Russ' Do It Yourself Home Workshop

Finding Fixes to Just About Anything and Everything

Repairing the Eddy Current Brake on a LifeFitness x5i Elliptical

Posted by Russell Wright on April 19, 2016

Well, I’ve now done this twice and I never published the pictures I took the first time, so here goes. 

What you may notice is the resistance is always higher than what you want…or what you remember the least resistance to be.  In fact, at one point, you might have heard the "pop" or "snap" while using your elliptical and notice the resistance no longer adjusts as low as it should.  You’ve come to the right place, and I’ll show you how to repair this for $10 or so.

So what is an "Eddy Current Brake?"  Well, it’s the magnetic part that creates the adjustable resistance on your machine.  In particular, we’re talking about the FB1 manufactured by Chi Hua in Taiwan.  To break (brake…LOL) it down in simple terms, eddy currents are created from the magnetic flux (of magnets) passing through a coil of wire (conductor).  Basically, you have a generator that creates small currents in a conductor that are essentially short circuited and turned into heat.  You can read about it at the source of all knowledge…Wikipedia.  This is what makes the drag force on your elliptical…you know, the thing that makes your legs hurt and sweat pour from your body.  Check it out on their web site and use your web browser’s translate feature.

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Well, here’s what happens.  The blue actuator pulls and releases the cable based on the level setting.  This makes the white part in the green ECB (Eddy Current Brake) travel back and forth, which moves the magnets away from and closer to the flywheel, generating your resistance.

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Unfortunately, after some period of time, the cable wears and snaps in two.  This is shown after removing the green part (essentially the stator). 

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Getting the green part (stator) out (assuming yours is green, too) requires some mechanical work, but it’s not too hard…just takes some time.  You have to remove the flywheel.  Release the tension on the belt by loosening the nut on the tensioner.  Then you have to remove the flywheel nuts and the tensioner bracket.

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You also have to remove the stator locking bracket to get it out of the way.  The actuator cable is easier to remove from the blue actuator side first by pulling and unwrapping it from the nylon spool.

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What you are going to have to do is fashion a new cable to replace at least the one that broke.  Maybe two, if the other is worn and fraying.  I did this by purchasing a bicycle shifter cable ($5) and grinding down the barrel end with my Dremel tool to make it the correct diameter and length.  The ball end of the cable is not very critical.  It simply needs to NOT pass through the hole in the magnet.  You can pass the barrel end through the hole when threading it in place.  The replacement for the ball is a cable clamp that has been "swaged" in place using a crimping tool.  I used my ratcheting electrical crimpers, but you may want to opt for something more professional, like these hydraulic crimpers.

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Here are my notes I took with my calipers.  Notice the leftover Christmas notepad paper. 

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I didn’t get any pics of the stator taken apart, but it’s pretty easy to remove.  Two allen set screws hold it to the shaft.  Loosen these and pull it out…you’ll feel the magnets wanting to keep it in the flywheel.  Then there are some black phillip screws holding it together and the four silver screws that hold the thingamajiggy with the allen set screws.  Inside you’ll see the white plastic actuator that connects all the cables.

When you are done you’ll have something that looks like this.  Not really pretty, but very functional.

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OneNote needs a password to sync this notebook. Click here to enter your password. Get Rid of KB3055034 and KB3054886!

Posted by Russell Wright on November 5, 2015

This has been driving me nuts.  I’ve searched for hours.  For me, I’ve finally tracked it down to two updates in October.  KB3055034 and KB3054886.  After removing both my OneNote 2010 seems to be syncing again.  I first wrote about this for KB3055034 in this post.  But I was still having problems.  Then I found this post.  I’m not using SmartVault Drive, but since they appear to be related I removed them both.  Success!  This pic is showing the uninstallation of KB3054886.  I uninstalled it from everything.  Same for KB3055034…you’ll see it installed multiple times.  After the uninstallation, reboot.

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Now I can sync from OneDrive again!

