frobzwiththingz: (bridgeport)
2017-07-10 06:02 pm
Entry tags:

TPS Report

So, just a couple of days before heading up to Firefly, my 2005 Scion xB started acting up, occasionally running rough and sometimes stalling when dropping down to idle, but somewhat intermittently. It eventually lit the MIL status light and I extracted out the code P0122 out of it with the OBD2 reader I have. Ok, thats the Throttle Position Sensor being flaky. I found that wiggling the connector wires as best as I could given the awkward location of the back of the throttle plate is in an xB (hidden behind the air intake cluster and radiator hoses) seemed to make things a little better, and given that of course, the calendar date meant that Acton Toyota and pretty much all other auto shops would be closed until after the holiday, I decided that the current behavior *probably* wouldn't degrade and strand me on the way up to Firefly, so I took the vehicle, stuffed it full of camping gear and lasers and propane tanks and fire art and LED Tetris and L&I drove up to Firefly. Car did make it just fine, with not even any abnormal behavior, and continued to behave just fine until the return trip, which started out just fine, including a visit to Worthy Burger in South Royalton, VT, (whose burgers are indeed worthy and their beer selection is very good too), followed by driving south until I F'd up and got onto 93 North in Concord NH rather than South. So i get off at the next exit, and turn around in the gas station that was there, with L right behind me, and I explain to her "Oops, I F'd up and took the wrong exit, i'm now looking to get back on 93 in the right direction..." whereupon after running just fine my xB suddenly loses all power trying to get back onto 93 north and barely manages to limp along enough to get off of the entrance ramp and far enough along on 93 to be able to pull over onto the shoulder. I now explain to L "Um, xB has lost all power. I'm going to frob around with the TPS connector again and see if I can get it going again, otherwise it's Adventure Time with AAA"

Mucking around with the connector and wires a bit while moving the throttle by hand eventually produces a seemingly running engine again, and we manage to then drive back to Westford MA without further incident.

Problem seems pretty clearly local to the throttle position sensor or it's connector, so instead of going to a shop and dropping significant $$$ I called up Auto Zone and asked if they could supply me with a replacement sensor for my xB; they had one in stock and I borrowed L's xB and picked it up. Duralast part number TPS4117. I was wearing zero pieces of flair but they sold it to me anyway.

Anyhow, it's in a hard to get at location without removing other shit, so I had to take out the air intake stuff in order to get at the connector enough to disconnect it and remove the sensor: but I dike out the air intake and air filter holding enclosures until I can have good access to everything, whereupon I find this:

Well, golly, that yellow wire looks to be in *great* shape! (Not). Ok, I probably don't really need the new sensor, I actually need a soldering iron and some heat-shrink tubing.

Cut wire at broken location, stripped, soldered, heat-shrunk, etc, and reassembled everything; everything proceeded to work just fine and no more engine codes. Drove it back to Auto Zone and returned the unused sensor. Yay!   

I wonder what various shops in the area would have told me, and what they would have charged for the service. I wonder if *any* of them would have simply told me about the broken wire and just fixed *that*. 


frobzwiththingz: (Default)
2017-04-21 01:21 am

cryptic, take 2

Todays SHA hashes are:



frobzwiththingz: (Default)
2017-04-06 12:06 am

the Import is in the Queue.

the TOS in a language I can't read in a country whose laws I am not subject to (or *am i* now, given Trump...) wasn't really the trigger, it was the disappearance of https:// over there that's the impetus. So it goes.
frobzwiththingz: (waffle off)
2017-04-04 01:32 am


given the incredibly warm February we had this year, i expected to break last years record. But no, March decided to be the new February, and we got several big late march snowstorms.
And the peepers are actually pretty late this year.
But they're finally here. Suck it, winter. You're DONE.
frobzwiththingz: (fractal)
2017-01-11 08:14 pm

Art, delayed gratification

25 years ago, I was still working at a small company in Cambridge called Cybermation. We made CNC machines for the signmaking industry; routers and plasma cutters. We made both the software and the hardware. I worked on the software side. The company is long out of business, but many of the machines are *still* in use today. (google for Cybermation 700A)

It was a small company, only 5 of us doing the design software. I had just on a whim put some code that would allow you to take any geometric path that you defined, and a border, and generate a fractal path on the border using the supplied path as the fractal path.

