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Re: Anyone repair anything today?

Mon Aug 20, 2018 9:54 am

Whoever installed the toilets in our house did all of the tank bolts wrong, and "fixed" the leaks by burying the tank bolts under mounds of silicone caulk. Definite "WTF?!??" moment when I discovered that.
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Re: Anyone repair anything today?

Mon Aug 20, 2018 10:16 am

Yeah, tightening those tank bolts generates the same level of anxiety as locking down a Socket A HSF, mainly because failure is instant and total. The worst part is that no one (at least that I can find) sells just the tank.
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Re: Anyone repair anything today?

Mon Aug 20, 2018 10:56 am

So far two of the three latrines in our house have been replaced with a Kohler model that has no tank bolts, at least not the conventional kind. Instead the tank base has a molded support channel into which a steel "leaf spring" of sorts is wedged, and the tank bolts connect between the stool and that spring. Once each bolt pulls the leaf down to the stool, it's as tight as it needs to be. That leaves just the two holes the tank requires: water in, and water out.

Not sure how well that steel spring piece would hold up over time in a humid climate where the tank surface is regularly condensing, but here we're good.
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Re: Anyone repair anything today?

Mon Aug 20, 2018 11:24 am

ludi wrote:
Put me down as a SpeedQueen True Believer:
It's the details that really make this thing: thick stainless steel drum, stainless steel door hinges, fully sealed lint trap, courtesy light...and it's relatively quiet and seems to be well-balanced.
Not looking forward to paying this much money again when the washer eventually goes out, but when it does, we're getting another one of these.


She is a beauty. Love the good 'ol analog controls and sturdy build. Like a well tuned classic muscle car.
My old Kenmore is hanging in there but Speed Queen is at the top of my list for a new washer.
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Re: Anyone repair anything today?

Mon Aug 20, 2018 3:06 pm

Burned down my old shed (10x12' 8' tall) piece by piece (intentional!).
Installed the new one this past weekend (12x20' 12' tall) wired it, and started building shelves. Far larger project than I ever pictured it. Side benefit: I have lost 8 pounds so far. I have to build a loft still, canoe rack, and various equipment holders for chain saws and weed eaters. It takes quite a lot of equipment to deal with 16 acres and keep it tame.

Now I can have confidence in mice not chewing off wiring in my equipment and needing to fix it every spring. I can effectively D-Con the thing. The old shed was a mouse condo and I got tired of bumping my head on bees nests.
 
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Re: Anyone repair anything today?

Mon Aug 20, 2018 6:51 pm

notfred wrote:
This was toilet weekend.
I think I still have a slight weep from one of the tank to toilet bolts, but I'm terrified of overtightening and cracking things. Of course my father-in-law is turning up today as well for a few days so we need this running for now. I'm just going to leave it with a towel under the bolt while he is here before going at things again next weekend.


On all the toilets I've dealt with, there has been a separate nut to compress the washer in the tank. Bolt goes through rubber washer, through tank, has nut threaded on to compress washer, then through toilet and has a second nut to hold it to the toilet. I don't think I've ever been able to tighten the tank nut enough that I would worry about cracking things. I'd be worried about destroying the rubber washer first. Now, if you have some serious grit under the rubber washer, it's possible it would weep no matter how much you tightened.

--SS
 
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Re: Anyone repair anything today?

Tue Aug 21, 2018 7:53 am

Ah, that's not the way the old one was but I think I have some extra nuts and washers and could set that up on the new one. Thanks!
 
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Re: Anyone repair anything today?

Tue Aug 21, 2018 1:33 pm

Ugh that reminds me, I also have an old shed that I need to tear down. Yaay old homestead with farmer-cobbled outbuildings...

At least I removed the wiring from it that went directly from the transformer secondary to a chain-pull light socket. :o
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Re: Anyone repair anything today?

Tue Aug 21, 2018 2:12 pm

SuperSpy wrote:
At least I removed the wiring from it that went directly from the transformer secondary to a chain-pull light socket. :o

But... but... how will you run the arc welding setup in the shed?!??
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Re: Anyone repair anything today?

Tue Aug 21, 2018 5:05 pm

ludi wrote:
Put me down as a SpeedQueen True Believer:

Image

Image

It's the details that really make this thing: thick stainless steel drum, stainless steel door hinges, fully sealed lint trap, courtesy light...and it's relatively quiet and seems to be well-balanced.

