Tuesday, March 29, 2016

I built a thing: DSO138 Oscilloscope (from kit)

I built a thing.

This is a DSO 138 Oscilloscope kit.  I assembled it last night, and to my shock and amazement, it works!

I got the kit from HobbyKing, but it's almost the same price at Amazon. The kit was awesome, with fantastic documentation.  I think it might have been missing one resistor, but it's possible that I could have dropped the missing one.  (Cluttered workbenches like to eat parts.)

Now I have to learn how to use an oscilloscope.  I'd also like to make or 3d print a case for it.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Fixed: Starter replacement on a 2007 Honda Civic 1.8

Changed the starter on a 2007 Honda Civic 1.8 a couple of weekends ago.

Removal should be straightforward.  It wasn't.  This car fought me every single step of the way.  Not fun at all.
This job is under the car.
  • Put the car on Ramps or Jackstands and chock the rear wheels.
  • Disconnect the negative battery cable.
  • Remove the Exhaust connector.  There are two 12mm bolts in the front and  3 14mm bolts in the rear.  These came out surprisingly easy.
  • Remove the the three bolts holding the intake manifold support bracket on
  • Remove the Two bolts holding the starter in place.
  • Remove the clip and zip-tie holding the wires.
  • Remove the 2 wires from the starter.  The big one is held on by a 13mm nut.  The little one has a push-and-remove clip.
  • Remove and replace the starter.  There are two bolts, the top one has an extended head to make it easier.

  • Socket to fit battery cable
  • 10,12,13,14 mm sockets, ratchet, breaker bar, several socket extensions, and a universal joint.  I used 3/8" drive, which was reasonable.
  • A strong air ratchet would have made this job easier.
  • Car ramps
  • Log... er "Tire Chock"

Expendables/shop supplies
  • Anti-sieze for exhaust bolts
  • Vaseline to corrosion protect battery cables
  • 1 zip tie to hold wires in place like stock
  • 10mm socket that disappeared irretrievably into the aether when I dropped it

Tips I wish I'd known....
Reach up through the hump hole where the exhaust connector runs to unclip the wires, and unclip one more than you need.  That gives you slack to remove the starter easier.

Use several socket extensions to reach the starter bolts from the passenger side wheel well.

This car has a lock on the radio and you have to put in a code to make it work again after you disconnect the battery.  If you have a memory saver, use it.

Don't drop the starter on your face.

Pull the car all the way into the garage so you can close the door when it starts snowing.

Gingerly tighten the electrical connector on the solenoid.  The solenoid is plastic and will snap right off.  I don't think I ogre-tightened it, but the broken plastic widget looks mighty incriminating.

One last thing, and this might just be me being a desk-dwelling weakling.  The starter bolts are spec'd at 33 foot pounds.  Either mine were seized in place or a lot tighter than this.  I had an <expletive> of a time getting them off.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Fixed: Solidworks 2015 can't start because MSVCR110.dll is missing

Today I got an urgent call from a customer with this error when launching SolidWorks.

The program can't start because MSVCR110.dll is missing from your computer.  Try reinstalling the program to fix this problem.

We were able to fix it by downloading and reinstalling the Visual C++ 2012 Runtime redistributable.  Here is the download link from Microsoft.  https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=30679

This customer is on Windows 10 x64, so we used the 64 bit version.  If you're on the 32 bit version there is a download available for that too. 

Friday, March 4, 2016

I passed some classes and exams: Exoplanets, Geology, Calculus, and Azure Cloud

I'm liking this "Classes on the Internet" thing.  They aren't for credit, but fun to learn.

I passed Australia National U's Exoplanets class at edx.org.  Great class, loved it.

I passed Tokyo U's Deep Earth Science Part 1 class, but am ashamed of my grade.  I had a 98 average, then missed the deadline on the final report about the Mars seismology probe.  <expletive />

I passed Ohio State U's Calculus 1 class.  Coursera doesn't appear to do the "pretty" certificates like EdX.

 Last but not least, I passed Microsoft's 70-534  "Architecting Cloud Solutions" exam.  Yeah!

Ok, back to work!

I made some things: Thermomagnetic Motors v1 "Hope" and V2 "Voldemort" and v3 "Wilson"

I made a thing!
It's a thermomagnetic motor, Version 1, based on this Tesla patent.
(Image Credit Tesla Universe)

It works, but not reliably.  I've played with it a lot, and think I've sorted out the figured out the key to the reliability issues.

Along the way, I build V2, a lovely exercise in minimalism that failed utterly.  I call it Voldemort, and won't mention it again.

This week I 3-d printed the parts for V3 "Wilson" at the Marietta Makerstation.

With a sufficient quantity of alcohol, this bears a resemblance to the character in the Castaway movie.

You might think "Hey, won't the 3-d printed plastic melt from the heat?"  You'd be exactly right.  This unit will probably melt during testing.  I hope to get some good data before it dies.

Here's what it should look like when finished.
 ... I wasn't sure how many cogs I'd need, but I think it's at least 4.  8 would be better.  I put holes in for 16.  Only one is shown here because it's a PITA to mate those in solidworks. 

The magnets came in the mail today.  Wish me luck!

Here's a brain teaser for you.  Thermomagnetic motors have historically had terribly efficiency.  This comes from a single common flaw.  Can you figure out what it is?  Email or comment if you think you've got it.  Elizabeth.a.greene@gmail.com