Lo-T Devices

Ask questions and give answers about computers, mobile devices, game boxes, PC security and all manner of geeky stuff.
User avatar
Kellemora
Posts: 5998
Joined: 16 Feb 2015, 17:54

Re: Lo-T Devices

Post by Kellemora »

Teckin sent me a form type of e-mail that pretty much resolved the issue, and explained what is happening, and how to fix it.

To start with, each smart socket has its own MAC address, it is only the application being used that gives it a name.
So, simply changing the name of a device does not change how the device is recognized by the Router, only by the app.

The smart socket is activated by using the smart home app on a smart fone. The smart home app can work alone, or in conjunction with another app, such as Amazon Alexa, or the smart phone using Siri.

The Amazon app for Echo devices allow you to Locate and Find operation smart sockets and other devices.
Then you can use Alexa to control the devices. The Amazon app also lets you do things such as assign smart sockets to group names, and if joined with a smart phone, Siri will recognize these names as well.

Regardless of which app you use, Smart Home with Siri, or Smart Home with Alexa, both will show the state of the device to each other.

However, if you schedule a routine using the smart home app on a cellphone, the Alexa app will only show the device is on or off. Alexa uses the internet, Siri uses the internet, and both go to your wifi. However, a schedule does not use the internet, it connects your smart phone to the wifi, so the signal goes via wifi to the device, not over the internet. Only that state of the device is shown through the app which reads the smart device state.

The smart home servers only remember the names of the devices you assigned, as well as what group you placed those devices in. But under those names are the MAC addresses of each device, and it is the MAC address that receives the signal to turn off or turn on.

With a little effort, and going through Debi's Schmartz-Fone, I finally discovered she had set a Schedule Routine to turn off the smart plug named MISC every night at 11 pm. The fact I changed the name of MISC to something else a few times did not matter, because it was the MAC address of the device that was told to turn on and off at 11 pm.

So why was her phone turning off two different sockets? When you add a socket to a group, it becomes a sister with other devices in that group as a single unit, and this is reflected in the smart home database.

My doing all the moving around of the plugs, using the Alexa app to assign them, only compounded the issue, because the smart home database knows all, hi hi. But the Schedule in Debi's Schmarz-Fone only looks at the database if Siri is used to get the voice name of the device. So in her Schmartz-Fone schedule, MISC socket's MAC address controls all devices in the Group in which it is shown in the database.

The cure: Delete the Smart Home app from her Schmartz-Fone, Delete the Smart Home app from Amazon Alexa, Hit the reset button on all smart sockets and unplug them while in set-up mode. Turn off Schedules on Debi's Schmartz-Fone, and delete the Schedules and Routines database, which also erased her other timed setting, such as alarm clock, etc. So she had to reset all of her alarm clock setting afterward.

I had her install the Smart Home app on her Schmartz-Fone first, then we set up each of the devices, only by the number they assign themselves at first. Then I downloaded to my computer and went to the Alexa app, gave each smart socket a name, and assigned them to the group I wanted them in. Then we linked Siri to the Smart Home app so it would read the database. Siri recognized the group names, and showed each of the devices by name. I checked back at my office, and the Alexa app now showed all the socket names and groups as the sockets were shown in the discovered section when I first ran the set-up.

FWIW: I'm sure just turning off the Schedule on Debi's Schmartz-Fone would have worked, but with all the moving around I did of the sockets, the Smart Home database showed everything, so clearing it and starting over was a good thing to do.
User avatar
yogi
Posts: 8438
Joined: 14 Feb 2015, 21:49

Re: Lo-T Devices

Post by yogi »

Well ... you used a few different descriptions but I understand exactly what you described. It is very close to what I told you my understanding was. The problem is that there are two networks and apparently they don't sync with each other very well. One is the Internet where Alexa lives and the other network is what you call WiFi - I'd be willing to bet it is really Bluetooth, which is not the Internet nor your WiFi LAN. I agree that you probably did more than necessary to remedy the problem, but you did the best possible cleansing of a corrupt database network. If nothing else you now have an understanding of how it all works so that you can better troubleshoot it next time around. Congratulations and Bravo!
User avatar
Kellemora
Posts: 5998
Joined: 16 Feb 2015, 17:54

Re: Lo-T Devices

Post by Kellemora »

Well, it worked! Our night lights did not shut off at 11 pm, and were still on this morning when we told them to shut off.

When I check which plugs are on or off from my computer up in the office, it always has it right.
Even if they get turned off by another program, the app that shows the state of each outlet will let me know if it is off or on.
Also, found a program that will give you the MAC address of everything using your LAN even if it is on WiFi. Naturally, it only runs on a Schmartz-Fone.

