When there is a problem it's important to proceed in this order:
- Cockpit Error - There really is no problem with the hardware. You are expecting something unrealistic, the hardware can not do what you expect, you have improperly configured the hardware, etc.
- Bad Connection - Cycle all controls a number of times. Apply contact cleaner and cycle controls. Disconnect and reconnect all connectors and mechanical joints to burnish their contacts. Power down, wait at least a minute, power up. This solves 90% of the problems at this stage.
- Look for common failure modes. So far shorted capacitors, especially Tantalum types have been the most common failures I have seen. Also look for semiconductor devices that test as a short between most if not all terminals. This can be done using just a DMM in the Ohms and Diode modes of operation.
- In very rare cases do you need to use more advanced techniques.
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When Electronic Equipment is unused for years oxidation forms at the contacts. This adds resistance to the joint and can cause the equipment to be DOA. When I assembled the 2102 static RAM chips for my SWTP 6800 computer kit there was an instruction to NOT use sockets because the reliability of the socket was lower than the chip or solder joint. By using sockets you would be creating a problem. The more reliable sockets are Gold plated to avoid oxidation.
Below are some real examples.
HP 204B OscillatorWhen received from eBay the oscillator did not function. A check of the power supply showed that it was working fine.
After spraying the OFF-Range switch with Tuner Control Cleaner & Lubricant (Radio Shack - 64-4315) the unit started working.
The problem was oxidation on the switch contacts.
R-1004/GRC-109 ReceiverThe receiver was DOA upon receipt from eBay. A check of the power supply showed the correct voltages.
The resistance of each tube filament was checked when it was out and the tube was installed and removed from it's socket a few times.
All the filaments were about the same resistance. The most common failure mode of tubes is that the filaments burn out and then will test as open circuits. After assembly the receiver worked well. The problem was oxidation between the tube pins and the socket. I applied Lube Gel (an insulating Silicon grease) to the tube pins. The idea is that at some points the metal pin will punch through the grease and make an electrical contact like wire wrap. But the grease surrounding the small contact point will keep oxygen from degrading the electrical connection. Note patent 5037566 Lubricating composition and method for making same is all about keeping Oxygen out of the grease.
Quantic Q-5200/SM GPS Timing ReceiverWhen received the LCD display backlight came on and the display showed 2 rows of all black 5x7 dots and two rows were not lit at all.
After removing the two main printed circuit boards and reassembling the receiver normal operation was restored.
The problem was oxidation between the one or more cable connectors and the mating contact.
URC-68 Air Crew Survival RadioWhen received the radio was DOA. After removing and reinstalling all the modules in their sockets a few times each the radio worked.
The problem was oxidation between the module pins and the sockets.
OE-254 AntennaThis antenna was installed quickly to do some tests on PRC-68 Family Radios. When taking it down it was almost impossible to separate the mast sections. The copper had oxidized inside the screw thread joint and much heat and force was needed to get them apart. After polishing the male and female copper threads Radio Shack Lube Gel 64-2326 US 5037566 - Lubricating composition and method for making same. "...provides high corrosion resistance due to the absence of dissolved air and moisture.."] was applied to the joint before mating the antenna sections and Coax-Seal (Radio Shack: 278-1645) was used to seal the open part of the joint.
Lube Gel was also applied inside all outdoor RF coax connections to keep water out of the joints and prevent corrosion.
It may be that using Lube Gel in all of the above cases would prevent a future occurrence of the same problem?
Lube Gel appears to be a modern snake oil that can prevent many ailments.
PRC-77 RadioAfter receiving this used but operational radio I cleaned it up using Windex, a toothbrush and a Rag-in-a-box both outside and inside.
As part of this process I found a number of screws that were either very loose or about to fall out.
The lesson is to give a close visual examination and that can best be done by cleaning.
HP 241A Audio OscillatorThe front panel had been bashed in. This broke a plastic part that holds the radio buttons used to select frequency. After removing and disassembling the front panel the plastic part could be removed and epoxied back together using J B Weld. The neon power indicator was held on with one of those flat metal spring with teeth. The plastic part of the indicator was broken by whatever hit the panel so the only thing to do was break the plastic behind the panel. Hot melt glue attached the front of the plastic to the panel and holds the neon tube where it was. From the front it looks original. All of the button caps were removed and cleaned. They had what may have been tobacco smoke obscuring the numbers.
TA-838 Mil Analog PhoneWhen received the phone did not work. Opened up the case and disconnected the internal connector. Visual and olfactory inspection showed nothing amiss. Reconnected the internal connector and reassembled. Now phone works. the connector must have had one or more poor joints. Note this is a Gold plated connector.
It worked for about a year and it's dead again.
PP-8444A/U Battery Charger arrived DOA from eBayWas sold as looking good and "as is" so no complaint. After some troubleshooting it appears that on both charger boards C5 a Tantalum cap and U3 an MC34163 Inverting switching regulator have failed. thus causing a short (<2 Ohms) directly across the 24 VDC input to the charger board. A shorted Tantalum cap was the problem with the SG-1144 Signal Generator.
SG-1144/U Signal GeneratorThe power supply had a number of shorted Tantalum caps.
SB-22 SwitchboardBefore cleaning the resistance on one of side of the "D" battery holder was about 27 Ohms, way too high to pass the current needed for the talk battery or the buzzer. After cleaning it was below 0.01 Ohms.
After sitting in storage for years with the batteries removed the battery holder threads developed oxide. When fresh "D" cells were installed the switchboard would not work. The fix was to througherly clean both the male and the female threads of the battery holder and then apply Contax Oxide Inhibiting Compound (contains castor oil and carbon black)to all the threaded battery holder joints. I got this bottle at the OSH store in Sunnyvale, CA.
There was a time where the U.S. National Electrical Code allowed Aluminum wire in residences instead of Copper wire. When joining Al and Cu wires a poor joint might result depending on how the joint was made. To help solve this problem you can apply Contax. So you'll find it in the electrical supplies section of a good hardware store.
FTS4060 Cesium Frequency StandardThis unit arrived DOA. At the time I thought that it was shipping damage (and that is probably the case) since the other two boxed units that came on the same pallet worked fine but this one out of the box was dead. Since it was no more than parts, I took every module and board that could be removed out and figured out all the connector and PCB pin outs. In order to sell it as a parts unit it was reassembled and just for fun powered up.
It now locked and started working. So cycling the connections may have brought it back to life.
Hard Drive FailureFor awhile I was using removable hard drive "drawers" as part of a back up plan. The idea was that you could clone the C: drive onto another hard drive. Shut down the computer and move the cloned drive to the C: slot and retire the old C: drive as the backup. Then power up the computer and run on the new backup. The beauty of this approach is that you know immediately if the back up is good. The other hard drive backup methods have a fatal flaw in that you only find out of the backup is good after your main drive fails and then it's too late.
The problem is that the drawer caddy adds another electrical two connections. The original cable from the mother board now connects to the back of the cabinet that holds the drawer. and there's a plug and socket the allows the drawer to mate with the cabinet. Then there's a short cable inside the drawer between it's plug and the hard drive.
A parallel ATA cable (IDE cable) has 40 (or in some cases 80) separate electrical connections the number of connections goes from 40 to 120. If any of these has a problem the data on the disk can become bad.
So there's a huge reliability advantage to the new Serial ATA (SATA) interface because it greatly reduced the number of electrical connections.
A few months ago my 500GB IDE drive was nearly full so I replaced it with a 1 TB SATA drive. Now I'm no longer using the hard drive drawers. In the future I'll be going with only SATA drives.
TS-1836C In Circuit Tansistor TesterThis is an in and out of circuit transistor tester. Although the DC battery check works, the beta test appears dead. It uses a 1 kHz signal to measure beta. The 1 kHz signal is coupled in many places by electrolytic caps. There are 5 caps that are all 25 uF @ 10 Volts. The AC impedance at 1 kHz would be about 6 Ohms, but the ESR meter is showing as high as 46 Ohms, almost an 800% error! All the electrolytics in this meter need to be replaced. After replacing the high resistance caps it still does not work.
By starting with the schematic diagram and erasing all the switch contacts and are not being used and then anything in series with them the resulting schematic has missing connections. Very strange. Although it may be that lines were erased that should not have been, repeated audits have not found them.
If you have one of these that's working please let me know.
Dead CRT Computer MonitorSymptoms: burning electronic part smell. Failure to turn on.
A visual inspection found this burned out component. The schematic symbol under it looks like the letter "Z". It's located at the AC mains input to the power supply. Right behind it is a bridge rectifier and a 330 uF cap. The coils to the right are probably part of the line filter network. The two blue wires go to the front panel, not sure why since the front panel (left of photo) On-Off switch has a plastic connection to the line switch (to the right of photo).
What is the dead part?
It might be series connected (inrush current limiting) or shunt connected (overvoltage protection MOV).
When trying to trace the PCB wiring using the DMM in continuity mode a chunk of the PCB (around the burned area) fell out. So I've scrapped this monitor.
I'm thinking it may have been the problem or the cap behind or a nearby cap may be bad. The ESR checker will be used, but the first order of business is to find out what this is.
Note the rectangular black plastic part just behind the split component. The solder connection looks like a donut, i.e. it's not wetting the lead, a poor quality joint.
Philips 60PP9202 17 Projection TV Sudden Red Convergence Problem
After reading about the failure of the convergence amplifier ICs in projection TV sets this seems the most likley cause of the sudden red color failure.
This is the main board. The large fined heat sink holds the two convergence STK392-120 ICs. Each of them and three channels so it takes two for a balanced drive.
There must be a hundred cables that need to be removed to get that board out of the set.
Beside each board connector there is a reference number that can be written directly on the ribbon cables, but all the others will need some kind of label.
In the photo at left it appears (needs to be confirmed after removing the STK392-120) that no heat sink compound was used when the rear chip was installed at the factory. The front chip clearly shows a bead of white heatsink compound. There is heat sink compound behind the rear chip, just not as much.
It would be nice to have detailed instructions for the replacement of the two convergence driver ICs and the realignment. If you have it or know where I can get it please let me know.
I already had the large rear cover and the cover around the three projection lens assembly removed and the panel to it's rear, maybe or maybe not required for this.
remove rear connector panel. In addition to the screws on the outside there are a couple on the inside and the nut on the "F" connector.
Remove the centeral bridge to get better access for cable removal.
