It’s freezing in here.

Monday, September 11th, 2017
Playing the guitar is relatively hard to learn.

No buddy, that is probably not his own hair.

Thanks to Equifax’s data incontinence and the flaming clown-car of death site they slapped together purely for optics, it’s a good idea for anyone subject to American credit reporting agencies to “freeze” your credit reports.  You can read more details on the whys and hows here.

We froze our credit reports from all three big reporting agencies yesterday. Here’s what I learned in the process. This has a pretty high snark content, because WHY AREN’T YOU MAD??, but I’ve tried to control myself, and the info will save you some time and annoyance.

 

General tips:

  • You can go to the site Equifax set up to see if your data is at risk, but if you’ve read anything about that site, you’ll know that it’s an untrustable waste of time.
  • I recommend using the phone to freeze your accounts. The Web sites for all three of these agencies are annoying at best, as is typical for sites designed by people who never use them.
  • Read the notes for each agency before embarking on the phone call.
  • I highly recommend using a land-line, so you don’t have to deal with as many screw-ups. You will still probably deal with screw-ups.
  • ALL of these phone systems try to use voice commands. ALL of them appear to listen for voice commands all the time, so it is REALLY easy to screw them up if you talk when you aren’t supposed to. This is difficult to avoid, as you will probably find yourself blurting out short words with hard consonants in them. Try not to.
  • As with everything, using a speakerphone makes it all much worse.
  • Use the keypad for anything with numbers. When (WHEN) these things screw up what they think you said, they will say they can’t access your report and you will have to start all over.
  • Speaking of which, when (when) these thing say they can’t access your report, just hang up and try again. We did a total of five calls to freeze three reports, and I think we did pretty well, considering how crap these systems are.

 


 

Equifax – 1-800-349-9960

 

Weeb

For this one, we actually went to the Equifax site and got our credit report from them BEFORE we froze the report. And yep, we printed it on many sheets of paper that we are going to eventually shred and recycle. If you go through the whole deal with setting up an online account with Equifax, you will need to supply:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Date of birth
  • SSN
  • Some info about some credit you have open right now, like the price range of your mortgage payment

***You will have four minutes to supply all the info the site asks you for, or you will have to start again.***

Once you get to your report, there is a printer button on the top right.

 

“Monthly subscription fee” is not the same as “credit freeze!”

Equifax’s site pushes you towards their TrustedID service, which is a $22/month service that provides extra control over who can see what in your report. VERY VERY few people need this, but Equifax REALLY wants you to buy it–that’s how they make some of the money they don’t spend on keeping your information safe.

Nope, not giving them a link to it here.

 

Phone

To freeze your credit report with Equifax over the phone, you will need:

  • Name
  • State
  • Date of Birth
  • Numerical portion of your address (just know your address)
  • SSN
  • A credit card to pay the fee they are allowed to charge for this ($3 in NE).

Yep! They get PAID per freeze and unfreeze in most states. That’s nice work, if you can get it.

Once you get through all this, they will give you a PIN number, which you will need to use to unfreeze your account. WRITE THIS DOWN! You will also get a confirmation number, which you should also write down.

NOTE: Both of these are 10-digit numbers. You have the ability to have them repeat the numbers, and I recommend you do that. I say “write this down” because you probably can’t type it into your phone while listening.  Also, you shouldn’t.

They say they will also mail you confirmation. I suggest you watch out for that, because golly, if you wanted to intercept a bunch of communications between a credit-reporting agency and its customers, this would be a good time to do it. I am probably not the only person to think of that.

And yep, that PIN number is just the time that your PIN was issued, in the format DDMMYYHHMM.

Update: People noticed how dumb the PIN thing was, and Equifax are now using a different PIN scheme.

They are SO “taking this seriously.”


 

Experian – 1-888-397-3742

 

Weeb

If you have lots of time to kill and want to see how little testing goes into corporate web sites, you can bang around in circles on experian.com/report for a while and THEN decide to just do this by phone.

If you DO decide to try to create an Experian online account, you will need to create a unique username and a strong password for the site, which they will then undermine by asking you to answer a “security” question like the street you grew up on. I hope the irony of these questions in the context of a leak of 143 million user profiles is not lost on you.

