One star review.

Not surprising or amusing: getting cockplugged in traffic.

Surprising and amusing: getting trapped indefinitely on a closed road in front of an escape room.

https://youtu.be/L7jnk2mv3PU

One star review. Was not pleased with the experience.

Ways to tell you may be at Miami International Airport

* No employees speak English

* TSA checkpoint opens an hour late

* No air conditioning in concourse

* Powerful stench of hot stale piss

* Pasty fukkboi who thinks he’s PitBull circulating around the overheated concourse rapping

Ya know man as awful as Chicago’s O’Hare airport supposedly is, there is no way it isn’t a step up from this.

There is no way to convey the sadness in this space in a mere photograph

An important South Florida driving tip:

Get a full size rim and full size spare for your vehicle.

Otherwise you will be stuck in South Florida’s unique sort of tire hell when you lose one.

The tire in question is NOT an uncommon size.

So far here’s what I’ve found:

* Sears. They have the tires in stock– three hours away. I can take my car in right when they open and maaaaaybe get out same day.

* Tire Kingdom. Need to make an appointment over a week in advance. All the cars there had bullet holes in them. All except this one, which I’d be mad if someone defiled. Because….. Look at this majestic thing

Just look at it. Majestic woody.

* An independent shop I’ve used before. Out of business.

* another independent shop I’ve used before. Gave me an appointment then took TEN walk in customers ahead of me, filling them up for the day. Gave me another appointment two weeks off.

* Goodyear. Need appointment weeks in advance. Doesn’t acknowledge that my tire size exists.

* Firestone. Doesn’t acknowledge that my tire size exists. Offered a tire the wrong size at $190 a pop with two days lead time.

* Pep Boys. Backordered, next availability not known.

* Costco. In stock, ready to install, but I don’t have a membership. Yet. Probably will soon.
Oh but that’s okay. If your car isn’t in good shape you can just take the train. No wait… You will not and never will be able to take the train. Thanks Gimenez.

suburban ghosts of subhuman life

Every time I start wondering why I’m foolish enough to dream of moving far from here, I’m reminded by a zombie bum fight in the middle of the road in a blinding rain that maybe it’d be more than just a regrettably useless change of scenery.

One was throwing construction barricades at the other, both next to the only lane out of town.

h e r t z i a n w a v e

gave up waiting in line to get out of the county tonight and went to visit one of my beasts. at least there are sometimes productive things to do when the roads fail.

I’ll take a silly tube rig that likes sending me on tuning wild goose chases over four hours of traffuck…..

why thank you officer nitpick

Crawling down the road and a car suddenly leaps out behind me from a driveway and starts the bad red, white, and blue disco lighting.

Officer comes to the passenger side window and asks for my license, registration, and insurance card.

He doesn’t even walk to his car to look up my license or anything, instead, leaning in my window right above the huge TV camera on the seat, he offers wisdom…

Why the hell are you still driving that beat up piece of shit?!

And here is where I regret not having that thing running.
I recognize the officer. He pulled me over a while back and then the exchange was more insensitive than tonight’s.

Where are you from? You don’t look like you’re from around here.

Oh, you are?

… Native American? Aren’t you guys usually totally covered in tattoos and shit? Well I’ll believe you because you’ve got the hair…

Once again you leave me without any cause to write a citation.

Cry me a cuntpuddle canal.

Truckwall is the worst ransomware

For over a year I’d been trying to rent a storage unit to stash some of my equipment in when not in use. I had no luck for a very long time– every offering I found was either over $300 a month and/or required an astronomically large deposit and a yearly contract. Finally one place I’d gotten on a waiting list with eight months ago had a unit available and it was surprisingly affordable, especially for a climate controlled facility, even after the $10 a month extra fee for the 24 hour access they never disclose anywhere as requiring an extra fee!

It’s built in and around the site of a former large bakery, which left South Florida due to a necessity to consolidate and the exorbitant costs of producing their goods here.

It now houses a large number of climate controlled storage units in the old bakery building and some additional ones in outbuildings, as well as a maintenance facility for rental trucks.

Of course there’s gotta be a reason it’s so cheap, and that’s that it is nearly impossible to access.

Access to the facility is only possible via one road, in one direction, which in turn is only accessible via one small isolated industrial district. During the day, that’s a two hour queue to get in and another half hour to get back out.

At night, it’s perfectly fine…. Until they suffered the Truckwall infection.

A tow truck driver collected the shattered remains of one of the company’s rental trucks from what looks to have been a pretty severe crash. The whole front of the pickup was smashed in and the cab appeared to have been cut open to rescue the occupants. The tow truck driver came in and dropped it…. right in front of the only access gate to the storage facility.

