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Old May 27 2022, 08:18 PM   #241
Zelandeth
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Default Re: Zel's Automotive Antics & Occasional Distractions.

As usual my plans to have everything ready yesterday never worked out. So this morning TPA was treated to what absolutely definitely wasn't the first wash she's had since returning to the road two years ago.

Yes I do feel guilty. The amount of grime that came off was horrific. The engine cover regularly being used as a workbench probably didn't help.



I ordered a set of new window latches last week...and received a package containing *one* window latch on Monday. Of course the one in the package was the only one on the car which worked properly!

Thankfully the rest of them arrived today, about 10 minutes before I originally intended to leave...so I delayed myself a few minutes to fit them.

You'll understand why I wasn't too enthusiastic about parking this overnight somewhere public with latches in this state securing three out of the four sliding window sections.



This one actually fell off on a regular basis.

Much better with a full new set.



Then it was time to hit the road. An hour and a half later Birmingham was achieved.





Was a pretty relaxed drive to be honest. We had a HGV in front of us for most of the drive, and I was quite content to bumble along at their pace. I did note that she started to miss occasionally on light throttle towards the end of the journey, but nothing bad. I've noted this to be an intermittent issue for a while, and it always seems to be towards the end of trips, so I wonder if there's something suffering heat soak problems - coil would probably be my first suspect (it's never been touched) as it does run quite warm. It's also an easy thing to test by substitution.

Parked a couple of spaces away from some rather nice motors. Couldn't help but be drawn to this!



Not a bad view from my hotel window really compared to a lot.



Though it improved after dark.



So the car show part of our event runs from 1200 to 1500 tomorrow, and if the car park is anything to go by there's going to be quite an interesting variety there. I'll obviously share the highlights here.

Better remember to get a couple of my own car there...I always forget that!

Another big milestone passed today - about halfway through the trip over here TPA ticked over 3,000 miles since revival. Hard to believe really when you look back to June 2018.

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Old May 27 2022, 08:28 PM   #242
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Default Re: Zel's Automotive Antics & Occasional Distractions.

What a lovely little car. I can imagine you happily chugging along the road, enjoying the accomplishment of putting this cute car back in working order from what was a definite disaster not that many years ago!
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Old May 30 2022, 11:50 PM   #243
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I hope you enjoy your time at the show, let s see 12pm to 4pm would be our USA 12 hr. timeconverted from 24 hr. time via my dad who is a vet.
my dad has a 1984 C7J Wanger Jeep, ps my spelling might be a tad off, but he has worked on it, and folks liked it, he has used it to test out his spraier painter,knowing welding did that state -side beforoversseas in Eurepe
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Old Jun 1 2022, 02:12 PM   #244
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Default Re: Zel's Automotive Antics & Occasional Distractions.

I'll try to get Sunday's update here later on this evening - due to the number of images I'll need to split it into a couple of posts, which is a major hassle when on a mobile device as I am just now.

-- -- --

A very well packaged parcel arrived a couple of days ago containing a replacement air conditioning compressor for the Caddy.



I just need to find someone to recover the charge now who's not going to charge me through the nose for the privilege. If I can find a garage who also do AC work may just get them to sort the whole lot together. Only place I've tried so far didn't want the work because they're too busy.

This morning I had to do something that I despise and which always gives me massive anxiety: Leave a vehicle unattended at a garage for an MOT. I hate not being present for the test, but wasn't given any choice in the matter unless I wanted to stand around for about six hours.

Then had to get the bus back home...a trip of around five miles. It takes well over an hour by bus, and I would have just walked if it wasn't raining. Would have been about 20 minutes quicker.

Last stretch (as the nearest bus stop is a 20 minute walk past home) was done by e-scooter. First time I've used one of the new Lime ones, they've really upped the game with them. Bigger wheels, better suspension and better brakes. All round just far nicer to ride than the old ones.



I hate leaving cars to be tested, never mind a 32 year old camper van of a model reputed for its ability to turn from solid metal to iron oxide faster than you can blink. Nevertheless the end result:



Nice. Something else I don't need to worry about until next year.

Advisories have all been there forever aside from the one about a power steering pipe...it doesn't *have* power steering. I'm assuming they're just meaning the steering box is weeping oil a bit, which it does and has done as long as I've had the van. Not worried about it.

Quite surprised the tyres didn't get a mention as the perishing is quite visible on a couple of them. I'll probably get them changed in the next couple of months just for peace of mind. Shame as the tread is still basically unworn (probably because they're commercial rated so the rubber compound is harder than concrete).

Had a rather special visitor today. Wonder when the last photo of these two models side by side was taken.





Fascinating car to have a look at. Really had never had a chance to look at one up close before. Really quite comfy, though oddly short geared. I do wonder if that is something that is quite common to PSA vehicles as I remember my 306 Sedan feeling way under geared too - on a dual carriageway I repeatedly found myself second guessing if I had actually changed up out of fourth.

They very kindly gave me a lift to go collect the van from the MOT too saving me another hour on the bus which was most appreciated.

I was really happy to find this on the shelf in my local motor factor again.



It's easily the best fluid of its type I've used and I've been lamenting not being able to find it for ages, until today. Suffice to say I bought several cans!
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Old Jun 2 2022, 09:00 AM   #245
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Okay, here's the update from Sunday - having to split this up into a couple of post due to the number of images was going to be really awkward working from my phone so I decided to wait until I was at an actual computer.

-- -- --

A whole bunch of programming was going on through the weekend, but the main thing I'd been looking forward to was getting TPA along to our little car show. Well, show is maybe overselling it. Basically the hotel staff give us the staff car park to ourselves for a few hours where anyone with an interest in motoring get together and have a good old natter.

This is great I think, because you get a bit of everything. Some classic classics, some more modern things, ever popular tuner material, some cars with fancy audio installs, and some very ordinary cars which are just very much loved by their owners.

Now, before I set off to ConFuzzled I had the presence of mind to write up a sign giving a brief description of what the heck TPA is and a*very* brief intro to the history of the Model 70.

However did I have the presence of mind to actually TAKE it with me? Uuuh...not so much. Left it sitting on the desk next to my keyboard. Idiot. Well at least it's there for next time she goes to a show.

The sheer number and intensity of exclamations of complete befuddlement when people found TPA was highly amusing. Definitely got a lot of interest though. My immediate neighbour to the right was a bit of a contrast!



Quite a variety there as I've said, though this must be a pretty rare bird these days.



Likewise I can't remember the last time I saw a Vitara. Looks like this one is properly enjoyed.



One of the prettier convertible conversions done.



With some interior trim which is an absolute late 90s throwback.



A very, very, very festive Cube.





Unsurprisingly the Buick I had parked just across from also made an appearance. Sounded lovely too.







...
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Old Jun 2 2022, 09:01 AM   #246
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...

Seeing this very much reminded me of how much I still want one.



Though admittedly the early airbag wheel is pretty hideous.



On the general subject of Americana...









Several Volvos, only two of which I apparently photographed.





I wasn't the only person with a rear engined air cooled car there...not even the only pale blue one.





...
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Old Jun 2 2022, 09:01 AM   #247
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...

The Japanese were pretty well represented too.











If these came in estate form I would seriously consider one.





At the other end of the scale...



Variety is always good to see.



Was interesting to get to have a proper nosey under the bonnet of a Leaf too to see how the traction unit is packaged.



...
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Old Jun 2 2022, 09:02 AM   #248
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...

This apparently is quite properly rapid.



One very pretty little sports car.





When these came out I really wasn't big on the styling...time has been kind to them I think.



Spent a lot of time explaining to clusters of people what TPA was. Really need to remember the blasted window sign next time. I know they have been extinct for going on 20 years but it really surprised me how many people had no idea they had ever existed.



Parked up next to a nice motor for the night after the show was done.



The golden spanner I was handed along with a few other folks suggests TPA made a good impression with the organisers of our little shindig.



Knowing we had had some security issues in the hotel car park in previous years I made a point of taking a few precautions to immobilise TPA overnight. Among those was one straight out of the history books, having this live in my hotel room.



This wasn't by means the only thing I did, but was probably the most traditional.

Headed back home today around lunchtime, another 70-ish miles and she didn't miss a beat. Bit less breezy today so was a more relaxed run.



Safely tucked away again.



My figures show we made 40.8MPG on the way there, which is more akin to what I'd have expected to see without the huge penalty you pay driving around MK. For a CVT driven car from the early 70s that seems pretty reasonable to me.

Window latches. Dear god I should have replaced those sooner. It's so nice having windows which actually stay where you put them - I also had totally failed to realise how many rattles in the cabin came from the windows. Between the new latches and the zip tie stopping the fire extinguisher handle from rattling (it doesn't interfere with operation) it's made the cabin a lot nicer. Not having a continual draught from the offside window blowing right in my ear is nice too.

It's been nice to see how TPA handles a slightly longer run. Was good to see that the temperature did stay in the 150-170C range even when staying at speed for quite a while. I know this car wasn't really designed with high speed cruising in mind so whether the cooling system was up to it was always a question in my mind. I do want to have a closer look at the CVT belt just to see how it's holding up after this - no noticeable change in behaviour, but it must have north of 2000 miles on now, so worth checking properly.

