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July 28, 2012

New power

My Black & Decker old electric mower nearly died. The last time I jammed it through damp, high grass in our back 40 the motor slowed to a sickly whine and didn't speed up even when I moved to the sidewalk. No amount of coaxing made it speed up.

We got more than five years of pretty good service out of it, but clearly we needed another. Enter Facebook friend Stacie who posted that she had a B&D cordless, rechargeable mower, free to a good home. That was me.

Inside view of B&D mowerIt needed a new battery pack, not a cheap item. But since the mower was free, $140 for the battery was a good deal. All I had to do was put it in the mower.

I can honestly say that this YouTube video from westvalley411 saved my butt.

It took me quite a bit longer than the 8 minutes shown in the video, but if I hadn't watched it, I'd probably still be in the basement cursing the mower and the horse it rode in on!

As with so many things, the devil is in the details. In the picture I've moved the black plastic housing to the right. There's the battery, easy to access and work on.

At first, though, I'd moved the housing to the left, which pulled a bunch of wires across the top of the battery, making it both hard to see and get at. I watched the video again on my iPad while I worked and saw that I'd done it wrong. This small detail made a big difference. There were others.

The small block of Styrofoam on the right wasn't there at all when I started. It must have been lost in a previous battery change. Since the video pointed out that this foam kept the battery from shifting (and the old one had) I made a replacement from three thin pieces of foam I had laying around. Should work fine.

The power of video

It's kind of amazing to me that even though I watched the video twice before starting, I had to check it again a couple of times as I worked. It was really helpful.

Made me think of how students love video tutorials when I've done them for class. Today's project has made it clear to me how reassuring it is to have the lesson there to watch over and over until you get it right. My lawnmower repairs may have helped make me a better teacher.

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JULY 2012