USPS *almost* got this right…. then they inexplicably threw it on a plane to Pittsburgh and back.
It’s possible this was an April Fool’s post. But anyway…
Earlier today I posted a scandalous picture of a vacuum tube to Facebook and they immediately deleted my account. I hit the button to request a review and they gave it back… Now I can see that they’re selling ad space to this thing:
Yeah uh I’ll thank you not to weaponize the Internet of Turds. This needs to be filed right alongside the CellMate dick locker in the IoT Devices That Should Never Have Been Hall of Fame.
In case you’re curious about that CellMate – Click here after preparing yourself to laugh very hard.
Ok just gonna switch out this GatesAir exciter, let’s see, move all the connectors over and hey wait what’s this
The back of the exciter is just a db 9…
Ok, I’m done….. No wait hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH
WHERE DID YOU EVEN FIND A CONNECTOR THIS POWERFULLY CURSED
Hell it’s like a Phoenix Contact header had a severe case of multiple personality disorder and the adapter was nigh impossible to remove with the exciter in place and thanks I hate it.
Next stop: The Hell Outa Here
🔔 Stop Requested! 🔔
So I’ve known about the HP Instant Ink program for a while and I always hated it. Basically it gives you DRM encumbered ink cartridges as a service, which HP can disable at any time… Yeah uh… No thanks
This requires the printer and/or drivers to phone home to hp all the time, I never really thought of the mechanics of this until I saw someone post this response from Fiorina-Shenzhen, I mean, “hp” support ….
I don’t even have words to describe how terrible an idea this is and how terrible their product design is if it requires this. And yes… I’m sure that firmware can be exploited rotten for entry and lateral movement upon your network once you fucking DMZ your goddamn inkstortion device. Have I said fuck enough times? No. Fuck this actual shit!!!
Oh, I have such a love-hate relationship with some manufacturers.
Now… I had previously made a vague shitpost while working on a Harris Apex A2X exciter. This would have dated back to, well, when they were Harris Broadcast before the spinoff that left them independent as GatesAir, with another division becoming Imagine Communications
Imagine Communications…. Because they aren’t necessarily ever going to work outside of your vivid imagination
Anyway let’s just get right into YELLING IN BROADCAST ENGINEER. First stop: The Apex M2X oscillator board.
Frequency stability is vital to generating a good solid digital TV broadcast signal. The Apex M2X features a disciplined OCXO (Oven Controlled Crystal Oscillator) with several options as to how to ensure proper longterm calibration – it has a GPS receiver, 10 Mhz external reference, and 1 PPS external reference options provided. More on OCXO references here (this describing a more basic, free-running one, without sync inputs). However, the OCXO itself is, uhhhhhhhhhhhh
WHAT DID YOU DO HERE
WHAT IS THIS
WHAT IS ANY OF THIS
YOU GUYS JUST GLUED A BLOB OF PACKING FOAM OVER THE OSCILLATOR AND A LINEAR VOLTAGE REGULATOR WHY DID YOU DO THIS
LOOK AT THAT BULGING CAPACITOR OF HAPPINESS ALL UP IN THERE OH BABY
I wanted to peel this crap off but I was fairly confident that if this is anything like the antistatic foam that ICs used to come packed in, it may have broken down and corroded parts under it and I’d be faced with irreplaceable parts that went out of availability two years before they sold this exciter crumbling to dust. So I left it alone. It only has to last about another year, if even that. I hope. Did I mention HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH? Because HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH
So. Let’s move on to the power side.
The power supply is along the left wall of the exciter. On GatesAir’s admission, the power supply pretty much expires and becomes a ticking time bomb after 5 years – power it off and it will never ever start back up again.
But that’s unrelated to, uhhhhh, The Internal UPS Thing Of WEIRDNESS
For unknown reasons they felt the need to give the unit battery backup. It does not fully power it, like, the RF output disappears once it’s on battery. I think all it does is keep the controller with the RTAC data* in memory alive, and keep it from having to entirely run through the several minutes long boot process following a momentary power glitch.
It is, however, FUCKING RIDICULOUS.
On later versions it uses a lithium ion battery which consists of three 18650 cells, but rated at only 1.5 amp hour, which suggests… some 18650s of hilariously low quality. Behind the board is a charging / BMS circuit that steps the battery voltage up to 12V to keep the exciter powered. On earlier versions, they went through all the trouble of building this elaborate charger/step-up board, similarly…..
And then, waaaait for it—–
Ok, take a good look at this, and prepare yourself for the description of what you’re actually looking at: someone… went through the trouble of getting a spot welder in house and welding tabs to unmatched dumpshit tier** Energizer retail packed NiMH cells.
