Saturday, December 29, 2012

Hot Water Failure Christmas Morning

Much to our surprise we were out of hot water Christmas morning 2012. Interestingly enough we purchased this Sears Dual 28 Electric Water Heater in December of 1974. Hot water worked fine until September of 1996.

At that time a thermostat or heating coil went bad . While installing different used hardware I reconfigured the wiring so just one element is on at a time which is more standard. 

This Christmas morning I observed 240 volts at the upper element so I open the circuit breaker and removed one lead from the element and measured 40 ohms across the upper element which indicated the element is good.  I did notice the wire to the element was slightly discolored due to being warm. I loosened the screw and shortened the wire half an inch and reconnected with everything cleaned.  Now with power on the upper element is working fine and we have hot water.

With power on I measured 3/10 amps going to the lower element.  With power off I measured infinity across the heating coil which means it is bad. I then remove both leads, and installed wire nuts to protect the wire ends.

This hot water tank is double glass lined, has very little rust on the outside and has lasted so many years I hate to replace it. New tanks seem to only last 10 years at times. So now the question is should I operate with only one element which seems to work just fine. Seems we have enough hot water. This was the biggest tank Sears sold in 1974. It had by far the fastest heat recovery or gallons of hot water per minute due to the fact it had both elements on at the same time. It drew 28 amps which is rather close to the 30 amp circuit breaker. Power was cheap back then and since we had the cheaper all electric rate it seemed smart get the biggest and the best tank for just a few dollars extra. I see it came in 3 sizes 52, 66 and 82 gallons. It might be the biggest. We have never to my knowledge run out of hot water except for the 2 failures.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Merry Christmas 2012

Christmas 2012

Merry Christmas to all. What a busy and great time of year. So much is happening these days with well used trails through the woods to both boys’ families. We have so much to be grateful for. We are healthy but aging some. 

In April a big event was Linda retiring from the Office Manager/Bookkeeper position for Gamble Bay Timber. It was a nice career for her having flexibility all those years and especially to work with Jeremy and Nate. Now we are able to spend about two days a week watching our granddaughters. What a blessing for us. 

We traveled to the National Parks of Utah and Arizona in April car camping in our van. We met Bob and Marlene and spent a week camping with them and had a great time. So much to see and do. It was wonderful!

Our May special event was Hannah’s birth making our fourth delightful granddaughter. What a treat to be so close to our granddaughters (and their parents) as our granddaughters are growing up. All of them are doing well and so full of love, joy and energy. {Ages ½, 2, 3 &4.}

In July we camped at Lake Roosevelt with the extended family. We had a great time enjoying the sunshine, the heat, the water and everyone who came. Good mealtimes were had by all. Then in August we camped at Takhlak Lake overlooking Mount Adams with Betty and Alain, Bob and Marlene and Mark and Anne. What a beautiful spot. We so enjoyed our adventurous day hike which crossed a raging river and snow patches on a hot summer day. We basked in the luxury of our new very little camping trailer. (After 46 years of tents and vans.)

Our oldest granddaughter fell in our creek this year. The first person ever to do so. She was crossing the log bridge across the creek and momentarily looked back to see what Gramie was doing and off the side she went. She got wet to her ankles and was really surprised for sure. I reached down and pulled her back up on the log but noticed my strength has diminished some. She learned a valuable lesson.

In September we experienced another special event as Nate, Deann and girls moved into the home across the street from us. Wahoo!  Deann has two horses in our pasture these days which keeps us entertained. Now that they live so close she pretty much takes complete care which makes it especially nice for us. Horses are enjoyable to watch out our dining room window. We notice they watch us a lot also.

We are also grateful for the routine things in life - including volunteering and helping family and friends when the opportunities come.  All in all it has been a grand year.

                                   Blessings to you as we celebrate Jesus‘ birth, and enter 2013,

                                   Jim & Linda

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Century Link Phone and DSL

History - 
Good old Century Link! On the Seahawks game (September 2011) 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 a year then $56.45/month after taxes 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 was getting right at 700 kb/s with the upgrade. Seemed a lot faster than before. Youtube items did not have to buffer. They said I could get DSL only for $29.99 per month or some such price even at an over 10 times speed improvement (10 mb/s).

Next upgrade -
Then about September of 2012 I purchased a Ooma phone from Costco which connects to the DSL for free. I have to pay $4.71 per month for taxes to use this phone. With this unit I can call anywhere in the US and Canada for no charge, anytime. You use the same phone as you have always used. It works rather well only a slight delay in speech but far better than a cell phone it seemed to me.

