Monday, November 6, 2017

Powder flasks update

First off a big welcome to everybody from Facebook, thanks for stopping over, have a look around.

Now a couple weeks ago I wrote a post about powder flasks, which is actually my most popular post ever, in which I declared the CVA powder flask my favorite, I said the Traditions flask didn't dispense powder reliably. Well last night I went to the range and my opinion changed a bit.

Yesterday I was shooting this pistol I was given with my Kentucky rifle. The previous owner had really wanted to hear about it being shot so even though the light was failing I ran over to the range to give it a try. You can see the Traditions flask at the top of the shot, I'd forgotten the CVA flask at home.
In the past when I was using the Traditions flask it was for my shotgun which I load with 2Fg powder, the pistol is .45cal and I used 3Fg powder and I'll be darned if the finer powder didn't flow just fine through that flask.

So I'll change my guidance slightly, if you're only going to shoot 2Fg get the CVA, if you're only going to shoot 3Fg it doesn't matter, they're both fine. If you're going to switch between 2Fg and 3Fg then get the CVA, remember its a little cheaper anyway...

Traditions:    CVA:

How did the pistol shoot? Not bad, the sights are kind of crude and were hard to see in the low light. I think I kept all 3 shots on the paper but its hard to tell, I forgot to bring a piece of cardboard for a backer.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

No ducks

As a followup to my last post I'm sad to report no ducks were shot.

I carried my 16ga Centare loaded with 1 1/8oz of bismuth #4s and an equal volume of blackpowder. Its maybe a slightly too heavy load but I want to throw a lot of shot.

We got in the bush, got the decoys out and were ready when the sun came up. There were about 10 wood ducks on the pond, Ben tells me wood ducks are about done for the season but it seemed good enough to me. They wandered all around the pond before finally coming about 20 yards in front of me. A drake and a hen right together, I brought up the gun, hit the trigger and "crack!" the cap went off but the gun failed to fire.

I scratched my head over that one, that gun has never failed to fire before.

Thus ended hunting that spot, the ducks were outta there not to return. We decided I ought to try it again to see if it would actually fire. I had to cap it twice more before it went off. Only thing I can think is there must have been some bore butter in the touch hole. I should have capped off before I loaded but I forgot before leaving home and didn't want to do it in the bush. I won't forget that in a hurry.

The rest of the day was a comedy of errors, I was closing in on a group of 6 on another pond that Ben couldn't see, he made a whole bunch of noise and they flew. Then the last spot of the day I got lost and kept flushing ducks when I needed to be quiet.

Ben summed the whole thing up "You'da had that one duck, maybe both of them..."

The speed loaders worked well when I had them in my carry bag. I've got a Vietnam era Army surplus first aid kit bag that keeps my stuff. Later in the day I got tired of carrying it so I put 4 bottles (2 powder, 2 shot) in my pocket, the shot rattled around in the bottle in my pocket and made a bunch of noise. I may make a belt pouch to carry 4 or 6 bottles with straps to hold them in place, it'd cut down on the noise and be convenient...

Friday, October 20, 2017


One of the complaints about muzzle loaders is the time to reload. In practice I've recorded myself getting off a shot every minute while loading "from the pouch". In reality I had the powder flask in my back pocket, the roundball in one shirt pocket and patches in another but you get the idea. For the shotgun its harder. Shooters of yore carried a shot pouch not entirely unlike my powder flask. I'm not at that level yet so I cast around for a way to carry pre-measured shot and powder and ended up buying some speed loaders.

I forgot to take a picture of them so the Amazon link will have to do. While these are geared for rifle shooting I thought they'd work out for the shotgun too and for the most part they do. The reason I got the Thompson Center brand is because I could cut the tubes down to fit my load. I'm shooting 1 1/4 oz of shot and an equal volume (about 3 drams) of powder. This is a heavy load for my 16ga but patterns well and should work on most any birds I'm likely to encounter.

