Angrymikes hood: Hey Everyone........

Angrymikes hood: Hey Everyone........: Killary wants this banned, let's make it world wide !!!!!!!!!!!

Wait a Minute, Wait a Minute! I Thought Guns Were Bad

By now you have all heard countless stories about students getting suspended and otherwise disciplined for bringing toy water guns to school, drawing pictures of guns, chewing pop tarts into gun-like shapes, or pointing their fingers and saying “bang, bang”, and why shouldn’t those students be punished?  After all, guns are... bad.  Right?  Right!

Even if you do not agree with that, you would certainly have to agree that any society that felt the need to severely punish a child playing with a toy or imaginary gun, would also seek the death penalty for any adult that held a child at gunpoint while committing a crime, right?  Wrong! We let the criminals off easy because racist three-year-olds are a far greater threat than guns. 

 I wonder what would happen to a student that brought a racist three-year-old to school?  He’d probably get the electric chair.

We may one day, run out of oil and natural gas, but we will never, never run out of ludicrous, ridiculous, hypocritical, illogical, inconsistent, actions and statements from the anti-gun crowd.

I have a lifelong project for you all:  From here on in, whenever you come across a news story about a crime involving a gun, check to see if the story says anything about whether the suspect was legally able to carry a gun.    
Often it is safe to assume that the suspect would not be able to legally carry a gun because the story might state that he has a felony record, but such stories seldom directly mention any violation of gun control laws.  Why?

Because that would undermine the gun control nuts agenda. If every gun crime story focused on whether the suspect was legally able to possess a firearm, it would only illustrate to the public how useless gun control laws are.  It would show that gun crimes are usually committed by violent thugs that have a long history of not obeying the law, and hardly ever committed by gun enthusiasts or by law abiding citizens concerned about having the ability to defend themselves.

If simply making something illegal, prevented it, there would already be no crime (gun or otherwise) at all.  Guns don’t kill people, people do, but if you mention what type of people commit the most gun crime on a percentage basis, you’ll be branded as a racist.    

The Gender Wage Gap is the Feminist's Best Friend

I ran across this dumb bitch while reading IOTW Report.  If you aren’t familiar with her, don’t feel bad.  Most people have never heard of her.  Prove this for yourself.  Count the number of people you have to ask before you find someone who knows who she is.

OK, so she’s a nobody. That’s not a crime.  Most people are nobodies.  The problem of course, is that she doesn’t realize that she is a nobody, and she actually thinks that someone gives a shit about her opinion.  Anyway, she seems to have a problem with the “gender wage gap” and even attempts to lie about being a “victim” of it.

Many people say that the gender wage gap is a myth. Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t, but there is one group of people that better hope it is real.  They had better hope it is real, because it is their best friend.  In fact, it is their only hope of them ever reaching the goals they have set in their agenda.  The people in this group are referred to as feminists, and without a gender wage gap, they haven’t got a hope in hell. Why?  Read this.

Hey, that link is about cars.  What does it have to do with feminism and the gender wage gap?

It’s called an analogy, sports fans, and the economics of both are exactly the same.  Let’s take another look at the most pertinent part:


You've probably noticed that the 2014 Honda Civic seems to be winning most categories -- though we stress that it's rarely by a wide margin. That doesn't mean that the Honda is necessarily the best deal. On the contrary, a typical Elantra costs around $1,000 less than a similarly equipped Civic -- a big figure for two cars priced from less than $19,000 with shipping.

Which is the better value? To us, it depends on what you want. The Hyundai offers a highly similar experience to the Honda for about 95 percent of the price. Of course, it can't quite match the Civic in terms of fuel economy and safety, but if you're looking for a better deal, the Hyundai offers an excellent value in the compact-car world.

The article says you would get darned close to the same value purchasing either a Hyundai or a Honda.  If you had to choose one, which car would you buy?   Most likely, some of you would choose the Honda, and some of you would choose the Hyundai.

