I’m writing this short post not to brag about my toaster oven repair skills but to hopefully help out someone else looking to fix their appliance.
I have had this stupid toaster oven since college (18 years as of this writing), and still use it every day. I even built a custom under-counter mount for it which lets it do double duty as a plate warmer.
So one morning while toasting an English muffin my kitchen was filled with the odor of burnt electrical insulation instead of toasted baked goods. “No worries” I thought, this oven has served me well and I just buy a new one to take its place. I was surprised to see that the under-counter toaster oven was merely a phase, with only one on the market right now. It’s very expensive for a humble toaster oven, and also mounts differently so I’d loose my sweet plate warmer.
So off to the shop I went with it. Thankfully the problem was simple to both diagnose and fix: one of the conductors on the main power supply line had degraded, causing it to heat up and burn through its insulation. I simply cut a few inches off of that degraded conductor and then pulled a few extra inches of the power cord through the grommet into the case of the oven.
Overview of the oven’s innards
Closeup of the burned out wire
The three wires soldered back together
The two power conductors each have female connectors and clip on the corresponding male connectors. One connector was in good shape the but the wire leading into the other had burned out. In the photos, that wire is labeled #1. Wire #2 heads to one of the heating elements while #3 goes to a control board.
After pulling in another few inches of power cord, I cut away the crispy burned wire, stripped the insulation, and then soldered wires 1, 2, and 3 back into the old female connector.
Over the last few months I’ve noticed the buttons on my dust remote starting to flake out. Some days they would require a few clicks to work, other days they would be fine. Well today the on button totally died.
Because the buttons were getting more and more unreliable over time I had a pretty solid hunch that the culprit were the actual buttons on the remote’s printed circuit board. So I took it apart, and the on switch when pressed by itself sounded different, less “clicky”.
So I removed both the on and timer down switches and then soldered the timer switch in the on switch’s old home.
So on the board you can see the four switch positions S1 – S4:
S1: On button
S2: Off button
S3: Timer down
S4: Timer up
I just moved S3 to S1. And lo and behold my dust collector now turned on with its usual roar! And amusingly enough that was exact moment the off switch decided to crap out, I had to unplug the whole works. So I did the same operation with S4 and S2 and fixed that too.
I’m going to replace the timer switches so that I can resell this remote, but it works fine without the timer buttons in place. On eBay or Amazon just look for 6mm x 6mm x 4.5mm through-hole momemtary switches, they’ll be about $1.25 per 100 shipped from China. I did some googling for “high quality” switches but really didn’t find anything obvious; but perhaps these more expensive switches from Jameco would be more durable? Or they might just cost more.
This repair would work for the Grizzly T26673 as well because it would use the same cheap components.
If you are interested in doing this easy repair yourself here’s what you’ll need:
Solder, something thin like 0.5mm or 0.6mm diameter
Some means to remove the old solder from the switch pins. “Desoldering wick” will work in a pinch but I’ve always had good luck with a desoldering iron like this one.
Search YouTube for “how to desolder” and you’ll find 1000 videos on the topic.
In the past I’ve used one of those 11lb Esacli scales for weighing out grain. It works well enough but the size of your container is limited by its plate so I only ever could weigh 4 pounds at a time. While getting a bunch of other cheap junk to play with from DealExtreme I picked up a hanging scale. It hangs from my basement ceiling and works very nicely for weighing out grain. Tare the bucket, dump in the required amount of one grain, tare, dump in the next, etc.
Ideally I’d have a plate scale that could handle 30+ pounds but this was a much cheaper alternative1
Today I made my annual pumpkin beer and I took the easy way out by using some butternut squash for the vegetable portion. They’re a lot easier to find than pie pumpkins, and are cheap. The flavor after roasting wasn’t all that different from pumpkins of years past so I didn’t feel too bad about cheating.
I grabbed four of them at a local farmer’s market for $3.50, split & cleaned then, and roasted them @ 375 for 2:15.
For the past 5 years or so I’ve mashed using my 10-gallon Gott cooler with one of Northern Brewer’s bulkhead kits. I never was perfectly happy with the bulkhead as it would occasionally leak and it is insecure/wobbly by nature because it’s trying to sandwich two pieces of plastic separated by foam. And you if think about a leak on this bulkhead design your wort is going in between the cooler walls, gross.
So today I cut out the outer shell leaving just the inner liner, and I redid the bulkhead to only sandwich that inner liner. It’s much sturdier now. Photos and descriptions follow.
