Russ' Do It Yourself Home Workshop

Finding Fixes to Just About Anything and Everything

Archive for the ‘Misc Repair’ Category

Replacing the Batteries in an APC UPS Battery Tray

Posted by Russell Wright on January 11, 2017

There comes a time when you need to replace the batteries in your UPS and, like most consumables, sometimes they can cost more than the acquisition cost of the UPS…if you don’t know what you are paying for.  Here’s what I did for an APC UPS 1400.

For a mere $230 you can order a new tray with batteries.

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Or for about $60, you can purchase four new batteries and reuse your tray.

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When you purchase these batteries, make sure you know whether you are getting F1 or F2 connectors on the batteries.  I ordered some with smaller (F1) tabs so I had to order some F1-to-F2 adapters.

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Here are the batteries exposed, after removing the label.  Nothing special about these sealed lead/acid batteries.

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First thing is to remove the batteries.  I had to think about this for a bit.  They are held in place with double-sided tape.  I ended up getting my heat gun out and heated up the metal side of the tray until I could pull them loose.

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You can see where I first attempted to pry the batteries loose.  Much easier to heat up the double-sided tape and pull them out!

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Just be sure to hook everything up as it was.  Basically, each battery pair is wired in series and then the pair are in parallel on the connector.  That would make the battery tray 24v output.  I found I could pull the fuses loose from their double-sided tape on the top of the batteries.

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Now all you have to do is “stick” them back in the tray.

Posted in Computer Repair, Instructions, Misc Repair | Leave a Comment »

First Alert 9120B Smoke Detector Keeps Chirping/Beeping

Posted by Russell Wright on April 4, 2014

I had a smoke detector that kept chirping.  Thinking it was a battery problem, I replaced the battery even though the battery that was in it tested out okay.  Now, this is a smoke detector located at the top of the stairs, so I had to get my folding ladder out to get to it.  You know…two ladder feet on a stair and the other two feet of the ladder on the top of the stair landing with 6′-1", 210 lb. me standing on the ladder, reaching for the ceiling.  Not a pretty sight.  And, to make matters worse, the dang thing kept on beeping after I replaced the battery.

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So, standing on the ladder (I didn’t put it away because I thought this might happen), I removed the smoke detector by rotating it CCW to detach it from its base so I could get to the plug on the back.  After unplugging it (and not falling off the ladder) I took it downstairs and removed the cover.  There are three plastic tabs/clips that can be released, one-at-a-time, to allow you to remove the cover.  I took the naked smoke detector out to the garage and fired up the air compressor (what…you don’t have one?) and blew the sensor clean.  I reassembled the detector (snapped it together) and put the original battery back in it and voila, no more chirping!

This detector is located near our attic fan, so I’m thinking it gets a lot of dust and particulate matter blown by it when the fan runs.  However, it looked very clean on the inside, but blowing it out appears to have done the trick.

Posted in Home Repair, Misc Repair | 3 Comments »

Fix Your Logitech H760 Wireless Headphones Before They Become Worthless

Posted by Russell Wright on January 28, 2014

If you’re like me and have a pair of these fairly expensive ($60-$80) Logitech headphones, model H760, you might find their weakness is in the plastic that is part of the headband that connects the headphones together.  Many people have issues with the plastic breaking, rendering them useless.  If you contact Logitech and have a receipt, they’ll probably replace them for you because they’ve had so many complaints. 

I couldn’t find my receipt so I "fixed" them using some tie wraps as shown.  There was enough left of the plastic this seems to be holding.  If you don’t have one of these tie wrap guns,  67076 Adjustable Cable Tie GunI’d suggest you get one for all the "rigging" you do around your home.

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Posted in Misc Repair | 1 Comment »

Improving the Usability of a Cuisinart Food Processor

Posted by Russell Wright on September 23, 2012

Warning:  Do not do this if you believe the nanny government is smarter than you and needs to protect you from all the hazards of life.  And please, don’t give me any grief because of what I’ve done here.  You don’t have to do it and I’m perfectly capable of making my own decisions about how much government “protection” I need in my life.  Come to think of it, I probably need more protection from the government…but I digress.

Here is the subject Cuisinart food processor.  It’s DLC-10.  A good device, but too many safety mechanisms have been incorporated over the years which make it impossible to easily clean. 

