Posts Tagged Repairs

J5 V2 Flashlight: Switch Tightening

From the start, the (second) J5 V2 flashlight had an erratic switch that flickered the LED at the slightest pressure. Not enough to switch modes, as it does with a half press, but enough to show something’s not quite right inside.

Taking it apart requires a pin wrench, which I have, but the deeply recessed ring required more reach than any of the tips I’ve made over the years. Introducing a pair of stainless steel 10-32 screws to Mr Grinder added two more pins to the collection:

J5V2 Flashlight - custom pin wrench

J5V2 Flashlight – custom pin wrench

The lock ring in the flashlight cap turned out to be finger-loose, certainly contributing to the problem. Removing the lock ring, peeling the rubber dome out of the cap, and poking with a punch sufficed to drive out the guts of the switch assembly:

J5V2 Flashlight - switch parts

J5V2 Flashlight – switch parts

Which is, as you’d expect, the cheapest possible parts that don’t immediately fail.

The (steel) tab sticking out of the actual switch (in the upper right) contacts the inside of the (aluminum) cap. I bent it slightly outward, added a trace of DeoxIT Red, reassembled everything in reverse order, and it’s all good for the first time in its brief life.

I’d rate J5’s QC as Below Average, given that the first light arrived with built-in dirt and its replacement (this one) had an alien egg next to the LED, plus this loose switch lock ring + crappy tab contact.

The J5 V2 light claims 750 lumen output, but the spot is nowhere near twice as bright as the LC40 lights on the bikes and much dimmer than the LC90 light (which is too big for the bikes), all tweaked for equivalent-size illuminated areas. Given that lumens measure total output and candela measure lumen/steradian, there’s some wiggle room for misinterpretation.

Won’t buy another, for sure.



Canon NB-5L Battery Status

My pocket camera has begun kvetching about a low battery rather more often than before, which suggests the batteries I’ve been using since 2014 have gone beyond their best-used-by date.

This came as no surprise:

Canon NB-5L - 2017-08-05

Canon NB-5L – 2017-08-05

I re-ran a couple of the batteries to make sure they hadn’t faded away from disuse, which didn’t materially change the results. The lightly used Canon OEM battery continues to lead the, ah, pack.

The camera’s lens capsule accumulated a fair bit of dust from many years in my pocket, which lowers its overall contrast and wrecks the high f/ images produced with the microscope adapter.

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Stereo Zoom Microscope Ring Light: Mounting Tape

The tiny lip holding the new LED ring light into the microscope snout lacked enough traction and deposited the ring light on the desk. Having picked up a roll of Scotch Extreme Mounting Tape to see how well it works to attach LEDs to vacuum tubes, I’ll see how well it affixes a ring light to a microscope:

Stereo zoom microscope - taped snout

Stereo zoom microscope – taped snout

The red plastic film separates the tape layers on the spool; the tape itself consists of incredibly sticky, gooey adhesive on a very flexible foam backing. As you can tell from the ragged edges, cutting it requires some effort, with the adhesive instantly gumming up scissors. I applied a razor knife around the microscope snout’s perimeter, pressing from the red film side and pulling the cut sections apart as I went.

The adhesive exposed on the edges of the roll will glue it to anything it touches, so hang up the roll. Laying it on a shelf will definitely cause heartache & confusion.

The instructions on the back label suggest 2 square inches of tape will hold 1 pound:

Scotch Extreme Mounting Tape - label

Scotch Extreme Mounting Tape – label

Given that the ring light weighs a few ounces, tops, those two strips should do fine.


Sony DSC-H5 End-of-Life, With Reprieve

So my trusty Sony DSC-H5 camera emitted a horrible crunching sound from inside its lens assembly, spat out several error codes which boiled down to “throw me out”, stopped retracting its lens, and developed a nasty rattle. If I thought dropping $2k on a fancy mirrorless DSLR would improve my photography, I’d do it, but instead I picked up a $60 used DSC-H5 from eBay and continued the mission.

Of course, the new-to-me H5 suffers from the half-press switch failure common to that entire line of Sony cameras; my DSC-H1 repair notes still come in handy for many folks.

I’d preemptively repaired the shutter button + switch in my now-defunct H5, so I dismantled it, extracted the control assembly + shutter button, bulldozed the debris aside, dismantled the new(er) H5, transplanted the parts, reassembled it, and declared victory.

Which left me with a pile of parts that could become an H5, if I could fix the lens assembly, which seemed unlikely. While pondering the futility of human existence, I applied a low-effort repair to the defunct shutter button by scuffing the nicely chromed and absurdly tapered tip of the OEM shutter button’s shaft, then applying a dot of JB Kwik epoxy:

DSC-H5 Shutter Button - epoxy dot

DSC-H5 Shutter Button – epoxy dot

The nice sphere came from hanging downward, with the button sitting atop a short brass tube on the workbench.

Filing the dot’s end flat produced a blunt plunger much larger than the OEM tip:

DSC-H5 Shutter Button - filed epoxy dot

DSC-H5 Shutter Button – filed epoxy dot

You can just see the edge of the OEM tip inside the grayish end, which puts the filed flat at the original pin’s length.

