Posts Tagged Repairs

Tour Easy Front Fender Clip

We rode the Feeder Canal trail during a recent bike vacation in exotic Glens Falls NY:

Feeder Canal Park Trail - Branches

Feeder Canal Park Trail – Branches

The numerous downed branches along the trail and countless twigs on the trail came from a brush-clearing operation:

Feeder Canal Park Trail - Brush Clearing

Feeder Canal Park Trail – Brush Clearing

As luck would have it, a twig snagged between my front tire and fender, snapping the clips holding the fender in place:


Tour Easy front fender mount breakage

Tour Easy front fender mount breakage

Should it not be obvious, each ferrule formerly had two parallel jaws (on the left) gripping the fender, with the tiny screw digging into the fender. I affixed the fender to the broken clips with copious amounts of duct tape and we continued the mission.

It should be obvious why those ferrules are not suitable for 3D printing.

However, with the recent rear fender clip serving as inspiration, this didn’t take long:

Tour Easy - Front Fender Clip - Slic3r

Tour Easy – Front Fender Clip – Slic3r

The front fender fits a 20 inch wheel and is somewhat wider and flatter than the rear fender (I think they bent the same plastic strip around a smaller mandrel), so I did a quick copy-and-paste hack job on the OpenSCAD source code, rather than trying to parameterize the daylights out of the previous model.

The posts around the wire stays are 6 diameters deep and reamed to fit; the stays won’t be flopping around even without fiddly mechanical hardware retaining them. The holes extend about halfway into those posts to mimic the dimensions of the original ferrules.

All of us can predict where the next break will occur, right? That’s OK: I want this to break, instead of wrecking the fender, so the only question is how much abuse those simple joints can withstand. The printing orientation wraps the perimeter threads from the posts around the clip, making it about a strong as it can be.

The ferrules should splay outward by a few degrees to match the angle from the fender to the fork eyelets, but that’s in the nature of fine tuning.

The arch accommodates a strip of double-sided foam tape holding the clip in place along the fender curve, with those cute little hooks capturing the fender to keep the tape in compression:

Tour Easy Front Fender Clip - installed

Tour Easy Front Fender Clip – installed

I really must get some black foam tape …

The picture shows the fender sitting well away from the tire, due to the upper fender mount bending in response to the splash flap snagging on curbs and random debris; the wire stays didn’t seat completely into the posts.

The extender I made during the cracked fork episode remained perfectly straight, though:

Tour Easy - new fork - fender extender

Tour Easy – new fork – fender extender

So I re-bent the upper fender mount (not the extender!) to its original angle, thereby moving the bottom of the fender much closer to the tire. Now the stays seat fully, the clip holds the fender firmly in place with no rattles, and it’s all good.

The OpenSCAD source code as a GitHub Gist:





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Some Things Last: 100 W Incandescent Bulb

The light switch for our attic turns on a single ceramic socket at the top of the stairs. The bulb burned out a few days ago:

Long-lasting 100 W Incandescent Bulb

Long-lasting 100 W Incandescent Bulb

To the best of my knowledge, that bulb has been in service since we moved in almost two decades ago. Most likely, it was installed when the house was built in 1955, because it matches several new-old-stock bulbs in a battered box that Came With The House™.

To be fair, the attic light doesn’t see much service, but … it’s been a great cost-performer!

The attic temperatures range from well below 0 °F in the winter to well above 120 °F in the summer, so it’s no place for CFL or LED bulbs. I swapped in a 60 W bulb from my heap, although I doubt it’ll be good for another half-century.

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Planet Bike SuperFlash Case: PUSH Fatigue

The blinky light on Mary’s bike became intermittent and, after a week or two, I figured out why:

Planet Bike Superflash - fatigued PUSH

Planet Bike Superflash – fatigued PUSH

The white plastic case has a thin section labeled PUSH over the switch. After five years of exposure to the sun (it faces upward on her bike) and upwards of 2000 pushes (5 years x 200 rides/year x 2 pushes/ride), the edges of that little plate cracked, it slipped inward, and jammed the switch button.

I swapped it for the one on my bike, which mounts with the switch downward and has seen much less use since I began running the Fly 6 rear camera + blinky light, and it was all good.

The fractured plate slid snugly back in place, a few drops of IPS 3 solvent-bonded the broken edges, and a snippet of good 3M electrical tape inside the case should provide a bit of reinforcement:

Planet Bike Superflash - reinforced cover

Planet Bike Superflash – reinforced cover

It’s now on my bike, just in case it’s needed.

