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Phil B

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396Instructables17,734,357Views5,423CommentsKnoxville, Tennessee
I miss the days when magazines like Popular Mechanics had all sorts of DIY projects for making and repairing just about everything. I am enjoying posting things I have learned and done since I got my first tools. I enjoy studying the Bible and retired after 40 years as a Lutheran pastor. I like to dabble with some electronics projects. I have a wood lathe and a metal lathe, a radial arm saw, a router, and both a 220 volt stick welder and a gas shielded wire feed welder. I appreciate Inst…

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Make It Move Contest 2017
Contest Winner Runner Up in the Make It Move Contest 2017
MacGyver Challenge
Contest Winner Runner Up in the MacGyver Challenge
Metal Contest 2016
Contest Winner First Prize in the Metal Contest 2016
Fix & Repair Contest
Contest Winner Runner Up in the Fix & Repair Contest
  • Make an Electric Motor Run Again

    The capacitor is rated at 125 volts and 60 cycles. Its value is 210 - 260 microfarads. It was made by General Motors Corp. in Dayton, Ohio and is number 316828. You will likely have to purchase a cylindrical capacitor rahter than a flat capacitor, and that will necessitate some alternative plans for mounting it.

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  • Phil B commented on Phil B's instructable EVERYONE Needs a Multi-Meter
    EVERYONE Needs a Multi-Meter

    Kevin,Thank you for your report back. A multi-meter is a very handy thing to have. Most of the time you will use it for very basic things. But, it will help you find problems and get things working again. Often those will save you lots of money compared to calling a technician for a service call. Plus, you can be functioning again in a couple of hours rather than waiting days for someone to come. By the way, another test you could have done involves one of those non-contact voltage testers (NCVT). You could connect one of your #12 wires to a known hot wire carrying 120 volts. Then use the NCVT to see which of your wires is hot at the other end. Because you are dealing with hot wires, you would need to take some precautions. In another Instructable I mentioned that I bought a go…

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    Kevin,Thank you for your report back. A multi-meter is a very handy thing to have. Most of the time you will use it for very basic things. But, it will help you find problems and get things working again. Often those will save you lots of money compared to calling a technician for a service call. Plus, you can be functioning again in a couple of hours rather than waiting days for someone to come. By the way, another test you could have done involves one of those non-contact voltage testers (NCVT). You could connect one of your #12 wires to a known hot wire carrying 120 volts. Then use the NCVT to see which of your wires is hot at the other end. Because you are dealing with hot wires, you would need to take some precautions. In another Instructable I mentioned that I bought a good brand name NCVT, but using it is a pain. I bought a cheapie NCVT and lowered the value of the resistor that is its antenna to get better sensitivity, and it works great. Some warned me it is no longer safe for testing 440 volt wires, but I do not do that, anyway.

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  • Phil B commented on Phil B's instructable EVERYONE Needs a Multi-Meter
    EVERYONE Needs a Multi-Meter

    I should have included this in the Instructable. Get ahold of a spool of light plastic covered wire around 18 to 22 gauge in size. The spool should contain enough wire to reach both ends of your underground run. Connect one end of the light gauge wire to one of the #12 conductors with no power in the circuit. Go to the other end of your run and set your meter to a range around 2,000 Ohms. Connect one meter lead to the light gauge wire. Touch each of the #12 wires with the other lead and notice which #12 wire indicates a pathway for electricity. Repeat this process with at least one of the other #12 wires. The third will be identified by default after the others have been identified. The Continuity setting on a meter would seem ideal for this, but that setting does not work if more than ar…

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    I should have included this in the Instructable. Get ahold of a spool of light plastic covered wire around 18 to 22 gauge in size. The spool should contain enough wire to reach both ends of your underground run. Connect one end of the light gauge wire to one of the #12 conductors with no power in the circuit. Go to the other end of your run and set your meter to a range around 2,000 Ohms. Connect one meter lead to the light gauge wire. Touch each of the #12 wires with the other lead and notice which #12 wire indicates a pathway for electricity. Repeat this process with at least one of the other #12 wires. The third will be identified by default after the others have been identified. The Continuity setting on a meter would seem ideal for this, but that setting does not work if more than around 300 Ohms is present in the run, and you can easily get a faulty indication. I have solved several problems this way.

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  • Fix a Frozen Concoction Machine

    When you speak of the plastic gear you cannot remove, I assume you have in mind the nylon pulley for the cogged belt, both of which are shown in my drawing at Step 3 related to the blender drive. It has been four years since I had to work on this machine, and I do not remember any exceptional efforts to remove the nylon pulley. All I can suggest is sliding something under the pulley (if possible) that can lift on both sides of the pulley to even out the stresses on the pulley. That might mean cutting a “U” shaped hole out of a piece of sheet steel to make your own tool.

