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[4 Sep 2011 | One Comment | ]
Our DSL Modem was overheating…

Every summer, without fail, our DSL likes to drop on hot evenings.
I even bought another modem at a yard sale, thinking that maybe ours was on the fritz – but no… same M.O.: laggy/lossy connection, then no connection, go downstairs and the modem’s really hot to the touch. It probably doesn’t help that it’s in a small closet under our stairs with the router and everything else, but even if we keep the door open with a box fan blowing in there it still does it.
As I was throwing away …

Hardware »

[20 Jul 2010 | No Comment | ]
Buggy Digital Volume Controls

My Yamaha HTR-5540 has one of those digital volume controls on it… the kind that if it’s off, you can keep turning it. The last couple years it’s started doing this thing where I’d be turning it down and it’d go +1-1+2-1+1-1+2-1. The net result after volume spasming is an increase in volume – not really what you want at the time.
I decided to take it apart and try and clean the “pot” – it’s not really a potentiometer, but that’s what many people would call it anyway and cleaning …

Hardware »

[23 May 2010 | One Comment | ]
Buying a little more time from my Microsoft Optical Mouse

I love my mouse. No, I don’t think you quite understand – I love my mouse. It’s not like it’s anything special either, you can get one off of eBay for about five bucks… but of course it was about $35 when I got it, back when optical mouses were still somewhat new. In fact it’s only quite recently that most new computers came with an optical mouse.
But even so, this mouse has served me well. It’s now called the “Microsoft Optical Mouse Basic“, but back when I got it …

Featured, Hardware »

[7 Mar 2010 | No Comment | ]
S/PDIF Output on Asus K8S-LA “Salmon”

Ever since I got a PlayStation 2 and found the joy of games that support Pro Logic II, I’ve had a thing for surround sound. It’s like this perverse fixation that gives me a boner every time – you haven’t played games like Need for Speed: Underground 2 or Ace Combat 5 until you’ve played them with Pro Logic II. Seriously, the effect is that dramatic.
The PS3 is even better because most games support Dolby Digital 5.1 native – the PS2 lacked the processing power to generate this signal dynamically, …

Featured, Hardware »

[5 Aug 2007 | No Comment | ]
Howto: JTAG interface on a Dish 3700 Receiver

I picked up this receiver in a box of stuff at a yard sale for $2. We have DirecTV service here, so I was left wondering what the hell I could do with such an archaic device. A quick search shows up that apparently I can’t get the card activated any more. From dabbling with various embedded environments, I was familiar with a JTAG interface and I learned that this box indeed has one.
So what can we do with this? I’m led to believe that …

Featured, Hardware »

[4 Jul 2007 | No Comment | ]
Fixing a broken USB Graphics Tablet

I picked up my Jam Studio graphics tablet a good few years back for the price of $10. Make no mistake about it, these are a low-priced budget tablet, and they perform about that too. Anyway, a while ago our pet rats got a hold of the cord, and chewed it in two pieces. I threw away the end, but I tossed the tablet into a box and kept it for a few years and I finally dug it out yesterday.
I tore it apart, …

Hardware »

[9 Oct 2005 | 6 Comments | ]
Optical Calibration: DVD Player Repair

We bought our DVD player way back when they were pretty friggin’ expensive, so naturally after we moved when it stopped working, I wasn’t about to just throw it away and buy another one. I’ve done a little bit of trial-and-error recalibration before, mainly on Sega Dreamcast consoles, so I figured I’d give it a shot.
Note: I take no responsibility for any damages that might result from you reading this article. You might damage your DVD Player even more from trying to re-enact the …