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The Crypto Crash

Y’all missed out on the “learning opportunity” of the crypto crash. When the market for crypto crashes, you can still go into Coinbase and study up about some of the failed products, and get free money.

Then, you can hold onto the money until it increases in value, then turn around and spend some of that money here.

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Repairing an Old 1980s Toshiba Microwave

I’ve never done this, but found a lot of information online. This is about my first attempt at repairing a microwave oven.

The microwave oven turns on, and the fan spins, and it makes the microwave oven sound, but the food doesn’t heat up.

The parts that drive the cooking are:

  • switches
  • the magnetron, which sends out the radio waves
  • the capacitor, which helps boost the voltage, and is part of the AC-DC rectifier
  • a high voltage diode, attached to the capacitor, which I assume is for rectifying the AC power into (sorta) DC
  • the power transformer

Here are some photos of the parts:

A quick search for the magnetron found replacements priced from $9 to $22, depending on location and newness. I was surprised that they’re available 30+ years later — but it appears that this part hasn’t changed that much in this long.

The capacitor was cheap in China, at around $2. The price in the US is around $8 used, shipped, and $15 new, shipped.

Diodes should cost a couple dollars, maybe less.

I learned that the main cause of failures was the switches. The switches on mine were fine; it powered up and seemed to run the fans, but it never got hot. Checking the switches with a multimeter verified that they worked.

So, I started to work through testing the parts. First, the diode:

https://academy.fredsappliance.com/video/how-to-test-a-high-voltage-diode-from-a-microwave/

Video: https://youtu.be/F1mTElvwcBg

Video: https://youtu.be/PdwbjNCK-xw

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a6lrKf2PdVA

Well, I didn’t have a 9v battery, so I need to get that first.

I got a battery, tested the diode, and it seemed fine.

Then I tested the capacitor, using these videos, I did all the tests, and they indicated a good cap. However, one of the tests was to use the cap tester – and mine showed 000 or 1. The one in the video showed some numbers.

Video: How to test capacitor https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OFFzS1a6k5g

I had to check the tester, so I found an old capacitor and verified that the meter was working. However, the capacitor was a 25uF motor run capacitor that ran at a relative low voltage around 120 volts. The microwave used a 0.81uF that could go up to 1700 volts.

So my meter showing 1 or 0 wasn’t “wrong” – my capacitor was slow low that it might not be showing with my meter. The manual confirmed that for caps from 1 to 100 uF, the resolution is 1uF. In short, it’s not a great capacitance meter on this multimeter. (The brand is “Neoteck”, a $15 meter I got on eBay. It’s a basic DMM that’s a little nicer than the $8 generic meters from AliExpress. To do this diagnosis, I needed something that’s more sensitive.)

Then, I did some measurements on the magnetron. It seemed OK according to this video.

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Oriae3-N8c

I’m suspecting that it’s the capacitor. I am going to dig around and find a motor capacitor, and measure that.

References

This book explains everything! It’s amazing.
Book: http://repairfaq.cis.upenn.edu/sam/micfaq.htm

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=laoJyL4Zt-Y – How to troubleshoot your microwave.

This entertaining video is making me wonder about the switches some more. I’ll also go look for a second fuse.

This is the best video. It goes step by step into testing, in sequence.

of the

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Depression and Postwar California Pottery

Thrifting and seeking in the Los Angeles area hasn’t been that great for glassware and ceramics, at least the well known kinds that show up online. Chicago, all of Ohio, and some areas of the East Coast seem to turn up great examples of cut glass, blown glass, ceramics, and lamps.

That’s largely due to the fact that the Los Angeles area didn’t get huge until the 1930s, and didn’t have many local potteries and glassworks. Then, in the postwar era, with imports restricted, the Los Angeles area, and some other areas, flourished, and there were hundreds of potteries.

Consequently, I find a lot of California pottery from the postwar era, and a little bit from the Depression era. So far, I’ve found Bauer, Metlox, Coors, Gladding McBean (Franciscan and Catalina), Maddux, and Weil.

I haven’t kept track of tile, but there’s a lot out there. You can find some of the well known items like Batchelder at some antique stores.

The heyday of California potteries ended in the 1960s, when relaxed import restrictions were lifted, and imports from Japan increased. US companies couldn’t compete with the less expensive imports.  I also find a lot of china from this period, often branded with companies from the Los Angeles area, but manufactured in Japan. This is the stuff I grew up with, and am most familiar with.

Memories? Not Really

So, going backward in time to the 1940s and 1950s, is new to me. I have had some plates from that era, but not that many. We did use some, but, again, not that many. My mother was buying her stuff from the 1970s and onward, so, it was mostly imports like Mikasa.

Most of my current research about California pottery is studying the Kovels book about Depression Glass and American Dinnerware.

Being On the Lookout

I’m not starting to try and spot a few kilns that are local to me. First is Vernon Pottery, which would be maybe a mile or two from where I live.

Second is Pacific Pottery, which operated in Los Nietos, now a part of Whittier, and also had a plant in Lincoln Heights on Ave 26, which three blocks from a Goodwill, and the St. Vincents I frequent.  (The old plant was at the corner they call Ave 26 tacos.)

Both are prewar kilns, so their stuff isn’t plentiful today. I suspect the people who owned it all died, and their plates were in the thrift shops by the 1990s. I bet they are in antique shops.

Lead Risks?

I don’t buy much of the pottery, because it’s chipped. That harms the resale value. There’s plenty I’d like to buy, even with chips, but I wouldn’t be able to use them, because the glazes may contain lead or other harmful metals.

See Also

Colorware at the Maximalist – an excellent history.

http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2014-06-13/marketplace/sns-201406051730–tms–smartclctnda-a20140613-20140613_1_china-plates-pattern

https://putnamandspeedwell.com/category/ohio-river-pottery/