The DIY thread

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Looking for some kind of race shower setup. I want a hot water shower after remote rides. I have seen some on demand water heaters w 6 liter tanks.. that quantity of water just doesn't sound sufficient.. looked at RV sites and some YouTube but everything looks either expensive or complicated or both.. I could have 5 or ten gallons of water available in plastic cans but getting it under pressure to flow through a water heater is a different thing. I looked at a low volume transfer pump from Harbor freight.. but the van I am converting to a mobile training camp doesn't have all that much room..
 
A small submergeable sump pump with auto-shut off/on will pump plenty of water. You'll want some way to make sure the pump and heater shuts off if it runs out of water.

But I think you'd do better with a way to heat a large pot of water and just do sponge bath, and manually refill the pot as needed.

Jay Kosta
Endwell NY USA
 
Re: Re:

jmdirt said:
Red to + (pos) and black to - (neg), then plug it into the wall. Unplug it from the wall before unclipping the gator clips.

I don't use the clips, I use eyelets that mount to the battery posts (moto is slightly different than auto). The eyelets have a wire lead that has a plug on the end, and the trickle charger has a matching plug. I plug the trickle into the moto, and then the trickle into the wall.

EDIT: This is the one I have: https://www.cyclegear.com/accessories/duraboost-battery-maintainer-750
I'm a bit confused about something... the booklet that came with the charger says that for car batteries it's "maintenance only", whereas with smaller batteries (such as for mopeds) it gives an actual time as to how long it would take to charge them. Does this mean that the charger won't actually charge a car battery? Will it keep the charge wherever it's currently at only?

Btw., car batteries scare the crap out of me, the idea of a sulfuric acid explosion doesn't sound terribly appealing. At least I don't have to add water to mom's battery as it is maintenance-free, do some people actually have to do that?
 
Re: Re:

Tricycle Rider said:
jmdirt said:
Red to + (pos) and black to - (neg), then plug it into the wall. Unplug it from the wall before unclipping the gator clips.

I don't use the clips, I use eyelets that mount to the battery posts (moto is slightly different than auto). The eyelets have a wire lead that has a plug on the end, and the trickle charger has a matching plug. I plug the trickle into the moto, and then the trickle into the wall.

EDIT: This is the one I have: https://www.cyclegear.com/accessories/duraboost-battery-maintainer-750
I'm a bit confused about something... the booklet that came with the charger says that for car batteries it's "maintenance only", whereas with smaller batteries (such as for mopeds) it gives an actual time as to how long it would take to charge them. Does this mean that the charger won't actually charge a car battery? Will it keep the charge wherever it's currently at only?

Btw., car batteries scare the crap out of me, the idea of a sulfuric acid explosion doesn't sound terribly appealing. At least I don't have to add water to mom's battery as it is maintenance-free, do some people actually have to do that?
Most of the low amp float chargers will only 'top off' a battery that has 80% charge or more, and they won't do anything for a battery with any plate buildup. That's why you leave them plugged in all of the time.

I'm with you on the chance of KABOOM! Other than a vintage moto battery, I haven't seen a flooded (add water) battery since the '90s.
 
Re: Re:

jmdirt said:
Most of the low amp float chargers will only 'top off' a battery that has 80% charge or more, and they won't do anything for a battery with any plate buildup. That's why you leave them plugged in all of the time.

I'm with you on the chance of KABOOM! Other than a vintage moto battery, I haven't seen a flooded (add water) battery since the '90s.
I would hate to imagine the people who found out that car batteries can explode the hard way. :eek:

Thanks for the help, I think this charger should be okay. (They had much more expensive ones at the store, but I'm naturally too cheap for that.) The charger indicator says that the battery is at 90%, so if I can keep it there that would be great.
 
Re: Re:

Tricycle Rider said:
jmdirt said:
Most of the low amp float chargers will only 'top off' a battery that has 80% charge or more, and they won't do anything for a battery with any plate buildup. That's why you leave them plugged in all of the time.

I'm with you on the chance of KABOOM! Other than a vintage moto battery, I haven't seen a flooded (add water) battery since the '90s.
I would hate to imagine the people who found out that car batteries can explode the hard way. :eek:

Thanks for the help, I think this charger should be okay. (They had much more expensive ones at the store, but I'm naturally too cheap for that.) The charger indicator says that the battery is at 90%, so if I can keep it there that would be great.
If you keep it plugged in for a few days and it still says 90%, you could try taking to someone who will "deep" charge it for you, and then use the float charger to keep it there. I used a regular charger on a low battery one time and it still didn't get to 13 volts. I took it to the moto shop and they used their "sonic" charger, and I got two more years out of it after that.

