1940’s Zenith Radio Restomod

Old radio enthusiast please don’t send me hate mail after reading this blog. I know many of you will frown on what I have done to this 80+ year old radio. I promise you this Zenith will get tons more use in its current condition rather than in original form.

The project consisted of gutting the original electronics from the radio and replacing them with newer more modern tech. Resulting in a working radio that still has the spirit of the original.

Parts List – Hardware
MS Surface

An older Microsoft Surface Pro 3 – I don’t recommend you go out and purchase a surface for this project. Re-purposing and old laptop, or tablet is ideal to keep the cost down. I’m sure you could even use a Raspberry Pi with an external display. I just happened to have an old Surface that needed a new job. Continue reading “1940’s Zenith Radio Restomod”

The Superior Instruments Dynarometer 1260 Vintage Electronics Restoration

I am still trying to figure out the back story on this restoration project. What I do know is this is a Dynarometer Model 1260, under the bezel of the meter movement is says Superior Instruments Co, New York NY made in USA. I am not sure if these were sold as a kit or even the exact model year. If I was to guess I would say 1950’s give or take a few years.

A friend was tossing this out so I adopted it and decided to keep it from the landfill. It was dirty and quite rusty. After a through examination to make it operational again would be virtually impossible, however restoration as a piece of art would be the second best thing.

TOOLS YOU CAN USE

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Keystone Moviegraph D752 Projector Art Project

We all accumulate stuff in our homes over time. In fact George Carlin has a great comedy skit about stuff. While going through my stuff  I came across this antique projector. A Moviegraph D752 made by Keystone in Boston Mass. The wiring was dry rotted and belts were broken, and I was going to toss it in the trash. The only question was does it have any value? After a quick check on eBay similar projectors in better condition than mine were selling for $50 to $100. Not worth my trouble to sell, but old enough to keep as art work!

Moviegraph Before
Moviegraph
Before
Tools You Can Use

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2014 Dodge Charger Dead 12V Auxiliary Power Outlet

We all rely on the 12 volt auxiliary power outlet (formerly know as the cigarette lighter) in our cars. They charge our phones, power our GPS, run our kids video games. When the power goes out it can really be frustrating. Most of the time these auxiliary power outlets are easy to fix and get back into service quickly and easily.

Sometimes its as simple as a fuse

The car auxiliary power outlet was designed  in the early 1900’s for  lighting cigarettes in automobiles and though we have a profound new view on smoking the outlet itself has not changed much since then. The shape of tFusehe outlet opens itself up to issues simply because small metal objects can become lodged in the socket causing short circuits.  In all honesty, there have been quite a few times I  had a penny fall into the auxiliary power outlet and caused a blown fuse.

In the case of my 2014 Dodge Charger I’m not exactly what caused the fuse to blow, but its a simple fix none the less.

Parts you will need

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Working from home? Put that extra monitor to good use!

If you have been mandated by the government to work from home due to the Covid-19 outbreak and would like to be a bit more productive, it may be time to look in the basement or attic for that old monitor you just couldn’t throw away. I personally find it way more productive to work on two or more displays at a time and hopefully you will too.

The portable usb monitor

The simplest way to add an additional screen to your laptop or desktop computer is to plug in a USB portable display. This type of display is easy to install, easy to move from computer to computer, easy to travel with and reasonably priced.

My personal favorite is the ASUS MB169B+ 15.6″ display. 
ASUS Portable Monitor

This display is simple to install, powered by the USB port so there is no power brick to worry about and is super light weight and is about as thick as a pencil. Best part its under $200 at Amazon

The only problem is at the time I wrote this post they were in and out of stock and difficult to find, and if you could find one in stock shipping lead times were over 10 business days.

Recycle the monitor you have

If you don’t want to go out and purchase a second display for you laptop or computer you may be able to simply recycle what you have on hand. The tricky part is making sure you have the correct cables and adapters to connect the monitor to your laptop or workstation. Continue reading “Working from home? Put that extra monitor to good use!”

