Bafang BBS02 Programming Adapter: CP2102 Version

The last view before sticking the lid in place with hot melt glue:

Bafang BBS02 - CP2102 Programming Adapter
Bafang BBS02 – CP2102 Programming Adapter

The cable on the right goes to the motor controller through the display pigtail cable, sporting colors from a parallel universe.

A (possibly not counterfeit) CP2102 USB-to-serial adapter allows a slightly smaller case than one with the known-fake FTDI adapter and added some identification:

Bafang BBS02 - CP2102 Programming Adapter - case solid model
Bafang BBS02 – CP2102 Programming Adapter – case solid model

It splits along the midline for printing, of course.

The OpenSCAD source code replaces the previous version:

// Programming cable case

ProgCavity = [60.0,18.0,7.0];
ProgBlock = [70.0,24.0,13.0];
ProgCableOD = 4.0;

module ProgrammerCase() {

    difference() {
        hull() {
            for (i=[-1,1], j=[-1,1])
                translate([i*(ProgBlock.x/2 - CornerRadius),j*i*(ProgBlock.y/2 - CornerRadius),-ProgBlock.z/2])

        translate([0,0,ProgBlock.z/2 + ProgCavity.z/2 - EmbossDepth])
        translate([0,0,-(ProgBlock.z/2 + ProgCavity.z/2 - EmbossDepth)])


    translate([0,4,ProgBlock.z/2 - EmbossDepth])
            text(text="Bafang BBS02",
                 size=5,spacing=1.00,font="Bitstream Vera Sans:style=Bold",

    translate([0,-4,ProgBlock.z/2 - EmbossDepth])
                 size=5,spacing=1.00,font="Bitstream Vera Sans:style=Bold",

                text(text="Ed Nisley",
                    size=5,spacing=1.00,font="Bitstream Vera Sans:style=Bold",
                    size=5,spacing=1.00,font="Bitstream Vera Sans:style=Bold",


// Half case sections for printing

module HalfCase(Section = "Upper") {

    intersection() {
        if (Section == "Upper")

// .. snippage ..

        translate([0,2*Block.x/2 * gap,0]) {


My friend rides about the same way we do, except from a much higher perch, so I’ll start her off with a configuration similar to the one we settled on for Mary’s Tour Easy.

Aceco FC1002 Battery Re-replacement

My old Aceco FC1002 frequency meter stopped working without being plugged into the charger. It runs from a quartet of NiMH cells taped into a tray I made seven years ago:

Aceco FC1002 - hacked battery
Aceco FC1002 – hacked battery

One of the cells was completely dead and the other three will blink LEDs for the rest of their lives.

The Eneloops have trickled down from the DSC-H5 and still seem perfectly fine for ordinary use.

The faceplate bears the scars of its cracked acrylic (?) coating, so I pushed it out, traced the outline on a flat piece of polypropylene clamshell packaging, cut it out, and stuck it in place with tapeless sticky:

Aceco FC1002 - polypropylene faceplate
Aceco FC1002 – polypropylene faceplate

That removes the branding, but IMO improves the appearance.

It should continue working for another half decade or so!

Bafang Programming Adapter: More Cable Colors

In the process of installing a Bafang BBS02 mid-drive motor on a friend’s diamond-frame bike, I discovered, once again, how little anybody cares about the colors inside cables:

Bafang Display Extension Cable - internal colors
Bafang Display Extension Cable – internal colors

The cheerful rainbow on the right is the stub end of the Bafang display extension cable I built into the previous adapter.

The new cable on the left seemed like it might match the canonical colors:

Bafang BBS02 display cable pinout
Bafang BBS02 display cable pinout

It comes heartbreakingly close:

Bafang Display Cable - extension colors
Bafang Display Cable – extension colors

Brown and Orange connect as the naive user might expect, which does reduce the likelihood of incinerating the motor controller / USB adapter / laptop by connecting the 48 V battery directly to the logic-level electronics.

However, White wasn’t on the original menu, Green is now TXD, and Black has become, comfortingly, GND.

Verily, it is written: Hell hath no fury like that of an unjustified assumption.

This socket connector has a watertight shell making it extremely difficult to mate and unmate with the pin connector on the bike. Watertightness being unnecessary, a little razor-knife action seems in order:

Bafang Display Extension Cable - shroud trimming
Bafang Display Extension Cable – shroud trimming

Visually, they’re both green-ish, but sometimes the Pixel camera accentuates any differences.

