Tuesday, 21 May 2013

New Website

Hello all, my new website is located at troydenton.ca.  All new content will be located there, but I will keep this blog around for historical purposes.

Monday, 18 February 2013

Converting an ATX power supply for bench use

Somewhere amidst my haze of academia and cheap beer, I managed to cook my old bench PSU (also ATX).  Unfortunately I built the thing worse than a shit brickhouse, and it shorted out about a hundred times before it decided to stop living.  I'm sorry, old pal.

Being an electronics enthusiast, not having a bench supply was a total pain in the ass.  Luckily, old ATX power supplies are about as prevalent amongst computer geeks as chlamydia is amongst arts students -  so, me and a few fellow nerds gathered some up, ordered a few parts off eBay, and made fast work of building some chlamydia machines power supplies!

Fig. 1 The victim - cover removed

Monday, 9 July 2012

Getting the M-Audio Fast Track II working in Ubuntu Studio 12.04, the unnecessarily hard way

As a hobbyist guitar player, I like to record parts here and there to aid in song composition (read: filling my hard drive with completely unrelated 13 second riffs).  Getting tired of the noisy signals I was getting by feeding my guitar in through unbalanced cables to an ancient, generic soundcard, I figured it was time I catch up to the rest of the world and get a USB soundcard.

My initial test was with an MBox Mini 2 from digidesign - looks like a decent unit and was recommended in high esteem  from a friend of mine:
"I'm a big stupid asshole jerk and won't work with linux lolfag"

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Mac MagSafe T-Charger Repair

A friend of mine came to me with a broken Laptop charger for her Mac.  "LOL APPLE SUXXX" I told her.  "At last! An opportunity to get a new computer!!" I informed her. But she insisted I help repair her trendy piece of garbage.  Oh well.

She had already completely diagnosed the problem, which was nice.  More importantly, she didn't come up with some bat-shit crazy idea of why it was broken, which is usually what happens when non-technical people reach beyond their grasp. The problem here being that the MagSafe charging connector had a bad connection to the cable: she had to wiggle it to get it working, and had been doing so for quite some time.

Trendy charger, Reproduced from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MagSafe

Usually this is a simple fix - cut out the sketchy section of wire and re-attach the connector.  However, as I'll soon detail, it got a little more complicated.

I began by undressing the sexy, sleek charging connector.  This involved slicing it's trim and toned sides with a Box Knife, and peeling back its clothing with my teeth a small jewelers screwdriver.

Let me take that off for you...

The next step involves removing tiny, little pins that are presumably inserted by prematurely born dwarf-children.  Despite me not having one of them handy to remove it, I used a bent paperclip.  You can see the pinholes on the white connector.  Removing these little bastards allows you to remove the magnetic bit:

MacGuyver points++
Normally, you would slice off the plastic casing above, and desolder the power connections to remove the head.  The Apple gods had other plans for me tho:

When God gives you Apples, get a new God.
Part of my friends problem, is that her year or so of wiggling actually broke the connections to the power pins themselves!  At this point I began to pray for dainty, newborn asian child hands.

As it turns out, it's really trendysexyfresh to put a PCB inside the connector.  At least I assume so, because its literally stupid as fuck. Why not put that little circuit inside the laptop, and enjoy a simpler connector?  Probably so that people are forced to buy more $70+ power adapters.  Which is probably sexy, considering you get to go into sleek, specially-designed outlet stores for your replacement....

A PCB inside the connector? Buncha jerks.
Unfortunately, I was too busy soldering miniature pins to a crowded PCB to take more pictures of the process.  But I assure you, it sucked.  After that hour+ of fine soldering, it remained to reattach the head to a different spot on the cable:

Shown above: the easy part

Replace the plastic insulation shroud with some electrical tape, and reinsert the tiny pin things:

And finally, wrap up the repair with a shimmering new coat of electrical tape.


And thats how its done! 


PS, fuckyouapple