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Today 20 years ago

Years ago I was thinking about doing some pyrography on guitars.  So I went into Photoshop and started playing around with bits and pieces of photos I had scanned/copied from the net,  just trying to get an idea of how to position and manipulate images.  I came up with a few designs that I liked.   I actually had a Johnny Cash tribute design that I took to Nashville to have a guitar maker put on a custom tele I had bought off Ebay.  It came out okay and I still have the guitar, but the interest kind of cooled and I never did much more with the ideas.

One other design that I came up with was another tribute.  This time to a horrific event in my adopted home town of Oklahoma City.  I was away in the Navy at the time, but I can still remember the sick feeling in the pit of my stomach as the radio reports started filtering into the shop where I was working.  I saw it mirrored in the faces of my co workers as they too listened to the shop radio and heard the news reports over the next few days.

No one I knew directly was hurt or killed, but the senseless slaughter of so many by a man who had worn the same mantle of military service as I had left it’s mark on me just the same.

Today is a day to remember,

OKCMemorialSwampAshRearRoutedTele copy

and to never forget.

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FlashForge 3D Creator Pro Sensor Cable part 1


Last year I took the plunge into 3d printing.  It was terrifying and intoxicating at the same time.  I jumped at every strange sound the printer made, sure that box of wires and exposed moving gantry of hot spewing plastic was going to jump it’s tracks and shoot it’s guts around the room.  You laugh…..   I swear I believed.  It made all kinds of weird noises and smelled… well….. hot!

Little by little I got use to it.  It didn’t run off it’s tracks and it didn’t come apart.  I began to leave it alone while it printed.  Only a few minutes mind you at a time.  And then the time came when I started it up and went off for 30 minutes or more.  Then one time when I came back from the kitchen and found it had printed a stringy mess of a test 8bit cartridge shell.

That turned out to be the x axis belt that was extremely loose.  Once I tightened it up everything was fine.  Time went on and I eventually moved to my new home.  After several weeks of unpacking and sorting things out I finally tried the printer again for the first time since the move.

Gremlins had found my printer.  I swear…  Horrible sounds issued from the inside as the extruders approached the far right rear.  It stuttered and ground, then seemed to clear and prepare to print.  But everytime it got close to the far right rear unholy noises spewed forth.  Print aborted with power switch forced into off position.  Some frantic searching on Youtube and Google turned up a possible cause.  The X axis wire harness was bad.  But I only had about 40 some hours on the printer I wailed….

I assure you that printer didn’t blink an eye.  It just didn’t care.

Well this wasn’t the first time something inanimate had turned a cold eye on me.   I fixed that right up with ordering 2x x axis wiring harnesses from Flashforge, cursing at the shipping charges all the way to the commit button.  They came in and I took the hex wrench to the side and bottom covers.  Off they came and after much turning and upside down viewing (not the printer mine you) of the cable pathway I had the harness installed.  The covers went back on and everything plugged back in.   I powered the printer back on, leveled the bed and started a print.

The extruder traveled closer and closer to the far right rear and then began to studder and grind.  Oh *&(#(&%(@!

Off went the power switch again.   Now what?  There was one other cable that connected to the x axis motor.  It was the sensor cable.  From somewhere in my memory I recalled a cable that came packaged with the printer.  So I dug in the box with the printer parts and came up with the cable.   Off came the covers again, I spent more time practically on my head threading the cable through the guides again.  All plugged in and buttoned up finally again.  Power went on and I bed leveled again.  I initiated the print again.   And waited for the fatal noise again.

It never came.  Instead the extruder moved through it’s paces like a race horse.  I danced a victory dance, oh yea……  Oh yea…..   🙂

Two days later I came back into the hobby room and prepared the printer for another session.  I had printed two proto parts and after making some adjustments to the 3d model I wanted to print a hard copy to see what else needed to be changed.  Print initiated and I turned to my workbench to do some soldering.  Behind me came the sound of studdering and grinding.


I shut the printer off and stewed.  And regrouped.

Stay tuned for part two.


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XF551 Issues Update 2


Okay another couple of weeks gone and some clarification.  The person who was having problems with his SIO2SD when connected to my XF551 remade board has reported that it is happening randomly when not connected, so that seems to clear my board of that issue.  He also is still having problems with his XF551 original power supply.  His XF551 modern power supply is working.  The other person who was reporting SIO slowdown and misreads on both his reimaged XF551 original power supply boards is still having them and I still cannot duplicate it on my test board.  The individual who just wanted to return his boards to be retrofitted seems not to have sent them yet, at least I haven’t recieved them yet.

I see that Igor Gramblicka has tested the XF551 board and daughter board I sent him some time back before I went public.  I am using a Google translation of his post and from what I can determine his test board is also working.  Some issues with the daughter board, but I expected that.   I did find some minor issues myself and one major that seems to be affecting some and not other people.  I will be working to implement fixes and upgrades to version 2 of my board and daughter board.  Test boards are currently at the board house being made.  They should arrive here in another two weeks.

I am also working on a version that will fit a 1050 case, an XF551 in a 1050 so to speak.  You would need to do some mods to the 1050 housing to accomodate the drive mech.  But those mods would normally be internal to the case, not seen on the outside.  Of course all fixes to the original design will be implemented on this new project.  This will be sold as a DIY kit, because of the needed mods on the case.  More info after I finish testing my fixes.




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XF551 Issues Update


It’s been a couple weeks now since the discovery that there is a problem with previously released XF551 boards.  I have heard from four people.  One said he wasn’t having any problems no fix needed.  Great!

One said he was having problems with both his modern and original power supply boards.  He robbed the correct part off one of his original XF551 and place it in his modern power supply remake and it seemed to solve the problem.   The board now will read/write/format disks.  Then he indicated that he was now getting intermittant garbling in his SIO2SD video display when my board was connected but not when he used an original XF551.  And no problem with normal computer video with either XF551 connected w/o the SIO2SD.  Not sure what’s going on there.  Trying to nail down exactly what’s connected and how it’s configured.  Even the slightest thing could be creating a problem there.   His original power supply remake board seems to be having more problems after the fix parts I sent.  Again trying to nail down what it is or is not doing.  The time difference between Europe and the USA slows down communication.

The third has two original power supply remake boards and while one has the fix and the other doesn’t he is saying both are supposedly having SIO errors that is slowing reading and writing down by a third.  I cannot duplicate his issue on my test board.  I may have made an error on the first board I sent him, but I tested the hell out of the second since that was when I discovered the write/format problem.

The fourth person is unwilling to troubleshoot and simply wants me to retrofit the fix.  I have advised him to send the board back and I would fix/verify that the drive board is functioning properly.

The fix works.  But….   Thirty plus years of wear and tear on moving parts and electronics, 3rd party devices never dreamt of when the Atari computers were first manufactured and simple human error are conspiring to create a confusing picture.