Providence Strikes Again – Free Air Conditioner

WACHooray!  Once again the thing I want comes to me by itself.

For a few years now I’ve been toying with the idea of buying a window air conditioner that I can take apart and play with OR just to have on hand in an emergency.  You can get one for around $100 nowadays.

Today I was driving home when just three houses down from me there existed a 8000 BTU air conditioner sitting abandoned at the curb!  Sweeeeet!   The only thing better than buying an air conditioner is finding a broken one and fixing it.  I immediately grabbed my dolly and picked it up and brought it home.

I plugged it in and the fan came on but the compressor didn’t.  Not unexpected but better than I had expected.  I got out my multi-meter and probed around on the power connections to the compressor.  The hot wire read 110V at the overload protector but 0V on the other side!  Hmm. That didn’t seem right. (Not knowing it was an overload protector at the time.)  It appeared to be some kind of sensor because it was not actually connected to the compressor body.  As a diagnostic, I bypassed the whatchamadoodle and connected the power right to the compressor.  I plugged it back in and jumped in fear as the compressor sprang to life.  Within a few minutes the unit was cooling again!  Damn I’m good!

The thing was a proper mess.  Full of dust, dirt and covered in foam sealant on the outside where the previous owner tried to make it air-tight to the window.  I used my air compressor to blow out as much dust as possible. I scraped off all the foam and took the whole thing out to the yard and cleaned the coils with the garden hose sprayer.  Much better!

After letting it dry for a few hours in the sun, I put it back on my workbench to test it again.  Yep!  Works!  Good as new.

Overload Protector

I went on Ebay to look for a replacement overload protector where I found one for $3.45 with free shipping.  I could probably run it without one but why not make it safe for $3.45.

There’s nothing more fun than taking someone else’s discarded machine and fixing it.

Free stuuuuuuuuuuuufffff!



Good Things Come To Those Who Wait

pwshrIt is often said that “Good things come to those who wait.”  It is something that I have experienced many times in my life.  It has almost become the basis for my entire being.

I am 1/16th Native American according to my genealogy.   My Indian name is One Who Waits.

The most recent example of this happened today.  I got up and took my occasional morning walk around the neighborhood.  Suddenly a wild pressure washer appeared on the sidewalk by the street.  This month is Junk Pickup in my neighborhood where everyone puts their junk out by the curb for the city to pick up.  In the weeks preceding the pickup date the Pickers arrive.   Trolling slowly up and down the streets in their old Sanford and Son pickup trucks they look for metal to recycle and usable stuff to fix.

I saw the pressure washer and said, “Sweeet!”  I completed my walk cutting it a little short and drove over to pick it up.  If I had waited just one minute more or let the Picker Truck coming down the street pass me before I turned I might have missed out on my treasure!    I grabbed the washer and loaded it into the back of my Prius.  As I headed back to my house I passed another Picker Truck just stopping to pick up a vacuum cleaner that I would have also grabbed.  Missed that one.

A few years ago I picked up a carpet shampooing machine.  All it needed was a new cord and a good cleaning.   I’ve used it a lot since then.

I brought the washer home and plugged it in.  The motor worked!  Not a motor problem.  I hooked up the hose and the washer gun.  It pumped water but the stream was extremely weak.  I just happened to have a unused washer gun from a previous gas powered pressure washer sitting under my workbench.   I swapped it out and tested it.  Boom!  Perfect operation.

I tested it out on my sidewalk.  It is less powerful than my gas powered washer but it works just fine.  My gas washer is noisy and difficult to get working.  It has a carburetor problem that I need to sort out.  I think even though the electric one is less powerful, I prefer it because of its ease of use and quietness.  I hate disturbing the neighborhood with noise even though the neighborhood doesn’t mind disturbing me with their noise.

I had been wanting an electric pressure washer for a long time now but made do with the gas model.  Now I have what I want and it cost me nothing at all.

