Thursday, October 30, 2008

What's a real Mercedes-Benz?

"Real Mercedes" A term used loosely these days, with no concrete definition. Being a Mercedes fan, I decided to shed some light on the matter. So what's a real Mercedes?

A real Mercedes is generally accepted to be a Mercedes-Benz made up to and including the year 1995. Excluding all cars newer than and including the W140 S-Class and all C-Class. Therefore the term gets a little complicated to define because the W140 started production in 1992 and the W202 (first C-Class) started it's life in 1994.

Another way of defining the term would be to say, all cars made up to 1993 and any W124 E-Class.

1993 and 1995 have special meaning. They are not just arbitrarily chosen. Year 1993 marks the last year of production of the W201 190-Class. And 1995 marks the end of production of the w124 E-Class.

The end of production of these two models signals the end of the "Real Mercedes" era.

Mercedes-Benz was once known for their excellence in Engineering, Quality and Design. There is truly nothing on Earth built quite like a real Merc.

Today most people who have more money than brains believe that the prestige that comes with the tri-star on their cars comes from the money in their pockets. In reality the prestige comes from the respect Mercedes once had for making a quality car.

Cars like the W126 S-Class were such revolutionaries that, if one were to write a book on the evolution of automobiles, the W126 would require a chapter of its own.

With a production count of nearly 1million units during a period of 12years (1979 -> 1991), the W126 is like no other car in history. Its no surprise then that this car obtained the highest points for 4 years running on the J.D Power Sales Satisfaction Index. As well as numerous "Car of the Year" and safety awards.

The W201 190-Class was so meticulously engineered, it has often been coined as "massively over engineered". A DTM track champion and Best-In-Class for half a decade, the 190 was built like no other executive sedan. Even the famous British F1 racer Martin Brindle is often quoted for saying the 190E had the best handling saloon car chassis in the world.

The W123 E-Class was such a tank, it would outlive humanity itself. Even today, you will find one running around even in the most remote places in Africa.

These are just a few greats of the real Mercedes era. A real Merc, is made of metal, real wood and real leather. Not plastic, fake wood and artificial leather. Here is a nice article on "The Greatest-ever Mercedes" by Henry Biggs

Many critiques say that the quality is coming back to cars made after 2005, but I've yet to own one of these cars to be able to tell you for sure.

Here is some nice YouTube content of a build quality test done on a W124 E-Class. (Sorry its broken into 4 parts, not my fault)

There are many cars I have not talked about. However you should be able to understand what a "Real Mercedes" is now.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Fixing an M-Audio Delta 1010

Its 1am and Amarok throws on Santana - Europa.

Santana and Jazz music does to me, what belly rubbing does for dogs. So I go over to the amp and plug in my guitar. But I woops'd and I pushed my Delta 1010 off the table.

The poor thing must have only fallen 2ft at most. But when I went to hook it up again, it was dead :( No power light, no sounds, nothing.

Heart broken, I picked it up and opened it. One of the 2200uF capacitors looked like it was oozing out something, but using a volt-meter, it was indeed holding charge. There was a little black box near the power connector that I wasn't sure about. So after some googling I found that it was a Relay, made by Hsin Da Taiwan.

After reading the wikipedia article on relays and learning they have "moving parts", I took a guess that this chap might have broken from the fall.

I shopped around for parts, but no one has this relay in stock. And those that listed this item had archived it as "obsolete".

So I went off googling again to find a data sheet so I could find a similar relay as a replacement. Miraculously i found a data sheet for this very relay on a German website. I printed it out and took it to the an electronics store a few blocks away from my house.

The closest matching relay I could fine was this Sanyou. Only off by 2volts and costing CAD$2.99, I decided to buy it.

Sadly this new relay was a 5 pin chip, whilst the original was a 6 pin. Therefore I couldn't mount it directly onto the Delta. So I had to hot wire it.

I cut out the floppy cable from an old PSU and soldered one end to the pins of the relay, and the other to 2cm long cuts of a G-String from an electrical guitar. I chose to do this so I would have something stiff to solder onto the board.

Slightly embarrassed about my shotty soldering, this is how it turned out.Anyhow, I moved on and replaced that leaky capacitor and wrapped up everything with a bit of insulation tape. I began putting everything back into the case. With 2 screws left I forgot to put the steel jacked back onto the data cable port. So I had to take out everything out again and put it together again.

Tucked the hot-wired relay to a side and it was starting to look pretty decent.

In this picture you can see the new capacitor too, as its coloured blue and stands out from the other black coloured capacitors.

So plugged it in, and got that green power LED! Switched on the jack server, and we had sound!!! Happy Day. I was thoroughly impressed with myself. I'm a pro M-Audio Delta 1010 Technician now :)