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The pusher tube is the the main culprit.  It is captive to the safety assembly collar that must be clipped and unclipped each time you want to put something in the tube.  So basically, to shred cheese, you have to unclip the whole pusher tube, stick a piece of cheese in the tube and re-clip the safety tube mechanism in place.  Many people would not consider this a big deal, but I was always asking myself, “what’s wrong with doing it the way I always did it as a kid?”  In other words, pull out the pusher tube, drop in the cheese, and push.  I understand what they are trying to do…prevent people from putting their hands down the tube.  But the main thing is that it is almost impossible to clean.  I was reading a review by a person on Amazon that stated she wouldn’t use the device for any meat products because she didn’t think she could get it clean enough to prevent some type of bacterial growth that would ultimately make someone sick.  I no longer have that problem with this food processor.  By the way, I would rather have to pass an IQ test and purchase a product that was labeled as “dangerous.”  But don’t get me started…

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So, what did I do?  The “Tim the tool-man Taylor” thing…I modified it!  On the bottom of the assembly I simply used a Dremmel tool to grind out a little bit of plastic that allows the tube to be captive in the safety interlock collar assembly.  You could easily use a drill bit, but the Dremmel was the tool of choice for me.  

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After this bit of plastic was removed the pusher easily comes out of the assembly for cleaning.  I used a file to clean up the slot a little, but other than that, I got the exact results I desired.  The pusher slides perfectly over the tabs on the sides of the safety interlock collar.  No more captive pusher!

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Now the little locking mechanism on the assembly has a real purpose.  It keeps the two pieces together for storage and, when you unlock them, it comes apart.  What a concept!

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Now, if we could only purchase a normal gas can with a normal spout…

Posted in Cooking, Misc Repair | Leave a Comment »

Re-engineering the Frame for the Litter Maid Cover

Posted by Russell Wright on February 27, 2011

My wife purchased one of these Litter Maid covers (i.e. Cat Privacy Tent…ha, ha) because one of our newly acquired cats has some messy restroom habits.  These habits cause my wife to have to clean all around the electronic litter box, which she despises.  So, she purchased one of these and began to put it together.  Well, needless to say, it’s not engineered very well or very sturdy. 

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The original frame is constructed of flimsy 1/2” outside diameter plastic tubing.  There are numerous connectors that allow you to connect all the pieces like Tinker Toys.  Bad part is, after putting it together, it is almost impossible to zip the top and bottom halves of the cover together.  It appears to be 1/2” – 3/4” too tall.  Seems like it was made to be more like a convertible top, where you have to really stretch the material (plastic) to join it.  This ain’t something that most mere mortals will be able to do without a heat gun or something to really soften the cover material so it will stretch easily.  Plus, while attempting to zip it together, my wife busted one of the 3-way connectors.  That makes it pretty worthless.

The original frame size is about 28” x 19” x 19”.  The new design uses 1/2” schedule 40 PVC and is resized as 27-3/4” L x 18-3/4” W x 18-1/4” H.  You can see my notations on the original instructions.  A typical PVC connector has a 3/4” receptacle and increases the overall length by 1” when the pipe is buried into the receptacle its full 3/4” depth.  Since I couldn’t find 3-way connectors with all slip connections, I had to use 3-way connectors with 2 slip and 1 threaded connection.  This meant that I used adapters for the vertical sections, which took another 1” (x 2) off the length pipe needed.  That’s where the 18-1/4” – 2 – 2 = 14-1/4” calculation comes from (subtracting 2” from each side to allow for the connectors).

If you’ve never worked with PVC before, all I can tell you is to make sure you have things lined up because the PVC cement sets fast.  I built the long top and bottom pieces first, then screwed the adapters into the corners and finally joined the top and bottom together.  Not hard, but if you screw up, you might be starting over!

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Putting it together ends up looking like this.

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After installing the bottom part of the cover.

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Here’s the top and bottom covers placed on the new frame.  Testing out the operation of the Velcro tabs.

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Here’s what it looks like closed.

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Placing the Litter Maid in the frame with the lower cover installed.

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And finally, the top cover in place and the whole thing put back in its place.  Fits purrrrrrr-fectly!

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Posted in Misc Repair | Leave a Comment »

Disassembly and Assembly of a LifeFitness x5i Elliptical

Posted by Russell Wright on July 4, 2010

Here are some pics and procedures for taking apart your x5i and reassembling it.  It’s not comprehensive, but it will give you the main idea if you need to take it apart for any reason.

