April 17, 2016
Got around 5" snow, alas it mostly melted very quickly.
April 16, 2016
Yet another winter storm warning... I mailed out my property taxes... Another huge check for the government.
Found a bulk magnetic eraser and a handheld luggage scale to play with. The magnetic eraser takes a while to degauss 8mm tapes...
April 15, 2016
Happy not quite USA tax day! Though filing is due on the 18th this year due to Emancipation Day, I mailed out my forms and huge check yesterday. Sigh. Could have bought a Keysight Oscilloscope with it, and instead I have to fix my scope. At least now I'm pretty sure what the problem is now: I need to buy another CRT as it's cracked. Sigh. On the positive side I measured 1900 volts on the cathode. So I think I just need a tube.
April 4, 2016
Found the fuse burned out - and the PSU is drawing much more current than I would have guessed. But the behavior was unsettling.
March 30, 2016
Lucked out on snow. Just rain.
March 29, 2016
After a bit of debug, I found that the scope's deflection grids were not connected. So indeed someone has worked on this before. However one thing that was real bad: the deflection pins were bent! Doh. I guess the tube is toast. I tried bending the pins back so that they could be connected as the tube probably is a total loss anyway. After connecting the pins back, for a short while: SUCCESS! Four traces showed up. However the screen was really blurry and tough to focus... and it got worse and worse as I left it on... and then the screen slowly whited out (or greened out). And then no more on the screen :( The high voltage supply is dead. Which matches the description that I heard when I first looked at the scope.
When I looked at the circuit, heh - the HV supply looks like a Joule Thief blocking oscillator circuit with a secondary. Of course this isn't a true "Horizontal flyback" or "Horizontal Output Transistor" circuit as the horizontal sweep needs to be controlled by the sweep generator or X axis input.
And oh...another 3 to 6 inches of snow possible tomorrow.
March 26, 2016
Went to the LARC hamfest.
I didn't really have anything in mind today and almost left with nothing. Alas someone had a old broken Tektronix 2465 computer controlled analog oscilloscope. Looked like a project! Alas the seller did not stick a price on it so I kind of assumed the worst and left it. However later on he ended up apparently donating it to the "junk pile". Now it was perhaps worth it to take a shot at repairing it.
Unfortunately this is one of the scopes that Tek decided to use custom electronic parts within, making it harder to locate replacements. However the symptoms of the failure *seems* like power (or multiple failure which would really be bad) and hopefully power supplies are fairly common. The reason why it looked like power is that though it does power up, it seems the CPU does not run code and the deflection plates aren't running (both issues at the same time) so power is suspect.
Fortunately service and operators manuals are available online, making an almost impossible task a bit better, at least the proprietary electronics have modular definitions...
Now whether my VuData PS941B has enough bandwidth to help debug this sick scope.
March 23, 2016
Wow, a sudden snow storm dropped another foot of wet heavy snow. It was just yesterday pretty much all snow from the last storm melted away. Looks like my arborvitae will look pretty sad looking this year.
March 20, 2016
What a weekend... Found a shelf-cart that I can use to stick my test equipment upon. Really running out of space, have to stack...
March 17, 2016
Got about 4-5 inches of snow. Also very cold, hope my irises in my front yard don't freeze to death again. :(
March 14, 2016
Happy π day! √-1 23 ∑ π
March 13, 2016
I found the remote that goes with the DVD player I got for the heck of it a few months ago. Alas I don't really need it now after finally finding some other way to generate a test composite signal. At least the DVD play works perfectly and completely now, and I can actually use the DVD menus...
I only own one real pressed DVD: The Matrix
Now just need to get a Benq remote for the projector and possibly one for the Fisher stereo...
March 4, 2016
Back from California business trip. Just a 4 day, 3 night stay.
February 26, 2016
Got new water heater installed. Looks like it's working.
February 24, 2016
Just as the clock struck 12 to start the 24th my water heater gave up to corrosion. Was a good run, in excess of 20 years.
February 21, 2016
Now that my PVR has 2 tuner cards (shows up as 5 somehow - three for one and two for the other, unsure why other than the old tuner could pick up two subchannels from one channel at the same time), I tried to set up a remote frontend. After a bit of futzing with MySQL for permissions as well as mythbackend, it seems to work - both the console and the remote MythFrontEnd can access backend data. Seems that the backend also can serve recorded media as well as live streaming. I stuck this machine in the lower level with the BenQ projector and hooked it up, at least temporarily, with a wifi to Ethernet bridge. The network was for sure struggling with the load, but then again it could be the backend.
Backend: Ouka, Core2 Duo E6700, 2.66GHz with 2GB RAM and 2TB WD Green HDD, onboard G965 graphics
Frontend2: Yuri, Pentium4 650, 3.4GHz with 3GB RAM and 200GB WD HDD, ATI Radeon 9250 AGP Graphics
February 14, 2016
I had gotten yet another wall wart, this time a 7V 1.5A SMPS so the other 5.8V brick can be reserved for the Olympus. This time I made sure it was easily openable, and this couldn't get any easier - it uses four 5/32" hex head screws. They're self-tapping screws but seem to hold fine, though I had to go to my car's ratchet set for the socket. I modded it to about 8.2V by adding another resistor in parallel with an existing resistor, which was easy as it is a through-hole design and actually had drilled holes for another resistor in parallel. I might have to up it to the full 8.4V as that's needed to fully charge the 2-cell NP-F550 Lithium ion pack, but charging a bit low will greatly extend the total number of life cycles of the pack at cost of somewhat shorter time between charges.