Here is how much shell I dremel’d away. In retrospective I should have cut away some more to make getting my fingers around the locknut easier.
I’m using a fully-close nipple instead of the almost-closed nipple that came with the original kit. That slight reduction in length lets me clamp down on the inner shell.
Here is a chunk of the wort-soaked foam from in between the cooler walls. Thankfully the expanding foam they use forms a good seal along the walls so my wort leaks didn’t seep very far in.
So I was feeling a little spendy a few months back so I sprung for MoreBeer’s $70 carbonating keg lid. I’ve used it to carb two kegs and by golly it does work. Each batch has been ready in about 3 days total, a big improvement over the week of shaking and waiting I’d do before. It’s nice how this piece of kit prevents me from overcarbing my beer, something I’d usually do when attempting to force-carb.
I’ve been approximately following their instructions:
Fill keg, and if needed put in kegerator to chill down. Use the carbonating lid.
Set gas very low in the 2-4 psi range.
Increase by about 2 psi every couple of hours
When I’ve reached my target pressure (usually around 8 or 10) I’ll leave it for another day with the carb lid still on.
At this point the beer will be carbonated as evidenced by the taste and seeing the fine bubbles coming out of solution. However your pours will be very slow because the small headspace and restriction the stone puts on the incoming gas to fill that void. So because of the slow pours you likely won’t get a nice looking head, but switching the gas over to the regular gas post will increase your pour speed and then you should start getting nice pours.
After another day with the gas on the regular post my pours are “normal” with the head & carbonation having the fine bubble structure that I’d normally get after maybe 2-3 weeks with a normally-carbonated keg.
What a great recipe. Lovely mix of smooth smoked malt with a not-too-bitter dark backbone. The wood adds a nice charred, bourbon element to the beer which may or may not be desirable to you. I really enjoyed my hydrometer sample before racking to secondary along with the wood pack and now I’m wishing I had split some of the beer off just to enjoy the smoke by itself, not encumbered by the wood.
I put the wood cubes in a nylon bag and suspended it from the keg lid. 6 days later the beer had what I felt was an appropriate level of wood/char flavor and I removed the bag. This sure didn’t take long, but then again they do give you a generous amount of wood in the kit as seen below.
I just got the 8-cup Yama stovetop vacuum brewer, and immediately noted the large amount of water left in the carafe. I typically brew 20 oz at a time so this wasn’t going to work out because that water would dilute my coffee too much. As I had done with my Cory brewer I extended the dip tube with a piece of rubber hose.
This tube I used silicone rubber hose as it’s resistance to high temperatures and is food-safe. I happened to have some 1/2″ ID, 3/4″ OD firm tubing from McMaster Carr (51135K86) which worked well. I had to immerse the tube in boiling water to get it over the tube, but once on it’s a snug fit so no worm clam was needed. I started with more hose than I needed and whittled it down until the carafe was left with a thin layer of water across the entire bottom. As you can see this wound up being about 7mm of tube extension.
Here’s a short video showing the amount of water left:
Someone on Reddit was wondering how many kegs a cylinder of CO2 would carbonate. Using some constants from Wikipedia and absolutely no gas expansion temperature correction I made a quick spreadsheet to estimate the number. Feel free to play with the input numbers to fit your situation. Here it is!
The gas density constant I used was calculated @ 32F, and with most kegerators being in the low 40s I figured this was close enough.
The “too long, didn’t read it” answer: for a 5 pound tank you’ll be able to force-carb about 17 5-gallon batches @ 2.5 volumes.
Because I very rarely brew the same thing twice I wind up with a lot of leftover specialty grains. I had been storing them in a motley crew of plastic canisters, jelly jars, and plastic bags. After losing track of what I had on hand and buying a few redundant grains I decided that I needed to be a bit more organized about this. Many of my grains were in bags piled up in buckets which made them hard to find and easy to forget about.
I found some inexpensive square jars from US Plastic and bought a variety of the 128oz, 64oz, and 32oz jars. The 128oz jar holds a little under 5# of grain. I chose the square ones because they save space.
For my odds & ends I used the small 32oz jar plus some selected jars from my old collection. I really just wanted to make sure that I could see what I have on hand.
For grains which I have a lot of I use Gamma Seals on hardware store 5-gallon pails. Each holds around 21 pounds of grain. US Plastic also sells the Gamma Seal, and this plus a $2.50 bucket makes for a relatively cheap way to store bulk grain – certainly cheaper than pet food containers.