Posts Tagged Repairs

Michelin Protek Tube: Another Slow Leak

After a few days of topping off the rear tire on Mary’s bike, with no gashes or debris in the tire, I finally replaced the Michelin Protek tube and autopsied it:

Michelin Protek tube autopsy
Michelin Protek tube autopsy

While it’s possible to extract the valve and perhaps even clean / replace it, I think that’s just delaying the inevitable. The rubber shreds may be necessary to fill large punctures, but they seem to wreck the valve seal.

Her bike now has an ordinary (pronounced “cheap”) tube inside the Schwalbe Marathon Plus armored tire. We’ll see how long this lasts.



Raspberry Pi vs. MicroSD: Another One Bites the Dust

The Raspberry Pi running the MPCNC recently seized up with baffling symptoms, which generally indicates the poor little MicroSD card serving as a “hard disk” has failed:

Defunct Sandisk Ultra 32 GB MicroSD
Defunct Sandisk Ultra 32 GB MicroSD

I managed to open a terminal emulator, whereupon all of the non-built-in shell commands couldn’t be found.

Proceed as before: binary-copy the entire MicroSD card to another one, pop it in the RPi, and it’s all good again.

For the record, the new card is an unused Samsung Evo Plus. I do not understand the difference between the “Evo Plus” and “Evo+” branding, other than to suspect one of being a very good fake.

In round numbers, MicroSD cards seem to last a year under what seems like not-too-demanding service; I’m not running the MPCNC all day, every day.

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Alligator Clip Lead Refurbishing

So this happened when I grabbed an alligator clip lead:

Dual Alligator Clip Collection
Dual Alligator Clip Collection

My coax cable and clip lead collection includes everything from “I’ve had it forever” to “Recent cheap crap”, including much of Mad Phil’s collection. Some of the recent crap included Chinese clip leads with what can charitably be described as marginal connections:

Alligator clips - bent wire
Alligator clips – bent wire

The insulation may provide some compliance in the crimp, but the alligator clip itself consists of cheap steel which won’t hold a crimp, even if it was crimped firmly to start with.

As a rule, the crimps aren’t particularly good:

Black Dual Alligator - as manufactured
Black Dual Alligator – as manufactured

The most obvious effect is high end-to-end resistance:

Black Dual Alligator - before - A
Black Dual Alligator – before – A

Yes, yes, 122 Ω in an alligator clip lead is high.

The test setup isn’t particularly intricate:

Black Dual Alligator - test setup
Black Dual Alligator – test setup

The lackadaisical crimps also have unstable resistances:

Black Dual Alligator - before - B
Black Dual Alligator – before – B

So I figured I may as well repair the lot of ’em.

I stripped the lead back to expose fresh copper, soldered it to the clip, then re-crimped the clip around the insulation for some token strain relief:

Black Dual Alligator - soldered
Black Dual Alligator – soldered

I won’t win any soldering awards, but the resistance is way better than before:

Black Dual Alligator - after
Black Dual Alligator – after

If more than half an ohm seems a tad high for a foot of copper wire, you’re right. My slightly magnetized bench screwdriver shows it’s not copper wire:

Copper-plated steel wire
Copper-plated steel wire

I’d say it’s copper-plated steel, wouldn’t you?

Those of long memory will recall the non-standard ribbon cable I used as a 60 kHz loop antenna. In this case, the Chinese manufacturer figured nobody would notice or, likely, care. Given the crappy overall quality of the end product, it’s a fair assumption.

I was mildly tempted to replace the wire with good silicone-insulated copper, but came to my senses; those “high voltage” silicone test leads will be Good Enough for higher-current connections.

While I was at it, I pulled apart my entire collection just to see what was inside and fix the ailing ones. These clips date back to the dawn of time, with what started as excellent crimps:

Crimped Alligator Clips - as manufactured
Crimped Alligator Clips – as manufactured

Alas, after I-don’t-know-how-many decades, they’re not longer gas-tight, so I soaked a dollop of solder into each one:

Crimped Alligator Clips - soldered - Made In Japan
Crimped Alligator Clips – soldered – Made In Japan

Chekkitout: “Made In Japan”.

