- Use fresh petrol (gasoline). Old petrol can cause difficult starting. Make sure there is enough fuel in the tank and check the vent in the tank cap isn'tclogged
- The spark lead should be firmly attached to the plug, and the plug tightly screwed into the engine block. Try replacing the plug with a new one if the engine won't start
- Most modern mowers have a control handle which needs to be pushed forwards/upwards and held in place to keep the engine running. Make sure this control is mower is held fully against the mower handle while starting.
- If a manual choke is fitted, turn it on. Don't turn on the choke if the engine has been running in the last 10 minutes
- If the engine has a primer bulb, press it about 5 times. If the mower runs out of petrol during cutting, it will need to be primed again
- Check the air filter isn't dirty. Wash and dry foam type air filters in warm,soapy water. A paper filter can be blown out with an air compressor, but will eventually need to be replaced
- Check the cable connecting the "dead man's handle" (the control which keeps the engine running when held in place) to the engine is not damaged or snapped
- The carburettor should be tightly screwed or bolted to the engine
- Make sure there isn't any water collected at the bottom of the petrol tank. If there is, drain the tank and use a piece of stick or long screwdriver with a piece of rag tied on (with a twisty tie) to soak up water
- If the starter cord is hard to pull, check the underside of the deck and remove any clumps of grass which may be jamming the blade.
Disconnect the spark lead before attempting to move the blade to remove
Paper air filter
Foam air filter
Friday, 24 March 2017
Wednesday, 7 December 2016
Cold water power showers are fed from the incoming mains cold water supply and the water is heated by a high powered electric element.
Shower heads incorporate a restrictor/aerator to reduce flow and water wastage. The Federal Energy Policy Act of 1992 made it a requirement that these were added to shower heads to reduce flow to about 2 gallons per minute, so removing this would increase the flow rate. Also it is possible to buy a shower head designed for a lower flow rate. This increases pressure but the flow rate will be less.
You can buy a booster pump which effectively works like a power washer and increases the pressure while keeping the flow rate constant.
Another alternative which definitely works is phosphoric acid. This is often a constituent of rust removing chemicals and can also be bought in gallon containers from companies which supply cleaning chemicals. It is a powerful acid and can also be used for removing limescale from surfaces. Usually it is diluted with water before use. The objects being cleaned are submerged in the solution and should only be left in the acid for the bare minimum of time to dissolve the rust, otherwise the acid will start to dissolve the underlying metal! I have cleaned an old vice pillar drill vice belonging to my grandfather which developed a thick layer of rust after being exposed to dampness in a shed for over thirty years and the acid completely removed the rust.
Once you remove the rust, rub some oil into them and wipe off any excess. This will help to prevent future corrosion.
Sand can also be used as an abrasive for removing rust from tools.
If you wipe tools with light oil after use, it helps to prevent condensation and subsequent corrosion. Guns and tools were traditionally given (and probably still are) a coating of oil after manufacture and before packing to protect them from dampness and rust.
|Image Courtesy, mtself CC BY SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons|
A mitre(miter) saw is useful for making square cuts on timber, dado rail etc. An 8inch version is fine.
Jigsaws are useful for making curved and straight cuts in sheet timber. Go for one with variable speed on the trigger.
Angle grinders are useful for cutting metal and masonry.
A socket wrench set or ratchet wrenches(spanners) are always handy for tightening and undoing nuts and bolts.
Personally I would prefer to buy my own hand tools. While power tools are somewhat similar, the shape and size of hand tools are such that it is better to try them in your hand before buying. I mean how would a woman feel if their partner bought them shoes?
To avoid condensation you have several options. Firstly you can vent moisture laden air (e.g from cooking in the kitchen) so that it doesn't end up in rooms. You can do this by using extractor fans or simply opening windows. Portable gas heaters produce lots of water vapour and should be avoided. Another option is to raise the temperature in the room. This makes surfaces warmer so that moisture doesn't condense out. Double or triple glazing also helps because the external surface of inner panes of glass is not in contact with air outside the house. Removing sources of moisture also helps. This includes house plants and damp clothing. Clothes in the washer should be kept there with the door closed until they are transferred to a drier, or hung outside. Drying clothes in rooms or on radiators transfers water to the air where it inevitably condenses out if windows are closed and the room temperature drops. Yet another way of reducing condensation is to use a dehumidifier. This appliance works by circulating air over chilled coils. This causes moisture to drop out of the air (just like it does on your windows) and collect in a reservoir tank.
Several things in a computer make noises. First of all, the head in a disk drive makes some noise as it moves in and out over the aluminium platters in the drive during disk access. The head is actuated by devices called stepper motors which can rapidly move the head towards the center or edge of the disk. The motor which drives the platter/platters in a hard disk may also make some noise.
There may be one or more fans in a computer for cooling the electronics. The microprocessor (CPU) is likely to have a fan and there will also be a general purpose fan for drawing air through the machine to cool it. Usually there is a temperature sensor, and the fan cuts in and out as the temperature rises above and falls below threshold levels (just like the way an electric cooling fan for the radiator may turn on when a vehicle with the engine running is stationary for any length of time). Alternatively the speed of the fan may be varied, depending on the amount of processing of data which is taking place. It occasionally happens also on desktop computers when a fan gets old, the bearings can wear and the fan becomes noisy.
