Building an 18 Volt Power supply for Cordless tools

Several years ago my brother acquired a cordless band saw/pipe cutter. The batteries died and although I do not use it very often it would be nice to have it in working condition. A replacement battery is $61, rebuilding the batteries would cost $39. The alternative is to build a power supply. I did some research online and with the help of people on the badcaps.net forum I built one.

The parts list is as follows:
1 - transformer 120v in 16v out, I do not have the amp ratings for it.
1 - 25 amp Bridge rectifier
1 - 10,000uf 35v or higher electrolytic capacitor.
      You can use 3 - 3300uf 35v caps in parallel or 2 - 4700uf to 5000uf 35v caps in parallel.
1 - 10amp 3 prong power cord
1 - 20 amp fuse
1 - toggle switch
5 amp fuse or circuit breaker for 115V line voltage
1 - LED
1 - 270-500 ohm 2 watt bleeder resistor
misc wire that can handle 20amps.

The transformer was pulled from an APC 400 BackUPS (you can find them sometimes at Goodwill), Its input was 120v, and there were 3 wires for output,  yellow, white, and purple. Voltage from yellow to purple and white to purple was about 8 volts. Voltage from white to yellow was 16 volts (just what I needed). The first rectifier I used was pulled from an electric wheel chair charger, but I changed it to one I purchased that had the flat quick connectors. Other sources for the rectifier are computer power supplies, you can get the flat inline ones that range from 4 to 8 amps depending on the PS. The capacitor I had to buy, since I needed the voltage rating to be greater than 25v. All the ones I had were 16v. You can  use a capacitor with a higher voltage rating but not lower. Since we are dealing with 22 volts a 25v cap is just a little to close, so a 35v is better. The one I used is 50v. Wiring is done per this schematic:

I wired a standard 10 amp power cord to the input of the transformer and plugged the yellow and white wires directly in to the rectifier. I ran 2 wires from the dc output to the capacitor (making sure to keep the polarity correct). From the capacitor I ran the wire through another 10 amp cord to the contacts inside the battery cartridge (after removing the dead batteries). This way If needed I can still use batteries if I want to.
The results look like this:
I mounted everything temporarily to a board. With the band saw not running, voltage from the output is 22vdc, while it is running the voltage reads 18vdc. I will mount the power supply in a box and add a switch, light, and fuses. At this time I am not sure what the maximum amperage draw is, I will have to check that and install the appropriate fuses. I did not install the bleeder resistor at this time, and I'm not really sure if one is needed. It would be installed across the leads on the capacitor if I do. The capacitor and rectifier cost $20, I could have gotten them cheaper if I ordered them on line, but did not want to wait for them.

I could not find a box to mount it in, so I re-used the UPS case. I was able to re-use the original circuit breaker, and switch. I also added a 20 amp fuse on the DC side, and an LED on the front of the case.

The rectifier is mounted to a piece of aluminum (with heat sink compound) that I had to install to properly brace the front and rear panels, since the original circuit board was used for that.

The LED is connected to a 270 ohm 5 watt resistor. It bleeds the capacitor down to a safe voltage in about 25 seconds when power is turned off. The LED will stay dimly lit for some time after that. Pressing the switch on the band saw will make the LED go out if power is off. The LED does NOT dim when the band saw is in use.
I may mount a fan in it at a later time if I find there are any heat issues. I doubt there will be as I will not be using it for continuous duty.


Converting a 9.6 volt Makita Drill from Nicad to LIPO

I have had an old 9.6 volt Makita drill since around 1989 or 1990. I bought it when I was an A&P. Since then I have replaced the batteries about 4 times. I recently bought an 18v Lithium ion Makita. I wanted to continue to use the old Makita but did not want to buy any more batteries as they are kind of pricey and do not last long. I have seen several videos on the internet on connecting RC LIPO batteries to the Makita and they work fine.... EXCEPT that none of the people who do this take any precautions to prevent over discharging the LIPO batteries. LIPO cells do not like to be discharged below 2.7 volts per cell. If you do that you kill them. The good thing about them is that they are relatively cheap. You can pick them up for $15 to $20 for an 1800mah or 2200mah battery respectively. this is 200 to 500 mah more than the replacement batteries from Makita which are 1300mah to 2000mah.