Here's a project for you. If someone has four or five Schmartz-Fonz, but only one is on a plan so it can be used. How do you install new apps to the ones not under a service contract?
User avatar
yogi
Posts: 8438
Joined: 14 Feb 2015, 21:49

Re: Lo-T Devices

Post by yogi »

There are several network scanning programs for ... Windows. I have a few and use them from time to time to map out the LAN here. Windows also has some command line NET commands that will do the same thing in text format. I also have a routine in my router that shows what is connected with IP and MAC information. I have no doubt such packages exist in Linux CLI applets. No doubt there are some GUI type packages for the same purpose. I do in fact query my LAN a lot from the Linux environment, but generally it's for a specific purpose. A general network scan is done in Windows in my case.

The Wire Shark packet capture program that I tried to get you to investigate also has network scanning ability. I use it in Windows but I know there is also a Linux version. That particular program has way more capability than you would be interested in learning about so that maybe just looking into the right repos or app stores will come up with what you are looking for.


I've often thought about rooting my smartphone so that I can get down to the nitty gritty of Android. Doing that requires a terminal emulator to be installed on the phone, and then a lot of typing after that. I don't do system administration @ 120 WPM, and I also use more than a finger and a thumb to type. Thus it would be too burdensome for me to learn how to install and remove software from the smartphone using root privileges.

However, since you asked (or was that a challenge?) I can try to explain things as I understand them. Smartphones and mobile devices and computers that want to look like mobile devices have system level apps. That is to say you can't download one off a website or repository and click on an executable, or run a shell program, to start an installation. All that is now done at the system level. That would be the reason to root a smart phone so that you can gain system level permissions and do things not intended to be done by the average teenager.

All the apps you might be interested in are in the cloud, typically in what they call a "store" which is just a repository. One way to get to that cloud from a smartphone is over the mobile phone's cellular network. The phones not in service obviously can't do that directly. But, take your Alexa/Echo network as an example. Let's assume that the Echo device is the command and control center - it's brains are in the cloud with Alexa, but we'll ignore that for the moment. All the devices you are controlling are connected to the Echo box via Bluetooth. Consider Bluetooth in this case to be something like a USB cable connecting your computer to your printer. In other words, Echo can and does have a lot of peripherals attached. The smartphones with their fancy apps that talk to Echo is one of those peripherals.

It turns out that you don't need a cell phone network to make Bluetooth work. You simply enable it on the device of interest to turn on the Bluetooth transceiver. So, and this is admittedly a guess, it should be possible to connect any smartphone to the Echo box via Bluetooth. If you can do that, you can also pair the not connected phone to the one that is connected. The connected phone can download the apps of interest, but I'm not positive the tethered phones can too. It seems possible. The odds of it being possible increase when both the connected and non-connected phones are rooted, i.e. you have root level access to both. In that case file transfer is trivial, assuming you know the right commands. I don't, but they have to be available online somewhere. If not, there are apps in the store for that. Plus, there are also min-USB cables that can connect one phone to another. File transfer is fairly simply that way. The USB cable trick won't give you access to the cloud, unfortunately. It's just a way to transfer files over a cable.

This might not be as complicated as I'm making it look. Heck, you already have smartphones connected to the Echo/Alexa network via Bluetooth. Just add the not connected phones and see if you can access the cloud that way. If you can't then reverting to the root level transfer method would be necessary.
User avatar
Kellemora
Posts: 5998
Joined: 16 Feb 2015, 17:54

Re: Lo-T Devices

Post by Kellemora »

We did learn a little trick a little over 2 years ago when Debi got her new phone.
She though all of her data was on her Sims Card, so moving it to the new phone should have moved everything.
Apparently that is not so, or only partially.

I can plug my unconnected to cellular old smart phone that used to be Debi's to my computer and download files from it, such as all the images in the DCIM folder.
But we learned from the cell phone store that you can connect two cell phones together and transfer the data in internal memory over to the internal memory of the new cell phone, but you have to download an app for that purpose on the phone that is connected to the cellular network to get the app. The app is not much more than a directory tree that lets you view, and copy data or images, or a whole folder from another cell phone to move the data to yours.
Unfortunately, it did not work on older cell phones that may have contained some of Debi's lost pictures.
But using my computer with her old cell phones, I was able to get some things off, but she already had those transferred over.
I guess the cell phone company did it for her when she got new phones each time.

Apparently these new cell phones are much smarter and have more power than I give them credit for.
Saw an article where a group of college kids used a handful of old cellphones to create something like a Beowolf cluster.
They said they had the combined power of a mini-mainframe, but never gave any details, just talked about speed is all.

