Phantom volume

The TV started doing this strange thing where the volume would turn down all by itself. Even after turning the volume back up, it would go back down again all by itself. TV works fine after several hours of watching, but then the volume on-screen display (OSD) will pop up randomly and sometimes the volume will change. After a while, the volume OSD pops up with increasing frequency, and the volume drops more and more until eventually it’s doing it all the time.

Ruled out the remote sending out random signals to the TV. Even took the batteries out to guarantee the remote wasn’t doing anything.

The control buttons on the side of the TV are capacitive touch buttons, so I thought maybe those had gone screwy. Opened up  the TV and disconnected the control buttons, but it ended up having no effect. Still ended up with the same behaviour after a few hours of the TV being on.

TV innards
TV innards
TV power supply board
TV power supply board
TV control board
TV control board

At this point, I figure the problem is probably something heat related since the phantom volume changes don’t start happening until the TV’s been on a while. I’m not sure where else to go digging for the problem.

Looks like replacement control boards can be obtained from various sources for not a whole lot of money (definitely less than replacing the TV). Swapping out the control board would probably take care of the problem, unless of course the problem lies elsewhere.

Reflashing the wifi router

The wifi router (a TP-Link Archer C2600) started to  have some issues with wifi dropping out and I noticed there was a new firmware available for it, so I decided it was time to give it a reset and flash the new firmware while I was at it.

It’s normally a straight forward process, but somehow the router had gotten itself into a state where any login attempts ended up returning a 500 Internal Server Error, even after doing a factory reset on it. Didn’t matter what browser I tried to log in with.

Without a way to get into the router’s interface, I thought I was going to have to get a new one, which would have been disappointing because the C2600 had been working pretty well, and wasn’t all that old.

The next thing I considered was flashing OpenWRT or LEDE to the router. After a bit of poking around in the documentation, and a suggestion from someone in one of the Slacks I hang out in, I learned that firmware could be installed via tftp. This turned out to be a fairly straight forward procedure and not too difficult to set up.

If you don’t have tftp already installed on the computer, the instructions here are pretty good.

  1. Connect the C2600 (turned off) to the computer with an ethernet cable.
  2. Manually configure the IP address of your computer to 192.168.0.66
  3. Extract the factory firmware for the C2600 and rename it to ArcherC2600_1.0_tp_recovery.bin. Copy the file to /var/lib/tftpboot/
  4. While holding the reset button down, turn the router on. Keep the reset button pressed for about 15 seconds. This should put the router into recovery mode.
  5. Wait for the firmware to be transferred to the router. You might see some messages show up in /var/log/messages indicating the transfer has occurred.
  6. Wait about 5 minutes and power cycle the router.

With any luck, the router will come back to life with the firmware installed and everything should be honky-dory. If not, try again. Once you’ve got the firmware flashed, you can disable the tftp server and close up the firewall port.

The C2600 is back in service and seems to be working fine again. I can log into the router again, and there haven’t been any problems with the wifi dropping out.

Getting Lucky

Sometimes you come across some interesting novelty books. Some selected excerpts from Luck: The Essential Guide.

An empty hornet’s nest, hung high, is a good-luck charm for the whole family.

An occupied one, probably not so much.

The cardinal rule for the New Year’s meal in Sicily is this: good luck comes only to those who eat lasagna. Those who eat fettuccine, macaroni, fusilli, tagliatelle, or any other pasta do so at their own risk

This is a tradition I could get used to.

When in Rome: Stay away from nuns. If a nun can’t be avoided, touch iron (knocking on wood Italian-style) immediately after seeing one to preserve good fortune. You can also do as the Italians do and mutter “Your nun!” to the next person you see, passing the nun (and therefore the bad luck) to someone else.

When in Japan: Pay attention to the first person you meet each morning. If it’s a woman, you’ll have good luck, but if it’s a Buddhist priest, you’re in for a bad day.

I wonder what it is with religious figures…

Try selling  your health problem to a friend. Offer to give her a good deal – say, a buck fifty – on your tendonitis. Some believe that the evil spirits that control the illness will get confused as to who should actually have it and the problem will go away.

Those spirits are pretty gullible. T2 diabetes anyone? I can give you a great deal.

Maize Maze

We went to the West Farm Corn Maze this afternoon with a friend and her kids.

West Farm corn maze
West Farm corn maze

It was my first time doing a corn maze, and it was pretty fun. It was a good day for a corn maze weather-wise too: sunny, but not boiling hot and with a bit of a breeze to cool things off.

It’s a great place for the family with corn sand boxes (filled with corn kernels instead of sand), a little hay bale maze, big climbing area, petting zoo, pumpkin painting, and of course the corn maze. There was the big maze, and also a little maze for the kids.

West Farm goat
West Farm goat

The maze itself isn’t too hard to navigate with the map, but if you do manage to get lost, there are volunteers (corn cops) in the maze who can help you out. There were 12 check points at various places in the maze that can also help you get reoriented on the map.

Corn maze entrance
Corn maze entrance

After the maze was lunch and then a hay wagon ride. Nice relaxing ride that went around the corn maze, through some woods and by a little pond with some turtles lounging in the sun.

Fun time, and lots of people who looked like they were having fun there.