Check with local auto parts stores, I think that O' Reilly might offer this service for free (in hopes that when you buy a new one, you will remember them).
 
Oct 6, 2017
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This is a good thread. Well, allow me to share what I have observe for the materials on DIY's project. Everything that is reusable and recyclable can be use for your next DIY project.
 
Re: Re:

jmdirt said:
If you keep it plugged in for a few days and it still says 90%, you could try taking to someone who will "deep" charge it for you, and then use the float charger to keep it there. I used a regular charger on a low battery one time and it still didn't get to 13 volts. I took it to the moto shop and they used their "sonic" charger, and I got two more years out of it after that.

Check with local auto parts stores, I think that O' Reilly might offer this service for free (in hopes that when you buy a new one, you will remember them).
This had me a bit concerned, if the floater charger won't charge a car battery to 100% I'm not sure what good it will do mom. (And, as Jay had mentioned earlier, I don't trust my elderly parents around a floater charger that is hooked up to a live battery non-stop even if the battery is at only 90%.)

So I went back to the store and exchanged it for this charger (slightly more pricey), currently the indicator is saying the battery is bad and it's trying to de-sulfate it. And if the de-sulfating doesn't work the battery needs to be taken to an actual professional.



So yeah, that's how well my latest DIY project is going. Thanks for your help, nonetheless, jmd! :cool:

PS - Apparently you're supposed to ground these chargers to a metallic part of the chassis, not the negative terminal of the battery. YMMV, I suppose.
 
Re: Re:

Tricycle Rider said:
...
PS - Apparently you're supposed to ground these chargers to a metallic part of the chassis, not the negative terminal of the battery. YMMV, I suppose.
-----------------------
Yes, chargers and jumper cables usually say to connect the ground clamp to the chassis away from the battery itself.
The reason seems to be a safety concern with sparks near the battery. In some cases hydrogen gas can accumulate around the battery and might be ignited by sparks - connecting the ground clamp LAST and far from the battery reduces that concern.

A common CAR WON'T START problem that I see is that the transmission safety switch doesn't allow the starter motor to run - all the lights and radio are fine, and there is no 'clicking' when the key is turned. The fix is ususally to just move the gear shift lever out of PARK and then back into PARK to activate the switch. The mechanical linkage of the shift lever to the switch is worn or the lever wasn't fully in the PARK position.

If the starter relay does click when the key is turned, FIRST check that the clamps on the battery posts are tight. If one seems loose (giving a poor connection) gently tap on it with a piece of wood, hard plastic, etc. That might restore the connection enough to start and take to mechanic or home for proper tools, etc.

Jay Kosta
Endwell NY USA
 
Re: Re:

Tricycle Rider said:
jmdirt said:
If you keep it plugged in for a few days and it still says 90%, you could try taking to someone who will "deep" charge it for you, and then use the float charger to keep it there. I used a regular charger on a low battery one time and it still didn't get to 13 volts. I took it to the moto shop and they used their "sonic" charger, and I got two more years out of it after that.

Check with local auto parts stores, I think that O' Reilly might offer this service for free (in hopes that when you buy a new one, you will remember them).
This had me a bit concerned, if the floater charger won't charge a car battery to 100% I'm not sure what good it will do mom. (And, as Jay had mentioned earlier, I don't trust my elderly parents around a floater charger that is hooked up to a live battery non-stop even if the battery is at only 90%.)

So I went back to the store and exchanged it for this charger (slightly more pricey), currently the indicator is saying the battery is bad and it's trying to de-sulfate it. And if the de-sulfating doesn't work the battery needs to be taken to an actual professional.



So yeah, that's how well my latest DIY project is going. Thanks for your help, nonetheless, jmd! :cool:

PS - Apparently you're supposed to ground these chargers to a metallic part of the chassis, not the negative terminal of the battery. YMMV, I suppose.
As Jay said, you are trying to avoid a spark at the battery. So the gain of using the chassis ground is that its slightly away from the battery. So that's why I (based on things I've read and tried) hook up the battery before plugging in the charger, and unplug the charger before unhooking the battery. You can even wait a few minutes after unplugging the charger before unhooking the battery. Also, the application on my moto is semi-perm hooked up so I'm not hooking/unhooking at the battery.

The chassis ground isn't a true ground because vehicles are on rubber tires.

Keep us posted on how well your new charger works!
 
Re: Re:

JayKosta said:
A common CAR WON'T START problem that I see is that the transmission safety switch doesn't allow the starter motor to run - all the lights and radio are fine, and there is no 'clicking' when the key is turned. The fix is ususally to just move the gear shift lever out of PARK and then back into PARK to activate the switch. The mechanical linkage of the shift lever to the switch is worn or the lever wasn't fully in the PARK position.

If the starter relay does click when the key is turned, FIRST check that the clamps on the battery posts are tight. If one seems loose (giving a poor connection) gently tap on it with a piece of wood, hard plastic, etc. That might restore the connection enough to start and take to mechanic or home for proper tools, etc.

Jay Kosta
Endwell NY USA
Hotdamn, I did not know that, I might give that a try once the car (somewhat inevitably) won't start again.

Thanks for the tip, Jay!
 
Re: Re:

jmdirt said:
Keep us posted on how well your new charger works!
Hmmm, the de-sulfation didn't seem to work, so next step is to take the battery to a pro and have it analyzed. If I'm reading the date stamp correctly the battery is over 5 years old, so it's probably time to replace it. (That's if my mom even wants to have it replaced, she's totally indifferent when it comes to taking care if her car. She thinks that's my dad's job. :rolleyes:)

Anyhoo, can't say if I can fault the charger itself, so won't be returning it yet.

PS - The battery in my '67 Bug is inside under the rear seat, on the boneheaded occasions I've left my headlights on and have drained it it's a pain in the arse to jump it because I have to rearrange the car's furniture. So I really try not to forget to turn everything off when I'm parking the car.
 
OK DIYers, my old house has the air registers that just have one large 'flap' to open/close air from coming out (similar to below).

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-Art-Nouveau-Art-Deco-Vent-Frame-Cover-Grille-Dark-Olive-16-5-x-14-75/142598998184?hash=item21339008a8:g:dhwAAOSw2b1ZoGH8

I leave some completely open, some completely closed, and a few partially open depending on space use. I was doing some work near a partially open one, and it occurred to me that the furnace is pumping the same amount of air to the register no matter how much its open. Am I correct that its either open or closed, and that my partial open idea really isn't doing anything?
 
Re:

jmdirt said:
OK DIYers, my old house has the air registers that just have one large 'flap' to open/close air from coming out (similar to below).

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-Art-Nouveau-Art-Deco-Vent-Frame-Cover-Grille-Dark-Olive-16-5-x-14-75/142598998184?hash=item21339008a8:g:dhwAAOSw2b1ZoGH8

I leave some completely open, some completely closed, and a few partially open depending on space use. I was doing some work near a partially open one, and it occurred to me that the furnace is pumping the same amount of air to the register no matter how much its open. Am I correct that its either open or closed, and that my partial open idea really isn't doing anything?
While my grills are slightly more modern I don't think it matters how much you open or close them, the furnace itself will keep on pumping out the same amount of air to the grill. It would be nice if you could redirect any unwanted air to other grills which you may want more air out of, but I don't think the technology is there, yet.

It's entirely possible I'm talking out of my arse and we need more knowledgeable DIYers, but I think I understand what you are saying in terms of furnace efficiency, jmdirt.
 
The furnace blower pressurizes (and heats) the entire ductwork system pretty much equally. The amount of air that comes out of the duct is controlled by how much each register 'door' is opened. Some systems have control dampers inside the ducts nearer to the main duct manifold (in the basement) so that the ductwork from the manifold to the register can be closed-off - look for a small metal 'handle' in the round duct - they work like 1/4 turn water shutoffs. If some registers don't seem like they have enough air coming out, it might be because the duct is shut-off.
The 'manifold' is the very large round or square ductwork that comes directly off the furnace. The ducts for individual rooms are fed by connecting to the manifold.

The furnace expects to have enough ducts and registers open so that it doesn't overheat, so it's not good to close too many ducts / registers. And you want enough warm air circulation so the rooms don't get too cold, and maybe musty smelling. Rooms that are in the corners of the house, or over unheated garage or crawl space are more susceptible.

Closing the door on a register will reduce the amount of air and heat from it - and will also provide more air/heat to the other registers. Getting the registers 'balanced' for good heating and circulation can be tricky because the various rooms get used at different times of the day. Another concern is where the thermosat for the furnace is located, and if there's a nearby register that overly affects it - making it turn off too soon and leaving other areas too cool.

Some thermostats and furnaces have a 'circulate' or 'fan on' setting that makes the blower run even when the furnance is not heating. Having the air constantly circulating can give more even temperature among the rooms and make them more comfortable.

edit: also try google 'balance forced hot air furnace'

Jay Kosta
Endwell NY USA
 
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.
 
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.
 
Re:

Tricycle Rider said:
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.
 
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
 
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. :)
 
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
 
Re:

JayKosta said:
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?
 
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
 
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..
 
Re:

Unchained said:
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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