Switching to Ubuntu

This is a list of the things I would like to build (any ideas are welcome):

  • Chocolate Printer: a printer that uses chocolate instead of ink and is capable of printing 3D objects (I’ve seen some guy stolen my idead, doctor but thats OK, angina I don’t mind).
  • Vibrating Pen: a pen that vibrates producing funny writing (for children).
  • Electric Bike: a bike that uses an electric motor for propulsion.
  • Frictionless Electricity Generation on a Bike
  • Skype Phone Ringer
  • Faraday’s Torch: the ones you shake.
  • Big Van de Graaff Generator
  • OWI 007 Computer interface
  • Weather Cube: a transparent cube that emulates current or future weather on its inside (uses internet weather information).
  • Wooden IPod Case (nano)
  • Foldable Bike Trailer
  • Lock Picks
  • Binary Clock

I saw a long time ago that someone built a bench power supply using a power supply from an old computer. This is why, impotent when I found an old pre-Pentium computer (fully working with Win 95 on it) in the garbage, discount I implemented this idea.

Bench power supplies (PS) are very handy for testing electronics because they are reliable, glands stable and secure. It supplies variable voltage in a fairly large range, and detects when you are darning too much current from it or when its outputs are shorting, turning itself off elegantly instead of burning or overheating like some cheap power adaptors. Nevertheless, this kind of equipment cost around 200$ (usually more), which is very expensive (at least to me).

My version is much cheaper, I estimate it costs 8$ (4% of the retail cost). Of course, it has some limitations, but not that many.

Enough chitchat, let’s get started.

Materials:

  • 5 female surface-mount banana connectors (I had to buy them @ 8 for 12$)
  • A computer power supply (from the old computer I found)
  • 2 LEDs + surface mount (I got them from the same computer)
  • A switch (I had it lying around)
  • A resistor (use this calculator to get a value for your resistor)
  • 4 protective rubber pads (they give a feminine touch)
  • A power cord (Duh…)

Putting it together

Of course, my computer PS is not standard (GPC 145-4001), so I couldn’t find its specifications anywhere. So, I did a bit of reverse engineering (poking around) and figured out the pinout shown in this table:
Note: for P7 (P1, P2,… are the actual name written on the plugs) the yellow wire outputs 5V when the power supply is plugged in regardless of it being on or off. Also, when the violet wire is grounded, the power supply turns on. It goes off as soon as the violet wire is not grounded. Finally, the maximum power output is 150W, pretty respectable.

In order to control the power supply and show when it is on/off and plugged-in, I attached the following circuit to P7:


This works very simply: the yellow LED turns on when the PS is plugged to the mains and the green LED turns on when the switch is closed and the PS turns on.

I desoldered all the wires (P1, P2 ad P6) from the PS, leaving just one for each output (5V, -5V, 12V, -12V, and GND). Desoldering them is better than cutting for obvious reasons (less clutter, more reliable, etc). The output wires will be attached to banana connectors mounted on the PS case in order to make them more accesible (make sure the connectors are isolated from the case).

In order to pack everything inside the PS case, I drilled 5 holes for the banana connectors, 2 smaller holes for the 2 LEDs, and drilled and filed a rectangular hole for the switch (I know, it would have been much simpler to use a round switch). Since everything fits very tightly in the case, the holes placement must be carefully planned so the added parts won’t interfere with the PS (i.e. stop the fan, make undesired connections between the components).

The last step is to put everything together and close the case.

The newly born power supply will turn off nicely when you short its outputs or when the load exceeds its maximum power output capacity (i.e. when you plug a big motor or a power tool to it). By combining the outputs (DC) you can get 5V (GND to 5V), 7V (5V to 12V), 10V (-5V to 5V), 12V (GND to 12V), 17V (-5V to 12V), and 24V (-12V to 12V).

As a finishing touch I added rubber pads on the bottom so it doesn’t scratch my desk and I labeled the outputs using a labeling machine (pretty fancy).

Future improvements
I will add a variable voltage divider in order to easily get other useful voltages out of it, such as 3.3V and 9V.
I know 1000 is not that many visits but it is still a good opportunity to celebrate. This is why I’m hosting a Gmail invites giveaway. Basically, search if you want a Gmail invite just post a comment saying so and I’ll give it to you. Be sure to include your email.

