bUt wE’re ProFEssIonAls nOt YOu

Local HVAC service contractor: “Oh, yeah, we know what’s going on, your condenser coils are just dirty.”

Technician shows up and sprays the coils then promptly leaves.

Air conditioning continues to not work. Vital equipment starts to warn of impending thermal shutdown.

I go out and take a look at the condenser for literally four seconds.

ICE ICE BABY

how. HOW DID YOU MISS THIS???!!! Were you too busy trying to capture our ample local supply of rock and bug type Pokemon or something and never bothered to look at ANYTHING???

Pissing the night away—-

This is as obvious as the nose on your face. Damn thing’s iced over. That’s why we had no cooling. I set the unit to fan only and the amount of water that came flying out the condensate pipe was stunning.

Also, when the other tech came out to actually check everything, I got horribly, seriously confused by his gauges.

 

From the “It Blowed Up Real Good” Desk…

These are not my pictures. I know nothing of the horror here, though it was powering the transmitter that cooked these modules. The faults may or may not be related. First off— yes, you are seeing light through that— it blew a hole right through the cover. Also, I am now adding an “Arcy Sparky” category for all future posts relevant to it.

 

It sharted.
Please, no, I do not want to know what horror lies below that tape. Never show this to me. Never. In theory it may be split bolt connectors, but I fear far, far, far worse.

Oh, yes, in case you’re wondering what I mean when I say “Zeeky Boogy Doog”….

And my Jolteon kicked that Gyrados’ butt too.

A while back I found this in service up Linguini Mountain and removed it in a session of lobbing crap into a pile in the corner. I decided to take a picture of it before shitcanning it in the e-waste box….

The open frame relay was screwed to a hole in the side of a rack, facing outwards as I recall.

What a shame. Potter & Brumfield used to make good relays too, before they just became a Tyco Electronics contract manufactured line of dumpshit. This one, alas– its service to us is done…. Whatever service that may have been.

Incidentally, trying to claim the gym at Whiskeytown for any team other than Instinct is a foolish act, for I will take it back every time I’m out there. Bwahahaha. Isn’t that right, little Mudkip of the lake?

It doesn’t exactly work that way

After I saw someone comment on the steadily spiking prices on eggs at the infamous Steelyard Walmart, I looked at the prices on the same large boxes at the one in Willows. What I saw is … Well, it’s quintessentially Walmart.

The eggs are packaged in these white mystery boxes that don’t lend themselves to being opened to check the eggs…. And every box is heavily manhandled.

Yeah, that’s about par for the course. Maybe I should yell at them about it on 151.820 megacycles, carrier squelch…. 😉

Broadcast Engineer Nightmare #73

Content warning for grossness…. image is graphic so enjoy these pictures unless you want to see the horror.

Bad news: nature called at a tower site.

Good news: it has a portapotty

WTF: it has a flush toilet of sorts

Bad news: the flusher doesn’t work and pouring water in there doesn’t work to dispatch the contents and the sink is freeze damaged


Oh well

Elsewhere in the building is a room that was clearly intended to have a bucket toilet or something in it; there’s a vent to the outside and this weird toilet paper holder on the wall. Until tonight I never knew square toilet paper was a thing, but there it is and it was used in the portable horror potty too

Let’s play Wheel… Of… DUMPSHIT!!!

I just received two new 4CX250B / 7203 tubes for one of our transmitters, an old Continental Electronics with the tube intermediate power amplifier (IPA).

I’m already wondering just how they’re going to fail. Not IF they’re going to fail, more like, how, and how much collateral damage will occur.

The sad story: These tubes used to be produced by Eimac and were perfectly fine. At some point, Eimac got sucked into some giant ugly conglomerate that consolidated their tube manufacturing and made some awful changes, then hacked and slashed at their product line. That effectively led to a quality fade then discontinuation of the tubes.

I’ve been pretty much informed that the way to get GOOD 4CX250B tubes is to either go back to 1981 and stockpile them, or find someone who has them sitting around from back then and hope that they’re not gassy or badly manufactured tubes from Eimac’s Salt Lake City facility.

So now, what do you get when you try to buy a 4CX250B?

….this. this is the dumpshit you get. alibaba.com’s finest, I’m sure.

FEELING LUCKY?

These are “National Electronics” marketed by Richardson Electronics. Richardson’s website only mentions the Eimac tubes that they were a dealer for, and when these were ordered, there was a week’s delay in getting them shipped. National Electronics used to be a perfectly legitimate tube dealer or manufacturer – I think they went with contract manufacturing back in the day, as you’d see a really wide variety of their tubes out there, everywhere from receiving valves to power tubes and even indicators like Nixie tubes. Now, my best guess is it’s just a shell being kicked around via brand name necrophilia.

I don’t know if these even work at all, and won’t until I can get to a mile-high transmitter site whose means of access are currently buried in snow and ice.

So, for now, let me compare them to a new old stock Eimac tube. This is a 3CX800A7, a different tube entirely, but using the same sort of package and plate structure.

Eimac tube on left.

Immediately the bright silver plate finish becomes apparent, along with a far different cooling structure. The fins are brazed or soldered to the plate. This is important as the outside of the plate cooler is usually used as the electrical connection via a clamp around the tube. You do not want a bad connection in there.

And now, the Richardson/Alibaba Special – they just… lovingly shoved it down in there with a press and called it a day.

No signs of soldering or brazing are visible.

All in all, it looks like it was just smashed together using the same tooling one would use to make cheap and nasty refrigerator coils.

Now, about that gray mystery metal….

I looked at the socket pins and saw no marks on them at all, just a uniform gray coating of… whatever.

On the Eimac? There are marks in the silver plating from where the tube was put in a socket for factory testing.

Did they even——??? Is there any factory testing??

How’d this Oddish get in my transmitter?

what the fuck is any of this, i need a nice adult beverage

So yeah— I’m NOT convinced these are even going to work, but I guess that’s what I can get now. Thanks, Crapitalism!

Annoyance

Sometimes you just wonder “what was ANY OF THAT?”… yeah.

I dunno, I got pretty frustrated trying to get some old equipment up and running again, and then discovered that my wonderful old Tektronix 2232 oscilloscope started also suffering Capacititis or something. First I came in this morning and was like, what on earth even happened to the bench— oh wait, an amazing struggle with a QEI 675…

Then the scope went blank with a weird whining sound that suggests ye olde crapacitors have failed… I had previously had an issue with the screen getting garbled on this, and percussive maintenance brought it back, but not this time. I went to open it up and look around inside and the blue painted aluminum shell got jammed. I even had a coworker tug on one end while I tugged on the other, it was kind of amusing but pointless. I finally got it loose with silicone spray and slowly wiggling it off. What a mess.

Intel Inside

The usual fancy custom silicon that’ll effectively e-waste the whole scope if any of it gets damaged. Luckily, on this scope, they did NOT use a whole horrible death forest of tantalum capacitors.

Guess it’s all just telling me to slow down for a day and get some smaller things done…

WELL EXCUUUUSE ME PRINCESS

How. How can one little mic preamp card be such a pain in the ass??!!

This one didn’t work right at all- heavy distortion on Mic 2. The other one I have, paradoxically, will not drive a processor we have. It’ll drive a board input fine but not that processor, dead silence.

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot

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