26 August 2012

Copper Lust....hit the jackpot at the jobsite Saturday

 A couple of weeks ago my son came up from College Station to pick up some rock crawler parts from a friend of his in the DFW area. Got a Dana 60 or 70? rear end, a turbo 400 tranny, and some big-assed rock crawler tires and wheels. He's planning to build a Caddy powered crawler and has been gathering parts. He sold his old Samari 4 cylinder crawler a few weeks ago. 
 He brought me a 105 gallon diesel tank that needed some repairs. He welded a plate across the end bottom corner, but when he filled it with water to test it, it had a few pin-hole leaks along the weld bead. My wire welder should have done the trick, but since I never use it the wire spool got a little rusty and he couldn't get a good tight bead. Fixed most areas, but needs to be drained down and re welded in 2 spots to stop the leaks. We pumped it out with a Harbor Freight 12V pump, but he was running late on time and had to skedaddle. I didn't have a fresh spool of wire anyway.
 With this tank sitting in the back of my old 1985 F250 Lariat diesel....I'll have about 140 gallons of capacity...enough to get me to the cabin and back with one fill up. At the terrible 12 MPG this old dawg gets (they didn't have auto-trans OD back then, revs up way high at highway speeds) that's about 1600 miles after the $560 fill up.
 My "Benita"....made with loving care by little Japanese hands..(Pre Fuk-us-shima era). Needs a lift kit, but can't seem to let go of the $685 for the kit alone....no install labor in that figure. Gas powered cart with a back seat. Hauls my obese butt around quite handily.
 At the workplace I was finally able to get the excavation/demo sub to tear down the old ground mounted power transformer bldg that served the entire 168 apts - 10 acre site. We installed new underground elect distribution and the old bldg and transformers had to go. The power company field rep looked at the 3 giant transformers sitting inside a brick walled bldg and called them "widow makers"..said even after they are disconnected they can hold enough juice to arc out and kill a man that get's within 3 feet of them. Well Oncor finally got the trannys (that don't sound fight)....and hauled them away, leaving the bldg for us to demo.
 There was a big massive disconnect box on the outside wall and 3 big metal plates penetrated thru the wall up high. I had studied them from the ground and thought...."now how can I get my hands on these plates, that looked to be copper?"....dull green, not corroded. Yesterday, being Saturday, like always...I felt compelled to make the 50 mile drive across Fort Worth, Arlington, and into Irving to the jobsite to check on things.
 The demo foreman was there with his big shiney Volvo track loader with the hydra-hoe attachment and started knocking down those double wide brick walls like they were made of sugar cubes. I told him I wanted to try to save that area where the metal came through and he gently knocked the bricks away from each side and picked it up and dumped it off to one side. I plucked out these big "L shaped" plates and huffing and puffing, hauled them out of harms way. I figured them to weigh around 50-60# each...eventually got them into the trunk of my "old" Towcar...sticking out the back a foot or so...wired the trunk lid somewhat down with some baling wire and off I went. Towncars have HUGE trunk areas, but not enough for these to close.
 Sweet talked Nephew Joe into coming over Sunday AM for a little work and he took them apart with my Harbor Freight impact wrench. Here are some big heavy gauge cable connectors made of brass that came off a couple of them. I stacked them up against a saw horse for a decent pic, turned around to grab the camera and "crash-bang-biff-Pow"..the saw horse fell over. Oh well, you get the picture. Haven't weighed them, but the middle sized plates are 12# each.....Not sure of the scrap value...I think around $3/lb or so. But I might get my son to slice them in half lengthwise with his fancy plasma cutter machine and they'd make great battery connector bars. But then again maybe $500 in scrap = most of the lift kit cost for the golf cart...a "Jake's brand, USA made..6" travel, long arm, adjustable" kit....the exact kind I would need around the cabin roads in South Brewster Co.?
Oh and here is an interior finished shot of the12,000 btu Mini-split....super quiet.. running day and night. Sucks out alot of humidity too. We turned off the other noisy but strong-cooling, old Sears Coldspot window unit in the bedroom and only run this one. Keeps our little place cool and it's gotta be saving alot of cooling costs with the 23 SEER rating and 110V usage. That little flap on the lower end, slowly rotates up and down to push air across the room and then down in front....or you can freeze it in one spot to stay if you like. (It's a heat pump too, but I prefer cozy propane or kerosene heat....but we will test it this winter)

Nice and cloudy here today, off and on light sprinkles....seems like summer just instantly switched to almost fall....like overnight. 110 temps a couple of weeks ago, now lower to mid 90's forecast for next week here in DFW area.