The bottom shroud that wraps around the back end of the machine can be removed without taking anything else off.  It is held in place with six machine screws and, once they are removed, you simply pull it back to remove it.  The power jack is attached to the metal frame, so it doesn’t get in the way of the removal of the shroud.

BottomShroud

If you want to remove the long “arms” on the elliptical you need to remove the bolts (9/16”) at the front and back of the arms by first removing the covers.  Each cover half is held in place with a single machine screw.  You can take either side out first, as the order doesn’t matter.  This will expose a bolt with a self-locking nut that can easily be removed.  Here are some pictures, but they are not very good.  Hopefully you get the idea.

 

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FrontArm

Once you have these bolts removed, you need to remove the bolt holding the stride length adjustment mechanism on the crank.  This bolt is accessed by removing a plug that covers it.

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Now you can remove the 9/16” bolt, lock washer and flat washer that hold the mechanism on the crank.  I found that using a magnet to retrieve the hardware from the hole was very handy. 

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After removing the stride length adjustment mechanism, you can remove four machine screws that hold on a plastic cover.

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Once the cover is out of the way, you can remove the two screws that hold the metal plate on the crank and then remove the bolt that clamps the crank on to the flywheel.  To pull the crank off the flywheel, you may need some kind of puller.  I used a sliding hammer/puller that is used for doing bodywork.  These things have a knack for being wedged on so this may be the hardest part of the disassembly unless you have a puller to help you remove it.

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Now you can finally remove all the screws that hold one half of the shroud in place.  These are a mixture of machine screws that attach the shroud to the frame and plastic/wood screws that screw into the other half of the plastic shroud.  Once you remove all the screws on a given side (this is the left side we’re working on) you should be able to remove half the shroud and expose the innards. 

To expose the other side simply repeat the process.  It’s a lot of screws, but nothing very difficult.

Posted in Instructions, Misc Repair | 4 Comments »

Opening a Sentry Safe with a Rubber Mallet, some WD-40 and a Screwdriver

Posted by Russell Wright on May 7, 2010

I have a Sentry Safe that I purchased from Sam’s a year or two ago (too lazy to look it up).  My wife recently tried to open it and, even though it agreed with the combination that was entered, the electronic opener refused to release the lock.  Since this safe can only be opened with an electronic code, this is a BAD situation!

I first tested all four batteries with my handy-dandy battery tester and they all passed with flying colors.  I could hear the actuator trying to work each time I entered the code.  I even tried the “master” code.  No go.  Being somewhat mechanically inclined, I decided to whack on the front of the safe with my fist (didn’t think I would hurt it) after entering the code.  Viola!  The actuator fired up and it opened.

I then started looking on the web and found this post by lighthouse.  Exactly my problem!  All you need is a Rubber Mallet (or a hard fist), some WD-40 and a screwdriver. 

Needless to say, I’ll be taking it back to Sam’s and getting my money back, regardless of whether it’s in or out of warranty.  I think Sentry Safe has sold many of us a bill of goods…what do you think?  POS!

2010-07-10 Update

So my son purchased a Sentry safe today and I warned him about the sticking problem.  Since I never did anything about my safe since I opened it last, I decided to pry the plastic cover off so I could see the innards and determine what to lube.  Looks like the actuator in the upper left is the source of the problem.  So, if you need to whack your safe, you can see that the upper right (as you’re facing it) would be the place to smack.

When I pried the back off, there was all kinds of plastic slag and crap sitting at the bottom on the ledge.  Such quality…

One of the comments to lighthouse’s post was by a guy who used his “saws-all” to cut through the pins.  As you can see, these are all just cast parts, which means they are probably very soft metal.  I guess if this safe is ever involved in a fire it will open automatically as all the parts melt!

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Keywords:

Can’t open Sentry safe

Sentry safe won’t open

Sentry safe stuck closed

Posted in Misc Repair | 140 Comments »

Whirlpool Gold Refrigerator GS6NVEXSS01 Dispenser Frame Detached from Door

Posted by Russell Wright on April 18, 2010

So I’d normally be posting a repair to help others save money and headaches, but on this one, I have to ask for help.  I’ve got a fairly nice Whirlpool Gold refrigerator (GS6NVEXSS01) that has ice and water in the door that has a mechanical nuisance that I’d like to solve.

