Tuesday, November 17, 2009

I'm not so snart...

The last few days I've been putting in long hours in the desert, building large structures out of steel. In the evening, I bring a truckload of stuff that needs to be fixed back to the duplex. The last few weeks I've been frustrated with my Makita drill/driver. I bought this thing back in the 90's and it's the best all around tool I've ever owned. It's got an expensive habit of going through NiCad batteries (around $35 each) and lately I had problems with the charger. Again. Last time I found a used one that I bought.

This time I decided I'd fix it or replace the guts with a 9v charger that I had laying around. So I took it apart and found a little circuit board inside that everything was wired to. I remembered that someone once told me that most service techs fix circuit boards like this: if there's corrosion they clean it off and then test the unit. If it works, they button it up, charge you $25 and go out to dinner on your dime.

If the cleaning doesn't work, they heat up a small soldering iron and lightly touch it to each connector on the board, reflowing the solder. They test it, and if it works, they put it together and charge you $35 and go out to dinner.

If that doesn't fix it, then it gets into deep dark secrets of leaking or clogged electrons, of which I know next to nothing, so I won't go there...

But I've learned that I can do the first 2 things. And you know what? I fixed the first one with the soldering iron ($5.95 at Radio Shack 10 years ago-came complete with solder). The second one I will do tomorrow.

Don't have to be genius, but a good memory goes a long way.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Boatyard Pedicure

I like to wear sandals. I wear them everywhere, except to bed.

Today I was unbolting chainplates from the boat and I dropped one on my foot. When I drop things on my foot, though, the only thing between the thing I drop and my foot is, well, nothing. A chainplate is 3/8 inch stainless steel 8 inches by about 20 inches long. Maybe 20 or 25 pounds. If you drop one of these on your toe, you'll probably break the toe.

That's where the sandals come in... just tuck an ice cube between the toe and the sandal and keep on working. No sweat.

Put some iodine on it when you get home and don't drop anything else on it for a couple of months. 'Cause that would really hurt.