Posts Tagged with "new-life"

The Second Day of a New Life

April 18th, 2006 at 10:08 pm by Mark
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I was asked if I’d like to help move a bunch pool tables and a few other machines today.  Since I enjoyed moving things and getting a sunburn last week, I told them, “Sure, why not!”

A “game room” in the area was closing their doors, so a bit of extra brawn was in order to move everything from that place to the relative safety of the warehouse.  The 14-foot truck wasn’t big enough to haul it all, even with two trips, but an aging Dodge came to the rescue with a bed large enough to fit an 8-foot pool table.

As anyone who’s ever played pool in a bar knows, coin-op tables are heavy as hell.  Three people and some well-made carriers make the job bearable.  You slide the carrier over the side, put the table on its side, and move it where you need it.  Not much you can say about that.

Pool tables are tricky, tho.  You swing them around, put the back two legs on a swing-out dolly, and lay it back.  Getting them down, however, it an issue.

After loading two trucks one trip, loading one truck the second and unloading three times at the warehouse, I helped carry a bunch of junk and throw it in a dumpster.
Even broken pool table slates are heavy, so aid of a forklift was required.  That made an easy job of it.

Finally, I helped clean up a bunch of scrap metal and wood and toss in the dumpster out back.

Parked the forklift … I haven’t driven one of those since I was ten.

There’s not much you can say about all that.

But I got my required sunburn.  And I have the sore, burning muscles of an honest day’s work.

Now if only I could get Dire Straits “Money for Nothing” outta my head…

The First Day of a New Life

April 17th, 2006 at 6:23 pm by Mark
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     Per my last post, today I went and worked on an intermittent problem on an Arcade-style Golf game, Interactive Technologies’ “Golden Tee 2005.”

     The internals were pretty cool: a 486-based motherboard specifically designed with a single, heat-resistant PCI slot, two 32-Meg DIMMs and a JAMMA card-edge to provide access to Video and Controls.  A completely customized 250-watt power supply, which appeared to be loosely based on ATX, powered the board, controllers and 10GB hard drive at the top.
     In the PCI slot lived a very unhappy 3DFX Voodoo3 card.  I hadn’t seen one of those in years, but there it was, in all it’s 60-degrees-celciius glory.  

     The problem was, that were intermittent problems.  The game would play fine for hours, and then spontaneously reboot.  Sounds like a PC, but I digress… It wasn’t.

     After the technician adjusted the monitor to an acceptable level (it’s old and needs to be replaced), I screwed around a little while tracing out the wiring.  Eventually, I found a loose ground hanging from the monitor that would just reach a couple of components when the drawer that help the CPU was pushed in.  I deduced that this may have been causing a short.
     A couple twists of the screwdriver fixed the loose ground, but not the problem.  I dug a little deeper.

     At some point, I noticed that the hard drive had been plugged into the second Molex connector coming from the power supply.  It was quite loose in its socket, so I unplugged it and pushed the metal sleeves inside back together.  It fit tight after that, but when I continued to trace to the end of the cable, I found that it wasn’t connected to anything.  Instead, it was hanging down at the edge of the CPU drawer.
     Every time someone pushed the drawer in and down, the loose connector was hitting the support beam and snagging the mechanism.  The effect was similar to tying a a fiften pound weight onto your hard drive power cord, holding the drive sideways, and dropping the weight.  That’s why the connector sleeves got loose, they would make intermittent contact, and short when reconnected, exactly they do in your computer.

     I couldn’t resist pulling out the 3DFX card to give it a once-over.  It was permanently mounted, but due to its handing upside down, gravity had taken its toll a bit and pulled to just the edge of contact.  The CPU was giving enough heat to make the metal expand at the card edge, and reboot the machine.  I put it back hard, tightened up the nuts on the flagnge that held it in place, and away we went.

     Pushing the drawer and in out no longer resulted in a reboot.  Graphics seemed to be fine.  But there’s no clear way to tell until you play it for a hours… and that’s what we did.
     5:30PM came fast.  Hours of abuse, and not a single reboot.

     What a cool day!