Tuesday, December 29, 2015

A HUGE step for me

So, this didn't have anything to do with my Marfa trip, but the day left Marfa I took a huge step forward.  As with all things, sometimes it doesn't work out exactly how you think it should in the first place.  Upon further reflection it's the right thing at the right time, even if it doesn't seem so.

Unlike most things I do, in this case I did what I think is a bunch of due diligence before committing myself.  Among the things I did in my research are:
  • Talk to several woo woo people
  • Figured out some numerology behind this
  • Talk to SME (Subject Matter Experts)
  • Release blocks holding me back
  • Move forward, back off, move forward, etc
  • Perform additional research
  • Analyze aftermath

The time span for all of this is over a two year period.  It wasn't until very recently that I stepped out to further myself.  In the past I've always thought that "stuff" would just land in my lap and I'd be happy..  Well, as most know, this truly isn't the case.  There's a certain amount of legwork that needs to be done, no matter what you're pursuing or what we want to make happen.

The legwork can be anything from submitting a resume, building the empire state building, making a hugelculture bed, or anything in between.  Could be as small as smiling and saying HI to the right person at the right time, for some unknown reason when normally would keep to yourself.  It's connections like this that just make things happen at the most opportune, or inopportune, times.

Research started just over two years, maybe 28-29 months, ago.  This is a super long time for me.  There was an event that triggered it much before that, but things happened and items "fade" from the forefront, though some things are always in the background, such as this.

Woo Woo

I have talked to a total of five or six woo-woo people regarding this, and in no particular order have listed them for the curious that wants to see their abilities themselves.  They've done great for me.  With exception of this a few of them had a 100% success rate.  And they all agreed.

Teresa Carol - Teresa has always been spot on for me, with the exception of this time.  I've known her for a good four years and look forward to talking with her when I can.  She always offers valuable insight.  She mentioned, on the outset about two years ago, that I needed to do this and that it's right to do, but I dragged my feet and hemmed and hawed, and now am writing this article as I didn't act then per her guidance.

Skip and Sha'ron -I went through an astrology class with these two and they're a great couple!  They're pretty accurate, though not 100%.  They still said that this was the right thing for me to do and the right time.  They said this when I left the Seattle area this last time (while getting repairs).

Donna Seebo -Wow, did I say Wow, and Wow again?!!?  I've only met Donna once, at Skip and Sha'ron's showcase (repairs) where she singled me out and rattled off four things about me, from dental work to things I forget now. Everything she said was stunningly accurate.  I proceeded to talk with her afterwards where she answered some more questions and also mentioned that I had to take this step forward.  She mentioned that when I am ready it will materialize, but have to take some steps for it to materialize.  Nothing this good will fall in my lap without some due diligence.

Terry Dean - Terry has about the same accuracy, for me, that Skip and Sha'ron has, pretty accurate and off a little sometimes.  Now, he also agreed with everyone else, yet he also threw in a caveat or two.  He said that I had to do this, yet it's outcome wasn't guaranteed.  If I did one thing on my trip, which I did and wrote about, he gave this a fifty fifty chance, mainly due to my not seeing signs / being ready two years ago.

There were others, but forget who they were.


Specifically the type Glynis McCants teaches.  Here's a quick run down, and my numbers.  Numerology can be done for anything and everything.  Mathemeticians say EVERYTHING revolves around numbers and math, and scientists are the same in a way, in that everything has to be proven and theoretically sound.  I say that people are the same too.  Numbers mean a lot, and it's always easy to add 2 + 2 and get 4, then see that four makes sense in some way to your life.

With that preamble, tada:
What you feel inside.
Not necessarily what people see.
A face you show the world.
This number represents the strength of your name
and tells a lot about who you are.
The way you appear to people.
The number that you need to fulfill in order to be happy.
The most important number in your personal Numerology.
The first impression people have when talking to you.
In general, the first three numbers (soul, personality, and power name) are derived from a name (company, person, thing, or animal).  The next three (birth day, Life Path, and Attitude) are derived from a date, as in my case my birth date.  I like this as it's all concrete, in black and white.

Later on I plan on adding a few entries into how to calculate the numbers.

Now, from what I could tell by my calculations, all the numbers I could calculate were either a natural match or compatible number.  Natural match is the best combination, compatible is OK with no road blocks, and then there's challenge numbers where there could be pitfalls.  Changed a few things around based on successful outcome I planned, and numbers still agreed.

Must be said, Lifepath is generally considered to be most important.

So, by the numbers it all looked super duper!  Yet, still didn't turn out as expected.

Subject Matter Experts

Some of these were the woo woo people, some are business owners, and others are people who have been around the block awhile.  As am normally around retired folks, they know a lot more things than they let on.  It's easy to pick up on things either by observing, or talking to, them.  Also learned things by playing shuffleboard....

Releasing blocks

Now, this took me some time to do, and something that the woo woo people mentioned I really needed to do.  This is one of the primary reasons was able to take this step.

This video (have seen him speak before on other topics) is what made the final change for me.  Gets to the meat of it over half way through.

  • Feelings...  Like the gut feeling everyone has.

Two steps forward, 1.9 steps back

Or more back it seemed at times, yet always made progress.

Additional research

Know I did some (tarot cards and others), though no idea what extra I did that isn't listed here.  I think this was mainly putting all of the pieces together, seeking guidance from those not listed (and never forgotten), and acknowledging all the assistance received from everyone who has helped me get to this point.

To show the difference between this, and say purchasing my motorhome (or even my house too).  With the motor home purchase, I thought about it for thirty minutes, or so, then remembered what a few people told me, and just did it.  Nothing intense, just a neat little adventure and it needing to feel right.


Needless to say, while I didn't fall flat on my face, I didn't go soaring with the eagles like I anticipated.  However, due to moving forward, I will fly with the eagles when the time is right, if can recognize, and seize upon, the opportunities as they appear.

I was really bummed when got the news.  If I was in Colorado, Oregon, or Washington State probably would've partaken in certain activities to ease my mind, but it wouldn't have helped.  If I was still drinking would've partaken in couple bottles of wine (yes, that's two), or plenty of Bombay Sapphire (lovely drink), yet that wouldn't have helped.

If I was in South America (Peru) could've taken Ayahuasca, and that would've probably helped in the long term, but that's a long flight, and an even longer drive.