In my snooping around trying to find answers about my smart sockets, I did find out it is possible to control them directly from your own computers if you have WiFi. I started to read some of it, but at the time was trying to figure out the 11 pm lights out thing. Now I can't find the info again, drat. Read far enough to know that using a smart socket to make a strobe light burns them out fairly fast, hi hi.

Our lights did not go out at 11 pm last night either, so I can assume, problem solved!
User avatar
yogi
Posts: 8438
Joined: 14 Feb 2015, 21:49

Re: Lo-T Devices

Post by yogi »

The SIM card of a cell phone has a lot of personal information but I don't believe it has any photographs or app information. It would be possible, for example, to take the SIM card out of a phone and put it into your own phone to impersonate the owner of the card. This would be very useful if that person has their credit card or bank debit card tied to the phone payment system.

Wife had an LG cell phone before we got her the Google Pixel phone. The new phone came with a cable to connect to the old phone. Once the cable was connected the new phone started to transfer all the data from the old phone. Since it was a Googly phone it also applied all the things that Google knows about my wife, such as her contact list from her G-mail. The effect of all this was to create duplicate names, and some with old obsolete information. The point is that with the right app transferring data between phones is no different than using telnet. The app just starts the transfer and looks for a known list of things. I am not sure if it can be made to work in the opposite direction, but you seem to indicate that there is an app for that too. If so you should be able to use your non-contract phones to program the Alexa network devices.

I don't know how Alexa uses WiFi verses Bluetooth. It almost doesn't matter given that most modern computers have Bluetooth built in. It seems that I had that option in the Silver Yogi. It might have been part of the WiFI interface card but I know Bluetooth and WiFi work on different frequencies and have different power output. You are about as curious as I am and I'm sure you will find a way to do what you are wanting to do. It's just a matter of asking Google the right questions. :grin:
User avatar
Kellemora
Posts: 5998
Joined: 16 Feb 2015, 17:54

Re: Lo-T Devices

Post by Kellemora »

I think they said the Sim card only holds the provider information so you can switch phones more easily.
I can download the data from any phone, and upload it back to any phone on my Debian Linux computer.
It treats the storage area on the phones like another hard drive.
But I normally only copy the DCIM folder, which is where the pictures are stored, and the Local Data folder which is where you enter things using text. I've never messed with the data area for phone numbers and the like, because those transfer from one phone to the other just by plugging in the cord between the old and new phone, which they do at the cell phone store for you.

I do know Debi's Schmartz-Fonz have all had Bluetooth, because that is what makes her ear buds work.
She can also use WiFi to surf the net, instead of using cellular air-time when she is home.
Alexa uses WiFi to connect to the router to get online to the services the Echo provides from Amazon.
Whether it has Bluetooth or not, that I don't know, but I don't think so.

There is getting to be so many out there, you have to watch what you are buying very close now.
Heck, there is WiFi, Bluetooth, Bluetooth Low-Energy (BLE), Zigbee, Z-Wave, NFC, and 6LoWPAN.
Plus who knows how many more, hi hi.
Not to mention the wireless devices that use tiny USB receivers.

Back many eons ago, when I was using RC boats and planes and cars and trucks.
Because I was a Ham Radio Operator, I ended up buying 6-meter controllers and receivers.
The benefit of this is I could still use my RC toys when all the normal bands were in use.
In other words, I didn't have to take turns waiting for a clear channel to use, hi hi.
6-meter units also had more control options as well. Most other devices only had four to six, while 6-meters had eight to ten available things you could do on a single channel. I made use of a few of them for grins. Like dropping a bomb, or opening and closing the door on the plane. Instead of a bomb, I would pull up a weighted streamer, then release it so it dropped back down like a parachute drop.
On the little RC boat I built with sails, I had more little solenoids and stepper motors on that thing than Carters has pills.
This way I could raise and lower the sails independently of each other. The stepper motors turned the masts individually, and the rudder was also on a stepper motor.
Most sailboats, only had rudder, left, center, and right, and the masts left, center, and right. But by using stepper motors, I could turn mine to any position, which made piloting a sailboat much more fun. I also had a small motor for when there was not enough wind to propel it around the lake.
I wanted to build another, but that hobby sorta went by the wayside as I had to work many more hours with all the kids to feed and get through school.

By now you've probably guessed, I never was afraid to try anything, no matter how silly it seemed at the time.
Some of my ideas were too far ahead of their time, so way too many brick walls to get through. Like my windshield repair business. No it is commonplace!
User avatar
yogi
Posts: 8438
Joined: 14 Feb 2015, 21:49

Re: Lo-T Devices

Post by yogi »

Yes, I have noted that you are an adventurist type that will try to do anything you think is possible, even when told it's not. You say the secret to being able to do all those things is multitasking and time sharing, which could be possible up to a certain point. Some of the things you took an interest in require a lot of foreknowledge, and gaining that expertise takes a lot of time. It is truly amazing to read what you have attempted throughout your life.

