Did we help with your project? Buy us a Cup of Coffee!

Wide Angle Lens for the Casio EX-P505 by Brett

Those who read my EXIF data, know I have a Casio EX-P505. It’s been a excellent camera, but like most, it tends to suffer in tight places. Let me fast forward a little bit. Here we have a spent IN42 projector bulb assembly. If you’re like me, you’re already staring at that hunk of glass wondering to yourself, “What could that be useful for?”

3029149148_691c6c3a66_o CIMG0109

Unlike most things that fit in that category though, this one didn’t end up as a trinket on the desk to be played with while transcoding or compiling. No, this had a higher purpose. Enter my digital camera of 3 years, the EX-P505:

I have used wide angle lenses in the past on camcorders and I was thrilled with the idea of finally having one on my camera. A dry test run needed to be performed. I reached for my Velcro and put this together:


It worked! A little awkward looking, but that’s never stopped me before. I brought it out for a day of testing and it passed all tests. Now I needed a final product. Sticking with the Velcro theme (pardon my pun), I came up with this:

CIMG0418 CIMG0419

A wide 1” strip of Velcro around the outside (duh?) of the lens, allowed to hang over 1/2” on the side to face the camera. Then, line the inside of the overlap with additional Velcro for that snug fit on the camera. Slides on like butter!

200812210812_00013 200812210813_00014

Black was chosen for a reason and not just because it looks cool. The black color blocks the light from the flash so it doesn’t light up the lens from the side and make your pictures all white. Unfortunately, since the camera wasn’t designed for this awesomeness (I forgive you Casio), the flash will be partially blocked by the lens, but it’s really only noticeable in close up images. The soft Velcro has the added benefit of protecting the fragile edges of the glass against getting banged up and chipped. You’ll also be picking out small black Velcro fragments from the inside of the thing for a little bit (sorry, can’t be helped!), but it’s worth it.

CIMG0420 CIMG0421

As Sean Kennedy would say, “What does it do? How well does it do it?” You decide. The unedited pictures above show the results without (left) and with (right) the wide angle lens attached. You can see how having one of these pays for itself (very easily since… well… it was practically free) when shooting indoors. Works great in those situations where you just cant get back far enough to squeeze everything or everyone into the shot.

Check out the full article >>

Canon 40D Review by William


I decided that I really wanted to get more into photography this year. I made a pact with myself to enter photo's into contests and all that jazz as part of my deal with myself to spend money on this camera. Which was a lot!! Not going there at all.




The Canon 40D was what I ended up deciding on, not to new, not to old. Good prices on it all around, except on Ebay. I grabbed mine off my favorite parts store online, NewEgg. Brett and I have a lot of eggs invested in the company.

The 40D is a SOLID camera. 10.1 megapixels on the updated version and a wide choice of combo lenses to go along with it as a packaged deal

You can see my old camera is irritatingly screwing up pictures. I love it though, its the best point and shoot I've used, its a Canon SD750 if your wondering. It's fussy sometimes. So, sorry for the fuzzy pictures.
You can see it came packaged pretty well in that box.  Lets look inside shall we?



DPP_0009I grabbed mine with a EF 28-135 1:3.5-5.6 IS. That means, if you don't know, this is an Image Stabilized lens with a focal length of 28 to 135. Since this is not a Full Format camera, we can include the digital factor of 1.6. So the lens really is a 45-216. Digital factor rocks! A small telephoto lens was just perfect for me! The 1:3.5-5-6 means that the lens opens up biggest f-stop of 3.5 while at 28, and 5.6 at 135. It's not a constant, which is something that you get with a bit cheaper lenses. This was a combo deal though, I was not worried, and I can purchase more lens's later.  For those out there who understand magnification power instead of focal length, this is a 1x-4x power lens.


The body came nicely wrapped as well. It weighs 6 lbs by itself without the lens. Whoa! This bugger sure makes your shoulder sore after carrying it around all day.