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    • Westinghouse Mobilaire Motor Rewind
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      6 comments
  • Phil B's instructable Automatic Center Punch Fix's weekly stats:
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  • Westinghouse Mobilaire Motor Rewind

    I used some 18 gauge wire (single conductor, stranded) for connections to the enameled wires. I arranged the connections so only one is located between any two motor poles. I used crimp connectors and added soldering. I put some heat shrink tubing over each connection. The insulation on the 18 gauge wire is safe to 95 degrees Centigrade. I checked and I believe the heat shrink tubing is about the same. Nomex paper separates the connections from the motor frame. I could have put extra paper around the connections, had it been necessary. Check for shorts between wire ends and the steel motor frame. You should have no problem. Just take some normal precautions, should you need to rewind your fan motor.

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  • Westinghouse Mobilaire Motor Rewind

    From what I read, many of them were made and sold. They are popular with people who collect old fans, and bring upwards of $200. Enameled wire insulation breaks down over time and the turns of wire on a motor eventually short out. A person is supposed to be able to raise and lower the fan itself, but most say the mechanism is stuck and they cannot raise or lower them. We have found we needed to get some oil into the oil holes on the front and back of the motor. I made a tube from brake line and I can extend the reach of an oil can with some precision with it. As I understand it, the bronze sleeve bearings are surrounded by felt blocks that are supposed to ooze oil over time. This one was slowing a little in speed and then catching up. Since we got more oil into the bearings that seems to …

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    From what I read, many of them were made and sold. They are popular with people who collect old fans, and bring upwards of $200. Enameled wire insulation breaks down over time and the turns of wire on a motor eventually short out. A person is supposed to be able to raise and lower the fan itself, but most say the mechanism is stuck and they cannot raise or lower them. We have found we needed to get some oil into the oil holes on the front and back of the motor. I made a tube from brake line and I can extend the reach of an oil can with some precision with it. As I understand it, the bronze sleeve bearings are surrounded by felt blocks that are supposed to ooze oil over time. This one was slowing a little in speed and then catching up. Since we got more oil into the bearings that seems to have ceased. I did use an infra-red non-contact thermometer to check the heat rise. Temperatures I could read after about 15 minutes of operation were around 37 degrees Centigrade, which is not much at all. Anyway, if you can rewind your own motor, you can have a new fan at a very reasonable cost.

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  • Westinghouse Mobilaire Rewind

    Vielen Dank. Es freut mich dass Sie mein Instructable probiert haben.

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  • Brush Blade for a Weed Trimmer

    I apologize that I did not see this earlier. Nothing is thrown by the blade. There is not enough torque to throw anything.

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  • How I Made This Shop Chair Using Chain and Scrapwood

    I apologize. I had copied and pasted the photo. It worked when I did it and was still there later. This time I followed the usual process for adding a photo.

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  • Make Your Own Foam Grips for Drop Handlebars

    Thank you. I should also say the foam broke down after some use and did not have the same feel. Perhas I should have reduced the diameter of the foar used to insulate pipes for condensation instead of foam from a pool noodle.

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  • The Radial Arm Saw -- a Guide of Sorts

    It was sold as a JC Penney router about 1974 when they had a tool department in their stores. I believe it was actually made by Skil.

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  • Recycled Lawn Mower Engine.

    Those motors depend upon the spinning blade to balance the motor like a flywheel. It is difficult to use them for another purpose without something to keep them smoothed out.

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  • Display Case for a Military Honors Flag

    Thanks. We no longer have them. Our kids are out of school. We moved a couple of times. We are getting older and downsizing.

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  • Refurbishing Drive Rollers for a NordicTrack Ski Machine

    Thank you. It is good to hear this was beneficial. A friend repairs ski machines. He is struggling to find a dependable supplier for new drive rollers. He likes to give his customers a “new” machine from one end to the other. I am someone who just wants a machine that works. Flushing the old rollers does not bother me. The original version of this saved by you has the same information, but over time I argued with myself over the best way to present it and what to include or omit. The orange strap is from some nylon ratchet hold downs I got at Home Depot, I think. The strap was an inch wide. I used a hot knife cutter I improvised to narrow the strap to about 3/4 inch. I did see in a NordicTrack manual that the leather friction pad under the drum can be washed with soap and water to remove …

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    Thank you. It is good to hear this was beneficial. A friend repairs ski machines. He is struggling to find a dependable supplier for new drive rollers. He likes to give his customers a “new” machine from one end to the other. I am someone who just wants a machine that works. Flushing the old rollers does not bother me. The original version of this saved by you has the same information, but over time I argued with myself over the best way to present it and what to include or omit. The orange strap is from some nylon ratchet hold downs I got at Home Depot, I think. The strap was an inch wide. I used a hot knife cutter I improvised to narrow the strap to about 3/4 inch. I did see in a NordicTrack manual that the leather friction pad under the drum can be washed with soap and water to remove the old embedded oil. I have not tried that, but may one day. I also made an adaptation not shown. An old washing machine had four short, but strong springs that suspended the washing machine drum. I am using one of those on my NordicTrack to tension the nylon belt. But, I also made a tensioner with a wheel that allows me to dial the tension I want while using the machine. I would like to do an Instructable on that, but want it to be something someone with a few basic woodworking tools can make. The one I made for myself is steel and there was some welding. Because the spring is so sturdy I leave the tension on it all of the time. I have not replaced the arm cords on the drum, yet. I did buy some nylon cord at Lowe’s, but have not tried it to know if it stretches. It seems like it would not, but I do not know for certain. I am using an iPhone as my audio player, now. I made a holder for it from some steel sheet. That holder can also mount on a camera tripod so I can take a photo with both of my hands in the picture. I have what is left of an old nightstand lamp hanging on the wall near my head. The lamp in that fixture has a built-in Bluetooth speaker and the audio from the iPhone plays through the speaker in the lightbulb. I admire your persistence in using the ski machine regularly. Thank you, again, for the feedback.

