So, my wife wanted to go skydiving, and when she mentioned it on Facebook, she got another of our friends who wanted to go skydiving to jump with her, and two more who wanted to go watch. Our son wanted to go, and of course, I was going to be there, and as the subject of getting there & carpooling came up, I offered the bus.
All was arranged, snacks and champagne were gathered, and we set off. The location of WNYSkydiving was at the Pine Hill Airport, basically an hour away.
Unfortunately, the winds were too strong, and the jump was aborted, though our two jumpers didn’t get the notification. So we ended up having a nice picnic in the bus, and heading off to Batavia, NY in order to enjoy the offerings of Oliver’s Candies, both in their ice creams as well as in their candies. especially to pick up some of the thin, colorful ribbon candy that have just entered their seasonal production.
And the trip was nice. We skirted the edges of the Upper Stafford Marsh area along the way, making it a bit more scenic.
And after Oliver’s, we headed back home along Route 33 (which doubles up on the way as we passed Corfu). But, being a nice, sunny day it’s a nice view (even at 4x speed).
Overall, it was an uneventful trip, likely to be repeated in May when the Skydiving season restarts.
Unfortunately, it was subjected to stresses that I hadn’t foreseen. While I had looked at the 300 lb holding ability, and the 8 lb press (not 150, I came to find out – a labeling error) power as sufficient, I hadn’t prepared for a teenager who was trying to pull closed the accordion door while the hand-control was locked closed. The back plate of the actuator snapped under the stress.
Faced with this situation, I obviously had to fix this, so that the door could be closed and secured, but still usable. As a temporary solution, I had a piece of 2×10 that just fit in the bottom stair that would block the door from opening, and I could still climb in and out of the rear door which has the deadbolt lock. I then set about trying to find a replacement plate.
Firgelli Automations no longer made the model that I had purchased, so had no parts for it available. I then attempted to fab up a ‘sheath’ to enclose the back and secure the engine/shaft casing. As I was finishing this up, the engine finally failed, which was very frustrating. As I did some research, I found that many of this model had had the engine fail, and it was a usual end-of-life situation for it.
While this was disheartening, I contacted Firgelli’s support about getting specs on the engine to see if I could find a replacement somewhere, but no luck. They make all their components themselves, so it was a special run. They were able to point me toward a different model that was more rugged and had a more powerful (and durable) engine than the model I had.
This model is much more rugged than the original unit, and about twice as powerful. And the connectors are an eighth of an inch bigger in diameter than the original, which meant that not only did I have to undo all my sheathing welding, but I had to fabricate new sockets too. As we were right near the limit of when the inspection for the bus would run out, they’re, unfortunately, rough and unpainted.
It’s also an inch longer when fully retracted, and I was able to compensate for about 1/2 an inch with the adjustment threads at the door, but it means that the door doesn’t open quite as wide as the old unit allowed – but that’s just me being picky. (It’s also cheaper to buy directly from the company’s site than through Amazon …)
While I’ve not got to painting the new unit, I do have to admit that the works are much smoother than the old unit. Check it out in action:
Things have been keeping us tied down at home, so fewer posts over this summer. But never fear, I’ll be getting a post together about how you fix the back plate of your linear actuator after a over-zealous teenager tries to close the door while the handle is locked in the ‘open’ position.