Choosing A Battery Tender For Your Classic Car

If you have read my blog in the past you would know that I picked up my first classic car about six months ago. A 1985 Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS! So far it has been a blast to drive and I have been enjoying it every chance I get. However through the month of November I was away for a couple weekends and the weather was poor for the rest so my SS went unused for about 6 weeks. Finally in mid December I had an opportunity to  take the car out only to find the battery was drained and not enough juice left to turn her over. After talking to a few friends that also own classics they recommended I keep the battery topped off with a Battery Tender!

What is a battery tender and why do I need one?

There are a number of devices that can assist you with tending to your battery and starting your car. Continue reading “Choosing A Battery Tender For Your Classic Car”

82 – 87 Monte Carlo Blower Motor Speed Control Repair – Part 2 Blower Motor Relay.

Blower Relay

In my previous post I went though the procedure to change out my Monte Carlo SS blower motor resistor Unfortunately that did not fix the issue and I moved on to the next component in the circuit. The blower motor relay. Again this is an inexpensive part and is worth the investment to repair my classic car.

PARTS

I have to say that I now believe that Amazon carries everything or at least put you in contact with a vendor that has what you need.

Blower Relay
1985 Monte Carlo Blower Relay

Here is a link to the RY20 relay from Standard Motor Products that is an exact replacement to the existing relay. Under $14.00 at Amazon!

Continue reading “82 – 87 Monte Carlo Blower Motor Speed Control Repair – Part 2 Blower Motor Relay.”

Dell Latitude E5550 Battery Replacement

In the office we tend to buy Dell Desktops and Laptops. In my opinion they are no better or worse than any other brand and are priced competitively. Normally we have a 3-4 year cycle moving old equipment out and new equipment in. This one E5550 has been hanging around for whatever reason and was feeling slow. I originally popped the back cover to upgrade to a SSD and noticed the battery was in bad shape and needed to be replaced.

E5550 Battery Replacement

From the looks of it, two of the cells out gassed and have a belly. This is very bad since the battery capacity is obviously reduced. It is also dangerous to the hardware since the added pressure from the battery could damage the system board or cause the case to crack.

E5550 BatteryE5550 Battery

Where to purchase a suitable replacement?

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Best Desktop PC Battery Backup

Depending on where you live in the world continuous power without disruption can be an issue. Here in the United States we are lucky to have a power grid that works great most of the time. However, on occasion equipment fails and your power can be disrupted. Do you need a Battery Backup to help keep things running in the event of a failure?

Battery backups have been around for many years and come in many different sizes and capacities. In this article I would like to focus on the backup you would use for your desktop PC.

TOP BATTERY BACKUP CHOICE:

Over the years I have found APC to be the superior choice in battery backup systems. They make very large units to cover the server room and small units to backup the desk top environment as well.

Think of a backup unit as an emergency spare tire that will allow you to safely pull over to the shoulder. When sizing a unit, it should give you sufficient time to save your work and shutdown gracefully.

APC Battery BackupI have found this particular unit – APC BE600M1 600VA to be perfect for desktop workstations. 5 outlets are battery backed, while 2 are surge protected only. This will give you plenty of room for your PC, multi monitors, router and wifi. In my testing 600VA can keep the average PC running for an additional 15min after the power has failed. Plus the unit is very affordable running for under $60 at Amazon. The best part is this unit features a USB port than can keep your phone or tablet topped off during the power failure!
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Repair A Mouse With A Broken USB Cable

Recently a coworker of mine purchased a Logitech M500 corded mouse on Amazon. Its relatively inexpensive at $24.99 and perfect for office use.  As you can see from the image below, its a nice size mouse with a few extra buttons. I believe Logitech has been selling them for years.

Now I get why amazon has frustration free packing!

The mouse came in retail packing and upon cutting open the sealed packing he accidentally cut the USB connection off the mouse. He immediately tossed the mouse in the trash and proceeded to order a second. I saw this and said, hey don’t toss the mouse, let me attempt a repair.

Easy Mouse Repair

I considered soldering the wire back together, but that would prove to be messy and there would be a large bulge close to the base of the mouse. My second idea was simply to replace the entire USB cable from an older mouse that was sitting in my parts bin.

STEP 1 – Open the mouse

The Logitech M500 has the screws hiding under the 4 pads on the bottom of the mouse. Remove the 4 pads carefully and set aside. Then remove the 4 black screws to gain access to the mouse.

 

 

Carefully pry the top of the mouse away from the base to revile the internal components .

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