Is she an ideal long distance cruiser? Absolutely not! Wobbly, incredibly noisy and the ventilation is hilariously awful on a warm day. However she's perfectly capable of it - which is good to know given the big show I've got in mind is about twice as far away from home for me as this was I think.

Absolutely knackered now though, not so much by the drive but it's been a busy few days.
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Old Jun 2 2022, 09:20 AM   #249
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Finally, a handful of photos I took around the convention itself. These are probably more relevant here than on any other forums I'm on so seem worthy of inclusion.

Walking up to the main entrance on arrival, that wonderful moment of "Ah, here are my people. I must be in the right place."



Madness and vaguely controlled chaos throughout - but in a very positive way.













Quite a few nice artistic touches around the place to just make nice photograph backdrops like this.



There were dances held each evening, and I had far, far too much fun there with my camera.





Nice view of the complex just across the lake from my hotel through the trees on the way back to my hotel (which was basically next door to the main event one).



I didn't actually take a huge number of photos (aside from at the dances where there are about 70), having tried more to actually just be involved in what's going on rather than living the whole event peering through a viewfinder...but did get a few worth sharing I think.

Haven't seen the final number yet, but indications are that there were somewhere around 2600 attendees...So an order of magnitude bigger than the biggest event I'd been to before with around 500! Though the way it's growing I could see ScotiaCon reaching the same sort of size given a few years.
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Old Jun 2 2022, 09:28 PM   #250
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Default Re: Zel's Automotive Antics & Occasional Distractions.

Love some of the cars especially the Jeep my middle niece has one but hers has an 18 inch lift kit on it. It is fun watching someone who is 4 feet 9 inches climb up into it. The Highway patrol car was nice but slightly confusing since it appears at first glance to be a newer Corvette, but has the markings of a Firebird which if I remember correctly isn't made anymore. The Ford convertible is slightly more confusing since I can't place what model it is. The Vitara looks like a fun little car and that VW bug has always been my dream car.
The convention itself looked like fun been looking at possibly making one of the US conventions in the next year or so but not sure which one. Either DragonCon or Liberty Con are at the top of the list. But I am also looking at musical get togethers as well.
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Old Jun 8 2022, 07:16 PM   #251
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A friend was kind enough to drop this box of goodies off a couple of days ago.



This is well timed as me (and the entire family) have come down with COVID, and I have about as much available energy as a 97 year old who's just run a marathon - so a distraction I could pick away at on and off was very welcome.

Inside that box there is a Commodore 64, matching data cassette deck, power supply, couple of games, two joysticks, an original 48K Spectrum and a bunch of cables plus two microphones that are nothing to do with the computers.

I've had a Spectrum for going on 30 years, however it's one that was upgraded with an aftermarket case (and more importantly a real keyboard!) back early in its lifetime. So it doesn't look like a Spectrum. So a factory original one has been on my list for a while.

The Spectrum came up fine with just a wipe down. It's pictured here next to my original one. This wasn't an uncommon retrofit case back in the day, though I can't remember the name of the company that made them right now to save my life.



I always forget when it's been a while since I saw one is how tiny the Spectrum is. The fact that they managed to cram as much capability into such a small unit priced as it was really was quite an achievement at the time I reckon. My original one has a larger case both because it was designed to also house the power supply.

Internally it's a very clean machine. No signs of previous hackery or damage.



Based on the latest date code I can find on anything it looks like this is a machine from the late end of 1984, quite possibly bought as a Christmas gift or in the Boxing day sales.



There are a few scratches on the case but it's perfectly presentable. I like to see all of my machines actually used so I'd rather have one that's presentable but not immaculate to that end. Still an iconic looking thing.



It's the first time I've had a look at a stock machine in forever...I'd not realised that there are several key items on the upgraded keyboard (aside from not feeling as though you're typing on a cheap TV remote) to make your life easier.



First up are dedicated delete, period and comma keys. Those all require shift combinations on the stock one. Likewise dedicated arrow keys, which similarly require a shkft combination normally. Having the symbol shift key duplicated on both sides of the keyboard is useful too. Oh...and an actual space bar, where your brain expects it to be. Still, could be worse - see also ZX80/81 or the sea to TicTacs on the Oric-1.

I've not had a chance to test the Spectrum yet as it didn't come with a power supply and my bench top one currently needs repair due to a duff power switch. I don't have the energy just now to go spelunking in the Box o' Cables (TM) to try to find an alternative 9V DC supply. Will make sure to get it tested soon though.

While the Spectrum was just a little dusty and responded fine to just a good wipe down the C64 was a different story. It was both filthy in general and covered in pen marks. So it was almost immediately pulled apart for cleaning.

Internally it looks to be fine, dusty and there's a little surface rust on the RF modulator case but nothing that concerns me.



Sorry, I totally forgot to get a proper "before" photo so you'll have to make do with ones from just after I'd emptied the case.







The case was then treated to a run though the specialised "parts washer" to get rid of that grime.



Results speak for themselves really. I haven't been able to (even after attacking it with IPA) completely remove the permanent marker line from around the keyboard but it's vastly improved.



A replacement for the missing badge on the case is already on the way.

I would have quite liked to give the key caps the same treatment, however haven't done that for two reasons. Firstly is that they really don't seem inclined to come off. Secondly is that I'm not entirely sure that the silk screened legends for the graphics symbols on the front of the key caps would survive that. So I've just hoovered all the dust out and given it an external scrub down as best I could.

My attention then turned to the cassette recorder. While not as bad as the computer itself it was still pretty grubby.



Especially if you looked closely around the tape counter and the control keys.





The mechanism was a bit dusty and the heads needed a clean but I couldn't see anything wrong. Belts even seem to be absolutely fine. Quite a substantial one compared to anything you'll find these days.



Heads, capstan and pinch roller were given a clean while the case took its turn in the wash.





The grease still seemed to be of the correct consistency so I chose to leave it well alone, just removing any excess lint build up that was stuck to it here and there.

Reassembly was slightly more tricky as it required three tiny little springs and an equally tiny circlip to be put back into their homes, but nothing too drastic.

Cleaned up pretty well.



This is why I tend towards this method for cleaning things where it's viable. There's no way I could ever have got the little recesses like this as clean as this by hand.





The power supply brick will just have to make do with a wipe down as due to the way it's constructed there's no way to disassemble it for a wet clean. A test confirmed that the right voltages were present so we were good to do a test of the system.



Good start. I'm pretty convinced now that there's something amiss with the tuner in this TV as this is the third thing I've fed it an RF signal from in the last few weeks and been rewarded with very poor reception. I'll need to investigate that at a later date. Switching to the composite output run into a monitor via a converter showed a far better image.



Though obviously this is never going to look right on an LCD, it's better than the snowy mess I had before.

Two problems became very quickly apparent. One was that you could crash the system pretty much by breathing anywhere near the power input socket, leading me to believe we had a dry joint on the PCB where the socket attaches. The second problem was that sever keys required several attempts to get to register, the space bar being totally inoperable.

With the symbol shift switch desoldered and around 7500 tiny screws removed it was possible to get into the back of the keyboard. I was quite surprised to find a setup using contact pads on the PCB and conductive rubber pads on the keys rather than a more conventional membrane setup. Not going to complain though as it is a far easier arrangement to clean.



The contacts for the space bar were definitely filthy. No surprise this wasn't working.



Half an hour or so of carefully cleaning the PCB and contact pads with IPA followed.



My suspicion of there being dry solder joints on the power connector was correct. Hard to tell, but there are no less than five in this photo, so they were all reflowed.



I had the sense to test to see if the keyboard was working properly before screwing the case back together.



Success! A fully working keyboard and a system which no longer prone to falling over if you walk across the floor too quickly.

I don't have any C64 software floating around here but there were helpfully two tapes in the box, which both loaded up just fine... though I think I'm going to need something more my speed to do some soak testing.



However I think in the mean time I can declare this system now to be fully working.



My¬*plan is to run a vintage and retro computing panel at an event next year, and thanks to the arrival of these and the BBC Micro a few weeks ago I'm getting¬*pretty close to having most of the machines I'd want to take along in my possession.¬* Some of the calculators and some of the other gear would probably come along too...but the main¬*exhibits will be (Production introduction year in brackets - I can't remember exactly when all mine date from off the top of my head):

[] Apple II (1977).

[] Apple Macintosh SE (1987).

[] BBC Micro (1981).

[] Acorn Electron (1983).

[] Acorn Archimedes A5000 or 7000 - A3000 instead if I can revive it (1991, 1995, 1987).

[] Sinclair ZX Spectrum 48K (1982).

[] Commodore 64 (1982).

[] Amiga A1200 (1992).

[] Toshiba T1200 (1987).

[] Toshiba T3200 (1987).

[] Toshiba T5200 - probably take the¬*T3100e too as the plasma machines always seem to draw a crowd (1991, 1988).

[] Atari ST...there are some numbers there but they could be anything. (Early 90s).

[] Amstrad PPC-512.¬* Because it's just such a bonkers design (1988).

[] Amstrad NC-100 (1992).

[] Psion Series-5 (1997).

[] IBM PS/ValuePoint 433DX/Si - if I rebuild it in time (????).

[] Compaq Deskpro 386S (I think, reading a very fuzzy photo - haven't collected it yet).

[] Compaq Deskpro P100 - which will likely be hooked up to a mid 90s era projector running a computing history slideshow made in the earliest usable version of PowerPoint I can find.¬* Or I may use the IBM for that - though I'd quite like to have that running OS/2.

