Wednesday, November 28, 2012

November 28th

I was truly glad that I raked up all the leaves in the front garden over the weekend, as a storm's come through and dumped new leaves over bloody everything.  I raked the worst of the leaves off the path onto the grass and left them there.

I took a look at the brake lights on the van.  I figure the system goes power - fuse - switch - wire - bulb - earth.  I checked the fuse, and it's fine.  I checked the bulbs, and they're fine (I thought so, there are 6 in total, and none of them work, but still...).  I took the dash out, and jumpering the switches (there are 2, one a backup) doesn't do anything, and there's definitely power there, so it would appear to be a wiring problem.  Now I just have to figure out where the wire goes.  It can't be an earth problem, as all the lights use the same earthing point, and the rest of them work just fine.  Wiring... that'll be fun to track down.

November 27th

I spoke to a couple of guys about the engine for the Flightstar, and the consensus seems to be that it can be rebuilt fairly easily, and for not too much money.

In the evening I spoke to Vince, and he's going to look into what he can get the parts for - I'd rather throw money at him than ship the engine to Florida :o)

November 26th

I went over to the airfield and took the exhaust off the plane so I could look up the ports.  On the front cylinder, I saw this.  Click to embiggen, and you'll see there's a nick on the cylinder wall (where you can see the honing marks, FFS!) with a little bit of dead metal above it.  I'm thinking that's my problem right there.

Oh, I also discovered that the brake lights aren't working on the van.  It never rains, does it?

Sunday, November 25, 2012

November 25th

I went out and raked leaves and cut the grass.  Oh yes, the fun here, it never stops.

In the afternoon, we went to the airfield in threw in some circuits.  It was pretty busy, and we started using 33 and ended up using 15.  On the final take off, the engine made a strange sound, and I thought it was just that my hand had slipped on the throttle, but it wouldn't rev the way it normally does, so we did a short circuit (downwind along the taxi way) and a precautionary landing.  Thinking about it carefully, I think it was a partial seizure.  Back at the hangar, I swear I could hear a slight clinking noise every now and then when turning it over by hand.  We chatted to Larry for a bit before he headed out, and then we met Vince for dinner.  He thinks it could be a ring or something, but I need to take a look at it (no tools, as I wasn't expecting to do anything).  So, for now Xmas is cancelled while I fret about a new engine (this one has just over 400 hours on it, so it's due a total rebuild anyway).

In the evening we watched "Seeking a Friend For The End of The World", which is a sweet take on Armageddon.  Hey, three and a half weeks to go!

November 24th

I started the day playing Warcraft while my iPod finished syncing... it seemed to be running a ways faster, as I'd been expecting the final ~1000 songs to take all day.

The TV antenna is struggling to keep the channels, as its listed as 40 miles range, and the antennae it's talking to are ~39 miles away.  I got into the roof and took out the old antenna, which was smaller than I remembered it being.  I got up on the roof, and bolted it to the pole up there, so it's about 8' higher than it was in the roof.  It seems to be getting everything pretty well, so we'll see how it does over time.

I spent some time getting the screen protector on my Nexus - if you have a house with no pets, you have no idea how hard this can be :o)

In the afternoon, we went to the airfield and took the plane out for a spin, using the Nexus as the inflight GPS.  I'm starting to think I'll keep the Streak as a plane device, as the Nexus can't run OpenFlight GPS, it goes to sleep in Avare, and I almost tore the back off it pulling it off the velcro on the dash :o)  It was a busy day, so I enjoyed doing a bunch of circuits in and around everybody.  Larry showed up towards the end of our hour, so we said "hi" over the radio, but that was about it.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

November 23rd

Today was Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving when Americans forget everything they're thankful for and go shopping.  I had won a gift voucher for Apple, so I went to the store in Roseville and picked up an iPod Nano.  I didn't go as the doors opened, so I wandered in there and just bought one.  While it was busy, the biggest problem was parking - the Galleria closed about half of their parking, and had loads of people pointing you in the only way you could actually go, which seemed a little pointless.

I got home and left the awful iTunes transferring music to the iPod.  I need to to some looking into things, as it seems to have transferred everything over in 256Kb/s MP3 format, rather than converting it to 128Kb/s AAC, but what do I know.

November 22nd

I started out playing a little Warcraft, and then went out to make up some shorter battery cables for the bus bars in the van.

Once I'd done that, I did a little bit of cooking for Thanksgiving.  Vic was cooking the turkey and so on, and I cooked Yorkshire puddings (and Toad-in-the-hole for dinner later) and roast potatoes. Vince and Jen came over and joined us for dinner.

Friday, November 23, 2012

November 18th

I did a bit of work on the case for the Raspberry Pi, but then found out that the heat from filing it had melted the levels together, so I just gave up and threw it away.  I need a plan C, methinks.

I vacuumed up the wreckage, and saw a piece of my model kit go into the vacuum cleaner, so I went through the collector and found it.  And a part of the driver's seat unit in the van, so I had to take that bloody thing out again to put it back in.

I went out and spent a long time raking up the leaves from the trees in the front garden, and dumping them in the green waste bin.  This'll be an ongoing task for the next few months :o(

November 17th

It rained on and off all day, so I spent the day playing Warcraft and rattling around the house doing things.

