Mechanics: what are your most common tools?

Discussion in 'Gen 3 Prius Technical Discussion' started by PixelRogue, Sep 3, 2016.

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  1. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk 'Orrible Oracle

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    I recall talking to one fabricator (my office was drafting for them); there was some payment problem with the client, and he said "I'll just take the keys for the truck". Just a simple act, but very effective. Similarly:

    When working with jumper cables: they're typically sold as a pair of cables, mostly bonded together, and just split apart for about a foot at each end.

    If you read up on the instructions for connecting jumper cables, they're somewhat labourious/repetitive, go something like this:

    1. Connect one end of red cable to good battery positive.
    2. Connect other end red cable to dead battery positive.
    3. Connect one end of black cable to good battery negative.
    4. Connect other end of black cable to grounded bare metal on car with dead battery.

    The primary object of all of the above (and it never gets mentioned), is you want to avoid doing this:

    Connect red cable to good battery positive. Hey while you're there, connect black cable to good battery negative. With a little luck, the clamps at the other end are not touching while you're doing this...

    Grab the other two cable ends and wander off towards the car with dead battery. Along the way you might tap the two clamps together, they might just be dangling and touch. Or when you get to the dead car, with a clamp in each hand, if you rest your hands on on the engine bay edge...

    What the first four-step instruction is trying to get you to do:

    Completely connect one cable at a time, the first cable being positive-to-positive, and the second cable being negative-to-ground.

    One way to bullet-proof this, to "take the keys for the truck":

    Pull your jumper cables completely apart. When using them, leave the black cable stowed, away from the scene. With just the red cable in hand, connect one end to good battery positive, then other end to dead battery positive. Then go back and get the black cable and repeat, except last connection to a ground.
     
    #121 Mendel Leisk, Dec 23, 2019
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2019
  2. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

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    I think the principle behind the laborious/repetitive instructions was that the fourth connection you made, wherever that was, might be expected to make a spark, so you make that one a ground connection and make it somewhere distant from the possibly hydrogen-emitting battery. (Oddly, it's not often someone goes on to say let this also be the first connection you unmake, because there could be a spark then also, and the battery that just got jump charged has probably made more hydrogen recently than it was making while sitting there dead.)

    An outfit called SafeTPlug had a tidy solution where the cables had a connector in the middle, and each half of the connector had an LED to confirm you had each battery connected with proper polarity, and then you plugged the two halves together, safely away from either battery. But it looks like they stopped selling those around late 2010, and the safetplug.com domain has been up for sale since.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    The death-knell may have been the advent of little Li-ion booster packs. The one I have also includes "smart clamps" that will not let me jump in reverse polarity, and stows in a fraction of the space of a set of jumper cables.
     
    #122 ChapmanF, Dec 23, 2019
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2019
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  3. Zeppo Shanski

    Zeppo Shanski Active Member

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    Mendel ... You're a good guy, but I'll NEVER use jumper cables any more. I've seen batteries blow up. THIS ... is the way to go. I got mine for $34 otd. on sale w/ a coupon. They make them more advanced with more options but I got the basic unit. Every weekend I make sure it's charged (15 or so minutes) and it sits in the trunk.


    [​IMG]
     
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  4. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk 'Orrible Oracle

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    Me neither, sold on jump packs.
     
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  5. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

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    That's the sealed-lead-acid version, looks like it stows in about the same space as a heavy set of jumper cables. 17 amp hours (there's a youtube video of somebody taking out the defunct 17 Ah SLA battery inside and replacing it with an identically-dimensioned one advertised as 18 Ah. So that's about 204 watt-hours of stored energy (18 amp-hours ✕ 12 volts). About 15 pounds.

    At the other end of the spectrum, because I don't need such a beast, this will stow in far less space.

    [​IMG]

    (They've refreshed this model a couple of times; I have an older version.)

    It's only 29.6 watt-hours, so a little better than a seventh the capacity of the sealed-lead-acid beast. But it's also 10.5 ounces, not 15 pounds, and takes a fraction of the space.

    (Hmm: if you looked at the advertised amp-hours for this (8000 milliamp hours, or 8 amp hours), compared to 17 amp hours for the beast, you'd think this was more like half the capacity, not a seventh. But here they are advertising the milliamp hours at the voltage of a single lithium cell, 3.7 volts, not 12. Marketers, you can't take your eyes off 'em for a minute.) This is nearly their smallest model, so bigger is definitely available. This has been adequate for starting Prii and even some random family's old rundown van once. They thought I was joking.

    Of course these are more money compared to the lead-acid versions. But the compactness and low weight are nice.

    I suggest going name-brand with these (this link is one of the better-known brands) just because you don't really want a big off-brand lithium battery riding around in your car with you. These guys use UL-listed batteries. For similar reasons, be cautious buying from sources other than the maker's web site; Amazon was reportedly selling counterfeits of them ... again, scary when it's a lithium battery in your living or driving space ....

    Edit: You can see the clamps use just 10 AWG wire. But they're also less than a foot long. For comparison, if you wanted to make 16 foot cables with the same resistance, you'd have to use 3/0.
     
    #125 ChapmanF, Dec 23, 2019
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2019
  6. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk 'Orrible Oracle

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    #126 Mendel Leisk, Dec 23, 2019
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  7. ASRDogman

    ASRDogman Senior Member

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    NEVER? yet you bought this? It's the same thing. Does exactly the same thing.
    If a battery blows up, then it wasn't connected properly, or the battery was damaged or bad
    and would have blow up with this box.

