Author Archives: John Hagensieker

Seiko 5 Field Watch Review

Seiko 5 Unboxing

Not as many people wear watches these days but I am one of them.  And my style tends to drift towards the look of the military field watch.

I’m a big fan of Marathon, Hamilton and Bertucci Field Watches  and a real big fan of the Seiko 5 Series of field watches.

First and foremost the Seiko 5 offerings are AFFORDABLE.  They aren’t priced to the moon.

The Seiko 5 line was recently refreshed and I just picked up a new SRPG35.  It’s a beauty.  It is a 40mm watch face with a 20mm strap.  The movement is their bulletproof 4R36 Automatic. Right after that I’m not going to discuss specs.  There are videos and web pages galore that do nothing but repeat the Seiko specifications and I don’t find those particularly useful.  Here on my blog I like to talk about real world usage and obvious gotchas.

I first got hooked on the Seiko 5 series when I got the SNK803 Seiko 5 back in 2019.

Seiko SNK Series (click pics to enlarge)

Those are some beautiful watches, and best of all the watch snobs LOVED THEM. The tan one is the SNK803 and the black one is the SNK809.  I put custom straps on both of them.

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Sayonara Uncle Sam

Well, here it is.  The day we all wait for.  Retirement.  My official work counter shows me at 37 years and 8 months and retiring as a GS-13 Step 9.

We’re quite a ways from 1982 when I went through the gates at Great Lakes Naval Training Command.  Imagine being 19 years old and departing boot camp and reporting to an aircraft carrier in dry dock.  I’m not scared of heights but when I looked down that dry dock at the USS Carl Vinson in its entirety I got a little bit of vertigo.   Not to mention the whole ship is a gigantic maze with no cheese at the end.

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Multitools

Even though I am a Swiss Army knife guy through and through I have just started dabbling in multitools. During my employment career it was necessary to have a pocket carry EDC knife and most 91mm Swiss Army knives fit that bill perfectly.  Now that I telework (thank you COVID) and am about to retire I probably won’t be getting out and about as much and having a few multitools laying around strategically will be fairly practical, I believe.

I decided to try a tool from the major manufacturers and got the following:

  • Victorinox Swiss Tool Spirit X
  • Gerber Suspension NXT
  • Leatherman Surge

After reading dozens of reviews and talking to a few people I also decided to get a Leatherman Wave +.

Leatherman Wave +

I think out of all of them I may like the Wave + the best although it is a tossup between that and the Swiss Tool Spirit X.
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Credit Alert Interactive Verification Reporting System (CAIVRS)

I bet you never heard of Credit Alert Interactive Verification Reporting System (CAIVRS) before.

CAIVRS was established by the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) agency in June of 1987.  It is a database of Social Security Numbers that are in default regarding federal loans such as Student Loans, Small Business Loans, VA Loans, etc.

The following agencies report to CAIVRS:

  • Department of Agriculture
  • Department of Education
  • Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Small Business Administration
  • Department of Justice

If you default on a loan or credit card it goes to your credit report which is accessible to you.  However, if you default on a Federal Student Loan it is not reported to your credit file.  It is only reported to CAIVRS.

YOU WILL NEVER KNOW YOU WERE A VICTIM OF IDENTITY THEFT UNLESS YOU APPLY FOR FEDERAL MONEY.

I just applied for a VA loan for a new home and was notified by my lender that I was delinquent on a Federal Student Loan and that I could not get my VA loan until this issue was cleared up.  I immediately knew this was inaccurate because I HAVE NEVER HAD A STUDENT LOAN.

I called the Department of Education Student Loan Debt Resolution ……………… let that sink in a moment.   This problem is so huge apparently that they have their own departmental offices.

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Leatherman Surge vs. Victorinox Swiss Tool Spirit X

I love Swiss Army knives.  But recently I have decided to try out some of the larger multi-tools.  Yeah, I’m a few years late to the game……..but here goes.

Before I ever talk about these tools know that I think they are used best on a conditional basis.   When I am at home or in the truck or camper know that I keep a proper set of tools around to take care of business.  The right tool for the job, as they say.

However, having a good multi-tool within reach most of the time does come in mighty handy.   And on the surface this statement might seem odd ……….. If the proverbial fecal matter were to hit the electrical rotary device………being stuck in the middle of an emergency situation with a suite of tools in your pocket would be a blessing, no?

So multi-tool choices are abundant and there are review videos galore on these tools.  The selection of a good multi-tool is going to be a very personal choice and no way am I ever going to imply that I found the BEST TOOL and that you should get one.

