1/07/2021

Home Depot's website and stores suck

 Home depots website is one of the worst, if not THE worst website for online browsing and searching.

Recently I was searching for a ballast for a 34.5 inch long 2 bulb T5 flourescent lamp. I have one that I bought from them several years ago. The ballast is bad.

I cannot find a replacement ballast on their website for it.

I could not find the fixture on their website, until I used the manufacturers part number. turns out they have the wrong dimensions for it.

searching their website is a nightmare. Basically you have to know what they call something or what they list it under.

if it doesn't come up when you start typing you most likely won't find it. it constantly returns results that have nothing to do with what you are looking for.

It constalty shows you things that aren't in the store, or you can't even order. if it's not in the store AND I can't order it, don't show it on your fucking worthless website.

I hate using their website, but it's not much better going there in person. They don't carry many things that a hardware store should.

I usually have to got to Ace Hardware or harbor freight to find many things I need. A huge store like Home Depot and they can't even stock common things. Their welding supplies are a shit selection. They don't carry band saw blades for common tools. They have no stock of replacement hammer handles except for specific brands.

I usually order stuff from ebay because of their lack of stock.

Their prices are often ridiculously high.

They don't carry many common types of 220 outlets or outside ouutlet boxes.

They are a piss poor excuse for a hardware store.

12/25/2020

The virile copper miner

 Why is the statue in Bisbee called the "virile copper miner"?

See for your self.

I was told (back in college) that if you stood in the right place you would see why he got his name.

Here is the other side for reference.

The wife and I were there today and while I had tried to get these pictures before they never turned out right. This time I got them.



12/18/2020

How to un-hide a media server in windows media player

How to un-hide or restore a media server (that you accidentally hid or removed) in windows media player windows 7.
Open windows media player.
view library
Right click other libraries

Select Customize navigation pane.

at the top where is says "yourusername's Library"

click the down arrow on the right.

Select other libraries

put a check mark next to the library or libraries that are missing. 

click ok.


11/18/2020

13 Year Anniversary

 13 Year Anniversary of this blog... Yay.

11/13/2020

Pololu Micro Maestro 6 DIY Generator Governor

in 2017 I built a small 200 watt DC generator powered by an Echo GT-1000 string trimmer engine. Here is the playlist for that.

 

If you don't want to watch the whole thing you can watch a wrap up video here:

The biggest problem was that it did not have a governor and so is mostly useless. I could have made one with an arduino or something like that, but I kind of think that's like using a cray to balance your check book. Gensets were out of the question as being too expensive and way to big.

Recently I found a device called the Pololu Micro Maestro 6 It can control 6 servos or any combination of 6 buttons, sensors, and/or POT's. 

Here is the full build:

The most difficult part of this was the script. The script language is basically Fourth. I will provide a more detailed explanation of the program at a later date.

This is the most current script that works:

100 #this does nothing
top:
8800 0 servo # Move servo to middle position
begin
  button # is button on or off
    if #on proceed with program
      too_low # Check if throttle is too low
100 delay
      too_high # check if throttle is too high
    else #off keep checking for on and reset the servo if it was moved.
      goto top
    endif
repeat

sub too_low
  5 get_position 750 less_than #check the voltage is it below X
    if 0 get_position minus 10#if voltage is too low get position of servo and subtract 100
      over # not sure how this helps
      negate
      0 servo # move the servo to the new position
      10 delay # wait
    else  #if voltage is fine do nothing
      goto skip
    endif
swap # not sure why but the program won't
drop # work without these commands
skip:
return

sub too_high
  5 get_position 900 greater_than #check the voltage is it above X
    if 0 get_position plus 10 #if voltage is too high get position of servo and add 100
      over # not sure how this helps
      0 servo #move servo to new position
      10 delay #wait
    else #if voltage is fine do nothing
      goto skip2
    endif
swap # not sure why but the program won't
drop # work without these commands
skip2:
return

sub button
  2 get_position 500 less_than
return

-----------------------------

this video has the explanation of the script above

 

Bonus video

9/20/2020

Tunnels under Cochise College

When I attended Cochise college or as we called it "tumbleweed tech" back in the early to mid 80's the place was probably quite different than it is today. It seems that back then college students were a bit more rowdy then they are today. so much so that the furniture in the men's dorm lobby was replaced with rubber padded prison furniture. Furniture exactly like this:


I worked in the security office as a dispatcher and operator as no one had an outside line and we had to make and connect calls for people using their calling cards. This was annoying and changed when the phone system got hacked. After that they setup each dorm room so that they could have their own phone line and bill. sometimes at night I'd sit and watch horny students run back and forth sneaking in to dorm rooms through windows since men and women visiting each other dorm rooms was strictly monitored and controlled.

