Garden Hose Quick Disconnects

In the last post I mentioned getting a pressure washer but it didn’t take long to realize how much I hated getting it out to use.

The reason? The garden hose. Well more specifically attaching the hose to the pressure washer. To get a good connection you need to use pliers and it was a royal pain attaching and disconnecting the hose like this. Also the hassle of putting the hose back on the sprayer nozzle when I was finished with the pressure washer. Between the swapping, finding pliers to do the job and having to put everything back up I was finding myself doing jobs the pressure washer would be ideal for but finding myself not willing to put the effort forth to get the pressure washer out and connected to use it.

But I found a solution 🙂

Camco Garden Hose Quick Disconnects.


As you can see in the video above it makes the whole swap over process go from minutes to mere seconds. I now use the pressure washer all the time since it takes no effort or time to make the swap over on the hose. Not to mention once you get the hang of it you don’t get soaked in the process either. HIGHLY recommend them.

I bought them here :

Camco Quick Disconnects

But I imagine they are sold all over the place.



Got a pressure washer.

I picked up a Portland 1750 psi pressure washer from Harbor Freight recently. I was having all kinds of issue with getting the mud off the wheels on my 2013 BMW X5 E70 to keep them from being out of balance.

Here is a video I made of it.


Another trip up the driveway with snow

I figured since I added a “good” day in the previous post of my driveway I would show what a bad day via snow was like 🙂


One of these trips I actually cracked the windshield on when a tree had fallen onto the driveway and I didn’t notice it was facing me in place of being across the driveway.


A trip up my driveway on a good day

I mention how bad my driveway is from time to time so I figured a video of what we deal with daily on good days (when it hasn’t rained in awhile) would help explain things better.

I need to shoot some of the worse ones eventually for comparison.


Amazing what shows up in the yard.

You never know what will show up in the yard around here. I have walked outside to emus, donkeys, coyotes, pigs and all other kinds of animals.

This alligator snapping turtle was just another of the wild things I run into. Check out the size of this thing.

I was very careful to avoid giving him something to nibble on 🙂

I was also amazed how fast he was.


Interesting car I ran across. Audi R8 V10

I went on a service call to one of my customers which is a car dealership. The manager had brought his car in and had it on the showroom floor. I figured I would share some pics of it. Its one cool looking car for sure.

Im not sure what year it is. He wants $225,000 for it. Its an Audio R8 with the V10 engine.


I doubt that would make it up my driveway. Nice car though !



Mower drama or the epic quest to just cut the grass :(

Well its that time of year again. That first grass cutting attempt of the year.

I use the term attempt since its what usually happens to most people since the mower usually isn’t very happy about being woke up after being put aside for the winter.

Some of the time I get lucky and can just start back cutting. I charge my mowers with the solar charging system so I never have dead batteries to deal with and that is probably the biggest problem most people run into. Well that and bad gas. But I use non ethanol gas in my mowers so I don’t usually have that problem either.

What turned this seasons first crank into a nightmare was all of the things I had been putting off.

I have a cub cadet LT 1024 mower.


Love the thing. Powerful, reliable, has drink holders and even cruise control 🙂

But it had started to have issues and I had ignored them. So now as this seasons first cut was about to commence I was about to pay the price for that neglect.

I don’t neglect the really serious things like checking the oil and such and I wash it after each grass cutting.

But I had neglected a problem that had been creeping up with the carburetor. I had to keep the choke pulled a bit to get it to run right. This of course meant it was starving for gas. This could be a clogged jet, filter or even float issues. So a carb was ordered.

Also the blades were leaving gaps that I had to go back over. So they were dull and were even the wrong blades from the previous owners. My step dad uses gator blades which he likes allot so I decided I would try those and ordered some.

Well the blades came in first. So I go to crank the mower to back it out to change the blades. It runs for about 10 seconds then quits and wont start back. I checked the plugs and one looked a bit wet while the other was fine. So I ordered plugs. While I was waiting on the plugs I went ahead and poured a bit of gas into the carb and it started up and ran fine but again it was 10 seconds or so and it quit. Well the carb was on its way so no biggy.

When the carb arrived I installed it. That was not fun since I had to take a ton of stuff off to get to it and the linkages are always a pain on small engines but once installed I went to crank it and it wouldn’t ever start. I poured gas in again and it ran till that ran out then nothing. At this point I figured something was wrong with the fuel shutoff solenoid system. Seeing as I need to cut the grass already I bypassed it for now. Still would only run with gas poured into the carb.

But I kept doing this over and over pouring in about a caps worth (used the gas cans cap) each time and let it run till it quit on its own. After about 5 times it stayed running and ran fine. I guess it needed to get the fuel thru the system.