Ok....blah, blah...blah..sorry, long post today.

Everyone take care and HAGD


09 August 2012

Quick Trip to Austin

Jack and I are making a quick trip to Austin today (I've had the week off because my employers are on vacation). I'll get to see Ben in his latest production and I'll get to see Bruce, too. It's nice to have both of my boys in the same city!

We'll be back by late morning or early afternoon tomorrow.

I feel a little bad (well, not really) because I have avoided telling my mother I'm going. She has a bad habit of inviting herself to activities--which would be fine and nice. BUT considering the last several weeks of her in-again-out-again hospital stays, I really don't want to take her too far away from 'her' hospital yet. When the subject of my trip comes up, I'll just tell her the truth. No biggie.

04 August 2012

new Tech.. desert cabin AC.....Mini-Split system 110V

I've been researching off grid AC systems....and thinking there ain't much for desert living, other than a swamp cooler...and this is what I found.
"Mini Split" systems with the INVERTER compressors seems to be the deal....very popular for many years in the Far East, and Europe...and developing countries....but pretty much unheard of here in the US. Maybe due to AC manufacturers, AC svc companies and elect power companies not wanting this techno to become widespread in the land of the Consumers?

Checking around online for the best deals and what other folks have installed for off-grid...this is what I ended up buying. "Overstocked" Fedders mini splits for pretty cheap. There are plenty of Ching Chong versions a tad cheaper ...but this was Fedders...still China made. For some reason I thought this was better, but the price seemed okay, considering the22 SEER rating, at $750 plus the "line set" (copper lines)  and then you gotta add the elect power line and a wire for the control to tell the condenser what to do. My former A/C repair tech son was in town so got him to do the install.......and took about an hour.

Just gotta install the inside bracket, high on the exterior wall....then make a 2" hole to the outside for the freon lines, the power line and the condensate line.
The inside unit and fitting everything thru the hole took a little time, but he did the exterior condenser "suck down" work and hooked up the flare fittings, and with power wires and a wire from the inside unit the outside unit for the remote control....and hooked to 110V.....we wuz in bid-ness!!! The unit is pre charged with R410.

He is a certified AC Tech...so he has the tools and  knows what he's doing...unlike ME.....who knows Nada.
The outside condenser is about as big a a full sized suitcase....and as loud as a box fan on high...the inside unit is damn near SILENT.....remote control and all. But if you're looking for one of these for OFF GRID...it's gotta be with the "Inverter Compressor" and 110 V is best. Some have this...others do not.
This thing is a 22 SEER rating...and has Heat Pump as well...but that heat pump spins the elect meter just like the AC....but most folks don't realize that. (we have propane in winter for heat)

It does seem pricey for a 1 ton AC... compared to a good window unit....and I did get a free installation...only way to get warranteed is certified installer doing the job. But the super efficiency unit at 22SEER and with elect prices steadily going up......makes good sense.

I planned to get a 9K unit for the cabin....but guess what.....they are SOLD OUT of these "overstocked" 22 SEER  Fedders Mini splits.

A standard AC unit is only "on or off" for the compressor...but these units are somewhat variable in the compressor speeds that match to what the thermostat temp setting demands.

Website is called "alpine home air"...or something like that.....free shipping and no tax. But Cust Svc sucks a bit.



03 August 2012

out with old...in with new (er) ....Car talk here

Bigfoot here...

I got the urge to update my ride a couple months ago, and found a great used car deal at a Dallas Caddy dealer. Found a 2004 Town Car, top-o-the-line, with 80K miles for about $2K less than "retail" used, book price and $3K cheaper than similar ones on Ebay located in Houston. Right color, right options, sunroof, decent tires, and NO GRANNY CLOTH ROOF. Even has an auto-trunk closer....(didn't even know about that option!).