So I called CenturyLink thinking I would disconnect my land line and just keep the DSL for $29.99 per month. (I mentioned I now had the Ooma.) Now the rest of their story. That DSL price was only if I bundled with a phone and/or tv. I do not remember them saying it was a bundled price earlier.

After much discussion I settled on a world average DSL speed of 10 mb/s and my landline phone connection with free long distance for $50.00 per month not including taxes. This price is locked in for 5 years. My first bill was $140 so I called CenturyLink and they said since I upgraded after a bill cycle I was paying for almost 2 months. And they noticed an $18 service charge which they could cancel since no one came to the house. And they would get the bill down to $50 some for a month. The bill that came in November 2012 was $75.47 so I called them back up. The ensured me this was the correct charge. I explained it should be much lower as I was told it would be in the $50 range before taxes.

They finally agreed to give me a $10 loyalty discount which I think will bring my price down to $49.99 plus taxes. The loyalty discount is applied for one year but if I call them back November of 2013 they will extend it year by year. So it is on my calendar to make that call next year. ($120 a year in savings.) We have been with our local phone service with the same phone number since about 1974. We got by without a phone when we were first over here in Kingston for several years. Our first phone was on a 4 party line which was interesting at about $7 a month.

Way too much work to get this all straightened out. I don’t know how they could make it all more confusing. It is almost fraudulent advertising they do with their fliers with the rest of the story explained in faint, tiny print that I need a magnifying lens to read.  

10 mb/s is real nice DSL though. Nates is about 1.3 as is Jeremy’s. So for the first time in my life I have a faster internet. We are still on antenna tv though which only gets about 10 stations unless you turn the antenna then we would get 10 different stations.

Oh, there is another part to the story. With the upgrade they included a Century Link answer machine. They did not send me any information on how to retrieve the messages. I noticed after a day or so that the dial tone started pulsing. So eventually I got around to calling them with the following comical discussion.

Chat InformationPlease wait for a site operator to respond.

Chat InformationYou are now chatting with 'Charles M'

Charles M: Hello and thank you for contacting CenturyLink Residential Internet Tech Support. How may I assist you today?

Jim: I tried to set up an internet account but it did not like the 3 passwords I tried to select and then said contact you all. Now what?

Charles M: I'm sorry to hear that. I’ll be happy to assist you today.

Jim: great

Charles M: May I ask what account you were trying to set up: billing or email?

Charles M:

Jim: 30050xxxx

Charles M: Could you please verify the full name and billing address on the account?

Charles M:

Jim: James Anunson, xxxx xxxx Gamble Rd NE, Kingston WA 98346

Charles M: Thank you, what were you trying to do, set up your billing account online  or set up a email account?

Jim: I want to be able to get to my phone messages on line. So maybe billing account?

Charles M: Ok it sounds like you will need to contact our voice department to get this set up. You can contact them 24/7 at 800-788-3600.

Jim: ok thanks

Charles M: Thank you for choosing CenturyLink, have a good night.

Charles M:

Chat InformationChat session has been terminated by the site operator.

Fortunately I called the number above and was able to get everything straightened out in regards to our message service. I now have an internet account using a password that is secure enough to run a bank, I would think.

*** Whew ***

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Leaking laundry drain

Jeremy and Jacie’s house experienced an interesting problem. Jeremy and Jacie were outside on one of our sunny evenings and noticed a wet 5 inch wide section of foundation outside their laundry room. After closer inspection and finding no water inside we cut a one foot hole in the drywall behind the washing machine just above floor level. All was dry there. So then we cut a one foot hole through the drywall on the basement ceiling where the drain comes down the wall. The basement apartment wall is held off the foundation at that point. Well, we did see water at that point but fortunately no rot. We still could not see any defect in the pipe but were rather sure it was leaking at the top of the foundation.

We cut the 2 inch drain pipe 3 inches above the first floor and at the ceiling height of the basement and removed the 18 inch section of pipe. Sure enough a 45 degree joint was cracked where the pipe penetrates the upstairs floor. Amazing place to have a break, for sure. Oh well, we were able to replace it all rather quickly and install a rubber boot for the last joint.

