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Old 06-15-2016, 12:17 AM   #1441
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Repaired my boat-anchor HP spectrum analyzer with a 50-cent Zener diode.

I am still working on setting up my new electronic hobby room upstairs. This old analyzer was in the garage, and has not been fired up in at least 12 years. Turned on, it worked like a charm. Turned it off, and went downstairs for lunch.

Came back upstairs, fired it back on. Nothing. What the heck? A bit of examination revealed that two internal fuses had blown. Replaced fuses. Worked again.

Next day, blew fuses again. Damn! Told myself I'd better get to the root of this intermittent problem, and not spending more money on fuses.

Research on the Web and perusal of the service manual revealed the likely culprit. This analyzer is all solid-state, but has some high voltages for the CRT. The reference for the +100V section is a little neon bulb with a voltage of 82V. The +248V and -100V for the CRT, as well as the 12.6V for all electronics are then referenced off that +100V.

This type of neon bulb was filled with a bit of radioactive gas to help the ionization. I wonder what the half-life of this gas is, but over time the stuff wears off, and the bulb is slow to fire. The reference voltage soared up past 82V, raising every voltage rail. HP engineers were smart, and put in an over-voltage crowbar on the 12.6V section to protect the expensive electronics. This SCR crowbar fired, and blew the fuse.

So, a quick trip to the nearest Fry's Electronics fetched two 82V Zener diodes for $0.99c. The Zener diodes are not as stable as the neon bulb, and the voltage ramps up from 80V cold to 84V when fully warmed up. The neon bulb on the other hand is rock solid at 82V. Oh well, it's better than replacing fuses every other day.

I next spent the rest of the day playing with this boat anchor. Old as it is, it beats my newer spectrum analyzer, with a resolution bandwidth of 10 Hz instead of 30 Hz of the new one. The phase noise of the old analog design is also superior to the new synthesized design.

It just took more work to set up a measurement with this old equipment, compared to punching in some parameters on a keypad. But, its internal oscillators sing so sweet and beautiful, like a Stradivarius violin.
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Old 06-15-2016, 07:12 AM   #1442
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I decided to de-clutter and so stopped dragging boat anchor stuff home for future repair projects none of which ever got started. Stuff like this - this came out of a 1943. B17 when it was being scrapped jn 1958.


ImageUploadedByEarly Retirement Forum1465992657.076030.jpg

And I finally upgraded my PC ...

ImageUploadedByEarly Retirement Forum1465992582.555219.jpg

It's bad enough my 2 boys have cars and car parts all over the place now that they both drive.

This past week. Monday, infact (isn't fire cool...do stuff on a week day) we replaced the half axles and transfer case seals on my 22 year old Subaru ! Can't get rid of it - best snow car ever.

Dealer wanted $ 650 -- we did it for less than $300 - parts and includes some consultation exchanged for beer money to a local mechanic on best way to remove old axles without risking damage to the 22 year old pinch bolts that often strip and break on these cars ... ruining your day...

ImageUploadedByEarly Retirement Forum1465992697.555220.jpg

We got it all done in just under 3 hours.

I like to tinker. Great for brain cells ...
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Old 06-20-2016, 10:07 AM   #1443
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Washer overfilled this morning. Apparently 30+ years of gunk in the hose from the tub to the water level diaphragm switch is a bad thing. Blew back through it to get it cleared enough to function for now. If parts are not still available, may have to try an emergency angioplasty on it when it cools down. Fortunately (), it'll be 107 or higher today in the pleasant SG valley so everything should dry out quickly.
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Old 06-20-2016, 02:49 PM   #1444
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Our old Golden Retriever is having trouble going up and down our deck stairs (likely arthritis). Over the years, a slight sag to the steps caused them to slope down, which adds to their use. So this weekend, I tore down the old steps and built a new set, adding one step which dropped the rise by 1". About $600 later for materials, we have a new set of steps and hand rails. Now, the old deck looks shabby in comparison, a future project. One added benefit is that the new stairs are much easier on our old knees too.

[IMG][/IMG]
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Old 06-20-2016, 02:54 PM   #1445
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I fixed a router that stopped working but the lights were still flashing. I called customer service and they spent a long time with me on the phone but it didn't help. In the end realized I realized they were giving my the wrong URL for my model number to redo the set up routine.
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Old 06-20-2016, 03:18 PM   #1446
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I fixed a router that stopped working but the lights were still flashing. I called customer service and they spent a long time with me on the phone but it didn't help. In the end realized I realized they were giving my the wrong URL for my model number to redo the set up routine.
My router quit working but I realized that when I changed the bit the last time, I forgot to unlock the armature.
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Old 06-20-2016, 03:19 PM   #1447
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My router quit working but I realized that when I changed the bit the last time, I forgot to unlock the armature.
All my router needs is a password and occasional firmware update.
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Old 06-20-2016, 07:04 PM   #1448
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My ancient Murray mower second hand to me had a hard time starting. The starter would engage then drop out. Removed battery. Removed and cleaned all power wiring, cleanded contacts on the starter switch, the B terminal was really rusty. Literally rusty.