I came up trying to get in as he was filling out his paperwork and asked if he had to leave the truck there or if he could move it a few feet away from the gate to restore access (if anyone is inside the facility right now, they’re trapped as well!!)

He told me that he would…… If I gave him $150 in cash within the next ten minutes. Otherwise he’d just leave.

OOPS! YOUR STORAGE HAS BEEN BLOCKED BY TRUCKWALL!!!

I gave up and left after calling the city’s police department, who outright refused to send anyone.

There are just some things you have to, sadly, come to live with as a fact of life in South Florida, and one of them is that you sometimes you’ll find yourself locked out of where you want to go due to road based stupidity.
Infection resolved!

As I feared, TruckWall had trapped users of the facility. One of them had a large pickup truck with bull bars on the front. TruckWall’s payload was shoved back from the gate…. with slightly more damage than it had originally.

The toxicity simply explained

Gate erected by Sylvester Stallone to seal off access to a public park and trail.

The one underlying rule of living in Southeast Florida:
If you can afford to make life difficult for everyone else, you are required to make this investment.


Examples of this include the pictured Stallonegate, countless ten foot concrete walls in residential areas, the building of condo towers in areas where the infrastructure can’t support them, the entire city of Golden Beach, people paying $14.50 a pop to further encourage the spread of Lexus lanes, etc…

STUPID DEVELOPMENT UPDATE!

A few years ago, I met a guy who came down here to South Florida after graduating with a master’s degree in community planning.

He could not find a job in Southeast Florida at all, because no planning exists. “Communities” do not exist. What exists is just spray and pray.

Here’s what’s making me mad due to its total illogic and general idiocy.

American [Wet] Dream Miami has not died, sadly. The developers are on board and Miami-Dade County, seeking a new economic engine to the region, is pushing for it to get built as soon as possible.

The State of Florida doesn’t think it’s going to work and may step in to stop it, as they realize the critical lack of transportation and other infrastructure to support the project. Broward County looks on horrified yet powerless to stop it, like a damsel in distress.

Speaking of damsels in distress, let me digress a moment and share with you one of the fucking creepiest ad campaigns I’ve ever seen:

This shit makes me cringe so hard in so many ways, but— I’m not one to speak, I’m just the engineer.

So, since the last time I’ve yelled obscenities at the wall about this thing, they’ve released some informative graphics on the project:

Please note the “Graham Project” – even MORE townhouses. Gr8. Why the hell does it have “DEMO VERSION” watermarks?

The Graham Project is just fucking stupid. Do you really want to live there and find yourself locked up in 1-5 hours of traffic just to get to anything as common as a full sized grocery store? Great! You’ll love this place. The only planned access appears to be by the feeder roads to the mall.

Sprawl kings Lennar Homes also want to shit out another development over protected wetlands to the south of the Graham Project.

And now, site leasing plans revealing an interior floor plan!

First level. Click for full size, but the resolution isn’t much better.
Second level. For some reason the image won’t scale the same way. I can’t even.

The ski slope looks like a robot dick. I’m sorry. It does. There’s no denying that.

And now, here is why this shit will fail and fail hard.

Miami-Dade County’s economy has been in a meltdown since the mid 1990s that is now almost complete. Miami’s got effectively two classes: The rich, who either come from old money, own big foreign corporations…. and those who attempt to make a living working in what businesses are left in Miami-Dade County, or— the flat broke.

Studies have shown that Miami is one of the least affordable cities to live in (or around). Rental housing? Forget it. You pretty much need to be ready to buy a property to live in Miami-Dade County, and you need to be ready to buy that in cash, because you will be competing with foreign cash buyers for that property who just want to sit on it to pad their portfolio with some crap houses that keep a more or less stable value.

Nobody who is going to work in this shit show will be able to afford to live in Miami-Dade County.

Nobody who is going to work in this shit show will be able to afford the time and expenses to commute from anywhere that housing still remains affordable.

And, most importantly:
RETAIL IS DEAD. DEAD. DEAD AS FUCK. STICK A FORK IN IT, IT IS FUCKING DONE.

Yes, I realize the alternate use of this little fuckball is that it contains a half assed “theme park” and water park in its two large open spaces, in addition to what appears to be a specially constructed lake where you can… go fishing?? I don’t get it. Also, where’s the water coming from? If you’ve seen my previous posts on this cocksplat of a plan, I’ve brought up the question of where they’re going to get water. Florida is in drought again this spring, and we haven’t seen the worst of it yet. I hope you’re ready to deal with begging for sustenance from the Department of Water and Power. 😉

FUUUUCK THIS NOISE.

Triple Five group made a half assed promise to run shuttle service between several existing transit hubs to alleviate the congestion. That… just won’t do a thing. They would have likely run shuttles anyway for tourists – Dolphin Mall and Sawgrass Mills have had airport shuttles for years. They transport a few dozen shoppers back and forth a day and that’s about it.