The refrigerator is only a couple of years old and has developed a problem with the poorly designed plastic insert that frames/contains the dispensing equipment.  What I hope you can see from my pictures is how it’s pulled away from the door of the fridge because the flimsy plastic retaining tabs have broken from, I believe, just opening and closing the door.

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I’ve looked around and found that I can purchase the replacement part, which looks like it includes a lot of things I don’t need, for about $300-$400…at least from what I can tell.  Ouch!  I haven’t actually talked to anybody yet to see if the plastic trim part is available without all the other stuff that hangs on it.

I’ve thought about drilling a couple of small (#4) holes in the corners and using some small, black self-tapping screws to fasten the corners down.  But, before I did that I was wondering if anyone else had a problem like this and what they did to solve it.  Has anyone see a “re-design” of this part?

My wife and I really like the overall design and functionality of this “ice and water through the door” part of the refrigerator, but I’ve got to say I’m really disappointed in the mechanical design. 

2010-11-21 Update

I finally took it upon myself to fix this.  Here’s what I did.

I found some #4 (I believe) black, flat head sheet metal screws and very carefully drilled holes in the upper corners of the plastic bezel.  This was after making sure there was some metal behind the bezel that could accept a sheet metal screw.  I counterbored the holes in the bezel using a countersinking bit so the screw heads would be flush with the surface. 

Then came the hard part…drilling the holes in the sheet metal behind the bezel.  Maybe I have crappy drill bits (but I think I used a brand new one), but that piece of sheet metal is HARD!  It took me quite a while to punch a hole through it will the drill, but it all worked out well.  Here are my results.

The screws are barely noticeable.

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Everything is being held in place and has been for several months now.

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I’m much happier.

Posted in Home Repair, Misc Repair | Leave a Comment »

Repairing My Life Fitness x5i Elliptical Console (Part Number XCI-0000-0102)

Posted by Russell Wright on January 8, 2010

I have this real nice Life Fitness elliptical trainer that I really like develop a console problem at the end of December 2009.  Many of the keys would no longer work.  One of the keys that wouldn’t work was the ENTER key, so that made the console almost worthless.  I could select one of my custom workouts, but I couldn’t start the workout because ENTER wouldn’t work.  Along with the ENTER key, there were several other keys that just stopped working.

I contacted Life Fitness but alas, there was only a 3 year warranty and we purchased the elliptical in February 2006.  It was going to cost several hundred dollars to fix, so I decided I had nothing to lose by taking it apart.  They did suggest that I could save about $200 in labor costs by replacing the console myself.  $200?!?  It takes about five minutes to take the thing off and put it back on!

I had already removed the console (four screws on the back), pulled the connectors off and reseated them with no luck, so I began by cracking open the console.  After removing the console from the elliptical (four screws), I had to remove eight screws, two of which are located under the label on the back (which is stuck securely down with very sticky double-sided tape), in order to crack open the console to expose the entire board.

There was one other ribbon connector that was exposed when the back was removed.  Since I hadn’t reseated this connector, I pulled it off and put it back on.  Then I connected the bare console back up to see if I got lucky…and I did!  Guess there was oxidation that set in on the connector over the past few years.  I’m so happy.  🙂

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Here’s an update as of June 9th, 2010.  Now I’ve got the same problem others (like Regina) have with the elliptical going into “beeping” mode.  I can get 5, 10 or maybe 20 minutes out of it sometimes before it starts beeping and changing modes randomly.  Even with taking the control display console apart and reseating all the connectors, I am still left with the same problem.  This morning, it got so bad I finally got “motor error” displayed.  Bummer.  Here’s a post on FitnessForums.net where miles22 was having a similar problem and getting parts, a flywheel servo motor, from Life Fitness.  The possibility of there being a problem in the backend flywheel area actually crossed my mind and I started taking it apart to see if I could get to the parts.  I need a little more time to do some disassembly, so it will have to wait for the weekend.

In the mean time, I talked to LifeFitness support and they were good enough to provide me the service manual for my x5i.

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I’ve been working on this over the weekend and have come to the conclusion that there is a problem with the membrane switch part of the console.  If I disconnect the keypad connector on the back of the console (the 7-pin flat connector in the picture) then the erratic behavior goes away.  As soon as this is reconnected, the console goes into crazy mode.  It’s really a shame because I’m pretty sure you can’t purchase the front part of the console with the switches.  I’m going to be shelling out $350 to get my console repaired.

