Tuesday, April 30, 2024

Meanwhile, Back On The Workbench......

 My next patient on the table is a Fisher SR-2010 receiver with no output.

 Basic examination revealed a burned 100 Ohm, 1/4 Watt resistor, labeled as "R60", caused by a shorted transistor. The bad transistor is the slightly-out-of-focus grey device with the tab at the top.

Since the transistors originally used are obsolete, I have to locate substitutes. I have the data sheet for the OEM transistors, so I know the parameters. Several members over at the AudioKarma forum have gone through the process of selecting replacements with modern parts, so that's how I'll go after I read a hundred posts or so....Since the substitute will have somewhat different characteristics, and it's in a "balanced" configuration, I'll replace both of them. And I'll do the same for the other channels. I also noticed half-a-dozen electrolytic capacitors that should be changed. Their maximum working voltage is 63 Volts, and they're on a 60 Volt supply. They're loud, messy accidents just waiting to happen.

Before I started on this, I checked all the controls for smooth operation. All of the switches need cleaning, their mounting hardware was loose, and several of the push buttons are sticky. Simple job cleaning them, but it takes time.

One thing that really bugged me was that the tuning knob had a scratchy, notchy feel to it. It also made a "tic tic tic" noise as you rotated the knob. Further investigation revealed the operating shaft for the tuning capacitor was a tad loose....

So since the dial calibration is now completely borked, and I have to disassemble the capacitor to find out what happened, it looks like I'll be restringing the dial cord with a new one. Which means off with the front panel.

Which revealed a cracked light diffuser under the panel.

A drop of thin acrylic cement, acetone, or toluene will hold it together once I get it realigned.

I'll do my usual "Clean-and-Shine" and replace all the dial lamps, which are quite darkened with age. Should be quite pretty when she's finished.


Annnnnd out in the garage, work proceeds on the Supra. I needed to know the current draw of my new fans so I can size the new wiring and fusing, so I made a little lash-up to power the fans while I measured the current.

 I used some 10 gauge red/black cable, and a fully charged Optima Yellow Top battery. The clamp-on ammeter is one that also reads DC Amperage, and it showed a running current draw of about 5 Amps, with a brief surge to 20 Amps when the fan is powered on.

Total Rain for April.....

 Have a good, safe week, and don't forget to check your six.

Saturday, April 27, 2024

Array Solutions AND MFJ Closing Up Shop

 Got this from a friend:

A few weeks ago, Array Solutions announced they were closing their doors. Now MFJ has made their announcement
April 25, 2024
 Dear Fellow hams and Friends,
 It is with a sad heart as I write this letter. As many of you have heard by now, MFJ is ceasing its on-site production in Starkville, Mississippi on May 17, 2024. This is also the same for our sister companies: Ameritron, Hygain, Cushcraft, Mirage and Vectronics.
 Times have changed since I started this business 52 years ago. Our product line grew and grew and prospered. Covid changed everything in businesses including ours. It was the hardest hit that we have ever had and we never fully recovered. I turned 80 this year. I had never really considered retirement but life is so short and my time with my family is so precious.
 I want to thank all of our employees who have helped build this company with me over the years. We have many employees who have made MFJ their career for 10, 20, 30, 40 and more years. We are going to continue to sell MFJ products past May 17, 2024. We have a lot of stock on hand. We will continue to offer repair service work for out-of-warranty and in-warranty units for the foreseeable future. Finally, a special thanks to all of our customers and our dealers who have made MFJ a worldwide name and a profitable business for so many years.
 You all are so much appreciated.
 Sincerely Yours, 73s Martin F. Jue, K5flu

Array Solutions specialized in large antenna systems, and MFJ made many Amateur Radio products.

Tuesday, April 23, 2024

A Week With Luna....

 She's settling in quite nicely. She's very obedient, affectionate, friendly, and amazingly good with both our grandsons. She's still camera-shy, so I snapped this one with my cellphone.

