Archive for the ‘hardware’ Category

Onkyo TX-SR606: One in the eye for planned obsolescence.

June 3, 2016

Today I repaired my Onkyo TX-SR606. The video board was failing on HDMI handshaking. With a nod of thanks to patpatpat999, and others, I replaced capacitors C8609 (top) and C8002, C8602, C8096, C8162 (bottom) on the HDMI switcher board. The linked video has a good description of how to remove the board, and how to identify the components.

I used radial lead capacitors, not surface mount types. There’s enough room on the board to sit them flat in between other components. I bought 105C-rated components, as the issue seems to be heat from the power amplification part of the system.


If you’re feeling really keen, use a dab of hot glue to hold them in place. I’m not planning on moving the unit often, so I’ll let the capacitors flap in the breeze.

Backlight replacement of the LG Flatron 194WS monitor.

March 20, 2013

This all started when the backlight would only stay lit for about one second. At first I thought it might be due to a power supply issue. There is previous history on this subject, because there are a few monitors built around the same internal hardware. I followed the instructions there (thank you Corporate Computer) and replaced those six capacitors.

I still had a faulty backlight. For reference, the power board has the following part number EAX35159301/7, and is auto-ranging in its input supply (100-240VAC, 50/60Hz). It has a revision date of 2007-02-26.

So the next thing is the CCFL backlight tubes, so I stripped those out from the panel assembly. The ends showed significant blackening, so perhaps the power supply was responding to an over-current condition on the CCFL by shutting down. Sadly, ebay and google could not find me a cost-effective set of replacement tubes. Also, some six years after the unit was made, LED backlighting has made CCFL backlighting obsolete.

While I had the panel apart, I cut some notches out of the metal surround.

So I went back to ebay and bought one metre of white SMD LED flexible tape. It cost me £1.49, and that included postage to the UK.

The tape was designed so it could be cut every three LEDs, and there are cut marks on the tape. It worked out that I could cut two lengths, each with 24 LEDs. These would fit the top and bottom of the screen, where the CCFL tubes used to be. The tape was 8mm wide, exactly the same as the metal supports for the CCFL tubes. The LED strips require 12VDC, which I could get from the monitor’s own (internal) power supply. If you look where the smaller LCD controller board connects to the power supply, via an 11-way connector, the connections there are clearly labelled.

Having used the adhesive backing on the LED strips to secure them to the metal supports, and lots of compressed air to clean the various light diffuser sheets, reassembly was straight-forward. It was mostly straight-forward. After connecting the LED strips to the power supply, I did a final test before assembling the outer casing.


The result is that the monitor now works, although the backlight is noticeably dimmer than it used to be before it failed. Also, the backlight stays on when the monitor is in stand-by mode. The only way to turn off the backlight is to isolate the monitor at the mains inlet. Given the very small amount of money spent on it, I think these are acceptable compromises.
Something to consider doing is going back to that 11-way connector, and looking if there is a control signal which can be used to drive a simple MOSFET switch, so that the backlight is extinguished when there is no input signal, or when the monitor is in stand-by.

A little note about the batteries for the Philips SHC5100 wireless headphones.

November 22, 2012

The gist of it is don’t rush out and buy the specific part (HB550S).
Buy a pair of regular (Nickel Metal Hydride) AAA size rechargeable cells, try and aim for about the same capacity of 550mAh. Then carefully cut about 3 or 4 mm of the plastic wrap from the negative end of the cell.
Have a look at this image for a guide.
Remember that most of the metal can is the negative electrode, so be careful to prevent accidental short circuits with the extra metal exposed.
If you look in the battery compartment of the headphones, there is an extra metal finger which contacts the battery on the side. This is how the headphones detect if the battery is the rechargeable type.

TomTom One temporary mains power supply.

April 27, 2012

I doubt this would be recommended by either of the manufacturers involved (TomTom or Exposure).

I notice that the mains charger for the Exposure MaXx-D can also power a TomTom One (No longer supported by the manufacturer).

This is useful if you have a TomTom One which has been sat at the back of a cupboard for some months, and the internal charge on the TomTom’s battery has self-discharged. You have a choice of finding (or bodging) a mains charger, or going out to the car at 11-something-pm on Friday.

