G5 water pump cover

After installing my new water pump connected to a rainwater tank, I started looking around for a suitable piece of sheet metal or aluminium to make a cover. I couldn’t find anything big enough around the house or in the neighbourhood, but kept looking at the spare Power Mac G5 case sitting in the garage.

The G5 had a dead logic board, and the power supply had been used to repair another G5. I had considered putting a PC motherboard and ATX power supply in it, but I really don’t need another PC.

I measured the G5 case and it was a perfect fit for the pump, it also had great ventilation, but I still couldn’t bring myself to cut it up.  After another week of looking around I finally decided to hack the G5 case.

Only took about half an hour to strip and cut the three slots required to fit over the pipes. I mounted a short piece of sheetmetal angle to the concrete wall (bent up slightly) which the top lip of the case (where the cover used to go) hangs neatly on it. It’s mounted on a slight angle to allow the water to drain off the top.

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Apple iMac G5 problems

Lately I have have had many calls from people with an Apple iMac G5 that won’t turn on.  All the same symptoms, totally dead, won’t startup at all.

Out of the five I have looked at so far, they all had faulty power supplies, and four of them had faulty logic boards as well. This basically makes them uneconomical to repair.

After seeing the same problems a few times, I decided to take the power supplies apart and have a look. It came as no surprise that they all had visible signs of leaking electrolytic capacitors.

G5 Power Supply with faulty capacitors.

iMac G5 Power Supply with faulty capacitors.

It’s also no great surprise the most of these machines had faulty logic boards, as with a poorly regulated power supply (due to the dodgy capacitors) they probably don’t last long. There have also been many reports that the logic boards also have bad capacitors.

One customer with a faulty iMac G5 actually heard a loud “POP” just before her machine died, which was indeed a filter capacitor exploding. The rest died quietly.

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AEG oven problem

Half way through cooking a leg of lamb, our AEG B3100 Competence oven decided to die.  It just shut itself down, no light or heating, just the clock was on.

The next morning we thought we’d see if the griller still worked, because at this stage I thought the main element was the problem.  After about 5 minutes with the griller on we heard a big POP and it shut down again.

Got an electrician to look at it a few days later, and they could not find any problem at all. They tested it and tried it out, no problems.. So we used it that night (this time just some big fat pork sausages that we could easily transfer to a pan to finish cooking), and sure enough, ten minutes later the oven shut down again.

I did notice this time that the control panel up the top got really hot, so figured that the cooling fan that normally blows hot air out above the door was not working.

A quick Google search for “AEG oven cooling fan”, and found this site.  They have a forum topic about this fault, and apparently it’s very common on most AEG ovens..

After discovering this, I turned the power off, pulled the oven out from the wall, and removed the top cover. This is what I found just behind the main control switch (it was actually cable tied to the wiring..

Burnt Part

Burnt Part (or what's left of it)

Wasn’t too hard to work out what the problem was, but ordering the part ended up being a bit of a challenge. Electrolux/AEG Australia don’t seem to be up to speed with AEG parts yet. I ended up just ordering the part number mentioned on that UK site, which turned out to be correct even though Electrolux call it a “Thermal Cut Out”.

I personally can’t see why you would call it a thermal cut-out, after all it switches a fan on when the top section of the oven reaches a certain temperature. There is a real thermal cut-out on the left hand side of the fan housing, this does actually cut out the entire oven when this area reaches a certain temperature (90 deg C I believe), which is the original symptom this oven had.

Anyway, this is what the new part looks like..

 

AEG part number 8996619267611

AEG part number 8996619267611

The only other things I needed to do this job was screwdriver, pair of pliers, and a couple of small cable ties. I simply replaced each wire one at a time, then used two cable ties to secure it in place. The result looked like this.

 

Finished Job

Finished Job

 Gave it a quick test to make sure the cooling fan was now working, it came on not long after switching the element on. You should be able to feel air coming out from the slot just above the oven door, whenever the oven is warm.

I am a qualified electrician, so I didn’t have any hesitation doing this job myself.  If you have any doubts, please call an electrician.  If you do decide to have a look yourself, make sure the power is off.

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Casio CZ-101 found on kerbside

Whenever I come across a Brisbane City Council kerbside cleanup, I just can’t help myself to drive around looking for old computers that people have chucked out..  Last weekend it was on in Tarragindi.  I knew my chances of finding some good old vintage computers were pretty slim, so instead of wasting petrol driving the van around, I rode my Aprilia SR50 scooter around..

The first thing I found was a complete Telecom Commander system with handsets..  I really wanted it, but deep down knew it was a waste of time (and it wasn’t going to fit on the scooter).

About ten minutes later I discovered an old scrap metal collector on another pile prodding at a keyboard that I instantly recognised as a Casio CZ-101.  I immediately pulled over and started to chat to him, and started to point out some other stuff in the pile that he might be interested in, he got excited about a box of brand new mop refills, and I said “you don’t want this old keyboard do you?”.  He mumbled “you’d be bloody lucky to get that working again..”, so I grabbed it and straddled it between my legs on the scooter and rode home..  Amazingly it still had an RA-3 RAM cartridge installed.

