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20 June, 2016

Shop AC on the blink, it's nearly 100 deg F and 90% plus humidity... Ugh...

Let me tell ya, all I can really do in my shop right now is sweat on my tools, and if you hand't noticed, sweat isn't exactly all that great for cast iron tables or steel surfaces...

This thing has been acting up for a while, but it is now in the territory of throwing the breaker...

It starts off as a little chirp but quickly escalates to a wild vibration / rattling noise and then it throws the breaker.

I ssupect one or more of the bearings is to blame, but I can't be sure until I tear it down and take an in depth look...

The unit is a Royal Sovereign ARP-1400WW

Let me know what you think, and if any of you have any experience tearing down one of these, a little advice on how to get the housing apart would sure be helpful!




16 June, 2016

In and around the shop for the weekend...

I've got a bit planned for this weekend in and around the shop.

#1. The car needs an oil change. This should be pretty quick and easy to do early Saturday before it gets too miserably hot, even though the overnight low on Friday is supposed to be in the mid 80s... Ick.

#2. More shop cleanup. I have LOTS going on with that. Stuff is getting slid away from walls, junk is getting cleaned from between the walls and say totes etc... Totes are getting moved back after surplus junk is purged. Followed by more, and more cleaning.

#3. At some point this weekend, I am hoping to have the portable A/C on the bench ready to get torn down and bearings inspected. This should prove interesting. Hopefully it is something that can be fixed and not some cheap plastic POS part that failed...

At whatever point we can get to, I am going to try to take the old Saturn to my BILs shop and swap out the receiver drier (System was open due to a failed hose, have replaced everything but receiver drier at this point) and then reconnect lines vacuum system down, load the PAG oil and R1234 and give that AC a good going over.

That last part is probably a pipe dream right now...

Thrown off of my stride, and sweating profusely. Bad time for the A.C. to go out! And an impromptu 15 minute woodworking project to help cool things off.

Upon our arrival home on Wednesday, we discovered the house, cool, but not as cool as I would expect. Sure enough I check the air coming from the vents and it was warm...

I went out to the compressor / condenser outside and found the fan not running, and a loud buzzing coming from the compressor. 

I had an idea what the problem was, so I tested. I took a thin stick and spun up the fan with it, sure enough once it was moving the fan stayed on, but the buzzing was still there, no compressor running...

That would indicate to me that the capacitor had failed.

Sadly the label listing the rating on the capacitor was missing, but there was a model number. I matched it up and found it to be a dual run 50 / 5 440v dual run capacitor.

Digging through the local vendors, Home Depot no joy, Lowes same, various small A/C or electrical repair parts places no joy. Only Grainger seemed to have one in stock.

So for one VERY sweaty night I managed to at least keep the master suite cool with a small window A/C unit and several fans. We were able to sleep, but that's about it...

On the issue of the fans, I used my shop fans, which with one of them, a 20" high volume "Air Circulator" there were absolutely zero problems, however, I do have a 20" Thermostatically controlled Lasko box fan, that came with those little plastic leveling feet that never worked worth a hoot, and had broken off years ago. I typically prop this fan up in the shop. But for use in the bedroom, I needed to whip up a pair of feet, so I quickly cut some feet from 3/4 plywood scrap that was literally laying on the floor (Still working on cleanup!), clamped them together in the vice, and relieved the corners with my belt sander to protect toes, counter sunk a couple of screw holes in each, pre drilled the pilot holes into the fan bottom, and installed the feet with sheet metal screws. So far, so great!

So taking a side trip during lunch instead of getting lunch, I swung by Grainger, and picked up the new capacitor. No biggie, except that it was literally 6 times the cost of the same exact item online.

Online at Global Industrial, the same exact capacitor sells for $5.99.
In store at Grainger, $38.99 (+ tax). So actually, over six times the cost.

But I desperately needed to get my AC fixed, so I ponied up the bucks, and snatched the unit from Grainger.

Upon arrival home, the bedroom was still cool from the window unit, so I went and begun work on the AC.

I first off threw any and all breakers that could possibly have anything to do with my AC. I pulled the cover and carefully metered the lines, completely dead. 

Next I moved on to disharging the existing cap of any possible remaining charge. Nothing. I mean 100% dead. 