Needing to test this all the way out to a cut finished part eventually, I made a couple of actual test pieces out of 1/4 and 1/8 acrylic sheet.

It's been over *25 years* since I made this, and maybe 5 years since I got it framed (at Baldwin Hill Art & Framing in Leominster, MA [now in Natick]), and I *finally* mounted it on a wall in the house today.

Better late than never at all.

frobzwiththingz: (waffle off)
2016-08-05 09:32 pm


Bung bung bung bung,
Bung bung bung bung.
Bung bung bung bung!
Magic Dumpster! salvage my dreams!
Accept the weight of my Recycling Streams!
Eat my scrap steel, and other things Ferrous
Guest star on _Hoarders_, from that you will spare us!
Magic Dumpster! Take these I-Beams!
Reduce the volume of my Unfinished Schemes
The dusty cruft, in my basement it teems
Magic Dumpster! Salvage My Dreams!
Bung bung bung bung,
Bung bung bung bung.
Bung bung bung bung!

[Apologies to The Chordettes]
frobzwiththingz: (bridgeport)
2016-03-14 01:24 am

that small machine shop project i've been meaning to get around to for years...

So, I have this lathe. Classic South Bend 10K (heavy 10) toolroom lathe. I got it used many years ago, and it has served me very well.
Used tools generally have some sort of idiosyncracies.

This is the back guide of the lathe carriage. Note that it is slightly tapered. Note the paint sort of worn off on the right side at the bottom. This is because for some reason, this guide would only fit behind the tailstock for about 2 inches of its length, and then would bind against the tailstock. About 2.5 inches of carriage motion which would normallly be available was not usable. While this has never actually stopped me from being able to do a job, it has on occasion made certain jobs very annoying. Unclear as to why the heck it was like this; my best guess is that somewhere in the distant past, someone at the machine shop I got this unit from had removed the original tailstock for some reason, and months later someone else stuck on one from a different model year, which was really *close* to completely compatible but not quite, and the annoyance was never quite enough for *them* to deal with it either.

Anyhow, finally...

Yep. Thats the lathe tailstock in the Bridgeport vise. 2 minutes of work, and problem finally dealt with. Carriage now has complete range of motion, as it should. Yay!

frobzwiththingz: (waffle off)
2016-03-10 06:49 pm


Its raining, and the peepers have come out!

A new record! Beats the previous record of March 13, from 2012, by three days.

33 days earlier than last year. 
frobzwiththingz: (waffle off)
2016-01-11 01:14 am

Quality question.

Are there *any* manufacturers out ther that produce a decent room humidifier that will actually last more than 2-3 years before crapping out?
frobzwiththingz: (bridgeport)
2016-01-02 10:53 pm
Entry tags:

This is not really what i'd call "rapid" prototyping.

Yay! First print with ABS that didn't warp it's way off the print bed within the first 5 layers.
In fact, it finished, and came out great!

Still in the realm of "black magic" until I can make it happen repeatedly, though.

frobzwiththingz: (snake)
2015-05-28 09:37 am

R.I.P. Radar

Our friend for the last 17 years, found in a storm drain in Somerville, and made it to us via Kitty Angels in NH. Among other reasons, we chose him specifically because the folk at the shelter told us "He's too timid, If you're looking for a lap cat, this isn't the one, hell just hide and you'll probably never see him."

They we're right, and wrong. The first few weeks, yep, we hardly saw him, and he would manage to cram
himself into the smallest hiding places; We would find him in places we could not fathom how he could have squeezed into. But after the first month or so, he totally changed and decided we were his family.

Somehow, a game of "Spin the Cat" developed, where he would show up to my left leg and wait to be spun around; this eventually "Elevator" forked off from this where he would show up at the *right* leg, and i'd whoosh him up in the air, then back down, while saying "whoosh" or "elevator", and he'd walk away for a few steps then come back for more rides.

He'd run and hide whenever strangers showed up, but was always around for us, eventually being a great lap companion, or hanging out with you while working on the 'puter. As he got older, he became a bit more social around other people.

Took several iterations of increasing security to keep him out of the machine shop; he'd get in there by somehow getting into the basement ceiling joists and tunneling in.

He came from the shelter with the name "bruno" but that just didn't fit.
"Radar" emerged as his true name because when still little, his ears were way bigger than his head and he would rotate them around independently of each other like radar dishes. And surprisingly, it didn't take long before he *knew* his name. We could reliably call for him and he'd come out from wherever he was and find us. Calling out other names or words with the same cadence/tone wouldn't get him; he really seemed to understand the name itself.

