17 January 2017

Daihatsu days

Here's a couple workhorses...
This green one is a monster.
Not only does it have a dump bed...
It's also got a lift bed.
Super cool.
Nice rigs,
two of them will fit in the shop.
Made it easy to do the same thing on each,
kinda comparing what's good on one.
Supposedly there's another one from 
the "friends of PIR" group,
we'll make into another dumper.
Yea lotsa fun here!
TP

16 January 2017

Pioneer sx-800 - happy distraction

Being stuck up in Portland away from my family
has been and still is the ongoing test of sanity,
especially after almost 17 years 
of supersaturated marriage and parenthood.
Fortunately the cellphone opens up a world of communication,
texting, calls and FaceTime really soften the blows on both sides.
The kids and wife really stepped it up for this adventure.
The work week is busy enough and scoots by.
The weekends are the killers,
especially 3 day weekends.
Compound that with a rare PDX snow,
and a bit of a cold or fever,
and mang now what do I do!?
Well some would wrap themselves in front of the boob tube.
Nah...
I'd already trapped myself with a few Craigslist projects,
this was a chance to chill and tinker.
It only took 2 weeks here for my first CL score,
a Pioneer SX-800 tube receiver.
(The top one - I brought up the bottom)
Original owner said it worked great!
Yea right...
The dust would have started a house fire!
When I got the room,
one of the first things I did was vacuum it out.
This is when ya don't realize that hook is getting lodged in the throat.
The trap doesn't seem like a trap.
Typically an unused machine should have a slow start,
using a variac or a dim bulb tester.
Nah this was cheap enough to try it out.
Surprisingly the sound was clear and crisp,
that warm tubey sound people love.
Yea I was hooked.
Unsurprisingly there was major controller/pot static,
and definite popping from certain switches.
Spray cleaning helped,
but a deeper fix was long overdue.
Hours of online studying ensued.
A workshop was needed.
Building hot rods, boats, bikes...
fixing stereo equipment,
sometimes it feels like things happen,
and I'm just a conduit for those parts to come together.

I'd been searching craigslist for the two important house pieces,
a sturdy table and a bulb holder.
After work one day these were outside an old vacating house,
in an area I was only in by accident.
Yes!
Way better than anything I'd seen on CL,
and I was prepared to spend some $$.
Now we've got a workbench and light,
and that $$ could go somewhere fun!
My weekend CL hunting grew.
These Polk Monitor 10 speakers were a score,
although there was a half hour drive to get them.
This was the best way to learn Portland,
driving to places I didn't need to be.
The woofer domes were punched in.
Using a small hose taped to a vacuum,
they popped right back out.
Still a little creased but better than before.
These babies sound great,
especially in a smaller room.
I can see why they've got a cult following.
The lower woofer is passive,
basically a valve for the air movement.
It's amazing how much bass is made
with the 2-6.5" speaks.
Than these Technics SB-L300's appeared.
I couldn't resist.
Good ole 3-way blasters.
They're a great higher range speaker,
coupled with the Klipsch Fortes they really fill the room.
I like them more than JBL 4311's!
Most importantly,
what perfect double shelf space!
Keys, wallet, knife, all have a home...
I was going to bring this pair to the shop.
In the meantime I'd studied tube amps online
and found potential problems in the Pioneer.
Early capacitors,
specifically the Suzuki brand,
were known to not last 10 years let alone 50.
Here's one that basically exploded.
Was that the crackly noise?
The best thing was to recap everything.
Ok the best thing would be to Ebay it and double the $$ while I could!
Not yet...
Get out the reading glasses!
Each capacitor was marked and sourced,
either from drug dealer type websites that cater to tube addicts
or straight from oversees mainliners.
There's basic $.50 caps and Gucci bouquet $16 caps.  
How trapped was I?
I did get tricked with the yellow "Dijon" caps,
which looked like Mallory caps with a sticker.
At only a few dollars total more a cheap lesson.
Fast forward to this snow weekend...
Thankfully half the caps showed up before.
I was able to solder in a handful.
Sucked being in a closed room!
Some repair guys swap one then test,
either to pinpoint exact issues,
or to doublecheck their soldering connection.
I kinda blew through the whole bag of yellows,
then seconded back for the big and little ones.
Wow these actually made a difference!
Turning the bass knobs before would make a flubbing sound,
now they controlled smooth like they were supposed too.
Many switches lost there violent pop,
and the tuner pulled in stations much smoother.
Bummer not all the caps had arrived,
it's obvious the old electrolytics were fried.
During the preliminary repair,
I did uncover a few mystery caps,
which now are ordered up.
By researching a little I learned to hold off replacing tubes,
at least until a full recap,
or each tube could actually be tested.
Working on this is kinda like moving here.
First I didn't have any idea where I was,
and through familiarity I know my way around.