This camera really comes with everything you need software and all! Everything is well packaged and easy to use. In the package there is even a video out cable, you can hook this buddy right up to the TV and show everyone a slide show right from the camera! That is awesome, though I will never probably use the feature.


I read though the manual as quickly as possible trying to learn all the features of the camera, and boy there are more then I could ever learn. However, I wish sometimes that I had purchased the newer model, which did away with all the fluff features that no professional photographer uses. However, just a camera will not improve your photography skills, but it sure helps! In my photography class, which had already been half gone when I purchased this camera, I got to learn about what all the different modes do, and how to use them. I was so excited about photography again that I signed up for the rest of the classes!

If you have some camera skills or no skills at all, this kit is really simple to use. Getting the strap on the camera is the hardest thing to do, you have to think about that one a little bit. Almost all camera's have an automatic feature, and for any newbie photographer this setting will get you though just about anything you need. As well as a program feature, which is like full auto, but you have more control. The IS, image stabilization, helps with hand holding, so you can use slower shutter speeds while hand holding. Let me tell you, it works! I tried it out in manual mode. Amazing the difference. The auto focus works good as well, its quick and accurate, unlike the SD750, which in the last picture above everything is out of focus, because it focused on my feet instead of the desk! For the average joe photographer, I do not suggest this camera, there are cheaper camera's out there for you. This is a professional grade camera, one step under the top line of Canon cameras. The XSI series would be a much better choice for your average person, and for less then half the cost of this camera. About a week after I purchased mine, the price went down as well, of course, but that is alright. I love this camera and take it everywhere.

I'm reviewing this camera on a 10 scale tonight. giving it a 9 out of 10. This camera does all that I would ever want it too, but there are just to many useless features that don't need to be on there for professional photographers. My teacher even talked about it in class. A newer version of this camera got rid of all those features and just has the main ones on there that professional photographers use.

Check out the full article >>

SEIDIO Spring Clip for Sprint Touch Pro by William

Recently I purchased a Touch Pro for Sprint PCS but that is another review. Here we are going to go over the SEIDIO Touch Pro Spring Clip.

DPP_0001 DPP_0003

This is a very well packaged product. You don’t even have to cut the package open! That’s the great part. The back just pops off with a note inside and the card you see in the window.


It’s just instructions on how to use it. In case, well. We wont go there. Uhm. The sticker peels off very easily off the felt. There is felt on the whole inside of the clip where the face and the buttons would touch the clip. I was very worried about how this would be before I received the clip. I was thinking I might have to rig something up to keep my faceplate safe. The rest of the clip has a rubberized like coating on the outside of it which makes it really sleek and smooth. You don’t have to worry about it damaging the paint on your TP at all!

DPP_0006 DPP_0007

This item was terribly hard to take pictures of, but I wanted to take pictures quickly before I used it. You can see in the picture on the left there is a rubber part on the spring clip itself where it touches your phone! This was a great idea, and it works. The phone just sets down in the bottom and you push it into the clip and it snaps in. Wonderful! The spring is actually 2 springs on the clip, and they are pretty stiff springs. I wouldn’t worry about loosing my TP to easily. If something managed to get a hold of the spring clip enough to open it for the TP to come out, I’m sure you would notice. I pull my coat over mine when I’m not using the phone, but simply slide up my coat when I need to get to my phone and it has not let my TP fall to its demise yet.


You can see the back of the clip is a standard type belt clip with swivel. I’m not big on swiveling, but for somebody who is, it’s really stiff. I usually end up gluing my spring clips so they wont swivel, but only after they have loosened up. The clip stays firm on my belt, which is why I purchased it. I cannot stand other clips or pouches without something that will grab on the bottom of my belt to keep it from sliding off accidently. The stock TP case is really good at this. I would have rather received the sleeve the Diamond or other TP’s got. I even think it would fit in this case with that on here.

DPP_0012 DPP_0011

My picture skills apparently took a kaputs. The other 2 photo’s I have of the TP in the clip are fuzzy and embarrassing. You can see here that the TP fits snugly into the clip and the rubber piece is well at work holding your phone in securely. I put the phone in and attempted to pull the phone out. I was unable to do it, but then, I was trying not to break the clip either. You can also see that the clip protects the screen much better then any other case would, because it’s hard plastic protecting the screen, not a piece of fabric or leather that has give.

