Sunday, June 24, 2018

Why You Should Invest in Locksmtihing?

Many people don’t know the finer points of the emergency locksmith profession, and they have no idea what to expect when you call a locksmith. It is not an indictment on them (or you, if this describes you). Not a lot of information about the job is made public. This can make it difficult to get information, and very easy to become misinformed. Some people see being a locksmith as a quick way to make money. It is not always seen as a noble trade or even a difficult range of skills that requires constant learning. But there is a great deal more to locksmithing than the average consumer would guess. Taking on the title of locksmith comes with responsibilities and expectations that most shy away from. It is a lifelong investment. It is a commitment to an education that never ends. And it is not always an easy job. It takes a certain type of person that loves the work and is always striving to be better.

Becoming a locksmith requires a lifetime investment. More than a financial investment, this trade demands the never-ending necessity of your time. That time is spent learning and practicing. Getting better, refining your craft, and changing with the demands of the consumer. Many skills of the profession are perishable. That means that if practice halts for any amount of time, the ability will atrophy. Lock picking might not be called for over the course of several days, and, as a result, your ability diminishes. For instance, if you prefer manual picking over electric picking, it is important to practice. The only way to combat that is to always be practicing. Even when the job does not demand something, it is still demanding it. Lock picks, security pins, and other parts of the locksmith arsenal can be made and these will be a handy addition to any lock pick set. It is going to take time to learn and perfect the process of making some of your tools. Making these materials can result in superior supplies, but getting to that point is going to require trial, error, and a whole lot of time. There will most likely be an investment in this process too, depending on your access to free scrap metal and old locks.

Because you should never pick locks that you do not own, or you own locks that are in use, you will need ways of getting a hold of practice locks. The best way to know that you can pick and rekey a Ruko or an Evva is to pick and rekey them. High-Security locks can necessitate the knowledge of that particular lock. Finding out how certain mechanisms work is reliant on taking some time with it, and taking it apart. Getting a hold of very particular locks can get expensive or time-consuming. Online communities and meet up groups exist that pass locks around to save money in this regard. These groups are undeniably beneficial to not just monetary savings, but also the wealth of knowledge you will have access to. Sharing insights and talking about the craft will deepen your understanding and make the process more personal. It can also be a lot of fun, but it goes to show, that the job spills over into personal life. Conversation and your own free time will start to center around the job. It can be hard to escape, so it needs to be something you enjoy.

Although there are many tools that you can make for yourself, there are certain things that you might need to purchase. Tools of the trade are often very expensive. There are often cheaper products, and ways like eBay to get higher quality supplies on a budget. Finding out what you need and buying on a budget will both rely on spending time. It will also take time to sift through the many brands of lock picking tools to see which one will be the best fit for you. It will also cost to get some of the information you may need. There are many locksmith training courses and schools out there that claim to have this type of information. Some definitely do. Just be wary of courses that claim to have quick comprehensive training or include declarations of how much money the skills will make you. The classes that are cheap can also be a little shady. Often cheap training courses rely on the upsell of unnecessary or overpriced tools to cover costs. Information with the underlying purpose of selling you goods will often be flawed in favor of the sale. That means they might stress the importance of a fiber optic light or a state of the art pinning tray when these items do not represent the job. And the investment does not stop there, one locksmith says:

…over half of what I charge goes right back into the company in the form of gas, insurance, advertising, trade organization dues, license fees, vehicle maintenance, tools, supplies, and other expenses…

The licenses, insurances, and bonds you have to carry can cost a small fortune. I have a city business license, a state locksmith license, a State Contractor’s License for car lock service and security work, two insurance policies (general liability and commercial vehicle insurance), two different bonds, and I am a member of two major national trade organizations. In California, you need to be fingerprinted and pass State and Federal background tests…

The cost of running a business like this can be overwhelming and there is always another tool you need to buy, another software update, or replacement parts/tools that need to be ordered. I am currently saving up for a high security key machine that retails for $5,800.

Always be wary of any of the information you are given, and try to corroborate everything you learn with a practical test or third party validation.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018


Take command of your off-grid solar power system with this new and improved RENOGY 40 AMP MPPT CHARGE CONTROLLER. Unlike a basic PWM Controller, this charge controller is compatible with sealed lead-acid, flooded, and gel batteries (all deep cycle). This controller keeps the batteries from becoming over-charged or discharged, increasing the longevity of your batteries. This high tech controller features Multiphase Synchronous Rectification and Maximum Power Point Tracking technologies, which increases charging efficiency and improves system performance. 

