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Peter Argyropoulos

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    Hilti impact driver

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  1. Knipex for anything pliers or cutter related, Wiha for all the screwdrivers as well as a set of insulated nutdrivers. As I get older, my impact has become my go-to tool for any fastener driving so insert bits, holders, and nut-drivers are important to me as well. I've been very impressed with some Wera PH2 S.S. inserts I bought, but I also get a variety of stuff from local tool vendors. I am particularly fond of the Irwin 9-in-1 driver tool (2051100) that has the Robinson 1 and 2 sizes most used in devices here in the US. The exception to Knipex for cutting are my cutters/strippers, which I buy the US made stamped steel ones which are branded by almost all the big players (Ideal, Klein, Greenlee etc.). None of the gadget type cutters/strippers do as clean a job for the day to day stripping as those tools do, and they're relatively cheap. I keep two strippers in my bag - one for 18-8 AWG and a second for 12/2 and 10/2 Romex and 12 and 10 AWG. They are especially handy in older homes where that chunky-assed PVC Romex or cloth covered Romex was used. For test equipment, one option to look at is the AEMC store where they sell both new and refurbished test tools which they make themselves (unlike Klein, Milwaukee, Ideal, Greenlee etc) You can get some really decent test equipment for very affordable prices from time to time. Start out with a medium sized versatile clamp meter that can do TRMS AC readings and which fits in your tool bag or isn't a PITA to carry around, then work your way towards expanding the collection as you need better testers. Here's a good, not-too-expensive clamp that will do a lot of what you need in a meter and has way higher specs than a Fluke 323 starter toy: http://store.aemc.com/Clamp-on-Meter-Model-203_p_1152.html
  2. Yep. Depending on the breaker feeding this panel, the wire size may be fine, but the ground and neutral definitely shouldn't be connected here. The neutral needs a floating bar.
  3. I got two pairs from the toolnut.com sale. So far I've been very pleased with them. They seem to shed dirt much better than other pants I've used and I'm able to get two days out of them because of that. I'm still getting used to the pocket combinations, but I'm really finding the pouch pockets handy for wirenuts and screws. I don't know that I'd spend full price on them, especially considering that the pairs I got are made in Asia somewhere and not in the EU, but they are damn nice work pants so far. Edit to add: Yes, order a size up on these. Waist sizes run small, but length runs long. Better too long than too short.
  4. I've carried and lost a lot of knives over the years, so I don't spend serious money on them anymore. They drop in a wall, fall out of your pocket in a crawlspace, break, or something and you watch $60 or $100 go fuck itself. I never liked the folding razor knives or box knives since they're too sharp and a sharp knife sucks for stripping wire. It needs to be slightly dulled to give you enough control so that you don't cut through insulation you don't want to cut through (stripping romex, for instance). I've seen more insulation and wires damaged by idiots with box knives and been shocked more times by split or peeled back insulation that you can't see at first than I care to remember. At some point I got myself a splicing knife and pretty much fell in love. I never had to fight to open a knife in insulated gloves again, they have great carbon blades that will take whatever edge you want to put on them, they won't ever fold back on your hand unexpectedly and they're relatively cheap. The blade is usually short enough that I can carry it without danger in a cargo pocket. It's stable enough and the blade is thin enough that I can use it to cut along a straight edge accurately. Overall, it works great for me. This is the one I have now, a Bear that appears to be out of production.
  5. I would check the recall list as well. Klein recently had a number of recalled screwdrivers, mostly in the 1/4-inch range IIRC. Their quality has been going down for decades, or was never really there to begin with, they might just have been a little bit better than the others from the start. Back when their pliers were sold through electrical suppliers only, we'd ask to check out a few pairs until we found a pair that had relatively smooth action and matching jaws. It was easier back then since they packed the linesmans wrapped in wax paper in cardboard boxes instead of bubble packs. Sometimes you couldn't find a smooth working pair, so you took them and threw them down onto a concrete floor multiple times to loosen them up. Once you found a pair, you bought the red handles ("ergo" handles ) to replace the dipped ones, took them home to a pot of boiling water, and were finally ready to use them. So no, I feel no need to stop buying Knipex pliers. I'm happy.
  6. Over the last year or two I've changed my main region for work from nearer to Philly to here in Lancaster and the sad thing is that I see a lot of work done by guys calling themselves electricians who do hack work worthy of your customer there with his dremel. It's one thing to see Joe Schmoe eff something up like that but totally something else when guys are charging customers to eff stuff up.
  7. I have some of each. I have my combination pliers and 10" Cobras with comfort handles, and my dikes, cable cutters and mini bolt cutters with the regular dipped handles. It all depends on how often you use them per day. Spend the money for comfort where it counts, save it where it won't make such a difference.
  8. By code, there are certain color wires you're supposed to use for power in, travellers and load out, but it's rarely the way it gets done in the field. Adding to the complication is that many of the older three way switches didn't have a clearly marked "point" screw (the black screw on modern three-way switches) and figuring out which wire is point (feed in or load out) can be difficult without a tester. Once you identify the wires, it will all work, but you need to understand how the switches work to get to that point.