Overall I’m very Pleased with this product. Out of 5, I’m giving it 5. It exceeded my expectations, and it is part of my daily beltline kit.

Check out the full article >>

Wool Boxer - Preview by William


This is a project that has always interested me.
Back … oh thousands of … days. Days. Yes, Days. Earlier in the century they “baled” wool. You used this table looking thing to do it. As a shearer, I figured it would be neat part of my arsenal to have a boxer available. To enter fleeces into shows, you need to “bale” the wool with a boxer and paper twine. Tada! Something more to charge people for.
Well, there is one problem, this one isn’t mine. This one is a relic! So I took many measurements with the tape measure and the camera and plan to reproduce 2 of these units.IMG_1843IMG_1844








This is one of many of my winter wood working projects. Yes, it’s not really a mod, but its history. Well, I love history. I simply have no high tech projects at this moment. So we must trudge on!
Yes, earlier I mentioned building 2 of these. One is for the current owner of this one pictured, so it can be retired. You can see all the gashes in the wood on all 4 corners where twine has been cut thousands upon thousands of times. (yes, for real, thousands)

If you like woodworking, look forward to my grinding box and shearing box project. I also have a metalworking project for my shearing stand, and my stand machine that will eventually be done. My mockups made of wood currently are fulfilling their purpose, so I am not so hasty to retire them yet, even though they are mockups.

Check out the full article >>

Review for catalog? by William

So, as you should all know by now, I am a sheep shearer and a G.E.E.K.
I have a lot of mechanical type projects while Brett has some more electronics projects. Don’t let that fool you. We both do electrical stuff. I just play with bigger tools mostly, like 100 HP tractors and 12foot hay bines. Anyways, a shearing distributor has no catalog, so I’m working one up for him.
Thanks to the new printer here Brett found, Samsung CLP-315 Series, a full color catalog is going to be possible, and I shall later post it up on here.




This is a review of the CLP 315 series.
Thought I’d get a bit tricky with the title, seeing as the printer was bought for the purpose of making this catalog. But wow! does this thing rock. Full color pages, no problem, and decent quality!!!! Not like photo printer quality, come on now! Get real, this is a 180 dollar color laser printer that fits on your desk. So stop looking away if you’ve read about how poor the picture quality is from those people who really don’t know. For 180 dollars, this printer prints EXCELENT quality, full page, pictures. Good enough that people have already hung my photo’s on their wall printed from this printer. They were just printouts to show them the photo’s so I could find out which ones they wanted printed on a photo printer. They just took these!

Yea, in the other reviews, there are reports of the printer smoking.
Mine did not smoke. Maybe I was lucky. The thing to remember here is, this is a laser printer. You take an ionized plastic and magnetically attract it onto a paper, then burn it at 300+ Fahrenheit. Of course it will smoke!!!!!! Duh.
People need to learn about printers a bit before they freak out.

The packaging this printer comes in is great! My box was dropped. There was absolutely no damage to my printer whatsoever. The foam inside protected it as designed. I never noticed the box till I noticed the foam had broke due to absorbing an impact.

Not only is it packaged well, but this printer is also sleek looking. It’s so shiny, you’ll have to keep windex on your desk to keep it looking good. Or leave the plastic on the shiny parts like I did. haha. Be sure to check your hair on your printer before work!

For 180 dollars, this printer was delivered to my door in 3 days. Thank you Un-Named company. My eggs are always safe with you.
On a 5 star scale, I’m giving this a 4 out of 5. The only reason it gets a 4 is because the paper tray lacks a manual feed area, and its really flimsy compared to the rest of the printer.

Check out the full article >>

I have Returned by William

Soon to be posting up something.... I hope
Check out the full article >>

Blog Style. by Brett

I thought it might be easier to post projects to the site if it were in a blog format. So, here it is. Exciting!

