Acer AL1916 LCD monitor — attempted fix

For a couple of days now, the monitor doesn’t want to run on full brightness anymore. If I go up to 95%, it runs if warm, but might not start up. Set it to anything higher and it comes on for a couple of seconds and then shuts down the back-light completely. The image is still there though.

Oh, if you value your life, PLEASE unplug the mains cable and make sure the HV capacitor is empty. Always check the voltage with a suitable multimeter first. Only then you may think about touching it.

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Small project #12 — IKEA Samtid mood-light upgrade

This upgrade is based on the loved-by-everybody WS2812B intelligent RGB LED and works just fine with Adafruit’s NeoPixel library.

The concept is – once again – rather simple. Whack a lot of WS2812B RGB LEDs onto a small board, add an ubiquitous ‘Arduino core’ and make sure everything fits nicely and works. Well, it worked. This post gives a short overview of V0.27.a of this project.

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KiCad BZR5025 full windows installer

Someone on the KiCad mailing list has created a windows installer of the BZR5025 code base, including libraries, demo projects, docs…

I’ve mirrored it on my server for your convenience.

Please note that this version uses library-tables and the new ‘pretty’ footprint format. It also uses the new “version 4″ board format, which is not backward compatible. Boards saved with this version cannot be opened with older KiCad releases before BZR4958.

Please take the usual precautions when working on boards that are dear to you – make backups and use a decent version control software (git comes to mind), so you can easily roll-back if something goes wrong. Commit frequently!

You may want to look into using a virtual machine (VirtualBox, VMware…) for testing these releases.

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Small project #11 — “674″

674_GAL

Don’t you just hate it when you run out of holes and have to use a bridge wire to some free patch on the proto-board? I thought so.

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Small project #10 — IKEA Samtid reading-light upgrade

Yet another reincarnation of a PT4115 based LED lamp. This time I chose to add a micro-controller to the mix. No, not an ATtiny13 but an ATtiny45, as it contains a much desired feature for this job: high frequency PWM using an on-board PLL clock multiplier. An ATtiny25 would’ve been plenty, but the 45 was cheaper. Go figure.

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Sunday Teardown — Soy-milk maker

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First a word of warning: Stay clear of any soy products. They can seriously fuck up your health. You don’t want to go down that road.

I’m proud to say that by means of this here tear-down, I’ve transformed this kitchen appliance into a much safer state. I’ll transport the remains to my local recycling-center tomorrow – minus a couple of parts that went into storage ;-)

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KiCad Interactive Router (release version)

Use BZR 4875 or later if you try out the new features.

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How long do SSD drives last — not long enough

Almost exactly 4 years ago I bought a 64GB SSD for my then much younger laptop. It is a “Super Talent FTM64GX25H”.

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Read transfer rates were about 130MB/s in my machine. How much is to be attributed to the SSD itself or the SATA controller, I don’t care anymore. It was definitely multiple times faster than the 120GB disk that was in there before. And it ran much cooler as well. The hard-disk tended to run very hot and overheat. Probably the wrong model for that laptop, as there is virtually no airflow around the disk.

The fancy box it came in advertised it as

“Rugged, Low Power, Silent”

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Spontaneous LED bulb teardown — IKEA ledare 400lm

I bought this LED bulb about 21 months ago for €11.99.

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I liked it!

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Small project #9 — PC-fan tacho-signal spoofer

Some time ago I got an email. Yes it still happens.

Someone was having a problem with computer / server fans. These things can get insanely loud, think vacuum cleaner on maximum power. Some of the 40x40mm models spin up to 6000 rpm. Absolutely not an issue if servers are rack-mounted in a server-room, but if you like to keep one of those machines in your personal space, that is a big no-no. So said person replaced these fans with slowly-spinning and silent PC-fans (80×80 or bigger, I don’t really know). But, the server’s BIOS / fan-monitoring wasn’t happy. It thought the fans were failing and forcefully shut the server down.

I was asked if I could build a little something that would measure the tacho-signal of the slow-spin-fans and scale that up to values that match the signal from the previous fans, fooling the hardware-monitoring, making it believe everything was ‘as usual’.

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Small project #8 — ATtiny13 DFN10 programming adapter

There are DFN10 / QFN10 test-sockets, but these things cost close to 100 bucks, which I’m not (yet?) willing to spend on this.

If this should work, I would be able to add preprogrammed chips to some SMD DIY kits in the future.

t13-DFN10-prog-adapter-top t13-DFN10-prog-adapter-base

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Photoelectric smoke detector — teardown

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PT4115 LED module – upgraded to Nichia NT2x757D LEDs

First the old version, using the best small LEDs I could get hold of at that time: Nichia NSSL157 and NSSW157 types driven at about 100mA.

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Small project #7 — USB powered inspection light

USB_inspection-light

Quite often I run into the problem of getting light to where I need it when inspecting SMD solder joints. The ring-light I built some time ago provides a lot of light, but is too large to get close to the objects of desire.

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YOUYUE 858D+ hotair station — reverse engineering #6

Adding some more stuff is always fun.

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A long long time ago I can still remember…

CMBBS

To all the still young whippersnappers, this was before the internet became ‘en vogue’ and easily accessible. Unless you wanted to pay 20$ per hour for a dialup connection using an analog modem with a 9600-link, maybe even 19200.

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And this is why we should wear protective glasses

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YOUYUE 858D+ hotair station — reverse engineering #5

The lack of an ISP connector on this board has given me a lot of grief. This little adapter board will solve that problem once and for all. It also provides a couple of through-hole pads for potentially adding some more stuff. Clearance distances to the high-voltage parts should still be tolerable.

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You can find the gerber files on the projects page.

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Happy New Year 2014!

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In case you may ask yourself if I’m a bit “early”, this year I’ve chosen to post when the first country passes into 2014. It is Samoa (UTC+14h).

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More Stencils from OSH-Stencils — Panellize this!

My first ‘real’ panel.

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