Now, what if both cars were the same price?  Virtually all of you would choose the Honda.  Why?  Because most people think the Honda is at least a slightly better car.  It may not be, but it is definitely perceived to be a better car, and that is all that really matters.  If similarly equipped Hondas and Hyundais were the same price, Hyundai would go out of business very quickly.  Being less expensive is Hyundai’s saving grace.

Hyundai has come a long way over the past fifteen years, and the day might come that the general public will consider a Hyundai to be equal or even superior to a Honda, but that could never happen unless Hyundais had been less expensive than Hondas for all these years.  If they were the same price, no one would have taken a chance with the Hyundai.

It’s the same way with employment.  It doesn’t matter if men and women are equal.  Employers perceive male employees as a better values, so they may be willing to pay them more.  On the hand, (if the gender wage gap is indeed, real) female employees could be a better value if they can be paid less.  Just like with Hyundai, women must deliver a better value for years, if not decades, before they change employer’s perceptions.

That’s not fair!  We should make a law that men and women be paid equally for the same work!

Well, we could and we have, made laws addressing this very matter.  Just remember which cars people would choose if Hondas and Hyundais were the same price.  The feminists are going to have to choose between laws that guarantee equal pay with fewer women hired, or competing in the free market and delivering a better value for their employers. If they're smart, they will choose option two. (What do you think are the chances of that happening?) Laws that force people to do things that they otherwise would not have done, only serve to reinforce their preconceived notions.

One more thing to all you feminists out there.  Being a better value than a man in the workplace is relatively easy.  All you have to do is rely on your old friend, the gender wage gap, and work for less.  

What would it take for women to earn the same pay as men in all situations?  Here’s a hint.  You know that guy that fixes his own car, does all his own home repairs, never pays anyone to things for him, and even does jobs for other people on the side?  Of course you do.  Almost everyone knows at least several guys like that.  Now, how many women do you know like that?  None?  Me either.  I know plenty of women that are experts in their particular field, but most of them are helpless in just about every other area.  You know - the lady doctor, lawyer, fill in the blank, can’t fix her car, lawn mower, fill in blank.

The mistake you feminists are making here is that the pay gap you are experiencing is based entirely on gender. There are plenty of men out there that are useless fucks outside of their particular fields, and they tend to make less than other men who have a broad field of knowledge. Not all men can truly take care of themselves, but a higher percentage of men can than women.

Knowledge is power and knowledge in one area is often extremely beneficial in another.  That's why men are paid more. The day women as a rule, get paid the same as men for the same type of job, is the day when it won’t be uncommon for the lady doctor, lawyer, fill in the blank, to be spending her weekends running chainsaws, welding, building hot rods, fill in the blank. How many of you feminists are willing to become that type of person? Anybody? Anybody? None? Well, at least you now know why you are paid less than men.

It's All Artificial

Comin' in hot in the carpool lane!

I've been telling you for years now, how the Tesla car is an overpriced P.O.S.  I always wondered why anyone would buy one.  Sure, the federal government will bribe you to purchase one, but the cars are still very expensive and very unreliable. (Essentially broke down almost half a day, every day.  They call it "recharging".)

Then, I came across this post at IOTW Report, and it explains everything.  Basically, no one buys Tesla's, except for people who live in Los Angeles, and we all know how weird they are.  But it seems that the state of California has its own way of bribing people to buy these things.

If it weren't for our state and federal governments giving special treatment to stupid people, there wouldn't be any electric cars on the road.

Why the Leftism Fails

From the smallest hippie commune, to the largest communist nation, the final result of leftism is inevitable - failure.  Most of the counterculture communes started in the "60's, did not survive into the '70's, and many people born before the formation of the Soviet Union, lived to see it's demise.  Venezuela is falling apart before our eyes.  The semi-socialist, western European nations are in the process of destroying themselves.  Cuba is Cuba, and while its communist government has not yet officially failed, it will certainly always be remembered for it's lack of success.  China has made great strides over the last few decades, but only because it finally accepted the fact that capitalism was a necessary ingredient for a modern, industrialized nation.

Can any of this be credibly disputed, even by the most hardcore liberal?  The answer is no, and the best argument anyone could come up with would be a reference to some obscure nation or organization, which wouldn't even come close to neutralizing what was said in the above paragraph.

