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

Vintage multimeter – Weston 6000

Another addition to my growing collection of vintage multimeters is this Weston Schlumberger Model 6000 meter from the mid 1970s

Old vs new

Old vs new(ish)- notice how square it is

The meter was listed as in almost like new condition except for a spot on the front panel. It came with (very rubbery) test leads and an actual printed user manual- a rare thing these days.The Ebay posting was worded very carefully to never mention whether the thing actually works, so I figured it did not really matter. If it does not- teardown turns into repair attempt and either way we learn something new. Continue reading

Sole F63 treadmill Error LS1

My one year old treadmill decided today to quit. It would just click the relay to turn the motor on, wait a bit and throw error code LS1 (Low speed).  Quick net search returned all kinds of possible causes, usually with the company sending most of the electronic bits to the customer to replace. Awesome reason to look inside I thought!

The dreaded code LS1

The dreaded code LS1

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On the pluses of microinverters

As I mentioned in the Going solar! post, my new solar electric system is using microinverters located on the back of each panel to optimize power production. All of them then connect in parallel on the AC side, running essentially independently. As an added benefit we get individual panel’s data. Let’s look into that in a bit more details.

Foot of snow on the panels

Foot of snow on the panels

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