Free Weed Whacker

A co-worker gave me an Echo SRM-210 Weed whacker.  He had used too little oil in the gasoline and the engine had seized up due to lack of lubrication.

He bought a new one but knew I could fix things so he asked me if I wanted it.  I didn’t need or want it but I’ve always been interested in freeing a seized engine so I took it as a educational project.

It sat in my garage untouched for almost a year until recently when I bought some land out in the country.  I’m still waiting for the closing on the deal but when the time comes, there is a lot of brush that is going to need to be cleared.  Searching the internet on means to clear land I came across using a weed wacker with a brush cutting blade.  BINGO!  I have just the thing in my garage!

When I got home from work, I Youtubed freeing seized weed eater and found a video showing how it is done.

I removed the spark plug and filled the cylinder with some air tool oil that I happened to have on hand and let it sit for a few days until I would have time on the weekend.   When Saturday finally came, I emptied the oil from the cylinder and took off the string started unit.  I clamped on some vice grips and expected to have to torque on it pretty good but it almost instantly freed the piston.

No Way!!!    I put the string starter back on and it pulled freely.  I reinstalled the spark plug and put some gas/oil mixture in the tank.  After a few pulls, it started!

That just saved me $219 or more for a new unit.  I immediately ordered a brush cutting blade kit for $44.00.  I’m all set now!

Providence strikes once again.  Things I need automatically come to me.  Sometimes before I need them.  My luck is amazing!



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.


Fixed my sister’s lawnmower

ndlvlvMy sister’s lawnmower had been sitting for a few years.  She was hiring a yard man to mow her grass because she was experiencing physical difficulties.  Now she is feeling better and the yard man has moved on.

Feeling benevolent I decided to mow her grass since mowing grass is pretty much what I have done since I was just old enough to push a mower.  It had been sitting for a few years and wouldn’t start.  Suspecting the float valve was stuck I removed the carburetor float bowl and confirmed my suspicion.  Being at her house without access to quality tools, I tried to free the valve with needle nose pliers.  The valve was stuck so well I ended up breaking off the tail end.

Bummer.  I offered to bring the mower home and replace the valve and give it a good cleaning.  I was able to find the replacement part on the internet and ordered it for about $7.00 with free shipping.  A great deal since I would never find it shopping around town.  The internet is good.

A few days later it arrived.  I took the carburetor off the mower and cleaned it out.  It was caked with a yellow coating which was fairly easy to remove.  A bit of carb cleaning spray and scrubbing with a toothbrush cleaned it up nicely.  I removed the jets to clean them.  Good thing because the main jet was completely clogged.

Now clean, I reassembled the carburetor using the new needle valve and bolted it back onto the lawnmower.  After a little priming, the mower coughed to life, ran a little rough then smoothed out and purred like a rather large bright yellow kitten with a handle.

Damn I’m good.  What woman wouldn’t want a man like me?  Apparently all of them.

You know.  It reminds me of my dream life.  To live in a small town and run a little fixit shop where people can bring mowers, appliances and computers to me and I can fix them. I can’t imagine a happier way to live.

One day, perhaps.



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!