When we tried to just set up a credit freeze on the site, we got a lot of broken links and stuff that circled back to trying to sell us CreditLock, which is Experian’s flavor of TrustedID–a service you pay for monthly that lets you do a bunch of stuff with your credit report that very very few people actually need to do.  After a few minutes, we said something like “Gosh, this isn’t very good. I hope the people at this company have a very rough time indeed!” and just used the phone.

 

Phone

You’ll need the same info as you did for Equifax, more or less. You will also need to listen through an utterly pointless list of all the states, arranged into groups of how much you can legally be charged for a credit freeze in each state. Why? Not sure, but I suspect it’s just Experian’s way of saying “This list is meaningless, unless you are willing to move to another state to save $3 -$10, but your time means literally nothing to us.”

Then you get to pay for the credit freeze with a credit card.

They will send you a confirmation thing in the mail. Again, I would keep an eye out for it.


 

Transunion – 1-888-909-8872

We just did this one by phone. You will need the same info as above.

You will also need to create a 6-digit PIN. And of course, you will need to pay.

This voice carousel is PARTICULARLY sensitive to any noise you make. Also, the fake-smiley voice that they have used for this sounds INCREDIBLY patronizing. Admittedly, we might have been a bit tetchy after 45 minutes of jumping through needless hoops put up by a scam industry run by horrible incompetent screw-ups. Obviously, I am totally over that now though…

They will send you a confirmation package in the mail. Look out for that.

Hope that helps.

Fix door handle 1998-2002 Toyota Corolla

Sunday, June 18th, 2017

The driver’s side door handle on our sexy, sexy base model 2001 Corolla broke. More accurately, the plastic surround that the handle sits in and pushes against when you open the door broke. The surround and handle are all one part, and replacing that part is very very easy on these cars.

Superfluous image

Your handle will break at one of the three points indicated in this diagram, but it is irrelevant, as the entire assembly is one piece. This image is therefore superfluous.

All the things you need to do this repair are already on the Weebs, so I’m just going to tell you what I did, and include a couple of tips that might make life easier.

 

A door handle, notebooks, a compressor--together they fight crime!

Serving Suggestion

1) MOST IMPORTANT THING: If you ask your mechanic (or Car Nerd Friend) about this job, and that mechanic is not familiar with this particular car, you might get the impression that this job is scary and expensive. It is not.

 

In a lot of cases,  replacing door handles requires removing the entire door panel, special tools, infinite care and patience, and the detached third finger of a blood relative. The average person would NOT want to do it.

For some reason however, Toyota made this job easy on 1998-2002 Corollas. If you can operate a screwdriver and open a plastic drink bottle, you can do this repair.

2) The parts are cheap. I bought replacements by Dorman. Driver’s side handle in grey is part number 79502, and passenger side is 79503. The front and back handles are the same on each side. I bought one for each side, because the shipping was almost as much as one handle, and spent less than $20. Make sure you match your color!

4) Howto videos are actually useful here. Do a search on your popular video site for the title of this post and you will see a few howto videos for this repair. They are all pretty much the same. I like the one with the kid in it the best. It will take about as long to watch two as it will take to do this repair IF you watch two howto videos.

An exciting picture of a car door partially open.

You can sit sideways and use both hands, and the door won’t move while you work.

5) Location location location. This repair is easiest to do with the door open, so you have some room to fiddle. I did it in the garage, parked so that the door was half-open (a pessimist might say “half-closed”) and against the wall (with a piece of foam between) and that worked well.

6) Use two screwdrivers when you are removing the clip inside the door handle. Hook the door activator (thick wire thing you clip the handle to) around one of the screwdrivers, so that it doesn’t drop into the door when you take off the old handle. It’s not too hard to fish the activator out if you drop it, but easier not to drop it in the first place.

I forget something new every day

Thursday, March 2nd, 2017

I never noticed before how close the words “buffet and “bugger” are if you are typing.
 
That’s pretty handy. Keyboards must have been designed that way on purpose.

The Upside

Thursday, February 16th, 2017

UniversumUNAM27

Does this mirror make my butt look big?

