Sunday, May 29, 2011

Summer from spring again. More little projects... Cooling instead of heating's the current change.

Screens into windows and oiling fans for another summer. All the comforting chores that make a difference in how easy life can get. I've got a new ceiling fan to hang in the living room and maybe this year my ambitions of a "whole house" pressure fan pulling cool ground level air in may come true.

The idea is- a large furnace blower gets mounted in a box with inlet filters, discharge is into the house. Keeps the house under enough positive pressure that in theory, dust etc is mitigated and it stays cooler with windows open.

Plans to cover my roof with mylar reflective stuff are bumped up a few levels too..

My side of the front room couch has a Dish sat box for the Sirius music programming. Gotta love having a 24/7 Grateful Dead Chan. That's fed to a FM xmitter so the bedroom radio can be sleeping music.

I may be adding pics of some Hacked stuff in the house. Like the water pipes surface mounted to the ceiling, and a cordless phone base station in a tupperware box on my front porch used to have phone service on the other side of our big lake.

We have begun to consider such Hackery almost unremarkable around here :>

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Saturday, May 14, 2011

DUCR water heater tune-up. Stuff about Gas burners.

Every spring I have issues getting the first start of a 199,900 kBtuh water heater.

It's well designed in that there's one union nut on the gas line, and three flag terminals to the gas valve+ an ignition lead which also serves as flame monitor- then pull whole assembly out and into daylight. It would be so nice to have a plug&play spare but that seems not cost effective.

I "should" have a spare pilot flame assy, and maybe even a complete brain board just in case. A spare gas valve is on my shopping list too. Having NIB spares is never a bad idea in commercial operations. If they're thought of as "how much will the downtime cost" compared to a spare+ price increases on parts or prices falling as parts become more common? That's a case by case situation indeed. In this case- losing that water heater on a holiday weekend could cost us a LOT.

So- I may update this with p/n's for the heater and pics etc. It may save me or someone else a lot of grief in the future.

The average skilled tech type "Knows" about using two wrenches on a union fitting for example. And that ideally NOTHING mechanical other than perhaps a factory spec cleaning wire should go thru burner orifices when cleaning them. Shop air is even risky as it can break loose, then embed grit/crud from the gas line into that pinhole- so hard that it wrecks a hard to find orifice.

Same not at first obvious applies to manually turning gas valve knobs. some gas valves are *NOT* safe to hand operate!! In fact- the Honeywell style rotary valves CAN be destroyed by a careless hand forcing the fragile mech. Several others just may give you flash burns or similar Very Bad Situations..

Propane's heavier than air. I'm lying on the floor yesterday, lighting the other water heater here when that fact became an interesting near miss. I'd had to pull a Thermocouple and redo it's "spring clip" mounting so it would have adequate cold end contact. Yes- that's important.

I had loosened the flexy to the pilot burner and carefully checked the flare nut for tightness/flame tested for a leak when I put things back together.. no leak at that end..but- I was smelling propane a LOT stronger than was "safe" so I began seeking a leak. Found it in seconds..the nut @ the main control assy had worked loose. Yes- perhaps some of us might have checked BOTH ends of the pilot line. Though, I suspect that many folks might skip that absent perhaps reading this or having had similar experiences/training.

Don't become "Darwinbait" by rushing might be a good mindset?

I wrenched it tight- flame/bubble tested and all was safe again- heater lit.. Life is good again.

I will be trying the big heater in about an hour or so. . Details to follow with pics and parts info/additional notes. Learn from my near misses etc as I've survived them:}

Saturday, May 7, 2011

More headaches with communications paths.

Details snipped as some are in limbo, but I have no phone circuit to the campground's Snack Bar at the moment. There's supposed to be a contractor scheduled to plow in new wires, but caution dictates my preparing for Something Not Working . So, a either a 900Mhz or 5.8 Ghz cordless phone will be "Range Extended" by using a VSAT dish. In theoretical models- it should work. Tomorrow, it gets tested. Tonight's scene, is placing the base station for the phone in a weather box. Mounting the weatherboxed base unit to an old dish- testing it so tomorrow it gets clamped down facing ye olde Snack Bar. The truly neat thing about recent Uniden phones-they use standard NiMh AA cells just like any other consumer gadget! no soldered odd packs. And, there's a second charge cradle.

Wow, no hacking charge contacts or soldering together battery packs.

That leaves me time to post details here, Duct tape the box to dish etc

And soon, to bed