Lucky Day Thread

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by #12, Feb 6, 2014.

  1. Georacer

    Moderator

    Nov 25, 2009
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    @strantor

    I'm not sure what people say in English when acquiring new significant items or real estate.
    But I make that specific wish anyway!
     
  2. MrChips

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    Oct 2, 2009
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    @strantor
    Hopefully the damage was superficial. What really matters is the engine and drive train.
    $15K for 20K-mile minivan is a good find. Let us know how it turns out 6-12 months from now. I want to think it was a lucky find. All but two of our auto purchases have been used, some from rentals. We have never had a problem.
     
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  3. #12

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    20K (mileage) is probably pretty safe. My style is to buy something with 50k to 70k and hold back $1000 to fix the real reason they sold it. A few months on the back porch fixing everything, and THEN I move into it.

    You know, check the brakes and bearings, replace if necessary. Go through the alternator/battery system, air conditioning, water leaks, light bulbs, cruise control, U-joints...the works. I'm just too old to do all this in a week or two, but I can replace an engine or rebuild a transmission if necessary. Problem is, a woman won't put up with this approach. One of my friends used my place to rehab a used car for his wife and, when we presented it to her, she said, "It's about time!"

    It was wonderful soaking in the gratitude...not.
     
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  4. strantor

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 3, 2010
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    That's always been my approach too. Actually I was a little less methodical. I would buy the car with 70-150k miles, immediately move into it, and carry a full complement of tools everywhere I go. Always worked out for me. The only time I can remember being legitimately stranded and had to be towed to a mechanic was one time when my clutch went out. Kinda hard to fix that on the side of the road, especially with 3" of ground clearance.

    But now that it's not just me, I can't do that any more. Something as trivial as a flat tire or loose battery terminal would leave my wife stranded, with the kids, and at the mercy of whoever might help her and/or take advantage of her.

    I can't even really afford to do that any more with my own car either, considering my line of work.

    And to tell you the truth, I don't really want to. I'm tired of fixing cars. I've been doing it since I was 12. It was fun back then, but now it's a chore. My first inclination in any situation is to DIY, but now that I have a work situation where, in many cases, I can choose to work more hours and make more money, or work less and make less, and now that I actually make a decent hourly wage, it doesn't always make sense to DIY. If I can spend 6 hours at work on a saturday and make enough to pay a mechanic to do something that would have taken me a full weekend to accomplish, then why waste my time? And if I can afford (or, at least, pay for) a 100Kmile bumper-to-bumper warranty with roadside assistance, I don't even have to worry about paying the mechanic! I'm off the hook for quite a while!

    Well, as far as my car and my wife's car is concerned anyway. My parent's cars are another story. I'm still expected to regularly breathe life back into their armada of dilapidated pieces of automotive history. I'm on the hook for swapping out the engine in my stepdad's 1994 celica during the week off I will be taking when my wife gives birth. Who replaces the engine in a 1994 celica? Even before the engine blew up, it was totaled. It was a running, driving, total loss. The paint job that it needs alone, costs more than blue book. They have: 1990 buick, 1996 Jeep grand cherokee, 1998 Acura, 2001 Sienna, 1993 sentra, and a 1994 corolla. All those cars are for them two, and my two sisters, and two spares since they have to alternate out of cars as they break down and I take time to fix them. They are all >100kmiles, two of them have windows taped up (because I refuse to replace automatic windows in a car that doesn't absolutely deserve my effort), they all have a whine or a groan or a clunk, only 2 don't leak oil. But anyway, I signed up for all this when I was give a free place to live. So I will stop complaining.
     
  5. #12

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    I'm getting tired of it, too. It's not an adventure any more. It's just work.
     
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  6. MrChips

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    I have done it in the past, the simple things such as replace alternator, water pump, thermostat, radiator, timing belt and even a Macpherson strut. A friend replaced piston rings and valves and panicked in the end. I had to help him set the clearances and get the engine working.