My choices for not over discharging them were to make a circuit the cut off the voltage at around 9 volts or set off an alarm when they got down to 9 volts. I went with the latter as it was easier to build and some of the parts can be scrounged from an old computer power supply. The parts list is as follows:
1 - Makita drill
1 - 4.7k resistor
1 - 47k resistor
1 - 1k resistor
1 - 18k resistor
1 - LED any color
1 - LM393 (pulled from the old Power supply)
1 - TL431 (or a KA431 pulled from the old PS, I got 3)
1 - Piezo buzzer (not a speaker a BUZZER it will have all the buzzer circuitry built-in)
1 set of Deans connectors (male for the drill and female for the battery)
at least 1 - 3 cell LIPO battery around 1800 to 2200 mah (any bigger will not fit). Do not use any more or less celled batteries as this circuit will not work right for them.

1 - Piezo buzzer (not a speaker a BUZZER it will have all the buzzer circuitry built-in) 
1 - variable voltage dc power supply or a 9 volt battery that has been discharge to 9v or less, and 1 good 9v battery.

This Schematic:

 I started by building the circuit on a breadboard. I used the variable DC PS to make sure it worked. then put the circuit together by just soldering the components to each other. It's ugly but it works.
Next I encased the circuit in epoxy so that it can take abuse.
After each step I made sure it still worked.Then I mounted everything in the Makita.
I drilled a hole in the top center for the LED carefully routed the wires around the motor adding extra heat shrink or hot glue in places where the motor might rub its connectors on the new wiring (nothing really prevents the motor from turning slightly and it would eventually cut through the wires. The piezo buzzer fits but does not work as it is pinched too tightly when the case is closed (it worked outside the case). I will have to find a smaller one. The pizeo buzzer is attached to the positive side of the LED and to pin 1 of the LM393. The one I have handles something like 3 to 18 volts so the 7+ volts there works fine. I had some trouble getting the case closed again as the gears and such moved, but I did get it closed. So now when the drill runs the battery down to around 9.1 volts the LED starts to light up and gets brightest when it is almost exactly 9v. The buzzer will sound too. I added the buzzer since, if the drill were left unattended the under current circuit would slowly run the battery down and I wanted an audible warning to remind me to unplug the battery. As an added bonus when the drill is started the LED flashes once, this is nice as it lets you know the circuit works. It works fine as you can see in the video.

If your a wuss you could just order one of these and plug it in to the charging port of the battery. WUSS!



Meet Jack

On 6-23-2012 Kathi and I went to the Arizona Animal Welfare league to look for a second cat. Before we got there I told Kathi the first cat that jumps on my shoulder we are adopting. When we got there we went in to one of the rooms that they have were the cats are free to move around and be cats. The first cat I noticed was a yellow striped and partially white female tabby that seemed interested in me. While I was checking her out an older grey and white striped tabby came up and wanted to be picked up (it actually put its front legs up on me like a child would that wants to be held, but the female batted him away. There were many cats and many rooms so we looked around some more. At one point we went back to the first room and a small male grey and white tabby showed interest in me and when I approached him he leaped up on to my shoulders SOLD! His original name was Julius, the shelter had named him Petri. He is one and a half years old. He is extremely friendly and loves to be on peoples shoulders.

We did not care for the name Petri or Julius and while trying to think of a name for him we noticed that we could barely walk when he was around as he kept rubbing on our legs and getting in the way, Thus he got his name Jack... Jack the Tripper!

He is probably the coolest cat we have ever owned. He loves to climb on our shoulders and backs.

 He loves to be petted and does not protest if you touch his paws. He is incredibly friendly more friendly than any cat I have had before. The shelter claims the previous owners surrendered him but did not say why. Whatever, he is ours now. May he live a very long life.


