Sunday, 22 March 2015

Strike a Light!

I bought a couple of these Light Strike rifles for my son for Christmas 2013 when they were being sold in Home Bargains, but it turned out that they were an end of line item which amazed me because they are one of the best toys we've ever come across.  So good that I've bought up any final stock that's appeared reasonably priced on eBay.  There are some cool attachments for the rifles, my favourite being an underslung grenade launcher.  We had one of these with the first rifle, but I got another for £4 on eBay last week.  Only difference was that this new one vibrated and the old one didn't.  Mysterious, so I opened the older one up and discovered it indeed had a motor with a small eccentric weight attached.  This worked with 5 volts applied so I carefully re-soldered the connections and the tiny surface-mount transistor which drives the motor.  Reassembled and connected to the rifle it now vibrates. Result and an easy repair.

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Back to XP

I needed at least one Windows PC, so this Dell Inspiron 8100 from about 2002 came to the rescue. Upgraded to the maximum 512Mb RAM that the motherboard can handle and with a fresh minimal installation of Windows XP Home with Service Pack 3, it is running nicely. Best of all, it is all legal and above board with the OEM key. There are a half-dozen programs that I can't run on Linux using WINE, so this laptop will come in really handy.