Week 61: Making repairs
We have a new fence, thanks to our neighbour, and his van, tools, and building expertise. We have concrete posts this time, so that ought to last for a while even if there’s another storm.
The storm damage has even spurred our other neighbour on the other side to get around to fixing his fence. He has been promising to do so since we moved in, but the storm really accelerated the dilapidation, and a big gap is a bit more motivating. He hasn’t actually done it yet, but he has bought all the supplies and the panels are sitting there in his garden. It’s progress.
I fixed a broken Eurorack module I picked up for cheap. I keep an eye on the “for parts or not working” listings on eBay, and this Noise Engineering Viol Ruina looked like a simple analogue circuit that couldn’t have anything too catastrophically unfixable with it, so I took a punt.
The seller’s description was
Mint condition, literally turned my case on and my power wouldn’t work. […] Checked it again in another case and same problem.
A few minutes’ probing confirmed the fault: a short on the module side of the reverse voltage protection diodes between +12V and ground. There aren’t typically a lot of components connected to both of those, just capacitors and ICs, and the former seemed more likely, as well as being easier to test and replace. It didn’t take me long to find the culprit: one of the chunky 0805 size 10µF bypass capacitors had failed and transformed into a wire. (It’s very helpful that they printed all the component values right there on the board. I’ll have to consider that for my designs.)
I unsoldered the capacitor and the short was gone. As I didn’t have a suitable replacement to hand, and a bypass capacitor on an analogue module is more nice-to-have than essential, I plugged the module in to test. It worked, and nothing else stopped working. I ordered a few capacitors, waited a few days for them to arrive, and soldered the new one in place.
It’s a fun little combination of filter, self-frequency-modulation, and distortion. It can make some weird noises at the extremes, but it can also make more musical sounds. It’s well worth the pittance I paid for it, and the five minutes it took me to track down the fault, and it’s satisfying to fix things.
I went to see Surrealism Beyond Borders at the Tate Modern on Thursday. I was a bit underwhelmed. Perhaps I just don’t like surrealism that much. My favourite piece in the show was probably Wifredo Lam’s Bélial, Emperor of the Flies, which I had previously seen at a retrospective in the same place in 2016.
I’m glad to see that they’re slowly reducing the covid theatre at the Tate. I look forward to being able to come or go by any door, rather than having to walk halfway round the building to get to where I parked my bike, and to being able to once again make use of the membership benefit of not having to book for exhibitions.
The news is still awful, and there’s not much I can do. I’ve donated to the DEC. I wish the UK government wasn’t so miserably committed to keeping out refugees.