Intel's Ronler Acres Plant

Silicon Forest
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Sunday, May 16, 2010


Broken phono plug
One of John's guitar cords flaked out. Nice long cable, but unreliable. I couldn't stand to throw away perfectly good wire, so I cut open a connector to see what went wrong. Looks like the wire to the outer sleeve of the plug was soldered with a butt joint, the sleeve twisted, the solder cracked and the joint failed. Now I have a 20 foot length of wire without any connectors. Click to embiggen.

You can see the broken solder joint just below the black plastic handle. The V cut into the handle reveals one half of the joint, and the blob of solder stuck to the shaft, just below the plastic handle and to the right of the V is the other half. Hold the shaft and you can twist the handle. Not good.
No Volts
Most of a volt
Thermopile on the gas fireplace failed. It only generates milli-volts, but I could have sworn it was enough to make the needle on my cheapo Radio Shack VOM move. It didn't, so I ordered a new one off of E-bay. Looking around on the net, gas fireplaces seem to be the only application for these things, and they apparently all use the same size. They generate 750 milli-volts, which is almost a volt and is certainly enough to make the needle on the volt meter move.
Homemade automatic fan switch
I wanted a thermal cutoff switch for the fan in the fireplace. The switch itself is available from Grainger and it's cheap enough (it's the round thing in the center top). The trick is mounting it. I made this box out of standard electrical wiring box parts and a pair of clamps from a ping pong net. I got a machinist I know to reverse the screw clamps in the brackets. Anyway, it fits in the air space underneath the fireplace and the screws in the clamps hold it up against the underside of the firebox. Works well. The wood screws are a kludge to hold the switch bracket in the box. Not what you would call kosher, but they work.
Casablanca Fan Control
The knob on the speed control for the ceiling fan broke, but they didn't have any the right size at Home Depot, so I got a big one. It works fine, but it makes it a little difficult to operate the lower knob to control the light. Casablance makes slide switches but they want $50.

Update November 2016 replaced missing pictures and added explanation to photo of phono jack.

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