I also worked the front desk of the men's and women's dorms checking people in and out. To make sure people were'nt staying and screwing. It was pointless because there was constant parties and screwing going on in both dorms.

Tumbleweed tech is located 8 miles from Douglas, 16 miles from Bisbee, 2 miles from the border and 6 feet from hell.

Some of the things we did for fun were:

Go shooting at the shooting range behind the runway (it's still there). We were allowed to have firearms and they were kept in the security office.

We would also go across highway 80 and run around in the desert hunting and hiking. I spent many a weekend hiking in the desert there.

Exploring mines and hiking in the desert around Bisbee. Including the Easter Sunday Mine. Though we did not know the name at that time.

 Standing in front of part of the Higgins and Czar Mines

Exploring abandoned houses around Douglas. We found a house one time filled floor to ceiling with 1 gallon jugs of water. Probably a stop for illegals.

Running amok on the gunnery range at Ft. Huachuca.

Having keggers in the desert.

Sneak in to the the not very well locked up gym, and explore the tunnels under the college. There is one that goes from a man hole in front of the building where the cafeteria is to a utility room in the gym. On one of those occasions my roommate was running through the tunnel breaking the light bulbs as he went.


Hunt skunks, rabbits, and sonoran toads on campus at night with BB guns and wrist rockets.

Have all dorm water fights.

Launch rockets and fly model airplanes in and around the dorm rooms.


The security office was an interesting place I have long since forgotten the names of the guys who worked there, but one of them we gave the nickname "John Wayne" though he actually look more like Boss Hogg. He had a habit of wearing silvered sun glasses, and he claimed to be a former cop, he acted a lot like a very arrogant Barney Fife. He was very full of himself and full of shit.

There was another guy who was the epitome of the "dirty old man". On one occasion I went with him on his rounds and when we got to the women's locker room he stopped. made a great show of sniffing mightily and said "Smell that? Smells like PUSSY!" I thought it smelled like moldy towels. He would often point his walkie talkie at your crotch hit the transmit button and declare "now you're sterile".

Then there was the young mexican guy who had a thing for really fat chicks. He would bring in chubby chaser mags and look at them when not out on rounds. Then show them to me. Huge fat naked chicks. He was quite weird. We sometimes would sit out at the entrance to the campus with a radar gun and light up passing cars to watch the ones with radar detectors slam on the brakes.

Then there was the security guard that painted his car lemon yellow with flat exterior house paint and a roller brush. He was very proud of it.

At one time there was a room in the men's dorm that they put in a bunch of video and pinball games, it was great until someone figured out how to jimmy the games open and get free games.

On Fridays when the A&P class got out early we'd head in to Aqua Prieta to a place we called the Corona factory. For $2.25 you could get a 6 pack of Corona in a bag on ice, for .10 more you could get a bag of limes. You never asked the price of the beer if you did they would tell you $5 but you just walked up and gave them $2.25. Then we went around back and sat on the dock getting drunk (highly illegal there) while watching people walk illegally across the border which was only 100 feet away. Then you took the bottles back and they gave you $1. So in today's money 6 beers cost $2.81.

Yeah Cochise college was an absolute blast in the 80's I wonder what it is like now.

9/15/2020

Things that give me migraines

I have found these 2 things will give me a migraine either within a day or 2 of taking.

Niacin within a couple of hours of taking 125mg of it. 2 days in a row.

Flaxseed oil. I started taking this since fish oil makes me sick. I was taking it for 2 days and got a migraine, then on the 3rd day got another. 4th day no migraine, fifth day another migraine. stopped taking the flaxseed oil and no more migraine. I had not had a migraine prior to this for almost 3 years.

8/26/2020

Panelization in EasyEDA

The instructions for panelizing a board in EasyEDA are absolutely terrible and confusing, they lack any useful information. 