Remove all the cables (seems like a hundred), labeling them all so they can be replaced.
Remove (maybe 3 or 4_ screws holding down PCB.
Lift the tabs on the right and slide the PCB out the back.
The spring clips have been removed from the two STK392-120.
Using solder wick AND adding liquid flux the pins were easily desoldered and the ICs just dropped out.
Breaking the plastic case shows the inside of the STK392-120. Appears to be all discrete parts, no ICs. Note the base is the aluminum plate heat sink.
The leads got mangled in the process of removing the plastic case.
Note the lower resistor is marked 6 (the rest has been cooked off) the others nearby are marked 6R8 or 6.8 Ohms. There are 12 of these always in pairs. The pairs are wired in parallel and so measure about 3.4 Ohms true or 3.6 on the DMM because of the test lead resistance.
These measure in the Meg Ohms, i.e. totally fried.
Now 27 Jan 2009 to wait for the resistors to be delivered.
The two fuses tested good.
The resistors are grouped near the three connectors for RED, BLUE and GREEN, not the STK392.
After replacing both STK392-190 chips the TV was just as bad as before.
It was much faster to pull the main board since all the cables were labeled.
With no documents it the drill was to check all the resistors. These were found on the other side of the board from the STK392 near the connecor marked RED.
Installing the two 6R8 resistors fixed the convergence problem. But while doing the convergence using the manual procedure with a grid of 5 x 7 "+" marks and watching some DVDs a blue halo was noticed surrounding bright subjects. This is very likley due to contaminated coolant on the blue CRT.
It looks like the complete blue assembly can be removed by removing the 4 screws from the sheetmetal bracket and disconnecting all the cables and unplugging the PCB.
All that has been done, except removing the anode HV lead at the main PCB rather than at the CRT.
How to unplug it?
Blue CRT Assembly
The anode HV wire unplugs from the three way HV splitter and the yellow ring stays as part of the splitter.
Anyway that's what I hope.
Just above the lens, facing to the right is a cover held in place by 4 screws. This is the bladder compartment. At it's center is an inspection hole.
The blus stripe on the connector next to the HV wire was put on by the factory.
Philips 60PP9202 Blue CRT
Cooling Fluid Filler Plug
The filler plug is opposite to the bladder.
What does "+0.38" Mean?
Let me Know.
The Yellow sticker says:
Delta DigitalTM 260
Covered by U.S. Patents
3M Precision Optics Inc
The fluid is just under the plug so a way to suck it out would be good to avoid spilling it.
"Projection Tube Coolant" is the title of the eBay item that's on order.
Philips Blue CRT Coolant is Cloudy
The photo does not show the backscatter as well as you can see it with you eye. As the Mini Maglight is focused you can see the bright and dim beams change shape.
The thick fluid also has a yellow tint.
Remove plug, place small finger over hole, ,turn upside down over tray, remove finger and while tipping slightly in all directions empty fluid.
Denatured Alcohol is no longer a drug store item. But is carried by paint stores like Kelly More. It's the solvent recommended in the factory manual for cleaning the fluid chamber. Rather than disassemble the chamber I'm going to rinse it many times using the Denatured Alcohol. Three times yesterday. Leaving the plug off so it can evaporate. An ear irrigation rubber bulb makes a nice tool to put the Alcohol into the small filler hole.
9 Feb 2009 - the bottle arrived and is labeled "Fluid Coolant" not "Projection Tube Coolant". I wonder if it's used in some other application?
The ear irrigation rubber bulb is a good tool to put the fluid into the small hole. If you look into the lens you can get a very good idea of how much fluid is there from maybe 10% to 90% of capacity. When the chamber is almost full you can see the distortion on the surface as new fluid is added. The plug has a projection that displaces some fluid when it is installed, probably as a way to prevent over filling.
It only takes a few minutes to reinstall the CRT assembly into the set since all that's required is to put in the 4 screws that hold it in place and plug in the cables and the small PCB.
Now when a DVD starts the blue "DVD" no longer is surrounded by a blue cloud and at the top of the screen there are horizontal bands of blue that are visible (which before was just a blue fuzz ball). The optical and electrical focus on blue needed tweaking and now the blue convergence can be done. The only problem left is to tweak the blue intensity. The picture looks great and skin tones are great.
10 Feb - A helper can push the navigation ring on the remote to keep the manual multi point convergence big + moving (to prevent the timer from turning it off) and covering one of the two active CRTs then you can adjust the electrical and mechanical focus on all three tubes. By watching a good movie the blue intensity was adjusted then after watching more movie it was tweaked. Now the image is as good it gets, much better than prior to the red convergence failure.
Pressing and holding Mute on the remote and pressing any button on the front of the TV causes it to go into User Service Mode and no error codes were shown.
The Philips web page will not sell me a service manual, only "authorized" dealers can buy it.
Now looking for a source of the STK392-120 chips. I found two eBay sellers of this chip.
One offers a 2 pack for $12.99 but does NOT mention the brand name.
The others offer them for $12 to $15 each including USPS mail delivery, I got a couple of these.
Home Theater Shack - Link to my post #222 asking about the Service Manual and where to get the chips. Post moved to Philips 60PP9202.
The fundamental problem may be the choice of thermal grease. The early formulations have a thermal resistance vs. time degradation that the newer types no longer have. For example Wakefield 126 (accessories.pdf 1.3 MB) Thermal Joint Compound is twice as good as the old 120 compound after 6 onths of cure time. Found this when working on a 7 Watt LED.
Ohm Meter Readings on the STK392-120
All the outputs are 104 Ohms except for 7405 (rear IC that had minimal heat sink compound) which is 3.2 M Ohm. It's blown open and Ch3 is probably Red. Note that pin 18 is close to the center of the heat sink and so will have some heat from the front chip. If heat is the problem then you would expect Channel 3 of the rear chip and/or Channel 1 of the front chip to go since they will be the hottest ones.
3.3k 3.3k 16
The other values are marked red because they are different for the front and rear ICs.
Dec 2009 - When upgrading my Home Theater and watching YouTube the blue was way off convergence and the red was a little off. It turns out that the new A/V receiver was feeding the projection set 1080i video and when the repair was made the alignment was not done for that resolution. While feeding the set with a YouTube video the multipoint red and blue alignments were done requiring a number of iterations. After watching a few YouTube videos another alignment was done.
When a Blu-ray disk is played and the output fed to the A/V receiver using component video the projection monitor is fed 1080i video. The image is FANTASTIC!
Service ManualAvailable as .pdf from Manual Zone - Has Parts lists for 82 model numbers but there may be many duplicates. 1,848 pages.
Patents relating to Rear Projection TVby 3M Innovative Properties Co (seem to be about the screen not the optics)
6163402 Rear projection screen, 3M Innovative Properties Co, Dec 19, 2000, 359/443 ; 353/74; 359/454; 359/460 - made for HD TV
6204971 Glass microspheres for use in films and projection screen displays and methods
6317263 Projection screen using dispersing lens array for asymmetric viewing angle, 3M Innovative Properties Co, Nov 13, 2001, 359/443; 359/460 -
6417966 Rear projection screen using internal reflection, 3M Innovative Properties Co, Jul 9, 2002, 359/453; 359/460 -
6449089 Rear projection screen with enhanced contrast, 3M Innovative Properties Co, Sep 10, 2002, 359/454; 359/460 -
6515798 Rear projection screen, 3M Innovative Properties Co, Feb 4, 2003, 359/443; 359/449 -
formula columns are an attempt to come up with a way to
predict the ESR for a given chemistry cap. Not
|These are tear drop or
dipped Tantalum caps and are the type I've seen most as
|Trimble 16768-80 SLGR GPS
Receiver Power Supply
C4 Hermetically Sealed Axial Tantalum
10% 10 V
Front Panel Shorted Cap(s)
Marking on the rear cap is:
Dipped Radial Tantalum Capacitors 35volts 6.8uF 20%
6.8 uF, 20% Tol,
-55/+125C, 35V@85C, 23V@125C,
E, Micro-Miniature: Size E, (E x 3.3" x 7.87" LxTxH),
Pitch is 0.2", W=0.228", T=0.126", H=0.30"
Bulk, Bag (180 pcs),
6% DF, 2.5 Ohm ESR, 3 uA Leakage
There are two of these caps connected in parallel and they are across the main DC power supply.
Another PRC-104A panel had this exact failure.
A voltage rating of 35 VDC maybe is too close to the input voltage range of 9 to 32 VDC?
A 50 VDC 6.8 cap is available T491D685M050AT that might fit the space.
replacing the two caps the blown fuse problem has gone
Pressing the LIGHT button turns on the back light.
But the LCD is blank and the handset does not have white noise.
|Visual inspection shows that he AUDIO connector has been bent or hit causing it to sit at an angle and it's support PCB has broken solder joints on the ground pins.|
| The audio
connector has been separated for inspection. The
two new Tantalum capacitors are the round yellow ones.
PRC-104A Cracked Front Panel (2 places)
When anything is outside the elements (heat, cold, sun, rain &Etc.)can cause failures.
Harbor Freight 93068
March 2016 - The outdoor unit stopped working after a lot of rain.
This is a battery powered outdoor PIR sensor with an indoor audible alarm. To open it up remove the top center screw then the battery cover and underneath remove 2 screws.
The problem seems to be that there's rust on the surface of the PIR sensor. Using a Q-tip and tap water I cleaned the sensor and it now seems to be working.
Before reassembling I coated the rubber O-ring that is supposed to seal the two parts of the housing with Silicon grease.
ElectrocutionOften static electricity is blamed for what I call electrocution. For example, I was asked to investigate why the yield was very poor on an expensive polar discriminator assembly that used four back diode detectors on each housing. Static discharge was the assumed cause of the problem, but the real problem was a soldering iron that had about 15 VAC on the tip. Back diodes can be blown with only a few volts. The work bench had maybe a half dozen soldering irons (all expensive anti static grounded tip type) and only when the defective iron was used would the diodes be blown.
Some definitionsAntistatic: Preventing or inhibiting the buildup of static electricity.
Since static electricity is generated by moving electrons from one insulating material to another the current involved is very small so a high value resistor between the two objects can easily equalize the voltages and prevent buildup. A pure plastic bag that can generate static electricity can be treated in a number of ways so that it has a high resistance and then will not generate static. This is an anti static bag.
