First and foremost, when working with any electronic gear, make sure the equipment is completely unplugged from any power source, including USB.

Tools needed:

– a thin-bladed knife (a utility knife is best, as it will likely get covered with epoxy)
– a Phillips head screwdriver
– pliers (needle-nose are preferable)

1. Take the thin-bladed knife and, at one of the front speaker housing corners, wedge it between the black, plastic, speaker housing face and the silver trim piece.

Logitech Z-10 - pic 1

 

2. Gently and slowly rock the knife back and forth to cut through the adhesive that’s holding the face plate to the speaker housing. Take care to keep the knife lateral to the face plate… the back of the plate has a black coating on it, making scratches transparent and very visible from the front.

Logitech Z-10 - pic 2

 

3. Make 4-5 passes around the speaker housing with the knife, cutting a little further into the adhesive each time.

4. Once the face plate starts to come loose, with your hands, gently go around the housing a few times, prying the face plate up a little more each time. Since it’s plastic, be sure to not bend the plate too much, as it could break.

Logitech Z-10 - pic 3

 

5. Once the plate is off, grab the Phillips head screwdriver and loosen the eight screws holding the housing together.

Logitech Z-10 - pic 4

 

6. Once the screws are loosened, slowly pull the housing apart. Be careful because the speaker wires don’t have much extra slack.

Logitech Z-10 - pic 5

 

7. With the needle-nose pliers, clamp and remove the speaker cable leads and the tweeter leads.

Logitech Z-10 - pic 6

 

With that, you should have successfully disassembled the Logitech Z-1o speakers.

Logitech Z-10 - pic 7

 

In this case, it turns out the problem is a blown speaker, as you can see the tear in the cone. Boooooo!!!!

Logitech Z-10 - pic 8

Home Brewed Beer in Clear Glass Bottles

Last night I bottled my second batch of beer, and maaaan was it a challenge. As mentioned in my previous post [(Home)Brewing Some Beer], the Mr. Beer kit is a good way to begin to learn the craft of beer making. The equipment leaves something to be desired, however, as it’s cheap. But as we’ve all heard, “you get what you pay for.” Everything is plastic, which means replacement parts are required at some point. Unfortunately, in my case, the need for a replacement part came much too soon. The spigot on the fermenting tank stopped working after brewing the very first batch, and the discovery of that came at a most inopportune time.

While prepping the second batch (American Blonde Ale), I went through the motions – sanitize all the required tools/boil water in a pot/mix in the hopped malt – and discovered that the sanitized water wouldn’t pass through the spigot on the fermenting tank. So the only option was to flip the fermenting tank over to dump out the water. I then removed the spigot from the tank to see what was up. The assembly is designed so that hitting the “push” button activates a bar inside that pulls down on a rubberized seal, allowing liquid to pass through the valve. Well, the bar had somehow become disconnected from the rubberized enclosure, so the “push” button activated nothing. Since the spigot wasn’t leaking, I had no choice but to go ahead and reassemble it so the “wort” and yeast could do their thing.

Mr. Beer’s Customer Service dept. was a big help. I let them know the equipment failed after just a single use, and they promptly sent me a replacement/redesigned spigot. It sure is nice to have, though it’s hard to remove a tap when its seal is helping keep liquid in the fermenting tank.

My wife and I schemed and debated on the best approach to get the beer out for bottling. Ultimately, I ended up turning the faulty spigot counter-clockwise until beer began pouring out. I really hope the liquid didn’t get too agitated/aerated, as it flowed down into the sanitized pitcher I put in the sink. In retrospect, the better idea probably would have been to sanitize a ladle and slowly, scoop by scoop, move the beer into the pitcher. Once enough beer poured out of the tank, I was able to reach in and install the new spigot.

Also, this could turn out to be a really stupid move, but I substituted sugar for honey in one of the bottles to see what happens. As it’s a sugar product, I know the yeast will convert it to alcohol, but I have no idea if it’s appropriate to use the same amount of honey as the recommended amount of sugar. We shall see, and hopefully nothing blows up.

One thing I was concerned about was that all the swing top bottles I have are clear. Dark brown and green bottles are used to keep out sunlight, which can break down the hops in the bottled beer. Sometimes that’s used for effect, as it adds flavor to brews like Corona. So it seems to be that you can use whatever bottles you want – colored or not – but be sure to store the clear ones in a dark cabinet to avoid introducing a skunky flavor.

