Author Topic: six-point socket's tidbits of Home Improvement, small projects and other stuff.  (Read 32358 times)

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Online copcarcollector

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I like to see the process.

Two questions:
1) What are the two small copper looking lines running perpendicular to your property?

2) More of an observation, I like these blocks, I have not seen them before. Seems they would make curved walls pretty easy to construct...




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Offline six-point socket II

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Hi!

So let me guess..

Yesterday the guys with the special tool showed up and managed to get the line installed without having to dig a trench.   The gas line guys came in today and had to dig a trench in the same spot as the fiber line. So the fiber line was taken out, the gas line put in and then the fiber line was placed back into the trench.... 

Timing is everything... And unfortunately I also see integration of services not always work out.  Something always gets done at least twice.. [blink]

Been enjoying your posts.

Thank you! And yes, you nailed it. Still laughing when I think about it... :)

In our local council when work on a paved footpath happens, the pavers are taken up .. they vanish .. the work is done, then covered in black tar. Many months later someone will come along, dig up the black tar and replace it with new pavers.

Sounds interesting! Here, at least on those sites I have seen, the pavers are stored neatly on site (if space permits I got to add, I have seen them stored in containers and drove off) and after completion of the work re-installed.

While you're right in thinking it's a complete waste, sometimes scheduling in an additional dependency for the fiber guys to drop the cable when the gas line is being run (for those residents that opted in) can be problematic. But if most residents opted in, yes, you would think there is an opportunity to save money...unless the mayor paid way too much and the contractor doesn't really care because they are getting well paid.

Who knows what the real story is!  But it's good for a laugh as long as my taxes aren't paying for it (then I cry).  :)

I can imagine that - and I'm really not mad or anything - just funny because it happened exactly 24h after. Possible that in other streets the fiber cable was run, connected, and then the gas guys came weeks later... :)

I like to see the process.

Two questions:
1) What are the two small copper looking lines running perpendicular to your property?

2) More of an observation, I like these blocks, I have not seen them before. Seems they would make curved walls pretty easy to construct...

(Attachment Link)

(Attachment Link)

1) Cable TV and phone main lines. (And if you look closely in the corner of your marking you see a red brick, beneath that is the main power line.)

2) Those are basically planting pots. Direct translation would be "planting ring" (Pflanzring) -> http://www.hornbach.de/shop/Pflanzring-LusoFlor-Grau-48x38x30-cm/5231919/artikel.html made from concrete. You can use them to hold back a slope: http://www.kann.de/files/downloads/aufbauanleitung_pflanzwandsteine_603_37c126.pdf

But I don't think they are legal/allowed to be used for "real" construction - at least I have never seen it being used for that.

Thanks!

Kind regards,
Oliver

Offline six-point socket II

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Hi!

I decided to re-join Instagram: @the_black_tie_diyer

Has a little bit of everything "me". ;)

Kind regards,
Oliver

Offline Sparktrician

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Suggestion - if you choose to use Wiremold surface-mount conduit (or any other form of EMT), be absolutely sure to de-burr the cut edges before you pull in the wiring. 
- Willy -

 "Remember, a chip on the shoulder is a sure sign of wood higher up." - Brigham Young

Offline six-point socket II

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Hi!

I've been quite for a couple of days as things have been pretty busy around here and early Monday morning work continued on the fiber optic and gas handover points.

Around 7 AM two workers showed up to drill through my basements outer wall and to install the handover points.

They brought the smallest SDS-Max type rotary hammer from DeWalt along with Hilti drill bit and core drill bit. I felt sorry for the machine, the chuck and drill bits were dry as f*rts, some unidentifiable thick black liquid dripped out of the gearings... Clearly not the right tool for the job - but they had nothing else - and I was surely not giving them my 5 KG SDS-max rotary hammer after seeing how poorly they treat their tools.













The drilling itself took pretty long with this underpowered (max. diameter 43mm) machine but it got through eventually.







After that they were back up to their original speed. The gas handover point was fitted. It's fit through the wall and then a foam collar is added.



On top of that foam collar another plastic collar is fitted - from both sides.





From the outside, a cement mixture of very runny consistency that hardens within minutes is filled through a funnel. This serves to fix the handover point and to seal the wall again.





A product called Tangit is used to place and seal the fiber optic handover point. It's a 2-components expansion resin.





Then they had finished their part and told me a second team would arrive shortly to connect the gas line.

While I was waiting for them, I decided to use the time to clean out the hole of my basement window. This resulted in a rescue mission:

This little guy right here had somehow managed to fall through the light grid above said window/hole. His very lucky day, 2nd birthday if you want - I only very rarely open those light grids...







I set him free in the backyard where he took off right for the neighbors pond.





Shortly after this, the 2nd team arrived.

They brought a special welder.





To weld/melt the gas tube connections. All connection pieces feature metal lines on the inside, than when connected to the welder get hot and weld/melt the plastic tubes together.



But first things first:

Piping/tubing is laid out and cut





The connector to the main line is installed







Realizing they should have placed the connector the other way around. ;)



Turned around.



EVERYTHING gets wiped down with some alco-pads.



Connectors are placed. They feature a barcode that can serve different purposes. If necessary it can be used to trace it back to the manufacturer and the worker that installed it. In this case, they are used in conjunction with the welder - which then automatically detects how long it has to run for the type of connector.



Barcode scanned.



Welding.



Worker writes something on the connector...



This procedure is now repeated for all connections.









In the meantime the 2nd worker places a mechanical barrier on the gas handover point.

This is what it looks like





Placed on the handover point.



Now, the magic happens. Did I mention that the gas line is life over the whole time?

A bolt is inserted to the side of the T-connector and turned. Inside the T-Connector a cutter moves closer to the gas main line with each turn and opens it eventually. The bolt is unscrewed, the cutter head moves back in its original position and the gas can flow freely through the tubing. By that time the second worker opens the mechanical barrier to get all of the air out till he sniffs some gas. You can see the cutter in the first picture, the copper thingy inside the cut out.







Then it is also sealed.



The second connector, connecting the hose to the T-connector serves also as a flow switch.









By the end of day it looked like this:





I then proceeded to cover up the damage inside with some plaster and re-placed my shelvings.



Kind regards and I hope you guys are enjoying the journey so far,
Oliver
« Last Edit: July 05, 2016, 01:06 PM by six-point socket II »

Offline Goz

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The gas connections are fascinating.  You say the line was live the entire time?  I don't think I would have been standing around taking pictures while they were "welding" to the main.  [eek]

Thanks for sharing!

Offline rizzoa13

  • Posts: 506
That was all for a new gas line service? That seems pretty excessive but obviously high quality.

In the states there would either be a threaded black pipe or some gas-tite flex lines run and some pope dope slathered all over the threads.

Offline six-point socket II

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Hi!

The gas connections are fascinating.  You say the line was live the entire time?  I don't think I would have been standing around taking pictures while they were "welding" to the main.  [eek]

Thanks for sharing!

Yes, Sir, the gas line was live over the entire time they worked on it. The two guys who worked on it are professionals so I had faith and trusted them enough to stand there - I mean, where would I have gone/be safe anyway? - If that main line had blown up...

This "system" was designed to work this way. I'm not a professional in this line of work, and I haven't talked to them about this, but I could imagine that it is done like this for safety reasons:

If the gas line was shut off, all consumers connected to this part of the line would have extinguished and in this instance are supposed to close all feeding valves shut immediately and shouldn't re-open until it's manually done and the gas ignited again.

Now since you never know what kind of consumers all those people on this part of the line have and what state they are in - I guess the danger of a basement/room filling with gas because a valve of a heating, oven... (or the like) didn't shut off, and they don't automatically re-ignite is much higher than anything going wrong with this system. Of course this is the absolute worst case.