Thoughts? Well you can put them in the comments here (below this text.), yet another advantage to this whole blog thing. Whoohoo!
Check out the full article >>

Medion MD9404QB (3132) Repair by Brett

Alright, today’s malfunctioning monitor is a 17” Medion MD9404QB. Why won’t the backlight come on? Let’s crack it open and find out!2008-08-19 005b Well, there is our inverter and if you have a computer that was made in China, you’ll be able to see the arrows pointing at the bad capacitors. I was able to find some compatible replacements on mouser and three days later they were at my door. A quick swap with the soldering iron and this happened:

2008-08-19 006

It started working! There was a little pressure mark on the lower left corner from some rough handling, but as predicted, that has gone away with time.
Check out the full article >>

Dell 1800FP Repair by Brett

Why won’t my monitor turn on? That’s the question I was asking myself when my Dell 1800FP’s LED wouldn’t even turn on. That right away clues me in that something is probably wrong with the internal power supply. Well, let’s crack it open:


A little research into the subject and I found that just like on the HP F1703/F1503 Repair, there were some solder joints (this time on the diode packs) that had went bad over time.


This in turn caused the ICE2AS01 PWM IC to fail. A few minutes on eBay and I was able to find a replacement IC for under $5 shipped to my door. Sweet.


First thing, you’ll want to reheat that diode pack so you don’t blow your new IC. Next, you’ll want to break out the desoldering gear and remove the old IC. Alternatively if you are as good as me, you can just will it out using nothing but kind words and a pair of needle-nose pliers.

Next? You guessed it, put in the new one. Make sure you get pin 1 back in the right hole, or you might turn your monitor into a short lived fog machine. Solder the connections and for goodness sake- make it look pretty! I’ll be double checking your work.


When you’ve plugged it all back in and put it back together, you should be rewarded with the standard dell test pattern.


Check out the full article >>

Westinghouse LCM-17v8 Repair by Brett

When this monitor was powered on, the inverter would flash on for just a second, then turn off, leaving the screen black again. Taking the LCM-17 apart, it was apparent that a few overachieving capacitors on the combo inverter and power supply board had popped up like a thanksgiving turkey timer. Upon closer inspection, I noticed they were all from the same company, CapXon. My guess is the guy mixing the electrolytic fluid that day was new.


Well, now we have something to point at. Those capacitors have to go. Shopping around, I found some replacements at mouser that should do just the trick:

I like to buy the ‘high temp’ ones, because to me that just sounds more durable- plus, you never know when you’ll want a new LCD display in your oven, so it’s best to prepare for those things now.

Assuming you have some basic soldering knowledge, the swap should only take 5-10 minutes. When done, it's just a simple matter of plugging in the cables and putting the screws back in (helps if you put them back in the same place you took them out of).


I'm just guessing here, but I bet this fix would work most if not all of the related models using the same Delta DAC-12M028 inverter board such as the LCM-19v7 LCM-19 LCM-15v5 or LCM-15.


No Spare parts? No blue smoke? No missing fingers? Looks like another job well done!

Check out the full article >>

HP F1703/F1503 Repair by Brett

If you’ve come here because your HP F1703/F1503 LCD monitor is going blank, flickering, blinking, going black, or turning off, I may just be able to help. Most of the time, the monitor will start off fine, but after a few minutes or maybe a few hours, it’ll just go dark.

Your problem is heat related. When the monitor is cold, it will work just fine, but as it warms up, it’ll just blank out. Why? Glad you asked.


Cold solder joints (aka loose) usually on the chokes (Note to self: where the hell is that picture…) or diode pack (pictured, that one I found). Whatever the case, they may not always be this obvious, so you may have to study the board for a bit and even then, sometimes they are so small you won’t see them at all.

The fix is easy, even the novice solderer should be able to pull it off. Just heat up the joint until the solder completely liquefies; the component is solidly attached to the board. Depending on how bad it is, you may have to add a little more solder to finish the job. For those more comfortable with their skill, you may want to remove the old solder, flux the joint, and apply fresh solder to the connections.