If I took any of these wouldn't have had the clear mind to actually realize I made a TON of progress.  Those substances would have most likely highlighted what most people would seem as a failure.  While it is a failure of sorts, in that I didn't achieve my immediate goal, it is also progress in that this is something I could never have done a few years ago, or even two months ago.

Long story short, lots of effort (for me) for seemingly little gain, but it's like an education.  Education doesn't pay immediately, but it does pay in the long term.....


Thursday, December 24, 2015

Alternative treatments - and Happy Holidays

This is where I would typically give my sob story about all of the wonderful products I take that are generally considered organic, pesticide free, etc. etc.

However, I talked with a pet communicator tonight to help diagnose an issue Scatter has (more on that later), and she pointed me to a video of where a cancer tumor vanished, i.e. went away, in a lady who underwent treatment in China.

This treatment in China used no medicine at all.  Now, I generally speak with ill will against anything about China, but this piece warrants some attention as the video clearly shows something disappearing....  To my untrained eyes it doesn't seem like actual disappearance was edited.

This is an article I subsequently found regarding the hospital.  Am guessing it's the one but didn't catch any names from video.  Am sure hospital helps people with more than just cancer, but that is the highlight in video above.  There were also a handful of other articles that my quick search revealed.

With that...  It's time for me to watch:

Didn't see on youtube anymore, except the colorized version.  Am sure glad downloaded and saved while it was free there a while back.

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Marfa, quite the place

Just in time for Christmas, a quick story, or not so quick, about my time spent in Marfa, TX.  This town I only expected to get some pizza here, and while I did not get my pizza, found out it truly is a little gem of a town that one wouldn't expect.

First, it's quite the art destination.  I went to one of the local eateries (several times) and was very surprised that people make a destination of this town for the art couture.  One of the art societies that I'm aware of (think there was another), is the Chinati Foundation.  There is also a very interesting article by NPR titled An Unlikely Art Oasis in a Desert Town.

Next up is the hotel scene.  While the town did have a small motel of sorts, it also had a fancy'ish bigger hotel called Hotel Pasaino.  According to Wikipedia this town has been in quite a few movies, including the film Giant.  Unfortunately, James Dean died shortly after, or during, filming of the movie in a car crash.

Then there is the food scene..  oh my oh my oh my.  Locals told me couple different places to check out, but I mainly only checked out the first one which had me hooked, and that is The Capri.  It's in an unassuming concrete building, well, the kitchen is.  Order food and they bring it to you, but they bring it to you in an open air dining area that's a courtyard of sorts.  There's stone walls (rocks in wire mesh) surrounding half of it, and a fountain if memory serves me right.  And, the best part is the food.  It was unbelievably good.  Had three dishes, lunches each time, maybe four, and they were beyond belief.  There was some pork that was baked in a cows stomach, OH MY GOODNESS, best have ever had.  It was seasoned strongly, and the stomach was crunchy (had to try of course).  Funny thing is Scatter didn't really care for the leftovers..  Strange cat..  haha.  There was also a food truck that looked appetizing, but they ran out of the one thing I wanted to try so went to The Capri instead.

Then NAPA Auto Parts where the people are very knowledgeable and very very willing to help find the parts you need.  Also in town is Marfa Hardware Company.  I went to this place couple times and they're always willing to help you find things.  Their selection isn't big, but it's in middle of no place.

Food, food, food..  There is a small "typical" grocery store in town that carries all the "normal" stuff, or what people like to think is normal.  However, I really enjoy hunting down the little mom and pop natural / organic food stores, and Marfa had one, a very impressive one for a town of this size.  It's called The Get Go, which is a very unassuming name..  I thought Google Maps had failed me again when saw it pop up, but decided to check it out.  Must say also very impressed.  The groceries were a tad bit, well, a lot, more expensive than elsewhere, but it's in middle of nowhere Marfa...  Selection is very impressive, generally all organic and as local as can be.  Quite a refreshing sight!

Now, what's someone writing about Marfa, TX. without talking about the Marfa Mystery Lights, huh?  I can't do this justice as didn't go out at night to see them, though did make it to the viewing platform in the daytime.  Found this article to find the err in my ways of not personally investigating.  Please make to read the FULL article (linked again).  It does contain some very good info about the "touristy Marfa lights", and the "real Marfa lights".  I never did see any, nor did I really try to (chilly at night), but who am I to doubt what I read in the article???  Guess it's up to the reader to figure it out.

Now, for my trip here, I backed a project on Kickstarter for the Pizza Foundation.  I truly thought they would have been open this far after the project ended, and construction started.  Sadly they weren't so no pizza for me, but still have my postcard for ten slices..  Can't wait and will make the trek out there again, in warmer weather, but not too warm.  I was privileged enough to have someone return my call, and they were hoping to be open after Thanksgiving / before Christmas.  Unsure if that materialized.

Some other things to do in the general area.  From my limited knowledge there is a great observatory nearby, but didn't trek that far due to being chilly at night, and observatories are best visited at night...

Please stay warm, dry, and enjoy the super holiday season!

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Scooter brake overhaul

What it should look like New, or cleaned and polished

Sometime, about 9 months ago, I had problems with my rear wheel on the 2006 Aprilia Scarabeo I own.  Bought this scooter after my major scooter accident in July of 2009.  Was still limping around on a cane when went to look at this and immediately knew it was the one I was meant to have.

The scooter has a few ills to remedy, but the most immediate one is the rear brakes.  These were inoperable since I was in Florida last winter.  I think they failed on me when the back wheel lost it's nut and was wobbling around in the back.  This damaged the rear caliper in that it scraped some metal off, but nothing that ruined it's structural integrity.

First off, here's the complete album.  Now, I do realize people are going to say "that's unsafe", and it is / was.  However, since it's just me, and the cats, if I did something stupid, or something not so good happened, someone would have a windfall of cashola's.  No clue who as no beneficiary is set, at least the government would benefit though fear the would squander like normal (in a bi-partisan way of course).

