Logitech Z506 demise and disassembly

Back in varsity I had a set of 2.1 channel Logitech speakers. They were great, simple and provided good sound. Alas one day they stopped working, never found out why, even after taking it apart (one had to saw open the wooden sub box) and getting several friends and family members to analyse it. In any case, I ended up purchasing a Logitech Z506 5.1ch set to replace them.

And they’ve done me well. Until recently. I’ve had them for about 3 years; I would have expected a longer life but I fear the recent spate of load shedding (and related grid instability) might have given them a knock (oddly I think it’s what happened to my last set too).

Anyway, they stopped working unexpectedly, so logically I took them apart. You can see the process below. It’s quite nicely put together, but also not with the intent of it being taken apart again later.

In any case I looked around a bit and saw that what I still believe is a fuse was not letting any current through (marked T3.15A250V). So, lacking a replacement fuse, I shorted the fuse and thought I’d fixed the problem, alas I fear there was another reason why the fuse had gone as I plugged the power back in.

Cue loud bang, my lights going out and enough flames to give me a fright. 10 o’clock at night, I made my way to my tripboard and reset the plugs, unfortunately I had also managed to trip the switch in my landlord’s house. Fortunately they were still awake and didn’t ask too many questions as I asked if I could check their tripboard quickly.

So I’m once again in the market for new speakers, but for others who might have more luck than me, here are instructions to disassemble.

Unscrew the 10 screws on the backpanel. Unscrew the 4 screws mounting the speaker to the bottom of the box. Pull the speaker out. You will notice bendy wire clips stapled to the case holding cables in place, loosen these as required.

Undo screws on back and bottom of speaker

Undo screws on back and bottom of speaker

If you have small hands you can unplug the speaker, but otherwise rest it on top. The backpanel slides out, but there is a bit of double-sided tape holding it in place at the back under the panel. You can release this by pulling the PC-Board away from the side of the box. You can then pull the backpanel and PCB out. This will let you unplug the two plugs on the power supply.

Plugs to unscrew and mounting points

Plugs to unscrew and mounting points

With the main board out, you can loosen the two screws holding the PSU in place and slide it out.

partsSimple as that, above you can see where the fuse I shorted was, and also a bit of the transformer which I think I burnt out. Oops :(

 

SA Driver’s Licence codes, old vs new

It constantly frustrates me how although since 1998 (16 years ago) the official licence system has made use of a system of letters to distinguish between different licence codes, to this day, people still, on a regular basis, refer to licence codes by the old number system.

To make things easier for people who are getting confused, I’ve pulled the data from the Road Traffic Act and put it together here, first the learner’s licence, then driver’s licence info. The system has undergone several changes over the decades and the time frame that each refers to is specified at the top of each column

I’ve also added a copy of a current driver’s licence to show what the current codes refer to.

Learner’s Licence system

learner’s licence issued before 1 March 1998 New/Current Learner’s Licence What this currently entails
Code 01, 02, 03, 04 and 15 Code 1 Motorbike / trike
Code 05, 06, 07, 08 Code 2 LMV
code 10, 11, 13 and 14 Code 3 HMV or LMV

Driver’s Licence

Current [1995 – 1998] [01.06.1990 – 1995) [31.12.1985 – 01.06.1990) [01.02.1972 – 31.12.1985) [01.01.1967 – 01.02.1972) [… – 01.01.1967)
A1 Code 01 Code 01 Code 01 Code 01 Code 01 Code 01
A Code 15 Code 02
Code 15
Code 03
Code 04
Code 02
Code 03
Code 04
Code 02
Code 03
Code 04
Code 02
Code 03
Code 02
Code 03
B Code 05
Code 07
Code 05
Code 07
Code 05
Code 07
Code 05
Code 07
agricultural / industrial vehicles
EB Code 08 Code 08 Code 08 Code 08 Code 08 Code 08
EC1 Code 10 Code 10 Code 10 Code 9
EC Code 11
Code 13
Code 14
Code 11
Code 13
Code 14
Code 11
Code 13
Code 14
Code 10
Code 11
Code 10
Code 11
Code 10
SA Driver's Licence

Current SA driver’s licence codes

A code 6 licence could be given for any category licence referring to an electrically powered vehicle.
A code 12 licence could be given for any category licence referring to a vehicle that is specially adapted for use by a physically disabled person.