November 16th

We were going to dinner with Gwen, and she drove.  She's just replaced the wipers on her Jeep, and there's some weird screwup where they weren't staying in the arms properly... they ended up flopping sideways.  We managed to get the driver's side to sit properly, and used a hair band to get the passenger side to not fall over and scratch the windscreen.  When we got home, I zip tied them on, so they should be fine for the moment.  I need to replace the wipers on the van at some point, and they seem to use the same mountings, so we'll try and use my old ones, or the new ones that come with my new blades.  Or, more likely, Gwen'll drive around with zip ties on her wiper blades until she replaces them :o)

Sunday, November 11, 2012

November 11th

We met Vince for brunch, then came home and cut the grass before going to Cycle Gear to look for a rain suit for Vic.  She wants a one piece to replace hers, that isn't held together with duct tape.  The only one piece they had was a glorified bin liner - she's also hoping for something with a little padding, to keep her warm as it gets colder here.  We looked at other jackets, and of course the only one she liked was a $700 Dainese - a men's jacket, so the armour's in the wrong place.  Oh well, interwebs, here we come.

In the evening, we watched the end of season MotoGP crashfest from Valencia.  Yipe.

November 10th

I started the day playing Warcraft, and got my Death Kniggit up to level 90.  I've started doing Klaxxi quests to work on my blacksmithing.

I'd finally got all the bits together for the batteries in the Vanagon, so I fitted them.  The 6 gauge cables on the bus bars are a lot stiffer than I'd thought, so they don't lie as nicely as I'd intended, so I might redo them at some point to make them shorter.  I did make a start at making some 10 gauge wires (after all they're really short, so they don't need to be as thick as I've made them), but that wire's even stiffer and harder to work with.  Anyway, with an automatic charge relay connecting the battery array (4x UB12220 wheelchair batteries giving 88Ah) to the house battery, everything should work better.  I have an onboard charger for the batteries, and when I plugged it in, the house batteries were green (full charged) and the car battery was red (needs charging).  A little while later, the house battery was green and red (low level charging) and the car battery was red, so both chargers were charging the batteries, joined up.  A little while later both batteries were green and red, so charging at a lower level, and by the time I went to bed, they were both green.

In the evening we watched Prometheus... it was OK, I guess, but it did disappoint me a little with some of the "huh?" moments.  We agreed that it was worth the $1.30 to rent it, but we'd be disappointed if we'd paid full price to see it at the cinema.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

November 5th

I've grown dissatisfied with the light over the mirror in the master bathroom, as it uses 2 150W halogen bulbs (well, it's supposed to use 3, but I broke one taking it one out years ago).  It's very, very bright and hot, and it hurts my eyes, and I don't like the fact that it uses more power than my office.

Well, I've just installed 2 6W LED arrays.  They're (understandably) not as bright as the halogen bulbs, but they're very white.  We'll see how we like them - there's a chance I could end up getting another one for the middle bulb holder if we want a bit more light.

November 4th

I started the day playing Warcraft, getting my Death Kniggit up to level 89.  Vic was off at an SPCA thing, so I had the space in the garage to throw tools - I got some work done on battery cables, but managed to bugger up several drills work hardening a couple of pieces of stainless steel I wanted to use as bus bars, so I'm a little dead in the water now until I get some more drills.  And some more stainless steel, by the looks of things.

I took the DRZ down the new freeway to Lincoln and took the Flightstar out for a while.  The "experimental jet" showed up again - I like it when he "slows it right down to 160mph" to join the circuit :o)

Saturday, November 3, 2012

November 3rd

I was aiming to get the Vanagon back together, or at least driveable, but I forgot to plug in the battery charger for my little chop saw.  That I'd broken the blade on (I bought some new blades - they come in packs of 5, so I'm assuming they break often), so I can't carry on at the moment.

I started fiddling with the Raspberry Pi again, but this time I've plugged it into the wired network and used PuTTY to ssh to it from my desktop, so MrEngman's script just ran and downloaded what it needed.

I've added to the /etc/apt/sources.list:
deb wheezy main contrib non-free rpi
deb-src wheezy main contrib non-free rpi

Then it's just a matter of, as root:
$ wget -O - | apt-key add -
$ sudo apt-get update

and installing it:
$ wget -O
$ chmod +x ; ./

That took a while (as there are a lot of dependencies), so I went and played Warcraft while it was installing.

I'd ordered a new Dremel type thing - it's a Black and Decker, with (supposedly) a lot of torque.  My original Dremel was cordless, and had possibly the most retarded battery connection system I've ever seen, and the cheapie I got to replace it sucks.  Well, the new B&D arrived this morning, so I used it to cut lumps out of the van.  I threw paint over the bare metal, and called that good.

I went to the airfield and did a bunch of circuits, and got the plane to 400 hours - I've done less than 100 of them.  Jack and Ken were there, and we got into discussions about an electric ultralight they're building.  I declined to be the test pilot on Thursday (I'm probably 50lbs lighter than either of them) as I have to work :o)

In the evening I went around and adjusted the clocks so I won't have to do it tomorrow.

Friday, November 2, 2012

November 2nd

I couldn't sleep, so I was up at midnight playing Warcraft.  Still, I got my Death Kniggit to level 88.

In the evening, I decided to start playing with the Raspberry Pi again.  As the latest drop of Wheezy doesn't seem to work, I've installed the 08-16 version, that supposedly does.

08-16 doesn't support the Edimax WiFi card, so I've been trying to get MrEngman's script to run.  Of course, I've been working on it at my desk, so it doesn't have a connection to the Interwebs, so I'm using my laptop to download stuff that it needs onto a memory stick, and plugging that in.  Lots of reboots later, and we're closer, but it still isn't working.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

November 1st

Another month, so more data:

Power I've paid for

Power I've generated

In the evening, Vince came over to fill in the log book for the plane - it's passed its annual inspection without any problems.  To celebrate, we went out to dinner.

October 30th

After work, we went to dinner with Vince - he's been rebuilding a plane, so he's been busy.