Parts kit
Second, here's a link to where FINALLY got the rebuild kit.  I say finally in that didn't order from here initially, but ordered from a local shop in Tacoma area, where I know one of the mechanics.  It took them 5-6 weeks to get the part, while AF1 Racing had it in one week or so.  Plus, I got this one.  The one I purchased from local scooter shop was "mailed" to me but I don't have it for whatever reason.  Don't know what happened to it, nor do I care.  Less hassles have to deal with the happier I am.

So, on to the grunt work., and this is truly grunt work.  Definitely don't need a college degree for this type of work.  However, most garages charge at least $100 / hour.  While it was tempting to bring it to a garage, must say that my time is worth at least $50 / hour, so if spent 2 hours, which didn't, would've broken even, at the guess of one hour for a shop to do this.

Coercion works
A mechanic gave me one piece of advice for replacing this, and that was to loosen the two bolts holding the two pieces of caliper together.  This was tougher than I thought..  Had to use a 12" adjustable wrench as my third arm just to loosen it.  The two bolts can be seen in photo to the left.  I chose not to remove the brake line if at all possible as wanted to change as few things as possible, especially with brakes.

Quick visual
After loosening the bolts, and taking caliper off the mount, it was time to do a quick visual inspection of the rear brake pads, and the caliper itself.  As can be seen in this picture, with the exception of some dirt and ickiness, it looks really good.  Don't see anything wrong at all really except for a little bit of abnormal wear from when had a wobbly tire, which is to be expected.

Now, below are two pictures side by side, of the two halves of the caliper.  If notice, on one side (left), where the brake line attached, can see bunch of crud and junk around the inside of the caliper.  The round thing in the middle is what pushes out, pushing brake pads against the brake disk.  The other side (right as looking from back to front) doesn't have gunk and stuff.  From what I could tell, the fluid was leaking from this side.  Even with the blurry picture, can see a gap between the two.  This, to me, indicates something cleaned that gap out, like brake fluid.  Else I would've expected it like the left side.

Left side
Right side

A quick note here, couldn't remove one of the two bolts holding it together due to the brake line being attached.  So, fully remove the other one (top), then loosened bottom and pulled the other side away while was loosening.

Taking out the middle cylinders was easy on the right side, challenging on the left.  On the right I was able to blow air into the little hole, shown in right picture in bottom left.  Looks a little oily around it.  This is where the brake fluid enters and pushes the cylinder out.  When blew in this hole the thing almost literally popped out, which was disconcerting, but comforting in a way.  On the left side I had to carefully pry it apart..  With these two cylinders out, again, a left and right comparison.

Left side
Right side
At this stage am slightly concerned about the additional wear (shiny metal) on the right side and worried it wouldn't seal the brake fluid properly.  These pieces are machined / manufactured, to very tight tolerances, and almost anything can render it unusable.

Top rubber ring removed
Am unsure which side this is, but it shows what it looks like when the gasket is removed.  To remove, I just took as small jewelers flat head screwdriver, and carefully pried the gasket out by putting screw driver on the top and pushing / pressing / coercing gasket down and out.  It was tough at times until got the hang of it, even though it looks really simple.  Tough part was getting the gasket out before it popped back into the safety of it's nice home.  Had to do this at the top, and the bottom.  Top has a thinner gasket, while bottom had a thicker.

Blurry gasket going in
Prior to starting to put anything back together, I liberally sprayed everything with brake cleaner, including the brake pads.  This served a dual purpose, the first is to clean everything well, and the second was to prevent anything bad from going in behind, and around, the gaskets.  Well, kinda the same, but I chose to break it out.

Lubed up and ready
In this blurry photo, on right side, am putting the gaskets back in place.  It looks super simple, and this piece is super simple..  Almost nyone can do this part, even blind folded.  It's a matter of sliding the rubber gasket in, making sure have the proper sized gasket (thin on top, thick on bottom), and make sure it's seated properly (by rotating it).

Next step was to lube up the gaskets in order to slide the brake cylinder in.  Tried it dry and, well, let's not go there.  Was very unpleasant, hence coming in with the lube.  For lube, just used the DOT 3 brake fluid, and coated the inside with it liberally.  This photo shows what it looks like, nice and glistening.

Put back together
On the right side, I chose to prefill the hole with brake fluid ad didn't see a place for air to come out after it was all assembled.  Unsure if this is good, bad, or useless, just chose to do it.  There is also a little rubber washer, seen in top right corner of photo, that seals the whole between the two pieces that allows brake fluid to activate both cylinders.  Same process on left side, lube, but no prefill with fluid.  Notice, in this photo, some of the wear that happened due to loose wheel.  Not overly concerned about this.

Individual parts
Before get to the final part, just wanted to include the back picture of the seal kit.  Included are four O-ring things, 2 thick and 2 small, a smaller gasket for the middle, and then a little rubber cap for the brake fluid bleed valve.

Bleeding brakes with only one person generally isn't the easiest.  On a scooter it isn't too bad as can use a wrench and squeeze the brake lever by stretching both arms to the each side.  Little tricky tightening the valve back up, but still fairly easy.

Letting fluid run through
For the initial bleed I chose to replace all of the fluid in the brake line, just to be safe.  To do this, simply removed the bleed screw, filled up the left side brake reservoir (shared between this and the front left disk brake), and ran about 3 full reservoirs through.  Just remember to capture brake fluid BEFORE it reaches the ground...  Pollution isn't good, unless big business where they can get away with it.  Even then it's still not good, in my opinion.

All bled and together
After making sure brake line was bled properly, sprayed everything one last time with brake cleaner and it's all good to go.  Putting everything back together was just a matter of replacing all old gaskets with new gaskets, then reversing the steps.  All there is to it.

Sounds simple, and in hindsight, it is simple, though was quite unsure of process when i started. Other than the tip I asked mechanic about, really had no idea of what to do.  Didn't pull out the shop manual, nor did any research other than finding the part.  I generally just jump in and figure it out enroute, which is my MO.  Rarely do I research things in depth, though do on occasion.  Plus, couldn't break it as it was already not really working..

Went out for a ride test and made sure to speed up, slow down, etc etc.  I generally went 40-50 MPH then squeezed both brake levers fairly hard to test the system.  Did this a total of about 10 times, or more, plus went for a good 20 minute ride to make sure everything was seated properly.  Today, the day after, went out and tested the brakes, still has good pressure.

What's a boring blog entry without a bonus CAT picture..  She looks so serious, but I would rather imagine her thinking "Oh, how i lub you..."

