Thursday, April 27, 2017

Repairing an Ecofan Revisited - Reviewing the Replacement Motor Kit

So, as you know, I took a crack at getting our stovetop fan to run a little more energetically a few months ago.  Unfortunately, the fan has continued to underwhelm with its' performance - so I decided it was time to replace the motor.

A bit of online research revealed that here in Canada, by a fair stretch the best place to purchase a replacement motor is Home Hardware.  While it is available from Amazon, it isn't nearly as good a price - and I was able to pick it up directly from Home Hardware on a trip to the city.

So after the fan cooled off yesterday, I assembled what I thought were the appropriate tools, and my backup photographer (Kenny) began snapping away.

Soldering iron, new motor kit, fan, and some solder.

Luckily the kit comes with a tiny hex key to remove the fan blade.

What trickery is this?  A connector for the motor?  I trotted out the soldering iron and solder for naught?

The fan blade removed.  It was later scrubbed in the sink to thoroughly remove the dust.

Out with the old.  They sent new screws with the new motor, but that was unneeded.

And in with the new.

Plugging in the connector was surprisingly challenging.  Not much slack in the wires.

Note the fine hex wrench/allen key in the lower left of the picture.

It was faster to hand tighten the screws until they were snug before using the screwdriver.  American Philips screws suck.

Fan blade back in place.
I am very happy to report that she's spinning fast and furious now!  If only we weren't being subjected to another blast of winter at the moment...  :'(  Donna may not get back home to us for TWO consecutive nights.  What will we do with ourselves?!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Straightening up the Woodshed - Creative Repurposing.

As the winter progressed, I began to notice that the woodshed had a slight lean to it.  I believe I'm the only one who noticed, but putting a level on it eventually revealed that the top had twisted about two inches out of square.

Hard to see, but the top is a bit to the right of the bottom.  Also very pleased to see that there are still more than two rows of dry wood left at the tail end of the burning season!
I think that this was mostly a natural development based on subtleties that I couldn't possibly comprehend.  It could also be suggested that the pile of wood on the outside of that corner had perhaps shifted it.  I had already had difficulties with that outside pile being self-supporting.

I was having a hard time picturing a way to straighten it up.  The side that needed the bracing was also the side that had my doorway in it, and most of Grandpa's suggestions, as well as my own ponderings, pictured a diagonal brace from the top corner of one wall to the opposite lower corner of the same wall - this would have the brace passing through the door frame.

I could have put in a shorter brace starting at the door, but I figured that this would have little power to resist the lean.
Helping to clear the work area.
More clearing.
Then I began thinking in terms of metal brackets, and my mind expanded.  Cheaper than brackets were regular old measuring squares from the local "economy" tools shop - Tool Town!

I drilled out several new holes in the squares on the cabin deck, and then used the ATV's winch to pull the corner back straight.

A good drill bit makes a world of difference.

First check to see how bad things are.
Now a bit of creaky pulling.  Don't stand under it right now!
Checking again.  Looks good!
With a bit of finagling, I was able to put the squares in opposite corners of the shed without too much fuss, and then released the winch cable.

Fastening the squares in place.
The woodshed settled back slightly, but I can see that it is now probably only about an inch out of square.  I feel that's likely acceptable for a woodshed, and also likely more square than the cabin!

Bottom left checking in - looks good!
Top right checking in - a-ok here!
I think I am also seeing a similar twist in the perpendicular plane - so I'll likely buy up a few more cheap squares to use as brackets.  No sense in letting such a clever idea go to waste!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Red Squirrel

On a lark, I hung up one of those seed bells to see what sort of birds we could attract this spring.

So far, we have had a good share of black-eyed juncos.  But our most entertaining guest was a fearless red squirrel that managed to pull down the bell and feast for a few days on the resulting rain of seeds.
To the victor goes the spoils.
There's little debate on how cute this fellow is.
As cute as any hamster or gerbil.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Overwintering Goldfish in a Northern Ontario Pond

Whelp, I was intending to install a bubbler in our pond similar to the one I have put in our well.  Unfortunately my shipping times from my Chinese distributor of electronics have grown noticeably over the past year, and by the time both the solar panel and the bubbler arrived, the pond had frozen over.  I wrote off my fish and figured I would redo the system this year.

As the ice melted this spring, I was chagrined to note two fish belly up.  Grandpa later reported that he had managed to fish (pardon the pun) them out and as he reached for a third, it swam away from him!

Of course, this was before his cataract surgery, so I took the report with a grain of salt.  Imagine my surprise when Kenny later confirmed that he saw a swimming fish too!

At last, I confirmed it with my own eyes - and not just one, but TWO fish to boot!

Awesomely, our family photographer managed to capture our survivors - amazing to think that they were buried under inches of ice for four months and managed to stick it out.

Not one, but TWO fish out of our original fifteen!
I still plan on adding the bubbler for increased comfort and survivability, as well as perhaps adding another bag of goldfish in the next little while.  I wonder though, will the big fish eat the little ones?  Are goldfish a bit cannibalistic?  I thought I saw some of the bigger ones chasing the smaller ones last summer already.

Also making an appearance in our pond this year - at least three very noisy frogs!  I wonder if one of them is grumpy frog.

Can you find the frog in this picture?

Or is this one easier to spot?