These are my un-professional thoughts.

Thank God, all went well - we're all still here to enjoy life! :)

That was all for a new gas line service? That seems pretty excessive but obviously high quality.

In the states there would either be a threaded black pipe or some gas-tite flex lines run and some pope dope slathered all over the threads.

Yes, Sir, all done for just two new gas lines from main line to handover point. Maybe nice to know for relation: The cost for this would normally be 2500 Euro (2775.75 USD at todays exchange rate) because of the work done all over town, we got the offer to do it at a heavily reduced price of 1000 Euro (1110,30  USD at todays exchange rate). Which is kinda a no-brainer because, we now got 10 yrs. time to install a gas-heating - our current oil-heating would then be over 20 yrs. old - so this is definitely a good investment.

--

Today everything was closed up. And now, slapstick hits again: Tomorrow everything on public/municipal property will be re-opened over the whole length of the street to put in the fiber optic main line in... Not sure if it's just the main line being put in or if they also make the connection to our handover point. At least the line from my handover point right into public/municipal property is there - so chances are good. Anyway, no more digging on my property - that's finished.

Just two pictures today, closed pavement and me posing with that little excavator.





Kind regards,
Oliver

Offline six-point socket II

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Hi!

So today at 7AM came a lot of workers who placed the fiberoptic main line in the ground and closed it back up. They are so quick, I had to capture pictures at different sections and still didn't get everything... They work "in line": Removing pavers, excavating, placing the line, closing, adding the pavers again.

Small excavation.


Every house got a temporary bridge... (Safety is a BIG factor in Germany...)


And already re-installing the pavers...


What I didn't see, and sadly it's not really possible to communicate with the workers, if they connected the handover lines to the main line or if that will again be done separately...

For now, I consider this journey finished :)

Kind regards and I hope you had fun,
Oliver



Offline HarveyWildes

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I have been fascinated by this post.  At the planning level it seems really inefficient, but at the least the workmen seem to know how to get in and out pretty cleanly.

With all the moving of pavers, how are they going to keep the sidewalk level as everything settles?  Do they replace all excavated dirt with sand?  Who comes back to fix pavers that go wonky?  Also, who is responsible for the grass from the sidewalk to the house?  I assume they level it out and you provide the grass seed?

Offline six-point socket II

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I have been fascinated by this post.  At the planning level it seems really inefficient, but at the least the workmen seem to know how to get in and out pretty cleanly.

With all the moving of pavers, how are they going to keep the sidewalk level as everything settles?  Do they replace all excavated dirt with sand?  Who comes back to fix pavers that go wonky?  Also, who is responsible for the grass from the sidewalk to the house?  I assume they level it out and you provide the grass seed?

The workers are good, all-round talents if you want. They do everything from excavating, setting pavers, drilling....

They bring sand, they bring very fine gravel and re-set the pavers. If it should settle further below the original level in future, especially after some rainfall, it's one call and they are going to fix it.

The Grass is on my property, where they removed it they filled the excavation with topsoil and provided grass seed on their own. I had to do nothing but watch and take pictures. Basically when they leave it's all like it was before - of course except for the grass that still needs some time to grow. Pretty sure that if I had especially asked for it, they would have provided turf.

Kind regards,
Oliver

Offline RKA

  • Posts: 792
It brings a smile to see how cleanly they work, the end result and how neat the site appears after the job is done. I was thinking about this thread this morning as I drove down a familiar street littered with potholes patched and filled 1000x over. My car just rumbles over this stuff at 25 mph. This is a quiet suburb, not even in the city, but you would never see this in Germany. Yet here, good 'nuf is the norm.
-Raj

Offline Cheese

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Hey Oliver,
Just curious if they do any hand tamping of the sand or gravel before they replace the pavers?

This has been a rather interesting post...it's always interesting to see how others do things, especially if the others are German!
I wouldn't even want to think how something like this would be done in the States.

