Battery Cable End Repair
Here’s a way to repair a deteriorated battery cable end for a stud bolt terminal. Start by removing the battery cable from the battery and cutting a slit, parallel to the cable, in the thimble cable end with a hacksaw. Pry the connector apart with a screwdriver and pull the wire from the connector using pliers. Clean the end of the cable using emery cloth and solder paste.
Take a 3-inch piece of 1/2-inch copper pipe and use a vice to squeeze one end approximately 1 1/4 inches back so that it flattens. Drill a hole in the flat end that is the same size as the stud bolt terminal. Next, clean the female end of the copper pipe with emery cloth and solder paste and cut a 1-inch slit in the pipe using the hacksaw. Pry the pipe apart using a screwdriver and insert the open end of the pipe onto the clean battery cable end. Squeeze the pipe together and solder the cable to the pipe. This solution will last a lifetime.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This tip may not be appropriate for use on a chassis battery, since the amperage capacity of the copper tube may not be able to handle the higher surge. If performing this repair on the chassis battery, make sure to use extra-heavy-wall copper tubing and high-temperature silver solder.
Hil Shaffer, F239101, Tantallon, Nova Scotia, Canada
Duo-Therm Control Center Repair
My 1997 Holiday Rambler Navigator is equipped with a Duo-Therm Comfort Control Center that controls two roof air conditioners with heat strips. After it became progressively more difficult to change the climate settings using the panel’s buttons, I decided to purchase a new unit. Lo and behold, I discovered that the four-button control had been discontinued several years ago. I was told that I would have to buy a five-button control center, plus a new circuit board for each air conditioner. While the price varied by source, the cost would come to more than $400 plus installation. So, I decided to examine the switches and discovered that my problem would actually be simple to fix.
Here’s what was causing the problem. After many years of use, the brass contact switches had bent, and some of them were no longer making contact to create a good circuit, resulting in difficulty in selecting the desired setting. The following solution corrected this problem.
First, turn off the air conditioner switch. Remove the control from the wall plate using a tool to spring the retainer at the bottom rear. Unplug the telephone line. Remove the four screws holding the cover on the circuit board. Carefully release the clip on each side of a button, holding the button so it won’t pop off. (Longer clip toward the on-off switch; spring goes onto peg.) Carefully lift the button from the base. There are two brass pieces inside each switch that you must individually remove. Observe carefully so you know how to replace them when ready. Lay the brass piece on its solid side with the three legs up. Notice the small elbow bend in each of the arms. The problem is that over time, the bend in the arm has straightened just enough so that it does not make contact with the solid back when the button is depressed. To correct this problem, push in on one end of each arm to make a sharper kink in the arm, thus shortening it enough so that it will make contact with the switch when the button is depressed after the unit has been reassembled.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Only the outside arms on the right side are in the circuit. Before bending, try switching the two brass contactors, one switch at a time.
Roger Kittelson, F88803, Whitney, Texas
I learned this little trick from a park ranger at Fall Creek Falls State Park in Tennessee. He taught me how to start a fire using a homemade fire-starter. He said this would work even with wood that has gotten wet.
The first step involves saving the lint that collects in your dryer’s lint filter. After you have collected this, you will need a cardboard egg carton. (You cannot use the Styrofoam kind.) You also will need a candle. Tapered candles are best for this project, because they will be easier to handle.
Place a little of the clothes lint into each of the egg carton compartments. Light the candle and carefully drip wax on top of the lint in each compartment to seal. Cut out the egg carton sections and store them in your motorhome. You now have some of the best fire-starters at a bargain price.
When you’re ready for a fire, place a section under your kindling or wood and light the corner of the fire-starter. Then sit back and enjoy your wonderful campfire.
Debbie Hale, F233751, Goodlettsville, Tennessee
Quick On-Off Sunscreen
With the popularity of electric awnings comes the new problem of how to quickly attach and stow a sun shade. Manufacturers warn against attempting to roll up the sunscreen with the awning, as the combination is too bulky. However, attaching and removing a sunscreen from the awning roller groove can be a tedious and frustrating job. This solution is designed to make the installation and storage of the screen much easier.
Start with a 3-inch-wide connector, cut to the length of the awning tube, that slides into the awning roller groove and is small enough to stay in place when the awning is rolled up. On the connector strip place grommets spaced every 12 inches. Attach the large part of the screen to the connector using bungee loops. The elastic end of each loop goes through the grommets in the connector, and a “rip cord” (plastic-covered rope) is inserted through each of the loops when installing the screen. The rip cord allows the screen to be instantly detached for storage or quickly removed in case of a sudden high wind.
The screen, along with the bungee loops, can be rolled onto a piece of PVC pipe as the rip cord is pulled to prevent creases in the screen during storage.
SAFETY NOTE: Be sure to turn off the awning’s automatic wind sensor when using any sunscreen.
Brad & Terry Thode, F288616, Hailey, Idaho
The cabinet under the kitchen sink in my motorhome was a mess. I used containers to hold the items, but I could not reach the back, and whenever I opened the door, everything was in a jumble. So we purchased sliding shelves from a home improvement store and screwed them onto the wood floor of the cabinet. It was so simple that even I could manage this project. Now everything is in place, and even my fancy wine glasses ride safely.
Arlene Chiarolanzio, F181694, Florham Park, New Jersey