Rainwater Getting Inside Your Car? Have a Sunroof?

Here’s one I recently learned in the “school of hard knocks”: car sunroofs have rain gutters and downspouts! 

I’d never thought about how a sunroof handles rain until our older Toyota Camry suddenly started getting a wet spot on the driver’s side floor whenever it rained hard. We couldn’t figure out where the water was coming from until a local mechanic clued us in on the fact that sunroofs don’t have water-tight seals around them. 

Rainwater is allowed to just run in around its edges, gets collected by a trough system, then drains down through a small tube (“downspout”) and onto the ground under the car. 

Like a frost-free refrigerator’s drain, this system is driven by gravity, and just like in a refrigerator, it takes very little “gunk” to clog it up. In our Toyota, the small plastic tube exits the sunroof area from its left front corner and is routed down through the roof pillar and the body just ahead of the driver’s door. 

In our case, a bit of hot water and compressed air cleared out the the drain tube clog and solved the issue. 

You’ll want to look for that if you ever have water leaking into your sunroof-equipped car and can’t find the source. Live and learn! 

God bless you and yours,

Dave Harnish
www.DavesRepair.com

“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” – Abraham Lincoln

 

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Tired of Gas Can Spouts Designed by Bureaucrats Yet?

What have we allowed bureaucrats to do to our gas cans?! Don’t know if you’ve bought a new can lately, but if you have, you know exactly what I’m talking about. 

Evidently someone completely out of touch with the way things work out here in the real world felt a need to push some feel-good legislation on a slow day, so he or she decided gasoline and diesel fuel cans poured way too easily and had to be “modified”. Seems like the results are always the same when the government starts meddling with things (they cost more and no longer work). 

These new abominations take all day to trickle anything out of them, and half of what does trickle out gets spilled down your pant leg. (If I knew who thought up this obscenely dumb idea, I’d mail them a box full of these useless pieces of wasted tax dollars.) 

The worthless, spring-loaded design that comes with your new can will look something like this:

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After fabricating my own nozzles, usually from copper tubing, I’m thrilled to report that I’ve finally found a solution to the problem, and the gasoline, premix, and diesel cans around our place actually *pour* now.

The fix is called the “Easy Pour” spout kit, and comes with an actual *vent*, a nice flex-spout, adapters to fit the two most common sizes of cans in use, and a couple other useful accessories. Here’s the one gallon can that the above worthless contraption rode home on, but that now actually pours: 

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Fixed!

To install the vent, just drill a 1/2″ hole in the top of your can and snap it into the hole. Screw the new spout on, and that’s it; your can will work again. 

I’m really happy to have found this useful kit, and try to keep a couple of spares on hand here.  I’ve told lots of folks about them, and I’m pretty sure you’ll be happy to learn about them, too. 

They’re inexpensive and available on Ebay and Amazon (although who knows for how long! I’m stocking up!). This link will take you directly to the Ebay search results for them: 

http://tinyurl.com/EZPourSpout
(I’ve shortened the LONG Ebay URL to make it easier to handle) 

Happy pouring, and God bless you and Yours,

Dave Harnish
DavesRepair.com

John 14:6 KJV

 

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Make Your Own Notepads For Nearly $0!

Hi all, 

Here’s one I’ve been using for a few years now, but I’m only getting around to telling you about it now (hate to recommend anything I haven’t thoroughly tested 😉 ). 

We use a lot of note pads around here, both in the house and the shop/office (what ever happened to that “paperless office” we were all promised back when PC’s showed up?) and used to buy them, throwing away heaps of scrap paper at the same time. In one of those “duh!” moments, it finally dawned on me that all that “still blank on one side” paper should be put to use. 

Over the years I’ve cut full 8-1/2 x 11 sheets into quarters and stapled, clamped, and tried to glue them together into some sort of usable notepads. None of those worked out very well, but I eventually stumbled onto an inexpensive white goo called “padding compound” – and have never looked back! 

Not sure where I bought the small bottle of it I have – either Ebay or Amazon, I’d guess – but I’ve been using the same 2 oz bottle of it for at least 3 years now. The stuff seems to last forever.

Here are the search results for it (with the LONG links shortened): 

-on Ebay:  
http://tinyurl.com/PadCompound-Ebay

-and Amazon: 
http://tinyurl.com/PadCompound-Amaz

Anyway, I love this white-glue-like stuff, and I’ll bet you will, too. Just cut your scrap paper into quarters with your paper cutter and clamp a stack together. I use a pair of wood furring strips held together in shop vise or with a pair of C-clamps, but any way you can find to clamp a stack 3/8″ to 1/2″ thick with the sheets aligned on one end, will do. 

Clamp together with the aligned edge held horizontally, then use a cotton  swab to dab the compound onto the clamped edge. Wait 30 minutes or so, and apply a second coat. I normally just leave a pair of pads in the vise or clamps overnight. 

Once the compound has dried – and it dries pretty fast – you end up with a 4-1/4″ by 5-1/2″ notepad with sheets that tear off like those sold in stores. 

Wish I could remember who clued me in on this stuff. Sure is nice to have a use for all the paper that would otherwise get scrapped, and it saves money, too. 

Hope that little tip’s helpful. 

God bless you and yours, 

Dave Harnish
www.DavesRepair.com

“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” – Abraham Lincoln

 

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The Trouble With Galvanized Water Pipe

Welcome! I’m finally back among the living again, those rumors of my death having been greatly exaggerated. 😉 

Anyway, I wanted to tell you about the problem we recently had with the hot water just trickling into our clothes washer. The cold flow was fine, which is just the opposite of what you normally see with washer fill issues, so it got my attention.

Taking a look at the washer water supply lines, the only part of the cobbled-together hot line that wasn’t either copper or PVC was a single ancient galvanized 1/2″ pipe coupler, so I started there.

Turns out, that was the place to start. The hole in the center of the coupler was rusted nearly closed, with only about 1/8 inch left to pass hot water!

We’ve lived in this old farmhouse for nearly 40 years, and that fitting was in place for at least that long, so it does take a while for one to rust closed. Thought I’d give you a “heads-up” on the possibility, though, just in case you run into something similar. It’s just another one of those things that make you say “hmmm”. 

Hope that’s helpful.

God bless you and yours,
Dave Harnish
www.DavesRepair.com

John 14:6

Posted in Misc Ramblings | Leave a comment

A Quick Sheetrock Finishing Tip

Wish I’d thought of this one years ago! 

We have a crew of pros hanging some new sheetrock here at the old farm house, and something one of the guys did the other day caused me to have an “AHA” moment (along with a “duh – why have I never thought of that?”) 

I’ve always struggled with taping and spackling those doggoned corners, even with a good corner trowel, but this simple trick makes it much easier. Just tape the horizontal “crown” corners where the walls meet the ceiling, and let them dry overnight. THEN come back and tape the vertical corners the next day, and the job will be way easier, with a lot less fuss and wasted time.

Live and learn… 

God bless you, 
Dave Harnish

www.DavesRepair.com
Acts 4:12

 

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LED Ring Lights – Cheap, Excellent Lighting for a Mill or Drill Press

I recently discovered automotive 12 volt DC LED ring lights, and not only are they really inexpensive, they solve the lighting issues these old eyes were having when using one of the milling machines or the drill press.

He may not have been the first to come up with this, but I first saw these lights used on ChrisB257’s YouTube channel, so a big thanks goes out to him for sharing the idea.

About $12 bought 4 of them on Ebay, shipped from China in about 10 days, and they do a great job when mounted to a machine’s  spindle. I attached the first one to the Grizzly G0759 (G0704) mill temporarily with 4 neodymium magnets to test it. Wow! Definitely worth adding to the other machines, too, although I’ll stick them on with double-sided 3M foam tape to make sure they don’t slide around.

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An old cell phone style power “brick” currently supplies 12 volts to this 80mm OD ring of 24 LEDS, through a small rocker switch mounted to the side of the mill’s control box. With lighting coming from all around the spindle there are very few shadows, and I couldn’t be happier with this setup.

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Turns out, the 80 mm size fits perfectly on my old Sears drill press spindle, too. Will be ordering smaller ones to fit the tiny Derbyshire mill. They make these rings in quite a few different diameters.

As an aside, to run multiple sets of these in your shop, just scrounge an old PC power supply and run lamp cord or speaker wire from it to each machine. That’s what I  was planning to do before I found this 12V power brick in my bin-full of them (“Yes dear, I save those, because they really come in handy”). The LED’s don’t draw much current and the little brick would probably run all 3 of them, but there’s so much wattage available using the PC supply, you don’t have to worry about that. And I have a feeling these handy little lights will be “multiplying” around the shop, anyway.

It’s actually pretty easy to “load” a PC supply to switch it on. I use an old GE #53 incandescent bulb to load this one and it works great. To learn how to re-purpose a PC supply, just search for articles on the subject; you’ll find lots of them. Here’s one that was useful (although it was way more complex than I needed):
http://www.wikihow.com/Convert-a-Computer-ATX-Power-Supply-to-a-Lab-Power-Supply

Hope that’s helpful.

God bless you and yours,

Dave Harnish
www.DavesRepair.com
drs[at]sosbbs.com

No Jesus, No Peace.
Know Jesus, Know Peace.

John 3:3

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Running HDMI Signals Longer Distances

Yikes. I’m soon gonna have to change the name of this little project to Things I’ve Learned This *Month*, or maybe even This *Quarter*! Just keeping up (mostly) with email overload is taking most of my time lately. ‘Guess everyone else is feeling like us: this winter was just too long and brutal, and it’s time for hibernation to be *over*!

Anyway, one of the things I was relieved to learn last week is that yes, it’s possible to run HDMI video 100 feet, to 3 displays at once.

For a while now, our church has been wanting to upgrade our single-screen video projection system to two HD TV’s on the walls, and we finally got that project done last week.

