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Old Jul 24 2022, 06:06 AM   #281
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Default Re: Zel's Automotive Antics & Occasional Distractions.

If you can get the Dell Dimension working that is a sweet computer for it's age. My sister and brother in law had one as their first computer.
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Old Jul 26 2022, 07:06 PM   #282
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Default Re: Zel's Automotive Antics & Occasional Distractions.

TPA has been out and about again today doing normal car things.



I do need to try to figure out why she occasionally has issues at idle/on light throttle after running for a while. It feels like fuelling, though I don't think it's delivery. Guess I probably ought to actually check the float height in the carb given I have to confess to having not touched that so far.

The van will be going in sometime over the next couple of days to get a full set of new tyres on to deal with the horrible perishing going on with the current set.



Given how much weight sits on the back axle of this thing I'm not inclined to take any chances whatsoever.
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Old Jul 26 2022, 09:13 PM   #283
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SpaceCowboy View Post
If you can get the Dell Dimension working that is a sweet computer for it's age. My sister and brother in law had one as their first computer.
I don't know what type of computer our school lab had outside of DOS and WordPerfict , but I was able to use it to keep up with my colage classes thanks to my former teacher, between tt their and the public libary , that had MS Word , had to do a little a code that they both could handle along with OpenBook, via my Tech SSchool libary,, and now I have and starting torelearning how to use it, without ssight, is going to be a bit harder, but I am willing to try. I have used it to read a bank statment without too many problems, spelling etc. More later
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Old Jul 28 2022, 01:06 PM   #284
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Default Re: Zel's Automotive Antics & Occasional Distractions.

While there was still no visible wear on the tyres on the van, the rear ones in particular were starting to perish quite badly.



Given the amount of weight particularly on the rear axle of this thing I'm not willing to take chances.

Quite how the rears didn't get an advisory on the MOT a couple of weeks ago I've no idea. There was significant perishing visible around the whole tyre between the tread bands as well as what you can see in that photo.

So the second trip to The Garage over by Wolverton in a month (the Caddy had a full new set just prior to a run up to Aberdeen a couple of weeks ago) was arranged.

The situation has now been greatly improved.



Funky sidewall design.

How they age and wear we'll see as the months pass I guess.

I really wasn't expecting to feel the slightest difference from the driver's seat given that the Mercedes T1/TN really isn't the last word in driving dynamics, though you really can. Most notable is that it is much more stable in the straight ahead position and the steering response is far sharper. I realise that using that word where there's something like three and a half turns lock to lock is a little ridiculous, but you get the idea.

I found a deserted road in an industrial estate and did a couple of test emergency stops from 30mph and can definitely say they bite a hell of a lot better than the old ones in that situation which is definitely a plus.

Guess next up on the tyre roster will the the Cavalier when it arrives. The tyres on that date from 2007 so definitely will be needing replacement before it goes anywhere near the road. Though little details like you know...having any brakes whatsoever might be up first.
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Old Jul 28 2022, 08:40 PM   #285
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Default Re: Zel's Automotive Antics & Occasional Distractions.

Out of sheer curiosity about tires over there. Do you have to pay a small fee for future disposal as well as for the actual tires over there? I am asking since I occasionally have to ring tires into the register terminal at work and they are a real pain to handle. Ring the tire, find the DOT number on the tire, put the DOT number in the terminal, at the end put the customer name and address into the terminal. Do all but the name and address x4 if the customer has that many. I am just curious about the differences between the 2 countries and how they handle tires.




Quote:
Originally Posted by Zelandeth View Post
While there was still no visible wear on the tyres on the van, the rear ones in particular were starting to perish quite badly.



Given the amount of weight particularly on the rear axle of this thing I'm not willing to take chances.

Quite how the rears didn't get an advisory on the MOT a couple of weeks ago I've no idea. There was significant perishing visible around the whole tyre between the tread bands as well as what you can see in that photo.

So the second trip to The Garage over by Wolverton in a month (the Caddy had a full new set just prior to a run up to Aberdeen a couple of weeks ago) was arranged.

The situation has now been greatly improved.



Funky sidewall design.

How they age and wear we'll see as the months pass I guess.

I really wasn't expecting to feel the slightest difference from the driver's seat given that the Mercedes T1/TN really isn't the last word in driving dynamics, though you really can. Most notable is that it is much more stable in the straight ahead position and the steering response is far sharper. I realise that using that word where there's something like three and a half turns lock to lock is a little ridiculous, but you get the idea.

I found a deserted road in an industrial estate and did a couple of test emergency stops from 30mph and can definitely say they bite a hell of a lot better than the old ones in that situation which is definitely a plus.

Guess next up on the tyre roster will the the Cavalier when it arrives. The tyres on that date from 2007 so definitely will be needing replacement before it goes anywhere near the road. Though little details like you know...having any brakes whatsoever might be up first.
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Old Jul 28 2022, 09:29 PM   #286
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Default Re: Zel's Automotive Antics & Occasional Distractions.

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Originally Posted by SpaceCowboy View Post
Out of sheer curiosity about tires over there. Do you have to pay a small fee for future disposal as well as for the actual tires over there? I am asking since I occasionally have to ring tires into the register terminal at work and they are a real pain to handle. Ring the tire, find the DOT number on the tire, put the DOT number in the terminal, at the end put the customer name and address into the terminal. Do all but the name and address x4 if the customer has that many. I am just curious about the differences between the 2 countries and how they handle tires.

I don't think there's a set fee, though most garages that do tyre fitting do list a disposal fee as part of the invoice for changing them (as they obviously have to pay for disposal from their end). Varies a bit from place to place but usually works out to around $10/tyre. Some others just absorb it into the all-in price for the supply and fit.
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Old Jul 28 2022, 10:52 PM   #287
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Default Re: Zel's Automotive Antics & Occasional Distractions.

Well my dad got second look at his truck , driver side wheel, and they found the ball bjoint, was bad, note I don't have the right tech. terms. and that is why the tire was making a lot of noice, he got it replaced and something else, he also got new tires, much better riding ones, better for our roads and saved 70 dollars on the top of the line. Its a half tton, four dor and so well a lot of folks want to buy it. more later, on this weekend, when I have more time.
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Old Jul 29 2022, 08:31 PM   #288
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Default Re: Zel's Automotive Antics & Occasional Distractions.

Thanks for telling me that. I was talking to one of our automotive department workers at lunch and we have a disposal fee for replacing tires/tyres when it is done so I have more questions then answers about the DOT fee that is charged. I am wondering if it is a state fee rather then a national fee. I know you won't have the answers I need but you are a good source for international questions.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Zelandeth View Post
I don't think there's a set fee, though most garages that do tyre fitting do list a disposal fee as part of the invoice for changing them (as they obviously have to pay for disposal from their end). Varies a bit from place to place but usually works out to around $10/tyre. Some others just absorb it into the all-in price for the supply and fit.
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Old Aug 1 2022, 07:31 PM   #289
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Default Re: Zel's Automotive Antics & Occasional Distractions.

Over the last couple of days I got around to photographing all of the computer hardware I picked up a couple of weeks ago.

Main reason for the trip really was the Apple ][



The Acorn Electron was another one I was really happy to bring home having been a fan of Acorn hardware for years. This is boxed and honestly looks like it's never been used.



An Amstrad CPC-464 is nice to have rounding out the home computing lineup given I've already got Sinclair, Acorn, Apple and Commodore from this sort of era represented. This also looks to have next to no use. The protective film is still on the panel above the keyboard.



I will need to find either an Amstrad monitor or a plug in RF modulator for this though. Sure we can sort that out though.

The appearance of an Atari 800XL was a real surprise, I'd never even seen one of these in person before this was dug out of the cupboard it was stored in.



Classy looking thing with the black and silver colour scheme.

Also representing Atari is a very sad looking 2600 VCS.



We reckon this may have been a kerbside find at some point, so may be beyond help. Obviously I'll do my best to save it. One of my housemates is very into their retro gaming so it would be really nice to re-gift this to them if I could get it going.

Tying in with my fondness for Toshiba's early portable machines is this little T1850C.



This is a very compact little unit, though sadly does have a smashed display panel so will likely just be safely stashed away unless I come across another machine with a good display.

Finally was a trio of desktop PCs.



These are two Compaq DeskPro machines, a 386 and P100, and a 300MHz Cyrix based Packard Bell.

