Friday, October 12, 2018

Fixed: Hacking a fix for broken tool case hinges

My socket set case broke, vomiting its contents across the garage.

*grumble grumble*

I fixed it.  Not OEM fixed, but "works for me" fixed.

Get some Nylon webbing, cut it to an appropriate length, and melt the edges so it doesn't fray.  Then drill a hole through the strap and case and pop-rivet the webbing-turned hinge into place.  My straps were soft and kept grabbing the drill bit.  I was successful drilling through them on wood.  For extremely recalcitrant straps I would have melted through them with a soldering iron.

It works!  Now I have to go find all my sockets. Murphy's law dictates the most useful sockets will be least accessible spot. If anyone needs me I'll be magnet fishing under my workbench behind the pile of shingles in the sawdust and spiderwebs.  :/

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Fixed: Skype FOR BUSINESS automatically adjusting microphone volume control

I got a shiny new HP laptop, and started having the echo problems in my conference calls again.

What the heck?

I discovered that Skype for Business also automatically adjusts the Mic, and it runs the gain too high causing echo.

These registry keys and a reboot fixed it.

reg add "HKLM\Software\Microsoft\RTC\DeviceSettings" /v "AnalogAGC" /t REG_DWORD /d "0"
reg add "HKLM\Software\Microsoft\RTC\DeviceSettings" /v "DigitalAGC" /t REG_DWORD /d "0"
reg add "HKLM\Software\Wow6432Node\Microsoft\RTC\DeviceSettings" /v "AnalogAGC" /t REG_DWORD /d "0"
reg add "HKLM\Software\Wow6432Node\Microsoft\RTC\DeviceSettings" /v "DigitalAGC" /t REG_DWORD /d "0"

Run those commands from an administrative command prompt to disable the AGC (Analog Gain control) for the RTC (Real Time Communications) API.  This API is documented here, but the registry keys are not.  The registry keys came from this Technet blog post in Japanese

I'm happy it is fixed.  Now I can be on conference calls without causing echo and having to dial in from my phone.

For the record, this has been raised on Skype For Business' User Voice site and currently has over 1600 upvotes.  Please take a moment and add your vote.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Fixed: Skype automatically changing Mic levels on Win10 HP Laptop

For several months I've had an intermittent and infuriating problem in my Skype For Business voice calls.  My microphone level gradually eases its way up to 100% causing horrible audio quality and drowning out my conference calls with noise.

I tried several suggestions including disabling application exclusive access to the device and setting "When Windows detects communications activity: None", but to no avail.  The problem was that it was intermittent and I couldn't find any specific correlation for the issue.

Today I found it.  It's a Skype (not Skype for Business) setting.  (Skype for business users, see the note at the end of this post.)

To get to this setting, click the little "..." Next to your Skype name in the upper left corner of the Skype UI.  Then Select "Audio and Video settings".  On the next screen, click the "Automatically adjust microphone settings" toggle switch from green to gray.


NOTE:  If you are using Skype For Business, it also does this.  I write about how to fix it here:

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Confession: Handwarming

Confession: Sometimes I turn on Kerbal Space Program on my laptop just so the keyboard will get hot and warm up my hands...

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Tank 432 is a terrible movie.

Netflix is pretty good about predicting movies I'll like, and it offered me "Tank 432" on my day off yesterday.  This is a terrible movie; save yourself.  I wish I could have the time spent watching it back for something else.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Changing the battery on a 2011 Chevy Equinox

My dearest tried to start our SUV the other day and it was dead.  The OEM battery has been a faithful trooper, but it died.

So there is a problem with this.  The manufacturer decided to play hide-and-go-seek with the battery.

Here's what it looks like under the hood.

That big red cap is not it.  That's a place to connect jumper cables.

The battery is under the ECU, wrapped in a metal battery box so you can't see it.  It's a pretty good hiding spot.

Changing it is pretty easy.

On the right (non-connector) side of the ECU there is a plastic clip that holds the black plastic cover on.  Unclip it and remove the cover.

With that out of the way there is a bolt on the left side of the ECU that holds it in place.  Remove this bolt with a 10mm socket.  You do not have to disconnect the electrical connectors.


With that removed, slide the ECU right and up to disengage it from its mounting hooks and you can swing it free.

The battery is held down by a metal strap with a visible bolt, and a second bolt that's buried under the front plastic fairing.  You can undo the one visible bolt and bend the strap up and out of the way, or you can use a plastic clip remover tool like this one to remove the plastic cover and get to the other bolt.

This is the plastic clip remover set I want.   I know I've spent more than $12 replacing broken clips from using the wrong tool for this. :/

I'm going to have to get that

Back to the task at hand.  With the strap removed you can finally get to the battery.  Prudence suggests disconnecting the negative battery lead first, so you don't cause a shower of sparks if you accidentally put your wrench between the positive lead and the chassis.  I used a 10mm wrench to loosen this, a socket would not fit.  The negative terminal had a funny little angle-block clamp that I've not seen before.

Installation is the reverse of removal.  Connect the positive lead first, then the negative.  It's probably worth putting some vaseline or battery terminal protector spray on them to prevent corrosion given how difficult it is to get to this.

I hope this helps.  You'd think stuff like "Where is the Battery?" would be answered in the Owner's Manual, but it isn't.  It's remarkable that a book that thick can be so useless.