Quick update – Retronics UK

I have started a business with a friend, Retronics UK (http://retronicsonline.com/) and that is taking off nicely. My time has been spent building windscreen wiper delay timer modules for vintage cars. It allows for wiper delays of 2, 3, 4, 8 and 16 seconds. Sales should increase demanding more of my time but I have designed version 3 to be much quicker to build so I hope to get back to Liquiphonics asap.

My partner in this crime, Andy, has got an article in Practical Classics (vintage car magazine) which you can see below.

The RWTM (Retronics Windscreen Timer Module) in the flesh.
The RWTM (Retronics Windscreen Timer Module) in the flesh.
The front cover of Practical Classics, April 2019.
The front cover of Practical Classics, April 2019.
Our RWTM shown in Practical Classics magazine.
Our RWTM shown in Practical Classics magazine.
A close up of our part in the mag.
A close up of our part in the mag.
Finally, the advert we made, to go into other media.
Finally, the advert we made, to go into other media.
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Testing Begins

The printed circuit board I used for testing the preamp and power amps is now back on the test bench to be prepared for Frank’s Portable HiFi:

Integrated Amplifer Circuitry.
Integrated Amplifer Circuitry.

Posted in Amplification, Circuit Tests, Construction, Ghetto Blaster / Portable Music Player, Power Amplifier, Power Supplies, Pre Amplifier, Testing | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Portable cabinet – some bits missing

The jig is ready to use.  I will coat it all in varnish as soon as I can as the MDF will absorb moisture and warp which would not be useful at all.  But I need to get the Portable HiFi System started so want to use the jig straight away.

Having just gone through the MDF cut parts for the portable’s cabinet, I find there are errors;  I only ordered 1 part of an internal vertical when there should have been two ordered and I created a .dxf (CAD/CAM files) with dimension of 227mm instead of 277mm and those two parts were the side walls.  Rather, were meant to be.

So, a little setback.  I will need to get these three MDF parts from somewhere.  I cannot use the original cutter company as they have gone and I don’t want to use the current cutting company as it is only 3 parts.  I may have to cut them myself somehow, maybe I need to buy a circular saw of some kind.

Hopefully the next post I make, will be with a full compliment of fingers.

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Box Construction Jig now Faced

Box construction jig: the faces are now glued in place. All three faces need to be perpendicular to the other two; not so easy to do in practise. As I adjusted one set another face would be pushed out of true so it was a little tricky to accomplish but I am happy with the results.
I used the side panel from a dead Apple computer to check for accuracy (it has holes all over it because I was using it for a dual, variable power supply).

There is a gap around the bottom face to stop the two pieces being glued from sticking to the jig faces.  The gap is 30mm so I can join MDF sheet up to 25mm without gluing the jig and the cabinet pieces into one solid lump of MDF bits.

Box Construction Jig with the three faces glued into place.

Box Construction Jig with the three faces glued into place.

Box Construction Jig being checked for perpendicularity / accuracy using a panel from a dead Apple desktop computer.

Box Construction Jig being checked for perpendicularity / accuracy using a panel from a dead Apple desktop computer.

Posted in Box Construction Jig, cabinet, Construction, Ghetto Blaster / Portable Music Player, Loudspeakers, Power Amplifier | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Box Construction Jig is now being built

The emergency decorating is now finished, we are through Christmas and it is time to start building the box construction jig so I can start the build of the first Portable HiFi thanks for your patience Frank!

I made a couple of mistakes with the dimensioning of the jig so those needed correcting – it wasn’t at all straight forward and meant me staring at it for some time, trying to work out the best way of solving the problems.  Those problems are now solved.

I now have to find a way of putting it together so it is absolutely accurate regarding perpendicularity etc – I cannot get it wrong when it’s glued together as my boxes will be out of kilter.  Getting all three sheets (not shown in the photos as they need to go on next) glued accurately into position is not as easy as I expected.  When is anything as easy as you think?  So that is the next problem to solve but when it has been I will have a good jig to start all my MDF box building (amplifier, speaker cabinets etc).

