This poor thing was running on EMPTY, time to juice it up! Let’s see, uh…. wait. You can’t just let it draw the solution in out of a bucket, you must use an external pump to force it in there! The expansion tank is very much on the wrong side of the pump to make pressurizing the system the same way you do with the newer systems possible.
Oh and it’s all on the outdoor side and the pumps get all nasty due to weather exposure. Both of these units have one bad pump each. Yaaaackkkk.
I unfortunately didn’t get pictures of the mess that occurred when the charging pump blechhhhh’d all over the floor or when that main vent pictured above inexplicably yacked on the wall behind it but suffice to say mess was made here.
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.
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
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.
There is another memory backup battery, but I’m guessing that’s mostly just for the realtime clock.
* 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