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Home Depot Husky Hex Socket Wrench 6 Points under $5

I couldn’t find a good 14mm in my tools. This is the size for my oil pan plug, and I just lose them over time.

I tried to use a light-duty cheapie one, but the metal got damaged.

The replacement was kind of expensive, but worth it!

The shape of the corners is weird. There’s a bit of metal cut out of it, so it won’t touch the corner of the bolt head.

This was a patented feature on Snap On tools. The patent has expired.

What’s good about this feature, is that it avoids putting force on the corner of the bolthead. Instead, it puts force on the flat surface, which is stronger.

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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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How to Buy Media Mail Postage Online (Hint: PayPal)

You cannot buy Media Mail postage labels online from usps.com, but you can buy it from paypal.com and pirateship.com

UPDATE: PayPal will be outsourcing their shipping service to ShipStation starting in July 2021. So, scroll down to the section about Pirate Ship, for now. You can buy media mail postage there. This article will be updated with ShipStation information as I write it. THX – JK.

Continue reading How to Buy Media Mail Postage Online (Hint: PayPal)
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Door Handle Inside Interior Blue Driver Side LH Left for 93-97 Corolla Prizm

I just got this, and installed it. I’m hoping it works out better than the previous handle(s).

A few years back, I purchased a four-pack of door handles, and installed them. Some worked, but some promptly broke within months.

The singles ones might last longer. They cost more, and they have an “UH” logo on them.

The cheaper ones in a four pack don’t have the logo, and have a red plastic sleeve.

I suspect the four-pack is for dealers selling used cars, to fix up a car for sale, so all the handles are the same color and new.

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Curve Headset by Sentry from DD’s Discount, Cheap

These are shaped like Apple earpod headsets, but with a rubberized surface, and in different colors. The audio is mediocre, with a thin bass, but the microphone is quite loud. The mic hangs a little bit low, so be careful about dragging it across your clothes.

All in all, a decent super-cheap headset. I’ve paid more for worse, unfortunately.

Update: the connector is flaky. It might be a broken wire, or a bad plug. This didn’t last long.

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Skullcandy Simple Headphones Blue, Skullcandy Ink’d Headset from Ross, Cheap

These were $4 for a pair, and I thought I was getting a headset, but it’s just headphones. Headphones with no mic! Arrgh. I had to go and buy a headset. Fortunately, it was cheap, and these are good. They come with two sizes of silicone plugs, so you can get a comfortable fit. The audio quality is solid, with a nice bass.

Generally, I’ve had good luck with Skullcandy brand headphones. The audio is good. The build quality is pretty good – not as good as Apple and other higher-end products, but solid. The price is fairly high, if you don’t get this kind of closeout.

This was a $5 pair, and is the best headset I’ve had in this price range. Key features:

  • good mic, and not too sensitive (too sensitive turns out to be a problem because it pick up noise)
  • decent wire that doesn’t break
  • low price as usual