     
  8. edthefox5

    edthefox5 Senior Member

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    yes I agree but the jump pack is somewhat current limited I would think than hooking a car to the battery. Plus it probably has reverse polarity protection. All the jumps we see on G2 are stone dead battery's I bet from left on lights. Jumping it from a big car with the engine on that's a huge amount of current inrush when jumping. I suspect the 12 volt buss on a G2 cannot handle that surge.

    .
    So In a G2 jump start scenario you really want to limit the available current during jumping. I base this statement on how many sad tales we saw years ago when AAA tow truck's jumped a G2 and hilarity ensued. Blown fuses all the time or worse totaled Inverter's. Still seeing sad G2 jump tales but not as many as when I joined back on 07. They were constant then.
     
  9. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

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    Just once getting your ⊕ and ⊖ mixed up with a large available current can leave such a picture in its wake.
     
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  10. ASRDogman

    ASRDogman Senior Member

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    All the instructions I've read about jumping any car is to connect the dead battery first.
    With the car OFF.
    Correctly, of course. If you don't know how do that, then you shouldn't be doing it.
    Then connect the good/jumper battery, and let the jumper charge the dead battery for
    a certain amount of time, which seems to be different per model. But on average, 5 minutes.
    Then turn the car on and attempt to start.
    Even with the jumper packs they say to wait at least 5 minutes before starting.

    Certainly , there is no guarantee everything will go smoothly, but doing things correctly,
    limits the risk.

    Nothing wrong with being careful though and taking all precautions.
     
  11. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk 'Orrible Oracle

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    The OEM Yuasa battery has small, embossed-only plus and minus symbols: I went over them with a silver sharpie.

    Ugh, you're right, and I flipped it around, up the page.

    upload_2019-12-24_15-54-26.png
     
    #131 Mendel Leisk, Dec 24, 2019
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2019
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  12. Zeppo Shanski

    Zeppo Shanski Active Member

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  13. ASRDogman

    ASRDogman Senior Member

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    HA HA HA HA!!! I've done crap like this! :)

     
  14. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk 'Orrible Oracle

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    Yeah that's a good one. :ROFLMAO:(y)
     
  15. 2012 Prius v wagon 3

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    Yes, and if you understand the factors involved it all makes sense and you don't need to follow a list. To make the list 100% correct and foolproof for all fools, it can get pretty complicated. I see that some car manufacturers and people even swear that you should never ever get or give a jump start.

    The most common thing to go wrong is to get +/- incorrectly swapped. Intelligent chargers can detect this, keeping it safe. Plain battery cables won't keep it safe, and in most cases would blow a fuse installed on one of the cars intended to protect against this exact error. The silver sharpie idea is a great one. So far, I often use those red/green felt battery post rings, more intended for clearly marking things than for any of the supposed corrosion protection they offer. Things that are clear as day in the day time may not be so clear at night in rain under duress.

    Next common, important thing to avoid is touching two connected cables to eachother or somehow closing a 12V high amp circuit that should not be closed. That's why good jumper cables are carefully insulated on external surfaces. But not all jumper cables are safe like that.

    On the dead battery hookup first, the logic there is to prevent the (virtually unheard of) ignition of leaking hydrogen gas. Theory is that (well, first of all, if you're making a foolproof list, you need to specify every exact thing, meaning you need to choose dead vs. live for the first connection, even if it does not really matter much, but anyway ...) if a battery has run dead, there is a chance that it is leaking hydrogen gas (Oh the humanity). When the final connection (out of 4) is made, there will inevitably be a spark as the electrons make their initial jump across the voltage gap. So if that arcing / sparking is going to happen, you'd rather have it happen at the non-faulty end of things (the good car) vs. at the failed / suspect end of things (Hindenberg Jr.).

    So the safest of the safe choices for the final connection is on a ground point (away from the battery) on the good vehicle. Worst choice would be on an actual battery post on the failed vehicle. Since one dangerous scenario would be that the cars are actually touching, meaning their grounds are connected, and the second connection may create a spark (yes, far fetched, but I bet that has happened more often than hydrogen gas explosions).
     
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  16. Rebound

    Rebound Senior Member

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    Back to the topic — Lately, this has been my go-to automotive tool and general fix everything in the house tool:

    Adjustments.jpg
    I have the 12V and the 18V, but never used the 18V one because the light weight of the 12V tool and its battery life are great. I have their electric ratchet, which is nice, but this small “impact driver” with the quick release head is super useful.
     
  17. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk 'Orrible Oracle

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    I've resisted the cordless urge so far, but man those gizmos are cluttering up the tool store fliers. I wonder too how long those things last: do the batteries go, or do a lot of the tools quickly get obsolete? Or plastic construction fails? The way they're selling, seems like people are getting caught up on a new cordless tool treadmill?

    Speaking of batteries, I got one of these for Christmas:

    upload_2020-1-23_6-18-9.png

    Through Lee Valley Tools. It's sometimes useful, sometimes in the way, bit of a learning curve. I find it especially useful when I'm trying to put a wheel on, to see where the studs are relative to the holes in the wheel.
     
    #137 Mendel Leisk, Jan 23, 2020
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  18. Rebound

    Rebound Senior Member

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    I honestly have no idea what you’re talking about... it’s only one shelf, but there’s no room on it for my 1/2” impact wrench, leaf blower or the electric lawn mower, which uses that giant battery on the left.
    Adjustments.jpg
     
    #138 Rebound, Jan 23, 2020
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  19. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk 'Orrible Oracle

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    I'm gonna go out and get a cordless drill press... :whistle:
     
  20. Leadfoot J. McCoalroller

    Leadfoot J. McCoalroller Senior Member

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    I get what you're saying, but I just saw a cordless compound mitre saw. Quick-fold legs so it's a tabletop, click the battery on and chop away! The drill press, CNC mill and TIG welder can't be far behind. The goalposts are on casters.
     
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