Some other background.  I have a personal OneDrive (Live) account.  I also have two OneDrive for business accounts.  I expect them all to work, but I’m finding OneDrive for business has lots of sync issues.

Some other posts I’ve looked at.  There were others.

http://meyermed.com/2014/02/fixing-the-error-onenote-needs-a-password-to-sync-this-notebook-click-here-to-enter-your-password/

https://community.spiceworks.com/topic/1236093-kb3055034-breaks-opening-office-files-directly-from-sharepoint

https://support.smartvault.com/04Support/01Knowledge_Base/KB3055034_%2F%2F_KB3054886_-_Uninstall_update_for_Office_2010_causing_Word_or_Excel_to_crash_when_opening_Word_or_Excel_files_from_the_SmartVault_Drive

http://faq.mydocsonline.com/1009/ms-office-2010-update-kb3055034-causes-authentication-error-when-opening-office-files-from-web-folders/

https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/3099951

http://superuser.com/questions/986693/excel-2010-crashes-when-opening-files-from-sharepoint-office-365

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October 2015 Office Updates: KB3055034 Causes OneNote 2010 to Crash on Sync

Posted by Russell Wright on October 27, 2015

I can fully attest to this being a problem.  I noticed it when on site with a client and attempting to connect to our shared OneNote notebook on SharePoint 2010.  I was "catching up" with stuff that occurred over the last couple of weeks and OneNote would crash each time I tried to sync.  I even tried re-connecting to the OneNote notebook, but that also failed.

I opened Programs and Features and selected the View Installed Updates on the left and waited for Windows 7 to chunk through the multitude of updates.  When it finally settles down you can enter KB3055034 in the search box and, if you’re lucky, it will show you the multiple times it’s installed.  In my case it was four times:  Visio, Project, Office and something else I don’t’ remember.  I removed it four times and after it is gone syncing works again.

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See how syncing works again?

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Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

Upgrading the Aerator on a Septic Systems

Posted by Russell Wright on August 8, 2015

I know!  Let’s design a septic aerator with an electric motor that sits down in a very caustic environment where the motor and bearings will only last 2-3 years so the homeowner has to constantly replace it.  And when it floods, it’s always good to have electrical power sitting under water!  NOT!

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This is the stupidest design in the world.  Poor idiots at Norweco.  They haven’t figured out that electricity and water don’t mix.

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No problem…let’s upgrade!  First you need to get an aeration stone like is used on a pond.  I found one on eBay.  It’s a 7" dome diffuser airstone.  It was about $50 or so.

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Next, put it on a long length of (properly measured) PVC.  I chose to use electrical conduit.

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Next, attach a PVC union for easy installation and removal.

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Now you’re getting the idea.  The assembly will be lowered into the chamber where aeration occurs.  Notice the notch taken out of the side of the concrete collar for the air supply line.

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You can lower it all the way.

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And make the final attachment with the PVC union.  This is where prior measuring and cutting is important!

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Now it’s all attached.  See the old electrical outlet?  It’s dead now.

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How did the air line get there?  A little digging!

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Just a shallow trench.  I think it took me about 45 minutes.  I’m pretty good with a spade.

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Covering it back up.

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Watering the sod back down.

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The final attachment to an aeration pump.  This is a very standard pump I got off eBay.  It’s a Hiblow HP-80 and was $248.00.  A little tubing and fittings and a bit of wiring (it runs all the time) and you’re done.  At this point in time it’s been running for over a year with no issues.  There’s a filter you have to clean and/or replace once or twice a year, but no big deal.  My effluent has never been cleaner!  That’s a nice way of saying, "My @#$% don’t stink!"

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Upgrading the Plumbing and Hardware on an SR Smith Slide

Posted by Russell Wright on August 8, 2015

Yes, we have a slide…and a diving board…on our pool.  OMG!  Now that we’ve established that and the fact that we are not going to remove them, here’s my latest upgrade.

