Archives 2015

Sunday, 6th December 2015 - 15:08:23


I bought a Jackaroo 6S 6 Burner BBQ off eBay for parts - turns out this bbq is in better nick than mine. So, I've pulled it all apart and started cleaning it. The panels from the body of the bbq will be treated with high temp paint and the rest will be finished in Machinery Grey epoxy enamel. All the stainless parts are in good nick. I don't envy people that work in body shops stripping paint all day! It's a pain.

Sunday, 25th October 2015 - 17:56:59


I saved this little stove from being scrapped. It works great.

Sunday, 25th October 2015 - 09:07:16


ALL the bacon =)

Tuesday, 20th October 2015 - 22:00:54


Home machine SSD upgrade, cloned 250G SATA to 250G SSD. Much faster, will get a little more life out of this PC that way.

Monday, 5th October 2015 - 16:56:15


First time laying floating floor. Turned out pretty nice.

Should look good once it's got the post-mix soft drink machine and coffee machine in it!

Thursday, 1st October 2015 - 23:44:14


Scored a HP EVA SAN rack. Now all I need to do is get it into the shed. The roller door is too low.

Friday, 18th September 2015 - 20:57:14


Cleaned out and tested my mates tropical fish tank light. These are really nice. You can adjust blue / white proportions of lights.

Friday, 21st August 2015 - 20:16:32


eBay score - direct from China of course. Got a bunch of jumpers and also matching 2,3,4 and 5 way connectors.

Sunday, 16th August 2015 - 16:01:21


I bought a few of these cheap ESP8266-12 modules from eBay. I'm pretty impressed so far with how easy it is to get a simple web server up and running.

Key learnings:

  • The module has a number of IO pins which must have set state to run and another state to flash. GPIO0 needs to be tied low to flash.
  • Needs hundreds of mA - can't run from USB->RS232 converter power.
  • minicom (linux) doesn't send the required CRLF to the module. Have to manually use CTRL+M, CTRL+J
  • Needs to be flashed with NodeMCU firmware to use LUA
python --port /dev/ttyUSB0 write_flash 0x00000 ../Downloads/nodemcu_integer_0.9.6-dev_20150704.bin

Monday, 27th July 2015 - 07:53:09


The log and is in and the Anubias are moved onto it. Looks OK I reckon. The tank was looking barron after all the Giant Ambulias died (how?!) and the amazon sword is entirely gone so I put some fake plants in. If those fake plants die then I know I should definitely stop.

Sunday, 26th July 2015 - 19:13:13


Mini Sausage Rolls! =)

Saturday, 20th June 2015 - 15:36:16

Philips DLS10 Delay Tube 01

I was given this interesting tube. The Philips DLS10. It's a thermal delay tube designed to delay the switch on of the HT (High Tension) section so that tubes are at temperature before HT is applied. This one is operational.

Saturday, 13th June 2015 - 13:39:20

Bluetooth FM Transmitter

I created this Bluetooth FM tranmitter thingy from two cheap eBay items. Combining them reduces the crap hanging around in the car and means just one cord freeing the USB socket for charging.

Monday, 8th June 2015 - 22:46:59


Cleaned off the last of the cloth insulation on the secondaries. I also scraped back the enamel and tinned all the leads. I am poking 6.3V AC down the high current secondaries on this Ferguson PF181 transformer that I am working on to try and determine where the HT and Primaries are. This is going to be a great transformer to use once I've made it safe. 5V @2A, 12.6V centre tapped @2A. 6.3V @2A. 770V centre tapped HT (385V).

Monday, 8th June 2015 - 15:51:46


Trying to clean off my work area. Lots of bench scapings to sort out.

Tuesday, 2nd June 2015 - 20:48:56


The PCBs I ordered came back today. These are a prototype TSP-14 socket for GR-211 nixie tubes. They make use of Mill Max solder-in ferrules. This is part of a group nixie clock project.

Sunday, 31st May 2015 - 14:11:41

Yamaha A-760 Cleanup

Got the old Yamaha A-760 out of storage. Dusted out with brush / compressed air. Lubed all the pots - they were crackling. Ran it up pretty hard on some PA speakers. Can smell electrolyte =( One of the caps is definitely leaking, just no spills or pushed out vents yet. Will have to see how we go... I probably should just re-cap...

