Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

And in the spirit of this truly American observance, we'll be celebrating it in a typical (for some) American way.

From 2pm to 3pm we'll be using the in-laws range up at The Homestead to blast away at things, and then from 3pm to 4pm The Guys will help The Women get things ready for dinner at 4pm.

This will be the first time the Chevy Colorado has gone up there, and I'm interested to see how it compares to my beloved Jeep. Yeah, it was a Grand Cherokee, but it was well-equipped to handle the drive up there, back in the canyons, on a Private 1.5 lane "Semi-Improved" gravel road, with turn-outs every half-mile or so. Downhill traffic, what little there is, has the right-of-way, hence the turn-outs.

At least the weather should be nice, as I remember what a chore it would be to drive there in bad weather.


SO....here's wishing you all a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 18, 2021

ACK! Busy Week.....

 Besides attempting to work on the Pioneer this week, SLW decided to skip Thanksgiving, and go right into Christmas mode.

Which meant getting out the tree, and dressing it.

Except one whole string of lights didn't work. You know where this is going.....

She bought this preassembled, already wired, artificial tree for $10 from a yard sale when we first moved here, and the lighting on it has seen better days. Long story short, we wound up taking the tree "down to the frame", and installing two, new strands of lighting.

Spent several hours diagnosing the bad strands last night, pulled all 200 bulbs and tested them, sorted the dead ones out, and she was off this morning to get 200 replacement bulbs, enough for both strands and some spares.

NOBODY had replacement bulbs in stock, so she brought back two new strands.

We then spent all day spent all day getting our Christmas decorations up, and trimming the tree.

With TLG running around "helping" us. Kid's got more energy than two tornadoes and a hurricane!

Anywhoo.....got the Zero Point Voltage and the Idling Current adjusted on the Pioneer SX-980, and did the alignment on the AM and FM tuner sections. I still have to align the FM Multiplex (Stereo) section, which has me reading the manual for my HP signal generator, which might be able to do the Pilot Carrier and SCA Carriers. Otherwise I'll have to put the receiver on hold, and do a quick run-through of my Heathkit IG-37 FM Stereo Signal Generator. I picked it up some time ago from an estate seller I bought some other Heathkit test gear from, but just put it on the shelf.

Hope y'all have a great coming weekend!



Friday, November 12, 2021

Pioneer SX-980 Progress

 Just about finished with the cosmetic work on the receiver. Had some RUST to remove on the ventilation cover, the bottom chassis plate, and the top end bell on the power transformer.

Transformer before:

Transformer after:

Had to get really creative when I was removing the rust so I didn't blow iron oxide all over the place:

 And equally creative when I painted it:


The top ventilation cover was really crummy after I wire brushed it:

So I used my orbital sander on it, gave it a coat of self-etching primer, then sealed it, and gave it two coast of Rust-Oleum "Bed Liner" spray, and it came out quite nice:

Same with the inside of the bottom chassis plate, but I used Krylon Satin Black:


 The front panel was a mess, too. Somebody had put the old "shiny" Scotch Tape along the top the panel at some time during it's life, and it took several hours to get the tape, and glue residue, off the panel. Then it had to be further cleaned and polished. Unfortunately, it has some nicks and dings in the cast bezel, and I can't do anything about them, short of replacing the entire front panel. I'll just call it "patina", and live with it. At least it's clean and shiny again.

 Same with the knobs; they were filthy, with finger grime on the them, and some scratches. The main tuning and volume control knobs are machined aluminum, so they could be cleaned up, but the rest of them are metalized plastic, and once they're scratched, that's it.

I should have it all back together tonight, except for the wood case that I'm still working on, and then I can start going through the check-out and alignment procedures. I need the case off the unit so I can get at the adjustments, so no biggie right now.


Hope y'all had a good weekend. Weather here has been cool (40's~50's) and windy, but no snow for now. I'll probably fire up the snow blower again this weekend just to make sure I haven't forgotten how to run it.....


Thursday, November 11, 2021

Verteran's Day

 

 I can't say Thank You enough, and although I didn't serve, I admire and honor all who did.


Thank you all for your service, sacrifice, and patriotism.


Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Up Next On The Workbench....

 I'm slowly working my way up the "Pioneer SX Food Chain", starting with the SX-780 I bought earlier this year. I've always liked the big Pioneer receivers since I was in college, and have wanted to get one for years.

