a Lane sofa.)

Monday, December 19, 2011

Laptop Computer Repair

I was given a broken laptop computer as there was no video on the screen at all. When power was turned on a couple blue led indicators lit but all else was dead. This is an HP Pavilion tx1000 with Vista installed.

This video chip is know to get too hot on this and similar computers. As it gets hot apparently the solder melts and the chip separates from the mother board causing the failure.

Twice, using a hair dryer, I tried to heat up the video chip on the motherboard enough to reflow the solder without help. Apparently the hair dryer was not getting the solder hot enough. Then once I tried using a heat lamp 2 inches from the board but ended up blowing up the bulb, literally. Then I purchased a better tool which is sort of a heat gun with higher temperature output like 400 degrees Fahrenheit on the low setting and 800 degrees on the high setting. Using the new tool I fried that chip until the little chips board was getting heat blisters. Then assembled the little computer leaving out 5 screws as they are not fitting or no place observable to insert them. And by now I doubted the computer would ever function again.

I powered it up and “Walla“, video on the screen! Windows Vista kept wanting to upgrade which I did several times. I connected the computer up to the internet using an Ethernet cable and it worked fine. The antenna to the Wifi was and still is broken so that is not working.

It is hard to determine how long the computer will continue to run. Possibly it is fixed for the long haul. Who knows? I would keep the computer off laps and such to ensure it can get enough cooling air.

The original owners are welcome to have this computer back as it probably has some personnel files on it. One owners files are password protected. If they don’t want it back I will need to delete all the personnel stuff and go from there.

The video chip is cooled with the same fan and duct work as the main processor. There was a little dust in the duct blocking maybe 10% of the air flow. The dust was easily removed when I had everything apart. Kind of interesting to work on a little unit like this. It is amazing how easy the hard drive comes out. Not so amazing how the DVD unit comes out. The keyboard and motherboard came out rather slowly. Of course I have not disassembled one before this so maybe next time will be faster.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

DSL Century Link

Good old Century Link. On the Seahawks game they advertised high speed DSL for $19.95/mo for a 5 year commitment. When I called the following Monday they didn’t seem to recognize that deal but offered to cut my bill by $10/mo to $46 for year then $56.45/mo for both phone and DSL. And DSL would increase from 526 kb/s to 768 kb/s. They would also throw in call waiting and caller ID. Still not fast enough for good quality netflix which needs 3 mb/s. I checked my download speed and am getting right at 700 kb/s with the upgrade. Seems a lot faster than before. Youtube items don’t have to buffer anymore.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Tektonix Oscilloscope Repair

Alain found a couple oscilloscopes at a yard sale and called to see if I was interested. The Tektronix Digital Storage 100 Mhz scope sounded real interesting. (Model 2232 produced about 1990.) He bought the scope for $40. At home the trace triggered and displayed but all was out of focus and the focus knob did not go far enough in the improving direction.

I was able to download the 366 page PDF Service Manual off the internet. This manual has the description of operation and also the schematics! What a pleasant find!

On page 285 I found the focus circuit schematic.

I then took the cover off the scope and eventually found the series resistors chain on the bottom board and they were well marked. Using an ohm meter I found R890 open instead of reading 510 k ohms. Since the failure was so clear I did not even remove the circuit board to observe the failed resistor. I simply scabbed a new resistor on the bottom of the board. Remember the training (KISS = Keep It Simple Sam)?

I cut an opening in a plastic high voltage protection plate to make room for the new resistor. Now all works as designed. At least the focus is good, the traces display and the triggering works. Now to read the manual to figure out the many other features of this rather powerful scope.

Also I should replace a missing screw that holds the back cover on.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Viking Husqvarna Model 6440 Sewing Machine

Failure and Repair.

Linda’s 33 year old, ‘vintage’ sewing machine started smoking the other night. The machine was just sitting there when the motor started by itself and smoke emerged from the machine! They unplugged the machine but there remained a ‘nice’ odor in the room. This has been an excellent sewing machine over the years.

We plugged it in the next day and the motor started at a slow speed without depressing the foot pedal. After concluding the machine is not worth much anymore I started the disassembly. I was able to eventually get to the motor and the little terminal box that held some electronics. There was capacitor that had blown up leaving a moist oil like substance on the terminal board. The cap had a label indicating it was 0.1 uf, 250V ~ MP, fo = 3.6 Mhz, PME 271M. This turned out to be a interference suppressor used, I think, to reduce electrical noise caused by the motor.. I looked for a replacement capacitor but found only one half the size that sold in lots of 200 for about $2 each. ($400).

The motor and terminal board assembly.

The blown capacitor. Its belly is missing.