Not looking forward to paying this much money again when the washer eventually goes out, but when it does, we're getting another one of these.



Wowzorz !! No insulation on the basement walls!!!

Replaced a rear wheel bearing on the pontiac torrent, went with an SKF/napa this time, as Moog bearings haven't been lasting at all.
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Re: Anyone repair anything today?

Tue Aug 21, 2018 5:08 pm

anotherengineer wrote:
Wowzorz !! No insulation on the basement walls!!!

Down here below 49 North all that stuff goes on the outside and gets backfilled. Even here in VT with no insulation on either side my stone-wall cellar only freezes if it's -20F or below for a couple of days.
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ludi
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Re: Anyone repair anything today?

Tue Aug 21, 2018 6:34 pm

anotherengineer wrote:
Wowzorz !! No insulation on the basement walls!!!

These townhomes may have foam glued on the exterior but given the construction date (1976), maybe not. The walls are also quite thick due to supporting a brick ledge on the exterior. Regardless, all but the last 12-18 inches are below grade, and the average winter temperature in Denver is around 45F daytime high, 18F nightime low (about +7/-7C) and ambient humidity frequently hovers in the single digits. We get brief spells well below 0F for a few days here and there but even then the risk isn't from the basement walls, it's the code-mandated 6" combustion vents for the gas appliances.

Now, if you were to visit the Colorado high country where the winters are more Canadian, you could see something different depending on unit age and quality. I once stayed in a condo at 10,000 feet where the exterior walls were 18 inches deep and, presumably, stuffed like a pillow.
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Re: Anyone repair anything today?

Tue Aug 21, 2018 10:28 pm

Captain Ned wrote:
anotherengineer wrote:
Wowzorz !! No insulation on the basement walls!!!

Down here below 49 North all that stuff goes on the outside and gets backfilled. Even here in VT with no insulation on either side my stone-wall cellar only freezes if it's -20F or below for a couple of days.


Interesting

It varies up here, but sometimes they put 2" SM on the exterior, then R12 on the inside also. Then again 6 months of below 0C and a bad winter like 2017-2018 where we had 2 months of -20C/-35C, the heating bills would be high without it.
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Re: Anyone repair anything today?

Wed Aug 22, 2018 9:23 am

We don't have basements here. You hit ground water after 10 feet in many cases.
 
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Re: Anyone repair anything today?

Wed Aug 22, 2018 9:28 am

Feet, or inches?
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Re: Anyone repair anything today?

Sun Aug 26, 2018 9:22 pm

Replaced the primary sump pump in my basement tonight.

The sump pump adventure began a couple of weeks ago, when the backup pump system started complaining about low battery electrolyte. Went and got a jug of distilled water and topped it up.

A few days later, it was complaining about a battery fault, so I went and got a new battery. The deep cycle battery recommended for this pump system is of the unsealed type, shipped dry, and you need to add the battery acid when you install it. Mmmm, playing with battery acid... fun times.

Then, during a rain storm earlier this week the main pump started making grinding, screeching noises... it still pumped the water out just fine, but it sounded like the bearings were going out, so off to the Home Depot I went again, to pick up a new main pump. Since there wasn't any major rain in the forecast during the week, I put off doing the actual replacement until today.

Went to replace the pump this afternoon, and discovered that it was impossible to remove the old discharge pipe (which I had planned to reuse) from the pump. The outlet of the pump had corroded so badly that the pipe simply would not unscrew. Off to the Home Depot again for some 1.5" PVC, a threaded PVC fitting, and some PVC cement.

Cemented the fitting to the pipe, and went to deal with dinner (which included the Austrian potato salad recipe Captain Ned recently linked elsewhere in these forums) while the pipe cement cured.

I've just now finished cutting the discharge pipe to the proper length, screwing it into the new pump, lowering the new pump into the pit, and connecting it to the rest of the plumbing that leads out to the storm drain in the back yard.

Enough water had collected in the sump between mid-afternoon and tonight that it immediately cycled on for a few seconds when I plugged it in, and emptied the sump. So that took care of testing the new pump.

Sump pumps suck (both literally and figuratively).

Ahh, the joys of home ownership...
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Re: Anyone repair anything today?