Put battery back in, turn key to start, same problem. Dang it. Looked at the starter solenoid, wiggled it a bit, and it moved. Hmmm.

The coil is grounded via the mounting bolt. The bolt was loose and corroded. Removed bolt, the thread was gone just below the bolt head. Some scraping to bare metal add some conductive grease, a new bolt is installed.

Turn ingnition key to start and immediate crank, and fired up. All is well now.
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Old 06-20-2016, 07:45 PM   #1449
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All my router needs is a password and occasional firmware update.
Midday one day I just started getting a not connected to the Internet message, but I could get to the Internet just fine bypassing the router with a direct cable connection, so it had to be the router.

Travelover - I had issues with the wireless kind of router.
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Old 06-23-2016, 02:47 PM   #1450
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Quote:
Originally Posted by akck View Post
Our old Golden Retriever is having trouble going up and down our deck stairs (likely arthritis). Over the years, a slight sag to the steps caused them to slope down, which adds to their use. So this weekend, I tore down the old steps and built a new set, adding one step which dropped the rise by 1". About $600 later for materials, we have a new set of steps and hand rails. Now, the old deck looks shabby in comparison, a future project. One added benefit is that the new stairs are much easier on our old knees too.

[IMG][/IMG]
The look on his/her face tells me "you forgot the ramp or elevator during your upgrade, Dad!" :-D Goldens have such expressive faces!

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G900A using Early Retirement Forum mobile app
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Old 06-23-2016, 04:06 PM   #1451
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Rebuilt both dump valves on the RV.
Yuck.
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Old 07-20-2016, 05:29 PM   #1452
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Cleaned out the dryer vent thinking it would be a bit dusty, and ended up with a grocery bag full of lint! The cleaning kit I got on Amazon worked really well, using a drill to spin a brush on flexible rods while applying a vacuum cleaner.
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Old 07-20-2016, 06:49 PM   #1453
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Cleaned out the dryer vent thinking it would be a bit dusty, and ended up with a grocery bag full of lint! The cleaning kit I got on Amazon worked really well, using a drill to spin a brush on flexible rods while applying a vacuum cleaner.
You don't own a gas leaf blower?
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Old 07-20-2016, 07:05 PM   #1454
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I put air in a tire, does that count?
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Old 07-20-2016, 07:23 PM   #1455
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I put air in a tire, does that count?

Only if you remembered to put the cap back on the valve stem.


Enjoying life!
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Old 07-20-2016, 07:31 PM   #1456
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Only if you remembered to put the cap back on the valve stem.


Enjoying life!
Without a doubt. I would never leave my stem naked.
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Old 07-20-2016, 07:39 PM   #1457
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Our storage shed gets very warm, and the little roof vent is no help, as there were no vent holes in the base of the shed. I ordered 3 vent covers and cut vent holes and installed them.
I was going to install the turbine on the roof myself, until i got a brighter idea! I am having one of our young maintenance men install it.
Well worth the money!
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Old 07-20-2016, 08:05 PM   #1458
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I put air in a tire, does that count?
Absolutely!

Though, you'll want to puff up your accomplishment a bit ( I actually started typing that before I realized the pun!). For added bragging rights, tell your friends you filled your tires with Nitrogen, at home - yourself! You could even put a little green paint on those caps.

Heck, regular air is ~ 78% nitrogen, so it's true! And if it is the Oxygen leaking out like the Nitrogen fans try to sell us on, then you replaced the lost Oxygen with 78% Nitrogen! Do the math on a couple top-offs, and you'll see your Nitrogen % is about the same as the tire filler's Nitrogen supply (filtered from air in many cases I think, so not quite 100%).

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Old 07-20-2016, 08:23 PM   #1459
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Possible future repair. Old 25 inch Sharp TV works great with big clear picture, but until it warms up for 15 minutes, it flickers, or has just a horizontal white line across the middle, unless you tap it in a certain spot. Probably has a loose connection or cracked solder joint somewhere near the tapping zone. I'll get to it eventually, maybe.
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Old 07-20-2016, 08:31 PM   #1460
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Possible future repair. Old 25 inch Sharp TV works great with big clear picture, but until it warms up for 15 minutes, it flickers, or has just a horizontal white line across the middle, unless you tap it in a certain spot. Probably has a loose connection or cracked solder joint somewhere near the tapping zone. I'll get to it eventually, maybe.
You do realize your days on this earth are numbered, right? Can't imagine why you would want to spend even a small portion of one of them on this old boat anchor. OTOH, it does answer the old "whattaya DO all day?" question.
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