Amber Wrench Light on a Sonicwall TZ-180

I have had several older Sonicwall TZ-180's were the wrench or amber error light comes on/blinks or the Sonicwall suddenly has strange errors. Since these were out of warranty I figured I would open them up. Here is what I found.
As you can see the 2 - 470uf 16v capacitors are swollen. I replaced them with 2 - 470uf 25v capacitors I got from www.badcaps.net. The voltage does not matter as long as it is the same or higher than the old ones. Do not use Capacitors from Radio Shack.

The capacitors cost .67 ea. The repair took 15 minutes. You will need a decent soldering station and a lighted magnifying glass to do the job. See cap removal page on badcaps site on how to replace them. Replace both caps even if one is not swollen. The third green and copper cap can stay if it is not swollen.

I recommend doing a boot to firmware with factory defaults from the settings section. This will clear the memory of any corruption due to the bad caps. You may have to do a boot to safe mode the first time if the Sonicwall was not accessible before the repair. Unplug power hold the reset button down plug in power and continue to hold the button for 30 seconds (no less). Then manually configure your IP to 192.168.168.xxx where xxx is any number except 168. You can then access the Sonicwall on Then do the factory reset.


J.C. Joins Penny

We had to put J.C. down today. She was 19 and suffering from kidney failure. She will be missed.

In 1996 2 months after Kathi's cat Midnight was put down due to kidney failure, we went to the Arizona Humane society to get another cat. J.C. was a 2 or 3 year old cat at the time and was list as not able to get along with other cats. We named her J.C. which stands for "Just Cat". We almost called her Loki as she was always getting in to trouble. She especially like climbing on things.
 We adopted her and shortly afterwards received Penny. Since they were both fighting and tearing up the furniture we had them declawed. If you don't like that we declawed them, keep it to yourself I do not care about your opinion.
We declawed them at the same time and when they came home they got along pretty good. There was the occasional fight but it was like two old ladies with oven mits slapping each other.

When we got her, J.C. liked to suck on your shirt, which we had to stop as it would leave stains. Kathi was afraid to let J.C. go outside, so on the first occasion she did she tied a 100' length of rope to her collar.

Here is a "cat scan" I did of her.
One thing J.C. did that I never got video of, was whenever Kathi would sing J.C thought she was in pain and would come running and respond to Kathi between verses.

2 years ago she started losing weight, her teeth started falling out and she would only eat soft cat food soup. About 6 months ago she was down to 5 pounds and started peeing blood. We had to keep her in the back room and cover everything in plastic as she would pee anywhere. We did not want her to suffer anymore and finally put her down.


Thanksgiving be gone

Starting this year we are not doing thanksgiving. Everyone is absolved and released from coming over to our house. Please attend to your own families. We will just be having normal meals. Death to tradition! Christmas.... (yeah I'm looking at you!) you're next!


Knights (mare) Inn

So yesterday about eight-ish in the evening I noticed that the AC in our house sounded a little funny but didn't really pay attention to it. Around nine-ish I noticed it was getting warm in the house. So I check on the AC and sure enough the Inside fan motor isn't running. I can also smell a strange oil like smell, and cold air coming from the return. Great! we call J.R. Perkins but they can't come out till 10am. I can't sleep if the temperature is above 79. So the choice was go to my moms house (yeah right) or a get a hotel for the night.

I looked up hotels to see what was near by and there wasn't much to choose from, a Motel 6, a Holday inn, and a few others. I figured the Motel 6 would be ok. My wife said lets stay at the Knights inn on 32nd st and earl. Uhmm ok I guess. Called and they said rooms were $45.00 per night, ok we quickly packed up some stuff and off we went.

Well..... The room was rather big, had a fridge and microwave, but.... and that was a BIG BUTT!

It had the following issues:
Decorations... There were 5 count them FIVE of this picture in the suite.
Missing Items.... The Smoke detector, Hair Dryer, and several light bulb were missing.
Damage... There was a large hole in the wall in the bathroom.
The toilet seat was not attached to the toilet (so that was fun).

