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Zelandeth

Zel's Motoring Adventures...Jag, Citroen, Mercedes & AC Model 70 - 24/01 - Self Repairing Faults.

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20 minutes ago, Zelandeth said:

The light was utterly dead...not a flicker, nothing.  Have to wonder if this tube is original...

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Of course curiousity just got the better of me...August 1995, so no.  It's been changed at some point.

of all the tubes, I have to say I was not expecting an F30T12!

they are very rare in the UK, but funnily enough most "commonly" found on buses (contrary to popular belief the F30T12 and F30T8 do have different electrical specifications, one of those being the F30T12 is easier to strike up, hence why you find it in buses on their transistorised low voltage ballasts)

and in stuff imported from the US, is the thing from the US or something any idea how old it is?

looks like its outside etch so April 1994 (if the dash is under the E and 9 dots ignoring the 2 on the far right, with the dash under the I indicating it was made at the bucyrus ohio plant :) )

real shame its seemingly dead, also very interesting to hear it has some sort of electronic ballast, would not expect that in such old kit, would be very interesting to see what it is

23 minutes ago, Zelandeth said:

Took me a bit of digging but did find a suitable tube in the stock.  One of the stack of NOS tubes from my old work building found by the demo crew.  That poor old building keeps on giving.

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reminds me that I must add some of those to my collection, I wonder how many tubes i can fit in a Model 70 :) 

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These units were quite popular in the USA, and honestly wouldn't surprise me  if I found it running from a 230-120V transformer internally...we'll see when I get into it.

Dating the sucker properly is very much on the to do list.  I *think* we're looking at early 80s though.  The 1215 was launched at the very tail end of the 70s, though this facelifted one came a few years later.

Sure we could find you one of those 3' Cryselco tubes.  Can't remember exactly but there are at least half a dozen of them.  They're from 1972 if I remember the date codes correctly.

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35 minutes ago, Zelandeth said:

These units were quite popular in the USA, and honestly wouldn't surprise me  if I found it running from a 230-120V transformer internally...we'll see when I get into it.

Dating the sucker properly is very much on the to do list.  I *think* we're looking at early 80s though.  The 1215 was launched at the very tail end of the 70s, though this facelifted one came a few years later.

Sure we could find you one of those 3' Cryselco tubes.  Can't remember exactly but there are at least half a dozen of them.  They're from 1972 if I remember the date codes correctly.

did not realise the system went that far back, I was thinking late 80s early 1990s!

since the GE date code is on a 10 year cycle it could be April 1984 as well which would make it original (the 1980s was the transition from inside etch to outside etch so that rules out it being 1974!)

and id actually be more inclined to think 1984, as 1990s GE tubes had a bit of a bolder etch IIRC

 

the question im wondering is where these made in the US/by a US company and then shipped to the UK or was it done differently? if they where made in the US then shipped over it would explain the US tube etc

 

and id very much appreciate that :)  its just getting the stuff home thats stopped me from scooping up some previously, hence the question of how much stuff can we cram in a Model 70 :) 

(I wonder how quickly id get pulled over for having an 8ft tube/fixture poking out the window LOL)

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1984 would probably be about right I'd think.  Would actually make a lot of sense given the serial number starts 0984...so September 84?

The 1215 originally looked like this when it was launched

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(image found on Reddit)

Facelift took 20 years off it didn't it?  Astonishing what a bit of tinted perspex can do.

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Today has been another utter mess, but in preparation for our trip north tomorrow I needed to give the van a check over and tidy up a bit.

I reckon that between tools, rubbish, building materials, car supplies and miscellaneous stuff left in there from previous trips I probably removed a couple of hundred kg of weight from it.  I'd really have liked to give it a wash as we will be attending a car related get together up there...but time just didn't allow it.  Interior at least is now passable.

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Would have really liked to give the dash a wipe down too, but just ran out of time. 

Surprised I even got that done given I've kept getting bloody interrupted every time I try to get started on anything.

I hate looking after guests who aren't my guests!

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Sudden realisation that I've forgotten a task that needs done before we leave as it's been bugging me for weeks.  The windscreen (and wipers) need cleaning.

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That's the highest you can reach from the ground without standing on (and falling off) the bumper.

Let's see how much I've missed when it's light in the morning!

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3 hours ago, richardmorris said:

Looks like Shaun the sheep down there.

The carpet in the cab is really threadbare in quite a few places.  Will definitely be looking to get it changed at some point.  Probably be something less fluffy that will replace it.