Wed Aug 29, 2018 8:00 am

Not a repair, just a solution:
Image
I made a raised cat platform to slide over my office stereo while still leaving room for airflow. The cat has been sleeping on the warm stereo for nearly a decade now; it still worked perfectly, but at this point it was filled with cat fur, to a revolting degree. Grabbed some scrap wood left out by a neighbor for the trash, cut a square of carpet from the leftovers from having a room carpeted, glued and nailed together a riser. Fits perfectly, doesn't block any of the ventilation holes, cat seems to find it acceptable.

As an aside: the stereo was bought used 14 years ago for $20. Was manufactured in 1992 and has been in relatively constant use since then. Still works flawlessly. If you open the case (for instance, in order to clean out a disgusting felt mat of cat fur), it's made entirely of (by modern standards) relatively enormous, user-serviceable through-hole electronic components, and everything is clearly labeled on the circuit boards. It was clearly designed to be repaired. I think we've gone a little too far away from that.
 
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Re: Anyone repair anything today?

Wed Aug 29, 2018 8:56 am

Nice cat-proofing!
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Re: Anyone repair anything today?

Wed Aug 29, 2018 9:16 am

Chuckaluphagus wrote:
As an aside: the stereo was bought used 14 years ago for $20. Was manufactured in 1992 and has been in relatively constant use since then. Still works flawlessly. If you open the case (for instance, in order to clean out a disgusting felt mat of cat fur), it's made entirely of (by modern standards) relatively enormous, user-serviceable through-hole electronic components, and everything is clearly labeled on the circuit boards. It was clearly designed to be repaired. I think we've gone a little too far away from that.

I agree 100%. Anything mass-market is made as cheaply as possible, with the smallest number of (highly integrated) components, and designed to be thrown away when it fails. This is not good.
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Re: Anyone repair anything today?

Wed Aug 29, 2018 9:18 am

Very nice!

In more of a replace than repair, I swapped out our front porch light with a solar-powered non-mains-connected light with a dusk-to-dawn sensor and motion sensor. I basically don't have to think about it anymore. The brightness is great. Other than loosing one of the nuts during installation, it went in great. I'm very impressed for $15 each. I'm probably going to end up putting ~4-6 around the perimeter of the house and a couple in my sheds for when I'm digging for tools at night.
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01LYA3KGS
Last edited by Usacomp2k3 on Wed Aug 29, 2018 9:21 am, edited 1 time in total.
 
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Re: Anyone repair anything today?

Wed Aug 29, 2018 9:21 am

Big storm last night. The new sump pump I installed over the weekend has passed its first real-world stress test.

Now that I know it's all good, when I get home tonight I'll finish cleaning up the mess from the sump pump repair. The previous owner built a counter into the corner of the basement over the sump pit. Yay for more usable horizontal surface; boo for having to remove the counter top and lean over into a waist-high enclosure to deal with anything sump pump related.
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Re: Anyone repair anything today?

Wed Aug 29, 2018 9:37 am

Usacomp2k3 wrote:
Very nice!

In more of a replace than repair, I swapped out our front porch light with a solar-powered non-mains-connected light with a dusk-to-dawn sensor and motion sensor. I basically don't have to think about it anymore. The brightness is great. Other than loosing one of the nuts during installation, it went in great. I'm very impressed for $15 each. I'm probably going to end up putting ~4-6 around the perimeter of the house and a couple in my sheds for when I'm digging for tools at night.
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01LYA3KGS


I've had bad luck with those types of lights. They worked for me about about a year and then quit.
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Re: Anyone repair anything today?

Wed Aug 29, 2018 9:40 am

MileageMayVary wrote:
Usacomp2k3 wrote:
Very nice!

In more of a replace than repair, I swapped out our front porch light with a solar-powered non-mains-connected light with a dusk-to-dawn sensor and motion sensor. I basically don't have to think about it anymore. The brightness is great. Other than loosing one of the nuts during installation, it went in great. I'm very impressed for $15 each. I'm probably going to end up putting ~4-6 around the perimeter of the house and a couple in my sheds for when I'm digging for tools at night.
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01LYA3KGS


I've had bad luck with those types of lights. They worked for me about about a year and then quit.

Any idea whether it was a battery failure or something else? My guess is they used the cheapest, crappiest NiMH cells they could find; a few hundred charge/discharge cycles would be fairly typical for these. The batteries may be replaceable.
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Re: Anyone repair anything today?