Next I cut the zip tie that was bundling the wires up a bit too neatly, and then physically removed the band holding the existing cap, and carefully, one wire at a time, moved wire from old cap, to same position on new cap, slid the band on, and realized the new cap is about 1/16" smaller in diameter than the old one, not enough to be a real serious problem, but enough to make the band a little sloppy. Take up that slop by putting a couple of winds of electrical tape around the new cap where it is held by the band, and try again, good fit this time!

For my own sanity sake, I left out the zip ties, and with the new cap installed, I turned the thermostat back on to cool, set the temp good and low, and then threw the breakers back on, the fan AND compressor both whirred to life with their typical noise levels, so I am good.

Now for a little perspective, this house is slab on grade construction, and the heat index yesterday was about 106 deg F I believe. The slab itself was radiating heat well into the evening. 

I got the new cap on, and A/C going just prior to 7:00 P.M., it took approximately 3.5 hours to cool the house from the miserable 84.5 deg F it was when I got home, down to a very livable 74 deg F.

I did leave the little window unit on and running at the far side of the house to help the main unit along, not sure how much help it really was. Just a little 8K BTU window job that I had picked up years ago on clearance at Walmart to toss into a tent door when camping in the summer in Texas (It's hokey I know, but it works!)

I got the extension cords cleared out, and fans at least pulled out of the way. The fans and window unit get pulled out of the way today. I have a lot more to do in my shop, particularly in relation to cleaning it up, and taking care of my back... And cooling the place down.

I am giving serious consideration to building a proper manifold box for the window unit A/C, and adapting it to my existing intake / exhaust ducts however I doubt that the unit is large enough to properly cool my 18x20 shop.

31 May, 2016

The heat is on... And a broken portable A.C. unit...

So the Texas summer heat is coming on and it is getting hot, sweaty and miserable in the shop, time to turn on the A.C. except for one major problem...

The A.C. runs for all of about 30 seconds, makes a horrible groaning / plasticky rattling sound and then trips the breaker.

I suspect the bearing on the intake fan motor has had it, the plasticky rattling sound appears to be the fan / housing vibrating due to the bearing.

My A.C. unit id a dual hose Royal Sovereign unit that I have never been all that impressed by the quality of... All in all it has been barely adwquate.

I need to keep going with the massive shop cleanup and get that A.C. unit on the bench and get it torn down. Hopefully I will be able to get the bearing and manage to swap it around without too much hassle.

Mind you, just a few weeks back, something similar happened to the motor on the condenser for the house A.C. unit. I cleared that up with a good flushing of WD-40 to clear out the debris and disperse any water in the bearing, and then a liberal application of Tri Flow.

I've seen countless Youtube videos and blog posts showing people with the same exact problem, and they all swapped the motors. Heck, if you can lube it, or swap the bearing, why replace an otherwise good motor?

But I digress...

To get the shop closer to workable I need to...

#1. Clean out the trunk of the Chevy, and haul the pair of rims that were on it when we bought the car up to my BILs shop. Another brother in law needs wheels for his car and these should fit... And they will get out of my shop.

#2. Clear out the Hardi Panel pieces we had bought to work on the siding. I am going to put them in the back yard closer to where the work is going to happen and just get it done back there...

#3. Reinstall the lower splash shield on the Saturn. I need the plastic push retainers to hold it in.

Once those are done, they are the culprits blocking access to where everything else goes. Get in there, straighten up, and clean up. Put recycles on the curb and vacuum up the rest of the junk.

Temporary cooling is going to have to be by my old method. Open the kitchen door, put the fan in the doorway, and blow cold air from the kitchen into the shop.


07 May, 2016

Still no PowerDirector... Working on it...

Sorry folks, this has been an ugly, unforgiving week at work.

To say that I am having IT issues that are biting me in the backside is a huge understatement. I haven't really had the chance to work on PowerDirector like I should, but here is what I have found...

PowerDirector flogs the GPU,
PowerDirector flogs the CPU.

Every PowerDirector freezes the system, just prior I get an error in my event viewer complaining about the video driver.

Looking the error up, it seems the video driver for Windows 8 that was in the system prior to the upgrade to Windows 10 doesn't like being in Windows 10.

More investigation shows that my only sure fire way to insure I straighten out the video driver, is to do a reset on Windows, and bring it back to a factory fresh state. With the Microsoft driver and not the AMD / ATI Radeon driver.

So my time this weekend is being spent doing backups and getting ready to reset the Windows installation and reload all of my software. Ick...

The Windows 7 desktop is also being backed up, in prep for a reload but that has to do with that stupid coupons.com printer spyware that another household member installed. I don't mind that they want a special app, but spyware? Really?

So for the time being, I am banging out the video using Windows Movie Maker, and it is taking forever to get through because, well I am used to video editing in a much more professional application and I keep hunting for functxions that aren't there...


04 May, 2016

New SSD is awesome. PowerDirector 14 Ultimate is still flaky...

Okay so I discovered the failing spinning disk HDD when I started troubleshooting hard system freezes when doing previews or "produce" functions on CyberLink PowerDirector 14 Ultimate edition. I have several licenses for it, and it works okay, not perfectly, but okay on my wifes laptop,

However her laptop is her laptop and I do NOT want to have to keep borrowing it to do my work.

The problem isn't just a simple application hang that I can use task manager to exit the application and restart, oh no.... it hard freezes the system, no input whatsoever is taken, and even the displayed time on the clock stops incrementing... It hard hangs the system...

I am working with CyberLink to resolve this issue. My laptop is fully patched up to date, the firmware is up to date, and I have run full diagnostics from Lenovo on my laptop and it all shows good other than I am out of warranty. No surprise there, the warranty on these things is shockingly short...

I have made sure I have the latest drivers, and followed all of CyberLink's published work arounds to no avail. In my reading it might be a coding issue. It looks like CyberLink has a problem with ATI / AMD Radeon video which my laptop has.

I am very hopeful that CyberLink can offer a solution to this problem in short order. For now, I will have to swipe my wifes laptop to get my work done, and that's not fair to either of us. The tools I need are on my laptop, and she needs to use the tools on her laptop to do her work as well...

03 May, 2016

Updated and tested the drive.

I ran into some errors running the video editing software and found firmware issues related to the SSD.  I ran full diagnostics on the laptop, updated all the firmware and tested again...

Looking good so far... maybe tonight I can post the video for you folks!

02 May, 2016

The SSD is in and working!

With what little time I had this evening, I slammed the SSD in the laptop, and got the laptop fired up. Works great so far. Reinstalling my video editing software and moving off a bunch of archived junk that needed to be zipped up and stored on my cloud drive... It is amazing how quickly 1TB fills up with garbage files... Anyway it was lighting quick. Installing PowerDirector 14 Ultimate on the spinning disk doing a full install including plugins was about 4 hours work. With the SSD, it went in less than an hour. Not bad. Can't wait to try it out doing editing work!

Anyway, I have the video shot but it is all voiceless, I will need to do some voiceover and video editing before I can give you a quick howto on this thing.... But the process is pretty simple. Mind you, it only applies to the Lenovo Flex 2 15D  It might be relevant to other models, but I know it works with this...

My next repair on this is going to be the digitizer screen and it should be good to go!

01 May, 2016

Fixing a broken laptop.... Migrating flaky HDD to a new SSD.

So in early march, my lovely Lennovo Flex 2 15D quad core 8GB RAM 1TB HDD touch screen laptop decided to follow the power cord as yanked by the dog off of the table and on to the tile floor in the dining room. This managed to bust my digitizer and initially that seemed to be the only damage. I can live with a cracked digitizer and just not use the touch screen, but after a bit I noticed repeated HDD timeout errors.

In order to fix this so I can keep up with my video work, and let my lovely bride have her laptop, I found, and ordered a replacement HDD, I really wanted a SSD though to improve performance and increase reliability. I found a screaming deal on a 1TB Mushkin on Newegg.com and so ordered it up...

Right now as I type, I am using Partition Magic to migrate the OS to the new SSD, we will see if the UEFI will actually boot to it.

It should....

So as soon as I am done with the data copy, I am going to wing the camera back up in here and give you guys and gals a birds eye view of me replacing the HDD with the new SSD and configuring the boot order, and booting for the first time from the new hard drive.

Wish me luck!