I didn’t want to leave the machine disassembled too long for fear I may not get it back together correctly so I completely removed the capacitor. Now the sewing machine works just fine. Maybe when the motor is running we will hear interference on our radio or tv. I may look further for a replacement part as time permits?

Here the beauty is.

I wonder how many more years of service this machine will provide? There are some new machines out there even in the $150 neighborhood that may outperform this vintage sewing machine. Who knows?

Friday, June 24, 2011

The well water

We started thinking our well water was tasting poorly a month or so ago. I inspected our 30 inch round shallow well and all seemed ok. I cleaned the well using bleach. The water never did taste of bleach as it must have all dissipated or been diluted too much by our reservoir. The taste improved but was not as it should be.

So this time, two weeks later, I dug down a foot to the 1000 gallon reservoir lid and inspected the reservoir. All seemed clean and the water was nice and clear. It has been 11 years since I have looked inside the reservoir.

I dumped 4 cups of bleach in the full reservoir and 2 cups of bleach in the full well. Then I closed the valve between the well and reservoir and started draining both using both pumps dumping the water through 5/8 hoses without any nozzle. The well was drained to the upper shutoff float after 20 minutes. I added another 1.5 cups of bleach and hosed down the walls of the well real good with the bleached well water.

The well is quite slow in recovery but always has water. At one time it had a recovery of 1.3 gallons a minute. This equals more than 60 gallons an hour and with the reservoir the well provides plenty of water for our home.

After 2 hours and 20 minutes the reservoir was down to maybe a foot of water remaining. I don’t want to drain it below the water pickup pipe or the system would loose the pump prime. The way the plumbing is configured if it looses a prime you almost need to wait until the reservoir is half full before you can start the priming process. In the last 20 years I don’t think we have ever lost a prime. We did loose it a couple times early on when the float switches were being adjusted.

I added two cups of bleach to both the well and reservoir and washed down the reservoir with the hose using the bleached reservoir water. This water turned almost muddy brown much to my surprise!

I opened the valve between the well and reservoir and now am just waiting for the particulates to settle out. I could have emptied the reservoir one more time but we have been gone some. If I would have emptied the well it would have cleaned the particulates out earlier.

Now 3 days later barely can smell the bleach in the house water and there is a slight turbidity in the water. Hopefully the taste will be back to its usual quality which I believe to be superior to the bottled water that is purchased at the store.

The water is purified by an Ultra Violet lamp so as long as the turbidity is gone the water is good as far as bacteria is concerned.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

1975 Dryer repair

Looks like our 1975 dryer is working as designed (almost). It took 15 minutes to get to the problem which was a bad control switch (timer). I priced new switches and the price ranged from $208 to $150. If I sent our switch in and they could rebuild they would likely charge $74 or for $20 more I could get an immediate rebuild but would still need to send mine in. (The original part is no longer made so they have substitutes that fit, they say.

The dryer has been an excellent machine. It is a Maytag model kde407 series 01. As I understand it moves a lot of air and does not get the clothes too warm while drying which makes it good on the clothes and efficient also, as moving air is cheap compared to heating air. The unit is rated at 4800 watts which means it could draws 20 amps at 240 volts. The spinning motor runs on just 120 volts. There is a heat temperature switch which I suspect cycles the heating element on and off keeping the air at a controlled temperature. Then there is another overheat switch in case of a malfunction. I am pessimistic a new machine would be more efficient.

After taking the control switch apart I found that the two inch plastic disc had separated from the splinned metal shaft causing the failure. The disc controls all the length of times for the different drying cycles and also turns on the heat if needed for any cycle.

After a little research I decided to glue the plastic disc to the metal shaft using JB Weld. I let cure overnight. I was aware before gluing that I had no idea how to align the plastic disc to the shaft and if out of aligned it would skew all the settings shown on the control panel. Oh well it would have taken too long to research that out.

While putting switch back together I noticed the spring had sprung off somewhere! (Kids - oh phooey - probably can’t blame it on kids or grand kids.) I remember just where I had left that spring but likely when I vacuumed everything I must have tipped the spring out of place. So then comes out the 2 million candlepower flashlight to search the floor and shine in the small opening to see inside the dryer. No luck. So now another 10 minutes to get the back off. I found the spring easily and went ahead and vacuumed all out which included 39 cents, 3 allen wrenches and two buttons.

So, now all is back together and the dial is 10 degrees off and after testing I suspect everything is working. I did place a new mark on the base of the control dial indicating the setting point of the switch. A good thing is the little black mark I added does not seem to clash with the avocado green dryer.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Jim's first car

I have been thinking about my first car. Grandpa's 1941 Cadillac with 62,000 miles on the odometer. Following are some pictures I found on the web that totally remind me of the car. The car is definitely a good memory. I took possession of this car in about 1963 the year I graduated from high school.