Also, to further develop my beer making skills, I bought a hydrometer. Honestly, I still don’t know exactly what the “specific gravity” readings tell you, but I do know that you can calculate the beer’s percentage of alcohol (ABV) with the device. The tool also indicates if fermenting is underway or if it’s complete. But how to determine those from the hydrometer, I have no idea, as the one purchased through Mr. Beer came with no instructions at all. You’re pretty much on your own figuring the thing out, but I guess they must figure you know how to operate such a device if you’re buying one. But I don’t, and I have some research to do.

So my second batch ever is now in storage for the next couple weeks. Hopefully it will be a hit at Thanksgiving… but I think I’m going to have to try a bottle beforehand so I don’t potentially offend my guests!

Sometimes it seems like I have an insatiable curiosity. I have a lot of interests and read about things that sometimes make people ask “Why do you know that?” So when I recently saw a home-brewing beer kit for sale, it was another thing that piqued my curiosity. I had to have it. I had to learn what it takes and how the process works… and if I could follow directions without screwing it up. (It seems to be going well so far, by the way.)

The kit really simplifies the process, which is really great for starting out. It’s called Mr. Beer, which sounds dumb, as straight-to-the-point as it is. I don’t know if it’s always the case, but the whole Premium Gold Edition shebang was a mere $24 at JC Penny. When I got it home, I compared prices on Amazon and Walmart, and the same kit was selling in the neighborhood of $45 to $53 or so on those sites. Good deal here.

Mr. Beer Home Brew Kit

Included items in this edition of the kit are a 2 gallon fermenting tank, eight plastic 1-liter bottles, two cans of malt extract, brewing yeast, sanitizing cleaner, and just about everything else you need to make your own batch. “Just about everything else” means you needs to supply your own measuring spoons, whisk, can opener and bowl to sanitize those tools in.

The directions are simple, and this is a quick breakdown of the process:

step 1 – SANITIZING:
Sanitize the brewing tools with the included cleaner packet

Tools Needed for Beer Homebrewing

Prepping the brewing tools to be sanitized

step 2 – BREWING:
Boil water and the included booster in a pot… mix in the can of hopped malt extract… this mix is called “wort”…

Creating the Beer Wort

The wort (next to some delicious fried rice)

…. pour the wort into the keg… add water… stir vigorously, mix in yeast, and cap the keg. Store out of sunlight for 7-14 days.

Adding Yeast to the Beer Fermentation Tank

Adding yeast to the fermentation tank

step 3 – BOTTLING:
Bottle it up, gently mix in a designated amount of sugar, and store for another 7-14 days

Bottles of Home Brewed Beer Ready for Storage

All bottled up and ready for storage

Today, July 15th, is the big day. The bottled beer has been stored away for two weeks now. It’s my understanding that the first batch is always a bust, as the equipment needs broken in and such, but that’s going to be our little secret… I’m not going to be telling that to the other people trying the beer today. Cheers!

July 17 – update – The beer wasn’t so great. I’m drinking it anyway. After all, it’s beer! The first batch has a lot of head when poured. It looks nice, but the flavor tastes flat. It also has some flavor that sort of reminds me of, well, plastic. Imagine that… it’s been in brand new plastic for a couple weeks. I rinsed everything thoroughly before brewing, but I guess that doesn’t matter.

Despite the outcome, it’s still not the worst beer I have ever had, by any means. The one time I had Mickey’s, it was like an instant hangover. Seriously, I was sipping it, and had a headache within a half-hour. You know how bad a cheap beer tastes when it’s warm? Well that’s how Mickey’s tasted when it was cold.

Back to fun stuff… While on the topic of beer, I might as well plug my favorites, so you – all eleven loyal readers – know what to get me on my next birthday. In no particular order, the top 3 are: Kentucky Bourbon Ale, Well’s Banana Bread beer, and Samuel Adams Cherry Wheat.

That’s it for now! I’m looking forward to brewing the next batch of beer at home, which I’m 97% sure is going to taste like liquid gold compared to the first batch. Again, I love saying it when I really mean it: cheers!