Thursday, August 10, 2023

My Equinox failed inspection...

 It has been a month of a comedy of errors.  My regular place to get the car inspected was having issues with its inspection machine.  He said to try back next week.  It was still bad the next week, so I called another garage.  They were booked for 2 weeks but they could get me in then.  Then the problems arose.  The brakes started grinding, the check engine light came on, etc.  I think the check engine light comes on every year just to remind you to get the car inspected.  LOL.  

So the brakes were replaced but the check engine was the lower O2 sensor and the catalytic converter.  I added some stuff that promised "double your money back if it fails inspection" to the gas.  I think it was from CRC.  The car came with a spare O2 sensor so I had that installed.  Then it came up with several codes all pointing to the O2 sensor.  So I went and bought another O2 sensor, but it had a code as well indicating slow response from the O2 sensor.  I was starting to think the wiring was bad.  At this point I checked the collection of sensors.

The spare that came with the car DID NOT FIT the car! (It did physically)

The replacement I bought was a "universal" replacement.

So I bought an OEM exact replacement and it looked just like the original one on the left in the picture and guess what?  After lots of prayer and parts swapping it worked!

O2 sensors

Now I have a collection of O2 sensors to look at.  I might try returning the one that was brand new but threw a code.

Monday, July 10, 2023

I have damaged three TV's in a row while trying to fix them.

I am batting three in a row for destroying TV's while trying to fix them.  In all three cases all I had to do was replace the LED Backlights.  There was the 65" where I disconnected part of a ribbon cable to the screen.  Then there was a 55" when after taking it apart at least three times I laid it on its face to attach the back cover and somehow it ended up on its power cord that cracked the screen.  Now I have a 50" TV that I have damaged one of the SIDE ribbon cables.  I had them all tucked in but when I put on the bezel two of the side cables came out and were damaged by the bezel.

This picture shows the side ribbon cables (The screen is on its other side).  The cables loop around and are only about 3/8" long.  They tuck into spaces that are alloted for them.

The result of the damage is the top left side of the screen is out.  If I play with the damaged ribon cable it starts working for a few minutes.

The 65" TV that I accidently disconnected part of a ribbon cable, then fixed it with a clip, is still working!

Tuesday, June 13, 2023

CA-300V Super LED tester TV Backlight Review

Years ago I started testing TV LED Backlights with 9 volt batteries.  There are even videos of me doing that on Youtube. Well I fianlly broke down and bought a LED tester.  The reason was that I had just received a second identical TV to one where I had replaced all of the LED strips and this time I did not want to buy any, but to reuse the good ones from the last TV instead.  But I was in for a big surprise.  Only two LEDs were bad in the last TV so I was sure I was all set to fix the new one.  However in the new TV there were at least 20 bad LED's.  Even with 8 good LED strips out of 10, I was still not able to fix all the lED's!!  The best I could do was to leave 2 bad LED's.  On top of that, as I reasembled the TV two lenses fell off of the strips, so it has to be taken back apart and repaired again!

The short story is that this tester works great.  I did have one strip that tested bad in the TV but tested good once it was removed for some reason.

Here is some of my LED strips that I have collected over the years that needed testing.
Here is how to test the LED strips.  Basically you go + to + on each strip.  Note that the strips are not always labeled correctly!  The - terminals are usually just shorts.  Trial and error is the quickest way to find the correct polarity.  You can use a jumper to short out one end of the LED strip if you want to go positive to negative at one end of the strip.  Once you replace the bad strips then test everything to make sure it works together before reasembling the TV.  Sometimes the LED strip connectors have issues.

This are some really burnt out LED's

The results are not that good!  A number of the lenses fell off and had to be glued back on.  It turns out that the lens has to be centered on the money or else you get uneven lighting. You can slso easily see where a LED is not working.  I guess I should have purchased new LED strips.....

I studied the "Lens Crooked" issue and what happens is that one of the three bumps slips off and the lens ends up higher on one side that the other, or off center.  This is quite common when you reglue the lens.  I do not know why so many of the lenses fell off the strips in this TV.  I suspect maybe it was dropped or something.  Also, I was reusing LED strips that had been removed form another TV, that process is known to loosen or even pop off the lenses.

I took it back apart and reglued three LED Lenses back in place.  Then, while putting it back together, I heard another lens fall off.  Then I took it apart again and found not one, but three lenses had fallen off.  None of the loose lenses had been glued on before.  So I glued them and put it back together again.  The bad LED is on an "A" strip and I only have "B" strips that are spare.  Overall it looks much better but still is not perfect.  The only real solution is to replace all the LED strips with new ones....

