Saturday, 23 January 2016

No-cost astronomy camera

Webcam from a broken laptop;
Short piece of 20 mm plastic pipe;
Cardboard jewellery box;
Old USB cable;
Hot glue gun.

Only thing missing has been a clear night sky!!

Tablet power supply upgrade

I was going to say 'repair', but really this is an upgrade. My son's Android tablet stopped charging and pretty quickly we tracked the problem to the power supply cable. This didn't surprise me because it was a pretty cheap bit of cable, speaker wire really and I always thought it wouldn't last. The tablet itself is a bit of an oddity, a Zoostorm educational tablet with 2gb RAM and a quad core processor, but it was being sold by CPC a year ago for under £100. The reason may be the odd OS customisation with a strange storage layout almost certainly set up for school use, but we have tackled that and Need For Speed runs just fine on the device!

I tried reusing the moulded DC plug, but it shorted out so a trip to Maplin got me a replacement for £2. It is the smallest plug in the range as it happens. Looking at the cable, I thought I might as well do the job right so a delve in the spare cables box turned up a nice heavy wire from a defunct power supply for something else. Once again heat shrink sleeve came to the rescue to make a strain relief for the plug and the join to the stump of the old cable at the power supply end, and make the whole thing look nice and neat.

Better than when it came out of the factory!