Our pro sound/tech guy moved out of the area a few years ago, and for some reason, this kind of tech stuff defaults to me, an ancient appliance repair geezer. Anyway, after doing a LOT of research on how far HDMI can be run without signal loss issues, answers varied wildly depending on who I asked. The most experienced pro I talked to about it *thought* it should work OK, but his final word on it was “best to just hook it up and see. Sometimes a system like that works, sometimes it doesn’t”. [sigh]

OK, so that wasn’t as encouraging as it could’ve been, but we proceeded anyway. ‘Bought the best quality cables I could find from BlueRigger.com via Amazon, and a little J-Tech 4-way powered HDMI splitter/amplifier, also via Amazon.

The primary cable has an inline amp halfway through its 75 length, and that, along with the testimonials of others who’ve used it, sold me on it. All 3 BlueRigger cables were a breeze to run, and are good quality cabling. Snaking 75 ft of thick cabling above a suspended ceiling could’ve been a lot tougher (having good help was a plus, too).

Bottom line: You can indeed run HDMI from a source (a laptop in this case) 75 feet to a powered 4-way splitter, then out 3 legs, 25 feet each, to 2 HD TV’s and a floor monitor (DVI input), with all 3 pictures looking gorgeous. Being able to breathe again when I saw them working was very nice, I must say. 😉

So again, I learned some things. Likely stuff I’ll never need to deal with again, but who knows? Maybe it’ll be of help to you. That’s the purpose of this little writing project, after all.

So, just in case you’re ever called upon to run HDMI, I hope this helps you breathe a little easier, too.

God bless you and yours,
Dave Harnish

www.DavesRepair.com
John 3:3

Posted in Computers | Leave a comment

A Word About Rust Removal Liquids

Back in September, we talked briefly about how well electrolysis works for rust removal.

Since then I’ve learned about yet another liquid said to be very effective, so I thought I’d try it. This one’s called “Evap0-Rust”, and although it worked better for me than WD-40’s “Rust Remover Soak”, sadly it’s not by much. I recently ran small overnight test soaks using both products here in the shop, and the results were pretty dismal, especially when cost is considered.

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Overall I’ve been disappointed with liquid rust removers, especially after seeing how well electrolysis works. It’s a truly amazing process; simple, inexpensive, and very fast. I’ll be staying with that method.

‘Thought I’d update you on this, just in case you were about to spend good money on one of these liquids. For about the cost of a jug of one of these chemicals, you can pickup a cheap battery charger, dedicated plastic tub, and enough washing soda to de-rust a lot of steel!

Just my $.02 worth. Hope it’s of some help.

God bless you and yours,
Dave
www.DavesRepair.com

“All things new…” Rev 21:5

 

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How to Stop Those Annoying Auto-play Videos on Websites

Howdy, and Happy Holidays to you – a little late! Our CHRISTmas and New Year were a blur with all the kids home and a quick trip to the Green Bay game on the 28th – one of our long-term bucket list items! Has been an amazing couple of weeks, but we’re ready to slow it down a notch now.

Anyway, I don’t know about you, but one of my pet peeves online is visiting a website to read an article and hearing audio after a few seconds. Sure enough, somewhere on the site, there’s a video playing – that I did NOT ask for. Ugh!

I just learned how to stop that, at least in Chrome, the browser I use most. Turns out, it’s a change to a simple Flash setting.

In Chrome, you click the menu icon on the upper-right corner and select Settings. Then scroll down to the bottom of the page and click the Show advanced settings link.

Scroll down further until you find the Privacy section. Click the Content settings button.

In the resulting Content Settings dialog box, scroll down to the Plug-ins section. Select Click to play, then click the Done button in the lower-right corner.

From then on, a Flash window will appear as a gray box with a jigsaw piece icon in the center. If you want to watch the video, click in that box. It’ll look like this:

0101 blocked chrome

Wish I’d researched how to do this long ago! It’s one of those little annoyances that’s just nice to turn off.

That’s it for now! God bless you and yours in the year 2015 AD!

(PS – If you’ve never been to Green Bay – GO! It’s an amazing experience!)

Dave Harnish
www.DavesRepair.com

“All things new…” Rev 21:5

Posted in Computers | 1 Comment

Quick Tip: The Best Mousetrap Bait Ever!

Happy Thanksgiving, all! Hope you’re kicking back and taking some time off. Most of our kids are home for a visit today, and we are so abundantly blessed, all I can say is “Thank you, Lord”.

We just got about 9″ of beautiful, wet snow here on the hill, sticking to every twig. This is the season when mice love coming in and taking up residence in our 125 year-old cellar, and a snowstorm motivates them to do that in numbers that just don’t work for us.After checking the “trap line” in our cellar a little while ago, it dawned on me that some of you might not know the best bait for a mouse trap.

I’ve tried pretty much everything over the years, but hands-down the best bait to use is, surprisingly, Tootsie Rolls. Yep, good old T rolls. Our mice go after ’em like cocaine, and the sneaky little buggers can’t lick it off a trap like peanut butter!

Just chew a T roll up a bit or work it in your hand until soft, then work a gob onto the trap.

We should be saving all the pelts; could probably make a nice soft sweater, or something. 😉

God bless you,

Dave Harnish
www.DavesRepair.com

1 Thess 5:18

Posted in Misc Ramblings | Leave a comment