Yeah yeah, “search is awful.”  I say it every day, so often that I bore myself–and I think every word I say is FASCINATING, so I can imagine how it must be for people who aren’t, you know, on my level..

This park has both swings and roundabouts though. First of all, most people never really bothered to learn how to search for stuff anyway, so now there’s more even money to be made finding basic information for them now.

Plus, now that so many people have decided to let ad-placement agencies like teh Joogles and FB determine what information they can find on the 12netherets, it’s just a lot easier to put up stuff that smart people can find easily, and not-smart people won’t even know exists.

…and to be able to determine who is which.

I made a meme! It’s mine, but you can have some!

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2015

I am now the man, dog.

The Black Squier–Update

Saturday, November 7th, 2015

More pressing of words, less booking of faces.

This is an update to an earlier post about my beloved E-series Squier Strat from 198something.  It might be of use to you if you are thinking of modding or rehabbing a Stratty guitar.

Since that post, I’ve done the following:

  • Started playing in a band called “Pink Flamingos” (I KNOW!) in which I do a lot of “lead” guitaring using fairly trad-sounding clean sounds.  I am NOT trying to make this thing sound like a Tele, but I want Tele-ish elements to the sound. And lots of bonk.
  • Put in a Fender Super Switch, wired like this:
    • 1 – Bridge only
    • 2 – Bridge and Middle
    • 3 – Bridge and Neck
    • 4 – Middle and Neck
    • 5 – Neck only

This all worked out really well.  Lots of big warm bonk in the 2 position, fills out and gets wider in the 3 position, and still that lovely Stratty-Strat jangle in the 4 position.  I use the bridge alone VERY rarely, and never use the neck alone.

As you’ll find with most kooky single-coil experiments in their raw state, I DID have to deal with a bit of noise. To a large extent, this is just a fact of life with some single-coils.  YES!  I AM AWARE OF VARIOUS NOISELESS OPTIONS!  I even have some in other guitars. But for THIS guitar, and the pickups I have decided to use, noise is part of the fun.

But there ARE things you can do.  Like some basic shielding. I thought I would share with you my example of why this is a good idea, and how not to do it.  For sciense.

I had 3/4 of a sheet of adhesive-backed copper foil floating around for a few years.  It bounced around various shelves and boxes so much that the adhesive had pretty much kinda given up in a lot of places, and the edges had been dinged, ripped and folded.  It was way too shot to use on someone else’s guitar, which makes it just the kind of thing I would use on my own guitar.

On Thursday, I had about 45 minutes before Pink Flamingos rehearsal, which seemed like EXACTLY enough time to do the shielding on the Squier if nothing went wrong.  To ensure that something WOULD go wrong, I didn’t make sure I had all the tools I would need, grabbed the guitar, and ran to my work bench.

I picked up the amp I forgot I had opened up on my work bench and carefully stacked it on top of another amp, on top of a wobbly storage container, so that I would always be distracted by the fear it would fall over while I was working.  Can’t stress how helpful this step is. If you want to make your task more exciting, MAKE SURE YOUR WORK AREA IS AN IMMINENT DISASTER!

I slacked off the strings, then decided I should just remove and change them, then decided to just slack them off, then undid them from the tuners but didn’t use a piece of tape or Velcro to hold them in place, so that they would be sure to tangle.

I removed all the screws from the pickguard and actually put them all in a container.  Crazy.

Here’s a nice picture of the guitar all opened up. You can click on it if you want to see it more biggerer:

Putting on the foil, Coach!

Live Naked Squier!

This next bit is most useful.  First, I didn’t make sure I had my shears or even a pair of scissors in the room. That way, I could cut the foil by either snipping teeny bits with the end of my wire strippers or biting it and then tearing it unevenly with my hands.  If you find these methods too accurate, make sure that you hurry while doing them.

DON’T MEASURE ANYTHING!  Just slap the foil down and start pressing it in randomly. Then, when you discover that things are in the wrong place, just lift it up and move it a lot. Not only will this put lots of random folds and creases in your foil, it will also pull off any adhesive it had left on it.

Speaking of adhesive, for goodness sake don’t bother to reach across the bench and grab any of the adhesives you have there.  Just keep slogging away with the wrong tools!

