Russ' Do It Yourself Home Workshop

Finding Fixes to Just About Anything and Everything

Archive for June, 2010

Installing Batteries in a Bell Night Shield Multi-Purpose Light

Posted by Russell Wright on June 26, 2010

I received a Bell Night Shield tail light for my bike on my birthday and of course, it requires that batteries are installed.  Two AAA batteries is all it needs. 

After removing it from its packaging, I read the measly instructions.  You can see them here…and I quote:

  1. To install batteries, wedge a coin into the groove in the bottom of the cabinet and twist – install 2 AAA batteries as indicated in the cabinet.
  2. Stretch bracket around seat post.  Use rubber inserts to fit as needed.
  3. Serrated bracket fits to clamp.  Insert knob and tighten.
  4. Slide light onto bracket.  Adjust light so it faces rearward using twist knob.
  5. To remove the light from bracket, push back tab and slide.

So step 1 is/are the entire battery installation instructions.  I did as instructed and off popped the red cover.  Underneath are the LEDs and silver cover for the circuit board.  Somehow I was determined that all of that would lift out and I would see the battery “cabinet.” 

Luckily I stopped before going too far.  After looking closely, I could see that there appeared to be another piece that could be separated/removed.  Sure enough, the piece on the left is what really needed to be separated from the battery compartment, not the red cover.

When you insert a coin to split the case, make sure you go under the red gasket and don’t catch the red light cover…which is really easy to do.  I think the red light cover comes apart more easily than the battery compartment.


Posted in Instructions | 7 Comments »

Replacing the Multifunction Headlight/Wiper/Turn Signal Switch on My 1997 Chrysler Sebring Convertible

Posted by Russell Wright on June 19, 2010

If you find that your fog lights don’t work on your Chrysler/Dodge car, you might find it is due to the failure of the multifunction switch assembly.  This is the piece that has your turn signals, headlights and wiper switches on it.  It’s a massive switch!  It looks like you’re replacing way more than you need to (which is probably true).

Before your replace this switch, make sure and check that your fog lights aren’t burned out and you don’t have a fuse problem.  If those things check out, you probably have a worn out fog light switch.  If you’re like me and turn your fog lights on almost all the time, then after 13 years it could just be plain worn out!

I purchased my replacement switch on eBay from ReplacementAutoParts for $77.72 + $3.99 shipping.  I was concerned that the quality might not be very good, but it is impossible to tell any difference from the original I removed.  And, since the dealer wanted about $225 for the same switch, I figure I can buy three of these and have a lifetime supply for the same cost.  The quality feels like the original too, after it’s installed.

Multifunction switch

The removal/installation process is really easy.  It will take you about 15 minutes. 

First, lower your steering wheel.  Then, remove the two screws that hold the shroud on the  steering column.  The two phillips screws are located on the bottom side of the shroud.  After the shroud is removed, there are two phillips screws that attach the switch assembly.  Remove these and then move the switch up so you can detach the two connectors on the back side of the assembly.  The connectors have squeeze locks that you need to release as you wiggle them loose.  You can see where they connect in the following pictures.



As they say in the manual, reverse the process for installation.

Posted in Auto Repair | 1 Comment »

Virtual Server 2008 R2 on Windows 2008 R2 Not Detecting Physical Network Card (NIC)

Posted by Russell Wright on June 17, 2010

I’ve got a Windows 2008 R2 server that I’m running Virtual Server 2008 R2 on and, after a hard drive upgrade this past weekend, all my physical to virtual network connections were lost (broken).  Looking at my "external network" defined in Virtual Server, I found that the physical network adapter was set to "None (Guests Only)."


Taking the advice of Ben Armstrong, Virtual PC Guy, I uninstalled the Virtual Machine Network Services on my physical server’s NIC, rebooted and then reinstalled the Virtual Machine Network Services.  I was saddened when I looked and saw that the physical NICs were still not showing up in the drop down list.

However, I had one last trick to try before another reboot.  I opened the services applet and stopped/restarted the Virtual Server and Virtual Machine Helper services.


Then I went back to look at my list of physical NICs.  They were all there!  Networking is now back to normal.


Update 2010-06-24:

Had this happen again so I simply stopped and restarted VS from services.msc.  The state of my running VMs was saved and the network returned without removing and re-adding the Virtual Machine Network Services.  Networking was restored.  Now, if I can only determine why this is happening.


Posted in Computer Repair | 2 Comments »

Upgrading 500GB Mirror on a Boot Partition (C: Drive) to 1TB Mirror on a 3Ware 9550SX Controller

Posted by Russell Wright on June 13, 2010

I have a couple of Supermicro servers that are running 3Ware 9550SX SATA controllers.  I use these servers for conducting Microsoft SharePoint training classes and run lots of virtual machines on them, so I’m always looking for more space to save my "master" copies of my virtual machines.

The C: drive is set up as a mirror and, until recently, has had two Seagate 500GB 7200 rpm ES.2 SATA drives (that are over 3 years old and still going strong) that comprise the RAID array.  I recently picked up a couple of Western Digital 1TB 5400 rpm SATA drives and thought I’d use them to replace and upgrade the 500GB drives.