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My Favorite Swiss Army Knife

Wow!  What a loaded subject line.   Especially since I easily have about 75 Swiss Army knives.   And I love them all.  However some stand out, and particularly one stands out.

First of all lets stroll down memory lane, shall we?  The Swiss Army knife was first made in 1891 with roots back to about 1884.  That is quite a lineage.

Victorinox 1891 Soldier

Victorinox 1891 Soldier

Oddly enough it doesn’t look that much different than what we carry today.  Isn’t it amazing that the origins of a useful pocket took have remained true to form for so long?
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Swiza – A Swiss Army Knife Killer?

I like pocketknives.   A lot.  I’m actually one of those guys with a giant fear of getting cut and I have zero desire to ever use a knife as a weapon.  For me, the act of carrying a knife is more about being the instant savior to a situation with my fancy multi-tool.   And I like knowing I’m prepared and ready for whatever may happen to me.

NOTE:  99% of my knife usage is opening Amazon boxes that contain knives. 

My pocketknife of choice is, and always has been Victorinox Swiss Army knives.  As a young boy I remember the excitement of the first Cub Scout knife.  Wow.  What a responsibility.  It was taught as such and that message was received as such.  God I love my generation.

So I am a knife collector of sorts.  Swiss Army, Benchmade, Spyderco and other EDC items like flashlights and pens that actually work in the weather.

Even though the Swiza knives have been around for a while I decided to pick one up and try it out.  Allow me to answer the question in my subject line.

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Listen to Top Secret Radio

Well not really.  But a whole lot of radio stations out there call themselves High Definition Radio (HDR) and is really called In Band On Channel (IBOC).  If you look at the top of my pages you’ll see this image.  Where the red line is, is the center of the signal or the station frequency.  On the side of the signal are two rectangles which can can carry digital information.  This doubles the bandwidth required to 400kHz.   This works in the US because of our FM channel spacing but won’t work in other countries.

John’s Tech Blog

At any rate, there is data transmitted on the rectangles and lots of times entirely different radio stations.    This is why your car radio shows album art or tells you the name of the song and what is playing next.  Some larger metropolitan areas will also transmit weather or traffic maps.

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Wiring a 24 volt Air Assist Solenoid to KT332N Laser Controller

Adding an external, more powerful air assist is a MUST DO upgrade for your CO2 laser.  There are many guides on how to do this however none of them are specific to a laser which has a Ryxon KT332N Controller.  Larger lasers use different controllers and the controller connections have a different name on them on the KT332N which may confuse some users.

I’m not doing an inclusive build of materials here. This will just cover wiring the solenoid to the controller.

First of all you need a 24volt Solenoid which is Normally Closed.  That means air only spews out when the solenoid is energized electrically from the controller.  So you need:

  • Solenoid
  • Wire – you can use any wire as long as it will handle 24 volts and about 250 degrees F.  I chose this wire simply because it is jacketed and it is easier and cleaner to route 1 cable, than 2 separate wires.

Also note that the solenoid is non-polarity specific so that means you don’t have to observe polarity at either end however where the wires are connected to the controller you SHOULD follow standard color coding in case you sell the machine or if it catches on fire the fireman will blame your backwards home brew wiring for the cause of the fire 😃

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Why You MUST Add A Water Flow Sensor Switch To A K40 Laser

My K40 (and various other CO2 lasers) does not have a water flow sensor switch on it.   There are folks who put a water flow meter on the outside of their lasers which gives you a visual representation that the water is indeed flowing.  That’s great.  Until you turn your back and the pump fails causing water to stop flowing and your laser tube and power supply go “POOF”.

You would have to watch that flow meter 100% of the time to be safe.

With a water flow sensor switch it kills power to the laser firing circuit if no water flow is detected thus saving your precious CO2 laser tube and power supply.

The switch in the flow sensor is in the normally open position.  That means the circuit is BROKEN until water flows through the sensor and then the switch closes which ENERGIZES the laser firing circuit.

In fact laser power supplies have a protection circuit ready to roll.

BUT LOOK AT HOW THEY BYPASS THIS CIRCUIT IF THERE IS NO WATER FLOW SENSOR SWITCH INSTALLED!

Bypassing the Water Protection Circuit On A CO2 Laser

Yikes.  The jumper, if it could talk would say……”there is a protection circuit here, and it is working just fine”.  But if your pump fails it would also say…….”there is a protection circuit here, and it is working just fine”.  NO PROTECTION.  THIS IS UNSAFE!

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