The TC speedloaders will hold about 2 charges but theres no good way to keep the charges separate so I could cut the tube down to hold just one load.

Instead I decided to get creative:

In the foreground my shot dipper, behind it my speed loaders. There 10ml "regent containers", or in common English, little plastic bottles. I like that they have screw on lids which keeps everything contained. I like that they're see-through so. can see whats in them and I like that the plastic takes Sharpie marker like a champ. The ones with the black top are powder, the S marks shot. They are a bit more than twice the size they need to be, 5ml would be perfect but they're less than half the cost total that the speed loaders would be EACH.

Ben wants to go duck hunting tomorrow so currently I've got all 10 bottles loaded with bismuth #4 shot from Rotometals. I'll let you know how it works out.

Again if you follow the links and buy from Amazon it'll help me out by sending a little cash my way but please don't feel like you have to...

Powder flasks

I want to take a couple posts to talk about things I like, I'm going to include Amazon affiliate links and I'll be straight and admit this is a little shilling for Amazon, if you follow the link and buy something I get some cash out of the deal. On the one hand I'm using the blog to maybe encourage you to buy something that I get paid for. On the other hand I promise to only include things I really like.

Actually for today's post I'm going to stretch that slightly, today is a tale of two powder flasks:

On the left the Traditions flask, on the right the same basic flask from CVA.

If you want to shoot a muzzle loader a powder flask isn't required per-say but it sure makes life easier. The flask has 2 jobs:
1. Carry the powder
2. Dispense the powder
A powder flask needs to be made from a material that won't spark, both these flasks are brass which won't spark. Back in history powder flasks were often made from horn and in fact you can buy a surprisingly good powder horn on Amazon, I'll cover that in another review.
The thing about a horn is the dispensing part, you pull the plug and pour out the powder. These flasks both have a mechanical shut off for dispensing the powder. Again thats not required but it sure makes life easier...

The body diameter of the two flasks is the same, they are essentially the same length and thus carry just about the same amount of powder. The difference is the valve.


Its hard to see in the picture but the Traditions flask uses a cross bar valve, theres a push button which slides a bar that allows powder through a hole.


The CVA uses a more old school lever that uncovers the hole.

I bought the Traditions first, I think because it had more reviews and there were concerns about the finish on the CVA. The CVA I bought a couple months ago because I'd left the Traditions flask at camp. It turns out that I like the CVA a LOT more. Powder flow is much more regular with the CVA, with the Traditions flask the powder gets stuck, so I need to close the valve, put my finger over the end of the spout, open the valve and give the flask a vigorous shake to dislodge the powder.  Traditions says the spout holds 30 grains so I generally have to repeat the process at least twice to fill my powder measure.
By comparison the CVA rarely sticks the way the Traditions measure does so I can open the valve and flow powder into the measure more easily.

The finish is pretty much the same, I did see a tiny amount of corrosion on the inside of the flask along the seam on the tube but it wiped off with a paper towel. The CVA is slightly (less than a dollar) cheaper than the Traditions flask too so for me this is a no brainer, if you're into muzzleloading and need a flask the CVA is the way to go.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

More flintlock fun

I'm trapped in California for two weeks but dreaming of last week when I took the old flintlock to the range:

Three shots from 50 yards. Its a little low but I didn't want to raise the sight too fast and start shooting over. The target looks a little ragged because I didn't get it tight against the backer. The holes through the board look perfect. From the bench I could keep my shots into about a 1.5" circle. Standing that opened up to more like 4". For a primitive biathlon you need to hit a 6" target so I'm right about where I need to be. With more practice I should be even better.

The 3/4" x 3/4" flint I bought was too small, it would spark but not the big shower of sparks that is required for regular ignition. The 7/8" x 3/4" flint required trimming to fit the cock on the gun but sparked well. I fired about 20 shots that day and only had a handful of misfires. I did managed to ruin the big flint.
That night I ordered 3 3/4" x 7/8" English flints and 3 3/4" x 7/8" French flints. This is a little like the Ford/Chevy debate with people singing the praises of each. I also ordered one American sawn agate flint. I'm told the sawn flints are either the greatest thing ever or total junk, it'll be interesting to compare them.