The Beds were like sleeping directly on a box spring.

Cleanliness.... My pillow looked like a car mechanic had slept on it, and well just pretend that those aren't blood stains on the curtains.
But.... I digress.

SO, we went to bed around 11:00 and everything was fine as there was almost no one in the rooms nearby. Around some time in the middle of the fucking night! I hear a knocking or banging noise, (and it woke me up). I start to go back to sleep and it's happens again! Oh... It's someone banging on the door! "Hey Odie! let me in!" BANG BANG BANG (on the door). WTF! CRACK CRACK CRACK (on the window) Uhm! hmmm! Yeah this isn't funny. LUNGE! (against the door). OK I'm up! "ODIE!" (that ain't Garfield). I sneak up to the windows and see a blurry brown colored person (dammit I sneak back and get my glasses). Yeah there is a guy out front in a wife beater t-shirt and bling (can't see much because I don't want to move the curtains). BANG BANG BANG LUNGE (against the door again). I go back to the phone and call the front desk:

Front desk: "Front desk can I help you?"
Me: "uhm yeah there is some guy banging on my door and yelling"
Front desk: "OK I'll check it out"
Me: "Thanks I'd appreciate that"

The one time I didn't bring my gun! Oh look it's one of those fold up suitcase holder thingies.

So while I wait for the front desk guy to come out, I'm waiting by the front door so if this guy breaks in I can smash him in the face with the suitcase holder while screaming "I'm going to eat your eyeballs" in the most demonic voice I can muster.

Finally the front desk guy comes along and I hear an exchange that goes something like this:
Front desk guy: "hey! what are you doing?"
Lunatic: "Uh I'm looking for this girl that's staying in this room here"
Front desk guy: "They left yesterday"
Lunatic: "well I just got here and I'm looking for them, and so now I'm leaving... now"

I waited a minute or so and checked out the window. The guy was gone. I went back to bed but did not get back to sleep for about an hour.

Did I mention my wife slept through the whole thing? Well she did.

She only woke up when I went over and poked her in the leg and said "Next time we stay at the Motel 6!"

I got up the next morning and took a shower where I noticed the tub and ceiling were rather close together and the light fixture in the bathroom (which was right over the tub) was missing it's cover and one socket was broken. So if say a tall guy like me wasn't paying attention and stepped back my wet hair would have touched the broken socket and I would have been electrocuted.
Oh and whats up with this?
all in all I give it a half star for no bed bugs (so far as I could tell) and another half star for no dead hooker under the bed.


Sony Vegas 9 pro freezes when rendering AVHCD

Posting this for anyone searching for a solution or work around for this problem. The problem is that if you are trying to render a video in the AVCHD for burning to Blu-ray, for some odd reasons Sony Vegas Pro 9 (8 and 10 as well) may hang or freeze or crash or give an out of memory error.

I have been researching the problem and trying all the solution (or lack thereof) on the internet. While the problem definitely exist in Sony Vegas and not with your hardware. I do not have a solution. I do have a viable work around.

First the issue seems to be caused by the AVCHD encoder not being able to handle certain scenario's. In one case I was rendering a video that included panning over still pictures and cross fades. at certain points the program would always freeze at exactly the same place. My fix at the time was to replace several of the stills with smaller images, and less complicated pans. I then rendered the video in short blocks on several computers at one time and joined them together re-rendering in AVCHD. Other scenario's are multiple clips in different video formats like AVCHD and quicktime H.264. The ACS Encoder does not like certain aspects of the H.264 quicktime files.

My workaround is thus. I can render the video just fine in any other format. So what I did was render the video in full 1080p using the Windows WMV codec at a bit rate of 16 megabits per second. Then reloaded the clip and rendered it in AVCHD. IT rendered easily and the video quality seems to be just fine.


What have I been up to lately

I have been really busy lately and most everything I do is posted on my Youtube channel.


