September 26th, 2007
The other day at work my boss came to my office with a new keyboard for me. I had been using a big heavy beast of a keyboard for the past year, and it suited me just fine. It was one of those clicky-clacky keyboards with great tactile feedback, and it made a lot of noise, which I believe to be the primary reason my boss wanted me to use the new one.
My old keyboard (Dell Model #AT101W)
The new keyboard is sleek, compact and not nearly as heavy or sturdy as the old one. It’s almost completely silent, excpet for a bit of rattling in the space bar. I find I can type at a similar speed, but I don’t get the same finger workout as I did with the old keyboard.
My new keyboard (Dell Model #SK-8115)
I’m pretty rough on my keyboards, using a lot of force when I type. Sometimes, when I get into a groove, or I’m just plain mad, I’ll almost be pounding on the keys. This is especially true when I’m gearing up for a big Ctrl-V key sequence. In my mind, I’m all like, “ready, aim, paste!” and I punch those keys as if they looked at my girlfriend the wrong way.
I’m slowly getting used to this new fancy keyboard, but we’ll see how long it holds up under my daily typing assault…
September 20th, 2007
A number of years ago, I bought a Dunlop Crybaby Wah pedal second hand. It was a good deal, but the sound was never as good as I wanted it to be. Since I got it, there was a scratchy sound that I could never totally get rid of. I cleaned out the potentiometer (pot) with electronics cleaner a few times, and that definitely improved things, but it was never perfect.
Lately, I’ve been getting back into playing guitar, and I wanted to put this wah to use. I figured I would just replace the pot and everything would be fine. At first, I assumed I could just go to Radio Shack or whatever they’re called these days and get a replacement, but after doing some research online, I found that the potentiometer used in a wah-wah is not a simple linear pot, but is logarithmic.
Without wanting to figure all this stuff out on my own, I began looking for a simple drop-in replacement. Many companies sell replacement pots, often with the little gear already attached, which means installation is as simple as tightening a nut and soldering three wires. I got my Dunlop Hot Potz-II replacement from my local Long & McQuade music store. It cost me $30.50, which isn’t too bad considering a new pedal would cost me over $100. I could have ordered online, but most of the places were charging at least $20, plus shipping, so I avoided the hassle and bought locally.
Here’s some pictures:
These things are easy to open up by simply unscrewing the four feet on the bottom. No screwdriver required.
Here’s the replacement potentiometer. It even has decent instructions printed on the back:
You need a wrench to unscrew the old pot and then you just disconnect the wires. Drop the replacement into position, make sure the gear is engaged and then tighten the nut. Then just get out the trusty soldering iron and solder the three wires back into place.
And that’s it. It was pretty easy to do, and took less than 20 minutes. No more dirty scratchy sounds. The wah wah is good as new and sounds great.