Cultural differences

Sunday was a very nice day among friends and partners of our neighborhood.

Instead of finishing a draft post about that I’m sad. I spent most of this Monday listening to our representatives going around circles instead of voting, while some of my friends were treated like terrorists, being searched by masked officers at gun point, others punched and kicked.

I listened to the live stream for about ten hours before the sleep took over. Most of the ‘normal’ people I met yesterday chose to ignore this and watch crap tv. Meanwhile in Japan they have entertainment shows like Supreme Skills where they pit engineers and craftsmen to see which one is able to complete very demanding projects. Some of them are very light on the details but nonetheless the content is still better than other productions and showcases a complete different scale of values.

On weekends most of us choose to numb our minds with meaningless stuff. Others enlighten themselves.

No wonder things go downhill.

Birthday

This 30th birthday is way better than the last one.

Near the end, when we were almost finishing packing up a police car appeared. They said someone made a complaint about noises and that we should turn it down.

By then, after a very loud party on the street, there was just a small powered speaker, so we just unplugged it. They walked away, tail between their legs, but before that took all my personal data just in case.

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Kubero Díaz

Las night I had the privilege of meeting Kubero Díaz, a legend of argentinian music.

It’s refreshing seeing someone so great being so natural and friendly, without airs of big star. He talked a lot about his adventures with Jorge Pinchevsky in Europe and played many songs for us with the same energy he had on his youth.

I bought his last work, a magnificent cd with a beautiful crafted artwork, and he had the generosity of signing it.

Nightly sidewalk view

We were wanting to do this for quite a while. After installing led flood lamps over the transoms the whole corner transformed. I really like how the mixture of cold and warm lights inside portrait a scene through the frosted glass.

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Distribution Panel III

Now it’s time to cut the umbilical cord and properly link to the main feed.

I made a hole in the wall to house a small box. I also added another pair of breakers with an rcd to rewire the adjacent room (for other reasons it’s best to keep it apart from the radio panel).

As we couldn’t disconnect the aerial fuse at the power pole we worked on live circuits.

Moving in

It’s been about a month since I left Berisso and moved into La Plata.
I miss a lot that air of simple town, the walks in the forest and the docks. I also miss that sense of security, here I need to lock my bike almost everywhere I go.

The (monetary) cost of living here is way higher but on the other hand I spend about a third of the time traveling to the uni (mostly by bike, even if it’s raining it’s still faster than the bus) and the bus to work and I am closer to my support net and the friends of Futura. I’m a strong believer that the amount time lost commuting is one of our biggest illness as society. For many lines of work it can not (yet?) be avoided. So it seems like a net win to me.

But, in spite of this I’m feeling quite down. Today I went to run a little and stopped at Parque Saavedra to rest before returning.

It’s a nice view nonetheless but not even close to the nights in Los Talas and Isla Paulino.

In the air tonight

There’s something that always mystifies me when I’m here at night and everybody’s gone.

All the movement of people gives turn to a very deep quietness and sounds otherwise ignored come to the foreground. I can focus on small details, how the light and shadows paint a different view of everyday places.

Fixing a microwave oven with a broken keypad

This is by far one of the most productive things I did this week outside of work (at least the one I can write about here).

A couple of months ago my ex gave it to me, it started with intermittent display issues and one day it stopped completely. I picked it up and stored it.

The other weekend I was in a bit of cleaning frenzy and I remembered that it was using valuable space on the shack doing nothing so I set to see if it had any hope of working again. Otherwise I’d take the transformer and dish motor, the magnetron would go to a friend and the rest sold as scrap.

This is the second time I fix a microwave oven and I’m amazed at the amount of grease and acid stench that accumulates inside them.

I bridged the safety interlock pads on the control board and powered it with an isolation transformer. It kinda turned on but was not responsive and only some digits were dimly lit. It was also very sticky.

After that I cleaned it using lukewarm water, detergent and a toothbrush, a scoop with a hair drier and then another bath with alcohol.