Nuheara IQbuds² MAX vs. Bose Hearphones

[Update: I pointed to this post in a comment on the Bose Community forum, wherein I mentioned the lack of Bluetooth in their Sound Control hearing aids. It seems “Posts on any board, including Hearphones, on the Bose Community regarding the Bose SoundControl Hearing Aids will be removed by our moderators”, so they edited out those paragraphs. Fair enough: it’s their playground, so they set the rules’]

Having recently bought a set of Nuheara IQbuds² MAX hearing assistance buds, I get “So, what do you think?” invitations to leave a review. As expected, the third-party company handling the reviews will strip-mine my personal bits for their own ends; I see plenty of upside for them and none for me.

So these brief notes, compiled before I read the Okendo TOS, should serve the same purpose as an actual review, minus the nonsense of providing even more of my sensitive bits.

Bose discontinued their Hearphones last year. While I’m reasonably happy with how mine work, they seem to last about a year before something fails. Bose replaced the first unit after its covering delaminated, replaced the second unit when a wire failed in the left microphone, and the third unit is now approaching one year of steady use.

The Hearphone necklace curled around the IQbuds charging case:

Bose Hearphones - Nuheara IQbuds2 MAX
Bose Hearphones – Nuheara IQbuds2 MAX

Comparing the IQBuds² MAX to the Bose Hearphones:

  • Heavier in the ears, but without the necklace
  • Poor battery runtime, both have non-replaceable batteries
  • Poor ear seal with silicone tips, OK with Nuheara’s foam tips
  • Immediate access to “World off” mode!
  • “World off” mode seems noisier, even with ANC on
  • Better dynamic noise control / filtering

The tradeoff for not having the Bose necklace is, of course, carrying a smaller battery in each ear. Everybody’s claimed run times are optimistic, but after a year the Hearphones still last the better part of a day, while new IQbuds generate range anxiety after a morning and must then spend a while recharging in their case.

The stock IQbud silicone tips exert entirely too much pressure on my ear canals. The foam tips produce a much better seal and were easier to wear for more than a few hours. The Bose “Stayhear” shaped silicone tips fit much better and suppress external sound just as well as the IQbud foam tips.

Replacing the stock IQbuds foam tips (described as “Comply memory foam”) with actual Comply memory foam tips directly from Comply was a definite step up that should not be necessary; they are similar, but visibly different. According to Comply’s online fit selector, you need their Isolation T-167 Sennheiser-specific tips, even though Nuheara hardware appears in Comply’s selector.

The IQbuds tap controls, except for the simplest single tap, barely work. I cannot perform a double-tap, because the bud registers the first tap as a single tap and either discards the second tap or registers it as another single tap. Long taps generally work, except when they don’t, having nothing to do with tap duration or force. Tech support tells me the buds use the audio signal to determine when a finger taps the bud, but AFAICT tap sensitivity is much too high and the discrimination entirely too unfussy.

Amusingly, nibbling dark chocolate can produce exactly the correct audio signal to trigger the “World off” tap in the right bud and, occasionally, the “Play / Pause” tap in the left bud. I rest my case.

For someone requiring far more audio gain than a typical hipster, firmly tapping an ear bud is an … uncomfortable … user interface.

Fortunately, a single correctly executed tap on the right bud mutes the microphones and turns on Active Noise Cancellation; the Hearphones bury that vital function on a tiny icon inside the Bose app, requiring many seconds to start and activate.

The IQbuds app (and, presumably, the bud firmware) does not allow assigning any tap function to any bud + tap pattern. For example, there’s no way to access both “change location” and “change focus” by tapping, because both those functions can be activated only by the right bud’s long tap: you may select one or the other. Weirdly, volume and media controls appear nearly everywhere and, if double taps worked, they’d be useful.

The Hearphones are much better at muting relatively quiet ambient sound, to the extent that I thought the IQbud “World off” function didn’t work. It does, even though it seems tuned to suppress much higher noise levels. Both do a surprisingly good job suppressing loud yard tools, perhaps due to my inability to hear frequencies over a few kHz.

The IQbud noise suppression exhibits horrible gain pumping in noisy environments and windy conditions. It rolls off the overall gain and filters the higher frequencies as the ambient noise increases, then restores them in a rush as the noise subsides: repeating the cycle as the noise level changes. This is very unpleasant and, AFAICT, there is no way to forcibly set a specific gain / bandwidth other than turning the suppression completely off, which misses the point.