The slide is about 15 years old and empties into our salt water pool.  The original plumbing on it is in the form of 1/4" tubing attached to recirculating water coming from the pool pump.  However, it’s never worked very well because of the pressure drop from the 3/4" PVC to the 1/4" flexible tubing with which the slide is plumbed.  In fact, at one time, I added a spigot from our irrigation system which worked pretty well, but the primary problem remained.

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The primary problem is the 1/4" tubing never seems to last more than one season.  We’re in Texas and it’s hot!  Between the heat and the (somewhat) cold (yes, it does freeze at times), the tubing becomes fragile and breaks, necessitating its replacement every season.  So, when the kids are over and it’s broken, a hose gets dragged to the slide and tied to and draped over a handle.  Not cool.  Plus, whether it’s the hose or the spigot, it’s up to me to turn off the fresh water supply, since no one ever seems to be able to do that when they are done.

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My goal was to reduce the pressure loss by using a larger main line up and down most of the length of the slide.  You can see my attachment of 1/2" PVC to the 3/4" PVC main line.  After the reduction fitting, I used a removable PVC union fitting so the entire extension can be easily detached and removed, if necessary.

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Under the slide I provided a cutoff valve so it can be easily turned on and off at the slide.  There is also a master Jandy valve located at the pool equipment.

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I was originally going to plumb it with 1/2" flexible PVC, but it seemed to be a bit difficult to get 11 feet of it without purchasing a 50 foot role.  Home Depot and Lowes don’t stock the small stuff.  So I finally decided to use rigid 1/2" PVC.  In order to make it contour to the slide, I used my heat gun and patiently heated it up until it was flexible enough to form into the correct arcs.

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Probably the neatest thing I did was take a PVC cap and drill and tap a hole that would accept one of those quick connect 1/4" tubing bulkhead connectors.  I used plenty of Teflon tape on the threads and screwed it into the end of the modified PVC cap.  This provides me with a quick way to make a short 1/4" tubing connection from the 1/2" PVC to the 1/4" slide fitting.

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I did this at both the bottom and top, leaving enough room so the 1/4" tubing has room to flex and bend.  On the bottom, I replaced the bulkhead connection on the slide (since it broke) with another 1/4" tubing quick connect, so replacing this short piece of tubing literally takes about 30 seconds.  The lower slide nozzle correctly screws on the end of this quick connect bulkhead fitting.

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Here’s the top.  The tubing is a bit longer, but still quick and easy to replace.

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An underside look at the top.

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Next, I replaced all the hardware with stainless steel hardware.  I ended up having to cut some of the bolts because the salt had corroded them so badly.  My hardware was ordered from Albany County Fasteners on the web.  Love these guys and their stainless hardware.  Shipping is free with a $25 order!  Or you can purchase stuff from them on eBay.  Here you can see the carriage bolts replaced with stainless.

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This is essentially a stainless lag screw replacement.  I had to go a bit bigger because the aluminum rail was stripped, probably during the initial installation.

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I had an issue with the aluminum handles being loose.  Problem was the aluminum attachment block in the handle appears to be held in place with epoxy of some kind that had lost its grip.  I re-engineered it with a through hole and stainless hardware. 

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I also had to drill and tap out the broken screw that comes up from the bottom of the slide.  When I attempted to remove these screws that hold the handles in place, they promptly broke.  In fact one was broken already which was the cause of one of the handles being loose (very unsafe).  Not surprising, they were completely rusted.  These screws fit into the bottom of the aluminum block that extends from the handles.  They are not going anywhere now!

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The complete project was probably around $50 in hardware and supplies and the results were great.  There is now plenty of water that recirculates through the pool and on to the slide with significantly less pressure drop.  It used to dribble…now it sprays!

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Outlook 2010 Stops Receiving Exchange Email

Posted by Russell Wright on April 15, 2015

If you have Outlook hooked up to an Exchange mail box (Office 365 in this case) and mail stops dropping into your inbox, try this.