Even more laughable is the other leftist response:  They will concede that everything said in the first paragraph is true but then add:

"Communism can work in theory, it has just never been implemented correctly." 

Let us assume for the moment, that the above statement is correct.  What does that mean?  It means that communism is not "user friendly".  It's a funny coincidence that I am writing this piece on a computer and with a program that are both, very user friendly and the very proof of that, is the fact that I am doing it.  I wouldn't be doing this if it wasn't easy. 

All of what I am doing right now, was possible in the not too distant past, on more primitive machines, with software that was more difficult to use.  Where are those machines now?  Where is that software now?  They're in the basements, attics, and closets of people who can't bear to throw things away, or have gone to landfills or recycling centers by people who can.

There are two important points to consider from all of this.  First, things that are not relatively user friendly are always selected out by technological evolution.  It's why the cavemen upgraded from throwing rocks to using spears.  Second, virtually all progress and innovation, from the spear to internet, was driven by not by governments and central planning, but by individuals who came up with better ideas.

That is why leftism fails.  Since leftism does not seek to protect the freedom and rights of the individual, it is not user friendly.  Difficult decisions must be made concerning limiting the rights of the individual for the good of the collective.  Compare that to Libertarianism, which amounts to "Just letting people do what they want".  Which is easier to implement?  

The same is true with economic systems.  A free market is simply easier to implement (more user friendly) than a centrally planned economy, and it's the reason that the shelves on our grocery stores are always full and are currently empty in Venezuela.  No one has to come up with any new legislation in the United States when there is a shortage of a particular product.  The price simply raises until demand drops off.  In Venezuela, they did not allow prices of goods to rise to the level it cost to supply them, and they simply disappeared.  Now, their government must make difficult decisions that are hardly ever necessary in a country where a free market economy exists.

Working examples of pure Communism and pure Libertarianism are both hard to find, but all of this should give anyone with any amount of common sense, which way a successful nation should be leaning.

Are there inherent problems with free markets and capitalism?  Absolutely, but it should be abundantly clear to everyone by now, that there are inherent problems with every thing and every idea that ever existed on this planet.  We should stop looking for Utopia, concentrate on what works best, and accept that the fact that sometimes, inherent problems are not as bad as the do-gooders prescribed "solutions" to them.

Perhaps the greatest benefit of libertariansim is that it frees the government of blame.  After all, how can a government be guilty of something it did not have a hand in?

Read the article below that I found at IOTW Report, and note that none of the things that impressed Boris Yeltsin were due to any of the things that liberals are fighting for today.  None of them.  How can I say that?  Because if those things had been in place back then, liberals would not need to be fighting for them today, would they?

souree: The Reaganite Republican 

The Day Frozen Pudding-Pops Destroyed
Boris Yeltsin's Faith in Communism

After a September 1989 tour of Houston's Johnson Space Center, 
Boris Yeltsin -freshly elected to the new Soviet Politburo- made an impromptu visit to a typical American grocery store -'Randalls'- in Clear Lake, Texas,
to have himself a look around...
And more than anything he'd seen at the advanced NASA facility, what really blew Yeltsin away was the sheer variety of goods at the supermarket. The fact that such stores where to be found in just about any town in America was said to be beyond comprehension for the Soviet politician- the pictures tell a thousand words- 

Think about it.  The leftists are fighting for everything Yeltsin and the Soviet Union already had.  

Maybe the U.S.S.R. just hadn't implemented communism correctly, but maybe, just maybe, a fifteen dollar per hour minimum wage, nationalized health care, and all the other things on the lefty agenda, aren't such good ideas.  As Utopian as they may appear on paper, they simply just stifle the freedom and innovation of individuals and are they anything but, user friendly. 


