Ever had water start gushing out of something that’s fundamentally made of eldritch terror and high voltage? Why I’ve never…..
And it gave me a nice shower the moment I got the door open. And I accidentally did the Wrong Button Thing again in the confusion.
So the fitting that became a showerhead is the one on the left. I didn’t get a picture of it but basically it’s the same as half of that coupler I found in a parts box that’s sitting on top… However it didn’t have the O-ring. The snapped trapezoidal profile ring sitting on the right sits in the bottom of the socket. The fitting plugs in there, held against the trapezoidal ring by two locking pins, you can see the head of one of them on top here. I can’t identify the type of connector or even find any evidence that it ever existed. Anywhere. Needless to say I didn’t have a spare for that ring, but luckily taking one of the round o rings off that close nipple and putting it in the seat in the socket and reinstalling the thing worked! No more warm shower of DI water.
Oh, and now I know how the funky bascule bridges work. A rather buzzy motor cranks up in there and rotates pinion gears that engage with rack gears on these two long braces on each side of the bascule, which protrude outward from the waterway to lift the well balanced assembly. You would be well advised to stay clear of that counterweight as it comes awkwardly close to the road surface as it nears fully open!
And this is uhh, Stuffing Shit In Tower Elevators, Medium Difficulty Level. I rode down squatted inside the cabinet and it wasn’t the best. The elevator is kinda both bigger and smaller than it looks as it’s a weird shape and the control cabinets stick out. If there isn’t a large object rammed in the, there’s enough space to comfortably sit down on the floor as it slowly creeps its way up or down at 85 feet per minute.
The Space Station Toilet knows its days are numbered so it’s started acting accordingly… The resistivity of the cooling water was down so it was time for a new filter. An unpleasant looking black scunge was present in the bottom of the filter canister.
Eeeeeeeeeeeeeewwwwwww toilet juice
Whyst in doth actual feck do these resistors run so hot?
Up on the bench today: A Lectrosonics wireless microphone cube.
This unit snaps right into the XLR connector at the bottom of a ‘stick’ microphone for handheld use. You’ve probably seen these in use on the news before (though often the bottom of the mic will be out of the shot and you won’t see it hanging there).
This is the upper end of the cube, as seen with the mic in a position of normal use.
The black plastic coated cone serves two purposes. One, you twist it to press the locking tab on the XLR to eject the assembly from the microphone. Two, it’s always being forced towards the tip by a strong spring, so the mic is gripped firmly and prevented from rattling around.
See how the XLR is all chewed up on this one? The spring failed over time (and LOTS of hard use) and allowed it to rattle around, causing eventual failure of the connector.
Looks easy enough to replace, right? It’s just screwed to one end plate of the ‘cube’ housing, into which there are five screw holes – two on the flatted side that’s down on the static mat in this picture, three of which face the rest of the pack body.
OH AND NO REDEMPTION EITHER.
Step one… get the pack open by removing all the tiny screws surrounding the display and controls then lift that out. Good luck. That part is fecking DIFFICULT, I have always just firmly stuck gaff tape to it and used it as a handle to lift it out. Be careful as you will be disconnecting a small pitch set of header pins above the top of the display towards the XLR end. Don’t bend them. The whole thing will come free when lifted only about a millimeter out of the recess though so the risk of this should be small. The two screws right next to the XLR are longer than the others as they land in the XLR endcap.
Step two, proceed to gut the whole damn thing like a fish. Photo captions inspired by the short film above.
Off comes the battery door – 4 pieces – first to come out are the four long larger black cone head Phillips screws, followed by the outer plate and the battery flap, then three more short small cone head screws to get that thin inner plate and spring off.
Now you can see the three screws on the back of the XLR plate down holes drilled through the cube body… but you can only actually reach one of them! This is gonna get sillier. Trust me. You’ve gotta get the radio board out of there.
On a side note, see that little black biscuit on the radio board? That’s topped with a strong magnet. Is that…. a whole-ass miniature RF CIRCULATOR?
The short black wire is the antenna lead. This must be desoldered along with the red and green power wires. Oh, also, to get to this point, you have to take out four tiny pan head Phillips screws and three larger short pan head screws that hold the control/audio board to the back of the front panel. Disconnect the one flat flex connector to the front panel membrane switches. The audio wires are Kynar and are looped through a hole in the board next to where they’re actually soldered down. There are fine pitch SMT components RIGHT NEXT TO the through holes they are soldered into. Be careful. This precluded the use of a vacuum desoldering pump and made me swear even more.
And finally, here’s the small mountain of screws that you’ll find yourself facing midway through the process. Don’t ask me to explain the “Line ‘Em Up” thing because I don’t understand it either. It just spontaneously came to be one day and that’s all I know. Oh, also, there IS a little bit of extra room in there to where you can leave the battery leads slightly long-ish, but you’ll have to carefully roll them up into that void between the flat flex connector on the control panel and where they land on the power / radio board. There isn’t enough clearance between that shield can and the chips on the back of the control panel.
