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AMD Radeon R9 Fury X – Pump Noise

In this video I share my experiences with the Radeon R9 Fury X.  Eventually I returned it due to the pump whine issue affecting the first production run and no ETA for a warranty replacement.

Also I was unable to overclock my Korean 27″ IPS panel which only accepts dual-link DVI as my DisplayPort to DL-DVI adapter would not allow me past 330 MHz pixel clock (around 82 Hz @ 2560×1440).

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G1W-H Car DVR Dashcam with Polarizer Filter

In this video I install a circular polarizer filter on my G1W-H dashcam to help reduce reflections seen on the windshield.

You will see how to select the right orientation on the filter, and also sample footage during both day and night time.

Parts used:
34mm to 37mm step-up ring
37mm Circular Polarizer filter
G1W-H car dashcam
BlackVue DR400G-HD for comparison footage

The video was recorded with my OnePlus One smartphone – I think it did a decent job.

Enjoy!

 

 

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BlackVue DR400G-HD Lens Cleaning and Battery Replacement

After an infamous thread on RedFlagDeals regarding an insurance fraud scam foiled by a person’s dashcam, many people started installing them as their own insurance, or simply to point out and ridicule poor drivers.  Sometimes people catch some crazy events.  I ended up purchasing a BlackVue DRG400G-HD from a group buy.  It was one of the better cameras at the time, 1080P recording, GPS, and a nice sleek build.  There are more affordable ones out there now such as the G1W which I have installed for my family members.

Most recently I captured lightning striking a utility post and it took out power to a traffic intersection.  When I went to check the footage, I found that the image quality was very poor.  I knew it was getting worse but always attributed it to a degrading sensor due to summer heat.

My camera also had an issue shutting down — it would no longer say “BlackVue now shutting down” when the power was cut.

Instead of tossing it for a new one, I opened it up for a little bit of maintenance to get it running like new.

drg400-cleanlens-1

 

BEFORE CLEANING:

drg400-before

 

AFTER CLEANING:drg400-after

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OnePlus One Unboxing

opo-03

It’s been a few months since I sold my iPhone 5 and went back to a BlackBerry as my daily phone.  I had been using a Z10 on the side for a few months now (prior it was a Q10).  As a colleague at work said to me “Oh, you have the s–t phone too”, I was looking forward to a new and better phone.

Chance was on my side and I was able to order a OnePlus One on the evening of July 25th.   I claimed the invite and within seconds I had paid with PayPal and was anxiously waiting for my new phone to arrive.  I wasn’t eager to spend 4 hours driving to the border to save $10 in shipping and scam my way past the border to avoid tax.  Shipping to Canada cost an additional $28 USD.  They ended up shipping using DHL and I received it on July 29th.

The breakdown of costs for me is as follows:

$349 for the phone
$27.99 shipping to Canada
$376.99 USD paid via PayPal, linked to my Amazon VISA which charges only the FX rate.
This becomes $407.67  @ $1.081381469 USDCAD via Amazon VISA

DHL COD cost $58.28.
$42.18 for Ontario tax + $10+$1.30 processing fee + $4.25+$0.55 COD.

Total cost out of pocket is $465.95 CAD.

It has a very premium feel as soon as you remove it from the inexpensive bubble-wrap mailer they used to ship.  The detail they put into designing the packaging makes for a very memorable experience.  I sat at the red pull tab for five whole minutes.  I texted my friend who told me “There is a brown box, a white box, and a red box.  Three levels to clear before you complete the task!”

I promptly started pulling on the string and documented the experience with photos to share with you here.   It’s been a while since my last fling with Android — my last device was a Galaxy Nexus, though I was forced to give it up for an iPhone 4 soon after due to corporate email support at my workplace.  I will write about my experience with the phone after I’ve had a chance to use it more.

Yes I left the stock screen protector on as I am waiting for a variety of screen protectors to arrive and did not want to chance scratching my screen.

I hope you enjoy.

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USB Stick Repair

If you bumped your USB stick by accident and it’s intermittently or not detecting at all, don’t fret!  It’s likely a damaged solder joint. If you apply a bit of force to the stick and “bend” it while plugged in, and it starts working, crack it open!  Less than five minutes of effort and you’ll Most Likely(tm) have your precious data back.

