Category: Electronics

  • Inaugural Maker Faire

    Well, I’ve officially joined the DIY electronics community.  Last week, I attended my first Maker Faire.  It was my city’s first ever, and I was determined to take one of my projects as a booth participant.  Nothing like a deadline to get my hind quarters into gear and (kind of) finish a project!

  • The state of the Arduino ecosystem

    *** The following is a “bitter old engineer” rant.  You’ve been warned. At this ripe old age, I have come to value most the quality of a toolchain. I’ll go a step further and say that the coherency and consistency of the umbrella that toolchain inhabits is a most prized quality.  And what spurred this revelation?…

  • Dell OptiPlex motherboard repair

    My office was liquidating a bunch of old computer equipment.  In the heap, my eye was caught by a Dell box.  “Hmm, what’s wrong with that computer?” And so began my next big obsession.

  • Failure analysis on the HoMedics Lullaby Soundspa

    We have one of these little do-dads for our kid: HoMedics SS-3000 Soundspa Lullaby.  It’s a nifty little product, makes different simulated white noise sounds and projects these images from a spinning disk apparatus.  Like I said, nifty. But also fragile, and prone to breakage.  The company, HoMedics, replaced our first one because its little motor…

  • IKEA kitchen light mod, part 2

    IKEA kitchen light mod, part 2

    A while ago, I modified my daughter’s little kid kitchen.  In that project, I found my design self teetering on that edge between two goals: get-it-done on the one side, do-it-right on the other.  I had chosen the former and even my 2 year old (at the time) could see that this was a critical…

  • AC multi-way light switch

    AC multi-way light switch

    My garage has a single light switch in it for its overhead fluorescent lights. This light switch is not conveniently located; it is situated beyond our freezer, such that one has to walk into the darkened garage in order to turn the switch on. So I made an electronic 3-way switch. “Why?”, you ask. Indeed.…

  • Parody Circuits

    I ran across this most excellent xkcd comic the other day: It’s just so funny on so many levels, if you’re a EE.  Let’s just go clockwise around the page, starting at the top left. I love that the battery voltage is a square root.  Just so obscure and mathematically nerdy. Gluing open the switch? …

  • Cell phone connector fix

    Cell phone connector fix

    My good friend James contacted me with an electronics problem.  Seems his daughter’s cell phone was on the fritz.  So I agreed to take a look. She has a Pantech P7000 flip phone, but it stopped charging.  I asked a few questions first to understand the nature of the problem.  For instance: Has she tried…

  • iPod jukebox (phase 2): prototype

    iPod jukebox (phase 2): prototype

    You remember the first phase of the iPod jukebox, yes? To jog your memory, the basic goal was simple. How do I make these dust-collecting components: …work with my iPhone in order to have music in my workshop?  Simple concept, not so simple electronics. The project is mostly a connectivity issue, i.e., there are tons…

  • Samsung LCD monitor repair

    Samsung LCD monitor repair

    A while back, a guy contacted me through my blog about contracting some monitor repair. He had come to acquire a bunch of LCD monitors that all had failed in similar fashion. So I took him up on his offer to repair them so he (and I) could resell them all.