Electrostatic Discharge (Wiki Talk): The sudden and momentary electric current that results when an excess of electric charge, either stored on an electrically insulated object or on an isolated conductive object, finds a path to an object at a different electrical potential (such as ground).
Getting shocked in a warm room in the winter time when touching a metal object is because of ESD.
Lightening is an example of ESD.
It's very important to see the distinction between these two ideas.
I sit on a chair with plastic wheels in a room with wall to wall carpet. I used to use a "chair mat" to get a hard surface so the chair wheels would roll, but plastic wheels on plastic is a static generator and often I would get a static shock. Using antistatic spray would help but was not a cure. Placing a sheet of plywood over the mat (could have removed the mat) solved the problem.
When working on a PC I leave the power cord plugged into the wall. This has a danger factor in that the power switch has hot line voltage and maybe some spots on the power supply are line hot. But it also connects the chassis to line ground so that if you touch the chassis before you touch any static sensitive device the static will be grounded.
Wrist straps are not good grounds, but rather have a 1 to 10 Meg Ohm resistor in series between the human and ground. This way you are not grounding someone and making a human electrocution possible. If you want to make your own ground strap by using a piece of copper wire and a ground lead, be sure to insert a 1 MegOhm resistor in series.
Many companies that work with static sensitive components, like microwave parts or disk drives, have special flooring that is conductive and the workers wear shoes that are conductive or use heel straps that make a high resistance path from the floor to the ankle. This way a person walking does not build up a charge. Also the chairs and stools have grounding chains always in contact with the floor so a moving chair does not generate a charge.
When packaging a static sensitive component many people make the mistake of thinking that using an "antistatic" bag will protect the component. THIS IS NOT THE CASE. An "antistatic" bag will not generate static but does not protect from static.
It is easy to destroy the component while it is in a sealed "antistatic" bag. Just walk across a carpet on a dry day and touch the top of the bag while it is sitting on a metal work bench.
The proper way to protect the static sensitive component is to wrap it in Aluminum foil or use one of the conducting Faraday cage type bags.
PS Magazine 2004 Issue 623 page 42 has published this information about what antistatic means. (PS I'm in Ukiah, CA, not San Diego)
EEVblog #3 – Anti Static Myths Busted -
Office chairs that have plastic wheels rolling on carpet protectors make excellent static generators. They are a real problem around computers. It's better to get a sheet of 3/4" plywood for the chair to roll on.
A way to get a double sided board with vias is to use Express PCB. They have a prototype service that will supply 3 boards that are 3.8 x 2.5 inches and have tin-lead reflow but have neither Silk screening, solder masks, routing nor multi-layers. There are a limited number of drill and pad sizes. You can put a number of smaller boards on one and separate them yourself using a Tungsten carbide tipped scriber (General Tools Model 88CM, Catalog No. GEN-31116 ). A straight edge is needed for the first pass but all the succeeding passes are in the groove.
In the 1960s we used shoe eyelet's to connect the top and bottom PCB traces in double sided boards. They were installed and formed using a motor powered machine then hand soldered. This was a military approved way of PCB construction and much easier than soldering a wire and cutting off both ends.
2002 - update on cutting printed circuit boards. I got a single speed skill saw at Wal-Mart, chosen for it's low price and that fact that it had a couple of nuts as part of the flat surface. By drilling a hole through the 1" thick workbench top and making a short slot for the blade, then mounting the saw underneath the workbench using a couple of flat head screws, with only the blade sticking up through the slot I now have a reciprocating table saw. By using a fine tooth metal cutting blade you can separate 25 to 100 PCBs. This bench mounted $10 saw turns out to be quite handy. The screws that pinch the blade turn out to be an M4 thread and have been replaced. It takes a lot of finger strength to cut small boards since you need to hold them down very firmly or they will jump up and down with the blade. It makes a lot of dust that you should not breathe. It takes a little more than 50 mils for the saw kerf.
2006 Update - A small 8 inch Mini Shear Break designed for working sheet metal does a nice job of cutting 1/16 inch PCBs. Although I think I know why the first one is not broken waiting for parts to arrive from China, I've received an email from another user that said his would not cut boards out of the box.
Replacing soldered in ICsAfter having identified a bad IC that's soldered into a PCB I used the following procedure.
Cut all the IC leads using diagonal cutters. It took a couple of passes to get them all cut on one side of the IC. Then bend the IC up and unsolder and pull each lead one at a time. Then press the IC down and cut and desolder each of the pins on the other side. This destroys an IC that was bad already but greatly reduces the chances of damaging the PCB.
3 May 2006 - Next using a solder sucker clean out all the holes. Install the new IC and solder in place. This may not be so easy. Sometimes neither solder wick nor solder sucker will get the solder out of the hole. If a piece of wire that's the right size for the hole is chucked into a Dremel tool then cut off so that only a board thickness plus a little is above the chuck face. It can be used as a drill bit on the highest speed. Another option that has also worked for me is to use a sewing needle held in a pin vise to push a hole into the solder, sort of swaging.
FluxThe key property of solder flux is that it's boiling point is higher than the melting temperature of the solder. This makes for excellent heat transfer. The shape of a soldering iron tip is typically conical or cylindrical and so touching the iron to a wire or circuit trace makes for a small contact area and poor heat transfer.
If a small amount of flux is applied and the iron located where flux is present then you have much better heat transfer. If there's a hole with solder and a component lead you need to fill the hole with liquid flux to transfer the heat to the solder. If you just flux the solder wick you may or may not be able to get the solder out of the hole.
Flux pens and a handy way of applying liquid flux, but don't order them on the same order as other items because it will slow down your whole order since they are shipped as a hazmat item.
This is the construction of the A.C. Power cord for the M455-1 Power Supply. The connector was second hand, i.e. all the cups were full of solder. The wick was flat and a little wider than the O.D. of the pin but using tweezers it could be formed into a shape that would fit into the solder cup (after using the wick in the normal way to get down to the solder cup). Then using a very pointed iron (the one used for SMT soldering) and trapping the wick between the iron an the protruding part of the cup the solder was sucked completly out of the cup.
Flux & Solder Wick
It's very important to add liquid flux to the solder wick to transfer the heat. This will make the difference between no wicking and wicking!!
The "A" pin at about 2 o'clock is the one that's been cleaned, no point in doing pins that aren't going to be used.
The black jaws are on a Panavise Jr.
Also when using shrink tubing in very tight quarters like this don't use a size that's a tight fit because when the wire insulation distorts you will not be able to pull the tubing over the joint. A pair of tweezers was used as a heat sink to keep the shrink tube from shrinking. The tweezers were held closed by a spring like used in the 257477BA Battery Adapter.
Here the Panavise Jr. is tipped on it's side and the rotation of the ball clamp has been adjusted so that there's a three point support (the base, the end of the adjustment arm, the tip of a jaw) that's stable.
This is a great way to hold connectors while they are being assembled.
Soldering Surface Mount Devices - seperate web page on Surface Mount Technology
Soldering Iron Tip MaintenanceWhen finished using a soldering iron I used to clean the tip and power down the iron. This results in the tip oxidizing and getting pitted. Much better to clean the tip and put a big glob of solder on it just prior to power down. Also the modern tips come with a silver colored plating, they are not raw copper and this helps maintain the tip, so these should not be filed.
Magellan GPS CommanderThe factory did not solder 5 joints on this prototype. This is the kind of mistake that may have cost them a contract. This GPS receiver has a number of jumper wires on the Printed Circuit Board that were put there to correct errors in the first generation PCB layout, so this was intended to be a working unit, not a dummy.
Most of the equipment that I have
reverse engineered made use of printed circuit boards. If
the board has part ID information you can use the same part names,
but if it does not (most of the time) they you need to name each
part as well as have a way to identify each lead. Lead
identification for ICs is easy since they have standardized pin
numbering, diodes have an anode and cathode, but resistors and
other parts don't have lead specific markings and so you need to
keep track of which end goes where. This can be done by
using a flat bed scanner to make color images of each side of the
board and then adding part names, like shown in manuals.
Often it's necessary to use a
continuity checker (beep Ohms mode on a DMM) to find out what's
connected to what. This is especially true for multi layer
boards. When working with military boards you will find that
they often have conformal coating that is thin and
transparent. So when you place a probe tip on top of what
appears to be nice shinny solder you will NOT make electrical
contact. A quick check is to put both probes on the same
pad, yet not touching each other. If there's no continuity
then you know you're working on a coated PCB. One way around
this is to push and/or rotate the probe to punch through the
coating and into the solder, but the same pad may need to be
probed many times and this really chews up the pad. A better
way is to use a large sewing needle held in a machinist's pin
vise. The meter probe can be put into the hollow metal
handle or connected with a clip lead.
The DMM may BEEP when the connection
is not really a metalic path but instead is a low resistance
path. So it's better to not use the beep function and
instead look at the Ohms reading.
When reverse engineering some thought
needs to be given to possible DC shorts. When working on the
Radio I smoked a PCB trace that was on one of the interior
layers. This could have been avoided by fusing my test
fixture DC power leads (both the hot and ground).
Loctite is great for keeping screws from coming loose, BUT should not be used near plastic parts. For the very first production lot of my 2577BA Battery Adapter I used Loctite 222 on a 6-32 screw that went into an Aluminum spacer. BUT the 1/8" thick plastic sheet between the two showed severe cracking when the Loctite set up and the whole batch had to be scrapped. I think what happened was some Loctite got into the space between the screw and the plastic and when it set up it expanded and destroyed the plastic. Needless to say I don't use Loctite in this application.
Rubber (and synthetic equivalents) biodegrade. Air and/or water will cause them to disintegrate. Insulation will turn to dust and hoses, gaskets, O-rings, etc. will fail. In older automotive applications this is the most common failure mode I have seen.
My 1929 Rolls Royce and the 1934 Rolls Royce used steel tubing between the vehicle frame and the engine where today a rubber hose is used. They did this by forming 3 or 4 turns about 3 " in diameter so that the tubing would never be stressed past it's elastic limit as the engine rocked back and forth. Of course the engine did this only on acceleration or engine braking, when idling you can balance a Nickel on top of the radiator.