You are correct about all the different sources of RF energy being prolific. The smartphones alone have several and it amazes me how its battery can last even one full day. I'm finding out the same problem seems to exist in the USB world where at least half a dozen different types seem to be built into my new laptop. Some are backward compatible, but others use different connector styles altogether. I'm not sure what the use for all these variations might be, but I do know they stream data very quickly. I guess that's necessary when you are doing a lot of video watching and processing.

I tinkered around with model airplanes when I was young but could only admire those guys who had RC models. It was too expensive for me to get into given that I crashed a lot of the models I built. LOL I guess the RC units are pretty rugged but they were out of my reach. I have been thinking of drones, however. I like the idea of aerial photography, but I'm not sure how my neighbors would feel about me crashing into their houses. LOL
User avatar
Kellemora
Posts: 5998
Joined: 16 Feb 2015, 17:54

Re: Lo-T Devices

Post by Kellemora »

Some say I have ADD because I only do something for a short time.
I think it is because I'm goal oriented. Once I reach my goal, it is time to move onto something else.

You might take a look at this website, it explains all the types of USB ports and what they are used for.
https://www.cmd-ltd.com/advice-centre/u ... connector/

Long before RC planes came out, I had won several control line model plane contests.
Other than the little Thimble Drone plastic store bought planes, I built several much larger planes from balsa and silk.
We used braided metal cable for the control lines, and spring steel shafts for the control rods in the planes.
I carried 100k insurance on all of my RC crafts, mainly airplanes, but the boats and cars also.
In later years, like in the 1980s and 90s I built tons of different kinds of kites.
Around the time I was doing monster bubbles, I was also flying kites made from soda straws and food service film. Some of them were quite huge also.

Did I say I loved to play, recess was my favorite class in skewl, hi hi.
User avatar
yogi
Posts: 8438
Joined: 14 Feb 2015, 21:49

Re: Lo-T Devices

Post by yogi »

Thanks for the article on USB. I read several in the course of my investigations but the article you found puts it all into one place and is thorough. My ASUS has two Thunderbolt 3 connectors which are totally amazing. Apple computer invented it, but over the years it's capability merged with the traditional USB we grew up with. Thunderbolt 3 can do it all. I have a hub on one of those ports and the hub has my Ethernet, a SD Card slot, three USB connectors and one Thunderbolt passthrough. There have been times when I had the Ethernet and all three USB slots filled. Thunderbolt 3 didn't bat an eyelash. It handled it all through the hub. I'm told it can also carry HD video should I ever want to daisy chain monitors on the laptop. I guess REAL gamers are into that kind of thing.

You would be the last person in the world I would suspect to suffer from ADD. Those folks are indeed active, but the problem is that they have a deficit in their ability to concentrate on a single thing for any length of time. All the projects you told me about frequently require intense concentration over a long period of time. Victims of ADD can't do that, but they compensate by doing a lot of other things. Some can't even pay attention to being idle for very long, so it seems. I might say you are/were hyperactive, which is not to be confused with ADHD - often confused with ADD. Anyway, you ain't got it. I know you have memory problems, but even that isn't permanent. You seem to recover and retain what you learn after an attack of memory loss.

Having said all that, the last manager I worked for at Motorla had ADHD and was a database manager. Prior to Motorola he was a jet fighter pilot in the USAF. Go figure.
User avatar
Kellemora
Posts: 5998
Joined: 16 Feb 2015, 17:54

Re: Lo-T Devices

Post by Kellemora »

I'm glad that lengthy article was helpful.

I bought something once and had to take it back. It required something like Firewire and I didn't have anything like that on any of my computers. It was like a CAD/CAM drawing board I think. I thought it would replace the mouse for drawing.
Probably a good thing I took it back, it was expensive, and I was no longer doing that kind of work a couple of weeks later.

There are many things I've started where I didn't reach my goal for one reason or another. Sometimes it was due to brick walls, so the product was not feasible to use at that time. Other times, even if I did get a company going, I got tired of it all too quick and either sold it or shut it down.
Back in 1972 I formed two companies, Space Craft and Space Craft Services. Space Craft designed and built closet organizer systems, and Space Craft Services was the installation company. Back in 1972, folks never heard of closet organizers, so it took one heck of a lot of advertising to get only a small handful of customers. It was this business that eventually merged with my Handymenders company, and for accounting purposes, it became SCS-Handymenders. Although we were no longer making closet organizer systems, we still did a few for folks from store bought materials. I finally closed SCS-Handymenders around 1986. But don't quote me on the date, because I was still doing some Handyman work for folks during my home renovation years too.

