Back in the household world

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So this weekend has been a weekend for odd jobs. After a great breakfast yesterday* at Rocatillo’s I headed over to John’s with my aged and ratty Goldring Lenco transcription turnable (used for my podcast) which has been getting increasingly hummy ever since it was returned from ‘spares-or-repair’ e-bay land.

The tone-arm would hum if touched, and when tracking across the records you’d get fluctuations in volume and also massive amounts of hum at random. It had reached the stage of being nearly unusable, and with another podcast rolling around I was keen to sort it. Fearing it might need scaring with special tools or ultrathin wire, or some other special thing, I saved the job for a day when John was free. In the end this proved to be a wise plan, because none of the wire in our house would have been suitable, and also without John’s awesome skill and supply of very accurate meters, I would probably not have known that the cable was indeed faulty, and would have ended up doing a blind replace on it. Also, John’s soldering is about 30 million times neater than mine :)

After some poking with meters this proved to be the source of the problem:

Hopefully this is the source of the vinyl hum... (With @anachrocomputer trying to fix our transcription turntable...)

The cable that previously ran through the tonearm. Interestingly, both the positive leads are intact, but the shielding had worn through in (at least) two places such that (we think) there was no single continuous strand of copper. Moving it would substantially change the resistance of the thing, and since it moves all the time when the record is playing, well…

It turns out, however, this is clearly not the first time it’s failed – which is probably why the pins in the headshell are so hideously melted and had to be bypassed. That cable is not the original one – and didn’t actually fit into the grooves it’s meant to run through. However, replacing the cable with some of John’s shiny new ultrathin cable has transformed the deck back into something usable. Which has got me all excited about doing the podcast again. The only teensy problem being now there’s one very loud source of hum gone, I can hear:

– How crappy & dirty the records are
– Some rumble from the deck
– Some other fracking thing somewhere is adding more hum


Then between yesterday and today I’ve spent some time making up cables and putting sockets on an Economy 7 footing. Lurking (and ticking) under the sink now is a mechanical timer that at 0030 kicks in and turns the dishwasher on. The washing machine came with its own digital timer, and so last night at about 4 in the morning it kicked in to start doing our wash load…

And down in the garage last night a mechanical timer turned the car on (which was a bit dodgy, imho, but it says on it 3125 Watts) which should be enough for a 10A charger (~2430 watts – according to my multimeter down in the garage). However, the intention was never to leave a mechanical timer down there doing it’s stuff***, so when the rain tailed off a bit today I wandered down to the garage which has its own consumer unit (albeit a running through the consumer unit at the house) and spent an enjoyable hour or two wiring in the 16A DIN Rail timer switch. Which would have been fine, but there was insufficient ‘extra’ length on the cable to run it the way it would ideally be run. In the end, the solution I came up with was to turn the timer switch upside down. Which is slightly irritating, but meant not having any extra dubious joins in the wire, such as might cause me worry (or cause me problems when I get it inspected).

When Kathryn gets back tonight I’ll try it out (hitting the ‘override’ switch) – my one worry is that it’s only meant to switch 2A inductive or 16 resistive loads. My initial thought was that old power supplies with their dirty great inductors were ‘inductive’ loads. I’d not really considered switched mode supplies, which is, I’m assuming what’s in the charger, as inductive loads. They, so I have learned, are. However, the iMiEV doesn’t turn on the dirty-great-inductive-load when it’s plugged in, it takes several seconds after it comes on to start charging, and it should have finished charging well before the timer switches back off, so I’m thinking (and you can all shout at me) that the actual switching current should be fairly low, and that hopefully it will survive.

If not, err, well, I’m hoping that we’ll notice and I’ll trade it out for a 25A/30A wall mounted timer. Which is my other option – and actually what I’m wishing I’d bought in the first place.

Fortunately, I’m off tomorrow as well as today, so if it doesn’t work I can put it all back the way it was, and everything will be happyness and joy.

Since I was in a fixie McFixie mood, and because when we had our electricity meter fitted it bugged me, (and in reality it’s been bothering me for a while) I finally made it so that ‘You May Telephone From Here‘ became a reality. I’m not sure where my little enamel sign that proclaims that is, or if I even still have it (I hope I do, because it really should be by the phone), but I finally got the now-working payphone mounted on the wall.

I very carefully hand drilled some holes through the plaster (all the time fearing that I’d hit the wires, despite being fairly certain that I was well clear of them). Lifted said phone up to said wall and screwed it in place…

And now our house feels truly 1940s.

You may telephone from here...

Despite having done these jobs today, all of which needed doing, and having done the washing up, cleaned the cooker, hood, kitchen floor, swept the hall and hoovered Dysoned the rugs in the hall, and done a very quick sweep of the stairs I’m still feeling like I’ve not done very much with my day.

Sometimes I worry about my brain.

* During which we spent a surprisingly large amount of time discussing the practicalities of our evacuation from this country**.
** Hey, do you think they’d pay, with the ‘Go Home’ vans, for our flights to the USA?
*** Many years ago I had, at home, one I’d repaired which had been used to switch a small electric heater for [years] – it had melted horribly internally, as the contacts had worn away and the plastic had overheated. Having ‘repaired’ it and cleaned the contacts it was handy for switching low-power items like, say, lights, but it has left me a bit paranoid about these things.


Kate is lord and mistress of all she surveys at