For Everything Else There's Mastercard

So my Heater stopped working last Friday 12-24-2010. I went up to see why and could not tell. Called Goettl to look at it. seemed some kind of overheat sensor tripped because one of the pipes on my heat exchanger popped loose from it's mount. The pipes are press fit in place no welding.
Goettl no longer is owned by Goettl but by ARS (whoever they are). Apparently 2 years ago they sold out leaving everyone high and dry. The "Goettl" repair man told us that the part is no longer available and that we would have to buy a new unit for only $9000.00 minus a $1500.00 government rebate (rebate ends 1-1-2011). Yeah right, I am still paying for a new sewer line and not about to get a new AC unit until I absolutely have to.

This morning we removed the heat exchanger, and took it to Cliff's welding in Mesa. Went and had lunch, walked around a Goodwill for awhile and picked it up again.
I had them weld all the pipes so the exchanger will last longer.
We re-installed it, installed new screws wherever we could, cause the old ones were stripped or rusted. Turned it on and she fired right up.
     Half a tank of Gas for my Brother $20.00
Lunch while we waited for the repair $35.27
                                      Welding job $62.48
                Box of self tapping screws $4.50
        Labor for my 2 brothers help $120.00
                                                Total $242.25
                                           Saving $8757.75 PRICELESS!


Home Video of our Dream Vacation

Good times....
Good times....
My favorite was when my lawn was ground to a pulp.


Our Dream Vacation.

Hey everyone, Check out these pictures of our dream vacation, and it will only cost us $6800.00.
Yup... That's right, Kathi and I get an all expenses paid vacation to...
Thank you Orangeburg pipe!



Me: Tank you have to go!
Tank: No way I like it here, it's comfy.
Me: Well, your going, but first you have to loose some weight!
Tank: What do you mean?
Me: We're going to have a talk. SAY HELLO TO MY LITTLE FRIEND!
Tank: Wait! What are you doing with that SAW!?!?
Me: Muhuhuhahahaha!!!!
Tank: AAAaaaaaarrrrrggggggghhhhh!!!!! what a world... what a world....

And so I cut him up in to little pieces.

He begged and pleaded for his life, but I would have none of it. I made one concession, I removed the door to haul his carcass out. Never give up! Never Surrender!


My Stock Pics

Recently found where 2 more of my pictures have been published. I found this site. Here is a pdf preview with one of my pictures on the cover. The book can be purchased much cheaper at Amazon.com.
This picture is on the cover.
This picture is on page 17.


Making Progress

Taking advantage of the unusually cool weather this last week. I expanded the hole in the front of the tank and cut out a large section of the rear of the tank.
Never Give up! Never Surrender!


That Damn Tank

Previous owners of our house had installed a solar hot water system. When we got the house it wasn't working. I had long since removed the panels from the roof as their weight was damaging it. However, the hot water holding tank that was part of the system, was installed on the side yard, near the actual hot water heater. For some STUPID reason they had built a "closet" around it. Apparently they figured this tank would never break or need to be replaced because there is absolutely no EASY way to remove the tank without destroying the closet or the tank.

SO for the 14 years we have lived here I have been trying to remove the tank with out destroying the closet. A couple of years ago I bought a pair of pneumatic shears to cut away the outer covering of the tank, but had nothing to cut the tank up with. The tank cannot be rotated as there are pipes coming out the top of it in to the closet containing the hot water heater. The pipes cannot be removed because I cannot reach the solder joint without removing the roof. It cannot be tilted as the tank extends all the way up into the top of the closet. Nope, I will have to cut a large hole in it and then cut the tank up from the inside and remove it piece meal. Cutting torches and grinders are out of the question as I do not want to burn the house down.

I recently borrowed a reciprocating saw, and picked up some VERY expensive metal cutting blades from Lowe's. I managed to cut a decent sized hole in the tank. Hopefully over the next few weekends I will have this damn tank gone. NEVER give up! NEVER surrender!


Slow Summer

It's been a slow summer. That which I do to make money is taking up most of my time. Anything New that I have been doing is on Youtube.