Can anyone identify this Dining Room Table Extension Leaf Catch?

I've done a few google image searches to try to find a vendor selling this hardware, or anything similar, to no avail. This hardware is from a dining room table fabricated in Italy, approximately 15 years ago. This is the catch that holds the extension leaf gap closed.

Table Extension Leaf Catch - Seeking Vendor Source

Table Extension Leaf Catch - Seeking Vendor Source

Table Extension Leaf Catch - Seeking Vendor Source
If anyone out there recognizes this hardware, please leave a comment below, or send me a message. Many thanks!!!


Heat Gun with 2 Heat Settings, Which is High and Low?

I've got a decent Black and Decker 120V heat gun, with two heat settings marked "1" and "2" on the switch. However, there is no clear mention of which setting is high heat, and which setting is low heat. I don't use the heat gun regularly, so if I had to use it on low heat to avoid melting something, I would flick the switch back and forth to try to figure out which setting was the low heat setting.

I finally got tired of this routine, and took 5 minutes to figure this out and label the heat gun for clarity.
500W setting - Measured using the Kill-a-Watt
 I have a Kill a Watt energy meter, so it was quite simple to connect the heat gun, switch the Kill a Watt meter display to instantaneous power (Watts), and flick the switch back and forth to determine that switch position 1 is 500W, and switch position 2 is 1000W.
1000W setting - Measured using the Kill-a-Watt
I have a Brother TZ label maker in my garage toolbox, 30 seconds later I had the heat gun labelled for clarity. No more uncertainty as to what switch position is low, and what switch position is high. Nice.

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Self Closing Yard Gate Upgrade - TruClose Hinges & MagnaLatch for Pool Safety

I wanted to upgrade my yard gates to be self closing to increase safety for our backyard pool. Our galvanized steel fence is 4' high, and the two gates to the yard were hinged with two pins into support plates and the latches needed to be manually opened or closed. With the kids going in and out of the yard all the time, it was not uncommon to find the gates left open, despite the warnings to the kids. 

So - it was finally time to take care of this project. 
The completed MagnaLatch and Truclose Latch and Hinge Installation
I decided to go with Magnalatch top pull safety gate latches, and their TruClose gate hinges. These are available at Lee Valley Tools, mail order, among other suppliers. This was going to take some work - because my gates did not have a full frame, the frame was open on the hinge side. So - I went to my local metal supplier and purchased a length of 1-1/2" galvanized square tubing, took it to a local welding shop, and had the tubes welded to the gates to close the frames.
Gates modifed with square tubing (on right side) to permit installation of the TruClose hinges.
Detail of the Welding.
With the gates modified, it was time to cut off the old hinge and latch hardware - first with a jigsaw and metal blade, then grind the remaining metal and weld off with a grinder.
Gate latches ground off.

Gate hinge and latch weldments cut off the gates and posts
I got to exercise a few new tools with this project, my Dewalt 20V angle grinder and reciprocating saw. I'm almost now fully converted to Dewalt 20V cordless tools - and have pretty much sold off most of my corded tools.
Dewalt 20V Grinder and Reciprocating Saw - They still have that new tool smell. 

The convenience of cordless is really apparent when you're working around the yard in various places.
Time to start grinding
With the gates squared away, I painted the areas affected by welding and where the tabs were ground off with some spray galvanizing compound. Then it was a simple matter to install the hinges and latches using the instructions provided. Sharp drills, using the hardware supplied, made for a very secure installation.

MagnaLatch top pull magnetic latch installed. 

Another view of the MagnaLatch top pull installed. The top pull was adjusted so that it was 54" above the ground for security.
All of the grinding, cutting and welding was touched up with cold galvanizing spray - it's a zinc rich coating that's designed to maintain the zinc cathodic protection on steel parts.

TruClose hinges installed. The cap with phillips screw removes to give access to the spring adjustment knob. You can easily increase or decrease spring pressure for reliable closing. 
The back fence isn't quite vertical - but I was able to increase the spring pressure of the hinges to firmly close this gate even with a slight uphill slope on the gate travel. The hinge adjustment is impressive. 


So - one more project completed. A nice feature of the MagnaLatches is that they are key lockable, so if I need to I can lock the gates closed. Very well made, professional grade hardware, I'm very satisfied with these latches.

Sources and Links

I hope you found this post useful. Feel free to ask questions in the comments section below. I answer all questions. If you're interested, you can help support this site by using the following links to in the United States.


Adding Trailer Light Harness to the BMW 5 Series E60 E61 Touring

I've had my 1 1/2" trailer hitch installed for three years now, I use it regularly with my receiver mount bike rack, but everytime I needed to tow - I needed to use the Subaru Outback because I never got around to installing the wiring. So - camping trip with the kids planned for this summer, so I was forced to get on the lighting controller installation.
Vehicle connections are on the left side - black - 12V, green - right turn, red - stop, yellow - left turn, brown - tail, white - ground.

Curt Powered, Circuit Protected Taillight Converter, Trailer connections right side, vehicle connections left side.
I thought I'd post a few tips to help anyone out with selecting tapping points for the lighting controller.

Green lead on the Curt adapter - right turn - I found the blue / brown wire to the right signal light right at the connector to the right side signal light connector, just above the trunk battery. 
Stop light (red wire) connected to White / Brown and Running Lights (Brown Wire) connected to Black / Brown at the right rear signal light connector

Ensuring a good ground - scuffing the paint around the ground lead connection to bare metal

Reverse lights (not needed for the Curt adapter, but used in the 7 pin plug connection) in the wiring harness above the battery, right rear of the trunk, white / yellow wire. This is also useful for tying in a reverse light camera. 

Use a bit of aluminum foil to deflect heat from the heat gun when shrinking the butt crimp connectors, to protect trim and other wiring. 

Following installation - neaten up the installation with some black PVC wire wrap. 
And that's all there is to it. Once installed, make sure you test to make sure all is working correctly. You can purchase these inexpensive testing plugs online, this one is made by Curt as well.

Light testing adapter. Running lights / stop and turn signal combination lights. 

2 Year Update

Still working perfectly. Did a cross country tent trailer camping trip with the kids - everything worked great. Good quality parts. 

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I hope you found this post useful. Feel free to ask questions in the comments section below. I answer all questions. If you're interested, you can help support this site by using the following links to in the United States.


Installing the Tekonsha P3 Brake Controller in the 5 Series BMW E60 E61 Touring

Let's get the first question out of the way... Why? I've had my 2010 BMW 535xiT for almost 5 years now, and there is no sign that BMW will be importing the next generation 5 series wagon to North America - so I've decided to keep the BMW and run it into the ground. I purchased it at 78,000km, I'm at 175,000km now - averaging about 20,000km per year, so I figure I'll take it to at least 300,000km and really get my money's worth out of it. So - I already had the 1 1/2" receiver hitch installed and get routine service out of it with the bike rack, and I decided to properly set up the car for towing. There's going to be the guys out there that will say you should go out and get yourself an F150 or the like - and I've thought about this quite a bit. The 535xiT weighs 4100 pounds, has 300HP, and most importantly, 300 torques all the way from 1500 to 5000 rpm. Plenty for towing up to 3000lbs with the correct hitch. Oh - and the 535 touring is also equipped with airbag rear suspension, on board air compressor and self levelling suspension control.

The completed Tekonsha P3 Brake Controller Installation, Console Mounted, Passenger side of the Shifter
So - on we go.

Locating the controller - you want the controller within sight and reach of the driver, to be able to actuate the manual brake lever on the bottom of the unit for testing and calibration. One limitation of this controller is that it has to be aligned with the travelling direction of the vehicle (display perpendicular to the direction of travel) so that the inertial sensors work properly. The unit can be rotated up or down a full 360 degrees as long as the unit is aligned along the travelling axis. I originally thought I would install the unit under the drivers side dashboard (below the steering wheel) and there were a few nice options to do so - however - there is almost no clearance below the wheel between the drivers legs. You could easily avoid the unit installed under the steering wheel, but if you ever got in an accident, the placement of the control unit under the steering wheel could really mess up your knees - so - I looked for a better alternative.

I did a quick search on cell phone mounts for the E60 / E61 and found a nice placement to the right (passenger side) of the shifter - so I decided to fabricate a bracket out of aluminum sheet.