The 386 Compaq is the one I am most interested in here as it has the potential to be quite a useful machine for me given the number of older machines I work with. Should be easy enough to get this on the network and a good base for writing disk images to both 3.5" and 5.25" discs for various other machines. My main PC only has access to a USB floppy drive, and you can't write certain images using that because of how the interface works.

-- -- --

After far too long a wait I was finally able to get the time to properly look at the Apple II today. I knew I'd want to get a few hours without interruption to work on it so I'd waited until I had a decent chunk of time. So finally hauled it upstairs today. Hauled is maybe an overstatement as the Apple II isn't actually as heavy as I thought. They still feel substantial, but I was expecting IBM 5150 sorts of heft rather than being quite easy to move.

For folks who know their Apple gear, here's the vital information.



Which I'm taking to mean that this is a 48K machine.

Also on the subject of codes, it looks like we have a mid 1982 date code.



Which if I remember rightly given the Apple IIe replaced the Plus etc in early 1983 is quite a late one.

Unsurprisingly someone has definitely been in here before me, two of the retaining screws for the power supply are missing.



Given the original owner was quite technically minded this wasn't a big surprise.

Yep...plenty of screws missing from the power supply case too.



No nasty surprises in here though. Or Rifa filter capacitors which was a bit of a surprise. I'm sure the last one of these I looked at had a couple in.



Some funky looking really tall electrolytic caps though. Don't think I've seen ones quite this tall and skinny before.



A very quick test showed sensible voltages on the output. I didn't want to run it for more than a second or two without a load connected as I know some switching supplies from this era can't safely run with no load. I just wanted to make sure we didn't have 12V on the 5V rail or anything like that. Only thing left to do was test it in the machine. Well, after I'd checked there were no dead shorts present on that too.

We have life!



Seeing an incandescent lamp used as a power indicator on something as high tech as a computer amuses me somewhat. I do have to wonder if there was some technological reason for the choice (a very cheap crude VDR?) or if it was just cheap. It looks really striking either way.

In addition to the power light there was also a beep and life on screen.



We did have life, however no cursor and the machine refused to respond to keyboard input. I did have a vague memory of these machines refusing to boot without a disc drive hooked up, so pulled the interface card and tried again.



Excellent. That got us a cursor and working BASIC interpreter.



Without a disc drive though there was a limit to what I could do, so this was our next target.



This was just plucked completely at random out of the box of drives. I know these are pretty reliable old bricks, but it seemed prudent to at least do a quick visual check of the internal condition. Removing the case just requires four screws to come out.



Two further screws once removed allows the analogue card to swing back giving you access to the drive mechanism.



The little metal shield over the head just unclips allowing easy access to clean the read write head and pressure pad - these are single sided drives so there's only one head. Which in this case was quite clean even before I gave it any attention.



The first disc I grabbed turned out to have Apple Writer on it, which the machine happily booted into.



I was able to correctly load and view a file - which I'm not showing here as it contains personal information from the original owner.

After ten minutes or so we did seem to start having issues. Initially running the catalog command (the equivilant of "dir" on an MS-DOS or similar system) would result in a proper listing of the disc contents. Like so.



After ten minutes or so however the machine seems to lose its marbles regarding disc I/O. It will start to list the disc contents before starting to print out nonsense and the head actuator in the drive repeatedly slamming against the stops.



Resetting the machine it will try to read from the drive for a couple of seconds just locking up.

The power supply voltages still look to be spot on, so I don't think we have any voltage droop problems. I should get the scope out though to confirm we don't have ripple on there as there could be output stage cap issues.

It's something heat related it seems as if you leave the machine for a couple of minutes it will then work perfectly again for about ten minutes.

No ICs appear to be getting any warmer than I would expect, and the behaviour seems to be identical using either of the two disc interface cards I have. So I might need to do some more digging to get to the bottom of that. I'm sure given the following these machines have most of the common faults are well documented.

I need to do some further research anyway as it's so long since I've used these that I can't for the life of me remember any commands beyond "catalog" to be honest. Basically I need to read the manual! Helpfully I do have quite a bit of the original documentation so the information I need is likely in there.

Having a dig through some of the disc boxes though I did find a rather nice surprise I wasn't expecting. You may remember I found some of the original software documentation when I was packing things up for transportation. Today I found these in one of the disc boxes.



There's about ten discs in that box, with DOS system, master, a print manager and the Pascal series of discs. Aside from the labels on a couple looking a little aged they all seem to be in good order. So far I've had no disc read error issues, a couple of random discs have showed a bit of mould, but I'd say 1 out of 10 out of what I've looked at in terms of the ones which were loose or in cardboard boxes. All the ones in plastic boxes have been fine so far.

Found a couple of other bits of software, including a graphing program.





There was also an expansion card in there which will potentially be useful going forward.



That's a serial card. Not sure, but I think this *may* open up options for communicating with other machines, which could be well be a real bonus when archiving all of these discs.

I did a little testing and we seem to have three working disc drives. Two of the Apple ones and the Cumana one (which sounds like hell, so probably wants a good clean and grease as it sounds like it uses a leadscrew head actuator). The other two Apple and the Super 5 drives run the spindle motor but don't seem to make any effort to seek. That's something we can work on going forward.



A pretty solid starting point I reckon. Machines being stored in good conditions can be a real help!

If folks have any suggestions for the misbehaviour after running for a few minutes I'm all ears.

Getting hold of some actual diagnostic software would probably be really helpful - though how to create the media is then a headache as I think both of the 5.25" drives on other machines are 1.2Mb ones so reliably creating a 100K disc may prove problematic.

Ah, the joys of dealing with stuff this old!
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Old Aug 1 2022, 10:58 PM   #290
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2cent Re: Zel's Automotive Antics & Occasional Distractions.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zelandeth View Post
Over the last couple of days I got around to photographing all of the computer hardware I picked up a couple of weeks ago.

Main reason for the trip really was the Apple ][



The Acorn Electron was another one I was really happy to bring home having been a fan of Acorn hardware for years. This is boxed and honestly looks like it's never been used.



An Amstrad CPC-464 is nice to have rounding out the home computing lineup given I've already got Sinclair, Acorn, Apple and Commodore from this sort of era represented. This also looks to have next to no use. The protective film is still on the panel above the keyboard.



I will need to find either an Amstrad monitor or a plug in RF modulator for this though. Sure we can sort that out though.

The appearance of an Atari 800XL was a real surprise, I'd never even seen one of these in person before this was dug out of the cupboard it was stored in.



Classy looking thing with the black and silver colour scheme.

Also representing Atari is a very sad looking 2600 VCS.



We reckon this may have been a kerbside find at some point, so may be beyond help. Obviously I'll do my best to save it. One of my housemates is very into their retro gaming so it would be really nice to re-gift this to them if I could get it going.

Tying in with my fondness for Toshiba's early portable machines is this little T1850C.



This is a very compact little unit, though sadly does have a smashed display panel so will likely just be safely stashed away unless I come across another machine with a good display.

Finally was a trio of desktop PCs.



These are two Compaq DeskPro machines, a 386 and P100, and a 300MHz Cyrix based Packard Bell.

The 386 Compaq is the one I am most interested in here as it has the potential to be quite a useful machine for me given the number of older machines I work with. Should be easy enough to get this on the network and a good base for writing disk images to both 3.5" and 5.25" discs for various other machines. My main PC only has access to a USB floppy drive, and you can't write certain images using that because of how the interface works.

-- -- --

After far too long a wait I was finally able to get the time to properly look at the Apple II today. I knew I'd want to get a few hours without interruption to work on it so I'd waited until I had a decent chunk of time. So finally hauled it upstairs today. Hauled is maybe an overstatement as the Apple II isn't actually as heavy as I thought. They still feel substantial, but I was expecting IBM 5150 sorts of heft rather than being quite easy to move.

For folks who know their Apple gear, here's the vital information.



Which I'm taking to mean that this is a 48K machine.

Also on the subject of codes, it looks like we have a mid 1982 date code.



Which if I remember rightly given the Apple IIe replaced the Plus etc in early 1983 is quite a late one.

Unsurprisingly someone has definitely been in here before me, two of the retaining screws for the power supply are missing.



Given the original owner was quite technically minded this wasn't a big surprise.

--Yep...plenty of screws missing from the power supply case too.



No nasty surprises in here though. Or Rifa filter capacitors which was a bit of a surprise. I'm sure the last one of these I looked at had a couple in.



