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Digital SWM theory and speculation


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#51 OFFLINE   slice1900

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Posted 02 January 2014 - 10:32 PM

A theory in the swim8 legacy outputs. A swim8 is a swim5 with more channels I believe is all. That product never saw real production. But since there's only three legacy outs IMHO it was strictly meant for sd boxes so they probably didn't care about passing all signals anyway. And three legacy out plus 5 swim channels were a total of 8 so I have a feeling the first interation was all about a couple Hi Definition receivers and a couple sd for people. They realized their mistake and pumped it up to 8 possible Hi Definition tuners on swim. And they just left the legacy outputs alone at the time.

 

My belief is that the SWM8 uses three RF5201 chips (2 inputs each for a total of 6 LNBs) and therefore has three legacy outputs, while the SWM5 used two RF5200 chips (3 inputs each for a total of 6 LNBs) that would leave it with only two legacy outputs.

 

At least the stock photos I was able to find of the SWM5 when I looked recently appeared to show only two legacy outputs. If it does in fact have three, please correct me.


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#52 ONLINE   HoTat2

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Posted 03 January 2014 - 11:30 AM

Yep, appears only two legacy ports on the short lived and now long defunct SWM-5 module, which strongly does suggest two 3 input RF5200 chips in parallel.  

 

From an early SWM training document; 

 

SWM-8 vs. -5 Module Comparison.png

 

Must have been the two Sat A lines and + 1 flexport line + three cross-connect inputs into 1 chip.

 

And the two Sat B/B+C lines + 1 flexport line + three cross-connect inputs into the other chip.

 

Thus each RF5200 chip's 7 x 4 integrated multiswitch had only 6 of it's 7 total inputs used I guess.


Edited by HoTat2, 03 January 2014 - 11:34 AM.

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#53 OFFLINE   slice1900

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Posted 03 January 2014 - 01:52 PM

Why would it have a 7x4 with unused input? I would think it would have a 6x4, same as the RF5201.


Edited by slice1900, 03 January 2014 - 01:53 PM.

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#54 ONLINE   HoTat2

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Posted 03 January 2014 - 02:12 PM

Isn't (or more appropriately "wouldn't") the count for both chips in the SWiM-5 be three inputs from the LNBs plus three more inputs from cross-connects of either the Sat A plus 1 flexport or Sat B/B+C plus 1 flexport from the other chip?

 

3 + 3 = 6 inputs total per chip.

 

That is, one cross-connect input is unused on each RF5200 chip. 


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#55 OFFLINE   slice1900

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Posted 03 January 2014 - 05:20 PM

There would never be more than a 6x4 multiswitch. Not just because that is what is shown, but because there is no need for more than 6 inputs to the multiswitch - there are only 6 possible unique inputs, after all.

 

Thinking a bit about how the math works, here's what I came up with, let's see if you agree with my reasoning. There are two types of cross connect. I'll reference my RF5210 links - the functional block diagram in the datasheet, and Figure 3 in the article. The first type is the outgoing cross connect (OCC for short) which shares a chip's inputs with other chips (C1A & C2A in the article) The second type is the incoming cross connect (ICC) which receives inputs shared by other chips to cover inputs that a chip isn't receiving itself (G1 & G2 in the article; GM1 - GM4 in the datasheet)

 

A chip can never have more OCCs than it has inputs. Thus a RF5200 may have at most 3 OCCs, and the RF5201 at most 2. A chip can never have more ICCs than the width of its multiswitch, minus the minimum number of inputs it'll ever have. So if a RF5200 was only ever going to be used in the SWM5, it will have 3 ICC + 3 OCC. If a RF5201 was only ever going to be used in the SWM8/SWM16/SWM32, it will have 4 ICC + 2 OCC (but see below!)

 

So what about the RF5210? If you look at the reference design, it shows 2 ICC + 2 OCC. However, if you look at the functional block diagram in the other RF5210 document, there are 4 ICC + 4 OCC shown, along with a bit of tricky wiring. The LNA3 input isn't like the others, nor is the GM4 cross connect. It looks like this was designed to allow an OCC on one chip to feed LNA3 on a second chip, which is then re-fed to a third chip via the GM4 - which acts as a OCC in this case. Why do this? If you look at the first figure in the article and the text on the second page, the RF5210 was designed to support up to 12 channels via four chips. But with only two outgoing cross connects each for LNA1 and LNA2, a RF5210 can only directly share with two other chips, so this tricky wiring must make the 4 RF5210 configuration possible (I'll leave it to someone else to work out how everything would need to be wired!) Someone was probably really proud of themselves for that hack to save a couple pins on the RF5210 :)

 

Now look at the prior art in the DSWM patent. It shows the socket numbers on the board C0, C2 and C6. What about the missing C4? Perhaps it shared some design elements with the board for the "Euro SWM" but there's no four chip configuration for us.

 

This got me thinking. Why does the damn prior art have such detail - showing the addresses for the SWM chips, the model of the chip, even showing the resistor values in the "AS" (Address Select) to choose between whether a chip is the C0, C2 or C6! But it leaves out the flex ports and legacy ports!! Why show such intricate detail everywhere else and then leave something as basic as flex ports and legacy ports out? Everyone knows all SWMs have flex ports. Well, except for those that don't - the SWM LNB!

 

That's what that prior art is. It was staring me in the face but I just didn't see it. The RF5201 probably has a very similar design to the RF5210, except for that tricky wiring. It has 2 OCCs and 4 ICCs, because in the SWM LNB that middle chip has no inputs and relies on the other two chips to share with it. There are no legacy ports shown because there are none in the SWM LNB.


Edited by slice1900, 03 January 2014 - 05:28 PM.

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#56 ONLINE   HoTat2

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Posted 05 January 2014 - 11:34 AM

There would never be more than a 6x4 multiswitch. Not just because that is what is shown, but because there is no need for more than 6 inputs to the multiswitch - there are only 6 possible unique inputs, after all. ...Thinking a bit about how the math works, here's what I came up with, let's see if you agree with my reasoning. ... There are two types of cross connect. I'll reference my RF5210 links - the functional block diagram in the datasheet, and Figure 3 in the article. The first type is the outgoing cross connect (OCC for short) which shares a chip's inputs with other chips (C1A & C2A in the article) The second type is the incoming cross connect (ICC) which receives inputs shared by other chips to cover inputs that a chip isn't receiving itself (G1 & G2 in the article; GM1 - GM4 in the datasheet) ... A chip can never have more OCCs than it has inputs. Thus a RF5200 may have at most 3 OCCs, and the RF5201 at most 2. A chip can never have more ICCs than the width of its multiswitch, minus the minimum number of inputs it'll ever have. So if a RF5200 was only ever going to be used in the SWM5, it will have 3 ICC + 3 OCC.

 

 

 

OK, my bad ...;

 

 

I assumed that if the early RF5200 chips likely used in the SWiM-5 module were similar in design to the future RF5210 as you suggested earlier by having three LNB inputs (though would not have the "tricky wiring" for the third LNB input of course) that would have amounted to three LNB inputs and four ICCs for a total of seven overall inputs to it's integrated switch.

 

 

... That's what that prior art is. It was staring me in the face but I just didn't see it. The RF5201 probably has a very similar design to the RF5210, except for that tricky wiring. It has 2 OCCs and 4 ICCs, because in the SWM LNB that middle chip has no inputs and relies on the other two chips to share with it. There are no legacy ports shown because there are none in the SWM LNB.

 

 

Wouldn't that actually be 4 OCC and 4 ICCs for the RF5201 if it is indeed "very similar" to the RF5210, less the "tricky wiring" (and less a third LNB input too)? 

 

And thus to summarize for your latest understanding for ASWM with three RF5201s.

 

The SWM LNB case means the two outer chips each have two unused ICCs, and the middle chip has two unused LNB inputs and all four OCCs unused as well? 


Edited by HoTat2, 05 January 2014 - 11:39 AM.

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#57 OFFLINE   slice1900

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Posted 05 January 2014 - 02:09 PM

And thus to summarize for your latest understanding for ASWM with three RF5201s.

 

The SWM LNB case means the two outer chips each have two unused ICCs, and the middle chip has two unused LNB inputs and all four OCCs unused as well? 

 

If that diagram is accurate, and given the level of detail it is showing and how it matches everything else so perfectly I think that's safe to say, then that is what you should see if you disassembled a SWM LNB. The middle (C2) chip would have fewer board traces connected to its pins.