Saturday, 30th May 2015 - 14:11:24


Cleaned out the throttle body. It's pretty gross. The crankcase breather behind the butterfly was totally clogged.

Sunday, 19th April 2015 - 19:49:17


Finished the air compressor manifold bracked. It's much better now that the manifold is not floating around. Click the image for more images.

Thursday, 9th April 2015 - 13:59:25


Yup. Thanks again Australia Post. These are United Electric UE-468 triodes.

Friday, 3rd April 2015 - 17:55:47


I started pulling apart this Ferguson PF181 transformer in preparation for use. It has old material based sheathing on the flyleads which I plan to replace with spagetti (PVC though). Unfortunately I didn't finish this off. I will have to continue later. It also looks like some kind of bug has made a house at some point in there.

Wednesday, 1st April 2015 - 18:53:41

RCA 813 Beam Pentode

I fired up the filaments on the two 813 Beam Pentodes that I scored. They both work. One 813 is RCA, the other is Radiotron. I'm going to have to track down a microwave transformer to feed the plate on this thing. It wants ~2kV. Will have to rethink a project now, because the 304T is dead. I'm pretty sure people have built amps with 813s.

Tuesday, 31st March 2015 - 10:51:57

Eimac 304T - I may Cry

Well that sucks =( I can't see myself getting hold of another one of them in Aus any time soon...

The tube was actually packed very very well, so I'm not sure what went wrong. Thanks Australia Post. 

Sunday, 22nd March 2015 - 18:51:38


Spicey Baked Sausages (not my recipe). Normally you'd do this in the oven. I was a little bored of sausages. You cut the sausages down the middle once they are cooked a little and put in a BBQ / Tomato / Worcestershire / brown sugar sauce with onions in there too. They work a little better in the oven because the sauce caramelises. Still tasty though!

Saturday, 21st March 2015 - 10:26:29

How to Correctly Do Breakfast

This is how you do breakfast correctly =) (This was not all for me btw =P )

Sunday, 15th March 2015 - 17:42:23


Today I had a little time to fire up the TRS-80 to see if it was alive or not. Turns out it's in great condition. I opened the main unit to check the capacitors and they are very close to spec still. To check the capacitors I desoldered the ground lead (so they were out of circuit) and checked them with the ESR meter. I bodged together a DIN->RCA lead for the video, then realised that my DIN connector was 7 pin not 5 pin. So I ended up further bodging by removing the pins from the plug and sticking them directly in the back of the TRS-80.

Monday, 2nd March 2015 - 07:48:18


This is what the tank looks like now. Unfortunately the Guppies did not like their environment at all and carked it. The Tetras and Rainbow Shark are doing well. On Sunday we went out again, this time to another shop to get some more fish for the kids. We ended up with a Scissor Tail, More Tetras, An Albino Rainbow Shark and also two Coloured Widows - one blue and one pink. Kel also talked me into getting a bridge. Since the last lot of plants died, I got some more. I got some Ambulia and some Anubias. The Amazon sword is still there in the back, but it's not looking great.

Saturday, 28th February 2015 - 19:43:37


BBQ Beef Ribs =)

Saturday, 21st February 2015 - 13:46:34


The fishless cycle has now happened and the Nitrite and Amonia levels have bottomed out. This means that the bacteria has been established in the filter media which take care of the Nitrogen cycle for us and make sure our water doesn't get toxic. The kids got some guppies. Kel got a rainbow shark and I got myself some tetras.

Wednesday, 18th February 2015 - 21:56:28


The pressure switch and manifold turned up from eBay =) It's now fitted and wired, set to go off at 100PSI.

Monday, 16th February 2015 - 17:03:21


I managed to talk Kel into letting me get two racks of pork ribs after my success slow cooking the chicken bits the other day. I used a basic rub based on garlic and smoked paprika powders with a little Cajun pepper and brown sugar. It caramelised really nicely. The only thing missing I think was a baste. In spite of not basting, the ribs were quite moist still and very tasty - with just a little warmth from the Cajun pepper. Same MacGuyver technique with foil over the grill and the adjacent burner on for a slow cook (2.5hrs).

