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Archive for October, 2010

21
Oct

Blog Software – Network Thingie

Wabbit Wavings has been, thus far, published using nothing but the WordPress App on my iPad. And for the most part has been fairly painless (except for that dull feeling in the ends of my fingertips from pressing on the iPad keyboard)…but the current version is a little buggy and an update it forthcoming so I’m looking at other solutions as well.

For example, there are times when I’d like to be able to do blog entries from my desktop Mac as well. And so starts the task of finding software that works on the desktop and doesn’t cost the standard arm and leg. Which, as it turns out is fairly non-existent…

None the less, todays entry is made with MarsEdit, probably the most expensive of the bunch.
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One of the things I tend to do quite often, for whatever reason, is install networks. Either wireless or wired. Sometimes in homes, offices, well, the usual gamut of places. So you end up with questionable cables and wiring to deal with.

What would be handy in these cases is a simple way to test ethernet cables or wall wiring to ensure that the electrons will actually move from point A to point B, unimpeded hopefully. Of course, a proper network tester is quite expensive and overkill for a simple GO – NO GO tester that I’d like. Which ,of course, brings us to eBay and it’s seemingly endless cesspool of Asian made geegaws.

But this one caught my eye:

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Cost? A whopping .99 and $1.99 to ship it. Even came in a simulated “leather” bag. I figure if nothing else and it was a dismal failure I could always use the box and build my own. It’s billed as testing both RJ11 (telephone cables) and RJ45 (ethernet). So after a long wait, I finally get it. It runs off a 9V battery and, surprise, it worked. Sort of. So in the spirit of the EEVBlog, I didn’t actually use it, I took it apart…

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Not exactly rocket science here. Two transistors running as a extremely low frequency multivibrator, a 4017 decade counter and some indicator LED’s. The other piece of the tester is a couple of diodes and the same LED’s. Probably the nth degree of the “KISS” design I’ve ever seen.

While probing around, none too carefully, I managed to let the smoke leak out of one of the transistors so I replaced them with a pair of 2N3906’s and had it operational (if that’s a word you could use with this device) in a minute or so again.

Now what I noticed is that the CMOS chip enables the LED’s, counting through them so if there is a short or wiring order problem, you’ll see it reflected in the LED. As I said, go or no go. But the 4017 is a “decade” counter, meaning it counts to 10, but in ethernet there’s only 8 leads. So for two counts, nothing happens. Since I test far more ethernet cables than phone style, I tied the Q8 output to the reset pin so it only counts through the eight leads. I also added a resistor and switch to slow down the count cycle (which moves quite fast so it was hard to get the order of cross over cables sometimes).

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I stuck the whole thing back together and for the $3 I spent on it, it’s been quite handy for testing. And no, considering the soldering and build quality I couldn’t advise anyone to use it for other than the simplest testing. The eBay ad says it will test Cat 5 cable. I’m thinkin more along the line of Cat .1 cable…

20
Oct

Hansel and Gretsch..L

My nephew had a problem with his 16 month old Gretsch 5120. One of the pickups refused to function but the other still worked. While he could have sent it in for repair, he decided that Uncle Mel might be able to fix it…

In my experience the common point for the pickups is the selector switch and that’s almost always the point where signals go astray. Usually as a result of the switch coming loose and someone tightening it and straining the wiring in the process. Which, in this case wasn’t the problem.

Since the guitar has no pick guard to remove for access, everything has to come out the pickup holes. Thus, I had to remove those first to inside. The Gretsch has a floating bridge and since this was intonated correctly I wanted to make sure it stayed in place. Painters tape did that…

I then used some Koban thread to tie onto the pickup selector switch so I could fish it back in without using forceps. Once I got the switch out, the problem was obvious. The shield wire on the cables hadn’t been cut cleanly and there were two whiskers of wire poking right down inside the switch. Effectively grounding out the signal from the bridge pickup. Not good.

I cleaned up the wiring shields, put some insolation between the wires and the switch and put some wire ties on the cables to bind them better. End of problem. Guitar is now once again back in the hands of my nephew and he’s happy as a clam.

13
Oct

Clean n wire

Trying to clean up the studio today..always a bigger job than it looks…

One of the problems has been the low levels coming from the Radial JDI. Finally figured out that the XLR output is at microphone levels and not line level. A simple patch cable fixed that up.

The it was time to finally retire the Euphonix MCMIX. Kind of sorry to see it removed but my iPad will work just fine in it’s place so it’s not going to be missed too much. I put it on Craigs to sell but it’s a pricey piece of hardware. We’ll see.

Picked up a couple of Hercules guitar stands. Nice builds. Sure makes those cheap stands look sooooo cheap…

6
Oct

Experience Music Project

My brother and I went to Seattle to the science center for the experience music project. The displays showed the music scene in Seattle, the Pacific Northwest, for the past 60 years.

From the Whailers, to the Ventures, to Hendrix, it was all there. And very well laid out and informative.

The prototype for the first Fender Telecaster was there, although I don’t know what that had to do with Seattle, but it was neat to look at and wonder where Leo got the idea from.

Then it was over to the SciFi exhibit and many exhibits as well. Like remember those old Robbie The Robot movies?

Who could ever forget…ah the many memories…

4
Oct

Tis The Rack For Yee

I finally got all the bits and pieces to build the rack head cabinet for my V-Amp Pro and the Peterson Stroborack tuner. For the box, it’s a 4U rack box and the bassist helped me build it.

I should point out I am not a wood worker. More of a wood butcher actually. So it’s made of pine so it’s easy to work with.

I used a biscuit joiner since I don’t have a fancy dove tail cutter setup.

I’ve never done Tolex before so this is my first time with that. Not sure I want to try it again. It is not as easy as some people make it look. I guess if you did it enough, it would get easier. Just not sure I want to do it that much.

Here’s the start of the Tolex, just a simple two piece job.

Then I wrapped and cut in the corners.

Finally wrapped in all the corners and added the bottom piece, the rack ears and the handle.

Then I mounted all the components in the cabinet and here’s what it finally looked like:

All in all, I’m pretty happy with it for a first try but I wouldn’t want to do this for a living…