 

 

Wouldn't that actually be 4 OCC and 4 ICCs for the RF5201 if it is indeed "very similar" to the RF5210, less the "tricky wiring" (and less a third LNB input too)?

 

Yes, thanks for correcting me here. Of course it must have 4 OCCs, so that it can distribute its two inputs to two other chips.


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#58 OFFLINE   slice1900

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Posted 05 January 2014 - 02:41 PM

Something I just noticed when I visited Entropic's site to check on the RF5200/5201/5210 information for that last post. They have a product called EN5400, which is none other than our friend the DSWM ASIC. It is listed as the "Digital Version of Channel Stack Switch (CSS)", which it states supports 14 IF inputs at 250-750 MHz and provides 20 user channel outputs.

 

Not sure why it is only 20 channels when the ASIC is capable of 23 "user channels" (the guide channel would be the 24th) Perhaps it is possible it was cut down a bit to reduce the top level frequency to something closer to ASWM's top frequency? Maybe that's the maximum number receivers can handle, or the limit for some older receivers? On the other hand, it is also possible this is a different, slightly earlier, version of the DSWM ASIC.

 

This is why I'm quite curious to see the DSWM13's power consumption when that information is made public, as Stuart seemed to imply it was at a level that would make it inappropriate for a DSWM LNB (though I may have misunderstood) I found information that indicates there are at least two generations of DSWM ASIC, and the second generation was/is/will be used in both "standalone and ODU" implementations. The DSWM LNB may not be that far away.


Edited by slice1900, 05 January 2014 - 02:49 PM.

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#59 ONLINE   inkahauts

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Posted 05 January 2014 - 03:04 PM

By the way I double checked my swim5 and it is only two legacy outs. I just forgot it's been so long since I looked at it.

#60 OFFLINE   veryoldschool

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Posted 05 January 2014 - 04:30 PM

This is why I'm quite curious to see the DSWM13's power consumption when that information is made public, as Stuart seemed to imply it was at a level that would make it inappropriate for a DSWM LNB (though I may have misunderstood)..

I'm going to go with this.

The output power of the DSWM13 means it's only compatible for its intended use.


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#61 ONLINE   HoTat2

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Posted 05 January 2014 - 05:21 PM

I'm going to go with this.

The output power of the DSWM13 means it's only compatible for its intended use.

I don't understand though;

 

Does this mean that if a DSWM13 LNB were designed for an ~-30 dbm output used by the residential splitter/home run topology, the power requirements would still make such an integrated LNB design impractical?

 

I also feel the main prohibition to the DSWM13's use in residences is not really it's high power level output which could be remedied by use of around a 20 db attenuator attached to its output, but the fact that DIRECTV simply will not release the necessary firmware upgrade to residential boxes that enable them to communicate over the new SWiM frequencies and channel spacing used by the DSWM13. 


Edited by HoTat2, 05 January 2014 - 05:24 PM.

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#62 OFFLINE   veryoldschool

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Posted 05 January 2014 - 06:06 PM

I don't understand though;

 

Does this mean that if a DSWM13 LNB were designed for an ~-30 dbm output used by the residential splitter/home run topology, the power requirements would still make such an integrated LNB design impractical?

 

I also feel the main prohibition to the DSWM13's use in residences is not really it's high power level output which could be remedied by use of around a 20 db attenuator attached to its output, but the fact that DIRECTV simply will not release the necessary firmware upgrade to residential boxes that enable them to communicate over the new SWiM frequencies and channel spacing used by the DSWM13. 

I think most of this whole thread is impractical, for starters.

The preface looks to have "the cart before the horse".

Need drives technology changes.

The DSWM technology had a need in the DSWM13.

"It might" have a need in MDUs.

The last/lowest "need" seems to be for residential use, making it least likely to get the funding to develop it.


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#63 OFFLINE   Stuart Sweet

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Posted 05 January 2014 - 09:36 PM

And since you would get significantly shorter distances from using taps with that power level, there would be very little need for a DSWMLNB with a power level that low.
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#64 ONLINE   HoTat2

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Posted 05 January 2014 - 11:01 PM

I think most of this whole thread is impractical, for starters.

The preface looks to have "the cart before the horse".

Need drives technology changes.

The DSWM technology had a need in the DSWM13.

"It might" have a need in MDUs.