Right-click on the offending Inbox and click Properties…

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Under the General tab, click Clear Offline Items.  This will empty the cache.  In a scary fashion, all your inbox mail will disappear and (should) will re-sync with Exchange and re-populate.

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Hopefully this will clear up your issue.  It did mine.

Posted in Computer Software | Leave a Comment »

Where do I get GACUTIL.EXE?

Posted by Russell Wright on February 10, 2015

If you find yourself needing to use the GACUTIL program to install some "assemblies" (DLLs) in the global assembly cache, you can get it from the Windows SDK.  Now, when you get ready to install, if you don’t need all the other stuff, select the following options.

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By selecting only the .NET Framework 4.5 Software Development Kit you will get GACUTIL.EXE installed in the C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft SDKs\Windows\v8.0A\bin\NETFX 4.0 Tools folder, at a disk cost of < 75 MB.  Much better and much quicker than over 500 MB!

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Entering the Maintenance or Inspection Mode on a Prius (1st Gen and 2nd Gen)

Posted by Russell Wright on January 25, 2015

I’m re-posting these instructions from elearnaid.com with a little clean up as I just used them on my 2002 and 2005 Prii.  Additionally, Art’s Automotive has some good info on repairing the MFD (multi-function display), aka EMV. 

Update 2015-01-26

Oh, by the way, I found you can enable this mode while driving (so far, on my 2005), so it doesn’t appear the parking brake is a requirement to enable inspection mode.

The original instructions from elearnaid.com, with a little cleanup

  • The transmission should be in Park with the ignition off.
  • Engage the parking brake (this seems to be an interlock of sorts).
  • Turn the ignition on
    • (2001 – 2003) Turn ignition switch to ON (do not start the engine).
    • 2004+ Press the Start button twice (don’t depress the brake and start the engine).
  • Push Display button.
    • (2001 – 2003) Top rocker to the right of the radio that is labeled “Display.”
    • 2004+ Top right button next to the screen that is labeled “Display.”
  • "DISPLAY" will now appear in the upper left corner of your screen.)
  • Push on the upper left (1) of the display just inside the box, withdraw, push on the lower left of the display (2) and withdraw (see picture for hidden button locations).  Do this slowly and deliberately.
  • Do this three times (or more). Keep trying until the screen changes. If the word "Display" in the upper left hand corner of the screen goes away hit the display switch again.

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  • Push on Menu in upper right of display screen.
  • Push on Display Check
  • Push on Vehicle Signal Check
  • You will see the 12 volt voltage displayed.
  • With no electrical accessories on including lights the voltage should be fluctuate between 12.2 and 11.9. The lower the voltage, the less of a charge your battery currently has. If the voltage is low do not proceed as the load test might totally discharge your battery. (If you see a voltage around 13.5-13.8 you are seeing voltage from the high voltage battery being converted to around 13.5-13.8 in an attempt to recharge your battery. This normally does not occur till after you start the engine but might occur earlier if the battery is very drained.)
  • You can also test the battery by turning on the headlights, rear window heater and the heater fan. For a new battery the voltage would be around 11.3. If the voltage drops below 10.2 it should definitely be replaced. For voltages in between the lower the voltage, the lower current charge of your battery.

Here are some of the screens displayed on the 2002 Prius.

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Here are pictures of the 2005 Prius display.

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Audio H/U (Head Unit?) says CHEK.  Press the CHEK button to view the codes and clear them.

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A bunch of old codes.  Who knows when they occurred?

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Pressing some more CHEK buttons.

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Pressing and holding the Code CLR (clear) button to erase the stored codes.

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Codes cleared!

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More codes to clear!

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Display with the headlights turned off.

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Display with the headlights lights turned on.

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Posted in Auto Repair | Leave a Comment »

Cisco VPN Client Encrypted and Decrypted Packets are Zero–No DNS Resolution on Windows 7

Posted by Russell Wright on September 26, 2014

This problem has been killing me!  I’ve searched and searched and finally came across this article (and a fix that actually works!):

http://hydrous.net/weblog/2009/10/28/force-windows-to-use-a-vpns-dns-server

Here’s the background.

