26 March, 2017

Some unplanned work on the car

While running errands today and keeping an eye out for pallets that we might be able to pick up strip down and convert into flooring I was greeted by a nasty noise from the front of the car.

Given my experience and leave somewhat recent time spent with the wheels off of this car I knew it was time to put the brake pads on it.

This quickly followed up after plenty of work was put in on my polishing of the headlights getting rid of the old yellow Haze and not all but most of the scratches.

We will be putting out a video on the headlight restoration using mothers headlight restoration kit. The results are really impressive however it's not like those composite headlights look like new but they are certainly clear far safer then they were before and saves us a ton of money compared to replacement.

We still need the source up and tear down a bunch of pallets that we can prep for flooring but I did make some progress on the structured wiring project. The antenna finally came in so I have all of the pieces I need however there's more than a little assembly required.

Yesterday I applied the fourth coat of Glidden Los White to be structured wiring Mount port and it should be ready to go up on the wall now.

Hi found where I had misplaced the punch down block for the telephone and I managed to lay out how the telephone and coaxial splitters will run. I would like however to be able figure out how to make the 180 degree turns out of the bottom of the coaxial splitter. I am actually seriously considering mounting the splitter sideways so that I only have to make a 90-degree Bend to go up and through the wall.

I think for the time being while we're working on the flooring I'm simply going to paint the part of the wall behind and immediately surrounding where the Mount board will go. That way I can move forward with a structured wiring project without having to have the rest of the whole thing completed.

So I need to squeeze a bunch of video editing in this week as well as climbing around the attic pulling a bunch of cable yada yada yada. As well as somewhere in there I need to finalize my taxes and get them submitted and get forward with about a dozen long-term projects that have been in various stages completion.

24 March, 2017

Cord-cutting part 2 assembling the kit.

With our cord-cutting project plant firmly in hand we set about Gathering the needed materials and tools for a project.

First off we are going to be running fresh coax in two areas of the house that do not have it already while we are pulling this we are going to be pulling Category 5 and category 6 cable.

The Cat 5 cable will be for telephone and the cat 6 will be for ethernet. We have sufficient quantity of Cat5e and Cat6 cable as well as all the fittings, keystones,  etc that we can need. They have been in my toolkit for years.

My ethernet termination and test tools are all TrendNet devices and have served me well on a professional basis as long as I am testing simple connectivity and not necessarily physical layer performance. There are better meters on the market but typically for residential networking and even small business Networks they are far and above what you need.

The termination and test tools for the coaxial cable are from Paladin tools and it is the data shark set from Home Depot.

We did not have sufficient RG6 coaxial cable in our inventory to even begin this project. I compared the product available at both Lowe's and Home Depot locally as they had better prices than of other companies and they both carried 500 foot schools of Southwire RG6. I do not see the need or the quad Shield or its added expense.

While we were there we picked up a couple of 10 packs of F-Type compression fittings for the coax thinking we only had a couple left in our service kit. Boy were we wrong!

I went to put the compression fittings in the storage well in the datashark toolbox only to find the storage well and the large compartment underneath the storage well nearly crammed full of probably 70 or 80 compression F-Type fittings. As God as my witness I haven't the slightest idea how all of those fittings got in there or fit. I haven't done that much actual work over the years yes I've done some but not enough to justify that many fittings.

Non conductive fish rods again from Home Depot and the Greenlee brand will help fish cable through the wall.

With everything that is in hand we are almost ready to move forward with the project however a major item being the yagi beam type antenna has yet to be delivered. I fear it will be delivered when we won't have time to deal with it.

There is a good deal of this that is going to get terminated in the Attic or simply pulled to the Attic above the termination point and a service tube left in place for now.

The concern is that we have much work to do in what will be the home office where they structured wiring panel will be. We do not want to bring in the structured wiring until the walls are done the trim is done and the flooring is done.

Which brings mean two the concept of how we are going to do the flooring in the home office. The idea is to finish the home office and move on to a separate music room which has been dictated by my lovely bride. In order to do this with some Style , good stewardship of Natural Resources. And good stewardship of our budget , we are planning on upcycling wooden pallet wood for flooring in the office.

This will keep with our country rustic theme that has gone through out the house. It will also make 4 a lot more physical labor to prep the material for installation.

Simply put it would be much easier to just go out and buy pre-made tongue-and-groove flooring but it would not have the character or attachment two us as a couple as flooring we made for ourselves. Not to mention this gives me the opportunity to go out and buy some really cool router bits.

18 March, 2017

Cord cutting with an analog TV. Future-proofing

One of our recurring monthly cost has been the satellite TV service period every time we turn around we are faced with a bill that is ever increasing the most pitiful customer service on the planet just barely behind AT&T and Comcast.

We find that we are streaming most but not all of our media excluding certain local over-the-air channels.

