25 February 2016

The dark side...pioneer sx-580 to NAD c370

The stereo thing seems to have gotten popular,
prices of marginal units linger in the triple digits,
and monster receivers are out of reach.
Recently deals have been rare.
Not much time for the swap meet lately,
but a quick Friday walkabout found this,
a scruffy $35 Pioneer SX-580.
A starter BOTL unit at 20 wpc,
perfect for an outside work setup,
needed since I gave away the little Kenwood.
Under the peeling wood vinyl case,
the inside was a dustball.
A quick vac & brush left it really clean.
Lights on and clear sound,
not bad for 1978 era!
Time to experiment.
The 1971 Sansui 2000a was ok,
but a little hissy when warned up,
most likely a recap needed.
I had also hooked up the Sansui qrx-8001,
and there was a light hum.
An issue with too efficient speakers,
magnifying the faults in the system.
Many people get these horn speakers
to crank small wattage amplifiers,
in the 3-5 watt range.
The little pioneer actually sounded just fine!
A smooth tone with a bit thumpy bass,
but at least no underlying hum.
Then an ad popped up for a free amp,
sound dead in one side.
A morning email went unreplied til night,
and I rushed out the next day.
A new era NAD C 370 integrated amp,
even with the original box and remote!
A bit dusty,
maybe I'd get lucky and it'd just need cleaning...
The inside layouts haven't changed much,
just the components.
Mysterious black boxes replacing transistors.
After a spray and screw of all the pots,
(behind the volume and tone knobs)
no luck.
The underside was one big circuit board,
not much to do there.
Luckily this had a pre-out/main-in option,
making it easy to test 
if the amp or preamp was faulty.
After some wiring trickery,
the problem was in the amplifier section.
Like that would help me!
There were no obvious burns or bulging caps.
As a last resort,
I started wiggling wires while it was on.
Yeah dangerous I'm sure....
But...Hey...there was sound!
The main amp plug was loose!
The fix was twisting the wires one turn more,
creating force on the plug.
Heck yeah!
Reminded me of the kid 
blowing into the playstation plug to get it to work!
What a boring looking amp!
Hooked up it sounded very new,
no more tube-like warmth,
a crisp clinical sound with distinct separation.
Makes mp3 recordings sound like a$$!
Can't complain for free!
And the best part is this new fangled remote!
The volume knob turns with the button,
I'm sure that was a huge selling point.
Good enough for now,
giving time to fix the oldies...
Now where to put the box!?

18 February 2016

Stinger Swap

Winter is the perfect time 
to scrounge for boat chit.
The so-cal conditions aren't too bad,
it seems the dark at 5pm 
messes with people.
People give stuff away!
On my craigslist hunting,
I found this oddball 1980's Force 90hp...
On funny enough the same boat as ours.
All it needed was a quick white cowl paint, 
to ditch the goofy pink and blue graphics.
The Force line has the worst reputation.
The engine is a bulletproof chrysler design.
Marketed to first time boaters,
the abuse comes from not cleaning the salt,
forgetting to mix 2-stroke oil,
not emptying the carb gas when stored,
not checking lower unit oil,
and most likely over-revving.
This one was a peach.
Equal 130 psi compression,
looked brand new under the cowl.
The perfect Baja motor,
it's going to Cabo to live in La Paz,
not with us though...
A concurrent score was this gem,
a 1974 Johnson 85hp v-4,
at about half the asking price!
Why do guys like to strip down perfect Whalers?
Hey I'll make it easy for them!
All the pieces were there,
just not put together.
This had baked in Palm Springs for years,
thankfully it was mechanically clean.
A rattlecan touch-up freshened the outside.
And wow after finding a fuel blockage,
this thing didn't want to stop.
My quick cowl spray paint was marginal,
and unused Johnson decals
were a needed distraction.
This one had 125-130 compression,
and would have been 
the period perfect backup outboard,
since our whaler is 1970.
Johnson/evinrude kept this solid design 
from 1974-1996 I think,
and these engines can run forever.
But again not on our boat!
This one left too,
finding the perfect home on an old glastron.
This deal was sweet,
as there was a trade option.
The owner had a 70's Johnson 70hp
with a dead lower unit.
How could I resist!
Well after some quick sleuthing,
this turned out to be even better,
a clean 1977 Johnson 75hp Stinger!
This was the hot chit back then!
Tons of race records broken,
all before power tilt/trim was standard.
This design also set the stage for Yamaha,
who used the inline 3-cylinder model as a base,
for the 90hp that we have now.
It's crazy how similar these engines are,
basically a reverse engineered copy.
It made giving up the 85hp easier!
Now the hunt is on for a lower unit.
The original is way trashed.
I doubt I'll get the cool Stinger graphics.
Crazy hippies...
always something fun!

