Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Cricket at Normandy CC

Yes, I know that this photo is not cricket, but last Saturday I watched the whole of the Olympic mens cycle road race on tv.
I took this photo of the race as it appeared on my tv.
Team GB were running plan A that was intended to deliver Mark Cavendish to the front of the race with 1 Km to go. However when it became clear that plan A was not working there did not seem to be a plan B. That was such a shame as the team had made a massive effort to get the wanted result. In the end they were out of the medals.

On Sunday I watched the women's cycle road race. The weather was awful and it contributed to a number of crashes. However the girls of the team did a good job especially Emma Pooley who was often at the front at crucial points on the Box Hill circuit. After a long run into London with heavy rain all the way, Lizzie Armitstead fought out the final sprint for gold with Marianne Vos of Holland. Vos got the gold and Armitstead got the silver and the first medal of the games for team GB.

On Monday I went to the Normandy Cricket Club to watch the first day of a womens T20 county tournament. The counties taking part were Kent, Surrey (where I am residing at the moment), Middlesex and Sussex.

Normandy is only a few miles from where I live and I love to watch cricket where a large number of the top English International players are taking part.

Here are Surrey batting and Sussex fielding at the second oval at Normandy.

Oh dear, Surrey do not seem to be doing too well here. 37 for 7 and only a few overs left.
It was time to go and look at the match between Kent and Middx. Kent were batting and a certain C Edwards was out first ball of the match. I was going to ask her for her autograph but decided against it.
In the end, Kent managed to win the match fairly easily as Middx struggled to score.
Sussex had won the other match with Surrey only managing to get 41 runs in their twenty overs.
So lunch was a bit early and we had only had had one short spell of rain. Most of the time it had been sunny spells and a cool wind that kept the spectactors well covered up. Maybe I was the only only spectator that was not a friend or family member of a player.

Here, Middlesex are batting and Sussex are in the field.
There was a lot of verbal encouragement from one player. As expected this was Aaron Brindle. Middlesex only managed to 61 runs in their innings.
I went back to the Kent v Surrey match. Surrey had won the toss and chose to bat first. They managed 62 for 9 from their twenty overs.

Now it was time for Kent to bat. This time Charlotte Edwards was back in form. The red cricket ball dipping in from the far right of the photo is about to get crashed into the woods.
Rhiannon Dick at the other end gets this ball just above her pads. I am sure it hurt but at least it was from a slow delivery.
Charlotte connecting with a ball that was coming in my direction for another four.
Charlotte got 31 before being caught out. However Kent soon chased down the required total in just six overs.

So Kent and Sussex won two games, while Surrey and Middlesex lost both of theirs.

Tomorrow the remaining games and final will be played but as the weather does not look good I will not be attending. The British summer strikes again.


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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

How I fixed a faulty Toshiba RD100KB video unit

Firstly a warning. This unit has no earth connection via the mains plug. It is therefore double insulated. The power supply has some very high and potentially lethal voltages on it. I measured 334 volts dc on one capacitor.
Only somebody who has had suitable training should undertake this repair.

The Toshiba RD100KB is a tv freeview tuner with a 320 GB hard disc and a DVD recorder built in. This is not a HD unit.

Just after the 12 months warranty ran out, the unit failed. The fault symptom was that you could not turn it on. On applying mains power there was a click followed by another click a second later.

I was not keen to scrap it especially when it has some recorded programs on the hard disk that had not been viewed. After having unplugged everything, including the mains supply, I removed the cover. I could see the power supply area and this had extra plastic safety shielding over parts of it.

Further disassembly revealed a complex power supply arrangement with multiple output dc voltages. I could see that one section of the power supply was permanently connected to the mains input and this produced a 5 volt rail. Pressing the “power on” button caused a relay to close a pair of contacts on the power supply board and produce the multiple dc outputs require for the logic and various devices. As I said the relay only closed the contacts for a moment and then dropped out again. I decided to entirely remove the psu board from the unit and this meant disconnecting quite a few ribbon cables and some mechanical disassembly. Once I had got the psu board onto a flat and non conductive surface, I applied a link to short out the relay contacts. This meant that mains would be applied to the main power supply and I could chase down the fault. It seemed that the power supply would only work properly when the other bits were connected as a load. However I was able to determine that the 12 volt rail was missing with everything connected.
After breaking everything down again, and with the mains supply unplugged , I probed around the 12 volt supply components looking for short circuits. Indeed there was a short circuit. I removed a capacitor as they are the usual suspects, but this was not the problem. Cutting a track threw suspicion upon a couple of Schottky diodes that were in parallel. I de-soldered the end of one and lifted it. The short circuit disappeared. This particular diode was a short circuit. The diode is a SK3B and is D2204 on the board. I tested the board again with just the remaining diode in circuit. It was now working. I re-assembled everything and removed the link from the power supply board.
A functional test showed everything in working order. The Schottky diode has a 3 amp rating and as there were two in parallel they must be expecting currents of up to 6 amps. For this reason I ordered some replacement diodes so that I could change them as a matched pair.