By the way, what is ed if you don’t want to get spammed, cure use trashmail or write your email so spammers cannot gather it (i.e. if your email is example@somehost.com, you can write it as “example AT somehost DOT com”).

I know Gmail invites are getting old but I have some invites left and I would like to share them.
My teammate and I designed an integrated op amp. The circuit is implemented using Gennum GA911 technology. It is built so we can test many configuration (i.e. using active or passive biasing). Se below the circuit layout and some pictures of the resulting chip in it’s natural environment.

Active-loaded differential amplifier. This is the first Stage of the op amp, this site with a 5o dB Gain.

Class-AB output stage. This second stage alows for driving small loads and increases the overall gain a bit (~10 V/V).

Note: all circuit schematics account for the pin capacitance of the packaged IC (Cpad = 5 pF). Also the loading effect of the oscilloscope probe used to perform the experimental measurements is accounted for in the schematics by modeling the probe as a resistor (Rprobe = 1 MΩ) in parallel with a capacitor (Cprobe = 15 pF).

IC layout (done using Electric).

The chip (a.k.a. #5) being tested.

The chip in its natural environment.

A close up on the naked chip. Pretty neat.

I’ll post more details soon.

This is the schematics for a wireless AM receiver composed of a tuned amplifier, cardiologist a AM demodulator, viagra sale and an audio amplifier.


This is the radio receiver implemented on a breadboard.

I’ll post more details soon.
A Bogotá (besides being a city) is a very effective lock picking tool. It is surprisingly easy to build and allows you to open lots of locks very quickly and easily. I have been able to open many locks just minutes after having this little tool done (including standard door and bicycle locks).

For this project you only need one street sweeper bristle. You can find these on the streets after a street sweeper passed by. Their rotating brushes leave behind these precious bristles.


First you need a template. I found this very good one from Exodus5000.
You have to print it at its original size (@ 500 pixels/inch) onto a piece of paper, meningitis cut it using scissors or some other cutting device, viagra dosage and paste the paper using normal glue onto the bristle (after it has been cleaned of course). You should get something like this:


Then, online using a permanent marker paint around it and remove the paper.

Now, use some files to remove all the painted sections until you get the desired shape.

Sand it very thoroughly. It is very important. First use a medium grain sandpaper and the a fine one. In order to sand all the curvy sections, I used a piece of sandpaper rolled around a medium nail. In the end, it should be smooth as ….hum… as something very very smooth. This allows for a fluid motion of the Bogotá inside the lock (important if you want to get the lock open).

I accidentally broke my bristle. With the broken piece I built a tension wrench. it is a bit short, but it works well. If you want one, just bend the bristle (not to much or you may snap it)

For those who don’t already know, a tension wrench is used to apply a small tension to the lock while you pick it. See this article for more information.

With these tools you can now start a life of crime. You should be able to open simple locks (and perhaps more complex ones) in a couple of minutes. Simply apply a small tension to the lock (as if turning it with a key) using the tension wrench, and jiggle the Bogotá inside the lock rapidly and randomly. The lock should open in less than a minute (keep trying if it doesn’t).


Disclaimer: I do not condone leading a criminal life. However, if my blog does inspire you to become some sort of criminal and you succeed well at it, please share a bit of your earnings with me. After all, you will be doing well thanks to me.
I built this quick laptop lamp some time ago for my mom. It is very simple and requires very few materials.

Materials

  • 1 type A male USB plug
  • 1 light bulb (that works well at around 5V)
  • 1 lamp body (I found mine in the garbage)

First, ampoule I thoroughly cleaned, sanded, and polished the lamp body (which comes from a sort of old reading lamp).

Once the body was clean and shiny (it was completely black before) , I removed the lamp power connector and replaced it with the USB plug. In order to achieve this, the red (pin 1) terminal must be connected to the positive lead and the black (pin 4) terminal, to the lamp ground.

The lamp is basically done.

Since I did not have the appropriate light bulb for the lamp I had to adapt a bulb by adding a solder blob on its side. Now it fits perfectly.

