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Sep. 17th, 2017 05:04 pm
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[personal profile] randomdreams
Water temp meter part II:
I left the project half-finished last night, intending to fill the radiator with the water that had been lost in pulling out the water temperature sensor. This morning I got up, intending to drive the Spitfire over to the Annual Little British Car Show, poured a bunch of water in, and watched it cascade out of the sensor recess. Tightening the nutbolt (a bolt with a hole through the center that the sensor lives in) down didn't help. I drove my normal car over, checked out some pretty cars, and drove back, and then removed the sensor and started poking at it. Halfway up the bulb that lives in the water, there's a tapered ring of metal. I thought it was a precision tapered ring, that sealed against the matching taper inside the water pump. But this is automotive: there is nothing precision outside of the innards of the engine and transmission. Instead there was secretly a rubber gasket that, when I removed the old sensor, had stayed inside the water pump housing. It was totally shot, and no amount of trying to carefully put it back in was going to save it. I ended up getting an o-ring from my collection of high temperature water-resistant o-rings and using that instead, but because it was smaller, the nutbolt no longer managed to press the sensor down well enough to seal. I had to cut a little collet on the lathe, like a thick washer but sawed in half so it could be put in two pieces around the sensor line. With that, everything sealed correctly, as far as I can tell, and the car is ready to go again. A quick jaunt around the block shows the water temperature gauge indicating roughly the right numbers. I'll check tonight to see if the radiator is full of water.

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Sep. 17th, 2017 09:26 am
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[personal profile] randomdreams
The water temperature gauge on the Spitfire has slowly been dying. It was reading 120F when the car had been off for two days, and got up to 160F when the car was running. It was a really cheap unit. I bought another really cheap unit off ebay and replaced it last night, which was way more of a pain than it should have been, because the previous owner ran a LOT of extra wires through the grommet in the firewall and there was no longer room for the sensor to fit through. I also forgot that the first step is putting the gauge in the dash, because you can't remove the sensor from the gauge, so after routing the sensor through the grommet and along the engine and installing it in the water pump, I had to undo it, feed it through the dash, and redo it. But now it works, at least.

Yesterday I spent about five hours painting the house, getting a layer or two of exterior paint on all the sun-facing wood on the first floor, and getting a good start on the non-sun-facing wood. Today I'll get the small amount of wood on the second floor. Man this is sore work, all above my head, a lot of it from a ladder, but it should last several years and more importantly prevent the wood being damaged by being exposed, as it was. Looks a lot better, too, than all the flaking and peeling paint that had been there since we moved in.

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Sep. 12th, 2017 09:58 pm
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[personal profile] randomdreams
We rode at lunch, on a nice 35k route, and while it wasn't by any means the fastest we've ever done it, or any section of it, it was extremely consistent for having a lot of climbs/descents and traffic. Here's my heart rate.
heartrate
There are two low blips where we stopped for stoplights, and a high point where my heart got up to 185 or so, but the rest is a nice solid consistent 160-ish, the rate I can maintain for an hour without throwing up.
It was also quite warm today, just about body temp.
The result was that when we got back, everyone showered and ate and then we had a staff meeting and at the end of the staff meeting, when the department manager stood up and said "thanks, everyone", and the rest of us all stood up, I promptly put my back against a wall and slid down it to a seated position, my manager fell over and landed halfway in a chair, and the other manager, who had been drafting me, just had to sit right back down and put his head down on the table.

So it's not just me.

Department manager was all "what are you guys DOING out there?"

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Sep. 12th, 2017 06:40 pm
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[personal profile] randomdreams
I was just standing at the gas station a few minutes ago, waiting for the pump to finish, and someone talking on the phone made a wide turn and smashed into the adjacent gas pump. Boy did that make an amazing sound. No major damage or fires, though.

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Sep. 9th, 2017 11:32 am
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[personal profile] randomdreams
Rabbit cage available, free.

:(

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Sep. 8th, 2017 11:06 pm
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[personal profile] randomdreams
I got a demo of my hardware/software/firmware project running reliably and, thankfully, did a soft-launch of it at our weekly tech meeting, which consists of my manager, my coworker, and I. Because I knew some aspects of it are fussy (we want to move away from our 1960's gpib interface towards lan, but setting up networking on these instruments is a slow, painful process, and if you let them use dhcp everything goes to hell in a handbasket every time any component gets power-cycled) I started the setup and testing forty minutes before our weekly meeting is supposed to start. The start time came and went, and I was still in there fighting with it, and nobody else had shown up. I got it working about ten minutes behind schedule, just as my coworker walked past and stopped and said "oh, I totally forgot about the meeting." He went off to find our manager, who is under a huge amount of stress and was dealing with it by taking his bike apart in his office and was surrounded by sprockets and grommets. They both showed up, and I talked them through the hardware and what I've got working so far, and we spent some time reviewing the software, as it's the basis for about 80% of the next year's worth of work we're going to do. It went pretty well.
Afterwards my coworker came in and nearly melted down, because he is unusually averse to change, and I'm putting vast quantities of change on the table: new software, new hardware interface, new instrumentation, new system for extracting data and manipulating it, I'm using parallel processing and calling modules I've precompiled in a different language. A lot of that I'm doing A: to see if it works and B: to see if it's worth the bother, not because I have to, but he sees this as an onslaught.
Aside: labview is a whackadoodle language. To call a subroutine, you drag the subroutine icon into your work window. There is a C-style header, with C-style parameters, that you can go find in a header file if you want to, but the way you actually handle that is you draw lines from the main program's output terminals on the main program box to the input terminals on your subroutine. If you're passing an array, it's a dotted green line. If you're passing a double, it's a pink line. If you're passing a signed/unsigned 8 or 16 bit integer it's a blue line. Terminals have to match lines, have to match terminals on the other end. You can t them, as well. Some parts are really obscure. A while loop is a box, with a terminal into which you feed an unsigned integer, to determine the number of iterations, and another terminal into which you feed whatever it is that the while loop is supposed to do. But you can also click on the point at which that line enters the while box, and hey presto suddenly it's a shift register instead of a while loop. ??!? Coz that makes sense, and is really easy to debug when you're looking at the program later.
And, excitingly, everything is pass-by-reference, so it's really easy to completely muck up a datastream if you're trying to just, say, increment a value every time you get a good reading, and inject a bunch of trash into your data. But it does let you return an arbitrary number of values from a function call without having to use pointers to structs, so that's kinda nice, I guess.
Anyway.
So today we went on a bike ride at lunch and when we got back my manager sent out a meeting invite to pretty much everyone in the building, with ten minutes of notice, to look at my project.
Luckily I hadn't broken it down.
But man that's not a lot of time to prepare for a raft of technical questions. It's a good thing I'm a loudmouth.
It went really well. I managed to field all the questions successfully. One coworker wanted to know if he could integrate what I was doing into matlab. Another had a bunch of questions about hardware parallelizing. I could see my poor coworker, the one averse to change, winding himself up into enough tension that he was bouncing both legs up and down uncontrollably, his stress tell. Afterwards he had *pages* of questions about the questions other people were asking. He really needs a more deterministic job.
Everybody liked it.
They're going to like it a lot more when I have a demo system ready to talk to new silicon the moment it comes through the door, while our applications software guy gets called off on other emergencies and won't have even a cursory interface ready for two weeks after we get new silicon, as happened the last two times. I'm trying to get our digital designer to give me a (FPGA-based) hardware simulator for the chip, so I can actually try out some more complex stuff before the new chip's anywhere close to coming back, but apparently his hardware simulation doesn't actually work like that.

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neslihan

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