    Yes, I agree. Too much work now. I hate getting dirt under my finger nails. I play classical guitar. Dirt under the nails don't look good in public.:)
     
  7. Brownout

    Well-Known Member

    Jan 10, 2012
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    About two years ago, I wanted a day coach/overnight camper. I looked at a few conversion vans, but they were over priced and had too many miles, and other issues. After weeks of searching, I found a really nice stretch van with a topper which allows me to nearly stand up in it. It was sitting on a lot off the highway I drive often. Something told me to buy a vehicle with a heavy duty chassis ( I always go heavy duty ) and the van is a one-ton capacity. It was not set up for camping, but that was OK as I decided to do the interior myself.

    However, shortly after that, I was offered a job in Orlando and had to leave immediately. No time to work on the van conversion. While in Orlando, I bought a 38' travel trailer to live in because I didn't want to stay in a hotel all year, and didn't want to try to rent an apartment, get furniture, etc. Now, of course, I am faced with the issue of moving the trailer at the end of the contract. The trailer was 38' long and weighed 8,500 pounds empty. Lucky for me, I had this very large, heavy duty van sitting in my driveway. I ordered and installed a class III hitch, 12,000 lb capacity and a load equalizer bar system. In early December, we towed the trailer from Orlando back to Huntsville, Alabama. The van had plenty of power and handled the trailer beautifully. The only problem was when big trucks would fly by and blow me all over the highway. But in all, I was impressed with how the whole setup worked.

    The van was listed for $3995, but I offered $2500. The seller accepted my offer because, I think gas was high and there were no buyers for such a big vehicle. I paid about $900 to get all the service caught up. Also, paid about $500 for the hitch, equalizer, wiring harness, break controller, etc. Add $9K for the trailer, and I a little more than $13k in a rolling home. For the next contract, I just hook up and go. The van moved the trailer, and even had enough interior room for my 14' canoe. I still don't have the interior done, but hopefully I'll find the time in the next couple months to work on that.

    In all, I think it was a pretty lucky find. I wanted a camper, but circumstances changed, and I needed it for a different purpose. Luckily, it turned out to be nearly perfect for the job. Picture is attached. (That's my little green Jeep next to the van)
     
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  8. #12

    Thread Starter Expert

    Nov 30, 2010
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    Lucky day again. $$
    No calls for weeks and suddenly the phone won't stop ringing.
    I have a reverse osmosis corrosion problem in Beverly Hills, a grounding problem in Louisville, a horizontal sync problem in Pinellas Park, and a dead heat pump in St. Petersburg Beach.

    I did get an intake filter made for the 3 HP air compressor, but that's just rebuilding a freebie to keep me from getting bored to death. Today, it's supernerd to the rescue :D
     
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  9. MrChips

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    Oct 2, 2009
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    How do you fix a horizontal sync problem in your line of work?

    If you had said a vertical sink problem, that would be more like it!:)
     
  10. #12

    Thread Starter Expert

    Nov 30, 2010
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    My first "real" 40 hour per week job was fixing vacuum tube TV's. Today's big screen stuff is not very similar except it uses the same block diagram. When I see both horizontal and vertical jitter, I know which area it's in because both sync pulses are derived at the same place.

    After that, I did home appliances for a year, including high vacuum hermetic refrigeration systems, then precision meters for stuff that's in water, like total dissolved solids, oxygen, conductivity, etc. That's when the light bulb went on. Nothing like working with 1% accuracy analog designs to get your theory tightened up. After a year, I was assigned to correcting the design engineers, but they wanted me to work for assembly line wages. So I quit and went to college. During that time, I designed analog power supplies for a factory in Santa Ana and that led to a job working automatic lasers.

    After I met a drunk driver on the way home one night, I moved back to Florida where it was cheap to live. I tried fixing military radios, but it was a union shop and the first rule of fixing military radios is, You can not replace any parts. It throws off the "failure per hundred thousand hour rate". So I quit that and got into air conditioning. It's a lot easier than TV's, pays just as well, and everybody has one.

    So, in one day, I get a call about water quality and corrosion, a sick TV, a dead air conditioner, and a ground fault, and I can work with all of them.

    The worst part is that it rained all day today. The best part of that is that Florida is so warm that I don't care if I'm wet all day. As long as I don't leave puddles in the customer's rug, I'm OK. I look like a wet dog and my shoes squish, but I worked for money and the customers are happy.
     
