Figaro TGS5042 CO Sensor

The hallway fire detector recently told us it scented carbon monoxide, but we hadn’t been doing any cooking or baking (in the kitchen two rooms away), the furnace (in the basement) hadn’t run for a few hours, and nothing else looked like it was on fire. I had recently replaced the alkaline batteries after a similar false alarm a few weeks earlier; it seems the detector failed after half a dozen years or so.

Tearing it apart revealed something resembling an 18650 lithium cell:

Figaro TGS5042 CO sensor - overview
Figaro TGS5042 CO sensor – overview

Which made no sense, given the circuitry.

A casual search shows a Figaro TGS5042 is actually a carbon monoxide sensor. I’m mildly surprised enough gas gets through the vents fast enough to produce an early alert:

Figaro TGS5042 CO sensor - vent detail
Figaro TGS5042 CO sensor – vent detail

I tore it apart to reveal a few droplets of whatever the electrolyte might be, so it hadn’t completely dried out.

The Product Information flyer doesn’t define what “long life” might be, but another page says “10 years”, so apparently the rest of the circuitry failed around a not-quite-dead-yet sensor.

Craftsman Hedge Trimmer: Biennial Laying On Of Hands Repair

Once again, the hedge trimmer failed to turn on with the switch pressed, so I took it apart, did nothing, and had thing start working again:

Craftsman Hedge Trimmer - innards exposed
Craftsman Hedge Trimmer – innards exposed

It finally penetrated my dim consciousness: perhaps the switch is fine and a carbon brush (or two) has lost contact with the commutator atop a layer of oil and dust.

So a year from now when this happens again, try jamming a screwdriver through a vent slot and moving the motor a few degrees to jostle the crud.

If it works, that would be much easier than taking it apart!

April Fools Day

These seem appropriate for the day.

Whoever composed this wall of text knew the next person in line would update the placeholder:

HelloFresh Intro Offer Card - missed directions
HelloFresh Intro Offer Card – missed directions

As you can tell from the prices, this dates back to late last year. Since then, the two red LED panels on each side had at least one pinball panic and were replaced with much dimmer units:

Mobil gas price puzzle
Mobil gas price puzzle

And a friend pointed me at this bit of innocently twisted signage from a Twitter thread:


Meanwhile, back in the Basement Laboratory …

Angel Food Cake Pan Liner

Laser cut from parchment paper, no less:

Angel Food Cake Pan liner
Angel Food Cake Pan liner

Radial slits around the middle let it bend upward over the folded aluminum joint around the pillar:

Angel Food Cake Pan liner - detail
Angel Food Cake Pan liner – detail

Ours claims to be a 10×4-½ inch pan, roughly the diameter at the top and the overall height. Your pan will surely be different: this one is, as the saying goes, old enough to know better.

The SVG image as a GitHub Gist:

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Made in anticipation of the next time Mary bakes a special carrot cake with cream cheese frosting for my birthday …

Garage Door Opener Battery Life

The keypad for the garage door opener didn’t cooperate one cold evening, so the first thing to check is the battery:

Garage Door Opener battery change
Garage Door Opener battery change

Given that it lacks a scrawled date, it’s the original battery dating back to late 1998 when I replaced the defunct opener that Came With The House™.

It was down to 8.3 V on that sunny afternoon and, surely, not nearly enough in the dark of a wintry night.

Even I can’t complain about that kind of battery life …

Engineer’s Boot

The rivet holding the lace eyelet in place disintegrated:

Engineers Boot
Engineers Boot

A flat head 6-32 screw fit neatly inside the original grommet, making it flush on the side that matters and putting a stylin’ nyloc nut in full view.

When the only tool you have is a Basement Shop, pretty nearly everything looks like a project … and is fixable, too!

Gidget II Sewing Table: Temporary Juki Insert

Mary’s new sewing table just arrived, but the laser-cut acrylic insert fitting around her Juki sewing machine is still a month or two away. Until then, a simple cardboard replacement must suffice to fill the gap:

Juki temporary table insert
Juki temporary table insert

The rectangle just to the left of the needle is a hatch for bobbin changes. Sheer faith and an interference fit between layers of Kapton tape holds it in place with surprising force.

I wanted to tape the cardboard edges to the machine and the table to smooth out the transitions, but her Supreme Slider slippery sheet may solve the problem without adhesives:

Juki temporary table insert - Super Slider
Juki temporary table insert – Super Slider

The “insert” is a 1/4 inch thick double-layer corrugated cardboard sheet, utility-knifed from a huge box. She layers cardboard under the wood chips in her Vassar Farms garden paths to discourage the weeds; this seemed like a perfectly reasonable diversion.