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SecretSquirrel
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Re: Anyone repair anything today?

Sat Aug 10, 2019 12:35 pm

A while back I put in a manifold for the compressor in my garage. Of course, it leaked. :roll: Well, today I'm running the air lines for things running off that manifold so I took the time this morning to take it down, take it apart, and address all the leaks. Remember Gerbils, if you aren't making a mess with the thread sealant, you aren't using enough. :D Just don't get it inside the lines...

--SS
 
cheesyking
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Re: Anyone repair anything today?

Mon Aug 12, 2019 9:38 am

I re-pointed the front wall of my house. As you can probably guess from the amount of muck I had to use in some places it badly needed doing. TBH there were a couple of bricks I might have been able to wiggle free jenga style if I'd tried.

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At least my work was no worse than anyone else that has worked on that wall over the years although maybe I should have put something in the mortar to darken it up a bit so it matched better.
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Chuckaluphagus
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Re: Anyone repair anything today?

Mon Aug 12, 2019 11:22 am

I do not do ladders*, so I recently paid someone else to do a similar repair to my chimney. At the top of the chimney, the mortar was so far gone that the workers were able to just pull the bricks off by hand. Glad that was taken care of before a storm blew it over.
_____
* Heights are ok. Tall ladders are deeply nerve-wracking and I will only ascend one if absolutely necessary.
 
SecretSquirrel
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Re: Anyone repair anything today?

Sat Aug 17, 2019 8:25 am

Yesterday morning when the alarm went off at 5:50AM, it felt awfully warm in the house. A quick check of the thermostat showed it was 78F (the thermostat was set for 72F). Definitely not good, considering the high was supposed to be 101F. A quick jaunt outside confirmed that the condenser wasn't running -- no compressor, no fan. Into the garage to turn off the breaker, upstairs to turn down the upstairs unit to help keep the house somewhat cool, and back into the bedroom to turn the downstairs blower on so that air is at least circulating. The blower is on a different breaker from the condenser. With that done, time to do some basic investigation. Need to know if I'm going to have to call out an AC tech. Turns out, no. The problem became immediately obvious when I opened the outside disconnect panel for this condenser.

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The smell of magic smoke was strong and unmistakable. Went back in the garage to double check that the breaker was off and then pulled the plastic cover out of the disconnect panel.

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Remember Gerbils, 240V @ 50A is a lot of power! :o

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I very much dislike doing work on 240V circuits -- they scare me! But, I had no desire to wait half a day without AC to have an electrician come out and replace it and pay through the nose for the privilege, so of to the home improvement store I went.

I had to pick up a couple of #8 splices. I cut back the burned black wire past the melted insulation and spliced in a new segment. You can't see it in the pictures because it's hidden, but the white wire already had a splice in it, with a wire nut on it. While it seemed solid, I went ahead and replaced it with a butt splice, same as the black wire. New box and 50A breaker, and we were back in business.

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The longer length of wires I spliced in are nicely tucked in under the internal faceplate of the enclosure. Put the exterior cover on and call it a day...

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It actually went pretty smoothly. The only problem I had was that it was so hot, the sealant I had got very very runny in the heat, so I couldn't get a good bead around the box where it meets the wall. I'll need to pick up some silicone caulk next time I'm out (today).

--SS
 
Usacomp2k3
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Re: Anyone repair anything today?

Sat Aug 17, 2019 4:12 pm

I had a breaker catch fire in the main panel inside. Flames were licking out the cover. :o
Needless to day we went to Home Depot and replaced the entire panel that day. Had to replace all the breakers too since I went with a different brand. It may have been overkill, but now I don’t have to worry about it.
 
SecretSquirrel
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Re: Anyone repair anything today?

Sun Aug 18, 2019 5:43 pm

Today's repair project -- a stained glass lamp.

Some background. As a wedding present, my mother had commissioned a beautiful, custom, hand crafted stained glass lamp. It hung in the entry way in our old house. A few years after we got married, we were having a new bed delivered and as the mattress was being carried upstairs, it shifted and bumped the lamp. In slow motion, it came loose from its chain and fell onto entryway floor. The damage was substantial, but amazingly repairable. I shipped it back to the craftslady who made it and she put it back together, good as new.