Someone, perhaps me wearing a younger man’s clothes or, less likely, Mad Phil in a hurry, solved a similar problem with bigger blobs and no strain relief:

Crimped Alligator Clips - cut and soldered
Crimped Alligator Clips – cut and soldered

So, now I have a slightly better collection of crappy alligator clip leads. The copper-plated steel wires will eventually fail, but it should become obvious when they do.

Test your clip leads today!


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Bathroom Drain Rod Status

The bathroom drain rod slipped out of the pop-up stopper, giving me the opportunity to see how well it’s surviving:

Bathroom drain lever - 2019-08-03
Bathroom drain lever – 2019-08-03

After not quite two years, it’s not obviously rotting away.

Life is good …


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CNC 3018-Pro: Assembly Tweaks

If you regard your new CNC 3018-Pro Router kit as a box of parts which could, with some adjustments and additional parts, become a small CNC router, you’re on the right track.

In my case, the aluminum extrusions arrived somewhat squashed inside their well-padded foam shipping carton, which leads me to believe the factory responsible for tapping the bolt holes in the ends must be a fairly nasty place. In any event, the hammerhead T-nuts for the gantry struts simply didn’t fit into some sections of the slots, although they worked fine elsewhere.

So, file a smidge off the rounded sides of a few nuts:

3018CNC - 2020 T-nuts - filed
3018CNC – 2020 T-nuts – filed

Which let them slide into place and rotate properly despite the bent channel:

3018CNC - 2020 T-nuts - trial fit
3018CNC – 2020 T-nuts – trial fit

The assembly instructions used a word I’d never encountered before:

3018CNC - Gantry plate position
3018CNC – Gantry plate position

Turns out ubiety is exactly correct, but … raise your hand if you’ve ever heard it in polite conversation. Thought so.

I’ve not noticed any harm from rounding off the position to 46 mm; just position both struts the same distance from the rear crossbar and it’s all good.

The struts behind the CAMTool CNC-V3.3 electronics board were also squashed, prompting a bit more filing:

3018CNC - CAMTool v3.3 board - trial fit
3018CNC – CAMTool v3.3 board – trial fit

The CAMTool board is basically an Arduino-class microcontroller preloaded with GRBL 1.1f and surrounded with spindle / stepper driver circuits.

As with the MPCNC, I’ll dribble G-Code into it from a Raspberry Pi. Alas, the struts behind the CAMTool board are on 75 mm centers, but the Pi cases on hand have feet on 72-ish mm centers. Pay no attention to the surroundings, just drill the holes in the right spots:

3018CNC - RPi case - drilling
3018CNC – RPi case – drilling

Add more T-nuts and short button head screws, with rubber pads between the case and the struts:

3018CNC - RPi case - mounted
3018CNC – RPi case – mounted

It’s coming together!

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Kenmore Model 158: Foot Pedal Pivots

I got an email asking how the Kenmore Model 158 sewing machine’s foot pedal pivots worked. The notes on rebuilding the carbon disk rheostat and conjuring a Hall effect sensor show the innards, but here’s what you need to know to get there.

The pedal has a pair of pivots on the side closest to your foot, held in place with a small screw inside the two feet:

Kenmore 158 - Pedal pivot screw - in place
Kenmore 158 – Pedal pivot screw – in place

The screw fits into a notch in the unthreaded pin inserted from the side:

Kenmore 158 - Pedal pivot screw - disassembled
Kenmore 158 – Pedal pivot screw – disassembled

And that’s all there is to it!

Now, as happened to my correspondent, the pin can go missing, perhaps after the screw worked loose. Worst case, you’re looking at replacing both parts.

Being made in Japan (as ours were), the pedal has metric sizes: the unthreaded pin is 4 mm in diameter and 18 mm long and the setscrew has an M4×0.7 thread. You could replace the pin with an 18 mm (down to maybe 15 mm) long M4 screw. The threads would make a gritty pivot, but better than no pivot at all.

Better to get a longer M4 screw with an unthreaded section near the head, hacksaw it to the proper length, file to tidy up the cut end, maybe file a notch for the setscrew, and pop it in place. For tidiness, file off the slot / Philips / hex socket to eliminate the temptation to turn it out.