That was easy …

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Amazon EK3211 Kitchen Scale

An unfortunate incident put enough water inside our kitchen scale to, ummm, render it inoperative. After a day of drying proved unavailing, I had nothing to lose by disassembling it.

The central label on the back conceals two screws holding the platform to the aluminum beam:

Amazon EK3211 Scale - platform underside

Amazon EK3211 Scale – platform underside

The metal plate twist-locks into the plastic platform. The hot-melt glue holding it in position suggests my construction techniques aren’t all that far off the mark.

The beam cantilevers from a metal structure spreading the load across the plastic base:

Amazon EK3211 Scale - interior overview

Amazon EK3211 Scale – interior overview

These are “after” pictures. Suffice it to say the interior was wet, including water droplets between the LCD panel and its plastic cover. Everything came apart easily, including the LCD with its attached zebra connector, and dried out thoroughly over the next day; I parked the panel atop my monitor for some gentle heating.

After reassembly, it still didn’t work, which turned out to be due to both wires from the battery snapping off at their PCB solder joints. I didn’t think I’d handled it that roughly, but ya never know.

With the wires soldered in place, the scale lit right up again:

Amazon EK3211 Scale - display PCB switches

Amazon EK3211 Scale – display PCB switches

The display flashed CAL at one point during the proceedings, although the rather thin manual had nothing to say about recalibration and the PCB didn’t have any obvious test points / jumpers / labels to that effect.

Two days of relentless spelunking produced my test weights:

Amazon EK3211 Scale - test weights

Amazon EK3211 Scale – test weights

Given the provenance of those weights, a 0.2% error might not be the scale’s fault, even if it cost barely 10 bucks.

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Bosch Laser Rangefinder Corrosion

A few days after using my Bosch GLR225 Laser Rangefinder, it wouldn’t light up.

This came as no surprise:


Bosch GLR225 battery contact - corrosion

Bosch GLR225 battery contact – corrosion

Some vinegar, a bit of scrubbing, some rinsing, and it’s all good:

Bosch GLR225 battery contact - cleaned

Bosch GLR225 battery contact – cleaned

The OEM batteries seem to have survived nigh onto four years, so I guess I can’t complain.

Mutter & similar remarks.


Kensington Expert Mouse Cable Replacement

My posts about troubles with the Kensington Expert Mouse scroll ring remain disturbingly popular. My most recent warranty replacement has been running fine for several years, so I suspect they had a bad lot of IR detectors go their production line and into the field.

In any event, a recent email asked about where to get the little connector inside the mouse to replace a worn-out USB cable:

Kensington Expert Mouse - internal USB connector

Kensington Expert Mouse – internal USB connector

Maybe you’d be lucky enough to find an identical connector inside an old mouse in a junk box, but that’s not the way to bet.

Given that you need not only the proper plastic shell, but also the pins and the crimper for a proper repair, I suggested just chopping the wires an inch from the connector and splicing the new cable onto the wires.

Not an elegant solution, but it works for me …


Monthly Science: Sonicare Recharge Intervals

After replacing the NiMH cells in my Sonicare toothbrush in July 2012, they delivered about 21 days = 21 brushings between charges. After a year, I laid a sheet of Geek Scratch Paper on the windowsill (*) and noted pretty nearly every recharge:

Sonicare recharge - 2013-10 - 2017-01

Sonicare recharge – 2013-10 – 2017-01

Anyhow, the original cells crapped out after 2-½ years, when these still delivered 13 days. After 4-½ years, they’re lasting 12 days between charges.

Color me surprised, because they’re 600 mA·h NiMH cells. The originals were 2000 mA·h cells, which you’d expect would last longer, but noooo.

No reason to change them yet, which is good news.

FWIW, I recently bought some cheap brush heads from the usual low-end eBay seller. The OEM brushes have colored bristles which fade to tell you when to change brushes, although I run ’em quite a bit longer than that. The cheap replacements have never-fading colored bristles and, I suspect, all the bristles are much too stiff. The dental hygienist says I’m doing great, so it’s all good.

Sonicare brush heads - cheap vs OEM

Sonicare brush heads – cheap vs OEM

High truth: at best, you get what you pay for.

(*) Being that type of guy has some advantages, if you’re that guy. Otherwise, it’s a nasty character flaw.