Let's make it part of our language

He/She/They "Rolling Stoned".   definition: gross incompetence or malfeasance in the field of journalism. 

source: The New York Times

Rolling Stone Article on Rape at University of Virginia Failed All Basics, Report Says

Rolling Stone magazine retracted its article about a brutal gang rape at aUniversity of Virginia fraternity after the release of a report on Sunday that concluded the widely discredited piece was the result of failures at every stage of the process.
The report, published by the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism and commissioned by Rolling Stone, said the magazine failed to engage in “basic, even routine journalistic practice” to verify details of the ordeal that the magazine’s source, identified only as Jackie, described to the article’s author, Sabrina Rubin Erdely.
On Sunday, Ms. Erdely, in her first extensive comments since the article was cast into doubt, apologized to Rolling Stone’s readers, her colleagues and “any victims of sexual assault who may feel fearful as a result of my article.”

I just can't tell you how much I am enjoying all of this.  I have detested Rolling Stone magazine for decades. 

 I want all you other bloggers out there to do me a favor.  From now on, when mentioning mistakes made by reporters, magazines, newspapers, etc., say they "Rolling Stoned"

 For example:  
  • Brian Williams Rolling Stoned his career away by lying about being places he wasn't.
  • Dan Rather really Rolling Stoned when he used that fake document about George Bush.
  • NBC totally Rolling Stoned it when they rigged those GM trucks with explosives.
  • Michael Moore Rolling Stones all the time.
  • Nobody watches MSNBC anymore because they're always Rolling Stoning.
You get the idea.  Spread it around.  Lets make Rolling Stone magazine synonymous with journalistic malpractice and incompetence.  

By the way, if I made any spelling or grammar errors here, just tell me I Rolling Stoned.

Let's make it part of the language! 

The Nut Cracker... Sweet!

I think sometimes us gearheads get so impressed with ourselves and our tool collections, that we become closed minded to some of the old school options that exist.  The tool below is a perfect example of what I'm talking about.

In case you don't recognize this thing, it's called a nut splitter. 

The first time I ever saw one of these was when I was reading a book about tools, way back when I was a kid.  I remember thinking that these must be for old guys that were too cheap to buy an acetylene torch, and I kept thinking that for about another 35 years.

An acetylene torch is a great thing.  There are few things more satisfying than hearing the sound a red hot nut makes as you twist it off of a rusty bolt.  I think the greatest thing about it is the fact that you know you're going to win the battle before you even begin.  

Almost every time I use the hot wrench, I think back to the days before I had one.  The struggle, the agony, the defeat, and the disappointment that always went along with dealing with rusted fasteners and bolts broken off flush in blind hole.  It makes me appreciate the luxury of having a torch.  Success, every time.  Well just about every time.  There have been occasions where I have gotten a little overzealous and accidentally melted something.  Like I said before, the main disadvantage of having an acetylene torch is that it can make you blind to other (sometimes, better) alternatives that are out there.

That's the reason I never had a nut splitter, until last fall when I was repainting my Pro Wings attachment for my snowplow.  See those black things on the edges of that snowplow below?  That's what I'm talking about.  Someday, I might write a post about them.  In my opinion, they are the best accessory you can buy for a snowplow, followed closely by a rubber snow deflector like the one on the top of the plow in the picture below.

You may or may not be able to see in this picture, but the Pro Wings have a heavy rubber (about one inch thick) cutting edge that is held in place with two 1/2" X 2" carriage bolts.  Well, I needed to remove those cutting edges to paint the wings.  Of course the nuts were rusted to the bolts, and the bolts just spun around with the nuts when I tried to remove them.  None of this surprised me.  Those bolts had been getting a salt bath for years, and there was no way that rubber is strong enough to hold the bolt from spinning.  How the hell was I going to get the nuts off?

Automatically, my first thought was, "Get the torch", but I didn't want to melt that rubber cutting edge.  That's when I remembered the nut splitter that I read about so many years ago.  I went to Auto Zone and picked one up for about fifteen bucks, and did it ever work sweet!  I couldn't believe how fast and easy it was!  

I would recommend one of these nut splitters to anyone who does any amount of mechanical work at all.   They're inexpensive enough that the price wouldn't be an issue to even the cheapest car guy.  It will cut right through a 1/2" nut (a 1/2" nut takes a 3/4" wrench, so they're relatively large) with no problem at all.  Even if it's tightened right down on a steel plate.

