"Entertainment page #17"
March/April 2010 (10,010PH)
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Questions to ponder on :
Whenever mains plugs and or sockets overheat (due to poor connections),
why is it ALWAYS the Active pin or socket that overheats?
You'd think on the law of averages that the Neutral pin or socket should overheat as well.
In my experience over many years, I never remember the Neutral pin overheating.



Optical illusion
(I don't know where this came from, but it's good)

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Articles from "Rick's Workbench"

Tale of interest No.16
The Set-Top box man cometh (or ringth) : part 2

The "Set-top box man" was on the phone asking me about buying a new splitter for his antenna.

I looked them up for him and discovered that nearly all of them used the new “F” connectors.
This was fine if you also purchased a crimping tool to put the connectors onto the cables...
A bit impractical if it is the one and only time the tool would be used!
I then spied an alternative in the Jaycar catalog.
They sold an R.F. amplifier with an in-built splitter, this too had “F” connectors but as a bonus, had adapters supplied with it for the older Belling Lee connectors!
I nominated this as his best option…
The 12dB of gain would certainly be useful in his set up.


He subsequently purchased this unit and installed it himself in place of his old splitter.
It seemed to improve his reception.
He showed off his handiwork to us when we visited.
Yes, he had neatly wired in the unit under his house and everything was fine, until… He mentioned that the little T.V. in the bedroom was “buzzing”.
I hadn’t noticed anything previously.
I had to investigate the situation.
I thought of 2 possibilities as I was ushered inside….
Mains hum in the R.F. modulator (a sick filter cap maybe?), or good old fashioned “Frame Buzz” which used to be a pain in the old valve monochrome T.V. sets when the fine tuning wasn’t set correctly. (No Automatic Frequency Control in the turret tuners in those days!)


He switched everything on and I could only just hear the buzzing when I put my ear right up to the set.
It was at its worst when high contrast commercials with white text presented themselves.
That was Frame Buzz alright!
What to do about it?
I tried re-tuning his T.V. but I couldn’t improve it, and this particular set didn’t have fine tune capabilities.
I told him there were 3 ways to improve the situation.

The first (and preferable) solution was to swap this T.V. with his wife’s portable set.
This languished in the garage, was hardly used, and was a lot newer.
It had external Audio and Video inputs and would be ideal.
I mentioned this to him… "No!.. No way!"
"Ask your wife about it!" … "No!"
(As I get older in life I’ve found that most people seem to be normal… until you get to know them!)



Option number 2…
Use an old V.C.R. as an R.F. modulator.
This would improve the buzzing as the R.F. circuitry in V.C.R.’s is usually better.
I even offered a good working unit (one of the units mentioned in Workbench no. 4).
This also would allow him to watch VHS movies in bed!…
His answer to this was just as curt… "No!  Not interested!"


Option 3…Another R.F. modulator. I knew Jaycar sold them for about $25.
I subsequently purchased one and found a suitable plug-pack to run it.
I then made an appointment to hook it up a couple of days later.
This was postponed to over a week later but I finally managed to connect it up.
The result was much worse than the old R.F. modulator!
Back to the original one!
I mentioned options 1 and 2 again… "No way!"
I told him there was nothing else I could do.
As Jaycar only had a 7 day refund policy, I was also now stuck with an R.F. modulator. (Luckily it could be used later to help a friend out with his 1975 vintage T.V. set!)


I didn’t hear any more about his T.V. set for a couple of months..
I thought he had learned to accept the situation.
I could hardly hear the buzz in any case.
The next time I visited his place was to borrow a pop rivet gun.
He then offered me my set-top box back and asked me to re-tune his telly in the bedroom.
He claimed his wife had “mucked up” all the (analog) channels.
( More likely HE mucked them up!) I was shocked, surprised and very angry.
I was so close to telling him to shove his T.V., however, I kept my cool (only just!) and reinstated the 4 analog stations on his rotten little T.V. set!

It probably won’t be long before he’ll want digital T.V. again.

After I regained my temper I thought that I would get another T.V. set with external Audio and Video inputs for him.
The tip shop had a good one, a bit bigger than his 34cm set.
It had the right remote control with it and it had stereo sound.
The asking price was $15… I didn’t haggle!

I cleaned it up, repaired the remote control and it is now waiting to be taken up to his place when I return the pop rivet gun.
He also wants me to fix the fuel gauge in his car while I am there.
I haven’t told him about the T.V. set yet.
I have a feeling that he won’t want it… Let me guess… ”It’s too big!” or “ I don’t like the shape/ colour/ smell or sound!”

If this scenario proves to be the case… I’ve got a plan B this time!
I will vow NEVER to have anything to do with this man again!
I will also give the T.V. to my friend with the 1975 T.V. (It is so old it has a turret tuner for V.H.F.!).
HE will appreciate it, HE will not complain and HE will be able to enjoy digital T.V. on a decent set.

I made a calculation about my friend's current set…
Assuming he watches it 4 hours a day. Over 34 years it has notched up about 50,000 hours!
I think he needs a newer set!

Until next time … Bye                                                                                                                      © Rick's Workbench 2010


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