Thursday, June 26, 2014

WiFi Repeater Rescue

Introduction

I have been using a cheap, no-name wifi repeater in our house for about a year. It is of the type that you plug in a mains socket on the wall (after configuring it with a computer) and you forget about it. It's done a good job (i.e. zero maintenance) until a few days ago, when one day I realized it was not working. Only its red power LED was blinking, and we all know the red lights, especially blinking ones mean no good.

The two antennas are stuck to the back of the front panel.

Since it's a cheap model, I immediately ordered a new one, but it would take several days to arrive, so I decided that before throwing it away, I would open it up and see what's inside, how it works, and maybe salvage some of the internals for later projects.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

My Experiences with Batik

Introduction

In the past few weeks I have neglected this blog a little bit. With a good reason, though: I had the privilege to travel a bit in Indonesia.

I could write a book about my experiences on this trip, but it would be off topic on this blog. However, there is an aspect of my trip that fits in with this blog's theme: DIY.

Some of the ready batik sheets for sale in a shop in the Banten area

There is a plethora of interesting forms of traditional arts and crafts in Indonesia. Of the many, I fell in love with a fabric dyeing technique (and the resulting clothes), called batik. Looking it up on the internet reveals that some call the method batik, others the resulting dyed fabric. I don't really know which one is correct (probably both) and I tend to use the word "batik" for both.

I am not an expert in making batik, nor on any aspects of it. I merely enjoyed my encounter with the countless styles and colours used in some parts of Indonesia and decided to record my experiences with it.

What I learnt about batik mostly come from locals, who are involved in making batik for a living: I have spoken to several people of different disciplines, like designers, dyers, people, who draw the design on the fabric, workshop owners, and many others.


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).