I’ll post another photo when the three flat sheets are glued on.

Main box construction jig supports.

Main box construction jig supports.

All the box construction jig supports.

All the box construction jig supports.

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Portable Stereo HiFi development

The MDF has now been cut by Stalite Signs of Exeter, to produce the Box Construction Jig.  There are one or two problems, basically mistakes I have made and need correcting before I proceed.

But that aside, our outside wall has some cracks in the lime plaster (the house is over 220 years old) and the damp has destroyed some of the plaster inside our house.  So before I can carry on with the Portable Stereo construction, I need to do some exterior and interior decorating as it will only get worse.  And now I have discovered it, it will get worse fast and much quicker than I expect, Sod’s Law and the fact it’s winter and all that . . .

I hate decorating.

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Why do you need Lasting Power of Attorney?

There comes a time for all of us when the people who are closest and dearest to us, reach an age where they are not physically and/or mentally as capable as they used to be.  This usually happens late in life but can also happen earlier.  Especially with older people, I cannot help but feel certain institutions are circling above waiting to swoop down and grab any morsel they can get their beaks onto, so protecting our loved ones best interests can potentially, turn into a fight.

My wife’s parents.  A very good friend of ours, who has recently been through the same landscape, advised obtaining a Lasting Power of Attorney straight away, both for finance and also health.  I searched the Internet for reasons why I might want to do that but all returns were from institutions that made money from instigating a PoA and though it all sounded good, they clearly are biased as there is a large financial return for them.

So my wife asked my friend for some idea of why PoAs are a good idea.  His answer was so good I thought it worth sharing here so that others may benefit.  You will find my wife’s email below, together with his response.

There is a point I would like to make.  I had difficulty convincing my wife to talk to her parents about it as she did not want to come across as money or power grabbing.  It turned out that her mother was only too ready, willing and happy to proceed.  But her mother was reticent to talk to her husband due to concerns he would not like the idea.  It turned out that my wife’s father was also only too ready, willing and happy to proceed.  A lot of dangerous time had been unnecessarily wasted through trying not to hurt anybody’s feelings but nobody’s feelings were hurt at all.

  • Do not waste time worry about feelings as this is far too important.

A second point here.  Having convinced her mother and father to go ahead, her mother downloaded all the documents from the government web site, both finance and health ones and then asked her neighbour to be a witness to the signatures.  Their neighbour has known them for nearly two decades now and was in a good position to do this.  Unfortunately the neighbour then convinced the mother to not bother with the health one as it would save £82 for each of them and wasn’t really necessary as “your doctor has your best interests at heart and the health one is a waste of money”.

  • Do not let someone with no knowledge and only a single experience talk you out of this.

I’ve just entered my 60’s and though I consider myself far away from needing any kind of Power of Attorney, I will donate this to my wife as soon as possible now I know more about it:  you may not need anyone else to drive your car but if you put someone on the insurance, they are legally able to drive you to a hospital when you break a leg and they don’t get access to your car when your leg is good.

Government Web Site for Power of Attorney:


A lasting power of attorney (LPA) is a legal document that lets you (the ‘donor’) appoint one or more people (known as ‘attorneys’) to help you make decisions or to make decisions on your behalf.

This gives you more control over what happens to you if you have an accident or an illness and can’t make your own decisions (you ‘lack mental capacity’).”

Here is something that may or may not be relevant, a BBC 28 minute video on;

Communication and Dementia
Michael Rosen explores how to communicate with people with dementia. Alison Wray offers advice, such as to respond to the feeling behind the words rather than the words themselves.


That’s the end of my rant, here’s the good stuff.

Hi *,
Sorry to bother you but could you please give me some advice?

My mum has decided not to go for the health part of the power of attorney paperwork. Could you outline for me the reasons that you’ve come across why this might be a bad decision on her part?