The torn edges of copper foil can be quite sharp. But I’m pretty sure that’s OK.  Don’t worry about gloves.

Swearing is a great time-saver!

In what seemed like no time at all, but was actually about 15 minutes after the guys in the band showed up, I had the foil properly in place, and was ready to put the guitar back together.

Here’s a picture with most of the shielding in place:

Nice Wrok!

I think that went quite well…

Just to make life interesting, I put on a fresh set of strings, because how could that be a problem right before you play?

All kidding aside, my point here is DO THE PREP WORK!   This job SHOULD have been fast, and the old foil shouldn’t have been a problem, but by trying to hurry before I started, I ended up taking longer and having to do things about three times. Also, it REALLY hurt to play at rehearsal, and I messed my hands up for a gig tonight.

The shielding itself has worked out quite well. You can’t see it in the picture, but I just soldered a wire from the ground of the guitar to the foil. It’s probably never going to be a noiseless guitar, but it’s about 40% quieter than it was, and certainly not a problem when playing live.

And if you stretch them in properly, new strings aren’t a problem either.

“Generously proportioned” at best

Friday, October 17th, 2014

We got a promotional flyer in the mail from yet another car dealership, which looked kind of like a free raffle for cool prizes. And right at the top it said that it was “Cars for the Cure to support the American Cancer Society.”

It’s a nice looking piece, tri-fold, card stock, four color printing.  On the back is a plastic “combination box” and a peel-away sticker. The combination box looks like it has an LED readout, and a little tab you can pull to turn it on.

The idea here is that you turn on the combination box, then peel the sticker off of the flyer.  There’s a number printed under the sticker, and if the combination box lights up with that same number, you have won one of the seven awesome prizes.

The first prize is his-and-hers 2014 Mustangs or $100, 000.  The prizes go from there through a whack of cash, TVs, iPods and things like that.  What’s important is third prize.  Third prize is an Amazon coupon worth $2-5000. To be clear, third prize is a coupon, and that coupon can worth some amount between two dollars and five thousand dollars.

Here’s where the nerd kicks in.  Do a bit of reading of the finer printing, and spend 30 seconds with a pen knife, and you find the following:

– In the contest rules (which are, refreshingly, quite clearly printed on the flyer), the odds of winning each prize are listed.  It says “Odds of winning a $2 Amazon® Card are 1:1 should no other prize be won.”  This means that ANYONE who gets one of these fliers will at least get a $2 gift card.  It’s like a boxing match, in that everyone can win third prize.

– There are a few things you have to do online, including choose which prize you want to play for, before you win anything.

– Here’s what the combination box looks like if you take it apart.

Book shelves should have books on them

Yeah, I need a pedicure as well.

That thing on my pinky is a sticker.  If you light it from behind, it kind of looks like an LED segment display is making those numbers.  But in reality, the combination box is just a single white LED, a piece of clear plastic to diffuse the light, two button batteries and a sticker.  It’s supposed to LOOK like it’s picking a number that’s exclusive to you, but it’s not.

Guess what?  The number in my combination box is the same as the number in my flyer!  I am teh w1n!  I do have the sneaking suspicion that a lot of people will have the same numbers, but hey–when you get right down to it, we are ALL winners.  Makes you feel good, dunnit?

Does this color make my thumb look fat?

I am teh w1n!

So what is going on here?

Basically, this car dealership is spending somewhere between $3 and $5 per piece to drop these flyers in an attempt to get people to come into their building and claim a prize.  An additional $2 will go to everyone who goes through the hoops to claim their prize, but in order to do so, every winner is going to have to start a conversation with a salesperson.  If this is as smart a campaign as it appears, those salespeople will have a script or some other way of getting the winners to look at cars.

So that’s about $7 (at most) per warm lead who walks in the door.  Not too bad, if it works.  I’d assume that they targeted who was getting these things a bit.  Ours was addressed to the people who used to own our house “or current resident.”

See, you can’t just say to the world “I will give you $7 if you come to my dealership and let me try to sell you a car.” Most of the people who would say “yes” to that deal are NOT THE TARGET MARKET.  If you need $7 that bad, you are not going to buy a car.

