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Rambling Insomnia Robots...

01:46 AM 11/21/2011

Once again awake early under the stars...so to speak anyway...and thinking about things as usual.

Managed to get a couple of large items moved around in the workshop yesterday so making progress there. Today I'm hoping to make even more progress but that depends on a lot of factors - cleaning the house among them. Moving the one desk scratched up the rubber tiles on the new floor out there. *grumble* Thankfully I can just tear up the tiles in question and replace them but probably not going to do that just yet. It's only two tiles but it's still annoying.

Dorothy ran a little rough yesterday when I started her up. Going to go out and get the spark plugs later todaya as those are cheap and a good first start. She probably, as do the rest of the vehicles, needs her fuel filter changed. Amy's minivan needs her oil sender replaced again. I think those things are the first to go if the engine gets overfilled accidentally. The last time we replaced it we used an aftermarket sender - this time I'm going to buy a Chrysler OEM one. It'll still have to come from E-Bay but it'll be OEM new-old-stock or NOS as they say.

(Y'know when I mentioned previously that the vehicles suddenly let me know what they names are after I own them for a while...the truck is named Sam. Not sure why it took so long but the name just appeared recently. So yeah Sam needs a lot of work but I'm planning for that monetarily as I can. Muffler, timing chain, water pump, and eventually transfer case. All things I have in stock. Also needs Stabil for the gas tank by now. Been keeping him on the maintenance charger though so the battery is good.)

Got another deep-cycle battery from a friend while helping him clean out for moving. Another deep-cycle 12V is always a good thing. Since I happen to have it and another combo battery like it I'm going to try and hook those both up to the battery backup I have around and see if it recognizes them as valid and charges them. If so then I've got a working 1200VA UPS to put the main computer rack on and have server backup power. Too soon to Yay! but it's a good thing to try.

Managed to get the boat motor stand into the basement so today I'll see how well it holds the two 18hp Johnson motors. If it only holds one that's okay too as the second motor is a parts motor.

Concerned about the beam in the workshop again. It appears bowed in the middle which I don't understand because there's not a lot of stuff there and the darn thing is a 6" x 6" solid wood beam. So it definitely shouldn't be bowing in the middle. I think a third steel pillar is in order but that's money. When I can afford it though I will put it in, jack it so it's all straight and level, then add more stringers on top to make sure it's attached to the rafters properly. I'd love to replace all that crap up there with proper structure but right how it's just not financially possible.

So I'm all stoked - some friends of ours our finally buying their first house. We're not the "new guys" any more! Yay! ("Remember when those gnome shopkeepers abushed him?")<----semi-obscure-joke. So they now get to go through all the fun first-time-homebuyer stuff we and others went through. Right now they're in the frantically packing stage and OMG! Are we going to have enough for closing! panic. Those of you that are veteran homebuyers know _right_ where they are. ;-) Needless to say I've been helping them pack and will likely help them move this Friday if I'm not by some stretch working. (For those worker bugs out there it's also a possible foot in the door as his place is always looking for people. I'm just not a diesel mechanic though I could do the job if I wanted starting at Apprentice.)

In their cleaning I've acquired a few things for myself. A 50k BTU gas/propane heater for the workshop. I think I may leave it set up for propane and only use it to heat the other side of things when needed. Need to work out some sort of hangers and chimney pipe for it though. We'll see. Also a mountain bike that has been stored for a good period of time but seems to be in good condition complete with tail basket. I'll know later today if the tires hold air as I aired them up yesterday. I also got a bunch of oils for all the equipment I have as well as some good bug sprays for outside the house. And several T5 workspace lighting fixtures - the kind you see over desks and under hutches and such. They only have 18W bulbs in them but the T5 bulbs are more efficient than the T12's or T8's and are available cheaply in full sprectrum. He says they're salvage from a friend who's retrofitting a building so I may ask him to see if his friend has more of them. And they are the right size to be converted to LED later on down the road. And we also acquired some jelly jar glasses - the small ones. I figure those can go out into the workshop as they will easily fit in the small fridge to be chilled for beer and other beverages.