Nominal System Voltage: 12V/24V Auto Recognition
Max. Solar Input Power: 520W(12v), 1040W(24V) 
Rated Battery Current:40A 
Rated Load Current:40A 
Max. Solar Input Voltage: 150VDC 
Self-consumption: ≤27mA (24V) 
Temp. Compensation:-5mV/°C/2V (default) 
Max. PV Input Short Current:50A 
Max. Terminal: 25mm2, 4 AWG 
Mounting Oval:0.30 x 0.18 inches 
Dimensions: 11.90 x 7.19 x 2.50 inches 
Weight:6.39 Lbs 

1-year material warranty

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Hamilton Pan-Europ Day-Date

The Hamilton Pan-Europ Day-Date brings back the most colorful decade in watch history. How did this vintage-inspired timepiece fare in our test? Read on to find out.

When we think back to the watches of the 1970s, we think of bold colors, rich contrasts and unusual shapes. Bright blue and red played big roles in the decade’s color schemes. Contrasting colors for indexes and subdials ensured good legibility. And many cases were oval.
The modern Pan-Europ Day-Date lacks a chronograph but has a power reserve of 80 hours.

These traits unite in the new Hamilton Pan-Europ Day-Date, our test watch, as they did in the original model from 1971. Although the original Pan-Europ was a chronograph, which was updated in 2011, the modern version of the Pan-Europ (released in 2014) has a date display and a day-of-the-week indicator. It’s priced starting at $1,095, which we found impressive, not only due to the watch’s elaborately crafted and multifaceted case, but also because of its movement: automatic Caliber H-30. ETA introduced the caliber as a further improvement of its day-date Caliber 2836. The goal was to extend the movement’s running time from 38 hours to 80 hours, long enough so the watch could be set aside over a weekend and still be running Monday morning. ETA achieved this for Hamilton (and for the other brands in the Swatch Group) by slimming the barrel’s arbor so a lengthier mainspring could be wound around it and by reducing the balance’s frequency by 25 percent: from 28,800 to 21,600 vph.

The latter modification required a new oscillating system (i.e., the balance and its hairspring), as well as new gears to alter the transmission ratio in the gear train. ETA used this opportunity to install a technically more elegant fine- adjustment mechanism. Instead of giving the new caliber a conventional pincer-shaped regulator and an eccentric screw, ETA opted for a freely swinging Glucydur balance with eccentric weights on two diametrically opposite spokes. These two weights can be turned with a watchmaker’s screwdriver, thus altering their center of gravity and modifying the balance’s oscillating behavior.
The watch’s rotating bezel is made of aluminum.

While these modifications required adding a bit of thickness to the movement, from 5.05 mm to 5.22 mm, it’s hardly noticeable on such a big, sporty watch. A unidirectional rotating aluminum bezel has been added as well. But the watch can’t be used for diving because its water-resistance rating is just 50 meters. Yet the rotating bezel is a plus since it allows the wearer to measure short intervals.

The case is built to keep out sprayed water and the textile NATO strap (both versions pictured below) suffers no ill effects from contact with liquids. The strap runs through three faceted metal “keepers,” its holes are reinforced with leather, and the shaped metal strip at its end is more elaborately styled than on most NATO straps. However, the usual problem remains: the strap runs under the caseback, thus blocking the view of the movement. Another drawback: the protruding metal keepers tend to snag the wearer’s shirt cuff. And we saved the worst news for last: a pivot broke off the crosspiece on the clasp soon after we’d begun testing the watch, so the pronged buckle fell off and could no longer be secured.

Fortunately, the watch also comes with a leather strap (both versions pictured below). It has a folding clasp that opens on one side and is much more convenient, sturdier and easier to operate. The downside is its color: black, which doesn’t go well with the watch’s blue dial. The textile strap is a better match. Our recommendation for Hamilton: offer this model with a blue leather strap in the future.
The Pan-Europ deviated from timekeeping perfection by just two seconds in a 64-hour test period.

Can the Pan-Europ keep its promise of continuing to run for 80 hours after it has been fully wound? Yes, but just barely. Left lying motionless after being fully wound, our test watch stopped running 80 hours and 15 minutes later. Its timekeeping precision throughout this interval was quite impressive: locked inside a safe with its dial up from 5 p.m. Friday until 9 a.m. Monday, the timepiece deviated from perfection by only -2 seconds during the entire 64-hour interval.

