Tag: Fixes

I Needs POWER!

Posted by – November 2, 2009

For the first week after my surgery my couch recliner was my home.  It was the only place I could sleep without fear of rolling over and causing myself even more pain.  Early on if I needed to get up I would slowly scoot off the couch, but within a few days I had enough strength to put the footrest of the recliner down before getting up. 

One of my attempts at getting up turned tragic when I realized I’d caught the laptop power supply cable in the recliner “mechanics”.  It wasn’t cut completely through so I tried to push it back together but when it started to smell like burnt electronics, I quickly pulled the plug.

I had another power supply (for my backup laptop) so I plugged that in.  Ahh, Relief!  But that relief was short-lived when, about 30 minutes later, the power supply went dead.  I panicked!  Oh, the humanity!!!  My laptop battery wasn’t going to last until I could order (and GET) a replacement!

My mother offered to let me use her laptop power supply until I could get a replacement but those things are expensive and I didn’t want mom to be without her laptop until then. I decided to try to fix the cut power supply.  Nothing to lose right?  It was already broken.  I went to my office and got the wire strippers, soldering iron, and electrical tape.  (I would have preferred heat-shrink but electrical tape will do.)  I realized it was going to be more complicated than I thought when I cut the cable on both sides of the pinch/cut and noticed there were three sets of wires inside.  Oh well… The fix was on…

First, I stripped about an inch of the wire cover from the outside of the cable and folded the wires back.  Second, I stripped about half an inch of the wire cover from the next layer and folded those wires back.  Third, I stripped about a quarter of an inch of the wire cover from the center wires.  (It looked something like the crude drawing to the left.) 

I did the same to the cut end of the other piece then slid the center wires of both sides into each other and put a small bit of soldering flux on them.  I let them cool while I cut a piece of electrical tape and wrapped the wires, including the wire covering on both sides.  (See pic bottom left)

Next, I straightened the wires from the middle layer and overlapped them with the wires from the other side.  Then wrapped it tight with electrical tape, making sure to include the wire covering on both sides.  (See pic bottom center)

Last, I straightened the wires from the outside layer and overlapped them with the wires from the other side.  Then wrapped it tight with electrical tape, making sure to include the wire covering on both sides.  (See pic bottom right)

   

As an added bit of security, I wrapped more electrical tape over the area, adding about a half inch on both sides.  Viola!  Time to test.  I grabbed the fire extinguisher (just in case), held my breath, and plugged it in.  Success!  I had POWER!

It’s been three weeks and all is still good.  I have the use of my laptop, my momma has hers, and the best part… I didn’t have to shell out the big bucks for a replacement.  Just goes to show you that, although something may look complicated and intimidate you,  it’s likely not as bad as you think.  Simply take it step by step.

The Grass is Greener

Posted by – July 24, 2009

When I moved into my current abode the lawn was completely brown.  Crispy Brown.  No chance of sneaking up on anyone because with every step there was a loud crunch.  I fixed the sprinkler system, then hit the local do-it-yourself store to purchase some lawn help but didn’t see much of a difference a month or so later.  Grrrr!

I was discussing my lawn frustration with my boss one day and she told me about this gardening guy who put out a book she thought might help me.  He goes by the name of Garden Rebel. I ended up using his lawn tonic, then used it again about 4 weeks later.  Just a few weeks after the second application my lawn was growing like crazy, thick, and dark green.  WOW!  I could not believe my eyes.

While my neighbors complimented me on my (now lush) lawn, they also heckled me a bit.  I finally got the lawn I wanted but now had to mow twice a week.  The other drawbacks:  My lawn became a magnet for the neighborhood kids who would play in my yard, leaving behind little metal cars and toys that I could not see until my mower made that lovely grinding noise and sent them rocketing into whatever was near and usually ricocheting into me.  Also, the dog owners in the neighborhood seemed to gravitate to my lawn to let them do their business.  That was disappointing since my front lawn WAS my business-free zone (my dogs do their duty in my fenced, back yard).   Oh well…

Unfortunately, I did not take any photos when I first moved in so the pics to the right are not actually BEFORE and AFTER but EARLY ON INTO TREATMENT and AFTER pics. 

I write this now because the sod I put down a few weeks back isn’t looking so good and I’ve decided to help it with some of the lawn tonic.  Since it was on my mind, I decided to share with all of yous.  You can check out the lawn tonic, as well as other tonics and tips, at Garden Rebel’s website or here.

Weedeater Fix

Posted by – July 13, 2009

There always seems to be something that needs to be maintained or repaired around the house, doesn’t it?  The last time I did my lawn work, it was my gas weedeater that demanded my attention.  I’d get it started, pick it up to weedeat, and the thing would stall out on me.

I was hoping the problem would be as simple as replacing the spark plug.  But even that was not so simple.  I took the plug to two different auto parts stores and two different do-it-yourself places and, while they all agreed it probably needed to be replaced, none of them had a replacement.  One place suggested they could order it but didn’t know when it would come in, so I went back home to try something else. 

I found the wire brush I had in my garage and used it to clean the plug.  Then I put it back in the weedeater and tried again to use it.  Unfortunately, I got the same result.  So, I decided to smash the weedeater in the middle of the street.  But just as I got to the end of my driveway, I noticed the neighbors were out in their front yard.  I would have to wait.

That’s when it hit me… It cut out only when I picked it up, which meant either it was allergic to me or it wasn’t getting gas when lifted upright.  I investigated and found the problem.  Sure enough, it was a gas issue.  The black, rubber tube going from the motor into the gas tank, broke off and was down in the tank.  To retrieve the tube I had to first empty the gas out of the tank.  (Note to self:  do not empty gas into plastic container unless that container is a gas can.  Cups melt into a puddle of goo.) 

With the tank empty, I got the tube out but it fell apart in my hand.  I would guess that resulted from being in the gasoline mixture 24/7.  I don’t know.  When I checked the other tubes, they too fell apart in my hand.  It just so happened that I had some of that black tubing in my garage so, after removing all of the broken pieces, I cut new pieces and put them back in place.  It really wasn’t that difficult a task except for one of the tubes that runs into the gas tank.  At the end of that tube there is a little gas filter and a ring that holds the tube to the filter.  Every time I’d squeeze the ends of the ring together to put it over the tube, it would go flying through the air.  I spent the majority of my “repair” time chasing that ring.  LOL!  Once I put the tank back on and filled it with gas, I started it up and viola!  It worked like new.

For just a few pennies for the tube (from my local auto parts store) and a little of my time, I saved myself the cost of repair (or the cost of a new weedeater) and from making a scene in front of the neighbors.  I hope this helps someone else out there that may run into the same issue.

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