Monday, June 5, 2023

Dynex DX-37L150A11 Replace Fluorescent Backlight tubes with LED strips

I hate to see newer TV's go in the garbage.  Recently I was at our local firehall as they filled bin after bin with defective TV's as part of our towns cleanup.  Many, if not most TV's were just having issues with the backlighting.  I even brought a 55" model home to repair.  Anyway, I had a 37" TV that had the older fluorescent tubes for backlighting.  I watched as one, then two, then three of the tubes went out.  Then the TV quit, no backlight.  So I thought I would fix it with LED strips just for the fun of it.

At first I tried RGBW LED's because I had them on hand.  They did not work well at all.  Amoung other issues some of them came loose and fell against the screen becoming very visable.

Then I used some 12 volt LED strips.  I added glue to make sure they stayed in place as well as stuffing the LED strip ends under the plastic edges at both ends.  Total cost $18 for the LED strips.

Putting the TV back together...

This is the old fluorescent tube driver circuit board and the 10 tubes that were removed from the TV set in the upgrade process.

This is the almost final result.  Unfortunatly one of the LED strips developed issues.  I think one of the wires shorted to the metal chassis and maybe burnt out some LED's.  The strips were 12 volt strips and the power to the removed tube driver was 24 volts, so I have arranged the strings in sets of two strips in series. Now to take the TV apart for a third time and replace the defective LED strip!

Update: I replaced the bad LED strip and now it works perfectly!

Thursday, June 1, 2023

2011 Chevy Equinox One Year Repair history.

Well it has almost been a year since I purchased the Chevy Equinox.  It has been an expensive year at that!  I cannot remember what some of the prices were so I guessed what they might have been.

First year repairs:

Starter                                 ~$200 (Replaced it myself)
Water Pump                        $700
VVT Valves                        ~$200
HP Fuel Pump (Twice)       ~$300 (Had striped bolts, needed helicoils installed)
Alternator                           ~$500
Front Brakes                       ~$500
Wheel Bearing                    $375
Throttle Body                     $100 (Did not help anything)
Oil Pump                            $450 (Lost oil pressure when idleing when hot)
               Approx Total:      $3325

Still needed:

Rear Brakes $400
Front tires    $500

The problem is that the high pressure fuel pump puts a load on the cam shaft that puts a load on the cam shaft actutor, then the timing chain, then the timing chain guides and tensioner then the oil pump.  On top of that direct injection does not clean the intake valves that get covered in burnt oil from the PCV valve. On top of that it takes a quart of oil every 1,000 miles because of low tension piston rings that do not clean up all the oil so it gets burnt onto the rings thus cakeing them in burnt oil.

At one point the car would go into limp mode and shut down every mile or two.  I really struggled to get it back home.  It turns out that the HP Fuel pump had broken, the spring was completely detached, and it was pumping gas into the oil as well as leaking gas on the motor front.  One of the pump mounting bolts had broken in half!!

BTW, this is how to fix an Equinox that will not start (that still has dash lights), just unplug the circled connector on the computer and then plug it back in (This also erases all problem codes):

Since I wrote this it developed another issue.  It would stall sometimes when you stop and sometimes when you almost stop to make a turn.  Then it went into limp mode and would not leave first gear.  So I added some Lucas transmission fix and it has not stalled since then.  It does still sometimes have a rough shift down so I think it needs to have the transmission fluid changed.

JBL SB2 Subwofer Speaker Repair

 I recently repaired some JBL SB2 subwoofers.  They had been overpowered and there were boils in the voice coil form. I have never fixed a speaker with this problem before.  It was hard to get a file in there because of the magnetic field.  But once in place it turned it side to side to remove the bubbles.

Once the bubblew were cleaned up I glued the cover back on and tested the speaker and it worked!

Good Bye to the 2008 Ford Taurus

Well the Ford Taurus developed a really bad brake fluid leak.  i crawled under it and discovered that the drivers side rear tire support had rotted out, as well as the brake lines.

I fixed that with expanding foam.  It actually drove better!

Between those issues, it getting stuck in first gear, the AC not working and a few other issues it went to the scrap metal heap.

Thursday, May 25, 2023

E4SW6518RKU 65 inch TV Repair LED Backlights

I recently fixed a E4SW6518RKU 65 inch TV by replacing the LED Backlights.  The TV is so huge that there was almost not enough room where I was working on it.  So I stacked everything behind it as I took them out so they would go back in in the same order.  The screen was attached to the black plastic pieces so I tokk them out together, but that makes it very difficult to put it back together.  Perhaps a knife would have seperated the screen from the black plastic parts.