So instead, you choose a large group of people who are able to buy cars, and you spend $7 apiece to tell them “You live somewhere that people who can afford cars live, and you’ve won a prize, it might be a pair of awful cars or $100,000.  Come talk to me about it.  Also, it’s a benefit for the American Cancer Society.”

It’s not technically dishonest.  You get as close as you can to saying one thing and meaning another, but mostly, you depend on people not reading to closely, and thinking that you’re giving things away.

This campaign is done through Fatwin, though this kind of thing is hardly unique.  I’ve included their name here simply so that this might show up in search engines in case anyone else is as randomly curious as I was.

On the upside, I got an LED in a diffuser and two little batteries.

Origin story

Monday, August 18th, 2014

They imbue you with super powers.  IMBUE!

A friend on the social medias asked about the origin of the Penguin character.  I’m not absolutely sure if this is completely correct, but the wonderful thing about comic characters now is that there are so many story streams and reboots, and delivered in so many forms, that accuracy kind of doesn’t matter.

Besides, no matter what you do, everyone will argue over it as if it mattered A LOT anyway.

The Penguin was originally Oswald Olsin, a child prodigy who had made billions in business, despite being born with the inability to smell toast, due to his parents’ both working on the Manhattan Project, though as we found out later, they were not his real parents, as his real parents lived on a super-advanced planet of super-science superhumans whose only weakness was that they could build really good rockets, but not very big ones.

When he was 18, Oswald was away training in the Marine Special Delta Force SEAL Astronaut Ninja Assassin Cyber-Ops Squirrel Suit Sniper Gourmet Corps (in a special Nuclear Black Ops unit of it that was kept secret from everyone except General Carborundum and somehow, a mole within the team). Oswald’s parents, wife, child, neighbors, sainted aunt, high school shop teacher, the kid who bagged his groceries, 4 missed connections on Craigslist and the kindly uncle who had taught him kung-fu, metallurgy, knife-throwing, hapkido, circus acrobatics and rope-swallowing had been killed by “The Pants”—the head of a secret underwear-smuggling cabal called “The Cabal.”

Oswald came home on sympathy leave for the funerals, an unthinkably difficult 8 weeks of dark suits, potato salad and tears. As each funeral passed, he noticed something strange: All the corpses were going commando. It was through his investigation of this that he uncovered evidence of “The Pants” and the Cabal. Oswald swore his revenge, and used his training to go AWOL, disappear and take on a new identity.

He created the new identity of Oswald Olson, a mild-mannered 98-pound billionaire reporter for the Gotham Grit, who appeared to have a severe hairlip and a pompadour. Secretly, he was also Trunksman, who fought crime wearing a mask and his underwear over his pants, and DIDN’T have a hairlip and a pompadour. By using his own greatest fear as the weapon to fight the thing he hated the most, Oswald became more powerful.  Think of an arachnophobe who hates paying tax having spiders thrown at him by a tax-collector. THAT kind of powerful.

The Cabal—and The Pants in particular—was in contact with the world’s most sensitive areas, and would often work their way into places where it was difficult to get at them discretely, so Oswald’s fight took him all over the world, where he often had to depend on the enormous clandestine network of buddies and contacts he had developed during his military career.

Oswald was flying his prototype rocket motorcycle one evening when he was teleported aboard the spaceship of a dying intergalactic superhero named Mm’m Mmm’ Ghu’d, who told Oswald that he was the Chosen Human to become the Guardian of This Part of The Galaxay (including parts of Burnaby). Oswald was given a Galactic Earring, which granted him the ability to create almost anything out of energy, though the preferred method of using it was to make really detailed models of things like guns and giant Hot Wheels cars and really big fists. The earring had to be recharged every 8.5 hours, including a half-hour lunch, and was powerless against anything yellow. This meant Oswald was pretty much powerless during the day, because he lived on a planet with a yellow sun, so the earring mostly just sat in Oswald’s sock drawer. Sometimes he would take it out at night for party tricks, or if he needed to reach something up high and had remembered to charge it up, but it mostly just sat there, because cleaning your gutters at night kinda sucks. Who has time for that?

