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The DIY thread

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07 Dec 2017 18:30

The HVAC guys were just here at work because the AC was stuck on and its 23F outside! :eek:

I asked one of them my register Q. He said that a duct with a closed register will develop some pressure and limit the amount of air flow to that register, but that a partially open one would not.

Jay, I do have some air dampers at the furnace outlets, but they aren't too handy if you want to change the air flow in a room for a few short time. However, I am going to use them instead of the register for my partial flow areas now.
jmdirt
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14 Dec 2017 15:57

Ok, here's the long-awaited update (ha!) on mom's car battery charger... I ended up returning it, so mom, in her infinite wisdom, ended up buying yet another one. It's not really doing the job, after driving it mom still had to have a jump at a gas station because she couldn't start the damn car. At last she has agreed to getting a new battery, dad's buying it for her for xmas.

Dad and I will be going to Autozone later today to have it replaced, I was quoted $130 with labor over the phone. It would be cheaper to install the battery myself, but I just don't feel confident or experienced in doing that. So that's unfortunately one DIY I can't do myself.
User avatar Tricycle Rider
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Re:

14 Dec 2017 17:59

Tricycle Rider wrote:Ok, here's the long-awaited update (ha!) on mom's car battery charger... I ended up returning it, so mom, in her infinite wisdom, ended up buying yet another one. It's not really doing the job, after driving it mom still had to have a jump at a gas station because she couldn't start the damn car. At last she has agreed to getting a new battery, dad's buying it for her for xmas.

Dad and I will be going to Autozone later today to have it replaced, I was quoted $130 with labor over the phone. It would be cheaper to install the battery myself, but I just don't feel confident or experienced in doing that. So that's unfortunately one DIY I can't do myself.

As we've discussed, I can squeeze a penny to make copper wire, but I've gotten to the point that there are some easy DIYs that I let others do now. Last winter my PU would barely start one morning so I swung past the Toyota dealer who does free load tests (its on my way to work). I turned it off for the tech to hook up, and it wouldn't turn the engine over for the diagnostic (talk about luck getting started in the morning). Since I'm a "Valued Customer" I got 20% off of a new 60 month battery ($100), plus free installation. I thought about seeing if I could get a less expensive battery elsewhere and installing it myself, but it was soooo much easier to just let them do it, and be done with it. Plus they hook it up so that all of the electronics have power while there is no battery.
jmdirt
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14 Dec 2017 19:45

Changing a battery can be a miserable job ...
Cleaning the dirt and corrosion off the old battery so it can be handled. Then undoing the rusted and corroded terminals, replacing the broken parts, lifting that heavy sucker, and the saga continues.

I DIY on mine a few years ago and it wasn't worth the money I (?)saved.

Jay Kosta
Endwell NY USA
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29 Dec 2017 20:43

Ok, here's a bit of an oddball of a DIY, I have to help some elderly clients of mine fix an antique lamp whose electrical wiring has gone bad. It's a beautiful lamp, however, finding the electrical parts for it was a bit of a challenge. No worries, though, with some improvisation and the help of the interwebs (plus maybe some of you guys), I'm sure I can make it work.

The situation is...

To my knowledge the cord is still good (thankfully it's quite long), but the old light bulb socket may have no longer been any good, plus it was an odd size. So will have to replace it with a new one and will have to improvise with some O rings to make it fit the rest of the light fixture.

The biggest issue is - the two wires that connect to the socket are the same color, and there is nothing on the sheathing that would indicate which is the ground wire. The only thing on the sheathing is some very tiny numbers on one of the wires (so tiny I can't even read the numbers without a microscope), could this be the ground wire?

Anyone here familiar with antique electrical wiring and how things were designated back then? I'm not insinuating y'all are as old as antiques and therefore should know this, but any help would definitely be appreciated. :)
User avatar Tricycle Rider
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29 Dec 2017 21:43

Well ... firstly the warning - you're not a trained electrician and whatever insurance you have probably wouldn't be valid if there was a problem. Yes for a DIY project this appears simple, but doing it for 'clients' gets into legal matters that I don't know about.

On a lamp with 2 wires, there isn't a true 'ground' (usually a separate green) wire. There are 2 wires, the 'hot' wire (usually black) and the 'neutral' (usually white) wire.

On modern plugs there are 2 flat blades, the wide one is for the neutral wire, and the narrow one is for the hot wire. On 3 prong plugs the D-shaped prong is the ground. Also look at the receptacles in the house to see if you will accept a new style plug!

