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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!

12 April, 2016

Custom compressor tank drain, and output valves installed, but not all is well...

So I am officially calling myself an idiot. I started out to do something good for my compressed air system after suffering a stupid loss of a host due to me keeping the system pressurized too long, not dumping the tank enough etc... More on the idiot part at the end...

So I managed to install a remote tank dump valve, and a matching 1/4" NPT ball valve on the compressor output.

The remote dump was pretty simple, but with one minor misjudgement on my part as far as parts went...

Unlike my Central Pnuematic 12 gallon 2HP horizontal air compressor, the 29 gallon compressor tank doesn't have a 1/4" threaded hole, but instead it's threaded 3/8"! No big deal. Plenty of spare parts in my toolbox to solve the problem. But let's take a check of what I had to get for the job...

For starters, after removing the original valve, I found the 3/8" thread instead of 1/4", So I fished a 3/8" M x 1/4" F bushing from my toolbox. Not the actual one photographed, but one I had previously pulled from use.



My parts pile came from a combination of Home Depot, and Harbor Freight Tools. I was going to get most of it from Lowes, but the Lowes near me doesn't carry the 1/4" brass they used to, and I found 1/4" iron at Home Depot...

So the haul was...

From Harbor Freight.

  • 3/8" x 5-8' Rubber Air Hose (Remnant). (I think mine is 8'
  • 2 @ 1/4" full port Ball Valves (I had already unpackaged one prior to shooting the pic)

From Home Depot.

  • 1/4" galvanized iron street elbow.
  • 1/4" galvanized iron coupler FxF
  • 2 @ 1/4" x5" galvanized iron nipples.
  • 1 tube Rectorseal yellow pipe dope. My old jar of Ace Hardware PTFE pipe sealant got broken and dried out / thrown out.


So all was going I took the F quick connect off of the compressor, pipe doped my male threads and male threads on the ball valve, and then installed the ball valve inline between the compressor and the F quick connect.

Next, I go and apply the pipe dope to the male threads, and assemble the nipples to the coupler,and ball valve.

I then go to CARFULLY lean back the compressor to remove the tank drain.

That's when things got away from me.

Simply put, the compressor tipped over and went to the concrete floor.

Good thing it was the handle side of the compressor.
Bad thing the handle doesn't curve back any.

Apparently the pressure gauge DOES protrude beyond the handle on the back of the compressor.


I am not sure about you guys, but just looking at that pic, makes me cringe.

Good thing, Harbor Freight has them, cheap. Bad thing, I have to go get one.

Sadly they don't have an exact replacement in inventory, but rather one with a 1/4" NPT fitting, good thing I have bushings!

I know there are a couple of guys that are crying about the 200PSI filled gauge being labelled in metric on the outer ring, and SAE in the inner. I can handle Metric readings and convert on the fly in my head so I am not terribly worried about it.

So soonest possible, I go to HF, and grab one of these http://www.harborfreight.com/200-psi-14-in-npt-filled-gauge-68251.html



Lesson to b learned? Even if it is short, get help tiilting back / over an air compressor! Now I can't QC my job until I have that dumb thing replaced.

08 April, 2016

What is going on?

Short note today. Just noticed the weird formatting change on the blog. I will dig into it this weekend. I have a mess of video to work this weekend!

06 April, 2016

Don't leave air hoses plugged in, and air compressors turned on

So over the weekend, I was doing shop cleanup, using the blow guns, and of course filling tires. I forgot to disconnect the whip that connects the compressor to the mainfold, and I left the compressor on and forgot about it. 
Well, I had to run some errands yesterday, I wasn’t out of the house very long. Maybe 2 hours. Well I came back and from the driveway I could hear it…
Air compressor was flailing away and there was a constant FAST hiss coming from the shop.
I know what that sound is!
Go in to the shop as fast as I can, it’s hot in there, I flip the switch on the compressor to shut it down, and disconnect the feed hose to my manifold.
Right where the hose bends to go up to the manifold there is very clearly a 1/4” long tearout in the hose.
Now mind you, all of my hoses except for my Hitachi, came from Harbor Freight. Now before anyone goes bashing Harbor Freight, mind you I have a LOT of experience with compressed air systems, and hoses. The BEST air hoses I have used hands down have been Goodyear, the black ones.
This experience was back when I was a MUCH younger man, and gas stations actually had full service. I managed one for several years, and we averaged a 12 month time to failure on hoses. My home garage workshop use has been, well I need to verify but I believe it has been 26 months since I set up the reel / manifold rig, and I leave it pressureized and connected WAY more than I ever did in the gas station.
Now like I mentioned, I was only out for about 2 hours, and the hose wasn’t blown out when I left, so some time in that 2 hour time frame, the hose blew, the compressor kept running, and it produced enough heat to heat up the shop to over 90 deg F.
This could have possibly led to a shop fire, and considering my shop is attached to the house, this had the potential to be REALLY bad.
Lessons learned?
#1. ALWAYS disconnect the feed whip when done with the system for the day. I am considering a simple ball valve on the feed line to keep things connected, and moist air out of the filter / dryer. #2. Turn the compressor OFF when not likely to be used that day. #3. Drain the compressor tank FAR more often than I do. I never neglected to do this to the big 60+ (Actually a bank of 4 120 gallon compressors) on a daily basis, but their drains were a LOT easier to get to. I will end up extending the drain out with a ball valve so all I have to do is flip a ball valve open instead of reaching way back in and under to get to a petcock valve that instantly spews every bit of shop dust into your face.
Now the question is… How to approach fixing this disaster next?
Step #1. Gather supplies. First I need 2 1/4” full port ball valves.
http://www.harborfreight.com/14-in-full-port-ball-valve-68254.html (I already have one).
Will need one 1/4” NPT male x female brass elbow.
http://www.homedepot.com/p/Sioux-Chief-1-4-in-x-1-4-in-Lead-Free-Brass-90-Degree-MPT-x-FPT-Street-Elbow-930-271001/202254920
Need 10” brass 1/4” NPT nipple. Can’t find a link, but I know my local Lowes has them. That’s where I got mine.
3/8×8 – 15ft air hose remnant. (Useful for whip hoses).
http://www.harborfreight.com/38-in-x-8-ft-15-ft-rubber-air-hose-remnant-60356.html
#2. Disconnect the compressor from power. And pull it out of its cubby hole. #3. Remove the quick connect from the outlet port on the compressor. Treat the threads with pipe dope, and install the first of ball valves, Install the quick connect on the ball valve. #4. Transfer over the quick connect fittings from the blown hose to the new one. #5. Dry out the dessicant beads, seal them up while I finish the rest of the work. #6. Remove the petcock valve from the bottom of the compressor tank. #7. Pipe dope the male of the street elbow, and install it onto the tank insuring the female threads point back toward the wheels. #8. Pipe dope both ends of the 10” nipple, Install the second 1/4” ball valve onto the nipple, install the assembly onto the street elbow.Close all valves, check for tightness. #9. Reconnect to power. Power on and test fittings for leaks. #10. Assuming step #9 passes. Move compressor back into place, replace dessicant in dryer / filter, and reconnect whip hose. Open output valve, Check for leaks. #11. Close output valve, turn compressor off, and open drain valve to bleed tank. #12. Create, print, laminate, and post compressor operation / maintenance procedures on cabinet behind compressor.
Step #12 is for my wife since she may end up having to know how to turn the compressor off in an emergency.

02 April, 2016

Where the #$%@ is the floor?! Keep chugging along in shop cleanup!

