Work Days 22nd and 29th April 2017

The minimum number of coats of paint on the LCP cabin is three, a primer and two top coats. Painting is being carried out with a brush for rivet heads and seams etc. and flat panels are painted with a 4” foam roller.

Painting LCP Cabin Roof 2 wm.jpg

The 4” roller is the preferred way to apply paint by most military vehicle restorers. There are no facilities to spray paint the LCP and there are features of the LCP cabin that we would like to pick out by not painting them, so hand painting is the only option. The RAF method of painting the LCP was, ‘spray it all over’; we are hand painting. Last week the LCP’s roof received its first top coat.

LCP Cabin Roof - First Coat wm.jpg

If anyone is interested in preserved steam engines then you’ll be aware that the groups carrying out their restoration have the same issue that we have, ‘in what livery should it be painted’. Bloodhound equipment was originally painted in Olive Drab and in later years IRR NATO Green was used.  The latter shade of NATO Green was more brown that green, for reasons not understood, so the decision is to paint the LCP in its original Olive Drab. A photo further down shows a cable duct cover in Olive Drab – silk. Shades of colour do vary from the low light levels in the hangar but are OK for comparisons. The photo also shows the problem we have with matt paint as below the cable duct cover it has been easy to finger mark. The word ‘mark’ was written on the cabin wall with my finger and I didn’t have to press hard.

This photo shows the various colours I’ve been playing with which is from the top: MOD SAE 605/285, Commercially supplied NATO Green, Green – forget this one, MOD NATO Green and at the bottom Commercially supplied Olive Drab (Silk). The tin of MOD NATO Green when wet is as for the commercial NATO Green but when dry turns to a dull, very matt and almost light green. All this if for info as we are in favour of the original LCP colour of Olive Drab. The inside of the LCP doors are still in original Olive Drab.

Paint Comparison wm.jpg

I installed a duct cover in Olive Drab (Silk) yesterday and looking at it in the light of the general appearance of the LCP for the public (eventually) and durability of the paintwork, Neil and I agreed it was the best option. I now have a sample tin of Olive Drab (Matt) from a commercial supplier. The supplier of the paint claims their matt colours do not suffer from marking as do other matt paints. I suppose it will have a slight sheen. So the plan was to install two duct covers, one in Olive Drab (Silk) and the other in Olive Drab (Matt) so we can make a final decision re matt or silk. The supplier’s description of their matt paint is: ‘Dries to a tough, durable, matt finish that does not finger mark’. There is one downside of silk paint, it does show the ‘dinks’ in the LCP cabin walls due to it’s slightly gloss finish.

LCP Cabin - Olive Drab Duct Cover wm.jpg

It is good having access to equipment like this to proceed safely with high-level work.

Gantry Accessing LCP Roof wm.jpg

Besides the LCP roof being painted on Saturday the LCP all the LCP awning rails have had their first top coat and the base ring of the LCP cabin has been primed.

This is the rear of our work area. It shows a side wall of the LCP cabin, the T86 and the T86 aerial cage. The blue plastic box contains salvaged cable duct covers, two have been used to replace missing covers on our LCP and the rest cannibalised for parts, e.g. chrome budget lock covers where the originals had been snapped off. Our objective is to get the LCP back to an A1 condition.

T86 LCP Work Area - Rear wm.jpg

Pete H was keen to get a ‘kit of parts’ sorted for refitting the various plates and covers etc. on the LCP so time isn’t wasted on Saturday ‘duty’ hunting and gathering ‘stuff’. During the week he cleaned out the rivet holes and re tapped all the ¼” UNF holes on the plates used to fit the canvas over the roof joints, 58 of them. He also made up the gaskets for these plates that go between the mild steel of the plate and the alloy roof section. Just need to finish the kit with the required pop rivets at washers then we can re fit these plates before the roof gets a final top coat.

Refurbished LCP Cabin Fittings 3 wm.jpg

Next job planned for this week was to re fit several budget locks to the cable duct covers. Several of the original budget locks are still in place on the covers but some fell off when removing paint and others due to corroded pop rivets and some were just missing, any missing budget locks are being replaced with locks salvaged from North Luffenham. All locks being refurbished.  Pete had assembled a complete kit of bits for the cable duct covers including the rubber buffers that protect the covers when open. Replacement seals for around the edge of the cable duct covers were tested and it was found that the rubber seals donated by Pete M were a perfect fit without the need to do any cutting apart from length to give four 6’ 6” lengths to enable the door seals to be replaced too

So yesterday more painting carried out by Ian with one of the end walls receiving its first top coatLCP Cabin Wall Fresh Paint wm.jpg


Pete M got the best job of the day, actually refitting something. The first items to be refitted are the short steel bars to which the canvas covering over the two roof joins will be bolted.