It solved my dilemma with my Pro Wings.  I think it would also be great for removing nuts from a carriage bolt that you can't get off because the bolt is spinning in the square hole.  It could also be useful when you don't want to mess around with setting up and adjusting your torch in a situation where you only need to free one rusted nut and  it could be a life saver in the event of being out of acetylene or oxygen.

One last piece of advice.  I found it useful to use a socket and long extension for a handle to rock the nut splitter back and forth, after I split through the nut.  It widened up the nut just enough to make removal from the bolt quite easy.

Best Battery Charger/Jumper Ever

The car dealership I worked at was founded in 1926 and was selling many times more vehicles in the ‘80’s than it did in the first half of the twentieth century.  Even with expansions from purchasing adjacent properties over the years, vehicles were still crammed into the lot, sometimes four and five cars deep.  

When a customer wanted to test drive a particular car, it was invariably buried behind at least two others, and chances were, that least some of these vehicles had dead batteries.  That’s just what happens when even a brand new car, sits for weeks without being driven.  What the heck do you do then?

How do jump start one of those cars in the center rows?

The obvious answer is to give the vehicles with dead batteries a jump start, right?   Well, there’s a couple of problems with that.  First of all, since the longest jumper cables are about 25 feet, jumpstarting a car that is blocked in by two or more others is all but impossible.  I suppose you could move the line of cars next to the car you are interested in getting out, so you could pull a vehicle with a good battery within reach of it, but that would involve moving more cars (at least some of which also will have dead batteries) in what is very congested area to begin with.  This not only creates a circus, it takes a lot of time, and makes the customer impatient and question the reliability of your product.

Car dealerships need a way to start cars with dead batteries without making a scene.  Enter the Volt Wagon.  (If you wanna see one, You're gonna have to click that link because I couldn't find any pictures.)

 With this, one person can easily maneuver between rows of cars and jump start any vehicles necessary.  There is a drawback though.  The price.  The ridiculously high price.  $40 - $50 per month?  Are you kidding me?  That’s about $500 to $600 per year.  Notice how they don’t mention that you can just purchase one.  Maybe you can, but they’re obviously pushing the lease, so they can keep on charging the customer indefinitely.  

The dealership I worked at, leased one of these things and it was a godsend, but the monthly charge was outrageous. I think it was just about the same, way back in the ‘80’s as it is today.  The dealership could easily afford it, but they didn’t like the idea of being overcharged.  After all, overcharging people was supposed to be their gig, so they started looking for alternatives.  They experimented with making their own “volt wagons” out of a hand truck, small battery charger, and a set of jumper cables with the clamps cut off of one end and hooked up to a car battery.  These worked OK, but they looked kind of crude.  Eventually we came across these:

You can still get one of these for about $450.  Why would anyone pay $40/month or more for a Volt Wagon?  It looks like they still need the modifications I made to mine about 25 years ago.

They looked more professional and didn’t cost much more than a homemade unit.  In fact, they were so cheap that I bought one myself.  I got it with the idea that it would be the ideal thing to jump start my boat.  After all, you can’t just drive your car out on a pier.  To this day, I have never had to jump start my boat, but the Kwik Start has been invaluable to me in so many ways over the years.

Here's the one I got.  On either side of the ammeter, you can see the indicator light and on/off switch I added.  I also slid a rubber hose over the steel handle.

If you look at the upper left of this picture, you can see the relay that I added.  I also turned the front panel into a door that's hinged at the bottom for easy access to the battery. 

For the sake of convenience and safety, I made it so I can turn off the power to the positive cable by adding a continuous duty relay.  I also added an indicator light to let me know when the cable is “hot”.  This way, I never have to hook up a “hot” cable to a battery, and I can turn on the juice a safe distance away, virtually eliminating the possibility of a battery blowing up in my face.  

It’s the ideal thing for jumpstarting a car that’s parked in a garage where there isn’t room to pull another vehicle along side.  It’s more convenient than conventional jump starting, because you only have to deal with one vehicle, and hooking up cables to one battery.