Now it works!

The keypad is a mess, besides being sticky and stenchy too the conductive traces were broken, like dissolved, on the connector side. For some models there are still replacements on the market but they aren’t cheap and also what’s the fun on that?

I peeled away the layers, traced it and make a replacement using tact switches. The decal will be glued on top of that. It works fine, there’s less waste (but I’m short of a spot welder) and off it goes to Radio Futura.

Thanks

There was this old lady at our club that used to calm discussions with this adage:

If you don’t have anything nice to say, just don’t. Unless it’s important.

She was very very quiet.

I have more than enough ranting material but, on the other arm of the scale I have this that makes me feel warm inside and takes away all the pain.

A while ago one of my Best Friends published his first album, Clusterobvia.

We were long out of touch despite living near and one Thursday tagged along for tea and snacks with a mutual Best Friend to catch up (quite a bizarre triangle).
He brought two copies and we discovered that our names appear on the credits with words so nice and heartwarming beyond description.

It’s so wonderful seeing the dreams of a close friend come true. I’m very guilty of keeping feelings to myself and so when reading the booklet there was such a revelation of how much we value each other.

Thanks.

Distribution Panel II

Now it looks a bit more decent than before. It’s still hooked to the main feed using a 20 amp plug but at least doesn’t scare people.

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Distribution Panel

We are about to make a lot of radical improvements at Futura.

One of them involves redoing the electrical installation. I chose to use separate breakers for lights and sockets per room, both downstream of an rcd. The upfront cost is bigger but the benefits later in flexibility are enormous.

Some of the materials have not arrived yet but to speed up things I built it on a piece of wood with DIN rails. I laced the cables instead of using zip ties just for the sake of it, I like the way it looks with a vintage air.

Control remoto por dtmf

Este mes vino bastante salada la boleta de luz en la radio, así que me puse en campaña de  automatizar el apagado del equipo.

Una de las formas mas directas es aprovechar el transporte de programa para enviar comandos ya sea usando tonos fuera del rango audible o simplemente con dtmf al igual que los antigüos contestadores. Casualmente no podía conseguir acá un decodificador y tuve que rescatar uno de un viejo teléfono (después me di

cen que junto porquerías al divino botón…).DTMF Remote control for the FM power amp at FM Futura 90.5 La Plata

El circuito es bastante básico, del cm8870 va a un attiny2313 con una máquina de estados para encender y apagar los módulos de potencia en la secuencia correcta y de ahí a un grupo de relés comunes. Estuve a punto de usar unos de estado sólido que sobraron de otro proyecto pero no me inspiraban mucha confianza.

Estoy contento con la terminación, a pesar de haber usado el hilo para matambre el cableado quedó bastante prolijo. Resto de las fotos después del salto.

my lacing skills are kind of rusty...

my lacing skills are kind of rusty…

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Piratón piratón…

Detalles de la construcción de un pequeño amplificador de rf que armé para la FLIA, final de unos 5W con un 2sc1971 (uno de los transistores mas nobles que usé) alimentado por un 2n3866 (en la cara inferior de la plaqueta), exitado a su vez por un transmisor de fm de esos para usar en el auto, con armónicas y ruido de 60 hasta mas o menos 200Mhz.

Una de las cosas mas importantes que aprendí es que antes de comprar cable coaxil medio pelo es mejor subir el transmisor cerca de la antena. Casi toda la potencia se perdió en la bajada de cable (30m) pero treparme a una de las torres que iluminan la rambla de la avenida Circunvalación para colocar el dipolo fue muy entretenido. Ver una roe de 1:6 no.

Acrofóbico yo?

El chásis lo hice con lo que era la fuente de un contador de centelleo viejo de un hospital. Guardé el circuito original porque además de usar componentes nacionales (pensar que en una época además de válvulas hicimos transistores y circuitos integrados en Argentina) es muy bello y está prolijamente armado. Ese tremendo relé va a ir derechito a un conmutador de antena para mi próximo equipo de onda corta.