It just goes to prove that ff you wait long enough, whatever you want or need will come to you.  Just be sure you recognize when it comes to you and act quickly or you will lose the opportunity.

One day a friend will come to me if I wait long enough.  I just hope I can recognize him or her when he or she appears.  I’m not very good at that when it comes to people.

I think I am going to take more morning walks for the next few weeks.  I need some used fence boards and more fun things to fix.


Reparing a Broken USB Flash Drive

flshdrvfixAs more proof of my Awesomeness, I submit the following…

A co-worker brought me a broken flash drive that one of his students brought to him.  It has a lot of personal data on it that she didn’t have any other copy of.  The USB connector was broken off taking the solder pads on the circuit board with it.

Using a tiny soldering iron and a magnifying glass, I was able to figure out other places to which I could connect some small gauge wire-wrapping wire.  Working on such tiny circuit boards is EXTREMELY difficult.  I had to scrape away the green coating over some of the traces without uncovering neighboring traces.   Getting solder to stick to such microscopic locations was difficult and touchy.  I had my face so close to the work looking through a Loupe used for examining print that the heat from the soldering iron was almost burning my face.  Not having enough hands, I use a piece of double sided tape to hold the circuit in place on the table.

After some creative soldering I plugged the flash drive connector into a USB extension cable and heard the wonderful USB Connection bleep from the computer.  The little red light on the drive lit up.  I quickly copied the data from the drive to a new folder on the desktop.  OMG!  I challenge most people to be able to accomplish such a task.

Damn I’m good.

Fixed my Delta Band Saw

dltabndswYeeeah Suwheeet!

Last year while working with my not-really-old Delta band saw I tightened the blade too much and the tightening mechanism inside, which was made of lightweight cast aluminum, broke.  I immediately went online to buy a replacement part just to find out that you can buy ANY part for this saw EXCEPT the one piece that broke.  Sounds like some kind of woodworking conspiracy to me.

The saw sat silent and sad for many months while I pondered its fate.   It was not old enough to just throw away and buy a new one.  Today I was derping around in the garage when I decided to tackle the issue.  Using a nut that matched the tightening knob screw and a small piece of scrap steel square tubing, I put together a perfect replacement part.   I welded the tubing to the nut and cut a notch in the end of the tubing to form a hook.   SHABAM!   The saw is as good, if not better, than new.

While putting the blade back in I noticed a guide wheel that was out of place.  That explained why cutting a straight line was virtually impossible.  Now that it is adjusted correctly I’m ready to rock my next project.

Damn I’m good.  You would think women would be flocking all over me, wouldn’t you?


Yardbug carburetor cleaning

yrdbugThough it is with great regret, summer is knocking on the door here in Texas.  It’s the first week of March and the trees are leafing out and the grass is turning green.  It won’t be long before I am out mowing again so I figured I would take advantage of the temporarily cool weather to tackle cleaning the carb on my beloved Yardbug mower.

Last year it was running very rough and hard to get moving without the engine dying so I decided to take the carb apart for a good cleaning.  It wasn’t easy to get to because of the tight space and I had to take a number of other parts off to make some way.

After finally getting it off I took it into the garage and took it apart.  The jet seemed to be clear but I took my air compressor nozzle and made sure all the pathways were clean.  The bowl had a little bit of orange powder coating it so I cleaned that off and sprayed the whole thing inside and out with carb cleaner spray.  Not having anything else to do, I reassemble it.  Carbs are not really that complicated.

Putting it back on turned out to be a bugger.  The linkage that connects the choke came off and it took me an hour to figure out how it goes back in.  Finally it made sense and I got the mower reassembled.

I poured in some gas and hopefully cranked the engine.  After the gas worked its way into the carb it coughed to life and ran smoothly.  I raised my arms in triumph.  Damn I’m good!

Such a repiar job would have cost at least $100 even if I could find someone who would work on a Yardbug.  That’s $100 in my pocket!  Woohoo!