There are a couple I'd really like to add to that list that I don't currently own.¬*¬*

[] Sinclair ZX81 - because I sure ain't paying the going rate for a ZX80 these days.

[] Sinclair QL.¬* I've never actually even seen one in person and I doubt I'm the only one.¬* So likely to draw interest.¬* It would be nice to have Sinclair Computers more or less spanning their home computer timeline.¬* Yes I know the QL was more market at businesses, but ya get the idea.

[] Commodore PET.¬* Never going to happen given what they usually go for unless I'm *seriously* lucky.¬* The Apple II is only coming on the scene because a friend has been incredibly generous.

From the calculator side I'd probably bring:

[] CompuCorp 324G Scientist.¬* Sadly non-working, but it's still a real talking point and bloody rare so not many people have seen one (1971).

[] Sharp EL-805 (1973).

[] Sinclair Sovereign (1976).

[] HP 11C and 12C (1981).

[] Texas Instruments TI-66 (1983).

[] Casio PF-3000 (1983).

[] Texas Instruments TI-30 (1976).

[] Sharp EL-8130A (1977).

May¬*just¬*grab a handful more at the time - they at¬*least don't take up too much¬*room.
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Old Jun 9 2022, 08:56 PM   #252
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Continuing the "Zel has COVID and feels too awful to do anything involving more than 30 seconds of physical effort, today was the turn of the Spectrum to be tested. Though before I could do that I needed to either dig out a 9V power supply (remembering of course that Sinclair used a centre negative connector just to make it more likely to get blown up) or sort my bench top supply.



I decided dealing with that was easier than going digging through the Box o' Cables for a suitable adaptor.

I also switched out display devices. Knowing the TV I had been using had something amiss with the tuner I swapped it for another portable. This one thankfully has a properly working RF stage.



It also includes a cassette deck...which would potentially be really handy for program loading. If the belt hadn't long since given up the ghost anyway. I did pull the cover off to see how difficult to change it would be.



The answer appears to be "very."

This is precisely all I can see of the back of the cassette mech.



I think replacement of the belt would require me to dismantle approximately 98% of the unit, and it's not the sort of thing that was ever designed to be dismantled. It would have been nice to sort it but that's not happening.

Unsurprisingly the Spectrum worked just fine.





That display is an absolute pain to photograph. It's really not the best for this sort of things as with many small colour displays from back then as the phosphor stripes (so essentially the "pixel" size) is just the same as on a normally sized screen, so the definition really isn't great. Just fine for this sort of testing though.

Long term I'll need to find a power supply that cost less than the computer when it was new.

This corner is very much evidence of what I've been up to this week.



Something I had never tried before was loading software onto a Spectrum from another computer. This turned out to be a massive faff and took hours to get to work...eventually involving cables stretching the whole way across the room. At least I seem to have a solution that works reliably now... I'll need to do a bit of experimentation to see if I can get a portable device to do the job as that would be a real bonus.

Had to boot up the game which on the Spectrum which wasted the largest number of hours when I was messing about with my original one.

This actually looked far better in person - it's really hard to photograph this screen.



Our of curiousity I pulled the cover off my original one as I had a vague memory of it having a slightly earlier board revision.



I had actually done a bit of work in there today too. This machine has always been very unstable, and last time I had it out the transformer was getting really hot. The smoothing capacitor doing a good impression of a 30 ohm resistor seemed to have a lot to do with that.

Definitely an earlier board, Issue 2 it looks like, so definitely earlier than the Issue 4S in the other one.





I'll probably do a bit of poking about with it tomorrow. I'd like to get a program loading solution that works without me needing to use 96 feet of cable. Given I'm still feeling absolutely awful I can't see me doing much more physical than that.
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Old Jun 10 2022, 10:02 AM   #253
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I hope you feel better very soon!
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Old Jun 14 2022, 08:51 PM   #254
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Priscilla View Post
I hope you feel better very soon!
Not doing too badly to be honest, compared to what I've seen a lot of people going through I reckon we've been quite lucky. Though generally following good practice and all of us having had all three jabs so far definitely will have helped.

Really the biggest lingering issue I'm fighting with is just the fatigue. Given my sleep issues I struggle for energy a fair amount as it is, but lately it's been ridiculous!

-- -- --

Hey look a package! That was quick.



Oh why can't all sellers on eBay package things this well? This was after I'd taken the bundle filling the void in the box out.



Everything nicely individually wrapped inside a sturdy box with a decent amount of padding round the outside (keeping in mind that the contents aren't exactly heavy).



They had even put a bit of bubble wrap *inside* the tape boxes to make sure they couldn't rattle around too much.

Sure you recognise through the bubble wrap what's in there.



Perfect companion for the Spectrum that arrived last week.





Only done a very quick bit of testing, but it does indeed work.



I had only used one of these once before and it was a long time ago. The keyboard however is precisely as awful as I remembered. It's like trying to type on the control panel of our microwave.



In fact it's worse than the microwave...the microwave beeps when you press a key, so you have some feedback to confirm that it has registered the key press. This thing on the other have provides no feedback. Nothing, none, zip. There is no physical give in the key, nor anything from the machine. The Spectrum has a pretty awful keyboard in terms of tactile feedback, but it does at least provide an audible "click" through the speaker to let you know it's registered the keystroke.

This thing though is just an absolute abomination of a user input device. You can't type without looking at the keyboard as it is completely flat. There's no way to position your fingers by touch. However you need to watch the screen to confirm it's registered the key stroke because it's like typing on a sheet of solid plastic.

Speaking of questionable design decisions...the power supply connector on the ZX81 is 3.5mm jack, exactly the sort used for the ear and mic connections...note also *where* the power socket is.



Now remember that this thing has no power switch nor means to reboot it without removing and reapplying power. There is no switch on the power supply itself either. 99.9% of the time I reckon it will have been done by physically pulling out the power supply plug in the side of the machine.

Given Sinclair's approach to cost saving I rather doubt they included the necessary protection to ensure that blasting 9V into the ear or mic socket won't nuke the heck out of the ULA...

Also from the desire to cut costs the ZX81 has very limited onboard memory, making the 16K RAM expansion pack basically necessary hardware. This little pack was a lot heavier than I had expected so I had to investigate what was inside it.



Given I was expecting a single PCB, a handful of memory ICs and possibly a bit of buffering this was quite a bit busier than I'd expected.

I've confirmed that software loads correctly but that's all I've had the opportunity to ascertain so far. Will have to have a play around with it later in the week...given we're seeing 33C (91.4F) forecast on the weather for Friday I'm going to be hiding in here with the air conditioner, so it's going to be a good opportunity for it.

It sounds like someone on another forum *may* have a QL gathering dust in their loft...if that does turn out to be true that would be great as that would be a really nice one to tick off...plus having done some reading on them lately I'm really wanting to have a shot at using one now.

In the interests of completeness I'd *like* a ZX80 so we could have a complete lineup of the in house Sinclair machines prior to the Amstrad takeover...but I'm sure as heck not paying £400+ for one! So unless one turns up in someone's loft who's more interested in making a collector happy than making a quick buck that's not happening.

Kind of under the same heading as basically anything with an Amiga badge on that I don't already own nowadays. Prices for what they are are just daft. Especially as the ZX80 really is just a curiosity...it's really not something you're going to do anything useful with. Would just be nice to have the original range all together. That's on the "keep an eye open" list though, not something I'm actively going looking for.
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Old Jun 14 2022, 09:15 PM   #255
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Not doing too badly to be honest, compared to what I've seen a lot of people going through I reckon we've been quite lucky. Though generally following good practice and all of us having had all three jabs so far definitely will have helped.

Really the biggest lingering issue I'm fighting with is just the fatigue. Given my sleep issues I struggle for energy a fair amount as it is, but lately it's been ridiculous!

-- -- --

Hey look a package! That was quick.



Oh why can't all sellers on eBay package things this well? This was after I'd taken the bundle filling the void in the box out.



Everything nicely individually wrapped inside a sturdy box with a decent amount of padding round the outside (keeping in mind that the contents aren't exactly heavy).



They had even put a bit of bubble wrap *inside* the tape boxes to make sure they couldn't rattle around too much.

Sure you recognise through the bubble wrap what's in there.



Perfect companion for the Spectrum that arrived last week.





Only done a very quick bit of testing, but it does indeed work.



I had only used one of these once before and it was a long time ago. The keyboard however is precisely as awful as I remembered. It's like trying to type on the control panel of our microwave.



In fact it's worse than the microwave...the microwave beeps when you press a key, so you have some feedback to confirm that it has registered the key press. This thing on the other have provides no feedback. Nothing, none, zip. There is no physical give in the key, nor anything from the machine. The Spectrum has a pretty awful keyboard in terms of tactile feedback, but it does at least provide an audible "click" through the speaker to let you know it's registered the keystroke.

This thing though is just an absolute abomination of a user input device. You can't type without looking at the keyboard as it is completely flat. There's no way to position your fingers by touch. However you need to watch the screen to confirm it's registered the key stroke because it's like typing on a sheet of solid plastic.

Speaking of questionable design decisions...the power supply connector on the ZX81 is 3.5mm jack, exactly the sort used for the ear and mic connections...note also *where* the power socket is.



