Akom's Tech Ruminations

Various tech outbursts - code and solutions to practical problems

Hardware Hacks Replacing NiCd power tool batteries with RC LIPO's

Posted by Admin • Wednesday, December 31. 2008 • Category: Hardware Hacks
I have a Dewalt 18V cordless drill, which was very expensive ($200 back in 2001), came with two batteries (heavy, NiCd packs), and I've used it extensively for just about everything when we bought our house. Now both packs are dead. I do maintain them well, as nearly 7 years is much longer than their expected useful life. So I checked out the prices - and the packs are over $80 each! ... Seems a bit expensive for a bunch of NiCd's in a nice (tough, indestructible, convenient) plastic package. I looked at NiMh cells... but then using the original charger becomes questionable (probably cannot), plus the cost of 12 cells is almost $80 in itself - not to mention soldering 12 cells together, myself??? I don't think so....

Then I thought about LIPO cells... Let's see - 18V, that'd be a 5 cell (18.5V)... Well, for a test, I figured I'd try what I have around, and what I have around are 3 cell packs.

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Hardware Hacks Fixing Sensitive Button on Motorola HS850 bluetooth handsfree headset

Posted by Akom • Monday, December 22. 2008 • Category: Hardware Hacks
The Motorola HS850 was a very popular bluetooth headset in its day. A lot of people seem to complain that their HS850's gradually develop one of the following symptoms:

  • Dials/hangs up, randomly
  • Redials on its own, randomly
  • Hangs up or dials at the slightest touch or handling of the unit

This is what is most likely causing the problem:

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Hardware Hacks Replacing Garmin C330 Li-Ion battery on the cheap (with whatever is onhand)

Posted by Akom • Sunday, December 21. 2008 • Category: Hardware Hacks
I have a hand-me-down Garmin C330, the el-cheapo, no-text-to-speech teletubby-looking GPS unit that every online store was liquidating a few months ago. Mine also has a dead battery, and while it used to run for 1-2 minutes on it, now it barely runs 5 seconds. I can live with that, after all - you generally use it while plugged in, but it is oh-so-handy to be able to hand it to the passenger for co-pilot... co-piloting. So, I had to do something...

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Hardware Hacks Toys Not all that is hackable should be...

Posted by Akom • Tuesday, December 2. 2008 • Category: Hardware Hacks, Toys
Last week I hacked up my RC transmitter and added a Dual Rate switch
Dual Rate switch
See here: (How I hacked it up).

I thought I was so cool for adding two wires, one toggle switch and two drops of solder to an RTF transmitter (oh and a nice hole too). Well, everything worked great on the ground, but once I actually flew the plane, not all was well - the control range dropped to about 60 feet!. I didn't connect the dots at first and thought it was a broken antenna wire or something, or a new flying site (coincidence). Nope.

Apparently, adding two thick wires radomly into a complex circuit and placing them along the perimeter of the case can have some unexpected results. I took the wiring and the switch out, and all is well again, control range is longer than sanity permits me to test (plane is a dot in the distant sky, but still seems to be controllable).

Continue reading "Not all that is hackable should be..."