Sunday, March 09, 2014
We had a record storm! The most snow since we moved here back in the ‘90s. It lasted for days and completely paralyzed the Willamette valley.
The power went out one morning as the weather transitioned from snow to rain and trees fell across lines. We coped by playing Qwirkle.
Henry made a FM radio with his Snap Circuits Kitso he could listen to the radio while waiting for the power to come back on. Not a bad emergency plan I suppose.
The next weekend or so I went to the hamfair with my friends Gregg and Bill. They are crazy hams. I was on the hunt for test equipment and vintage computing stuff.
Gregg and I filled his Prius trunk. Bill was completely disciplined and bought nothing.
I bought this lovely fluke bench multimeter.
An audio sweep generator, multimeter (broken but I will have a post about fixing it soonish) and an EMF meter to drive my hippie friends crazy with.
Gold! I paid a quarter a piece for these lovely vintage CPUs.
Heathkit and Zenith together.
My new Color Computer II!
And a pair of Micro Color Computers, one of which is broken.
I was getting the Continostat out (long story for another post) and found this micrometer hiding under a bench.
Then it was the weekend of the Benton County Friends Of The Library Sale. I was extremely disciplined and only bought this small stack of books. This is hilarious considering what comes next.
The next weekend had an estate sale for a man named Chris McGlothlin. I don’t know anything about him other than that I wished I’d met him when he was alive. Nobody I know knew him, and the internet has no mention of him (other than being listed as “missing” in a picture of some EE’s at OSU). Anyway over two days I bought piles of electronics components, kits, parts and tools…and books…
A function generator
My new favorite thing. An extremely nice power supply.
Way too many books. But many good books.
And a very important piece of history.
But this is where I will impart a life lesson (beside the obvious lesson about hoarding):
At the sale on Friday I talked to a young guy who had just bought a hot air soldering station at the sale (wish I had seen it first, but he wished he had seen the power supply before I did as well…as such things go). Anyway when I got home I found that among the random parts I had bought in a box of crap were some tips for his soldering station.
The next day (yes, I went back as they were willing to make very good deals, hence all those books) I was talking to a woman who mentioned that her son had bought the hot air station. So I told her to tell him to email me so I could give him the parts (they would do me no good). Turned out she was the landlady of the house the estate sale was at…
You see where this is going don’t you?
Yes, I met the young fellow a few days later and gave him his parts and he let me take all the books (all the books I wanted) that were left in the house, as they had been abandoned by the family.
The lesson? Pay attention and be nice. I should do that more often.
Let me just say that Felice is very understanding.
I got a little hardware as well.
I told you it was funny that I was so disciplined at the book sale…I am a book magnet. I did get give away a pile to Gregg almost immediately, so it’s not quite as bad as it looks. Ok, it is as I also got a bunch of Nuts & Volts and other electronic hobby magazines.
And finally, I fixed a spatula (turner). I don’t know where to get these style anymore with the thin springy stainless steel blade, so I fix them when I have to.
Thursday, February 20, 2014
I picked this Decade Resistance Box (AKA Resistor Substitution Box)up at the OSU sale many years ago, before I started trying to learn electronics. I dusted it off when I began assembling my “lab” but found that it was not particularly accurate, or rather grossly inaccurate.
With all the resistors switched off it showed 34.3 kilohms [there are three cases in which the final vowel of an SI prefix is commonly omitted: megohm (not megaohm), kilohm (not kiloohm), and hectare (not hectoare).] of resistance when it should show almost none.
Yes, I cross-checked with another multimeter (VOM, DMM). All of my multimeters disagree. This is leading me to an obsession with standards and calibration which I will write about later this year.
My favorite tool these days is DeOxit contact cleaner. There are lots of brands and types, this is what I have and use.
So I sprayed the banana jacks.
Look at that, someone put a 30 kilohm resistor in by accident. I picked a pack of 300 kilohm resistors up at Norvac electronics after the hamfair this last weekend (interestingly enough there was a distinctive lack of pork products at the swap meet).
Tuesday, February 04, 2014
The is the model number. It was cheap and I bought it a few years ago at Bi-Mart.
You can see that some of the resistive heating wire is pulled away from the insulating/reflecting surface. I tried to pull it all away from the surface with a dental pick but there wasn’t enough slack.
I get very dry and barely toasted toast with little evidence of the Maillard reaction.
Anyway I decided to replace it. I spent some time researching and while you would think that the error was buying a cheap toaster, I replaced it with the Black & Decker TO1332SBD 4-Slice Toaster Oven, which was less expensive that the toaster it replaced, more versatile, and as a bonus? It actually will make toast. I’ve been quite happy with it for the past month.