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Harbor Freight cheap ars tools


flagmanruss

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I bought a small enclosed trailer...  1993 vintage or so...  from a friend who is getting out of re-enacting.  Anyrate, she had sticky tranfer logos on the side for her group & I've been happily removing them with a heat gun...  my cheapo Harbor Freight heat gun.   

I've done a few heat shrink tubing on electrical connectors...  and more time with the extensive decal removal.  Very little actual use.  The switch has broken.  Mid-use, I shut it off & put it on the (trailer) fender to peel the softened decal.  Picked it back up & switch no workee.  Piece of Shut.    

 

After the decals are removed, a quick wash with Acetone removes the glue & there's barely a shaddow of the old lettering...  and I'm ok with that.  It's part of it's history.  But for now, I'm stuck.

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I left the forked up HF Heat Gun in the trailer on a steel folding chair (cooling down)...  the nozzle was still hot enough to burn me when I tried juggling it in my weak hand.  Just a brush but Surprize!  My numb fingers actually felt THAT!

 

As I sat eating my dinner...  I'm remembering the switch toggle moving loosely.  Good thing it's fully insulated!  Probably the cheap arse switch came apart.  I Googled this problem & others have the same complaint.  I'm not seeing how to get it apart but I bet the switch just came apart.  If I can get it out, I could try to reassemble & maybe glue the switch together.  But it's outside in the dark. 

 

Tomorrow!     

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The switch just snaps into the handle & I was able to pry it out with a small screw driver.  The switch assembly is one piece & didn't come appart externally.  The rocker just flops around inside.  The 3 wires are soldered to the switch. 

I'm going to see if I can buy a switch at the Radio Shack that'll fit.  Low heat is pretty worthless...  adjust heat by distance to object. 

 

Low prices are nice but I need a tool to work when I pick it up.  Harbor Freight always trys to sell service contracts at check out...  short arse warentees.  A better cure is to buy better Electrical tools.  A wrench is a Wrench, a hammer is a hammer. 

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I picked up a cylinder for my engine hoist. The original one would only lift about 1/2 way no matter what (even when overfilled with oil). The one I picked up was an eight ton cylinder for $65 then they tried to sell me a two year warranty with it. I asked why they were selling additional warranties and the sales clerk looked at me and said "Why?". I looked at him and said "You must not have much confidence in your products if you think you need to sell additional warranties". You should have seen the deer in the headlights look I got!

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I took the switch apart...  I've seen heavier duty in HO trains!  What a piece of crap switch.  There's a molded hollow tube attached to the plunger with a tiny spring inside...  must have been a plunger in there but it was gone.  Don't know how it got out of the closed case?  The plunger rocks a bent brass see-saw.     I only hope the Shack will have something better. 

Edited by flagmanruss
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Radio Shack had drawers of switches but not what I needed.  I bought a small momentary switch thinking that it would be an improvement if the heat gun shut itself off each time i set it down.  Unforunately the switch just didn't have the right dimensions to mount with what I had to work with.   

I didn't bother returning the switch when I went back to RS & searched the drawers again.

 

I looked again at some Youtube Videos of guys repairing their Heat Gun switch...   They used an automotive rocker switch...  simple ON/OFF.  I did remove a bunch of screws & open the case...  no boobie traps when doing so.  I agreed (with the Youtube guys) that I never use low for anything, so I only wired HIGH.  The original switch was soldered to the wires.  I tried unsoldering but was melding the original plastic switch housing which I wanted to save. I clipped the wires as close as I could & used crimp connectors...  which was a very tight fit to the back of the handle.  But it works. 

The automotive switch is a bit loose in the handle, kept falling IN so I shimmed it with a doubled piece of cardboard cut from the switch packaging.   Interestingly, the switch looks remarkably similar to the failed HF switch. 

 

Yes, for a few bucks more, I could have bought a new HF heat gun...  and be in the same place a few months from now. 

 

I am still thinking of replacing the switch with a trigger type switch.  I'll see what happens.   

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Right now, I'm using the Heat Gun to soften the adhesive on 30 year old transfers (like decals) on the sides of the enclosed trailer I bought.  THey sure did plaster the sides of the thing!   

I'm about 3/4s done now.  Only a small area can be done at a time...  warm it up, use a plastic putty knife to lift an edge so I can grip it.  I shouldn't have trimmed my nails in the middle of this!  LOL!!  If I get it too warn the panel loilcans & pops temporarily!  Kind of scarely while right up close to it but so far I's gone back when it cooled.  So there IS a lot of ON/OFF.  Hoping the heat gun switch will hold up until I'm finished this.

 

Once this is done, I expect to just do an occasional electrical connector...   Now I do have some LiFePO4 batteries I'm building which will have splices to do...  when I build the balance harness...  over this winter.       

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The automotove switch worked fine yesterday as I heated & peeled (scraped where necessary) with the Harbor Freight heat gun.  I used a plastic putty knife (from Walmart paint section) so that I'm not doing more damage to the 30 year old paint over aluminum side panels on ths old trailer.  I have done most of one side, switched to the other which I finished yesterday. 

I'm waiting for hardware to repair the roof joint...  To work on the front of the roof, I'd lowered the nose of the trailer all the way to the ground...   Got nice weather, gotta use it!   So the last of the decals was too low for me to work on without lifting the front of the trailer back up, so I did.  I used the floor jack, then bottle jack until I could put the folding jack on the tongue back down...  & cranked it up. 

 

Today, after it warmed up outside, I did the matching decals on the first side of the trailer.  While my power cord was handy, I opened up the locking hole through the trailer hitch for a 3/8" hitch pin with spring keeper bale.  I Like this kind.  I add a lanyard & drill & tap a bolt W/ washer to anchor it.  I've never had a trailer come uncoupled since I started doing this & I haven't lost (or had stolen) the hitch pin. 

(Once, I did have an empty 2 horse trailer come off on a bumpy road...  this was the second trip hauling hay that day.  Somehow the bolt/nut had gone AWOL.  The safety chains held.  It ran under the bumper a little when I stopped but was able to put it back on the truck.  Lucky the jack still worked though I believe I replaced it as it was bent.  It's been years but I recall scrambling to find something to replace the hitch pin with.  I bought a bunch of lanyards after that.)      

Edited by flagmanruss
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