The end of an era… The beginning of a saga…
I moved my l33tgamer blog to my fancy new domain name GeekGreek.com
l33tgamer.blogspot.com will stay up but the comments are locked and all posts from now on will link here.*
If you want to comment, you will have to do it on the new blog.
Don’t forget to update your bookmarks people!
Welcome and enjoy
*Many thanks to arunmvishnu for the redirecting script.
What do you do when electronics fall apart? Most of us just bin it and buy a new one. Especially with the high prices the I.T companies charge. 50 euros just to look at it? F that. There’s another way: D.I.Y.
It’s really not that difficult. Here’s how to replace a broken LCD on the EEE PC 900 & 901.
The above atrocity happened when a cell phone went flying and landed flat on the screen. The netbook didn’t sustain any other damage. It just needs an LCD change.
First step is to locate the necessary replacement part. The 8.9″ LCD screen. They sell for just 42 euros (£36) on ebay. Thank god for the Chinese!
My old Bench PSU had died and I needed a new one for my water-gun project (Work in progress), so it was a good time to document the process as well for the benefit of others.
List of materials.
- A discarded computer Power Supply Unit. (PSU)
- At least 2 terminals
- 2-state flip switches
- A 12v fan
- an on-off rocker switch
- LCD Voltage meter (Optional)
- Sandpaper & Paint (Optional)
My Donor PSU has a large 120mm fan on top of it that is not very useful. It takes up all the space. It had to go. As a replacement I used the top off another PSU with no top fan. The dimensions are the same anyway.
First step is to open it up as see what we got.
My super-cheap DVD player stopped working. It powered-up but it wouldn’t recognising any disks. I inserted a movie and always returned a disk error
The player was a gonner. I was about to throw it in a recycle bin but changed my mind and decided to try and fix it.
I had nothing to lose after all.
First unscrew everything that is unscrewable. Did I mention unplugging it from the mains? No? Whatever…
Sometimes some of the screws are hiding beneath stickers or rubber pads.
Once you get on the inside goodies, you have to locate the eye of the beast. A.K.A the DVD lens. Take a cotton swab, dip the tip in alcohol and gently wipe the lens clean. re-assemble, pray to the gods of electronics, and take it for a spin. If it works, it works. If it doesn’t, it’s a matter of re-calibrating the lens assembly. Some DVD players have 2 tiny screws for lens fine-tuning. Mine did. They where located under the tray, near the lens.
I had to unscrew and remove the whole tray assembly to get to them. It’s easier than it sounds. On other models the tuning screws may be on a different easily accessible spot. Look around.
You should have two screws. One for DVD calibration, and one for CD calibration. If they’re not labelled, you’re in for a treat. You have to guess. I got lucky as I randomly started with the upper right and it was the DVD one. The methodology is you slightly turn the screw clockwise, put a DVD in the tray and see if it starts. If your unit has an LCD status screen, you can quickly see whether it starts or throws an error. If you don’t, you’ll have to connect it to your TV.
After some unsuccessful efforts, I stopped waiting for the lens to finish, and tweaked the screw on the fly. Somewhat dangerous because of the live current, and the eye-blinding laser beam. If the lens keeps going up and down on the same spot, means that it can’t read jack. Turn the screw a little further. When you hit the spot, the lens will stop moving, the disk will keep on spinning, and the LCD will display the sweet-sweet playback time.
This part took me 2 days. I found the sweet spot near the end of the clockwise turns. The problem was that just as I found the spot that reads correctly some DVDs, it wouldn’t read some others. It takes very small movements of the screw to mess it up. Finally after 2 days of fiddling I found the spot where it reads most of my DVDs. I didn’t bother calibrating the CD lens as I never use it anyway.
Background story: I needed a small camera to record my adventures on my motorcycle and on the ski track. I needed something small enough to mount almost anywhere without limiting my movements. A helmet cam would be ideal, but not really an option because of the cost.
A little bit of ebay search and I found what I was looking for. Turns out China has a solution for every problem.
It’s a tiny camera in the form of a car alarm fob. Even close inspection won’t give it away that this thing is a camera.
