Monday, September 28, 2015

Problems With Views

I've gotten comments from one user that they were unable to view my website. I can't view this from android or Safari on my iPhone, at least with the standard view. I've gotten on Internet Explorer without a problem , so you may want to try this or use "m" instead of "www". This had me pulling my hair for a bit, but it works and it's up and running. Sorry.

Getting the Desk Set Up.

The computer is down for the count and I'm coping with the Android tablet for a while. I got another one on lay away with Windows 7. If I thought Windows 8 was bad, 10 was horrible and the computer was unable to handle it. Trying to get cellular service on this tablet was another goal of mine that is proving to be a pain. I'm on Sprint and the tablet is set up on Verizon.  The rep at Sprint told me that Verizon would have to do something to take their stuff off of this so I could use tnis on my network.
Too complicated for me, and so we're going to address this tomorrow.
I did find a desk and chair Saturday,  for the princely sum of $32. The chair is metal and and the desk actual wood. What it didn't have was a keyboard.  A set of European drawer slides and a plank of Ponderosa pine fixed that.
I'll add pics later as I get this going. Maranatha!

Saturday, September 12, 2015

SOG Tactical Barrage Internal Frame Backpack SWAT Police Bugout Review.

It finally happened, or has been happening for the past month or so. My venerable Swiss Gear backpack has bit the dust. It had everything; was lightweight, durable and had lots of pockets for papers, a tablet and/or a laptop, phones, pens, markers, painkillers (you do this job for as long as I have and you'll know what I'm talking about), wet wipes, tissues, eyeglass cleaner, insect repellent even a change of clothes to name a few. This bag went in my truck and with me all the time, even on weekend trips out of town. It was used and abused and still looks great with the two and a half years I've dragged back and forth from my work vehicle to the house and from personal vehicle to hotel. The reason I've retired this backpack isn't because of looks, but because the zippers are coming apart almost constantly now. The bits and pieces I carry can exceed the price of the pack. In the future, I intend on getting an iPad and these are horrendously expensive to fix, much less replace.

 As it is black, I wanted to keep that theme going. After going through and spurning ten different models, including one that could separate into a fanny pack in camo, I found this one. It is the SOG Tactical Barrage Internal Frame Backpack. This means that it has a frame on the inside to actually use this for honest to goodness backpacking, or even as a bugout bag. It has a space for a water bladder, though one isn't included. There are also sternum and waist straps to make this easier to carry. As I carry this with the handle, all this is a bit superfluous, but I digress. The straps are all well padded and have a quality feel. There are also plenty of M.O.L.L.E. loops to attach items on the straps sides and back of this pack. I've already attached my mini pack to these on the side to hold a few small items. The user can clip flashlights, pens, a knife or anything else to this setup with only your imagination, and your back being the limits. While this can be had online for $70.00 plus shipping, I "stole" mine at Walmart for $45, which is about half of what I paid for the Swissgear pack.

The main compartment has five compartments, one drawstring, four zippered inside to organize toiletries, clothes, pens, markers, batteries, even cash receipts. There are holes for ventilation on the underside to help keep moisture at bay and the space inside is good for a spare shirt and trousers in case the day gets a bit dirty or wet. There are also side pockets that can also be used for pens, markers, a large flashlight, knife, or in my case a bottle of eyeglass cleaner and a lens case. The "tongue" of this pack also unzips to reveal eight more compartments, as well as the cavity inside. This also straps down against the main body of the pack to form another compartment. I'm not sure this area would be secure enough for a laptop or tablet. Probably better suited for a spare jacket or even a blanket. As there isn't much padding in this pack, you may want to make sure any electronics are in a case.

Speaking of electronics, at the top of this pack there is a compartment meant for a pair of sunglasses or a smartphone or two. While the opening is a bit small for my iPhone 6, it fit along with an iPhone 5c without a problem. There even another zippered opening at the top rear to accept a larger smartphone or small tablet with two pickets, one open one zippered. You won't have a problem finding a place to put your things in this pack and you might actually be able to find them again as this is well laid out. As was indicated before, there are M.O.L.L.E. loops all over same.

Compared to the Swissgear this replaces, this one has heft to it. It is made more for being outdoors on a policeman's back and not as a student taking this to class. Anyone using this as a school backpack will quickly grow tired of the material and straps to use this thing. Also, there is not meant to carry a laptop or tablet without some additional protection, However, as a handyman, this will fit the bill for me as I carry this into and out of my truck in inclement weather. It's more than big enough to carry my clipboard, and other necessities as well as a tablet in a hard or padded case in the main compartment. I will keep you posted as this pack ages and how I manage to use it.

The "Big" Announcement.

I said I was going to make an announcement, and today I'm giving you one. From here on out this is going to be a professional blog as much as possible. I will still be doing the reviews, expressing my faith in Jesus, but the object is going to be about home handy work and the peripheries of same. Whether it's fixing a water damaged cabinet, replacing the floor in a mobile home, or recording receipts, I will attempt to touch on it here. Maranatha!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

An Announcement...

Starting this Saturday, 9/12/2015 I'm going to be making some changes to the format of this blog. This is it for now.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

2003 to 2015 Chevy Express Manual Window Handle Fix

Chevrolet has gotten a lot of mileage out of the 1997 design of their full-sized van. They restyled the front sheet metal and interior in 2003 to look more like the trucks at the time. In 2008, the dashboard was revised to be a bit more functional. Chevy/GMC (the vans are practically identical) have revised the passenger side airbag, changed the engines and stopped making the 1500 model and the V-6 as of 2014. As of right now they are the only American style vans still made except for arguably the Nissan NV series. Even though the space is limited and the fuel economy is about 13 to 14 miles to the gallon, they are tough, reliable and plentiful especially on the used market for a good price. They ride great in spite of Michigan's potholed and cratered roads and can still be running north of 200,000 miles with basic maintenance.

However, the one gripe with these vans are the inside door panels. They are made of thin plastic and break easily.  What's worse is that these cost over $300 a side even if you just break the handle. Another problem are the window regulators on manual models. I imagine this is across the board on all GM and even on other makes, but EVERYTHING is built into one unit. When I had to turn my work truck around to do a U turn, I placed my knee up against the panel and promptly busted off the capstan (It looks like a capstan to me, and if you know the proper name leave a comment below) holding the window crank. Taking apart the door revealed that the lock, window regulator, all the mechanisms were riveted into a very large assembly that was also riveted to the door. This was $600 at the dealer; nice job GM! 

The replacement I got at a junkyard was less than complete and hacked of everything save the window regulator. The capstan that the window crank would affix to was unmolested, but held on with three crimp joints. I started by drilling these out with a bit just big enough to remove the broken part from the van. The retainer came off and so did the capstan along with some plastic parts that were also unbroken. Then I did the same to the mangled replacement part. A trip to the hardware store produced three Allen headed machine screws and stop nuts (I would use regular nuts and Locktite, but hindsight is also 20/20) to get this attached through the holes left by the drilled out crimp connections. You have to reach inside the door to get these on, so wear gloves and sleeves. Roll the window up and down before you button the door up. Lastly make sure the window crank is pointed toward the front when the window is rolled up to help prevent this from happening again. Maranatha! 

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Kitchen Aid Under Counter Ice Makers: What Makes Them Tick.

Warning, I'm a technician with some experience. Even with this I still get shocked, cut, burned and otherwise injured in the course of my work. Working with electricity and water apropos to these ice machines is a potentially deadly combination to the novice or inexperienced. Please consult the services of an experienced technician if there is any doubt as to your ability. Parts on this unit can be pricey, so don't just replace these without testing. This is not a comprehensive manual to diagnose, repair, or refurbish these machines. It is theory only in very abbreviated form.

When most techs and customer think of an icemaker, they think of the apparatus inside their refrigerator that fills with the tray with water, freezes, and harvests the ice by means of heating and dumping, or twisting a tray. Many import standalone icemakers also use this principle and truth be told there are drawbacks. The ice from these will pick up the taste from anything in the refrigerator. The cubes will retain mineral content from the water, causing taste and appearance problems.