So yea thanks for bearing with the ramble.
I'm trying to hold back more buying,
unless I do some selling to compensate!
It's tough cause there are some great deals,
and PDX craigslisters are waaay slower than in San Diego.
Next time I'll show the bike scores!!
TP

11 January 2017

PDX - prequel - Hayward

Here's another PDX prequel...
About a month and a half after the Martinez jaunt,
I had passed another testing sequence,
this one in Hayward.
Time for a Perich Brothers road trip.
Jake and I rallied up from SD,
picking up Jaxon 
who was visiting his grandparents in Ventura.
I felt exactly like the kids did here.
The timing was way too tight,
and by the time we got there,
I was all spun out.

The testing was surreal.
I did good but definitely not good enough.
In reality I would not have been a fit,
kinda a churn and burn type shop.
And Hayward was like the meh of NorCal.
While we were there,
we would BART in to "the city".
Rolling through Oakland,
the kids hadn't seen the extent of a harder hit area before.
We made it to the Chinatown stop,
and decided to check it out.
For a weekday it was packed,
people everywhere.
We were all a bit overwhelmed,
still running on a few hours sleep.
Leave it to good ole dad for mission impossible.
Looking on the map,
it looked like the haight-ashbury area
was right over the hill.
Let's walk!
Well walk we did!
I didn't realize it's over 4 miles away!
We went through the tenderloin district,
walking passed people that didn't make it out of the grateful dead lot.
Great vacation pops!
Funny thing is we passed all these subway stops,
but the little map wasn't to scale.
Just a few more blocks kids!
The hike up the hill got us out of the dregs,
some cool SF architecture,
and adjoining parks.
Finally made it to hippy central.
Wow had it changed since I'd been there last.
Seemed a bit more commercialized.
Still cool to check it out.
The standard H-A street sign shot...
Our girls traded back,
they were kickin it at home.
We went through the panhandle park on the way back,
which led us to monster up and down blocks,
zigzagging the streets of San Francisco.
I was the old fart digging the buildings.
That means soon I'll be visiting museums.
My goal was to show the kids 
how nice it is to live with space.
These city folk must not like hoarding junk!
We passed by so many trolleys,
they may have made our trek easier.
The kids never complained once.
We did raid the bathroom of a coffee shop,
I'd call it a splash and dash.
We finally mosied our way back,
passing some serious looking government buildings.
I bet we clocked about 9 miles easy,
and saw such a high and low of society.
A bit more lows than I expected...
I hoped the kids would come back with some good memories.
It made me realize how few vacations we had taken,
even if just for one day.
We made it back to Luke and Megan's place 
in Castro Valley,
and Jaxon chose to sleep in the little RV.
This made him believe 
he could live in a trailer in the backyard.
Holey Chit!
We didn't get to hang out with the Brown's much,
but Jake caught up with the dog Cole.
Their place was so awesome.
Huge yard,
chickens and space.
Exact opposite of 20 miles west.
We explored for a bit before heading home.
Go check out the sewer Jake!
Watch out for taggers.
Isn't that crazy how the yard is over the tunnel?
We got back to one of the best surprises ever,
the meathead neighbors had listed their house!
After that I didn't focus on escaping as much...
TP