I worked with a fellow once who couldn't remember what the boss told him to go do, from the time he left the bosses office, until he got back to his desk or to a job site. He was a good worker, so the boss started writing everything down for him on a numbered list, hi hi. That was during my last six months or so with Laughlin Plumbing Company. Don't know how much longer he was with them after I was long gone, but I do think his days were numbered, hi hi.
There was more than once that he forgot to put the oakum in before pouring the lead, which meant tearing out and replacing that cast iron run, hi hi.

Which reminds me. Plumbers today have no idea how easy they have it compared to the old days!
User avatar
yogi
Posts: 8438
Joined: 14 Feb 2015, 21:49

Re: Lo-T Devices

Post by yogi »

Firewire was an Apple exclusive at one time. That's when USB started to ramp up as well. Since there were fewer Apple computers than the competition had in place, Firewire never took off like USB. Eventually they both had characteristics that were missing in each other, so the logical thing to do was combine them into one. That's how Thunderbolt came into existence. A lot of what I read about Thunderbolt and USB 3.2 has to do with video in one form or another. HDMI is being phased out and Thunderbolt is taking it's place. Eventually there will be nothing but Thunderbolt doing it all on one cable. That will be the time when they come up with something new. LOL

I never seen you in person so that I can't say with certainty that you do not have HDD. I can only go by what I read here. The attention span of people suffering the deficit is limited to minutes, not hours, days, weeks, or more. Then, too, there are degrees of HDD wherein it's hard to see that anything is actually amiss. You might have some kind of mental issue but I don't think it is related to attention span.

It's a shame your Space Craft business is now history. I could use a company like yours. I went looking for closet organizers recently and was greatly disappointed with what I saw. There was an organizer store in the old neighborhood and they had anything you could imagine plus a little more. I did my CCC up really good with wire organizers and was amazed at how much weight such thin wire shelving could hold up. All our closets here have those wire shelves, but it's not like the organizers I'm accustomed to.
User avatar
Kellemora
Posts: 5998
Joined: 16 Feb 2015, 17:54

Re: Lo-T Devices

Post by Kellemora »

I think the reason they change so much is so people have to keep buying new hardware.
Heck, monitors just came out with HDMI not to long ago, and now that is going obsolete now too?
I still have some CGA monitors sitting in the garage, they are flat screen so too heavy for me to lift now.
I had just bought two new CGA monitors, turn around two years later when I got my next new computer and it was only VGA.
Heck, the video output for my first two Apple computers was on TV Channel 3, hi hi

It usually takes me a few years to burn out on something I'm doing, not associated with my brain getting reformatted, hi hi.
But then some other things I keep doing for a decade or longer without seeing signs of ending, like playing Farm Town, hi hi.

We had both enamel coated wood, and painted steel shelves. The closet organizers were made of enameled wood.
Those with drawers, only the drawer fronts were enameled wood.
I also sold Sag-Free shelving slats of fixed lengths. They could not be trimmed at the ends due to how they were made.
Each slat was 3-1/4 inches wide, 5/8 inch thick, and I had them in almost all popular sizes, but they were always 1-1/4 inches shorter than an even foot. This was to make up for the thickness of drywall in closets.
They were very light weight because they were hollow boxes with one support rib down the middle. The edges were mitered so they looked like a plank of wood, I had them in walnut, maple, and oak. They looked nice, and were strong. Guaranteed to never warp or sag, provided they had braces at least every 30 inches. Even so, they could be used for 36 " wide end mounted shelves and still never sag, even filled with books. We never had anyone say they didn't, and no guarantee replacements were ever requested. Unfortunately, they could not be used for the closet organizer systems, except I did a couple of times for shoe racks added to the inside of a swing out closet door.
Our biggest selling closet organizer had 4 tall lower drawers, with a hanging shirt rack above them, and a 4 foot tall pants area, and it came with the clamp type pants hangers. This was the men's side of a standard 4 foot closet, and the women's side only had two normal height wide drawers an open top area, and both had two upper shelves for storage. One of the women's drawers could have an insert for high heel shoes if requested. But most women opted for the vertical shoe holder on the far right of their dresses area. They also got a set of dress and skirt hangers.
Those wire shelves didn't come out on the market for many years after I was no longer in business.
They are what I used in my house down here because they worked out so well for us.
We also had pantry organizer systems which were nice. But really only for people with enough room to keep all their canned goods and boxed goods sorted and separated. Not a whole lot of people buy six of each kind of canned good, and each canned goods rack held six cans, we also had some eight can racks available for deep pantries, like those installed in the corner of a kitchen over the stairwell to the basement. Plastics were not real popular yet, so these were all made of painted steel, but with rolled edges so there were no sharp edges anywhere. Plus, they were adjustable for different height cans too. Canned goods laid on their sides and were loaded at the top and selected from the bottom. I'm sure you've seen these things made in plastic for things like soda cans and the like in more recent years.
I had a small catalog I had printed showing all of the components and images of finished closets for folks to look through to get ideas of what design they would like best. But they were not made in such a way they could be assembled by a do-it-yourselfer. Nothing was pre-drilled or pre-cut per se. All were custom made to fit the persons closet size.
And let me tell you. I've never made one for a closet that was perfectly square in the corners, because none are truly square.
User avatar
yogi
Posts: 8438
Joined: 14 Feb 2015, 21:49

Re: Lo-T Devices

Post by yogi »

I think General Motors invented the concept of planned obsolescence. Or, at least they have been given the credit for doing so. What they did was pretty amazing given that automobile styles have not changed a lot for decades. The technology under the hood has evolved, but it's nothing like the changes you see in the electronics and computer world where change is exponential. GM made different style cars for the purpose of getting people to buy what is new and trendy, but it goes well beyond trendiness when it comes to computers. New and innovative toys are introduced all the time which are not simply glitz added to make the old computer look old. Take your monitors as an example. The old monitors cannot approach the quality of the display on monitors you can buy today. High resolution was simply not available in VGA days. Thus when HD TV came along it was a whole different kind of viewing and not a rehash of the old style. That new and previously unavailable technology is why people frequently update their equipment. There certainly is some planned obsolescence in the computer world too, but the market is driven mostly by innovation. The manufacturers have to keep up with the trends and not the other way around.

I suppose I could hire an interior decorator and get some of the things you sold from Space Craft. While that would be nice it would also be extravagant. I simply want to organize the space in the closet and don't need anything too special. It needs to be functional, of course, but quality and snob appeal are not big factors for me behind closet doors. Then again, if you were still in business, I might have a change of heart. :mrgreen:
User avatar
Kellemora
Posts: 5998
Joined: 16 Feb 2015, 17:54

Re: Lo-T Devices

Post by Kellemora »

I know back from my days of building, repairing, and racing cars. Many of the components of a car were identical for many years, and across many different models too. Some manufacturers added a piece to theirs to make it not usable on other cars. But the junkyard guy gave me a few tips on how to use them anyhow. I needed a new spindle for one of our trucks. It had a wheel bearing seize up and tear up the spindle. He had a replacement, but told me I had to grind off this little projection that stuck out from the upper arm. I compared it to my original and sure enough, it was identical except for that one small projection. But it had to be removed so it cleared the yoke of the frame when turning the wheel.
Most of us got parts from him, because he was smart, and he was cheap too. Even cheaper if you went into the yard and took the part off yourself. Because when he took off a part to sell, it was super-cleaned and boxed so looked like new, hi hi.
It was a sad day when he passed away. The junk yard stayed open, but the new owner really didn't know much about cars.

It was only a few years later that cars began to change in such a way, there were not many parts that fit between models or even model years as far as that goes. About the time cars had the Unitized Body Construction. Each car had different components, even if they used the same engine or alternator or starter, etc.

Believe it or not, I never charged much for my closet renovations. Since I made all the components myself, I didn't have much labor in making them. Obviously, I never paid myself enough, hi hi.
During my Handymender years, when everyone else was getting 50 to 75 bucks, I only charged my customers 35 bucks an hour.
Then when I was doing predication work for someone else, I found out he charged the customers over 100 bucks, paid me 35, and kept the rest. But then too he did do all the advertising and kept many folks working. It wasn't too long before all the Realtors began calling me direct, especially if they wanted work done in their own homes.
When I got too busy, I finally raised my rates to 50 bucks for new customers, and that helped me from being swamped all the time. Then too I also started having retired tradesman do work for me. But once their Unions found out about it, and threatened the retired guys with losing their pensions, that is when I basically shut down Handymenders.
User avatar
yogi
Posts: 8438
Joined: 14 Feb 2015, 21:49

Re: Lo-T Devices

Post by yogi »

I do believe that you never charged what your work was worth. Then, too, the value of something is always a subjective judgement. There is no doubt in my mind that you had the purest of intentions and motivations. You conducted business in what you thought was a fair manner and your customers noted what you were doing when they came back over and over again. I also know you were a general contractor and if memory serves me correctly you did not join any labor unions. Thus you did not have to work for union wages. Unions have rules and you best not go against them if you are among their ranks. That's why those retired workers could not work for you. They were in theory denying full time union workers the opportunity to scalp you into paying then union wages. That's a big NO NO, as you know.

