Posts Tagged Improvements

Weatherproof Outlet Cover Re-Chaining

The yard camera now resides outdoors and plugs into one of three outlets on the patio, all of which have weatherproof covers attached by a bead chain to the trim plate:

Patio Outlet - new chain installed
Patio Outlet – new chain installed

That’s the after-repair condition, as two of the three chains were broken when we bought the house.

Stipulated: the covers needed scrubbing, but sometimes ya gotta stay focused on the Main Goal.

Two feet of 3.4 mm brass bead chain (because spares: ya gotta have stuff) arrived from eBay, I dismounted all three covers, and discovered the bell-shaped brass caps on the old chains were perfectly serviceable after six decades:

Patio Outlet - chain retainers
Patio Outlet – chain retainers

The outlets are wired to circuit breaker 28, of course.

Having enough chain to go around, each cover now sports a slightly longer leash than before:

Patio Outlet - chain assembly
Patio Outlet – chain assembly

Reinstall in reverse order, the camera rebooted as it should, and it’s all good out there:

Pressure-washing Patio Railing
Pressure-washing Patio Railing

That was easy …




KEDSUM LED Shop Lights: Cheapnification Thereof

As the basement’s fluorescent fixtures and lamps gradually die, I’ve been rewiring the fixtures for LED tubes, all bought from KEDSUM through Amazon. The first few batches looked like this:

Kedsum - good LED lamp
Kedsum – good LED lamp

The most recent two batches seem cheapnified:

Kedsum - poor LED lamp
Kedsum – poor LED lamp

The tubes show similar changes, going from a stylin’ version to a simple cylindrical cap:

Kedsum vs Kedsun - tube end caps
Kedsum vs Kedsun – tube end caps

The most recent carton label might lead you to think they’re counterfeits, but it could just be a simple typo:

Kedsum vs Kedsun - LED lamp carton
Kedsum vs Kedsun – LED lamp carton

There’s absolutely no way to tell what you’re going to get from any vendor on Amazon (or anywhere else, for that matter), so there’s no point in returning them, but I’d hoped buying “the same thing” from “the same seller” would produce a consistent result.



Monthly Science: Weight

Homeostasis is a thing:

Weight Chart 2019-06 - Ed
Weight Chart 2019-06 – Ed

On the other paw, the eyeballometric trend line since mid-April slopes at -1 lb/month and arrives at just over 150 lb in December, so progress continues apace.


MPCNC Diamond Engraver: LM3UU Bearings, Second Pass

Having a single spring and a fixed upper plate works much better than the first version:

Diamond Scribe - LM3UU Rev 2 - overview
Diamond Scribe – LM3UU Rev 2 – overview

The (lubricated!) nyloc nuts under the plate provide a little friction and stabilize the whole affair.

The solid model has the same stylin’ tapered snout as the LM12UU drag knife mount:

Diamond Scribe - LM3UU bearings
Diamond Scribe – LM3UU bearings

The spring seats in the plate recess, with the 3 mm shank passing through the hole as the tool holder presses the tip against the workpiece.

I diamond-filed a broken carbide end mill to make a slotting tool:

Diamond Scribe - LM3UU - Rev 2 - carbide notch tool
Diamond Scribe – LM3UU – Rev 2 – carbide notch tool

Lacking any better method (“a tiny clip spreader tool”), I rammed the Jesus clip the length of the shank with a (loose-fitting) chuck in the tailstock:

Diamond Scribe - LM3UU - Rev 2 - clip installation
Diamond Scribe – LM3UU – Rev 2 – clip installation

Even without nyloc nuts, the first test worked fine:

Diamond Scribe - LM3UU - Rev 2 - first light
Diamond Scribe – LM3UU – Rev 2 – first light

The 53 g/mm spring rate may be too low for serious engraving, but it suffices for subtle Guilloché patterns on scrap platters.

The OpenSCAD source code as a GitHub Gist:



Ooma Telo 2: Speaker FAIL

The tiny voice inside our Ooma Telo 2 box died, although the VOIP phone service continued to work fine. A bit of searching showed the speaker seems to be the weak link.

Well, I can fix that.

Start by prying the recessed top panel off the case:

Ooma Telo 2 - upper case latches
Ooma Telo 2 – upper case latches

Remove the circuit board to expose the tiny speaker, taking care not to rip the tiny wires out of the tiny connector:

Ooma Telo 2 - OEM speaker to PCB
Ooma Telo 2 – OEM speaker to PCB

You can’t measure a dead speaker, but it seems to be an 8 Ω unit.

The speaker sits in a rubber surround, with a foam rubber cushion against the PCB, tucked into a walled garden stiffening the case:

Ooma Telo 2 - speaker port
Ooma Telo 2 – speaker port

I don’t happen to have a tiny 8 Ω speaker, but I do have a bunch of small speakers, so I bulldozed those walls with a flush cutting pliers and a bit of cussing to make room:

Ooma Telo 2 - modified speaker port
Ooma Telo 2 – modified speaker port

Nibble an adapter ring to match the rim of the new speaker, thereby routing the sound out those little holes, and hot-melt glue it in place:

Ooma Telo 2 - speaker adapter
Ooma Telo 2 – speaker adapter

Hot-melt glue the new speaker in place atop the adapter, taking care to fill all the edges / cracks / crevices below it with an impenetrable wall of glop:

Ooma Telo 2 - replacement speaker installed
Ooma Telo 2 – replacement speaker installed

The sealing part turns out to be critical with these little speakers, because a leak from front to back will pretty much cancel all the sound from the cone.

Cut the wires off the old speaker, affix to the new one, replace the PCB, snap the case lid in place, and it sounds better than new.

Millions of transistors in those ICs, but Ooma can’t spec a good speaker? Maybe they should have used a bigger speaker to begin with; ya never know.


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Micromark Bandsaw Table Angle Gauge Tweak

Mostly, the Tiny Bandsaw™ cuts thin sheets, where having the blade at a slight angle off perpendicular doesn’t make much difference. I recently started to cut a thicker block and thought the blade looked a bit slanted, so I deployed the Tiny Square™ to set it properly:

MicroLux Bandsaw - blade perpendicular
MicroLux Bandsaw – blade perpendicular

Which produced this result on the blade angle gauge under the table:

MicroLux Bandsaw - table angle offset
MicroLux Bandsaw – table angle offset


The scale pointer is printed on what’s basically a sticker. The QC regime for the bandsaw apparently doesn’t ensure the pointer appears at the proper place on the sticker, nor does it verify the overall alignment.

I peeled the sticker off off, trimmed the near edge, and re-stuck it with the pointer aimed properly:

MicroLux Bandsaw - tweaked table angle scale
MicroLux Bandsaw – tweaked table angle scale

It makes me feel better, anyway …

Now, as why they put the scale pointer behind the table clamp knob, where it can’t be seen directly, that remains a mystery.

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Dryer Vent Adapter Rebuild

When we bought this house, it had its original clothes dryer, which was vented directly through the wall with a few inches of 3×10 inch square duct. Alas, contemporary dryers use 4 inch round hoses, so I conjured a round-to-square adapter from a length of air handler duct:

Dryer Vent - end view
Dryer Vent – end view

I’d used … wait for it … duct tape to hold the end caps on, because I knew I’d be taking it apart to clean out the fuzz every now & again. The most recent cleanout occurred when I noticed the end cap had eased its way out of the adapter, releasing warm fuzzy air behind the dryer.

The solution, which I should have done decades ago, holds the end caps in place with sheet metal screws:

Dryer Vent - screws installed
Dryer Vent – screws installed

A pair of small clamps held everything in the proper location while I applied a suitable step drill and installed the screw:

Dryer Vent - screw clamps
Dryer Vent – screw clamps

Now the duct tape just seals the gaps, rather than holding against the minimal pressure in the box, and it should be all good until the next cleanout.

So simple I should’a done it decades ago. Right?