Saturday, February 9, 2019

Thinkpad T430S IPS Screen Upgrade

If you have a ThinkPad T420/T420S/T430/T430S laptop, I have great news for you: You can replace the screen with something that doesn't suck!  It's a bit of moderately deep laptop surgery, but it's doable!

If you don't have a ThinkPad of that series, well... you're not missing out on the screen side.  They have one of the worst screens shipped in recent history - and that's comparing them to an awful lot of the cheap netbooks out there.


The replacement is fairly straightforward - but it does involve diving pretty deep into the laptop, and it does involve a sketchy bit of display translator hardware.  So, what's involved?  Keep reading to find out!

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Solar Ultrasonic Critter Repeller Teardown

One of the problems I have on my property out here is burrowing critters.  We have voles, rock chucks, and gophers - at a minimum.  There might be more I haven't found yet.  I've attempted to deter them from areas we care about (like the garden) with some little solar "burrowing critter" emitters.  In theory, they make enough annoying noises under the ground that the critters just go somewhere else.

Maybe you've seen them - a solar panel on a stick that you wedge in the ground.  A 4-pack on eBay runs about $25, maybe a bit less.


Do they work?  Hard to say.  They're faintly annoying to me, but I'm not a gopher.  Would a gopher find them annoying enough to stay away from the garden?  Maybe.  Ask me in a few years.

How do they work?  Well, that's a question best answered with a teardown - and that, I can do!


Saturday, January 12, 2019

Shipping Container Shelves

You know what I always need?  More cowbell shelves!  This week, I'm adding shelves to the back of my shipping container - because the back of a shipping container is a good spot for shelves, and I've not been making very good use of the vertical space in the shipping container.  I've got a high top container (9.5' high), and I've been mostly using the floor for storage space, which is quite silly.  So I've added shelves!  This is a fairly simple build that should work for any more or less normal shipping container - it's completely free standing, just wedged into the corrugations of the container.


How do you build such a thing?  Keep reading to find out!

Saturday, January 5, 2019

2018 Reflections, 2019 Resolutions

Well, 2018 has wound up - time for the annual reflection post, and the 2019 resolution post (combined this year for your reading convenience).


The big news in 2018 was the new kid - he showed up in June, and is doing great!  I also spent most of the spring working on a giant time-sink of a building that our church purchased - it needed a lot of work, and I happily dove in to work on demolition, rebuilding, roofing... everything that needed doing.  However, I didn't get as much done around the property as I'd hoped for this year.

On the other hand, I've got some seriously large projects lined up for 2019 that will be documented in proper blog form.  So, keep reading to find out what comically absurd project will take my 2019!

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Roomba i7 Teardown: Why is there a waving cat with a lint roller inside?

I wasn't planning to take apart a Roomba today, but when your kid greets you in the morning with, "Are we going to take apart mommy's vacuum robot today?" it's hard to say no.  So, I spent part of my day taking apart, documenting, and reassembling a Roomba i7 - the newest generation of the Roomba line, with persistent house maps, a far quieter blower, and quite the surprise waiting inside for the determined explorer!


I like taking things apart - or, at least, seeing them apart.  I couldn't find a good Roomba i7 teardown on the internet, so I made my own.  The thing has been out for months already!  Join me for a trip inside the Roomba i7!

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Drones, Gatwick, Flying Things, and Regulations

If you don't follow aviation or UK news, you might not have heard that the London Gatwick airport was shut down from Wednesday evening through Friday, because of drone interference over the runway.  In other words, "Someone very deliberately flying a drone, of some form, over the airport, specifically to shut down operations."


And they were doing a damned good job of it.  Or the people trying to stop it were completely unprepared.

I'm actually quite surprised that it's taken this long for a deliberate attack on an airport like this - the technology has been around for a long while, but so far, most incidents seem to be "stupidity" based, not so much "malicious."  This?  This is malicious.  We'll certainly see changes out of it, though they won't actually accomplish much.  And I'm playing with those ideas for this week's post.

The police claim to have a couple in custody, which should also be interesting to watch.

Added Sunday Dec 23:  And the couple has been released and cleared of suspicion.  So no suspects yet.


Saturday, December 15, 2018

The EBD-M05 Battery Tester: 19.5V, 5A, 30W, useful software!

I haven't reviewed a battery tester in a while!  This week, I'm covering the Very Fancy ZKE EBD-M05.  This is a 19.5V, 5A, 30W battery tester with a rather slick computer interface, and some properly impressive accuracy (once calibrated).  Plus, it measures watt-hours!

I've subjected it to my usual battery of tests, and it's good.  Very good!  It's well worth the $20 on eBay - and if you want a battery tester at this point in time, you should probably buy this one!


It solves most of my complaints about other units I've used, and with software that actually works, it's my new favorite battery tester!

Read on for all the details!