In the lamp socket, the hot wire should be connected to the contact at the inside bottom of the socket (so it is not accidentally touched when replacing the bulb. The neutral wire is connected to threaded silver cylindrical 'can' that the bulb screws into. If the socket has a ground connector, it will be green.
Older plugs had 2 similar sized blades so there was the risk that the hot wire part of the socket could be easily touched - depending on how the plug was inserted into the receptacle. You should at least have a small inexpensive electrical 'multi-meter' (cheap or free at Harbor Freight) that will measure voltage, and using the resistance mode you can check the 'continuity' of the wires from plug blade to the socket connector - 0 ohm resistance means the test leads of the meter are touching the same wire.

If the covering on the wire is old and cracked or frayed, it should be replaced. And that can get tricky depending on how the wire weaves its way into and thru the lamp.

Probably google 'wire a lamp' will show many good descriptions and pictures. Or take the entire lamp to a Home Depot (the people locally are very knowledgeable and helpful) and ask them to explain and show you what parts you need.

Jay Kosta
Endwell NY USA
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Re:

29 Dec 2017 22:48

JayKosta wrote:Well ... firstly the warning - you're not a trained electrician and whatever insurance you have probably wouldn't be valid if there was a problem. Yes for a DIY project this appears simple, but doing it for 'clients' gets into legal matters that I don't know about.

On a lamp with 2 wires, there isn't a true 'ground' (usually a separate green) wire. There are 2 wires, the 'hot' wire (usually black) and the 'neutral' (usually white) wire.

On modern plugs there are 2 flat blades, the wide one is for the neutral wire, and the narrow one is for the hot wire. On 3 prong plugs the D-shaped prong is the ground. Also look at the receptacles in the house to see if you will accept a new style plug!

In the lamp socket, the hot wire should be connected to the contact at the inside bottom of the socket (so it is not accidentally touched when replacing the bulb. The neutral wire is connected to threaded silver cylindrical 'can' that the bulb screws into. If the socket has a ground connector, it will be green.
Older plugs had 2 similar sized blades so there was the risk that the hot wire part of the socket could be easily touched - depending on how the plug was inserted into the receptacle. You should at least have a small inexpensive electrical 'multi-meter' (cheap or free at Harbor Freight) that will measure voltage, and using the resistance mode you can check the 'continuity' of the wires from plug blade to the socket connector - 0 ohm resistance means the test leads of the meter are touching the same wire.

If the covering on the wire is old and cracked or frayed, it should be replaced. And that can get tricky depending on how the wire weaves its way into and thru the lamp.

Probably google 'wire a lamp' will show many good descriptions and pictures. Or take the entire lamp to a Home Depot (the people locally are very knowledgeable and helpful) and ask them to explain and show you what parts you need.

Jay Kosta
Endwell NY USA


As always, thank you for your help, Jay! :cool:

If I had it my way I would just rewire the whole thing - it's actually a standing lamp that is perfectly capable of being rewired with some brand new wires and a new socket. But my elderly clients think otherwise because they think it will save them some money. (It's a $3 vs. a $12 one.)

You can't win in such a situation, can you?
User avatar Tricycle Rider
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30 Dec 2017 14:16

BTW, if the old lamb socket is larger than typical, it's called a 'mogul' size (I have one) and the bulbs are availabe as 300W 3-way, maybe at HD, Walmart, or Electric Supply dealer. Also, single filament 300W bulbs with regular base are also available - they are nice and bright for reading with 'old eyes ...'.
For our reading lamps (regular incandescent, not FL or LED) we have a dimmer switch for on/dim/off instead of using the lamp switch. Check at the electric / fan sections of HD or Lowes.

If the switch of your clients lamp is the problem AND it still works well enough to turn-on the lamp, them maybe just getting the dimmer instead of rewiring might work. My dimmer is just a small pad about the size of a coaster for a drinking glass and it sets on a table next to my chair - tap it for on/off and keep finger on it to change brightness.