I’ve done several of these, each was fixed this way alone. The bad news? Unfortunately, I think the connection will probably come loose again. I haven’t had to fix one twice yet (probably because I’m just that good…) , but I think it’s only a matter of time since it seems to be a design flaw.

Check out the full article >>

Genius GM-6 Phone Holder by Brett

I had an old Genius GM-6 mouse and holder sitting around, just waiting to be useful again. It wasn’t the mouse though that got all the attention this time, it was the holder.


For months, I had been wanting a phone holster in my car that would allow quick access and high visibility when using GPS software. The phone fit in the mouse holder and that was all the convincing I needed. A little time with a small handsaw and some files and it was perfect. There was enough room to add some Velcro (loop side) to the inside, making the fit perfect and keeping the phone quietly in place (slides in like butter baby!).


How does it work you ask? Well, I couldn’t be happier. It’s solid enough I can tap away or even take my corners on two wheels (as I normally do) without it sliding around, as it had done previously in the original holder that sat on the dash. The positioning is perfect for me too. Not in the way, not hard to see- just right. Ah, the great feeling you get when things just work.


Silly Blackberry, you are far from Genius; you’ll never fit in.

Check out the full article >>

No Chipset Anchors? No Problem… by Brett

Hard to find, easy to break, and even easier to lose. Yes, I’m talking about those little solder-in anchors, typically used to hold down a chipset, GPU, or any BGA related heat sink.


If the heat sink gets too hot, they may work their way out and fly off. It’s pretty easy to reattach them, but sometimes they are damaged or more likely, lost. I’ve seen people use paperclips and even staples, hell, I’ve done it myself a few times in the past. Not anymore. My secret?


Safety pins. Yep. Plain ole’ safety pins. Get the small ones. Chop it in half, flux it up, and solder away. Works like a charm and the size is a better fit than most alternatives. Besides, you ever notice the original anchors suffer from the old ‘Square peg in a round hole’ syndrome?

Check out the full article >>

Fixing a Dell E172FP1, E172FBP, E171FBP, E173FBP by Brett

Our monitor to fix today has a black screen and forever blinking power button LED. This one wasn’t mine, but I was slightly concerned since I own three of them! Some poking around on the internet later, I found the 2C5707 transistors on the inverter driver were commonly going bad. So, one by one, I plucked them from the board and tested them.

CIMG8715Sure enough, one out of four was bad. I couldn’t find the reason they went bad, so I’ll just have to chalk this one up to defective parts. Lowest bidder wins. I looked up the part in a few catalogs and found a supplier that had them at a pretty good price after shipping. Since they were all out anyway, I decided to replace them all. The total was under $12- cheaper than a new monitor I suppose!

Few days later and a small brown box is at my door. I plugged in the irons and ripped open the package. 10 minutes later:


Check out the full article >>

Fix That Shovel!!!! by William

Holy cow! Do you actually know how hard it is to find a decent snow shovel? Do you know what snow is? If not, I’m bummed for you, it’s a lot of fun.
Anyways, I’ve had this shovel for a long long time. Let me think of how long….


Okay, I’ve decided I’ve had this snow shovel for at least 13 years. That’s a long time!!
Well, last year, the shovel tried to retire itself on me.




Well, that’s not going to happen as long as snap ties and a drill bit are easily available! Uh, ignore the clothes on the floor. There were more important things to take care of at the moment, like ole blue shovel here. So, as you can see here, I drilled the bejesus out of this motha. The dremel made short work of this task.
Time for some Snap Ties (or zip ties, whatever.)


This is actually round 2 with the Dremel and Snap ties. You can see the large ones there, they were necessary because the other ones were not holding up.
Yea, it seems dumb that I left the tails to the inside, but that is so the locks wouldn’t wear off on the pavement, and I also left them on for easy adjustment to tighten it up.

Currently, the shovel is still kicking, I just sharpened it, might have been a bad idea, it shovels too good now. A few Ties are gone at the bottom, but it’s still moving snow!

Check out the full article >>

Find It