of Brian Fraser
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last modified: 12-9-19a
Bernard Haldane Associates services may not be cost effective
Bernard Haldane is "the nation's leader in Career Management Services" and is "committed to helping individuals reach their career goals." There are other companies that offer similar services (Chandler Hill Partners, etc). Typically, they charge thousands of dollars for their services. If you are out of work, you might be tempted to pay some big bucks for such a service because being out of work is costly too. But before you do, consider your options. There may be local and Federal programs that offer similar, or even better, services and they are often free.
I live in the Phoenix, Arizona metropolitan area. So I checked out the Maricopa Workforce Development Career Center located in Gilbert. I found their services to be very professional, up-to-date, and with excellent depth and breadth. And the services are FREE. That is pretty hard to beat! (See http://www.onestop.maricopa.gov/ and http://www.arizonavirtualonestop.com )
This was not at all what I expected from a government service center. Apparently, both local and federal governments are very serious about getting "dislocated workers" re-employed. Millions of people have had their jobs "outsourced" to Russia, India, China, and other countries where labor costs are considerably lower than here in the United States. Even service jobs are being outsourced now. The usual improvements in productivity have also been taking their toll. As the unemployment rates rise, the tax base erodes. The economy also stagnates and people cannot purchase discretionary goods and services. Instead of paying taxes, people start requiring government assistance in the form of food stamps, rental assistance, and so forth. There is also a huge waste of human talent, especially in the older worker category where the 50+ somethings have lots of work experience and are often a bargain for savvy employers, but are otherwise ignored in the job market. State and federal governments would like to turn all this around. And what I saw at the Maricopa Workforce Connection Center in Gilbert convinces me that they are serious about doing a very good job of it.
The services offered at this particular Comprehensive One Stop Center include workshops on:
How to write an effective resume
How to conduct an employment interview
How to effectively fill out an employment application (not as straight-forward as you might think)
How to network
How to assess your job skills and interest through on-line testing (MBTI, BESI, etc)
How to use the on-line OneStop services
How to communicate professionally
How to use computers and internet services
How to find and use labor market information (outlook and local salary for a job category)
One-on-one counseling is also available for personalized advice and Resume/Interview critiquing. If you are officially a "dislocated worker" there may also be some Federal money available for re-training.
I experienced these services as very professional and very up-to-date. And THEY ARE FREE. Check them out BEFORE you decide to pay the big bucks to one of those commercial career management services.
Also, if you are an employer doing a Reduction In Force (RIF), you might consider these services for your former employees instead of a far more expensive outplacement firm.
These One-Stop Centers appear to be grant funded. Take advantage of them while you can.
As for the various commercial career management services, do some research on them before you sign on the dotted line. Experiences with such firms have ranged from very positive to very negative. At least know what you are getting into. Some links:
"Expensive career marketing firm draws complaints"
"Company Charged With Misleading Job Seekers About Supposed Exclusive Access to Job Market Over 1,000 Minnesotans Paid Between $5,000 and $16,000 in Past Two Years " (May 11, 2004)
"Illinois Charges Bernard Haldane Co. With Deceiving Job-Seekers"
"Job Scammers Pocket Thousands"
This article includes a warning which job seekers should take seriously:
Executive job seekers should take great care to determine exactly what services are offered by a career counseling firm. It is important to have clear understanding of financial or other contractual obligations, refund provisions (if any), staff background and qualifications, and the company's record of success with other clients. References from individuals with similar backgrounds may be useful. It is important to distinguish promises made during the sales presentation from actual services provided by the company. If an oral promise (made or implied) by a company representative is not specifically included in the written contract, the client may assume that the promise will not be honored.
Some of the resources below are fully accessible to citizens free-of-charge only from workstations located at government supported employment centers.
"Helping Everyone Access Training" (Arizona) http://www.ade.az.gov/arizonaheat/
"Arizona Workforce Informer" http://www.workforce.az.gov
"Arizona Workforce Connection" http://www.arizonavirtualonestop.com
"Occupational Information Network" http://online.onetcenter.org/
"Occupational Outlook Handbook" http://www.bls.gov/oco/home.htm http://www.bls.gov/ooh/a-z-index.htm
Direct Employers ("a nonprofit association of employers") http://www.directemployers.org
JobApplicationForms.com http://www.jobapplicationforms.com/ (suggested by a reader)
Phoenix Business Journal http://phoenix.bizjournals.com/phoenix/
Salary information http://www.salary.com/
Links from Reader Feedback
See http://www.wsc.edu/advising_services/career_planning/exploration/personality_careers/ for a table with links to descriptions for Myers-Briggs Type Indicator
Testing at an Arizona OneStop Center showed that I am a Myers-Briggs INTJ and ISTJ. See
Executive Jobs Unlimited, Carl R. Boll, 1979 (find a copy if it is out of print)
Essentials of Business Communications, Mary Ellen Guffey, 6th ed., 2004
A reminder to sales people
"For he pays a man according to his work, And makes him find it according to his way." (Job 34:11)
"Let him not trust in emptiness, deceiving himself; For emptiness will be his reward." (Job 15:31)
"those who plow iniquity And those who sow trouble harvest it." (Job 4:8
"Will He not render to man according to his work?" (Proverbs 24:12)
"I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, Even to give to each man according to his ways, According to the results of his deeds. As a partridge that hatches eggs which it has not laid, So is he who makes a fortune, but unjustly; In the midst of his days it will forsake him, And in the end he will be a fool." (Jeremiah 17:10-11)
"As you have done, it will be done to you. Your dealings will return on your own head." (Obadiah 1:15)
"Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap." (Galatians 6:7)
"As the Lord of hosts purposed to do to us in accordance with our ways and our deeds, so He has dealt with us." (Zechariah 1:6)
"By their own devices let them fall." (Psalm 5:10)
"So I gave them over to the stubbornness of their heart, To walk in their own devices," (Psalm 82:12)
"God gave them over . . . " (Romans 1:24, 1:26, 1:28)
"So they shall eat the fruit of their own way, And be satiated with their own devices." (Proverbs 1:31)
"He who sows iniquity will reap vanity." (Proverbs 22:8)
"For they sow the wind, And they reap the whirlwind." (Hosea 8:7)
"By your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. . . . Therefore, however you want people to treat you, so treat them, for this is the Law and the Prophets." (Matthew 7:2,12)
"For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and will then repay every man according to his deeds." (Matthew 16:27)
"God . . . will render to every man according to his deeds" (Romans 2:5-6)
Harmon/Kardon DA001 88S REV A HK195-01 computer speaker system fails
I was awoken one night by a loud hum. At first I thought it was the fire alarm, but it turned out to be a sound coming from the speakers on my computer system. I turned off the computer but the sound continued(!). Still only half-awake, I started unplugging everything, and the sound finally stopped.
In the morning I figured out that the sound was coming from the pair of Harmon/Kardon speakers attached to the computer. I took apart the one that had the amplifier board and found that the top of the main filter capacitor for the power supply had cracked open slightly. I did some calculations and found that the voltage rating was slightly too low for the voltage from the power transformer. I carefully removed the defective capacitor (3300mf@25V), soldered in a couple of wires, and connected a replacement capacitor with a somewhat higher voltage rating and with about the same capacitance (2200mf@35V). The leads were different from the original and so I had to attach the new capacitor to a convenient spot on the back of the speaker frame instead of the circuit board. The repair tested ok, did not hum, and has worked fine ever since.
I now leave the computer sound system turned OFF unless I specifically need the sound feature.
FEIT Electric LED Night Light Fails
I bought two of these LED night lights (made by Feit Electric Company) at a Walgreens store. The package advertises a 100,000 hour life and an energy cost of $0.25 per year. One failed after two months of use. I then took both of them apart to find out why one failed. Both showed signs of poor manufacturing practice (finger prints on the circuit board, cold solder joints, poor cleaning). One had developed a crack in the plastic case. Both showed evidence of overheating of the resistor that connects to the LED. The one that failed has a resistor with a visible crack in it, rather clearly due to overheating. The resistors were probably under-rated for their intended power load (as in using a 0.25 watt resistor for a 0.30 watt load, or not derating the resistor for the additional thermal stress caused by a plastic housing).
I regard this night light as a potential fire hazard and find it hard to believe that it was UL listed. I don't use this type of light in my home anymore.
Pencil torch explodes
I was using a little butane pencil torch to purge air from a small petroleum reactor that I had built to make a sample of xylene/ lithium stearate gel. I opened the valve on the torch as usual, but did not hear it hiss. I was holding in my hand, looking at it intently, wondering why it was not working. Suddenly, it exploded, and the torch head shot across the room. Fortunately, it was not lit, and it was pointing away from my face.
I gathered up all the pieces and tried to figure out why it exploded. It had the expected O-ring, and the expected chunk of foam that prevents the fuel cylinder from being overfilled. But there was NO crimp holding the torch head to the fuel body. They were joined only with some kind of adhesive.
I had stored the pencil torch in the refrigerator. When I held it in my hand, it would have heated up rapidly. The coefficients of expansion for metals and for adhesives like epoxy are rather different, and this probably contributed to the bond between them suddenly breaking.
I related this experience to the clerks at the local hardware store. They confirmed that they had heard of other people having some bad experiences with these pencil torches. So BE CAREFUL if you use one, or are near someone who is using one! Mine exploded when it was not even lit.
Seatbelt latch fails on Ford Mustang
Grizzly Industrial G7943 12 Speed Heavy-Duty Bench-Top Drill Press
One day I got into my 1991 Ford Mustang and buckled up, but I noticed the seatbelt latch seemed to be working differently. I did not hear that distinct "click" that I usually got when buckling up. I compared the action of the driver-side belt with that of the (unoccupied) passenger-side and found that they acted differently. I got the impression that the driver-side belt could unlatch unexpectedly. As a test, I latched it and then shook it violently while pulling on it. It did indeed suddenly pop apart. The scene was just as you have seen on TV in those lawyer's ads.
At that point I removed both front seats so I could get at the anchor bolts for the part of the seat belt that had the button latch. I replaced the defective leftside with the still-working rightside until I could get a replacement from Ford.
This machine cost $295, UPS Freight $79, and liftgate service $34 (through Grizzly). It was well packaged and was delivered without any damage. The manual is well-written, and machine assembly was straight-forward (requires a shop hoist or a "helper"). Hoisting it onto the work bench was somewhat awkward because it did not have any premade lift points (I used a 6 1/2 foot sling). The drill press is solidly constructed and appears to run well.
I had only one problem. After removing the light bulb dust plug, I found I could not screw in a light bulb! The socket rotated as I screwed in the bulb. Then I could not get the bulb back out. To repair it I had to loosen the pulley housing (4 screws; the idler pulley just lifts out) and swing it to the side to get access to the light bulb socket. I removed the entire socket assembly (one screw , on the outside). A threaded retaining ring had fallen off the bulb end of the socket. I screwed it back on, but then discovered that the socket still rotated in the socket bracket. In fact it was designed to rotate in the socket bracket! This is truly a so-called "Chinese design" if I ever saw one! (I have never been favorably impressed with Chinese electrical stuff meant for the consumer market.)
The retaining ring, mounting bracket (with a flat stub that is hard to see in the photo), and the light socket itself are seen perched on the edge of the machine after unscrewing and swinging the pulley housing off to the side. The socket goes through the bracket and is held in place by the screw-on retaining ring. The bracket mounts to the machine wall with a single screw. The socket will still rotate within the bracket unless the two are cememted together with high-temperature adhesive (I used Silicone I ),
It is crowded in there. Best to assemble the light socket and bracket while on the outside and then mount it as intended on the inside.
Before you hoist the machine to the bench, make sure you can screw in a light bulb!
When I tried to remount the bulb bracket, I discovered that both the hole in the casting and the hole in the bracket were threaded. In this situation getting a solid bracket-to-casting mount would not be possible. So I drilled out the casting hole with a 3/16" drill. The bracket mounted fine and tight after that.
Then I had to put the pulley housing back in place. Two of the four screws went in okay (and I used lock washers instead of the supplied flat washers). The other two were under the pulley and were difficult enough to remove, let alone reinstall. There was not enough clearance for an offset Phillips screwdriver (!), nor for my fingers. I decided to remove the spindle pulley, which is held on by a large nut. I gave it a solid tug with a big wrench, and before realizing I was dealing with a left-handed thread, I apparently twisted the splined spindle shaft slightly, and now it binds a little at the top of travel. The pulley would still not come off (apparently requires a puller) and I decided to leave it that way, lest I manage to bend something else. The pulley cover rattled loudly without the two remaining screws. With a great deal of patience and ingenuity I finally managed to get them in. If I EVER have to do this again, I will substitute hex head cap screws for the Phillips screws supplied.
I still do not know how well the machine works, but the light bulb socket works fine now.
Grizzly Industrial G4000 Precision Bench Lathe Model G4000 (9" x 19")
This machine cost $1050, UPS Freight $99, and liftgate service $34 (through Grizzly). Off-loading was a bit problematic for UPS because the crate was too small for a regular pallet truck but too large for a hand truck. A shop hoist is needed to get this 300 lb. machine onto the bench. The manual is well-written and detailed. Removing the rust preventative (I used WD-40) was tedious but straight-forward, as was the inventorying of various separate parts (some of which have left me mystified). Lubrication and spindle bearing run-in at three different speeds (as per manual) were uneventful.
The manual suggests using two slings around the back rib of the casting for lifting the machine onto a bench. I tried this but did not like it. So I made my own hooks from 1/4" scrap steel rod and slipped vinyl tubing over the contact points. The hooks go inside the bed and hook onto the bottom of the casting. The offset bends on the hooks prevent them from contacting the precision machined ways. The load leveler is needed because the motor side of the lathe is much heavier than the opposite end. Being able to hoist this machine while flat-and-level makes positioning and bolting much easier.
The lathe is mounted with only two 1/2" bolts. The bolt holes in the casting correspond with holes in the green oil pan. The manual does not mention this, but the mounting hole in the casting at the motor end is not on the center line of the bed. This means that the pan and lathe will only match up correctly one way (they are not mismachined, as one reviewer asserted).
This is the factory inspection record that came with the lathe. Note that the measurements are in millimeters, not inches. Hence, the G4 measurement for "Spindle nose runout" of 0.01 mm is equivalent to about 4 ten-thousandths of an inch (0.0004) (http://www.convertunits.com/from/mm/to/inches )
This machine is a lot more complicated than the above drill press, but it was free of silly installation problems. I have only noticed one minor problem: the rear splash guard has an edge that rests sharply against the backside of the bed; it chipped off the finish on the casting, leaving a very noticeable gash. This could have been avoided if the manufacturer had given it a small 90 degree bend at this crucial point. I simply covered the edge up with a small piece of vinyl tubing, which will also prevent it from rattling.
I had some trouble getting the half-nut to engage the lead screw for thread cutting. I had read warnings (somewhere) that the auto-feed lever and the half nut lever must not be engaged at the same time. And so I assumed that the operation of these two were independent. It turns out that they are interlocked and not independent (?) on this machine. To get the half-nut lever to engage, I had to wiggle the half-nut lever and the auto-feed lever at the same time. Turning the lead screw by hand slightly might also be helpful. This does not seem to be a problem when the lathe is actually running.
For lubrication I used Mobile Velocite No.10 spindle oil ( http://www.use-enco.com/CGI/INSRIT?PARTPG=INSRAR2&PMAKA=505-2002&PMPXNO=945071 ) and Mobile Vactra No. 2 way oil ( http://www.use-enco.com/CGI/INSRIT?PARTPG=INSRAR2&PMAKA=505-1987&PMPXNO=945479 ). When not in use, I cover the lathe with a clear vinyl shower curtain.
The lathe has a readily apparent peculiarity: the "follow rest" leads, rather than follows, the tool cutter.
The "follow rest" on the Grizzly lathe is actually in front of the cutting tool. This (usually) means that the surface it rides on has not been machined (the cutter moves leftward, and the so-called "follower" moves leftward with it. Such a surface could be eccentric or rough, leading to inaccuracies in the cutting. Here the "follow rest" actually follows the cutting tool. This is the traditional configuration. The rotating surface it supports has been machined, allowing accurate cutting. A follow rest is typically used with long stock that is rotated "between centers"; it prevents the stock from bending away from the cutting tool. (Note how the "lathe dog" is mounted to the faceplate to apply turning force.).
Says Workholding in the Lathe, Tubal Cain (1987) p. 97:
It appears that there is some uncertainty as to whether the travelling steady jaws should be set to the work ahead of the tool or opposite the tool. The 'ahead' setting is the preferred one, for a number of reasons. First, the obvious one that the setting can be made before the tool cuts! Second, there is a little less risk of swarf getting between the jaw and the work—though care must always be taken to avoid this wherever the steady is set. Third, it is possible to remove any burrs from the work between each pass. which might otherwise interfere with the proper action of the steady. . . . When using the steady on long screwcutting operations (and this is where I find it comes in most useful) the steady—if it has bronze jaws, as most of them seem to have these days—may 'pick up' on the thread. In an extreme case I have known the steady start the carriage moving before the half nuts were engaged. Remove all burrs from threads as you go along and, if you are wise, substitute harder jaws for this operation.
I also ordered the 20 pc. Lathe Tool Kit (H5868) But most of the items did not fit the lathe. Grizzly's Customer Service prompt response:
Unfortunately, the H5868 Lathe Tool Kit is not designed for use with the G4000 Metal Lathe. This style of tool kit is for use with a rocker style tool post rather than the turret style tool post that comes with the G4000. At this time, we do not offer a rocker style tool post for the G4000.
This was another "gotcha for newbies". I had focused on the statement "Get started with this practical lathe kit that includes the following handy essentials . . ." Sounded like just the right thing for me. Nope! There was no statement that it could not be used with the G4000 lathe. (http://www.grizzly.com/catalog/2013/Main/689 ) Grizzly customer service issued a return authorization along with the following note:
Please note that we can only accept your return if the merchandise is unused and in new, resalable condition. The product must be returned in its original packaging. . . . Upon receipt and inspection, we will issue a refund, in the form of a gift certificate, for the merchandise less a 10% restocking fee and return shipping costs. Your outbound shipping and handling charges are not refundable.
I had the same problem with an order for lathe dogs ( http://www.grizzly.com/catalog/2013/Main/700 ) They also had to be returned because they would not fit the G4000 lathe face plate.
Later, I decided to educate myself on the topic of thread cutting. I followed the manual, pages 36-42, for cutting a thread of 11 threads per inch (TPI) on a long bolt that already had a section of 11 TPI at its end. I changed gear "a" to 60 teeth, gear "b" to 30, and set the "lever" at 5 as per the table in Fig. 60. The thread that I cut did not come out to 11 TPI, but was instead something like 10.5 TPI. I felt sure this error had something to do with the 120/127 tooth gears that are used for Imperial or metric thread cutting. The ratio of 127/120 is about 1.058 and 11/10.4 is almost 1.058. So I thought I must have mistakenly set it up for metric. So I flipped the two gears over, thinking it might make a difference. This did not make sense, but sometimes when logic does not work, maybe illogic will. So I tried it.
Nope. Didn't work . . . The gears are locked together by a bushing and are on the same shaft, so there could not be any change in the ratio between the spindle and lead screw.
I started looking more closely at the gear configuration in Figure 60. The top diagram for Imperial threads has the label "127" pointing to a small gear, and the "120" pointing to the large gear. Shouldn't it be the other way around? Figs. 42, 45, 48, 51, 52 and 75 show the large gear on the inside, and the 120 gear on the outside. I also noticed that there was one offset on the gear train for Imperial and two for metric. In other words, the Imperial setup uses the 120/127 gear pair only as an idler, and therefore it does not matter whether it is setup as 127/120 or 120/127 (inside/outside) as long as either can mesh with gear "b".
The Fig. 60 diagram shows gear "b" in two different positions, one for Imperial and one for metric. But how could gear "b" be moved? I went back and looked at the lathe again. There was indeed a bushing behind gear "b", but it did not show in any of the photos because gear "b" was in front and covered it up. However, the "Change Gears" parts diagram on page 59 shows it can go in front (part 413, where it is called a "spacer"). Swapping the position of the "spacer" and the gear would change the spindle-to-lead screw ratio, converting it from inadvertent metric back to Imperial.
I had an awful time getting the spacer to slide off (I had to gradually wedge it off by using the smooth edge of a hacksaw blade). But I managed to cut a perfect 11 TPI thread after reconfiguring. The spacer had to be on the outside, gear "b" on the inside, and meshing with the 127 gear (used as an idler, not a ratio changer). I have also been able to extend the threads on a 1/2 inch dia. No. 8 tempered bolt with 13 TPI.
Grizzly left this little crucial detail out of their otherwise well-written manual.
Update: I bought the lathe in the summer of 2013. Now, in the summer of 2015 I discovered that the cross slide has a two degree error; it is not truly perpendicular to the lathe ways. When end-facing a cylinder, I noticed, much to my surprise, that the end came out slightly cone shaped. I double checked to make sure eveything was tight and locked into position. The only way I could get it to come out flat was to turn the compound slide about 2 degrees counterclockwise, and then use the crank on the compound slide (NOT the crank on the cross slide) to do the actual cutting.
A two degree error is huge in a metal cutting operation. So I wrote Grizzly for a solution. But there is no adjustment for this problem, and I could not find any test for it on the spec. sheet either. The only work-around is to offset the compound slide and then use the crank on the compound slide to feed the tool into the work..
If you are buying a Grizzly 4000 lathe, check for this problem when you have the lathe up and running. Grizzly apparently does not check for it.
Update on the cross slide alignment: Several months after noting the problem with the cross slide, I made a series of careful measurements in an attempt to locate the source of the problem more specifically. But I could not find any real problems, certainly nothing indicating a 2 degree error. So why was I getting cone shaped ends in an end-facing operation? I now think the source of the error was two-fold: lack of sufficient rigidity on this small lathe, and a reduction of the rate of material removal near the center of rotation of the work piece. I was cutting 1018 steel at the time; if I had been cutting aluminum, I might not have noticed any problem. So the lathe appears to be OK. Live and learn . . .
Still later I was end-facing a 304 stainless steel plug (1.65" OD) mounted in a 3-jaw chuck. I moved the carriage into position and locked it against the stationary lead screw. I then jerked the carriage backwards towards the tailstock to remove any play between the carriage and lead screw. I turned the lead screw by hand a little to move the cutting tool into contact with the SS plug. I end-faced the plug by feeding in the cross slide (not the compound slide). The cut came out fine and flat.
I credit two things for my success: understanding and control of the longitudinal play (backlash) and the fact the the plug had a 1/4" hole at its center.
Side note: Cutting 304 stainless produces foot-long strands of "steel wool" instead of small chips. This wad of cuttings is a nuisance. I found that by making a horizontal "scratch" on the work by moving the cutting tool horizontally against the work (with the lathe turned off), the strands would then break at the scratch line. The result was much shorter cuttings . This technique has its limitations, but when I have to remove a lot of metal, it really cuts down on the mess.
My experience with this purchase was a bad one. When I reached into the box to remove the vise, I got stabbed by a flek of loose plating on the screw for the vise jaws. This was my first out-of-the-box experience with this vise: I just touched it and it drew blood!
I installed the handles and tested the slides for play. The bottom slide had a huge amount of play. I attempted to remove the play with the usual adjustments.
A bad burr prevented the collar from being moved sufficiently to take out the half-inch play in the bottom slide. The burr probably originated when the collar set screw was tightened and then the vise was dropped. The heavy weight skewed the set screw across the shaft, making the burr. The shipping container showed no damage, and so I must conclude this happened at the factory. (My rethought opinion is that it probably was caused by shipping)
With some difficulty, I managed to remove the burr, and was then able to slide the collar to take out most of the play. However, about a tenth of an inch of play remained, making the entire vise useless.
Further inspection showed that the post that rides on the bottom lead screw was too small for the hole in the slide (probably a bushing was left out during manufacturing). This accounted for the extra play. This is the bottom view of the hole. The post has been removed from the lead screw and placed next to the hole for comparison. (The rough machining was expected; this vise cost only $48 + shipping.)
The lead screws were also rusty and dirty. And, just so you know, the bottom handle does not clear the table.
I was very disappointed with the careless manufacturing and utter lack of quality control. Grizzly gave me a full refund upon its return.
After that experience, I decided to buy a Westward Drill Press Vise, cross slide, 5" locally from Grainger. This one was $227 + $18.84 shipping, but I had lost patience with the cheap stuff. The workmanship was much better than the $48 vise. After cleaning it, re-lubricating it, and adjusting the gibs and collars, it worked fine. I could not remove the five-thousandths play in the lead screw, but this is probably normal. A thumb screw at the center of each gib allows the user to effectively lock the vise into a stable position for use as a drill press vise.
Grizzly Industrial Model G9742 5x6 Metal Cutting Bandsaw
I have used this machine to cut 5/8" steel plate and it works satisfactorily except for a serious safety problem:
1. Off button lever. What the manual says about this is inapplicable. I was unable to satisfactorily adjust the "OFF button lever stop bolt" so that the machine reliably shuts off. The on/off switch is the "snap" (toggle) type. It is supposed to mechanically snap first, and THEN interrupt the circuit, shutting the machine off. Instead, the circuit is interrupted first, and the switch does NOT snap. When I lift the saw housing upwards, the saw unexpectedly starts up again.
This type of switch is supposed to be fully ON until it snaps to OFF, wherein it remains fully off. It should not be possible to get it into an indeterminate state, say, by slowly pressing the switch paddle. (The switch on the G7943 drill press has the same faulty action, but it is not so critical in that application.)
This is a serious safety hazard. I have asked Grizzly for a solution.
2. Squaring vise to blade. Contrary to the manual, the vise position is not adjustable. It is held in a precise fixed position by two bushings. Loosening the cap screws that hold the vise will have no effect. Mine was fairly accurate, being off by about 1/2 degree. I managed to fix it by moving the degree scale pointer slightly.
3, Feed stop bolt adjustment. This is to be adjusted so that the bandsaw blade stops just below the vise table surface when the cut is complete. However, the black (bottom) cover on the blade housing contacts the vise at about the same time the stop bolt arrests the descent of the blade. This makes the stop bolt useless for fine adjustment relating to the OFF button.
4. Off button lever. What the manual says about this is inapplicable. Additionally, the switch has a serious safety problem (see #1).
5. There is no easily accessible ("swat-able") emergency off switch. On this machine, you have to pull the plug (another serious safety consideration). This machine could use a retrofit kit to address the safety hazards.
6. The manual says "G9472 features a blade tension indicator to assist you with blade tensioning. . . . Tighten the blade until the tension indicator moves into the green or center section of the indicator." I could find no such indicator, nor is there an illustration.
7. I installed feet at the front and wheels at the back. The machine is still hard to move because there is no handle attached to the base. When I lift the saw housing, it itself simply moves upwards, not the base. The handles shown in the manual on page 38 do not exist.
8. The manual (Revs July 2008 and Feb. 2013) needs to be updated in several places. The current one seems to have been carelessly cloned from a couple of others.
9. Grizzly advertises that "the vise backing jaw is rigid on this saw". I don't know what they mean by that. The backing plate is simply bolted on, not cast one-piece with the vise. Also, the vise will not securely hold pieces that are less than about 4" long.
10. The hydralic feed works well. However, after a few months of operation, I noticed that the feed cylinder was acting like it had large amounts of air in it. Then I noticed a bad oil leak. Oil was leaking out of the shut-off valve (not the needle valve). Almost all the cylinder oil had leaked out. I removed the feed cylinder assembly for maintenance. I took the valve handle off, and tried to carefully bolster it with two layers of teflon tape (the hole was too large for the O ring). Then I managed to refill the cylinder with lathe way oil. The system now works better, but still leaks a little.
11. I was perplexed about how to do angle cutting, say at 60 degrees. This places the saw blade across the vise and I don't think the designers of this machine intended for the vise to be cut in half! The manual does not addess this, so I wrote Grizzly. The solution was simple:
As 60 degree cut places saw directly across vise. But the idea is to cut stock, not the vise. Vise has been removed. Additional set of mounting holes can now be seen at center. Vise can be mounted on right side. Problem solved.
Porter-Cable bench grinder (variable speed) dies
I disconnected the controller board completely. Rewiring was uneventful and the machine worked fine (at a fixed full speed of course). The power switch, incidentally, was DPST and switched both the hot and neutral.
Tap disintegrator ("tap burner")
First attempt testing homebuilt tap disintegrator. DI water flows across broken tap during operation. The 1/8" ID drain tube proved to be too small (had too much capillary resistance) and was removed.
Close-up of #10-24 broken tap with center burned out by tap disintegrator using 1/16" tungsten electrode, 12 volts DC @10 amps. DI water flows across the tap, top to bottom in photo.
Same close-up but backlighted. Hole is fairly clean and round. Tap remains have not yet been broken out.
|Hole after clean up.|
One day I broke a #10-24 tap in some steel flat stock. I had removed broken drill bits before by using an acid etch, but I had never removed a broken tap. So I decided to make a broken tap remover for small taps. The test version is pictured above. The disintegrator burned a fairly clean, round hole through the tap. Remains of the tap were broken out with a screw extractor (which was otherwise unable to extract the tap). Then the threads were cleaned up with a new tap. The results were satisfactory. (if they had not been, I would have welded the hole shut and then redrilled and retapped it.)
I was surprised that the screw extractor was very scratched up during this operation. I did not know it at the time, but Electrical Discharge Machining (EDM) produces a very thin layer (a few ten-thousandths) of extremely hard, brittle material. "Superficial hardness tests have been performed on as-cut EDM surfaces and it is often found to be equivalent to a 70 Rc hardness or higher. This explains why tools shaped by EDM generally will wear an extraordinarily long time in comparison to tools made of conventional heat treated steel" (Heat Treatment, Selection, and Applicaton of Tool Steels, William E. Bryson (2009) ). See also http://www.cladtechnologies.com/articles/hardness%20vs.%20wear/hardness.htm
Usable drawings can be found at BrokenTapDisintegration.pdf CAUTION: Some portions of the drawings are being revised. ( converted from Word by http://www.freepdfconvert.com/ )
How to remove a gear from the end of a chain saw motor shaft
I recently salvaged a motor from an old chain saw. Before I could use the motor, I had to figure out how to remove the gear from the end of the shaft. The shaft showed hints of a barely visible thread at the shaft end, and so I figured it was probably a left-hand thread and the gear was simpl;y screwed on. This scheme is common. A left-hand thread is used so that when shaft is driving the load (chain saw in this case) it will cause the gear to tighten against the shaft. In such a case removing the gear is usually easy: just give it a good whack to rotate it in the same direction as the motor shaft rotation (as though the chain were driving the motor instead of vice versa). But after hammering on the gear with a piece of steel flat stock, I had no success (I even tried both directions).
Then I tried a gear puller, as shown in the first photo. No success with that either.
Then I decided to heat the gear up with a blow torch (to expand the gear slightly). I tried the puller again. No success. Then I tried whacking it off again. It easily came loose. It appears to have a 7/16" -14 left-hand thread.
Gear would not come off with a gear puller and a
I carefully heated the gear up with a blow torch (burned
grease is visible on the gear). Then I gave a gear tooth a
good whack (in the direction of normal rotation) with a
piece of flat stock and a hammer.
The gear easily came right off. Note the left-hand thread on the motor shaft.
And so now what? I had a good motor with a stubby shaft and a left-hand thread. How could I connect this to anything? I searched for a suitable coupling but could not find one. So I decided to make my own. I ordered some 1018 3/4" steel bar stock and a left-handed 7/16"-14 tap from Enco. I cut off a short piece of the bar stock and then drilled and tapped it in a lathe. It fit and extended the motor shaft stub perfectly. It is still 3/4" in diameter but I can turn the other end down to 1/2" , 3/8", or whatever is required.
|I also took apart a leaky Insinkerator Badger 5 garbage disposal. The nut holding the cutter plate to the motor shaft proved to be very difficult to remove. I blow torched it and soaked it in LiquidWrench. But it would not budge. I finally cut away the flats on the nut with a 1/8" cylindrical carbide mill mounted in a Dremel tool. I finally wrenched the weakened nut loose. Much to my surprise, the threads on the shaft were right handed. Note the two flats on the motor shaft.||This is what the inside of the motor looked like after removal of the cutter subassembly. Note the thin sleeve bearing at the bottom of the casing; this motor was made to operate in a vertical position. The hefty rotor and centrifugal switch actuator are seen on the right. The main bearing from which the rotor "hangs" is not visible. It is probably a spherical bearing. This motor cannot be used in a horizontal position unless the bottom bearing is replaced with a radial ball bearing. A fan blade should also be added to the motor shaft unless the motor is used only for intermittent duty (like a garbage disposal).|
Cause of rough running Mazda 626 (1991)
A friend had a rough running Maza 626, 1991 model year. At first, we suspected the usual causes, particularly ignition. But new wires, plugs, rotor, etc. did not solve the problem. Plug #1 did show some damage however, like it had been hit by something. The engine still ran rough and was very unpredictable. Finally, it ran so badly, we thought it was self-destructing. We decided to tear down the engine. Inspection showed severe damage to #1 piston and #1 head. The cause was a loose intake valve guide; it slid out and got pounded to pieces by the valve. The fragments fell into the cylinder and caused the engine to run rough. The damage was readily visible (but hard to photograph).
|This shows the two intake valves for #1 cylinder on the intake side. The left one is normal but the right one slid out and was shattered into a cone point by the valve.||This shows the top of #1 piston. The damage can be seen at|
the 6 and 8 o'clock positions. It looks like it had been hit thousands of times with a center punch attached to a
miniature jack hammer. Several metal flecks (the size of pin heads) were still in the cylinder at disassembly.
|This shows #1 cylinder head (two intake valves, one exhaust valve and a spark plug). Severe damage can be seen at the|
12 to 3 o'clock and 9 o'clock positions.
The porcelain alligator in my toilet
It was a scary night.
The news had carried a story about a pet snake being locked in the bathroom while the owner went to the store. When the owner got back, the snake was gone. "It could only have gone down the toilet", he said.
Horrors! A python loose in the sewer system!
I have also heard stories about snakes coming up out of the sewer and getting into toilets. I knew this happened once with a sewer pipe connected to a toilet in a trailer in the country, but I am skeptical about such things happening in the city.
With all that fresh in mind, I went to bed. But in the middle of the night I was awoken by a loud rhythmic clanking sound coming from the bathroom. It was coming from the toilet! I had never heard a toilet make a noise like THAT before! WHAT COULD IT BE ???? Childhood fears about the boogey man in the closet rushed into my half-awake head.
I opened the inner door slightly and shined in the flashlight. The porcelain lid on top of the toilet tank was clanking up and down, like the jaws of a porcelain alligator! SOMETHING WAS TRYING TO GET INTO MY TOILET!!!!
But wait a minute . . . This was the lid on the tank, not on the bowl. With that realization, I calmed down a little. No snake could wiggle through the tiny opening of the water supply valve. This must be something else. So I turned off the wall valve, and the "alligator" stopped clanking and chomping the air.
It turns out the fill valve inside the tank was very old and made of plastic. It had been weakened by age and by the chlorine tablets that I had placed in the tank. This night, the water pressure finally blew it apart. That in turn blew the lid off the toilet tank. When the water began to flow, the pressure dropped somewhat, and the lid went back down. The cycle kept repeating until I finally turned off the water. This was the craziest thing I have ever seen coming from a plumbing fixture.
. . . and kind of scary too.
LOUD hissing --coming from the BATHROOM
At about 1 AM in the morning I was shutting down my computer system. Suddenly, I heard a LOUD hissing sound, like violently leaking compressed air, coming from somewhere in the house. I rushed out in to the hallway and noticed it was coming from the bathroom. "This is not good!", I thought. The water supply line to the toilet had blown open and was spraying water all over the bathroom. I shut off the water at the wall valve, which fortunately worked (some of these valves have a plastic stem which easily breaks). I used a Wet & Dry vacuum to clean up the mess in the middle of the night.
The hose that failed suddenly and without warning was one of those that had woven stainless steel "armor" that looked like it could never fail, as shown above. But he armor was only on the outside of the hose, not integrated with the hose itself. It is as though the manufacturer wanted to protect the hose from rats chewing through it, not from preventing a catastrophic pressure leak. DUMB design! The stainless steel weave was starting to fray in other locations too. Apparently, an inappropriate grade of stainless steel was used. I replaced it with a reinforced polyvinyl hose. Then I checked the plumbing in the rest of the house for these deceptive hoses and replaced them. .
I can see why people shut off their house water, and all the valves to sinks and toilets, when they go on vacation.
Now . . . let's see . . . are there any rats around here?
Leading Edge Computer "locks up" when booted after long storage period
I have an old Leading Edge computer that runs WIN 3.1 and DOS 6. It is useful for monitoring scientific instruments such as a radiation counter. But when I pulled it out of storage after some years and booted it, an incorrect date would be displayed. I simply reset the time and continued the boot sequence. But then I found it would run only for a few minutes and then "lock up" (become unresponsive).
As a diagnostic I wrote a little utility batch file that would continuously display the time and date to the screen. I would start it up, record the time, and then just let it run until it locked up again, at which point I would look at the displayed time and see how long it had run. I discovered that it would run for longer and longer periods before crashing. Eventually, it became reliable enough to use.
I don't know what caused this problem; it was evidently not temperature related. My hypothesis is that it may have something to do with electrolytic capacitors inside the computer. When these kinds of capacitors are stored for long periods without use, the dielectric film can break down. They need to be given a small amount of current for a few days so the film can "heal". Possibly, I had a marginal capacitor somewhere in the computer.
I now turn on the computer for a couple of hours at least once a year. The problem has not re-occurred since.
Buick Skylark (1986) battery suddenly goes DEAD
The symptom was that the battery would be completely dead (zero volts) after the car had been shutdown and left in the driveway for about four days. Each occurrence was infrequent, and completely unpredictable. No loads were detectable on the battery cables, and the source of the problem could not be traced. On a hunch, I disconnected the clock-radio cables inside the center console (pulling the fuse would have also disconnected the horn, which is a rather stupid circuit design in my opinion). Years have now gone by and the problem has never re-occurred. (Well, lately (Feb 2012) it did re-occur after I installed a new battery (the old one died and was five years old). During a routine check of this little used car I found that the new battery was almost dead and that the fuse was in the fuse block. So I don't think I really found the problem. The clock/radio fuse must be disconnected when the car is not being used, and reinserted (so the horn will work) before it is driven. I am going to wire up an auxilary fuse socket to make inserting the fuse much easier. Update May 2012: I again found a nearly dead (Bosch) battery. The headlights would come on, but the starter would not turn at all. The fuse was NOT in the fuse block. I think the problem this time is the battery; it will not hold a charge for more than a couple of months. May 2012: The battery was worse than I thought; it was still under warrantee but tested defective and was replaced.)
The maintenance manual for this car, incidentally, is a disgrace to the industry.
Buick Skylark (1986) hard to start
That confirmed my suspicion that the engine was fuel starved during startup. Because I rarely use this car, I decided not to bother with further troubleshooting. The car will start normally (without the propane boost) if it is started at least every week or two.
Ikea (furniture store)
If you vist these stores, be prepared for a very unpleasant navigation experience. They are "Approved Fire Traps".
1991 Mustang hatchback dome light goes on unexpectedly
I would be driving along, and then, for no apparent reason whatsoever, the interior dome light would come on. This was not good. It was not only distracting (especially at night), I knew might forget that it had gone on, and I might come back to a car with a dead battery. So when I stopped at the next traffic light, I pulled off the dome light cover, and flicked out the (hot) bulb.
The Ford Mustang electrical schematics gave me some insight about what might cause this problem. I don't remember the details now, but it had something to do with the right front door and the hatchback electrical latch release. I disconnected the latch release connector inside the hatchback and the problem has not re-occurred since.
Autofrost works fine as a replacement for Freon (R-12) in 1991 Mustang
My 1991 Mustang refrigeration system finally leaked its way through my supply of Freon which I bought in the old days for $3 a can (I thought that was outrageously expensive back then, but now it is more like $40/can !). I decided I had to find all the leaks and fix them. The high pressure discharge hose obviously needed to be replaced. While replacing that, I added some fluorescent dye as a leak indicator. Weeks later I checked the system with a UV light one night and all the old hoses lit up like a neon sign. So I replaced the low pressure suction hose, the accumulator, and all the O rings. By then I had converted to Autofrost and the performance looked good. But I still had a bad leak somewhere, yet there was no indication of it from the dye. I opened up the system again and discovered that the compressor and (old) accumulator had no oil. I had been adding some periodically, but could not find any in these parts (there must have been some in the evaporator and condenser, which I did not check). Eventually I found a badly corroded, oil soaked, orifice tube line which was buried under a bunch of other parts. I replaced it with a new part, which Ford actually had in stock for this 18 year old car!
I charged the system again with Autofrost and a few ounces of oil. It is now running fine. The outlet air temperature goes down to 40 F, which is the limit of the low pressure switch. I am very satisfied with the performance, and the fact that Autofrost is a lot cheaper than Freon.
Problem with 1991 Mustang turn signals and AC / heater blower
The turn signals and the blower in my 1991 Mustang intermittently quit working. When the blower would not work, the turn signals were dead and vice versa. When the problem occurs, the AC compressor still runs ok (but the blower does not), the radio, hazard flashers, parking light, headlights, flash-to-pass, cigarette lighter and dome light work ok. The problem is intermittent. It usually happens when I first start the car during the day. Later, it may clear after the car has been parked and restarted. The two systems either work 100% or fail 100%, and always together.
The two systems have three items in common: the battery, the ignition switch, and the ground return system. The grounds on the two systems are likely separate. The turn signal really has two systems (left and right, as well as front and back) and both fail together completely. This suggests that the grounds are probably not the source of the problem.
The blower will come on if the control has not been turned off before I start the car. That is, the blower control has not been touched, and yet the blower will still work when the ignition switch is turned on. The AC compressor always works if the control is set to AC, regardless of whether the blower works or not. So the blower control switch seems to be ok.
The turn signal switch is multifunctional, but the other functions on it work fine, and it has nothing in common with the blower.
This leaves the ignition switch as the most suspicious item common to both systems; it has moving parts, multiple contacts, and always gets moved (turned) during startup. After I started the car, I jiggled the ignition switch back and forth to see what would happen with the turn signal and blower (both set to On). I was pleasantly surprised to find that I was easily able to reproduce the problem.
I then removed the ignition switch cover, the knee trim panel, and the knee pan to get access to the ignition switch. The molded plastic wiring connector was slightly loose in the switch assembly. Apparently, the plastic shrinks slightly with age and exposure to high temperature. I secured it with a couple of nylon ties wrapped around the steering column, and the problem has not re-occurred since.
Rough idle problem with 1991 Mustang 5.0 liter engine
My Mustang developed a rough idle problem a few weeks before it was due to be emissions tested. The engine normally worked fine, but when I stopped at a stoplight, the engine would begin idling very roughly after I had been stopped for about 45 seconds. This was just about the time the light was going to turn green. It never actually stalled, but I worried about it during left turns. The behavior was very consistent and repeatable. I believed that the control system kicks in and does something weird several seconds into an idle. But I could not imagine what.
I removed and carefully disassembled and cleaned the idle air by-pass valve. But that made no difference. Not wanting to risk a dead engine on left turns, I replaced the idle air valve with a new one ($150) on the outside chance that it would fix the problem. But that did not work either. I then made some voltage measurements on the throttle position sensor, but nothing odd turned up there either.
Finally, I noticed that the distributor was making sort of an odd hissing noise. I had cleaned the tower contacts before and thought maybe something was misaligned and rubbing at high speed. I got out my 3/16 inch ID hose that I use as a stethoscope (a technique well-known to mechanics) and started probing around the base of the distributor. At one very specific spot the hissing noise greatly increased. THAT IS AN AIR LEAK, I thought, not something caused by rotating parts. As the pictures show, there was a break in a hose at the bottom of the distributor.
The hose went to a hard-to-see port under the manifold and ultimately connected to something mounted on the fuel vapor recovery canister near the radiator. How could a leak in this hose cause a rough idle? My guess goes something like this. When the engine is running, the purge solenoid to the fuel vapor recovery canister is open, and recovered vapors are sucked into the intake manifold. Because the line has a leak in it, the resulting mixture is not quite right. This results in a slightly rough idle, but is not noticeable at higher r.p.m. due to the higher overall air flow. When the car is stopped for about a minute, the electronic engine control (EEC) goes into its "find idle speed" mode. It realizes the r.p.m. is slightly high and so it closes the idle air bypass valve a little. This makes the effect of the leak even worse and results in a very noticeable rough idle. I temporarily patched the leak and the rough idle went away. The hose under the manifold was full of cracks along its length and was later replaced.
I felt kind of bad about spending $150 for a $5 repair. But I knew it was a gamble. And even counting my occasional mistakes, I still save a lot of money by doing my own repairs. And I learn a lot too!
Severe shaking problem with 1991 Mustang at 20-30 m.p.h
I was driving down a city street when my Mustang suddenly developed severe shaking when I tried to accelerate. What was happening? Did I run over a huge nail? Was it a bad U-joint? Transmission slipping? But then the problem cleared up. Whatever it was, it seemed to be gone. A few weeks later the same symptom reoccurred for several minutes, and then just as mysteriously went away. Finally, it re-occurred in another couple of weeks, but this time it did not clear up. The effect was most pronounced when accelerating from about 20 to 30 mph, and the car shook so violently that it was almost undriveable. It has an automatic transmission but I found I could drive it by starting out from a stop in 1st gear, accelerating until the tach read 2500 rpm (corresponding to about 35 mph), and then shifting into 3rd. The shake was still present, but manageable. It was as though the engine was missing on two or three cylinders, and did not have enough power to handle the shift points. The idle ran a bit shaky too, but the shake was not so obvious at idle.
The symptoms seemed to point to an ignition problem. The car had over 117,000 miles on it. I had changed the plugs once along with the distributor cap and rotor, and the still original plug wires looked fine. A bad coil maybe?
It turned out that it was probably the plug wires, along with a very corroded connection at the coil high voltage terminal. New plugs, cap, rotor, and wires cleared up the problem.
Looking back on the experience, I think a spate of humid weather made the marginal ignition system worse, which might explain why the problem was intermittent.
Update: This problem occurred again in 2019 during humid weather and then went away. I now doubt that it is an ignition problem.
1991 Mustang Airbag and contact system
1991 Mustang Fuel Gauge Anti-slosh module bypass modification
See: "Fix A Ford Gas Gauge That Always Reads Empty - The Anti Slosh Bypass" at:
Caution: the anti-slosh module outputs signals to the fuel gauge and to the oil pressure gauge. If you use the above modification, make sure you know how your oil pressure gauge is responding. Mine seems to respond normally in that:
1. Disconnecting the oil pressure sending unit (behind the steering pump) results in an indication of no oil pressure when the engine is runnning. Reconnecting it results in (apparently) normal oil pressure indication.
2. When the engine is first turned off, the oil gauge "sticks" at the last indication. Cycling the ignition switch off-on, resets the needle to indicate no oil pressure.
The following is a procedure for a 1991 Mustang. This differs from what is in the Ford repair manual:
1. Remove battery ground cable.
2. Remove the headlamp switch from left side of instrument cluster trim panel. (Disengage two locking tabs on LH side of switch (under paddles, left edge) by pushing the tabs in with a small screw driver and pulling on the paddles.)
3. Remove the Hazard flasher and Rear Defrost switch module from right side of instrument cluster trim panel by using a procedure similar to step #2.
4. Pull switches completely out of openings and disconnect the connectors.
5. Remove the plastic steering column collar (two Phillips screws).
6. Remove the plastic knee pan trim cover. (3 screws, 5/16 socket)
7. Remove metal knee pan (2 screws, 5/16 socket)
8. Remove instrument cluster trim cover. (9/32 socket; 1 screw bottom right; 2 screws on top, visible thru windshield)
9. Remove the fourmounting screws from instrument cluster.
10. Pull cluster away from its mounting. Disconnect speedometer cable by pressing on the flat surface of the plastic connector.
11. Pull cluster away a little more. Pull out the anti-slosh module which is in the upper right corner backside of the instrument cluster; it is held in by a tab, which must be depressed.
12. By-pass the anti-slosh module with the following modifications (see enlarged photo).
a. Cover the three connectors on the left with tape.
b. Short the two connectors on the right with a jumper wire.
13. Reinstall everything. Reconnect battery.
At this point the fuel gauge should be working as expected. However, also check the oil gauge indication as in the above precautionary note.
Additional note: The fuel gauge sending unit at the gas tank should read 145 ohms full, 22.5 ohms empty. Wires are Yellow/White (signal) and Black (ground)
Well-designed (tire) air compressor
Years ago I was in an automotive store (Pep Boys) and was comparing tire inflator air compressor models. I settled on the one shown below as having the best combination of truly meaningful features. When I tested it, the power plug kept popping out of the cigarette lighter socket in the car. I disassembled the plug and unwound about 5 turns of the spring on the center electrode pin. After that, it worked fine and I have been well pleased with it ever since.
Later, I wanted to buy more of these units, but the original store no longer carried this model, and I could not find it elsewhere either. I could not find a model number, patent number, or anything other than the generic description on the package, and an internet search turned up nothing. Someone told me that foreign cars have a slightly different plug/socket combination, but that clue has not helped either.
Still looking . . .
Solved: the riddle of the leaky toilet
This long adventure began when I noticed that the fill valve on the toilet would not shut off. This can result in high water bills. I attempted to turn off the water temporarily at the wall valve below the toilet, but the handle would only keep on turning and never seat. It turned out that the valve stem was made of plastic, and the threads were stripped. I had to go to the store, get a new shut-off valve and install it. That was the easy part.
I then tried to figure out why the Fluidmaster fill valve would not shut off. I disassembled it (as per instructions) to see if any debris was clogging the valve. In Arizona, the water is hard, and the soluble calcium bicarbonate turns into insoluble calcium carbonate (limestone) when the water gets hot. Hence, clear, particle-free water can load up with grit. But there was none in the valve. After another trip to the store, I replaced the fill valve, but it did not shut off completely and so, after yet another trip to the store, I replaced it with a Fluidmaster PerforMAX Universal Toilet Fill Valve (400ARHR).
I thought I was done repairing this toilet. But the fill valve kept turning on and off periodically. I suspected a leak. I shut off the water and noticed the level gradually went down in the tank (a couple of inches in a few hours). So, after another trip to the store, I replaced the old-style tank ball valve with a new one of the same design. But it still leaked.
The toilet is 50 years old, and I suspected that the porcelain seat had become rough. So I sanded it with #400 grit sandpaper and tested it again. It still leaked. Then I resanded it and coated it with a very thin layer of Silicone I sealant to smooth out any roughness. It still leaked. A thin coat of plumber's grease did not help either.
Finally, I replaced the entire flush valve setup with Fluidmaster 555C flush valve repair kit. It looked nice and I was very confident this would work. But . . . it still leaked. I then laid a circular lead ring on the flapper valve to help it to seal, but it still leaked.
I was becoming very annoyed at this point. WHERE was the water going? The floor was not wet. There were no obvious cracks in the tank. Blue food dye gave no indication that the valve was leaking. Finally, I was forced to conclude that the water was not leaking through the flush valve. It MUST be leaking somewhere else. But where?
I tried tracing the leak with blue food dye again. I put a drop of dye in above the flush valve as before. The photo shows what happened. Over a period of 10 minutes, the dye migrated towards the fill valve (only the float adjusting screw is visible in the photo).
Yes, the fill valve! The dye was moving slowly towards the fill valve!
There were only two ways for the water to get to the bowl of the toilet: through the flush valve and through the bowl filler tube. Because of some experiences I had at work*, I immediately suspected an inadvertent siphon through the filler tube. I pulled out the tube and heard a gurgling sound, and saw water dripping out of it. I had broken a siphon!
The rest was easy. I simply cut the filler tube shorter (just below the blue clip) so it could not act as a siphon. Tests proved that the "leak" stopped.
Here is what was happening: after a flush, the fill valve refills the tank, and the tube refills the toilet bowl. Then the fill valve shuts off. But the tube gets "primed" with water during this cycle, and if it extends below the level of the water in the tank, there is a possibility that siphoning will occur if the valve does not shut off the tube part of the circuit. The PerforMAX evidently leaves this circuit open (but not pressurized), and so the water gradually siphons out. The remedy was to cut the tube, so the open end is always higher than the water in the tank. (It turns out that this is mentioned in the Troubleshooting section of the Directions. But being male, I often don't read the directions and don't look for things that are "hidden in plain sight".)
* At work I encountered siphoning problems on medical instrument washers. The roller pumps these washers use, sometimes do not pump the enzyme detergent from the supply drum. Instead of being actually washed, the load only gets rinsed with plain water. Worse, if the outlet in the washer is lower than the level of detergent in the drum, the detergent will gradually seep past the leaky roller pump and go into the drain. This gives the appearance that the washer is actually working (it makes noise, sprays water, and uses detergent). There were other problems with other washers that used these kinds of pumps. I reported them, but the repair people regarded me with disdain for noticing things I was not supposed to notice. My co-workers did not like it either. Instead of assembling (dirty) instruments and "doing my job", I was "playing around with the washers or something". Later, I was told not to report washer problems. Finally, I got a "needs improvement" on one of my yearly reviews for not making the best use of company time. After that, I just gave up. The healthcare industry is just not like engineering or aviation where you do not let these kinds of problems get past you. I have had an awful time adjusting to the new standards--and passively watching things malfunction. (See also: http://scripturalphysics.org/etc/Solutions.html ) See a quite different kind of weird siphon at http://www.dvice.com/2013-6-28/experiment-day-watch-chain-beads-levitate
Frigidaire Model FPCI-206T-8
Our kitchen refrigerator, Frigidaire Model FPCI-206T-8, quit cooling one day. Inspection showed that the fan in the freezer was not working. I unplugged the fridge, and then removed all the food and then the trim and shelves in the freezer compartment to gain access to the fan. The fan blades would not move, but everything else looked normal. I squirted some hot water into the fan housing to melt the ice inside it. After that the fan would rotate ok. I put everything back together, plugged it back in, and it ran normally for about a minute. Then it quit. What happened?
It had just entered defrost mode. I could not find the defrost timer in order to crank it forward in its cycle. So I waited about a half-hour and the fridge started up again and has worked normally since.
It turns out the defrost timer (Part # 0628518) is located at the bottom front of the fridge behind the grill. Getting to it is somewhat of a pain.
|The defrost timer is found at the bottom front of the refrigerator, behind the grill (which pops off), then behind an insulation flap, then behind a card board cover with two shiny rivets (that pop off). The bar that holds the grill was removed in this photo (4 screws) and the electrical box (left) was removed from the bar (3 screws; had to use an offset ratcheting screw driver). The grey timer knob, which can be turned clockwise, can be seen between the rivets.||
This shows the dismounted timer. I could not find a replacement with the same pinouts. However, for some reason it started working again, and the fridge now cycles through the defrost cycles normally. The defrost mode is the hot wire kind, and the wire can be seen to glow red-orange hot during the cycle.
New timers usually come with instructions on how to re-configure the wiring (or terminals) for a particular refrigerator, as the pinouts can be different. But I did not investigate further because the timer started working again.
The timer mysteriously started working again. I tried to find a replacement, but the only one available had different pinouts. I could have made an adapter plug to rearrange the wires (some come with configuration instructions for different refrigerators), but I felt it was not worth the effort. This fridge is 20 or 30 years old. The new ones are probably a lot more energy efficient--an important consideration because a fridge runs almost continuously. Energy consumption can be reduced with "smarter" defrost controls and by using hot gas defrost instead of hot wire defrost (but I think the latter is more reliable).
Later, I was still having problems getting the refrigerator compartment to cool down to 40 F. I suspected the duct going from the freezer compartment to the refrigerator compartment was plugged up. I snaked the path with coat hanger wire, and concluded that it was plugged with ice. A thorough washout with very hot water cleared the path. Now it works perfectly!
See also: http://www.appliancerepair.net/refrigerator-repair-4.html (virus scan recommended before using this link)
Trane air conditioner evaporator leak
We tested our air conditioner in March to make sure everything was ok before our blazing hot Arizona summer arrived. We discovered it was not cooling, and that the fault was a massive leak of Freon from the evaporator. The system was under extended warantee (a good idea when using Trane air conditioners), but we had to wait about three weeks for Trane to manufacture the replacement (shown above) from scratch. The leak was too big and fast to run on a temporary fill, and so we were without air conditioning as the weather was heating up. .
I am told that the yellow streaks on the old evaporator fins indicate pinhole oil leaks. Apparently the leaks were extensive throughout the system, and not just in one spot (which could have been repaired).
Whenever an air conditioner has to be opened up for extensive repairs, make sure the service technician installs a "drier" to remove traces of residual moisture from the system. Without this item residual moisture will combine with Freon to produce acid. The acid will create pinhole leaks in the system's plumbing. The dissolved copper may also plate out on the motor bearings, reducing clearances, increasing power consumption, and eventually burning out the motor.
A year or so after this repair, the airconditioner failed again. This time it was a defective expansion valve. The valve was replaced, but the air conditioner still would not work properly. The valve was replaced again and this time a liquid line filter/dryer was placed ahead of the valve. It has been working fine for the last year.
Problems with Steris® medical instrument washers
I currently work at a major hospital as a certified, registered, sterile processing technician. One of my duties is to process trays of surgical instruments in medical washers and monitor the processing. Our facility has two Steris® Reliance Vision™ "Single chamber washer / Disinfector" washers that were installed over a year ago. In my opinion as a user of this equipment, these washers still have way too many reliability and performance problems for use at a major surgical center.
They also have several annoying, user-unfriendly features and peculiarities that make them hard to use and maintain. One that is especially expensive are the broken welds on the frames of the washer racks. The welds hold up shelves of heavy instrument trays (a total of 20-40 lbs) during washing. The welds are loaded in tension, and they have a tendency to break. Medical washers are Class II medical devices ( http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfCFR/CFRSearch.cfm?fr=880.6992) and must be fixed only by a qualified service vendor (usually the manufacturer). Running them in a broken condition is not in compliance with regulations and is also hazardous to employees who load the washer racks with dirty instruments.
I suggested that the management have the vendor remove them, and replace them with a different brand of washers that actually work according to specifications, but there is no possibility that is going to happen.
Other users have had similar troubles:
Don't expect the FDA to address these problems either. They have their hands full with other things:
http://newstrain.com/2008/10/02/strong-medicine-whats-ailing-the-fda/ ("Strong Medicine", Reader's Digest, April 2008, p. 118-131)
And in case you have not been wondering, there are claims that much in the medical profession is unconscionably sloppy:
“The Case Against Experts: Why advice from the pros can leave us hanging”, by David H. Freedman, June 24, 2010, http://www.newsweek.com/2010/06/24/the-case-against-experts.html
"Making Sense of Medicine", http://www.msomed.org/
"How do You Know Your Automatic Washer is Safe to Use?" by Stephen M. Kovach, http://www.infectioncontroltoday.com/articles/412/412_621feat3.html ,
Sewerside bomber: highschool kid blows up town (almost)
This sordid consumer experience begins in the early 1960s. My parents moved to a different town and I spent most of my freshman year in a strange highschool there. As a consumer of educational services I did not like the school at all. I wanted an eventual career in engineering, and that required a strong background in mathematics. But the algebra teacher there would not teach, and could not control his classroom either. The class was just one hour of mayhem, and I hated every bit of it.