Offline six-point socket II

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Hey Oliver,
Just curious if they do any hand tamping of the sand or gravel before they replace the pavers?

This has been a rather interesting post...it's always interesting to see how others do things, especially if the others are German!
I wouldn't even want to think how something like this would be done in the States.

Hi @Cheese ,

They spread the soil and gravel with a shovel, than place the pavers on top and then proceed whack them a few times by hand with a rubber-mallet. After that is done, the re-placed pavers are still a little higher than the rest - then a vibrator/shaker is run once or twice over the complete length and they sit perfectly. Of course, only after a couple of rainy days we'll see if they need to re-do a section or two... :)

--

With all the praise for "German" work - I have to admit there was not one German worker. The two guys doing the excavating and drilling were originally from Turkey, the two guys doing the gas-connection, one was originally from India the other from Kazakhstan but all work for the same German company.

The two guys from the very first day, who used that rocket came from a company based in the Netherlands but were also originally from Turkey and the couple of guys running the fiber optic mainline were from the same company, but came originally from everywhere. Couple of guys originally from Estonia, one guy probably originally from Africa, and some others I didn't talk to because they were already working a street farther...

What I can say is that they all seemed pretty happy someone showed interest in what they do and how they do it, they executed their work very professional and did a great job.

The sad truth is that you won't find many Germans working in this kind of setting. Because they want to achieve "more" given the cost of living in Germany it's no wonder. So when they have their journeyman's certificate or even better their master craftsman certificate they fly off to stand on their own feet.

Establish their own company and won't ever be considered for this type of work because they can't come up with the necessary manpower needed.

And the companies doing this kind of jobs don't even pay close to enough to keep someone with a master craftsman certificate - if they do - it's for one position only - kinda the one master craftsman overseeing it all. And who absolutely needs to be there if the company want's to train/qualify apprentices.

(It's a law: only a master craftsman is allowed to take on new apprentices for training/education, so a company wanting to train/educate needs to have a master craftsman).

Given all these circumstances, and taking Turkey as an example: The two guys would get a 400,- Euro wage person/month after tax in Turkey for this kind of work. Here in Germany they are paid by the hour - the driver for example 15,- Euro/hour. They get paid for 7 - 8 hrs. a day. They don't do weekends so its 22 days/month. Lets say: 15 Euro x 7.5 x 22 = 2475 Euro before tax. So realistically they take 1732,50 Euro home. Add some perks like additional vacation/christmas gratification - that's huge for them compared to "Home".

For Germany that is rather low. No one with a college degree, journeyman/master craftsman certificate would work for that kind of money, there  may be exceptions that do, if they have some sort of "gun" to their head.

Kind regards,
Oliver


Offline six-point socket II

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I called it finished early. I just learned a large section is re-excavated - probably on Tuesday next week. My neighbor has no TV signal, they found a broken cable and fixed it - but it didn't help - so there must be more damage. And since we have a TV signal - starting at my neighbor and then down the street it's re-excavated. I'm very curious as from what I saw they never even came close to those cables - and where they came close to them, everything was A-OK when they closed the excavations...

I feel this is going to be a loooooooong story...  [scared]  [scared]  [scared]  [scared]  [scared]  [scared]  [scared]  [scared]  [scared]

Kind regards,
Oliver

Offline rst

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This is the difference between Germany and the US.  In Germany you must actually be a licence tradesman in order to work publicly.  In the US, you can lose your desk job one day and the next be a "trunk slammer"...some who goes to Sears, Lowes, or Home depot,buy a hammer, square (if you're lucky) and a $50.00 saw and suddenly you're a contractor.