She's not quite sure of what to make of our backyard, which is big enough to qualify as a Dog Park in some cities. She was in the shelter for about three weeks, and prior to that she was an "apartment dog" for 3~4 months. We don't know the environment of her original home where she grew up, but she has more than just basic training. The owner who turned her in got her from her brother. He and his wife are expecting their first child, and couldn't cope with an active dog and a new infant, so he gave Luna to his sister. She had to surrender Luna because her landlord "Found out we had another dog", and threatening legal action. Poor Luna was caught in the middle, and lost her home. She's great in the car, but do NOT turn on the windshield wipers! She lunged at them today when we took her for her visit to our DVM. Just protective, I guess.....

And it's really nice to have a dog in our lives again.

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Meet Luna!

 Great name for our new pup, eh? She's camera shy, and "Red Eye Removal" doesn't work for dogs!

She's two years old, predominantly American Staffordshire Terrier, aka "Pit Bull". She was surrendered to the NoCo Humane Center by a young couple who are expecting their first child, and decided they couldn't handle a young dog and a new infant at the same time. The first dog we looked at wanted absolutely nothing to do with us, which is surprising, as we're both People of the Dog, and most dogs like us. I mean growl, turn her back to us, and stare out the window until the staff person came to collect her.

Luna was very happy to meet us, and took to us immediately. She responded properly to several commands we gave her, and seemed to be a very good natured dog.

I tried to get a good picture of her, but the Big Black Nikon camera I have spooked her, and when I clicked the flash up, she backed off. As soon as I took this picture she came back wagging her tail, but I've never seen a dog get spooked by a camera.

And she loves exploring her backyard. I'm sure she'll love the trails here, too.

We get to see how she does with other people tomorrow, as The Kids are dropping by for a bit.

Sunday, April 14, 2024

For Phil......

 My buddy Phil from Bustednuckles brought up a good point on my previous post.

Since I have things on the engine torn down this far:

It would be (take your pick) foolish, stupid, and/or Just Plain Dumb to NOT replace the $35 water pump while it's out there right in front of me.

To which I wholeheartedly agree:

These are all new, bought on "Wholesaler Close-Out" from Rock Auto. They're all Made In Japan, and look identical. These haven't been available for quite some time from Toyota, so we're forced to use aftermarket for replacements. The pump in the car is fairly new, isn't leaking a single drop, and the bearing rotates freely with zero wobble, play, or noise or grittiness.

Since the water pump is right in front of me, the cooling system is completely drained, and I have the parts and gaskets on-hand, it a no-brainer to swap it out. Since I'm ditching the engine-driven clutch fan, the bearings in the new pump should last a good, long time.

Annnnnd......Since it appears to be weeping a bit, a new front main seal will also be installed.

Saturday, April 13, 2024

YAY! Harmonic Balancer Off The Engine

 The special tool I ordered worked like a charm after I bought some longer bolts. Since the tool is listed as for a Lexus, which used this basic engine, I guess the harmonic balancer isn't as deep as this one on my Toyots.

Tool on Balancer:

 Big Bolt removed:


Puller on Balancer:

Balancer off car:


It's a Good Thing I'm doing this, because even though the belt looks fairly new, the tensioner is shot. Hard to rotate, gritty feeling, and most likely the one the car was born with.

This will be my play room the next few days while I clean this up, and install the new parts.

Next thing will be to pull the lower intake runners, followed by more cleaning of those parts and the left side of the engine.


Then I can start on the wiring upgrades......

Thursday, April 11, 2024

Spring? Is That You?

 You jest can't never tell 'bout Spring In The Rockies. It's been stunningly beautiful the last few days, with blue skies, and temps right around 60 or so. Both the weekend, and the coming week, look to be Really Nice Weather in the mid to upper 70's.

And we'll get clobbered with snow at least once more (Never plant before Mother's Day!) before things stay nice. Our new yard service has been here the last two days. They mowed, aerated, de-thatched, fertilized, and seeded the front and rear yards, and I've reconfigured our watering system to make it easier for SLW to do the crack-of-dawn watering. After our preparing and seeding some big dead (as in "dirt") areas in the backyard went so well, we decided to get some Professional Help for everything else. These guys are on the ball, on time, do an excellent job, are friendly, and their charges are very reasonable.