The specifications on most of the ebay sellers are all lies. Some state that the video is 720×480 and some 1280×1024 HD. The reality is that the camera shoots at 640×480 and upscales it to 720×480 pixels.
The quality is a bit on the “meh” side but I don’t care much. The footage looks clear enough for me.
They sell for about £5 with free postage worldwide! that’s about 6.1 euros, or 7.7 dollars! Cheap as dirt!
Just use the keywords “keychain camera” if you want to buy one.
I first tried to mount it on my helmet with some velcro so that I can attach it and detach it easily. That didn’t work very well for 2 reasons: I hadn’t thought much about the viewing angle and all I was recording was my speedometer and the tarmac in front of the bike. Small problem.
You can watch that first attempt here:
The second problem and most important was recording time. The tiny internal battery was just 180mah and went flat after about 20 minutes of recording. Not enough for long roadtrips, and also hard to find a PC up in the mountains to recharge. Supposedly it should record up to 1 hour when fully charged, but mine didn’t. Maybe it was a faulty battery.
So the obvious mod was to replace the internal tiny battery with a bigger capacity external one.
Cell phone batteries are good for that purpose because they carry the same voltage, (3.7v) and more than enough capacity. I already had a surplus nokia battery laying around but if you don’t you can buy a new one from ebay for just £1.39. Plus it boasts a whooping 900mah that should last a lot.
The battery I had was the Nokia BP-5M. It’s not the easiest battery to mod as the positive and ground terminals are awkwardly hidden inside a plastic tab.
I had to remove that, and solder directly on the battery’s circuit board or IC-Chip or whatever that thingy is.
The second mod I attempted was to change the mounting “system”. Instead of velcro, this time I used powerful neodymium magnet, the same way I mounted my MIO GPS on a generic GPS holder a few months back.Only this time, instead of hot glue, I used super-strong fast-dry epoxy. When it bonds, it becomes firm plastic.
I also attached a metal plate on top of the brake-fluid box on my bike and I was golden. The Point Of View is amazing. Plus it’s more stable than my head.
Everything was going well until after a couple of months use, the camera wouldn’t power-up anymore. It was a soldering failure. It was time to replace the battery again.
This time I ordered the Nokia BL-5B for £1.39 from ebay. It’s an easier to mod battery as it has flat and accessible terminals.The BL-5C should do as well.
Disassembled everything, soldered some fresh cable, glued the new battery with epoxy, and I was good to go again.
The final mod that I tried (For now) was to add a wide-angle fish-eye lens in front of the original lens to increase the viewing angle. I bought a wide-angle jelly lens from ebay for just £0.99 + Free postag, and glued it with epoxy. I had to hold it absolutely still for about 5 minutes until the epoxy dried, so i used the my trusty helping-hand tool.
Now my little camera does everything I want. It takes wide-angle footage, has a battery that lasts, and it’s easily mounted on any metal surface.
- Keychain camera £5
- 4GB Micro SD £3.99
- 2 neodymium magnets £0.2
- Nokia BL-5B Battery £1.39
- Wide-angle lens £0.99
Total cost of the project was £11.59
Next step will be waterproofing it.
I’ve done this a while a go but didn’t bother uploading it.
Modded a Jack Daniels bottle into a bedside lamp.
Basically you take a battery holder and some LEDs and slam them together with some soldering and hot glue.
I used 4 blue LEDs. You can use less if you want the battery to last longer. The only downside of the design is that there isn’t any space for a switch so you have to remove the battery in order to switch it off.
I hid the battery under a zero coke cap. It looks unnaturally taller but it’s better than showing the electronics.
It looks amazing with the lights off. Plus the light leaks through the white lettering and adds to the effect.
Many thanks to my good friend Juan for all the nice pics.
We’re starting to get a little mold problem. It was time to do something about it.
(Specially after watching 6 seasons of House M.D, where half of the cases are caused by common mold on the walls)
Went to my nearest hardware store and bough an anti-mold cleaner.
The instructions say: spray, leave it for 10 minutes to act, and then scrub with a sponge.
And so I did.
Check out the results: