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05 December, 2016

Dave builds his Thien Trash can cyclone separator shelf.

I mentioned on other platforms that I was going to build a shelf to hold my Thien trash can cyclone separator mostly to get it out from under the table saw. I need the space under the saw for storing things like totes of table saw and router accessories.

Well I shot some video (not my best work) of the build process... There are some good pointers on getting accurate cuts, how to line up for a cut etc... And an illustration of terrible Japanese pull saw work. Kind of a something for everyone into woodworking thing...

I hope you enjoy, and stay tuned, I am putting out the video for the install of this in a couple of days. I already have it mostly done. Just need to finish the ending credits and produce it...  Oh, and the video for the install is MUCH better than for the build. Again, sorry about the video quality. I shot it all holding my smart phone by hand. Not my best idea ever...

26 November, 2016

Performing a safe, and clean oil change in your driveway.

How to perform a safe, and clean driveway oil change. For our demonstration we use our 2006 Chevrolet Malibu LS 3.5L V6 with over 125K on the odometer.

Tools, and equipment needed for the oil change are.

Jack stands. Make sure you use good quality, safe jack stands that are sufficiently rated for the vehicle in question. For our Malibu we are using a pair of Pittsburgh 3 ton jack stands from Harbor Freight Tools. A comparable set on Amazon would be the Torin 3 ton set. The lifted F150 4x4 uses the taller, heavier duty 6 ton models. And like the 3 tons, the 6 ton Torns are the Amazon equivalents.

While the factory jack will do in a pinch, a good quality floor jack makes the job safer and MUCH easier. We use a Pittsburgh Automotive 4 ton floor jack. The Amazon does have the Pittsburgh jack listed through third parties, but the mark up is too much in my opinion. The Pro Lift G737 3.5 ton model will do the job on both the car, and the truck without breaking a sweat.

You will need filter wrenches. I highly recommend band type wrenches. I have the Lisle type spring loaded ones, they slip, a LOT, and are very hard to use in tight spaces. I have had my band wrenches so long I don't recall when, or where I got them...

The drain pan I use is the Flo Tool 16 QT unit. I have yet to have a leak, and it is set up well to allow filters to drain out etc....The regular price on Amazon is easily half what you would pay at an auto parts store, or Walmart...

The price difference between the Harbor Freight models, and the models Amazon carries, makes the Harbor Freight flex head ratcheting combination wrench sets a VERY appealing alternative. I have had mine now for over 3 years, and while I won't pretend like they are equal to my Snap On flank drive combination wrenches, they do exactly what I need with zero problems at a price I can afford easily... I own them, I own high end wrenches, and I can honestly recommend them. I'd give you links to the specific sets, but sadly, Harbor Freight's IT department decided to bring down their site for maintenance work on Black Friday / Cyber Monday weekend. Keep your eyes peeled here, I will update the links once they get the site back up.

Like I mentioned in the video, I highly recommend using your vehicle MFG branded oil filters. Contrary to some nay sayers, I do use, and stand by permanent oiled air filters (K&N) which might be a mistake, but I have had zero related problems with any vehicle fitted with them and I do end up with LOTS of miles on my vehicles.

For oil, I have used all sorts of fancy pants race synthetics, and I have settled on Mobil 1 Full Synthetic. With the exception of the F150 5.4L 3V engine that has had the cam phaser failure, that I Have traced back solidly to failed Fram filters that were bypassing allowing crud to build up in the oil. I have had no oiling related issues, and to the contrary, I have had great success with engine longevity using this product.

Lastly, if you somehow manage to miss the pan and make a mess, you will need Oil Dri to clean up, as well as a broom, dawn dish washing detergent, and water to clean up the mess. It is best by a LONG shot to double, and triple check your oil catch pan placement under the vehicle and watch the flow of oil into it to keep it situated under the stream of oil at all times.

05 August, 2016

Dave talks about the Green Leaf Wonder Winders, and upcoming quick and dirty shop organization projects.

In this video I talk about the Green Leaf Wonder Winders I got from years ago and demonstrate their usage. They are a neat little gizmo that is super easy to use, keeps your extension cords in the garage or workshop where you need them. And makes it super easy to get them up and out of the way when you are done using them!

I am including the Amazon link for these things. Northern Tool has them on Amazon for less, but after you factor shipping in, they end up costing a bit more.

If you can get them at your local Northern tool that would probably be your best value.

03 August, 2016

Dave builds and installs a shop vac shelf.

The shop vac is sucking up precious floor space and is rarely used. I have long hoses, and a separate trash can / Thien style separator. My idea is to get it off of the floor, so a simple plywood and 2x4 shelf screwed straight into the studs of the garage wall. 

The project isn't exactly super pretty, but it IS very functional, and allows me to more easily organize the shop.

21 July, 2016

A trip to Harbor Freight for a vacuum pump.

In this video I run to Harbor Freight to pick up a vacuum pump so that I can complete the AC repair job on the Saturn...

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 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 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!