Worst case, a pair of plain old USA-ian 6-32 screws 3/4 inch long would make a sloppy fit. Don’t tell anybody I said so; that’d be barely better than nothin’ at all in there.

Lowe’s claims to have M4×0.7 setscrews (with a hex socket, not a slot) to secure the pin.

If my experience around here is any guide, however, Lowe’s / Home Depot / Walmart may claim to have metric hardware in stock, but the only way to know is to actually go there and rummage around in the specialty hardware section, inside the big steel cabinet with slide-out drawers filled with a remarkable disarray of ripped-open bags and misfiled parts.

Good hunting …



NuTone 8663RP Bathroom Vent Fan: Effective Repair

My high hopes for the UHMW bushing supporting the impeller lasted the better part of a day, because direct contact between the impeller and the motor bearing produced an absurdly loud and slowly pulsating rumble:

Bath Vent Fan - bushing installed
Bath Vent Fan – bushing installed

My hope that the UHMW would wear into a quieter configuration lasted a week …

Back in the Basement Shop, some free-air tinkering showed the impeller produced enough suction to pull itself downward along the shaft and jam itself firmly against the motor frame. My initial thought of putting a lock ring around the shaft to support the impeller turned out to be absolutely right.

So, make a small ring:

Bath Vent Fan - small lock ring - c-drill
Bath Vent Fan – small lock ring – c-drill

With a 4-40 setscrew in its side, perched atop the impeller for scale:

Bath Vent Fan - small lock ring - size
Bath Vent Fan – small lock ring – size

It just barely fits between the impeller and the motor frame:

Bath Vent Fan - small lock ring - installed
Bath Vent Fan – small lock ring – installed

This reduced the noise, but the hole in the impeller has worn enough to let it rotate on the shaft and the rumble continued unabated. The correct way to fix this evidently requires a mount clamped to both the shaft and the impeller.

Fast-forward a day …

A careful look at the impeller shows seven radial ribs, probably to reduce the likelihood of harmonic vibrations. After a bit of dithering, I decided not to worry about an off-balance layout, so the screws sit on a 9 mm radius at ±102.9° = 2 × 360°/7 from a screw directly across from the setscrew in another slice from the 1 inch aluminum rod:

Bath Vent Fan - mount ring - tapping
Bath Vent Fan – mount ring – tapping

Centered on the disk and using LinuxCNC’s polar notation, the hole positions are:

G0 @9.0 ^-90
G0 @9.0 ^[-90+102.9]
G0 @9.0 ^[-90-102.9]

As usual, I jogged the drill downward while slobbering cutting fluid. I loves me some good manual CNC action.

Put the mount on a 1/4 inch tube, stick it into the impeller, and transfer-punch the screw holes:

Bath Vent Fan - mount ring - impeller marking
Bath Vent Fan – mount ring – impeller marking

Apparently, some years ago I’d cut three screws to just about exactly the correct length:

Bath Vent Fan - mount ring - test fit - bottom
Bath Vent Fan – mount ring – test fit – bottom

I knew I kept them around for some good reason!

The 9 mm radius just barely fits the screw heads between the ribs:

Bath Vent Fan - mount ring - test fit - top
Bath Vent Fan – mount ring – test fit – top

Some Dremel cutoff wheel action extended the motor shaft flat to let the setscrew rest on the bottom end:

Bath Vent Fan - mount ring - shaft flat
Bath Vent Fan – mount ring – shaft flat

Then it all fit together:

Bath Vent Fan - mount ring - installed
Bath Vent Fan – mount ring – installed

The fan now emits a constant whoosh, rather than a pulsating rumble, minus all the annoying overtones. It could be quieter, but it never was, so we can declare victory and move on.

Dropping fifty bucks on a replacement fan + impeller unit would might also solve the problem, but it just seems wrong to throw all that hardware in the trash.

And, despite making two passes at the problem before coming up with a workable solution, I think that’s the only way (for me, anyhow) to get from “not working” to “good as it ever was”, given that I didn’t quite understand the whole problem or believe the solution at the start.

But it should be painfully obvious why I don’t do Repair Cafe gigs …

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