Flex cable passthrough breakout

Introduction

Front side

Front side

Here is a product whose origin lies in the pain and suffering of an actual development project. Imagine you have a shiny new display made somewhere out there in a world that comes with a demo board and some datasheets.  So you take a display, hook it up to your favorite development board and try to follow the documentation. Except nothing works. And yet a a demo next to you works well, but is very tiny, has no test points and not documented. So you poke at the fine pitch flex connector with a scope for a bit, and realize you need a better way to capture what’s going on. Off you go to the lab and cobble together what is essentially a pass-through: two FPC breakout boards back to back, with a 0.1″ header in between. Now you can hook up your trusty Saleae Logic analyzer and look at what the demo board is actually sending down as opposed to what the datasheet says it should. This board is exactly that, but made into one neat package. It can handle standard 0.5mm pitch FPC connectors up to 40 pins wide.

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Rant: Our 2007 Honda Civic Hybrid (HCHII) troubles or how not to treat customers

Warning, long rant ahead!  As some of you know, we own a 2007 Honda Civic Hybrid, also called HCHII (second generation). Bought new, the car has been an absolute pleasure to drive, for about two years. And then all hell broke loose and  it’s been downhill since. In this post I intend to details my dealings with American Honda and the overall unhappiness with the situation. Where possible, I include screenshots or scans of the original documents.  I truly hope ACH will come to its senses and take care of the customers like myself, but if history is any indication it is not very likely.

Update 7/31/2014

The battery has been replaced! The car now behaves like it used to- IMA gauge stays in the upper half of the scale, acceleration assist lasts quite a bit and most importantly, when you lift off throttle some regen braking is now happening. Much better!

Update 7/22/2014

Just got a call from a service manager at our dealership – they are ordering us a new battery!  Will update once that gets installed, but things are finally looking up!

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Solar- 6 months later

6 months performance report

It is now late June, time to take a look at how our solar installation has been performing over the last six months. To recap, the system is a 5.2kW rooftop installation using 22 240W Sunpower ACPV panels with integrated microinverters (see detailed writeup at http://kuzyatech.com/going-solar). It was turned on in early December of 2013 and has been pumping energy since then. So what did we produce so far?

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BioBrite SunRise Clock backlight brightness hack

Here is another silly hack I’ve finally got around to do and document. We have a  BioBrite SunRise  alarm clock at home that nicely simulates sunset and sunrise.The clock is almost perfect with one notable exception- backlight is exceptionally bright even when it dims it for the night mode. This post describes how I fixed that.  Continue reading

Quick teardown- what’s inside a Home Depot 7in LED Easy light

I stumbled on these lights at the local Home Depot store this weekend, and was intrigues by the price ($9.95 despite being listed at $20 online) and also the versatility. You can simply screw one into an exposed lamp holder and end up with a fixture instead of a bare bulb, while also using a lot less energy.Or you can use a supplied socket with a pigtail and wire it to a ceiling box. In my case, I was looking to improve garage lighting. A single 60W bulb was just not cutting it and I am not a big user of fluorescents. These things being small and light but also enclosed would be a good choice there

Retail box front

Retail box front

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Altium running slow? Here is one possible reason

Recently,I’ve been working on a design in Altium. Nothing that unusual or complicated, so I didn’t expect any troubles. I went through the standard steps of importing a dxf outline, creating board shape and placing parts.  And then halfway through routing I started getting some very annoying slowdowns. You’d touch a net to start routing a trace from it and cursor changes into a spinning “wait” circle and sits there for 30 seconds or more. In some cases I had  to stop Altium process and reopen it again. Not good when you have many nets to touch! Continue reading