Jay
JayKosta
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30 Dec 2017 17:31

Trike.. if it was me, I would simply rewire the fixture "correctly". Most old lamps have inner cavities that can accommodate modern wiring.. you can drag a 3 conductor single jacketed wire or three individual conductors and replacement of the old, outdated and..often unsafe wiring can be done for a few dollars more than trying to retrofit a hybrid..
You can use one of the old wires as a drag and pull new wiring into position quickly.. often the contacts are worn or burnished on fixtures that are @20 years old..
Lowe's, HD and other specialty stores have inexpensive, reliable safe lamp parts to rebuild a lamp.. advantage to HD and Lowe's.. you can buy 300% more parts than are necessary..get a huge, ready variety of parts and build the lamp.. return the unneeded..
Listening to Jay will save you lots of trouble.. if you use a multi meter it can also show you additional information..on the lowest resistance scale you can see if the old wires are indeed zero .. if you get 2-3 Ohms or more for each conductor they need to be replaced.. if one conductor has a different resistance value than the other.. again it needs replacement.. spend the 5 or 10 bucks out of your own pocket.. the piece of mind will be worth way,way more to you..
Happy New Year to everybody..
Unchained
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Re:

31 Dec 2017 17:10

Unchained wrote:Trike.. if it was me, I would simply rewire the fixture "correctly". Most old lamps have inner cavities that can accommodate modern wiring.. you can drag a 3 conductor single jacketed wire or three individual conductors and replacement of the old, outdated and..often unsafe wiring can be done for a few dollars more than trying to retrofit a hybrid..
You can use one of the old wires as a drag and pull new wiring into position quickly.. often the contacts are worn or burnished on fixtures that are @20 years old..
Lowe's, HD and other specialty stores have inexpensive, reliable safe lamp parts to rebuild a lamp.. advantage to HD and Lowe's.. you can buy 300% more parts than are necessary..get a huge, ready variety of parts and build the lamp.. return the unneeded..
Listening to Jay will save you lots of trouble.. if you use a multi meter it can also show you additional information..on the lowest resistance scale you can see if the old wires are indeed zero .. if you get 2-3 Ohms or more for each conductor they need to be replaced.. if one conductor has a different resistance value than the other.. again it needs replacement.. spend the 5 or 10 bucks out of your own pocket.. the piece of mind will be worth way,way more to you..
Happy New Year to everybody..
You've read my mind in both instances, I'm about to go to Home Depot (it's closer than Lowe's) and ask for a complete lamp wiring kit. I definitely have no intention of burning a whole retirement community down, the extra $8 I'll spend will definitely be worth the peace of mind.

Thankfully I have a sample of the old wire, I have learned that it does actually have some ribbing on one of the wires, didn't know this is what distinguishes the hot wire from the ground one. D'uh! (In my defense I'm a caregiver, not a freaking electrician.)

Anyhoo, off the to the local Home Depot I go, will keep you all posted on my latest DIY.

Happy New Year to you as well, btw.!
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31 Dec 2017 18:57

Ta-daa!

Ok, am back from Home Depot now, wasn't able to find a complete lamp wiring kit, but was at least able to find a lamp wire and socket that I know will work with each other. I realize the socket cap isn't fully on, I'm just trying to show off my Underwriter's Knot knotting prowess. :D

Image

According to the Home Depot person the old wire should work with a new socket, but just for peace of mind I'd prefer to feed the new wire through the lamp and connect it to the new socket. (Don't know how my clients will feel about this being the new wire cost about $7, will find out tomorrow when I go to work.)

Will keep y'all posted.
User avatar Tricycle Rider
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31 Dec 2017 19:11

What a way to start the new year... let there be light!!!
Unchained
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31 Dec 2017 19:46

To be honest this is actually kind of fun, if this was my own lamp I wouldn't have any second thoughts about fixing it. But being there is so much at stake I want to be damn sure I'm doing this right. (Btw., there is still a man in the house when it comes to my clients, he's the one I have to consult with when it comes to this project. His wife is just kind of standing back and feeling all mortified, she's hoping we won't screw her antique lamp up too much.)

Back to the lamp wire stuff - besides learning that the ribbed sheathing designates the ground wire I also learned the sheathing with the tiny unreadable numbers is the hot one, eh, you learn something new every day.
User avatar Tricycle Rider
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31 Dec 2017 19:48

That looks good, and the socket base & body just 'snap together' - there usually isn't any alignment or fasteners needed. The base of the socket might screw onto a nipple for attachment, or there might be a small setscrew - get the base of the socket secured to the lamp FIRST and then push the top section down onto it.

BTW (too late now, but for another time), it's usually less expensive to just buy a suitable length extension cord and cut-off the receptacle end - versus buying separate cord and plug. Unless you want partical color / styles.