Wed Aug 29, 2018 9:52 am

just brew it! wrote:
Any idea whether it was a battery failure or something else? My guess is they used the cheapest, crappiest NiMH cells they could find; a few hundred charge/discharge cycles would be fairly typical for these. The batteries may be replaceable.


I could take one apart and see.
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Re: Anyone repair anything today?

Wed Aug 29, 2018 11:25 am

There was one that I had looked at (not the one I bought) that just had regular rechargeable NiMH AA's in it. I can look at the 2nd and find out. If it's something easily replaceable for a few bucks from digikey or whatnot, that's still a decent investment. I just hate running 120V everywhere, especially the back yard that I'd have to run conduit underground.
 
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Re: Anyone repair anything today?

Wed Aug 29, 2018 1:09 pm

Usacomp2k3 wrote:
There was one that I had looked at (not the one I bought) that just had regular rechargeable NiMH AA's in it. I can look at the 2nd and find out. If it's something easily replaceable for a few bucks from digikey or whatnot, that's still a decent investment. I just hate running 120V everywhere, especially the back yard that I'd have to run conduit underground.

If they're bog standard (not soldered or something else weird) AAs you're probably better off hitting Amazon than Digi-Key. 8-pack of "Amazon Basics" branded NiMH AAs will run you $15 shipped (assuming you're a Prime member).
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Re: Anyone repair anything today?

Wed Aug 29, 2018 1:43 pm

Chuckaluphagus wrote:
As an aside: the stereo was bought used 14 years ago for $20. Was manufactured in 1992 and has been in relatively constant use since then. Still works flawlessly. If you open the case (for instance, in order to clean out a disgusting felt mat of cat fur), it's made entirely of (by modern standards) relatively enormous, user-serviceable through-hole electronic components, and everything is clearly labeled on the circuit boards. It was clearly designed to be repaired. I think we've gone a little too far away from that.

In 1992, that thing probably cost the equivalent of $349 now and the computers five shelves over cost the equivalent of $3499 and also had through-hole components.

As much as it pains a repair tech like myself to see the world+dog fall to the siren call of SMT and miniaturization, that same $349 now will buy a six-channel receiver or a decent laptop computer or a good smartphone from last year's models.
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Re: Anyone repair anything today?

Wed Aug 29, 2018 3:18 pm

The new job uses a ton of zebra thermal label printers.

So far I've repaired 4 of them in various ways.

As a side note if you need to clean off the gum left behind by label printer jam, carb cleaner and a rag works wonders!
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Re: Anyone repair anything today?

Wed Aug 29, 2018 3:57 pm

ludi wrote:
Chuckaluphagus wrote:
As an aside: the stereo was bought used 14 years ago for $20. Was manufactured in 1992 and has been in relatively constant use since then. Still works flawlessly. If you open the case (for instance, in order to clean out a disgusting felt mat of cat fur), it's made entirely of (by modern standards) relatively enormous, user-serviceable through-hole electronic components, and everything is clearly labeled on the circuit boards. It was clearly designed to be repaired. I think we've gone a little too far away from that.

In 1992, that thing probably cost the equivalent of $349 now and the computers five shelves over cost the equivalent of $3499 and also had through-hole components.

As much as it pains a repair tech like myself to see the world+dog fall to the siren call of SMT and miniaturization, that same $349 now will buy a six-channel receiver or a decent laptop computer or a good smartphone from last year's models.

I think you're right about all of that, and I'm glad that miniaturization has led to much more powerful and much cheaper devices. But I look at this stereo receiver (and I truly don't need more than 2 channels to listen to music or play games), 26 years old and doing exactly the same job it always has; or I look at my Thinkpads (a T420, then a T430) from earlier this decade, both of which are extremely capable machines while also being easy to upgrade and repair (and I know that because I did both); and then I look at ultrabooks with everything bonded or soldered in place, with the express result that it becomes a device that must be disposed of if anything breaks; and I think that we've suddenly hit a point in the curve where I'm feeling unease.

</grumpy old man shaking his cane>
 
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Re: Anyone repair anything today?

Wed Aug 29, 2018 6:16 pm

Chuckaluphagus wrote:
</grumpy old man shaking his cane>

I'm right there with you. (This is coming from a guy who busted out the old Radio Shack soldering iron to repair his own motherboards and video cards during the capacitor plague.)
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