One weak spot in the design of the lamp are the mounts for the chains from which it hangs. The attach to copper wire hooks that are attached to the inner seam in the corners of the lamp. I don't know if it was missed in the initial repair, or just happened over time, but two of the mounting wires had pulled away from the lamp and needed to be repaired. In the below, I've been the wire out a bit to give room to work in the corners of the lamp.

http://kovarindustries.com/coppermine/albums/userpics/10001/normal_IMG_20190818_130814561.jpg

First up was cleaning the seam with Goo Gone, to get rid of remnants of the adhesive from the original copper foil. I also removed the foil and solder from the mounting wire and sanded it lightly to get rid of any remaining patina, or other oxidation.

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Did that on both sides, then it was time to lay new copper foil on the seam. Not easy, given the physical constraints of the space, the light weight of the foil, and the aggressiveness of the adhesive. But, I got both sides in, pretty cleanly.

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I picked up a Weller WLC200, just for doing this repair. Ok, this repair was a good excuse to pick up a high powered iron that I will probably used two or three times a year, but at those times, it will be extremely handy to have. Also picked up a container of liquid flux and a pound of solid core 60/40 solder.

Soldering the joints was an interesting exercise due to the constrained space, the wire in the joint, and the fact that this was my first time doing stained glass work. :o

http://kovarindustries.com/coppermine/albums/userpics/10001/normal_IMG_20190818_141513108.jpg

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All in all, they turned out satisfactorily. Not as clean as some of the original seams, but that may actually be a positive as these seem to be a bit stronger. I thought about touching up the other two as well, but decided that I'd be better leaving them alone as they were showing any signs of separating from the corners. The solder bead runs all the way up the corner, past the mounting wire and joins the bead from the outside of the corner to give some structural integrity and to keep it from being just the adhesive on the copper foil that is keeping the top of the mounting wire from pulling away from the corner.

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I have a bottle of black patina arriving tomorrow so that my new solder will match the finish of the rest of the lamp. Once that's done, I can hang it back up. It goes in the stairway of our current house.

A couple of pictures from before I took it down for repair...

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Mr Bill
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Re: Anyone repair anything today?

Mon Aug 19, 2019 10:04 am

Nice work. Don't you just hate how poor the dynamic range is on cell phone photos? I bet that lamp is really stunning.
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SecretSquirrel
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Re: Anyone repair anything today?

Fri Nov 01, 2019 5:25 pm

Couple of interesting repairs lately. Spent two and a half weeks down in NOLA, helping out family in the hospital. Not long before I was coming home, one of the other people there hit me up with the "Hey, would you mind looking at my computer? I think it might have a virus." Being nice, I said ok. Didn't take much poking at it to figure out it wasn't a virus. The machine is an HP DV7 laptop. It would boot Windows, but when the login screen would come up, the LCD would get artifacts and then just show a black screen. If you connected to an external monitor, things would work fine. Virus and malware scans came back clean. Even with the external display, the system was surprisingly slow. Running some disk checks confirmed a failing drive. With a failing drive and something graphics related, I brought the laptop back to TX with me for a bit deeper investigation. Replaced the bad drive and fixed several driver installs. This system has switchable graphics -- the Intel HD graphics in the processor and an ATI Mobility Radeon HD 6370. Once the drivers were fixed, I could actually switch between the two. Everything worked fine with the Intel HD graphics and was a mess with the HD 6370. Stripped the main-board out and reflowed it with a heat gun. Amazingly, that seems to have fixed everything.

During my recent travels I message from my wife at about 6:30AM -- "Are you awake yet?" One of those message that cannot mean anything good. In talking to her, the outside freezer had failed and all the food in it had not only spoiled, but started rotting -- meaning that it had been off for many days. To make a long story short, the thermostat had failed. The thermostat was a basic, mechanical version that uses a bellows to actuate a relay to turn the compressor on and off. I was going to just order the replacement part, but in thinking about it, I realized that it would be just as likely to fail again in the same way -- by leaking. Instead, I opted to order a digital temperature controller (that cost half as much, BTW) and installed it instead.

I should have taken a bunch of pictures, but didn't. The only modifications I had to make to the fridge were to install a tap off the neutral line to power the controller, and to cut the whole in while to install it. I also built a foam box around the controller to let it start a little warmer from self heating since it's minimum operating temperature is right around the minimum set temperature for the freezer -- the freezer is listed as operating from -10F to 10F.

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Note that the display is showing 50.5F, not SOS... :P Ended up working out quite well and has been holding to freezer at 0F +/- 2 deg F.

--SS

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