Oswald took part in The Marketing War, a giant battle in which every superhero fought side-by-side against something or other, sponsored by caffeine and sugar in water, and happened to be on a planet with a red sun. At the time, Earth was being targeted by Anaphlaxus, who roams the universe destroying planets he’s allergic to. Anaphlaxus had watched “The War Behind the Marketing War” (a reality show on Nat Geo) and was impressed with Oswald, who had taken advantage of a rare opportunity to use the mostly useless earring and distinguished himself in The Marketing Wars. Anaphlaxus agreed to spare Earth in return for Oswald’s pledge to become Anaphlaxus’ herald, gave Oswald incredible powers, a nigh-invulnerable shiny crimson skin, and a wobbly metal plank with a handle and needlessly small wheels. Thus, the Red Razor was born.

As the Red Razor, Oswald travelled to thousands of worlds, passing the time by reciting huge portions of the journal he kept during his second year at community college, where he couldn’t decide whether to major in philosophy or English, so he took both but didn’t really finish the textbook and mostly just smoked weed. It was inevitable that that almost limitless power and the ability to meet pretty much all the sentient beings in the universe, while never being afraid of anything, aging or dying would become just too much of a burden to bear, so one day The Red Razor turned on Anaphlaxus and tried to fight him in order to save one of these hundreds of thousands of worlds that had bored Oswald so much. Gosh, people sure are funny that way, eh?

Oswald learned a valuable lesson about picking a fight with the infinitely powerful guy who gave you your scooter, and found himself exiled back to Earth, about 20 minutes before the beginning of The Marketing War, which was this time known as The Marketing WarS, and went pretty much the same way as the previous Marketing War, except on thicker paper, and for some reason, everybody said a lot more and it was harder to follow who was saying what.

After the Marketing Wars, Oswald tried having a girlfriend who didn’t know his secret identity, then a sidekick who didn’t know his real identity, then a girlfriend who was an enemy of his secret identity, then a girlfriend who was a sidekick, then a boyfriend who knew his secret identity, then an intelligence-enhanced robot monkey who had a secret identity, and then marketing decided he should be a penguin.

Reverb replacement for the Fat Boy

Sunday, August 10th, 2014
You can take the "boi" out of "boing..."

Not working to spec

A few months ago, I noticed that the Accutronics 1BB2A1B reverb on my mighty Carlsbro Fat Boy suddenly started to sound terrible.  I just replaced it yesterday.

Yeah, you read that correctly.  I noticed this a few months ago, and only did something about it in the last 24 hours. If this gear belonged to anyone else I know, I would have been all over them to fix it. In fact, I probably would have dragged it home and fixed it. But this is MY gear, so I’ve been playing trucker music for months with no reverb.   Yay me!

While this is a simple repair, there is very little information out there about how to actually get the parts you need and do it.  I’m filling this post with search engine bait, so if you found it, that worked.

 

The big fail

The failure itself was pretty simple:  One of the wires that holds the spring mounts broke off, and it did so inside a mounting piece that is soldered in place.  A better person that I could probably fix this, but it is extremely fine and fiddly work, and I am pretty constantly reminded that I am not a better person than I.

 

The bigger problem

The main problem is that the stock reverb tank in the Carlsbro Fat Boy is a 1BB2A1B. That becomes a pain in the butt for the handy lazy person, because searching for 1BB2A1B and your amp name or “replacement” gives you pretty much no useful results on the major search engines.  Neither does “reverb spring repair” by the way. Lots of links for people who will replace your ‘verb for money, but you probably don’t need that.

Hopefully, your search now leads you here.

 

Reverb codes, briefly

Spring reverbs are a rare kind of product, in that there is a standard numbering system for identifying pretty much everything about them, and everyone in the industry uses it.

Apparently, that kind of standardisation is easy to do with physical objects made in different parts of the world over decades, but pretty much IMPOSSIBLE to do in software.  But I digress…

You can find a key for the reverb numbering system all over the place. Here’s one with information about Accutronics reverbs at the top, and the numbering system at the bottom. Seeing as most of the reverbs that come stock in amps are Accutronics, that’s a good place to start.

