Thursday, April 26, 2012

Simplehuman Trashcan Repair

You would think I could spend my time on better things than fixing a busted trashcan. But, this is one of those nice 'Superhuman' brands with the foot pedal that when you step on it the top flips open. Today is the second and hopefully the last time I have to get my tools out on this thing. There is a major flaw in the design but like most things today, it aint supposed to last. I priced these cans and they are not cheap. Looks like $39.99 at BedBath&Beyond. Wow, they sure have an assortment too. Check this link out."> Okay, back to the story today. I should have taken pictures of the whole process of taking it apart and cutting the stainless screws with my Dremel grinder but I didn't even think about it until I was finished with the whole mess. I sound a little frustrated as I was. There is always frustration when you first take something apart. It's like a puzzle and you just don't know how things go together or come apart. I start with the simplest and most obvious of course, the screws. But, then you got a genuius who likes puzzle pieces and they will sneak one in on you. Now for some pics to show you what I've spent over an hour on just a little bit ago. My back is still aching and bending over on the kitchen floor to work on this has made new pains for me. Oh well, I'll heal.
That's the can. I'll explain more as I go.
The brand name label.
I like the 'lift' handle in the back. I only found this one day after tugging and pulling the can around to set it in place so many times for so many months.
Okay, here's where the fun begins. The bottom is where you take a screw out and a pin that holds the foot lever.
That first time taking this apart really had me thinking. There is a flat piece of spring stainless steel underneath that foot lever that gives it the spring action. I didn't take a pic of the inner workings, sorry. Here's the one screw that you need to take out. This is the flawed design, the foot pedal. What you can't see that is underneath is the cheaply made pedal that will break in half over time. A little more thickness with the plastic and this can might last for a couple generations. I happened to have two large stainless 3/16" screws, nuts and lock washers on hand in my parts bin. I'm not exact on the size of those screws now though but there were large enough that I knew they would support some serious foot pressure. As I said earlier, this is my second repair of this can. The first repair wasn't idiot proof. I hadn't secured the screws tight enough in the first place. Secondly, the middle of the foot lever that was almost broke in half and very weak or fatigued, I was trying to save. It didn't last. Once that weak spot broke in half the foot lever and the screws flopped around for many months until I decided I had enough. Today was the day to end this nonsense.
This shouldn't have taken me so long today to fix this once and for all. The problem was that the screws or bolts that I had used were about three inches long. They were interferring with placing the foot lever back in place over that stainless spring. That's where the Dremel tool with the cutoff wheel came into good use. I've used the Dremel on cutting stainless bolts before on a boat trailer. Talk about taking a long time, it's gets overwhelming holding the tool just so that you don't break the fragile grinding or cutoff wheel. They are thin disks and one slight wrong move and they shatter. Each bolt today probably took me about fifteen minutes each holding it fast by hand and slowly getting the feel of the cutting. I had to increase the speed one notch as the steel was not cutting well. When you see a steady stream of sparks and the Dremel motor doesn't sound like it's being taxed to heavily, you've got a perfect combination for cutting. Just remember to let off now and then to allow some cooling of the disk. Here's the last picture of the foot lever or pedal. It now stands tall, way off the floor. Where before it flopped about just about an inch off the floor and when you stepped on it, the lid didn't come up all the way. Now, take a step on it and the top flips up and salutes you. The wife will be surprised when she comes home later and goes to throw something away. Okay, I now need to think about mowing the yard again... Update: 8/20/2012 - I want to take pictures of the stainless bolts in place just to show you. I just have to get in the mood to take this can apart again. Keep checking back.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

XmRadio and choices

Okay, here's something that's bugging me too. My XmRadio subscription has expired but they still have me active for now. I get about two to three calls a day. I answered one but got nowhere with the rep. I want a slimmed down subscription. I don't want to pay full price of $14.99 a month when I only listen to maybe 20 channels. I like news and NPR and C-Span and CNN, not talk radio crap. On their website they offer a $7.99 offer where you can select 50 channels to choose from. But, I don't see where you can check the boxes of the ones you want. I'm hesitant to dig further to figure this out. I'm about to just let it expire, I'm so tired with the hassle of it all. The want you to set up the auto-renew feature of course. That way they get their money. I know I'll dig into it later though as I do like my channels when in the car. Funny thing though, they tout no commercials but you get them all the time. It should be illegal to advertise this. Maybe there are a few channels without adverts but I've not found one. Whenever I switch to CNN or CNN Business I can almost always figure I'm going to hit a commercial. They have adverts all the time for their servive of course. It gets to be ridiculous. I've been a subscriber for over six years now using the same device with a home and car kit. I have loved it but the car kit is now having a problem where if there is any vibration a connection gets messed up and the signal to my car radio is interrupted and I have to slap the XmRadio to get it to connect to the adapater again. I have made a paper wedge that I stick into the adapter between it and the radio receiver now and it helps for the most part but not always. Another problem is when I bought the receiver it came with software where you could view and play the stored music or audio files you saved. It has I think 50mb. I've got quite a lot saved on it but there was no way to transfer the files to say your computer. You also had to pay for the convience of being able to even look at the stored files and be able to play them. I rarely if ever bother with all that now. It's such a crock of shit these companies dig at you for every little thing. Can't they just let you buy something and enjoy it to the fullest without all the little extra charges for the features offeres as options? I don't know how much longer I'll hang onto this. If the receiver dies, I know I'll probably look into a newer one. But, the original was so cool. It retailed for $400 and I got if on sale, yeah, right, for $350 at a kiosk at the mall. I had the money then and it was awesome to see the new technology. Yeah, we got Pandora now on our smartphones but have you noticed how quickly they got into serving up ads too? The world's just all about marketing and seeing how they can get a piece of you budget. I'm all about watching my budget now and doing away with what I feel I can really do without. It's hard though as we want everything.