I have a few memories of junk yards. Never saw a junk yard dog that I recall, by the way. Way back in the days when I was doing my own automobile repair and maintenance I was very cost conscious. It often happened that if a switch in the car broke you could not replace only the switch. You had to replace the entire panel on which it was mounted. Piece parts simply were not available in most cases. I spent a few hours rummaging though junk yards and never got that single switch by doing that, but the cost was well within my budget given the parts were used and of unknown value.

I'm not sure if O'Fallon has any junk yards, or if any exist within driving range. One day the side view mirror on my wife's car broke. I guess she got a little too close to the drive in ATM machine, and, well, you know. So we took the car to our favorite mechanic and he said he would replace it if he could find the part. The long and the short of it was that he could not find the part new and claimed none of his junk yard buddies had anything similar to what we needed. It took me under 5 minutes to find the exact replacement online. The mirror, however, came with a cable that would require removing the door panel to connect. That was more than I wanted to do, but I bought the mirror for something under $20. I took it to the mechanic and he charged me $50 (or something close to that) to install it. Plus, he claimed to be amazed that I could come up with what looked like a new mirror. So, I don't know what they have in the junk yards around here, but it certainly isn't anything commonly needed.

There is some very small justification for reusing parts across car models. Tooling costs are enormous when it comes to automobiles. Making a new part from scratch is one cost but putting that machine into a production line and automating it is a whole new ballgame. Thus the slight modifications you describe often had something to do with tooling costs.
Last edited by yogi on 08 Dec 2021, 19:53, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
Kellemora
Posts: 5998
Joined: 16 Feb 2015, 17:54

Re: Lo-T Devices

Post by Kellemora »

In a way I belonged to a few unions, but not as a full member.
In order to work as a cub, apprentice, and on up to journeyman, you have to become a union trainee, since all the jobs were union jobs.
The caveat with unions is, you cannot belong to more than one. You cannot belong to the Plumbers union and the Electricians union at the same time, they don't allow it. And since my goals were higher than any union allowed. Once I got my license I had two options, become a full-member or leave the union.
This is the main reason I've always said, unions hold their people back from succeeding at life.
Plus they are a royal pain in the arse for many other reasons as well.
If one goes on strike, other union workers in different fields won't cross their picket lines.
And they take turns having strikes one after the other, so no progress is made on many projects.

You would have laughed at what I did to the cars I used for racing purposes.
I would make my own switch panels, often using an aluminum sheet and standard electrical switches you could get anywhere.
My work van had electric windows and door locks. Needless to say, the switches went bad in the door, probably due to water leaking in on them. I just pulled the wiring harness out of the door and under the dash, and right next to the steering column I mounted an aluminum chassis box under the dash, but tilted out for easy access. I used single pole double throw momentary contact switches on it. Those are the switches that stay in the center position and you can push them up or down and hold them for the duration you needed them to have contact. The total cost to make that, including the box and switches was like only around 20 bucks or less. A replacement switch panel for the door was up around 185 bucks.

Items from cars that get broken easily, such as the mirror and housing. When any car comes in, that is one of the first things they take off, clean, and box for resale. I hear they do that now too with those plastic bumpers on later cars, and the plastic headlight lenses if they are still clear.
Personally, I think the cars warranty should cover those plastic lenses that turn dull or yellow. The obstruct the cars lights. And some that get crystally, like stress cracks in them, cause the cars headlights to shine like through a prism.
They should be allowed to use plastic that yellows, and since they do, they should be libel to replace them when they do.

Going back to the 1980s and early 1990s, I had a place that used sheet steel to form fenders for cars. Any front fender, for nearly any car, he would make and sell for only 35 bucks. That low price surprised the heck out of me. I figured it took quite a while to make a fender. But one day when I was down there, he took me in back as they were making some fenders.
It was all done by machine with only one machine operator. Every pattern for every fender was on these small steel plates, about 6 inches by 9 inches in size. They didn't have computers that I know of. But once that plate was placed in the machine, a sheet of steel would be slid into the machine, and you could see the drill heads drill the holes, then some parts moved around and it would bend the edges down, and then these big rollers would roll over the steel sheet to form the fender. Sometimes they had to take a partially completed fender and move it to another machine to add some more bends to it. The guy also said they make the fenders that some body shops and suppliers store, so they may make 5 to 20 of the same fender one right after the other. When they do that, it only takes like 10 to 15 minutes per fender to make. But the factory that tools up to make just that one fender, they can do something like 20 to 30 fenders per minute on those big machines.
I was lucky enough to be there when they had to make a custom fender for which they had no template for. So it was not all done automatically. The guy making that fender used like a manual bending brake after cutting out the form he already drilled the holes in, and then placed metal pieces on a rolling press which rolled the steel, mostly being operated by hand.
I don't remember many of the details it was so many years ago, but it was something to watch.
Now some of the things they made were just done on a hydraulic press that slammed down stamping the metal piece. So I imagine they had dies for that machine. Like the machine they had to make headlight buckets, etc.
User avatar
yogi
Posts: 8438
Joined: 14 Feb 2015, 21:49