The O-rings between the steel cylinder sleeves and the aluminum block of the all the RR cars with a V-8 engine is a real disaster. It's a certanity that one of the huge number of rubber hoses carrying water or the rubber seal in the water pump that also has to act as torque stop, will fail while you are under way resulting in the engine block over heating. Overheating those cylinder seal O-rings results in failure to seal the water or oil. If it's the upper O-ring that failed you will get water coming out of the weep holes in the block since there are two O-rings at the bottom, the lower O-ring seals out crancase oil, so if oil is coming out the weep hole it means the bottom O-ring has failed. Needless to say replacing the O-rings requires major engine work. If the aluminum block that's about 1/8" thick between cylinders cracks then it can NOT be welded since the aluminum is plastic impregnated. But you migh be able to use an epoxy, didn't try that.
In order to make images of equipment I use a digital camera or color flat bed scanner. Both of these methods show up every spec of dust so cleaning is needed to get good images.
DirtDirt is the most common thing that needs to be removed so the first cleaning step us to use water to wet the dirt, a tooth brush, tooth pick, small brush, pipe cleaner to scrub a little and a clean dry paper towel or tissue to wipe dry and clean. Often knobs need to be removed to clean under them. Engraved labels often have dirt covering the white paint and need extra scrubbing.
Very Old Masking TapeDE-Solv-It , Contractors' solvent available at K-Mart - removed tape from a BC-611 radio that nothing else could touch.
Tape adhesiveThis web page has a number of methods to remove tape adhesive as well as other stuff.
Goo Gone™ (Magic American Corp.- Cleveland OH) has received a number of recommendations on the Tek list server also works for decomposed foam.
I put this article just below Rust
because that's one of the problems the lawnmower had after sitting
outside for a number of years.
This is a self-powered walk behind lawnmower with a vertical shaft engine and single cutting bar. 6.0 HP B&S 4-cycle engine.
There were a number of problems:
1) When the starting cord was pulled it failed to retract. It turns out nothing was broken it was just a lot of friction stopping it from retracting. The fix was to squirt some Kroil penetrating oil into the joint between the rotating part and the fixed part (a circle about 5" in diameter). This probably could be done without any diss-assembly.
2) The drive belt had many cracks and broken parts and was very stiff and needed to be replaced.
37x105, John Deere p/n: M77167
3) The drive axle was frozen (would not turn, would no come out to allow Removing and Replacing the drive belt). It was necessary to remove wheel support plates to free the axle.
4) the bolts holding the wheel support plates were frozen (rusted) together and Kroil did not help so when torque was applied one bolt snapped, so 4 replacement bolts and nuts were purchased along with the new drive belt. Loctite 222 was used when installing the new nuts and bolts rather than using lock washers.
5) the teeth on the inside of one of the drive wheels have been almost all chewed off. I've ordered a couple of new wheels from eBay using the B&S p/n 672441.
In some cases it is sold as a "Feature".
HP Doppler Radar ModuleIn some cases it kills the product or manufacturer. Long ago HP came out with a doppler radar module. The idea was to hook up an antenna, supply DC power and get the audio doppler signal out. It involved a lot of specialized construction and tooling. But there was a design defect that greatly degraded the signal to noise ratio compared to a different topology. The product disappeared from the market.
LCD Backlight in PRC-126In other cases is just fixed. The first PRC-126 radios added a back light to the LCD display and it also was supposed to be night vision goggle compliant. The designer placed a very dark green filter above the LCD and this worked great for night vision goggle use and I'm sure that's where all the effort was focused since this was a new high tech area, BUT you could not read the LCD in daylight.
Later radios fixed this by placing the dark green filter between the back light and the LCD.
Rolls Royce V8 engineThe Rolls Royce cars with V-8 engines use an aluminum block and steel cylinder liners. The aluminum thickness between cylinders is maybe 1/8" or less. When (not if) the rubber O-rings sealing the steel liners to the block fail (see Rubber Parts above) the engine overheats causing irreparable cracks in the thin block wall. The last I heard Rolls was going to buy engines from BMW. It's too bad that the company has been going down hill ever since Mr. Royce died. The cars he designed were built to be reliable. RR won many races, not by being fast, but by finishing. That's why Lawrence of Arabia used the PII chassis as the bases for armored cars. The PII was also featured in one of the Indiana Jones movies.
Fluke Test LeadsThe new style test leads that come with the Fluke model 87 DMM and are made by Fluke have failed three times. The failure mode is that ALL the strands of wire fracture in the same plane about 1/8" past the strain relief behind the shrouded banana plugs at the probe end. This is not a stress type fracture where you can see deformation of the metal, but rather as if the wire had been cut in a shear. This has happened to me with 3 different sets of test leads. Each time Fluke was notified not only that there was a failure, but that it was most likely a design or manufacturing defect that caused it.
One of the symptoms of the failure is that the meter reads zero volts when in fact there is voltage in the circuit. This is a safety issue if the meter is being used to determine if a circuit is hot prior to working on it.
My guess is that there is some type of work hardening stress (thermal or mechanical) applied to the strands in the manufacturing process and a small amount of flexing of the wire causes a fracture.
30 Nov 2006 - It turns out that the test leads were NOT intended for DMM use. I have purchased DMM test leads and they do have strain relief on both ends, unlike the above test leads that did not have strain relief on the probe end. And that's where they failed.
May 2015 - This time it was Greenlee UL Listed 67KM test leads that failed. I thought my Fluke 87V DMM was reading very low on DC current, but it turned out to be bad test leads AGAIN!
Test Leads causing low DC current readings
It's not clear why the black banana plug showed erratic
Ohms readings? It's not severed like the prior lead
failures, but there might be some broken strands.
It's hard to be sure because I cut some strands
when removing the molded part and the insulation.
|Brass shim was on good side
of the shelf.
means that when the refrigerator was cleaned a couple of
weeks ago the brass shim fell out and was replaced on the
wrong side and the shelf was installed in a precarious
way. A slight nudge, like I did yesterday caused the
shelf to fall. This time I've taped the brass shim
so it will not fall out (it was trapped before but no
Hole for New OvenThere are dual 15 Amp breakers (240 VAC) now in place for the old oven.
The new oven requires a dual 20 Amp breaker setup (240 VAC).
Need to find out what size the wires are and if their ampacity is good for 20 Amps.
If not then repairing the old oven makes more sense.
If the wires are too small to carry the current for the new oven then there's going to be a real problem.
|Hole for Microwave Oven
There is 3" of space above the top of the cutout until you get to the bottom of the cabinet.
There is an additional 1" on the left and 1-1/2" on the right if a bigger hole is needed.
Separation between Microwave and traditional wall oven.
See photo above, there's a few inches of height from the top of the microwave opening and the bottom of the cabinet.
The microwave height of 12-1/2" does not include the feet, with the feet it's more like 13-1/2".
Wiring for New OvenThere is an outside breaker panel that holds the electric meter and there is this indoor breaker panel.
The upper left two breakers (50 Amp 240 VAC) are for the air conditioner.
The next two below the AC breakers are for the oven. The breakers are only 15 AMP (probably from the oven spec),
but the wire size is the same as for the 50 Amp AC wiring, so no problem to change to 20 Amp breakers for the new oven.
Beakers for New OvenThe old 15 AMP breakers are marked:
120/240 V AC
HACR Type (UL)
Listed Cir Bkr
2 Pole LNJ-554
E7819-S-91 09 04
Can Oven Controller be Repaired by replacing Electrolytic Cap?The Back element has a resistance of 29.3 Ohms (1965 Watts @ 240 VAC) and the Broil element measures 17.5 Ohms (3291 Watts @ 240 VAC) so they look OK. Leaving the control board as the most likely problem.
In this photo the release bar has been pulled out, then the flex circuit connecting to the buttons on the front of the oven has been pulled out a little then lifted over the stop pins and is free of the controller.
|The label reads:
ER-14500-RP / 100-501-01B / CN: CTL066
SP +/- 3% 163 / 564 / 873 / 350 'F
LO + 10 / HI + 10 RP: 346687
SN: 46258 LBL: 18-167-28 / GE: WB27K5040
|Back side of controller
The slow degradation suggests that the problem is not with the relays, but rather the electrolytic capacitors.
Bending up the tabs holding the relay board and opening the hinge to free the flex cable allows board seperation.
Two Bad CapsThe two boards seperated.
The electrolytic caps upper left to lower right:
Aluminum Organic Polymer caps are not available in this value so ordered (2 Dec 2011) some low loss electrolytic caps
Mouser p/n: 647-UKL1E4R7KDDANA 100 for $16.50 + shipping.
Bad caps in Analog Temperature Sensing CircuitryThe connector has two white wires and they are from the oven temperature sensor. The big IC is a LM324N Operational Amplifier. This end of the circuit board is where the analog DC temperature signal is processed and so is sensitive to leaky or open caps like C1 & C17. There are also a number of yellow Tantalum caps that need to be checked. On closer inspection (stronger glasses) the small yellow caps are not Tantalum, i.e. they are not polarized and are just low value ceramic caps so unlikely bad.
The location of the bad caps is consistant with a gradudal degradation in the temperature control.
Bad Caps are way too SmallIt turns out that the new caps (4.7 uF 25 V are larger than the factory caps which were rated 4.7 uF 35 volts. The higher factory voltage rating means that they are way undersized for the combination of capacitance and voltage and so may have been made using the fake electrolyte Wiki: Capacitor plague).
I installed them folded over in case the extra height might cause a clearance problem with the relay board just above this one.
WORKING!The ESR-Cap meter identified C1 & C17 as defective and they were.
I noticed that the thermocouple was reading very high so I stopped the oven and reset the calibration from +35 to +5. If the thermocouple can "see" the heatintg element then it reads much higher because of radient heating. Best to have the pizza stone or something in the oven to block radient heating the TC.
The foam is part of the mouse proofing. I've used a flat blade screwdriver to force steel wool into the cracks and then used the foam to hold it into place. You don't need the foam if you can jam the steel wool tight, but that didn't work here.
Note when the oven is at temperature the outside is cold to the touch. (tested on floor prior to reinstalling.
The thermocouple is showing 210 C (410 F) a little hotter than the 400 F set point.
The oven now gets to operating temperature in a few minutes, not the half hour it used to take to get close.
20 Dec 2013 - Oven beeps and displays --F1--
That translates to something wrong with the front key-panel.
I'm hoping that it just need to have it's ribbon cable reseated a number of times. That did not fix it.
