Numeric Keypad Repair

Having set up a cheap wireless numeric keypad as a simple macro pad at my left hand, I eventually knocked it off the desk, whereupon the screw compressing the back of the case against the membrane switches ripped through the plastic:

Numeric Keypad - compression screw pullout
Numeric Keypad – compression screw pullout

The symptoms came down to erratic operation of a few keys that became worse as I continued tapping on the thing. Finally, with nothing to lose, I took it apart and, upon seeing the hole in the case, realized I didn’t have to cut the usual label to find the hidden screw.

Slathering the little donut with acetone and clamping things together might work for a while, but I’m sure the keypad will hit the floor again with similar results.

Instead, recruit some candidates from the Box o’ Random Screws:

Numeric Keypad - screw selection
Numeric Keypad – screw selection

Pick the screw big enough to grip the undamaged boss on the front of the case, yet short enough to compress the back again, add a small washer spanning the hole, and it’s all good again:

Numeric Keypad - screw installed
Numeric Keypad – screw installed

This only works because the keypad sits at enough of an angle to hold the screw off the desk.

That was easy …

Epson ET-3830 Duplexer Paper Jam

For the record, it is possible to get a piece of paper jammed so far inside the duplexer rollers in the back of an Epson ET-3830 Multifunction Printer / Scanner that it is not only completely invisible from the inside, but that it cannot be removed without disassembling the duplexer:

Epson ET-3830 duplexer jam
Epson ET-3830 duplexer jam

It jammed while attempting to print another batch of Geek Scratch Paper with a semilog grid, without actually duplexing the sheets. The specs say the printer can handle 4×6 paper, so I assumed 4.24×5.5 paper would be Close Enough. Apparently not.

Print ’em two-up, chop the sheets down the middle, pad and glue, and it’s all good:

OMTech CO2 laser power supply - bandwidth tests - semilog graph
OMTech CO2 laser power supply – bandwidth tests – semilog graph

Step2 Garden Seat: Seat3

Another tray becomes a replacement for the plywood on the Step2 rolling seat in the Vassar Farms plot:

Step2 Garden Seat - weathered plywood
Step2 Garden Seat – weathered plywood

I reused the old hinges, as this tray seems to be slightly thicker than the one on the home garden seat. The straight edges show it’s also somewhat smaller, but it’ll work just fine.

The bottom of the tray with its Silite logo now faces upward, because the top surface has eroded to a matte finish while supporting a bunch of plants outdoors during several summers:

Step2 Garden Seat - tray top
Step2 Garden Seat – tray top

So you can get two or three years from a painted plywood slab out in a garden, depending on how fussy you are about looks.

After two seasons, the first tray doesn’t look any the worse for wear: Silite trays really will survive the Apocalypse and be ready to serve breakfast the next day.

Pixel 6a Camera Protector vs. Leaf Shredder Chaff

Much of my exercise of late has come from blowing leaves into piles and shredding them:

Leaf Shredding - GPS track
Leaf Shredding – GPS track

My GPS drawing hand is weak.

I wear 30 dB over-the-ear protectors with a pair of Bluetooth earbuds tucked inside for a rhythm track. I had been carrying my Pixel 6a in a side pocket, until I noticed a remarkable amount of crud inside the glass protector over the camera lens:

Pixel 6a camera protector dirt
Pixel 6a camera protector dirt

How crud could get inside (what I thought should be) a sealed compartment inside the phone’s armor case became obvious after peeling the protector off:

Pixel 6a camera protector dirt - overview
Pixel 6a camera protector dirt – overview

Come to find out the protector’s adhesive layer has an opening near the edge of the camera, leaving a slot allowing the howling chaff storm onto the camera glass. Random pocket fuzz certainly contributed some particles, but the entire phone case had a surprising amount of yellow-brown dust tucked inside.

So I left the protector off, dumped the music files into my old Pixel 3a (which never had a camera protector), and will henceforth leave the 6a indoors during similar adventures.

The bagged leaves will become next year’s garden veggies, so the whole project isn’t a total waste of time.

Downgrading Yubikey-Manager

It seems that Manjaro’s 5.0.0-1 version of the yubikey-manager crashes due to inscrutable errors, with the effect of not letting me use it to sign in at all the sites I’d set up to use TOTP authentication.

If the previous version (4.0.9-1) were still in the pacman cache, then downgrading would be straightforward:

sudo pacman -U /var/cache/pacman/pkg/firefox-64.0.2-1-x86_64.pkg.tar.xz

Regrettably, I had recently cleaned things up and flushed the cache, so I had to fetch the package (and its signature) from the “y” directory of the Arch archive, then install it:

sudo pacman -U /tmp/yubikey-manager-4.0.9-1-any.pkg.tar.zst

loading packages...
warning: downgrading package yubikey-manager (5.0.0-1 => 4.0.9-1)
resolving dependencies...
looking for conflicting packages...

Packages (1) yubikey-manager-4.0.9-1

Total Installed Size:   1.11 MiB
Net Upgrade Size:      -0.13 MiB

:: Proceed with installation? [Y/n] Y
<<< snippage >>>

Whereupon It Just Worked™ again.

I expect someone more experienced than I will have long since filed a bug report / sent a pull request / whatever, because I have little idea how to do any of that. The next upgrade should work just fine.

Icemaker Water Chiller: Inlet Check Valve Debris

Because the icemaker sits atop the cooling water bucket, when the pump turns off the water drains back through the laser tube into the bucket:

Silonn icemaker - installed
Silonn icemaker – installed

The bucket contained all the water to start with, so with the icemaker and laser tube empty, all the water is back in the bucket. Getting all the bubbles out of the laser tube takes a while after the pump starts running, so I stuck a check valve on the laser output tube in the icemaker’s reservoir:

Silonn icemaker - inlet check valve
Silonn icemaker – inlet check valve

Which, after a few days, developed a slow leak, once again emptying the reservoir.

There being no way to dismantle the valve for analysis and cleaning, I just cut it apart:

Silonn icemaker - inlet check disassembly
Silonn icemaker – inlet check disassembly

Lo and behold, a small tangle of thin fibers had found its way into the valve:

Silonn icemaker - check valve debris
Silonn icemaker – check valve debris

Which held the silicone disk ajar and let the water slowly leak backwards through the valve.

I have no idea where it might have come from, but a simple filter seems like a good idea. Given that the pump produces pretty nearly zero pressure, anything fancier than a coffee filter in a funnel would present too much back pressure.

Or, with three more valves in the bag, I can wait to see how long it takes for another tangle to arrive …

Dripworks Mainline Puncture: In A Good Cause

Mary poked a garden fork tine into the mainline pipe of the garden irrigation plumbIng:

Mainline pipe puncture
Mainline pipe puncture

Fortunately, I have a pipe clamp for just such occasions:

Mainline pipe puncture - repaired - with cause
Mainline pipe puncture – repaired – with cause

After installing the clamp, we excavated the reddish lump just beyond it:

Mainline pipe puncture - excavated sweet potato
Mainline pipe puncture – excavated sweet potato

It’s a purple sweet potato, one of several that had escaped from their assigned plot, grown beyond the pipe, and burrowed under the path.

Her garden is as neat and tidy as a garden can be, but digging in the soil to find the crops isn’t an exact process!