The battery charger component of this unit is mainly for maintaining its on-board battery, however it still can be used for charging other batteries, in fact, I usually use this unit for charging all my batteries since that charges the on board battery simultaneously.  Since this unit contains its own battery, it delivers many more amps than any conventional battery charger, even those with the highest boost capacities.  The on-board battery also allows you to jump start cars that are farther away from the nearest electrical outlet than all of your longest extension cords.  

It’s also handy source of twelve volt power for bench testing electrical automotive components, like starters, wiper motors, lights, horns, etc.  Finally, it’s great for lighting cigarettes when you can’t find a lighter.  Just hook up a short piece of steel wire between the cables, flip the switch, and it instantly becomes red hot. Turn off the switch before you melt the wire, and you got yourself one hell of a redneck lighter.

For the money, this is one of the best specialty tools I ever purchased.


The Car Chooses You

I remember asking my mother when I was very young, how we happened to get the particular dog we had.  She replied, “He picked you”.  That made me feel all warm and fuzzy, thinking that a little puppy was somehow drawn to me, more so than any of his littermates, like it was meant to be.

The truth was certainly something quite different, and things probably went down something like this: There were a bunch of puppies that all looked the same to my mom, so she just said, “We’ll take that one”, pointing to the one that I happened to be playing with at the time.

Unless you’re lucky or rich, it’s the same way with cars.  Before we had our driver’s licenses, my friends and I would talk about what kind of cars we were going to have once we could drive.  Of course, the vehicles mentioned were the expected mix of Fords, Mopars, and GM products, but they all had one thing in common.  They were all cool.  There was never any mention of four doors, six cylinders, three speeds, or automatics, and issues like rust, dents, and mechanical problems were never even discussed.  When it’s just a fantasy, choosing the car you will own is easy.

Well, time passes and reality sets in, and the first of what will be a series of never ending disappointments for the young car enthusiast occurs when he realizes that his first ride is not going to be anything like the car he had been describing to all of his friends for years.  

A kid’s older brother may have had a ‘69 Dodge Super Bee with a 383 and a four speed for five years, so of course, he was going to get a ‘69 Dodge Super Bee, 383 four speed.  One problem, it’s only 1978, and they’re already almost impossible to find.  Sure, his brother got one in 1973, but five additional years of salty winter roads, cars being turned into race only machines, and major accidents have taken their toll on the supply.  Less than ten years after they rolled off the assembly line, prices of roadworthy examples are already beyond the reach of the average sixteen year old.  

How about a ‘71 Plymouth Satellite, 318 auto?  Close enough?  It’s gonna have to be unless he wants a Duster or a Demon with a slant six.  That’s what’s out there that’s affordable.  Still, any of them are cooler than his friend’s four door AMC Hornet. What he finally ended up was determined much more by external forces beyond his control than his own desires.  He took what he could get that was closest to what he had in mind.

 Fate decided what your first car would be.  It’s kinda like in Transformers (except your first car probably wasn’t as good and couldn’t transform) or with the puppies.  You didn’t choose your first car, the car chose you, and less you somehow come across a shitload of money, this never changes.  

Last words on the battery charger questions

"B", from The Middle of the Right has the final say on the difference between the Battery Tender and other battery chargers.  I'd like to thank him for straightening me out.  Check out what he had to say by clicking here, and scrolling down to the comments section.

Update on battery charger post.

For those of you who care, click here and scroll down to the end of the post.

Introducing "Outside the Box"...

...a new series of posts about some of my favorite tools that don't come in your basic starter sets.

I don’t have to tell anyone what kind of basic hand tools to get.  Anyone who has even the slightest interest in working on cars, already knows what he needs.  Look in any gearhead’s tool box and you’re going to find pretty much the same thing every time.  Almost everyone who has been wrenching for more than a few years has everything pictured below in his toolbox and more.


What separates the men from the boys is the stuff that’s not in their toolboxes.  Stuff that’s either too big or used too seldom to take up valuable toolbox real estate.  I’m talking about stuff that might sit around for years between uses.  Stuff that gets stuffed high on to top shelves or crammed into cabinets behind more commonly used things.  I have doubles of some speciality tools because I forgot that I already owned them when I purchased the duplicates.

