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8Sep/100

2010 Dodge Ram 2500 HD Tips, Tricks, and Hints.

I purchased a 2010 Dodge Ram 2500 HD Laramie this weekend.   On the way home I wanted to delieve deeper into what I had just purchased and was shocked at the lack of documentation.  I had owned newer fords or older dodges so getting handed a key FOB to start the truck was a bit shocking.  They do give you a user manual and a DVD but I was unable to locate several things and figured out some more just by trial and error.  Below is a list of tricks, tips, and hints as well as some things I can't figure out.  If you have a solution please drop me a line.

2Feb/100

Stihl 025 Maybe others starting issue no spark.

After hours of head scratching and lots of rope pulling on my 025 I finally found a simple explanation for why it suddenly stopped starting.  I've replaced the fuel lines, new filters, new plug etc.  I even cleaned it all out, cleaned the magneto, and checked gap. It ended up being a loose connection at the spark plug wire connector. They use a spring on a barb and it had come loose on the boot. You basically push the wire thru the boot and re spear the barb. I also took the extra step of soldering the wire to the spring.  Hope this helps somebody else.

15Jan/100

Radio Propagation – Cowee Tower Site Study

I've been playing with radio propagation the past few weeks. This is a propgation estimate for 2.4Ghz from the Cowee Tower site towards Sylva.

13Jan/100

CoCo Days- Developing not for the desktop but back to cool gadgets with Micro-controllers.

At about the age of eight I remember waking up on Christmas morning and strolling into the living room to see a white Tandy box that would change my life forever.  I remember it like it was yesterday. A while box was propped up in the living room along with a joystick, tape drive, and printer.  I had wanted a microcomputer for over a year and now I finally had one.  Over the next year I learned the basic language and got to experience my first twenty four hour or greater stints of uninterrupted programming.  I remember days of digging through those Tandy catalogs and dreaming.  An avid subscriber to Rainbow magazine, first BBS operator in my area, among other things.

12Jan/100

Motorola ML850 Rugged Laptop Getac W130 Hard Drive Replacement

I recently had to revive a ML850.  Having lots invested in docking these I figured I might as well document what I had to do and take some pics to hopefully ease the pain of others.  First to disassemble these you have to remove the bottom "pan" from the unit.  The only two hidden screws are underneath the battery.   You only need to take out the case screws and not the rubber cover screws.  At the front of the pan there is a place to place a small flat head screwdriver to gently pry the pan off. The pan also has a wire that needs to be disconnected.

7Jan/100

Dark Water Diving – Scuba in the Dark

Dark water diving initially to me was night diving.  I have done a few dives in semi clear water with the worst being a few feet of visibility.   Recently we did a training dive at Bear Lake and I got to experience what dark water diving was like.  It was a sunny day, as we descended with our lights.  At about 20' it was almost pitch black and I needed a light to see anything. As we went further down on the anchor line visibility went to  near 0.  I could not see my hand or anything else for that matter. Even with my trusty dive light there

17Dec/090

River Diving 101

I recently had the opportunity to dive in one of our local rivers, the Tuckasegee.  It was very close to dark by the time we arrived. There were three divers affording us a safety diver and several SRT (Swift-water Rescue Technicians) on the bank.  Since at least two of us had never been diving in this kind of current much less in the dark it seemed we were well prepared.

It was a cold night in the 50's and the water temp according to my Suunoto gage was 43 degrees. I had all of my 7mm gear on but could certainly feel the cold water.  One difficulty I hadn't thought about was getting myself in a 7mm suit with booties, no less, down to the dive site with my equipment.  We had some dive handlers that helped but it was a careful stroll down the embankment thru heavy brush to get to the waters edge.  Not something that was particularly fun in a wetsuit and booties.

After getting our gear on someone who knew how to do this gave us some quick advice and made it a point that it was just that, advice.  He reiterated a few times that it was an acquired skill diving in current and navigating to the bottom. I of course had no real idea what he was talking about I just knew I was going to do my best to apply what he was saying once I got out there.

