Author Archives: Jim

Water softener leak

Wet socks told me about the water on the floor around the drain pipe from the kitchen and the laundry tubs, near the water softener.  It took moving a kitty litter bucket full of long scrap, mopping up the water, … Continue reading

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Adding audible alert to Panasonic answering machine

We’re pretty pleased with the new Panasonic KX-TGD530 answering machine/wireless phone system.  The 3 handsets (expandable, unlike the AT&T EL52209 it replaced) gives us matching phones for kitchen, bedroom, and computer room.  Matching means only one user interface to learn. … Continue reading

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Hacking reading glasses

This is part of the post-cataract adaptation saga.  I had a Technis Symfony toric IOL put in my left eye 4 days ago as the first of 2 cataract surgeries.  While I have concerns, I can certainly see better than … Continue reading

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Repair of Keith Rubow RF Remote transmitter

This (~12/11/17) is the fourth repair of this device – I can’t believe I didn’t record the others.  The $75 device is a 6 button “garage door opener” and USB receiver designed to control music playback software for “tape group” … Continue reading

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Trivial zero clearance table hack for belt sander

I’ve lost a couple of small pieces to the innards of the belt sander by having them sucked down between the belt and the table.  Inspired by various zero clearance inserts/whatever from Matthias and Jimmy DiResta, it occurred to me … Continue reading

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Audible DIScontinuity tester

Sometimes I’m trying to check a cable – often a thin audio coax – for an intermittent open.  I could hook an audible continuity tester to it and listen for the noise to stop momentarily, but a less annoying and … Continue reading

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Class D amp lockup

The very nice class D amp I use for driving speakers for basement square dances has locked up a couple of times, with the worst at Crown Point during C2 lessons with the terrible Moger recordings.  It’s happened once or … Continue reading

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Drawbot stepper torque measurement

To measure holding torque on the old Science Center steppers, I attached an aluminum arm to one of the drums, keeping it as close to where the bobbin was epoxied to the shaft’s gear as I could.  I notched the … Continue reading

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Dangerous barrel connectors or
Why the cost of the Drawbot just jumped $200

Not all coaxial barrel connectors are created equal.  The male on the top is the one that was on the 30V drawbot stepper power supply before it blew up my new laptop.  The yellow one is what’s on that supply … Continue reading

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Drawbot string plotter

The Drawbot, a ‘polargraph’ 2-string plotter inspired as a junkbox project by Bill Paulson at Workshop 88 in April of 2013, has been under on and off development and improvement ever since. While there are still a couple of upgrades … Continue reading

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