Offline RKA

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I think the observation is the standard of work and work ethic is generally higher in Germany than the US, not necessarily a commentary on the nationality of the workers involved.  I had a fiber line run into my house 7 years ago.  They took a drill, punched the hole in the side of my garage, fished the cable through, globbed some caulk around the cable and called it done.  Outside the house the cable comes out of the ground and runs up the side of the house to the hole they drilled.  One day the landscapers are going to clip it with the mower or string trimmer.  At least I'll know where to start looking when I can't get on FOG!
-Raj

Offline six-point socket II

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Hi!

This is the difference between Germany and the US.  In Germany you must actually be a licence tradesman in order to work publicly.  In the US, you can lose your desk job one day and the next be a "trunk slammer"...some who goes to Sears, Lowes, or Home depot,buy a hammer, square (if you're lucky) and a $50.00 saw and suddenly you're a contractor.

Sure, it's a relief knowing that someone you hire has some sort of training/education, is eligible to have an insurance that covers his doings and the like. But then I still always wonder how many great craftsmen/workers/employees are simply lost within "the system" because they didn't make the cut. Be it because of some school grades, a mishap with the law, ... *whatever*. Personally something I always admire when thinking of the USA is that there are, at least a lot more than in Germany, bosses who think outside the box and promote talent rather than just strictly following/adhering to a procedure. I know this is a long shot, given we were talking about "trunk slammers" - and I surely don't endorse it because this can end very, very bad. Both health and monetary wise.

I think the observation is the standard of work and work ethic is generally higher in Germany than the US, not necessarily a commentary on the nationality of the workers involved.  I had a fiber line run into my house 7 years ago.  They took a drill, punched the hole in the side of my garage, fished the cable through, globbed some caulk around the cable and called it done.  Outside the house the cable comes out of the ground and runs up the side of the house to the hole they drilled.  One day the landscapers are going to clip it with the mower or string trimmer.  At least I'll know where to start looking when I can't get on FOG!

I got that :) I just wanted to give credit where credit is due :) My plumber is a German master craftsman, asks 40,- Euro/hr and I'd certainly agree that his work ethic and standard of work are higher than what I have seen from other craftsmen that have worked for me so far with other nationalities.

I get that the hole they drilled and finally caulked for your fiber optic line is above the ground/soil, right? I'd dare to say, that could happen here too if the line goes in above the ground/soil. The problem, and we had it happening to our front basement wall, is that it draws moisture if it's not sealed off properly.

In our case we have a concrete foundation, then a sealing layer and on top of that bricks and mortar. For some reason that seal was damaged and the wall drew moisture, additionally during construction of the house some water must have collected on that foundation so they drilled trhough right into the soild beneath. (Additional intake of moisture there of course...) So what was done is, that they drilled at an angle right into the first layer of bricks and injected some 2-component expansion resin. It was really injected under high pressure with a pump - not like they did for the fiber optic handover point with a caulking gun.

Here's a picture: (I marked the injection valves/ports red, and the goo that came out after removing them 24 hrs later green...)



And another to give an idea of size and hole distance



Kind regards,
Oliver

Offline six-point socket II

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Hi!

One of the big disadvantages of having a home office and working from there for about 65% of my time is that everyone around you assumes you're on vacation/don't need to work and have time for everything if you open the door. Monday the door bell rang - and when I opened I was greeted by a worker from or energy supplier - he wanted to exchange the power meter. Although it really didn't fit my schedule I wanted it to be over quick so I let him do his job.

Old power meter


Old power meter with circuit breakers


Main line in and breakers - those were needed to be pulled of course - luckily my NAS and other stuff didn't get damaged as I didn't think of them and don't have a UPS... But now it's on the list of stuff to do.


breakers


New power meter


It works... *yay*... ;)


Kind regards,
Oliver

Offline six-point socket II

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So here is what happened about 11 days ago, a Neighbor complained - after the works had been finished - that his TV cable was dead.

Workers came and the pavement was re-opened in 3 spots. To search for the defective line and an obviously also defective connector.





