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.

Bricked. Bricked. Bricked. None of you are free from sin.

Hey, I got all the modules for the transmitter repaired, let’s go put them all back in there! First, I’m just gonna switch to the aux and……


I do not know what came out of that transmitter, but it was not proper digital television. It had a carrier, and it had maybe some sort of data, but it wasn’t television. It was FIVE TONS OF FLAX or some shite I dunno.

The GatesAir Maxiva XTE exciters were violently unhappy.

I wish I’d saved a screenshot of the exciter user interface but it really didn’t tell me much other than that where you go in and it will tell you what service PIDs are present in your ASI stream, it just showed what looked like a bunch of line noise. Rebooting the exciter didn’t help. Ugh, software corruption again? Maybe— but I decided to go to GatesAir’s support site and look to see what the latest version of the exciter software was, if I was just gonna be reloading it anyway… and saw that the changelog mentioned a fix to a failure that occurs specifically when you’re feeding them from a Harmonic Electra X… which we are. One awkwardly long software load process later, I have two working exciters on the aux again, and I can continue! I wonder how much packing foam and glue this model contains?

Installing the missing PA modules, then removing, reinstalling them, wiggling them around until they fully make contact (why?!), then reinstalling the modules adjacent to them when they got loose and threw “PA not present” faults got all but two modules up and running— one down with bad power transistors (ANOTHER?!) and one with an “RF Off Warning”.

The one with the “RF Off Warning” was suffering only from a very familiar and ultimately harmless problem—

Let me once again state my eternal love for these MADDENINGLY CURSED D-SUB POWER CONNECTORS where the pins fall out and back into the module. Ye gods… STAGE PIN CONNECTORS would be an improvement over this, and I have a dislike for those things that’s just about palpable. (It helps in that case that I’ve had several of them explode into showers of sparks and smoke in my hands while working on studio lighting.)

Gee, I wonder why the transmitter says PA3 RF OFF WARNING? Yeah, you kinda need power to make RF…


Next time remind me to not skip going to get the powered screwdriver to do this, that’s like two bakers’ dozen screws and takes forever to get into.

I swear, there is just no end to the fun with this transmitter. Let this be a lesson to you all, do not defer maintenance for five years while your station is a Shitclair property and let your transmitter cook in 110 degree heat every summer of that because your air conditioners are slowly becoming piles of green rust. Also keep up with your software updates. Also HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH. Plenty of that.

The ghost produced void

You ever hear some awful pop music abomination that you’re being unwantedly subjected to just because it’s on super heavy six plays an hour promotion, and it’s there only because it is or sounds like the last song that TikTok blasted with their “heating tool”, just some hopelessly celebrity name drop “featuring” panderphonic disaster…..

… and you have this awful thought that this was once someone’s art before it got pushed down the capitalist grinder?

Nah, me either