This lamp won’t be as power efficient as the LED ones but it is cheap, quick and very simple to build. Enjoy.
Here is a very nice video about the Creative Commons license. If you watch it and click on the ad at the end you’ll be supporting the Commons. For more info and more videos about the Creative Commons, psychotherapist visit this site.


Long ago, urticaria I promised a CD lamp, so here it is. It took me a long time to complete it since I had to order some LEDs (actually, my girlfriend bought them and gave them to me as a gift), and to buy some solder.

This is a simple project that requires some skills in cutting and shaping wood and lots of old CDs.

The Idea

To make a nice looking lamp that uses CDs to shade the light. The lamp should be composed of two overlapping columns of CDs sandwiched between identical pieces of wood. It should be very energy efficient and output a reasonable amount of light (which implies LEDs).

Materials

  • 6 metal rods (I got them from an old photocopier I found in the garbage)
  • 4 special washer for holding the rods (from the same photocopier)
  • lots of CDs
  • 2 pieces of wood (from an old drawer I found in the garbage)
  • 10 LEDs (6 white and 4 blue in my case)
  • A resistor (for current limiting for the LEDs)
  • A switch
  • A 5V power adaptor
  • A calcium tablets package and a bottle cap (for the switch casing)
  • 4 protective rubber pads.

Preparation

Trace the layout on the wood. The layout consists of two circles spaced by ~12 cm so when the CDs are centered at the center of the circles, the CD holes don’t overlap (while the rest of the CD does overlap). Since I had very small pieces of wood, there was very little room for error (in fact, there was no room for error). I traced the layout using a compass and a ruler (pretty standard), and I cut the wood using a jigsaw.

The lamp is symmetrical so the base and the top should be identical.

It is important to thoroughly sand the wood so it is smooth and nice to the touch. It is good to use a large grit sandpaper first and a fine one to give it a nice finish.

Drill the holes for the metal rods. Four of the rods will hold the exterior of the CDs and should go trough the good. The two remaining rods hold the CDs at their intersection. should not go through the wood (they should be only deep enough so the metal rods stay in place once the the top is in place).

The rods hold the CDs inside the lamp and keep the base and the top pieces of wood together.

The light will be provided by two 5 LEDs arrays in parallel as seen in the following circuit schematic.
I alternated blue and white LEDs for the arrays soldered together in order to form a column that fits inside the CD holes. Remember to use a current limiting resistor for the LEDs (see this current limiting resistor calculator).

The switch should go on the power adaptor wire. I was not lucky enough to have a switch ready made for that propose so I built a case for the switch using a calcium tablet case and a bottle cap.

Assembly

Place the exterior rods in the appropriate holes on the Top piece and place the special washer at the base. The alternating from one side to the other, place CD pairs until the top of the lap is reached (forming two overlapping columns). The CD pairs are composed of two CDs back to back (the shiny face on the outside).

Then, place the two LED arrays and connect them to the power source and the switch. Make sure the LEDs are pointing to the from of the lamp.

Once the LEDs are in place the smaller metal rods and the bottom can be placed. Fasten the bottom using the washers.

Place some rubber pads on the bottom so the lamp does not scratch delicate surfaces.

The lamp is done. Enjoy!
Note: no CDs where harmed during the construction of this lamp.
Long ago, urticaria I promised a CD lamp, so here it is. It took me a long time to complete it since I had to order some LEDs (actually, my girlfriend bought them and gave them to me as a gift), and to buy some solder.

This is a simple project that requires some skills in cutting and shaping wood and lots of old CDs.

The Idea

To make a nice looking lamp that uses CDs to shade the light. The lamp should be composed of two overlapping columns of CDs sandwiched between identical pieces of wood. It should be very energy efficient and output a reasonable amount of light (which implies LEDs).

Materials

  • 6 metal rods (I got them from an old photocopier I found in the garbage)
  • 4 special washer for holding the rods (from the same photocopier)
  • lots of CDs
  • 2 pieces of wood (from an old drawer I found in the garbage)
  • 10 LEDs (6 white and 4 blue in my case)
  • A resistor (for current limiting for the LEDs)
  • A switch
  • A 5V power adaptor
  • A calcium tablets package and a bottle cap (for the switch casing)
  • 4 protective rubber pads.