USB Stick

Four shiny new solder joints brought this ‘dead’ stick back to life.

 

Pry open your stick – this one is a cheap plastic one that came apart with almost no effort. Examine the 4 solder joints to the USB connector.  You can probably see a crack without the aid of a magnifying glass.

Pull out your trusty soldering iron and reheat those joints until it is shiny.  You can add a touch of solder if it’s not reflowing easily.

Plug in, and done!

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Kensington Expert Mouse (trackball)

kexm-title

My desk setup at home

I’ve been using a Kesington Expert Mouse for about 6 years now and would like to share my experience with both the device and repair.  It is my favourite “mousing” device since it occupies a fixed area on my desk.  Too often I’ll have piles of paperwork or hardware on my desk with no room for a regular mouse to move around.  It has the right amount of controls, and a nice no frills design that fits right alongside  my new favourite keyboard.

When I’m away from work people will generally bring a regular mouse and plug it in.  The trackball tends to scare people for some reason, even though it is easy to translate trackpad movements to it (larger ones like the Apple Magic Trackpad).

Recently the unit I inherited from another person at work started giving me issues with the left-click.  I would drag things around but it would let go and pick up something else.  It was infuriating but I adjusted my “grip” and the issue went away with a bit more force.  I eventually decided enough was enough, and grabbed a donor mouse to replace the failing microswitch.

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IBM L191p LCD Monitor Repair Guide

The IBM L191P 19″ LCD monitor is an old monitor built around 2005.  It has a Samsung LTM190E4 PVA panel giving some pretty nice viewing angles at a resolution of 1280×1024.  It’s a fine monitor for business use, but we are noticing that they are beginning to fail in large numbers.  Symptoms include: Constant power cycling when plugged into AC (pulsing green power LED), taking a while to turn on (needs the power button to be pressed repeatedly), or the backlight not turning on at all (graphics can be seen if you shine a flashlight on the LCD).

It has a very common IP-35135B Samsung PSU driving the CCFL backlights, and these are very prone to failure, long before the backlight even starts to dim.  Let’s open it up to find out why!

l191-04-disassemble

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Look twice before you add to cart

Notice anything funny about this box of orange juice on the shelf of a No Frills store?

No Name Orange Juice

A quick glance will show “pulp free 100% pure orange juice”.  Orange juice not from concentrate is never this cheap unless it’s on sale due to a new brand being promoted.

I grabbed a box off the shelf and then ended up putting it back on the shelf.

The house brand of the store sneakily uses their store shelving to their advantage, concealing the “from concentrate” line of text with the horizontal bars that keep the product from falling off the shelf.  Very clever.

I opted to purchase a jug of President’s Choice Blue Menu Orange Juice (not from concentrate) at which point, after having watched me carefully choose the type of OJ to purchase, a mother instructed her daughter to grab the same type of juice and to put back “that other junk”.

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Linksys E4200 (V1) and an RMA experience

E4200

Two things I noticed about this router (E4200V1):

  1. It gets quite warm under load
  2. When my PC crashes due to overclocking, it usually takes out the router along with it (all clients lose connectivity)

Specifically my combination consisted of the 82579V Intel chipset on my P8Z77-V with a E4200V1.

I came home one day to find my PC offline, and my room having a funky smell described to me by my wife as “man-smell”.  After hunting around, I noticed the E4200 laying on my carpet feeling as if it was going to smolder and start making my carpet go up in flames. Immediately I unplugged it, and blasted it with a few bursts from my compressed gas duster.

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Trendnet TEW-687GA Wireless Bridge

So a while ago I purchased a Trendnet TEW-687GA bridge. It has a Gigabit port so that you can hit >10 MB/sec, as other Wireless N bridges only have 10/100 ports on the back.

Trendnet Bridge

Unfortunately I didn’t do my research properly. My Linksys E4200 only has a 2×2 antenna on 2.4 GHz, and 3×3 on 5 GHz. This effectively limits me to a max of 300 Mbps off of the bridge.

Moving on, I upgraded my media server to a Sandy Bridge system with a cheap motherboard. It is a Gigabyte H61M-USB3 and it has an Atheros AR8151 network chip. This thing gave me the biggest headache out of any networking gear I’ve purchased in the last few years.

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