The trunk is immaculate, for now...but I tend to trash out any vehicle I own...cause" that's how I roll"...here's the fresh one with a little 6 pack cooler for size reference (TCs have HUGE trunks) note the mini-spare... and the trunk opener/closer motor to the left side

And here is the Old TC...and it's trunk. ( I nabbed some gallons of exterior latex paint samples...from the jobsite that would have been tossed in the dumpster, and after the 50 mile trip, one fell over and the velvety chocolate colored paint ran out all over the bottom of the trunk...and on a few tools too)..but latex will come off w/o too  much work. (note the full sized spare)

This old workhorse has made many trips to the cabin, sometimes pulling a pickup bed trailer with dirtbike, generator, tools, materials, etc behind it. Gets 25mpg highway speeds - no trailer.
New TC interior here.....sweet roominess for an old FATASS like me!!
Only thing the old TC needs is a detail job...and some front end, tie-rod replacements.....tends to need slight corrections as you drive down a straight hiway....but after 176,000 miles that is to be expected I reckon. The engine was replaced with a Lincoln factory "crate" engine at 85K by the previous owner ( got the paper work) . I only used Mobile One synthetic oil and it runs perfectly....gets around 23MPG from here to Dallas as a daily driver....but the newer one only gets 20-21MPG...same trip. Old one has good cold air (better than the new one), and has had the typical leaky TC rear airbags replaced with standard coil springs and manually adjusted air shocks. If I can get her cleaned up and fetch $2500, I'll be happy. Has a really good set of Michelins on it too. I'd swap these shoes to the newer one....but new one has 17" rims.(notice how Corp-super-marketing USA has got us all changing rim sizes now?...used to 15" was standard for most all cars for 50 + years....now hard to find used tires in 15-16" sizes..everything is 17"- 20".....consumer-"gotta be cool"- marketing model that killed us still going strong. (we are screwed)
My son sold his old 1970 Caddy Coupe with airbags (no motor/tranny)....to a local guy that plans to put a Dodge motor and tranny in it for a street cruiser......tow truck took it away. We had it since it was bought from an old Granny owner with 180K miles and it was Red with a white vinyl top in 1999 for my son's first car at 16yrs old. He's making room for being a new Daddy.

Okay, over load on the car chatter, I realize...but I just had to get it out. (nice break from the bread and baby talk....huh?)

(We still really miss Ben N Texas...damn, great old guy.)

Adio y'all...Bigfoot

01 August 2012

Updates, Etc.

. . . Just to tie up a few loose ends . . .

Mom is doing much better. Taking it easy at home and doing fine.

Nug ended up getting REALLY sick. The ear infection was a misdiagnosis (I'll save my comments about that). Had to take him back to the doctor the next day and a different doctor (correctly) diagnosed roseola. Nug's fever was up past 105 at times. It was a miserable several days. Even Monday, after the fever was gone, he was pretty wiped out from the whole ordeal. Yesterday he was more active. And I suspect today will be back to normal--zooming around the room all day (I hope). (For newish readers, Nug (Michael) is my 'job.' I'm his nanny. He's my baby.)

Nug's family is going on vacation to Florida next week. So I have a week off! I hope to catch up on a few things around the house, get to the optometrist for new glasses, and get my hair cut.

My back still hurts but in a different way now. More of an achy feeling in my lower back. I DID go have an acupressure massage (for the first time) on Saturday. I highly recommend it! I like it better than a regular massage (not that I get massages very often). They use pressure points and do a lot more strong pushing on bones and muscles rather than just rubbing. It feels like 'more is happening' if that makes any sense. I'm justifying the expense because it's for the health of my back. Way-the-hell more relaxing than the chiropractor!

The bread that I suffered so much angst about miraculously got consumed within 2 days. It ended up tasting very good.

I plan to make a trip to Austin this weekend to see BOTH of my sons. Ben will be performing and Bruce has just moved down there to attend culinary school. It's nice to have them both in the same city.