He had a good run. Thought he was going to pass back in January, but somehow he rallied and stuck around for a while longer. over the past week, old age, kidney problems, and a large abdominal mass
of some sort finally got him. We took him outside into the backyard grass yesterday. We took him to the vet this morning.

Buried in the backyard next to Tabbytail. Bye Radar. We'll miss you.
frobzwiththingz: duo fabric shot (duo_silks)
2015-04-12 07:39 pm


The froggies are finally out there singing away! (there may have been a single lonesome one out there last night; not positive) Another late arrival this year, the latest we have ever recorded here in Westford MA.

Also, a nice sunny spring day, not going to drop anywhere near freezing tonight, and more of the same forecast for the next whole week! About F-ing time!
frobzwiththingz: duo fabric shot (duo_silks)
2014-11-03 06:23 pm

(no subject)

Happiness is a steaming bowl of Borscht with sour cream. That is all.
frobzwiththingz: duo fabric shot (duo_silks)
2014-04-11 01:44 am
Entry tags:

circus-y stuff; cyr wheel progress

In the "I haven't added any new difficult kinesthetic things into my repertoire in a while" department, i've started learning Cyr Wheel.

I've been thinking about it for a while now - I made a wheel last year but never got around to actually *trying* it out until recently this year. Unlike some of the other things of this sort that i've tried (unicycle, walking globe, slack line, etc), this one *IS* as hard as it looks. I went down a few rat-hole-blind alleys working with a wheel I made which turned out to be way too big for me; ended up selling that one and making a smaller one that is a much better fit, after which progress got much faster (but by no means *fast*. it's baby-steps all the way with this apparatus so far.

It's quite fun though.

This is a video made from todays practice session, where i've finally got the basic waltz well enough to start flailing at some variations of it.

frobzwiththingz: (snake)
2014-04-08 10:07 pm


They finally started their spring call last night. Pretty late this year.
frobzwiththingz: (snake)
2014-03-16 02:11 pm

F*ck Cancer.

At 4:44 this morning (Boulder Colorado time zone), Death in the form of Pancreatic Cancer finished it's unstoppable mission and took my sister Marcy away. Marcy was 7 years my junior at 42 years of age, and up until two months ago was, to all appearances, about as healthy and fit as you can get. Marcy was an avid skier and hiker, and ran trail marathons. Not the usual wimpy 26.2 mile marathons. The insane *100* mile marathons. On trails. In the mountains. I've attached some photos. One of the photos is from her and her friends traditional thanksgiving dinners, which take place at a remote mountain hut; all of the dinner fixins, big-ass turkey included, get carried up the mountain by Marcy and company. Last November, she had just recently finished another 100 miler and was hauling turkey through the snow to a mountain hut. In less than a few months, the C word took it all away. But for all of that, all the way to the end, she knew how to live. She died in the home of close friends who had taken here into their home to care for her rather than in a hospital. I'll miss her. Sometime in the spring, Marcy's ashes will be scattered at the top of Buchanan Pass (elevation 11,837', closest town Allenspark, Colorado). I hope to be there.

frobzwiththingz: (snake)
2013-12-12 10:18 pm

its unseasonably cold at the moment

Borscht is the answer, with turkey stock from our recent turkey carcass as the base.
frobzwiththingz: (snake)
2013-07-12 11:24 pm

well, what do you know. didn't think they'd make it up this far.

We've got cicadas here in Westford, MA. Not too many, but I have seen two of them today. One in the sink, and one just now
clinging to the back screen door.
frobzwiththingz: (burningman)
2013-05-23 07:23 pm

The Elephant In The Room - Burning Man Art Car 2013

OK, I've gone off the deep end this time. I'm building and bringing 4-6 passenger saddle driven
Elephant to Burning Man. There's an IndieGogo campaign for it, as all such projects seem to do.
Help me bring Surrealistic Elephant Stompage to the Playa this year!
frobzwiththingz: (waffle off)
2013-04-11 12:34 am

idle contemplations

I find myself wondering: given a conceptual unit of "cpu-hours" defined in any reasonable way for todays available
hardware, what is the current worldwide ratio of {cpu spent mining Bitcoins} / {cpu spent on things like Folding@Home} ?