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Door repair

Door repair

   The door into the garage has been pretty bad shape since we move into the house.  Today I spent $13 on a board to fix it.  I ripped off the old face and replaced it with the new 1/4" plywood.  After making sure the door still fit in the frame I took it inside for painting.  The old red parts took three coats to cover, but the new wood only took two.  So far the door looks pretty good.  I could have picked up a brand new door, but I've only seen a door installed once, and it seemed to require more precision than I feel capable.
This is bad

This is bad

   On my long list of things to get done this weekend is replacing several outlets with Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) outlets.  Outlets near running water should be GFCI.  We don't have a single GFCI in this house, and 5 outlets near sinks.  I plan to replace them all.  The first outlet I worked on was in the basement next to the utility sink.  The outlet feeds the washer and dryer.  I opened it up to do the replacement and saw this absolute no-no.  This is a 3-prong outlet but there is no ground wire.  Instead, the neutral has been connect to ground.  This is a bad idea.  If the neutral wire became disconnected, any three prong devices plugged into the socket would have a live case.  In this case touching the washer or dryer would electrocute you if the neutral became disconnected.  Luckily, one can connect a GFCI without connecting ground as long as it is labeled.  This is because any current that doesn't go through the designated hot/neutral path causes the GFCI to trip, thus making the outlet safe.  It is a lot easier to replace two-prong outlets with GFCI outlets than running new wire so I will probably do this for several of the two prong outlets in the house.

November 21, 2018

10,000 miles in two years

New Battery Pack

New Battery Pack

   My ride home today completed mile number 10,004 over a 2 year period.  Last year I rode a total of 4,625 miles, and so far this year I've ridden 5,379.  The season got cold quickly this year and I am hoping to switch from actual outdoor riding to indoor riding.  This month is already coming in short of the 417 mile target and I have no plans to fix that.  Last year I rode 500 miles in both November and December.
   Power for my bicycle, used on lights and to charge my phone, comes from packs of 18650 lithium-ion batteries.  18650s are very popular, and used in items from laptop computer to electric cars.  Probably one of the most known applications are in electronic cigarettes.  This means there are a plethora of batteries to choose from which keeps them cheep.  The problem I've had is with the quality.  None of my battery packs have lasted more than about a year, and I try and keep two battery packs in case one goes dead.  My last set was fairly pathetic in terms of longevity.  They also stopped working every few months because they did not like the elements.  Usually a wire would fail and I would have to solder a bridge.  This battery pack is sealed and it means I can buy use better 18650 cells.  So hopefully this means I won't have to buy a new pack this time next year.