Now remember that this thing has no power switch nor means to reboot it without removing and reapplying power. There is no switch on the power supply itself either. 99.9% of the time I reckon it will have been done by physically pulling out the power supply plug in the side of the machine.

Given Sinclair's approach to cost saving I rather doubt they included the necessary protection to ensure that blasting 9V into the ear or mic socket won't nuke the heck out of the ULA...

Also from the desire to cut costs the ZX81 has very limited onboard memory, making the 16K RAM expansion pack basically necessary hardware. This little pack was a lot heavier than I had expected so I had to investigate what was inside it.



Given I was expecting a single PCB, a handful of memory ICs and possibly a bit of buffering this was quite a bit busier than I'd expected.

I've confirmed that software loads correctly but that's all I've had the opportunity to ascertain so far. Will have to have a play around with it later in the week...given we're seeing 33C (91.4F) forecast on the weather for Friday I'm going to be hiding in here with the air conditioner, so it's going to be a good opportunity for it.

It sounds like someone on another forum *may* have a QL gathering dust in their loft...if that does turn out to be true that would be great as that would be a really nice one to tick off...plus having done some reading on them lately I'm really wanting to have a shot at using one now.

In the interests of completeness I'd *like* a ZX80 so we could have a complete lineup of the in house Sinclair machines prior to the Amstrad takeover...but I'm sure as heck not paying £400+ for one! So unless one turns up in someone's loft who's more interested in making a collector happy than making a quick buck that's not happening.

Kind of under the same heading as basically anything with an Amiga badge on that I don't already own nowadays. Prices for what they are are just daft. Especially as the ZX80 really is just a curiosity...it's really not something you're going to do anything useful with. Would just be nice to have the original range all together. That's on the "keep an eye open" list though, not something I'm actively going looking for.
??? Sounds like my current talking microwave , that is able to do lots of stuff but they forgot to put a good clear or stop the dang thing, without unplugging the blasted thing, Or a few other things I have used in the passed, no name comes to my mind, but I recall a interface like that as a kid, for a game I think, or was a some phone book, and mangers, don't recall right now, too fizzed from my trip, well have to think on it and ghet back to you. Something like earlyRadio Shak --- TANDY ii THINK wawas ttheir eletrictic stuff , saw something catalog for kits a OWL I think, as a claculater for young kids, didn't think its worth waht they wanted athat price. 'shrug should' their science kits look ed better too much for my pocket. but a good store for us here in USA, don't know if outside USA or not.
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Old Jun 18 2022, 07:02 PM   #256
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Had a discussion at another website with a friend in the UK. She is a high school science teacher but had never heard of hybrid (battery/gas engine) cars like our son's Honda Accord Hybrid. My husband (retired engineer) tried explaining it to me and the best I got is some hybrids have large batteries and small engines to get higher mileage. The gas engine charges the battery and then the car runs on the battery until it gets low and then the gas engine runs while also recharging the battery. Our son's car still gets good mileage but the battery is smaller. Do you have "hybrids" over there or only plug in to charge electric cars? Since her husband is an auto mechanic I was surprised she had never heard of this.
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Old Jun 18 2022, 11:25 PM   #257
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Had a discussion at another website with a friend in the UK. She is a high school science teacher but had never heard of hybrid (battery/gas engine) cars like our son's Honda Accord Hybrid. My husband (retired engineer) tried explaining it to me and the best I got is some hybrids have large batteries and small engines to get higher mileage. The gas engine charges the battery and then the car runs on the battery until it gets low and then the gas engine runs while also recharging the battery. Our son's car still gets good mileage but the battery is smaller. Do you have "hybrids" over there or only plug in to charge electric cars? Since her husband is an auto mechanic I was surprised she had never heard of this.

Yes, we have hybrids like that, at least in Finland.



Most of our hybrids seem to be plug-in hybrids, in that you can run one just like an electric car by plugging it in when the battery runs low. But the battery is smaller than on a true electric car, so their range is shorter. But they're very popular with people who live in the suburbs and commute a short enough distance to work that they can run on electricity on their commute, but they still have the range on gas to take longer weekend trips without needing to stop all the time to recharge. The summer cottage is an institution here, in a population of 5.6 million we have 0.5 million summer cottages.
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Old Jun 19 2022, 09:04 AM   #258
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Default Re: Zel's Automotive Antics & Occasional Distractions.

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Had a discussion at another website with a friend in the UK. She is a high school science teacher but had never heard of hybrid (battery/gas engine) cars like our son's Honda Accord Hybrid. My husband (retired engineer) tried explaining it to me and the best I got is some hybrids have large batteries and small engines to get higher mileage. The gas engine charges the battery and then the car runs on the battery until it gets low and then the gas engine runs while also recharging the battery. Our son's car still gets good mileage but the battery is smaller. Do you have "hybrids" over there or only plug in to charge electric cars? Since her husband is an auto mechanic I was surprised she had never heard of this.
The vast majority of our taxis here in Wellington are hybrids. My younger son had a second-hand Toyota Prius for a while. Problem was, he was a weekend user, as he and his wife both lived in the CBD and walked to work. It isn't the petrol engine that charges the battery, it's the wheels. There was a little panel on the dashboard which showed which motor was running and which direction the electricity was running in. Perfect for a taxi that's running all day, but not so good sitting in the garage for a week. The last taxi I used was also a Prius, but the driver had a little device that he used to jumpstart it when the battery was sluggish.
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Old Jun 21 2022, 01:55 PM   #259
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Default Re: Zel's Automotive Antics & Occasional Distractions.

Been a while since I've had to wave any tools at the van.

Starting to get back into a functional state for my part again I figured that starting to tick off a few things on the to do list on it wasn't a bad idea. One of these has been changing the thermostat. Pretty certain it's never fully closed as long as I've had the vehicle.

I've generally found the van bits of this vehicle to be very easy to work on, though the coach built bits have tended to make up for it.

It appears that the thermostat however is the exception that proves the rule and is going to be a bit of a faff to change. Was a bit of a faff to *find* never mind change!

Conventional wisdom places it where the top radiator hose emerges from the head. That's not even visible from under the bonnet, so passenger seat and the engine cover were removed.

The top hose is just about visible buried under the fuel system here, though anything that looks removable that's big enough to contain the thermostat is conspicuously absent.







A bit of head scratching and standing on my head appears to have located it, rather oddly kit seems to be at the engine end of the *bottom* radiator hose.









Odd setup...and not exactly easy to get to. It's sandwiched between the exhaust manifold and offside engine mount, tucked behind the alternator which precludes any thoughts of access from the front.

Near as makes no odds the lowest point in the system too so definitely be a coolant drain as step one... inevitably I'm going to end up with several litres of coolant in the face doing this job though. The coolant is due a change anyway so I don't mind having to drain it...just don't particularly want to wear it.

May end up being a case of "screw this, a garage can do it!" depending on how awkward access ends up really being when I try to get tools onto it.

Need to clean the whole area up too as the timing cover gasket appears to be leaking to no small amount...again.



Will probably blast this area down with degreaser then hit it with the pressure washer first though as I'd like to confirm if this is coming from the timing cover or oil filler neck extension (bolted to the timing chain cover as in the van application the normal filler is inaccessible) before I go blowing £30 on another gasket for the timing cover.

That combined with running several errands however has consumed my available energy reserves (and patience with being eaten alive by ants), so back hiding in the air conditioning for now.
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Old Jun 21 2022, 07:36 PM   #260
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Zelandeth, you may find this interesting and as boggling as we do. Our son is 36. His best friend from college is a couple years younger. Travis (our son's friend) is what I would call a car maniac. He buys a car, keeps it maybe six months and then sees something else and "Oooo, shiney" trades in the "old" for new. Each time a bit more expensive. He has a good job, but he also has a house, a wife and 2 small kids. This next leap he intends to take has us gasping. A Lotus! Why?! As my husband says, expensive to buy and hell to maintain, with very few dealerships. Apparently his wife is fine with it. I'm not sure if that is good or bad. Let's see. He lives in upstate New York on the Canadian border. Lots of snow and very cold. Perfect vehicle. Just throw some snow tires on it, right?! Thought you might get a head scratch and a chuckle out of this.
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Old Jun 21 2022, 10:51 PM   #261
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Default Re: Zel's Automotive Antics & Occasional Distractions.

A Hy bread sp would be good for my dad, he is in the country,he and I had a very lively talk, about this over last weekend, with my Coz. More on that laterm, didn't sleep to well, and I am going to need a hand with typing up that one, from on of my staff, for I have a few things related to share.
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Old Jun 23 2022, 10:39 PM   #262
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Default Re: Zel's Automotive Antics & Occasional Distractions.

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Zelandeth, you may find this interesting and as boggling as we do. Our son is 36. His best friend from college is a couple years younger. Travis (our son's friend) is what I would call a car maniac. He buys a car, keeps it maybe six months and then sees something else and "Oooo, shiney" trades in the "old" for new. Each time a bit more expensive. He has a good job, but he also has a house, a wife and 2 small kids. This next leap he intends to take has us gasping. A Lotus! Why?! As my husband says, expensive to buy and hell to maintain, with very few dealerships. Apparently his wife is fine with it. I'm not sure if that is good or bad. Let's see. He lives in upstate New York on the Canadian border. Lots of snow and very cold. Perfect vehicle. Just throw some snow tires on it, right?! Thought you might get a head scratch and a chuckle out of this.
Depends on the era I guess. I think Lotus peaked in the 90s with the first iteration of the Elise. Their formula has always been "simplify and add lightness."

