So what did your kids get you for father’s day? Mine gave me a cold!
I had two days off work, and to be perfectly honest, I probably should have taken at least one more day off as well.
Despite being “Death warmed up”, a friend put me onto something that had been dropped into the “recycling” pile at a local Maker Space. I rugged up, drove out and came back with a boxed Genlock! Awesome!
I did not move for the rest of the week 😀
However I was feeling well enough by Saturday to start a couple of projects, one of which wasn’t even RetroComputing related! Crazy, I know!
First up was a request from a friend of a friend to make a TV Stand for their flatscreen TV. It theoretically has standard VESA mount points, but with an 8Kg screen and a lot of potential leverage, I wanted to lean into the overengineering. I’ve made plenty of monitor stands for LCDs, which are often available practically for free if they don’t have a stand. I’ve got pretty good at it, but this was a whole new level.
I ended up leaning into the additional strengthening and I’m pretty happy with the result. I just hope the end recipient likes it.
Afterwards, it was time for me to work on another project. I’d ordered in a replacement PSU “gubbins” for the Amiga PSU I’d got that had a nasty habit of tripping the RCD. Rather than trying to diagnose, it’s a LOT easier just to gut n rebuild PSUs. Newer technology works more efficiently, is lighter and delivers much cleaner power.
It was easy work to extract the old “guts” from the brick and there was a LOT of space inside there for the new PSU. I didn’t trust the existing switch, so I went to Jaycar and bought a similar sized one with an integrated Neon illuminator. Makes it nice and easy to spot if it’s on or not.
The only problem I had is the PSU is so light I end up nearly throwing it across the room.
Today I spent a bit of time working on more of the Amiga 600. My desoldering station appears to have a problem, and I think I’ve identified where it is, but for now I have no desoldering capabilities other than hand pumps. I was able to desolder the RF converter, but I was unable to get the keyboard connector or the choke out. This means I have only been able to get most of the SMD capacitors out, not all of them.
I used a new technique, involving two soldering irons, that works quite well. You basically heat the cap from both sides at once, and the caps just pop cleanly off with no force required. It’s really gentle on the pads. I always apply extra flux, of course, but so much gentler than any technique I have used or seen, short of hot air.
(I am fairly sure I first saw this over on GadgetUK164’s YouTube channel.)
A bit of braid afterwards and the board came up as new.
To do this I needed to get a second soldering iron up and working. A good friend had gifted a TS-100 soldering iron, but I’d had no end of troubles with it. I thought this was a good time to revisit it. I knew that one of the problems was the tip wasn’t fitted properly, but the included allen key was useless, and I couldn’t remove the screw holding the tip in.
I attacked it with my generic “giant box-o-screwdriver tips”, which has most of the common “bits” to open up stuff the manufacturer doesn’t necessarily want you you to. Thankfully, one of the imperial allen tips was a perfect fit, and I was able to refit the tip and replace the screw in short order.
I also updated the firmware. The first time I’d tried this it hadn’t worked, but this time it went on without a hitch. No idea what is different.
Finally I made a stand for it out of some coathanger and a bit of old Ikea bracket designed to hold bookshelves to walls.
For now, the A600 will go back in the project box until I can afford a hot air rework station.