Road Conditions: Rt 376 SB Near Maloney Rd

NYSDOT seems oddly reluctant to perform routine brush clearing along Rt 376 from Red Oaks Mill to the Hamlet of New Hackensack, despite the obvious hazard presented by the bushes:

Rt 376 SB shoulder overgrowth - 2016-09

Rt 376 SB shoulder overgrowth – 2016-09

I’ve reported this situation several times over the years, but, as you’ve seen in other situations, that has no effect.

If it were a pleasant back-country lane, rather than our main route to the Dutchess Rail Trail, perhaps having the greenery take over the shoulder wouldn’t matter quite so much:

Rt 376 SB - semitrailer

Rt 376 SB – semitrailer

Turns out the shoulder just north of Maloney has developed lethal cracks as the pavement subsides into the adjoining section of the Mighty Wappinger Creek. A bit more clearance would still be nice.

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Internet Of Things, Banking Division

We were sitting in the Credit Union and, as usual, I scouted out the WiFi situation:

IoT Thermostat in the Credit Union

IoT Thermostat in the Credit Union

Huh. Not what you’d expect to find in a bank lobby.

In case you haven’t seen what can happen with a thermostat, you can pwn a Nest.

Searching with the obvious keywords should provide plenty of reasons why the Internet of Things isn’t ready for prime time, not that that will slow it down in the least.

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Miniblind Bottom Rail Caps

A few days after installing the replacement cord caps, I bumped the bottom rail of the miniblind while opening the window and had one endcap disintegrate; apparently window hardware isn’t hardened against prolonged UV exposure. Who knew?

Fortunately, I can fix that:

Miniblind bottom rail caps

Miniblind bottom rail caps

Making the walls three threads wide provides enough room for a single solid infill thread:

Miniblind Endcaps - Slic3r Preview

Miniblind Endcaps – Slic3r Preview

The exterior shape comes from a hull wrapped around six circles: four to define the corner radius and a pair that bump the center out by the calculated chord height. The interior shape comes from a pair of chord-radius polygonal circles (they only have three facets across the length of the inside wall) that fit the bottom rail almost perfectly.

As always, natural PETG has a crystalline, slightly transparent, appearance:

Miniblind bottom rail cap installed

Miniblind bottom rail cap installed

I should spring for some opaque white filament, but that way lies madness; I might start caring what these things look like.

You can buy entire miniblinds for a few bucks a pop, but the last time we did that, they were different than the ones we had before. That wouldn’t matter if the standard miniblind mounting brackets fit our 1955 Anderson windows, but noooo they don’t: the custom adapters I machined for the first miniblind brackets, of course, didn’t fit the new miniblinds.

Now I can just snap the replacement endcaps (and cord pulls) in place, declare victory, and move on.

The OpenSCAD source code as a GitHub Gist:

The original doodle with some dimensions that didn’t withstand careful measurements:

Miniblind Endcap dimension doodle

Miniblind Endcap dimension doodle


Vacuum Tube LEDs: Miniature 7-pin Tubes With a Bottom Shield

Apart from the Bakelite bases on octal tubes, I figured there should be no problem shining a light up through the glass envelope. Come to find out that some of the tubes with Miniature 7 bases have an electrostatic shield (?) across the bottom that pretty well blocks the light.

This 6BJ6 has a neatly trimmed octagon:

6BJ6 - octagon shield

6BJ6 – octagon shield

The shield plate, if that’s what it is, doesn’t have a standardized shape. This 6CB6 sports a simple square:

6CB6 Square Shield

6CB6 Square Shield

The Box o’ Hollow State Electronics contains one 6BE6 tube (a heptode with five grids connected to four pins) without a shield:

6BE6 - Clear base

6BE6 – Clear base

Yeah, those pins are rather grotendous.

And another 6BE6 with a semitransparent smudge not connected to anything else; it would look accidental if it weren’t inside the tube:

6BE6 - Tinted Base

6BE6 – Tinted Base

All the shielded tubes are pentodes, for whatever difference that makes.

