Friday, September 20, 2013

I Win The PanaVise Contest

I discovered that PanaVise is running a contest every month on their Facebook page, where they ask people send in pictures of their PanaVise use, modifications, etc. Being the sort of guy who uses PanaVises I sent in a picture of my third-hand jig that mounts in a PanaVise base. As nobody else entered in August, I won by default. I’m sure I would have won even if I had competition. No, I wouldn’t, I’ve won two things in my life, a pumpkin in 7th grade and two ugly centerpieces at a Eugene Chamber of Commerce dinner. Both prizes were underwhelming. But the third time is the charm and a box arrived from PanaVise today!
A box, the suspense is killing me.
Nick! Why are you teasing us? Move aside, foam peanuts.
And there’s more…so what did I get?
A PV JR. which is really handy for electronics projects.
A nice weighted base that works with the vise or any of my other PanaVises.
A speeder handle and some non-marring neoprene jaws. Nice.
I stuck the rubber feet on the base…
This will be useful.

Rubber jaws will be good for when I take up quail egg engraving or toothpick carving.
Vee grooves in the jaws so I can hold round things.
Like this screwdriver. Not that I need to hold screwdrivers, it was the only round thing I had to hand besides a pen.
The Speed Control Handle. It works well.
Adjustability! Thanks so much, nice people at PanaVise!
Oh, might as well introduce it to the rest of my PanaVise herd.
I already had a worn PV JR. While it seems redundant, trust me, there are many situations where having two identical vises comes in really handy.
Since nobody has entered the contest this month, and they explicitly told me I could enter again, here’s my engraving vise mount. I used this until I bought a proper engraving vise. I hope I win again. I obviously need more vises.
Made from a cheap import jeweler's hand vise, bolt & nut and a piece of steel rod I drilled out for the bolt. Simple. I see Eurotool makes one that is way flimsier. PanaVise should die cast a head like this. They would probably sell dozens and curse my name for suggesting it.
Anyway, back to PanaVise.
My 309 base says “COLBERT DIE CAST CO.INC”
“Pana Vise” or “PanaVise”?
Notice the old style of low profile vise.
Manufacturing was simplified. While I love the rounded guide rods and screw, there is absolutely no reason to add cost by making the parts that way.
There different bases and logos.
If only my only vice were vises.

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Northgate Omnikey Evolution Cord Replacement

I have ended up rescuing items from the trash far too often this summer. Honestly I’m slightly embarrassed and worried I’m becoming a contemporary high-tech rag-and-bone man. That said if people are going to throw away keyboards that still fetch close to $100 on Ebay, then I shall be upending myself in trashcans forever.

The keyboard. As you can see it has issues in the cord area. I’m not going to go on and on about mechanical keyboards the way some people endlessly do, but they are neat things.

Northgate is no longer with us.

I needed a PS/2 cable and this keyboard was a perfect donor.

Good for learning touch typing, but not much else. It’s worth noting that the lettering on the Northgate won’t rub off because it’s part of the molding of the key.

The existing cord was the old AT style. It is extremely easy to convert AT to PS/2.

The circuit board in the donor keyboard. The wires were labeled but I double checked anyway. (Voltage, Clock, Data, Ground, with Drain being another ground)

1995. So it’s only 18 years old.

Removing the top is done by removing screws coming through the bottom. No point giving a step-by-step.

What is interesting is that the cord and buttons for the optional trackpad are in place. This means that the cord that is attached was original but at some point was flayed and separated from the cord for the trackpad, possibly because it didn’t have a trackpad and it was in the way? Or people are crazy.

The place where the wiring attaches to the keyboard. To remove the keyboard PCB from the bottom of the case those screws on the side were removed. Note the missing Atmega IC in the space between the two green LEDs, if it was there then this would have been one of the programmable keyboards. Although people remove them because the programmability was only using software that ran in Windows 98. Or something like that, bored yet?

This is a really exciting picture.

As is this one. It was mainly for reference.

Hooked up for testing.

Yes, that’s an old Gateway 2000 P4D-66 running Windows For Workgroups 3.11, with Word 2.1 open…

All hooked up correctly. In order from left to right is Ground, VCC, Data and Clock. You can see the area of missing Atmega chip clearly in this picture.

After testing I gooped the cable with hot glue. The original was gooped down instead of mechanical strain relief, or in addition to.

So now I have a nice old keyboard. Honestly I hate ergonomic keyboards so I’ll either sell it or hold onto it for the computer museum.

Some helpful Northgate links: