Saturday, November 21, 2009

Karaoke Night In Knoxville

I Can Almost Sing This Song This Well's really easy...everybody should try it...a couple of drinks makes you bullet proof...

Friday, November 20, 2009


"The Devil Lies Therein..."

Needless to say, as on any pioneering adventure, I'm about to run myself to death finding last minutes scraps and parts to finish putting this PLC Control Panel together.

Apparently the people that sell this stuff never actually BUILD anything with any of it, at least anything that has to do tricky tasks like actually WORK when the dust and insulation scraps settle to the shop floor.

For instance, I have to cut four holes in the bottom of the panel to let wires run in/out in the plant: one for the 120 VAC power feed, two for the fancy non-contact infrared temperature probes on the bottle conveyor line, and one to power a pneumatic solenoid valve that is responsible for "kicking" any faulty bottles we find off the conveyor line.

The "strain relief" connectors that mount in these holes designed to keep you from ripping the cords out of the panel when some oaf trips over or pulls on the wiring are easy enough to buy at Home Depot, but NoooooooOOOOOO...I opted to use some shiny fancy knurled aluminum connectors I had to order and wait three days to receive.

Funny thing, but they sell the lock nuts separate for the connectors, but I opted to order the 3/8" size rather than the standard 1/2" and now I have $35 worth of connectors and neither Home Depot or even the place I bought them from sells 3/8" lock nuts!


So now I have to go back across West Knoxville and return my connectors and order five more 1/2" sized--and most importantly the lock nuts--and wait until Monday or Tuesday for them to come in and drive back over and pick them up.

Of course they can ship to my house but in that event it would cost me an extra $10 UPS charge and take five days for ground service.

And the list goes on and on with nagging things like that which I won't bore you with the details of this morning, but it's obvious that spending the last $100 of a nearly $3,000parts order is going to cause much of the remaining hair on my ever greying, ever balding head to fall to the floor (or take root on my back and behind...)

Bottom line is I've wasted all the time I have to waste and next week's Thanksgiving and everything will come to a standstill for two days and then comes the delivery deadline of November 30th and so now I have to get off my butt and produce...and I can't do it if I've screwed up the parts list.

Thus it's time for me to head over to the electronics supply store and get things moving.

OH...and y'all have a LOVELY day...if you will...

Thursday, November 19, 2009

I'm Resisting Throwing My Computer In The Lake

Comcast Haunts Me...

Dang it people...

It's really frightening the coincidence of our cable/Internet service interruptions over the past month with my attempts to make wiring modifications to our home data/TV network.

Once again, TODAY, for the SECOND time in the past 30 days, the local cable/Internet signal has been going on and off and on and off and On and Off and ON and OFF all FREAKING morning, while I've been running up and down the stairs trying to resist the urge to commit suicide with a little set of pliers or drive down to the Comcast office and make the headlines on FOX News holding everyone hostage with a roll of electrical tape and a Phillips head screwdriver.


It's hard enough having to drill holes through studs and fight squinting my way through wood chips and dangling 45 years of spider webs lurking in the recesses of the sub-flooring, but then the nerds over at Comcast clicking the signal on and off every fifteen minutes makes sanity and progress nearly impossible.

Like I predicted earlier, the proposed two hour long task is well on it's way to taking three or four hours to complete, but complete it I will, dang it...else I'll end up needing some sort of mental analysis and medical treatment for self induced insanity and high blood pressure.


(the sound of me falling out of my chair)

that will be all...for now...

My Head Hurts

I Just Can't Leave Well Enough Alone...

The day we closed on this old house I live in today, while the movers were still backing into the driveway with boxes containing all of our "stuff", at the same time I had the Comcast Cable guys drilling holes in my wall and checking TV and Internet connections on old wiring that had been around in the building for at least 20 years.

Since I didn't want to pay them $50 an hour to do wiring inside the house, I just asked that they get me a working feed to a spot inside my "third bedroom" office and figured that I'd handle working out the details needed to get Internet and a TV signal to the other rooms.

Things have sort of proceeded on a "helter skelter" basis since then with the addition of an under counter TV in the Kitchen and TV's in the living room, Master bedroom, and a cable flopping around in the basement that served the shop and laundry area.

The living room TV signal has been annoying on certain channels apparently because of the aged wiring, and with other recent technical revelations...I've decided that now it's time to "Pay the Piper" and straighten things out for good.

You see, yesterday I moved my old HP laptop into the new World Headquarters of Plastics Engineering Technologies upon receipt of a shipment of the last cables and technical do-dads relating to uploading my new program to the Horner PLC, and in the process I learned...


my Linksys wireless signal doesn't reach through the 1963 vintage concrete walls and heart oak flooring and framing from the first floor to the basement.

Now it looks like I have to go with a CAT 5 hard wire from the router to be able to Google and Blog from my area of the basement.


Of course if I'm going to start moving ceiling tiles and drilling holes I might as well re-wire the crappy vintage cable TV wiring at the same time, so a couple hours of this morning will have to be dedicated to pulling out and replacing the old cable wires to a couple of rooms and putting in a new CAT 5 feed to the computer workstation in the shop.

And of course when they added central air conditioning to the house in the 1970's they ran the central trunk duct work down the middle of the basement, right underneath the spots where I want to drill holes and make cable drops against the baseboards on the first floor, so instead of two hours I'll probably actually spend four hours cursing and banging my knuckles and fishing around with a bent coat hanger for wires rendered invisible by the duct work.

Oh well.

It has to be done...and I'm the cheapest technician I know that can get it accomplished.

Is it just me, or am I getting too old to do this crap?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Silence Is Golden

Too Busy To Write Or Talk...

After spending most of the past three days of "Indian Summer" here in Eastern Tennessee on the Banks of the Mighty Tennessee River finishing up the seasonal details in my yard and other outdoor endeavors, today found me with a basement workshop full of fancy do-dads and "electronic components" needing drilling and bolting and wiring together...

thus the silence here on the blog for the past day and one half.

I've got an owners manual to write and a PLC program to finish and a bunch of metal chips to make and wiring to run and you'll just have to excuse me if the words are few and far between for a while.

Of course there's always the chance that I'll hear or see something that will cause my head to explode but in the mean time feel free to entertain yourselves.

Regards Y'all...