This is a flathead V8. I remember the car was easy to brake and steer even though it was very heavy and neither brakes or steering were power assisted. It did have a nice clock, vacuum powered antennae and phenomenal hood latch.

Jim's Metro Car Story

Old news I suppose - Sep 2009
(There is more, newer, info but the below reports some of the cars history while in my care.)

I was looking for an older fuel efficient car that I could use to run around. I noticed Metro’s were cheap with very good fuel economy. On Craig’s List I found one South of Olympia for $500. Maybe a little more primitive than what I was really looking for but then I read it was a 1998 with only 93,000 miles. Now on this metro was reported to get 33 to 39 mpg.

So off Linda and I went. We found the car at a very nice gated RV trailer park just south of Miller Sylvania State Park. A couple our age had pulled it behind their motor home for 30,000 of its 93,000 miles. They sold their motor home and purchased a 5th wheel trailer and pickup combo and were ready to head south. The Metro was now extra.

The car has it’s exceptional qualities but comes with some distracters also. One distracter is it has baked some while in Texas and Arizona. The roof looks like it has been real hot as the paint is thin on top and even the headliner is overheated and falling down. Then the Constant Velocity joints are failing on the front drive axles as I could easily feel and hear on any turn. Then there was another problem of needing a quart of oil on each gasoline fill up! Then there was the damaged plastic in front of the headlights that were so cloudy it must have cut 30% of the light output.

Well it still seemed like a good fixer upper so I willingly gave them the $500. We were having such and enjoyable time visiting I only got his signature in the one blank line of the title. The car was however in both their names. When I tried to register the title they needed her signature also even though there was no place on the title for a second signature. I gave the sellers a call and said I could send them a Release of Interest form and if they would have that notarized all would be well. They volunteered to come up so we met at JRO (our title company) and within 5 minutes all was well and they headed to Downtown Poulsbo for a beach walk.

Then cleaning began. I washed and scrubbed inside and out! (The car was smoked in until 3 months prior to my purchasing.) I tried gluing up the headliner cloth but only partly successful. The headliner needs more work although now it does not hang down enough to bother me. I ran Napa Fast Motor Flush through engine then changed oil and oil filter. I could tell the filter had not been changed in a while!

Then for the interruption, the weather was so warm I felt the need to get to the alpine mountain country. With the Metro I headed across the ferry where I noticed huge amounts of smoke from the exhaust each time I started the car. Rather embarrassing really! The car drove well other than that and of course the clicking around each turn which does not help ones confidence of reliable ride. Never had to stop for gas though. The car did start up just fine after sitting at the trail head for 5 days which was another point in its favor.

While hiking I received the three volume large used Chevrolet Metro 1998 Service Manuals I ordered on EBay. They are in great shape and very useful. While looking on EBay I also found and ordered a Service Manuals for our 2000 Caravan. It was also used but is very clean and nice. I purchased it for about $30 maybe a little less. Then they had a four volume set of Chevrolet 2000 Caravan Diagnostic Manuals I purchased for $20. They all are so much better than the aftermarket manuals. Last year I looked for Caravan manuals but none were available.

Next came the repairs. New windshield wipers, whew were the originals shot! New air cleaner, whew was the original dirty but still working. Nice design. Power cleaned the engine with Super Clean which works so well! Then I purchased a plastic cleaner from Napa called Megular’s Mirror Glaze. Wow did it do a nice quick job of clearing up the plastic in front of the headlights. Just a couple minutes for each one. It even meets a military spec! They said it would clean up scratches on plastic glasses which I tried and it did a good job there also. Not back to 100% but sure a lot better!

Next I raised the front of the car and inspected the underneath. I noticed a rapid oil leak at the bottom of the timing belt case. I pulled off the front drivers side axles with the Constant Velocity (CV) joint and installed a rebuilt one for $46. Pulled off the passenger side axle but before installing the rebuilt one I removed the timing case and replaced the $36 water pump and the $16 timing belt. The original belt looked in rather good shape. I replaced the $8 camshaft oil seal which I suspect was the source of the oil leak and also replaced the $8 crankshaft oil seal which may have been leaking. Replaced the alternator belt and air conditioning belt while reassembling everything.

While the car was up in the air I removed the front bumper assembly which is easy once it is all figured out. Just 4 easily accessible bolts and maybe 5 Phillips screws. That makes the radiator and air-conditioning all easily accessible. It also made the tow bar assemble accessible. So I removed the 25 pound tow bar and reinstalled the bumper. Then I installed the $46 rebuilt Constant Velocity axle assembly on the passenger side. This task seemed easy compared to the timing belt replacement. I added a little power steering fluid and filled the radiator with water which I will run with for a week to ensure no leaks prior to installing fresh antifreeze.