The last/lowest "need" seems to be for residential use, making it least likely to get the funding to develop it.

Well ... I thought DIRECTV would certainly welcome a final solution to the unsightly four LNB cable runs for residential installs requiring more than 8 tuner support.

 

Plus the cost saving in SAWs needed for the ASWM would certainly be noteworthy as discussed earlier.


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#65 ONLINE   HoTat2

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Posted 05 January 2014 - 11:05 PM

And since you would get significantly shorter distances from using taps with that power level, there would be very little need for a DSWMLNB with a power level that low.

I meant the low power out DSWM LNB would essentially be for residential installs which have the customary SWM splitter/home run cable topology.    


Edited by HoTat2, 05 January 2014 - 11:05 PM.

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#66 OFFLINE   veryoldschool

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Posted 05 January 2014 - 11:10 PM

Well ... I thought DIRECTV would certainly welcome a final solution to the unsightly four LNB cable runs for residential installs requiring more than 8 tuner support.

 

Plus the cost saving in SAWs needed for the ASWM would certainly be noteworthy as discussed earlier.

You don't seem to understand the economics driving changes.

The SWM8 was for MDU use where there was only one coax.

The SWiMLNB cost less than the LNB & WB68.

The SWiM-16 costs $4 more than a SWM8.

 

"When the numbers" show it's worth making a change, a change will come.

 

The "loop through" market is the only place DSWM makes "cents".


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#67 ONLINE   inkahauts

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Posted 06 January 2014 - 12:11 AM

It's really a question if this tech can be used to make MUDs cheaper at some point. If that can happen then i could maybe see the oat if the parts falling to the point that a lnb version might make sense. But as vos says I agree they need more demand to drive down costs well below the swim now to make it something worth while exploring. Of Course they have considered it I'd say by the patents but as we know just cause they have the patent only means they know its possible not that they are or should do it.

#68 OFFLINE   slice1900

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Posted 06 January 2014 - 01:17 AM

You don't seem to understand the economics driving changes.

The SWM8 was for MDU use where there was only one coax.

The SWiMLNB cost less than the LNB & WB68.

The SWiM-16 costs $4 more than a SWM8.

 

"When the numbers" show it's worth making a change, a change will come.

 

The "loop through" market is the only place DSWM makes "cents".

 

 

Are you talking about how much they cost to buy for resellers? Numbers Directv assigns when doing chargebacks? Or the actual cost for Directv to build them?

 

If Directv's cost for the additional 3 RF5201s and 9 SAWs really is only $4, the 45nm ASIC won't quite beat it. At 30 sq mm, it would cost more than $5, though less than $10. They've had working samples of the 45nm ASIC for at least a year now, and would have known the estimated cost at least a year prior to that. There's been ample time to complete a 28nm or 32nm shrink if they wanted to begin mass production this year with a cheaper/cooler DSWM ASIC.

 

By focusing on equipment costs, you're looking at only part of the overall picture. The DSWM patents describe diagnostic and installation support in a ODU. If a DSWM LNB helps the installer aim the dish faster/better and can reduce/eliminate troubleshooting in some cases by pinpointing problems, what's that worth? What if it allows the installer to visit one more customer per day? If the ASWM is only $4, that means no matter what you can never save more than $4 on it. There's a lot more savings to be had elsewhere when you consider Directv's new customer acquisition cost is over $800.

 

How many customers are living with an intermittently bad LNB, or a dish that's in need of realignment, who don't know they have a problem or don't feel it is worth calling Directv over? If they're a bit less happy with Directv than they could be, doesn't that make them more likely to switch to another provider when their contract ends? Proactive identification and remedy of such issues may help Directv's retention rate - even a tiny increase in that rate makes a big difference considering how much it costs to get a new customer. Directv would be happy to double the $4 cost of the ASWM if they believed they'd more than make up it for it elsewhere.


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#69 ONLINE   inkahauts

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Posted 06 January 2014 - 01:25 AM

Did you read my post? ;)

#70 OFFLINE   veryoldschool

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Posted 06 January 2014 - 02:21 AM

Are you talking about how much they cost for Directv to build them?

These are the numbers they're most interested in.

I don't think any of your "other costs" have anywhere near the same traction.

 

I don't know why you've become so obsessed with this, as it has so little to do with "us".