In the process of going through my SX-780, I learned a lot about the Pioneer SX series of receivers. There were basically two series of these receivers; the SX-xx50 series, and the SX-xx80 series. The consensus among the audio forums is the the "50 Series" receivers were built better than the "80 Series", one of the main differences being the output devices used for the power amplifier that drives the speakers. The 50 Series used regular transistors, while the 80 Series used "Power Hybrids", which are several transistors mounted in a much larger package. The transistors are still available from numerous sources, while the power hybrids are close to being unobtainium. Some "audiophiles" claim the 50 series sounded better, but either series is capable of very, very good audio delivered to the speakers.

The 80 Series receivers had analog meters that showed the power being delivered to the speakers, while the 50 Series lacked these meters. I like the 80 Series, so that's what I've been looking for.

This is the newest one I just obtained. 

The seller said it was "tested", but that not all the inputs were checked, so all they could verify was that it worked on AM and FM, which means the output devices are working, a nice thing to know. They also offered a 90-day warranty (you get you money back), so since the listing was "$900 or best offer", I offered them $500, and they accepted it after a few emails back-and-forth.

When I looked at the listing pix, I noticed what appeared to be some kind of crud on the top cover, along with a spot of rust, as seen in the lower middle of the first picture:


We were dickering over the price when I asked if the unit had gotten wet, or was stored in a damp area, and they said they didn't know, but that "It Might Need Servicing", and was I comfortable working on these. I assured them I didn't have any issues with it needing a bit of work, and they accepted the offer.

It arrived here on Monday, superbly packed, and I took it downstairs and began to check it out.

The spots of crud on the cover....

 

....turned out to be rust under the paint, and as soon as I hit the cover with a wire brush, the paint just blew off: 

This bad enough that I'll go over it with my orbital sander, and then prime it and paint it. We're expecting very nice weather through the weekend, so this will be one of the last "Garage Tasks" I'll do before Winter sets in for real.

And The Wettening did a bit more than damage the cover. The rust spot on the top cover was directly over the power transformer, and whatever leaked in did this to the power transformer:


 I've already pulled the mounting hardware so I can clean this up, but not wanting to remove all the leads coming out of the end bell (the rusty part), I'm going to clean it in place, then very carefully mask everything around it, and repaint it.

The cover and end bell on the transformer are the only places I can see any evidence of water ingress, and the rest of the chassis is dusty and dirty, but not corroded:

So it looks like I may have "lucked out" on this one. There's no way I would have paid the asking price ($900) for this, but the seller was reasonable, the packing job was excellent (foamed-in-place), and it appears to just need a good cleaning and spot of paint.





Monday, November 1, 2021

Four Years Ago Today.....

 We started moving in to this house, and turning it into our home. Had some ups and down, and dropped about $40k in here the first year, but they were Deferred Maintenance items the people we bought the house from had let go, and we knew it going in.

Went through a bit of "City-To-Country Culture Shock", even though we're not that rural, but all-in-all it's the best thing we've done.

My son moved here in August, and his stress level has dropped about 90%. He was in the retail food business, and some of the stores he was assigned to were populated by the Elite, and the others by the Entitled. They were both "Bad Customers", far too important to busy themselves like understanding that when the shelves are empty, it means we have NO STOCK available to put on them. No ma'am, we don't "have any in the back". I'm sorry, ma'am, but the trucks that bring our stock didn't come today. No, ma'am, I don't know why the truck didn't come today, and on, and on, and on.

The Entitled would either harangue him about the prices, or just outright steal things. He said their griping about the prices was really pretty stupid, as they were "buying" their items with EBT cards, and it was coming out of HIS pocket, not theirs.

Halloween was a blast, and we had at least twice as many kids as we've ever had. SLW said it was probably the lights and displays we had up for the last several days that attracted them.

TLG got to go Trick or Treating dressed as the Grim Reaper, and his Daddy wore a hockey mask and hoodie. My son went dressed as a penguin, and SLW was dressed as some kind of witch.

I dressed as The Mad Scientist, complete with flashing, buzzing lights, and my Sonic Screwdriver.

We ran out of candy just as it started to rain about 8 PM, and that ended it for the night.

It was very enjoyable to see all the costumes, especially the ones the parents were wearing.

And not ONE face diaper in evidence!

Busy Week, Beautiful Weather, Amateur Radio Field Day

 Having gorgeous weather the last few days, and got some (more!) yard work done, and enjoyed evening strolls around the 'hood with SLW, ...