Both my mum and dad are more than happy for the financial power-of-attorney paperwork but I don’t know why they wouldn’t want to have the health POA.


Hi 🍁,

Not a problem, I’m always happy to spout forth my opinion on things!
Caveat – everything I say is my personal opinion & may or may not be factually correct, in fact it could all be complete drunken bunkum!  🙂
An outline requires brevity – sorry, not my forte so your will to live may wane under the weight of my reply!
Firstly – maybe your mum has the standard generational thinking of our elders…don’t cause a fuss, doctor / lawyer / vicar / person of “importance” & “standing” knows best & is always right, etc.
Nonsense of course because one has every right to question & “cause a fuss” as it’s one’s health after all & believe me, doctors are not always right & the NHS often makes arbitrary decisions based on finances or outmoded medical thinking, puts juniors in charge, etc, etc…………….hospital “nutritionists” & the Liverpool Pathway spring to mind as prime examples of how not to do it that I have personal experience of.
Secondly – your mum may not want to give such angst ridden responsibilities to her loved ones – that’s you by the way 🙂 – & would rather let the system do it’s thing & absolve you of any responsibility for what may happen to her in a worst case scenario.
Admirably intended but misguided! – nothing is worse than seeing decisions & actions being made for your loved one’s health that you know are wrong (either factually or simply against what you know to be their wishes) & being helpless to do anything about it.
If you are not PoA for health then medical practitioners will usually listen to your thoughts as a relative but DO NOT NEED TO ACT UPON THEM, THEY CAN OVERRIDE / IGNORE YOUR INPUT in a contentious circumstance.
If you are PoA for health then you are legally deemed to be that person in the event that they can no longer make decisions themself….the doctors have to speak to you as if you were that person!
Thirdly – fear!  Fear of having control of her life taken away from her & your mum is possibly also fearful of acknowledging the unpleasant possibility of being in such a position in the first place.
She can rest assured that a PoA is only applicable if & when her health / mental capacity deteriorated.
Also, any specific wishes that your mum has can be written in to the PoA so that you have to abide by them – all decisions you make have to be in your mum’s best interests & not in yours. The ability to put specifics into the PoA (such as blood transfusion, Do Not Resuscitate, organ donation) protect your mum against any eventuality that she may not wish for.
It is also a fact that just because you may be acting for her under the PoA in a certain situation, it is not a legal “given” that you can act in for your mum in each & every scenario.
Ie: she may not lose total control over her life. There is legal precedent that lack of capacity, once acknowledged, can not be assumed in every occasion – this might seem at odds with what I’ve said earlier but imagine not being given the basic human respect of not being asked first what you’d like to eat, wear, do next, etc – these are basic things but important to one’s dignity.
(Also, there are far more complex situations which would not apply to your mum but for which this legal precedent is very important).
Fourthly – your mum may have had poor legal advice. A prime example here – my late mum initially decided to only do the finance PoA because her solicitor told her that there was enough protection in the law anyway for her health!
After all, a medical professional has to act in their patient’s best interests. But why would there be a PoA for health at all then? What if one disagrees with their opinion of best interests / does not wish to go along with their proposed treatment?
I knew from previous experience that this is utter rubbish & when I rang my own solicitor for their input they simply could not believe that my mum’s solicitor had advised her that way!
My mum, my brother & my sister all agreed with her solicitor (see my first point about some people doffing their caps & blindly believing that those in authority somehow always know best) & I frankly had to give up arguing about it with them all.
Move on a year when my mum had been very ill & had also changed solicitor – to one who as it happened advised differently, she changed her mind & took out a PoA for health!
Move on another year or two when dementia took mum’s ability to think for herself on so many things & we were all very glad that she had PoA’s in  place.
Basically, a PoA (be it health or finance) is a way of making sure that what one wishes to happen is what happens – it protects the rights of the donor (in this case your mum) in the event that they can not speak for themself.
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