Retro Lamp Resto

In August this year, I had a brilliant day at the snow (Falls Creek) with my lovely wife, sister-in-law and nephew, followed by a day of cruising around the Kiewa and Ovens valleys, enjoying the scenery and searching for treasure in every junk and antiques store we saw.

I found this ugly duckling lamp for $15 at the Co-op Collectibles Vintage Store in Dederang. Surely that mucky bakelite and rusty metal could be made more interesting! What on earth were they thinking with that concrete block though?

“Unrealised potential”

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Moto T-shirt census

Over the years, I’ve accumulated quite a number of motorcycle memorabilia T-shirts. Mostly souvenirs from MotoGP and Superbike races — every race I go to, a new moto T-shirt is added to the wardrobe.  I didn’t give this collection a second thought, until one day a colleague of mine asked “Just how many motorbike T-shirts do you have?”.T-shirt collage

And so, my T-shirt census and documentation project began.

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Old gauge, new tricks

Original gaugeSomething I’ve been wanting to do for a while: Convert a mechanical gauge to display sensor data, such as temperature or water tank levels, rather than display data on a screen. At the start of 2016 I picked up a couple of pressure gauges from an antique bazaar. Here’s the story of one gauge’s conversion.

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Another repair: E-reader edition

Broken Kobo TouchA couple of years ago, I bought a broken Kobo e-reader on eBay for A$10. My hope was that a factory reset or easy repair would bring it back to life. Alas, no. It turned out to be a cracked display, so I stashed the Kobo in a drawer as a possible source of parts. But I recently found that my favorite Chinese super store sells E Ink displays. So I ordered one… Continue reading

Remote enhancements

I like to tinker and to solve problems for the fun of it. However, this project might confirm that I’m just downright lazy.HTPC remote - bench test

I solved two ‘problems’ this week: adding remote power-on capability to my home theater PC (HTPC) and remotely switching input selections on an HDMI switch box — by reassigning a couple of unused buttons on our TV’s remote control.

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Flogging a dead cap

It costs a lot to get faulty electronic devices repaired, right? High labour costs and cheap retail prices mean a low threshold when deciding whether to repair or replace.

Electrolytic capacitors

However, with a little knowledge of practical electronics, DIY repair is possible and can be incredibly cheap — especially if it involves a power supply and faulty capacitors.

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Remote camera shutter release

Fully set upHave you ever needed to photograph a batch of objects in a consistent, repeatable way? I needed to take photos of more than 200 vinyl records to list on eBay. I couldn’t face the idea of doing this without some automation, so the Arduino-shutter-button-presser was born. Continue reading

Kobo, kobo on the wall — when will the next tram arrive?

kobo on stand 2 eReaders — Kobos, kindles, nooks and the like — are the modern book. They’re not as nice to hold, share, smell or browse through as a real book, but with a bit of effort, they can show things other than books … Weather forecasts and tram timetables, anyone?  Continue reading

Taking the house’s temperature

temp_bench_testThe question

Could our roof space make a great computer room? That was the big question. Moving my network points, file server, router, security DVR and some other bits up into the roof would tidy up the study and reduce noise and heat in there too. But would it get too hot up there for electronics to survive?
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