Fixit Log

What skills to learn, what tools to get
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Ego
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Re: Fixit Log

Post by Ego »

I believe they are popular because they allow multiple people in the same household to satisfy their cravings for particular types of coffee. It is not surprising that they took off simultaneously with AirBnb. These throwaway small appliances seem to go in trends. This one must be on the downturn because I see them in the trash all the time as well. I wonder what is next.

davtheram12
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Re: Fixit Log

Post by davtheram12 »

That's a great point Ego. I didn't consider that since the only other person in my household is my DW and she doesn't drink coffee.

I've noticed a few more toaster ovens lately since air fryers have become trendy. I wonder if people realize they are just miniature convection ovens. Probably not.

Maybe within the next few months people will start throwing out the all-in-one pressure cooker/slow cooker/rice maker/steamer countertop gizmo. With covid restrictions essentially being uplifted in my area, I'd imagine most people will eat out again and ditch most home cooking. Maybe not but I'd bet on it.

*Corrected spelling mistakes
Last edited by davtheram12 on Wed Jun 16, 2021 3:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Sclass
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Re: Fixit Log

Post by Sclass »

davtheram12 wrote:
Wed Jun 16, 2021 12:31 am

I've noticed a few more toaster ovens lately since air fryers have become trendy. I wonder if people realize they are just miniature convention ovens. Probably not.
Ya know…I was really surprised by this “air fryer” my wife brought home. At first I balked at it being a trendy convection oven that cost us $75. Then I started finding uses for it. It is really good for reheating baked goods like flakey turnovers. They get crispier and are as good as the day I buy them from my baker. This is when I reheat six days later. I’ll buy an apple turnover, freeze it six days, then toss it in the air fryer and it comes out better than the day I bought it. It’s unbelievable.

I was skeptical at first but I’m an air fry convert. We don’t use it to deep fry foods. Just reheating of French style pastries. Reheating pizza. Oh yeah, and it makes incredible tandoori chicken - about as close to a traditional tandoor as I can get at home.

It indeed is a convection oven. But the air speed is much higher. The heating element is large and close to the food. I think the dynamics are a little different because you cannot really air fry in a convection oven. So while both are convection ovens, they aren’t quite the same.

My wife shows up with a lot of these machines. Some I feel she wasted our money on. But I put the air fry on the list of my favorites - the instant pot, *fuzzy logic rice cooker, air fryer.

I know, I was skeptical at first but it does an amazing job reheating day old pastries. They get crispy and light. I dare say as good as or better than the day I pick them up fresh from the baker. It’s like taking a four day old croissant and making it seem like it just came out of the oven. I should try it on a day old doughnut or a churro - those are awful if reheated with a microwave.

*I freaked when my wife showed up with a $200 rice cooking machine. I’m a control system designer and I just laughed when I saw the “fuzzy logic” label. The only fuzzy logic it seemed was her disregard of the premium she paid over a $20 cheap rice cooker. Pure marketing schtick especially on a device to control rice cooking. It locks no better than traditional digital filters in this application…as far as reality goes external response looks the same as a traditional feedback loop. The device however does a great job cooking rice and doesn’t leave the leathery burned waste rice on the bottom of the pot like stove pot rice. It’s high on my list of gadgets that simplify life.

basuragomi
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Re: Fixit Log

Post by basuragomi »

It's not a problem for you anymore, but the traditional use for the stuck-on rice layer is to add some water/stock to slough it off the bottom, then either eat it as porridge or pan-fry it into deliciously crispy rice chips. It's not waste!

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Sclass
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Re: Fixit Log

Post by Sclass »

Uhh. Okoge. No thanks. Bless my mom she didn’t waste a grain but no, just no. I refuse to eat that. I’ll spring for the $200 National rice machine.

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Ego
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Re: Fixit Log

Post by Ego »

Interesting. We went back east this past week and made rice for a family dinner where they all commented on the exact same thing. They were surprised that there was no burnt rice at the bottom of the pot.

Perhaps rice cooking is beyond the scope of the fixit log so I'll give the one important tip. Do not stir the rice. Ever. Bring it to a boil. Put it on low heat. When the water gets below the level where you can see if it has all been absorbed, use a fork to move a few grains aside so you can see if there is any water left. Do not stir it. Ideally you should shut off the flame at the point where there are just a few bubbles visible on the bottom of the pan. Do not stir it. Leave the lid on and let it sit on the burner with no flame for another few minutes. Do not stir it. Stirring creates the sticky mess that burns on the bottom.

