Archives June 2011

Sunday 19th June 2011 - 14:36:23


I have just finished removing the old clothes line which the tree loppers destroyed. Unfortunately it was an original hills hoist. The centre aluminium casting is smashed. The clothes line is incredibly over-engineered. 50mm main tube, 5mm wall thickness! The stringers that hold the arms up are 1/4" solid steel bar. The concrete block the base is set in presented a big problem. The slab is approx 400mm wide and 500mm deep. I actually bent the box trolley transporting the thing.

To get the slab out I had to use a combination of leverage (framing pine - I bent a star picket using that), back-filling and a really big hammer.

First I dug around the edges about 200mm (one shovel width) on two sides after realising how huge the slab was. I dug under one corner and then sheared the corner off with a few solid hits of the hammer. The slab was unaffected by the hammer when it was encased in earth. Next I had to tip the slab over into the hole because there was no hope of moving it until I got rid of the "suction" effect the wet ground had on the slab. To raise it out of the ground I used leverage and back-filling. Once near ground level I was able to push it up and over the edge using two pieces of framing pine as levers.

Suprisingly the new clothes line only has a plastic insert to set into the slab. The insert is just 340mm deep!

Sunday 12th June 2011 - 21:07:51


I have successfully revived the new laptop. Unfortunately, the spare lid and panel I received (for a different model) has a different mounting system, a straight panel/inverter swap was out of the question. Where the original panel is more inset to the lid with the mounting tabs on the glass side with standoffs extending from the back of the lid, the the new panel is flat on the rear of the lid with mounting tabs on the backlight side.

After assessment and a bit of testing I decided to fit the whole spare back lid to the laptop. Some modification was required. I had to modify the hinge mounting plates to fit the hole arrangement in the laptop and remove some of the plastic molding in places.

The machine was left running with a small stick of RAM running memtest with the screen on. Later in the day I returned and found it had passed successfully several times. I then removed the harddrive and RAM from my old laptop and fitted it to the new laptop.

If I had been running Windows on the original laptop, this probably would have posed a problem, thankfully I have Fedora 13 on it. The old laptop is intel based, the new AMD based. All that was required initially was to switch xorg over to the VESA driver temporarily until the machine came up on the new laptop and had the propriety ATI binary drivers installed. It "just works". Nice.

Sunday 12th June 2011 - 08:29:10


I scored a laptop with a dead screen just in time for my laptop to fail. Although my laptop didn't fail entirely - just the backlight. I took it apart last night and repaired the backlight. The bundle of tiny tiny tiny wires which traverses the hinge to drive the screen had one broken wire. It took a lot of peeling to get to the wires. The bundle is wrapped in a metallic/cloth weave with glue backing on one side. Once open I was able to solder the wire. I used a piece of silicone wire sheath from a halogen down light (since it needs to be really flexible) rather than heat shrink to protect the joint.

The laptop I scored appeared to have a dead screen. It was given to me with a spare screen. After about 40 screws I separated the top and bottom plastic molded section from the cast aluminium inner frame and gave everything a clean and a bit of an eyeball. I then ran the system up to see what was going on. The screen was entirely dead. I left the screen in place and plugged in the spare screen. It fired up nicely but the plug didn't quite seat correctly. There were bent pins in the socket. Out with the maggie lamp and the pointy tweezers! I straightened the pins and plugged in the original screen. Voila! The screen fired up, but it looked like it was toast anyway. There was a red band across the bottom. I don't know how the replacement screen fired up without those pins - but the original does not... Perhaps the plug, cabling or controller is damaged as well.

Today I will be swapping out the original LCD panel and hopefully, although the plugs are the same, hopefully the mounting system is the same. If it is - I've got a working laptop.

Wednesday 1st June 2011 - 19:40:53


I've just watched the Beowulf trailer after looking at some random videos in YouTube. Near the middle of the trailer they play "In the House - In a Heartbeat" which is the theme for 28 Days / 28 Weeks Later. Makes me want to break out Left for Dead II and fwap some zombies! I haven't played that in aaages.

Wednesday 1st June 2011 - 12:02:53


Got a few bits on clearance from Rockby. Large 7 segment LED modules and some SMD 5V relays. Cool.

Daily archives