Saturday, 14th February 2015 - 20:42:20


Kel got some "Chicken Ribs" from RedLea to try. The biggest problem I've had previously with little chicken things is that if you grill them, they burn. If you cook them on the hotplate, you have to burn them to cook them through. So I decided to try and slow cook them, like you would if the BBQ had a lid. As I had no lid, I put the burner on under the hotplate and covered the grill in foil. They turned out really well.

Saturday, 14th February 2015 - 13:36:56


I have "un-bodged" the EGR on the Barina after a lot of de-gunking and scraping of the mating surface of the block. Whoever had bypassed the EGR used a piece of tin (which is fine), but they also use this horrible grey gunk which was a pain. There was also a slug of the stuff in the intake side of the EGR manifold! Thankfully they also gunked the original aluminum gasket in with the tin, I was able to recover it. I bypassed the EGR this time around with a piece of coke can. Click the image on the right to see the rest of the photos.

Sunday, 8th February 2015 - 19:41:18


I do this occasionally and it's really tasty! All that is required is a small amount of oil on the hot plate and you can cook these calamari rings and prawn cutlets on there, no problem.

Saturday, 7th February 2015 - 18:11:21


Today I was fortunate to score a Tandy TRS-80 from a friend along with a collection of tubes and old transformers suitable for tube equipment. I look forward to firing the TRS-80 up, I have never actually played with one. The key I think is going to be to clean it (obviously) and check all of the capacitors and connections before I fire it up. I don't want to let out the blue smoke!

Monday, 2nd February 2015 - 20:34:26

Flashing the kids XO4

The kids managed to ruin their XO and I could not even recover it. So, back to factory setting. This is what the flashing screen looks like.

Saturday, 24th January 2015 - 21:05:33

Seat release inside

Today I pulled the back seat out of the barina so that I could get to the innards of the seat release. I have temporarily put a cable tie around the tie rod that is snapped off the plastic release button so that I can at least actuate it and release the seat.

Saturday, 24th January 2015 - 07:32:42


Unfortunately it looks like the plants hate the new tank =) I suspect it's because the is no food for them (as I am doing a fishless cycle). There is no phosphate in the water. The rest of the level (ph, amonia, nitrate, nitrite).

Sunday, 18th January 2015 - 16:08:11


A bit of hose and barbs from Bunnings plus the Gauge from eBay. The little compressor is now useable! It has a valve on the bottom of the 3 way manifold because I don't have a plug for it. On the right of the manifold is a Ryco quick release connector. The regulator is from some scrapped pneumatic equipment, an SMC AR30 which will allow 0-100PSI adjustment. The only problem is that the compressor doesn't have an automatic pressure shut-off.

Sunday, 18th January 2015 - 13:51:15


Finally all the gear I've been collecting for the tank has been combined. The kids and Kel are away, so this is a suprise for them. We were given this 2ft tank maybe 2-3 years ago. It came with a hang on back filter and some pretty ordinary looking gravel substrate. The gravel substrate looked like maybe 3 generations worth with no replacement =) There was a lower layer of darker small river pebble type substrate, then ther were day-glo coloured pebbles, then on the top layer some generic fine pebbles.

I decided on the larger 5-6mm gravel with some fine black gravel for  a little path and a "Volcano". I plumbed the air with two valves and a tee so you can independantly control the volume of the bubbles in both air stones. The little house came with the tank, as did the volcanic rock.

The plant on the left is Ambulia and the one on the right is an Amazon Sword.

Thursday, 1st January 2015 - 15:54:27


I opened up the aircon because the blower does not seem to start. After some probing around I rubbed up against the motor body and burned myself. Yep, it's probably got shorted/burnt windings. It gets really hot. You can sometimes start the blower by giving the squirrel cage a little push. The bottom blower has nearly the same mountings but is 90W, the bottom blower pulls inside air through the condenser and then fires it out the window duct. The upper fan is just 55W, but has 3 speed taps. I may just get the 90W part and cable all three speed relays together. Usually if you need this thing on, it's going to be going full boar anyway!

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