The very fact that such tools are used so infrequently is what makes them so glorious.  These tools are the life savers.  The ones that get the job done when nothing else will.  The ones that get you out of a jam late at night or on a Sunday evening when you couldn’t go out and buy one if you wanted to.  The ones your friends ask to borrow and obligates them to bring the beer next time.  The ones they wish they had, but will never get.  The ones that make you succeed where others fail.

Speciality tools are expensive, especially when you figure their cost on a per use basis, but they are often cheap when compared to farming work out to a professional that has them.  Often the cost of having someone else do a repair will be equal to or greater than the cost of the special tool required.

Speciality tools are very expensive compared to the cost of tools sold in basic tool sets because of their low production and the mere fact that they are not included in tool sets.  Imagine how expensive a complete set of sockets would be if you purchased each piece individually.  I have much more money invested in speciality tools than in basic hand tools.  In fact, my first 400 piece Craftsman tool set that I got way back in 1980, was only about $200. They’re only about $400 now.  I have some speciality tools that cost over $400 by themselves.

Almost everyone who builds or repairs things, struggles with deciding whether or not to buy tools they will not often use, and that’s why speciality tools are so, so...  special.  People who own speciality tools have more invested in them than just the money it cost to buy them.  Most of the speciality tools I have are the result of suffering for years without them, the painful decision process of buying them, and the regret of not buying them sooner.

I can’t tell you how many times I wished that I had a certain tool, tried to get by without it, and ended up wasting time, damaging equipment, and/or injuring myself in the process.  More often than not, I end up eventually buying the tool and at that point, all of that suffering instantly becomes pointless.  If the end result is buying the tool, I might as well have spent the money in the first place and avoided all the grief, but at the same time, I can’t just go out and buy everything whether I need it or not.  My only comfort is knowing that everyone else who gets their hands greasy, goes through this too.

Each of every gearhead’s speciality tools represents a hard earned victory.  If you ever need to borrow one, make sure you bring it back ASAP, along with at least a twelve pack of the lender’s favorite beer.  If you find yourself needing to borrow the same tool again, perhaps you should consider buying your own.

Next time - We're gonna talk about battery chargers.

What I learned about battery chargers

Authors note: I already spent a lot of time and about $30 on this post. If you think I'm gonna spend one minute proofreading it, you're crazy. Now read it, because I would like to hear your input, and maybe you can point out the spelling and grammar errors.
I learned very little, but I think I have an interesting story here.
A few days back I saw this post at The Feral Irishman about the Battery Tender brand battery maintainer.  It got me thinking about a few things that I have wondered about for years, but never spent the effort to find the answers.  Well, for some reason, reading that post finally gave me the motivation to try to find some answers.

The first I ever heard of the Battery Tender was about ten or twelve years ago while watching those car repair/customization shows on cable TV.  I always wondered why this Battery Tender was any better than a regular old trickle charger.  

You might wonder why I even bother to care about such things.  Well here’s why.  About 16 years ago, when I moved into my current home, I wanted a radio for the kitchen.  Now that was a problem because virtually all radios for the home at that time sucked, and for the most part, they still do today.  Most of them still have old school analog tuning, no station presets, staticy AM reception that is susceptible to interference from the use of other electric appliances, aren't loud enough, and have terrible sound quality.  Now they do make some units that don't have these problems, but they are either very big (home stereo receivers) or very expensive. (Bose wave radio)

I wanted something that was free of all these problems, and fortunately, I had the solution - a car stereo, in my house.  Think that’s crazy?  I challenge you to come up with anything else that has all the features of a car stereo and comes in such a compact size for even twice the price. Remember, I went through all this well before the age of ipods and smartphones, and since I’m one of those dinosaurs that still doesn’t have a smartphone, this option remains perfect for me.  The nice thing about it is that it doesn’t take up much space, and since I mounted it inside of a cabinet, you can’t even notice that it is there.

