Walker Leg Shortening

While looking for something else, Mary came across a walker in the attic and mentioned that, if she ever had to use it, the shortest position of the adjustable legs would put the hand grips too high for comfort. Maybe they

Well, I can fix that:

Walker shortening - hole indexing
Walker shortening – hole indexing

The holes are an inch apart, so I clamped the V blocks parallel to the X axis on the drill press, zeroed the X axis knob, slid the leg to get the drill bit into the last hole, clamp in place, crank the table an inch, then use a step drill to start the hole:

Walker shortening - hole drilling
Walker shortening – hole drilling

The holes are just slightly larger than the 1/4 inch step on the drill, so the twist drill cuts them to size.

A tubing cutter sliced an inch off all four legs and all four frame tubes:

Walker shortening - latch relocation
Walker shortening – latch relocation

The white plastic fitting in the frame tube prevents the legs from rattling, but I had to drill another hole to move the latch button, too.

With a bit of luck, we’ll never need the thing.

Incandescent Bulb Lifetime: Also Better Than Average

This bulb spent the last seven-plus years of its life lighting the front bathroom:

Dead incandescent bulb - 7 years
Dead incandescent bulb – 7 years

The green corrosion around the tip seems strange, given that we don’t use the tub or shower in that bathroom, and I’m pretty sure it wasn’t the cause of the failure.

My stock of incandescent bulbs will eventually run out; I must figure out how to light the deaders in an attractive manner.

Lyme Disease, Now With Bonus Babesiosis

Two weeks of doxycycline should kill off all the Borrelia bacteria responsible for Lyme disease, but a blood test shows the antibodies:

Lyme test - 2021-11-10
Lyme test – 2021-11-10

Those antibodies will gradually disappear during the next few months and, unfortunately, a past Lyme infection does not prevent future infections.

The tick also injected Babesia parasites which do not respond to antibiotic treatment:

Babesia test - 2021-11-10
Babesia test – 2021-11-10

The “titer” refers to the dilution required to produce a negative test result, with the 1:64 reference titer representing six successive 50% dilutions. My blood required ten 50% dilutions to produce a negative result for the IgG antibodies and (presumably) six 50% dilutions from a 20% base for the IgM antibodies.

As I understand the situation, IgM antibodies appear promptly upon infection and IgG antibodies follow along later, so my reaction to the Babesia infestation was ramping up after two weeks.

In the Bad Old Days™, quinine was the go-to treatment for parasitic infections, but it has a host of horrific side effects at the dosage required for traction against actual diseases; tonic water ain’t gonna get you where you need to go.

The new hotness is atovaquone, arriving as 100 ml of a yellow liquid with the consistency of latex paint, (allegedly) the taste of “tutti fruitti“, and a price (modulo your drug plan) making inkjet printer ink look downright affordable. You might expect to get a 5 ml measuring spoon along the the bottle, but suffice it to say it’s an exceedingly good thing I’m well stocked for printer cartridge refilling.

All of the diseases and drugs list “fatigue” / “drowsiness” / “malaise” as symptoms / side effects and I’m here to tell you knocking off a couple of hours in the recliner during the day does nothing at all to disturb another nine hours in the sack overnight.

A few weeks of low productivity in the Basement Shop™ will definitely count as a successful outcome.

Protip: We need permethrin spray. Lots permethrin spray.

CFL Lifetime: Better Than Average

Although compact fluorescent lamps have fallen out of favor, I’m burning through a box of the things donated by a friend who upgraded to LEDs and figured I could put them to good use. In general, complex electronic doodads (like CFL or even LED lamps) used in hostile situations (like an ordinary downlight fixture) seem to fail too quickly to justify the power savings; searching for “cfl fail” will produce some evidence from around here.

One of the downlights in the Basement Office just killed this specimen:

Dead CFL - detail
Dead CFL – detail

Much to my surprise, however, it survived for more than five years:

Dead CFL - over 5 years
Dead CFL – over 5 years

The previous CFL bulb in that fixture lasted only two years, so their average lifetime is entirely too short.

A taller bulb does a better job of lighting up that corner, although it started with enough power-on hours to suggest it won’t survive for another five years:

Dead CFL - replacement
Dead CFL – replacement

The ghostly humps above the overexposed glare are the long CFL tubes reflected inside the Pixel’s camera optics.