These tubes may be a bit too small compared to the hard drive platters; Novals will work just fine for my simple purposes.

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Raspberry Pi Serial vs. TNC-Pi2 vs. APRX

The APRX iGate program I’m using produces a hardware & software event log file:

2016-09-03 11:24:40.368 TTY /dev/serial0 read timeout. Closing TTY for later re-open.
2016-09-03 11:25:10.373 TTY /dev/serial0 Opened.
2016-09-03 11:32:05.485 CLOSE APRSIS heartbeat timeout
2016-09-03 11:32:15.495 CLOSE APRSIS reconnect
2016-09-03 11:32:15.776 CONNECT APRSIS
2016-09-03 12:25:11.154 TTY /dev/serial0 read timeout. Closing TTY for later re-open.
2016-09-03 12:25:46.154 TTY /dev/serial0 Opened.
2016-09-03 15:50:14.905 TTY /dev/serial0 read timeout. Closing TTY for later re-open.
2016-09-03 15:50:46.155 TTY /dev/serial0 Opened.
2016-09-03 16:50:51.155 TTY /dev/serial0 read timeout. Closing TTY for later re-open.
2016-09-03 16:51:26.155 TTY /dev/serial0 Opened.

I have no idea what’s going on with the “read timeout” messages. They seem to occur almost exactly a hour apart, except when they’re a few hours apart. The TNC-Pi2 board includes a PIC processor; maybe it loses track of something every now & again, but APRX only notices if it happens in the middle of a read operation.

The APRSIS server connection drops every few days and APRX seems well-equipped to tolerate that.

All in all, it’s working fine…


Vacuum Tube LEDs: Fully Dressed 21HB5A

Black PETG definitely looks better than cyan for this job:

21HB5A - Black PETG base - flash

21HB5A – Black PETG base – flash

Holding the plate cap to the tube with a thin ring of opaque epoxy cuts down on the glare under its edge:

21HB5A - Black PETG base - cyan phase

21HB5A – Black PETG base – cyan phase

Fire in the bottle!

21HB5A - Black PETG fittings - punched drive platter - purple phase

21HB5A – Black PETG fittings – punched drive platter – purple phase

It’s still running basically the same Arduino code as before, but I have some ideas about that



Hard Drive Platter Punch Bushing

The last time I punched a hard drive platter, I lathe-turned a bushing to center the Greenlee punch:

Greenlee punched drive platter

Greenlee punched drive platter

This will work better:

Vacuum Tube Lights - Greenlee punch bushing

Vacuum Tube Lights – Greenlee punch bushing

The OD centers the bushing inside the punch body, the ID captures the screw, and the raised boss captures the platter.

After drilling the platter on the new fixture, it’s ready for punching:

Hard drive platter - Greenlee punch bushing

Hard drive platter – Greenlee punch bushing

Line everything up, turn the screw, and It Just Works:

Hard drive platter - punched

Hard drive platter – punched

The masking tape holds the platter to the bushing, eliminating the need for a third hand. The bushing emerges unscathed, ready for another platter. Overall, I think that’s faster and less messy than milling the platter ID on the Sherline.

Printing out a base to fit the Duodecar socket and assembling all the parts:

21HB5A in socket on platter - detail

21HB5A in socket on platter – detail

The Duodecar pin circle (19.1 BCD + 1.05 pin diameter) will actually fit inside a hard drive platter’s 25 mm unpunched ID. It might look a bit squinched, but the less you see of the socket, the better. I’ll try that on the next one.

The OpenSCAD source code is the same as before; set Layout = Bushings; and a bushing will pop out.

The original bushing doodle with dimensions:

Greenlee 1.25 inch punch bushing for hard drive platter - dimension doodle

Greenlee 1.25 inch punch bushing for hard drive platter – dimension doodle