Well, back to Fallout 4.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Reverse Osmosis Update

So, it's not often I do due diligence and actually follow recommendations, or read the manual, as most things come really easy for me.  In this case, based on the people am around, they made sure I followed the proper protocols.

As announced in last entry, installed an Reverse Osmosis Water system and made some tweaks.

This document illustrates what they had me do, and for my reference, on page two, documented the current, and proposed, modifications to the system.

In short, these are the measurements I took:
  • TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) of Tap water - 740
  • TDS Drain water - 1002
  • TDS Pure water - 26

Modifications made
  • Removed ASOV
  • Bypassed automatic pump shutoff switch
  • Added second RO Membrane
  • No pressure tank

Modifications to be done
  • Remove automatic pump shutoff pressure switch
  • Mount pump on sidewall
  • Remove bypass valve in pump assembly

Total GPD (Gallons per day) on completely new system, is 180.

Downsides so far:
  • Takes long time to fill tank
  • Take longer showers until hot water runs out.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Reverse Osmosis Water system installed

I recently took the plunge and installed a Reverse Osmosis Water system in the RV to fill up my main tank.  Right now in am in Yuma, AZ, and they have very hard water.  Using my new test meter (purchased with the RO system), it is well over 600 PPM of mineral content.  This generally leaves a white residue and makes soap less foamy, along with the potential of clogging things up, such as faucets, flush valves, etc.

With the recommendation of some fellow RV'ers, ordered my system from Air, Water, and Ice.  They generally deal with aquarium setups and the people here have used them to get new RV systems, as well as replacement filters.  They're supposed to have some very cost effective, and quality, replacement parts, such as carbon filters and RO membranes.

For the system I purchased, here are the nitty gritty details, along with prices for those wondering.

Additional part(s) needed:

I went with these guys due to high recommendations from the folks here, and must say am impressed so far.  One big thing is I only wish didn't have to get an RO system per se in that the tank included is $29.99, and a faucet is $17.95.  That is an extra $48 that didn't need to spend, not including the extra parts here and there.  Now, I did get a pressure gauge out of the deal, though that still leaves them with an extra profit of $23.  Them being a small business feel somewhat OK about it, though this still nags at my innards.  There are also some parts I stripped out, which add up to some change.

On a side note, am officially jealous, in that the guy I talked to has access to Google Fiber at his house, not at the business.  Moving to Kansas City area isn't in my known cards right now but would be very nice to have speed like that while not getting hosed on the monthly bill (I'm looking at you Verizon).


How did that head get in here?
All of the install pictures I have are uploaded to this album.

All of the paper documents I received also scanned and put in this PDF document.  What's not included is the nice little folder type thing it came in, with the first page (blue) as the cover. Scanned the documents so can get rid of the paper copies.  Me and paperwork don't mix well.

One very nice thing about this system is that it came generally fully assembled.  As I was going through the assembly process had to make some tweaks, tighten things up, add some things, etc. 

Prior to install
There really isn't much to say about the install.  First thing was to unpack the box (no pictures) and much to my surprise saw this system in there fully put together.  All of the hoses are in place, it all seems nice and tight and cozy.

After unboxing, next step is to figure out exactly where to mount it.  On the driver's side, have a cargo bay underneath that's really close to the fill point for the water tank.  Short of putting this in the bay where drain the tanks are (black and grey), this was the only spot it would really fit on this side, standing up.  I could've kept it as a portable unit, bringing in and out each time.  Decided against that as it's nicer not to move it.

After thinking about it some, decided to uninstall the ASOV valve.  For a tankless setup this valve doesn't make sense.  What it does, in general terms, is when pressure in the output line reaches a certain point, it shuts off the incoming flow of water.  An example is that if have the holding tank which came with this system, it would automatically shut off flow of water through the RO membrane(s).  For this install, I take the output hose (containing pure water) and insert that into the manual fill tube for my water tank.

Pressure Switch on Left of pump
Another alteration I made, after e-mailing them with a problem, is bypass pressure switch on the pump assembly.  This switch is necessary when it's setup with a holding tank, but with a manual fill such as mine it is almost unnecessary.  It is a nice safety, but I have "faith" in my ability to remember to unplug it..  Almost.  Had to bypass switch initially as pump wasn't turning on.  After some debugging, with their help, determined that the pump turned on when pressure dropped below 20 PSI.  Naturally, there is an adjustment screw in the pressure switch, though didn't try to adjust.

To bypass the switch it was a simple matter of unhooking the two wires from the switch, and hooking them together.  For this "test", and still haven't permanently fixed it, used a small piece of metal had in the storage area.  To my surprise it worked.  Jammed the metal into the two fittings and life is grand as pump started humming along.

Lining it up
Now it's time to mount the little thing (not little).  The sides of the storage area isn't really thick and it feels more like thinnish sheet metal, but I knocked on the metal, listening for more solid spots, and drilled a couple holes in the carpeted wall where it seemed more solid.  This wasn't an exact science, and am really hoping the screws hold.  To help it along, I mounted it above some emergency gear (in little red box) so it could rest on something.

At this stage there's nothing hooked up to this, like the pump, input / output feeds, etc.  In foreground of picture can notice where have a short piece of blue hose and fittings on either end.  Since the picture was taken have altered this slightly, but this is the incoming water.

My can of foie gras
After mounting the unit up a little, realized it felt a little wobbly, not loose per se, but wobbly in that it was flexing at the corner.  My first thought was to see if it was loose, but everything seemed nice and tight.  Next thing was to see if could solidify it somehow, and decided to put something underneath the filter.  After trying various things like can of cat food, pieces of wood, etc., found a can of duck liver foie gras (a delicacy in France).  I still had a can left over from my last trip to Europe and it is the perfect fit!  YAY ME.  It's a bummer in that I kinda like foie gras, though definitely in limited quantities.

Mounted and ready
Here is a better image of everything mounted, and propped up.  One thing chose to do is label the filters, and the input/output of the filter assembly.  Am sure it'll help in the heat of the moment when have to replace filters and/or change out. 

