Friday, December 30, 2016

Laptop PSU power supply fix (kinda)

So I had a wonky PSU for a few weeks. It worked, kinda, but the DC cable needed to be in a constant state of twist and tension -- investigating the specifics of the fault was a low priority so I just did whatever worked, that is until today.

I remembered that in some of my past laptops there was a power fault that developed over time. The cause had been to do with a drying and deteriorating solder joint inside the laptop at the DC input. And so now in this case I firstly suspected something similar was happening, but inside the PSU.

With considerable difficulty I managed to pry open the PSU case only to find that everything inside was still quite perfect. The difference was that now I had a horribly disfigured unit that needed to be taped up.

My next hunch was to investigate was the funny looking cable segment just after the PSU DC output. And behold! I found that the negative wiring had become cut underneath the insulation. I can only speculate that at some point in the past the cable was jammed in a door or a drawer, and experienced a shearing force enough to eventually cause this fault.

The temporary fix was just to cut open some of the insulation, and twist the negative wires together. Unfortunately in the process I managed to nick some of the insulation to the positive cable, but will get by for now.

No matter how you look at this, it's not pretty. However, I was able to return back to work, and also to report back what was learned.

CONCLUSION: Don't try this. Just spend $10 to $20 on a new PSU. Even get two of them, one for home and one for the bag. Spare yourself from the waste of time.

And yes, the twisted mangled result was reasonably taped up before put back into use.

Friday, December 09, 2016

TPA3118 2X30W Bluetooth Digital Power Amplifier for Modified Bluetooth Speaker

I have this old BO speaker that's built like a tank, but what good is it when it does not connect to anything. I was going to throw it out, but had one more idea for it.

So I got this Bluetooth amp module from eBay:

TPA3118 2X30W Bluetooth Digital Power Amplifier for Modified Bluetooth Speaker
US $10.89

The DIY mod:
  1. Open the speaker enclosure
  2. Uninstall the crossover board
  3. Connect the woofer to the module's right channel output
  4. Connect the mid-range and tweeter (in parallel) to the left channel output
  5. Drill a hole for the power cable and push it through
  6. Attach the module to the inside cover of the speaker enclosure with tape
  7. Close it up

Currently the system is powered by 4x 18650 lithium battery pack that sits on the outside -- it lasts for about a day before needing a recharge). The audio signal connects via Bluetooth.

When it powers up, a voice prompt (in a Chinese accent) asks to pair, and then says that it's connected.

At minimum volume the sound can be quite hissy. The only volume control is via the source device, so I assume that the module is set to maximum preamp volume, hence the hiss. I am yet to try the 3.5mm input and test the hiss, but at low priority.

Later, I upgraded the battery holder to a single four pack, which looks a bit more tidy.

Monday, December 05, 2016

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Hyundai i30 Android Auto upgrade

The other day I went back to the Suttons City, where we got the car, and upgraded the car software to get Android Auto on the audio console.

First impressions:
  1. Install Android auto on your mobile. Then it opens automatically by connecting the android phone to the car USB via a data cable (not just power cable, and not Bluetooth).
  2. Very simplified controls:

    Navigate (Google Maps only, not Waze);

    Phone (only normal mobile, not Hangouts or Skype etc.);

    Home screen (displays cards like Google Now does);

    Music (Google music, but I believe it works with other services like Spotify but not Soundcloud which is the one I use);

    Car audio back button (give you access to the radio, but you can get back to AA);
  3. Weird and unexpected interim results:

    I seem to be listening to AM talk-shows now which I never would otherwise;

    I don't use my favorite driving app, Waze (with alternative GPS navigation, GPS based speedometer, speed signs, speed over warning, safety camera warning, police presence and traffic incident crowd-sourced reporting, improved accuracy screen orientation, alternative driver focused voice prompts).

    No music (I don't normally play any anyway);

    Much less mobile interaction while stationary (like simple ETA update messages, status bar updates, non-sticky lookups, etc.);

    No incoming calls (in the one interaction so far, the mobile did not ring, instead a missed call message icon appeared)
  4. Interim conclusions:

    I want to give Android Auto a good try and see how it goes;

    I expect software and feature updates on Android Auto as with regular Android (although I don't know if the car software works like an monitor port with data and the smarts are on the mobile which would get regular app updates, or if there are no OTA updates at all);

    I believe that there is a lot of opportunity for improvement here and love to see more features or plugins from the developer ecosystem.

After update (I did not think of taking a before snap to compare)

Revision 17 January 2017:

  • I gotta mention that we have not been using Android Auto much. And, I have to say, it's a bit lame. I still like it to be there, but it's a bit lame.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Composing simple messages

It's amazing what you can do with a vector clipping path (inkscape) and layout in 3d (blender). I used to retouch all of my work, and add creative repetition in vector. Now after a shift across to 3d everything seems energized.

Friday, November 18, 2016

halftone newsprint offset inkscape vectors

I saw something on a THERE (ad agency) website and started to wonder how to do halftone in vectors. Of course for bitmaps, there's a filter for it ( gimp/filter/distort/newsprint ), but it never came up as something to want in vectors until now. After a bit of googling and some failed attempts I made sense of it, via . The solution was hiding in a place that is not quite intuitive but sometimes such is live ( inkscape/edit/clone/createtiledclone/trace )

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Porch and Parlour

Who does a writeup about an exceptional sandwich only to risk sounding foolish, or some kind of a Bondi newb? In any case it is not everyday that we start off with a perfect long black and a very special plate: an avo smash on sprouted quinoa bread, topped with a light bloom of crunchy kale chips, balanced with a side of pickled radish, and so hence the bother with these words. My fav aside from the experience was an item on the specials board, a priceless treat that I shall refer to as Champagne-in-a-Can which we intend to investigate and report back at another time perhaps.

Porch and Parlour
110 Ramsgate Ave, North Bondi NSW 2026
Rating: ****

Thursday, November 10, 2016

newmanx rebrand logo assets

banner 1

banner 2

banner 3


Logo, Embellished to Deprecated

logo 1

logo 2

logo 3

before and after