I was shooting 60 grains of 3F blackpowder. I had some left over 2F from hunting season with the 16ga, I pulled my powder every couple days to make sure it was staying dry, it was and it shot fine in the .45 but shot lower than the 3F. I'd read that this would happen, apparently the smaller granules in 3F create more pressure, its interesting when information from the internet turns out to be true...

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Pump it up!

I don't think I ever wrote about it but a few years ago I built a sink for Angie.
Actually thats wrong, I took a normal sink and vanity and converted it to be a self contained unit. Theres no plumbing in her office for a sink so she needed something self contained so she could wash her hands. This sink has two 5 gallon buckets inside the vanity with a foot operated "Whale Gusher" pump and a small water heater. Its worked well for a couple years now but recently Angie complained that it wouldn't pump.

Investigation showed that water would start to come out of the bucket but would only move so far before dropping back. I decided this meant a check valve had failed so we ordered a repair kit. I was a little nervous about this, I've never worked on a pump before, what if we'd just wasted money on the kit?

Disassembly was easy, just a few screws and it wasn't long before I found this:

That little flapper is one of two on the inlet side check valve, you can see the little dent in it. You can also see the pump in the background. The little dent was allowing water to slip past it so it wasn't doing its job of preventing the water from going back out the inlet side. The repair kit had four little flappers so I replaced both of the ones on the inlet side. The output side seemed to work fine so I left it alone. Reassembled the pump worked again, SCORE!

I wanted to tell you about this because its easy to lose your mojo and forget that you have limitless potential. I see a lot of people who "can't" do things because they won't try and that really bothers me. If I try and fail, whats the worst thing that could happen? In this case we'd buy a new pump, no big deal. Thats mostly true of life, no big deal, it didn't work, try something else...

Tuesday, August 1, 2017


I don't think I've ever talked about guns on here before other than tangentially when I refer to hunting.
I've been around guns pretty much my whole life. In Maine its super easy to own a gun if you don't have a criminal record. In Massachusetts not so much, its actually not all that hard but I've never bothered to get a gun license since I could always go to Maine.
Well last year I realized 2 important facts:
#1. Because I' m a Mass resident my hunting license here is cheap and if I get an antlerless deer permit (I haven't) I could potentially shoot two deer here.
#2. In Mass if the gun loads from the front its not a firearm and therefore doesn't require a license.

So near the end of last year I bought myself a muzzle loading shotgun. Its been pretty fun, took me awhile to get used to loading but I carried it during turkey season with no problems other than my inability to find any turkeys.

I'll write more about it later. I took it to camp with us for 4th of July and forgot it there so its time to turn my attention to something more rifley:

The barrel is marked "T. Mansfield INC .450 CAL" with no other marks that I can find. Its a flintlock which makes shooting it a little more interesting but it shoots pretty well. Dad and I fired it a bunch right after Thanksgiving but I hadn't brought it home until the end of May.

This week I decided to pull it out and install a new flint:

The one on it is pooched, I could possibly sharpen it and get a few more shots but flints are like $2 each.

I didn't know exactly what to order, the one in the foreground is what came on the rifle, the middle is 3/4"x3/4", the rear one is 3/4"x7/8". In testing the one in the rear is really too big it doesn't fit into the lock hardly at all its so tall. The one in the middle fits the lock well but its really too short. As an experiment I installed it "upside down" which is to say with the beveled edge facing down and it sparked way better than it did the other way. Upside down the leading edge strikes the frizzen much higher which is why it sparks better.

Since I left much of my blackpowder gear at camp I haven't been doing any shooting but now that I know I've got a working flint I'll try to get out to the range.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Valerian - Movie Review

We don't see a whole lot of movies any more and since the volume is low I try to keep the quality high. Last night on a whim we saw "Valerian" and boy I wish I hadn't...