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  • Phil B commented on Phil B's instructable 555 Capacitor Tester
    555 Capacitor Tester

    Thank you for the comment. It is handy to know a monostable multivibrator circuit can be used as a capacitor tester. If you try one and there is an omission in the schematic, you can easily try another.

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  • Phil B commented on Phil B's instructable Crazy Good Sleep
    Crazy Good Sleep

    Yes, I am still grounding. I turned 75 last month. I believe it keeps some twinges of arthritis tamed down. And, I believe it has kept me from dizziness and vertigo that is not uncommon at that age. Since you read Clint Ober’s book you may remember sleeping grounded tends to make for very vivid dreams, and I usually have those. I have also noticed I am getting by on a bit less sleep than I used to think normal. There are some things I had hoped would be better, but are not yet. Thank you for your inquiry. As concerns something indoors without wires, walking barefoot on concrete is supposed to be a good way to ground, too. That would mean a garage floor. I do not have any experience with that.

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  • Rebuilding a Hydraulic Floor Jack

    I am sorry, but I am unable to offer more help.

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  • Phil B commented on Phil B's instructable 555 Capacitor Tester
    555 Capacitor Tester

    There are quite a few circuits on-line for people to build, even though the electronics hobbyist magazines have largely disappeared. I am surprised a capacitor tester based on a 555 IC is very rare now. It seems like it would be a very popular item. Thank you for looking and for commenting.

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  • Phil B commented on mk484's instructable Build an Oatbox Crystal Radio
    Build an Oatbox Crystal Radio

    Look on-line for fox hole radios. During WW II US soldiers who were prisoners of war built these so they could keep up on the course of the war, and, hopefully, on their release. These radios were contraband, but they stole generators from guard bicycles for the wire, or they stole parts of telephones when out on work details. The cinders from coal furnaces was dumped on roadways and usually provided a sensitive spot for a cat's whisker detector. WW II POWs often had experimented with crystal radios during their boyhood. In one case a guard learned of the existence of a prisoner built radio, but said nothing because he could not get reliable information from his superiors, but could from the prisoners with the radio. At night power to the lighting system in the cells was cut and the wire …

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    Look on-line for fox hole radios. During WW II US soldiers who were prisoners of war built these so they could keep up on the course of the war, and, hopefully, on their release. These radios were contraband, but they stole generators from guard bicycles for the wire, or they stole parts of telephones when out on work details. The cinders from coal furnaces was dumped on roadways and usually provided a sensitive spot for a cat's whisker detector. WW II POWs often had experimented with crystal radios during their boyhood. In one case a guard learned of the existence of a prisoner built radio, but said nothing because he could not get reliable information from his superiors, but could from the prisoners with the radio. At night power to the lighting system in the cells was cut and the wire in the walls functioned well for antennae.

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  • Sawsmith Radial Arm Saw -- Enlarge Arbor Hole on a Regular Blade

    Many things are good in theory. I wanted this to be exactly absolutely precise. I was willing to take whatever steps were necessary to eliminate any possibility of chatter or other inaccuracy. And, I got the results I wanted. Meanwhile, I did Internet searches and found people who tried other methods that should have worked in theory, but the finished product was not quite centered, and they had vibrations of various kinds seasoned with regret.

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  • An Improvement to a Dremel Tool

    Thank you, Chip. A great thing about Instructables is that we can adapt other people’s ideas to fit our needs. Thank you for your comment.

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  • Easy Monitor for NordicTrack Skier

    Thank you for looking at his and for your response. I had hoped this would save money for some people. A friend repairs NordicTrack ski machines. He is very familiar with the battery leakage problem resulting in damaged circuit boards. He asked about an algorithm for making a replacement to the original monitors. In a short while I remembered the Instructable for a cadence meter. I am glad you can use it. It works very well for me. Also, I added a battery holder so I can use an AA alkaline battery. It lasts forever.

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  • Phil B commented on Phil B's instructable Sharpen Your Drill Bits
    Sharpen Your Drill Bits

    This jig takes a little practice for the set up. Small changes make big differences. Since posting this I have also learned how to do a respectable job by hand. Thank you for looking. The jig does do a nic job once you get it set up well.