Speaking of which if I make enough progress today on the workshop swap I will likely be able to have the smoking lounge all set up properly. I figure the one rack of equipment can go in the basement for now and the baker's rack can go where it's supposed to without issue. Still in great need of pegboard hooks but that's neither here nor there. The one metal dresser I've been using as a toolbox can go outside and get covered until I can get my dad to pick it up or I can take it down to him. Bulky things that have to go though are the long folding table which needs to go to the Autism center, the multiple saws including the table saw and the radial arm saw, and the extra sheets of plywood that I have. The one rack I made for long items is going to have to go behind the couch on the workshop side so the sheets of plywood can go behind it without a problem. In fact that might be a good thing to try and move later today. I'm also going to have to clean out a spot inside the house for the sewing machine/table as that needs to come into the third bedroom until I can find a better spot for it. I managed to sand the tensioner per my aunt's instructions so we'll see how well it works now.

I think I'm going to move all the parts of the one workbench that I took apart down into the basement and reconstruct it there if only temporary. I can't fasten it to the wall so I'll have to cut a couple of back legs for it but that shouldn't be an issue as I know I have the wood to do that.

Still need to swap the ignitors on the stove from the broiler to the oven because the oven is more useful to us. Not looking forward to that because it means pulling the stove out and disconnecting it. The latter doesn't bother me but the former...I'm not looking forward to cleaning out the mess back there. Note: remember to get yellow teflon tape for the gas connection.

I also have to pull the washer out again and clean out the screens in the cold water input line as they likely have become clogged again. I may see if I can't wrangle a cheap primary sediment filter that I can install in that line somewhere. Since there's already a break in that line that I'm using a coupler to fix it should be easy enough to put a cheap sediment filter in that line (a "mud filter" I think is what's it's called) to help reduce the crap that clogs things on that line. The question is would it be cheaper to do that or properly replace the lines in that area with copper. I'm guessing the filter will be initially cheaper but again I may be wrong. *sigh* More money...

Provided I manage to get all the shuffling done today or tomorrow then I will probably start pricing cheap boat covers. That way I can cover the boat properly and use that modified welding curtain to cut off the space between the two bays in the workshop. With the 2" pink foam sheet a friend provided me I should be able to close off the upper spaces quite nicely and only heat one bay for the winter. That will bring down our costs dramatically and we won't get killed in the summer. It'll also hopefully allow me to run one of the window A/C units out there and cool that space properly during summer. Though I honestly want to find solutions for daytime heating and cooling that are off-the-grid. That would make that space so much more appealing and useful. In fact that's a good part of what I'll likely use that extra plywood for - building heating boxes. Need to get some clear glass for that though as well as either the tin sheet or a bunch of soda cans.

Geeze...1600+ words so far in this post. When I don't write it sure piles up. Maybe once I get a job here I'll be able to properly focus that and get back to writing in general but currently I have to focus on what's going to pay the bills. And at the moment I know I'm not good enough to do that by writing.

I so want to hack a keyboard light into my MacBook. Right now I have a USB keyboard "goosneck" style LED light hanging off the side. It works but it's truly just ugly. I just can't think of a good lighting solution short of an EL wire under the keyboard and that will likely eat quite a bit of battery life. IBM/Lenovo still had the best solution there with the ThinkLight built into the display. I'm pretty sure there's not enough room to do that with the MacBook display and since it's my primary desktop I can't afford to tinker with it.

Cross-posted from Dreamwidth ( http://nimitzbrood.dreamwidth.org/249532.html ) but feel free to comment here as well.




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( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
acelightning
Nov. 21st, 2011 10:29 am (UTC)
The illuminated keyboards I've seen (all free-standing, although there's nothing stopping you from plugging one into a laptop) use EL sheets, not wires. I've worked with the wires, but not with sheets, and you probably don't want to try to hack your own. EL requires high-frequency AC, usually provided by a small power inverter that makes an annoying high-pitched whine. (Well, annoying to me, but I can still hear a bad flyback transformer on an old TV set.)

Maybe you can rig something with optical fibers, all illuminated by one modest LED?
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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