The trailer looks pretty good:

Its a Luc Besson movie, he did "The Fifth Element" which I'm a big fan of and I'd hoped this movie would be similar. In a way it was, this isn't "science fiction" since that would require some kind of real science. The film ignores science and physics almost completely. Gravity exists pretty much everywhere, all the time as does, apparently anyway, air.

Dane DeHaan isn't an actor I'd seen before but his portrayal of Agent Valerian is one of a spoiled man-child. He's at once a super tough fighter and suddenly a limp noodle. Cara Delevigne's Sergeant Laureline may have set the cause of women's rights back 15 years. My friend rightly pointed out "She never did anything useful in the whole film." Thats not 100% true, she saved Valerian's life exactly once, then she immediately got kidnapped apparently forgetting that in the previous scene we'd seen her with a gun. She plays the helpless maiden to the hilt, sergeants around the world will cover their eyes in shame.

Rhianna makes a completely unnecessary but appearance only to be killed off within minutes of her introduction. Its especially sad because hers was one of the best characters in the film, of course the character is ruined in a completely pointless and sappy death scene...

With plot holes you could fly a 747 through and lead actors that look and sound like petulant teenagers I'm stunned by how positive the reviews online are with most reviewers commenting on how good it looked. I can't disagree more with that, the imagery is overly busy with no common look or theme to be found anywhere. I see that this was all based on a comic, while the movie thoroughly sucked I'm interested in reading the source material and feel bad for the author who's vision was implemented so poorly.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Living with a 52 year old lawnmower

Its not hyperbole to say we have a 52 year old lawnmower, in fact in this first picture both of the lawnmowers are 52 years old. Thats right they were each made in 1965.

I was mowing the lawn yesterday thinking that this is probably the only lawnmower I'll ever need. Unless we get a much larger lawn I don't see why I should ever buy another lawnmower. Yesterday I mowed our lawn and half of Bill's in less than an hour using less than one tank of gas. Considering the gas tank holds less than half a gallon thats quite economical.

I've been using this mower since 2009 with relatively little drama until a couple months ago. Angie had cut the whole lawn and parked the machine when she commented that it didn't seem to have any power. I fired it up, engaged the blades and it made a gawdawful racket. I pulled off the pulley cover:

Doesn't look too exciting right? Look closely at the pulley, right under the nut, see the silver ring?

The pulley was made in two pieces and the key'd part sheered off.

Nothing a couple minutes with the welder couldn't solve.

I've mowed the lawn twice since that happened, I was a little worried I'd need to balance the pulley but I think since the repair is so close to the center it doesn't matter.

I'm thinking I probably need to replace the spark plug and airfilter, it took 3 pulls to start yesterday, which I guess is something most people would be happy with. I do need to replace the fuel shutoff valve, its gotten loose and yesterday once while I was mowing it fell into the off position and killed the engine. No big whoop but as its not right I'd like to remedy it.

Saturday, July 8, 2017


We'd gone to camp for a week when I got the notice that Photobucket turned off 3rd party linking on my account so if you dig back into the blog you'll find lots of the 3rd party link placeholders.
Actually pretty soon you'll see no connection placeholders as I'm deleting my Photobucket account. I've been in and downloaded all of the albums and deleted them. I'll be uploading everything to Google Photos but it'll take some time.

Edit: Looks like I'd done more with Google Photos than I remembered, all of 2017 and 2016 are now back online. 2015 is about half there. I'm not sure how far back I'll go but my Photobucket albums are moving over pretty well. I also took the opportunity to sort through the 800+ photos in my unsorted bucket and move a lot of them into better places, maybe this isn't all bad...

In the meantime here's a picture of my 1965 Cub Cadet 70 with the generator hitched behind it.

New content soon!