The old LED strips are glued in.  You have to rock them side to side to get them out.  Even then they will be bent and the lens will pop off them..

One of the screen ribbon cables came apart so I used a clip to reattach it, but this does not seem reliable enough. Anyone have a better solution??

Saturday, March 4, 2023

Replacing a 30 gallon hot water heater with a 40 gallon one

About 10 years ago I replacde my hot water heater.  There is a old blog post on it.  For some reason the bottom element quit working so I thought i would fix it.  It turned out that there had been a water leak for a long time.  The area was completely rusted out so I did not dare touch it.  My wife wanted a 40 gallon heater but they are 21" in diameter and would not fit in the space available.  However I discovered that there is a narrow 18" diameter 40 gallon water heater that is available at Lowes.

The 12 year old water heater.  It had rust stripes below the lower element access cover.

The new narrow 40 gallon water heater.  The opening was not big enough for me to get my head in there to see the wiring so I did the wiring kind of blind.  The wire was just barely long enough.  I replaced one pipe and extended the other pipe.

Retrofitting Par 56 Light fixtures with LED lights

Someone donated some PAR56 Light fixtures.  They came equiped with 500 watt light bulbs.  That means that you can only have three of them on a typical 120 volt circuit.  So I thought I would retrofit them with some LED lights.  But a direct replacement LED light is $100 each!  Then I came up with a retrofit that can fit almost any light from a PAR38 sized bulb.  Now they are not as bright, typically 1000 to 2000 lumens.  The 500 watt lights are around 6000 lumens!  But the LED lights are still very bright, even blinding to look at.

All you need for the retrofit is a metal strap, it needs to be strong, I have doubled up some of the wimpy straps to get enough strength. Then you need a 1000 watt ceramic socket.  I bought several of them on ebay.

Here is an ad for the ceramic light sockets.  You have to reroute the wires so the mounting hole can be used.  A 10-32 screw and nut works well to mount the socket to the strap. 

Here is an ad for some 1650 lumen, 19.5 watt LED light bulbs.  Make sure they are dimmable and daylight 5000 kelvin lights.

Monday, February 20, 2023

LED Sign updated with ESP32 and LED Dividers

 I have updated my LED signs with an ESP32 processor and LED Dividers.  The hope is to eventually support some sort of graphics.  Maybe even design it on your phone and upload it to the sign.

Here is a project by someone else that supports 16x16 graphics on your phone:

I also made an instructable for this project:

The biggest change was to add dividers between the LED's.  This picture is of the dividers being installed on the left.  As you can see it makes a big difference.  

This time I used zig zag wiring where each line goes inthe opposite direction.  At one end they get looped back by some 30 gauge wire.  At the other end they get power as shown in the second picture below.

Once the strips are wired and tested you can add the dividers.  The dividers are available at thingiverse:

You will have to print out six of the design missing two sides and six of the design missing one side.  Then they are glued together ontop of the LED strips.  I added weights to hold the arrays to the sign while the glue was drying.

I used a ESP32 processor wired as shown below.  The code is on the instructable.

Thursday, February 9, 2023

Fix for cheap refrigerator plastic parts

These days there are some really cheap refrigerator plastic parts.  The things in the doors break and fall out.  The bottom shelf plastic falls apart.  I looked for replacements and they run close to $100!  So I developed my own fixes for them.  To start with the door shelf holders can be fixed with a pencil and lots of glue!  The pencil is covered in E6000 or similar glue and inserted under the lip.

This is a close up of the pencil that reinforces the shelf front.

The bottom plastic surrounds a piece of glass.  The plastic breaks away and leaves the glass loose.  A nine inch long piece of 1/2 inch plastic water pipe works perfectly.  No glue is needed, but you can add some if you want.

Don't forget to fix the handle.  That breaks off rather quickly.  I used a metal strap, some screws and lots of glue.

Friday, February 3, 2023

Battery powered Rapid Fire Rektify Nerf gun

I 3D printed yet another nerf gun.  The design I used is called "rektify" and is located on thingiverse here: However it needed some improvements.  The biggest problem is that the pusher would strip out the gears in the 90:1 motor gearbox.  Then I found an all metal gear version on ebay and that solved the problem.  Also I used washers as spacers between the layers around the pusher assembly.  Without the washers it gets stuck.  Another change was to drill out holes for the pusher motor gearbox mounting screws heads.  

I tested it with a 12 round magazine as well. The video is on youtube and facebook.

These are pictures of the all metal gears motor driver gearbox.