SJCAM M20 Action Camera: Stuck Battery

The SJCAM M20 action camera has been attached to the back of my Tour Easy for the last 16 months:

SJCAM M20 Mount - Tour Easy side view
SJCAM M20 Mount – Tour Easy side view

The Anker 13 A·h USB power pack on the rack provides juice for a week’s worth of rides, letting the M20’s internal battery keep its clock & settings alive between rides. I recently forgot to turn on the USB pack and discovered the camera shut down just after I cleared the end of the driveway.

As you should expect, the battery had swollen so much its pull tab … pulled off … when I tried to extract it:

SJCAM M20 - stuck battery
SJCAM M20 – stuck battery

So, we begin.

Pry off the trim ring around the lens by jamming a small screwdriver in any of the three slots:

SJCAM M20 - lens ring removed
SJCAM M20 – lens ring removed

Then pry off the entire front panel:

SJCAM M20 - camera front panel
SJCAM M20 – camera front panel

Thereby exposing the battery’s rectangular protrusion and three contacts next to the optical block:

SJCAM M20 - camera interior - battery terminals
SJCAM M20 – camera interior – battery terminals

Avoid shorting the brass terminals with, say, a small screwdriver, while shoving the battery out of the camera until you can grab it with your fingers and haul it out the rest of the way:

SJCAM M20 - swollen battery case - left
SJCAM M20 – swollen battery case – left

Yeah, that puppy looks all swoll up:

SJCAM M20 - swollen battery case - right
SJCAM M20 – swollen battery case – right

Remove the all-enclosing label to reveal the bag inside:

SJCAM M20 - swollen battery bag
SJCAM M20 – swollen battery bag

Pull the bag out to reveal the protection PCB:

SJCAM M20 - battery case interior
SJCAM M20 – battery case interior

Snip the wires and salvage the case against future need.

I bought the camera with three batteries, all three of which are now similarly swollen. I also got two official SJAM batteries with an official SJAM charger; both of those batteries seem to be in fine shape. I expect the codes on the five bags would reveal two different lots, but I’m not going to sacrifice a nominally good battery to find out.

All three swollen battery bags show the same BEP 782633PL lot code and 1704 date code. I bought everything in January 2018, so those batteries had been sitting on the shelf for the better part of a year. Maybe that’s why they offered a “deal” for two spare batteries along with the camera?

Installing one of the unswollen batteries, reconfiguring the camera’s settings & clock, and giving it a charge from the Anker USB pack put it back in operation.

JPG Recovery From a Camera FAT Filesystem

You can do it by hand, as I used to, or use recoverjpeg:

dmesg | tail
cd /tmp
sudo dcfldd if=/dev/sde1 of=pix.bin bs=1M count=100
recoverjpeg pix.bin 
ristretto image00*

Nothing prizewinning, but better than no picture at all:

Garage Robin - recovered image
Garage Robin – recovered image

Note that you start by copying a reasonable chunk of the partition from the Memory Stick / (micro)SD Card first, to prevent a bad situation from getting worse.

Now I can remember the easy way the next time around this block …

Schwalbe Marathon Plus vs. W5W Bulb Fragment: Standoff

A clicking sound from the rear of the bike suggested something was amiss as I rolled up the driveway after a recent ride. Spinning the rear tire produced this alarming sight:

W5W fragment - on tire - side view
W5W fragment – on tire – side view

Pulling it out of the gash shows it’s the base of a W5W (or something similar) automotive bulb:

W5W fragment - on tire - front
W5W fragment – on tire – front

Which seems perfectly designed to cripple a bike tire:

W5W fragment - millimeter scale
W5W fragment – millimeter scale

The gash cuts all the way across the tire tread:

W5W fragment - tire gash
W5W fragment – tire gash

The blue stuff is Schwalbe’s rubber / latex / plastic SmartGuard layer, all 5 mm of it hard at work separating the glass from the inner tube.

I cleaned the wound, filled it with silicone rubber, topped it with some duct tape, and it’s still holding air after a 13 mile ride. I think the gash cut through the rubber tread and SmartGuard layer, but didn’t affect the cords in the tire carcass, so keeping further road debris out of the gash should let the tire wear out more-or-less normally.

Putting duct tape on the tread will certainly help …

Painting By Numbers, Redux

Five years later, the digits I painted with Rust-Oleum Rusty Metal Primer have weathered pretty well, while the original ink has fallen off the retroreflective sticker:

Mailbox numbers - original vs primer
Mailbox numbers – original vs primer

As before, I wiped off the crud with denatured alcohol and painted neatly inside the lines. The other digits on both sides still look as good as the day I painted them, with only a few bubbles and nicks.

Memo to self: Next time, buy a big sheet of 3M retroreflective film, make a stencil by vinyl cutting, paint the entire number in one shot, and be done with it.

Drill Press Vise Table Refresh

I built a small plywood work table for the drill press:

Drill press - scarred vise table
Drill press – scarred vise table

Obviously, that was a long time ago. It’s a plywood scrap with a small cleat screwed to its bottom, upon which one can position / clamp / hold / finagle smallish workpieces without worrying about drilling into the surface.

The most recent batch of aluminum backing plates prompted me to finally replace that relic:

Drill press - new vise table
Drill press – new vise table

The mill vise under the plywood grips the cleat and the whole affair rides on a Sears “Drill Press Milling Attachment Stock No 27585” which is basically a simple XY table with hand dials. It’s not rigid enough for actual milling (which you should never do on a drill press, anyway, because the end mill will pull itself out of the Jacobs chuck), but it’s good for tweaking the position before you drill something.

One should never hand-hold workpieces while drilling.

Don’t do as I do, do as I say. OK?

Soaker Hose Clamps

Having figured out the geometry for two- and three-channel soaker hoses, I cranked out more clamps:

Soaker Hose Clamps - production
Soaker Hose Clamps – production

Actually, those are the remainder of two production runs devoted to reducing the amount of water sprinkling the garden paths. A 50 foot hose runs along both sides of one 14 foot bed, crosses the path, then continues along the adjacent bed. The hoses have (deliberate!) sprinkler holes along their porous rubber body and sometimes the layout puts a hole where it waters the path.

The blue silicone rubber strips provide a bit of sealing to prevent the absurdly high pressure water from streaming through the orange PETG clamps. It’s OK if the clamp leaks, but less flow is better!

I’m getting really good at making those aluminum backing plates and, in fact, I think it’s faster to run the blanks past the disk sander, then drill the holes, than to CNC-machine them. Could be wrong, but Quality Shop Time is not to be sniffed at.

USB Wire Color Code: Grand Prize Blooper

Despite knowing the wire colors inside USB cables need not follow any particular convention, this still came as a surprise:

USB Cable - reversed red-black wires
USB Cable – reversed red-black wires

Yes, that’s a negative indicator on the meter: it reads -5.020 V.

No, I didn’t swap the test probe banana plugs on the other end.

A bit of continuity testing shows the green and white data wires are also reversed, so whoever assembled the cable simply soldered the proper wire color sequence backwards onto both connectors. As long as you don’t cut the cable to reuse the connectors, it’s all good.

Memo to Self: Stop trusting, always verify!