The original sticker for the car was in the glove box and indicates this car gets 39 mpg in the city and 43 mpg in the country. On my first tank I got 42 mpg! My motorcycle gets 46 mpg! This is the third generation Metro Lsi model with a 4 cylinder 1.3 liter, 79 horsepower engine, with two front airbags. It has a 5 speed manual transmission and drives easily like my second car (back in 1966) the Volkswagen Beetle. The Metro has more power which is nice. The Napa auto parts salesmen when asking for the engine size usually comment oh you have the big block engine. I am still not sure if they are joking? (Most Metro’s come with a 3 cylinder 1.0 liter engine.) The engine is less than half the size of our 3.3 liter Caravan mini-van and gets double the gas mileage. (The generation 1st car weighs only 1367 pounds! I suspect this 3rd generation car weighs a little more.)

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Barn Progress

The barn is coming along. Ron Besel gave me enough siding to complete the large section of the south side and I was able to get it all in place today. The south side is where we receive most of our wind so siding the south side makes the building almost water tight. I still need to trim the one edge and will eventually create a door or window to get to pens that will be on this side of the building.

The rest of the siding will be Hardie Plank which is 7 inch horizontal lap siding. Hardie Plank is a fiber cement board. James Lumber would sell a 12 foot Plank for $7.48 delivered or $7.29 if I pick it up (Special deal). Home Depot has it for $6.67 and then they give me a 10% discount for having been in the military so it came to $6.01 a plank. Still seems expensive, oh well.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

George Washington’s humor in a letter

I found the below letter quite interesting. It was written by our first president to his brother-in-law Burwell Gassett celebrating the birth of their new child. It looks to me to be quite humorous throughout and also demonstrates some of his connection to the Christian life. I suspect he must have enjoyed Burwell as a brother-in-law.

I used an on-line Optical Character Recognition site to duplicate the letter and left the spelling as is which was likely correct for the late 18th century. Oh by the way, “animadvert” which is used in the letter means “to comment unfavorably”.

From page 319 of the book titled “George Washington’s Sacred” Fire by Peter A. Lillback. This book is a proof that George Washington was a Christian and not simply a Deist as some seem to claim.

Dear Sir: I was favoured with your Epistle wrote on a certain 25th of July when you ought to have been at Church, praying as becomes every good Christian Man who has as much to answer for as you have; strange it is that you will be so blind to truth that the enlightning sounds of the Gospel cannot reach your Ear, nor no Examples awaken you to a sense of Goodness; could you but behold with what religious zeal I hye me to Church on every Lords day, it would do your heart good, and fill it I hope with equal fervency; but Heark’ee; I am told you have lately introduced into your Family a certain production which you are lost in admiration of, and spend so much time in contemplating the just proportion of its parts, the ease, and conveniences with which it abounds, that it is thought you will have little time to animadvert upon the prospect of your crops &c; pray how will this be reconciled to that anxious care and vigilance, which is so escencially necessary at a time when our growing Property, meaning the Tobacco, is assailed by every villainous worm that has had an existence since the days of Noah (how unkind it was of Noah now l have mentioned his name to suffer such a brood of vermin to get a birth in the Ark) but perhaps you may be as well of as we are; that is, have no Tobacco for them to eat and there I think we nicked the Dogs, as I think to do you if you expect any more; but not without a full assurance of being with a very sincere regard etc.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Microwave Oven Tale -

We purchased our GE Microwave Spacemaker XL Oven in May of 2002. The microwave oven is color coordinated with our stove and includes a vent for the stove which is then vented to the outside. It has been a good microwave with only the stepper motor to the rotating plate failing once in the past and a few light bulb replacements over the years.

Well the other day I tried to heat something and the microwave died as soon as I hit the start button. Even the lights on the stove went out. Then 3 minutes later the power magically returned. Yet the same sequence occurred after touching the start button the next time.

So I ended up calling GE support at 1-888-239-6832 and spoke with Ronny who concurred with my suspicion; the magnetron failed. I had read on the web this magnetron was having some failures. So even on this 8.5 year old microwave GE said they will ship me a new magnetron free! The magnetron arrived 3 days later. Part number OM75P (10) or WB27X10370. I read the magnetron outputs a frequency of 2450 Mhz. Amazing huh.

It took about an hour to get the oven off the wall and on to the workbench and another hour to replace the magnetron and one additional hour to remount on the wall.

Thanks GE for your great, no hassle, support!

The only issue was there was absolutely no paper work on how to install the new magnetron. I suspect that is because of lawyers and courts holding companies unreasonably liable for everything. Hurts us all in the long run. Big help.

The other issue was the magnetron needed 1/8th inch more clearance and it would have slid in easy. As it was, I bent the frame momentarily, enabling installation clearance. Why pack things in so tight. They had extra room.

All looks good now and all is normal once again.