  9. Mine do the same on the charger while charging, and once they're charged. I think it's just an indicator of some sort.
  10. This is about a slightly older Metabo LTX, so newer ones may have undergone some design changes to correct the issues I found. I wasn't able to film it, but I'll give a rundown on this weekends teardown of a LTX drill. My Metabo is a few years old, so once I got the new Fein drill, I've retired the LTX, it's four batteries and two chargers to the garage for "around the house" projects. This last week we had a 60 year-old Chinese tree of some sort removed from our yard which had to be climbed since there's no way to get a bucket to it. Access through the freestanding garage means that it's also not possible to get a stump grinder in there, so we have a massive stump to kill. That's where the Metabo came in. I got my 1-1/2" Milwaukee Selfeed bit out and started drilling 6-inch deep holes into the stump to fill with rock salt to kill it. Despite the low temperature, the gear housing (not the motor) was getting so hot within 4-5 holes that the thermal cutoff kicked in and I couldn't do any more work. The torque control knob was too hot to touch at that point, as well. I let it cool off once and touched up the bit, but the second time around was even worse, with only 3-4 holes getting made. I took the drill down to my workbench to open it up and check it out. Inside, the Metabos are really well made and it shows. There's nothing in there to suggest they're cutting corners. But, like so many German products the devil is in the details when it comes to engineering. The gear housing attaches to the motor with a turn-and-latch setup, so after getting the two apart, you can look into the first layer of planetary gears. They use a black grease, but VERY sparsely, so there was a minimal coating left on that first layer of gears. To get to the next layer of gears, which houses two sets of planetaries for the high/low gears, you have to unscrew four small metric screws (about the size of a #4 screw) which hold a vinyl retaining ring to the back side of the aluminum housing which you see on the front of the drill when it's assembled. Either those screws were overtorqued at the factory or they torqued themselves in under use, but either way, three of the heads snapped off leaving a good 1/2-5/8" of steel screw shaft embedded in the aluminum housing. Fack. So, once the retaining ring was off, I could see into the heart of the gearbox. It looked almost totally dry and barely greased. I'm guessing an engineer determined the ideal, minimum volume of grease to use to keep weight down, etc. and that's all they put in there. The gears were not very well lubricated anymore since there wasn't enough grease to throw back onto them and definitely not enough to transfer heat to the aluminum housing (each of the nine planetary gears has a nylon insert with roller bearings, further reducing the heat transfer to the case). In addition, some of that precious grease had spit out the sides where the speed control lever enters that layer of the gear housing. So I tore it apart completely till I had just the shaft on the back side of the chuck showing, cleaned it out and started filling it with fresh black grease. Once that was done, I got to the point where I was ready to address those broken off screws. I have a mini drill press, but with the height of the gearbox together with the chuck on it, there's no way I'd be able to get it clamped securely, so I put the gear housing into a 4-inch vice, got as close to center of the broken screws as I could by eye and drilled them out by hand using an M12 drill and three different sized bits. I had to go larger than those metrique screws and the smallest size I have a tap for is 6-32, so that's what she got. Three fresh holes tapped to 6-32 and I left the fourth as it is. The screws also needed to be both shortened and the heads made smaller to fit in the notches on the vinyl retaining ring. Finally I got it all back together. There were some mishaps along the way, like dropping the gear housing and busting off the torque control knob, but I cobbled a replacement and got that working again. Finally I was ready to go back to that tree stump and start drilling again. Whereas at the start of this whole mess I was able to drill about 4-5 holes before the temp sensor kicked in and shut the drill down, I was now able to complete the entire job and drilled all the remaining seven holes with just a small increase in temperature of the gearbox. Lessons learned: - Greasing gearboxes in power tools is something we often don't do to cordless tools, but it's still an important maintenance procedure to remember. - Even a good tool may not be set up from the factory for best performance, either through oversight or planned obsolescence. - Always keep a junky camera on hand so you can take pictures with grease covered hands
  11. I tried the 6-in-1s and took them back within a week. There's a pinch point at the top of the handle where the lock is, they couldn't cut a 12/2 Romex in a single cut (the cutter is too short) and the clip didn't hold them closed in my pocket. Truly the worst design I've ever seen. I don't tell people to buy from one or the other brand, but I do try to convince people to buy a tool from a company that makes that tool, whether it's a pair of pliers, a screwdriver, a multimeter or a power tool. Once you get into tools made by one company and branded by another, you're likely to run into problems.
  12. Yep, Sears is a good place to get the six-driver set. I get one about once per year and whichever drivers survive end up in my home toolbox. The thing I find handy with the Wiha drivers is that the handle size for each makes it very easy to apply (close to) the proper torque for a given fastener. The #3 phillips allows a real strong grip while the #1 phillips forces you to be more delicate.
  13. Beeswax is VERY sticky since it never totally hardens. I'm not sure it would be a good choice as a blade lubricant. Regular candle wax (paraffin) or even car wax might be better choices.
  14. I wanted one of those brass pushbuttons for my front doorbell, but at almost $100, I had to pass Nice work!
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