The corresponding value when tested on the wrist was higher: -2 seconds per day, regardless of whether the watch remained on the wrist throughout the night or was left lying atop a night table. A number in the minus column during daily wear (i.e., when its mainspring is usually fully wound) must be judged as a shortcoming. But we’re inclined to be lenient with the Pan-Europ: after all, what difference do two brief seconds make for a watch that so attractively points our gaze 44 years back in time?

Manufacturer: Hamilton International Ltd., Mattenstrasse 149, CH-2503 Bienne, Switzerland
Reference number: H35405741
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date, day of the week
Movement: H-30, based on the ETA 2836, automatic, 21,600 vph, 25 jewels, stop-seconds function, rapid reset for the date and day displays, Nivachoc shock absorption, fine adjustment via two eccentric weights on the Glucydur balance, 80-hour power reserve, diameter = 25.6 mm, height = 5.22 mm
Case: Stainless-steel case, slightly domed sapphire crystal with nonreflective treatment on the inside, unidirectional rotating aluminum bezel, four screws hold the caseback in place, mineral glass window in caseback, water resistant to 50 m
Strap and clasp: Textile strap with stainless-steel pronged buckle and additional pierced leather strap with secured folding clasp
Rate results (Deviations in seconds per 24 hours):
Dial up +5
Dial down +4
Crown up -2
Crown down +2
Crown left +2
Crown right -4
Greatest deviation of rate 9
Average deviation +1.2
Average amplitude:
Flat positions 261°
Hanging positions 235°
Dimensions: Diameter = 42 mm, height = 12 mm, weight = 100 g
Variations: Gray dial and gray textile strap
Price: $1,095

Strap and clasp (max. 10 points): The textile strap is elaborately designed, but it can snag on your sleeve and it blocks the view of the movement. The crosspiece on the clasp broke on our test watch. The additional leather strap that comes with the watch prompted us to add a few points in this category, thus preventing an embarrassingly low score. 6
Operation (5): The large crown cannot be screwed shut, but its operation is impeccable. The rotating bezel is somewhat hard to hold on to. 4
Case (10): The case boasts richly detailed styling and tidy craftsmanship. 8
Design (15): An attractive retro-style watch with historically authentic elements in its design. 13
Legibility (5): Nothing but glare on the crystal, which is treated with nonreflective coating only on the inside, detracts from the good legibility. 4
Wearing comfort (10): With its somewhat awkward textile strap, this watch fits only moderately well around the wrist. Here, too, the comfortable leather strap persuaded us to add a few points. 8
Movement (20): The longer power reserve enhances the watch’s usefulness and the freely swinging balance further improves the attractively decorated movement. 14
Rate results (10): Electronic testing confirmed that the average rate is perfect, but the maximum difference among the several positions could be smaller. 7
Overall value (15): Lots of technology for only a little money. The new movement is terrific. 13

See also one of the best selling watch CITIZEN ECO DRIVE PERPETUAL CALENDAR

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Ways To Use A Survival Flashlight

Now that we know what a survival flashlight is, the next question that needs to be answered is what is it used for. Honestly, a survival flashlight can be used for a variety of things. One of the most common things it is used for is providing light in an emergency situation. Whether you have broke down on the side of the road or the power goes out inside your home, your survival light is the perfect way to provide the light that you need. With the right accessories, you can have your choice between bright light and soft ambient light.

Different colored filters can also be used for different types of light. Blue filters provide the best light for reading maps at night, red filters preventing the destruction of your night vision, and green filters are ideal for hunting at night.

Survival flashlights (for example: SUNJACK LIGHTSTICK ) can also be used for self-defense in the form of a billy club. Even people who carry around other means of protection, such as a firearm or pepper spray, find survival lights to be useful as they can deliver a powerful blow to both humans and animals during the course of an attack. The best survival flashlights come with strobe patterns built in that can be used for signaling purposes. Whether you are trying to flag down a search party during an emergency, another vehicle, or just members on your hiking party the strobe patterns do all the work for you. Before moving on to the top survival flashlight remember that the flashlight that you have on you is the best flashlight, so please check out our article on keychain flashlights that are super small and easy to carry.
Rechargeable or Primary Batteries?

One of the biggest debates you will run across when it comes to survivor lights is what batteries to use in them. Survivalists everywhere have strong opinions on whether or not rechargeable or primary batteries are better. When it comes to primary batteries, most survivalists agree that you need to stay away from the alkaline batteries. Sure alkaline batteries are easy to find, you can pick some up in just about any store or gas station out there. However, these batteries also have a rather short shelf life, on average they last about five years before they start losing power.

Another problem with primary alkaline batteries is they have a tendency to leak. Most dedicated survivalists who rely upon primary batteries find the primary lithium batteries to be the best choice, as they offer more power and a longer shelf life. After all, lithium batteries have been proven to hold at least 90% of their charge for longer than five years.

Many survivalists feel that when it comes to batteries rechargeable batteries are the way to go. Rechargeable batteries pose fewer problems than primary batteries. With rechargeable batteries you have the choice between Li-Ion, and Ni-MH. Most survivalists prefer the Li-Ion rechargeable batteries because of their longer shelf life. While not quite as popular as Li-Ion batteries, more survivalists are starting to use Ni-MH. One of the advantages to Ni-MH is they are available in the same sizes and similar voltage as alkaline batteries, which means they can be used in the same flashlights as alkaline batteries.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Reliability is in the gate, not the gate opener

After serving a decade as a lead gate opener (for example: MIGHTY MULE MM562 ) technician across a dozen different brands of gate openers one idea has been posed to me during tech calls multiple times. “Why can’t a gate opener just be reliable like my garage door opener? That thing never fails.” If you step back and look at this question and weigh the variables involved it is a wonder that most gate openers are as reliable as they are.

Lets first look at garage doors. You may have noticed two large coils above the garage door. The tension on these coils keep your garage door perfectly balanced. If your coils are set properly you should be able to lift your garage door fairly easily and if you let go of the door it will neither rise nor fall. This is important to understand because if your coils ever go out of balance the first thing you will notice is your garage door opener will malfunction. But of course it is not really the garage door opener malfunctioning – the door just needs to be rebalanced. The garage door opener cannot force the door open or closed if there is resistance. Second the garage door runs on side tracks that are kept well lubricated and out of the weather. This is another scenario if the garage door malfunctions the lubrication of the door wheels would be a good starting area. On the note of out of the weather this also includes not having wind pushing against the door in the direction it is trying to open, yet another advantage of garage automation. Lastly garage doors are all built to relatively similar specifications in terms of size, weight and stability.

So looking at the above it is fairly obvious that the garage door opener has it made in the world of automation. And second to that people are fairly understanding that when there is an issue with the garage door opener, the garage door itself could very well be the cause.

Now we look at driveway gate automation. Similar to having your coils perfectly balanced on a garage door, a swing or slide gate must be able to swing or roll easily and if you let go it should neither swing or slide one way or the other. Meaning it should be perfectly balanced. This is very dependent on the posts and the type of hinges (or for slide gates the levelness of the ground/track). Yet in the gate business we have yet to see much consistency to this at all. We recommend ball bearing hinges yet still see different type of pin hinges or butterfly door hinges all the time. But even when we see ball bearing sometime the hinges are not sized properly or are mounted incorrectly. The posts also lack consistency. Sometimes they are wood, sometimes metal. Sometimes the gate hinges are bolted to the side of a house or column, sometimes the posts are not in cement in the ground but rather strapped to another post. We even once saw a gate with the hinges lag bolted to a tree (please note this is a bad idea, trees grow, your gate will be forever changing height and levelness). Next is the gate itself. Unlike the consistency in garage door design, with driveway gates you could have many different materials, weights and designs. We see wood gates, vinyl gates, steel gate frames with wood planking, aluminum decorative gates, chain link, ranch style 3 rail, and many others especially in the realm of home-made gates. And even with the materials above there are many styles and grades of those materials. Lastly is the outdoor factor. Wind, rain, and snow can all affect how your gate swings. Wind is an especially difficult factor. Every gate opener is designed to stop before crushing something. There is no way for the gate opener to tell the difference between the gate pushing against wind versus pushing against a human. And it does not matter how powerful the motor, the safety controls are all built to be sensitive to this and not crush something. After comparing the challenges that a driveway gate contends with in terms of automation versus a garage door it is always surprising to us that the ease of opening of a garage door gets far more scrutiny than the ease of opening a driveway gate. Gates that are being automated endure many justifications and compromises when being analyzed; rationalizations about swinging only slightly off level or the gate swings, just takes a little force but not a lot. Or it sags slightly. Or the hinges are old and pin style but the gates are small so it is ignored. Or the gate is longer than it should be but can be pushed open with one finger on the end of the gate so it should be fine (note: gate length is very important, the whipping action once the gate is in motion created by too long of a gate for specification of a particular gate opener can cause obstruction).