Now working on the input, from a garden hose.  I mistakenly didn't order all the proper parts, so had to spend couple hours hunting around, hoping to find the proper part. It's very similar to this one, but it's a brass compression fitting.  I found this at Al's RV, in Yuma, AZ.  They spent quite a bit of time looking for it and was elated when it was in my hand as was very worried it wasn't going to be found.  So, walked out of the store and headed back.

Ready to tighten input hose
On my way back, had a funny feeling to stop at store never thought of, and that is Southwest Exchange.  Am sure glad I did.  Came in here looking for a different adapter, one where push hose in, and asked for help.  They informed me needed a small plastic insert otherwise the compression fitting wouldn't work.  This is also where I found out about the Tank Cleaning.

Got back and hooked up the garden hose adapter as shown to the left.  Slid plastic insert (little white piece at top of hose) in, after sliding brass compression fittings over.  When slid plastic piece in, had to push the brass ring down otherwise it was hard to slide in.  After insert is in, slid brass ring back up.  The other, bigger, fitting slides over and is what compresses everything.  The completed setup can be found in pictures below.

Pump Piping
Next major step is to hookup the pump to the filter.  It can barely be seen, behind the little red wire, is a check valve.  This is like a back flow preventer so that water only flows forward, and never back.  This check valve also denotes the input to the pump (little direction arrow too).  So, the output from the filters, which is on the dark side (rear) of the assembly, is the input to this.

Consequently, the output from the pump is the input to the reverse osmosis membranes.  This output is then split in two (can't be seen) as the membranes are plumbed in parallel so that the system will use both membranes to output the water.  This also means that drain is joined together with another Y connector.

As part of the pump assembly, there is a brass control valve.  I think, for my current use, that this control valve is nearly useless.  It's used to keep the pump from cycling on and off.  This is primarily needed when had the pressure switch installed.  With the pressure switch not needed, this control valve isn't really needed.  The main purpose of the pump is to boost water pressure entering the membranes.  Higher water pressure, up to a certain point (about 100 PSI), the water output (pure water) is of higher quality.

Completed install
This is the completed assembly.  A general overview:
  • Garden hose adapter is at bottom, look for brass and sliver of blue hose.
  • Pressure gauge monitors input pressure (after garden hose)
  • White hose on ground is output hose (I run couple minutes before starting to fill it up).  Output hose I generally loop over membranes
  • Black hose is waste water output
  • Membranes on top of filter
  • Black hose is connected to quick flus
  • Pump is just to left of filters, can hardly see it
  • The rolls of stuff is plastic 3D printer filament (3mm)

Now, the moment of truth, and it was water water everywhere..  Forget exactly what was leaking, but had to tighten the membrane housing, remove and reinsert some hoses into fittings, plus had a hose inside the compartment that should've been outside..  oops.  Overall it went fairly smoothly and soon enough system was humming along really smoothly.

According to the PPM meter, after running for some time, am down to about 24 PPM, from 600+.  And now it's nary a leak to be found, though must always be in constant vigilance.

There are only couple things left for me to do, these are:
  • Remove pressure switch
  • Remove control valve
  • Mount pump on wall next to filter assembly

Will probably tackle some of these when I get to Vegas.  Want to see how the assembly travels first.


Paisley, and please pardon my mess, construction

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Tank sensor cleansing

Am in Yuma, AZ, for couple more weeks.  I stopped by a store today that had a mixture of things, and also a fairly large RV section.  Had specifically went in there to get a piece for my new Reverse Osmosis water purifier.  I had avoided this store as it didn't look overly appealing for me, but was pleasantly surprised.

In the store they have a whole bunch of chemicals to clean, deoderize, and all sorts of other things tank related.  Thought about getting one to clean my sensors, the ones that measure how full the tank is, but put it back on the shelf and continued browsing.

Afterwards, one of the people who worked there, a slightly older gent, came up and asked if needed anything.  I pointed to my brass compression garden hose fitting and said was looking for a plastic version, which they didn't have.  He then informed me I would also need a little plastic insert to slide into the 1/4" plastic pipe, so got that little part.  This plastic insert allowed the metal crimp piece to put pressure on the plastic hose without crushing the plastic hose.

On a whim, asked him what is recommended to clean the tank sensors, and to my surprise, he said that chemicals on the shelves were pretty much useless.  Sure, they might do the job, but might not.  He then preceded to regale me with wisdom of an old seer, of an aged RV repair guy who used the following two things:

Liquid Dishwasher detergent / soap

Use about 1 cup per full tank.  It MUST be liquid, no if's, and's, or butts...  Brand doesn't matter so I went to get some eco-"friendly" version at Walmart.  It was explained to me that the dishwasher detergent has a powerful degreaser, along with good detergents, that will clean the sensors by dissolving / removing any gunk on them.  Normal hand dishwashing soap WILL NOT work.

Calgon Fabric Softener

Use about 1 cup per full tank.  This MUST be Calgon, it was conferred to me that it can't be anything else as they don't seem to work.  What was passed on to me, and now you, is that this coats the sensor, after it's cleaned, preventing gunk from building up again.


As eluded to above, it should be done in this order:
  1. Add 1 cup liquid dishwasher soap after emptying tank(s) and closing valve(s).  I would add some extra water to tank (some people say 20%) to help keep a clean tank
  2. Test sensor as tank fills up
  3. Fill tank full, or above the "full" sensor
  4. I would let tank sit above full as long as feel comfortable
  5. Empty / drain tank(s) in normal manner
  6. Test sensor(s)
  7. Repeat 1-6 until sensor(s) function normally.  For me, when tank is empty, none of the lights light up.  When it's full all lights light up.  Yours may vary
  8. Repeat step 1-6 one more time (as safety measure)
  9. After second time of fully working sensor(s), start using calgon after empty tank(s)
  10. Add 1 cup of calgon fabric softener after tank is emptied (and valve is closed), and add some water to help it out
  11. I was given no further instruction / wisdom.  If sensor problem reappears, add more liquid detergent as necessary, then use calgon after problem cleared

My experience

Learned about this today so don't know anything other than adding my liquid dishwasher detergent to my black tank.  Am due to empty black tank in couple days, maybe a week, so then will add to grey tank too.  Just emptied grey tank recently.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

New Kitten

At least for a temporary time...  Complete album of all pictures I have for her.  Not many.