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Sclass
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Re: Fixit Log

Post by Sclass »

Ego wrote:
Wed Jun 16, 2021 6:07 pm
When the water gets below the level where you can see if it has all been absorbed, use a fork to move a few grains aside so you can see if there is any water left.
This makes a lot of sense. My mom wasn’t the most careful cook. Then she taught me how to boil rice. We were overcooking. I’ll keep this tidbit for the zombie apocalypse when I have to make my rice on a wood fire.

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Sclass
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Re: Fixit Log

Post by Sclass »

New fixes done recently.

Instant pot wouldn't pressurize. It had a leak. Unfortunately it was the seal that isn't sold. Worse, I took the lid all apart to get to the seal and found out that it is a press fit so you cannot replace the seal without destroying the lid. I just jammed aquarium silicone in the little crack where I suspected the pinhole was located. Now it pressurizes. This is in one of the release valves. I have no idea how to use an instant pot, all I know is my wife was going to toss this one because it wouldn't pressurize anymore.

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Here is the seal. You can see how it is a little deformed between the lid and the little valve. The slight discoloration on the perimeter of the valve is the probable location of the leak. I just forced some silicone in there and wiped the residue away. Yay, a fix. No new pot required.

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Had some old ipods with dead batteries and messed up HDD. I replaced with a compact flash card and reloaded some music. Not sure why I'm doing this. I just couldn't stand throwing them out and I kept seeing them non functional on the table. I've loaded some pseudo-random noise files on the devices and I use them as signal sources for electronics projects now.

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Had a sagging back seat in my car. Springs got weak after 40 years. I wove in some s springs. Mentioned a post ago. Here are the photos of the finished work. The seat is a lot springier now. No longer collapsed. Access the springs by removing the cover and padding. Reinforce the springs with S springs from upholstery supply.

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Weave in springs and secure them with simple tools and safety wire.

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Poofy and back in the car.
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SavingWithBabies
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Re: Fixit Log

Post by SavingWithBabies »

Thanks for sharing the photos of the s-springs. I did some googling after reading the last post and it made sense but nice to see it in practice.

For the Instant Pot, I think the gasket you're talking about is actually sold by an aftermarket supplier. Our big gasket was starting to get tired so I picked up this replacement set that happened to come with the small gaskets too which I think is your one? So if you're fix doesn't hold, might be a backup plan (or if the big seal is starting to work not so great): https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07PV3KBGW (reading listing now, it's for specific models so hopefully it applies to your one too).

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Sclass
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Re: Fixit Log

Post by Sclass »

I don’t see the seal I needed in that kit. It’s not the one on the nose of the valve that opens when you open the pot. It’s lower down on the valve between the sheet metal lid and the round metal base of the valve. I cannot figure out how to separate the two pieces. I think they’re pressed together.

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Sclass
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Re: Fixit Log

Post by Sclass »

I was unclear, this is the seal. It is game over if it starts leaking because I don't think I can get to it without destroying the lid. It would be nice if that valve would unscrew but I couldn't get it out.

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7Wannabe5
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Re: Fixit Log

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

The previous tenant of my new tiny apartment left a very large Instapot and a very large electric pancake griddle behind*. I was afraid the Instapot might be broken, so I put it through test cycle before actually using. I kind of love it, but it’s turning me into super lazy cook. I just keep throwing in whatever I have on hand that vaguely works together, and it usually comes out pretty good. Definitely handy enough to be worth fixing, and I will likely keep when I move on.

*Which is odd given that apartment is very tiny.

SavingWithBabies
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Re: Fixit Log

Post by SavingWithBabies »

@Sclass Ah, I missed that seal existed. I looked closer at our one and I see it now. I could see how they might have crimped it in making the lid disposable if that seal goes and a fix doesn't work. That's a shame. I'll be more careful removing and inserting that cover that goes over that area.

@7w I wonder if they used the griddle as a generic cook surface. Or did they have a range to use too? We've enjoyed our Instant Pot particularly as it's made some things much easier like making hummus (from dried chickpeas, we still soak first of course).

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Sclass
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Re: Fixit Log

Post by Sclass »

Watching over my wife’s shoulder I’ve managed to ascertain that the instant pot automates pressure cooking. As a kid I’d hear moms talking about cooking “two whistles” or “one whistle” describing doneness. The electronics and software seems to make this process set it and forget it. I got a little index card file to keep track of our cook times for various dishes. Once you have those written down losing the luxury of checking your food for doneness is not an issue. I’ve really been impressed with this device. It makes short work of green lentils.

