Discord Helps Find Which Breaker

Need to replace this switch

Breaker Breaker, Where is the Breaker?

None of this is a problem for those of you with someone else in the house. Just make a mobile phone call and have the other person stand near the circuit you are testing. Sure Sure. But I live alone.

A switch in the back bedroom / Computer room was bad. It was not making a positive connection so the light would flicker when the switch was thrown or wiggled. So, how to find the breaker? How about the Breaker Finder Tool I purchased a while ago?

This tool makes a beeping noise when the probe is brought near the breaker where the other end is plugged in, or screwed into a socket. Nice theory at least. And it has worked before for me. But in this case the tool made a horrible screeching sound when the probe was anywhere near the panel, so it’s not working at all in this case. No clue why.

Enter Discord.

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Corner Cabinet Lights

After fixing the problem in the Corner cabinet with the baking sheets, I decided that I needed a light in the cabinet since I couldn’t see easily what I needed in there.

So I got some LED light strips, from the auto section, a cabinet switch and a magnetic cabinet closure. The lights are designed to be mounted under cars. Six strips, each a foot long, running on 12 volts for $10. I have a bunch of little power supplies lying around. After running for 1/2 an hour, this supply is barely warm running three light strips.

Now I needed a board to mount the lights on to put them at the top of the cabinet.

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Baking Sheets All Snarled Up

My baking sheets were all snarled up and falling over in the cabinet. So I made a stand to hold them up. I thought I was going to have to screw it down in the cabinet, but it is so heavy – 5/8″ plywood – that it sits there just fine.

There is still quite a bit of this left over Siding plywood left, so there will be more Crude projects down the pike. This is the first project using the new Belt Sander. Works great. Less dust around since it’s hooked up to the shop vac.

Stand works great. After a few days when the glue is completely dry, I’ll get around to giving it a coat of poly.
:ww

New Bench Sander Mount

Old Sander Wearing Out

I use a hand belt sander that I’ve mounted to used it as a fixed sander. This sander has been working for many years, but the last time I used it, it was making some alarming sounds. Not sure what is wrong, but I’m guessing that a bearing or gear has worn out.

The sander has a flat “Top” so it has been easy to lash it down to a board and use it as a fixed sander. A couple of cable ties and it’s lashed down securely.

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Lowe’s Online Shopping Example

I needed a quart of Tile Mastic. Amazon had only Gallons, which is way too much. Lowe’s had quarts, and they have a store in Roseburg Oregon. I live near Charleston Oregon.

The mastic cost about $8 and shipping was another $5, but local stores in the Coos Bay area don’t carry this as far as I can tell.

Well it’s taking a while to get it. Turns out that Lowe’s decided that the San Jose, California store could ship it to me. Not the Roseburg, Oregon store.

So here it goes:

I expect that it will be delivered tomorrow sometime after being driven all night tonight from Troutdale, through Roseburg and then to Coos Bay for delivery to Charleston.

I’m sure that Fedex shipping is very efficient. I’m sure their computers work long and hard to optimize shipping routes. It is odd that the truck does not stop somewhere along I-5 on the way from California to Portland [Troutdale is outside of Portland, Oregon]. But whatever.

It would seem that Lowe’s might spend a little more time optimizing their shipping. Their website tells me that I can pick up the item at the Lowe’s in Roseburg, but when Lowe’s ships it they ship it from San Jose, California.

I’m sure it will be fine when it arrives. Even with the unusual heat the Portland area is having right now. 115 degrees F yesterday in Portland.

:ww

Attic Access Solution

Currently my attic is accessed by removing two pieces of plywood above a doorway in the garage.

The plywood panels are held in with Drywall screws. This is a problem for several reasons:

  • There are two pieces of plywood rather than one. Easy fix. Just screw some small board or strips of plywood to the back to join the two pieces to make one “Door”.
  • The plywood “Door” is held on with drywall screws which are difficult to remove and replace and a pain to retrieve if you drop them.
  • There are no “Handles” on the plywood “Door”. That makes it more difficult than necessary to remove and replace the door.
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Rock’n Forward Into The ’90s

My house dates from the 1970’s, and the kitchen lighting fixtures apparently date from then too. They have LEDs, but there is lots of Spillover around the shades and with LEDs they are too bright. By spillover I mean that far away from the fixture you are looking directly at the bulb rather than through the shade. Notice the attempt to dim one of them by adding Trash Bag plastic to the shade. Not a good idea with Incandescent bulbs, but no problem with heat from LEDs. Anyway that was a failure. The spillover made that useless.

Time for an upgrade.

Wayfair had some nice ones for not a lot of money and free shipping.

WhooHoo… We are rock’n in the 90’s now. Ok So a Can Lighting upgrade was too much work. But these only have one bulb, which is right for using LEDs and they are attractive and spillover free.

I’m way happy.
:ww

LED Torchiere is Cool

I just got an LED Torchiere Floor Lamp from Wayfair.Wayfair Torchiere Floor Lamp Detail.png

Here it is where I’m using it. It’s probably hard to see in the clutter.