Because, uh, only the finest with Brand HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.
* Sorry, I am not currently in a sufficiently coherent mental state to describe what RTAC does, other than that it is Fucking Magic and if the Fucking Magic doesn’t work, the signal comes out on air as distorted non-decodable dog turd
** only slightly better than Duracell
Every now and then the gate operator at my apartment complex either leaves the gate open forever or opens like eight inches and dies so I have to get out and shove it open. This explains why.
* just imagine an angy possum hiss
The year…. something like 2004.
The transmitter…. Harris Broadcast PowerCD, a funky Inductive Output Tube based system with modular architecture supporting multiple cabinets.
The silliness: much. Much, much silliness. So here’s a hilarious one: this board is right at the power input to each cabinet and watches for power supply phase loss and provides voltage metering outputs. Power in this case is 480v 3 phase delta and the metering circuits on this card measure the voltage between A and B, B and C, and C and A. The measurement circuit is uhhhh the CACA type. 😉
So, here’s what you’re looking at. The three resistors are 15K ohm 3 watt and are wired in series with R27 (a PTC 0.15 amp polyfuse device) and the sensor coil inside that LEM current sensor.
The LEM LV25-P sensor is a Hall effect current sensor with galvanic isolation. It accepts 0-10mA and puts out a sense voltage proportional to the current input.
The resistors are dissipating 3.84 watts total on each phase, well within their rating. However, this rating was not assuming they’d be piled up like this and crammed on a board stuffed in an unventilated space in the cabinet!
The end result of this was that one of the voltage readings constantly jumped around and caused false alarms to fill the alarm log…. while we were trying to diagnose another issue.
I’m entirely confused as to why such a roundabout approach was taken to this when a set of isolation amplifiers with one side being powered off a voltage divider or even a small transformer on each phase would have worked with less bill of materials cost and less heat, but uh
I swear, every Ford Econoline is just powerfully cursed. This one sharted out its coolant somewhere on the passenger side. Good times waiting for the tow truck, at least it’s a nice cool day so far with no heavy smoke.
I should not have to be repeatedly giving attention to the innards of HVAC chillers, but here I am because everything fucking sucks significant amounts of elephant pisstube.
It’s hot and the air is barbecued toxic shit outside so I’m not going to bother taking exterior pictures of the chiller in question, but here’s its story.
It started out life as a perfectly fine York unit with four Copeland Scroll compressors, four inverted A-frame coils, and six axial fans on top to suck the hot air out after it’s moved across them.
Then someone decided, hey, Turbocor compressors are pretty boss, let’s swap it over to one of those. Okay.
Now let’s put a water misted cooling pad system on the air inlets and make it look like something that was field expediently whacked together in the back of a barn OH FUCK GO BACK NO
Here’s the end result. At some point someone cleared out the electrical cabinet of everything but the main disconnect and rebuilt it with……a mountain of weird shit. This is the left side where the contactors for the compressors and fans would have normally been. I don’t know what the deal is with that thing that looks like a transformer, it’s just an 3 phase “reactor” – an inductor.
Not particularly visible at the bottom: a set of current transformers on the Turbocor’s power wires that set off the water misters when it begins to spool up, and a pair of fans rigged in the bottom to keep the VFDs cool…ish. They’re powered through the barrier strip on the far right.
In the compartment which would have formerly held the logic board that controlled the old setup, the two relays to the left of the Turbocor interface board turn on the cooling fans at the bottom, and…. well, I have no idea what the second one does. I couldn’t trace this out and there’s no documentation left with it. In short, I have already run out of fucks to give.
I’m fairly sure the Turbocor must actually be capable of commanding variable frequency fan drives to cool the condenser, but oops, someone put that weirdass blue pressurestat in place instead. That thing is fucking weird. It sits there and does nothing until the pressure is like 4 PSI below setpoint, then the command voltage it sends just abruptly leaps up from 0 to 10v, making the variable frequency drives… not so variable…
Anyway the reason I had to mess with this thing is one of the drives lost a 24VDC cooling fan. Our HVAC contractor looked into ordering a new fan and found out that a replacement would be at least SIX MONTHS OUT. The original, an NMB 3110KL-05W-B50 (80mm, ball bearing, 24v, 0.15A) appears to be Fuck You NLA. In fact, almost all 80mm 24VDC fans appear to be unavailable. I begrudgingly, out of desperation, dug into my own supplies and grabbed a little switching buck converter that’d take the 24VDC from the VFD and step it down to 12V to run a fan that actually IS available and extremely common.
Now the dumb thing spits out cold water again and I’m not quite as mad. I’m still going to swear at the fucking bellend thing though.