Work is continuing on the Supra. The tool I bought to pull the harmonic balancer included bolts that were too short. Correct length bolts are on the way, as I really, really, really want to get the cam belt and ancillaries changed as they're an "Unknown Time In Use" part, and have definite life spans.

It's much easier to get at the wiring harnesses I'll be working on with the radiator, and all the air conditioning equipment off the car. The plastic "Split Loom" tubing was so far gone that it was crumbling away. The plastic retainers used to hold the split-loom tubing to the chassis were either broken, or broke when I released the harness from them. The wires inside the tubing are being cleaned, and then they'll get wrapped with a special tape, and new split-loom installed. The battery cables and cable from alternator to battery are being upgraded to suit the new high-output alternator. I'm really getting to know the engine bay wiring quite well, as I have to remove the old cables, measure and photograph them, and send that to the vendor for a quote. The positive cable needs to be slightly modified, as the original way the battery was connected was a mess. The extremely corroded "Fusible Link Box" is being replaced with a new assembly I fabricated. 

 This required a minor change in the cable from the battery, adding an 8 gauge wire from the battery to the new Fusible Link Box, rather than having them mount directly ON the positive post of the battery.

Friday I go see a specialist about my neck issues. Seems I have a bulging disc, and some congenital spinal issues.

I'd post something about the State of the Union, but I don't like elevating my blood pressure. Nevertheless, I sense something coming our way, and it won't be good. Whether it happens before or after the election is unclear, but I think something's going to pop.....

Enjoy your upcoming weekend, keep your head on a swivel, and have a Blessed Sunday.

Sunday, April 7, 2024

Wind Storm AAR

 Other than the wind howling all night, and a backyard full of Nature's Pruning of the Trees, we got through things alright. There were about a dozen semis blown over on I-25 North of Wellington and then CDOT closed the road to large vehicles.

The area where The Kids live was powered off, and they just now (1530 local) had power restored. 

Trees down, power lines down, vehicles blown over, roofs damaged, and wind gusts here in town of 60+MPH.

Things are back to normal, and the temps will be in the high 60's, low 70's this coming week.

Friday, April 5, 2024

Spectacular Weather.....Followed By Storms.....

 The weather here has been Fan-Freakin'-Tastic for the last four days. Beautiful blue skies, temps in the 60's~70's, and just all around pleasant.

That's going to change in the next 12 hours or so. There's a big front coming in from the North, as usual, bringing cold weather, rain/snow, and very high winds. The forecast is for sustained winds of 35~45MPH, and gusts as high as 70MPH. That's some serious wind, so I went around the yard today sheltering the patio furniture, and checking my antennas for tight mounting hardware. All was good, but I slackened my radials a bit to allow for a bit more sway.

Spring Cleaning has begun in the "Hangar Bay" (my garage), and the tables cleared (mostly), parts arranged, and I'm waiting for a tool to be delivered so I can finally get the Harmonic Balancer removed on the Supra. The Big Bolt that holds the balancer on the crankshaft is torqued to One-Hundred and Sixty Foot-Pounds of torque, which is a fair amount of twist for an old geezer like me. I was going to fabricate a tool, and then one of my Extended Toyota Family clued me in to this tool. $22 delivered in two days from Amazon.

This bolts into the center hub of the balancer, and allows you to hold it while you apply copious amounts of torque to loosen the bolt.

For leverage, a 1/2" drive breaker bar plugs into the end of the tool like so....

And your choice of breaker bar length determines how much torque you have to exert while the impact tool rattles away.

This one is about 16" long, and I have a 26" bar, with a two-foot length of pipe, in the truck, if needed.

Once I get the timing belt, tensioner, and tensioner spring replaced, I can put this task to bed, and move on to the electrical upgrades to make the most of the new 95A alternator.

Monday, April 1, 2024

Handy Desktop App for Hams

 Sent to me by a friend, and now added to the "Link-O-Rama" section.

It's called the "Hamshack Dashboard", and provides quite a bit of info at your fingertips. Or a mouse click.....

Supras and Stereos.....

 The repairs on the Fisher RS-2010 are proceeding, but a bit slower than I expected. The failed transistor is an obsolete part number, so I ...