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Well let's just say that today wasn't the ideal day to be driving a tall vehicle with brick wall aerodynamic properties and less than 80bhp northwards.

We got there in the end though.

Only had to make one unscheduled stop when the roof lights started protesting being subjected to the headwinds and popped open.

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Problem solved.

To be fair, both of them really want replacing anyway as they are past their best.

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After a lovely weekend hiding from the real world, today we undertake the long(ish) drive back home and have to admit the cold grey outside world exists again.

On the plus side, the weather looks better than on the way north!

Had to admit to a certain degree of smugness while everyone else was scraping the frost off their cars in the car park -3C when we came out...I just stuck the diesel heater in the back of the van on for 20 minutes while we loaded up...toasty warm and fully de-iced by the time we were done.

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Well that was a much more pleasant trip back down.  7:45 door to door including a fuel and lunch stop halfway.  Average of 45mph, which isn't bad going.

Spent about 90% of the driving time sitting at an indicated 70-75mph, somewhat to the befuddlement of other road users.  Hills are actually far less of an issue at that speed as you're higher in the power band so you tend to lose less speed.

You'd tend to think that modern campers would perform far better...though the number I thundered past audibly screaming their heads off on the slightest gradients seem to suggest otherwise.  Think I was only overtaken by one that I can remember.

Now to get unpacked, figure out what we're doing for dinner, and start having a look through the 400 or so photos I've taken over the weekend.

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Modern campers, like cars, have got bigger and heavier so, amongst other things, fuel consumption has suffered.

My 11 plate Ducato / Swift did about 28 to a gallon, the 14 plate Ducato / Autotrail barely managers 25, hence why most of us sit in the sip stream of waggons !

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20 minutes ago, busmansholiday said:

Modern campers, like cars, have got bigger and heavier so, amongst other things, fuel consumption has suffered.

My 11 plate Ducato / Swift did about 28 to a gallon, the 14 plate Ducato / Autotrail barely managers 25, hence why most of us sit in the sip stream of waggons !

Yeah...I wasn't doing that.  Thundering along in the outside lane enjoying hearing the howl from the exhaust bouncing back off the wagons as I went past them...

I'm not expecting miracles from the economy... though the manages alarmingly close to 30mpg if you're trundling around minor roads being gentle.

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Looks like we've developed a gremlin after the ~800 mile run.

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Brake warning light is flickering.

Fluid is fine.

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(Not massively overfilled like it looks, our drive is on a slope).

Guessing it's going to be salt water having got into one of the pad wear sensor connectors.  Will give them a clean tomorrow when I try to blast the worst of the salt off the poor thing.  It's properly caked just now, and we all know a Merc T1 doesn't need any help rusting!

The light is actually switched by a transistor on the pad wear sensor side of things, and it doesn't take much leakage to ground on the sensor wiring at all to turn it on.

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1 hour ago, Zelandeth said:

The light is actually switched by a transistor on the pad wear sensor side of things, and it doesn't take much leakage to ground on the sensor wiring at all to turn it on.

strap a pull up resistor to it? :) 

(that way only a different short to ground via a worn out pad could over come the pull up resistor and trigger the light)

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5 hours ago, LightBulbFun said:

strap a pull up resistor to it? :) 

(that way only a different short to ground via a worn out pad could over come the pull up resistor and trigger the light)

I don't think I'm going to mess with it.  I'd rather have a safety warning system that's prone to the occasional false triggering incident than the alternative.  The ground path through the pad wear sensor isn't always that great a ground path, hence the transistor switching.  I trust Merc to know what they're doing.

Managed to get a spare half hour this evening to have a look at the Sun 1215.  Finally got the back cover off.

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Astonishingly clean, and at a glance pleasingly free of obvious bodgery.

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The term "beefy" springs to mind looking at this power supply.

Here's a hand to show the size of that transformer.

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Here's the exhaust gas analyser.  IR absorption optical type, so with a good (careful) clean it should live to fight another day.

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The computer section is at the far left of the frame.

I was right on the money about the vaccum lines - they're shot. 

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I'm not touching them until I've got the hose in stock as they're still all sitting in the right place.  I'd rather make sure everything is well documented before I poke them them and have them fall to bits.

The terminal block just below centre frame appears to be a result of the IR source for the gas analyser having been replaced at some point.

The displays are just basic industrial monitors, this one being composite driven I believe.  Just power and two wires run from it to the computer I believe.

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Of course I wouldn't go in here without snapping this for LBF.