But . . . pressing timer causes the beeping to stop for a few minutes and then allows using the other buttons to operate the oven. So it may be that just disconnecting the piezo beeper and then pressing timer then whatever oven settings are desired would be a workaround?
Jan 2015: someone strong here to help pull oven and sit it on floor. Disconnected only a couple of things and pulled the circuit board. Rather than pull the complete metal box, I just bent the tabs and after disconnecting a few cables removed the bottom PCB leaving the top board wired to the oven. This took only a few minutes.
Checking the big electrolytic caps with ESR meter shows
C8 marked: 1000 uF 35V tests as 922 uF. & 00 Ohms. (the 00 Ohms looks suspicious, but may be OK)
C10 marked 470 uF 35V tests 431 uF 0.04 Ohms (less than 20% low capacitance so may be OK)
C7 marked 47 uF 25 V tests 90.8 uF and 41 Ohms (way too high on ESR and strange capacitance reading)
I have all of the above on order, should ship today and be here in a day or two. Note C7 is close to the display and is most likely the problem. But since I've got it opened up will also replace C8 and C10.
The caps were not the problem.
test after removing
New cap before installing
30 Jan 2015 - Working. The problem was related to the flat metal contacts that go from the display, around the edge of the printed circuit board and are soldered to the board and/or contamination on the trace side of the board. The metal straps were each positioned so as to maximize the space between each one and none touching and the board was washed with alcohol and an Exacto knife used to remove some solder flux left there by the factory.
The microwave is mounted in the wall just above the electric oven (see above).
The control panel locks up (26 Nov 2014). This has happened a couple of times before and the fix was to turn off the breaker, wait an hour, then power up the oven.
The display would sometimes show "RESET" and pushing any button had no response, but then after leaving it alone it would start working. Today I opened it up to see if it was another bad capacitor, and sure enough of the 4 electrolytic on the control board C14 tested as: 7.2 Ohms and no capacitance with constant beeping. On remeasuring it read 7.2 Ohms and 1.9 uF. This is consistent with the idea of healing.
I replaced C14 and the oven is now working, but I'm not sure C14 was the problem. It may have been poor connections that were fixed when the cables were unplugged and plugged back in.
0.05 1001 C14
Close Up of PCB & Wiring
Back of PCB with C14 marked
Front of PCB
|The problem is walking away
while wearing the headset.
That puls the cord at right angles to the plug centerline breaking the wires.
|The fix it to:
1) replace the 3.5mm stereo Mike Plug.
2) add a short extension cord to the Mike and Earphones.
That way if you walk away the headset will unplug from the extension cord.
|The first time it was used
since last winter this Comfort Zone stand up heater squeals
like a banshie with a warble and then the fan stops.
Removing the 6 self -tapping screws requires a Philips (+)
blade screwdriver and a nut driver type will not work
becuase the screws are located inside holes that are too
small in diameter to pass the nut driver.
Once opened up a drop from a Radio Shack pocket oiler was applied to both the top and bottom shafts leaving the motor and the fan spun by hand and this was repeated a few times intil the fan spins easily. Power on and it's running fine.
Hose-bib Irrigation Timer
The hose bib timer that feeds the bird bath and 5 gallon bucket would not turn on when the manual on/off button was pushed. The battery icon was showing an almost dead battery. After opening the battery cover and seeing that a 9V battery was needed I went back inside and got a new 9V battery before disconnecting the old weak one rather than remove the old battery then go get a new one in the hope that if I minimized the time when no battery was connected I could avoid reprogramming the timer. After getting the new battery I oriented it like the connected battery so it would just be a un-snap and snap operation. The switch took just a couple of seconds and the timer came up showing the correct time.
On the bottom row of the LCD, that's blank in the photo at left, is where the low battery icon appeared.
62056 - 1 Dial Hose Faucet Timer with Brass
||This is a much easier to use unit than the
Dig 9001D shown above.
1) the large dial allows selecting the function instead of using the small buttons and trying to see the icon that results.
2) the display is much larger and can be easily read without bending over.
3) it uses 2 each AA batteries, which is more amp hours than a 9V battery and allows using the Lithium 1.5V AA if it need to work in freezing temperatures. But for freeze applications it needs to be wrapped to keep it from freezing.
If you press manual while in AUTO mode it comes up with 10 minutes to go, but that can be changed using the + or - buttons.
Patent 7637475 Solenoid, Orbit Irrigation Products, Dec 29, 2009, - uses a moving permanent magnet latching between two poles so only a pulse of energy is used to change state.
It's July and the outside temperature is in the 100 to 105 degree F range.To get more cooling I've added a Orbit Flex Cobra Mister (Model # 30360 Home Depot SKU # 968869).
By opening the skylight in the upstairs bathroom and a window on the North side of the house on the ground floor air circulates keeping the house about 20 degrees cooler than the outside temp.
just outside the downstairs window, but in about 15 minutes the garden hose burst.That was fixed by using a hose repair kit and a Hose thread to Hose thread pressure regulator (similar to Home Depot: Model # R463CB Internet # 100210697 Store SKU # 798282) on the hose bib feeding the mister.
In the evening the inside temp may be higher than the outside temp, then it's time to shut off the mister and open all the windows.
|Click on photo at left to
see larger version.
Notice there's a chunk missing from the impeller (they call it a fan). This was caused by one of the screws that holds a "U" clamp
on the belt side backing out and getting lost. That allowed the motor assembly to tip and then the impeller hit the casing, or maybe
it just ate something that was too hard.
To remove the impeller clamp the belt end in a vise (the shaft is round - no flat) since this is where the belt rides and turn the fan clockwise, i.e. it's a left handed thread.
Hager 426-R Door Closer Body R-7189
The spring snapped. It's been about 21 years. If used once per day that would be about 21 * 365 = 7,665 door openings.
5/32" hex key needed when new to set tension.
I bought this new chair in 2002. It was made by Herman Miller who manufacture modern furniture including the Eames Chair. The Eames and Barcelona chairs are probably two the most famous furniture designs of all time. In 2013 The hydraulic cylinder at the base failed and allowed the seat to tip at an angle. It turns out the Herman Miller has a 12 year warranty on these chairs so today the repairman from Trope Group (formerly BB&T) in Santa Rosa stopped by and installed a new cylinder.
The repair man used his cell phone to take a photo of the left arm that has some cracks and maybe they will send a replacement for it.
That's fantastic customer service!
The old cylinder with a central pin on the base at left.
Sear removed as well as top plastic cover to get access.
New style cylinder valve is a lever at top.
The cable-clamp tie-wrap at right on back tension shaft.
Left Arm Cracks
Second Office ChairGot this one so I could have two office desk spaces. It's a Staples Tempurpedic. I didn't know it at the time, but the wheels were not correct for hardwood floors. It has 5 legs each with dual plastic wheels. These are not good for hardwood floors. One of the wheels broke, so I got a replacement set that have 7/16" dia posts that are 7/8" long to match the old wheels. While the old dual wheels were 2" dia and each new single wheel is2.5" diameter, the diameter difference really does not matter, or may be an improvement as they roll in a much smoother fashion than the old wheels. If you have an office chair with hardplastic wheels you might upgrade to these wheels with rubber tires. eBay heading: "Anyke 2.5" Office Chair Wheels Swivel Heavy-Duty Casters Replacement Fit for Set".
Fig 2 The screw driver used as a pry bar makes it easy
to get the old wheels pulled off.
Fig 3 New wheels have rubber tire at center so are very smooth.
They also are single wheels unlike the prior dual wheels.
Fig 4 Over time the hard plastic has worn on the floor.
For some time this unit did not have enough power to spin the cutting blades. In order to get it to work you could partially remove the head and if held just right it might work.
The real solution, not in the instructions, is to put a very small drop of clock oil on the inside of the head were the blades rub. Now it spins very fast and does not even slow down while cutting. It may be that some other oil, like sewing machine oil, might work (but I doubt WD-40 would work in the long run because it's really not a lubricant).
|GP77759 Mixing valve
||GP500520 Balancing Valve
|The hot valve (on the left)
is shown as it should appear when off, but is in fact in
the full on position (the shutoff below the sink was
turned off so it would look correct).
The fix is to pull the hot valve and rotate the core 180 degrees.
|It turns out this was easy
The problem was a loose screw holding the knob to the valve.
Using my Swiss Army Knife I removed the screw cover and tightened the screw.
The seat stopped working. Neither the front or back wands
extend when those washing functions are activated. No
water flows from the retracted wands. There is a trickle
of water from a short tube beside the wands.
Major Parts (shown in wiring diagram Fig 3 below):
|Fig 1 Bottom Open View
|Fig 2 Top Open View
|Fig 3 Wiring diagram
|Fig 4 Option panel side
|Fig 5 Water, AC input & Control side
The rubber gasket is green and lumpy. The seat has no gasket and should be smooth, but has green deposits that need to be removed using a kitchens plastic scrubbing pad.
|Bottom of tank showing
bottom of flap valve assembly.
|Replacing the flap valve
did not fix one of the toilets, so the whole flap valve
assembly needed to be replaced. The gasket that
should seal the assembly to the tank can be seen to be
less than optimal, and probably the source of the leak
between the tank and bowl. Will know in a hour or
After it was installed the new Kohler Cimarron Class 5 Toilet
started failing to "Gulp", that's to say it did NOT flush
poop. To get it to flush may take many many attempts at
flushing. My plumber said the toilet was working fine and
I needed to get Roto-Rooter to bring out their TV camera.
I asked Kohler about the problem and they said the problem was
with either the trap or vent. Today (28 March 2017)
Roto-Rooter came and I showed the technician the toilet and
after a few minutes he said he knew what the problem was.
Answer: If you have well water (our water comes from a
local water company and they get it from wells) or if you follow
the “If it's brown, flush it
down; if it's yellow, let it mellow" then
there's a problem with calcium build up. This happens in
two places, the small holes that allow flush water to rinse
the sides of the bowl and more important the main flush water
jet that is aimed at the exit opening of the bowl. In my
case this jet was almost totally plugged. The technician
just put his rubber gloved index finger in the hole and easily
cleaned it. Now the toilet gulps like it should.
Toilet Maintenance: Once a month (maybe once a
quarter) put a cup of CLR into the bowl and a cup in the tank,
per the instructions.