In easyeda select tools then panelization.

Select the number of rows and columns BUT keep in mind that their machine can only accept a minimum size board of 7x7 Centimeters. So you will need to select a minimum number of rows and columns that meets or exceeds this number. as an example I have a board they is 18.75x8.5 millimeters. in order to meet the minimum requirements of panel size my board needs to be 4 columns by 10 rows high. The minimum column and row spacing is 1.6mm. I do not need boarders.

Originally based on the instructions (I found) I thought I had to account for the board size when selecting the spacing and put in 18.750 for columns and 8.5 for rows which got me very strange results.

There is still some confusion on whether you need to copy and fix the circuit to each board. it appears that you do not (JLCPCB will supposedly do this for you), but there is conflicting information about this on line.

7/30/2020

Panasonic RE-7700 Automatic Tuning Stereo

picked this up from goodwill today for very little as it did not power on.
The reason it did not power on was that a small tab of copper or copper plated steel that actuated the power switch had been knocked off the switch.
in order to get the top of this unit off remove the screws circled in red, to get the bottom plate off remove the red and the green circled screws.
You will also need to remove this screw from the top side. I ended up drilling a hole through the plastic in order to get to it. You will definitely have to do it to put the screw back in.
The schematic is inside the stereo under the top cover. If yours is missing here is a very high resolution scan. Dial string instructions included.
Or you can download a pdf that contains it, and better printable copies.

When it asks you to login or create an account click "no Thanks, Continue to View"
Then Click Download in the upper right corner.

6/15/2020

Philips 800Lumens 8.5w 2700k LED light bulb failure mode

We purchased several Philips 800Lumens 8.5w 2700k LED light bulbs in January of 2017 from Ace Hardware the bulbs have a UL number of 3PM5. About a month ago one of them stopped working and I took it apart. I was hoping to repair it, but found that it was not possible due to how it was put together and because the small transformer on the circuit board had broken apart and fallen off the board.

Today another one started going out. it started blinking on and off. I replaced it and opened it up, I found that same issue the small transformer had fallen off the circuit board, and there was the smell of burned components, and an electrolytic capacitor on the circuit board had overheated and popped.

The bulbs were mounted in a ceiling fan light fixture that is open and pointing down at about a 45° angle. The bulbs are supposed to last 22 years at the ridiculous usage of 3 hours per day. The warranty was 3 years.

3/15/2020

Everyone Was Kung Flu Frightened!

Today the wife and Mother-in-law decided we should go out for a drive. We headed to the north scottsdale/Phoenix area. On the way back we headed down Cave Creek rd. and since we were in need of some items we had forgotten to get on previous trips to the grocery store we stopped at a Fry's on north Cave Creek rd.

Here what it was like:
it goes without saying that there was no hand sanitizer or medical alcohol.
No bottled water
 No Bread
 No Canned Foods
No Pasta
 No Rice and Beans
 Not much in the way of soap
 and of course the one item that makes you invulnerable to viruses...
NO Toilet Paper!
Now the rest of the aisles were mostly normal. I figured that rich people would just order their stuff from Zanzibar and not worry about it.

2/02/2020

LG's Scare mongering


Watch this video of Louis Rossman's evaluation of the scare mongering campaign by LG regarding 18650 batteries
#LithiumionBatteryCells, #18650, #StaySafeBattery

Way to blame the consumer LG!

How is not selling legit good batteries going to prevent this LG?

It is apparent from the video that LG thinks the average consumer is a complete moron.

It's too late there are tons of products on the market with consumer replaceable 18650 batteries. The cat is out of the bag. So instead of throwing gasoline on the fire how about finding ways to make LION batteries safer?

Rossman is right again.

12/29/2019

Stop cats from chewing on an oxygen line

Purchase a small bottle of orange scented anti bacterial dish soap, and a bottle of Angostura orange bitters. if the bottle of soap is completely full use or dump out 1 or 2 tablespoons of the soap. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of Angostura orange bitters to the soap bottle and shake. Using a paper towel or small rag pour a generous amount of the mixture on to the rag and run the oxygen line through it adding more soap if needed. The oxygen line should be slippery when you are done. Coat every bit of Oxygen line the cats can get to unobserved.