Dirty old Casio CZ-101

Dirty old Casio CZ-101

I got the CZ-101 home safely and proceeded to take it apart.  I noticed straight away that somebody had made some rather dodgy attempts at repairing/modifying it..  Did some googling and discovered that it needed a 9V DC power supply at 850mA with a negative tip.

Found a plugpack and fired it up, but nothing happened..  Checked for voltage on the main circuit board, but nothing.  re-soldered the connections on the DC power socket, and removed some additional wires (some kind of battery hack), and it fired up!

Plugged some headphones in, and started making noises.  Many of the switches didn’t work, so I turned it off, vacuumed all the dust from the front panel, and cleaned it all.  After this and a bit of playing around, all the switches seemed to work again (two of them are still a bit dodgy)..

Anyway, so far I think this is a much better synth than the Korg Poly 800 I use to have. Certainly much easier to use : )

Nice clean (and working) Casio CZ-101

Nice clean (and working) Casio CZ-101

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iPhone cases

Personally, I don’t see the point in having a nice sleek new iPhone and having it covered in a big clumsy rubber casing that makes it (nearly) as big as my old Nokia N90, it’s like putting roof racks and a bull bar on a Porsche.. 

Anyway, when I started looking at iPhone cases I thought that I’d never be able to find anything other than the standard translucent or black rubber ones, or a big boring ugly leather flip case with a belt clip.

Actually I had a similar problem years ago with my Apple Newton Message Pad, for which I ended up getting a padded case from a hiking store.  By the way, I still have that Newton (and case) today, and in some ways I like it better than my new iPhone.

My girlfriend was keen on the Hermès and Louis Vuitton cases (which are both fantastic), but all I really wanted was a simple (yet stylish) slip case, and finally found these two (much cheaper) options:

http://foofshop.com/

http://www.absutton.com/

I’ve ordered a couple of the foof cases to try, and I’m still deciding which colour and style to get in the A.B.Sutton, there’s way too many to choose from…

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First post from iPhone

This is my first attempt at writing a wordpress blog entry from my new iPhone.

The photo was taken in my office (using the iPhone) and shows a small selection of my vintage computer collection, including many old Macs and some Apple II  equipment.

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Australian dashboard widgets

Today I finally decided that I was sick of looking at the weather in Sunnyvale California instead of Brisbane Queensland.. Had a look around, and found TheBom Weather Widget.

It’s a nifty little Mac OS X dashboard widget that displays current data from the BOM website. A very handy replacement for the standard Mac OS X weather widget.

While searching, I found another useful widget for Aussies, The Australia Post Widget which is rather handy for finding postcodes in a hurry.

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Microsoft Office and Leopard

Upgrading to Mac OS x 10.5 Leopard can cause problems with Microsoft Office 2004.  Usually after upgrading,  Word Excel and Entourage won’t open at all..

The following updates fix the problem:

Microsoft Office 2004 for Mac 11.5.0 Update

Microsoft Office 2004 for Mac 11.5.1 Update

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Brother QL-580N label printer

Finally a low cost networked label printer!

This thing was quite simple to setup, except a few problems with the Mac OS X drivers.

The driver that came on the CD with the QL-580N was a package (.pkg) installer.  Great I thought, I’ll just install the package on the 8 machines using ARD in one simple step, but it wouldn’t work…  Then tried copying the installer to a machine, but even that wouldn’t work.  I searched for a more recent driver on the Canon website, but couldn’t find anything.

I ended up installing it on each machine from the CD, what a pain!

After a bit of mucking around, I managed to create a label layout in filemaker that would print correctly on the QL-580N..  I found that I had to set my print area a bit shorter that the label size, even with margins set to zero.

The BRAdmin Light software worked well (as does the web interface), and I managed to assign a manual IP address to the QL-580N without any problems.

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Gallery File

Basic Navigation

The first level of navigation is the row of tabs at the top of the main window, each tab corresponds to a particular table or section of the database.

On the blue line below the tabs is a series of buttons that show different layouts or views for each tab.

Contacts

Details -

This is where contact information for all types of contacts is stored.

There are three panels on the Contact details page:

Basic details – Name, company name, etc.. There is also a checklist for the type of contact.

Contact information-
This panel has five tabs

Phone

Press the + button to add a new phone number, you can add as many as you like.

You can use the description field to enter information such as an extension or a time to use this number.  One of the numbers can be marked as the “Main” number by clicking in the Main column.

The zoom button (magnifying glass) can be used to show a phone number in a separate window in rather large type.

The delete button (trash can) will prompt you to delete a phone number.

 

Email

The email tab is very similar to the phone tab..

The send mail button (Arrow on the left of each entry) will create a new email in your default email program, addressed to the selected email address.

The checkbox to the right of each email address is used to select whether that address should be included in mailouts.

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