The morning after bringing her in
Couple nights ago at the RV park, a friend and I were walking back from card games at night.  We suddenly heard what sounded like a cat with a big set of lungs.  Turns out it was a kitten screaming for attention.  If it was any other animal I still would've been there.

Another lady in the park helped the kitten out too, but couldn't take her in because of their dogs, so left kitten outside with food, water, and a nice place to stay.  Most anyone who knows cats / kittens knows they don't stay willingly in one place, even if it's decked out in the freshest towels.  Once they have an agenda everything else goes by the wayside.

I've heard Dr. Naidu, the "father" of Lactoferrin, speak several times before, and he tells the story of a young lost dog that was hit by several cars on an LA freeway.  The dog was severely hurt, yet he took the dog in and got him healthy, bones healed, and all that jazz.

A major take away I got from the several times I've heard him speak about the dog, is that if something happens, and we're aware of it, we must step up and take responsibility.  Like in his case, he didn't hit the dog, nor knew the dog at all, yet he saw it and had to make things right.

A brief video featuring some of Dr. Naidu's accomplishments.  He doesn't speak about the dog, just an overview of what I know about him.  He's had several more large accomplishments, such as working with Indian Special Forces very early on in his career.

So, it is with this background and knowledge, that I stepped up to the plate to take this kitten in.  The kitten appears healthy, though I would've still helped if she wasn't.  Scatter, one of my current cats, is keeping his distance, and generally quiet.  I don't think he's very pleased about this but he's not acting up.  Paisley, on the other hand, continually voices her displeasure.

This Friday the kitten will be going to local humane society.  She'll very likely get adopted quick.  If she's not adopted before I leave will adopt her back myself.  Another reason want to bring her in is to get her fixed and to make sure she has nothing bad, plus maybe she's a lost kitten who ran away from home?!  Not quite sure.

I do get the distinct feeling she was a house kitten to begin with, then someone brought her out here to the boonies and dumped her, left her alone to fend for herself.  I also get the feeling, not sure how accurate, that she was also part of a litter of kittens, and was one left and isn't too "kitten like" anymore.

Look at them thar eyes

Either way, she's in my care and I will do my best to make sure she ends up in the best home possible.  When I bring her to the humane society will also leave a gift so that she'll be adopted faster.

Best wishes to everyone for the best Thanksgiving ever!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Bypass roof fan control

In the bathroom there's an exhaust fan so can vent unpleasant odors, and also any steam from taking a shower.  The fan I have slows down after some time running, doesn't matter if it's pushng air out, or pulling air in, still exhibits same behaviors.

As part of troubleshooting, plus I was convinced it was the problem, decided to bypass the control board.  The control board is simple in that there's just a knob which changes voltage sent to the motor.  My theory is that the control board could've been faulty to a degree in that it slowed the motor down over time.

Before modification
This is actually a fairly simple thing, but be warned for a couple reasons.
  • This will likely invalidate any warranty remaining on fan.
  • Messing around with 12V DC electricity, so be vewy vewy careful
  • Other bad things could happen working with electricity

Am fairly comfortable around electricity so this was a breeze.  Upon examination, there's a red and black wire (fairly thick) coming into the control board.  Leaving the control board there are two wires going to a switch.  Leaving the switch is two wires going to the fan.  It seems that the switch controls which direction the electricity is sent to the motor, which in turn controls which was the air blows.

Quick test
First step was to snip the wires leaving the control board, followed by snipping wires coming into control board.  Did it this way to lessen the amount of time the live wires were not connected to anything.  As part of this I also stripped the wires with my lineman pliers.

All safe and snug
As a quick test in which way to connect the wires, and to validate it would work, twisted them together like so and hit the wall switch that controls the fan (different from switch on the fan housing that controls the direction).  Lo and behold it works great.

Once did this quick verification I then quickly tied them together like so.  Just some wire nuts leftover from a ceiling fan installation from someplace, probably my house.  I say ceiling fan as those type of wire nuts generally come from packaged goods.

As the fan is still working this modification didn't harm it in any way that I can tell.  However, it didn't solve the problem so there must be something else wrong.  The fan still slows down after a certain amount of time.

I think the next step is to validate voltage going into the switch, and it leaving the switch.  The other thing I think it could be is the motor itself if all the voltages check out.  There's also a possibility that the voltage being supplied dwindles over time.  I would find that hard to believe but anythings possible at this point.  The wall switch could also be causing the problem.

Will create another entry when get around to this again.  First have to install water heater and fix the shower pan.  Big hole in shower pan.....  Am Pepe Le Pew now.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

KickStarter - failed projects are taking their toll

I just sent this letter to KickStarter CEO, and their Director of Communications.  Someone posted the e-mail addresses in comments section of the website.  I've learned my lesson about not taking opportunities as they're presented, which I still have to blog about, so here's my first one as it's presented..

This is the second official project failure I've had recently.  It seems to be becoming more and more of a thing to have a failed and/or fraudulent project.  In this letter I outline one way to mitigate the risk.  Am sure there are quite a few other options, if they choose to change anything.

The project in question:

Other failed projects where I didn't receive awards:
Hubble Laser Cutter
TrayVax, Wallet for Life
Authentic Dijon Mustard

Potential project failure:
Lumma - Smart Pill dispenser (hoping wrong about this).

On to the drama:


I have backed over 240 projects, some failed, some very successful, some were a little dismal, and then some didn't deliver anything, with no hopes of delivering anything.

With KickStarter's hands-off approach as a funding platform for generally unique projects, I feel that there are some relatively simple things that can be done to decrease number of seemingly fraudulent projects, which seem to be on the rise (at least for me).  Among them is this chief idea I have

1 - Give project creator's certain percentage up front, say 1/3, to begin work, as defined by project creator
2 - At certain milestones, defined by project creator, and reviewed by backers, release another portion of funds
3 - At a point near end of project, another vote and final release of funds
* Milestones created prior to project's creation with ability to modify during project, and locked X days before project's end

The vote could be simple poll, and be a percentage of respondents within a certain time frame.  As example, if 50% of respondents say yes, release the funds, if only 25% say yes, hold onto funds until new poll.  The voting results will be displayed to project backers, successful or not.  There would be ability for project creator to petition KickStarter to release funds outside of polling process, with full transparency.