April, another month flys by

I have experimented with a couple of different templates and am taking on the one you see here now. I felt the prior one was dark and just too hard for even myself to read. I'm still not sure what to make of a blog and why I should even bother to keep one up. Money making is the only thing that comes to mind as I don't think people really want to know what I think about anything. They've got too many things on their mind as I do too these days. Of course there will come a time or two that I will happen to post something that might be momentous but why not just post it on Facebook. That's where everyone's at now, right? I keep waiting to see what will overtake Facebook. MySpace was drained by Facebook and as always, something new always comes along. I'm not famous, I'm not rich. I'm just your ordinary person. Ask questions, have fun and by all means, try to be happy. If you can't be happy, just keep it to yourself maybe or hope you can find someone that will just listen without giving you advice. That's my pet peeve by the way. Okay, I'm outa here once again. Have a good day! One last thought on this. At least a blog will keep your posts. I don't think Facebook will.

Just an update on the Sears order for the tractor blade

Just to note that after all the work I put into researching along with the customer reps at Sears to get the correct mulching blade for my new lawn tractor, I got the right blade. Seems they have too many departments and you get handed off from one to the other with each not knowing much about what the other does. I finally got this nice older guy in Tucson, Arizona, where I was born by the way. How uncanny was that. We got off to a really nice talk. He was a good old boy who had been a trucker for I think 40 years and had retired due to his wife becoming disabled and he wanted to be home with her. I wish I could remember his name now. I was able to convince him that it wasn't my fault that my initial order came to me only half the parts I needed and he gave me a free ship on the final second order. I ordered two of the mulching blades as I'm sure I'll need to replace one once it's worn out. This blade will be a son of a gun to sharpen though. It's got ends like a forked tongue snake on each side. I'll take care of it though as I have with the past blade on the now long gone dead tractor, with a plain old file. I'm going to see if I can post some pictures here next in this blog. I want to show some customizing I did to this new lawn tractor. Something Sears should have thought about. They could have even made more money on the accessory item as well. I installed a cigarette lighter adapter to where the throttle lever is located. There was more than enough space. I had been using a small trickle charger on the old tractor, using clamps to keep the battery charged between mowings. I cut off the clamps and soldered on a connector whereby I now have a cigarette lighter plug that I can now keep plugged into the tractor and it's working perfectly. I feel it was a really sweet customization and I'd like to share it with everyone. As soon as I can figure out how to post these pictures. Ahh, I see a link goes.
Ahh, the pic is a little small but I'll go larger on the next one. What you see are the two mounting holes whereby I used a socket wrench and took of the throttle lever plate.
I like the larger picture. Let's see how this goes now. Next pic.
I should have taken pics of drilling the holes and how I measured to where I made those wholes but it's just intuitive I guess. You find the space, size it up by eye, start with a small drill bit and work your way up to make the perfect holes for your bolts. I had worried that the metal would be too hard to drill through but with some patience the drills slowly made their way through without burning up or breaking. I usually start out with an 1/8" size bit or one bigger, then go a couple more sizes up to the final size. This makes a perfectly cut hole with little trouble drilling and no bit getting stuck also. Next pic.
I found the cigarette lighter adapter at Wal-Mart for under ten bucks. I had the wiring connectors in my scrap bins and used the Y-type so the wiring could be easily secured underneath a bolt. I used the throttle lever plate as a grounding source for the black or ground wire naturally.
I like the plastic cover as it will keep out the water from the hose if I happen to splash any water around when I clean up the tractor after a mowing. I next connected the red or hot lead or wire to the positive terminal of the battery. I just knew I was going to do this project as I could not see myself taking on and off that plastic cover that hides the battery just to connect the trickle charger every time after I mow. The plastic connectors for the cover would soon deteriorate and then I'd be looking to figure what to replace them with. Just a hassle any way you looked at it. I believe in making batteries last as long as possible. That means checking the water level at least twice a year here in Florida too.
Here's the finished look with the throttle lever mounting plate bolted back onto the tractor. Pretty slick if you ask me. Now, will Sears get ahold of this and add this to this tractor in the future? My next thought is an umbrella and a cupholder for my beer. I suppose you could think of all sorts of other things but I'm just being practical right about now. Two more pics and I'm done with this. I hope you enjoyed this ingenuity as much as I have.
Here's the trickle charger I bought at Wal-Mart years ago. It still works great and an led lets you know when the battery is fully charged. These units are cheap, just under $20 if I remember right. I should use one on my car too as I don't drive many miles each day and I never get more than three years out of a deluxe battery.