17 February 2016

Utensil Snobs

If you guys haven't figured this out by now,
much of this blog is the quest
to surround ourselves with quality chit,
as cheap as possible.
This path is not the fastest...
One thing we're particular about,
is our utensils,
and I think we found our forever set.
These are made by Robert Stanley in Japan,
so probably kinda old,
as they had production
in Korea and now China.
The handle design is really cool.
The fork shape is curved and awesome,
almost spoon-like.
Long-time readers may remember these,
the last of a set from my childhood.
I loved that fork!
Still need to braze it up...
Well we've been in limbo since then,
trying out this heavy set for a while.
Never liked it.
Too heavy and the big spoons were huge.
I did like the knife with the big blade.
We've gravitated to a hodge podge,
and we each have our favorites.
Wife uses the silver rose pair on the left.
The 3rd fork is Macey's favorite.
My spoon is the 4th...
the orange one is a family fav for yogurts etc.
Jakes locked down the last two at the end.
Jaxon is the only one that's not particular.
Yeah we're picky!!
But isn't everyone?
I mean ya use these every day.
We scored these,
and I'da been content.
Good weight and feel,
but way too expensive for a 5-person set.
So the patience paid off.
$2 for all this!!
That's like $.04 each!
Now the hunt for the missing tablespoons and knife...


16 February 2016

Bull Headed

A milestone was hit last month,
Jaxon's old enough for his driving permit.
He studied up,
and fortunately made a DMV appointment.
No long line,
even though the wifey came prepared,
bringing her crochet project!
It was an exciting moment.
He had studied up,
and got his hair perfect for the license photo.
As you get older,
you can whip through paperwork,
usually gets a little sloppy.
Not when you're younger.
Excruciatingly slow.
Besides the driving info,
I warned him it was time to have a signature.
He must have forgot,
and practiced it at the table.
Good times...
A bit overwhelming in sure.
We were all there,
as the parents both need to sign for responsibility.
Uh oh...
We had made a pool,
to bet on how many he would miss.
I forget who won,
but the good part is he passed!
Only half those in line passed that day...
Picture time!
So you'd think he's want 
to take behind the wheel driving lessons,
to be able to actually drive.
"Heck no!" He says...
"I'm not paying that much just to drive early!"
What the heck?
Bull-headed taurus...
Maybe I'll have to start paying him for his labor...

14 February 2016

Junkyard 101 - how to

Last week I hinted at an inevitable return 
to the local junkyard,
baited by a big 40% off weekend special.
You bet I went back...
conveniently landing on a sunny valentines day.
The first step is preparation,
getting your chit together saves time and energy.
The last venture I had spied a simple trick.
Always learn from the locals!
This involves a simple antifreeze jug.
Why the heck 
do I have so many to choose from?!
This is the perfect vintage,
and white, 
or at least not black,
so you know when it is greasy.
Yellow would be good,
to wave around in case of emergency.
Some strategic cutting...
You guys figure it out yet?
Good old liars club candidate here!
For those in the know...
a handy portable tool box!
Helps to have an idea of what you'll need.
My eye was on a particular prize,
I wanted a stash of ignition coils for backup.
After further searching,
I found an even better jackpot.
A once babied p-71 police interceptor.
Drilled and slotted rotors!
At Oreilly's these are $145 a pop!
Stock solid ones below are $50 each.
Your thinking...
Cheap skate...
Hey it was $37 for all 4 rotors!
Even after $30 to turn them,
that leaves $330 for fun stuff!
It's not hard to discern worn out rotors.
These were nice and smooth.
I had one side off in 5 minutes.
The other side was almost a bust,
the wheel locked too hard to the side,
no room for a socket.
Fortunately the column was dropped,
and the u-joint could be quickly disconnected.
Another trick,
using a fan belt to carry these heavy mothers!
The tool jug worked great!
I didn't really need to spill it,
but if you do,
find a floor mat...
These guys used the good old bucket method,
great for big jobs.
Also the milk crate w/dolly is easy.
Many guys use man-bags.
Not a fan.
Ammo containers are great too,
but long tools don't fit.
I'm sticking with the jug!
Light, good volume,
and easy to bring two.
On the way out,
a guy was dragging a transmission,
on a plastic door panel,
tied with a seat belt.
Who needs wheels?!
Good times...