Preparation

Trace the layout on the wood. The layout consists of two circles spaced by ~12 cm so when the CDs are centered at the center of the circles, the CD holes don’t overlap (while the rest of the CD does overlap). Since I had very small pieces of wood, there was very little room for error (in fact, there was no room for error). I traced the layout using a compass and a ruler (pretty standard), and I cut the wood using a jigsaw.

The lamp is symmetrical so the base and the top should be identical.

It is important to thoroughly sand the wood so it is smooth and nice to the touch. It is good to use a large grit sandpaper first and a fine one to give it a nice finish.

Drill the holes for the metal rods. Four of the rods will hold the exterior of the CDs and should go trough the good. The two remaining rods hold the CDs at their intersection. should not go through the wood (they should be only deep enough so the metal rods stay in place once the the top is in place).

The rods hold the CDs inside the lamp and keep the base and the top pieces of wood together.

The light will be provided by two 5 LEDs arrays in parallel as seen in the following circuit schematic.
I alternated blue and white LEDs for the arrays soldered together in order to form a column that fits inside the CD holes. Remember to use a current limiting resistor for the LEDs (see this current limiting resistor calculator).

The switch should go on the power adaptor wire. I was not lucky enough to have a switch ready made for that propose so I built a case for the switch using a calcium tablet case and a bottle cap.

Assembly

Place the exterior rods in the appropriate holes on the Top piece and place the special washer at the base. The alternating from one side to the other, place CD pairs until the top of the lap is reached (forming two overlapping columns). The CD pairs are composed of two CDs back to back (the shiny face on the outside).

Then, place the two LED arrays and connect them to the power source and the switch. Make sure the LEDs are pointing to the from of the lamp.

Once the LEDs are in place the smaller metal rods and the bottom can be placed. Fasten the bottom using the washers.

Place some rubber pads on the bottom so the lamp does not scratch delicate surfaces.

The lamp is done. Enjoy!
Note: no CDs where harmed during the construction of this lamp.
I was tired of the red LED in my Logitech optical mouse, gonorrhea
so I changed it. It took me less than 10 minutes (including searching my house for an LED).

It is very simple, viagra sale
just open up the mouse, medicine
desolder the LED, replace it by an LED of your choice (blue in my case), put it back together, and thats it!

I also slightly bent the spring in the scroll wheel so it scrolls much smoothly and quietly.

Blue mouse
Blue mouse

By the way, I noticed a better performance of the mouse on surfaces where it failed to work properly in the past… weird, but cool.

LED Specs (for the curious):

Emitted Colour : OCEAN BLUE
Size: 5mm
Forward Voltage : 3.2 V ~ 3.8 V
Luminous Intensity: 6000 mcd
Max Continuous Forward Current : 30mA
My girlfriend had an old toast oven (about 20 years old). Slowly it decayed and eventually, sickness broke (the timer did not work any more but it still heating).

What to do in such a situation when you find yourself to be the most amazingly kind boyfriend in the entire universe known to man?

The answer is simple, and it can be reduced to three easy steps:

  1. Find another toast oven in the trash (it must be the exact same model than your girlfriend’s).
  2. Clean it thoroughly (and I mean THOROUGHLY. It should shine like a mirror, inside and out).
  3. Give it to your girlfriend.

Note: in step No. 2, you should make sure the oven is in excellent working condition. There would be no point in cleaning it if it was broken (besides the intrinsic pleasure of cleaning a 20 years old oven).
IMHO, the easiest way to clean it is to take it apart, clean each piece, and put it it back together (but I have not tried any other method).

Enjoy some before and after shots:

Before…

After…
I got a brand new LCD screen for free from the guys at uC Hobby (their website has many nice projects).

It is a Samsung 0202A (see more details here). It is a very nice piece of equipment and I hoe I’ll be able to put it to good use

I’ll learn how to use it and I’ll come up with some project for it soon enough (hopefully). Meanwhile, sale I’m open to any project ideas.
I was tired of having a slow computer, search I did not want to deal any longer with bugs and annoyances (and these where paid annoyances and bugs). This is why I decided to use Linux, instead of a well known mainstream OS.

At first I thought I’ll give it a try since I was not sure it suited my needs. I thought Linux was hard to use, that I’ll be using the command line a lot and that I would not have any of the functionality a more standard desktop computer has.

