Small solar panels + LEDs on lab bench, Installed.

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To successfully install solar panel lights in our new lab bench we started out with a shed light kit, which were on sale at Alco from 29.99$ to the 1.00$ clearance. Buying them out, 3.00$, was the expense plus tax.

A 32 foot section of wire was made from the original kits by splicing two solar panels at one end and two LED units at the other. Everything is spliced in parallel.(same colored wires touch their own colors only) over all a big success as the red charging lights were on the next day.

Kingston 64GB SSDNow V-Series Drive, MacBook – 130 $

Sorta surprised when I came across this gem for a customer who wanted reliability paired with not really needing much disk space. The speeds advertised for this product were pretty close to drives costing double, if not triple from other brands / sources. The original buyer was looking to do a hard drive swap on his Vista laptop.

Being as it is that I’m at home with Mac, I slapped this in a MacBook and installed 10.6 from an external hard drive for speed. The install was about 20 mins if that, and boot time was around 10 seconds after the initial setup. The drive had to be partitioned in a GUID state to enable an Intel Mac to boot.

Format as GUID:
1. Open Disk Utility (on Mac OS X Install disk, preferably 10.5+) 2. Select the SSD Disk 3. Choose the Parition Tab 4. Select “1” under Paritions 5. Click Options button, Choose GUID. See Examples below.

Speeds were generally blistering, feeling like a huge bottle neck was removed when replacing the internal 250GB Rotary SATA hard drive. Granted this MacBook system is a 2007 model and it felt from a general use point of view to be like a brand new system Apple hasn’t even produced yet.

As an added and unexpected bonus, it also comes with an external case that you can put your SATA hard drive in and software is included for your Windows computer to transfer data. With a Mac, all the software you need for such a project already came with your computer. Mac OS X 10.5+ during installation to your new drive, will look for existing drives with all of your information (Apps / User files / AddressBook).

A pretty good setup for most operating systems.

Time Capsule Power supplies non-existent. DIY Cheap and easy fix.

After some testing using a 1.5 amp power supply both on the 12v an 5v sides. This standard Chinese made single-harddrive power supply is doing it’s job. The time capsule appears stable.

The issue with these little home server capsules is that there is a tiny amount of space and not very much ventillation. The standard power supply gets hot and replacing it isn’t that easy.

Here’s some notes to remember while looking at the project picture set: there are 3 large pins that need to be desoldered and each pin has between 1 and 5 pins.

1 wire pin = 12 volt yellow wire from mullex.

4 wire pin = 5 volt red wire from mullex.

5 wire pin = 2 black ground cables.

Make sure to double check that the 4 and 5 wire pins are soldered to the right colors. When ever you hear this “make sure” part of a tutorial it usually means something went wrong on the author’s end.

Begin, now:
1 ] To take the time capsule apart, heat the bottom with a hair dryer or I used a floor heater. Mmm hotlectric. Rip it off any way you want. I recommend not putting it back on.

2 ] Below I remove the power supply after I get the metal bottom plate off by unscrewing all the poor little screws. I’m caressing the power supply because it’s about to be decommissioned.

3 ] After getting the power supply out of there, you must de-robe it by taking off all of the crisply plastic layers. Be careful, this power supply could contain a high charge. Don’t touch anything long and tubular or the contacts coming out of them. Non-bleeding capacitors are not as safe as their safer bleeding brothers.

4 ] Notice above: my hot poker soldering iron is pointed to the 3 pins that pierce the green daughter board. This is where black groups of wires connect to the power supply that we want to permanently disconnect. Below I’m stabbing/digging/murdering the green silicon with a hot iron to bring justice. This swift and sorry to say absolute justice will disconnect the pins from the board.

5 ] Below notice the black cable that I pried off of the now-removed power supply. We need to make this molex connector work with these black cables. By memory: the black bundled cable has 3 pins and two power plugs and I call the “power split.” The “power split” has 3 pins containing 5 wires on one pin (this pin is ground = needs to be soldered to the two black molex wires), 4 wires (5v = red molex wire), 1 wire (12v = yellow molex wire). See a hand solder* these together.

*If your new to soldering, and you have a crappy as all hell soldering gun like I have, the key is to get these things to metallically meld together. Get the connection wires/pins to be as close together as possible when soldering. I did this by getting pliars, and clamping tight around the pin/wire connection. Second is getting the melted solder on the cheapass gun first then holding it on the connection for just a little while, then globbing it on as needed. The test is a semi-firm pull.

6 ] Below I cut a space big enough so that the molex female (female because it accepts the most amount of plug, ignoring the pins) can firmly be snapped into place. If you glue it, your a dumbass…because you’ll probably mess something up later on and need to repair it. Hot glue; you might as well be crossing your fingers for good luck–THAT is going to do no good for you here. Using your brains will give you the most amount of “luck.”

7 ] Below: Here I just put some insulating plastic to keep the wires from touching. This is many layers of box packing tape. I am not too fond of electrical tape, as it’s adhesives seem to unstick over smaller amounts of time. It could be due to the midwest’s humidity. Use what you feel comfortable with.

