November 16, 2009

Random Projects

I haven't posted in awhile so I thought I'd put together and update of what I've been doing lately. As I mentioned in my last post the 1808 half of the duplex went up for rent Labor day weekend. After showing the place to quite a few interesting people I finally found a great tenant and signed a lease on October 17th and the new tenant moved in the following week. With that chapter finally closed I've had some time to work on a few smaller projects.

I spent a weekend pretending to be an electrician...the majority of the fixtures in the duplex are controlled by at least two switches and somewhere along the line someone decided that dimmer switches were really cool and replaced all a bunch of the 3-ways and 4-ways with standard dimmers. After digging into it and realizing how messed up it was I was absolutely amazed that it worked at all and hadn't electrocuted anyone. I put in a few new 3-ways and a new 4-way and can now actually control the lights from every switch...amazing concept :) While I was screwing around with that I figured I might as well add a few outlets in the garage since there was only the one.

I also spent a few days working on my beauty of a snowblower...

Its a 1971 or 1972 Gilson (Montgomery Ward Branded) 26" two stage that I picked up for free last winter. The lady was trying to sell it for $100 but after looking at it I told her I'd she just told me to take it. It ran great but the drive mechanism failed the 3rd time I used it so I tore it apart with some help from this website and found that the friction wheel was toast.

I replaced the friction wheel and cleaned all the crud off the platter and that did the trick, it cruises in all 3 speeds now. Since it actually worked again I figured I'd better give it some TLC, I changed the oil, put a few shots of grease in all the fittings, Lubed up the chute, topped off the auger gearbox with oil, and lubed and adjusted all the control linkages. Its still rusty and pretty beat up but hopefully I can limp this beast along for a few years until I can find a good deal on solid older John Deere.

I took a whack at broom balancing after being inspired by an email from Cory.

My broom was pretty beat up so it took me awhile to get it to stand, but It was pretty darn cool when it worked.

Laura's laptop stopped charging so I ended up completely disassembling it and replacing the DC power jack...only to find out that it wasn't just the bad connector.

It took me about an hour and a half to get it taken apart the first time and I was amazed at flimsy all the individual pieces were. After replacing the connector it worked a bit better but still wouldn't charge reliably so she ended up buying a new laptop the next day. Ah well at least it was fun to take apart :)

I finally ordered parts to build a new computer to use as a storage server and to also run MythTV so that when I do actually watch TV I can watch something I actually want to see instead of suffering through whatever happens to be on the limited channels I get with the antenna. Here is what I built:

Motherboard: ECS GF8200A - Not the latest motherboard but it has an HDMI Output and integrated graphics that will support 1080P video playback even in linux.

Processor: AMD Athlon II 2.6GHz Quad Core - Best bang for the buck right now, tons of power and only $99.

RAM: 4 Gigs of DDR2 1066 - Probably more than I need for a server but there is no reason to go with less.

Hard Drive: Samsung EcoGreen 1.5TB - Tons of space and lower power, perfect for a server.

TV Tuner Card: Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-2250 - Dual ATSC tuners so I can record/watch two shows at once. It is theoretically supported in linux...

The system is setup and working, storing files on my network and recording shows off the antenna and playing them back over the HDMI cable to my TV upstairs. The only issue I have to figure out yet is that the driver for the TV tuner flakes out once in awhile and writes error messages to my system many errors that the log file fills up the entire 30gig OS partition and grinds the system to a halt which is somewhat inconvenient. This is apparently not a common problem so I'm sure I just messed up the driver isntall somehow...I'll have to figure that out at some point.

Now that I've finished up most of these little random projects I'm getting ready to start ripping out and rebuilding the full bath in 1810. Stay tuned for pictures and updates on that as things progress.

1 comment:

  1. Awesome update! After reading it though, it makes me feel lazy...