If project does not complete successfully, refund remaining funds to backers, prorating it based on their total pledge level, minus KickStarter and card processing fees.  This isn't foolproof though I think it's better than what currently happens.

Pertaining specifically to Zano, I have filed a report with the UK Police Agency concerning fraud.  The NFRC is NFRC************.

Have had couple other projects fail, notably Hubble Laser Cutter, and another one doesn't look so hot, Lumma.

Best wishes for continued success to the KickStarter funding platform.  I really enjoy it but the rash of failed and/or fraudulent projects is becoming rather unsightly.

Would prefer no response over one of those irritating cookie cutter ones where it's clear no one cares.


Richard K

Monday, November 16, 2015

Replace lighting fixture

This is the fixture that is over the sink, and it's somewhat important for the times when I need to do dishes, not want, but need.  Just replaced it and here's the gory details.

Symptoms:  No light when switch is switched.

Cause:  Bad switch.  I validated this by using multi-meter and checking wire connections.  One strange thing is that there's one hot wire and two ground wires.  Couldn't tell you why but that's how it is.  Validated this when bypassed switch by using pliers to connect the two terminals and light lit up.  YIPPEE.

One problem:  These switches are soldered in place, i.e. the wires.  Due to this, even if I could find a new switch, it would not be time effecient to replace just the switch.  Which is unfortunate.

Solution:  Replace light, hence what's listed here.  New light is a Thin-lite Model 311-1.  Couldn't find a good page that listed detailed product info (not surprising for RV stuff), otherwise would've linked it.

This light is located above the sink, and underneath the cabinets.  It is fairly easy to get to and replace.  First step is to unscrew the six screws holding it in place.  I had only expected four, one on each corner, but there was also two in the middle.  Can't explain why, nor do I want to ponder why.

3 wires?
Next thing on the list is to determine which wire is which as there were three wires.  As eluded above, two is a ground and one is a hot wire.  Any idea which is which??  Spoiler:  The black is live and contains ~12 volts, it read about 14 volts on the multimeter.  Am still baffled by how many wires. 

Amount to strip
After determining which wire is which, it's time to snip them.  I used a pair of lineman's pliers as they snip the wire, and provide a great guide, in my experience, for removing insulation.  I snipped the black first, then both of the whites, making sure the whites didn't get anywhere near the black.  I generally don't approve of segregation, in this case it was important  Slim chance of anything happening as only end is exposed, still pays to be safe..

Just before stripping
Stripping wire using lineman's pliers is an acquired skill, yet one which most people can pick up with a minimum amount of practice. Stripped about 1/2 inch of wire shown and briefly twisted afterwards.  Only stripped wire on ONE of the white wires.  The other white wire taped the end and taped it to the other white wire to keep them together.

All tied together
One nifty thing I did, and am proud of myself, is when mounting the light, existing holes didn't line up.  Instead of drilling holes, and it being underside of cabinet, knew there would be a thin wood surface to it.  Took a scratch awl and poked holes in the veneer where the screw goes.  Prior to doing this, did a test run of inserting the awl into the light fixture and seeing how much poked through.  Turns out it was just about the right thickness to not give too much play when putting the screw in.
Scratch awl in action

All mounted, before cover is on
A semi-important thing, for me, was to get it pretty much centered over the sinks.  Wasn't overly concerned about getting it centered in the middle of the cupboard doors, nor precisely centered over the sink, but feel it turned out well.  If notice, in one of these last pictures, there seems to be a small gap between the light and the cupboard bottom.  Wanted to get it closer, but felt this was close enough otherwise ran a risk of stripping the hole.  This would've made other things more challenging.  I still think it's as tight as it should be as put wire nuts in the gap.

The only thing that concerns me, long term, is it feels like has same type of switch which failed on this light, and one before this.  Not quite sure why these switches failed, be it age, design, frequency of use, voltage/amperage passing through, any or none of these?  Am hoping for the best on this one.  It did look a little easier to add a secondary switch if needed.

Proof it works

Light installed

Complete album 

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Organic Star Food wars

Today, while searching around for some unpasteurized milk in Vegas for when am there during Christmas, came across this video.  It's a parody but very neat.  When I eat, and cook, in the RV, I do my best to get Organic, or better, food.  Eating out much as I do it's somewhat difficult, well, very difficult.

A Vimeo Link to same movie.

 It genuinely made me chuckle.  What a great way to end the weekend!  That, and a little rain here in Casa Grande, AZ.  It's great other than the sad reality of most of the food we consume..  That aside, it's a great video.

Have a super time!  Will be jotting down some thoughts / memories from Marfa this week.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Doulton Water Filter

Quite awhile back, think well before moved to Seattle when I was living in my house (which I still pay the mortgage on and "own"), purchased a Doulton water filter from this website.  Got the filter housing and several (a lot) replacement filters.  I used this daily as didn't really enjoy tap water and just felt good knowing most, if not all, of the potential bad stuff (including chlorine) in the city water is gone!

However, sometime after hitting the road in the RV, I broke the spigot....  This was a let down.  Had to condense the filter and put it away for awhile as most spigots I found were overly expensive for what it was.

While I was in Florida last year, I won quite a few goodies!  I did feel guilty and put some things back in the drawing, or gave some away, can't remember, but one of the things I won was a glass ice tea container, with a spigot on the bottom.  Used this quite some time until my refrigerator conked out on me.

It turns out that with my new refrigerator, and default shelf spacing, can't fit the ice tea jar so had it in the hallway, on the floor, in my path..  Am sure you can figure where this is going....

The glass ice tea jar broke and was left with glass bits and the plastic spigot.

Just tonight had the idea to install this in my Doulton water filter.  Inserted the rubber gasket in place, twisted spigot in place, and it looks amazing!!  Now, am unsure what type of plastic is used so hopefully not leaching too much icky stuff in, but for now it's awesome!

Doulton on right with "new" spigot

Have it filled now with filtered water.  I use this water to put into my Nikken Waterfall.  This adds minerals, restructures the water, and does some other good and nifty stuff!  End result is great tasting water triple filtered.  Also have a Doulton filter for when fill up my RV water tank too!!