I guess another option would be to replace it with the “non-interactive” version of the console (XCS-0000-0102).  I really hate to dumb down something I paid extra for, but it looks like LifeFitness has decided that there’s not enough demand for a “fancy” console and all the new ones come with a blue console.  When I called the other day, I think they told me I could have mine repaired for $350 or get one of theirs for $450.  I’ll probably get mine repaired…I hope it lasts longer than four years.

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Major update 2010-06-17

After sending my console out for repair, it was pointed out to me by Glenn H. that the source of the problem could be the power supply.  I actually checked my power supply and it was between 13 and 14 VDC, so I thought, "good, 12 VDC, a little high, but not completely abnormal."  I failed to read the specs on the power supply and, as Glenn pointed out, it should be 9 volts, not 12!  Now, he has also pointed out that the $10 power supply probably wrecked the console.  I bet LifeFitness knows about this problem.

Way to go, LifeFitness!  Put a cheap, made in China, power supply on a $3 or $4 thousand dollar machine so when it goes bad, it starts taking out other pieces of the machine.  This sounds like a problem that has been experienced by many people.  If it has happened to you, leave a comment!  I’m beginning to smell a cover up on this one!  Let me know what you think.

Update 2010-07-04

I received my “repaired” console ($350) while I was out of town and installed it today.  While it was out being repaired I purchased a replacement 9 volt, 1 amp adapter on eBay for about $10, so I know that I won’t be damaging the new console with a bad power supply.  The installation went quickly and without incident.  Everything came up and worked.  From what I can tell though, the console was brand new.  At least all the plastic parts and keyboard were new.  There was a new PROM installed on the board, so I’m not sure if they used the same circuit board or not and I didn’t attempt to determine whether it was the same one.  The part that took me the longest was putting the machine back together again, as I had taken some of it apart while troubleshooting (which I’ve documented here). 

My final thought on what happened was this.  Somewhere along the line, probably about two years after purchasing the elliptical, the power supply began to fail.  This may have been caused by a voltage surge or it may just be a cheap, made-in-china power supply.  This was indicated by the console randomly beeping at times when it should be in “sleep” mode.  This was before the failure became a permanent problem (If you have this happen, immediately suspect the power supply.  Take it off and measure the voltage to see if it is still 9 volts.).  Continued use of the over-voltage power supply finally caused a failure on the circuit board…most likely causing corruption of the PROM that contains the program for the board.  I suppose it’s possible that the keyboard went bad, but I doubt it.  I think it was all mainly caused by a corruption of the programmable chip.  Anyway, it was finally corrupted to the point that the keyboard handler code wouldn’t even work correctly.  This made both the keyboard and the console useless.  Since I didn’t have access to a new programmed chip, my only option was to send it out to be repaired.  Oh well, now Mr. E is all up and working…

Posted in Home Repair, Misc Repair | 214 Comments »

Replacing the Battery on Your Casio Calculator Watch and Resetting the Watch

Posted by Russell Wright on June 7, 2009

Okay, so I’m a geek and I wear a calculator watch (most of the time). I’ve been sporting the Casio CA53W-1 since about 1980. I’ve had several.

Replacing the battery is not good for over 40 eyes. You definitely need some magnification! If your remove the 4 screws from the back you have a tiny o-ring that seals around the back and a CR2016 battery that is held in place with a clip. There is also has an insulator attached to the clip.

Push down on the battery to slightly flex the clip and use a small jeweler’s screwdriver to carefully detach the clip side that is located toward the keyboard. Once you hook it, it shouldn’t take much. Then, carefully remove the clip and insulator.

Place a new battery in the compartment, + side up, and hook the clip/insulator to the top hook and then press down to flatten the clip. Use your small screwdriver to carefully assist with attaching the bottom part of the clip. Don’t rip up the insulator!

After installation, you’ll have to perform a reset on the watch. In the lower right quadrant you should see a small gold contact on the circuit board with the letters AC (all clear?) stamped on the sheet metal backing next to it. It took a strong magnifying glass for me to see it. Temporarily short the gold contact to the sheet metal backing and the watch should reset itself to 12:00 a.m.

Put the cover back on with the teeny tiny screws and you should be good to go. Be sure to get the o-ring gasket in the channel correctly.

Posted in Home Repair, Misc Repair | Tagged: | 8 Comments »