Dammit, Joel!

I’ve been falling into a recurring bad pattern lately, where I don’t sleep well and then all I do all day is grump around and not accomplish anything. I like being busy, but the older I get the more sometimes being busy hurts so I also like to sit around and not be busy.

This morning I woke up (after a pretty good night’s sleep, let it be said) determined at last to replace this…

…which is the indoor voltmeter I’ve been using for nearly four years now, with this…

…which has been sitting on my kitchen counter since sometime in March or April, uninstalled. This new double meter addresses three specific complaints with the original: There are two of them which means I can monitor the voltage in both battery banks rather than only the one running my DC circuit, the meters have four digits rather than 3, and they’ll be wired directly to the batteries so I can see actual battery voltage rather than circuit voltage, which is not quite the same thing.

I finished trenching in the new conduit a couple of months ago but, busy with other things, never got around to the grunt work of climbing under the cabin to install the home-made junction box and then drilling through the wall to run the cables. Life was much simpler when the Lair was an OSB shack, there was no tile on the floor and I could just drill down through it when I wanted to run another wire. Now I needed a long pilot bit to go through the inner and outer walls past the 2X6 framing.

Things went well enough at first…

junction box
I climbed under the Lair, stuck the junction box to a floor joist, secured the plastic conduit in the big 2.5″ hole in the bottom. Ran the two cables I plan to use out toward the porch and coiled the remaining spares inside the box. Secured the box cover. Crawled out and went to get my pilot bit…

…and that’s when the project came to a halt.

Stupid! Being DC, the wires are naturally quite large-gauge. Duplexed, each cable is 3/8″ across. So it made perfect sense that I paid big bux for a 12 inch long, 3/16″ wide pilot bit.

Fortunately I’m going to town tomorrow, and the Official TUAK CFO informs me that I have some money in the bank. Unfortunately I’m not at all confident that the local hardware store will stock a 1/2″ pilot bit. I may be stuck for another two weeks, until the next care package day, if I have to order one on-line. Stupid!

About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
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10 Responses to Dammit, Joel!

  1. czechsix says:

    Meh, I’d make that work. Drill one 3/16″ pilot through hole, then get the rat tail file out.

    Then again, I’m a barbarian.

  2. Joel says:

    Normally of course I’d do the same thing. But the point of such a long drillbit is that you drill all the way through the inner wall, insulation, and outer wall. Then you leave the bit in the hole, tape the wire to it, and use the bit to pull the wire through. I could drill two different holes but I’d never connect them with something I could use to fish the wire through.

  3. Mark Matis says:

    Or drill two holes side by side and then hog out between them with the file.

  4. Mark Matis says:

    Actually, if you punch those holes through and hog out between them, just stuff the bit BACK through, tape the wire to it, and pull it back through.

  5. S says:

    Use smaller wires. The meter draws almost zero current. Maybe 1 mA or so.

  6. S says:

    Anything bigger than 32 gauge will be more than enough, although you’ll probably want 24 gauge or larger for mechanical strength, so they don’t stretch or break while pulling them.

  7. S says:

    You should put a fuse in each pair so that a short doesn’t cause a fire. A 2 amp fuse will protect 24 gauge wires.

  8. S says:

    Fuse goes on the battery end.

  9. Andrew says:

    Having a 1/2″ bit will be nice for other things. Surprised that one of your neighbors doesn’t already have one.

    Oh well, this will give you a chance to think about it and see if there’s anything else you forgot.

    If you can’t find a 12″ long bit, drill the 3/16″ hole with the pilot bit, then attack each side with a normal 1/2″. Hopefully you’ll get it done.

  10. Zelda says:

    Shorts and fires – hmmmm, what do you have for fire extinguishers? How many? What size? Inside the Lair or outside or both?

To the stake with the heretic!