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  • Phil B commented on Phil B's instructable 555 Capacitor Tester
    555 Capacitor Tester

    I built this long before multimeters had capacitance testing capability. I also mentioned the capacitance tester on my multimeter does not always have the range I need, but this does.

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  • Phil B commented on Phil B's instructable MIG Nozzle Cleaning Tool
    MIG Nozzle Cleaning Tool

    That should do the job. Thank you for showing it.

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  • Sawsmith Radial Arm Saw -- Enlarge Arbor Hole on a Regular Blade

    Thank you, John. I would go directly to the grinding part of the process. An eighth of an inch is not much. I hope it goes well for you.

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  • Phil B's instructable Private Listening for Our TV's weekly stats:
    • Private Listening for Our TV
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  • Phil B commented on Phil B's instructable Setting Up a Radial Arm Saw
    Setting Up a Radial Arm Saw

    I assume you removed the four screws around the knob and the handle on the front side. On the back side of the motor yoke from the handle is another pivot point for the motor bevel. It is a steel piece about 1/2 inch wide and 2 inches long. It is held by a hex head bolt on either side of the pivot. Make a mark around it so you can locate it precisely later. Remove the hex head bolts and see if you can rock the motor down and out of the yoke. Then you can address any corrosion that impedes the motor tilting right or left. The handle and motor support parts are cast aluminum. The yoke is cast iron. Getting penetrating oil into the area around the handle and tapping on it a little could not hurt, either.

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  • Phil B commented on Jasminpe's instructable Flugzeugbau GS I
    Flugzeugbau GS I

    Herzlich Willkommen zu Instructables! Vielen Dank für den Beitrag.

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  • Ruger Mark III Pistol Take Down and Assembly

    I had not handled my pistol for quite some time and decided I need to clean and oil it to protect from rust. I had the same difficulty you are having. But, I had missed a detail in steps 12 to 16. I do not remember now which detail, perhaps pulling and holding the trigger. Pointing the barrel up or down as directed is also very important. I am sure you are certain you have done everything correctly. I was. Then I found I had missed one little thing.

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  • Phil B commented on Phil B's instructable Maglite Switch Replacement
    Maglite Switch Replacement

    Steve,I am sorry I have delayed this long. I am not sure if I saw your comment when you posted or not. Sometimes I find I have totally missed someone’s comment. Then I was not sure what to do about it. Last night I stumbled onto what I sent to you. The Radio Shack switch I improvised for my Maglite is still working just fine. I actually like it better than the original factory switch. I use the light more since my fix than I did before with the factory switch that finally quit on me. Instructables has been a good place to look for information about dismantling things and about fixing them. Unfortunately, too many times I have looked for things and found I would be the one who would need to find the solution to my problem and post it for others. (I posted an Instructable several years ago …

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    Steve,I am sorry I have delayed this long. I am not sure if I saw your comment when you posted or not. Sometimes I find I have totally missed someone’s comment. Then I was not sure what to do about it. Last night I stumbled onto what I sent to you. The Radio Shack switch I improvised for my Maglite is still working just fine. I actually like it better than the original factory switch. I use the light more since my fix than I did before with the factory switch that finally quit on me. Instructables has been a good place to look for information about dismantling things and about fixing them. Unfortunately, too many times I have looked for things and found I would be the one who would need to find the solution to my problem and post it for others. (I posted an Instructable several years ago on fitting a 9 inch saw blade with a 5/8 inch arbor hole to an arbor 1 1/4 inch in diameter. I did that for a friend so his 1950s radial arm saw was still functional. Since, someone with a beam saw, that is, an electric handsaw or circular saw with a blade 10 or 12 inches in diameter saw it and was able to make a blade for his saw after the maker had discontinued them. He was happy.j)I am glad you can still use the Maglite information, despite my slowness.From 1972 to 1974 we lived south of Milford, Ohio. I got around Cincinnati a lot. I even rode my bicycle from the house on Romohr Road to Greenhills and to West Hills (Harrison and Boudinot).

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  • Phil B commented on Phil B's instructable Maglite Switch Replacement
    Maglite Switch Replacement

    This may help. https://www.manualslib.com/manual/1389200/Mag-Lite-C-Cell.html#manual

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  • Fix a Frozen Concoction Machine

    Thank you for the information. I will be interested to hear how it goes. Meanwhile, there have been no New Years Eve parties for two years and the machine sits idly in our closet.

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  • Extend the Life of a Washing Machine Timer

    The photo did not come through. The arms need a certain amount of flex. Soldering one to a broken one would make that difficult. All I can suggest is to find an old one that has been removed and try to replace the broken one with a spare.

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  • Phil B commented on Phil B's instructable Wooden Centrifugal Puzzle
    Wooden Centrifugal Puzzle

    Erwin,Thank you for your comment. I had a discussion with another person who commented about a puzzle that had to be correct side up to open. At the far inside end of the dowel channel was a short vertical shaft with a 1/4 inch ball bearing in it. When one side was up, the ball bearing fell out of the way and the puzzle opened normally. Turned over, the ball bearings kept the dowels from moving far enough out of the way and the luzzle remained locked. Is that possibly what you have in the Czech puzzle?