LCP Roof Fitting Canvas Plates wm.jpg

To be continued …..


Electronic Counter Measures and Bloodhound

We promised a unique video about the Bloodhound missile. Here it is hot off
the press from our specialist:  “An introduction to the Countermeasures that a
Cold War enemy might have employed against the Bloodhound Missile System and
how the system dealt with them.” There will be further videos about specific
countermeasure methods in due course.

Work Day 15th April 2017

Wishing all our readers a very happy and peaceful Easter time.

Two jobs carried out yesterday:
Neil cleaned the LCP roof of any dust residue from the rubbing down and primed the roof ready for a top coat.

LCP Roof Primed wm.jpg

I  (Peter H.) gave most of the LCP cabin awning frames their first top coat.

LCP Awning Support Frames wm.jpg

Neil also stuck together three dust sheets to provide a dust cover for the LCP to protect it as painting the roof has now started and there’s a lot of dust in the hangar!

Off-site the cable duct covers have now received their second top coat and preparation is under way to renew their rubber seals and replace the chrome lock covers.

Here is a photograph of the LCP as recovered from a a field is included with this blog to illustrate its condition in its original ‘abandoned’ state. Watch this space for a comparison with the completed article. The eagle-eyed will spot the T86 behind the LCP in both this picture and the one at the top; that has changed beyond recognition too but not so advanced.

From This - LCP wm.jpg

Work Day 8th April 2017 – Pt 2 Technical

Engagement Controller’s Monitor

Following the changing of the Technical Supervisor’s monitor the previous Saturday the EC’s monitor went a bit ‘funny’, the colour wasn’t right. After a short investigation of the obvious – and after the Red channel of the RGB video input disappeared – it was found that the Red channel termination switch, it switches in or out 75 Ohms, on the rear of the monitor had been switched over or stuck in the middle. Obviously accidently touched the pervious Saturday. With the switch now in correct position the monitor display is back to normal. We like these sorts of ‘faults’; keeps us on our toes!

Displays with SCSISD wm.jpg

After successfully formatting the SCSISD, see previous blog, and loading it with the Bloodhound software (SCSISD is a SCSI-2 hard disk emulator, it replaces a SCSI disk with a micro SD card!) in the workshop it was time to see if would run the LCP – answer; it does. The SCSISD is not as fast to boot the LCP as the original SCSICF product (CF card) we used for SCSI-2 disk emulation but it works! Slower it may be but still a lot faster than the original CDC Winchester disk. The SCSISD emulator is about a sixth of the cost of the SCSICF emulator but there is a very good reason for this. SCSISD is an open source item aimed initially at the Amiga computer (yes the original Amiga) whereas the SCSICF product is aimed at mission critical applications in industry. For our use the SCSISD is fine as the days of the LCP being ‘mission critical’ have long gone. Performance of the SCSISD is less than the SCSICF at boot but the LCP appears to perform normally when using the SCSISD, see the accompanying photos of the displays running with SCSISD and the SCSISD card under test in the Argus 700 disk/tape shelf. One issue with SCSISD is that on switching on the Argus the Argus has to receive a reset before it boots from the SCSISD. This issue will be looked at but if it turns out to be a ‘feature’ of the SCSISD it is not a problem, particularly where costs are involved.

Work Day 8th April 2017 – Pt 1 Mechanical

Painting and Scraping

Work has started on the preparation needed to repaint the LCP roof. When the many coats of paint were being removed, with a heat gun and scraping, a significant number of rivet heads came off. The reason being that the hole in the centre of the pop rivets had not been sealed and over the years water ingress into the centre of the rivet had caused the aluminium shaft of the rivet to corrode through. All the pop rivets that had lost their tops through corrosion had previously been replaced but the task on Saturday was to seal the tops of the replacement and original pop rivets to prevent any future water ingress. Isopon car body filler was used for this purpose. Next Neil used ‘wet and dry’ paper to rub down the roof, with plenty of wet, and is now ready to receive its coat of primer next Saturday. Neil also worked on creating a cover for the LCP roof to protect it from dust once repainting starts in earnest.

The underside of the steel section around the base of the LCP cabin was given a good going over with a ‘stripping disk’ (far superior to a wire brush for flat surfaces) and once cleaned of any corrosion and loose paint received corrosion treatment before primer will be applied next Saturday. Generally, the underside of the LCP is in a good condition considering its age and the years it spent dumped on the bare earth, subject to whatever the weather could throw at it. Two accompanying photos show the two worst cases of corrosion found, both at the ends of the LCP, these areas will be treated and repaired. The underside of the LCP is constructed from a perforated steel sheet on which five steel skids are fixed. The perforated steel sheet is covered in what looks like a resin coating, this can be seen in  one of the attached photos where the steel sheet has been punctured at some time in the past.