Oh, one more thing: those hex screws are English size – I think 3/32 inch. The tiny set screws on some of their connectors are 0.9 millimeter. Yes, an unholy blend of English and Metric. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!
But hey, I can think of worse ways I could have spent the late morning hours. Well I still don’t have to fix the couch, so bite me.
ATSC 1.0 has at least two very dumb things about it. #1: The 8VSB modulation. 8VSB is basically amplitude modulation with, spectrally, everything below the carrier attenuated off. In theory, that sounds ok, except that it’s extremely vulnerable to multipath. GUESS WHAT HAPPENS ON EVERY TV SIGNAL IN AN URBAN AREA. The margin’s not that big for multipath, and once you hit it, the whole signal’s useless, leaving your viewers to dance around with the antenna and wonder why they just can’t get picture….
8VSB was only, from documentation I’ve found on it, lab tested for performance in terms of signal to noise ratio in a proof for the FCC… no attempt was made to simulate or measure receiver performance in the face of multipath. I’m not sure if this was because nobody ever had the “aha!” moment and realized it’d be a problem or if some vendor already heavily invested in it swept it under the rug. Just about every other country used DVB-T which allows for more spectrally efficient and robust modulation standards including QPSK (very robust but not as efficient as QAM), 16QAM, and 64QAM.
This raises another issue that was dumber on the broadcaster’s side: 8VSB was in part chosen because it would, in theory, work through existing analog transmitters, requiring only slight modifications to things like the combiners and an exciter swap. In practice, no transmitter manufacturers really opened this up as an option, and everyone had to buy all new shit. In fact… the klystron based UHF television transmitters proved not to have the linearity (or SOMETHING) to deal with 8VSB and the Inductive Output Tube had to be brought out of mothballs to deal with it. The IOT has great linearity but no damn efficiency – it was originally used by General Electric for an early World’s Fair demo of UHF television broadcasting, but commercially never took off… anyway, later on, EEV’s esciot series tubes improved on that somewhat… but… they’re still a pain in the arse
Stupid Thing #2 (or is it about #8 by now?): MPEG2. Do I look like I know what an mpeg is?*
So here not only do we have this shitty 8VSB modulation sapping the available amount of information that can be broadcast in a certain width of channel but then…. MPEG2 video coding was specified. I suspect that’s evidence of the standard’s development either being dragged out forever OR someone just wanted to be able to use up a bunch of DVD player decoder ASICs they had sitting in a Chinese warehouse. As a result of the MPEG2 encoding being used, the picture looks like DOUBLE BUTT when there’s a lot of motion, especially when you’re running a lot of subchannels squeezed into that 18.3 megabits/sec…
And then you have the whole godawful thing where the CECB program led to the cost of converter boxes which probably actually cost about $25 including hardware, manufacturing, and patent licensing royalties being fixed right up to $40…. but that’s a far dumber story
ATSC 1.0 has 💹👩 at 😂☺ least two very ❗😔 dumb 👅🤤 things about 🏻👏 it. 💡😏 #1: ⏰🤜 The 8VSB modulation. 8VSB is basically amplitude modulation with, spectrally, everything below ⬇😫 the carrier attenuated off. 📴 In 👏 theory, 🍆 that 😦 sounds 👌👌 ok, 🆗 except 😮😮 that 👈 it’s 💯❗ extremely 💯💯 vulnerable to 😄 multipath. GUESS 😦 WHAT HAPPENS ON 😢🔛 EVERY 🏾 TV 📺📺 SIGNAL IN 🍑 AN 😮👏 URBAN AREA. The margin’s not 🚫 that 👶➡ big for multipath, and ☢🍆 once ⁉🍆 you ☝ hit it, 😵 the 🙆 whole signal’s useless, ⏳ leaving 🏃🏃 your 💯💦 viewers to 💰🎯 dance 💃💃 around 😇💦 with 👏 the antenna and 👏 wonder why they just can’t 💦🔫 get picture…. 