Re: Lo-T Devices

Post by yogi »

Watching them make fenders must have been an interesting experience. I had no idea how they went about making such things, but they do make them by the millions. It can't be too complicated in that case. The part of the process that I could not grasp is before the fabrication process begins. Somebody, somewhere, had to design a shape for the fender to take. I did some mechanical drawing in my high school days and can appreciate what it takes to generate a workable blueprint. It just seems mind boggling when I think about how all those curves, angles, and radii can be dimensioned on a blueprint. The complexity of the geometry cannot be easy to put on paper. While all that is fascinating in itself, the next guy in the process is even more incredibly talented. The tool and die maker has to take those blueprints and come up with an actual tool that fits the drawing. That has to be next to impossible for stamping out automobile body parts, but that fender making machine seemed to have it all broken down into stages. It's just a matter of getting multiple robotic arms working together. Amazing. It's all very amazing to me.
User avatar
Kellemora
Posts: 5998
Joined: 16 Feb 2015, 17:54

Re: Lo-T Devices

Post by Kellemora »

I was an engineering draftsman for around 15 years, and yes, those drawings can become very complicated to do. Especially when you are working only from numbers an engineer put on a worksheet, hi hi.
Some sheet metal items can be stamped and punched in one hit. While others have to have part of it done in one machine, and the rest of it in another machine or two.

Heck, just take a look at a simple soda can. They are not so simple anymore. Other than the cap, the rest of the can is made from a single sheet of aluminum, and it really is interesting to see.
A flat sheet of aluminum is turned into a can blank by first thinning the bottom, which pushes some of the aluminum out.
Then this blank is placed in a spinning press, that slams shut molding the bottom in shape first, then it begins to spin at high speed, and a steel cylinder goes inside the and the rollers press the spinning disk into the sides of the can forming a cylinder.
Then the center steel cylinder comes out and a claw like die comes down over the can and turns the top making the top end smaller than the rest of the can, then the tiny bit of aluminum at the top edge is trimmed and rolled inward. Ready to be coated on the inside with the plastic film that protects the soda from the aluminum.
Not much to see on the lid making machines, just dies and stamps using a press.

Many years ago, I was in a plant that made steel cans. Not much to it really. The steel is on large rolls, and fed into one end of the machine which rolls it. A clamp holds it in place and a ribbon welder welds it together forming a steel cylinder. The cylinders roll down to a machine that rolls the top and bottom ends at the same time, then it goes into the machine that coats the insides with white plastic. The can then spirals up a conveyor to a machine that installs the bottom lid, and from there it goes into another room, still upside down, until it spins upright to be filled, and a cap added immediately. Then they go into an autoclave to cook and sterilize the contents. Later, after they have cooled down, the canned goods get labeled and boxes, and a printer adds the inked info on the bottom of the can.
User avatar
yogi
Posts: 8438
Joined: 14 Feb 2015, 21:49

Re: Lo-T Devices

Post by yogi »

I often wondered how they make aluminum cans. I figured it was a plug of metal similar to a hockey puck at the beginning. Then some kind of stamping machine would extrude the main part of the can. The top making you describe is pretty much what I thought it would be. The problem I had in my mind is the extrusion step and how they prevented the aluminum from tearing. What you describe is the solution, obviously. It just seems like way too many steps and complex considering all the soda cans they produce on a given day.

Steel cans were a no brainer, which suits my intellect perfectly. I.E., no brains. Those cans come in three pieces and is easy to imagine an assembly process. Most if not all steel cans have grooves around the can's side. Soda does not have those grooves. I once thought they were for structural strength, but steel cans are a lot tougher than those very thin aluminum cans which do not have any such grooves. Those same grooves, or dimples, on plastic containers make sense in that they compensate for expansion of the container's contents. That doesn't happen with tin cans. So, I'm still not sure why those grooves exist. It seems that the lids also have indentations for unknown reasons. I bet there is some science behind it all. LOL
Post Reply