All info is from the Road Traffic Act, Regulations, Chapter V: Fitness of Drivers, Part ll: Learner’s and driving licences and it goes into a lot more detail than I’ve displayed here. You can click the following terms if you would like more info on the SA Driver’s licence system or the Professional Driver’s Permit.

Videographing

I really enjoy Youtube, the never ending selection of interesting and entertaining videos is great. Of particular interest to me are the likes of CGPGrey, VSauce and Veritasium, with explanatory videos on a wide variety of topics. It’s always been something at the back of my mind to try out. But not being the world’s greatest producer, I’ve never given it a try.

Last week (I wrote this several weeks ago) Veritasium released a video showing 5 peculiar traits of nature, with the promise of explaining them in upcoming weeks, as well as the challenge to try figure them out for oneself and to post this online. The first subject was something I’d seen demonstrated in a previous episode of QI, and figured this was my chance to test out my viedographing (my dictionary doesn’t like that word and instead suggests rephotographing as the nearest real word) skills.

I believed I had the basic understanding of the concept at hand, got my GoPro, Cellphone and webcam setup to get some footage. Prepared some lighting and a pen and paper and figured the principle is fairly straightforward, and I’d be able to explain it in 5 minutes flat, one single shoot. Oh boy…

About three minutes in to my production I started to realise my failings. No script to work to meant I kept on having to think of what came next, and the examples I wanted to use took time to prepare as I tried to remember some of the basics of 2nd year Strength of Materials. I somehow developed a sore throat in that short space of time, and silences not interrupted by my throat-clearing were interspersed with long thinking “Umm”s.

I stopped recording after three short minutes, not even halfway through my expected explanation. Cutting my losses and reviewing the horror of my creation. Ignoring the terrible quality of the resulting video, the experience gave me a very good understanding of why I hadn’t tried this before, and an even greater appreciation for those who do this successfully. But it is definitely something I want to try again, maybe with a bit more preparation.

I made a mistake

I’ve been wanting to get myself a TV for a while. I moved into a fully furnished place at the beginning of the year, with free DSTV and thus a TV. But it was an old 74cm CRT. Massive thing (honestly, I weighed it and it’s 49kg), but not the greatest picture, especially with my PS3.

So I’ve been looking for the past month or two and was pretty much waiting for a sale on a Samsung or Sony, say R5,000 for a decent 42″. Then about three weeks ago, Hi-Fi corp have a sale on a JVC 42″ smart TV (JVC LT-42N630SA), with wi-fi and a bunch of other features. Great I decided. It only cost R4,000, and I was willing to take a slight quality knock for the lower price and smart TV capabilities. Sadly the TV was sold out before I could get to the store.

Then this week I see the same TV is on sale again for R5,000. Fine I decide, let’s just get it, although it’s more expensive, you would pay quite a premium for the same functionality in a Samsung. So I went and bought it. Oops.

It’s not that  it’s a terrible TV, it’s just really not great. The process was fairly painless, but shucks. I can’t remember how long it took to startup the first time I turned it on. I’m quite sure it was in excess of 2 minutes. I have a lot of complaints about this TV. the biggest one being it’s usability. Everything just takes forever (or doesn’t work).

  • Under normal conditions it takes 25s to start up
  • The “Google TV Remote” app to use your cell as a remote is not allowed in South Africa (ie you can’t use it), Even though there’s a brochure for it in the box.
  • The preloaded Youtube app doesn’t work.
  • Menu and interface is logical, but very laggy, and unpredictable at times.
  • Pushing buttons on the remote doesn’t always seem to do anything.
  • The system update button kills the ‘settings’ app each and every time.
  • Video quality on my RF in was terrible
  • You can’t change the picture mode (4:3, 16:9, original, etc.)
  • Sound quality is below average
  • The whole time while connected to Wi-Fi or a USB device, the icons show in the bottom right corner (I tried for a few minutes to turn this off but couldn’t find a way)

What it has going for it

  • It does have Wi-Fi and a ethernet port, so it should be capable of more.
  • Picture quality was decent
  • The TV is pretty cheap.
  • It is a good looking, well built TV

But in the end I took the TV back. I couldn’t deal with it. Hi-Fi corp gave me a full refund without any issues. I had a look at some other TVs, but in the end went to Game and picked up a Samsung 40″ for a few hundred rand less than the JVC.

And most importantly, I’m happy with it. It responds quickly and without hassle. It may not be ‘Smart’, but it can still play files from USB, and there’s always my PS3 I can use.