Some funky looking really tall electrolytic caps though. Don't think I've seen ones quite this tall and skinny before.



A very quick test showed sensible voltages on the output. I didn't want to run it for more than a second or two without a load connected as I know some switching supplies from this era can't safely run with no load. I just wanted to make sure we didn't have 12V on the 5V rail or anything like that. Only thing left to do was test it in the machine. Well, after I'd checked there were no dead shorts present on that too.

We have life!



Seeing an incandescent lamp used as a power indicator on something as high tech as a computer amuses me somewhat. I do have to wonder if there was some technological reason for the choice (a very cheap crude VDR?) or if it was just cheap. It looks really striking either way.

In addition to the power light there was also a beep and life on screen.



We did have life, however no cursor and the machine refused to respond to keyboard input. I did have a vague memory of these machines refusing to boot without a disc drive hooked up, so pulled the interface card and tried again.



Excellent. That got us a cursor and working BASIC interpreter.



Without a disc drive though there was a limit to what I could do, so this was our next target.



This was just plucked completely at random out of the box of drives. I know these are pretty reliable old bricks, but it seemed prudent to at least do a quick visual check of the internal condition. Removing the case just requires four screws to come out.



Two further screws once removed allows the analogue card to swing back giving you access to the drive mechanism.



The little metal shield over the head just unclips allowing easy access to clean the read write head and pressure pad - these are single sided drives so there's only one head. Which in this case was quite clean even before I gave it any attention.



The first disc I grabbed turned out to have Apple Writer on it, which the machine happily booted into.



I was able to correctly load and view a file - which I'm not showing here as it contains personal information from the original owner.

After ten minutes or so we did seem to start having issues. Initially running the catalog command (the equivilant of "dir" on an MS-DOS or similar system) would result in a proper listing of the disc contents. Like so.



After ten minutes or so however the machine seems to lose its marbles regarding disc I/O. It will start to list the disc contents before starting to print out nonsense and the head actuator in the drive repeatedly slamming against the stops.



Resetting the machine it will try to read from the drive for a couple of seconds just locking up.

The power supply voltages still look to be spot on, so I don't think we have any voltage droop problems. I should get the scope out though to confirm we don't have ripple on there as there could be output stage cap issues.

It's something heat related it seems as if you leave the machine for a couple of minutes it will then work perfectly again for about ten minutes.

No ICs appear to be getting any warmer than I would expect, and the behaviour seems to be identical using either of the two disc interface cards I have. So I might need to do some more digging to get to the bottom of that. I'm sure given the following these machines have most of the common faults are well documented.

I need to do some further research anyway as it's so long since I've used these that I can't for the life of me remember any commands beyond "catalog" to be honest. Basically I need to read the manual! Helpfully I do have quite a bit of the original documentation so the information I need is likely in there.

Having a dig through some of the disc boxes though I did find a rather nice surprise I wasn't expecting. You may remember I found some of the original software documentation when I was packing things up for transportation. Today I found these in one of the disc boxes.



There's about ten discs in that box, with DOS system, master, a print manager and the Pascal series of discs. Aside from the labels on a couple looking a little aged they all seem to be in good order. So far I've had no disc read error issues, a couple of random discs have showed a bit of mould, but I'd say 1 out of 10 out of what I've looked at in terms of the ones which were loose or in cardboard boxes. All the ones in plastic boxes have been fine so far.

Found a couple of other bits of software, including a graphing program.





There was also an expansion card in there which will potentially be useful going forward.



That's a serial card. Not sure, but I think this *may* open up options for communicating with other machines, which could be well be a real bonus when archiving all of these discs.

I did a little testing and we seem to have three working disc drives. Two of the Apple ones and the Cumana one (which sounds like hell, so probably wants a good clean and grease as it sounds like it uses a leadscrew head actuator). The other two Apple and the Super 5 drives run the spindle motor but don't seem to make any effort to seek. That's something we can work on going forward.



A pretty solid starting point I reckon. Machines being stored in good conditions can be a real help!

If folks have any suggestions for the misbehaviour after running for a few minutes I'm all ears.

Getting hold of some actual diagnostic software would probably be really helpful - though how to create the media is then a headache as I think both of the 5.25" drives on other machines are 1.2Mb ones so reliably creating a 100K disc may prove problematic.

Ah, the joys of dealing with stuff this old!
Don't kknow if I am at the end of your post, but your bring ing back a lot of memories , First I had the BASIC programing a tase of it, in high school, around the same time I found Amc, sorry LOL at the memoryies , I don't recall much, or DOS but would the Internet Datebase A Archives , were the Wayback Michine could they have a ssection on program codes? I am just a user not a tech person, your apple sounds like a tad bit like one I look at in Jr Hight school, green
more later, I shall have to think on this and get back to you, don't know if any my information is helpful, but its a ina walk down memory lain .

I have one more about the broken schreen , but I shall have to
get back to you, we do have a few folks here in Wisconsin and
Nevada I have seen on TV, WisconsinLife.Org via PVBSWisconsin.org the show is Wisconsin Life, in the backshows, they have both about fixing vvidio games, Oshgosh area , Fox Valley area, and a Glass blower at University of Wisconsin at Madson did something about broken cell and other tybattersers and light fixersers what goes in there, and fixes screens of cells phones, maybe one of the others can give the right spelling or I can have my staff hunt it up, one needs her screen fixed.
other show,, sorry I can't recall its name, uses it for its asscments I hope I have given you some infomation,. Pawn Stars is the
othershow, The pe of glass, theThere is a place that rcycles and sells
Battarie ompcompaty
y schreen, I do recall one side ed floopy drives, ,
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Old Aug 5 2022, 09:27 PM   #291
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Default Re: Zel's Automotive Antics & Occasional Distractions.

I am slowly getting buried under computers here...another two were picked up yesterday. One of which was a surprise.



The first of the line of Toshiba's portables in what we'd recognise as a modern laptop format.

While it has the same footprint as the T1200 from a couple of years later, it's a lot thinner.



Screen size is about the same, and I *believe* the display resolution is the same - the T1000 lacks the backlight of the T1200 though.



Specs are very like the original IBM PC-Portable. It's based around a 4.77MHz 80C88 (a low power, CMOS based variant of the 8088) and 512K of memory. Does have more standard ports than the IBM though. It does only have a single floppy drive though, rather than the IBM's pair. Toshiba came up with a clever solution to that though by incorporating MS-DOS into ROM, which makes the single drive far less of a headache in the real world.

The T1100 added the option of a second floppy drive, which on the T1200 could also be swapped for a 20Mb hard drive.

Will be interesting to see if we can get it up and going as it would be really nice to have along with the T1200 and the big grey luggable plasma screen brutes that ran into the early 90s.

The T1200 and 1600 both suffer badly from electrolytic capacitor leakage which can easily write them off...I've never had the cover off a T1000 so we'll have to see. I can't see any external signs of corrosion around the power supply socket and around the I/O panel as you often can on T1200s, so we'll see. It will be coming apart completely shortly either way as it needs a deep clean.



This would originally have had an internal NiCd battery pack too, though judging from the weight that has thankfully already been removed from this one so hopefully that at least hasn't nuked anything. Watch this space.


I didn't know that little Toshiba was waiting for me, it was simply a nice surprise. What I had actually gone to meet up with someone to collect though was this.



Finally got me a Sinclair QL.

Even in its current grubby state it's quite a striking looking thing. I had to get the photo backdrop out for this as it was otherwise basically invisible on my black desk mat.

Big black slab of a thing, has a very purposeful sort of industrial design to it. Must have looked really quite futuristic back in 1984.



If memory serves the serial and controller ports were changed to more conventional D-sub connectors rather than the oddball RJ-45 connectors they originally used, so this isn't a later machine.



A close up of the somewhat infamous microdrives that Sinclair eschewed floppy drives for.



You have to wonder if this machine would have done any better if they had gone with a more conventional floppy drive.

In contrast to the ZX81 and Spectrum which are very lightweight (and indeed that was claimed as a selling point), the QL has quite a heft to it and feels quite solid.

Definitely needs a good clean. This case design has plenty of features which like to gather grime.



Likewise the keyboard will need to come apart as the sculpted key caps are filthy and would be a bit of a faff to clean by hand.





This will look a lot better once it's clean.

The keyboard is...well...meh. Compared to the Spectrum it's absolutely brilliant. It's entirely usable and once you've got used to the slightly oddly sculpted keycaps I reckon it would do an absolutely fine job of being "an keyboard." It's not going to win any awards though.

This machine had been reported as basically working but with no keyboard response, likely due to the membrane failing (they basically all do that, and replacements are available). So first thing was to look in to that.



Yep...that would explain why the keyboard isn't working! The membrane cables have decayed to the point they have snapped clear off the headers. We'll need a new membrane.

Some quality cable termination for the case LEDs...just jammed into a pin header.



Let's face it, it wouldn't be a Sinclair product if there wasn't at least some degree of shonkiness in there would it?

Which basically sums up the whole de-cased microdrives plonked right next to each other (and I note, right next to the RF modulator...that doesn't seem ideal) without any shielding whatsoever around the heads.



Before I can go any further I'll need to wait for the keyboard membrane to arrive and will also need to figure out a power supply solution. The socket for power on the QL is an odd three pin setup.



However the connector isn't half as strange as the supply it expects. This takes an unregulated 9V DC supply on one pin, and 15VAC on the other, with a common ground. That's regulated and derived locally on the board into 5V, 12V and -12V where it's needed. I reckon I may well go down the road of a regulated external supply of those rails as it's going to be far less awkward to engineer.

Aside from a good clean though this will be taking its position in the queue until parts arrive.

Car-wise I've had little to report as there's not been much going on *to* report. TPA being out for today's errands has been about as exciting as it's been this week.

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Old Aug 5 2022, 09:58 PM   #292
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Here is aa question for you, what do you use, to 'clean a keyboard? I want to clean a standardIBM 101 keys I thinks? My fingers are not finding some of keys so Iuse bump dots to help give me something to find, kinda like braille, but I am worried that I could harm the inareds of my board, that is how I lost one half of a keyboard, something shorted out the the inders , so if I have to have my staff get something special I know what to send them out for? Thanks
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Old Aug 6 2022, 01:12 PM   #293
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Here is aa question for you, what do you use, to 'clean a keyboard? I want to clean a standardIBM 101 keys I thinks? My fingers are not finding some of keys so Iuse bump dots to help give me something to find, kinda like braille, but I am worried that I could harm the inareds of my board, that is how I lost one half of a keyboard, something shorted out the the inders , so if I have to have my staff get something special I know what to send them out for? Thanks
A lot of the ones I have to deal with are really filthy as they have 40 years of grime to deal with. In those cases it's a case of strip them down to their component parts for cleaning. All the plastic bits I usually just chuck in the dishwasher these days unless there are any potentially fragile labels printed on them (for instance the graphics symbols on the C64 keyboard).

I used to dump them into a jug of warm soapy water then manually scrub each one...which took forever!

My main desktop keyboard I usually just attack with the little brush attachment on the vacuum cleaner every couple of weeks to get rid of the inevitable lint that builds up in it. About twice a year I usually pop the key caps off and run those and the top cover through the dishwasher. Though it's worth noting that my keyboard is an early 90s IBM one which is designed to be easily serviceable. I'm also a bit OCD where cleanliness is concerned.

In the real world a good old shake out over a trash can (I still don't know how it's physically possible for as much gunk to collect in there) and a good wipe down with a slightly damp soapy cloth (not sopping wet obviously) is likely to be absolutely fine.
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Old Aug 8 2022, 08:59 PM   #294
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Hoping to get the Trevi dropped back with its owner tomorrow. So I gave it a bit of a once over this afternoon planning to take it for a bit of a longer test run.

It still wasn't running great, especially at idle but was a lot better that we started with. Though I discovered something rather interesting when I was doing a "what works, what doesn't" test this afternoon.

https://youtu.be/obVlyO2zhSA

I was manually holding the revs at about 3,000 rpm there, the switch I'm messing with was the switch for the heater blower. When it was turned on the engine ran worse. Like way, way worse.

Yeeeeahhh...it appears that in addition to a dead coil (the cause of the original breakdown), an intermittent ignition amplifier, utterly ruined distributor cap, some awful modern HT leads that weren't made properly, an intermittent connector between the distributor pickup and the wiring loom and an incorrectly sized third party rotor arm, that we also have been fighting a high resistance issue somewhere on the supply to the coil.

I did try jumping straight to the positive of the coil a while ago - but it made no obvious difference. However I've fixed a bunch of other issues since then so there is less to mask it!

Having had plenty of experience with Lada electrics this to be honest doesn't really surprise me. With the greatest of respect to Lancia, the Lada fuse box and wiring connectors actually seem better quality than the Lancia ones. I'm guessing we probably have slight issues in the fuse box itself *and* ignition switch. It's just resulting in excessive volt drop. It's worth noting that the dash volt meter basically drops to nothing when the heater blower is turned on, though the actual battery voltage doesn't droop excessively at all.

Simple enough to work around here for now - I've hooked up a (properly fused) direct feed to the battery from the coil ballast resistor via a relay. The relay is triggered by the original 12V feed to the coil, so all that is now having to do is energise the relay coil. That's taken around 5A of draw off the ignition switch etc and has ensured we have a nice solid 12V to the coil (well...the correct voltage after the ballast resistor). I couldn't get a solid reading on what we had there with the engine running as my digital meter had a fit because of the electrical noise there.

I've hooked up this wiring and just need to label things and to trim some cable ties then I'm going to call that done. The car sat idling quite happily for a good hour I reckon while I was tidying other things up. It's very obvious that the throttle response seems sharper from idle...so we might have improved things a lot.

Idle is still very lumpy, but I'm not at all convinced that's not entirely carb related. You can't hear spark dropping out now which you originally could

Turning on every electrical device on the car now has no effect on the running of the engine, which is an obvious improvement. It's noticeable that the voltmeter in the dash now just reads low then rather than basically nothing like before.

I will have a quick look and see if I can easily find where the 12V feed to the ignition amplifier itself is. If I can I will tap that into the same relay feed as that not getting a solid 12V could cause all sorts of nonsense as well. I'm not going to go hacking things about too much, but I'd like to get a solid power feed to there if I can as it would eliminate a lot of question marks over that side of things. If we have a weak point in there any "weight" I can take off the ignition switch etc has to be a good thing too.

Hopefully get it home tomorrow though... I'm slightly nervous to take it out of the neighborhood though as I don't really trust it yet on account of having had to push this car more times than any car I've ever actually owned!
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Old Aug 10 2022, 07:15 PM   #295
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Moderately busy day today. It started out helping a friend carry some parts for a car they were having delivered today. The Caddy is supremely useful at times like this.



With that car deposited it made sense to also pick up something I've been waiting to have delivered for quite a while now as it was dropped off at the same location.



Which magically materialised at my driveway 15 minutes later.





My original plan had been for the BX to move on first, but transport for that is still pending a confirmation date so we now have an excess of beige.



This means I now have the car somewhere where I can start working on improving it.





The missing tailpipe will be a simple enough fix for now. I had this bit of pipe still sitting around from when I was messing around with the system on the Jag.



Which happens to be exactly the right diameter, length and even has a swadged end so I can clamp it straight on the existing pipework. All I need to do is add a hanger and then this can stay as it is until I track down the correct silencer. It does actually sound quite pleasing at idle but I suspect it will be boomy when actually driving.

Sadly with the weather forecast this week being in the 30s for the rest of the week I can't see me getting much done.

While I was out and about a couple of packages arrived for me.

The first contained this.



That is an original Sinclair QL power supply. I had been looking at coming up with a modern solution, however this popped up on eBay cheaply enough it just wasn't worth the hassle.

The second was also for the QL, but this time a modern replacement keyboard membrane.



You can clearly enough see where the original one has cracked where the cable flexed.



With the new membrane fitted and the power supply hooked up we do now have a working QL.





Will need to take some time to get to know the machine when I get a chance. It's probably the single one I'm the most actively curious about that I've come across for a long while.
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Old Aug 11 2022, 11:32 AM   #296
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That is an original Sinclair QL power supply. I had been looking at coming up with a modern solution, however this popped up on eBay cheaply enough it just wasn't worth the hassle.
I meant to say something the first time you mentioned the Sinclair QL. On our side of the pond, Sinclair is a brand of fuel, both gasoline (petrol) and diesel. Do you have the brand over there? As far as I know, it's a US company only. Our Standard Oil changed names decades ago to Amoco, which was bought out by BP (British Petroleum).
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Old Aug 11 2022, 11:51 AM   #297
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I seem to vaguely remember that the mascot at Sinclair gas stations was a green "long neck" dinosaur! I think we even bought an inflatable one and had it hanging around the house for quite a while! I have the most silly memory for random bits of useless information!
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Old Aug 11 2022, 01:31 PM   #298
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I seem to vaguely remember that the mascot at Sinclair gas stations was a green "long neck" dinosaur! I think we even bought an inflatable one and had it hanging around the house for quite a while! I have the most silly memory for random bits of useless information!
Priscilla, I remember that too! I seem to remember my little brother having one.
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Old Aug 11 2022, 07:35 PM   #299
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Certainly not a brand I'm aware of over here and definitely no relation to Sinclair Computers/Electronics.

The history of which is worth a read if you have time.

How unknown outside the UK they are I find quite sad as they had some really quite clever and in some ways forward thinking ideas.

-- -- --

Time to take a little look at the Cavalier.

First up, I of course have my priorities right and had to fix this.

Before:



After:



Doesn't that look so much less neglected now?

Some further observations.

[] Stereo wiring. This is going to require some immediate attention before it makes me tear my hair out.



Especially as I've ascertained that several of those wires are live.

[] Those tape holders need to go.



They just look wrong in a 70s car to me. Likewise the 80s gear knob and gaiter. The gaiter I can probably live with, but the gear knob is just wrong and looks totally out of place.

[] Heater fan is non functional. We knew this going in. It is drawing power so is probably just seized up from sitting. Access is okay it looks like we it's all in the engine bay.

Also on the subject of heating, the temperature slider is seized.

[] Dash lighting looks to be 3/5ths working. We have 50% of the instrument panel and the heater controls. Half the dash, rear window defroster switch and the clock are currently not working.



Speaking of the rear window demister switch, I was kind of surprised to find that the indicator tab on the switch to show it's on is purple...I was expecting white, maybe orange or green...but not...purple.



Random detail, but it pleases me.

While on the topic of colour, my camera really can't pick it up but the main beam light on the dash is a really nice ultra saturated deep blue. In fact all of the lights on the dash are very, very vibrant (in a way that sends CCD based cameras running screaming in terror). It's pretty much useless trying to photograph the red ones, they just turn out magenta.



Yes I'm going to geek out over the dash... it's an aspect of automotive design I've always had a big interest in and I greatly enjoy seeing examples like this where a designer has managed to inject a little flair into what is actually a very basic panel that could have been utterly boring and still worked just as well.

[] Ignition light is intermittent. Just a poor lamp holder contact it seems as tapping the dash gentky always wakes it up.

[] Windscreen washers don't, and the wiper blades are precisely as wrecked as you'd expect.

[] Clutch release bearing (or throw out bearing to our American readers) is really rather noisy. Yes, this is how easy this car starts.

https://youtu.be/2GVH6mRdBt0

[] Rear parcel shelf. Some very 1980s carpet covering the speaker holes. I will be wanting to put some decent speakers in there anyway...so the fact someone has already hacked some holes in there in my mind is a really good thing given it means I can do that guilt free.



[] Door dents. I've had a couple of suggestions for folks who might be able to improve this situation so will see where that goes.



I've picked up oil and an oil filter for it...that amounts to the grand total of what my local factors can get for this car in terms of service items, so I'll need to do some online shopping it seems.

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Old Aug 11 2022, 11:12 PM   #300
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I seem to vaguely remember that the mascot at Sinclair gas stations was a green "long neck" dinosaur! I think we even bought an inflatable one and had it hanging around the house for quite a while! I have the most silly memory for random bits of useless information!
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Priscilla, I remember that too! I seem to remember my little brother having one.
His name is Dino... pronounced "Deeno".
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Old Aug 12 2022, 01:27 AM   #301
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His name is Dino... pronounced "Deeno".
I don't go that far back, but listing and whatching a lot of TV shows on History Ch.PBS I do recall the joy of folks find ing this stuff,

OK I have one which is more of my dads' Trucking days , I wwish I had a iiimage of it.

I shal try my best , for I loved it and in real life, one was in our area, a I have two, I don;'t recall what it was callcalled bbut a rolled -how many miles to a place map, sorry IRRoll a mileages' map.
HaHad little holds that different diles in a cccircle linked to tell how many miles between the bbig ccities, via states, I mean cities , and Like Midwest , Great Lakes etc. I had a dilly of a time seeing it but I loved the action and watching dad work on his work.
Note I had to get that dile a map before the other one before I lost it , ;while working on it my mind was trying to give me more background information.
So hea blue 76 shows up on a pin, on the road map, of theunited State
map, tththat has bend folded so the tititle is just aabove and between the space of the Great Lakes MI Lower and ME I don't recal the split the Western side was on the back ccover , in catobgrraphical
style and the major insteinstates were sshown Random -McN? sp , after the cover was lgoing to be lost ps over a black background.
my dad HHad recovered his old reclinder , so he made him self a new
Slipclover note it had room for the other map, and fit in his breafcase
I think, out of nighhide unsure on the spelling fuzzy on the insidsmooth gray on the outside, Mom Lhelet him sew up with her sewing machine , and use her special paints for fafrabic to put the name on it. I still have a small ssample of it. and he has used it for years,
The back makes me LOL in memories for how its showing the truckers
there Truckstops and ReResteronts Two pictures side by side, First one
a dark background, one glowing light bbabblight , over a sink,ssquare sink, a man with his towel washing up, and a row of his fellows waiting to do the same.
Second one a Well light ed tield shroom, with a man ineenjouing the place, his towel is on the wall of the clean stall. note the tiling is all around him.

Don't know why but them wiwashing up, reminds me later on of aa place just add a glowbasket or two, and what do you gget? LOL on this one, Or the Bastment of a home washning area in two places, my grandparents place is gone, or theplace we rented before I found my way here. or a few places I have seen before my sight was gone, now that I have gone down this odd memory lane, sorry .

Just found out my cozenhs husban has passed away from cancer, and her dad's place had kinda also trgger this a bit too. re we ggo, On a rred back bbackground note I can 't spell color rigoargin
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Old Aug 12 2022, 06:26 PM   #302
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Quick job today was to bridge the broken bit of the vent line from the fuel tank. Oddly just one bit had gone crispy and shattered, the rest of the tube is perfectly pliable. So just stuffed a bit of fuel line to replace that little part.



Apparently this worked as the boot (and by extension the entire interior) no longer stink of fuel.

I have also got into the back of the heater blower and drowned it in penetrating oil. I suspect I need to pull it to bits and clean up the bearings directly, but will see if this helps tomorrow.

I notice that I'm missing the cover from the back of both headlights. Anyone still got any of these floating around in a box somewhere?



I noticed something...or rather noticed the absence of something in the cabin. Not actually missing, rather something the car just has never had.

Here are the grand total of your driver controls.





Nothing down here aside from the radio if it was still there.



Figured it out yet?

No rear fog lights! Welcome to 1978 I guess!

While they are all holding air, the tyres definitely won't be going anywhere near the road beyond possibly a walking pace trundle round our block.



Changing these was already on my plan, immediately below "make the brakes work" anyhow so no surprises finding that perishing.

-- -- --

Cleanup of the QL is underway.

Keycaps and latterly plungers all removed.

Fun fact, keyboards are gross.



Was surprised to find that the key caps are reverse moulded rather than just being black plastic with a silk screened legend on. Given Sinclair's usual approach to cost savings I hadn't expected this.



Soon enough we had a pile of bits ready to carry downstairs to get a good old scrub up.



Before:



After:



Likewise over the other side.

Before:



After:



All just waiting to be thoroughly dried out now before it gets reassembled.



Should look like new once it goes back together.
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Old Aug 17 2022, 08:22 PM   #303
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Had a spare hour this afternoon so got a bit of tinkering on the Cavalier done.

Surprisingly the heater blower motor had freed up while it was stewing in penetrant, so I quickly threw that back together for testing.



This was then left to run under careful observation for half an hour or so. The bearings are a bit grumbly so I think it will want replacing long term. It's definitely working on both speeds though and seems to be shifting plenty of air on both speeds.



While staying in the vicinity to keep an eye on the blower to ensure it didn't burst into flames I was successfully able to free off the temperature blend flap in the heater box, so the temperature control now also works properly.



I've confirmed that it does actually supply hot or cool air properly depending on the position as well rather than just the lever moving and doing nothing. The action has come back pretty good actually, which I wasn't banking on as the linkage was quite crusty.

Didn't even get much by the way of junk out of the vents.

I think a new set of heater hoses should probably be on my shopping list.





Mmm...crusty. Though after 44 years I think we can forgive that and say they've done their time.

Think in the interests of reliability I'll be looking to change all of the coolant lines. I need to pop the aux belt off and check to see how the bearings in the water pump sound, as something is making a bit of noise, most noticeable when the engine stops. Reckon it's either the water pump or the alternator.

Spotted this light in the boot somewhat at random.



Initially this caused a bit of head scratching as I couldn't immediately find the switch. Turns out to be quite a tiny little thing hidden behind the nearside hinge mount.



It's a little normally closed switch which is pressed by the hinge as the boot lid is closed.



Initially this was resolutely dead. Turned out we had a poor contact on the power supply lead, in the lamp holder itself *and* at the switch. Once all of these had been cleaned up we had a working light.



Of course having established the light worked there was a very important test to then be made.



Excellent, yes the light does actually turn off when the boot lid is closed.

While not massively bright it is actually useful.



Upgraded with an LED lamp like I used in the boot of the Jag I reckon that would work pretty well.

While the windscreen washers did very briefly work, they immediately died. This turned out to be because the reservoir was full of slime. No surprises there then.

This was left soaking for several hours with a dishwasher tab in.



This didn't really do anything so it's been left with some bleach in to see if that will do anything to it.

I have also bolted my temporary tail pipe on, just need to come up with a hanger for it and I can tick that off the list of things I need to worry about for a while.

An order of about £200 worth of miscellaneous bits and pieces has gone into Autodoc. Given that none of my local factors could find anything beyond the oil and filter (or bother to actually pick up the paper catalogues) so the internet it was to be. Beyond this order the items I'm aware of still needing to pick up before we can think about taking our first tentative, 10mph test run round the block will be a pair of front brake calipers (or at least a rebuild kit if I'm really lucky), a set of tyres and I think I'll just plan on replacing all of the coolant lines.

Sure we'll find plenty more things to add to that list once we start digging!

Oh...wiper blades. See? Told you I'd have missed something.
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Old Aug 26 2022, 06:51 AM   #304
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Apparently I missed an update...

Not been much to report lately as I've been rather busy elsewhere. Simply put, trying to unearth the room we refer to as The Purple Room. This is a room which juts off from the side of our lounge (it basically is a second lounge). It's always been something of a dumping ground, but with the move to working from home over the last couple of years it had turned into a complete and utter disaster. You literally couldn't walk from one end of the room to the other, much less use the space for anything. Given we need to have two adults staying in here for a week and a bit IN a week and a bit, we needed to sort it!

It took a whole lot of work...and has resulted in approximately half the rest of the ground floor now being a complete disaster, but the target of our efforts now looks like this. First time it's really been a usable room in about five years.







No prizes for guessing why we refer to it as The Purple Room.

There's now room to fold out the futon (which only folds out to sleep one person despite being wide enough to be a double - daft design) and to put out the camp bed currently propped against the far wall and still walk around. I also put the curtains up as we'd never got as far as doing that before. Putting up the curtain rail in the bay windows was an utter swine of a job.

Yes that room is as odd a shape as it looks. There is not a single 90 degree angle on the floor plan. It used to be a lean to containing a combined heat and power unit when the house was built, before being closed in and turned into a room back in 1986 (when I reckon the carpet dates from). The fireplace is where the gas supply to the generator unit used to be.

Star has decided that she is a big fan. She doesn't like going into the main lounge (she has serious anxiety issues), however she seems happy in there and definitely approves of there being a sofa where she can actually spend time with me. I approve of not having to be sitting on the floor to do this.

Happy face.



Aaaaand *zonk.*



If she's somewhere she can glue herself to my side she's happy.

With 95% of the weekend having been consumed by that job I was determined to get half an hour spent on car things. So I went and sat in the Cavalier and looked around for an easy quick job. Decided the semi functional dash lighting was a good target.

Once I figured out how to get the rear window demister switch out (there's a recess to hook something behind above the symbol, then it just pulls straight out) it was pretty obvious why that light wasn't working.



Simple lamp replacement had that back up and running.



Photo makes it look far brighter than it really is.

Didn't expect to see the symbol change colour to show when the switch is on on a car of this age. Nice touch. The camera hasn't really caught the colour right, but it's a kind of magentaish colour rather than red or amber, matching the marker on the switch. Camera has made it look more orange than it really is.



I've confirmed that there is no facility for illumination of the symbol above the headlight switch, so we're not missing a light there.

Next up will be the instrument cluster. We're missing the offside panel light and the ignition light has a touchy contact. As it's a bit of a faff to get into because of how the heater controls are built into the dash cowling I'm probably just going to replace all of the lamps in the dash and the heater controls as a batch. There's no lamp actually in the heater blower switch, it's lit from above by the one in the lower end of the heater controls via a little window.

Reckon the next task I'll have for this car will be an oil and filter change. The oil isn't that dirty, but it does smell quite fuelly so I'd rather get it changed sooner than later.

-- -- --

A box of goodies arrived yesterday morning for the Cavalier.



Which despite the best efforts of Yodel who judging from the condition of the outer box had defaulted to "drop it from low earth orbit" as the preferred delivery method, all appeared intact.



In here we have:

[] Air filter.

[] Front brake discs.

[] Brake pads.

[] Rear wheel brake cylinders.

[] Distributor cap and rotor arm.

[] Thermostat.

[] Spark plug set.

[] Fan belt.

The thermostat hasn't given me any indication of issues, but I've had mixed luck with them sticking after a while in cars which have been laid up so changing it feels like cheap insurance against that happening on the first long run the car does.

Things started out well...predictably.



Distributor cap: Wrong.



Rotor arm: Wrong. Though to be fair the one on there looks pretty much new.

Of course being from Autodoc there's no point in even trying to return them.

The air filter was at least correct.



The one that came out wasn't too dirty but had been thoroughly squashed and was a loose fit in the housing. Reckon someone had put the lid on without properly seating the filter element in the past.



Fan belt was slightly longer than the one already on the car but was well within range of the adjuster, so that was a nice simple swap.



Neither the bearings in the water pump or alternator feel bad. There's a tiny bit of play in the water pump, but we're talking really tiny. Think I'm going to need to find something to use as a stethoscope to see if I can more accurately pin down where the noise is coming from. Failing that, wait until it gets a bit louder and becomes easier to track...

I've been pointed at a couple of marque specialists who look to have some parts I'd not yet been able to track down in stock, plus things like the correct ignition system bits. So reckon there will be an order heading their way soon.
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Old Aug 26 2022, 07:46 AM   #305
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Default Re: Zel's Automotive Antics & Occasional Distractions.

I like the purple carpet! When we moved here 15 years ago our son wanted his bedroom walls bright lime green. He no longer lives here (never really did) and that room will be one that will need to be repainted in a more neutral color when the day ever comes to sell this place. For now, it was fun seeing his new girlfriend (an interior designer) reacte to his choice of color. They are still together, though.
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Old Aug 26 2022, 04:55 PM   #306
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Default Re: Zel's Automotive Antics & Occasional Distractions.

Today was the day of waiting for tradesmen who were meant to be coming to do survey/quote work. Out of the four, one turned up. So I was left with a day where I couldn't really go anywhere or do anything major as I was waiting for them. Of course the one who did turn up did so within two minutes of the end of their 2-4PM window.

This meant it was a day of small jobs on cars etc.

First up was an oil and filter change on the Cavalier. The oil which came out was a lot dirtier than it looked on the dipstick and reeked of fuel, but there was absolutely no metal in it and while it was dirty there weren't any chunks in it.

Filter was well and truly stuck on there but eventually relented and came off.



That's definitely been on there a day or two and had very nearly rusted through around the base.

Can't say I'm that thrilled with the replacement.



I've never had any issues with Napa stuff personally, but a filter that's been sourced from an OEM so cheap they've not even put any form of markings on it save for a wonky plastic label just doesn't instill confidence. Methinks I'll be buying the next one from elsewhere so it can be a Mann, Wix or Bosch one. Takes the same filter as the Invacar I now know which is helpful as it minimises the difference things I need in stock.

Did notice something less than ideal when crawling around for the drain plug (which is quite awkward to get to because it's towards the rear of the sump and the engine is a long way back already).



While I'd poked several bits of surface rust in the vicinity of this bit, apparently I totally missed this crispy but of chassis rail. It's absolutely not the end of the world, it's a simple rectangular box section so pretty easy to reconstruct, could have done without it though and I'm irked with myself for not spotting it before.

I did wonder if it was historic damage from jacking improperly or something, before I realised the cause.



That damage lines up absolutely perfectly with the centre of the dent in the nearside door and the slight kink in the exhaust. Was clearly caused by the telehandler fork when the car was picked up (though it's obvious the area was weak before so would have needed work sooner than later anyway).

It's just never nice when you find structural bits that have turned crunchy.

Also noticed while changing the oil...I suspect I may need to come up with something more durable than duct tape to cover this unused PCV port in the rocker cover.



Though it's clearly been on there a while and is well and truly stuck...guess it's a good demonstration that this engine doesn't have much blow by...

The oil is now looking rather cleaner, to the extent that it's kind of hard to see on the dipstick even after letting the engine run for half an hour or so.



Was really quite surprised how little oil it took, pretty sure including the filter it was just under four litres. Was expecting nearer to five.

I get the impression that a new set of shock absorbers probably wouldn't be a bad idea. They're kind of crusty, though do seem to be working for now at least.



Well nobody had showed up by then so I got the vacuum cleaner and cleaning supplies out and went after the interior.









Pretty sure this must have had a going over when it arrived with the previous keeper as aside from being a bit dusty it really wasn't bad. Though the plastics are basically just drinking the conditioner, which is why the dash top currently looks patchy.

Once the seats and carpets have been shampooed it will pretty much look like new in there I think. Even as it is, for a 44 year old car you can't fault how that's come up.

I really don't understand why car makers insist on making interiors so dull these days, what was wrong with a bit of colour? Is there some unwritten rule which says we can't make an interior look warm and inviting any more?

I did notice today that one of the headlights has previously been used on a higher trim level car at some point as it has a scratch on it from a wiper which this car has never had.



Moving on from there I went and checked the various fluid levels on the rest of the fleet, checked all the tyre pressures, topped up the steering box on the van, and paired all my socks. Still no sign of contractors.

Turned my attention to the recently acquired bike. Main thing it needed was a fresh set of tyres. The ones on it were quite badly perished and were more off road focused than I wanted. An easy change.



That quite predictably made a huge difference in how it rides - the difference in rolling resistance is truly remarkable.

Then gave it a bit of a wipe down, peeled some of the already disintegrating stickers off and replaced the smashed up rear mud guard.



Need to investigate the play in the front fork top bearing and tweak my previous adjustment of the gear shift as I over compensated slightly when I moved the limit screw on the front gear set when I adjusted it last week. I'll also need to put a new rear reflector on, the original would have been totally obscured by the rear mud guard, so I'll swap it out for one on the seat post. I'm not too bothered about lights as I'll never be riding on road save for a couple of hundred yards to the cycleway here or after dark at all. If that changes I'll obviously fit a decent set. It's just something else to break/get nicked otherwise.

At this point the last of the four people who we were expecting actually appeared so I had to down tools - then get a whole day's worth of errands run after they were left in about an hour.
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Old Aug 27 2022, 08:16 PM   #307
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Default Re: Zel's Automotive Antics & Occasional Distractions.

I think I have asked this before who is Star? and could you give me a image discription like you did your ppurple room'? I am thinking a cat, or a dog but I don't want to get stuck without aiaid if I try and 'see' with JAWS . Ben a long day, and a very long wweek for me.
I do enjoy reading about this, even if I don't drive, kinda like I like reading about flying and airplanes even I can't fly one,.

Or if I need a translating aid once in a while from a cross the pond to here in the United States.
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Old Sep 15 2022, 05:26 AM   #308
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Default Re: Zel's Automotive Antics & Occasional Distractions.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GinnyStar View Post
I think I have asked this before who is Star? and could you give me a image discription like you did your ppurple room'? I am thinking a cat, or a dog but I don't want to get stuck without aiaid if I try and 'see' with JAWS . Ben a long day, and a very long wweek for me.
I do enjoy reading about this, even if I don't drive, kinda like I like reading about flying and airplanes even I can't fly one,.

Or if I need a translating aid once in a while from a cross the pond to here in the United States.
Star is our second dog. Like Tesla she's a husky/German shepherd cross, and is an utter and complete goofball. She's got much more traditional husky colouration (so a largely black/dark grey top coat with white underneath), rather than Tesla's toasted marshmallow colour scheme.

-- -- --

It's been a little while since I've had time to do an update so time for a bit of a catch up.

Giving the engine bay a bit of a clean up had been very much on the wishlist since the day the Cavalier arrived. It really wasn't bad given the age of the car, but nevertheless was grubby enough that whenever you touched anything in there you got covered in gunk. It needed a clean.



Especially down here by the starter motor.



The underneath of the bonnet was pretty unpleasant too.



A not insignificant amount of degreaser was deployed and left to soak for a bit while the pressure washer was dug out and set up.



After 20 or 30 minutes things looked quite a bit better.







It's not perfect but has got rid of most of the major grime and will make working on the car a lot less unpleasant. I was really surprised that I didn't even need to crack out the WD40 to get it started after the cleaning, it just started up as though nothing had happened.

I did give the rest of the car a once over while I had the pressure washer out. Difference isn't that dramatic from a distance.





However if you looked up close before and after the amount of moss, lichen and general gunk that was blown out from the gutters, around badges, under trim etc was quite impressive.

The amount of surface grime that was blown off the paintwork was also actually visible.



Will still need some major attention with the polisher before it's actually shiny, but at least it's vaguely clean now.

Other paintwork issues included this blue overspray on the nearside rear quarter.



I wanted to see whether this would just buff off with some cutting paste. Turns out the answer is yes, which also gives us a glimpse of the actual colour the car will be once cleaned up.



I would have liked to finish that panel but it decided to start raining then which meant I had to abandon it right after that photo was taken.

For a normal family car from the closing years of the 1970s there is a surprisingly large amount of brightwork on this thing, all of which is quite dull. Unfortunately there are dents in both the front and rear bumpers, but the chrome work itself seems in good condition. I hit one little spot on the rear with some Autosol polish to see how it would clean up, the results are encouraging.



Getting that all polished up will make quite a big difference to the car I think. Yes by the way, that did actually happen before the cleaning at the start of this post, hence all the gunge you can see under the trim on the rear quarter.

Work on the braking system has now commenced. Before I could do much I needed to confirm exactly what type of calipers I had fitted. Knowing they both need attention (or replacement) I figured pulling one off the car for inspection was a good starting point.

Based on prior experience on other cars I was expecting this to be quite a war, likely involving several hours of me smacking myself in the face with breaker bars and swearing at the car. The caliper to hub mounting bolts are (for good reason) generally very tight, and given the low mileage of this car quite likely have never been removed before.

I was thrown a bit of help on this one though as I have enough room to get the impact gun in there.



This rattled the bolts off in a few seconds each, so I had the caliper off the car and in my hands in about ten minutes, including jacking the car up.







The inboard piston retracted quite readily (thankfully as there's quite a lip on the discs so I'd not have got it off otherwise), the outboard one however is quite firmly stuck. I know the discs are shot which is why new ones are already in the boot.

I need to have a look around and find out whether these calipers are readily available for sane money or whether I need to look at rebuilding these ones (or getting a professional to do it for me). I'd probably opt for replacement as my first choice as it gives me a good "it should just work" solution without me needing to buy any more equipment I don't already own. I do already have new wheel cylinders for the rears in stock, though I'm giving those the chance to work before I condemn them as I've generally had pretty good luck with them before and this car has not been sitting *that* long in the grand scheme of things. I'd rather not wind up having to replace all the rear axle hard lines (which from memory look to be in good shape) if I don't need to because I'd tried to remove a wheel cylinder that turned out to work just fine.

Once the brakes are sorted the main thing between it and a careful barely above walking pace trundle round our estate will be getting this previous welding repair that has failed sorted. Given the proximity to the subframe mounting I'm not willing to drive the car until that's been sorted.



The other two sides of that box section feel fine and access is decent with the wheel off so I'm hoping this won't be the worst repair to do. As far as I'm currently aware this is the worst bit of rust on the car, and it's not a surprising one as it's a very common place for these cars to go from what I've read. The other welding needs doing before the car is used in anger, but it's nothing which concerns me for a sub 20mph trundle on very quiet roads, that bit though is firmly under the "it ain't going nowhere unless it's on a trailer/transporter until that's fixed" category.

Which brings us up to date I think.
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Old Sep 19 2022, 12:11 AM   #309
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Default Re: Zel's Automotive Antics & Occasional Distractions.

Thanks for the images discriptions of your dogs, and thanks you have given me a few things to think on for a stalled outstories that I am working on offline.
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Old Sep 21 2022, 06:58 PM   #310
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Default Re: Zel's Automotive Antics & Occasional Distractions.

After a certain amount of patience, brute force, swearing and assistance from compressed air (seriously, how did I function without having compressed air on tap in the garage?) we have had some success getting movement out of the caliper I've taken off the Cavalier.



That piston is moving relatively freely. I reckon once it's cleaned up it will probably be okay. The other piston is moving pretty readily for a few millimetres, but nothing beyond that. Most likely because there's a rust ridge we need to get past. I ran out of time when I was working on it on this occasion but we'll get back to it soon.

TPA has been out and about again doing normal car things. Realising that as we're getting further on in the year probably won't be all that long until she's tucked up for the winter. So taking advantage of the decent weather to get her out for a good run.



Figured as it's been absolutely forever it feels like since I really did a proper inspection of the drive system it was about time I did.

I finally seem to have pretty much got the knack of installing and removing this cover.



Usual slight misting of oil from the gearbox output shaft but it doesn't seem to have got any worse. The level has never dropped between me checking and changing the oil so I'm not worried about it. It only takes a tiny amount of something as sticky as EP90 to look horrendous.

So let's take a closer look.



Belt looks to be holding up just fine. This will have probably somewhere in the ballpark of 3,500 miles on now I think. I'll need to look up the logbook to confirm the exact number. Definitely is a bit of wear there but nothing which alarms me.



Pulley surfaces are looking fine.

Primary:



Secondary:



There was some slight surface tarnish on that when it went on, doesn't look any worse now.

What I did find however was that the bolt on the primary had backed off slightly. There was no actual movement in the pulley itself (it's a very snug fit on the gearbox output shaft), but that washer behind the bolt was free to rattle around. I was able to get maybe 3/4 of a turn out of it.



Used an extension bar to lock the pulley in place.



Given that the slightly metallic rattling noise at low speed that I've had for as long as I can remember now seems to have gone away I reckon this may have been slightly loose for a long time. I think I will look at making up a locking tab for that bolt as that coming properly loose at speed Would Be Bad. Though I think you would get plenty of warning as before it could come out the bolt would hit the inside of the service hatch I think, so would make all the noise ever.

In the meantime it's been done up Quite Tight, and a decent blob of Loctite has been applied.



This is a good example of why preventative maintenance is a good thing. I have checked on the belt visually from the engine bay regularly, but it's well worth getting right in here now and then to check on things.

Also found a ball joint where the metal clip holding the dust cap on has rusted away. Otherwise seems fine still so will just replace the clip if I can find one the right size. Failing that I do have a full set of replacement ball joints in stock if necessary.

Something I want to try is a little bit of experimentation with drive pulley spacing. The only thing I've noted with the HP2020 belt versus the standard one is that it drops into "overdrive" slightly earlier than the book says it should. Given the dimensions are essentially identical I'm guessing the difference there is in the actual weight of the belt. It's a very low priority task and is only really noticeable when accelerating from a standing start on a gradient, but now it's stopped being a million degrees outside I might be more inclined to try tweaking it a little. My guess is that we need a fraction more tension on the belt.
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Old Sep 21 2022, 11:44 PM   #311
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Default Re: Zel's Automotive Antics & Occasional Distractions.

Batteries Plus.com was part of the websight I was trying to recall, on sscreens for tablits , and for the other one I shall have to see if I can find the link for, Wisconsin is all I recall and Las Vages spNavada are two pplaces that I recall having old fashin arcaid games, in use, but not the more then that, Saw one on Pawn Stars and a Local PBS Wisconsin .org unsure the weblink but you who can see can maybe find it, Wisconsin Life is the Show add org I think to get to their sight, sorry I can;'t be more helphhelpful, not eless we have a member or members from my area that can give us a hand, I too am trying to updated my links too,
Well just like my dad , even if he did neede a extra hand now and then, I recall him doing cacar work in our when he was off the road,, etc, et,
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Old Sep 22 2022, 07:31 PM   #312
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Default Re: Zel's Automotive Antics & Occasional Distractions.

That piston cleaned up not too bad. Some surface tarnish, but nothing too dire.



This piston moves easily and smoothly by hand, so I'm not going to pop it out for now. That would simply ensure that I absolutely definitely would need to change the piston seal. I've given it a dose of rubber grease, refitted the (cleaned) rubber boot and am leaving it be.

The other piston however is still refusing to move fully out. I'm struggling to get any real force on it and can't really apply heat because I'm having to hand hold the caliper while working on it. This really is one of those jobs which would be a thousand times easier if I had a workbench with a vice handy.

Given that I'm struggling with this one piston already and I know the driver's side caliper is even worse (it had to be split and the pads removed to get the car rolling originally I'm told), I think that I'm going to hand this job off to a professional outfit. Once I've got both calipers off I think they'll be getting sent off to Bigg Red Brakes to be refurbished. I know a few folks who have used them, and have had nothing but praise. That's good enough for me. I'd personally trust a set of professionally rebuilt calipers than some random no-name set from goodness knows where that eBay claims will fit...

Rears at least are simple as the cylinders were readily available for something silly like £6 each for good branded ones (which I already have). Those I'm giving the opportunity to work before I pull stuff apart - I've had pretty good luck with drums before, so we'll see.
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Old Sep 24 2022, 05:59 PM   #313
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Default Re: Zel's Automotive Antics & Occasional Distractions.

This afternoon I played chicken with the weather. This was rapidly bearing down on my position.



Mission was simple: Get the offside brake caliper off the Cavalier so I could get the pair sent off to be rebuilt.

In a rare show of organisation, I actually made a point of getting everything I expected to need out in advance and putting it where I could get to it, rather than the usual 15 trips back and forward to the garage.



Five minutes later, first contact with the enemy.



I was briefly sidetracked by a sinister looking bit of peeling seam sealer on the inner wheel arch, but thankfully I seem to have caught it in time.



Really isn't hard to see why these cars have a reputation for rusting.

Thanks to the wonders of power tools, less than ten minutes after picking tools up I had the caliper off, wheel back on and the jack back in the boot.

The little bag the jack and wheel brace live in are even colour coded to the car, how considerate of Vauxhall...



Yes I know they're just all that colour, but it amused me.

This is where we took a moment of "one step forward, two steps sideways."



These two calipers are not the same.



The one on the offside is made by Girling.



Whereas the nearside one is an ATE.



Not really surprising that the car has had one changed, but it's rather annoying as it means I don't have a matched pair to send off for rebuild.

I'm also rather alarmed that the pads in each side are a totally different brand with a significant difference in the amount of wear on them...so it seems that whoever changed the nearside caliper didn't bother swapping the offside pads when it went on... additionally the lower caliper to hub bolt was missing it's washer...You remember me saying I was going to test the rear brakes before pulling things apart? Nope...on the strength of this, they're definitely getting properly inspected beforehand now.

Don't suppose anyone has an old nearside Girling caliper floating around do they?

Did spot something I'd previously missed that was a quick fix (well, it still needs a little attention but is a lot better). Spot the difference.





The valance had been shoved upwards on the offside. It still needs a little finessing and whatever did the damage has broken off one of the tabs where it attaches to the lower part of the wing, but it's a lot better.



So a little stuck while I decide what to do about the brakes. If I can't track down either another ATE or Girling caliper I will probably just end up buying a new pair, as don't want to hold this up too long.
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Old Yesterday, 09:23 PM   #314
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Default Re: Zel's Automotive Antics & Occasional Distractions.

I was wondering what color it was? Also they are going to show the segment about the game restore er, here in WI, this Thir, my time is bad with my math disibility, but I might be able to get some general info to you later, via my staff if I ask her, Fir, she can aid me looking up the links and sending a PM to you with that info, if you like. One more thing Maybe the NASA or EU Space prgram or MIT might have somthing on early program langueses , was listing toGene KKrats book, on eearly space flight and their use of early computers might be of use, I have the name s posted somewere , but I think its call ed Aman on the Moon, might have more. its what Tom Hanks used for his HBHBO documentary mind blblank on its name. Lost it in the split up to Dan aI tthink, Hope to hear from you, More later,
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