I didn’t see much point in nailing a ceiling to too-low floor joists.

Shopvac QSP Motor Commutator Cleaning

The Greatest Shopvac emitted an intense smell of electrical death while inhaling fuzzballs from the Basement Shop stairs, prompting me to tear it down. For the record, it’s a Genuine Shop·Vac QSP 10 (Quiet Super Power):

Shopvac QSP - label
Shopvac QSP – label

Removing the handle and upper plate reveals a slab of (presumably) sound-deadening foam over the motor cooling fan. As far as I can tell, the last job this vacuum had before the previous owner discarded it was inhaling drywall dust without a filter:

Shopvac QSP - upper sound baffle
Shopvac QSP – upper sound baffle

Flipping the motor assembly over and removing the bottom plate revealed a pair of equally solidified foam slabs baffling the main exhaust path:

Shopvac QSP - sound baffle foam
Shopvac QSP – sound baffle foam

They eventually became Clean Enough™ after protracted rinsing, so maybe the thing now runs as quietly as the name would lead you to believe, if you believed in names.

Disconnecting and extracting the motor revealed the razor-sharp impeller disk. A shop rag prevents lacerations while torquing off the nut holding it to the shaft:

Shopvac QSP - impeller nut
Shopvac QSP – impeller nut

Rust on the washer below the impeller, along with the layer of caked white cement, suggested water accompanied the drywall dust:

Shopvac QSP - impeller washer
Shopvac QSP – impeller washer

Gentle suasion from the Designated Prydriver eventually eased the washer off the shaft and freed the motor:

Shopvac QSP - motor brush layout
Shopvac QSP – motor brush layout

It’s an old-school series-wound brushed universal motor. The plastic plate in the middle of the picture has a helical spring pressing the carbon brush against the commutator:

Shopvac QSP - motor brush detail
Shopvac QSP – motor brush detail

The rotor turned … reluctantly with the brushes in place and spun freely without them, suggesting the horrible smell of electrical death came from arcing across the gunk accumulated on the commutator:

Shopvac QSP - commutator as found
Shopvac QSP – commutator as found

Many iterations of diligent scrubbing with denatured alcohol on cotton swabs and old t-shirt snippets got rid of the crud, although that commutator will never look all shiny-clean again:

Shopvac QSP - commutator cleaned
Shopvac QSP – commutator cleaned

At least the brushes aren’t glued to it!

Reassembly is in reverse order, although I took the liberty of splicing a few inches of wire into the switch leads, because I’m not working under factory conditions with all the proper assembly fixtures:

Shopvac QSP - extended wires
Shopvac QSP – extended wires

The motor passed the smoke test and no longer smells like death, so it’s at least as good as it ever was.

It may run quieter with clean foam baffles, but I still turn off my power ears or don hearing protection when I fire up any shop vacuum.

Wireless Numeric Keypad vs. AmazonBasics AAA Alkaline

One of the streaming media players behaved funny, which always results in a numeric keypad battery replacement. This AmazonBasics AAA alkaline was down to about 0.5 V and long past its best-used-by date:

Numeric keypad - 5 year Amazon AAA Alkaline
Numeric keypad – 5 year Amazon AAA Alkaline

Nigh onto six years isn’t bad, particularly as it hasn’t leaked electrolyte all over the negative terminal.

Suggestions that Amazon monitors their Marketplace sellers to figure out what’s profitable, then promote a Good Enough house brand product to kill off the competition, seem to describe the situation just about perfectly.

Jonas Peeler Repair

The blade on one of the Jonas vegetable peelers cracked, which suggests it’s the counterfeit version:

Jonas Peeler - cracked blade
Jonas Peeler – cracked blade

I grooved the metal pin running through the handle:

Jonas Peeler - shaft grooving
Jonas Peeler – shaft grooving

A brass tube from the Little Tray o’ Cutoffs and some epoxy should hold things together forevermore:

Jonas Peeler - epoxy
Jonas Peeler – epoxy

The rainbow colors come from an instantly aborted attempt to silver-solder the parts together. The fact that I even tried a stunt like that shows I’m definitely not the brightest bulb in the chandelier these days.