I have had a pile of car repairs over the last 6 months or so, pretty much every free moment not spent at work, practicing, gigging, or with my wife, has been spent under a hood.
The results are coming to fruition, but my shop was getting to a state where I couldn’t find most of my tools, drawers were so disorganized that I couldn’t open / close them, and well I knew there was a floor in there somewhere, just not sure where.
I spent several hours this past week, mostly rounding up tools from 2 car trunks, closets in the house, strewn all over, and under my major shop tools, under the seat in the truck, etc… and I still can’t find the floor.
What did I accomplish?
After months of being MIA, I found my 1/4” Craftsman socket set, or at least most of it (the 3/32” shallow socket is missing) hiding under a pile of shavings under the lathe.
Found and put back my shallow, and deep well Husky 1/4” drive sockets. I am missing my 1/4” drive 6pt Husky 10mm deep socket. It flipped off of my ratchet, and QUICKLY ran down the driveway and into a storm drain. I need to buy a new one…
My Metric, and SAE, 3/8” drive shallow, 3/8” drive deep, 1/2” drive shallow, 1/2” drive deep, and 1/2” drive shallow impact sockets are all organized, on their respective socket rails, or in the factory socket holders if they came with one.
My specialty sockets (Torx, Allen, Tamper Resistant Torx, etc…. adapters, universal joints etc… are on their appropriate socket rails.
My breaker bars (the original 1/2” drive Snap On, and my new to me 3 weeks ago Pittsburgh 3/8” drive are in the drawer they belong in.
My socket extensions, speed wrench, ratchets etc… are back where they belong.
I put away my HF Digital Multimeter.
I FOUND the Blue Point Digital Multimeter that took to missing months ago under a pile of shavings behind the work bench..
I found missing screwdrivers, Snap On, Stanley, and Pittsburgh, so all price points were found yet again, and put back where they belong!
I found my missing SAE Pittsburgh and Metric Eklind allen key sets. These went back where they belong.
I found my SAE Stanley Proto, and Metric Craftsman feeler gauge sets. These went back where they belong.
I found my long missing Craftsman insulated handle slip joint pliers (My favorite go to pliers) These went back where they belong.
I found my pick up magnet. This got put up where it belongs.
I put back together, and put away my drilling accessories such as drill bits, driver bits, forstner bits, and hole saws. All the pieces are where they belong.
A small sampling of the tools found shows my cleaning illustrates why I need to keep on top of this! The screwdrivers and allen key sets are parts of fuller sets, and as such cannot be replaced one piece at a time, meaning this could have been expensive!
I spent a good bit of time reorganizing my peg board on my shop cabinets to more efficiently store my tools while allowing as full as possible operation of the cabinet doors.
Finishes, solvents, primers, and fillers were sorted, the bad stuff was put into a box for hazardous waste recycling, the good stuff put back into rotation.
My floor jack, and jack stands were organized out of the way next to the lathe.
My lathe tools were cleaned up, sharpened, and put away in their cases, or in most cases, the cardboard box they came in. I need to work on storage for them still…
I did take the compressed air hose, and blow gun out, using a respirator of course, and the ambient filter running, and blew down the lathe, and bench top tools.. Now it’s been over year since i have used the scroll saw which is on top of the stack, how on earth did I get shavings on top of that?!
I finally put back in its proper place the ball joint tool, AC manifold gauge set, cooling system tester, etc…
There is far more that was done, cleaned, reorganized, BUT it ts too much to go into. Long story short though, I probably am about 1/4 of the way through shop cleanup, which is a disgusting statement, but at the very least, I have found at least $600.00 worth of tools that I thought were gone for good.
I know what caused this mess, and it's me. I get done with a project that is outside of my shop, and I simply jam tools back into the shop door, close the door and call it done. I do NOT do what I am supposed to do, and clean up my tools and put them back properly. this MUST change.
Likewise, my "place where things go" s getting crowded. My automotive tool box is housing far too many plumbing tools etc... I need to build a couple of tool totes specifically designed to house tools for specific types of jobs. one tote to hold plumbing specific tools and supplies, another to hold electrical tools and supplies etc... 
I have a LONG way to go with the cleanup, but believe it or not, I am making good progress. I have GOT to get a handle on this so I can actually use my shop!