I also finally did a second pass at building another connector. This time I used thermoplastic as a base (I think HDPE), and using a solder gun, melted the nickel metal contacts into it. I set my regular solder iron to 200°C and molded the key so it would only fit in one way. After a bit of tweaking I finaly got a stabily and sturdily connecting plug. I epoxied the wires to the plastic for additional strength (though I will need to think about how to deal with strain relief) and hooked it up to the modded wall wart. And now I have a way to power the Sony CCD-TRV68 Handycam off wall power.
I still should get an official power brick, but now can wait for a good deal for it, and not pay $10+ from ebay.
February 11, 2016
Tested the power brick. I noticed it was 5.4V thinking it was 5.0V, but no matter. Alas I didn't realize it was sealed. Grr. Thought it used screws to close the case. Anyway it seems to be outputting 5.8V and I "mistakenly" tried it with my Olympus camera... it works! Now I have a power brick for my old Olympus that ate 4 AA's!
Oh wait, wasn't I going to mod it for the camcorder?
Ahh... drat. What to do now. At least I figured out why the hacked power connector didn't work. I made some modifications and tried it again with my bench PSU. Now it sort of works, so I could charge the battery with the camcorder. It draws about 4.2W from my PSU during charge, and the camcorder seems to try to make sure it doesn't charge when not in "off" mode. However it does appear to use external power instead of the battery when the cord is connected. Unfortunately, the jury rigged connector is not snug, so that affects its operation.
February 10, 2016
Well I tested the DLP some more, and the composite input that I thought was bad is actually good. This also showed me my Handycam's composite output is also nonstandard and I need to get a special cable for it. *sigh*
I tried making a power connector to charge the Handycam. It didn't work. Hmm. Need to study it a bit more... hoping the power brick doesn't need to be chipped...
I also tested the 8-port Gbit switch and at least one port and the management webpage work. I wonder if I should use it instead of my unmanaged D-Link 8-port Gbit switch.
February 7, 2016
Superbowl 50 Sunday! Broncos 24, Panthers 10
I went to the Aurora Repeater Association Hamfest. Wasn't really that much, as I didn't have that much in mind other than perhaps if I could find one, a power brick for the Sony camcorder. Alas I ended up getting a load of loot from a junk pile with donation...
- A 800x600 DLP projector (tested, after fixing the body up a little).
- A 8 port Gbit managed switch (haven't tested yet)
- A 5V power brick, planning to mod it for the camcorder.
- An autoranging ANALOG multimeter. Yes autoranging.
- A dual 3½ and 5¼ in one half height slot drive.
- a mostly used spool of 0.031" 63/37 solder. About ¼lb left.
- A spool of twisted pair wire
February 5, 2016
I started and ended the diagnosis and repair of my Sony CCD-TRV68. That was probably the fastest project I've ever had. I opened it, probed around with a scope using the schematics and service manual, and found the culprit: a diaphragm that was stuck closed, allowing no light to reach the CCD. The diaphragm in the camcorder is cheapcheapcheap. It is only a 2-leaf servo controlled electromagnet unlike the zoom (stepper) and focus (also looks like stepper but I didn't look very closely). My DSLR though also "cheap" at least has a 5-leaf. In any case, easily fixed by cleaning and now the diaphragm works once more. Now I need to locate or hack an AC adaptor for it, though I can charge the battery by itself. The camera is pretty neat with its infrared light low light mode, and its 20x optical zoom is incredible, exceeding the range of my DSLR though at much lower resolution.
February 4, 2016
Still definitely very easy to high center my Subaru on the large amount of snow on the road. Grr. Also I connected the Sony CCD-V99 backwards to my power supply... magic smoke came out :( Ugh, not a good day... I guess this thing gets permanently shelved or possibly parted. Time to work on the other one.
February 2, 2016
Okay, that 2" of snow turned into 12-14" snow today - they (the weather forecasters) were right. Yeow. Used my snowblower to clear off most of it, however, it was struggling due to the height. Now I don't know if I have enough clearance to get out -- my Subaru was having trouble getting over the immense amount of snow. I don't know what Punxsutawney Phil saw, but it looks like there's a lot of snow here!
February 1, 2016
About 2 inches of snow started sticking on my driveway, and 3 inches stuck on grassy areas. Not a terribly lot of snow. But it's still coming. I used a shovel this morning instead of my snowblower...
January 31, 2016
Well, another winter storm warning, 8-12" snow expected. We'll see.