Hard surface cleaning
compositions containing a sultaine and a mixture of
organic acids, Rosemary
A. Gaudreault, Jelmar,
Llc, Aug 22, 2006
7368417 Hard surface cleaning compositions comprising a lauryl hydroxysultaine, Rosemary A. Gaudreault, Jelmar, Llc, May 6, 2008
8569220 Hard surface cleaning composition, Rosemary A. Gaudreault, Jelmar, Llc, Oct 29, 2013
9228159 Hard surface cleaning composition, Rosemary A. Gaudreault, Jelmar, Llc, Jan 5, 2016
Unrelated to the toilet problem.
There is also an enzyme that helps keep the septic tank working. One brand is "Earth Enzymes".
Roebic "Main Line Cleaner K-97" is used to help keep the drain pipe clear of sewage solids and to make the pipe more slippery, reducing the problem causes by low flush toilets not being able to get the solids moved into the septic tank or city drain.
|Back Irrigation box
Position No. 1 was not used. There have been two leaks, one through a valve and one to the outside of a valve.
|Side Irrigation box
Valve No. 3 failed and was removed and the supply line capped.
best solution will be to remove the box and all the
valves along with the manifold and replace the complete
manifold assembly with one using a better brand of
A decade or so ago the pump died and I replaced it.
In the past week (July 2012) there have been some flakes of rubber in the tub and on two occasions the pump has stopped and would not start again. But did start later, like there was a thermal switch shutdown. My guess is that a seal is going bad adding load and overheating the pump. If I can get a new pump in time then I'll look into replacing the bad seal and keep this pump as a backup for when the new one has a problem.
PS there are two windows with a great view of the
forest. It's common to see squirrels, birds, stars, the
moon or planets. VERY relaxing.
The Genini Plus II pump used in the Hydro Swirl is probably
also used in a number of water pumping applications like
outdoor hot tubs, spas, Jacuzzi type bathtub, etc. It's
much more economical to replace the pump impeller and seals
than replace the complete motor-pump-air switch assembly.
PS Do NOT use a pumice stone and then run the pump. The
abrasive particles will eat up the seals.
|Hydro swirl 96K6 Jacuzzi Bath
The toilet room is just to the left of this photo and
there's a trap door that provides access to the pump.
|Jacuzzi Bath Pump
Looking into the trap door at the pump.
Label on top:
3/4 HP, 120 V, 8.5 Amp
Date of Manf: 8/23/91
|Pump Rebuild Kit
Impeller for Gemini 4647100 Pump (on right) ITT 4647100
Pump Seal Kit Genini Plus II:
|Pump after cleaning
||At the center of the motor end there's a
over the end of the motor shaft to give access to the screwdriver
slot needed to hold the shaft while unscrewing the impeller.
After removing the pump nose, as shown in the photo
at the left, a flat blade (-) screwdriver can be used to keep
the motor shaft from turning as the impeller is unscrewed
like a light bulb.
|Pump with impeller removed & motor
||I pulled on the motor seal but it
separated leaving the
metal cup part on the motor and the spring and seal
came off. So I used pliers on the nose of the metal cap
to pull it out along with the O-ring.
|Stack showing the relative positions of
the impeller, impeller seal,
motor seal and O-ring.
|Now the pump will
run for a full 30 minutes (maximum timer setting)
without problems and it seems to be running faster.
Before changing the filter it took 21 seconds to fill a
measuring cup with 2 cups of water.
After the new filter was installed it took 17 seconds.
Looks like it's carbon only.
For the past few times the maids have cleaned the GFI that
protects the downstairs bathroom has tripped. I think this is
related to the failure of the mother board in the SB-2025
washing toilet seat. After their last visit resetting
the GFI did not restore power (all the LEDs were off) to the
Replacing the mother board fixed the problem.
* unplug electrical cord
* press button at back and slide seat off mounting plate
* remove seat and set on floor near by
*remove 2 + screws at back
*remove 1 + screw under control are
* press in the latches (see Fig 3 below) to ease out the bottom plate
* Note: there is a white connector that has not cable attached
* remove 15 cables from the mother board (note they are color and size coded)
* remove 4 + screws and remove old mother board.
** reverse the above steps
|Fig 1 the new mother board
||Fig 2 SB-2025
|Fig 3 Inside the SB-2025 (latches along
||Fig 4 the old mother board K3 V1.6
The skimmer has two pipes in the bottom, the one closest to the pool comes from the bottom drain, the one away from the pool goes to the main pump inlet.
This float valve assembly sits above the open ends of those two pipes. When the water level is above the skimmer weir the float, trapped inside the valve assembly, is in the up position and lets the skimmer water get sucked into the main pump. The float will no longer float when the pool water is low. The bottom of the float is flat and seats on an O-ring blocking the skimmer from the main pump inlet thus preventing air getting into the pump line.
Under normal conditions the float is always under water and that water is at or very near the surface of the pool where the water temperature has the most variation. This temperature cycling of the float will cause it to fill with water if there's the slightest pin hole or crack.
It turns out that the new Penair float assemblies received in the first and second quarters of 2015 have been defective. The problem is that the float, that's made up of a top and bottom have just been snapped together without being glued. But the top and bottom half of the cage assembly that trap the float have been glued. So the factory has the glue but for some reason has stopped applying the glue to the float seam where it's most needed.
To confirm that the float seam is not glued it's possible to put a fingernail in the seam and with a slight rotary motion cause the seam to open.
If the float valve assembly is removed most if not all of the water that the main pump moves will come from the skimmer. If the pool water level gets too low the pump will suck air, a bad thing for the pump.
If you don't have a float valve assembly it might be possible to use a 4" or 6" PVC cap with the open end down to cause the pump to suck only from the main drain. This defeats the skimmer but would allow the system to work. I haven't tested that idea so use at your own risk.
4 July 2015 - The new float valve Pentair 506160 Skimmer Float Valve Assembly that was installed a month ago has become water logged because they did not glue the seam of the float.
If you know of a replacement not made by Pentair Let Me Know the make and model.
Propane Tank Leak
Could smell propane when outside near tank. Leak on the input fitting of the pressure regulator. Leak between two red parts.
This is a 200 gallon capacity tank.
I know of another same size tank were it leaked through the tank metal.
Is propane corrosive to the tank metal? let me know.
Forced Air Furnace & Air Conditioner
Feb 2016 - The house was cold because the propane tank was empty (it's been cold for here i.e. in the 30s at night). But after the tank was filled the furnace did not start. In the past the problem has been a burned out ignitor, but that's not the problem since when powered up the ignitor lights up and the controller cycles through 3 attempts then stops and the red light blinks.
See Furnace Controller under Electrical.
Icicles in Freezer
2020 Feb 11 - This is a side-by-side refrigerator freezer (Wiki) that has a cold water and crushed/cube ice dispenser in the freezer door.
Water that was supposed to go into the ice maker was running into the freezer making a mess by freezing things into a solid block. I think the cause was overloading the freezer thus blocking the circulation ports to the refrigerator.
2020 Feb 26 - The replacement ice maker is working. I'm still not sure of the root cause of the icicles in the freezer. For sure it was caused by the water feed to the ice maker running more than it should. But why did that happen? Overloading the freezer and refrigerator, or something to do with the ice maker. I think the later because the ice maker failed some tests (see Fig 2).WARNING - The heater element appears to be on all the time and on two occasions I've burned a finger! It's a good idea to turn off the breaker for the refrigerator-freezer and let it sit for a few minutes before working on the ice maker.
Whrilpool SS25AFXL side-by-side -
eBay replacement unit:
Refrigerator Icemaker Ice Maker for Whirlpool Kenmore Kitchenaid 2198597
less than $50 including shipping.
Troubleshooting with AC on:
L & N: 120 VAC (AC power good)
H & T: 120 VAC with ice in tray (bad thermostat)
L & M: 120 VAC bail up or down. (but wheel no turning)?
Terminals (white letters at left):
N: AC line Neutral
L: AC Line
V: water Valve
The cover has been pulled off exposing the timing wheel.
When Terminals T & H are shorted (paper clip with insulating tape) for a few seconds then clip removed the Timer Wheel will make a full turn. (Wednesday but not Thursday)
After reducing the amount of stuff in the freezer and refrigerator and triggering a Timer Wheel turn, I'm going to wait till tomorrow to see what's happening.
Shorting V (Valve) and L (Line) should turn on water. (It still does.)
Circled letters are electrical test points, see above photo.
The function of the A,B,C,D connector at the left is unknown. Let me know.
Maybe goes to the in door water & ice dispenser and/or ice feeder motor?
At the top is a 4 terminal connector with:
Water valve (V), Ground, Neutral AC Line (N), Hot AC Line (L)
L & N
L & H
L & M
N & V
150 to 350
T & H (32 F)
T & F (water)
Power On using insulated jumper:
T & H (simulate thermostat closing w/bail down): timer turns
Fig 3 Bottom Left view of replacement unit, but it's got 2 broken plastic parts.
The output tray is detached and the front cove is split at a corner.
You can see the "U" shaped heater element and
the cable that connects to the freezer.
Cable has thermal switch to detect heater runaway.
Fig 4 The bottom screw bracket and its mounting screw did come with the
new unit. Note notch at rear of water catch cup needs to be knocked out of
Fig 5 The bail on the new ice maker (right) was in the wrong location.
See the old unit at left for correct location of bail.
The new ice maker has a ramp for the cubes, the old one has a cliff.
Fig 6 Freezer after old unit and ice tray removed.
The two top 1/4" hex screws need not be removed just backed off a couple of turns.
The bottom 1/4" hex screw does need to be removed.
Shorting T (thermostat) and H (line high) for a few seconds
starts the timer wheel turning and at the end of that cycle
runs the correct amount of water into the ice tray.
Did this to get the cycle started.
There have been a number of dumps of ice, so it's working.
The water supply tube (with the top cut out to prevent a freeze plug forming) can be seen. This is the source of the water that made the icicles.
The propeller.metal bar at the back is to turn the helix that pushes the ice cubes out the door or drives the ice crusher.
Fig 7 Front clockwork removed
The two silver color pins at the bottom are the heater contacts.
Both of them look clean and the associated fingers on the front
Clock panel look to be in good condition. This is consistent with
getting a finger burned on two occasions, i.e. the heater works.