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Big beast of a thing, must be about the size of the 35/55W SOX ballast I've got.  Seems happy enough with the lamp in there, though I will keep an eye open for a T12 one at some point.

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Was happy to find the temperature probe in the cupboard in the base...so have *all* of the plug in equipment.  Well, aside from the printer but that's not a surprise and would connect to a plug hidden at the back.  That's a thing which while it would be nice, really isn't important.

The computer is accessed by removing three screws and the trim piece below the display, the control panel then hinges down.

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At least cleaning and lubing the switches will be far easier than it was on the Crypton, where they are almost impossible to get at without dismantling the whole machine.

Hey, there's a nice confirmation of our production date.IMG_20191119_172601.thumb.jpg.27e313900a557ba861f077534f82850d.jpg

This is the computer itself, six cards which slot into a backplane.  Sadly you can't get them out without removing the front panel surround as they extend roughly 3" above the visible gap.

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The scope side of things is a similar construction, albeit with cards that are about half the height.

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I am able to sometimes make the display on the computer side come and go by wiggling the card labelled "CRT" so I'm hoping that we've just got a dodgy contact or a dry joint there.  Sadly I'll need to do a bit more strip down before I can get the card out...but hopefully that will get us up and running.  I want to get them all out for cleaning anyway.

Getting there...so far it's proving pretty easy to get into...haven't had any moments of complete bafflement yet.

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55 minutes ago, Zelandeth said:

Of course I wouldn't go in here without snapping this for LBF.

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Big beast of a thing, must be about the size of the 35/55W SOX ballast I've got.  Seems happy enough with the lamp in there, though I will keep an eye open for a T12 one at some point.

all of it is worthy of comment

such lovely insides :) 

but specifically this! its both what I expected and also didn't expect

especially as the way you described the tube lighting up when only partly inserted I expected it to be something electronic (id not expect such a partial glow from a 50Hz magnetic ballast unless it had an exceptionally high OCV, but these ballasts generally only have an OCV of 200-300V would be interesting to measure it and see!)

but otherwise its not too surprising to see such a ballast, seeing as it is a US made bit of kit it makes sense it would be made using locally sourced components

but its so weird to see one in the UK, especially in euro spec 220V 50Hz!

its like seeing a VERY american car, but its RHD....

(the american rapid start ballast is one of those very american staple things, its like the Crown victoria but in ballast form LOL)

I wonder if anyone has a very dead one of these bits of kit I can rob the ballast out of? :) (out of curiosity what did the machine you had before this one use to light the sign?)

(ideally id love to find the 2 lamp version of the ballast in 220-240V 50Hz spec :) )

and aye I would fit an F30T12 ASAP, the F30T8 is part of the original 1938 fluorescent tube tube specifications as such it has 9V cathodes

where as an F30T12 tube is of the rapid start spec and has 3.6V cathodes

when you install an F30T8 on an F30T12 ballast it cold starts and does not get proper cathode heating, which will shorten the life the tube by quite a bit

also as mentioned F30T12s have different electrical specs they run at 85V 0.45A where as an F30T8 is 110V 0.35A IIRC

so a 30W T8 on that ballast being overrun at about 40-45W

luckily I know of a whole bunch of F30T12s that showed up on ebay recently! (talk about convenient given how scarce these are in the UK normally!)

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/233379998467 

(would love to know if thats price per tube or what, as id actually like to get some for the collection!)

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The IR source is just a carbon rod heater.  We're talking deep thermal IR here, not the sort you would expect from an LED or similar.  It's mounted in the little white porcelain block to the left of the gas analyser assembly.

The old Crypton machine uses a 2' 20W tube and normal switch start ballast.  Can't remember the ballast manufacturer off the top of my head. 

Cheers for the eBay link, will get that tube ordered.

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22 minutes ago, Zelandeth said:

The IR source is just a carbon rod heater.  We're talking deep thermal IR here, not the sort you would expect from an LED or similar.  It's mounted in the little white porcelain block to the left of the gas analyser assembly.

The old Crypton machine uses a 2' 20W tube and normal switch start ballast.  Can't remember the ballast manufacturer off the top of my head. 

Cheers for the eBay link, will get that tube ordered.

Cool I figured such, but I was wondering if it was some specialised incandescent or halogen IR source 

(interesting on the crypton, was that also of US manufacturer or made elsewhere)

 

now that im done* geeking out over the ballast

im curious whats the architecture of the onboard computer and is it hackable in anyway? :) (has anyone dumped the ROMs?)