Now to watch for 2 weeks and ensure there are no leaks then patch the sheetrock.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Century Link DSL upgrade -

I spoke with customer support and mentioned my DSL is slow running at 0.72 Mbps for download and 0.27 Mbps for upload. I measured using ““. Customer support said they could increase my speed to 3 Mbps  for free or for $5 a month additional give me 10 Mbps. 3 Mbps is good enough for Hula tv speed so I figured that was fine.

Just measured the speed at 2.98 Mbps! That is a speed increase of 4 times. So now for $50 a month we have a land line phone and the 2.98 Mbps DSL. Oh, the world average speed is about 12 Mbps according to the ““ sites table, meaning we are still in the dark ages.

Another interesting option would be to get just DSL at 10 Mbps for $29.95 a month and purchase a DSL type phone box from COSTCO for $130 and then I would only need to pay like $4 per month for taxes and could call all USA for free any time. But if we loose DSL we would have no phone. I suspect the voice quality would be ok as Nate has one and it sounded fine.

Interesting enough I was unable to view Mark’s Takhlakh Lake pictures as a Goggle+ slide show until we received the “higher” speed DSL. Then all worked just fine.  

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Sonicare Toothbrush Repair

My Sonicare toothbrush went totally dead after just over 4 years of service. Per the manual this battery cannot be replaced. (Brilliant plan by Sonicare!) I went on Youtube and there was a good video of battery replacement.

So I did purchase a battery and was able to replace it. ($15.44 including shipping.) (Now that I know what the battery is I probably can get it for under $7 including shipping.)The connections need to be unsoldered and re-soldered. I was able to replace the original NiCad with a NIMH battery which I would think is much better. The battery is an odd size so I did not even know what the voltage was! After receiving the replacement the voltage measured 1.25 volts indicating it is just a large one cell battery. (MH-4/5A2200) The battery stores 2200 mHh. The leads for the new battery did not fit into the circuit board so I added short lengths of wire. All seems to work fine after repair. Even though there is an o-ring to keep water out of the circuit I did add a little caulking at the joint to ensure no water enters the unit. Maybe I will get more than 4 years out of the repaired unit. I at least can hope.


***  August 2014 the second units battery failed. I was able to purchase replacement battery this time for $10 on Ebay. All worked fine after replacement. Was really quick and easy this time. This battery had stores 2200 mHh and came with convenient wire lead easy to solder.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Aliner RV electrical work

The night before taking the Aliner RV on our first trip to Spring Canyon Campground we noticed the AC outlets cycled to no power and then after about a minute power returned. I isolated the problem to a overheated 10 gauge power cord wire at the RV’s power panel. There was a wire nut on the wire attaching an extra 6 inch chunk of wire which was attached to the power panel clamp. The wire nut fell off after pulling on the wire while moving the wire for a visual inspection. The overheated section was over the last 2 inches. See pictures below. I was able to remove and clean and polish the power panel lug using a Dremel tool. I removed the 6 inch section of wire and fed the original power cord wire through the tight opening and attach the wire to the now bright and shinny lug. Now all works fine.

 Notice the nice bright shinny wire at top and the overheated dull, corroded wire below. All should work fine now. The bright wire and overheated wire are both ends of the 6 inch added on piece of wire.

Next problem -

After our trip I observed the refrigerator was cold after our 6 hour drive home. The refrigerator was running on 12 volt power while we were driving. However the RV battery was dead reading only 6.69 volts. The problem was isolated to the trailer to car plug. The lugs on the trailers plug were spread too wide. I could simply yank on the plug and the 12 volt accessory power from the cars battery to the RV’s battery would come and go. I compressed the lugs on the trailers plug and verified the connection was consistent. The trailers plug is molded to the wire so I sort of hate to cut the plug off and attach a new plug, at least until the failure returns. The refrigerator draws 7 amps which would be easy for the car’s 90 amp alternator to supply. (Notice the spread is reduced on all the pins and especially the two large pins in the bottom photo.)

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Window motor replacement in 2000 Caravan

It can be difficult to replace the window motor on 2000 Caravan. The passenger door window stopped working and after inspecting determined the power window motor had failed. I was able to locate a new replacement motor for $50 on EBay. All would have worked out better if the coil of cable in the window regulator assembly would have lined up with the new motor but the coil slipped then uncoiled the cables. Then the cable dropped off the pulley’s up in the door frame where I couldn’t quite get the wire restrung. So with some difficulty I removed the regulator and placed all the hardware on the workbench and was able to get the cables restrung correctly and then with some maneuvering I was able to get the regulator and motor located back inside the door and secured. All is now working. Too much effort however. Crappy design if repair is a consideration. Thanks Chrysler

.(Found the brushes were completely worn out on window motor.)

