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Repairing a TrippLite Isobar Power Strip

TrippLite Isobar4 Repair

The Problem I purchased four TrippLite Isobar Ultra 4-Outlet Surge Protectors from eBay for about $50. They were all well-used, but purported to function. Unfortunately, two of them did not. They wouldn’t conduct any power to the receptacles, and displayed a fault LED. Hence the Video Fortunately the problems were identical for both, and very easy to fix. There are a pair of very robust and heavy inductors on the PCB that routes power inside the Isobar. They’re not mechanically fastened to the board, except by two relatively small solder joints. Either in their previous life of hard use or during shipping, they must have experienced some bashing around which caused inductors in both units to become un-moored. A bit … Continue reading

Which Alkaline AAA Batteries are the Best (in 2020)? Allmax and Fuji.

YouTube Cover - Attempt 01 - 1920x1080 - IMGP0270

I needed new batteries for my pepper grinder, and ended up going down a vast rabbit hole. First, I purchased 15 different brands/models of Alkaline AAA batteries from Amazon. (This cost about $150, which means that I strongly overpaid to run a pepper mill.) Then I built a test rig for at 15 battery types. (It’s a redic long video, but you can see the process at 50x speed which only takes a couple of minutes!) And used that to make the video at the top of this page, after running a 100 hour test. The spreadsheet with the raw data and calculated results for the tests is available on Google Docs: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1-wWU2XRqiwQYu8Mf14S9t1k3e9BCGTiulbm4DLLoztk And you can watch me further discuss … Continue reading

Disconnecting the Battery in a Teradek VidiU Pro (Live)

Disconnecting the Battery in a Teradek VidiU Pro (Live) - YouTube Cover Image

I’ve been trying out different streaming tools and software lately, and ultimately I prefer the dedicated hardware approach. The Teradek VidiU Pro has been discontinued by the manufacturer, and can be had for some pretty good deals on eBay. The VidiU Pro can be used to live stream events from remote and outdoor locations using either WiFi or a connected USB cell modem. It’s also got an ethernet port (and of course a power input) for use in fixed locations. Such as my basement. The problem for me is that the VidiU has a built in battery for portable use, meaning that when I shut off my equipment at the main PDU, the VidiU stays on until the battery runs … Continue reading

Adding a Smart Panel to the Teranex Mini (No Mic on Purpose)

Adding a Smart Panel to the Teranex Mini - Screen Grab

This is a quickie, wherein I swap the cosmetic faceplate on a Blackmagic Design Teranex mini converter for a smart panel. I thought it might be useful if someone wanted to check out the process before buying one. But I’ll spoil it by saying that it’s just a matter of removing the 4 screws holding on the faceplate, and then pushing the smart panel onto an edge connector that protrudes from the Teranex device.

Building a Rig to Test AAA Batteries (Live)

Building a AAA Battery Test Rig (Live Stream) - Cover Image

I’ve been working on two things lately (well, more than two, but whatever): Live streaming and testing AAA batteries. The former is going somewhat OK, but I’m still trying to get the hang of it. The latter is coming together nicely. This video is me assembling a rig to test 15 different brands/types of AAA batteries: Duracell Optimum, Anker, Allmax, EBL, Fuji, Duracell Procell, Rayovac Industrial, Duracell Quantum, Rayovac Fusion, Rayovac, Eveready Gold, Energizer Max, Energizer Industrial, Maxell, and Amazon Basics. The idea being that I’ll shoot that test rig with a time lapse camera, observing how the voltages of the batteries decrease over time. There are light bulbs both to provide a visualization and as a load to deplete … Continue reading

Outlook / Exchange Error: Network Problems or the Microsoft Exchange Server Computer is Down for Maintenance


There are tons of posts about this subject, but none of them offered the very simple solution that worked for me: Make sure the Microsoft Exchange System Attendant is running on the mailbox server. We had a catastrophic crash of a VM host, on which our Exchange 2013 server was running as a guest. Everything seemed to come back up just fine, and all Outlook users were back online with Exchange, except for two. One user was running Outlook 2016 like the rest of the org, but one was running Outlook 2007 (don’t ask). They seemed to have nothing in common, but they both were throwing errors that network problems were preventing communication with the Exchange server. I did all … Continue reading

Clone a Dynamic Disk to a New SSD in Windows 10

Clonezilla Vomits Feces onto Other Tools Because that's Classy

This is partially just for my own reference, so I don’t have to go down this rabbit hole again. (But I hope it helps you, too!) The Situation I wanted to upgrade the LITE-ON 256GB SSD in my trusty ol’ Lenovo X1 Carbon laptop to a snazzy new Samsung 960 EVO 2TB drive. I have a version of Acronis that came with a Crucial (or Kingston?) SSD, which has worked great in the past. The problem? There was a system reserved partition at the very end of the disk, and Acronis therefore would not proportionally scale the OS partition to fill the disk; It would only scale that system reserved partition. In a moment of errant stupidity, I said, “Ah-hah! … Continue reading

240V is the Standard U.S. Household Voltage (Kinda.)