So now I have it running but the tires are so bad now I can’t even move it around to put the blades on it.

They had been leaking down after each grass cutting and I would simple air them up and head out to cut the yard without thinking much about it. Well they were cracking it seems all around the sidewalls of the tires. So now they wont hold air but about 3 minutes tops. So I am waiting on new tires to get here before I can cut the grass.

I may go ahead and do the blades via raising the mower up on jack stands with a jack vs waiting on the tires and using the ramps.

This is why I referred to this as “attempting” to cut the grass 🙂


More on this whenever the tires get here.


More power tools

Well as everyone knows you can’t have to many power tools 🙂

That said this one is not as much adding as replacing since my cordless ratchet finally bit the dust. I’ve had it for probably 10 years or more. Its a Skil brand 1/4″ lithium battery cordless ratch. The main reason I had bought it was the lithium battery. Most of my cordless tools have nimh batteries which work fine if you charge them up before each job. Lithium batteries do about the same work wise but don’t discharge from just sitting. So as long as I make sure they are charged when I get done with the tool it will be charged when I need it again. The nimh ones would be dead before I got to use them again.

So in my quest to replace the Skil ratchet that died I knew I wanted nimh. I figured I would just buy another Skil ratchet but I couldn’t find one. I guess its discontinued or something. So that ruled that one out.

No biggy. How hard could it be to find a replacement as long as I get the right battery type… right?  Wrong.

There are TONS of different cordless ratchets out now. I imagine there were a bunch that would of done just as well as the Skil did and probably better. But the problem I ran into (which is 100% my fault) wasn’t finding a ratchet it was finding the “best” ratchet for the money.

When I shop I want to get the best of whatever I am buying. Pet peeve thing of mine. So the search began and took weeks.

I narrowed it down to two ratchets. The way I culled most of them was as follows :

  1. Had to be 3/8ths. I had a 1/4″ drive before and most of the time I had to hunt the adapter to use the larger 3/8th stuff which I needed allot. Also the 3/8ths drive would be stronger and less likely to break.
  2. Had to be lithium battery power. Covered that above.
  3. Had to not cost more than the home hobby level money wise. I’m not opening a shop I just want to fix my own stuff. So that basically meant sub $200. I own mostly Makita tools but none of their stuff was under $200.

This left either of these :

Milwaukee M12 rachet which can be bought here :


Or the AC Delco cordless ratchet which can be bought here :

Both of these are EXCELLENT ratchets.

I ended up going with the Milwaukee for two reasons.

One the Milwaukee uses a battery called an M12 which is usable in all their other M12 power tools and there are a BUNCH of those to choose from. Second it was lighter and smaller than the AC Delco ratchet.

One thing to consider for your own uses though is that the AC Delco ratchet has almost double the power of the Milwaukee ratchet torque wise but it also weighs a bunch more and is a good bit larger.

The Milwaukee also has a built in battery meter and a light. The AC Delco doesn’t.

Again you can’t go wrong with either of them from my research but for my needs the Milwaukee seems to be a better fit. I really like it.


Yet another solar update kind of….

I haven’t posted much about my solar setup which in a way is a huge kudos to the system. The reason I haven’t posted about it is because I FORGOT about it. That’s the ultimate compliment to something I can think of. When it works so flawlessly that you take it for granted and don’t even remember its there its doing a GREAT job.

I did make a few changes over the last few months since the last time I posted about it. I added another large 24 volt panel thinking I needed a bit more power. Heck you always need “more power” so that wasn’t something I could get wrong. But it didn’t fix the issue I thought I had.

What was actually happening had more to do with bad connections (rust) and poor design on how I had the batteries connected to the system.

Like most people I had used diagrams found on the net showing how to run the battery cables in all kinds of complicated ways to get the most power out of the batteries. But what I found was that all I needed was to have a common bus bar and have each paired 12 volt battery (they are wired in series to produce 24 volts for each pair of 12 volt batteries) connected directly to the bus bars.

This change DOUBLE the how much power I got from the batteries each night. That’s not a factual math thing as much as what I saw the next morning before the sun came up.

Again part of the problem was corroded connections but even after cleaning those I was almost running out of power before the night was out. Also of note when I say running out of power I actually mean down to 1/2 power since I wont let my battery bank get below 50%.

After moving the cables to a common bus bar I now only show to be using 15% of my battery power each night tops and that’s after adding more load too.

So I highly recommend using bus bars for your batteries with solar power.

A friend is making a battery box for me and I plan on setting up a shutter system to protect my panels in the event of hail. When these get done I will post more pictures of the system.