Replacing a Belt Tensioner on a 2009 Chevrolet HHR with Mr Red

We visited with Red of Red and DJ in Houston Texas to get the lowdown on how to swap out a defective serpentine belt tensioner on a 2009 Chevrolet HHR. While the lift he uses sure does make things easier, he gives you pointers on how to most effectively and affordably get the job done!



28 April, 2016

Air Compressor tank dump valve, gauge, and output valve fix.

I managed to fix my laziness with draining the compressor tank causing me to keep the hoses pressurized and blowing compressor hoses...



I'd give you a long winded written description of the problem and the fix, but here's the video instead. If you would like text I have it closed captioned as well.



If you like my videos, i really would appreciate you clicking the like button and subscribing to my channel. It helps me keep going with this whole effort!



23 April, 2016

Pressure gauge replaced, dump valve and output shutoff valve tested and fixed.

See the demo video for the results, but long story short, we replaced the crushed OE pressure gauge with a Central Pnuematic 200PSI filled gauge, added the extension to the tank and added the ball valve as a dump valve (it works great!, We added the shut off valve for the output side and ended up with a bad valve the first time. It leaked around the shaft of the valve when opened, so it was replaced with another one and re tested...

While not holding pressure 100% for extended periods, it IS holding good pressure and I am stumped as to where the leaks could be, but I drop about 10PSI overnight.

No bubbles when soapy water tested though... As of now, I kind of have to say it's good enough, but I will keep digging as time makes itself available.

Sorry it took me so long to get this video out. It would appear my laptop hard drive has seen better days. The laptop isn't that old, but it met the floor kind of hard in early March, and since then it has been acting up... With the troubleshooting I have undertaken, it looks like I need to replace the hard disk, which gives me a good opportunity to upgrade to a solid state drive, and I need to replace the touch digitizer which I will have done.... Not going to mess with that part!


20 April, 2016

I'm trying really I am!

So I shot some decent, not great considering the camera was hand held not even on a handle, video to show you about how I dealt with dumping the compressor tank, and outlet.

So the video was uploaded to my laptop, and I went ahead and fired up my PowerDirector to get busy with video editing. My system repeatedly locks up. It only does so when running PowerDirector, so I contact CyberLink Software for support,

Their reply was simple, and believable, my older version of PowerDirector is incompatible with Windows 10, please upgrade to the latest version which we support on Windows 10.

Okay done. Guess what?

At least in my installation, CyberLink PowerDirector 14 does NOT work all that well on Windows 10, it freezes my laptop doing all sorts of normal operations.But most noticeably when performing a split operation, it fairly reliably will freeze next time I try to preview a clip.

Makes video editing a VERY difficult thing to do...

I have used PowerDirector for years since I got the bundled version with my JVC Everio digital camcorder literally a decade ago. And I know new operating systems give them fits, but they have had time to develop for and work the kinks out of their product for Windows 10.

Hopefully they can figure it out, or I fear I am going to have to fork over for Adobe Premiere CS and I don't really want to do that. I actually LIKE PowerDirector and would prefer I stayed with the app I know. I have used Premiere in the past with no problems, it's just more than I need, and I hate the price tag...

18 April, 2016

coastTexas Gulf Coast extreme weather!

So today I spent home from work. If youo've caught the news, the Houston Metro area is under a severe weather event, parts of the Metro area have gotten 20" of rain in the last 24 hours. This is an event much like Tropical Storm Allison in what was in 2000, 2001? Been a long time since we've seen rain like this...

This rain event has tested the mettle of my weatherstripping on the garage doors, and not all the news is good. I am getting water intrusion in under the door. Not much, but enough to bother me... Looks like I need to re seal the door bottoms!

I was able to verify my fix for the compressor seems to be holding. The compressor has been turned off a couple of days, and the tank is still holding at 140psi. Not sure why the initial 10PSI drop, but not enough to care about... Time to dump the tank, do some more cleanup, and try to mop up the water by the door!

I hope all of you have a safe and happy day, if you have friends or loved ones in Coastal Texas, this might be a good time to check in on them and make sure they are okay, a lot of my neighbors aren't...

14 April, 2016

Compressor pressure gauge replaced, dump line done! A/C Condenser Fan motor issue fixed, and replacing lost tools.

