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Friday, September 7, 2012

Crapsman... said the blind woman

I say A+ for my title.

Anyway, I had a very interesting couple of days. It all begins about 2 weeks ago when I thought I felt and noticed my driver's side front tire getting low. Not being one to procrastinate, I waited until 2 days before our drive to Portland to fill'er up.

[Justin and I, we like to be prepared, even though we have roadside assistance through our insurance. Why wait two hours for something you can do yourself? So, we have spare tires, jumper cables, a jack, and air compressors for flat tires. I don't want that fix a flat shit. That's in emergencies when you know something punctured your tire and you're going to replace it. A slow leak is different. And once, I filled it up with air just to get it to Les Schwab.]

So, we have an air compressor in each car. In Justin's, the cheaper Craftsman model that gets about 150 PSI and takes forever to blow up a tire. In my car, a more expensive 300 PSI Craftsman that's much better. So on Thursday after work, I pull out my compressor, and what's this? The 12V d/c adapter is in pieces. (I learned later on the Sears website that this is quite common. WTF?). I try to piece it back together, but I must not have all the pieces. So, I say screw it, and go grab Justin's compressor. I plug it in, and nothin. Nada. Zip. I'm already about to bang my head against the wall but wait, it gets better!

I had never looked inside a 12V adapter before, but I got my chance with the broken one. I realize that maybe I can take apart the crappy compressor's adapter and see what I'm missing, you know, since it's obviously broken anyway. Turns out, I'm missing a glass tube. I take it out of that one (which by the way looks really growdy and unusable from some kind of corrosion) and put it in the good compressor. Plug it in. Nothing. (And yes, everything I tried in my car, I tried in Justin's.)

So now, apparently, I have two broken compressors.

The next day I go to work and begin doing research. I need to buy a replacement compressor immediately because I'm going on my trip on Saturday. And we all know what happens when you go on a trip ill-prepared. I obviously want to avoid Crapsman, as my dad says, so I'm trying to find something else. And I've been chatting on and off with my dad this whole time. I get on the Sears website, click on a compressor to see if it's available at the store, and see this:

Directions: To replace fuse, unscrew tip of plug, remove fuse and replace with like amperage.

Say what? Those things have a FUSE? Is that what that glass tube was? Hello!

I call dad immediately.

"Have you ever replaced a fuse in a 12 volt thingie?"

"A 12 volt what?"

"...a thingie."

"Yes, I've replaced many fuses in 12 volt thingies."

After work, I head to Schucks - sorry, "O'Reilly" Auto Parts to find a replacement fuse. I'm hoping this is the problem, as my Crapsman at Sears will cost me about $50 to replace. The guy says I need to know the Amps the fuse is. Since I don't have the compressor with me, I'm forced to go home, and call my dad again.

"Can you tell when a fuse is broken?"

"Yes, unless it's broken where you can't see it. But, you can wrap it in tinfoil and it will work regardless."

Ah, you learn something new every day. This was the info I was fishing for. So, I rap it in tinfoil, and of course, nothing. So, it's not the fuse.

[At this point, I should have known what the real problem was. But I was blind to it.]

Finally giving up on my Crapsman, I drive out to Autozone to buy a replacement. (They have the Slime brand. Sounds trustworthy, don't it?) I drive home (stupid) and attempt to plug it in. Nothing. I growl and stomp over to Justin' car. I know what's wrong now, but I want conformation. I plug it in, and nothing. I wiggle it, and it comes to life. A-ha. (Side note: Justin's car is an '89 Chevy Celebrity. The d/c adapter is a little roomy and the connections don't sit right. I'd forgotten this fact since I no longer drive the car.) I stalk up to the house, grab the Crapsman, and plug it into Justin's car with a wiggle. It comes to life.

So, I was right. It was the fuse. Just not the one in the d/c adapter.

I attempt to plug in my GPS charger, which has an indicator light and get nothing. And, this is now the 2nd time my cigarette lighter fuse has burned out. I drive back out to Autozone and tell him "I need to trade this for a 20 amp fuse." Problem solved. I'd learned about the fuses in my trunk from a similar experience about a year ago, probably trying to do the same thing. I was able to say, charge my phone, but anything requiring a lot of power would flat out not work. Believe it or not, there is a fuse specifically for those two cigarette lighters alone. At least they're cheap. A hell of a lot cheaper than a Slime Air Compressor!

Look at it. I trust this brand completely.

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