The time getting record and freeing ourselves from that bill is overdue. We have a challenge though as power main TV in the living room is an older Sony 37 inch CRT. It's a great bomb-proof TV but it is anything but digital.

So we needed to adapt..

Some online shopping and research on the reviews of the various over the air digital antenna choices let us to a Groupon for a Polaroid built Yagi beam Style antenna with a rotator and remote.

The base of the antenna should be the same as the existing DirecTV satellite dish the plan is to Simply disconnect the DirecTV dish remove it and swap in the yagi beam antenna.

The Direct TV swim devices work at a different frequency than normal cable or broadcast TV signals so we have to replace the splitter amplifier , we found an excellent price on a 1 in 8 out Monoprice splitter amplifier at Walmart. So that issue is easily handled once we pull the DirecTV dish off swapped in the antenna we are simply going to swap the swim splitter for the Monoprice splitter. Then you should have appropriate signal through the house.

There is some additional coaxial work we are going to need for rooms that do not currently have a coax run to them most notably the new office / home studio does not happen as well as I want a line run to the garage.

So with the TV signal being distributed through coax to the whole house we now have to deal replacing the DVR function and compatibility with an analog television.

I happen to have an old one terabyte Spinning Disk hard drive leftover from when I upgraded my editing laptop to SSD. I ordered an inexpensive USB 2.0 to SATA 2.5 inch internal hard drive enclosure. It was a bargain and is from a well-known brand again from Walmart. This will provide storage for the digital to analog converter box with DVR.

From this device we can record live TV with double the storage capacity of the satellite DVR.

Lastly is we want an additional storage device for locally ripped and encoded media.

We are sick and tired of dealing with DVDs and there's a lot of media we like to watch frequently that is not available on any streaming service that we are aware of. Not to mention we have personal videos and the raw storage for our video work.

We have and Android streaming box that is connected to the smart TV that has multiple USB 2.0 we are researching compatibility with that right now but we believe the maximum Drive size compatible with it is 2 terabytes. We ordered a Western Digital 2 terabyte USB disk just for this purpose.

While it is costing a little bit up front through careful shopping we are keeping the cost down to around $300. With the ever creeping up of the cost of DirecTV that is 3 months worth of service so the break even point is very short again this will help us reign in our finances without sacrificing too much in the way of the services we have grown accustomed to.

Which brings me two of how this relates to woodworking it all. Like I mentioned above I want to run a coaxial line into the shop as I am seriously considering adding a small inexpensive Smart TV into the shop for streaming things like how to videos or watching the game in solitude.

However I am uncertain of what budget-friendly sets are available on the market now that are reasonably tolerant of the Heat humidity and dust that is prevalent in a workshop.

So I am reaching out to my followers and subscribers and ask you for your input what a good smart TV for Workshop use be? What are you using? And are you happy with the set you are using?

If possible I would like a set that features 802 11 AC Wireless connectivity. Might as well not have my smart TV be The Slowdown on my network.

06 March, 2017

Portable air conditioning in a garage workshop. Troubleshooting the broken A.C. Unit and trying to figure it out.

So last summer, the portable A.C. unit that makes my coastal Texas workshop tolerable to me in the summer heat, died a loud, miserable death. Or at least it was in critical condition. The unit is a Royal Sovereign ARP1400WW,if I recall correctly it is allegedly a 13.5 BTU unit, and it has always been a little rattly, but last summer all bets were off...

So with it simply running for less than 2 minutes and throwing a breaker, something had to be done. It was obvious there was a fan problem. I honestly thought it had to be a bearing in the motor on the lower fan. After all, there couldn't actually be an issue with the fan blade itself right? Well it took me far too many small, sweaty and obnoxious projects before I could take the time to find out...

So now the mystery is solved, somehow the fan blade, which appeared to be fused to the shaft needing to be pressed off, war run into the inner half of the fan housing. Nice... Not exactly great quality control from Royal Sovereign as this unit sees somewhat infrequent use since new...  And I wasn't certain I knew what material this plastic was, but my gut feeling told me epoxy wasn't going to cut it...

This stuff sure did feel like an ABS plastic pipe. And so I did some online research, and, well basically found the types of plastics, and how they work blah blah blah... Long story short, this stuff sure SEEMED like ABS, and Home Depot had ABS, PVC, and CPVC multi purpose glue. Well basically plastic welding solvent. So I more or less got after the damage with the glue, and Q tips.

Long story short. Or not. I got it fixed. It was in the low 80s at the shop, and raining today. I fired up the unit and let it run for about an hour, with an added fan helping stir things around, the same way I have always run it. Within an hour I had to turn the thermostat UP because it was freezing me out of the shop.

Do I anticipate these sorts of results in say August with 100 degree heat and 89% humidity? Not hardly. However the one wall that has yet to be insulated is pending and might just happen this year. That should keep the colds and hots away within reason.

So now, no slips, slides, or bumps. Just cold air and quiet operation.