We had a target area about 25 feet out in the river we wanted to go over well.  Initially I went up stream a bit then attempted to descend and begin the search.  I quickly floated downstream past our target area and had to swim to the edge and walk back up. Not something with scuba gear on your back you would like to do many times in a row.

Second try, I went a bit further and tried to visualize my speed vs where I went at to determine if I was going to over shoot.  First I dipped down into the water and completely emptied my BC,  snagged an additional 8 lbs of weight as I walked by the bag, and found the secret.  What is that you ask, well head down butt up is the best way I know to describe it.  I forced my head down to the bottom. The current took care of getting the rest of me planted well enough with the pressure of the current pushing down on me to hold me in place.  I could now crawl around and examine the bottom.

First small problem that arises. Am I even at the target site?  I browsed around for a bit and realized if i didn't keep my body laid out the way it was I would be whisked off downstream.  Struggling around I finally noticed some light from the bank and used the lines of wash to establish I was near slightly upstream from the target area.  The important point here is use the lines of the wash underwater to use a parallels along with light source on bank to tell where you are.  I searched much of the target area and was able to hand around for about 10 minutes before making a mistake move that whisked me away quickly downstream.

Walking back up, I shared what I had learnt and headed back upstream.  This time I perfectly "landed" the target area and reproduced it several times until I ran out of air and we packed up for the night.  With each dive I got better and better at managing the current, my position, and my dive light.  The only scary part of the night came while I was at about 15 feet searching.  I was windshield wiper searching the bottom and suddenly a bright rainbow flash was suddenly right next to my head. It was a 12-16 inch rainbow trout swimming happily right next to my head.  I almost spit the reg from my mouth. He just hovered around me like I was supposed to be in the water.

15Dec/090

Scuba Diving Pre – 101

I recently got the opportunity to become a open water certified diver.  Prior to getting certified, after many trips to the pool to test how I might like diving, it didn't take long for me to realize its one of the most interesting and fun activities I have ever done.  It requires a lot of things to go right and little to go wrong to ruin your day.

During the pool visits prior to starting the certification process I got to experience a lot of " things going wrong".  Some of the things that happened are extremely funny now but were most likely terrifying moments.  In the end the pre-dive experience certainly showed me what not to do and how crazy a bunch of guys can get when unsupervised and not knowing any better.

One of the most memorial moments is all of us sitting around the pool switching out tanks when sudden it felt like an plane had crashed into the ground and forced the earth around us to shake.  We all looked at each other then a the huge cloud of bubbles coming up from the pool.  After putting two and two together we realized that a diver was in the pool, alone and something had gone terribly wrong. Luckily the person at the bottom of the pool knew it was time to surface and didn't let the explosion underwater thwart his exit from certain death.  After he was deemed ok we figured out that if your gauge o-ring seal decides to rupture and spit your gauge off the end of the hose, it results in a thunderous boom as well as sudden loss of air.   Lessons learned here are don't dive by yourself even with other people on the surface and if you suspect bad gear fix it. They likely won't make it to you in time if something does happen.  If air is leaking from a part profusely its more likely it will completely fail once underwater.

Another event that comes to mind was the horse play that occurs when people that should know better get together.  For everyone's reference, pulling a regulator out of someone's mouth in three feet of water could potentially drown that person. Even if all they have to do is stand up.  The sudden panic from water rushing into ones mouth after being in the water for the first time with scuba gear will most certainly end the scuba experience.  It was admittedly one of the funniest things I have ever witnessed and most would agree was well deserved punishment for things this individual had done in the past.

In looking back, I got to experence a lot going wrong prior to acutally be trained properly on how to handle it.  I knew what to do when my air suddenly stopped, minus cursing everyone around me to make sure I let the person know that turned my air off underwater I was upset about it.   I quickly learned not to panic because panic was going to cost some ribbing by my peers.

In closing, if you haven't tried diving please goto your nearest NAUI or PADI instruction site.  Book some pool time and get your open water certifcation.  If you chose the Pre-101 method be warned it will be tried by fire event filled with some panic and laughing.

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