23 April, 2017

Weekend Project Update.

This is an update on a couple of projects that all seemed to hang fire at about the same time.

The driveway - All the curbing that needed to come out is now out.

Curbing Out For Escape Path
Thanks to Carlos and his son George. The electrical box that had been uncovered is now covered and protected by a slab of concrete.

Turn Off by the Gate
We're now ready to bring in two 15-yard loads of chippings, smallish pieces of rock that will be the fill for the driveway, both the new part and a new layer on the existing part.

Found Good Signpost
 We even have a sign that will be going up showing which way to go to use the driveway.

I raided my leftover pile and found a good length of fence tubing that will work great as a signpost. I even managed to find a cap for the post after it's installed in concrete. that'll keep rainwater from going in the post and rusting it out from the inside.

Custom Sign
Here's the sign that will be mounted to the post. I had it made down at CGI Graphics on Seventh Avenue. They're the same outfit that made our 'Beware of Crocodile' sign a few years ago.

The Solar Heater Pump - The service kit has been ordered, shipped, and received by You Have Mail in Medley, Florida. Now, I'm just waiting for the kit to be shipped down here. I'm hoping to get it this next week.

It should be a piece of cake to reassemble the pump. Doug and Twyla will help me with it to make sure that the motor isn't being overdriven by the solar panel. The Controller box should solve that problem.

The LG Refrigerator - I had reached the end of my troubleshooting skills and still hadn't solved the problem with the fridge. It wouldn't hold a charge. I figured there was a leak, but///

Anyway, I posted on FaceBook looking for some advice on what to do with a dead behemoth of a fridge. One of the answers came the next day from Nairobi Rancheron (501-604-6145, and on FaceBook), who works on refrigerators and A/C units He thought it was worth trying to repair it.

So, he arranged for a truck and some strong-backed young guys to move the fridge to his workshop. I think that was Saturday a week ago. He thought he'd be able to have it ready by the next Saturday.

Well, what do you know? He called up Friday morning and said it was all repaired. Nairobi got the same crew to move it back. I'll hand it to him, it works great. Turns out there was a leak in the condenser, which he resoldered. After a complete recharging process, and replacing the filter and a few other minor things. It's as good as new. It's cold, and it makes great ice. My hat's off to Mr. Nairobi. He has my highest recommendation.

16 April, 2017

More on the Driveway Changes

The posting on Friday (http://www.winjama.net/2017/04/well-driveways-been-going-through-some.html)occurred on Thursday. Friday was a day of inactivity for several reasons, none of which I'll go into. After that, we had pretty much given up hope of having anything done till Tuesday, the next available work day country-wide.

Imagine our surprise, on Saturday, about 9:00 AM, the dogs started barking, like they're supposed to do whenever someone is near one of the gates. I looked out and saw the operator. I quickly put the dogs in their pen (I always tell them it's time for them to go to work when that happens), and opened the gate for him.

As he was replacing the tire on the Bobcat, he apologized for not showing up on Friday, but his new two-week old baby boy had been sick with reflux problems - Dianna said it was common with newborns. I told him it wasn't his fault, but his boss's for not keeping me informed.

Anyway, we put that behind us, and he began by moving the rest of half of the layered concrete near the septic tank.
Half of the Concrete Pad Gone
I only had him move half of the layered concrete pad, where the house construction crew had mixed a lot of their concrete for the house.

Half of the pad, I had left because I was afraid that, moving it by machine, it might damage the piping leading to the Rotoplas septic tank. That will be better taken care of by hand and carefully.

Pile of Scrap Concrete
Here's where most of the scrap concrete ended up, by the second, smaller palapa. One day, it will be replaced by a concrete block shed, with the scrap concrete going into its base. The shed will house all the yard chemicals, paint, tools, and the mower.

Scrap Concrete and Gravel
Most of the gravel will probably end up in the driveway roadbed, but, I'm sure a good bit will be used to fill cave-ins, which we fairly often seem to develop small ones around the place.

That's just one facet of the paradise tax you have to pay if you live near the coast and have a limestone base underfoot. You get used to it. It's not as scary as some of the cave-ins that they have in Florida and other places. Now those would be scary.