Guess what, I was wrong. Linux is a beautiful piece of software that enables your computer to perform at its maximum capacity. It is stable, slick and fast.

Installation

Installing Linux, Ubuntu more specifically (a Linux distribution) is very fast. It takes about 45 minutes and when you’re done you have a full desktop environment with a beautiful user interface, lots of software, including OpenOffice.Org (an office suite), The Gimp (a Photoshop like application), Gaim (instant messaging), Rithmbox (music player/organizer), Evolution (email client), Firefox (no introduction needed), and lots of other nice software out of the box. The best is that it all takes about 1GB.

All you need to install Ubuntu is downloading and burning a free CD, booting the computer with the CD (putting the CD in and restarting it for most users), and following the installation instructions. You can keep your mainstream OS if you wish and have your computer dual boot (you choose which OS you want at startup).

You can also use the CD to run Ubuntu without installing it, if you want too give it a quick try. I think the Ubuntu people have simplified this process even further by now, the CD is not even required any more (quite neat).

FYI a more popular OS takes more than one hour to install, eats up more than 1GB all to itself ad doesn’t come with all the wonderfully functionality out of the box.

By the way, all my hardware was recognized flawlessly without the need of installing any driver (except for the video card for which I had to install the driver in order to enable 3D rendering).

Ubuntu also worked without any troubles on my brother’s laptop (including the wireless internet connection).

Now that I use a good operating system my computer runs fast (as hell) without any troubles. I also have no worries about viruses, spyware and the like since there is non of it for Linux.

For the record, this is the hardware I use:

  • 1 GHz AMD Athlon Thunderbird
  • nVidia gForce II 32 MB
  • Yamaha low end sound card
  • 640 MB of RAM @ 133 MHz
  • ASUS A7V Motherboard
  • 4+1 ports USB2 PCI card
  • 20 GB Maxtor HD
  • 160 GB Western Digital HD
  • 16x, 10x, 40x LG CDRW drive
  • floppy disk drive
  • Logitech Wheel mouse
  • Logitech Internet Keyboard
  • HP photosmart 1115 (printer & memory card reader)
  • Canon LiDE 20 scanner
  • Smasung SyncMaster 753df 17″ display.
  • Altec Lansing 2.1 speakers
  • 2GB iPod nano 1st generation
  • 1GB Lexar USB key

8 thoughts on “Switching to Ubuntu

  1. Hi Nice Blog .In any case of DIY hp laptop battery the, most important thing to remember is that you should only do the repair yourself if you are confident enough that you can fix the thing yourself. Without the right experience and the right know-how your laptop can end up more broken than when you started

  2. I chose to try Ubuntu after my freshly installed windows suddenly crashed after installing all the programs and drivers and utilities that a PC requires to function properly.
    So after the OS install and another 2 or 3 hours of software installation spaced by frequent rebootings, I once again restarted that system in order to start using it. And all I got after I switched it on again was the infamous BSOD.
    It was that moment I said to myself “I’ll try Linux.”
    I got a live CD (Hardy Heron, if I’m not mistaken) from a friend, and installed it quickly and painlessly. After the first boot, I was amazed to see that in contrast to my previous OS, Linux came out of the box actually ready for use.
    It had almost everything I needed, and what it did not have by default, that could be installed in a few minutes but without the fear of viruses or malware.
    I’ve been happily using Ubuntu since then.
    (With the noteworthy exception of that fateful week when I decided to upgrade to Karmic Koala. My laptop froze more times in that week than in the previous year altogether. Needless to say I quickly reverted to Jaunty.)

  3. @Z
    I am glad to see you switched for the best. I understand that upgrading the version can be a mess some times. In my case, Jaunty works poorly and karmic is awesome.

    Keep enjoying the FLOSS!

  4. nice blog!:)Por el camino, todo mi hardware fue reconocido sin problemas, sin necesidad de instalar ningún driver (a excepción de la tarjeta de video para el que tuve que instalar el controlador para permitir la representación 3D).

    Ubuntu también ha trabajado sin ningún tipo de problemas en la computadora portátil de mi hermano (incluyendo la conexión inalámbrica a internet).

  5. I am glad to see you switched for the best. I understand that upgrading the version can be a mess some times.

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