It was pleasing to get this unit working again. Modern electronics are usually reliable but there do seem to be a lot of fake components around these days.
This experience makes me wary of Toshiba products. It was certainly not designed for ease of servicing and I could not get hold of a circuit diagram.
Personally I prefer to see a proper mains earth for the metal case.


Saturday, July 14, 2012

Trip to Greenwich

As my youngest brother and his family who live in California were over in England on holiday, I thought that it would make a good day out to go to Greenwich.
It seems like I was wrong.
I had visited Greenwich on my own a couple of years ago and had found that the place was a building site with access denied to many areas. They were filming the most recent, and most boring of the Pirates of the Caribbean series at the time. However I did at least manage to get to the Greenwich Observatory to see the Harrison clocks, and the Prime Meridian. Most of the points of interest around Greenwich are free of charge to view.

The weather in England has been very poor with endless rain and little sunshine. This day was looking to be much the same , but one has to make the best of it.

We took the train to Waterloo and then walked to the quays by the London Eye.
Here we boarded a river cruise to Greenwich.

The sky was grey but at least it was not actually raining.
The recently opened Shard now dominates the skyline south of the Thames.

On arriving at Greenwich we saw the Cutty Sark which again has just been recently re-opened to the public after it was partially destroyed in a fire.
It does seem that many attempts to renovate things actually end up in a fire engulfing the object in question. Maybe this is a tactic to extract greater sums of money for the renovation, or maybe it is just plain incompetence.

We decided to get some lunch and visited this Pie and Mash shop where we had "pie and mash". It was very nice and excellent value for money.

After our lunch it was time to go exploring. However we did see "The first shop in the world" nearby.

As we walked towards Greenwich Park it soon became clear that once again the whole place was a massive building site. It seems that some Olympic events were being carried out here. The entire Park was closed. The amount of building, steelwork, seating, electrical and communications infrastructure being installed was staggering. It must be costing millions. Most of it looked brand new and there were hundreds of construction workers. All this for a temporary structure.

We did attempt to walk around the Park to see if there was any access at any point but there was not. The best we could manage was to find a plaque in the wall on a northern boundary.

What a disaster, and it was threatening to rain all the time.
We made our way back down the hill and did at least pay a quick visit to the Maritime Museum. Soon after we boarded another river cruise boat back to Waterloo and a train ride home.

Avoid Greenwich.


Thursday, July 12, 2012

England win

England Women's cricket team win the One Day International (ODI) series against India at Wormsley. England won the series 3-2 having lost the first two games. The deciding match was played at the Wormsley cricket ground but the Duckworth-Lewis system got another airing to decide the result. It is a shame that we cannot get a decent summer's day at this beautiful ground that is on the Paul Getty estate. I guess we just have to be thankful that the game was able to take place.

This was the scene at Wormsley when I arrived and while the teams were warming up in the field.
I was still struggling to get my camera to actually focus properly so some of these pictures are a bit fuzzy. The England skipper Charlotte Edwards won the toss and chose to field first.
Jenny Gunn receives a cap which I think was in recognition of being in 150 international cricket matches.
Play gets under way and Katherine Brunt opens the bowling.
Brunt soon gets her first wicket and the score is 1 for 1
The pavilion and yes it does have the national flags of the teams flying.
We did get some sunshine
Sarah Taylor and the slip fielders seemed to be having a private race to get to the other end of the wicket at the end of each over.
My viewing point.
This is Red Kite territory.
The skipper alters the field placings.
Brunt is grumpy as she just conceded two runs and got no wickets in her previous over.
Georgia Elwiss got 3 wickets, 4 maidens for just 17 runs from her 10 overs.
Jenny Gunn having a bowl.
Jenny Gunn bowled eight overs but that unusual wrist action did not claim any wickets today.
Tigers and dragons supporting Engerland.
India managed to get 152 runs on the board in their batting innings. It looked beatable and the England girls are good at chasing down a total. We had only had one short rain delay.
England openers Charlotte Edwards and Tammy Beaumont take to the field. Edwards seems to have lost her high scoring ability for the moment and although Beaumont manages to stay on the pitch, her run rate is very low. This all makes for a mixture of anxiety, boredom and frustration on my part. Should we not have two attacking batsmen on the field. But then what do I know ?
I am only a spectator
The sky looks a bit threatening.
Charlotte is being cautious. She got 7 runs before being caught by Mitali Raj. This catch seemed to have been taken in conjunction with a nasty hand injury for Raj and she left the field for quite a while to receive attention.
Sarah Taylor came in and got a rapid 21 runs before being caught out.
Sarah Taylor leaves and Lydia Greenway joins the fray.
Greenway is soon making her presence felt.
Beaumont eventually is out for 19 runs and the incoming Brindle strikes out.