In my mind, I had my upgrade path all figured out.  It should be easy, I thought.

  1. Pull one 500GB drive on the mirror
  2. Insert new 1TB drive in its place
  3. Let it rebuild
  4. Pull second 500GB drive on the mirror
  5. Insert second 1TB drive in its place
  6. Let it rebuild
  7. Extend the volume into the new space

So, that’s what I did.  I got through step 6 just fine.  I literally yanked a single drive out while the server was running (it was not doing anything important) and slammed the new drive in (well, I actually gently replaced it).  The server recognized the new drive and automatically began the rebuild process.  Each rebuild took 2-3 hours and, by the end of the day, I had the new drives in place.  However, the controller didn’t automatically recognize the new space.  So I started looking around for "the utility" that I needed to run to make the controller see the new space.

I pulled out the manual and did some reading and read about OCE (Online Capacity Expansion) and RAID level migration, but I didn’t see the answer there.  I tried using the 3Ware knowledge base, but no luck.  Searching the web, I didn’t find too much detail on the subject.  I found some blog posts where folks were talking about doing this (lots of Linux posts), but nothing with a definitive answer to my question.  I read where someone suggested hanging another set of drives off another controller and blah, blah, blah.  Yeah, like I have lots of $400 controllers lying around.  I even read a blog post where someone asked "why" you would do this (?) and you couldn’t do it without basically starting from scratch.  Finally I ran across a post where someone suggested to "call 3Ware support."  That sounded like a reasonable move.

I spoke with Joseph Infelise at 3Ware support and he was able to answer my question quickly.  Yes, there was a way to do this but it required running a scripted utility that he could put together for me in a few minutes.

This is a two-part process.  First, you need to run a utility (DUMPDCB.BAT batch file) that queries the controller and dumps the DCB (disk control block) and gives support the detail they need and then you send this detail back to support so they can create the script that will write a new DCB (WRITEDCB.BAT) for your controller.  Both of these scripts use TW_CDIAG.EXE.  If you have a simple configuration like mine, and you know, for sure and without a doubt, that the mirror is on ports 0 and 1 of the controller, you can dispense with the DUMPDCB.BAT and go straight to the WRITEDCB.BAT.  This is what Joseph did for me.  He sent me a script that was set up for this exact configuration.



Part 2


Joseph sent me the utility in an ISO image so it would make it past firewalls.  I thought I could mount it with MagicISO, but that didn’t work, so I downloaded and installed UltraISO, which worked.  Now that you have the files, you need to copy them to a device that can be read after you boot to DOS.  I do this so infrequently I always have to find a disk from which to boot.  From a DOS prompt, type WRITEDCB and let ‘er rip!  What I saw reminded me of the old mainframe days or even the scene from Jurassic Park ("It’s a UNIX system!  I know this!").  Lots of green screen data blocks whizzing by…pretty impressive and a little scary!  It ended up with a series of lines that said something like "missing command parameter."  At this point, it was reboot time, according to Joseph.

To make a long story short, after rebooting everything came up just fine.  Running disk manager (diskmgmt.msc) now showed the extra space that was added.  Yeah!


Right-clicking on the new C: drive and selecting Extend began the Extend Volume Wizard.  I want it all!


After completing the wizard.


My new C: drive with 931.31GB of space!


And, now the glass (i.e. disk) is half empty…or half full…depending on how you look at it.


I’ve always heard that many of the WD 5400 rpm drives perform as good as or better than many of the 7200 rpm drives on the market, so I thought I’d do a quick test and see how much better/worse they were.  I downloaded and installed IOMeter to check out the performance.  Since I failed to do this before the upgrade, I installed it on both servers, since my other server still has the 500GB Seagate array on a 9550SX controller, just like the one I upgraded.  Here are the results for a quick 32K, 1000 sector test.

New array


Old array


Total I/Os per Second is much improved (1522.5 vs. 3661.43).

Total MBs per Second also improved (23.79 vs. 57.21).

CPU utilization is lower (3.2% vs. 6.65%).

Not sure what the deal is with the Maximum I/O Response Time (ms).  (670 vs. 108)  Perhaps that’s due to the 64MB cache getting spooled upon the WD.  I’m not a disk expert, so if anyone wants to comment, I’m all ears!

Update 2011-09-11

I recently upgraded my 500GB mirror on BIGTEX2 to a 1TB mirror following my previously documented procedure.  I’m adding the IOmeter results so I can now compare the previous array on BIGTEX2 to the new array.  Here’s my setup.  Again, I’m not a disk performance expert!


32K, 100% read access specification.


Total MBs per Second went from about 23 to 26. 

Average IO response time increased from about .65 to 1.2.  I’m guessing it’s the lower performance Seagate AS drives I’m using.  Wonder what would happen if I replaced the drives with a higher performance model?


Posted in Computer Repair | 2 Comments »