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!

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Sides for a Flatbed Trailer: Building a bulk material hauler

It's been at least a year since I've posted about an "old trailer" build - so, of course, it's time for another one!  Last time I worked with an old trailer, I built myself a trash trailer for hauling trash to the dump.  It works wonderfully - but it's not very useful for hauling stuff to the property.  In 2019, I expect to need to haul many yards of gravel, probably some compost, and an awful lot of long material that won't fit easily in my truck.  All of this most easily done with an open top trailer - the gravel and compost can be loaded with a bucket loader, assuming they can reach over the sides.  But, you also can't just put a pile of gravel on a flatbed trailer and expect it to stay in place.

I have access to an older flatbed trailer (that could use some new tires) that would be perfect - if it had sides.  It used to have a set of sides, but they haven't been around in years, so if I want to use it for all my hauling needs, I need to build new sides.  Which, of course, I did!

What goes into building trailer sides that should last a long time?  Well, an awful lot of urethane, really.  And since the slots aren't quite right for 2x4s, fun with a small table saw, some hand saws, and more urethane.  Keep reading for the details!

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Senior Citizen Political Junkmail: The Social Security Roll Call

For reasons well beyond my understanding (that likely relate to Algorithms), I find myself on the receiving end of quite a bit of conservative political junk mail.  It's your bog standard "Trump is amazing, the Lib-ruhls are trying to ruin the country, give us money so we can stop them!" stuff.  But that's not all I get.

For even less comprehensible reasons, I receive junk mail (and spam phone calls) aimed at conservative seniors - your AARP, Social Security receiving, Medicare-covered folks.  And this stuff?  This stuff is just baffling.  I've decided to start documenting the worst of it, because if you haven't seen this stuff, it's just evilly manipulative and silly.

Your parents probably get mail like this.  Let's dive in and inspect it in detail.