Friday, June 30, 2017

Photobucket commits suicide

I guess you want to get used to seeing that image for awhile. Photobucket has decided that since what most people use their service for is 3rd party linking they should charge for it. I don't think this is, in and of itself a bad thing, but they've also decided that if you want 3rd party linking you'll need to use their highest tier storage which is $400 a year. This from the slowest photo host on the web, the one that slams every page with ads and opens new pages in the background.

About a year ago I considered going ad-free with Photobucket, they do have one of the easiest interfaces around and I figured they should be rewarded especially if it meant their notoriously slow service would be sped up. So I asked if the interface would be faster if I paid. Cue the crickets. Photobucket wouldn't even suggest that the interface would load faster ad-free so I left it alone. Now my hand is forced.

A number of my friends have started showing the above image and I *think* whats happening is that when you login to upload you "agree to the new terms of service" and lose your 3rd party links. As an end run around that I'm not going to login thus attempting to preserve the thousands of links I have all around the internet.

So I'm back to looking for another photo host. For the blog the answer is fairly simple, I'll move back to Google Photos. For forum hosting Google Photos is no good since traditionally you couldn't get a clear link to an image. Strangely a test today provided me with a clear image though I don't know if thats just because I took it through the blog.

On another front Flickr appears to have lifted their cap on the number of images I can upload. I had hit that wall some years ago and given up on them but if thats gone I might go back. More info as I know it...

As an experiment the top image is Google Photos, this one is Flickr:

Monday, May 1, 2017

Loader advancement

Finally got some more time with the loader, first off that stupid top link had to go.

There was a little tension in it... That Harbor Freight 7" angle grinder was a good investment, its a little low on power when I really play the gorilla and lean on it but it does a good job.

Outgoing at the top, incoming below. 2.5"x.18", way overkill but I figured go big or go home. That turned out to bite me later on.

Lookin good right?

Heres the problem, thats my new 10" hydraulic cylinder replacing the 16" that was there, notice how the bucket is tipped slightly down but the cylinder is sucked all the way in. The bucket can't curl up any... Turns out when I had measured to replace the cylinder I'd measured to the TOP of the new brace. I should have bought an 8" cylinder and 2" tube steel. In the first step I shortened my top mount which helped a little but not enough, the second step involved modifying the bucket.

I cut the cylinder mounts off the bucket and moved them 2.5" down. While I was at it I took off the 1.25" bushings and installed proper 1" so the pin won't beat itself to death.

The bucket curls correctly now. Theres still more work to do, I need to go back and pretty up the new mounts, probably box them in some for added strength too. Then I want to cut the bucket down considerably. Its waaaay to heavy for this application. Its 47" wide where the plans I bought call for 42". I think considering how heavily its built I'll cut it all the way down to 40". I'll lower the top by 3" and pull in the leading edge by 4". Is that easier than making a bucket from scratch? I don't know but the ribs on this one make it super strong which is why its super heavy. Once its done I'll never hurt it...

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

More time with the loader

Dang Blogger keeps changing my posts. I checked today and my last two posts have black text even though my standard is supposed to be white. I had to go into each post and change it.

Anyway I've got a couple updates on the loader, when we last left our hero the loader was working as intended, well mostly anyway. I parked it behind the garage by where I keep the snowmobiles so I could keep an eye on it and of course we got some snow. I bought a new 12" cylinder for the bucket to replace the too long one so I decided I wanted to move the machine into the garage. Its a loader, it can dig itself out of the snow right? Well sorta.

I knew there was a tire with a slow leak and it'd gone soft but it seemed to be holding okay. After half an hour of digging out of the snow it finally let go and the tire spun on the rim. So everything went on hold while I bought tubes.

Fortunately (?) a tube is easier to install when the tire is already loose on the rim. I'll need to invest in new tires soon, these ones are badly weather checked but they'll do for now.

So with the tire back on and the wheel and wheel weight installed I made some more progress toward the garage until:

Cylinder top mount let go. Look close and you'll see some real booger welding there. Well fortunately its spring and the snow melted fast so last week I managed to get the tractor into the garage and got that link off the cylinder.