Jay
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Re:

02 Jan 2018 10:24

Tricycle Rider wrote:Right, it's been a while since I've had to do a DIY, need some help with a car battery charger. Here's the story...

My mom barely drives her '87 Honda CRX these days, so the battery frequently goes dead. So, instead of having to jump it each and every time is there a charger that will keep the battery constantly charged?

There are a lot of products on the interwebs, but I'm somewhat confused by it all. So any info would be highly appreciated. :)


A few days ago, I also face the same problem with my father's car. Then I bought a Megaboost Battery Maintainer MB1100 Lithium. This thing is awesome and also capable of charging fully drained lead-acid and lithium-ion batteries. It’s used spark-proof technology for protection from overcharging, that’s why I connected it to the battery 24 hours without any problem. I am fully satisfied of it. You can also try this.
smith931
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02 Jan 2018 13:22

Burning update on the lamp DIY (j/k, nothing has caught fire yet)...

Thankfully my clients agreed to replacing the cord, the trickiest (and most suspenseful) part was feeding the new cord through the floor lamp, which is about 5ft tall. I just used a strong piece of string and attached it to the old cord, pulled the old cord out, and then attached the string to the new cord and gently pulled it back through. Mercifully the string didn't break, I'm not sure how I would have fed the cord through then because in some areas the lamp stand got a bit narrow and tight.

The next challenge was attaching this ring that tightens around the socket which the lampshade hangs on, the ring is much too wide and I wasn't able to find a mogul socket like Jay had mentioned. So I just wrapped a whole bunch of electrical tape around the socket, this widened it enough to where I could fit the ring around it tightly. The shade is ceramic and actually much lighter than I thought, so with any luck it won't come crashing down anytime in the near future.

Anyhoo, the lamp is mostly decorative and won't be used regularly, but it was kind of fun learning something new in terms of a DIY. As usual, thanks guys for your tips and help. :)
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02 Jan 2018 14:01

The socket will probably get quite hot when the light is on, and I don't know how well the plastic electric tape will hold up ... if it doesn't work try HD or Lowes for a 2-piece metal 'shaft clamp' and see if that looks like it would help.

Jay
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Re:

02 Jan 2018 14:01

JayKosta wrote:BTW (too late now, but for another time), it's usually less expensive to just buy a suitable length extension cord and cut-off the receptacle end - versus buying separate cord and plug. Unless you want partical color / styles.

Jay
That's actually a great tip. I bought I cord that already came with a plug, but next time I'm fixing something I'll have to remember this.

Thanks, Jay!
User avatar Tricycle Rider
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02 Jan 2018 14:07

JayKosta wrote:The socket will probably get quite hot when the light is on, and I don't know how well the plastic electric tape will hold up ... if it doesn't work try HD or Lowes for a 2-piece metal 'shaft clamp' and see if that looks like it would help.

Jay
That thought had occurred to me, wonder if I can get a mogul socket online. (Too lazy to go to an actual store.)

The old socket fit a regular bulb, does "mogul" mean just in terms of socket circumference? Or does it need a wider based bulb?
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02 Jan 2018 21:31

How do I even explain the latest step in my clients' lamp project (would just prefer to take the damn lamp home with me so I could adjust things as needed, but as things stand I have to rely on memory)...

Don't really need a mogul socket because I need the Edison's screw thingy in order to attach the socket to the rest of the lamp, so still have to improvise on how to make a modern E26 socket fit the damn lampshade part of the lamp.

The lampshade hangs on a clamp thingy, that clamp cannot be replaced because it's attached to the ring that the lampshade hangs on. But the clamp is too wide for the new E26 socket. So, I have to make the socket fatter, thought I'd use an old bike chain link, but that wasn't quite stable enough. So...

My latest idea is to use a part of an old wind chime - the metal is quite light, so I believe it to be aluminum, and therefore reasonably heat-resistant. (My clients will only be using a 15W bulb, I'm not looking to fix some kind of a super-bright military grade light here.) There are holes on each side of the wind chime part, which should make it more pliable once attaching it to the socket itself with the clamp.

Crikes, it's so hard to explain what I'm trying to do, hopefully these pictures will make some sense. The black tie thingy is supposed to represent the lamp's clamp, will know if this will work tomorrow when I go to work.

Image

Image


PS - The electrical part I know I did right, it's now just the cosmetic part I'm obsessed with. Rest assured once I'm pleased enough with my latest DIY project, though, I'll be posting pictures of it.
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