When they found what they were looking for, defective parts of the cable were cut and re connected with a pretty special type of coax-cable connector (I haven't seen those before, only a couple of years old this technique/connector-system)











All connectors in place - ready for heat shrinking.



Heat shrinked.



The defective connector (from the 80ties, looking pretty good for being buried for more than 30 years)



Smaller connector in another of the holes they dug.



---

The whole thing is far from over, I overheard two neighbors talking today who won't agree with the replacement of the pavers, they say it's not good enough and have already complained - so I'm pretty sure we will see some workers soon who will redo the whole pavement.... And I'm going to laugh my  off if that happens, before it's re-opned for final connection of the fiber optic cable to the main line.

Kind regards,
Oliver

Offline Cheese

  • Posts: 2887
Interesting Oliver, thanks for the photos & update, FWIW, I Googled the connectors and this is what I found:

http://www.intica-systems.de/en/products/industrial-engineering/high-frequency-engineering.html

Then I Googled HFC network and found this:

A hybrid fiber coaxial (HFC) network is a telecommunication technology in which optical fiber cable and coaxial cable are used in different portions of a network to carry broadband content (such as video, data, and voice). Using HFC, a local CATV company installs fiber optic cable from the cable head-end (distribution center) to serving nodes located close to business and residential users and from these nodes uses coaxial cable to individual businesses and homes. An advantage of HFC is that some of the characteristics of fiber optic cable (high bandwidth and low noise and interference susceptibility) can be brought close to the user without having to replace the existing coaxial cable that is installed all the way to the home and business.

Scientific Atlanta lists four reasons why cable TV and telephone companies are upgrading facilities to HFC:

1) The use of fiber optic cable for the backbone paths allows more data to be carried than coaxial cable alone.

2) The higher bandwidth supports reverse paths for interactive data flowing back from the user.

3) That portion of the infrastructure with fiber optic cable is more reliable than coaxial cable. Reliability is perceived as more important in an interactive environment.

4) Fiber optic cable is more efficient for interconnecting cable TV or phone companies that are consolidating with geographically adjacent companies.

Offline six-point socket II

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Hi!

You're absolutely correct in your findings @Cheese !

They did this years ago, all main distribution frames were upgraded to fibre optical cables & hardware. And as stated above, the lines to homes and businesses stayed coaxial. With a mayor disadvantage - most of the old connectors/distributors (like our's from the 80'ties, that was replaced as you can see in the pictures) have major problems with many of the higher frequencies used today - so while we could get all 280 (actually more...) tv-channels, phone and internet over it, it never really worked 100%. (That's why we personally, still use different companies for TV, Phone & Internet with all different lines)

If the "new" company does it right with their fibre optical cable only installation - I guess it will be the end of the company still using the coax lines that were now repaired. I know, the neighbor it was repaired for is definitely going to switch companies - so sooner or later all these coax lines will be pretty much unused - just as the upgraded distribution frames, because the "new" company built their own.

Kind regards,
Oliver

Offline six-point socket II

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Hi!

Did some minor work on the shed yesterday: new holders for the tubed flexible lighting (think Partys and Christmas...).

Two still lives.





Kind regards,
Oliver

Offline mrFinpgh

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Wonderful photo.  Love the contrast of Axe and Systainer. 

Offline six-point socket II

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Thanks!  [big grin]

Kind regards,
Oliver

Offline neilc

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These updates are amazing to see the level of detail your utility providers go to.  We don't see this much in the US!

Love your tool choices as well!  Keep them coming -

neil

Offline six-point socket II

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Glad you're enjoying the posts, Neil!  [big grin]

Kind regards,
Oliver

Offline shanegrilah

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Oliver,

What is in the "Systainer of evil"?

Shane

Offline six-point socket II

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Hi Shane,

I simply empty my pockets in it when I'm working on a project. :)

Kind regards,
Oliver

Offline shanegrilah

  • Posts: 15
Now I can sleep again. I thought maybe Pandora had modernized.

Regards,
Shane