Wonder if somebody was really proud of that work?

I boxed it in and added a BUNCH of weld to make a new, stronger unit:

Boxed in sides mean I can run a bead of weld all the way around the outside so it'll be waaaaay stronger when I attach it. Unfortunately I don't have anything to attach it to yet...

On the learning front I've decided how to deal with the big hydraulic reservoir, you remember this one?

5 gallons of oil hanging nearly 2 feet off the rear of the tractor. I'd worried about using a smaller reservoir and still having enough capacity. So I went back to the loader plans I'd bought before from He uses the right side tower as a reservoir, I was still nervous so I emailed him, nice guy, he got right back to me and I realized that since these are double acting cylinders you don't need much extra fluid capacity since the cylinders are always full, just pushing in one direction or the other. So I'll drill some holes and see if the tower is water tight. Assuming they are I'll re-plumb everything and add in a filter which is conspicuously missing from the current system.

Turning my attention to the hydraulic pump, the system is REALLY jumpy, best I can tell I've got a 24GPM (gallon per minute) hydraulic pump which is way oversized. Correct for this machine would be more like 5GPM. So I'll be sourcing a smaller pump and building a new bracket.

Last thing, as I got the tractor into the garage I figured I ought to change the oil. I'd been running it pretty good and who knows the last time it'd had love? Hadta use a stuck bolt extractor to pull the plug:

The points were all rounded pretty bad. I think somebody had been putting it in way too tight and tried to get it out with a crescent wrench. A few minutes on the belt grinder got it back to shape:

Its a little undersized now but a 9/16" wrench fits on it with only a little slop and I didn't put it in crazy tight. It doesn't leak now and I'm curious why some ham-fist cranked it in but whatever, I'll take it as a win.
A little Mobil 1 5w40 synthetic oil made the engine way quieter, the stuff that came out was black as night and felt thin I don't know what it was but it amazes me people use cheap oil, after all the machine doesn't quite use a whole quart, why not spring for the good stuff?

Anyway we're making progress. I'm not going to be able to touch it for a couple weeks but when I get back I plan to work through our two major projects, the bucket rotate cylinder and the tower reservoir...

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

New toy update

Took a couple hours on the new tractor yesterday. As a reminder the PO suggested that the PTO clutch was blowing the fuse, he said he measured it at 0 ohms.
The hood was adjusted too far forward anyway so I pulled it off finding only 2 of the 4 bolts that should be there. The PTO clutch showed 3.5 ohms which is exactly in the middle of the 3-4 ohm range. I took a 12v drill battery and applied power and could hear the clutch engage. The little jumper wires I had didn't get hot or show any sign of a short. There was a little pigtail on the wire coming from the switch, I disconnected that and hooked the wire to the clutch, flip the switch and the clutch engaged as it should.
Fire up the tractor and the clutch engaged but no hydraulics. Turns out theres ANOTHER clutch on the poorly mounted hydraulic pump. It looks like what happened was the pigtail used to go to that clutch also, got torn off and grounded to the frame which caused the fuse to pop.

I ended up reworking the pigtail, it was assembled upside down. I'm not happy with the routing but I just wanted to see if I could get the hydraulics to function.

Success! Lift goes up and down, bucket rolls. Everything I suspected about the hydraulic cylinders being too long is true, the lift arms are so long the bucket won't rest flat on the ground. 2" shorter cylinders would fix the problem.

I took a ride to Tractor Supply to buy some bolts since my local hardware store was closed. While there I looked at the hydraulic assortment and realized that everything on the tractor is from Tractor Supply. So the builder just bought stuff that was "close". So I'll be measuring and buying stuff thats right instead. Fortunately the rams all work so I should be able to sell them off to mitigate the cost.

Used the loader to haul firewood, I'm not sure its any faster than just using my garden cart but I wanted it to warm up and see if there were any engine troubles, there aren't other than the choke occasionally sets itself, the tower where the steering wheel is needs to come apart anyway, the bolster for the steering shaft is boogered, shouldn't be hard to fix.