Defective Motor Assembly

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Replacing Hot Tub

We installed a used hot tub in 2003 and used it until 2009. The tub had previously been repainted on the inside and lacked cosmetic beauty. I found a nice looking free tub and while installing, I found it leak under the seats, an area hard to get to for repairs. By this time I had damaged the original tub while borrowing a jet for the pretty tub. I took both tubs to the dump and began looking for a replacement. Recently I did find another nice looking tub with a good cover.
After plumbing and filling with water this one leaks at the air inlet port which again is under the bench seat and the only way to get to the fitting is by cutting a hole under the seat.

Close up. Notice the drip. Looks like the leak is in the seam of the PCV pipe and fitting.

Further I have no idea what this through port looks like. Maybe I can fix this leak externally since there is little water pressure at this point.

Well, a couple weeks have gone by and I have been thinking. I tried several ways to stop the one leak and may have slowed the leak down some. The other leak seems to be slowing down a bunch also.

Then the filter case lid started leaking significantly especially with an increase in water pressure with the circulation pump running. I found the case lid to have a crack likely due to age and fittings too tight. So I removed the filter and now the leaks are sort of under control. They are just an occasional drip and maybe will not cause a problem. So I turned on the heat and we have been enjoying the hot tub for 3 nights. I have not added chemicals yet as I plan to use this water for 2 weeks at most then I plan to drain and fill with fresh water and at that time will add the chemicals. Looks like we are having success.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Battery Charger Repair 10/30/50 Amp (Schummacher)

The charger failed to even turn on after the leads were momentarily connected in reverse polarity to a mostly discharged battery.

I found the 50 amp output fuse right away but it was still good. After checking a few items out I observed some components tucked into slots near the center core of the transformer. The leads were long enough to pull these components out and one appears to be a 2.5 Amp fuse along with a 150 degree centigrade fuse. I jumpped this item with a green clip lead and all worked.

I did not bump into this device on the DigiKey web site so purchase a 3 amp package of auto fuses and installed one across the leads.

All worked until I tried the 30 amp position. I had the charger hooked up to my charged car battery for this test. The fuse blew so I replaced it with either a 10 or 15 amp auto fuse. This time the fuse held for all tests.

(The above is the inside view of the charger.)

I seldom jump the fuse up so high from original but I figure the house circuit will be protected and if the charger blows, fine. Get a new charger. We don’t want a good charger to fail due to a fuse especially a fuse hidden inside the box.

Note - since the charger is running of 120 vac and then converts this ac voltage to only 12 vdc the input amperage will need to be only 1/10 or so of the rated output.

Friday, January 6, 2012

1998 Chevrolet Metro oil leak

Finally I think I found my oil leak in the metro. A loose Allen head pipe type plug in the head under the camshaft sprocket is the source of the main leak. The plug looks clean but is covered with clean oil. I backed the plug out 2/3 of the way until it met the camshaft sprocket. (The plug was loose.) Looks to me like a manufacturing port of some sort.

(Note the leaking plug is below and left of the camshaft.)

I cleaned the exposed threads of the plug with some alcohol and applied some special Permatex thread compound then tightened up real good. I am quite sure this will resolve most of my oil leak. In 2009 I installed this rebuilt head and never dreamed this plug was loose.

It did take a long time to find this leak as it is under the plastic timing cover which is under the pulley driving the alternator and a second belt to the power steering pump and the compressor for the air conditioning. Finally I left the plastic timing cover off along with the second belt and was able to see the leak at the source instead of near the bottom of the engine.

I used a product called the Right Stuff to seal the metal to metal surface under the end crankshaft journals where it appeared some oil was leaking to the outside. I also replace the valve cover gasket and used the right stuff for the gasket under the oil pump case and for the oil pan.

(Picture shows the joint in the journals that was not sealed.)

Interestingly enough the Metro Service Manual appears to be incorrect or the camshaft sprocket is labeled wrong. The manual shows to have the “E” at top dead center. However the sprocket has 2 “E’s”. One located near the edge and another in nearer the center support. I used the one near the center as that is where it had been running so well. The manual indicates using the other “E“. The “E’s” are separated by about 100 degrees. Small little error!!!

(Note, picture from the Service Manual.)

(Note, 2 "E's" stamped on sprocket! One is about in the 8 o'clock position. The other is just above the center bolt.)