The Kitchen Aid/Scotsman/Whirlpool/GE/etc is not like the imports or the icemaker you have in your fridge. These are found in bars, hotels, and even in some residential homes, offices and even gyms. These supply, fresh, clear, wet, and great tasting ice that's clean despite the claims made otherwise. to make this happen requires some technical wizardry to accomplish, Unlike the cheaper imports, these use more moving parts, and have been around since the 1950's. These use a cooling plate to freeze water that circulated over it by means of a pump. This pump takes water from a reservoir that is inside the machine and through the means of a distributor, evenly waterfalls this over the cooling plate. As this happens, the ice thickens into a slab; at a predetermined time, the harvest thermostat causes the cooling plate to heat. The result is that the ice slides off the plate and passes through a heated wire grid, which cuts this slab into cubes and they fall into a bin. The bin and reservoir both drain into the bottom, As the ice is not insulated, it melts at the bottom and drains, keeping the product fresh and the bin clean. Another happening is that once this water drains, it either goes directly into a floor drain or into a condensate pump.

Again, this is a very abbreviated view of how these work.

2008 Dodge Dakota Quad Cab SLT 4x4 Review, First Impressions

Note, this is a USED vehicle and the picture shown is approximately the appearance of same and not a representation of the exact vehicle. Translated it means that I was too lazy to take pictures of the truck, Vehicles of the same year, make and model will have different amounts of care, wear and tear, as well as options and configurations. Your results will vary, but hopefully this will give you a good baseline in which to start.
Chrysler has not assembled a mid sized pickup for the North American market since 2011 to date. This truck will have the options listed, sans the factory radio that was replaced with an aftermarket unit before I got a hold of it. Hence there will be no reviews on same. I will not "evaluate" equipment that is not factory in the interest of leveling the playing field.
As mentioned before, this is a mid sized truck with four full doors, seats five with a 64 inch bed equipped with side rails installed from the factory. It has a sliding rear window in the back, electric windows in the doors, power locks, anti lock brakes, a power driver's seat, power mirrors, tilt steering wheel, cruise control, cloth seats. an overhead console with info center, four gauge cluster, automatic transmission, part time four wheel drive, fog lamps, a single power outlet, as well as a 3.7 liter six cylinder engine. Everything works!
The truck is considered a mid size, having a bed that is about five and a half feet wide. It is longer, wider and taller than a four wheel drive Ford Ranger with a 4.0 liter v-6 that I drove for work a year and a half ago. The interior is also roomier, which isn't saying much as the Ranger was one of the most difficult vehicles short of Mrs. Grace's Pontiac to get into without tucking your chin into your wishbone. Ahem!
The Dakotas of this year came in only two models, the one pictured here which is close to what I drive, the crew cab and the extended cab. The extended cab has vestigial "jump" seats which are designed more for my son's stuffed animals than actual human beings. The crew cab is a far better choice if you plan on hauling family or things you don't want in an open bed.
Even with the 64 inch bed, there's plenty of room for hauling things such as tools and the like. The height of the bed is low enough so you don't need a step to get up into it, or reach into same. The optional rails and movable cleats also allow you you to secure cargo in the bed. The factory drop in bedliner feels a bit on the soft side, but does a good job of protecting the bed and cargo. One thing you won't find in the Dakota's bed are stake holes for building walls or installing a ladder rack.
Under the hood in this truck lives a 3.7 liter V-6 that provides 210 horsepower and is more than adequate for hauling and passing. While the 4.7 liter gets the same mileage with 30% more power it also has 16 spark plugs. The grille comes up with the hood and there's no need for a prop rod on this hood either. What's underneath is pretty straightforward as far as maintenance is concerned. Even the spark plugs look pretty easy to get to save for one partially obstructed by an A/C line. Air filter access is also very easy.
Changing the headlight bulbs is a bit of a pain in the butt as you have to cram a 10mm socket between the bumper and headlight. It's not intuitive and short of a magnetic tool, you're going to drop screws. The headlight assemblies are also pricey at the dealership if you break them. The taillights are a bit easier as are the cargo and third brake light.
The inside of the vehicle is what this writer would call just right. It's about the size of a mid-sized auto, but the floors are going to be higher and the cabin will be shallower than a full-sized truck. The seats are decent sized with adequate thigh and shoulder support.
The ride on Michigan's moonscape motorways is pretty jumpy, and the ride is harsh over bumps. I can imagine that the shocks have something to do with this to an extent. If this is the case, I will report on it later. Maranatha!