Understanding these challenges if you are a home owner with driveway gate automation will eliminate a lot of your frustration. If you lubricate your garage door once a year, do it once a month for your poor weather beaten gate. If your gate is leaning, reinforce it. If your gate is old, very heavy or a wind sail of a design; replace it with alight weight decorative aluminum gate. Also check out our upcoming video on easy DIY ways to judge your gate for being automation friendly.

Friday, April 14, 2017

The Early History Of Watches

The earliest and largest watches considered more of the pocket watch types, were invented within used Tudor watches, England in the sixteenth century. These timepieces weren't worn around the wrist then but mostly as a necklace around the neck due to their larger designs.

These pocket watches became more commonplace within the earlier seventeenth century and were crafted to be more accurate in their time keeping as well.

A man named Mr. John Harrison was a watchmaker by trade and had taught himself this craft completely with great and wonderful results. Mr. Harrison created a greater accuracy within watches of his times and found that the exact time could help in determining precise longitudinal locations of the ships for the Captains. He worked endlessly for over ten years to invent only four Chronometer Harrison Marine watches in the latter seventeenth century; these miraculous watches were also the size of smaller dinner plates. Through many tests by the Queen's Captains these watches proved their worthiness to her and Mr. Harrison then received $20,000 in pounds as a prize for his creative and helpful inventions by Queen Anne of England herself.

The history of wrist watches began with a man named Patik Phillippe in the early nineteenth century. Wrist watches were worn at this time mostly by women as accessories; the men carried pocket styled watches as their timepieces. During this century, the watch company called Rolex was opened and owned by Mr. Hans Wilsdorf in the year 1905. Wrist watches gained an added quality by the addition of an alarm within them in the year 1914 and the watch company called Seiko was opened in the year 1924 within Tokyo.

In the twentieth century, wrist watches were very popular, but some men still loved their tried and true pocket watches and these were still being manufactured in larger quantities up until the 2nd World War when production decreased dramatically. In the year 1952, wrist watches that were powered by batteries instead of winding mechanisms were out on the markets; this was a large and wonderful advancement within the timepiece era.

Watches, which were electronic, were the most popular in the 70's and in the 90's a reemergence of mechanical watches happened due to vintage and nostalgic wants in the watch markets of that time. Over 25% of Swiss made watches are all mechanical and not electronic. They keep to the original quality that first endeared these timepieces to their clientele and faithful customers.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Quilt Explained

The ability of layered fabrics to insulate against the cold has been known for a long time. Handmade patchwork quilts as we know them are made of three layers: the quilt top, the batting and the quilt back. The quilting is the stitching that bonds these three layers together to create the quilt.

The top of the quilt can be one fabric, or, it can be a pieced quilt top, sometimes made of thousands of pieces of fabric sewn together to make the quilt top.  The middle layer of a quilt – the batting – is more and more often  polyester. Unless asked to do otherwise, even the Old Order choose polyester batting over cotton batting. You may wonder why
quilters use polyester rather than cotton batting? A polyester bat is easier to quilt, it has more loft (better memory) and it shows off the quilting more effectively than cotton batting. A handmade quilt with polyester batting is also easier to care for, it dries faster and the batting will not shift or shrink with use. Also, the quilt does not retain body moisture and it is much warmer than a quilt with a cotton batting.

The quilt back, like the top, is made of fabric and should always be quilt grade cotton. Some quilt makers prefer aAmish quilts for sale solid fabric shift , wrinkle, bunch or move in any way while the quilting is underway. The quilt is then stitched together via either hand or machine quilting.
while others utilize print fabrics as quilt backing.The quilt back, batting and top are assembled then pinned together or stretched onto a quilt rack so that during the quilting they will remain fixed with respect to one another. You do not want one or more layers to

Handmade Quilts for Sale The last step involved in quilt making is to bind the edges. This is the closing or sealing up of the three layers at the quilt’s edges and this is of course done on all four sides. The batting and backing are trimmed to be just short of the binding strip. The binding is folded over the quilt’s edges and then sewn to the back of the quilt using a blind stitch. It’s like folding over and sealing the flap at the back of an envelope.

This is what a quilt is. It’s light, warm and versatile.