Friday, 26 August 2016
Saturday, 23 January 2016
I was going to say 'repair', but really this is an upgrade. My son's Android tablet stopped charging and pretty quickly we tracked the problem to the power supply cable. This didn't surprise me because it was a pretty cheap bit of cable, speaker wire really and I always thought it wouldn't last. The tablet itself is a bit of an oddity, a Zoostorm educational tablet with 2gb RAM and a quad core processor, but it was being sold by CPC a year ago for under £100. The reason may be the odd OS customisation with a strange storage layout almost certainly set up for school use, but we have tackled that and Need For Speed runs just fine on the device!
I tried reusing the moulded DC plug, but it shorted out so a trip to Maplin got me a replacement for £2. It is the smallest plug in the range as it happens. Looking at the cable, I thought I might as well do the job right so a delve in the spare cables box turned up a nice heavy wire from a defunct power supply for something else. Once again heat shrink sleeve came to the rescue to make a strain relief for the plug and the join to the stump of the old cable at the power supply end, and make the whole thing look nice and neat.
Better than when it came out of the factory!
Tuesday, 27 October 2015
Tuesday, 7 July 2015
Got around to testing this little Pinnacle Nano Stick TV dongle which came with a Freegle box of obsolete electronic items. I wasn't sure if it would work easily on Linux, but as usual, just plug and play. I downloaded the Me-TV package and off it went. The software can record to the netbook's hard drive, DVD copies can be made and interestingly the video codec can be selected so the RTE stations in MPEG-4 HD can be viewed. Not bad for, well nothing really.
Sunday, 22 March 2015
I bought a couple of these Light Strike rifles for my son for Christmas 2013 when they were being sold in Home Bargains, but it turned out that they were an end of line item which amazed me because they are one of the best toys we've ever come across. So good that I've bought up any final stock that's appeared reasonably priced on eBay. There are some cool attachments for the rifles, my favourite being an underslung grenade launcher. We had one of these with the first rifle, but I got another for £4 on eBay last week. Only difference was that this new one vibrated and the old one didn't. Mysterious, so I opened the older one up and discovered it indeed had a motor with a small eccentric weight attached. This worked with 5 volts applied so I carefully re-soldered the connections and the tiny surface-mount transistor which drives the motor. Reassembled and connected to the rifle it now vibrates. Result and an easy repair.
Sunday, 8 March 2015
I needed at least one Windows PC, so this Dell Inspiron 8100 from about 2002 came to the rescue. Upgraded to the maximum 512Mb RAM that the motherboard can handle and with a fresh minimal installation of Windows XP Home with Service Pack 3, it is running nicely. Best of all, it is all legal and above board with the OEM key. There are a half-dozen programs that I can't run on Linux using WINE, so this laptop will come in really handy.