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  • Phil B commented on Phil B's instructable Homemade Jack Stands
    Homemade Jack Stands

    A good weld is stronger than the steel in the pieces welded. If it is not good grind it out and do it over.

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  • Phil B commented on Phil B's instructable Restore Your WiFi Connection
    Restore Your WiFi Connection

    Thank you for looking. The little secret is that I post these things so I can remember what I did a long time later when I need it. I am glad something worked for you.

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  • Phil B's instructable European Ball Pen Modifications's weekly stats:
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  • Easy Monitor for NordicTrack Skier

    My friend who refurbishes NordicTrack ski machines as his profession says NordicTrack used two different calibrations over the years. He did not tell me exactly what they are. But, see the comment by pedal-power below from two years ago. He contacted NordicTrack some years ago and received a response that indicated a wheel diameter setting of 490 mm gives a correct reading. I have been using 470 mm based on comparison back and forth while using one model of NordicTrack monitor (shown in the photos) and a similar effort to get the same readings on the cyclometer. I am not concerned about an accurate log of mileage, but being able to compare and match yesterday’s effort in today’s workout. I am glad you got your cyclometer to register and that your drive rollers are working smoothly. You ca…

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    My friend who refurbishes NordicTrack ski machines as his profession says NordicTrack used two different calibrations over the years. He did not tell me exactly what they are. But, see the comment by pedal-power below from two years ago. He contacted NordicTrack some years ago and received a response that indicated a wheel diameter setting of 490 mm gives a correct reading. I have been using 470 mm based on comparison back and forth while using one model of NordicTrack monitor (shown in the photos) and a similar effort to get the same readings on the cyclometer. I am not concerned about an accurate log of mileage, but being able to compare and match yesterday’s effort in today’s workout. I am glad you got your cyclometer to register and that your drive rollers are working smoothly. You can always buy new drive rollers or have new one-way needle bearings pressed into your current drive rollers at a good bearing shop or machine shop, but I would not do that until flushing fine dust out of my current rollers no longer brings improvement. You should not need to flush the needle bearings again for a few years. My first two years of college were in St. Paul at Concordia west of Snelling and south of University in the Midway District. I had a 3-speed bicycle and rode all over the Twin Cities.

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  • Sewing Machine Quick Fix Guide

    My wife has done a lot of sewing. People ask her for help with their machines. It seems the tension on the upper thread is often not correct. Someone asked me to look at her 15 year old Pfaff machine. She said it was completely unresponsive. The copper commutator on the motor’s armature was black with oxidation. The brushes were still good. I held a very fine grit sandpaper on the commutator while I turned the armature by hand. In a while it was bright and clean. The machine is good for another 15 years. The place she usually takes the machine for service wanted to frighten her into buying a new machine for $700+. I did not charge her, but asked her to make a donation in an amount of her choice to a Christian organization of her choice. (She and her husband are members of the same church …

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    My wife has done a lot of sewing. People ask her for help with their machines. It seems the tension on the upper thread is often not correct. Someone asked me to look at her 15 year old Pfaff machine. She said it was completely unresponsive. The copper commutator on the motor’s armature was black with oxidation. The brushes were still good. I held a very fine grit sandpaper on the commutator while I turned the armature by hand. In a while it was bright and clean. The machine is good for another 15 years. The place she usually takes the machine for service wanted to frighten her into buying a new machine for $700+. I did not charge her, but asked her to make a donation in an amount of her choice to a Christian organization of her choice. (She and her husband are members of the same church we attend.)

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  • Easy Monitor for NordicTrack Skier

    $30 for a Pro skier is a good price. I believe the monitors were always an extra, not something that came with the skier from the factory. Certainly, there are different monitors from over the years. It would be good to put an Ohmmeter or a battery powered test bulb on the 1/8 inch monitor jack located on the vertical post. Then turn the flywheel slowly to see if you can get the bulb to light or the meter to deflect. Possible problems would be a missing or misaligned magnet on the flywheel, a misaligned or stuck reed switch. Also look for a broken wire between the jack and the reed switch. If your male plug is stereo rather than mono, check to be certain you connected to the correct ring on the plug. Also check to be certain there is no short between the two leads going to the plug inside…

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    $30 for a Pro skier is a good price. I believe the monitors were always an extra, not something that came with the skier from the factory. Certainly, there are different monitors from over the years. It would be good to put an Ohmmeter or a battery powered test bulb on the 1/8 inch monitor jack located on the vertical post. Then turn the flywheel slowly to see if you can get the bulb to light or the meter to deflect. Possible problems would be a missing or misaligned magnet on the flywheel, a misaligned or stuck reed switch. Also look for a broken wire between the jack and the reed switch. If your male plug is stereo rather than mono, check to be certain you connected to the correct ring on the plug. Also check to be certain there is no short between the two leads going to the plug inside the plug cover. My daughter gave me the Pro I am using. She got it at a resale shop. There were things that needed alignment, cleaning, and replacement. I noticed a chirp from a sideboard ball bearing on the flywheel shaft and replaced it. The leather strip under the cord drum can be misaligned and may need to be cleaned and oiled. Before too long I flushed the one-way needle bearings in the drive rollers with a penetrating oil, sopped up residue dried the bearings by natural air flow. You may need to flush and sop several times before assembling the skier again. If the reed switch is defective or the magnet is missing, you can replace them with parts from the bicycle speedometer. I hope this helps. Let me know.