They're not bad cars, but they are highly strung sports cars and need to be treated as such. Definitely one of those cases where it pays to buy the best car that you can afford - and if you can't afford a good one you shouldn't be looking to buy one.

Not likely as bad in the winter as you'd think...this thing was nigh on unstoppable in the winter unless you threw serious depth of snow at it. Relatively narrow tyres and weighing as much as a postage stamp meant it showed a LOT of other cars up in the winter.



Hopefully this gives some indication of how tiny the thing is, I'm pretty much 6' on the nose.



Miss that little car, very much in the spirit of Lotus. Two seats, four wheels, the ability to change direction seemingly by telepathy, and a very cleverly designed roof that you could lower or raise in seconds. Sadly it suffered very much from 90s Japanese home market rust proofing, or rather the lack thereof. Though the guy I sold it to did apparently restore it - which would have included pretty much replacement of the entirely of the floor pans and both inner sills...which on a car that tiny makes up a lot of it!
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Old Jun 24 2022, 06:13 AM   #263
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I expect Travis will get a brand new Lotus, not a many years old used one. As far as snow. Buffalo, New York. They measure it in feet!
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Old Jun 27 2022, 05:46 PM   #264
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I expect Travis will get a brand new Lotus, not a many years old used one. As far as snow. Buffalo, New York. They measure it in feet!
Can't really see the appeal of a modern one to be honest. If I were looking at a modern small sports car that's properly driver focused I'd probably lean more towards a Porsche Boxster. Well...I wouldn't, I'd end up with something more like a Caterham 620...but that's me. The current generation Boxster or Cayman offer a really good package though if you want something that's usable day to day and also at home being blasted around a track. If I were actually looking at a Porsche myself it would be back from the air cooled era...but I've been really impressed with the demonstrators Chris has brought back from work.

-- -- --

Tiny, tiny but satisfying job done on the Caddy today.

These absolutely sun-baked stickers on the front windows were annoying me no end.



Especially on the passenger's door which was obviously massively off-level even when it was applied 20 years ago. Who in their right might would have looked at that and thought "Yeah, that's fine..."



The one on the passenger side had started to peel off at one corner and was causing the window to bind up when closing, so it was time to get rid of it.

These were for the chopping block too.



I hate stickers like this on my cars so I'm surprised it took me this long.

Much better.



I can't remember who it was that suggested using WD40 to remove sticky residue from things like these stickers, but I'm really glad it was suggested to me. Just wiped the glue residue right off, and normal glass cleaner easily got rid of the WD40 residue.

Speaking of stickers, one I had been waiting for for non car related stuff turned up. The C64 that arrived a few weeks ago looks rather less scruffy now it has the missing one replaced. It's not metal backed like the original, but for the sake of a couple of quid I'll take it. Looks way nicer than a missing badge.

Before:



After:





Doesn't affect the usability obviously, but having details like that sorted out makes me happier.
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Old Jun 29 2022, 07:05 PM   #265
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Removing those stickers from the Caddy earlier in the week reminded me that this one on the van had been bugging me for a while. "A while" in this case meaning around three years.



It's not bugging me any more.



Much better. Though the grubby hand print really is a reminder that I really, really, really need to give the poor thing a proper exterior clean. It's filthy, growing moss everywhere and needs a polish as badly as it needs a wash. That's several day's worth of work though!

The Caddy is being dropped off tomorrow morning to have the shoulder wear on the front tyres investigated. Hopefully it just needs the tracking set by someone who actually knows what they're doing. I figured though that it would be polite to hand it over in a condition where the interior isn't 50% dog hair by volume so gave it a quick clean.

The interior really doesn't scrub up half bad for a 20 year old car.





While I already had the vacuum cleaner out I figured I may as well treat the van to the same treatment, especially as the Caddy being on fleet now means it's no longer the main dog carrier so will likely stay fluff free for a bit longer this time.



Really need to get a wet vac in to clean that staining out of the carpet a bit - or more likely get some proper automotive carpet in and just re-lay it given that it's coming unthreaded in a bunch of places and disintegrates a little bit further every time I touch it. Plus pale beige carpet in the cab of a vehicle just isn't smart! It'll never stay looking clean. A neutral mid grey or blue to match the living area would make far more sense.
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Old Jun 29 2022, 08:29 PM   #266
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Default Re: Zel's Automotive Antics & Occasional Distractions.

Well you get for what you pay for, sounds likfriend of my da and his spending, on cars, right now I am to fizzed yet, and not ffeeling the best, grass pollen and othres are making a min. mingrain fiell like I have a drum snare type and and the one that you hit with the foot pettle trying to mmaking spelling even harder. More later.
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Old Jun 30 2022, 04:45 PM   #267
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Caddy is back from the garage.

They had a good dig into the front end and aside from the little bit of play in the universal joint at the bottom of the steering column I had already identified it was all deemed good.

The tracking was another matter. It was set up with just over 4mm of toe in. Correct setting is 1mm of toe out...so yes, that would definitely account for the fidgety feeling to it and the shoulder wear on the front tyres.

I've only driven it in absolutely torrential rain on the way back from the garage, but it seems to feel a little more stable. Definitely less squirmy under braking anyway.

Will definitely be getting a new full set of tyres fitted at the earliest opportunity. All four of these have shoulder wear now, plus they have never been the best.
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Old Jul 1 2022, 06:54 PM   #268
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Out in the van today noted that I had lost the nearside front speaker.

From prior experience I knew this was almost certainly going to be down to the spaghetti associated with the stereo getting caught when reinstalling the engine cover as despite a couple of strategically positioned cable ties it still managed to get utterly in the way. Therefore there was roughly a 50% chance of something getting pulled out every time the cover went back in.

The cause of this isn't hard to see. Not helped by the fact that there really isn't much under there to anchor anything to.



This was a classic case of me looking at it and thinking "that will take me half an hour to tidy up" and then proceeding to lose about 80% of an afternoon.



The eventual result of a lot of swearing, dropping things through the floor and poking myself in the ribs on the driver's side seat runners.



If you look even vaguely closely you can see that calling it tidy would be a vast overstatement, but it's a huge amount better than it was and less likely to cause issues down the road.

Most notably that huge chunk of terminal strip has been ousted in favour of a bunch of Wago connectors. I know some people don't like them, but I've never had any problems with them, and nothing is going anywhere here. They're far less likely to vibrate loose than screw terminals, and I definitely didn't have the time to faff about soldering and heat shrinking things together today - as that would be the way to properly do this. If I go back in here one day to reroute the power feed (I'd ideally like the head unit to be powered from the leisure battery so I can run it without worrying about draining the vehicle one when stationary) I will probably go down that road then.





One of the other changes I made was to add a local ground...apparently whoever originally fitted the ISO harness never connected the ground pin! The head unit was grounded entirely through the antenna shield and/or the fitting cage (the dash moulding is actually metal under the vinyl finish). I ran that to a ring terminal I fitted under one of the dash retaining bolts.

The downside of the arrangement is that there is no longer enough slack to allow the head unit to be removed - you need to unplug it from the back first. Though given that is entirely doable with the dash layout in the van and will add about two minutes to the job, if that's the price to pay for getting the wiring out of the way of the engine cover, I'll gladly pay it. That cover comes off far more often than I have the head unit out of the dash.

While I had things in bits anyway I took the opportunity to fix a couple of issues where illumination was concerned. One was that there was no connection to the illumination circuit from the head unit. This meant that it was waaaaaaaaaaay too bright and lit the entire cab up when driving at night, even with the brightness manually turned down. Secondly was that I'd never wired up the illumination when I fitted the compass (read: Put it there to cover the hole in the dash top left when I removed the old alarm volumetric sensor). Thirdly the illumination for the cigarette lighter didn't work.

The first and second points were easy enough to sort. So the head unit now dims to a more sensible level automatically when the lights are turned on, and the compass now glows a night vision friendly deep red colour when the headlights are on.



The camera has of course decided to make it look far brighter than it really is.



Haven't been able to sort the lighting on the cigarette lighter though. Pretty sure it's just a blown bulb but there's no way to get to the back of it to replace it. I can just about touch the housing with the tips of my fingers if I pull the blower switch out - but the illumination bit is on the far side of it so that gains me absolutely nothing. Reckon it's something I would need to literally pull the whole front dash moulding out to get to. That will have to happen one day when I get the scuttle replaced...so it can be replaced with an LED then, until then it will just have to continue bugging my OCD after dark.

It doesn't really *look* like I've done anything here does it?



The only clue from the driver's seat is that the wiring being tidied up means you can no longer see any of it - several wires used to be visible down below the hazard light switch. Not any more.



The difference is very apparent when refitting the engine cover though. It just slots into place now rather than requiring ten minutes of fighting to get it to sit right without snagging the wiring.

I'm pretty sure getting that trapped in the seal was the cause of the clip on the nearside having a broken handle. Someone tried to force it. Need to find one of these somewhere.