As a consultant, I have multiple VPN clients at any given time loaded on multiple machines.  In this case it was my old trusty Dell D830 (upgraded with an SSD for like-new performance) that was giving me fits.  At some point in time the Cisco VPN client got to the point it was able to connect, but I could not access any resources on the client’s network.  Basically, there is no DNS resolution and nothing would ping or connect.  When you start looking around at the VPN Client Statistics, you notice the Packets Encrypted and Decrypted values are 0…they never change. 

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In this screen shot, you’ll see they are NOT zero, which means things are working again!

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Well, how do you fix this?  It appears it has to do with the binding order of the Cisco VPN adapter you see in your Network Connections. 

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Checking out the key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\services\Tcpip\Linkage and finding the Bind property, you can open it up and see a bunch of devices and their GUIDs.

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Now the trick is to be able to look at this list and determine which one(s) belong(s) to the Cisco VPN adapter and move it/them to the top of the list.

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One of the ways to do this is to navigate to the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\services\Tcpip\Parameters\Interfaces key and start clicking through the short list, while paying attention to potentially identifiable information in the right pane.  Usually this is in the form of a NameServer, which you can generally find in the properties of the network adapter after you’ve made a connection to the VPN server and the VPN network adapter has been enabled.

Now, it appears, at least in my case, that there are a couple of entries that look suspicious.  They were suspicious because they were both subnets that are used within the VPN network adapter configuration for this client, i.e. IP address beginning with 172.x.x.x and name servers in the 10.10.x.x range.  What I found was a 172.26.x.x NameServer and a 10.10.x.x NameServer and I adjusted them so they were at the top of the list, with the 172.26.x.x entry at the top and the 10.10.x.x entry just below it.  I’m not sure if one of these is just a bad entry that could be deleted, but for the time being I’m leaving them both in, until such time I can have a better determination.

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I fired up the VPN, it connected and, low and behold, the packets were encrypting and decrypting again!  DNS name resolution was working!  All’s well in Cisco VPN land, once again.

 

Search terms:

Cisco VPN connects but doesn’t work
No DNS resolution on Cisco VPN
Encrypt and Decrypt not working Cisco VPN client
Connect to VPN but can’t access any network resources

Posted in Computer Software, Networking | 1 Comment »

Fix: LG TV Remote Control Suddenly Stops Working

Posted by Russell Wright on August 27, 2014

Most mornings I get up and work out in my "workout" room where I have an older (circa 2000?) LG plasma TV hung on the wall. 

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Well, I push the button on the remote and nothing happens.  I can see the light on the remote coming on with each press of the button, so I feel relatively certain the remote is not the issue.  However, I took the batteries out and tested them anyway.  They were just fine.

The fact that this happened overnight had me puzzled.  I searched the web and found many people discussing this issue, with many replacing the IR receiver in the TV.  There was also discussion about how the output voltage of the IR receiver varied…sometimes low and sometimes high.  Well, in one of these threads I ran across the "remote control in" jack issue posted by vp123ca.  This made some sense.  There is a switch in the "remote control in" jack that disconnects the front remote sensor when a "remote" remote sensor is plugged in.  Over time, the switch corrodes and disconnects the sensor on the front of the TV.  Due to the age of the TV, I found this to be completely plausible.  But, I wasn’t even sure if I had one of these "remote control in" jacks.

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A quick inspection of the back of the TV validated that it did indeed have a "remote control in" jack!

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So, I got my trusty can of contact cleaner out and "spritzed" it.

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I sprayed a bit of contact cleaner in the hole and then used a male 1/8" jack and worked it in and out (sounds a little risqué’) to facilitate the cleaning.  The results?  FIXED!

Posted in Audio and Video | 4 Comments »