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  11. Brownout

    Well-Known Member

    Jan 10, 2012
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    You run the sink through the reverse osmosis unit which converts it from horizontal to vertical. Then, you repair the loose ground so it doesn't flip back. Then attach the heat pump to get hot and cold water.
     
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  12. #12

    Thread Starter Expert

    Nov 30, 2010
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    The short answer is, Air Conditioning is my day job.

    My lifetime of curiosity and wide range of previous education and experience explains why I am at AAC. I can't have a technical conversation with at least 99% of the people I meet.

    Just yesterday, I said I was going to get a rag full of mineral spirits and clean 20 years of crud off that old compressor I'm rehabilitating, and the wife of the man I was talking to said, "What is a rag full of mineral spirits?".
     
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  13. Wendy

    Moderator

    Mar 24, 2008
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    It seems to me we are overdue technical improvements in heat pumps. The scroll compressor is OK, but a TEC moves heat around with no moving parts (albeit with lousy efficiencies).

    Another lovely thought Larry Niven wrote about is a thermal super conductor, heat transfer again with no moving parts. I believe it is theoretically possible.
     
  14. #12

    Thread Starter Expert

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    Let's see technical improvements in heat pumps. The U.S. government has been riding the manufacturers about efficiency to the point that we in the industry are afraid some politician is going to pull an efficiency number out of his a$$ that breaks the laws of physics. Right now, I'm looking at air to air coolers rated at 24 B.T.U.s per watt and heaters at 9.5 times 3.413 = 32.4 B.T.U.s per watt. Compare that to 9 B.T.U.s per watt @ 25 years ago. Water source heat pumps are significantly better than that.

    The, "thermal superconductor" is called a, "heat pipe". It's worst aspect is that it depends partially on gravity so you have to take that into consideration when arranging the air flow and heat flow. Let's compare to copper at 400 W/(meter kelvin) and silver at a bit over 400 W/(meter kelvin). Heat pipes come in at about 100,000 W/(meter kelvin).

    My first impression is that I misunderstood your question.
     
  15. Wendy

    Moderator

    Mar 24, 2008
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    A thermal superconductor is like a electrical superconductor, except with heat instead of electricity. The end result is a material that is the same temperature throughout, even if one end is in a cryogenic environment and the other in a furnace. It will allow heat to flow through it with 100% efficiency, no moving parts. I believe their are low temperature examples of the phenomena where superconductors used to only exist. I could be mistaken about it existing, but when you think about it most heat pumps involve pumping liquid materials around just to transfer heat, such as the radiator on a car.
     
  16. GopherT

    AAC Fanatic!

    Nov 23, 2012
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    The nuclear Navy did some experiments with an alloy of sodium and potassium metals - each an excellent conductor of electricity and heat. The interesting part of this alloy is that it is liquid at room temperature so it can be pumped. Pumping heat like that allows amazing heat transfer - especially because the boiling point of the alloy is 800C.

    The cool thing about pumping metal alloys is that you can do it with no moving parts. The conductivity of the fluid can be used in an electromagnetic pump. They are not super efficient but at least you don't have to worry about highly reactive sodium and potassium metals reacting with elastomeric seals from pumps.

    Ultimately, the navy decided not to go with NaK alloy but a reactor or reactor test loop was built at Oak Ridge lab.
     
  17. #12

    Thread Starter Expert

    Nov 30, 2010
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    Yes, I misunderstood your question. You are looking for the magic fairyland version and it hasn't been adapter for residential use yet.:D
     
  18. #12

    Thread Starter Expert

    Nov 30, 2010
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    Next week I will be mending fences...literally.
    40 year old, hand made, wooden fence. Broken gate latches, tensioning turnbuckles, a few broken slats, all hand made. I told the customer that $400 would, "get me started".
    I have the check in my pocket :D

    I don't know if you think getting employment is, "a lucky day" but I do.
     
  19. inwo

    Well-Known Member

    Nov 7, 2013
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    Isn't that a tough job with all the snow?:D
     
  20. #12

    Thread Starter Expert

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    Yes. It's very difficult to get the gates at the right height. Even after I scrape the snow off, I have to consider how high the lawn grass will be after it resumes growing in the spring.:p
     
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