240V US Electrical System

OK, So I’m Being a Bit Facetious Obviously I and most everyone else knows that the vast majority of American household stuff is powered at 120V. Almost all receptacles and (nearly) all lights in a home are indeed supplied at 120V. But! It’s not as simple as that. So maybe the video title is a tiny bit of clickbait, but it’s also more or less true. Most Americans do indeed have 240V supplied to their home, and that is the line-to-line voltage. The transformer is rated for 240 Volts with a center tap that happens to be referenced to ground/earth, and it just so happens that the potential difference between the center tap (ground) and either of the two lines … Continue reading

Redundant VPN Tunnels via Different ISPs

Network Diagram or Whatever

Intro My friends will tell you that I’m obsessed with redundancy, both in life and in I.T. At home I have two main internet connections, via Altice Optimum (“cable”) and Verizon FiOS. They’re both relatively high bandwidth, and are connected to my two core routers that operate in an active/passive configuration. Basically this: O——O +——–+ / \ | |————/ O +——————+——————–| Core | / / | Optimum Router | | Router |———-O / +——————+\ ______________| 01 | \ O \ / | |————O \ \ / +——–+ / \ X Keepalived | / Various O / \ Heartbeat | O Networks / / \ +——–+ \ O +——————+/ \_____________| |———–\ \ | FiOS Router | | Core | \ O … Continue reading

RAID HDD TCO Calculator (Total Cost of Ownership)

HDD RAID TCO Worksheet Sample

A while back I created a HDD TCO worksheet showing the relative costs of certain drives in no real context. This spreadsheet aims to calculate the total cost of ownership for a RAID array, which is a much more involved affair. https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1dM2vO08gmX3VwYyJtTE5D1Gu75TTU-nUW95j1_DVx8c/ That’s a read-only version, but you can easily make your own copy to play with: If you have a Google account and are logged in, you can just hit File -> Make a Copy.. to save it to your own Google Drive. If you hate Google sniffing into your private affairs, you can hit File -> Download As and grab a copy in the format of your choice. I hope I’ve provided enough of an explanation as to … Continue reading

Yes, the Dell Compellent SC220 Chassis AND Drives are Generic!

The Compellent SC220 is the disk set on top, followed by an HP D2700, an HP MSA 70, and a Dell MD1220.

I found a great deal on eBay. A Dell Compellent SC220 chassis filled with 24 x 600GB 10K SAS disks for $350 including shipping. Obviously if you’re reading this years later that will seem like a terrible price, but as of now 600GB SAS drives are selling for about $30 each (used). So it’s roughly $720 worth of drives alone. The SC220 is basically an MD1220 in sheep’s clothing (though sheep are generally naked so who knows), and those are selling for about $120. Like I said, a great deal! But there was one question that needed answering: Did the Dell-branded Compellent HDDs have some kind of special firmware that rendered them useless with a standard RAID or JBOD controller? … Continue reading

Apparently myisamchk Doesn’t Understand 2-Digit Numbers (MySQL)

MySql Logo

myisamchk If you’re reading this, it’s probably because you’re trying to run myisamchk on a large table and you want to set the –sort_buffer_size to some large value. That’s advisable, of course. However, it seems that some versions of MySQL don’t understand a 2-digit value for that parameter. I was trying to do the following: myisamchk -f -r –update-state –key_buffer_size=4G –sort_buffer_size=16G –read_buffer_size=32M –write_buffer_size=32M /var/sql/myisam-temp/mastersitedb/applicants_master_search – recovering (with sort) MyISAM-table ‘/var/sql/myisam-temp/mastersitedb/applicants_master_search’ Data records: 0 – Fixing index 1 myisamchk: error: myisam_sort_buffer_size is too small MyISAM-table ‘/var/sql/myisam-temp/mastersitedb/applicants_master_search’ is not fixed because of errors Try fixing it by using the –safe-recover (-o), the –force (-f) option or by not using the –quick (-q) flag If you’re getting an error like that, try using … Continue reading

An Open Letter to Amazon and Netflix

Chill, Amazon and Netflix with the DRM

Dear “New Media” Companies, Two years ago I decided to take the plunge and purchase a UHD TV. But I thought twice about it, deciding that I would hold off until there was adequate 4K content available. At that time the 4K market was weak. UHD Blu-rays had yet to be released, and other than some YouTube content and perhaps a few shows from your companies, there wasn’t much available. Finally at the cusp of 2018 I decided to make the move. There’s much streaming media currently available in UHD (as you’re obviously aware), as well as a plethora of UHD Blu-rays. So I now have a very nice Sony OLED hooked up to my HTPC. But the sad part … Continue reading

Disregard: Sealed Lead Acid Battery Longevity Log


Edit: ACTUALLY, NEVERMIND It’s now June of 2020, and I figure it’s time to put a big “disregard” in the title of this post. While my objectives were indeed grand, there’s a fundamental flaw in my methodology: Most of the UPSes in question do not perform battery self-tests. As such, I really only find out about bad batteries when there’s an actual power failure. And those happen very inconsistently, and infrequently. (Which is good for me overall, but bad for this “log”.) For example, my power just flickered briefly and one UPS shut down as soon as the power went off. The batteries were dated as replaced on 2017-12-10. However, that UPS survived the last power outage some months ago, … Continue reading