The top red circle is the top light aimed at the ceiling. The bottom red circle is the task light. I have a FLIR thermal camera and here are the temperatures for the two lights.

Task Light First. Back and Front.

And here is the top ceiling light. Back and front.

This is after running it for several hours on high. The power supply is a wall wart that supplied 24 volts at 1.5 amp for a maximum of 36 watts. Way down from the Halogen light I’m replacing that has a 300 watt ceiling directed light and a 50 watt task light.

I’ve been waiting for a couple of years and watching for an LED version of this light. For a long time only Halogen versions were available.

May you walk in the light of LEDs.
:ww

Home Ethernet Wiring

I’ve wired my house for Ethernet and Phone. But here let’s just talk about the Ethernet wiring. Here is my problem:

There are four places where I’ve wired Ethernet around the house to places where I use Ethernet switches to distribute to multiple devices. Three cables leave the house near the Router, and then each cable enters the house at a different place. Once near the computer where I’m sitting now. One to the back of the Entertainment system, and one in the back room where there are several more computers.

I’ve wired the house for 1GB Ethernet using Cat5 Cable. This was done several years ago. But for any new installation, using Cat6 for an eventual speed of 10GB would be best. Even if your present equipment is not capable of this, it’s much easier to change equipment than doing the wiring again.

Outside Wiring

Here’s what the cable runs look like around the house. I did not run using crawl space or attic. The back portion of my house is on slab and there is no attic there. So I needed to run things outside around the house.

The places where two cables are close together are phone wires, which are all on a continuous loop. I no longer use the phone loop, since I use wireless phones throughout the house with a base station and 3 satellite phones. I suggest not wiring any phone circuits, but only Ethernet. My phone lines are carried over the same type of wire as the Ethernet.

Notice that the cable is not noticeable when it has been painted. The large black pipe is a black water pipe that I split and screwed to the house to carry the cables so that I could easily change or add more if needed. This is probably not necessary if you are doing a single run. When I had my house painted a few years ago, I had them tape the black pipe so that it would not fill up with Paint and be a mess. When the tape came off, it looked very neat and tidy.

Remember that Ethernet is run with a single point to point wire for each remote connection. The wire entries to the house are sealed with Caulk to keep out moisture and insects.

Drilling through the House

I used a drill like this to drill through the house. Be careful and stay away from outlets so that you don’t drill through a power circuit.

I used a surface mount box and modular connectors once inside the house. But there are better tiny boxes now.

Running the Wire

Direct Burial cable is the best type to use. Gel in the cable keeps it dry when it is outside in the rain over the years. You can buy it increments of 100ft online for about $30 / 100ft. And they will ship it in one roll, so if you get 300ft, you get one roll, not three. No joints outside.

These tiny little boxes screw to the wall and you use a Punch Down tool to terminate the cable to the connector in the box, which just snaps shut after it’s screwed to the wall. You can buy these boxes with more then one connection in them if you need to.

Use the staple gun to staple the wire to the outside of the house up under the eaves or wherever it will be less visible. Be very careful not to puncture the cable with the staples. There are other screw on or nail type hangers for cable too. Those might be less of an issue in terms of accidents on the cable. You might price these tools / cable / boxes locally, but my guess it’s far cheaper to buy them online, even with shipping.

From the Wall Box to Your Computer

You’ll use some patch cords to go from the wall plug to the computer. And you can run the box to the wall near the computer desk/ TV or whatever you’re connecting. Patch cords come in any sizes you need, and putting them behind and under furniture is fine. But obviously you don’t want them running on the floor where you can trip or step on them. If you need two connections on opposite walls of a room, then you can run two cable lengths around the house. Or I guess it’s possible to run to inside the house, to a switch as below, then back out and around to the other wall and back inside. You’ll use patch cords and a two outlet box on the first connection to jumper the connection back outside around the house to the second connection. It is not possible to Daisy Chain Ethernet connections. Each “Y” requires a switch.

For connecting both a computer or two and a TV or other device to the cable, just use a switch like this. Make sure your switch is as fast as you want the connection to work. Computers on the same network are not limited by the speed of the router or internet connection but by the cable, interfaces in the devices and switches.

Switches come with various numbers of ports: 5, 8 and larger sizes and are reasonably priced, as you can see.

Pretty easy to wire your house for Ethernet and these connections are much more reliable than WiFi.
:ww

Well That’s Strange

A while ago I made some Fairy Light Globes. 100mm Glass Christmas ornament globes with a Fairy LED Light String in them. I display them in groups of three in two places in the house. Recently I touched the power supplies – Wall Wart supplies producing 3.5 Volts – and noticed that one of them was warmer. Odd. All the light strings were bought at the same time. I got out my FLIR thermal camera and this is what I found.

One of the globes is hotter then the others. Using a KillaWatt measuring device, I found that the warm globe is drawing 3 watts, and other others don’t draw enough to move the value from zero. So this is what is making the power supply for that globe warmer. I have swapped the power supplies and the globe – Fairly Light String actually – is different, not the power supply. Odd. I have no idea why.

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