The two brass pins at the bottom center of the main unit are the
The cable connector is at the lower left of the main unit
Top to bottom:
Green - Ground
Brown - Valve
White - Neutral
Black - Line (hot)
and the upper left of the clock panel.
http://www.american-appliance.com/old_Site/service_pages/Ice_Maker/modualimdiag.htm - Technical details on the ice maker.
Ice Maker Repair, 7:47 - good overview -DIY Ice Maker Repair - 4316835 r 66 whirlpool modular ice maker and crushed ice despenser.pdf -
Early in 2016 the dishwasher blew a hose and flooded the kitchen overnight. Discovered the next morning. The house plans are dated April 1991 and it was constructed about 1992, so is 24 years old. A new replacement dishwasher was improperly installed and the right side of the door hit the adjacent cabinet. This caused the door to be cockeyed and twice it flooded the kitchen floor overnight. Some months later there were bubbles in the vinyl flooring. I looked into a repair, but it soon became apparent that the bubbles were growing in size and number. A new vinyl flooring material was chosen but the store suggested that we contact our homeowners insurance company so that was done. A handyman here for something else just used the tip of his pocket knife to make a very small hole in the top of the largest bubble and when he pressed it down water came out.
The new dishwasher has a catch pan under it, but I need to find out how it is drained. Just having a catch pan under the dishwasher will not do any good if a hose fails.
The insurance company sent someone who tested for water using a hand held moisture tester (see below). He was able to map out the area of the floor were there was moisture under the vinyl floor and it matched pretty well were the water had been standing from the dishwasher. You would think the vinyl flooring would be water proof, but I think that the seems allow water to get underneath and the particle board is like a sponge. Or maybe the water gets underneath the particle board and capillary action allows it to move many feet horizontally.
I got some moisture test meters. I'm thinking it may be a good idea to test the house annually or more often. Also got some water alarms and am thinking how to make the house more resistant to water damage. It seems that water loose inside a house is extremely destructive. That's a poor design. It's just a question of when, not if, you are going to have a water leak, either in the supply plumbing or the drain plumbing.
For almost two weeks someone would come and use their moisture meter along with the slide hammer to test the moisture. Once it's dry there will be a test for spores/mold.
4-IN-1 Pin/Pad RH Moisture Meter
This meter has displays for Moisture, temperature and humidity.
The moisture can be read by sticking the two pins into wood or using the two metal plates on the back surface by sliding the meter over the floor. This is a new $80 unit from eBay. It does not have the no electrode "pinless" feature that is on the Protimeter tester below.
Protimeter Moisture Measuring System (MMS)
The professionals used Protimeter brand moisture meters, much newer than this older one from eBay.
Protimeter Moisture Measuring System LH22-036 & Accessories
Included are the:
POL5800 Plus (LH22-036) meter
POL 4750 Hygrostick hygrometer humidity 2-pin probe (plugged into top of meter)
BLD5802 Hygrostick extension cable
BLD5060 Moisture probe (plugged into side of meter)
BLD5018 Deep Wall Probes (?missing)
BLD5804 Surface temperature sensor
BLD5086 Cal check device (?missing)
INS5800 yellow cover instruction book
BLD5055 Slide Hammer 2-pin Probe
??? Carry bag
??? CD-ROM for extracting data from the Plus version of the POL5800
Note the POL5800 has an inductive test method where on the back there are no electrodes. You can hold it at a 45 degree angle and just rub it on the floor to detect moisture.
The next step in the recovery is to bring in about a dozen fans and dehumidifying equipment. The kitchen was walled off using Zipwall poles. Because there was moisture under the floor in the crawl space a U.S. Products air scrubber was connected to a vent and nearby vents were blocked off so that there would be air movement to dry the sub floor. All wet insulation was removed.
The air movers and dehumidifiers are aimed at drying the kitchen. The HEPA air filter is to remove spores (Wiki) that might be caused by mold (Wiki, hidden).
21 June 2016 - I found the Zefon air sampler, but didn't see what was used. The samples are sent to a lab for analysis.This web page suggests that the air samples are meaningless: Is Testing for Moulds Necessary? - "...remediation of water damage, the stress is placed on correcting “damp” and not on removing mould."
EPA - "Standards or Threshold Limit Values (TLVs) for airborne concentrations of mold, or mold spores, have not been set. Currently, there are no EPA regulations or standards for airborne mold contaminants."
EPA - A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture, and Your Home.pdf - removing the moisture is the key, not much to do about mold itself.
Dri-Eaz Ace airmover
Gas pipe under stove surface unit needed to be capped
prior to being removed.
U.S. Products Patriot Air Scrubber
DefendAir HEPA 500 - to remove spores (Wiki).
New dishwasher removed, shrink wrapped & stored in kitchen.
DrizAir® 1200 dehumidifier 0 tall with handle
Microwave & Oven removed.
Pass through to dining room sealed.
Zipwall Poles - plastic sheeting is bowing in = negative pressure in kitchen
Kit of 4 poles @ Home Depot
Ram Board used to protect floor in adjacent hall
Method and apparatus for temporary surface protection,
After drying and testing, prior to bids for rebuild.
8 July 2016 Kitchen Sink Faucet
Fig 30 The existing faucet was broken by moving the
copper pipe too much by the water damage people.
Fig 31 New Pioneer 2LG106H-BN faucet
Fig 32 The old broken faucet.
Fig 33 The refrigerator water supply has been relocated
so that it can be seen and turned off easily. Note: instead of
using copper pipe PEX (Wiki) was used.
Note vertical divider to left of refer space, removed
in Fig 34 photo at right.
Fig 34 At the very left the drywall has been trimmed so that
there's wood at the left edge. The divider at the left of the
refrigerator has been cut away to allow access for the
Fig 35 after drywall work done - before painting
23 Aug 2016 Repairing stove island cabinet
Was not able to get a contractor to repair the stove top cabinet, so am doing it myself with a handyman.
A table was fabricated using 2x4 and plywood that is 1 foot high and covered with a blanket to keep from scratching the cabinet. The stove top island cabinet has been laid on it's back on the table (the rear protrusion of the counter top is off the floor). This way the cabinet can be repaired with the Corian (Dupont) counter top in place. The temporary 2'x4"x6" sleepers have been removed (sitting in center part), the bottom 5/8" particle board floor removed and the lower front rail (edges the floor) removed, the right side of the dishwasher opening has been cut back by 3/4" to add clearance on each side of the dishwasher. The new 3/4" plywood on the right is just sitting there and will make a new floor in the space that was formerly used for the never used trash compactor.
Fig 3 4x6 sleepers ripped to height to bring top of counter to
same height as existing counter top.
Looking into how to water proof sleepers.
Fig 4 mending the Corian counter top
There is a strip of Corian underneath the joint.
A stick wedged between the floor and that strip clamps the far end.
Later today the surface will be smoothed.
12 Sep 2016 New Cortex Plus Luxury Vinyl tile Amilfi Grey SKU 50LVT102 Floor installed
13 Sep 2016 - floor to wall moldings reinstalled as well as most toe space moldings, except the one in front of combined stove top and fan in case the installer needs access.
Fig 11 Custom wood transition between
hardwood and kitchen was made to
replace the broken one.
Fig 12 New dishwasher will be reinstalled tomorrow.
Fig 13 The trash compactor has been removed and the space
will become more storage. The desk has been made
A few years prior to the dishwasher problem the drains under the sink leaked causing the cabinet underneath to get very wet. This was caused by improper installation of the drain plumbing. The solution was to have a plumber re-do all the under kitchen sink drain pipes.
23 Oct 2016 - new GE Dishwasher Water Leak
I've been told that the silverware in the top basket can keep the door from closing.
A few weeks after almost getting the kitchen back the new GE dishwasher dumped water on the floor.
Model: GDF570SGFWW, s/n: MF749137B
The local GE dealer came the next day and tried out a number of ideas, all of which were negative, i.e. they could not figure out the cause of the leak, but did confirm a leak. Although the leak they saw was much smaller than what happened on the night of 23 Oct. Some of the things looked for:
* That one of the propellers was stuck and squirting water at the door seal. (both propellers are free).
* That the filter screen was blocked. (It was lifted out and appeared very clean).
* That the drain was blocked. This was tested by removing the vacuum breaker top cover at the back of the sink and removing the cap. Then a drinking glass was placed upside down. (The drain worked as it's supposed to, i.e. no blockages).
In the past one of the failure modes of the GE dishwasher was that you could hear it running but there was no water sound, i.e. no water was being allowed in. This was confirmed after the door was opened and the inside was dry. In order to get it working again it was necessary to turn off the breaker for a few minutes and then restarting the dishwasher. My guess is that the firmware has a failure mode related to the water inlet solenoid. Note another failure related to that solenoid might allow more water to enter than intended and if the water level got above the lower door seal the result would be what I've seen in all three instances of massive water flowing out of the dishwasher.
7 Dec 2016 New Bosch Dishwasher
The appliance store, after three complaints of the new replacement GE dishwasher pumping water on the floor, gave us a full credit toward another dishwasher. Note it pumped water on the floor while the two technicians from the local appliance store were here working on it!
After a lot of searching I discovered the Boschsystem. "If a leak has occurred, it shuts down operation and automatically pumps out water to avoid contact with the floor. Now it even works 24/7 and can turn itself on." If any part of the dishwasher leaks water inside the unit (either fresh water or waste water) the water will end up a catch pan at the bottom of the unit. Any water in the catch pan closes a valve at the base of the dishwasher stopping any further leaks. It also uses the pump to send that water to the drain. They also offer a clothes washer with this same system. This will solve the common problems, but not all problems. Don't know about a refrigerator.
The model number is SHX68T52UC.
Some settings can be changed using On/Off, A, B, C and START.
Press: On/Off to turn on
Press and hold "A" (Normal) and press START until the display shows d:00, then release both buttons.
Press "A" (Normal) until the display shows d:00.
Press "C" (Rinse) until the display shows d:01 (Intensive Drying is on).
Press START to save setting.
Small hose is water supply.
Larger hose is drain.
photo has A, B &C labels added.
Which buttons are A, B & C varies with model number.
This was a problem first noticed in 2012 when water was dripping from the breakfast nook ceiling light fixture. But drilling a hole near the outlet box in the ceiling and then expanding that hole until it was about 5' by 3' it was determined that the master bath tub overflow drain was not properly installed allowing some (but not all) of the overflow water to leak out into the house. Notice water stains in ceiling. The leak was there for a long time before it was discovered.