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  • Phil B commented on Phil B's instructable Household Surge Protection
    Household Surge Protection

    Thank you for your detailed information. As best I can determine what you call an under-voltage event we in the USA call a “brownout.” I have never experienced one, but I have heard of them where power stations were unable to keep up with demand, as a hot summer day when many people run air conditioning in a high population area. I checked the on-line retailer where I purchased my MOVs. Most are rated at more than twice the voltage in our power outlets. They do have one style of MOV rated at different voltages below our standard power outlet voltage. When I first learned of MOVs the article I was reading mentioned the honey colored MOVs and said a turn to a darker color was a sign the MOV is no longer effective and needs replacement. If we have had a sustained over-voltage exposure anywhe…

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    Thank you for your detailed information. As best I can determine what you call an under-voltage event we in the USA call a “brownout.” I have never experienced one, but I have heard of them where power stations were unable to keep up with demand, as a hot summer day when many people run air conditioning in a high population area. I checked the on-line retailer where I purchased my MOVs. Most are rated at more than twice the voltage in our power outlets. They do have one style of MOV rated at different voltages below our standard power outlet voltage. When I first learned of MOVs the article I was reading mentioned the honey colored MOVs and said a turn to a darker color was a sign the MOV is no longer effective and needs replacement. If we have had a sustained over-voltage exposure anywhere in the USA, I am not aware of it.

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  • Refurbishing Drive Rollers for a NordicTrack Ski Machine

    Some days you wonder if you are making a tool new for yourself, for someone who might inherit it, or to keep it from being put into the trash. Many who restore things end up making parts that no longer exist for sale. Congratulations.

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  • Phil B's instructable 555 Capacitor Tester's weekly stats:
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  • Phil B commented on Phil B's instructable 555 Capacitor Tester
    555 Capacitor Tester

    I found the article. The circuit configuration appears to be astable rather than monostable, yet it determines the value of an unknown capacitor. I did not know it was going to be in Dutch. Thank you for the reference.

    Thank you. I am not familiar with that magazine. I am grateful for the reference, but it is not the magazine I used when I built my tester.

    Thank you. I am fairly certain it was a copy of Electronics Experimenter’s Handbook from late in 1988. I found a couple of copies archived on-line for download as PDFs and others for sale, but not the one I had. It was a publication of Popular Electronics. I thought perhaps the circuit I used might have appeared in an earlier issue of Popular Electronics, and I have downloaded those magazines back to 1985, but have not found the schematic I used. I did find a capacitor tester with a somewhat similar circuit based on a 555 configured in the monostable mode. That circuit did not have an LED with a current limiting resistor for the output, but it was to be linked to an oscilloscope or a counter. I am just pleased to know what makes my tester work, and to be able to share what I learned with …

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    Thank you. I am fairly certain it was a copy of Electronics Experimenter’s Handbook from late in 1988. I found a couple of copies archived on-line for download as PDFs and others for sale, but not the one I had. It was a publication of Popular Electronics. I thought perhaps the circuit I used might have appeared in an earlier issue of Popular Electronics, and I have downloaded those magazines back to 1985, but have not found the schematic I used. I did find a capacitor tester with a somewhat similar circuit based on a 555 configured in the monostable mode. That circuit did not have an LED with a current limiting resistor for the output, but it was to be linked to an oscilloscope or a counter. I am just pleased to know what makes my tester work, and to be able to share what I learned with others who would like to have an inexpensive capacitor tester that is effective for determining the capacitance value, even though it does not give internal resistance or leakage information.

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  • Curing 2-cycle Engine Problems

    My guess would have been a float that does not cause the carburetor needle valve to seal. A new carburetor should preclude that, unless you mean a used carburetor new to this machine. As concerns valves in 2-cycle engines, there is a reed valve that is a flap of spring steel over a port. The fuel mixture can be pulled through it into the crankcase, but the valve closes when the oressure in the crankcase rises as the piston is on the downward stroke. Otherwise, the engine has ports without valves. If the float is older, it can get heavy and it does not float. Does the gas run through the engine only when you are trying to start it, or whenever there is gas in the twnk?

