Monday, February 17, 2014

Giving New Life to LCD Screens from Old Laptops, TVs, Monitors, etc.

Introduction

Over the years I have collected quite a few laptops (among many other things...). I usually pick them up when my friends and relatives get a new laptop and they throw away the old ones. Most of these laptops are not working and/or very old (i.e. around 15 years old, sometimes even more). I collect them because, even though they are not usable any more as laptops, I can sometimes fix them up just so much that they can be converted to a digital picture frame, or I remove some parts of it and make use of those in some way, like use a laptop touchpad on a PC.

Since I was running out of space to store these laptops, a few weeks ago I decided to remove the usable parts from some of the very old laptops that were beyond hope, and recycle what's left of them.

The shiniest part you can salvage from an old/broken laptop is arguably the LCD panel. Most of the time the LCD panel of an old laptop has no problem at all (if there is a problem with the display of a laptop it's mostly not the LCD panel itself but the inverter). 

An old LCD panel used as a monitor for a Raspberry Pi
Below I am demonstrating a way of giving these (in my opinion) fantastic pieces of engineering pieces a new life.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Quick fix: Sony Bravia KDL-46EX402 TV Firmware Update Problem

Note: The problem and solution(s) described in this article are related to the Sony Bravia KDL-46EX402 television, but they may affect other televisions in the Sony Bravia line.


Introduction

I have a Sony Bravia KDL-46EX402 TV that after a couple of years of operation I decided to upgrade it to the latest firmware that I found on the official web site. In the Downloads section I found the latest firmware:
M8.728 - 08/11/2011
The update went smoothly and a couple of minutes later my TV was running the latest (2 years old) firmware.



Thursday, January 9, 2014

Upgrading the Hard Disk in a Verbatim Gigabit NAS External Hard Drive

Introduction

I have been using a 500GB Verbatim  Gigabit NAS External Hard Drive for backup purposes for the last few years with no problem - I can recommend it to anyone. Now, that I ran out of space I looked into the possibility of replacing its hard disk for a bigger one (economic solution) rather than getting a new NAS (ideal solution). The disk that used to be in it can be used for some other purpose (to be determined at a later time).

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Digital Picture Frame - My Way

Finished look

Introduction

Years ago, before I started this blog, I created a digital picture frame out of an old laptop and two wooden picture frames from IKEA. The choice of operating system was Windows XP because I had a license that I didn't need any more and, coming from a strong Windows background, it was the obvious and comfortable choice for me. This setup has worked well for years, with no problem at all.

Recently, I needed to make another digital picture frame, but this time I was out of Windows XP licenses. So I decided to make it run some flavor of Linux.

I have never used Linux before, so this created an opportunity for me to learn something new.

Finished look - from the inside - and no, it's not upside down...


Thursday, November 21, 2013

Quick fix: MPLAB X Cannot Connect to PicKit2 or PicKit3

Problem

After an update of some software on a 64 bit Windows computer you might run into the following message when you start MPLAB X:


Also, when you try to program your device it fails.

PICkit2:
Loading code from F:/Projects/PIC/LilBang.X/dist/default/production/LilBang.X.production.hex...
Loading symbols from F:/Projects/PIC/LilBang.X/dist/default/production/LilBang.X.production.cof...
Loading completed
Connecting to programmer...
The programmer could not be started: Could not connect to tool hardware: PICkit2PlatformTool, com.microchip.mplab.mdbcore.pickit2.PICkit2DbgToolManagerPK2Error0022:  PICkit 2 not found

PICkit3:
Loading code from F:/Projects/PIC/Fws.X/dist/default/production/Fws.X.production.hex...
Loading symbols from F:/Projects/PIC/Fws.X/dist/default/production/Fws.X.production.cof...
Loading completed
Connecting to programmer...
The programmer could not be started: Could not connect to tool hardware: PICkit3PlatformTool, com.microchip.mplab.mdbcore.PICKit3Tool.PICkit3DbgToolManagerConnection Failed.

Note: Using the dedicated PICkit2 Programmer application works without any problem.