My nearside one is missing most of the handle so requires a screwdriver to lever it open/closed which is less than ideal. I have tried to buy them from a couple of breakers over the last couple of years, but they've apparently deemed it to be too low a value a part to be worth replying to me - well aside from the one guy who wanted £60 plus VAT and postage for one...which seemed a little...steep...to me!
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Old Jul 5 2022, 06:48 PM   #269
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It turned out that the tracking on the Caddy was a long way out. The previous garage had set it pointing off to the left and with a little over 4mm of toe in. The book value is 1mm of toe out.

Suffice to say with it set properly the car...van...whatever you would call this vehicle drives massively better. The fidgety feeling to the handling has gone and it tracks absolutely perfectly straight now.

With that sorted it was time to get some decent tyres fitted.

Aside from the shoulder wear, these just weren't great.



They're Kumho Eco-Wings and seem to be a very hard compound. On a dry road they're okay, but on an even vaguely damp road they seem to have about as much grip as industrial grade teflon.

I figured it was time to improve this situation.





Much better.

The Uniroyal Rainexpert range have been my preferred tyre since I started driving 20 years ago, so that's what has gone on. I've just always found them to be good all round tyres for the price.

While they aren't great I figured that someone can probably still get some life out of the tyres that came off so I saved them from getting chucked on the recycling pile.



I've never actually had the wheels of this car before so used this as an opportunity to have a quick look around.

Plenty of life left in the brake pads and no horrors to be seen.



Bit surprised to see vented discs on it to be honest. I will probably be pulling these apart for a clean sooner than later as the pads in one of the front calipers do drag just enough to squeak now and then while driving which is really irritating when it does it.

The rear shocks are a little on the crusty side though.



It's only the shield portion rather than the actual hydraulic portion, so not a huge issue really. In fairness they're probably the original ones, so after 20 years and 105K miles they've done their time. I would really like to try fitting some slightly softer shocks on this thing anyway as I think that would massively improve the ride. It's clearly been set up with a view to having a full cargo load in the back as a van - which is way more weight than this is ever going to see. I'd really rather take comfort over a bit of cargo capacity.

Immediate observations on the road, even though I've only done a few miles: Steering feel...well actually exists now. It really didn't feel like it was connected to the wheels before. Road noise is *massively* improved. Like way more difference than I'd ever expect. It's like driving with windows open/closed at 40mph levels of difference. Ride is still rather on the harsh side, but does feel slightly more compliant. Which with them being a softer compound would make sense.

Will be going out on a decent run tomorrow so be curious to see what my thoughts are after getting a few miles covered. Not making any grip etc observations until after that as there will still be mould release compound on them which will need to be scrubbed off yet.

-- -- --

We have made some progress with the Trevi. Aside from just putting the battery on charge as it had gone flat again.



I was working on a bit of a hunch so grabbed some parts. That hunch was that the ignition system arrangement on this car is near enough identical to that used on the 8v injected version of the classic Saab 900. A cap and rotor for those are cheap, so I ordered a pair...worst case I'd throw them in the stores in the back of the garage as they might be handy in the future. Aside from anything else I'd absolutely not write off the possibility of owning another C900 one day in the future.

They turned up today so time to take a look.



The cap is identical to the one on the car as best I can tell. I've gone over it with my digital caliper and every measurement checks out. So that's useful to know for the future.



That wasn't really the issue though, the problem we had been having was tracking down the correct rotor arm - all the supposedly compatible ones seemed to be too short. The duration of the Saab one was a little longer, but I don't think that would likely actually cause us any issues.



What it did for us however was give us a known dimension for the rotor arm that was meant to work with this cap. The working but badly worn Bosch rotor measured as 25.28mm from the tip to the centre of the contact point. The *longest* of the third party ones had been 24.77mm. The new one today measures 25.41mm - which pretty much tied in with what I expected. My gut feeling was that the original one would have been 1" when new... that's pretty close!



Unfortunately I couldn't just use this one as while the top would fit, the bottom half not so much.



It was a useful experiment though in that it pretty conclusively showed us that the rotor arms we had before were indeed too short.

Short of ordering one of every third party equivilant listed for the Bosch 1234 332 215 rotor arm and seeing if we eventually get one which matches up properly I was really struggling to come up with a useful suggestion.

We have ordered two from sellers in Europe which said they were Bosch parts and indeed had a photograph of a Bosch rotor, and were delivered a third party one...with the same dimensional issues as the first one we bought.

Nowhere we can find in the UK lists an actual Bosch one in stock. Until I stumbled across an eBay seller this afternoon who had two NOS ones on the shelf. Needless to say they have both been ordered.

When they arrive...and they better be actually Bosch ones, and the right size...we will hopefully finally have this car running reasonably well again and it can be sent home at long last.

If it still has a miss with the new correct rotor arm fitted I will probably cry as that will basically mean the hall effect module in the distributor is bad. I've done everything I really can to test that though and it *seems* we have a solid continuous pulse from the king lead now, so fingers crossed it's just us trying to effectively fire through a plug gap that's more than twice the book value that's causing us issues. I hope.

No...hope doesn't quite cover it. Pray is more like it!
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Old Jul 6 2022, 04:39 PM   #270
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A package arrived this afternoon containing these.



Oh oh...No box, just two rotor arms in plastic bags. We've been here before.

Or have we? Upon closer inspection, no they were in fact genuine Bosch parts.



In case people wondered if there really was that much difference between the correct and pattern parts - here's the difference. The centre post contact point is lined up between these, the pattern parts are really that much shorter.



So you're adding the best part of a full millimetre to the plug gap effectively by using that.

The old one has definitely done its time!



Of course by the time I got a new one fitted to the car it was rush hour so I wasn't able to go for a proper test run. I did bumble around the block a bunch of times though more than long enough to get the car properly warmed up.

Usually this was when the issues became most apparent, with an erratic miss at idle. It now seems a good deal smoother.

https://youtu.be/Or4gIEC99pQ

That *seems* a lot better. It's not perfect, still the odd stumble here and there, but it's entirely passable. Especially as I'm pretty certain that the carb needs setting up properly and/or at least being treated to a proper service kit.

The throttle response is definitely miles better.

https://youtu.be/Z3s2suJcVBY

I will need to get out tomorrow afternoon so I can give the car a proper test run. I'm absolutely NOT saying it's fixed now. I've proclaimed the ignition issues sorted twice now, then about half an hour later ended up having on both occasions to push the cursed thing because it had cut out on me and refused to restart because the spark had disappeared again.

IF it behaves itself tomorrow when I take it out for a proper test run, it'll get a (careful) wash to get rid of the large amount of tree that is now adorning it and then be returned to its owner.

With a good spare rotor in the boot too so we won't need to play this game for a good number of years hopefully.



In case you wondered how many rotor arms had been involved - there were no less than five incorrect but supposedly compatible ones picked up before we finally managed to find an actual NOS example of the right part.

Hopefully we can get a line drawn under this episode shortly.
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Old Jul 7 2022, 05:53 PM   #271
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What's the verdict then?



Well, it's back in the drive having got there under it's own power for the second time in a row which is a start!

Had it out for about half an hour during which I basically drove back and forth between the same two roundabouts over and over and over again, being about as heavy footed as I dared given I know the radiator is very much past its prime. No new issues to report, in fact having blown some of the cobwebs (literally in some areas!) out seems to have resulted in it running far smoother.

Still isn't really 100% happy under very light loads, though gets a lot better once fully up to temperature and is far better in that regard than it was. Don't think there's any sense whatsoever in my trying to diagnose that minor gripe any further without us having had somebody who knows their stuff cast their eyes over the carb. My gut feeling is still that the carb is jetted for a 1600 rather than 2000 engine, though that's a very uneducated guess. Equally I know the top gasket is made out of a cereal box, and at least one of the solenoids has been manually wedged open because the coil is open circuit, so the thing could really do with at least having a proper service kit and some new solenoids thrown at it before a real judgement can be made.

So it seems to be running reasonably well now. Do I trust it further than I can throw it? Not in the slightest! I'm pretty convinced by now that this car just doesn't like me and wants to see me suffer.

Will try to get it cleaned up tomorrow to remove all the tree gunk, give it a repeat of today's test and if all still seems to be good will arrange to drop it back with its owner. Before it has the opportunity to throw anything else at me!

Recommendations to the owner will be:

[] Carburettor needs serviced & Solenoids replaced.

[] Carb setup needs investigation - suspect jetting may be incorrect.

[] Replace or recore the radiator.

[] Check ignition timing.

[] Investigate front end exhaust leak.
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Old Jul 10 2022, 08:39 PM   #272
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Not going to be a massive amount of progress to report over the coming week as it's forecast to be a million degrees and I simply cannot function when it's hot. So anything is getting done in about 20 minute bursts before I start fading fast from the heat.

The Caddy has been working very well as dog transport, only real gripe is that the floor in the back is a very hard plasticy material and they slither around a bit. Star in particular doesn't like that so I've been meaning to put something in which will provide a little more friction.

Progress so far.



Should also help bring noise levels down a little which can't be a bad thing.

I had wanted to have a look at the area around where the ramp used to be. I know if you open the driver's window half way it tends to pull a bunch of exhaust fumes into the cab so there must be a fair sized gap somewhere.

Well that won't be helping.



This is the point at which I started looking more closely at the workmanship of the ramp delete...To call it shonky would be something of an understatement.

For a start, this Sikaflex appears to be structural.