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At first I thought I could hook this up to a twelve volt DC power transformer,

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but that caused static on the AM band, so I was forced to use a twelve volt battery.  (I looked on Youtube, and noticed that some guys are using a PSU robbed out of an old computer for this purpose, but for a number of reasons, I felt the battery was a better way to go, and I’m not going to go off on that tangent right now.)  The garage is on the other side of our kitchen wall, so I just drilled a small hole in the wall to allow the power and antenna wires to pass through.  The battery and antenna are located in the garage. 

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I often thought of mounting the antenna outside, but the reception was good enough with it in the garage, so that’s where I left it.  The speakers are located on top of the kitchen cabinets.  They’re so close to the ceiling, that no one notices that they are there.  The system worked so well for me, a couple of years later, I installed a similar one in my wife’s hair salon.

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Now, I needed some way to keep the battery charged and this is where my question about the Battery Tender comes in.  Would the Battery Tender be better for this application than regular old trickle charger?  The answer is: Maybe, but not a whole lot.  The advantage of the Battery Tender is that it is a float charger, which means that it does not constantly charge the battery so it doesn’t boil all the water out of it, however, I just checked the battery in the picture above for the first time in 16 years and the battery fluid level was just a little low.  (About a shot glass low in each cell.)

Here’s the chargers that I have been using for over a decade, still with the original batteries.

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Here’s how the manufacturer describes their current model which appears to be similar to the ones I have...

The Schumacher SE-1-12S Fully Automatic 1.5-amp Onboard Battery Charger is an AC powered automatic trickle charger / maintainer for use with 12 volt lead-acid batteries. The unit features an automatic charge cycling process that allows charging to turn on and off automatically as is necessary, and its "onboard" design and included hardware makes for easy, convenient mounting adjacent to batteries both inside and away from vehicles. I’m thinking, how much better could the Battery Tender possibly be? What 's the difference between this and a "float charger"?
Here’s what the Battery tender folks have to say.
I set up these home car stereo systems before I ever even heard of the Battery Tender, so didn’t think twice about using the Schumacher units.  My memory was that the Schumacher trickle chargers were much cheaper than the Battery Tender, but I just checked out the prices of each, and comparable units appear to be about the same price - right around $25.  

Now, how much energy do they use?  After all, if you buy one of these units, you are probably going to hook it up to a battery, walk away, leave it on 24/7, and not look at again for a few months.  Not the kind of thing you want to do with something that consumes a lot of electricity.  Well, it's kind of tough to answer since these units do not charge continuously, even if they are constantly plugged in.

If they were 100 percent efficient and they were charging at all times, they would be using about 180 watts at any given time. (1.5A X 120V = 180W)  In this case they would cost about $186 per year to operate.  (180W/1000 X 8760hrs/year X .12/kWh)  However, they are not 100% efficient and they do not charge 100% of the time. For determining the energy useage for something that runs intermittently (like a battery maintainer), without you knowing how long or how often it is actually running, doing this type of calculation is just about useless, so I bought this thing:


The problem with this thing is you must use it for several days to get a realistic idea of how much energy an appliance that runs intermittently uses, and that’s not going to do any of us any good right now.

So after all this, what’s the bottom line?  What’s better a Battery Tender or the Schumacher trickle charger?  Is there really any appreciable difference?  After all this, I can honestly say, “I don’t know”. but since they are about the same price, I think the Battery Tender might be better.

What do you think? Should I switch to the Battery Tender? Is my whole car stereo in the home idea stupid or dangerous? I'd love to hear any of your thoughts on the subject.

I'm not done talking about battery chargers yet. Look for an update once I get some usable data from this Kill A Watt power monitor thing and look for a more automotive specific post about battery chargers coming soon on "Right Side of the Road".
UPDATE!  UPDATE! - After monitoring the power consumption of my trickle charger for about 10 hours, the Kill A Watt meter says that it's energy use varies between 5 and 9 watts at any given time and has a projected energy cost of $7.88 per year.  How much cheaper could the Battery Tender be to operate?  It's probably still too soon to get a truly accurate reading, and the possibility exists that I am using/reading the Kill A Watt meter incorrectly.  I will be more confident about my results after I use it more and thoroughly read the directions, but that's what I have so far.