Archive for the ‘DIY’ Category
Wednesday, June 5th, 2013
How to get MCE, Ceton infiniTV and ZvBox 170 working together
There’s not much detail on how to get a Windows 7 Media Center with Ceton’s InfiniTV 4 to tune in a channel from a ZeeVee zvBox modulator. I hope this post will be useful to others that find themselves in my situation.
Tuesday, May 28th, 2013
Best Interior Trim/Cabinet Paint: Benjamin Moore Advanced
A bit of background first — I’m not a professional painter but I do consider myself a paint enthusiast in the search of the ultimate interior finish for cabinets and trim. I also prefer airless (Graco) or HVLP (Fuji 4-stage) spraying application over brushing on the paint. For some reason I can’t stand the “brush strokes” — no matter how good a painter is, I like the perfect smooth finish of spraying (OCD?).
Since I prefer spraying the finish on, I opt for water based paints for the ease of clean up. Over the years I tried the following trim/cabinet paints:
- Sherwin William ProClassic® Interior Acrylic Latex Enamel – Satin – First generation 2004 (applied over 10 gallons)
- Sherwin William ProClassic® Interior Acrylic Latex Enamel – Satin – 2011 (applied over 4 gallons)
- Sherwin William ProClassic® Interior Waterbased Acrylic-Alkyd Enamel – Satin -(applied over 3 gallons)
- Benjamin Moore ADVANCE® Waterborne Interior Alkyd Paint - Satin – (applied 6 gallons)
The break down goes like this — the Sherwin William ProClassic line provided a decent finish. To me, it lays down more like a latex-y finish than oil. Satin actually turned out more of a duller, flat finish. I used that for all this doors and trim in my home and it has held up well.
The early version of the Acrylic Latex Enamel paint seemed to sag when applied with a spray gun and was quite a challenge — even when using a fine finish tip and light coats. Apparently, this was a known issue with the early formulation and Sherwin William’s adjusted the formula to fix that. I gave the latest formulation a try and it was much better but the finish didn’t level as nice compared to the newer “hybrid” water based Acrylic-Alkyd finishes.
I’m a big fan of the new “hybrid” paints where it’s like oil but with the ease of clean up of water based paint. The only drawback is that it takes a lot longer for it to cure over the Interior Acrylic Latex Enamel finishes. So be sure to give the paint extra time to fully cure before placing items on a bookcase/cabinet — something that could be an issue for …
Friday, May 17th, 2013
Tantalum vs Ceramic Capacitors.
I’ve had to make the hard decision as to what type of capacitors to use in a power supply I’ve been designing. I need a 5.0v, 3.3v, 1.9v and 1.2v rails powered by a 12v adaptor. The 5.0v and 3.3v rails use a DC/DC switching regulator while the 1.9v and 1.2v use a LDO regulator feed from the 3.3v rail. Both require bypass/filtering capacitors and I’ve traditionally used 10uF 16V 20% Tantalums — for some reason the “Case B” end up being cheaper than the 2010 sized equivalent of the X7R MLCC (ceramic).…
Tuesday, May 14th, 2013
Saleae Logic16 – Logic Analyzer
I purchased the Saleae Logic16 a few months back to “sniff” a SPI bus and since then I keep on using it as my default Logic Analyzer — that’s when you know it’s money well spent. Saleae offers two models — a 8 channel ($149) and a 16 channel ($299). I went for the 16 channel version because it offers a bit more bandwidth (sample 2 channels at 100MHz, 4 channels at 50MHz, 8 channels at 25MHz, or all 16 channels).
The hardware is solid and well made and ships with everything you need — a nice hard case, USB cable and color coded wiring harness with micro-hook probes. The best part, however, is the software — I use a MacBook Pro (also running WindowsXP via VMWare) with 16gb ram and it’s always better to run native apps as much as possible but most companies don’t provide native apps for OSX, hence VMWare. Saleae actually offers ports of their software that runs on all major platforms (Windows, OSX, Linux). The software offers almost endless sample captures but the most useful feature is the protocol analyzer. It currently supports I2C, Async Serial, SPI, 1-Wire, CAN, I2S, PCM, UNI/O, Manchester, and MP Mode — making it easier to see the decoded results along with the waveform So far I have used I2C, SPI, I2S/PCM and Async Serial with it working flawlessly.
- Saleae Logic 16 [ Buy Now @AMAZON ]
Thursday, May 2nd, 2013
What’s The Best Soldering Iron?
I currently have a Weller WES51 Soldering Station that I’ve owned for about 10 years. While it have served me well all these years — I feel like the thermal recovery time can be a lot better. Hand soldering prototype boards with many different types of footprints is the latest challenge my WES51 is having a harder time with. It feels like it cannot keep up and I have to pause a few seconds while the temp recovers — I believe this is caused by the LEAD FREE solder I’m using that requires higher temp than the old LEAD based 60/40.
So I’m asking the readers of Mavromatic for their recommendations of “Best Soldering Iron”. I’m leaning towards the JBC CD-1BC (or the 2012 JBC-CD-1BB) — what do you think?
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