Bottom line: I use the IQbuds and they definitely help my hearing, but I don’t particularly like them.

To be fair, I don’t like the Hearphones necklace very much, either, even though, overall, Bose did a better job with the actual earpieces.

Satco PAR30 LED Spotlight Teardown

One of those LED spotlights may have barely outlasted its worthless warranty, but not by much, and has been languishing on the back of the bench with “Flickers hot” scrawled on its side.

The metal base didn’t respond to twisting, so I slit the threads with a cutoff wheel:

Satco PAR30 - thread slit
Satco PAR30 – thread slit

Applying the screwdriver removed the base to reveal a silicone rubber casting:

Satco PAR30 - thread silicone
Satco PAR30 – thread silicone

The small wire emerging near the edge of the plastic case seems to be the neutral contact to the shell, with a poor enough joint to suggest it might have been why the lamp flickered when it got hot.

Some brute force snapped the silicone off at the bottom of the plastic case and broke the two wires bringing AC to the PCB:

Satco PAR30 - thread silicone base
Satco PAR30 – thread silicone base

Digging around inside produced a debris field of silicone crumbs, broken resistors, torn caps, and various other components, with zero progress toward removing the shell:

Satco PAR30 - silicone extraction
Satco PAR30 – silicone extraction

A little lathe work converted a chunk of PVC pipe into a crude mandrel supporting the mangled case:

Satco PAR30 - base cutting setup
Satco PAR30 – base cutting setup

A few millimeters of sissy cuts released a silicone O-ring sealing the shell against the reflector:

Satco PAR30 - O-ring seal
Satco PAR30 – O-ring seal

Continuing the cuts eventually revealed the three screws holding the shell to the reflector and the two wires powering the LED:

Satco PAR30 - reflector separated
Satco PAR30 – reflector separated

Chopping off the screws with a diagonal cutter freed the shell and revealed the top of the PCB:

Satco PAR30 - electronics top
Satco PAR30 – electronics top

It really does have a surprising number of components!

Those three screws connected the LED panel / heatsink to the shell through the back of the double-walled reflector. More brute force peeled the outer shell away and released the panel:

Satco PAR30 - lens assembly
Satco PAR30 – lens assembly

Each of the 5050 packages contains a pair of white LEDs with 5.2 V forward drop for the pair, at the very low test current. They’re all in series, so you’re looking at well over 60 V total forward drop:

Satco PAR30 - LED panel detail
Satco PAR30 – LED panel detail

Note that the wiring, which nobody will ever see, follows the electrical color code of white = common and gray = hot.

Perhaps I should turn the lens into an interesting art object

Discrete LM3909: Blue LED

Once again, the discrete LM3909 circuitry can blink a blue LED while running a pair of alkaline cells all the way down to about 1 V, with one cell ending at 0.2 V and the other at 0.8 V. They started out discharged to 1.2 V each during their useful life, then blinked for a month; it’s as good a use for dead cells as I can think of.

With another pair of not-dead-yet cells providing 2.4 V, it started up again:

Blue LM3909 2.4V alkaline - 042
Blue LM3909 2.4V alkaline – 042

That’s a frame from a short video taken in subdued light, just to show it really does work.

Cordomatic 500P Disassembly

A pair of antique collectible Cordomatic reels get occasional use in the Basement Laboratory:

Cordomatic 500P reel - installed
Cordomatic 500P reel – installed

The extension cord reel didn’t latch reliably when needed, so …

There’s an obvious screw on the other side and a non-obvious screw hidden in the obvious place:

Cordomatic 500P reel - hidden screw
Cordomatic 500P reel – hidden screw

The electrical contacts were in good shape, although I smeared the grease around the rings just to make it seem like I did something:

Cordomatic 500P reel - contacts
Cordomatic 500P reel – contacts

The ratchet pawls hide under a riveted cover:

Cordomatic 500P reel - pawl cover
Cordomatic 500P reel – pawl cover

The duct tape shows I’d been in there once before, likely for the same problem, and had already drilled out the rivets.

Alas, I forgot to take a picture after removing the cover, but the general idea is to put just a dot of oil on the pivots (which, as you’d expect, are the rivets), wiggle everything around, and reassemble in reverse order.

It’ll surely work long enough that I can forget I was in there twice before …