Originally that rear section would have been part of a hinged ramp which was attached to a big hinge on the floor. That took up a bunch of space and would basically delete 70% of your rear visibility (and probably weighed about 100kg), so not surprised it was removed.

It would be nice if they had done a better job of it though!

Apart from the Sikaflex, the only thing that seems to be actually connecting the centre section of the bumper, lower door latches etc to the rest of the vehicle are these *quality* welds.



They hadn't even bothered to weld the other side!



Yeeeaaahh... quality workmanship.

The inner and outer panels there are "spot welded" together...in so far as someone has thrown some weld vaguely at the panel...however there's about a 1/8" gap between them and I don't think a single one has actually connected the two bits together.

I think the plan will be to pull the outer section off entirely, remove the currently structural Sikaflex, at which point I think the inner ramp delete panel will basically fall out.

I will then clean up and rust proof everything involved (there's no paint on the outside of the ramp delete bits at all). Then I think I will permanently attach the outer section to the inner off the car. Then I'll offer the whole assembly up, and bolt the whole lot into place using some hugely overkill 90 degree brackets and high tensile bolts and big washers. Then we'll seal up the joins with fresh Sikaflex. That should do a far better job of sealing things up and sort the wobbly bumper issue.

I did wonder about reinstating the ability to drop that section down as it would be nice for the dogs, but the latches and everything are long gone plus the hinges so it would be quite a bit of work, probably more trouble than it's worth.

The whole underside of the dropped floor is quite crispy and really wants going over with a wire brush, some rust converter and some underbody protection. It'll need some repair in that area at some point, especially to the floorpan itself - but the frame is about 1/8" thick box section and it's all just flat panels and right angles so wouldn't be difficult to rebuild if necessary. The actual VW metalwork under there is in good shape, especially by the standards of a 20 year van.
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Old Jul 11 2022, 07:55 AM   #273
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Car batteries and heat/humidity. I always thought extreme cold was what did in a car battery. About a month ago our daughter was at work and her car was parked in the heat and humidity. She came out and it would not start (side explanation. Battery was about 4 years old). She got home with a "jump" from a co-worker. Dad, who knows cars, had her right on the phone to AAA to get a new battery. Happy car ever since.
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Old Jul 11 2022, 09:03 AM   #274
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Car batteries and heat/humidity. I always thought extreme cold was what did in a car battery. About a month ago our daughter was at work and her car was parked in the heat and humidity. She came out and it would not start (side explanation. Battery was about 4 years old). She got home with a "jump" from a co-worker. Dad, who knows cars, had her right on the phone to AAA to get a new battery. Happy car ever since.
Given the loads put on them in modern cars and the tendency to shrink the battery to save space and weight, they just don't last like they used to. I've had plenty of old cars with 10-20 year old batteries in still soldiering along. So long as they'd never been left sitting flat and the electrolyte had been kept topped up they'd generally keep going. Capacity and cranking power probably a ways off spec, but they'd keep going. Or they would just fade away until you knew it was time for a new one.

Batteries these days I've found do seem to have way more of a tendency to work fine one day then drop totally dead the next. They are also very much more intolerant of deep discharge.

About five years seems to be the average life of them these days in my experience.

Extreme temperatures either high or low will reduce the projected lifespan.

Hopefully the AGM types used in cars with stop-start systems are somewhat more resilient given they're about $450 a pop rather than the $100 or so a standard one costs...Though that's not something I'll likely have to worry about as I can't see me ever getting a car so equipped. I've only driven a few cars with stop start, the first was simply annoying, but the second was outright dangerous. Put me off the idea completely. Though knowing how much mechanical wear happens during the first few seconds of running in an engine I just from an engineering perspective really dislike the idea.

I can't really see me having a more modern vehicle than the Caddy in the near future. The level of technology involved in the emission control and engine management systems in this are already pushing the boundaries of what I am equipped to deal with. The added complexities and potential points of failure with each iteration thereafter just leaves me with no desire to take on that as daily transport. Most likely somewhere in the next 3-5 years (assuming the used market ever stabilises back into some sense of normality) I'll make the jump to an electric car as my daily. Far, far less of a liability than a recent petrol or diesel car I think given how much vastly simpler the drivetrain is. Plus the fears around battery degradation from ten years ago seem to have been largely disproved in vehicles with proper thermal management. So long as 150-200 miles on a charge is doable when cruising I'll be entirely happy... I'd be wanting to take a break by that point on a long drive anyway. Let's face it, the UK is a small country and has pretty decent charging facility coverage now...If I lived in rural Arizona or somewhere like that, yes range anxiety might be more of a thing...but I don't so it really isn't something I'm worried about.
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Old Jul 11 2022, 10:33 PM   #275
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Had the scans for a film from a couple of months ago come back today. This was a bit of a throwaway example as it was very ordinary Velvia 100 which was several years out of date. It hadn't been stored well, being found at the bottom of a box in our loft where it gets hotter than the core of the sun. So wasn't expecting much.

Cue surprise when quite a few decent shots turned up on it. Here are some from a local classic car club meet at the start of May. This was an evening event on an already cloudy day so the lighting was poor. So I was having to shoot these generally wide open, especially as being so far out of date I was treating the film as about ISO 80.



Would have been nice to get a more neutral background for this. May need to try desaturating the background in post processing and see how that looks.



Really happy with this shot though. This was pretty much spot on in every way what I was aiming for.



Hailing from the same corner of the world was this absolutely gorgeous Nash. Which I'm massively irked that I messed up the focus on the main photo of. There were only two photos on the whole film out of focus, this being one of them.



Interior on that was lovely.





Whole car was...the little details on it meant I could probably have used a whole film on the one car.



This one was precisely as painfully orange as this photo makes it look.



I had deliberately dialled the exposure back a little on this as it suited the subject better I thought.





Lovely to see a Mini that's not been "upgraded" into a Cooper replica.



Frustrated with myself on this one...I absolutely should have moved a fraction to the right and totally hidden that car in the background behind the subject. Never occurred to me at the time. Oops.



Another one I wish I had a clean background to, but was very happy with how it came out otherwise. Was seeing quite how far I could push depth of field while still keeping the subject sharp.



Couple of non car related ones. The spectacular sunsets I used to see regularly up north are something I very much miss, though we do get them here occasionally.





Speaking of keeping things sharp, the definition in the next few shots really impressed me.







Definitely shows that you can get some decent images out of that camera and lens. Not bad for a film I nearly didn't bother using!
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Old Jul 11 2022, 10:35 PM   #276
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Zel, I have a question. Is ethanol enriched gas available in Britian? It's all over the US. With the drastic rise in fuel prices, it was said our president authorized the increase in percentage of ethanol from the now standard of 10% to 15%. I read about a potential problem with that increase. Just a bit ago, I thought of you. The problem is with small engines. Ethanol enriched fuel burns hotter than pure petrol. Small engines will be more susceptible to damage if run on 15% ethanol, air-cooled and boat engines were mentioned in particular because of increased operating temperatures that will come with 15% ethanol. So I was thinking of your little gem.
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Old Jul 12 2022, 06:57 AM   #277
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Zel, I have a question. Is ethanol enriched gas available in Britian? It's all over the US. With the drastic rise in fuel prices, it was said our president authorized the increase in percentage of ethanol from the now standard of 10% to 15%. I read about a potential problem with that increase. Just a bit ago, I thought of you. The problem is with small engines. Ethanol enriched fuel burns hotter than pure petrol. Small engines will be more susceptible to damage if run on 15% ethanol, air-cooled and boat engines were mentioned in particular because of increased operating temperatures that will come with 15% ethanol. So I was thinking of your little gem.
Yes, they started adding 5% to most pump fuels a couple of years ago here, upped to 10% earlier this year. 5% is still available in some areas but there's no guarantee.

I've seen vehicles as recent as 2012 which are listed as incompatible with E10.

Bigger problem than running temperatures even is that ethanol can eat away at plastics and rubber which isn't specifically designed for use with it. We've been seeing a lot of issues over the last few years with month old fuel lines decomposing and the like.

It's relatively easy to sort things from that perspective on an old carb fed engine...but when you're talking a car with fuel injection where you may need to effectively replace every bit of plastic or rubber that comes into contact with the fuel that becomes a far bigger problem. Especially if you're unlucky enough to have a plastic fuel tank on a car that's reputed to not be ethanol tolerant.

Over here it's been nothing to do with pricing, it's been for environmental reasons. Completely overlooking that the ethanol content has for a large part been imported or intensively farmed for which basically negates any advantages.

I don't think running temperatures are likely to be an issue for the Invacar given how low the compression ratio in that engine is, though I do have a cylinder head temperature gauge fitted so if it starts running warmer than usual I should be able to see. The cooling system is also quite over specified for the engine capacity. The oil cooler used for one is larger than that used on the 1300 and 1600 VW air cooled engines despite this being less than half the size.
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Old Jul 12 2022, 10:12 PM   #278
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Oops.



So much for self restraint. Insomnia and eBay are a dangerous combination.

I always keep half an eye out for T1200s going cheaply as they're a big favourite of mine, despite being machines that don't cope with decades of hibernation very well. This one was collection only and obviously quite rough so I had a feeling might go cheap. So I stuck a low bid on and promptly forgot about it for six days until an email arrived telling me I'd won it!

