Be the roller rink carpet you admire

So I was looking for a picture I took a while back of an audio mixer and searched Google Photos for “mixer”. First result?

Wait a minute… That’s not a KitchenAid over that bowl!

So I figured it was a good time to reboot the ELC automation server for Good Day Sacramento and one of my coworkers has wanted to braid my hair ever since I dyed it all rainbow. Her daughters aged out of letting her braid their hair and she missed doing it… so she braided my mane while ELC juddered back to life. The result is amazing.

The shirt I’m wearing is one I drew on with glow in the dark fabric paint. I wasn’t sure at first if I liked how it came out until I saw how it looks actually worn. It just didn’t look as nice lying flat. I’m gonna have to put a blacklight up at the station somewhere for…. reasons.

Abstract circuit board design under UV light
Glowing more than this XKeys

One bad gloop and she do what I yoinky

Crooooooooow!

Ever seen a TV live truck on scene? Well, if you have, chances are you’ve noticed a thing on top that looks like the top of Crow T. Robot’s head on a tall extendable mast.

What you’re looking at is a foldable microwave dish that can be used to send video from a live shot back to a fixed receiver site that forwards it to the TV studio. At the bottom of it is a remote controlled pair of big chonky motors that let you, standing on the ground, pan or tilt the dish to get it lined up with the receive site so the station can see your live shot coming in.

 

One of ours got stuck in the up position so I needed to pull it apart and fix it and I intended to take some more pictures of the apparatus as it’s kinda cute – it has two big Bodine gear motors driving worm screw drives via little drive chains, and has limit switch cam assemblies to keep you from going past safe travel limits on the thing.

I found the issue pretty soon after figuring out how to open the weird chassis of the dish motor, which opened vaguely like a milk carton – a hinged milk carton made of sheet metal. I’ve never seen anything quite like that and have to give them points for originality, though, if you had to get in there and the dish was stuck in a position other than straight up, you’d have to disassemble the entire shebang from the sides and take the dish off and everything and eww.

Thankfully, this was stuck straight up, and Tina caught a couple pictures of me working on it after I got it open:


But then the gloop went off.

See, what happened was one of the motor brushes got stuck in the brush holder and wouldn’t advance as it wore down a little, which caused the motor to stop working open circuit. I pulled it apart and managed to get this picture before I realized….. whoops, the armature of the motor and its pressed on bearing were the only thing holding the gloop in. You can see the brush on the right still wedged back in the holder where it can’t actually touch the commutator:



The gloop I refer to is a particularly foul, stinky, sticky, syrupy sort of gear oil, almost all the way up to being a grease in viscosity, but just low enough in viscosity to allow it to make a huge mess in short order. This is the second time I’ve run into it on Bodine motors – there’s no externally visible sign of it having an oil filled gearbox, no fill/drain screw or plug, nothing. You just get a terrible surprise if you dare separate the motor from the gearbox. GLOOOOP.



A fair amount escaped and got all over everything, but there was certainly enough left in the gearbox immersing its guts that I don’t feel I need to disassemble the whole thing and try to refill it. Nah, it’s just a learning experience… AGAIN…. BEWARE THE GLOOP.

Otherwise it will get the song stuck in your head. That song never leaves…. not that it ever has to.

There’s an extended version too

Shitposting to beat the heat

Amazingly not yelling about hvac this time

And it still works after I threw the bodge in it last summer
The password is POOCHOCO

I call the mystery spurs Democracy and Stalin

What did you do Dave
How to activate the LFO on the Tortie Module
H
What Cool But Useless thing can I do with these shopping cart handles?
The look I got from one of the station possums a few mornings ago, illustrated on a stock photo
I’m sensing a growing lack of rainbow here, time to remedy that

Happy Pride Month!

A carefully phase and chroma level adjusted message from your friendly local non-binary broadcast engineer.

The resolution on this Panasonic BT-S901 shows just how spoiled I have always been by the nicer resolution on JVC and Ikegami monitors. This claims to be 300 lines but pretty much looks like a RGB microwave oven door. :3

Oops I clogged the Space Station Toilet

Aerial view of a broadcast tower with "HHHHHHH" emanating from the transmitter building.
HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

Down in the river delta this morning, a circuit breaker went TWANG, and eventually, an engineer went HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.

The Space Station Toilet transmitter dumped one cabinet. While I was waiting for one of my coworkers to get there on site and see why it wouldn’t come back up, the first order of business was to remote in and change the combiner mode so the dead cabinet was no longer in the system (which caused a large amount of power from the other two surviving cabinets to get dumped into the combiner reject load due to the mismatch).

 

The Space Station Toilet is an older generation of Harris transmitter using their old eCDI user interface system. Their newer stuff uses a weird looking but far easier to use interface which does not require FECKING JAVA (!!!!) and has a nice block diagram sort of layout. You can see it in action here on a HPX series FM. Since it’s natively designed to work great on touchscreens, the newer GatesAir TV rigs come with a cute little pull out shelf where you just set a generic tablet PC in there to use as the front panel UI. But uh, eCDI is a confusing dated looking mess, and its design contributed to an… incident.

I went in there, took the dud cabinet out of the combiner on the mode tab, then noticed cabinet 1 had no IPA power or beam voltage. I decided since it was not working correctly to switch it back to BG heat until it could be serviced.

BG heat is kind of a keep warm mode that leaves the ESCIOT tube filament on at reduced voltage, and I think also leaves the ion pump on. It’s basically a warm standby that keeps the filament ready to go, and helps maintain the hard vacuum while the tube isn’t actively online. Well….

 

Two minutes later I got a call from our director saying “hey, we’re off the air, and I think it’s because you did the same thing I did…”

Sure enough… Note the two screenshots. See the difference?

Blink and you miss it. It’s not the difference of which button is selected at upper right.

The issue is, if you’re in the HPA tab at the bottom, the Beam On / Standby / BG Heat / Off buttons affect the state of one HPA cabinet, as selected by the 1/2/3 buttons. If you’re in the TX tab, guess what they affect the state of….

KERPLUNK. FLUSH. BEAM OFF. ZERO WATTS. ENJOY BUSH’S BAKED BEANS.

Beans. Mmmm, beans.

The day this thing is to be decommissioned I want to see what happens if I fill the cooling system and high voltage power supply cabinets with beans and turn the transmitter on one final time. BEANS ON, BABY! Mwahahahaha.