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HQ back online & steady at geosynchronous orbit May 22nd, 2014 by Justin

 

Queue the thumbnail rebuilds. Open the hard drive floodgates. The forum shall rise again! Following the desecration of life imposed by graduate school, and all the bit flipping that ensued, I welcome you to the new, hosted-in-the-sky, Electronox.net. It’s the same as the old enet, only better ‘cuz the computer stays on all the time now ;)

Netizen Ryan and I will also be working on making the site load more easily on mobile devices, and making updates and news more front and center by removing the splash page and making resizes more friendly.

No sound coming from iPod and Apple’s response July 11th, 2010 by Dane

 

After settling in after a long flight, I found my iPod wasn’t outputting any sound from the headphone jack. I thought perhaps the iPod was trying to send audio through the bottom connector’s output. I had a few other theories, but went through the standard procedure of trying different headphones, restarting, resetting, and restoring the unit. Still, no sound from the headphone jack. Everything else was working properly. I could even enable the button click sound and hear that through an internal speaker. Like any self-respecting DIY geek, I set out to the interweb.

Mostly I found more people advocating the restore button fix-all. Eventually, I ran across the aqua soft forums discussing the problem. Apparently some of the 5th generation (iPod Video as it was called back in the day) iPods have been having an issue with a connection on the logic board. The forum is also full of users who have called Apple, explained the defect and received a free replacement iPod. This sounded appealing.

So, I grabbed my phone and called Apple’s customer service line. After answering a handful of questions from a machine (whose voice recognition actually seemed to work…) I was connected with Nick. He asked for my name and the serial number of the iPod. I was expecting this question, and I think he appreciated my anticipation. It saved us both several minutes on the phone. He warned me that my iPod was waaay out of warranty (something else I already anticipated) but asked me to proceed with the problem. I told him that the sound had stopped coming out of the headphone jack but everything else worked perfectly. I said I had read online that it was a manufacturer’s defect with the logic board. He immediately asked if I had tried pushing on the bottom right corner (which I had) to confirm the bad logic board connection. The pace of the conversation was remarkably quick as we had both anticipated each other’s next move. He said this was a known problem, confirmed that my unit was within the range of the serials involved and put me through to his supervisor.

Stuart answered after a few minutes of hold time and I explained my problem to him. He set about to creating an “exception” in the system. I think “exception” is their term for “this thing is way outta warranty but we’re gonna fix it anyway.” He said I could ship it to Apple’s repair facilities and I would have one mailed back. This is where I became more difficult and Stuart handled it expertly. I told him I was overseas, but had access to an Apple store. He then set out to open a case for me in their system. I am led to believe that the case contains all of the information about the problem and approvals for repair. He warned me it was possible that my Apple store would want to send it back stateside to be repaired and would thus take more time than otherwise. I was ok with this as it would still be free. This is where things got impressive. Stuart wanted to make sure that everything went smoothly. He gave me the case number and his personal contact information in case there was an issue. He actually took ownership of the problem, something almost unheard of in customer service, especially in a company the size of Apple. Did I mention that Nick and Stuart were also located in the US and had no hint of an accent?

From that point it was as easy as setting up an appointment with the Genius Bar online and showing up in person. I told Flo, the Genius I spoke with, that I had called Apple and they said the Apple Store could replace my unit. (Yeah, I kinda planted the ‘replace’ seed instead of the ‘repair’ seed so I could get it back sooner. Who knows if they would have replaced it anyhow.) Flo hadn’t heard of the problem, but found the bit about pressing on the bottom right corner humorous. He typed in my name and must have found the case straight away and told me they could replace it. The catch: they didn’t have the replacement for my unit on hand so they would have to call me when it came in. This meeting was on wednesday and I received a call on friday. I picked up my replacement iPod (still in cellophane) on saturday.

The whole deal was quite streamlined and impressive. After working at Best Buy for oh those many years, I feel like Apple really has customer service figured out. They are blowing Best Buy out of the water.

300zx Bose Restoration: Center Speaker April 8th, 2010 by Dane

 

The 1990 300zx 2+2 is one of the few cars in the world ever to have a center channel (they changed the DIN to a crap-holder in 1991). From an acoustics standpoint… it’s probably a bad idea.  But, it’s novel and I’ve decided to keep it.  To restore the amplifier for the central channel , you’ll have to remove the unit. This can be done by following directions for removing the head unit. There are plenty of guides out there for doing this, so I won’t re-write those guides.

Once the head unit is exposed, you will see the classic Bose speaker cloth covering the DIN below the cassette player. Remove the 2 screws on each side of the center speaker channel, and unplug the connector from the back. This black box contains a small speaker and an amplifier.

Using a 5mm socket, remove the screws on the top of the unit. At this point you can crack open the unit to see the small speaker and amplifier. The amplifier is unlike other amplifiers found in Bose-equipped vehicles. It only has one IC chip compared to the two found on most of  their automotive amplifiers. There are a few quirks that I can’t really place reason behind on the unit. The enclosure is unsealed, nor ported; it has vents for the heatsinks. I’m not sure how great a downward-firing speaker in an unsealed enclosure can be tuned.  I’m not going to question it, I’m just going to refurbish it.

Upon inspecting the amp, 8 electrolytic capacitors can be seen. There are 4 shiny green small cylindrical capacitors, and 4 larger blue cylindrical capacitors. I used Parts Express to order my parts. Its easier to use than Digikey. Here is what is needed to replace the electrolytic capacitors:

  • 4.7uF  x1
  • 47uF  x3
  • 100uF x2
  • 220uF x1
  • 1000uF x1

For all of these, I’ve opted for 50v and 105*c tolerances. You can look on the sides of the caps to find what Bose installed, but keep in mind what I said earlier about the 16v caps they used. Using 50v for all of them made the ordering process easier. It did cost about 10 cents more, though.

Remove the goop by heating it with a heat gun or space heater. I used a combo of a pocket knife, needle nose pliers, and snips. Heat the solder and suck it up with a solder sucker. Be sure to note the polarity of the caps as they are removed.

Fix HDHomerun blocky video in Vista & 7 Media Center March 31st, 2010 by Justin

 

For quite a while I thought my cable signal in my apartment was weak, resulting in the signal falloff artifacts — e.g. stuttering, blocks, etc — but as it turns out I tested the video stream from the HDHomerun on a Mac one day and the video was clear and smooth. I then started prying about the Silicon Dust forums and my own Win7 HTPC.

The solution was either one of two variables, but I suggest you address both if you can.

  1. Turn off Vista and 7’s network throttling. This doesn’t have a toggle in the control panel or device settings, so you have to RegEdit it of course. Type regedit in the search bar in Windows 7 and right click and click ‘run as administrator.’ Regedit might not show up in the Vista search, in which case you can find it in your C:\Windows\system32\ directory from explorer. Make sure you open it as Administrator though.
  2. Click on through to this folder of the registry HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Multimedia\SystemProfile (sorry, regedit is about as intuitive as using a garden rake to comb your hair)
  3. There will be a registry key called “NetworkThrottlingIndex” — click this and type in FFFFFFFF in the “value data” box (8 F’s). Hexadecimal should remain checked.  Click okay and the key’s data value should show up as “0xffffffff (4294967295)”. In MS-lingo, this apparently means “OFF” so yay!

The second variable depends on your network card drivers. I had Realtek, so I went to realtek’s website, downloaded the latest ethernet drivers, installed them, rebooted, and changed another type of network throttling, called “Interrupt Modulation,” to disabled in the advanced properties of the device’s configuration window in device manager.

After one final reboot, I had perfect video on my HTPC. Wunderbar!

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