I thought it was a gimmick at first but I was wrong. It’s made life better and easier around our place.

Kudos to 7W for getting a free one!

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Ego
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Re: Fixit Log

Post by Ego »

I finally found a good quality DC power supply for $7.

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Ego wrote:
Sun Mar 07, 2021 3:20 pm
Found a Dometic / Waeco 12-24V DC/110V AC refrigerator-freezer at the swap meet. The vendor got it in a storage locker and didn't know if it worked. It came with a DC cigarette lighter plug but no AC plug. I took a chance and paid $75. They sell for $650 new.
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I plugged in the fridge and set it to freeze. It rocks!

white belt
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Re: Fixit Log

Post by white belt »

white belt wrote:
Tue Jun 01, 2021 10:16 pm
I may have spoken too soon.

The good news is that my airbag light is no longer on, which I assume means the clock spring issue is resolved. However, since then I’ve discovered that my horn and cruise control aren’t working. Today I tried popping off the steering wheel again and double checking that I installed and plugged everything back in correctly. Everything looks good, so now I’m left wondering if perhaps the replacement clock spring is faulty? I didn’t shell out for OEM so maybe I’m getting what I paid for.

I do have a multimeter so maybe there is a way to check that the wiring on the clock spring is working? I’m not super experienced with electronics other than one time replacing a faulty input jack on a guitar. I assumed if something was off with the clock spring then the airbag sensor would catch it and the dashboard light would come on. Now I’m not so sure.

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Sclass
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Re: Fixit Log

Post by Sclass »

@white belt - possibly a bad connection. see if you can download a wiring diagram with the color codes of the wires. the horn is probably just a switch as is the cruise buttons. so the way I take it these work is the horn switch should close and put 12V to a horn control line which probably goes to a relay that activates the horn. You can poke through the insulation of the wires you want to check with sewing pins and check the voltage between the pin and the chassis of the car (ground = 0V). suspect wires should light off when you hit the button. trace it all the way back to the relay and then to the horn. I bet it's a plug though. that's why you're missing multiple circuits at the same time.

@Ego, good one on yet another ice chest. Looks luxurious. I use ice. I can see this in the back of a black Yukon Denali on fourth of july. :lol: just thinking of my neighbors.

Built something interesting this afternoon. Catalytic converter theft has hit my neighborhood. I thought we were immune to it deep in the burbs but the lowlifes have struck with their reciprocating saws and jacks.

I looked under our car and saw our cat out in the open just asking to be cut out. I park in a garage and the car isn't known to get robbed yet (not a Prius) but I decided to invest a little money to make it safe. I bought two muffler clamps, some 3/16" aircraft steel cable and some cable crimps and cabled it to the frame. I spent about $19 for everything. It can be defeated in a number of ways but I figured if they didn't bring specific tools to deal with the cables and clamps it would just make it not worth the trouble.

My idea was to clamp the cat right where they will try to cut it. The clamps will block the saw blade. They can saw elsewhere but if they don't cut the clamps they cannot take the cat because I steel cable the clamps to the frame of the car.

My big fear is theft in the parking lot in broad daylight. It's been happening at grocery stores in my area.

Unprotected cat. This is the rear cat. It retails for $800 so I figure it's worth stealing. The front pre cat is almost impossible to get without opening the hood and attacking from above. Sadly on a Prius they get both in one shot which probably makes it more attractive. Speaking of which there are ton of cheap priuses on craigslist that are missing cats. I was wondering if this would be a source of cheap cars. Buy one, replace with a cheap ebay catalytic converter and then resell or keep for driving. More about that later.

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supplies.

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tools. cable cutter - this harbor freight one really sucked. I did better with a dremel using a cutoff wheel. the crimper is effective. I got one for $26 from China. I can make battery cables, ground straps and big car stereo amp cables with this. Always wanted one. And of course you can make steel cable loops.

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I got this set of Dewalt Black and Gold drill bits at the father's day sale at Lowes. The set is small for $10 but the bits are amazing. They actually cut steel well. My cheap bit sets were always frustrating in that they only worked on wood and plastic or aluminum. These cut steel and curl up nice chips. Highly recommended. They look like Fastenal black and gold which are very expensive bits. Perhaps that's where they're sourcing them.

