Your leaking thatched hut during the restoration of a pre-Enlightenment state.


Hello, my name is Judas Gutenberg and this is my blaag (pronounced as you would the vomit noise "hyroop-bleuach").


decay & ruin
Biosphere II
dead malls
Irving housing

got that wrong

appropriate tech
Arduino μcontrollers
Backwoods Home
Fractal antenna

fun social media stuff

(nobody does!)

Like my brownhouse:
   helpful unnecessary switch
Friday, June 27 2014
The dogs had already had a walk, but when I got out of bed late this morning I took them for another one with the intention to gather firewood. Near Funky Pond Summit, I went to cut off the end of a piece of dry oak high above the ground, but when I clicked the switch on my chainsaw I got nothing. It was dead. I checked the battery and it was good, so there was another problem, evidently one dating to the end of my cutting session yesterday, when the saw had simply died. The Greenworks 10 inch battery-powered chainsaw does die sometimes, but it's always been a result of the battery either overheating or running out of stored power. In this case, though, the battery was cold and fully-charged, so the saw should have worked. Evidently something else had failed. But what?
Back at the house, I found my manual for the saw and learned that it had a four year warranty. That's a very long time to be working at the rate I've been running this saw, but I wasn't complaining. I called Greenworks, got a slightly-bitchy (though thoroughly American) tech woman on the line, and, after hearing the symptoms, said I should take it to the local warranty service affiliate. For my zipcode, this was a lawncare tool shop in Lake Katrine. I called the Lake Katrine place first just to confirm that I could bring my saw there.
So I printed out my bill of sale, loaded up the dogs, and drove out to Lake Katrine. As I came through the door with my paperwork in one hand and my saw in the other, the guy at the counter looked at my saw and gave me an annoyed wave of the hand. "We told them that we weren't doing those anymore," he explained. "I talked to someone on the phone and she said I could bring my saw here," I responded. "Was it a woman?" he asked. Evidently she hadn't gotten the memo. So that part of my mission was a complete waste of time.
After stopping at Beer World for fermented provisions and Home Depot for C batteries, a tub that could be used as a litter box, and yet another LED spotlight, I returned home. I would have immediately called Greenworks, but Gretchen was on the phone having one of her multi-hour conversations, so I said fuck it and began disassembling my chainsaw. If I could easily fix whatever was wrong with it, it would probably save me a trip to Poughkeepsie (or wherever the next-farthest Greenworks authorized service shop might be). I'd done some tests with a multimeter and determined that when the saw switch was closed, there was no current flowing through it. This implied a broken connection (as opposed to a short), which gave me some hope that I could find the problem.
After getting the saw apart, I tested the switch and quickly determined that it was the problem. Power was available on one side of it but not on the other, even when it was closed. Oddly, the switch was actually a duplex switch with two separate SPST switches, one switching the negative wire and the other switching the positive wire. Anyone with any basic understanding of electricity could see that only one of those wires needed to be controlled by the switch, and this gave me hope that I could just short around the bad switch and use the remaining good one to control the saw. This strategy worked exactly in practice as it had in the theoretical abstraction of my brain, and soon I had the saw back together and working again. This was just yet more proof that the world of paperwork, professionals, and procedures moves at a glacial pace while I move like a gazelle, rendering the world as it is supposed to function into bullet time from the Matrix. Gretchen, who wishes I would rely more on professional assistance, hates it when my reluctance to do so is confirmed by my experiences. But here it was, yet again, more proof: the only way to get shit done is to fucking do it yourself. Because I fixed my own saw on the same day that I detected a problem with it, I was able to go out on a second firewood-salvaging foray and gather wood. That would have been impossible even if the shop in Lake Katrine had gladly taken my saw and the warranty been honored.

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