LCL Cabin Underside 3 wm.jpg


LCL Cabin Underside 4 wm.jpg

It was also decided that items that can be refurbished away from Cosford, e.g. cable duct covers, will be done so. All work at Cosford is then concentrated on the LCP cabin and the T86 cabin in its turn.


SCSI2 Hard Disc Replacement Alternative

One of our longer term challenges is establishing an alternative method of loading programs, currently on vulnerable QIC tapes, to the Argus hard drive. However, an alternative would be to have all the tapes pre-loaded on a ‘hard’ device.

We already have a solution developed and fully working for the unsustainable and highly unreliable Winchester disc using Compact Flash cards.  This system is quite expensive as are the professional grade CF cards. So the next step was to see if a different SCSI2 HD replacement card will work with the Argus.  An ‘open source’ product we had our eyes on only has asynchronous support and was originally designed for use with the Amiga computer; see here.  A new version going to be released soon is here; this supports synchronous transfers and will give better perfomance. If the earlier version works then so should the latter. These units use SD cards and are much cheaper that the unit we have installed which uses CF cards. Watch this space.

This is our workshop test rig with the Argus 700 on the left, disc system tray in the centre and FT81 terminal emulation on a laptop.

Argus 700 Test Rig wm.jpg

This is the disc system tray in close-up with the interface card to the Argus 700 on the left, tape drive and tape at the front and the new card on test back right.

SCSI and tape kit wm.jpg

This is the SCSI SD card under trial.

SCSISD Card.JPGThe SCSISD gives the initial boot message, ignore the FAIL and ERROR messages as I have no ME153’s plugged in but it works!

SCSISD Boot Message.jpg

Getting the SCSISD to work wasn’t ‘plug and play’ and I’ll write up how to configure one of these units, I couldn’t load software from tape initially! The proof of the pudding will be running SCSISD in the Launch Conttrol Post (LCP) and see how it performs which we’ll do on Saturday (today).

If it runs in the LCP OK (performance wise) it will represent a big financial saving over the SCSICF product, about a sixth of the price, but then SCSISD is not aimed at high reliability applications in industrial control. We don’t need that. If all works out well I will get several SCSICF units and a load of SD cards with UK and Swiss software loaded so we reduce the need for tapes. That said the tapes look to be loading trouble free at the moment.

Good news – the monitor is working!

Yes indeed the good news is that the monitor suspected of having a power supply fault is working but with a ‘no fault found’ solution.

Four of these large CRT monitors are used in the LCP; they are Mitsubishi Electric model C3920 for display of 682 x 512 pixels.


Here are the four displays with the simulator running.

Bloodhound Sim wm.jpg

They require an RGB input with composite syncs superimposed on the green video channel. This shows the details of the non-standard video.

Pete H was doing the work in his home workshop where it took a while to set up a test rig with CHARGE cards etc to be able to drive the monitor with the non-standard RGB video used in the LCP system.

Monitor Test Rig 1 wm.jpg

This set-up provides a test card from firmware in the CHARGE system to supply suitable signals for fault finding.

CHARGE (that is Compact High-resolution Advanced Raster Graphics Equipment) was devised and developed by Ferranti design engineer Peter Don-Duncan specifically for the Argus 700. There were few applications of the product and Bloodhound is believed to be the sole remaining user.

Inspection had already shown that there was no visible indication of a heat-damaged component and when first switched on there was nothing on the screen as per the symptom in the LCP.  After checking the 6.3V supply voltage for the tube heater voltage Pete noticed the EHT was OK  …. no not because he got a belt from the supply of25kV DC but because he felt the static charge on the CRT face!

Monitor - Firmware Splash wm.jpg

There was still nothing on the screen though so Pete proceeded to check some details when  around he glanced at the screen and noticed that the test signal was displayed.  So what was the fault …  poor continuity on connector or an obscure dry joint!

The monitor white balance needs setting up and I’ll do this during the week.

So, what about the smell of burning experienced in the LCP ?  Thankfully it wasn’t the Flyback transformer in the monitor which is a great relief, so a suspect is the usual problem that initiates a nasty smell namely a RIFA filter capacitor going in a Farnell power supply.  I’m sure we have replaced all the filter capacitors in the computer rack PS’s but when we have time those in the display console and in the rack (is it S rack?)
could do with a check. A filter capacitor going U/S does not stop a PS from working.

This is a great relief as every time a monitor fails it starts me thinking about how we can  replace the Mitsubishi monitors!!!!

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