📷💭 8VSB was only, 🔑 from 😂 documentation I’ve 💰👈 found on 🔛 it, lab tested for 🎁 performance in terms of signal to 💦 noise ratio in a proof 💯💯 for 🍆🍆 the 💰👏 FCC… 🚫 no 🚫🙅 attempt was 👍👏 made to 💨 simulate or 💁 measure 🎛🎛 receiver performance in the 🏳👏 face of multipath. I’m not 🙅 sure if 👉👏 this 💦👈 was because 📝♂ nobody 🙅 ever had 💦 the “aha!” moment 🕞🕑 and 👏 realized it’d ❓🍝 be 💨😐 a problem or 👱👱 if 🙎🅱 some 💛 vendor already heavily 😃😃 invested in 🏽🙌 it swept 🤣🤣 it under ⏬ the 🅰 rug. Just 😬😶 about 😯 every 👏👖 other country 😂🏃 used DVB-T which 👏 allows for 😏 more spectrally efficient and 💦 robust modulation standards including 💨 QPSK (very ☣👿 robust but not 👮 as efficient as 🏃🍑 QAM), 16QAM, and 💩 64QAM. This 👈⬆ raises another 🏻 issue that 😠👌 was dumber on 👋🔛 the 👨 broadcaster’s side: 8VSB was in ❤ part chosen because it 💯 would, in theory, 😂 work 🏃😠 through 🚪 existing analog transmitters, requiring only 🏻☝ slight modifications to 💥💦 things 🕑 like 🙅 the 🚑🚪 combiners and 👀👅 an exciter swap. In 🌤😩 practice, 🍆 no transmitter manufacturers really 🏳👄 opened 😅😅 this ⬆ up ❤🏿 as 🍑 an option, and ➕ everyone had 👞 to 💰😛 buy all 😎 new 🎆🏽 shit. 👌 In fact… 🛡🔍 the 💦 klystron based UHF television transmitters proved not ❌🚫 to 🆒😤 have 😎 the ♀👏 linearity (or 🅱🅱 SOMETHING) 🤔❓ to deal with 👫 8VSB and the 📺 Inductive Output Tube 🙈🐱 had ☝🈶 to be brought out 👿 of mothballs to 🔣 deal with it. ✔ The IOT has 💰💹 great linearity but 🍑 no damn 😩 efficiency – it was originally 🔙 used 🚟 by General ♂ Electric ⚡⚡ for 💕❓ an 💶 early 🕐 World’s Fair demo of UHF television broadcasting, but 🍑 commercially never ❌😤 took 😱 off… anyway, later ⏰💯 on, 🍆 EEV’s esciot series tubes improved on that somewhat… but… ✋🍑 they’re 😄 still 👉 a 📖🎯 pain in 🛌 the 👏📖 arse Stupid Thing #2 💁 (or 💀 is it 😡😩 about #8 👊 by 😈👊 now?): MPEG2. Do 👌 I 👁 look like I know what an 👌👹 mpeg is?* So here 👏⤵ not only do 👌 we have 👏🈶 this ⁉ shitty 8VSB modulation sapping the 👑 available amount 📉 of information that can 💦♀ be broadcast in a 🍑 certain width of channel 👀 but then…. 👱🅱 MPEG2 video coding was 😰🙂 specified. I 🏿🔥 suspect that’s 😐 evidence 📰📰 of 👌💦 the 👏 standard’s development 🔬🔬 either being 😑 dragged out forever OR 💦💦 someone just 👏🤔 wanted 🅰 to be 🐝💰 able to 💦 use 👏 up 🔝😍 a bunch of ❗ DVD player 💰🤺 decoder ASICs they 😂👥 had 🍆 sitting 🙇 in a Chinese 😕😕 warehouse. As 🍑 a 💰💰 result of 😴💦 the MPEG2 encoding being used, 🚟 the 😬 picture 💩 looks like DOUBLE BUTT 😍 when 🍑😩 there’s a 👌👌 lot ‼ of 💿😏 motion, 😐 especially when 🍑 you’re 🔥🏃 running 🏃 a 👦 lot 🍑 of subchannels squeezed into that 🏻🙇 18.3 💋 megabits/sec… And 😤🚄 then you 👈👧 have the 🎁👏 whole 💦👩 godawful thing where 😭😠 the 😈🏻 CECB program led to the 🍗 cost of 🚋💦 converter boxes which 🥙 probably actually cost 💰💰 about 💦 $25 👏👏 including hardware, manufacturing, and ➕☝ patent licensing royalties being fixed right ✔✅ up to 🔍 $40…. but that’s 😻 a 👌 far 🆘💦 dumber story 📜📖
Saw this picture on Twitter and well, it’s distinctly output being generated by a Digital Alert Systems / Monroe DASHECK.. I mean.. DASDEC…
Nah, there’s nothing evil about these things though, they don’t sacrifice children and they certainly aren’t in any way possessed….
Really though, this makes me wonder, I’ve known for quite a while that these things are basically just a Linux box. They have a fair amount of obfuscation because the they sell a bunch of extra options and are making at least a token effort to keep the IPAWS server keys hidden…. however it appears that they use VLC for some reason? Funky.
I’ve always wondered what the AM and FM radio cards in these things are. A nice feature they offer is the ability to go back in there and get a recording of the AM / FM monitor sources as an incoming alert was picked off them. That’s also present in the current versions of the Sage Digital Endec but the Monroe will give you one for each source, while the Sage actually only monitors one audio source at a time (the first to go active steals it and the rest are not monitored).
I dunno, EAS is just horribly cursed, and my idea of Heaven is a solid white nightclub with me as a headliner for all eternity, and they *love* me.