Time seems to flit by in stretches. Wasn’t new years just the other day? Somehow it’s March now.
This phenomenon gets worse as I get older. That’s scary.
I’ve been engaged in a number of non-photography projects lately and also some photography-related projects. Since I’ve had my head buried in the details, I’ve forgotten to come up for air and take notice of what’s going on in the world. The spring flowers are already starting to bloom here, for one thing.
Some friends and I helped our kids make a small cart for a competition. It’s made mostly from spare parts and junk we had laying around. It’s basically a giant pull-back car that uses large rubber bands.
Turns out the bands didn’t work so well. I bought some large diameter surgical tubing, and it was more suited to being repeatedly stretched while keeping its elasticity.
My older son and I built a PC for his birthday. I picked out the parts (just a basic-level PC with an Intel processor) and then showed him how to put it all together. He’s 11, and I’m not sure how much he learned. But he did seem to enjoy the process.
And that’s something I want my kids to learn – that making things is often well within your capability if you put your mind to it.
My younger son competed in his first cub scout Pinewood Derby contest. They had an adult category, so I also made a car of my own. Of course there I put a camera in it
Here is the video from the car: youtu.be/Iwj0jLU7RyM
The ongoing saga of my old Sony 5.1 receiver…
It stopped working a couple of years ago. It kept tripping into protection mode. I tore it apart and found some bad capacitors. I’ve recently replaced them, and it still doesn’t work
This thing should go to the junk bin, but the geek/engineer in me cannot stand to let it go. Next on the list is to test all the power transistors.
Another interesting repair was an old set of powered computer speakers that stopped working. Turns out there was a small ball bearing rolling around inside the speaker that contained the amp. It was rolling around on the circuit board and shorting things out.
Typically, speakers don’t contain any ball bearings But, living in a house with two young boys I’ve learned to accept that things end up where they don’t belong quite often.
Both of my boys deny having anything to do with this…. naturally.
I suppose this is just pay back for all the times I broke something as a kid.
Well, not quite. But photography related, yes.
The used ballhead I recently bought came with a semi-broken lever clamp. I say semi-broken because it was still somewhat functional, but not 100%.
The small pin that held the lever bolt in place (preventing it from rotating) had sheared. The lever bolt was also bent.
I engaged Really Right Stuff about fixing it. I sent them a detailed description and photos. They told me to send it to them if I wanted it repaired.
Once they had it, they then informed me that they could NOT repair it. It was a “legacy” clamp, and they had no spare parts for it. And since I’d bought it second-hand, it was not eligible for their upgrade policy.
I like RRS products. I’ve used them for many years. And I like the new products that they develop. They show great ingenuity and intelligence in developing devices and aids that can help photographers.
But, it bothers me that they couldn’t make a repair after they said to send it in and I had disclosed to them exactly what model the clamp was and what was wrong with it.
Anyway, being slightly pissed off about it, I decided to attempt to fix it myself. I “un-bent” the bolt and drilled out the broken keeper pin. I then put the bolt back in with a bit of red Loctite (permanent) and shoved a sanded-down pin into the hole.
I also got a used tripod. It’s an old Gitzo model that has the design flaw of a round, center plate with no secondary locking mechanism.
I’ve read about this issue many times. The round, center plate gets clamped into the spider (the central part of the tripod where the legs attach). However, if the clamp loosens during use, the center plate (along with the attached head and possibly also camera + lens) has a tendency to fall out unexpectedly.
I fixed this potential issue by drilling and tapping a hole through the spider and center plate.
A small (#10-32) stainless steel bolt goes into the hole (just snugly with a bit of blue Loctite).
Maybe it’s overkill… But I really like backup methods and secondary systems to ensure that something works and stays working as it’s abused, er… used.
And finally, I did not like the way the head attached to the tripod. There was only a stub of a 3/8″ bolt sticking out of the center plate.
Every single tripod I’ve used that employed this design has had issues with the head unscrewing itself during handling and use.
So, I drilled and tapped three holes through the center plate. Set screws go into these holes and tighten against the bottom of the ballhead.
Now I just need to get out and shoot!