In retrospect

Oh, yes, Mr. Ramko, it occurs to be now that I did realize I’m transgender* that you hold a special distinction in my life:

You are the only person I have ever met who would have had a problem with this …

… and who would say it to me right to my face.

Sir, with all due respect, you suck entire boxes of that Nemal Electronics knockoff of 1855A. My preferred pronouns are they/them but I’m fine with any, except in your case in particular, you may refer to me with silence because I do not want to talk to you. 73’s and good night.

Picture related.

No need for that here. I’m just myself.

Don’t worry, this is being written from a state of bubbly euphoria. I just can’t help but look back on working in such a toxic environment and feeling so glad that I’m free of it. YEEEEET

* specifically somewhere under the nonbinary umbrella. I think maybe agender would describe my feelings, even though I tend towards a more femme style nowadays. I am still just beaming happy that someone just outright guessed this looking at me today. I must have the vibes and stuff 😀

Flipper, where are you?

I confused the tiny dolphin somehow. My Flipper Zero either ran out of battery power, or maybe actually didn’t, and seemed to refuse to fully boot up or charge. The charge status claimed both charged and empty, and “Limited to 3.8 volts”. Strange. I thought I’d have to go in there and disconnect the battery to reset it but it was easier than that!

I found the reset instructions and they’re kinda amusing:

1) Plug in the USB charger, go to Settings / Power / Power Off

2) confirm with the sad looking dolphin that you want to power off. A very Windows 95-esque “It’s now safe to unplug” screen comes up.

3) reconnect the USB charger

4) Hold the back button (20-30 sec?)

Bam, it lit right back up and resumed normal operation. The battery seems perfectly fine.

I’m not really sure what confused the device in the first place, but it just required a silly little dance to get it back.

Canon Serial Weirdness

Yeah, I’ve been stuck with this for quite some time now and I have no idea what I’m looking for, other than….


and maybe some dark magic



We have a studio camera that’s got a Canon HJ17ex6.2B lens on it. This lens has servos for focus, zoom, and iris. There’s also a small OLED(?) display and menu navigation thing on the hand grip that lets you check and set some options on it.

The bottom of the servo grip has three sockets – one for the remote focus controller, and two for the remote zoom or serial remote controls. The two latter sockets are a 20 pin Hirose connector.

This is supposed to be connected to a Ross Video robotic head’s lens jack for remote operation from the Ross Cambot system.

Originally this was connected to an ancient Vinten robot with a cable that I still have, and connecting it to the lens doesn’t do anything interesting. Connecting Ross’s cable makes the lens go completely and immediately dead with no servo activity, and I have to power cycle the camera or unplug and reconnect the cable between the lens and the camera body to regain any function from it.

The only documentation I have found AT ALL on this 20 pin connector is a kinda weird manual page from Canon, and this diagram from Ross:
Ross Video serial cable for Canon lens

And from the Canon manual:

This is from the manual for a ZSD-300 “zoom servo demand” controller. Please note that pin 20 is not shown as to what its function may be. (?!)

And now, the Vinten robot cable… if I look inside the Hirose end of it, it appears to have wires landed only on 13, 15, 16, and 20. 20 and 15 are connected together at the far end of the cable. 19 and 20 are connected together on the Ross cable.
On the Vinten cable three of the four pins on the Lemo connector are used. This suggests to me that whatever pin 20 is— OH WAIT IT’S JUST GROUND, ha, the pins are listed out of order!

I had Ross send me another cable, it has the same pinout and same issue with making the lens power down. I tried another lens of the same model and the same thing happened.

What the heck do I need? I’m throwing this out here in case someone possesses the correct ARCANE KNOWLEDGE.

My best guess: I need to NOT ground pin 19, as it is open circuit on the Vinten cable. The mysterious runes in the Canon doc seem to suggest it might be used to determine whether you’re gonna use serial remote mode or an external control. Also they uh, helpfully, labelled these serial lines A/B X/Y, I dunno. My guess is the Vinten thing was using RS-232 style wiring since it only has three wires coming out (RS-422 and RS-232 can be kinda sorta bodged together with reasonable success).

Unsurprisingly, there is a band named Five Tons of Flax. I just started listening to the 7 album and it’s pretty funky!


Yes, anarchist catgirl presenting nonbinary seems like a good description for me.

Bizarre 20 bay FM antenna, I don’t know what they were thinking but it makes for a good meme

So it turns out in addition to bricking themselves, these exciters can also crap out their backup battery. Not sure if I’d call it an improvement over the system in the old Apex M2X as now it’s an unserviceable custom $300 battery pack!?

Anyway let me stop being vexed by stupid transmitters and point out this thing I discovered:

Pink and red eyeshadow do appear to be my absolute jam.

Harmonic Electra X making me mad in several ways nyaa

Swampposting loudly

It just occurred to me I never posted about this weird thing. So, at my aux transmitter site, the whole thing is built on a weird little island in the Sacramento River Delta, with levees on two sides and a third formed by the grade of an abandoned railroad line. There’s a slough on two of three sides and within the area there’s a series of ditches and culverts that lead eventually to a low spot down the road from the tower.

Sitting in this low spot is a pump station that can yeet water up that big slanted pipe that goes through the levee on one side and opens into the slough outside.

That makes sense, right? Well …

No one seems to know who installed this thing. No one seems to know who maintains it.

Someone must be paying that power bill, but who?

It’s just kinda… there. It was kinda forgotten until we started getting repeated atmospheric river storm systems and water began to build up in the area and threatened to sink the parking lot. I kinda knew the pump was there, and I’d heard that a former engineer used to do something to test and run it in the past, but otherwise it was a mystery.

I found a key that fit the lock but wouldn’t turn, but either way, the thing looked to be complete and functional– it’s just that whoever left the note to check the phase rotation turned off the big disconnect so the pump wouldn’t run backwards if it was wrong. See, with 3 phase motors, all you have to do to reverse the motor is to swap two of the hot wires. This comes in handy in some applications like on the tower elevators, but for this water pump, I’m guessing it’s a vertical turbine type and if you ran it backwards it wouldn’t move much water if any at all.

Figuring I had a 50/50 chance, I just reached through the enclosure with something and turned the switch on. I was kinda fearing I’d see a giant hell vortex form under the thing but all I got was a rather quiet motor sound. I didn’t actually realize the pump was even working until I turned the switch off for a moment and was treated to the sight of all the water in that slanted pipe coming back and gushing out along with foul smelling bubbles. I turned it back on and had a look up the levee.

That looks like success, right? It smelled terrible, but it was doing its job.

I haven’t been back out there in a couple weeks but I’m hoping the foul water has thus retreated.