I made many appointments with a plumber to fix this but he was a no show. It took over a year to get the plumbing fixed. Then a Sheetrock repair, then painted. I wanted to add a catch pan and drain to the outside, but there is not a standard way to do that. But there should be.
Hot Water Heater
When the hot water heater failed there was no leak, but that's not uncommon. So got a catch pan designed to be under the hot water heater to catch water in case it overflows. The pan outlet needs to be routed to someplace where the water will not do damage.
The laundry room is upstairs, where it makes sense in a two story house since the bulk of the laundry comes from bedrooms and bathrooms that are upstairs. There is a metal catch pan under the clothes washer, but I don't know if or how it drains.
The downstairs half bath floor was recently replaced because the vinyl had shrunk maybe an inch from the wall. Not sure why, maybe because the vinyl itself shrunk or maybe because the glue used to attach it caused the problem. The flooring company checked using a moisture meter over the old flooring before quoting the job because if there was moisture under the floor that would need to be fixed before the new floor could be installed. The floor was dry so not a problem, but it could have been.
SKU 349915-2SBV0 PCK
eBay title: [NEW] Water Level Alarm Bathtub Washbasin Toilet Kitchen Anti-overflow Device Wa, about $11.
Runs on a couple of included AAA batteries. Has piezo speaker that's easy to hear.
Triggers on clean water but not touching with finger. Tongue works.
The white plastic is molded to say On and Off but it's impossible to see, so I've added labels.
Inside there was a wire soldered near the IC but not in a through hole, just a pad that lifted and tore loose. Fixed it, but poor construction.
There is an 8 lead IC with only the 4 corner terminals connected. Also what looks like an electrolytic cap with 4 leads,
2 of them connected to the piezo element. A very simple circuit.
PS a water alarm that turns on an LED is worthless.
Ideally there would be a low battery warning, but I doubt this unit does that, more info later . . .
Water Sensor Alarm using LM380 - might be similar to this because 4 connections to the audio amp(In, Out, +, -)?
After searching dozens of water alarms nothing found that looks like this one.
A PIC 12F675 based alarm with low battery detect, piezo sounder and wireless transmitter.
Glentronics Watchdog Water Alarm
alternate web page
about $10 ea at Home Depot Have question in to manufacturer about low battery warning.
No low battery warning - replace batteries annually (is that correct for the new 10 year shelf life batteries?)
9 Nov 2015 - It's getting cold and the thermostat is acting up. I think it's the small wheel that has red and blue segments that switches between heat and cooling changing position if the floor shakes. This is a Honeywell T8195b that uses a couple of mercury tubes and a clock with high and low timer pegs. It's impossible to set the timer 24 hour dial to the correct time. So started looking. Found a review that says Honeywell only warrants their dial if it was installed by a licensed contractor.
Know in center of 24 hour dial should set time,
but it does nothing. The small wheel with the red
and blue triangles is very touchy, i.e. it can change
without anyone touching it, causing the set temperature
two mercury tubes on bi-metal temp. sensors
24 VAC Common
24 VAC Hot
So am looking at a White-Rodgers 1F95-1280 Thermostat because they get 5 star reviews and there's an option in the setup menu to have the LCD back light on all the time.
The thermostat is in an upstairs hall and it's typically dark when I go to bed, so having what amounts to a night light is a great feature.
The AC line is rectified and filtered to provide DC power
without using a transformer. That circuit is under the LCD.
The brown cylinder that looks like a AA battery is the Figaro TDS5042 CO Sensor.
The microcontroller is mounted under the LCD.
There are numerous unpopulated pads on both the LCD board and the main board so there are probably a number of different model numbers that can be made from the same boards.
After years of service a First Alert Single Station Carbon Monoxide Alarm Model CO614 started chirping in bursts of 5. The on line manual was no help in understanding why. But if you unplug the alarm and look on the back (hidden from view when plugged in) there is a table giving the meaning of the various chirps:
End of Life
So this unit has reached it's End of Life, but why. That data sheet for the Figaro TDS5042 CO sensor has no mention of an end of life. I have asked them about it. But did not get an answer.
7381314 Liquid electrochemical gas sensor, Figaro Engineering Inc., Jun 3, 2008 -
There are some house wiring anomalies in my house. For example on a switch plate controlling two lights, when you turn the switch the wrong light turns on/off.
The wall outlet for the forced air furnace is a combination of a screw in fuse and a single grounded socket. There are two ways of installing the socket into the wall plate and two ways of installing the wall plate into the outlet box. The house was built with both done wrong. In this case the outlet for the forced air furnace was installed upside down and with the socket turned 180 degrees. But two wrongs do not make a right.
At first I planned to go to the store and find a fused disconnect outlet plate with the correct orientation, but when looking at the existing plate it can be seen that the socket is attached with screws not rivets.
Maybe that was done to allow the installer to configure it properly, but all the right angle plugs I've seen have the ground pin at the bottom. That's why NEMA515 wall outlets are installed with the ground pin down in the U.S.
The fix was simple: remove the two screws holding the wall plate to the outlet box, remove two screws holding the socket to the outlet plate, remove the white wire from the socket (then spend 10 minutes finding the dropped screw (it would have been a good idea to clean the garage floor just below the outlet before removing any screws) rotate the socket 180 degrees, reinstall the two socket mounting screws, reinstall the white wire with the screw from the floor, rotate the outlet plate 180 degrees and reinstall it. It took less time to do that than to write the above.
I've been trying to figure out why a fused disconnect wall plate is used with a forced air furnace.
One article said that it prevents plugging in other things which is not wanted since the furnace might use all the current that one circuit can supply.
Another article said the fuse can be unscrewed by a service man to remove power from the furnace, but that can also be done simply by unplugging the cord.
I think there is an electrical code requirement that there needs to be a way to disconnect a motor that's near the motor, and that's met by unplugging the cord.
So if you know why the fused outlet let me know.
Forced Air Furnace Outlet Upside Down and Reversed
Forced Air Furnace Outlet Installed Properly
Feb 2016 - The house was cold because the propane tank was empty (it's been cold for here i.e. in the 30s at night). But after the tank was filled the furnace did not start. In the past the problem has been a burned out ignitor, but that's not the problem since when powered up the ignitor lights up and the controller cycles through 3 attempts then stops and the red light blinks.
The problem is either the controller or the gas valve. I thought it was the gas valve, and the service techs also thought that was the problem and replaced the gas valve, but then discovered the problem was the controller. A way to differentiate between these might be to measure the output voltage of the controller with the main gas valve disconnected (best done with a Fluke 12 or other meter that has a V-Check load on the voltage ranges) and then compare to the voltage with the main gas valve connected.The controller is a White-Rodgers Model 50E47-170.
A Square-D XO Dual 50 Amp breaker failed to power an air conditioner. Sometimes cycling the toggle on and off would restore the circuit.
The problem turned out to be that one of the Platinum contacts was disconnected from the conductor.
Do not manually turn off these XO series breakers. Doing so may destroy the breaker.
This may be because of age or the design of the XO series breakers.
Both contacts are in place on this side
The bottom contact is laying on the center divider.
U.S. Plug shown for Modern IEC A.C. line cord
there was a different cord end (Belden 7A125) that went into the equipment as shown below:
This is called a PH-104 and is made by Volex and can be ordered from Mouser. There are two versions the standard and reversed. In the reversed version the hot and neutral wires are reversed from the normal configuration going to the instrument. The plug shown is marked "Belden 7A-125V" and it's cord is marked " 18-3 TYPE SVT E-3462 LL-7874" I don't know if this one is standard or reversed?
I think the stock cord was HP p/n 8120-0078
120 VAC 15 Amp max
Neutral - Hot = 123.3 VAC
Ground - Hot = 124.3 VAC
Neutral - Ground = 0.64 VAC
240 VAC International plug to standard IEC socket cord. For more see the HP 4395 Frequency Converter into.
2016 - When using a weed eater you can move left to right or right to left. The front edge of the string can fling objects so it's always a good idea to go in the direction so that those objects go away from people or places that can be damaged, such as windows. The sad part is that I replaced that exact window because it had internal moisture about a year ago.
Within less than a year there were three failures (Spring, Rollers, Cable) on this 2-car wide garage door that gets twice the use as the adjacent single car door. So, I'd recommend that when any one of these three things fails it's time to replace all of them.
Roll Up Garage Door Spring (Oct 2017)
When There's a power failure the door can be decoupled from the motor by pulling down on the red cord. Then the door can be opened by pulling of the red cord.
CAUTION: The sheet metal edges of the door panels can cut like knife blades so DO NOT LIFT DOOR PANELS BY HAND unless you are wearing leather gloves.
But . . . when a spring breaks you can NOT lift the door because without the counter balancing effect of the spring it's too heavy. Even applying upward force to the door using a piece of wood to avoid being cut, and actuating the motor the door would not lift.
The new springs were installed without lifting the door, i.e. with the cars in the garage.
When one of the two springs breaks, the one on the right in this case, the motor is not strong enough to lift the door.
Broken Right side spring
After replacing both springs
Roll Up Garage Door Rollers (Dec 2017)
It was only a few months ago that the springs were replaced. Should have had the rollers replaced then.
The problem is that when closing the door sometimes stops about a foot above the floor. The cause was the top of the door hitting the stop switch.
YouTube: Garage Door Stops 1 Foot from Floor - you can see the top of the door tap the stop switch. The problem was worn out rollers.
Old roller without bearings and new Nylon roller with bearings.
Roll Up Garage Door Cable (Jun 2018)
Not long after closing the door a loud noise was heard from the garage, but didn't know what it was. The next day the door failed to open. There is an gap at the bottom of the door.
Outside view with broken cable on right
Inside view of broken cable
PS In the above photo of the broken cable it's resting on a new brace. The brace was added after someone tried to back out of the garage without opening the door. The repairmen from K&T Rising Doors of Ukiah had seen this many times and knew exactly how to fix it. A much better deal than replacing the whole door. It's a pleasure to watch workmen who know exactly what they are doing.
Design News - Made by Monkeys
UK Hints & Tips: first page, second page, Repair Brief 1, Repair Brief 2, Repair Brief 3,
Sci.Electronics.Repair FAQ - includng using a scope with a 50 Ohm termination and a square wave signal generator as an electrolitic cap ESR Scope.
Page created 24 Aug 2001.