The power supply may also make some noise. When a current passes through electronic components, sometimes, electric or magnetic fields can cause movement (e,g, if you hold an older style, non switched mode, power adapter up to your ear, you can hear it humming). A sudden demand for power from the supply could cause clicking sounds.
Other clicking sounds can be caused by thermal expansion/contraction as the computer warms/cools (like the way gutters or roofs can creak when the sun comes out).
The old style dial up modem sounds were due to the "tones" which were sent down the line. Digital bits can't be sent directly down a phone line. Instead, various tones or sound frequencies were used to represent "ones" and "zeros".
As regards cooling fans, there is no harm installing a utility on your computer which displays the core temperature of the CPU or (CPUs if the machine is dual core or quad core). I have a utility called core temp installed which displays the temperature on the taskbar. It will power down the machine or display a warning if the temperature exceeds a set value. If you have a laptop, leaving it on a sofa can cause it to overheat, because the air intake may be under the machine and can get blocked. Another tip is to setup a laptop running on battery power so that it goes to sleep after a few minutes of inactivity.
Static builds up on surfaces. Increasing humidity produces a microscopic layer of moisture which coats smooth surfaces, and gets absorbed by the surface of porous objects, increasing conductivity and allowing charge to drain to ground (earth). Normally it is desirable to decrease humidity in homes to prevent dampness, but you can increasing humidity by using a humidifier, placing bowls of water in rooms, opening windows when weather is damp outside to allow moist air in, having plenty of plants or even placing damp clothes on radiators.
Wear natural fiber clothing such as cotton, linen and leather shoes. You can also get shoes with soles which are impregnated with carbon to increase conductivity. These are worn by workers in factories where static sensitive components are being handled. You are right that static can damage electronics. I blew a $12 chip once which I touched after walking across a wool carpet. Always touch a grounded object before handling the pins of electronic connectors (e.g. the outer metal body of a plugged in or fixed appliance)
Newer type hand held electrical testers such as the Fluke VoltAlert use an electronic detection circuit which activates an LED when the tip of the tester is in close proximity to a live terminal or power cable, actual contact is not necessary. These testers are useful for detecting presence of voltage e.g in a power flex or on the output of a breaker. However if the tip is too far away, the LED may not light up, giving the false impression that a circuit is not live. So they should never be used to test for absence of voltage. A neon tester should be used for absolute certainty when testing (and the tester should be pre-checked by touching it against a live terminal , e.g. the outlet of a socket to ensure it is working properly).
Tuesday, 6 December 2016
Ordinary 2-part epoxy resin also works well for sealing leaks. I have used it successfully for repairing a long crack in the polystyrene spray nozzle of a hose. Make sure you get the quick setting stuff which hardens in about 10 minutes. Try and dry the joint thoroughly, and if possible, rub it with sandpaper to improve adhesion. Let the epoxy stiffen slightly before applying to prevent it spreading out. Heat from a hair drier accelerates the curing process. As far as I know special pipe sealants are epoxy based.
Another alternative (although this is theoretical and I haven't tried it!) is to use a hose clip. Keep one opened out and if you have a leak, wrap it around the pipe, push the end of the clip back into itself and semi-tighten it with a screwdriver. Push a small piece of rubber (bicycle patch, piece of old tire, rubber boot or whatever) under the clip over the hole and tighten. The advantage of this is that the water wouldn't have to be turned off and the area around the hole wouldn't need to be dry but it would probably only work on a hole in the actual pipe itself where the clip would exert sufficient pressure on the patch. You can also buy emergency clamp type fittings which seal over a hole, effecting a temporary repair until the section of pipe can be replaced.
Yet another repair method for cracked brass fittings is to solder them. I had to do this when a fitting on a heating system in my workshop developed a hairline crack during a lengthy period of snow during the winter. (Haven't looked at it for years so hopefully it's still water tight!).
It's wise to know the location of all your stop cocks/gate valves, and write the function of the valve on the wall behind it with a marker, or tie a label around it. In an emergency, you don't want to have to figure out which valve shuts off which pipe. Also valves tend to stick and seize up after years of disuse, so "exercise" them at least once a year by screwing off and back on again. It's actually a good a wise idea to add a redundant valve in case your main water shut-off valve fails. Another option is to fit a quadrant ball valve in addition to the main valve which can be quickly turned off by turning it through 90 degrees (These are the ones commonly encountered on gas and air compressor lines or on oil tanks). Quadrant valves don't normally seize up.
Any of the well known hand cleansers used by auto mechanics or similar are excellent for cleaning oil stains from clothes or even worse carpets. The stuff I use on my hands after I do work on my lawn mower is excellent and seems to remove even the worst grime. Some of these cleansers contain hydrocarbon solvents which may remove colour from clothing, so try using some on the tail of the shirt first to see what the affect will be. Wash the shirt in your washer after removing the majority of the stain. Cotton is a somewhat porous fabric compared to to synthetic fibres which are more smooth. So the oil content of the stain will be removed, however you may not be able to remove all the stain, especially if black, waste oil is involved. However it may become less obvious after further washes.