I decided to button up my older 8mm camcorder (Sony CCD-V99) and work on the newer one (Sony CCD-TRV68). I however did swap out four 100µF capacitors and three 10µF caps. There are a bunch more, alas, I don't have enough spare parts to replace, so I just replaced those that I found were really bad. Surprisingly, it can record now! Picture is still kind of bad, but much better than before (it was recording nothing at all!). Now onto the other project - a newer 8mm camcorder. At least now I can test tapes, one tape mechanism that can play and record something! Alas I sort of like the eject tape handling of the older model, the newer one you can't have your hand in the handstrap while ejecting the tape... Plus it's weird that it positions the tape deep into the mechanism for you...
January 30, 2016
Finally got SyncEvolution to work again. I couldn't back up my N900 calendar for the longest time. I figure I didn't really need Gnome or Bluetooth support, and disabling them let it link properly once more.
Was looking at the tv capture cards I got from the hamfest. I ended up getting three Hauppauge NTSC cards (one BT848, one BT878, and one CX23416 - the ivtv - which I haven't gotten working yet) and an AVerMedia card. The AVerMedia card was the interesting card - it's an M780 - meaning it's a DVB - ATSC/QAM-B card. It's also the only PCIe card and I found that it works with the Linux nGene driver. I stuck it in my PVR and now it has two ATSC cards and thus now can record a program while watching another. As if I really am watching anything...
Unfortunately I have to waste the PCIe x16 slot as my PVR is a MicroATX with only two PCI standard, one PCIe x1, and one PCIe x16 slot, all low profile. My PVR box is a Core2 Duo E6700 - Foxconn G9657MA, with an AVerMedia M780 (nGene driver) in the PCIe x16 and a Hauppauge HVR-1250 (CX23885 driver) in the PCIe x1 slot. That means I'm stuck with using onboard graphics, which is the G965 - an Intel X3000 Graphics processor.
Along with the haul of cards were a ton of old Radeon and GeForce cards, a bunch of PATA cards, some IEEE1394 cards, some sound cards, IO cards, and some winmodems. The IO cards include a PCMCIA adaptor (no cardbus) and some parallel port cards, which will prove to be useful as fewer and fewer computers have legacy IO ports...
January 23, 2016
Went to the NCARC Hamfest. Ouch, almost got nothing, then again I usually get nothing. Up until the last moment I walked empty handed. I then found some old PC expansion cards with all sorts of components. Unfortunately I was offered a lot deal, so I had to get it as a lot. There were only a few boards with caps that I could pull and reuse unfortunately but might be enough.
I also ended up picking up a 4½ digit DMM from BK Precision. A bit slow in its integration time - it uses an ICL7129 chip - but seems to work. It draws around 5mA through its 6 C-sized batteries which is pretty hefty for a LCD display. A PP3 battery would last only 50 hours or so, hence the use of larger C-sized batteries, which puts it up to the 500 hour mark - still well below my Fluke. Alas I'm not sure if I want to get a set of batteries for it.
January 19, 2016
The battery got up to 5.9 volts open circuit after some idle period after an overight charge. Weak. But it does seem to hold a little charge. The battery was gassing despite only 7.2V charging.
January 17, 2016
I found a Sunbeam cordless bugzapper. Unfortunately it was broken and didn't work. This thing was quite the puzzle to open! Lots of hidden screws that require a scripted removal order for it to be opened. After finally getting the device open, I found a burned out transistor with its declaration burned away. Looks like it's a TO204 marked with something like B????9C, where "?" is under the burned spot. I replaced it with a TO-220 2N6103 that I had in my junk pile, and surprisingly the nonfunctional UV lamp came right up like new once more. I tried to measure the bug zapping power source and it appears to also be working, at least it got over 500 volts with my 10MΩ impedance DMM. I was surprised a little TO-92 transistor D9012(?) was sufficient to charge up the killing voltage.
All that's left is the danged battery, a 6V 4.5AH sealed lead acid, which is very common but not worth to get one. I tried refilling with some distilled water and recharing, though it was probably completely sulfated up. Almost no current flows through the battery. Just going to let it sit there and see what happens.
January 13, 2016
Alas, the quickpick gave me PB 01 on two plays of the $1.6E+9 jackpot. Of course neither won. Oh well, at least I can't say I didn't try. The money would actually make life harder anyway, at least the money would have made the harder easier.
January 11, 2016
And the Powerball lottery has gotten to a ridiculous $1.3B dollars... cue in Dr. Evil...
January 10, 2016
I parted and tossed an old spare cdrom drive. It was a read-only device, so the laser is a crappy IR laser which I saved. Using its guts to repair the 8mm camcorder for the heck of it.
January 9, 2016
... and no, this year won't be be better even if I won winning the $900M Powerball lottery. Which of course, I didn't.
January 4, 2016
It snowed... used my snowblower again. It actually started up a lot easier than I thought it would, probably because it now has proper clean 2 cycle oil in it, instead of seemingly used car motor oil. Once again, it doesn't smoke at all. At least I virtually used all of the gas in the tank, and have to mix a fresh batch next storm.
I noticed that the temperature stability works a bit better after I lined the tip of my 898D+'s solder iron with a bit of aluminum foil, allowing for conduction through more surface area. Tighter fit now.
January 1, 2016
Happy New Year! Ugh... Once again prognostication for this year will be worse than the previous... only one event may make it better but highly doubtful it will happen...
older 2015 entries