First step in bracket fabrication - hook over the leather border on the console, fit into the gap between the wood trim and the console edge. 
Final shape of the bracket, with a small hook to fit under the carpet trim on passenger side of the cabin. 

I glued a baseplate to the top of my bracket to take the screws from the Tekonsha mounting bracket, using isocyanate glue
You can see where the second Neodymium magnet will be fastened to the bracket - make sure you mark the rotation of the magnet with the correct field orientation - so when you mound the magnet on the back side of the bracket, it will engage with the hidden magnet with full force (N to S, S to N). 
 Now - onto wiring. The brake controller needs a battery connect, a ground connection, a brake signal from the brake light switch, and a switched line back to the back of the car, the brake connection on the trailer connector. I first tackled the brake light signal. This took a whole lot longer than what I expected, because the brake pedal switch on the BMW E60 / E61 is not connected directly to the brake lights. It's a double pole switch which switches to ground on one pole, and switches a signal between two control boxes - comfort access and lighting control module. So - I decided against tapping into the brake light switch wiring and tap into the brake light wiring instead.

There are four brake light bulbs on the 5 series BMW, and a single high mount brake light. Since the BMW has a light bulb failure detection feature, each individual light bulb has it's own feeder wire. That means that five separate brake light wires go from the lighting control module located up front to the left of the brake pedal, all the way to the back of the car. I decided to tap into the larger of the two brake light wires feeding the left rear brake light bulbs, this wire is 0.75mm diameter, gray wire with green stripe. I found this wire on the way out of the lighting control module.
Gray wire, green stripe, leaving connector to lighting control module. I've cut the wire and tapping the signal wire which will run to the Tekonsha P3 stop signal (red wire). 
By the way - there are two gray wires with green stripes in this section of harness, one is larger than the other, you need to tap into the thicker wire (0.75mm diameter). Don't ask me how I found this out.
Heat shrink butt crimp connectors - I use two layers of aluminum foil to protect the rest of the wires in the harness from overheating. 
 Now - I needed 20A feed, and a good ground. Just to the right of the center console, on the passenger side of the car, there is a conventional 12V power outlet up underneath the dashboard. Instead of tapping a new fuse on the fuse box behind the glove box, I simply crimped two space connectors on the Tekonsha harness and tapped into the connector for the 12V power outlet. Brown wire on the car harness is ground - connect to the white wire of the Tekonsha harness, and the other wire is the battery feed (12V) to the black wire on the Tekonsha harness. SIMPLE AND QUICK!!

12V power and ground - I just removed the connector from the passenger side 12V power outlet, and tapped into the connector using standard crimp on spade connectors. 
 Next - you have to run a minimum 14gauge wire back to the trailer connector. I ran this wire along the passenger side of the car. Pelican parts has some nice tutorials on how to remove the door sill trim - really useful - just google them - and I ran the wire along underneath all the door sill trim.
Use a coat hanger to help run the wires through B pillar trim without removing the trim piece

Tape the wire you're pulling to a section of coat hanger wire - to help feed the wire under the luggage compartment side wall trim.

Installation of the 7 pin connector underneath the car, to the right of the hitch receiver. I decided to trim the bracket to make the installation a bit easier. 

The completed 7 pin connector installation - bracketed to the underbody cover which hides the battery box and air suspension air compressor. 
 So - with all the wiring completed, back to the final bracket installation. I decided to have the aluminum bracket held in place using two neodymium magnets, one underneath the console side carpet trim, one underneath the Tekonsha mounting bracket.
I used my mythbusters / Adam Savage trick of mixing baking soda with Isocyanate glue to thicken the glue, and provide gusseting for the magnet. This is the backside of the thin carpet trim piece which runs along the passenger side footwell. 


With the brake controller installed and powered up, here's what it looks like in the 5 series. 
Powered up and tested, brake controller head unit conveniently located to the right of the shifter.

The Tekonsha P3 has a nice voltage troubleshooting screen under the help menu - will tell you your battery voltage, and stop light voltage. 
I also installed a Curt lighting adapter to provide the turn signals to the trailer adapter, I'll write a separate post on that installation, and one on the operation of the brake controller.

Sources and Links

I hope you found this post useful. Feel free to ask questions in the comments section below. I answer all questions. If you're interested, you can help support this site by using the following links to in the United States.