Anyway the positive news for the day is I took a $1200 not-working loader and turned it into an $1800 mostly-working loader. Not bad for $1.00 worth of connectors.

Monday, March 6, 2017

A new toy

I've been looking at garden tractor loaders off and on for a couple years now. I even bought plans to build my own which of course was relegated to the "round tuit" pile.

Today I picked up a 1977 Cub Cadet 1650 (16hp, hydrostatic drive) with a loader on it. I think the loader was homemade with some modifications after initial construction.

I paid $1200 which is about half what I would normally expect to pay for such a thing. The electric PTO clutch doesn't work so I can't engage the hydraulics to run the loader but it starts easily even in the teens and is able to slide the loader bucket along pretty well.
I've been researching the PTO clutch and as with most things I won't really know whats up until I dig into it, the clutch itself is pretty simple and only about $150 if I find it needs replacement. The previous owner said it worked and then started blowing fuses, the wiring is a little hacked but not too bad so I'll pull it apart and see whats going on.

The hydraulics look like they were rigged by a halfwit, I plan to replace some of the hoses with hard lines since they're too short to route better than they already are. I'd like to replace the single cylinder currently hooked up for the bucket with two cylinders on the lift arms. Getting that stupid looking big cylinder out of the way would allow the hood to open correctly.

Anyway its a fun new toy and as I told the neighbor it'll keep my out of the bars.

Monday, February 27, 2017

A couple easy fixes

"I love it when a plan comes together." - Hannibal Smith

The other day plowing snow after sundown I noticed that the ammeter on the Cub Cadet was reading negative. A check with the multi-meter proved that the ammeter was correct and we were discharging.

A bit of google-fu found some troubleshooting instructions that mostly revolved around the voltage regulator, being the "brains" of the system that seemed a reasonable place to start.

The VR on these is real old school technology, basically unchanged from the '40s. First find the bat terminal and ensure it gets 12v even with the key off. Mine didn't... This set off a line of thinking that maybe the problem was actually just dirty contacts so I proceeded to remove each contact and scrub with a wire brush. Turned out to be the correct choice, 12v was restored to the bat terminal and charging commenced:

Not bad for a no-money job.

A few years ago I made a short video about the Jetta in the snow. Since we had a larger snowstorm this time I thought I'd make a follow-up. Then I made 2 mistakes.

#1. Behind where I had parked is a hole, the hole was bottomed with ice. I didn't use enough power to get across the ice and go the car stuck. Queue hilarity getting the car out.

#2. Some months ago the muffler fell off this car, that in itself is no big deal, the resonator is still there and does an adequate job, the car isn't too loud. However theres an aluminum heat shield above where the muffler goes which got bent down under the car by the force of the snow. A couple big sheet metal screws and large washers fixed that. I also managed to put one washer on a existing stud with a new nut:

Moving right along the snow flap on the back of the '98 Jag got bent so it drags up under the sled. It makes noise while you ride and catches when the suspension compresses. The flap is held on with 4 torx screws, I removed it and used the heat gun to get it bent the right way again. Then I secured a couple tears with zip ties and reinstalled:

Need to be careful in the summer with how I attach the tarp on this machine so I don't bend the flap again.

Not a bad day's work...

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Power went out

Happy 2017!

Power went out just before lunch yesterday, no problem, the wood stove was already hot for warming up lunch:

After lunch I read for an hour thinking the power would come back on, when it didn't I went out to the garage and got my backup battery, hooked it to my Coleman brand inverter, plugged in the cable modem and wifi router and got back to work:

This was a proof of concept run, I haven't tried this since we got our cable modem. In practice the inverter is kind of loud, I'd put it on our enclosed porch and run a cable. I should also make better battery connections but it worked well for an hour until the power came back on.I posted the pics on Facebook and friends said "Oh its good you're prepared" well heck I didn't even light a lantern or pull out a stove...