So yesterday I managed to grab the 200psi filled gauge, item #68251, from Harbor Freight in Webster Texas. I managed to be a complete idiot in my prior guesstimaes, and realized that the old gauge actually was 1/4" and not 3/8". I'm not doing all that well with guessing pipe thread gauges by looking at them any more. I used to be 100% accurate. Getting older is a pain I guess... Anyway, I installed the gauge mid day yesterday when I came home for lunch. (Long story, flexing hours to avoid overtime at work), and ran the compressor up to pressure. And then let it sit. No audible leaks but when I looked at 2:00 P.M. today... about 26 hours later...


Now if you are familiar with this compressor, you will see that it is turned off (lever in the up position), and it has bled down to about 40PSI from 150 in 26 hours.

The bleed down is not enough to cause a problem when using the compressor, but it sure is a bad enough leak to bother me. I suspect it is right at that gauge too. It is not 100% tight because I needed to read the face. Not sure how to fix this but I will figure it out.

I did install the ball valve on the quick connect output side and tested that for leaks at least and it is 100% leak free.Very happy with that!

And of course the tank drain and ball valve for that drain are installed and now accessible without me getting on my hands and knees and reaching under the compressor in a small space...


You might notice the output is at a slight angle, which is intentional. I did not want to overstress the threads, and this side of the equation, all the joints have been leak tested under pressure and they are leak free.

I MAY change one of the 5" nipples I used (a pair of them with a copuler) with a 3" to put the ball valve on the other side of that axle tube and get it out of harms way, but I don't play on moving my compressor often.

Now no photos, but I did put ends on the connecting hose, and hooked it up. The new hose is considerably longer than the old, and I simply coiled up the excess and zip tied it up so it won't be in the way....

Last night, a horrible squealing noise coming from the back yard woke me up. Go out and look, and it was WAY obvious the bearing on the AC Condenser fan is squealing and chirping,

This morning, I powered off the A/C (The breaker box is right next to the condenser), and pulled the fan out of it's 4 screws and looked. I wish I had thought to take pics...

Long story short, the shaft was caked with mud from I am assuming the yard work, and there was dirt, and rust around the bearing... A quick brush down with an old toothbrush and a liberal application of WD-40 which only stopped when the chunks of dirt stopped coming out of the bearing,were done, and then the assembly put back together, and powered back on. We are back to beautiful, noise free motor operation (the fan blades / air flow makes noise...).

All in all, today is turning out to be a productive day in the shop and around the house. Good thing for me I guess that I hit the companies maximum leave time and HAD to take time off!

I believe I mentioned in a former post, I managed to lose my 10mm deep well 1/4" drive socket, and my 5/32" 1/4" deep well socket. The replacements were Husky branded from Home Depot, and are 6pt pieces. Oddly enough, the metric deep socket set I have is Husky and while the replacement is close, it is not 100% exact. Will show that later. Also the 5/32 that is missing and now replaced with Husky is in a Craftsman set from the early 90s. The Husky socket is about 2mm longer than the Craftsman that pushes the top of the case out ever so slightly. Not bad enough to annoy me, but enough to get my attention.

While I was adding and fixing tools, I also grabbed a Pittsburgh 6" digital caliper, and a 5pc swivel head ratcheting combination wrenches to match my metrics. Yes they are Pittsburgh cheapies but they have proved their value to me for the last 2 years so the SAE were a welcome addition! I still have my Mibro 6" digital caliper, but the battery is dead and I wasn't sure what battery they used, and I needed to get another. I figured it out, they are 357 button cells that I can get at Walgreens of all places. Going to do that this afternoon!

Before too long the shop will be back in the shape it is supposed to be in.and I can continue with my sign building...

Which of course brings me to the issue I had with my Rockler Interlock Signmaker's Templates - State Park Font Kit. The original bushing was defective (chunks missing from the threads) and it would NOT lock down, which kicked the router up and rammed the bit through the W template.

I want to give kudos to Rockler customer service. Over the years I have had to use them on a couple of occasions, and they are always completely professional and make a point to make sure I am a happy customer. Since Rockler sells a LOT of the templates and specialty pieces I use, they are sure to get more and more of my business as the years go on!