8 ] Apparently the routing of the wires internally is a top secret as I don’t have that picture here. [ to be inserted later ]

9 ] All done. After connecting the sata power to the internal hard drive, and the power to the motherboard, routing the wires, it seems to be fully operational doctor !

Quick way to Turn Data off of your iPhone, Jailbreaking and it’s Legality.

Prelim: This revolves mainly around an Edge-based iPhone (2G) and OS 3.0 software, though most of what is said here is available for the 3G and 3Gs.

**EDITED UPDATE: AT&T is planning on requiring data (+30$ on your bill) on smart phones by Sept 6th, 2009 it seems. Reporters are saying that this will greatly reduce smart phone sales, and stifle innovations in digital wireless phone use as people would choose a cheaper standard phone that burns minutes. AT&T is most likely doing this as customers are realizing they are essentially paying 3x for data (texts, voice minutes, data) and are trying to make it’s new customers look at minutes and not megabytes. An iPhone or smart phone has the abillity to make many phone calls, texts over a data-only plan for minimal charges. AT&T appears once again to be slowing innovation, etc like it’s famous for. There would be no surprise if many lawsuits or FCC hearings take place yet again. This great idea that wireless customers can do everything they need over a simple data-only plan is not known by the general public, and is huge. AT&T is spearheading that lack of public knowledge and will be charging sourly for it.

For instance, a person could jailbreak legally, get a data-only plan through T-mobile, install Skype on their iPhone, install TextPlus and generally be set. (safari is already installed for browsing the web)

Chapter 1: http://iphonenodata.com/

Chapter 2: Using this site, you can use your jail broken or non-jailbroken phone to simply disable EDGE or 3G use for those customers who don’t want to pay 30 bucks/month for data services that AT&T offers in your area. (If you signed an iPhone 2-year contract, however your stuck with it unless you cancel your contract for 175$ early termination– and believe me: canceling right away if your not planning on using AT&T’s data will save you 545.00$ over the 2-year contract. That’s 30/month/2years-175$=545$) Use wifi instead.

Chapter 3: If you want to go further and use your iPhone on another network, you’ll want to Jailbreak your iPhone. This requires a little more computer soul. This term Jailbreaking only means to release your phone from the steel clutches of AT&T’s. Nothing more. This is also perfectly legal as your only changing something that’s yours. There are no U.S. laws that prohibit this. There has been a lot of mass chit-chat about this being illegal, and in no way can be true as it is something tangible that you own. The device is yours! USE it how you see fit. If you don’t like AT&T, cancel your contract (the 175$ early termination fee) and switch to T-Mobile, they are glad to help you out after you Jailbreak your iPhone, which allows it to be used on a lot of foreign networks as well!

Chapter 4: A good site to help you do this can be found here. Get a friend with more experience to help you. An iPhone free from the monopoly that it’s currently tied to is definitely cheaper, and you can truly then enjoy whatever network you see fit and build it the options you want. For instance, customer #001 might want wireless data only, as they’ll be using textplus app with minimal skype voip.

Final Thoughts: Pat yourself on the back when you get it done yourself, or even with someone else’s help.

Real World: iMac G5 dies, Time Machine saves Day

We had a G5 serving most of our business needs, and low and behold it died one weekend after running tests extensibly for 48 hrs on full use. This large amount of heat caused by this busted one capacitor on the motherboard left of the word “G5.” (later on, more of them gave way)

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Needless to say we had an old 733Mhz G4, yes, running Leopard (Mac OS X 10.5) and slapped it on the desk where the old iMac was slain. We popped in the backup drive, and opened up the “Migration Assistant.” It then asked for Time Machine backup location, and began copying over the data.

This included anything and everything (hoyotoyo) and and made it just seem like all of our files were just some tv program we plugged into the back of our computer. After logging into the copied-over account: WALLAH ! All files are back where we wanted them. Applications, you name it.

UPDATE: iMac has been re-capped by Ron’s TV, a guy with a great understanding for electronics in town with resources greater then many bigger cities, and as per this re-capping tutorial it’s entirely possible with the right soldering gun. Your average cheap 10 dollar gun will make the job super hard. The issue that we ran into was the tri-layer+ board which had large units of solder that spread the heat viciously. Not being able to focus the heat as easily was a pain in the butt. With patience, it is entirely possible.

Acer Laptops in general [Aspire 3690], downgrading laptops to Windows XP: fix

The whole problem occurs when you downgrade this laptop to Windows XP.

First thing you want to make sure you have the latest XP bios, which is completely unadvertised. It’s bios 3.6 [ complete archive ]

The 2nd thing to note, is that your downloading all of your drivers from the European site, as their United States, Pan American site is trash. [ If the link goes no where, then the proof’s in the pudding. ]

From that point on, you can just install Windows XP like normal, and download the necessary drivers from their website. Additionally if you install Windows XP first, then update the bios as quick as you can to avoid freezes and wireless internet not working. Take note that while 3.6 v. bios is good for Windows XP, there are usually different versions of the bios for XP and Vista for many laptops. This is spectacularly annoying. Apple, on the other hand makes one ‘firmware’/bios for both.