Repeat every couple of days. Add more bitters for stubborn cats.

Cats do not like the taste of orange, the anti bacterial agents also have a bitter taste to them, and the bitters contain bitter orange. The combination should keep them from chewing on the Oxygen line. I do not know if it will work for other animals.

 

12/10/2019

Fixing the Hobbit Cartoon DVD

Some are aware that the DVD (and later releases) of The Hobbit (Rankin Bass) have a problem. Sound effects are missing from key moments in the DVD. Plate clinking in the beginning, The spider death sound, some of the sounds made by Smaug when attacking, and other sounds.

What I did was obtain the 1991 release of The hobbit on VHS. This version has all the correct sound effects but the quality of the video is not as good.

Later releases on VHS possibly have the same sound issue.

I had to rip the DVD version, then play that back and record it using OBS Studio.

I had to load the OBS MP4 file in to goldwave and pull the audio out to a wav file as Sony did not see the audio.

I replaced the DVD audio with the one I pulled using goldwave so I could have reference, and I had to align that audio to the DVD which was mostly easy.

I could not use the DVD ripped files as there is some weirdness from the VOB files that playing the DVD does not have.

I then loaded both videos in to Sony Vegas.

turned off the audio from the DVD and the Video from the VHS.

I split the VHS video at the silence in the fade in and out for the commercial breaks and realigned the VHS audio to the DVD video at each break.

the first part of the movie before the commercial break was particularly messed up, there appears to have been an edit in either the DVD or the VHS version.

Once I was satisfied with the alignment I re-encoded everything as a 720x480 mpeg2.

The results are pretty spot on.

12/01/2019

Importing video from a Sony HDR-XR150 Camcorder without using PMB

I have a Sony HDR-XR150 camcorder and up until recently the only way I had to get video off of the camera was using Sony's PMB (Picture Motion Browser).

PMB is fine if you are Joe Average but for me it was sometimes very slow to import video.

I found that the reason it was sometimes slow was that if your video was larger than 2 gigs the camera breaks the file up. When PMB imports it, it somehow knows this and it re-encodes the video to a single file instead of just copying the files over. This takes as long or longer than it took to shoot the video in the first place. I don't care if the files are split as I can re-join them in my editing software. I decided to write a batch file to copy the videos over from the camcorder, and to make it even more difficult I decided to keep the PMB name format. What a pain in the ass that was. You can just copy the .mts files over and rename them manually to m2ts.

If you want to use this method you will need:
a batch file in c:\windows called imp.bat
a batch file in c:\windows called impmts.bat
a folder called c:\temp
the camcorder when connected through USB connect as drive L:
The destination folder of Z:\videos\pmb

or you can edit the batch files to whatever drive letters and locations you use.

The contents of the IMP.BAT file is:
set startdrv=%cd:~0,2%
dir %1 | find /I "MTS" > c:\temp\x.x
set /P finfo=set stripped=%finfo:~0,17%
for /F "tokens=1-8 delims=::./ " %%A in ('echo %stripped%') do set FileDateTime=%%C%%A%%B%%D%%E
for /F "tokens=1-8 delims=::./ " %%A in ('echo %date%') do set dirdate=%%B-%%C-%%D
if exist Z:\videos\pmb\%dirdate%  goto skip else
md Z:\videos\pmb\%dirdate%
start Z:\videos\pmb\%dirdate%
:skip
if exist Z:\videos\pmb\%dirdate%\%FileDateTime%.m2ts goto oops else
@echo on
copy %1 Z:\videos\pmb\%dirdate%\%FileDateTime%.m2ts
@echo off
:oops
del c:\temp\x.x
  The contents of the IMPMTS.BAT file is:
echo off
CLS
Echo Importing Files...
for %%Z in (L:\AVCHD\BDMV\STREAM\*.mts) do (
call c:\windows\imp.bat %%Z
)
It is quite probable that using 2 batch files is not necessary but I did it that way to fix some problem I was having.

The batch files work basically like this(if I remember correctly):
impmts looks to the location on the camcorder where the MTS files are stored and for each file there it runs the IMP.BAT file which sets the drive letter of drive where it started from (usually c:) to an environment variable called startdrv.

A directory listing of the MTS files is written to a file in c:\temp\x.x
information from that file is fed to more environment variables.
The MTS file date and time is retrieved and set to an environment variable FileDateTime.
The current date is set to a variable called dirdate.
The batch file then looks to see if the folder is already there, if it is it skips creating it, if not it creates it.
It then opens the new folder in a window.
It then looks to see if the new file it wants to write is already there if it is it skips copying that file from the camcorder.
If the file does not exist it copies the mts file from the camcorder to the destination with the correct name format of YYYYMMDDHHMM.mt2s
Then it deletes the x.x file from c:\temp
Control returns to IMPMTS.BAT and repeats until all files are processed.

There is not much error handling.

you may find strange characters in the batch file at the end of lines that are not in my code on this page, if those characters are there the files will not work right until they are removed. I am not sure where they come from and they are not always there. Just letting you know it might happen.

If you use these batch files and your videos are lost I am not responsible. They shouldn't be lost because it does not delete anything from the camcorder.

Usage is simple from a cmd prompt (not administrator) run impmts.bat

I cannot, and will not provide help on editing the batch files to work for your system.

11/27/2019

Slow Transfers QNAP NAS on a Gigabit Network

For several months or possibly years transfer rates from my QNAP nas TS-231 have been very slow about 12.5MBps to 15MBps (that's megabytes per second). I have a gigabit network and transfer rates should be above 50MBps.

I won't go in to all the ridiculous things I tried based on other people having the same issue, here is what fixed mine:

After opening a ticket with qnap 2 months ago and dealing with their SLOW response times I finally got a resolution to my problem.

The last thing they asked me to do was to disable server signing. No explanation of what exactly they were referring to, no information on where to find this setting. nothing useful.

I spent a couple of hours googling how to disable server signing on a qnap with nothing useful being found. I tried editing the smb.conf (this appears to be where the setting is), but the qnap changed my settings back upon a reboot of the server.

after much more googling I kept finding references to server signing with windows, which led me to try something.

My qnap was set as an Active directory domain controller, I did that because I kept having problems getting access to my own files.

I turned off AD domain controller and of course that broke access to my files.

I also had to disable Windows ACL support since I could not access my files, take ownership of them or anything, I enabled Advanced Folder Permissions.

I did manage to join the qnap to the domain, something that never worked before. I do not know why it is working now.

I was then able to set permissions of my files in the qnap webpage and finally access them.

I noted that server signing is now disabled in the smb.conf file (not by me).

I tested copying files and wow look at that transfer rates of about 60MBps.

It only took over 2 months and countless hours googling the issue. Was it server signing? was it my qnap being a domain controller? not sure but it's working now.

10/30/2019

SYSTEM_SERVICE_EXCEPTION 0x0000003b termdd.sys BSOD and possible cause

Starting a few days ago I began getting Blue screen of death with my Windows 7. The error was as below
SYSTEM_SERVICE_EXCEPTION 0x0000003b
00000000`c0000005

Sometimes the cause (per bluesreenviewer) was either termdd.sys or ntoskrnl.exe. Initially it was a lot of ntoskrnl.exe but then lots of termdd.sys began showing up.

now I had googled the issue and there was the standard "it's your memory", "bad video drivers", or "run SFC /SCANNOW" guesses at fixes for people.

I updated my video drivers.
I did a malware scan and found nothing.
I did a memory test and found nothing wrong (memory test are mostly useless).
I did SFC /SCANNOW (this is what people tell you to do when they don't know how to help) it also found no major problem just one unrelated corrupt dll.
I installed all current updates.
I restored my computer to a couple of days before the problem occurred.
Nothing worked.
I then did some thinking and realized that most of the issues were with termdd.sys, well I had my Remote desktop open to the internet. I remembered that my port 3389 is often hammered from china So I closed port 3389 on my firewall and the issue disappeared.

After further research I found that there is a vulnerability that is supposed to have been patched for windows RDP, but apparently not.


9/16/2019

EnGenius Wireless Access point stops working

If you have an EnGenius Wireless Access Point wifi that stops working properly and has to be reset frequently this may solve your problem. You may login to the device and everything appears to be fine yet nothing will connect to it or it may not even show as a device to connect to.

The cause:
Many EnGenius WAP's have a problem where after several days or even hours of use the access points are not freeing up some resource internally. I do not know exactly what. I found a forum post many months ago that explained it but I cannot find it again.

The solution:
Upgrading the firmware does not help and on some models they are End Of Life and updates are not available. You can put them on a timer that disconnects power for a short time every night when they are not used, or you can write a script that reboots them.

You will need:
TST10.EXE
A folder under C:\windows called script
put tst10.exe in C:\windows\script\
Create a text file for each device you want to reboot.
C:\windows\script\ecbcom.txt

the contents of the file should be:
x.x.x.x 23 replace the x's with you devices IP keep the space and 23
WAIT "Name:"
SEND "admin\m"
WAIT "Password:"
SEND "youradminpassword\m"
WAIT "cmd>"
SEND "reboot\m"
WAIT "cmd>"

Create a batch file in C:\windows\script called tst.bat
the contents of that file should be:
c:
cd\windows
cd script
call tst10 /r:ecbcom.txt

Create a task schedule to run and execute the tst.bat file at the time you want to reboot the access point. I tried the timer method but that was causing problems with my "smart" thermostat, the batch file method is faster and my thermostat does not complain as the reboot happens very quickly. Since implementing this (9 months ago) I have only had to physically power off and on the access point once. My reboots happen every Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday at 4am.

9/11/2019

BSA Red Dot RD3022SB Gummy Sticky problem

Recently I happened across my BSA Red Dot  RD3022SB site which I had not used in many years. It was stuck in a drawer in my work room. I went to pick it up and it was horribly sticky. It seems it was coated with some kind of non slip compound that for unknown reasons had turned gooey.

Using my googlefu I found many forums with people reporting the same issue. most of them just got rid of the site saying it was impossible to clean. Other people reported it could be cleaned with alcohol but that was very laborious. Many people reported that Acetone did not work.

Here is what I did to clean mine.

You will need:
Real Acetone (your wife or girlfriends fingernail polish remove is NOT acetone).
Denatured Alcohol.
Thick Nitrile or Rubber gloves (5 mil or thicker).
rough paper towels.
q-tips.
a respirator or work outside.
Patience.

Put on the gloves and respirator (acetone is not good to breath or have on your skin).
If you have the lens caps put those on so you don't get acetone on the lenses.
Pour a liberal amount of acetone on a folded up paper towel and begin soaking and scrubbing the goo off. It will take several passes to remove it. You will know the gunk is removed when you see the greenish black anodizing under it. I was able to go over all the surfaces and no paint or anything was removed that I did not want removed.

Now go over all the cracks and crevices with q-tips until no more black stuff comes off on to the q-tips.

Remove the lens caps and using q-tips carefully clean around the area that was covered by the lens caps and around the lenses (avoiding contact with the lenses).

Next put the lens caps back on and drench everything with the alcohol and wipe that off. clean the lenses with soap and water. You are done.


9/09/2019

Clock Vacuum Fluorescent Display Cross Reference

Here is a list of clocks that use Vacuum fluorescent displays, the type of clock chip, the make and model of the VFD, and display features.

Cosmo Time E-508, Clock chip LM8361 G4 (same pinout as a TMS1943N2l or NTE2060) , VFD Futaba 5-LT-16, 4 digit 12 hour only colon AM PM.


Sunbeam (unknown model), clock chip TMS3451NL, VFD Futaba 5-LT-79ZS/81, 4 digit can display 24 hour AM PM sleep alarm dot after last digit.

General Electric 7-4265A AM/FM/Cassette under cabinet clock radio, clock chip TMS3451NL, VFD Futaba 5-LT125Z, 4 digit can display 24 hour colon AM PM dot after last digit.

General Electric AM/FM clock radio 7-4642A, clock chip 8RS8600 (possibly same pinout as TMS1943N2l or NTE2060) , VFD NEC FIP5K15S 4 digit can display 24 hour colon AM PM alarm indicator.
  

5-LT-31 2A
5-LT-31/33
Unknown what it came out of.
Futaba 4-BT-04 8A
From a Heathkit GC-1415 clock
 
5-LT-02 B3 from an unknown unit
 
If you have information on a VFD display that you would like to add, please leave a comment on where I can get:
Pictures of the front and back of the display
Manufacturer and model number of the device it came out of.