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  • Phil B commented on Phil B's instructable 555 Capacitor Tester
    555 Capacitor Tester

    You got me looking. I usually see 555 projects that are making LEDs blink on and off. Here is a site with some really practical 555 projects. https://www.nutsvolts.com/magazine/article/using-the-555-timer-ic-in-special-or-unusual-circuits

    Thank you. I think it may have been Electronics Experimenter’s Handbook, or something like that, maybe Electronics Experimenter. It would have been from late in 1988, I think. I do not think it was 1989. It was not a monthly, but perhaps a quarterly. We gave away a bunch of things to a resale store to benefit Habitat for Humanity. Recently I found all of the Popular Electronics magazines I gave away on-line as downloads, but I did not find the one with the 555 capacitor tester. The “article” is only a couple of inches high in the middle of a page. I think the magazine offered something like 100 basic circuits to build.

    Very interesting. Thank you.

    So far I have not needed to count that far. It was an illustration. But, I have not used a timing device. Rather, i just count 1-one thousand, 2-one thousand, 3-one thousand. It is accurate enough, especially, since a capacitor can be quite a bit less or quite a bit more than specified and do its job quite well. In case you are wondering, I read that in an electronics textbook.

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  • Phil B commented on Phil B's instructable 555 Capacitor Tester
    555 Capacitor Tester

    Thank you for your comment.

    Thank you. I am sure you know more about them than I do. I often read how versatile 555s are, and that makes me think I need know more about them. It was while learning more about them that I began to think my capacitor tester from 30 years ago is actually a basic monostable multivibrator, and many people who have wanted a capacitor tester can have their own very easily. Thank you for looking at this.

    I enjoy reading about and experimenting with electronics a little, but you are far beyond my level. Thank you.

    I did not know the term “dead bug construction” and had to look it up. That is what I used to reconstruct the schematic of the copy I built. I might rather build it on a breadboard first. There is still room for very human mistakes, even though it appears simple. Thank you for looking and commenting.

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  • Phil B commented on Phil B's instructable 555 Capacitor Tester
    555 Capacitor Tester

    Please let me know which exact circuit you build and how it works.

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  • Phil B commented on Phil B's instructable 555 Capacitor Tester
    555 Capacitor Tester

    Thank you for looking. They are handy, and this one always worked well for me, even though it is simple and costs very little to build.

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  • Phil B commented on amandaghassaei's instructable 555 Timer
    555 Timer

    Some years ago I built a 555 circuit from a magazine schematic. It is a capacitor tester, and it works quite well for electrolytic capacitors one microfarad and larger. I gave up the magazine during a move. I have tried tracing the circuit from my tester, but that is not always easy or error free. I believe, though it is a simple monostable configuration. There are three ranges of resistance for 1x, 10x, and 100x multiplication of the count in seconds before the LED extinguishes itself. The count in seconds multiplied by the resistance range factor yields the value of the capacitor. If the LED goes out immediately when the momentary contact switch is pressed and released, does not light at all, or stays on and does not go out, the capacitor is faulty.

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    • Refurbishing Drive Rollers for a NordicTrack Ski Machine
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  • Refurbishing Drive Rollers for a NordicTrack Ski Machine

    John, you might one day be interested in a ski machine. Occasionally, someone has one he or she wants to give to you. Or, they can be found on garage sales or Craigslist. New machines are also available. My friend makes old ones like new and sells them. They are a good full body workout. They can be gentle or intense. There is a learning curve. First, if the tummy pad is smooth, you need to add some of the non-slip matting sold in rolls. Then it is a matter of pulling smoothly with the arm on one side of your body while pushing in a matched fashion with your opposite leg. The corner rollers need a little motor oil regularly. The strap may be glazed and need to be turned over or replaced. I made the orange strap in the photos, but parts like that are easy to order. A leather strip under th…

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    John, you might one day be interested in a ski machine. Occasionally, someone has one he or she wants to give to you. Or, they can be found on garage sales or Craigslist. New machines are also available. My friend makes old ones like new and sells them. They are a good full body workout. They can be gentle or intense. There is a learning curve. First, if the tummy pad is smooth, you need to add some of the non-slip matting sold in rolls. Then it is a matter of pulling smoothly with the arm on one side of your body while pushing in a matched fashion with your opposite leg. The corner rollers need a little motor oil regularly. The strap may be glazed and need to be turned over or replaced. I made the orange strap in the photos, but parts like that are easy to order. A leather strip under the drum for the cords needs to be cleaned, in its proper place, and gets a few drops of oil about once a month. You probably need to flush the drive roller bearings on a used model. I listen to an audio Bible to make the time go more quickly.

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  • Refurbishing Drive Rollers for a NordicTrack Ski Machine

    John, thank you. It is good to hear from you. When I first suggested in the Community Forums version of this Instructable that the one-way needle bearings could be made to work smoothly again by flushing fine metallic dust out of the bearings and letting them dry, a few guys who repair NordicTrack ski machines for a living told me all of the terrible ways I was causing the destruction of equipment by leading unknowing people to ruin their ski machines with my horrible, ill-conceived procedure. But, a number of users told me in comments flushing the bearings had saved their machines and their money. Did you also see my Instructable on using a common digital bicycle speedometer to make a monitor for a NordicTrack ski machine? Just program the wheel diameter to 0470 and add a 1/8 inch male c…

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    John, thank you. It is good to hear from you. When I first suggested in the Community Forums version of this Instructable that the one-way needle bearings could be made to work smoothly again by flushing fine metallic dust out of the bearings and letting them dry, a few guys who repair NordicTrack ski machines for a living told me all of the terrible ways I was causing the destruction of equipment by leading unknowing people to ruin their ski machines with my horrible, ill-conceived procedure. But, a number of users told me in comments flushing the bearings had saved their machines and their money. Did you also see my Instructable on using a common digital bicycle speedometer to make a monitor for a NordicTrack ski machine? Just program the wheel diameter to 0470 and add a 1/8 inch male connector so you can connect to the sensor jack in the ski machine column. It allows the user to see session duration in minutes and supposed ground speed in mph or km/hr simultaneously. (By the way, a friend who also repairs ski machines professionally said NordicTrack used another calibration on the monitors for some models. The wheel diameter setting for some people works better at 0490 or 0495 when trying to match speed indications on their old monitors.) I offered alternatives for calories burned and heart rate that are probably more accurate, anyway.Thank you for the bearing story, I did something similar recently. I tuned up my radial arm saw and decided to replace the ball bearings in the motor. After not locating a particular local bearing place through maps on my iPad again for their address and phone number, I measured and ordered bearings from Bearings Direct in the Los Angeles area. The new bearings actually fit just right when they arrived!I did not think my drive rollers needed flushing, but flushed them anyway while doing this Instructable. I think they are quieter and more responsive now.

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  • Phil B commented on Phil B's instructable Painting a Stairwell
    Painting a Stairwell

    I am sorry I missed your comment earlier. Thank you.

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  • Phil B commented on randofo's forum topic Retiring the Forums

    I posted a couple of things in the forums that did not seem to merit a full Instructable. One of them was/is on restoring the drive rollers on a NordicTrack ski machine by flushing them with a penetrating oil. Somehow more than 30 thousand people not holding a membership registration at Instructables found that post. Quite a number saved $100 and more by doing that simple procedure and restored their machines. I will reconfigure it as an Instructable, but it may be a whioe before people find that.

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    • Capacitive Stylus for a Disposable Pen
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  • Phil B commented on Phil B's instructable Household Surge Protection
    Household Surge Protection

    Thank you for your comment and for looking at this. When I first learned about MOVs they were rated in Joules. Now a volt and Ampere rating is given. I do not know what changed. I have not been a constant observer. You want their capacity to be big enough to handle a surge. If there is information on how to determine that, I have not seen it. The MOVs I have used have been nearly 1 inch or 25 mm in diameter. I believe those were rated 1500 Joules. In the text of my ‘ible I mentioned successfully protecting telephone items from surges. I used two MOVs about 1 inch in diameter and those did the job. I would say a more important consideration than size is the number of them you are able to use. If you have them scattered throughout your home they will have a cumulative effect when a surge co…

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    Thank you for your comment and for looking at this. When I first learned about MOVs they were rated in Joules. Now a volt and Ampere rating is given. I do not know what changed. I have not been a constant observer. You want their capacity to be big enough to handle a surge. If there is information on how to determine that, I have not seen it. The MOVs I have used have been nearly 1 inch or 25 mm in diameter. I believe those were rated 1500 Joules. In the text of my ‘ible I mentioned successfully protecting telephone items from surges. I used two MOVs about 1 inch in diameter and those did the job. I would say a more important consideration than size is the number of them you are able to use. If you have them scattered throughout your home they will have a cumulative effect when a surge comes.

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  • Phil B's instructable Household Surge Protection's weekly stats:
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  • Inexpensive Vise Restoration

    A friend gave me the nice older vise that had belonged to her deceased husband. It has loosened up with use, but was very difficult to operate from 20 years of non-use and gentle rusting. I did not bother with cosmetic restorations, but went for better function. I find I am making a trade-off between smooth operation of the screw and reducing annoying play in the drive nut. Further, the screw in the base that retains the drive nut mount loosens with use. Finally, I tightened the screw that holds the drive nut in the base as much as possible without the screw becoming difficult to operate due to imprecise alignment. Then I welded up a little bracket to keep that screw from loosening by itself. It is not perfect, but functions quite well.

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  • Phil B's instructable Drip Coffee Without K-cups's weekly stats:
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  • Phil B commented on Phil B's instructable Household Surge Protection
    Household Surge Protection

    It is fun to know some little thing, like how to use an MOV, to get around a big problem that leaves others standing on the platform after the train has left the station. It is also fun to share those things with any who are interested and will make use of them. Thank you for your story about your TV.

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  • Phil B commented on Phil B's instructable Household Surge Protection
    Household Surge Protection

    Thank you for looking and for commenting. I am hardly an expert on MOVs. I related most of my experiences with them. I thought someone who Is unfamiliar with them might benefit from what I have here. Thank you for not finding anything where I went far off of the rails.

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