God damn it. I’m not even done here, because the idiots over at Mana Wynwood decided to dig the area a nice posh grave lined in million dollar velvet and bury it. What is Wynwood? Wynwood is an old warehouse/business district that attracted an artists’ scene because it was a good place to find affordable studio space and host some events. Unfortunately, well—

If you’re a Miami native, please try to jog your frame of mind and look at this like an outsider to see how fucking ridiculous it is–

The site of an abandoned RC Cola factory managed to become the preferred site for music festivals and performances. It’s all outdoor – in Florida – no climate control, not even a proper toilet. And now… everything around the abandoned RC Cola plant is HOT SHIT. Just like what’s inside the RC Cola Plant’s portapotties.

So now the plan is, redevelop this area with high density luxury housing, multi-million dollar condos, and high end designer retail that nobody will be able to afford to shop at. Also, the buzzwords “trade center” were thrown out there, but look at every other “trade center” project that’s been attempted in Miami. The “trade center” never materializes and all winds up being “empty-ass class C office space” or ballrooms or other under-utilized shit.

Please note the amazingly good roadway access to this super high density urban development. Oh baby. Fuck you. Fuck. You. (Public transit is available via overcrowded buses that run every 30 minutes on NW 20 ST and NW 2 AVE, if you’re lucky.)

 

Artist’s rendering of…. bullshit, with nauseating perspectives.

What in the actual fuck are you thinking? This is like Brickell City Centre run through a few funhouse mirrors. Unlike the Brickell City Centre, it doesn’t connect to Metromover, so there’s no easy way to just stroll right on in there.

This isn’t … gentrification. This is just plain dropping a Daisy Cutter on the neighborhood and telling everyone fuckety bye. So much for that art community that drew everyone to the area – this will surely make the spaces they work in more valuable as valet parking spots than studios. Oopsie! I’d heard rumblings that there was an effort to provide artists new spaces over in Opa-Locka before everyone just runs out of money and leaves forever, but that’s… Opa-Locka… and safely preparing that space for new use will probably require actual Daisy Cutters.

So previously I’d also questioned the redevelopment of two sites in Broward – the old Plantation Fashion Mall site and the old Boomer’s Dania– those… those seem almost… well designed in comparison. Both are infill developments slated to be mixed use with janky condominium housing and very limited road access. But at least… at least they have road access… and aren’t expected to be quite the same sort of massive overload on the surrounding areas.

Holy shit, nobody has even a sixty fourth of a fucking clue here.

Another “South Florida Sucks” post, explosively inspired, plus other ramblings

I find the following amazing:

Things you can buy locally in South Florida without waiting a week for shipping!

  • Three phase 240V 2 horsepower rated variable frequency drive controllers (albeit at Grainger’s ~250% markup)
  • Excessively overpriced fuses

Things you cannot buy locally in South Florida without waiting for shipping:

  • Fuse holders
  • Single phase variable frequency drive controllers (thankfully the machine I’m working on has 3 phase available)
  • Anything that has to be delivered via UPS
  • Fine stranded 16 gauge electrical wire (as opposed to the thick stranded THHN type stuff you’d run through conduits in a wall)

I had a fun time calling around this morning to find this out– Grainger only has two locations left around here, and even the sales lady on the phone was surprised by this. She was used to South Florida having a ton of them a few years back. I first learned of the Richmond Heights one having closed up shop when my last brush with high energy explosion happened… Luckily the one remaining location happened to have a VFD in stock I could use. Phew.

Grainger were the only ones who would be able to get the fuse holder here next day because they had them in a warehouse in Orlando (they also have their own trucks, so I’m confident it didn’t get melted down in Hialeah in the UPS warehouse fire). They had TWO in stock, dashing my plans to get three matching ones for the 3-phase VFD— oh well, different fuse holders but same fuses, whatever works for now. A 3 pole fuse holder would have had to ride the slow boat from China, just like if I’d wanted three of the single pole ones.

What bugs me is I USED to have the exact fuse holders I would have needed but threw them out last year, trying to reduce the size of my collection of parts I thought would be easy to buy again if needed.

SAY SOMETHING I’M GIVING UP ON YOU.

Anyway, here’s the beautiful mess that inspired me to get very mad this morning while standing in front of a voltageless robot.

 

The problem: VFD controller smoked out. I didn’t take any pictures of the outside of the controller for it looked unremarkable save the “MOFF” error flashing. It looked like “ПOFF” due to the limitation of it having only a 7-segment readout, more rambling on that later. It might as well have said “F.OFF” though. The error meant it wasn’t getting sufficient voltage on the internal DC buss.

 

A quick primer on how VFD drives work:

On this inverter, the high energy semiconductor devices for the rectifier and the inverter were neatly built into one easy to deploy little module by Infineon, an EasyPIM series module.

I’ve seen similar modules in several VFD drive products. They contain multiple transistors and diodes coupled thermally (but not electrically) to a backing plate for heatsinking purposes. To avoid undue stress to the semiconductor junctions, they are filled with a curious sort of…. snot.

Sorry if I’m grossing you out, but touch it sometime, it’s really reminiscent of a sticky booger.

A similar product to that is Raychem’s “GelGuard” which I’ve seen used in outdoor telephone connectors. Very weird stuff.

Here is a diagram of the EasyPIM, borrowed off the Infineon website.

Here’s… what was left of the module… This is 180 degrees to the layout of the diagram above, more or less, and I picked away the blackened snot to reveal what…. DID NOT remain…

The obliterated parts are the rectifier diodes. Even though only four of the six were used in circuit due to this being a single phase drive, the remaining two were blasted to smithereens by excessive reverse voltage. The IGBTs at left (right in the diagram) that control the outputs look pristine and would probably even test good. Sorry, too lazy to whip out the ESR meter. (Does that even work on high voltage IGBTs?)

The CPU block in the above diagram is the timekeeper of the operation. It reads in whatever form of commands the unit is set to accept as to which direction and speed to run the motor. It also monitors several analog values throughout the unit – voltages, current levels, and temperatures – and can adjust its operation to protect itself and the motor if necessary by throttling back the amount of power it sends to the motor or shutting down if necessary. In this case, it was successfully detecting the lack of high voltage DC to run the drive and just wouldn’t do nuffin’.

Now if the damage had been confined to the module – that’s actually a standard part from Infineon and could probably just be ordered, buuuut—-

Fomp. I like to imagine this failure went… “Fomp”.

 

Yeah, this let it all right. It almost looks like the conformal coating tried to contain the Magic Smoke, and maybe even flashed over? The two line fuses for the drive were blown so something fun must have happened on the board itself. If the rectifier had just failed short, I would have expected ONE of the two to have gone, not both simultaneously. Flash to ground probably got the other one.

The client has been having a drive blow up every three months or so!! I’m going to retrofit the machine for him with some BIG HONKIN’ SURGE PROTECTION. After his first VFD blowout he called in Florida Plunder & Loot who did *something* to adjust his line voltage, but it’s still mega nasty. I’ll put the scope across it before installing the new drive and likely cringe so hard my face freezes that way for life.

Amazingly the drive still powered up, scrolled “HELLO” before going to “MOFF”, and I was able to get all the settings from it via the front panel user interface. See the small transformer at top left on the board? I suspect there’s a separate switcher power supply just for the CPU and logic that allowed for this even though the HVDC system was blown to bits.

And herein is another bit of rambling: The user interface on VFDs, for the most part, royally sucks. You’re presented with a menu system on the front panel which gives you anywhere from about a dozen to *HUNDREDS* of parameters, identified only by number. You have to break open the manual and go through dozens if not hundreds of pages of crap if your setup is in any way complicated. Fortunately THIS ONE IS NOT. This one was simply being driven by a +24vdc trigger to turn the motor on, and 0-10 volts DC to control the frequency between 0 and 60 hz. But still— Nice features I’ve seen in some units: Danfoss and Cutler-Hammer VFDs have a small control module that speaks plain English to you. Some other controllers (I’m unsure what brands off the top of my head) save the parameters to a small serial EEPROM or even an industry standard memory card, so if your drive does— this— you just swap the card into the new one and you’re ready to spin again.

 

An important word on the “Death Caps”:

THIS NAME IS NOT UNDESERVED

DEATH CAPS. No bleeder resistor is provided.

The capacitors inside a VFD drive will retain potentially lethal voltages FOR A VERY LONG TIME after power off. Even if they are discharged, they may exhibit a peculiar self-recharging phenomena where a stored charge in the electrolyte partially recharges the cap to dangerous levels again. Always discharge caps and test before touching! On a small self contained drive you cannot get in contact with the caps without disassembling the unit; however, I’m aware of there being larger units where the DC section is a separate unit and those can probably really get you. TEST FIRST. Also, if you are storing a spare unit, be sure to check the manufacturer’s directions on maintaining the capacitors!! Most say to power the drive up every year or so to keep the capacitors “formed”. If you suddenly connect power to a drive that’s been stored too long, EXPLOSIVE capacitor failure may occur. If you’ve got one that’s been sitting, consult the manufacturer’s directions for reforming. If unsure, use a Variac to slowly bring the voltage up, or put a small incandescent light bulb in series to limit the current. (The drive should draw almost nothing if it’s just powered up and not doing anything.)

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