The chart tells you this about my 1BB2A1B tank:
1 – It’s Type 1, which means it has two springs and is short (9″)
B – Input impedance is 150 ohms*
B –  Output impedance is 2250 ohms*
2 – Medium decay time (1.75 to 3.0 secs)
A – Input and output are both grounded*
1 – No lock
B – Mounts horizontally, with the open side down

I liked how it sounded, but truth to tell, it’s a pretty cheap-ass tank.  Short, two-spring verbs can be kinda theeen.  Doesn’t matter though, because pretty much no-one makes this exact tank any more.  You’ll be hard-pressed to find any Type 1 tanks from anyone.

 

Getting tanked

My tank was an Accutronics, so I went to the Accutronics site.  I couldn’t find any info there about a 1BB2A1B, and I knew that some of the specs of my old tank needed to be matched on whatever new one I bought.  I was most concerned about the input and output impedance and grounding, which is why I marked them with an “*.”

I ended up calling one of their distributors, CE Distribution.  CE is a distribution company, but they run a few places that sell to end-users. They have the same support for all of them, including Antique Electronic Supply.  I talked to Sam on the phone, and he’s awesome.

 

A steady guide in some celestial voice

I’m not going to get into the What Kinda Reverb You Want and Why discussion here. This post is already way too long to start talking subjectives.

The important things when choosing a replacement:

  • The input and output impedance must either match your old tank exactly, or you must nerd out and learn what happens when they don’t
    (hint: avoid having to do that)
  • Same goes for the grounding
  • Check the size of the tank versus the space you need to install it in. Remember that you have to plug the thing in, so if you don’t have AT LEAST 1.5″ clear in front of the plugs when the tank is installed, you’ll have to plug it in BEFORE you mount it
    (hint: avoid having to do that)
  • For something that can be a big part of your sound, reverb tanks are pretty cheap

I couldn’t find anything by Accutronics that would drop right in, so I got a MOD 4BB2A1B to replace my 1BB2A1B.  Pretty much the same tank as the 1BB2A1B, but 17″ long, which is accomplished by doubling the springs lengthwise.  All the electronic specs line up, which is the important part if you want to be simple about things.

 

Installing a horizontal spring reverb tank

There never seem to be instructions for this anywhere, and most searches for it just point to to reverb tank reviews that say useful things like “installation was easy!”  or “installation is easy!”  Search is horrible now.

On the Fat Boy, and most amps with the ‘verb installed flat across the bottom of the amp with the open side down, installation is really easy! LAWL.  It’s nice to have instructions though. You should read all the way through them first.

Removal

  1. Open up your amp
    (hint: I dunno, look it up if you need to!)
  2. Look at the input and output jacks to the reverb. Note what colour each is.  Write it down.  I SAID WRITE IT DOWN!
  3. Undo the input jack
  4. Seriously!  There is NO colour-code standard for input and output.  LAST CHANCE TO WRITE IT DOWN
  5. Undo the output jack
  6. Remove the screws holding the tank in place, and keep them
  7. Remove the tank

NOTE! If you are inside a combo amp, your reverb tank is under a big ol’ magnet.  That magnet is going to grab the tank.  This is annoying.  You can’t stop it.

Installation

NOTE! Remember when I mentioned the big ol’ magnet?  Dude!  It was like, three lines ago!   That magnet’s going to want to grab the new tank too.  If the tank is painted, the magnet will scratch the paint.  It WILL.  I highly recommend that you hook up the new tank outside the amp FIRST, make sure it works, and then install it.  No-one wants to take back a scratched tank.

  1. Connect the inputs and outputs.
    SEE?  TOLD YA TO WRITE IT DOWN!  The magnet-wrasslin’ makes you forget
  2. Test that the reverb works
  3. (netdud only) Take out the piece of foam they put under the springs for shipping, stop swearing, and test again
  4. Turn off the amp, disconnect the reverb
  5. Make sure you have squishy grommets in the screwholes you are going to use, so the tank is physically isolated from the cabinet
  6. Wrestle new tank into place, scratching it on the magnet at least once
  7. Make sure you have room to plug in your input/output jacks
  8. Screw the tank in place (Heh.  I said “in place…”)
  9. Hook up the tank
  10. Test
  11. Close up your amp and play!

 

 

MushroomBrush

Thursday, August 7th, 2014

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