Brindle had got 25 runs when she was run out by an amazing long distance throw from the boundary.
After 36 overs and with the score at 124 the players left the field due to rain. They were ahead of the Duckworth Lewis score. I waited around and while at one stage it looked like the rain would clear, it soon started coming down even heavier. At around 6pm I decided to give in and headed home. The rain was very heavy on the M40 and when I got to the M25, although the rain was clearing, there were long delays.
When I eventually got home I checked on the www and saw that no further play took place. England won the match and the series. I suspect that there were not too many people left to attend the presentations. It was good to see that new team member Georgia Elwiss got both the 'Player Of the Match' and 'Player Of the Series' for her excellent bowling.

Well done England.

It looks as if I will have to wait until I go back to Oz to get some decent sunshine and watch cricket while wearing a T shirts, shorts and a sun hat.


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Sunday, July 08, 2012

Wormsley Wednesday

I am going to Wormsley on Wednesday in the knowledge that the England Women's cricket team levelled the ODI series against India today. The series is now 2-2. Wednesday is the decider.

Bradley Wiggins is in the yellow jersey at the Tour de France.

Just need some better weather now and everything will be perfect.


Thursday, July 05, 2012

England Women 3rd ODI

I'm back at the Taunton ground for the third ODI between the England women and India women.
This is a must win game for England or else the series is lost.
At least the weather seems a bit better and it should remain dry for this match.

I am really struggling with my new compact camera and have had to throw away many photos as they are out of focus. There also seems to be a significant delay between pressing the shutter and it taking a photo.

Here is a typical dodgy shot. A rather poor and out of focus shot of an England fast bowler. I can only apologise to her but at least you can see the effort that she is putting in.
I wonder what the skipper and Heather Knight were talking about?
Lydia Greenway was back in the team but I heard that she still had a really sore leg. She pulled off another amazing catch in this game.
Katherine Brunt receiving instructions
Brunt in action
Jenny Gunn showing her wrist action
Three dinos. Not sure what the guy in red is doing with his finger. Later during the lunch break an over zealous steward nearly threw two of the dinos out after they went onto the playing surface. They had been invited onto the field by a coach.
Danny Wyatt got to bowl
Meanwhile Katherine Brunt still had some overs left.
Jenny Gunn from the River end this time.
After 50 overs India had clocked up 173 for 5 wickets
The sun came out during the lunch break but soon went behind the clouds again when England started their batting session.
The session started with some fireworks as they were attempting to scare away some seagulls that were circling overhead.
Charlotte Edwards has not had much luck in this series and was again out LBW after only getting 7 runs. All the experts seem to think that she should not have been given out.
It all looks a bit tense on the bench
For the first time in two days the England girls actually got up to the Duckworth Lewis score.
Sarah Taylor comes on and makes a useful contribution of 34. Sorry Tammy Beaumont my photo was out of focus of you while getting a creditable and top scoring 44 for England.
Brindle did well and got 40
The ground from my viewing point with sunshine that arrived around about 4pm.
Only 18 needed for that first win
Trying to get those last few runs.
Danni Wyatt came on and managed to get the runs required for a win with a boundary.
Phew, England get the win and it is time for handshakes
The winning skipper is interviewed
Charlotte and the team coach chat about the outcome of the game.
Sorry I had to delete some of the photos that I would have liked to have included. Probably due to operator error. The next match is at Truro and I will not be there. However it would be great if England can pull off another win to level the series and set up a great final at Wormsley next week.


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