Secret indicator on the Camsports HD-S 720p

September 22, 2011

I noticed something about my “bullet cam” recently. There is a indicator LED within, which can only be viewed from the back of the unit. You have to point the lens almost vertically down, and look in the left mystery hole on the back.
Like this
I am not sure if it means the camera is on, or means the internal battery is charging. I’ll try to remember to check it after it has charged fully. The manual makes no reference to this “undocumented feature”. You can download the manual from the manufacturer’s own site.
Actually there are number of ways the camera’s behaviour differs from the instructions:

  • The LED next to the lens does not flash blue when recording starts. The manual says it does.
  • Quote “When recharging, the LED record indicator will be red. At full charge, the LED will turn green.” When re-charging (with the mains adapter) the record indicator does not light. At full charge, there is no indication at all that charging is complete. When the camera is full of data, the record indicator alternates red/green. It also beeps about eleven times before shutting down.

It won’t be first time I’ve encountered a gadget whose behaviour differs from what the manual claims, not that it detracts from the results I’ve had from the camera. With so many embedded systems around these days, I think we should be more aware of the fact that the behaviour depends on the internal software. As a consequence we should not assume that the behaviour will always be consistent because there may still be bugs in the software.

Edit: The secret indicator LED is definitely a “charging” rather than “on” indicator.

Missing screws from the Maverick DUC 32 forks.

September 7, 2011

I returned from a bike ride recently and noticed a screw was missing from one the fork leg guards. This was obvious because the leg guard was at the two o’clock position, not pointing straight up to 12 o’clock. The service manual can be downloaded here. Item 22 on page three of the manual says "Screw Phillips Panhead 3 x 6". That’s in metric, apparently.
It is an M3 screw you need, no longer than 6mm. Commonly used in computer cases to hold DVD drives in 5.25" bays. Chances are the last DVD drive you bought had a bag of four of these screws, and you used two of them.
This photo compares the original screw, and the replacement:
Comparison of the original and replacement screws.

Updated Ubuntu Linux on your Sony notebook, and lost the display?

July 4, 2011

If your Sony notebook has Nvidia graphics, you probably need this solution here. It worked for my VPCS11C5E with its GeForce 310M GPU, running Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx.
Now if anyone can make the HDMI output work with Ubuntu, I’d be grateful to know how you did it.

Update 29/6/2012:
I re-read the post I linked to earlier, and followed the author’s suggestion about commenting out the Option lines when the driver has been updated.
Well, the driver has been updated several times since I last looked at this issue. Also I have updated the version of Ubuntu to 11.10.
I now find the HDMI and VGA outputs work, and that the connected display is detected correctly with the NVidia X Server Settings application.

The VGA side seems to be limited in what resolutions it will do though. I’ll crack that later.

Further to the Bandridge CPL4201 USB to serial adapter: A fix!

March 22, 2010

Today, doing a little more research and experimentation I found out something I suspect Bandridge would rather keep secret.
The Bandridge CPL4201 USB to serial adapter is actually a Pacific PL2303. You can get the driver from Pacific themselves here.
There are drivers there for versions of Windows from ’98 to 7, and the vast majority of in-between versions too. Also there are drivers for WinCE, Mac OS 8, 9, 10.1 and above, and for Red Hat Linux. (A modern Linux kernel will have the driver built in)

For completeness’s sake the CPL4201 gives this response to “lsusb” on my Ubuntu system:
“Bus 006 Device 003: ID 067b:2303 Prolific Technology, Inc. PL2303 Serial Port”
The important parts are the Vendor ID 067B, and the Product ID 2303.
There is a similar, but incompatible, USB to serial adapter based on the PL2303X but someone has already found out about it and come up with a patch.

For the record, the CPL4201 I have is a vanilla PL2303.

The summary seems to be:
* Bandridge can’t be bothered to redirect enquires about Windows drivers to the Pacific driver page (link above).
* Bandridge don’t want to take thirty seconds to re-package the Pacific driver with their branding.
* I now own two USB to serial port adapters (woo-yay!?). One of them might be adapted like this in the future.

Therefore I say: Bandridge – you suck.

More than you ever wanted to know about memory cards.

February 16, 2010

Bunnie Studios’ blog has been on my regular reading list ever since the first XBox was hacked. The latest entry has just surpassed the level of ingenuity and entertainment value of his original paper on the XBox security (alternate link to the paper).