That done, he began knocking down the big pile of dirt, grass, and other debris up near the gate.
The Big Pile is Long Gone
In this photo, you can see it's already starting to look normal. A little bit of time for the grass to die and decay and for some rain to settle the soil, and it will look like it's always been there.

What Pile? It's Always Like This
From this view, it really is looking natural.

In short order that all was done. I thanked him, wished him luck with his baby, and paid for the work done. It really looks nice.

I forgot to take photos during the final stages of the project, but here's a few more so you can see the results.

Part of the New Driveway
Here's the driveway from the cut-off by the gate. It's looking almost finished, except for the odd piles here and there.

The Parking Palapa and Side Route
This shot shows how we'll now be driving into the palapa. It's a lot easier this way. We don't have to back up and swing in, which was pretty much the rule coming in the other way.

The side route allows vehicles a way out when both the parking spaces under the palapa are taken. We had to move a couple mature plants and only one other plant bought the farm in the transition.

The next step is to finish removing the curbing by the entrance to the cut-off by the gate. It was necessary to do it by hand as both well-water, storm water runoff, and electricity are run under the curbing. Then comes at least a couple big loads of chippings, the small easily compacted gravel that always looks so good.

After that, we'll be adding some six-inch high curbing around the driveway and plantings. then it'll be done, well, after we add some solar yard lighting around the drive. Most of this is like a year or so down the road, I think.

14 April, 2017

What's Wrong With My Solar Pump?

I had asked Doug and Twyla, our resident solar power experts if they could come over and take a look at why my solar pump had quit working.
Our ShurFlo 12VDC Pump

They did and provided several suggestions. They told me my solar panel creates about 20.5 VDC, so that's good, and that I definitely want to use the controller to limit the voltage to 12 VDC for the pump. A cursory examination couldn't find anything wrong with the pump other than that it wasn't working.

After their visit, I posted on Facebook looking for someone in the Corozal/Orange Walk area that did rewinding of electrical motors. Eric Burson, from Progresso, suggested I go to Albert's electrical shop, next door to Paso's Battery store, just off San Andres.

Broken Pump Switch Assembly
So, I did that. He called me that evening and said the switch assembly of the motor was broken. Next morning I went there and he showed what the problem was.

I came back home with the pump and proceeded to go through the material I had printed out about the pump.

Low and behold, there were five different service kits for the pump. Who knew? I assumed with something that small that I would just be replacing the whole thing.
Kits and Exploded View

The kits ranged from the switch front end to the diaphragm assemblies, the back end of that, and finally the motor itself.

Wow! So, I figured, based on what Albert showed me, that I needed at least the #1 service kit. Now to find someone who would sell it to me.

I went and looked at AltE.com's website - briefly, but saw nothing that mentioned parts, or the like. I then went to ShurFlo.com and found that they don't sell anything to consumers directly, but they did have a list of vendors. I copied down three of them.

The first one I called (on Skype, so it's really cheap to call), said they only dealt with agricultural pumps, 150 psi and up. I tried the next one - they only dealt with other vendors, sort of a wholesaler's wholesaler. I tried the third one. Nope, they only dealt with janitorial type stuff.

At the end of my rope, I called ShurFlo (that all three vendors had recommended I call). No. They very definitely don't deal with the public in any sort of retail fashion. They did suggest I see their list of vendors. I told them I had done that and all their vendors said to call them (I'm getting nowhere fast). ShurFlo had no other ideas.

Now, I really am at the end of my rope. In desperation, I called AltE to see if they had any ideas besides buying a new pump. I reached AltE's Customer Service. That was the wrong place. They transferred me to Technical Support.

I explained what pump I had and that I was trying to find someone to sell me a service kit for it. He said that they had a couple of kits for it on hand. So, we traded stock numbers and serial numbers for a while, and finally, we came up with a match. A service kit that covered the whole front end of the pump without the motor.
Pump Exploded View

I told him that would do, how much? I expected it to be about the same price as the whole pump was to start with, but happily found out it's only $25.00 US and change, plus $10 shipping to Florida to You Have Mail, who will ship it down here to Belize for me.

Ordering it was a piece of cake. It should be delivered to You Have Mail on Monday, and probably will be in my grubby mitts by Friday. Double wow!

So, hopefully, by next weekend I should be ready to set it all up again and try it out. I should have called AltE first, but strangely, they didn't have any info that I saw on their website about parts. Weird, huh?