Replacing radiator shutoff for cab heater

I really thought this job would be fairly easy, quick and simple.  It really wasn't, or I made it rougher than needed.  I've been spending too much time under the engine lately, starting with the Rear Main Seal, and lastly installing the Bypass Oil Filter, Part 1 and Part 2.  Don't get me wrong, I somewhat enjoy doing it myself, as both learn and save money, but really..  If it should be easy it shouldn't get more complex just because it's an RV.... Seriously...  OK, enough whining.
Draining anti freeze

After identified exactly where needed to be, the first step is to drain the existing anti freeze so it doesn't leak all over me when take the piping apart.  There is a petcock I twisted open, and that's where the steady stream of green stuff is coming from.  This took some time to drain, and it's funny in a way in that the photo almost looks like an old black and white photo (to me), which the anti freeze solution a bright neon green.  Really looks neat.

Part to remove is on left
Reason for replacing the valve is that it was leaking really bad from the handle area when it was open.  To open it twist it just like an outdoor faucet, though it's hard to tell when it's open and closed.
Behind wires is hose

I don't have a really good picture of what's behind wire bunch #1, but to remove the valve, so I can replace it, had to remove a rubber hose.  Now, not sure why the wire bunch was ziptied where it's at, but it was.  It's fairly easy to slide the ziptie (was loose) down, and then used a ratchet and socket to loosen the clamp, and slide clamp off nipple and on rubber hose.  Then used a flat bladed screw driver to coax the rubber hose off the nipple.  Yes, sounds long and hard, but the following picture offer a better explanation.

Nipple where hose was attached
Once the hose was off, I was able to twist the nipple, petcock, and elbow off in one go and it went really easy and was really pleased..  While removing the next part is where things were starting to become not as easy as I was hoping, but yet, there was a reason for it.

The problem came when twisting the shutoff valve off.   When twisted it, it went fairly smooth and easy, up until the handle hit bottom of the alternator.  No matter what I tried, short of a hammer and blow torch, couldn't get it past the alternator.  This is starting to become an issue.  Spent much too long trying to get it past.

Alternator bolt w/new valve
Then, had a brilliant idea, and I removed the bottom bolt holding the alternator in place.  Once removed this bolt was able to move the alternator, this is the one I replaced a while back, and was able to keep twisting it off and life is just grand.  Had some antifreeze drip down on me, but it wasn't too bad.  One thing had to keep track of is the Serpentine belt so that it didn't stray too far from where it should be.

When twisted the valve off, the pipe nipple came with it.  That is the short piece of pipe, with threads on both ends, that connects the whole assembly to the radiator.  Had to use a pipe wrench to twist it off as tried some vice grips and it just started twisting and scraping metal off..  Not a good thing.

New valve in assembly
Once had everything apart, reassembled it all, using teflon (PTFE) tape on the threads.  I just connected everything finger tight at this stage as my plan was to use a wrench and tighten all three joints at once.  This is probably not recommended as could get insufficient tightening.  However, my problem is I didn't have a small enough pipe wrench to get into that area to tighten only the nipple, so this is a risk am willing to live with.

Everything where it is now
After inserting into bottom of radiator, right where took it out, attached the trusty adjustable wrench to end of elbow and twisted and tightened and twisted some more.  Kept twisting until felt tight enough and everything was lined up so that it was generally accessible and in places where can easily adjust valve without getting hurt.

Everything else went really smoothly.  The petcock and nipple threaded easily into the elbow and tightened gracefully.  Used two adjustable wrenches on this, one to support the elbow and the other to twist the petcock assembly.  Now, one thing I did, which in hindsight might not have been the best, is that I angled this a little upward to make sure it was a little tighter.  Am only slightly concerned that with the assembly pointing up a little is that it will either loosen in time, or it will cause extra strain on the rubber hose.  Will see what happens.

Where bolt goes on bottom
Now it's time to put the alternator bolt in place, the bottom one.  No matter how much prodding, pulling, and general movement, of the alternator there is no way could get the threads started.  It took me forever to figure this out as I was a bit clueless on this, but what holds the bottom in place is just a bar type thing with a bolt at both ends.  After realized this (won't say how long I tried to get it threaded), simply loosened the small bolt on other end, moved this bar to where needed it, and wala, everything went together purrfectly.  Tightened both bolts back up and was happy.

BUT, it doesn't end here.  One of the steps for trying to get the bolt threaded in the first place was to reach up top of the alternator and see if had any play in the long bolt up there.  Turns out there was some unintended play, in that the nut came off the bolt so it could move back and forth, or slip out....  NOW, this is really not a good thing.  I didn't take a picture but can refer to when I replaced my alternator a while back.  If the bolt had slipped out while was on the road I would've been in a huge world of hurt, well, the alternator, serpentine belt, all that jazz would've been.

As I really had no idea what the nut size, and bolt size is, and didn't want to take it out for fear of repeating my frustration earlier, took a socket and fitted it to the head piece of the bolt, which it turns out was a 15mm socket.  I then went to couple places in town to get a part.  First tried hardware store, bought a lock nut washer, but it wasn't the right size.  Then I went to NAPA auto parts, explained the situation, and he gave me couple different ideas on the right size, so I walked out with two nuts, one for an 8mm bolt and other for 10mm bolt.  The 10mm one is the winner!!!  YAY.  This time I put some really good force into tightening the nut and bolt, but have a feeling I should've also put some blue loctite on too.  If have to revisit this will add it then.

After all the additional drama was done, added about 4 1/2 gallons of 50/50 mixture to it.  I used the Walmart anti-freeze, and some Prestone I had already mixed.  I initially added one gallon of full strength anti freeze, followed it with one gallon of water, added another gallon of full strength anti freeze, and topped it off with the premix I had.  Now, one thing I should've done, but didn't, is used purified, or better, distilled, water.  Just used water out of the tap here, not even my filtered water..  Next time will get some distilled water to carry around.

After filled up radiator, started engine and got it up to temperature.  Ran engine for a total of about 20-30 minutes, anywhere between normal idle and 1500 RPM (double normal idle), and not a leak was found.  Also had heater on but felt no heat coming out of it.  Not sure if need to be moving along the road to get heat, but did feel the pipe leading up front was pretty warm / hot...  Am sure it works though would've been nice to know now in case need to bleed air out of someplace else.

Although I must say, NO anti freeze leaks at all, YIPPEE!

Still have a tiny oil leak from bypass filters, but will address those this weekend.