Moving a Thermostat

As I’m preparing my new office, I realized it didn’t make sense to keep the thermostat for the front heating zone in the old/current office anymore. In the winter I’ll probably keep the doors closed and the register shut in that room unless I’m using it. So today I wanted to move the thermostat to the new office.

Disconnecting the thermostat and pulling wire through the basement was a walk in the park. Getting wire up the wall and through a small hole is no easy task though. I was playing around with some ideas in my head when I remembered I had an endoscope. I bought it 3 years ago, to the day, on Woot, knowing it would come in handy one day. Which reminds me of this quote from Adam Savage.

Today was that day! A couple of friends even made fun of me at the time, asking what in the world I’d ever need it for. I love proving people wrong when they doubt me. 😉

Ok, so what did I do? First, I found a hole in the basement that led up to a light switch on the back of the wall where I wanted to put the thermostat. Then I drilled some holes where I’d mount the thermostat. I tied a washer to a piece of string, for some weight, and fed it through the hole and down the wall. I uncoiled a wire coat hanger and made a small hook on the end. I fed the endoscope and wire hook up through the hole, found the string, and pulled it down through the hole. Success!

The hard part was done. I looped my thermostat wire around the washer.

I fed that back up through the hole. Then I went upstairs and pulled the string and wire up through my hole in the wall.

From there it was just a matter of mounting the thermostat and connecting wires.

Creating a New Home Office

Late in August I’m finally getting air conditioning (Mitsubishi mini splits) installed in my house. One of the wall units will be in the room across the hall from my current office, so I decided I’ll move there. The room is larger, gets more natural light, and has never been used for anything.

I’ve spent a lot of time in that room over the last three weekends, removing wallpaper, painting, and installing flooring. I’m loving with how it’s turning out. Here’s a before and after with the progress so far.

It’s been nice to have a big project to focus on. This room has already become a happy place whenever I walk by or look across from where my desk is now. Since I spend so much time in my office, I have several other plans for the room. More to come!

AC Maintenance for a Tesla Model 3

If you have a Tesla Model 3, the air conditioning system may start to smell like rotten feet. That probably means it’s time to replace some air filters and clean the AC coils. You can either pay Tesla around $150 to do it or get what you need from Amazon for about $35. It was really easy by following this guide and only required one tool.

Look how dirty those filters were after 20 months.

Weight Plate Storage

I made a weight plate rack probably 7 years ago and it held up reasonably well with limited use.

Through the pandemic, I’ve been using my garage gym a lot and the rack was starting to fall apart. The design had two main problems:

  1. The screws (I didn’t know about wood glue back then) couldn’t support the load of plates leaning and falling against the uprights.
  2. The narrow base meant the plates could easily roll off when bumped.

So I took a bunch of measurements, looked at my scrap plywood, and modeled a new rack in SketchUp. My goals were to make construction simple, not spend any money, add spots for the kettlebell plates, and save space. Here’s what I came up with.

Originally it was one wide rack, but I ended up making it in two sections since my scrap plywood wasn’t long enough. This made assembly easier and gives me the option of storing half of the plates in a different location.

I cut all of the plywood, used wood glue and a nail gun for assembly, and sanded all of the edges. I gave it some spray paint and number stencils. I had everything I needed in my workshop so I didn’t spend a dime.

I tested with the heavier plates and quickly realized I’d failed to plan for the plates tipping to the sides; they don’t stay upright without some kind of vertical support. Also with the lightweight plywood construction, the whole thing could move depending on how many other plates are in use. Back to the drawing board. I didn’t want to throw away all my work, so I came up with a way to use 2x4s from the previous rack.

I cut slots in the 2×4 to create stable vertical supports. I only needed a single screw in each one. Then I added another piece of 2×4 across the back, double screwed to each support, to link all four together, which improved the strength a lot. Each half rack was also screwed to the wall. It works well now.

While I was at it, I removed the Plasti Dip and colored paint from the small metal plates, which had been peeling for years. Blakleen was a huge save in this process, even though it was still a mess and a lot of work. Then I primed and painted them black. They look really good, so it was worth it.