Another one I hated was the physical education class. We had a really sicko PE teacher. He made us play a sadistic "paddle game" with kids running around in a circle swatting each other with a paddle. The losing team would all get swatted in the boy's locker room by members of the winning team. I was on the team that lost. I felt the whole thing was barbaric for an educational institution, especially for a "high" school.
A turning point for me came when I got into a minor schoolyard fight. I had been in various schoolyard scraps in the elementary schools I had attended. But this one was different. It was "scheduled" and had a waiting and willing audience. I lost of course, but my wounds were minimal, less than those I had gotten in the elementary schools. However, I was late for my next class.
The next day I was confronted by an attendance monitor and she asked why I was late for class. "I got into a fight", I said. "Don't fight and don't be late for class", she said. Her shallow remark was incomprehensible to me. I did not want to get into a fight. The fight was on her turf, and her responsibility to prevent. She did not even have the matter investigated by school officials. How was I to blame for getting into a fight? Did she regard schoolyard fights as "normal"? There was really something WRONG with this school!
A few months passed. My parents were no help in the matter, and the do-nothing principal was useless as a school manager. Worse, I learned that the town's people felt that it was a "good school" and were surprised when I claimed otherwise.
I decided I had to come up with a strong response to their apathy and cluelessness. My young mind figured that these people were all barbarians without an ounce of human feelings. They all had to die. I knew I could not kill everyone. So I settled for the next best thing. I would blow up their town.
My original plan used liquid gasoline and toilets. I'll spare you the details. But the results probably would have been a miniature version of an industrial accident that occurred in Mexico three decades later:
On Wednesday, April 22, 1992, the 461-year old city of Guadalajara, Mexico, experienced a series of ten massive explosions occurring in the heart of the downtown Reforma district. The explosions began at 10:30 a.m. (12:30 p.m. EDT) and continued for two hours. Five hours after the initial explosion, a second large explosion occurred about three miles from the Reforma site. The blasts measured 7.1 and 7.0 on the Richter scale at the University of Mexico in Mexico City some 200 miles away. The blast blew open the streets and carved an enormous 9 mile ditch down the middle of Avenida Gante measuring 80 feet wide and 25 feet deep. Approximately 1,000 buildings were collapsed, destroyed or heavily damaged. . . . the Atlanta Red Cross said at least 2,000 people were injured, 200 people were killed and over 20,000 were left homeless. Damages of building were estimated to be at $300 million. ("Guadalajara Gas Explosion Disaster", Dr. James Dugal, Disaster Recovery Journal, "article adapted from Vol. 5 #3", http://www.drj.com/drworld/content/w2_028.htm ; For an in-depth article see "The Guadalajara 1992 Sewer Gas Explosion Disaster", Suburban Emergency Management Project, May 03, 2006 http://www.semp.us/publications/biot_reader.php?BiotID=356 )
Note that this was only an industrial accident. It was neither designed nor intended. It was caused by a large quantity of liquid gasoline leaking into the sewer system. The fumes eventually found a source of ignition, and the consequences were horrific.
But my would-be town destruction never happened. My parents soon moved to a different town, and I ended up going to a far better highschool. My grades shot up and I was getting straight A's in science and math. Eventually, I also figured out my scheme would not have worked as well as I had hoped. The amount of gasoline I planned to use was equivalent to only 8000 pounds of dynamite. That was not nearly enough to destroy a town, and not anything even close to the magnitude of the disaster in Guadalajara. (See "Storing gasoline . . ." )
See also :
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cleveland_East_Ohio_Gas_explosion " As the gas mixture flowed and mixed with air and sewer gas, the mixture ignited. In the ensuing explosion, manhole covers launched skyward as jets of fire erupted from depths of the sewer lines. One manhole cover was found several miles east in the Cleveland neighborhood of Glenville. . . . In all over 600 people were left homeless, and seventy homes, two factories, numerous cars and miles of underground infrastructure destroyed. . . . The East Ohio Gas Explosion is calculated to equal to a 2.43 kt TNT explosion or 1/6 of the Hiroshima Atomic Bomb." See also: https://www.clevescene.com/cleveland/scenes-from-the-1944-east-ohio-gas-co-explosion/Slideshow/4391825/4391826
What 4 tablespoons of mercury did to a school: http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/2009/11/29/20091129mercuryspill1129.html (Arizona Republic, Megan Gordon, 11-29-2009)
"New London School explosion", http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_London_School_explosion
"Indiana blast investigation focuses on natural gas", http://news.yahoo.com/indiana-blast-investigation-focuses-natural-gas-230813256.html
"Nuclear-sized Explosions without Radiation", http://www.freepatentsonline.com/4873928.html
"Method and Means for Generating Explosive Forces", http://www.freepatentsonline.com/3680431.html
"Va. nuclear plant experienced ‘strong’ shaking in Aug. 23 quake"; "The Aug. 23 central Virginia earthquake shook the North Anna nuclear power plant harder than it was designed to withstand . . . . 12 miles north of the epicenter of the 5.8-magnitude earthquake." Note that the Guadalajara gasoline blast measured 7.0 on the Richter scale measured at Mexico City some 200 miles away. Has the Nuclear Regulatory Commission planned for this kind of scenario? A "near-by" explosion? A near-by plane crash at 500 miles per hour? http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/va-nuclear-plant-experienced-strong-shaking-in-aug-23-quake/2011/09/08/gIQAuGOuCK_story.html
"Thermobaric Weapon", http://maps.thefullwiki.org/Thermobaric_weapon
"Formation of Explosive Gas Clouds", http://www.gexcon.com/handbook/GEXHBchap3.htm
"Gas Explosions in Vessels, Pipes, Channels and Tunnels", http://www.gexcon.com/handbook/GEXHBchap9.htm
"Hospital bullies take a toll on patient safety", JoNel Aleccia, July 9,2008)
"Manhole Fire Creates Havoc in Midtown Manhattan", http://www.ireport.com/docs/DOC-429745?hpt=SbinDiphoronepentaperoxide synthesis, Hideki Matsumoto (2004) http://www.sciforums.com/threads/dppp-diphorone-pentaperoxide-synthesis-results-and-research-forum.43616/ ; http://www.google.com/patents/DE1951660A1?cl=un
"the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God" —James 1:20"Cease from anger , and forsake wrath; Do not fret, it leads only to evildoing" —Psalm 37:8
"There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death." —Proverbs 14:12
"If one member suffers, all the members suffer with it"—1 Corinthians 12:26-27
"Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God,
for it is writtten, "Vengeance is mine, I will repay," says the Lord. . . .
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good." —Romans 12:19,21God will destroy the wicked:"They will die of deadly diseases, they will not be lamented or buried;
they will be as dung on the surface of the ground and come to an end by sword
and famine, and their carcasses will become food for the birds of the sky and
for the beasts of the earth." Jeremiah 16:4
“Those slain by the LORD on that day shall be from one end of the earth
to the other. They shall not be lamented, gathered or buried;
they shall be like dung on the face of the ground. Jeremiah 25:33
The remark about vengeance from Romans 12 deserves further elaboration. Genesis 34 is instructional in this regard, but it contains some really sordid material and is "difficult reading", sometimes even for students of the Bible. Basically a crime was committed, and the males who should have upheld righteousness and justice did not do the right thing. The chapter shows what can happen when responsible people who are in power do not act, or act very inappropriately. The people who are directly involved are negatively affected, as are entire communities, and the consequences can go on for generations.
We see similar things happening today in Corporate America, the military, the schools, the Universities, "Hollywood", and various religious organizations. Those who are in power fail to act when an injustice is brought to their attention. Genesis 34 is a good example of how things can get way out of control, and how even further injustice is committed.
As Genesis 34 relates, Shechem committed the crime (kidnapping and rape). Jacob, the patriarch, was entitled to simple tribal justice, but his sons went far beyond that. Later, a law would be given by Moses, which would forbid this kind of behavior (Leviticus24:17-22) but still allow one-for-one justice (tribal law was harsh back then). Anything further than that was vengeance, but that part belongs to God: "Vengeance is mine, and retribution, In due time their foot will slip; For the day of their calamity is near, And the impending things are hastening upon them (Deuteronomy 32:35, Romans 12:19,21).
Today (2018) we have a lot of school shootings. The authorities in charge have not justly dealt with school bullying, mental health issues, and our culture's fascination with violence-as-entertainment. Hence, "Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap." (Galatians 6:7) See also YouReapWhatYouSow , above.
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