 

(lets hope the seller of that F30T12 lists the other 100 he says he has!)

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The Crypton is 100% British if I remember rightly.  The tube in that was an Osram example, which I believe to be original.  Which was stashed away on finding it and a random 18W modern tube substituted because it was handy and appearance was non critical as it's hidden away behind a diffuser.

I admit to being somewhat curious about the starting behaviour of the ballast, may well measure the OCV...though given the note on the casing regarding  minimum starting temperature and requirements regarding grounded reflector proximity I'm not expecting it to be all that high.

I've no idea regarding hackability...the software is stored on EPROM chips I believe (and yes, getting them backed up is on my list) though I've yet to ascertain what the CPU involved actually is...if it's something like a Z80 or something similarly ubiquitous it might well be within the realms of possibilities to make the thing run software other than that which Sun intended.  If it's something really obscure though it's less likely.

Yes, the idea of running something silly on it does appeal to my sense of mischief.  Though that's not entirely impossible to some extent by hacking into the composite feed to the right-hand display and injecting a video signal from an alternative source (Raspberry Pi springs to mind), though that ultimately feels like cheating...even though it would be an ace talking point as a way of getting web access into the garage...

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18 hours ago, Zelandeth said:

does appeal to my sense of mischief.  Though that's not entirely impossible to some extent by hacking into the composite feed to the right-hand display and injecting a video signal from an alternative source (Raspberry Pi springs to mind), though that ultimately feels like cheating...even though it would be an ace talking point as a way of getting web access into the garage...

A loop of Norman Lovett or Hatty Hayridge telling you "it's fucked mate" is required.

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Having decided that I'd had utterly enough of the outside world by about midday and having a complete failure to summon enthusiasm regarding doing anything actually useful...I spent a couple more hours fiddling around with the Sun.

Task number one was dealing with the vacuum hoses in the machine.  I knew these had taken on the consistency of dried pasta and would disintegrate the moment I touched them.  I wanted them changed before I started poking around as they were mostly still where they were meant to be...and I'd rather not play guessing games as to where they go.

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By the time I was done, this is what was left.  Plus a bunch of bits buried in the bottom of the case I'll need tonget out with the vacuum cleaner.

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Much better.

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I discovered the hard way that that solenoid valve on the water purge line has mains on the (unsleeved) terminals even when the machine is off when it gave me a good old belt.  Bloody stupid not having the plug pulled before I did that.

Fiddly bit under the gas analyser done too.  I'd missed the line heading off to the pressure transducer (far right out of frame) when taking this photo, it was sorted later.

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With that sorted out I felt I could turn my attention to sorting the stuff which wasn't working.  Two nuts removed allowed the whole front bezel to be removed...this vastly improved access.

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This solves the problem of not being able to get to the computer.

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This let me take a closer look at things.  Not least figuring out what CPU the thing was running.  I was expecting something 8-bit, maybe Z80 (half hoping actually as I've messed with them before and might have some hope of making heads or tails of the software) or 6000 series...this however was rather a surprise.

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That's a National INS8900D.  For those not familiar with it, that's a 2MHz 16-bit processor... really wasn't expecting this to be a 16-bit machine... especially given it has its roots back in 1979...overkill?

The memory board.  Yes, getting these EPROMs read and backed up is high on the priority list.

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Not totally sure how, but I managed to forget to get photos of the MUX and I/O boards.  I'll fix that later.

The board I was most interested in today however was this one.

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The edge connectors actually looked pretty clean, though I gave it a scrub up anyhow.  Based on prior experience though I figured the most sensible thing to do was to remove (carefully, using the right tool) each of the socketed chips and reseat them.  Somewhat surprised to see a humble 555 timer in a socket.  Have to wonder if they've had reliability issues with that IC.

With that done, slotted the card back in, powered on, and...

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Rock steady display... I'll take that as a win.  Having a display which would stay running for more than five seconds at a time I could let it complete the warm up process and run through the self test (having taken the opportunity to clean the CRT faces while it was in warm up as they were filthy).

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Still surprised how sharp this display is... especially now there's not 1/8" of grime on it.

The faceplate was similarly filthy.

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I wasn't surprised by the "service required" messages at the calibration screen.  If I'd been abandoned in a cold damp shed since 2005 I'd be in need of a bit of TLC just the same. 

I did a quick check on the gas analyser first to see if it would respond to a clean.  First check though was of course to make sure that the IR source was "lit" correctly.  The source here takes the form of a carbon rod, heated to the point where it just about glowing a really dim red (camera makes it look a little brighter than it is).

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This is then focused via two parabolic mirrors onto a pair of sensors at the far end.

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It was given a really good clean (carefully...the mirrors are surface silvered) as the whole lot were filthy.

Sadly it didn't just miraculously come back to life...so further digging will be needed.  Despite the errors,it was quite happy to continue into running mode. 

First page you get is to enter the vehicle details - Number of cylinders, 2/4 stroke, and the timing offset.  Once that is entered it presents you with the following screen.

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The *** entries show where readings are missing due to the calibration issues.  It will blank things out rather than potentially showing erroneous data.  This allows you to check things like the starter motor current, battery voltage during cranking.  It also allows you to compare the current draw during each cylinder compression stroke to give a rough relative compression test to show if one pot is far lower than the rest.

Once that is completed, the engine running test page is presented.

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I like the "bar graphs" drawn using the text...sneaky ways to do stuff like this without the overheads of bitmap graphics is half the fun of old kit from this sort of age.

Looks really the part with the front panel back in place.

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So issues we need to look into:

[] Gas analyser inoperative.

[] Volt/ohm meter inoperative.

[] Temperature probe reading nonsense (see 160C reading above).

[] Suspicious of the vacuum reading.

[] Possible cap issues in the power supply as it shows a low line voltage warning at the calibration screen despite our line voltage being anything but low.

First port of call is going to be going over the machine end to end and reseating every socketed chip as I did on the CRT board, then see where we are.  Will also make a point of checking for any signs of damage to the wiring where it enters the boom as it could be prone to chafing there.

Oh...and sort the dent in the power supply fan grill so it stops rattling before it drives me mad.

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Interesting to see that the fans are actually 115V units...have to assume they're running from a step down transformer buried in that brick of a power supply.

Definitely making progress though.

Last random photo for the old tech enthusiasts...old computer equipment like this often displays interesting or odd artefacts on screen when rebooted.  This is what the display shows on this for about a second when powered up.

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Thought it might just be random nonsense in the RAM, but it seems to show the same every time.

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very interesting stuff!

cant say I was expecting that sort of CPU either! always love the purple and gold ceramic packaging of these early CPUs tho :) 

im guessing such a system can read and tell engine RPMs right? it would be interesting to hook it up to the Model 70 and A see just how close the engine RPMs stay to 3500RPM throughout the CVT range (admittedly that would be no load on the system) 

and also see where the engine red lines at, I still haven't found anything to tell me the red line of the engine, and im curious to figure it out, as that would tell us what the theoretical top speed of the Model 70 if limited by gearing and not power!

(also interesting to see that it monitors line voltage, also "line voltage" you can tell it was made/programmed by an american! LOL)

 

10 hours ago, BlankFrank said:

Make it run the old favorite, DOOM.

(then make a trillion-and-one pounds when the subsequent video goes viral on youtube) :P

exactly what I was going to say! :) 

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Fluffing Hell...this is the problem that just keeps on giving.

The thread in the hubs that the studs screw into on the Invacar is NOT 3/8" UNF apparently.

IMG_20191121_164117.thumb.jpg.72e1b844e8071d06ad5976c8e2c6877e.jpg

Really wish I could just find another hub at this point and be done with it.

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Looking at the earlier pics of the stud you removed, and scaling from the dimensions  it does look like UNF, and the same both ends - are you sure it is not a damaged thread in the hub?

3/8 UNF is 24 tpi, BSF is 20 tpi, UNC and Whit are both 16 tpi. 

 

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54 minutes ago, Zelandeth said:

Fluffing Hell...this is the problem that just keeps on giving.

The thread in the hubs that the studs screw into on the Invacar is NOT 3/8" UNF apparently.

IMG_20191121_164117.thumb.jpg.72e1b844e8071d06ad5976c8e2c6877e.jpg

Really wish I could just find another hub at this point and be done with it.

I really hope the wheel studs on REV are not mangled!

if its not 3/8th UNF and its not metric, then what the hell is it?

whitworth? LOL 

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I'm seriously considering at this point just getting the appropriate tap and drilling the damned thing out to take normal metric wheel bolts...

Have had an offer from someone to make me up some new studs on their lathe, though the biggest challenge there will be finding one that's sufficiently non-mangled to confirm what the thread actually is so they can match it.

It's definitely not a common metric size, it's obviously not 3/8" like the thread on the other end of the stud...and none of the other random imperial fasteners I have screw into it...so I've not a clue what it is.

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