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Drilled holes in some scrap washers I saved off some shocks I replaced years ago. I just cannot throw out things made of metal. "I may need that someday". Drills worked well. To drill fast drill slow. Keep the bit speed down so you don't temper the metal. I'll bolt these washers to the U-bolts on the muffler clamp and run cables between the holes and the frame of the car. Basically I'm tying a steel leash to the cat in two places.

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This is the cable up close. It is hard to saw through with a reciprocating saw. But an abrasive disk cutter cuts through cleanly and in a reasonable time. I'm hoping our thieves do not carry one. The trick is to think like a crook. I don't think they'll anticipate having to deal with stainless aircraft cable. They won't want to take the extra time to deal with defeating it and they don't want to lug around extra tools to cut through my defenses. This stuff is a pain to cut with cutters - I tried several and it really was hard to snip. You can eventually chew through it but it's a pain.

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The muffler clamps I mounted with loctite 290. This may degrade with catalyst temperatures but it is generally pretty strong thread locker. I may go back in and round off the nuts using a oversized socket wrench. This will make the clamp hard to unscrew. But, as I said, I don't know if they'll bring a socket set for my particular nut to their "job". The ones I see caught in security videos have specific tools like a sawzall and an impact wrench set up with a specific socket and extension to take off exhaust manifold bolts.

The best solution would be welding on the nuts. The muffler clamps fit right up against the catalytic converter where it would be easy to cut. They constrain the area where the thief can operate a saw.

Well here it is for better or worse. I just want to discourage the bastards. I think this will make them consider trying the next car. I think I do need to revisit rounding off the nuts.

Maybe I'm just dreaming and they'll just hack and slash through my hardware with their saw. Or maybe they'll bring a 9/16" deep socket and an impact wrench to bust off my thread locked nuts. I maybe as misguided as my neighbors who recently took their cars to a city sponsored event to paint their catalytic converters orange and scratch their VIN numbers on the cat. Honestly I don't think that will discourage these thieves as they melt down our cats for precious metals.

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Ego
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Re: Fixit Log

Post by Ego »

I'm surprised more people aren't just straight-piping it and keeping their OEM catalytic converter in the garage until smog test time.

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Sclass
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Re: Fixit Log

Post by Sclass »

That’s exactly what my BIL did in Sacramento. He has a prius and he said if he parked his car on the street the catalyst wouldn’t last the night. He drives around with a P04XX code “bad catalyst” all year till his smog check. I was shocked when he said he went through the trouble of swapping it out every other year but apparently the “pros” can remove one in minutes.

It sounds interesting to buy a Prius with a sawed catalytic converter and have the deterrent pipe and the good pipe in the garage. I saw two cars on the socal Craigslist last night for $500-$1500 being sold without converters. They apparently sold overnight. I think the individual battery cells are worth more when split up and sold off. A friend in Berkeley told me recently all his neighbors who park on the street are selling their Priuses, Tacomas and 4Runners because of the serial theft issue.

California has a unique issue (and a few other states like NY, MA) where the car needs to have the OEM marked catalytic converter to pass smog. If you put in a cheapo from eBay that is not CARB compliant you can be failed even though the car scans as a pass. I looked up the OE Prius catalytic converter which is commonly stolen (2004-8) and it’s $1500-$2000) just for the part.

I guess when buying one it’s important to Jack up the car and see if it is an OEM unit or you may not pass smog the next time you take it in. Complicating matters is old Priuses burn oil and destroy catalysts.

Sounds like a can of worms but I see some money making opportunities in there. Like how about a straight pipe to OEM swapping and rental service to get you through smog? Mobile mechanic service? Basically I sell straight pipes and hourly rent OEM converters. The owner comes to me every two years and borrows an OEM catalytic converter with a $2000 PayPal deposit. I clear the codes. They come back an hour later and sell me the OEM back for a hundred less and I put their straight pipe back in. Only in CA of course.

I smell the opportunity for a cheap car at least. If I can get the $500 Craigslist special and put an OEM catalytic converter on it to pass then sell off the converter immediately as a nearly new unit for a discount and straight pipe for two years then do it all again…that equals cheap hybrid.

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Ego
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Re: Fixit Log

Post by Ego »

Prius is the most popular car with the app drivers. I always talk to them when they come through the building making deliveries. There is a whole industry that preys on them from the other side of the business, renting app-certified vehicles by the day, week or "rent-to-own". If I were to guess I'd say they are behind the thefts and probably shift catalytic converters from one car to another.

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