"We're" not going to build a DSWM, nor troubleshoot a defective unit any farther than to replace one.

 

The DSWM technology is being used to enter a market that ASWM wasn't economical for.

ASWM was for the market CATV was serving, and has expanded its use for connected home networking and the Genie.

 

No matter how much you've posted, you haven't made a case that supports DSWM being used anywhere other than where it is planned to be used, the DRE market.


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#71 ONLINE   HoTat2

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Posted 06 January 2014 - 05:39 AM

Well VOS, you may indeed make a convincing argument solely from an economics standpoint for why DIRECTV will likely stick with the status quo of the ASWM in residential installs for the foreseeable future.

 

But might you be ignoring the usual verdict of history on this matter?

 

Since any economic arguments notwithstanding, I've never seen a case where analog systems for any application didn't eventually go the way of the dinosaur once practical digital solutions became available for them.     


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#72 ONLINE   HoTat2

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Posted 06 January 2014 - 05:59 AM

These are the numbers they're most interested in.

I don't think any of your "other costs" have anywhere near the same traction.

 

I don't know why you've become so obsessed with this, as it has so little to do with "us".

"We're" not going to build a DSWM, nor troubleshoot a defective unit any farther than to replace one.

 

The DSWM technology is being used to enter a market that ASWM wasn't economical for.

ASWM was for the market CATV was serving, and has expanded its use for connected home networking and the Genie.

 

No matter how much you've posted, you haven't made a case that supports DSWM being used anywhere other than where it is planned to be used, the DRE market.

C'mon, I don't agree "obsessed" is necessarily fair VOS;

 

I mean, I thought this is thread was created to continue such extended discussions on this issue?

 

I'm personally having a ball with slice's informative posts and otherwise "chewing the rag" so to speak, with him and others on this. :)   


Edited by HoTat2, 06 January 2014 - 06:01 AM.

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#73 OFFLINE   slice1900

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Posted 06 January 2014 - 06:57 AM

It's really a question if this tech can be used to make MUDs cheaper at some point. If that can happen then i could maybe see the oat if the parts falling to the point that a lnb version might make sense. But as vos says I agree they need more demand to drive down costs well below the swim now to make it something worth while exploring. Of Course they have considered it I'd say by the patents but as we know just cause they have the patent only means they know its possible not that they are or should do it.

 

 

The "price of the parts" you're talking about is the price of the ASIC. That depends on the order volume one is willing to commit to from the foundry. Directv has a very good idea of how many SWM LNBs they expect to need in a year, the volumes would be very similar with a DSWM LNB. It would be harder to know for a DSWM module but they could make some pretty good guesses. Knowing their potential order volumes in advance, they can find out the pricing from the foundry based on various volume scenarios (DSWM13 only, partial/full replacement of ASWM for commercial/MDU, replace ASWM everywhere)

 

Knowing your volumes in advance is a lot nicer than the position a lot of CE companies are in where they have don't know how successful a new product will be and have a wide range of potential order volumes for components. If a product flops they get may get stuck with a commitment to buy many more components than they need. Directv can do the math and know how much each option costs/saves.


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#74 OFFLINE   RAD

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Posted 06 January 2014 - 03:07 PM

From http://www.telecompa...hnology--988645

Semiconductor services provider, Entropic and Wistron NeWeb (WNC) have announced that DirecTV has deployed Entropic's digital Channel Stacking Switch (dCSS) technology with a new WNC multi-switch, the DSWM13 (DirecTV's Single-Wire Module 13), marking the first implementation of dCSS-based single wire service. Leveraging Entropic's dCSS technology, DirecTV will be able to deliver service to more rooms off a single-coaxial cable run in a multi-dwelling unit (MDU) or commercial installation, including hosptiatlity properties. The new switch is powered by Entropic's first-generation dCSS, the EN5400, which is the digital version of its Channel Stacking Switch product line for digital broadcast satellite television applications.                

See post My Setup for configuration info.


#75 OFFLINE   veryoldschool

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Posted 06 January 2014 - 03:20 PM

C'mon, I don't agree "obsessed" is necessarily fair VOS;  

In the years I've been part of the forum, I can't remember another poster that has posted so much on a topic, in the two threads.

Had you not shown an interest, I'm not sure this thread would still be "alive".


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