Sunday, March 31, 2013


Yet another Craigslist treasure.  It even came with an expanded metal lid (in background), a cover, two bundles of wood and a box of fire starters.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Strainer Danger


The strainer in my bathroom sink was not performing well.  As soon as a single one of someone's long hairs got caught in the bottom, it would collect someone else's flem and drain unacceptably slowly.  The problem was the holes in the sides were effectively useless because they were so close to the side of the drain pipe.  The simple solution was to create more of a conical shape so water could flow out the side holes when to bottom holes started getting clogged.

This MS Paint illustration should clear up any confusion:

I expertly modified my strainer to match the above illustration and it is working much better.  It also looks...more interesting.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Hot Tub Carnage

Here's the damage to the hot tub heater relay board.
Apparently this is a flawed design, with many people experiencing this failure.  The board has actually been redesigned.  Here's an excerpt from the description of the new board: "It's upgraded design provides a more efficient method of connecting the heater's power cord to this board therefore reducing fatigue on the three relays."  I certainly hope so.

I think this hot tub has only been run on 110V for it's entire life.  We wired it to run on 220V, which it is designed to be able to do.  The big difference is the heater runs at 1500W on 110V, but when connected to 220V it runs at 4X the power, or 6000W.  Apparently that's too much for this circuit board to handle.

The current plan is to have my electrical engineer/soldering pro manager at work replace the relay (which has been ordered for $4) and add some additional wiring to supplement the traces on the board (recommended on the forums).  I have also contacted the manufacturer and requested a free replacement board with the new design.

Monday, March 25, 2013

The Highest Highs and the Lowest Lows

We got the hot tub wired up and working last Wednesday (3/20/2013).  It heated up in about five hours and we enjoyed our first soak that night.
The electrician did a great job (following my instructions) and the result is a clean install.
Unfortunately, after about two days of operation the hot tub stopped heating.  After some investigation and failed attempts at repairs by me, Chrissy discovered what appears to be a blown relay on the heater control board.  We are going to try to replace it and see what happens.
I am too depressed to post pictures now, but I will try to put some up soon.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Inspiration 6

Moto Guzzi V50
This bike is just plain cool.

Triumph T140 custom motorcycle
I like this tail light setup.

Custom Yamaha XS650
I like this headlight mount.

Honda cafe racer
Nothing specific here, just a cool bike.

I like this front fender.

This is a cool BMW.  I don't think I've seen one of these with a white frame before.

I'm intrigued by the chain-driven rear set.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Time for a Soak

As you saw in the cable post, we got a hot tub.  We found it on my favorite website, Craigslist, so we saved a ton of long as it works.  It is a slightly used Hot Spring Prodigy.  Hot Spring seems to be one of the top brands, so we are thinking it will last a while and not use too much energy.

It is also a good size for us; roughly 6'x7'.  It supposedly fits five people.

Here's another angle.

The purchase process was quite trying.  The seller was not the easiest person to work with and arranging all the necessary help at the same time was a challenge.  Eventually, we got the seller, a couple friends, a pickup, and my brother all coordinated and we were able to pick it up on Feb. 24.

All transportation was perfectly safe.  Maybe.

Getting it into position in the back yard was a challenge, but we did it.  My biggest regret is using a furniture dolly from Harbor Frieght.  Bad decision.

We are now contacting electricians to wire it up for us.  Initial estimates are a bit spendy, so we will be getting some more quotes.  Hopefully we will have it working soon.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Cable Cleanup

We decided we were tired of looking at all the cables running around our house, so today I removed them.  We figured there is very little chance of us ever getting cable TV or satellite, and if we do, we will make the sucker who installs it put the cables in the attic, not the exterior of the house.

What you see above is the roughly four miles of cable I removed.  If anyone wants some coax in relatively good condition, let me know soon.

Here's all the hardware I ripped out to make it happen.

I also disconnected our phone line.  I don't think we will ever need it.  The wire on the right is now gone.

Here is our patio before:                                                                   And After:
Here's the back of the house as we bought it:

And now, complete with new (used) hot tub (to be discussed in an upcoming post):

Closeup of the eve before:

So much better.