This was for a pair of machines, a T1200 and T1600, which piqued my curiosity as I'd never seen one of them before. Obviously from the same period as the T1200 but clearly a more advanced machine.

Being quite used to the trials and tribulations of Toshibas of this era I didn't even think about applying power straight out. The power supply at the very least will need to have the electrolytic capacitors replaced and the inevitably leaked slime cleaned up. So I immediately started to strip the T1600 down.

The odds I gave it for surviving dropped significantly only a couple of minutes in.



This is the frame the drives attach to, the corrosion there being caused by the suspend-to-RAM battery pack leaking. By some miracle Toshiba in this case had sat the pack in a little plastic tray and had also put a plastic shield on the motherboard underneath it, so this is the only actual damage I can see from it.

You can see the rust flakes at around 4 o'clock in the photo below, though the motherboard itself seems to have avoided the corrosion.



The hard drive sits straight above the corroded area yet aside from a bit of surface rust on the outer casing looks to have escaped. Whether it still works is another matter. I thought I'd seen all of the different proprietary drives Toshiba had used by now, but no... here's yet another one.





I believe this to essentially be a 40Mb version of the 20Mb drive used in the T1200, using the same I/O connector.



The model numbers are very similar and the early T1600s apparently had a 20Mb drive, which I'd put money on being the same one as used in the T1200. So if this drive is dead I can probably still get it going with one of the spares I have for them. Only choice I'd have really given finding a replacement is likely to be near impossible, and the proprietary interface means solid state solutions aren't really an option. You can't even use a Gotek or similar for the floppy drive as those are also non-standard. This is the connector they use (the black one below), which carries both data and power.



At least they did use this all the way to the mid 90s so I have a few spares of those. The one in the T1600 is a high density drive too, the T1200 being double density only is occasionally annoying.

With that lot extracted I could wriggle the power supply board out.



Quite similar to the one in the T1200 just laid out a bit differently.

Closer inspection revealed the entirely expected incontinent capacitors. The goop was literally dripping off the power transistors in the foreground.



I can't see any eaten traces though so hopefully we've caught it early enough.

This is basically standard on these things nowadays and is why it's so important to not power them up. On the T1200 it is quite common for the resulting fault condition to stuff unregulated 12V down the 5V rail, usually nuking the motherboard.

Speaking of the motherboard, the CPU isn't attached to it. The CPU and memory both reside on a little daughter board crammed in under the keyboard.



Which being an 80C286 does support the belief this is the big brother of the T1600.

The whole machine was absolutely filthy so in addition to the innards which needed to be cleaned of capacitor slime, everything was removed from the case so it could get the same treatment.



Everything was left out in the sun to dry this afternoon after blowing things dry with the air line. Ignore the heat gun in the photo below, it's just waiting to be ferried to the garage.



The difference is pretty clear to see! These two were identically grubby when we started out.





The keyboard will be getting the same treatment tomorrow having been passed by today as I couldn't find the keycap puller (it's since turned up). This layout was carried over to the T3100SX in 1993, possibly longer.



I will need to get some capacitors ordered up before we can go much further, but I should be able to build most of it back up tomorrow before I have the chance to lose too many screws and forget what order too many bits go together in. I know getting the one flex connector back into place is going to be an absolute pig as fishing it out was a real logic puzzle.

Must have been a real beast of a portable in 1989. 12MHz 80C86, 1Mb (standard) memory, 40Mb HDD, 1.44Mb floppy, full EGA graphics (onboard monitor is grey scale), optional inbuilt modem, 50 mins or so per battery (2x slots, hot-swappable), and a weight of around 5kg - with a much better handle than the T1200. The footprint is barely any bigger though which surprises me. This really couldn't have been made any smaller.

Speaking of dates, based on the codes on things it looks like mine dates from the first few weeks on 1990.

I'll probably pull the T1200 apart tomorrow for assessment and cleaning. Though given the *externally* visible corrosion I don't hold out great hopes for it.



I've found these are usually worse inside than out, so am expecting this to be pretty bad. At the very least it should yield come useful parts though.

Hopefully I'm just being a pessimist...watch this space I guess!
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Old Jul 15 2022, 09:21 PM   #279
Zelandeth
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Default Re: Zel's Automotive Antics & Occasional Distractions.

The Caddy continues to surprise me and make me realise what a cracking little motor it is.

Today I drove from our house in Milton Keynes up to a friend's place just outside Ellon, Aberdeenshire.

Of course this was a journey I chose to do when the northbound M6 was closed at Carlisle. That's one of the two main north/south roads.

A journey I can basically do on autopilot and should take eight hours plus change wound up taking twelve hours twenty-nine minutes. Blarg.

Nevertheless, I got out at this end of the journey not feeling at all frazzled. Despite the last two hours being straight into the sunset then along tiny country lanes in the dark with no road markings. Tired, obviously. However I'm not a bundle of nerves, I'm not sure anywhere aside from my fingers cramping a bit from holding the steering wheel but I get that in any car after a couple of hours. It really is far better a long distance mile muncher than it has any right to be. As an added bonus it looks like we managed to see 54MPG on the run.
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Old Jul 21 2022, 08:51 PM   #280
Zelandeth
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Default Re: Zel's Automotive Antics & Occasional Distractions.

Some cars can really surprise you. For instance I fully expected my Xantia Activa to be a fantastic motorway mile muncher...it's a luxury car with big cushy seats and plenty of power.

You wouldn't really expect much in that regard though from the Caddy. Over the weekend she's covered a little over 1000 miles on the motorway plus quite a bit of local running around. Including a run up to my traditional photo spot.





I still reckon that for a car derived van that the Caddy isn't a bad looking little thing. The proportions just seem to work.

She does need a wash now though...I seem to have brought back half the insect life in the country with me. This was clean before I set out on Friday.





The little van didn't miss a beat at any point over the whole trip, even despite me having the return run being done in temperatures hitting 38C, and having "a little bit" of cargo on board on the way home.



The economy over the whole weekend looks to have been pretty much 50MPG on the nose. Absolutely no oil or coolant used.

I really am staggered how comfortable this little van is on long runs like this. If we could get cruise control fitted that would really up the game. I was very much wishing for working AC on Monday though and despite applying sunscreen I have ended up with rather a significant case of trucker's elbow.



So what was I doing messing around doing a 1000 plus change trip on a ridiculously warm few days anyway?

Well you all know I've got a serious problem where old computing equipment is concerned. Sadly a friend has been working on clearing a family member's estate. Quite a lot of old tech was among that which I am very grateful for them offering to send my way as it has given me the opportunity to tick off a couple of wish list items.

The first of which was this. The main reason really for making the trip.



In there we have an Apple ][ Plus, a bitsa badged as a Europlus, and a matching Kaga branded green screen monitor.

I've been after one of these machines for a long while now for obvious reasons as someone with an interest in computing history, but have always baulked at the prices they usually command on the open market.

The top machine looks to be in really good shape and it certainly worked fine about 20 years ago, so hopefully once I've gone through and replaced a few capacitors in the power supply we'll have it up and running again.

The second machine is one that was built over a period of time from spare parts, though we don't know for certain it's condition beyond missing a keyboard. I do have two keyboards though so that isn't a huge issue. Hopefully I can get it going, but if not it should be a good source of spares for the other one at the very least.

Along with the machines themselves there was also a small mountain of floppy drives and probably a couple of hundred discs.



Two of the Apple drives definitely more or less worked when we last had the machine out, though I'm planning on them all needed a good going over and at the very least a good clean.

In the garage I knew there was a small stack of PCs waiting too.



In that stack there lies...

[] Compaq DeskPro 386S.
[] Compaq DeskPro 5100.
[] Packard Bell Club 40.
[] Dell Dimension 4000 and matching monitor.
[] Seikosha SL-90 printer.
[] Commodore MPS1230 printer (intended for use with a C64 as I understand it).

However this wasn't by any means the end of it as you can probably guess from the amount of kit that was crammed in the back of the Caddy. Here's what else ended up coming south with me.

[] Acorn Electron and the expansion unit. Both in box showing very little signs of ever being used.





That's quite nice to have given I've been a long term Acorn fan.

[] Atari 800XL.



I'd never even seen one of these up until a few days ago, will be nice to have lined up next to the ST.

[] Amstrad CPC464.





Again this shows very little sign of use...still had the introductory tape in the drive.



[] Brother Pro-Lectric 6213 electric typewriter.



[] Adler Tippa manual typewriter.



[] Ansafone Model 6A answering machine from the late 60s/early 70s.



[] A pair of portable B&W televisions.



[] Ferguson B&W TV.



[] Fidelity HF42 portable record player. Very cheap and nasty!



[] Samsung A10 laptop.



This thing is a bit painful to use being based on a single core AMD Duron. Might prove useful for automotive diagnostic software though.

[] An Ecko portable record player which I've kept forgetting to photograph.

Most things other than the older computers will be moved on, but much better I spend a bit of time to find them homes rather than winding up in the e-waste skip.

Should keep me out of trouble for a while! Hopefully start digging into the Apple kit at the weekend.

The plethora of computer gear though will definitely come in handy next year if I wind up running the retro computer and technology panel at Scotiacon. Fills in a couple of big gaps. A Sinclair QL, Vic-20, Commodore PET and a BBC Master probably make up the last couple of things on my wish list.
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