I punched a new plastic disk to replace the indented one:

DSC-H5 - shutter switch cover

DSC-H5 – shutter switch cover

Based on past experience, the new plunger tip will work fine, although, unlike the brass screw repair, the OEM plastic pin can still break and launch the spring-loaded shutter button cap into a nearby bush. Given that I may never actually use the repaired button, I’ll take the risk.

Finding out if the new tip will work may take a while:

DSC-H5 - disassembled

DSC-H5 – disassembled

I did a bit more disassembly than strictly necessary to replace the shutter button, but not by much; you’d be crazy to pay me to fix your camera, fer shure.


Torchiere Lamp Shade

A pair of torchiere lamps lit the living room for many, many years:

Torchiere Lamp Shade - original

Torchiere Lamp Shade – original

During their tenure, they’ve gone from 100 W incandescent bulbs to 100 W equivalent” CFL curlicues to 100 W equivalent” warm-white LED bulbs. The LEDs aren’t up to the brightness of the original incandescents, but you can get used to anything if you do it long enough.

After so many years,  the plastic shades / diffusers became brittle:

Torchiere Lamp Shade - original broken

Torchiere Lamp Shade – original broken

That’s after a bump, not a fall to the floor. So it goes.

Some casual searching didn’t turn up any likely replacements. The shade measures 14 inch = 355 mm across the top, far too large for the M2’s platform, but maybe a smaller shade in natural PETG would work just as well.

ACHTUNG! This is obviously inappropriate for the original incandescent bulbs and would be, IMO, marginal with CFL tubes. Works fine with LEDs. Your mileage may vary.

OpenSCAD to the rescue:

Torchiere Lamp Shade - section

Torchiere Lamp Shade – section

That’s a section down the middle. The top is 180 mm across, leaving 20 mm of general caution on the 200 mm width of the platform. The section above the sharply angled base is 90 mm tall to match the actual LED height, thereby putting them out of my line-of-sight even when standing across the room.

I ran off a short version, corrected the angles and sizes for a better fit, tweaked the thickness to fuse three parallel threads into a semitransparent shell, and …

Torchiere Lamp Shade - M2 platform

Torchiere Lamp Shade – M2 platform

Producing what looks like thin flowerpot required just shy of seven hours of print time, as it’s almost entirely perimeter, goin’ down slow for best appearance. The weird gold tone comes from the interaction of camera flash with warm-white CFL can lights over the desk.

If you hadn’t met the original, you’d say the new shade grew there:

Torchiere Lamp Shade - no epoxy

Torchiere Lamp Shade – no epoxy

It’s definitely a Brutalist design, not even attempting to hide its 3D printed origin and glorying in those simple geometric facets.

Those three threads of natural PETG makes a reasonably transparent plate, clear enough that the bulb produced an eye-watering glare through the shade:

Torchiere Lamp Shade - no epoxy - lit

Torchiere Lamp Shade – no epoxy – lit

So I returned it to the Basement Laboratory, chucked it up in the lathe (where it barely clears the bed), dialed the slowest spindle speed (150 rpm according to the laser tach, faster than I’d prefer), and slathered a thin layer of white-tinted XTC-3D around the inside:

Torchiere Lamp Shade - lathe spinning

Torchiere Lamp Shade – lathe spinning

For lack of anything smarter, I mixed 2+ drops of Opaque White with 3.1 g of Part A (resin), added 1.3 g of Part B (Hardener), mixed vigorously, drooled the blob along the middle of the rotating shade, spread it across the width using the mixing stick, smoothed it into a thin layer with a scrap of waxed paper, and ignored it for a few hours.

If the lathe perspective looks a bit weird, it’s perfectly natural: I raised the tailstock end enough to make the lower side of the shade just about horizontal. Given the gooey nature of XTC-3D, it wasn’t going anywhere, but I didn’t want a slingout across the lathe bed.

The lit-up result isn’t photographically different from the previous picture, but in person the epoxy layer produces a much nicer diffused light and no glare.

I might be forced to preemptively replace the other shade, just for symmetry, but we’ll let this one age for a while before jumping to conclusions.

The OpenSCAD source code as a GitHub Gist:


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Calculator Battery Corrosion

The display on Mary’s favorite little calculator (remember calculators?) faded away and, of course, this appeared when I popped the back:

Calculator battery corrosion

Calculator battery corrosion

A touch of vinegar, some scrubbing, and new cells restored it to good health.

That was easy …


Vacuum Tube LEDs: Knockoff Arduino Nano USB Connector

The LEDs adorning the 0D3 rectifier tube became unreliable:

0D3 Octal - 25 mm socket - raised LED

0D3 Octal – 25 mm socket – raised LED

After failing to plug in a different USB power supply, a close look at the USB connector showed the problem:

Knockoff Arduino Nano - broken Mini-B connector

Knockoff Arduino Nano – broken Mini-B connector

A bit of needle-nose tweezering extracted the culprit from the power supply’s connector:

Knockoff Arduino Nano - broken Mini-B connector - fragment

Knockoff Arduino Nano – broken Mini-B connector – fragment

I tried applying the world’s smallest dot of epoxy to the fracture, probably slobbered epoxy along the pins while reinserting it, and the Nano still doesn’t light up.

Given that knockoff Nano boards cost a touch over two bucks delivered, it’s not clear transplanting a connector from one of the never-sufficiently-to-be-damned counterfeit FTDI USB adapters makes any sense.