Playing with the circular polariser

While waiting for my appointment, I decided to test out the filter. Although the lens is a bit worn and the surface suspect, it still works. Whis is good enough for me. Ha ha ha ha!

I hate it when I need to take pictures in front
of the van where the documents I lazily throw
about would spoil the shot

But when I turn/twist the filter, the annoying papers disappear!

There.... are... three... lights!

We haven't had any electricity for the past two days as the RCB (main circuit breaker) keeps tripping everytime we reset it. During the day, it was not that bad but come evening, it happened every few minutes and later on, it would even refuse to reset at all.

It was very frustrating to find the fault even when we switched all other circuit breakers off. Unfortunately, the electrician which is responsible, was away in Kuantan and my Dad would not let any of my techs to come over to repair, citing warranties and all (don't ask, its a valid reason which I cannot elaborate further)

So, for the rest of the two nights, we relied on candles and torches. Sleep was quite difficult until I calmed down and lay on the floor. The sleep came immediately, which was bliss. Kristine and Kaelynn was not so lucky as they were used to sleeping in air-con rooms. So, you can imagine the fuss and crying the whole night. However, the most thing that I worried most were the mosquito bites which came at them and in the morning, they had small red welts which I though were some kind of measles or chicken pox Kristine caught from school.

In the end, it was all over once the electricians came and discovered a loose cable which kept shorting at one of the relocated fluorescent lights. Sheesh.

Actually, the picture wasn't that bright at all....

For entertainment, Kristine and Kaelynn played with the
shopping trollies. But running in the dark caused a lot of
accidents. Ha ha ha ha ha. Luckily, injuries were light

My 52mm Circular Polariser!

Woo hoo! I found my circular polariser again while rummaging some of the boxes looking for something which forgot I had (turned out to be better as I found more stuff which I have forgotten!) I got this more than 10 years ago, in Scotland while I had my Minolta SLR (forgot the model aledi) which I bought using monies from doing cartoon sketches.

Wokay. Once I saw the container, I remembered how it came this way.
Yeah, it was left in my Bengmobile for months under the hot sun.

And luckily, its 52mm, which fits my Nikon D50! Its from a UK
brand called Jessop which is quite popular at that time. Its made
from glass and you can turn the upper ring (holding the glass)
until your image has no more glare or reflections

This is what happens when I put it in front of the UV filter

After correcting myself, I got a decent picture but I have to
push the EV up a bit since the filter made it very dark

See Hoy Chan Charity Funfair

Ok. OK. I am not much when it comes to details. All I can remember was that there was a charity funfair in aid of the Selangor Spastic Center and we were late. So, I am not going to tell you much on that day except that we could not use the coupons to get food and drinks since they were all sold out, we used it to buy RM38 worth of frozen Kari Kepala Ikan (Fish head curry) since it was the only food left.

Kristine's first try at some games and she actually won!
The second game was much tougher since you had to name the
colour before spinning the wheel.

Kaelynn got some souvernir balloons which got
very much mutilated by the time we got out

Of course, no successful funfair would be complete
without the ever popular "Dunk the guy" game

My Wife had the chance to visit her Mom this weekend and its good. I always like to encourage her to visit her family so that she does not feel too "trapped" being married to me. Its also a nice change of environment too. This time, I am looking forward to it more than ever because one of her sister got a lot of free durians from her friend.

And also, this is the first time Kristine actually liked durians and had to ask us for them!

I spy, with my little eye,

Something beginning with "D"!

Its so delicious, everyone wants it

But its all for me!

System Installation @ Monterez

Today, we're installing a new PABX to replace a small keyphone. The reason the customer is upgrading was due to the fact that their old keyphone could not keep up with their staff expansion. They already have 22 extensions, just two short of reaching full capacity, where the system could not be expanded anymore.

One of my techs are installing some cable casings.
You can see the old keyphone system on the right

All done! And the the customer called me over,
"Wei, the (system) is so big la, you said I could
cover it up with a plant?". I replied, "Can, what.
But not my fault if your plant guys took it away
just now. Maybe you could get them to give you
a small jungle instead. Ha ha ha!"

The the customer replied, "Not funny. And your "Ikea" box looked
like crap la. Which I defended, "You know Ikea is DIY stuff and the
"Ko-Tak" (or kotak, which is Malay for box) series is pure DIY. See?
Even the planks we have to cut it to the right size"

Customer was not amused and handed me a brush and some
white paint..... "Make it look nicer, OK? Or you cannot go."

Unfortunately, we have to go back on Monday because our planned Saturday follow-up did not materialise as Tenaga came and handed the customer a flyer telling them there would be no electricity on that day. sigh

315 MHz RF Remote system

While I had some free time, I decided to drop by Pasar Road again. This time, I bought a set of 315MHz RF transmitter and receiver. Why did I do this? On my first paying project a week ago, I used a RF remote to control an electronic device. Then, after that, I decided to go back to another shop to replenish my remote control system. But they're out of stock.

So, it set me to thinking, why not build my own? Already I have bought two versions, the one that was sold uses a single channel while the remaining one I had is a 4-channel version, where both are momentarily. This means, the moment I press on the transmitter button, the relay at the receiver would click and then release. Not only that, I have found the chip needed to make the whole thing work.

The modules I bought are just transmitter and receiver and I need some IC to control the data sent and also, "match" each transmitter with the correct receiver. And depending on the chip, it has two versions, momentarily and latching (the relay will not disconnect until you press the button on the transmitter again)

The transmitter is not going to be a problem if i can buy it separately. As for the actual transmitter module, I can use it on any casing or prop if the ready-built transmitter is not small enough.

On the left is the transmitter, and on the right is the receiver

Here is the transmitter compared with an already built version

And here is the receiver. This is a 4-channel version, as there
are four relays. Look at the circuit on above left and compare
it with the picture of the receiver module above. Yes, they're
the same!

A very small Ben 10 Omnitrix

I have had this toy for weeks and since I have some free time tonight, I decided to open it up. I was fascinated with this toy because of its design, nevermind if it resembled an Onmitrix. If you look at it long enough, it could be a limpet mine, a door security seal, a time-bomb, some equipment you can attach to another prop via magnets, etc. The main aim is to open up the toy and see how much space it has inside it. Not only that, how much plastic I would need to carve way if I needed more space, especially if I wanted to put in bigger sized batteries in there.

So what will I modify the toy to be? Only time will tell but definitely, I want to have lots of green LEDs in there!

So, this is the toy, which measures about 2½" x 2"

When I removed the green lens, there is only 3mm depth
so this means I would have to remove the plastic more
as a normal circuit board is about 1.6mm thick and
a normal LED is anything from 1mm to 7mm tall. I
am suprised the green LED is so bright!

The toy opened. Although it uses a small loudspeaker,
but by housing it in a small resonant chamber and
with some slots as speaker grill, the sound is quite
loud. This design is very similar to the Playmates
toys for Star Trek. Unfortunately, if I want more
space, there is a LOT of plastic I need to remove.

Minutes after I closed it back, Kristine came over and
started to model the toy for me.... ha ha ha ha ha

Panel Volmeter

Well, well. My PC Power Supply project has been kept on hold for awhile and I almost forgot about it until I saw this panel meter at WIZE electronics last week. Because the I wanted the PSU to have variable voltage, I needed a digital meter of some sort. One of the ways to get it was to design the meter myself, using the ICL7107 chip. The other was to buy a ready-made meter. Since the DIY option needed time which I do not have, I opted for the latter. Ha ha ha ha!

Now, all I have to do is to design the variable part and the front metal plate.....

This is the panel meter. One the box, it says (or I assume)
it has 7-segment LED displays
in Blue, Green or Red. But
sadly, it only comes
in Red. Whats more, it has a ready
made bezel and also the red LED filter. Saves me a lot of
work already.

The circuit is based on a double sided fiberglass PCB
which is, I think 0.8mm thick! Maybe one day, I will
change the RED 7-segments to Blue but its costly.

On the other side, are the components and the chip. I
supposed they could use SMT versions but this would
make the product slightly more expensive. Judging
from the components, I think the manufacturer took
a page out of the chips datasheet and designed it from
there. On second thoughts, I could be wrong because
there is no mention of the second chip (4069) in it

A quick test! The panel uses 5 volts so I connect it directly
to the PC's PSU and also did the same to its sensors. I think
its quite accurate. There is also a current (Ampere) version
but i don't think I am going to get that one yet since volts
are more of my concern. The display goes nuts in the first
few seconds before settling down. Quite ok, what.

My first custom project!

Thanks to Pol, I can finally start to make some cash out of electronics! Actually, I do have a lot of electronics projects in the pipeline but somehow, I never did have the time to get them to the demo stage and make proposals (due to a lot of commitments). But this is (kick) step towards that direction which I am quite happy.

However, this is a last minute project and with my day job, I was uncertain how it would turn out. But since Pol thought about me, this means he has confidence I can do it and so, I took up the challenge knowing the risk of failure would be great. I have had a few people putting me in the front like this before and most of the time, I failed and also in the process, lost some friends as I prefererred to be in the comfort zone. But now, I am determined to make things work and if I failed, at least this time, I will know why.

Overall, with less than two days and minimal tools, I have succeeded and learnt a lot from it as well. Apart from electronics, I have utmost respect for Mr. Tan and his son (of OnLine Components Sdn. Bhd. and WIZE Electronics) who, helped me in getting the circuit working through closing time. His patience and customer service was outstanding.

I cannot show you the whole picture but if you click on
it, you can read the whole story

Kaelynn's Big Day!

Today is Kaelynn's Birthday! Finally, she is a the age where I can now scold and spank her when she misbehaves! Ha ha ha ha ha!

Oh, OK. Maybe better not since she is very stubborn and always wants to have the last word in everything. Kaelynn is quite feisty now and can really start (and possibly win) a fight with her elder sister. She is also growing up to be rebellious to everyone except me. Oh-oh.

Maye just like me too.

Kaelynn now has her own Winnie the Pooh doll. And Krsitine
was so excited, she opened the bag. Kaelynn was wondering
what the fuss was all about but she was happy and excited
too on that day

Kaelynn blowing out her (already disfigured) Birthday Cake
which was too irresistible for her.

In less than two minutes, she was already attacking her
own cake. We had to make sure all the fruits stayed on
the cake and not on her dress.

I am on MC today.....

Wife forced me to see the Doctor last night and because of that, not only did I get bag loads of medication, I was hit with an MC too. This means,I cannot go to work today and I know my team has a lot of their hands. Haiya.

Doc: Well, what is the problem?
Me: I got diarrhea since Sunday.
Doc: You had diarrhea for four days?
Me: And slight fever too
Doc: Anything else?
Me: Must be the kedondongs with assam powder or the half-boiled eggs at the Hotel
Doc: What colour is your discharge?
Me: Er, very yellow ones lor
Doc: Does it smell?
Me: Yes.
Doc: Ok, seems like you have food poisoning.
Me: Sure or not? Usually I would have fainted
Doc: Its a mild one. How many times you discharged today?
Me: About seven and my stomach's bloated as well
Doc: Its the bugs inside that produces gas inside your stomach
Me: Sure or not? How come I did not burp or fart?
Doc: (sigh) I'll give you some medication and you must drink lots of liquid, esp 100 Plus
Me: how about yoghurt milk? (Because I drank 1 litre before coming)
Doc: No, it will make it worse. We need to starve the bugs. You drink tea?
Me: No, I can't sleep at night.
Doc: (sigh) How about Chinese tea? Tea will help.
Me: OK.

Lots of pills, lots of salt and I get to
drink iced 100 plus all day!

Later on. my Wife suspected its the kedondong with the assam as she remembered I woke up with a fever and had all these problems right before I started on the eggs.

Emergency Trip up North ..... Prai

It was on a Friday that my Boss called me. It seemed that his trip up North has hit a snag. One of the customer's PABX went down after some checking. And so, he needed someone to send a replacement power supply asap. When he said someone, I have a choice of sending any of my technicians but given the circumstances I cannot afford to take the risk of sending one of them over and then wait for more bad news. While I was preparing for the trip, my Boss went to Langkawi to see another customer and would then meet me the next day.

So, after making sure the replacement system (not just the power supply) is confirmed working, I called all my technicians back in the evening to have a brief meeting to the next day's job since I would not be there. And then, I had a brainwave. Why not ask Wife to come along as well since this is a weekend trip?

After much persuading, she agreed and we started packing and left for Prai at 1000AM in Saturday. My intention is to let her have some free time and also visit her sister in Sg. Petani as well since both of us did not get much breaks with the two, lovely kids around.

When my Boss called me, my legs were already shaking
with the bad news. Well, OK, I am just scared of heights.
He called when I was standing on a makeshift pallette on
a customer's forklift because my tehcnician did not follow
my instructions and used the wrong connector for the CCTV

One last look at the two of them, sleeping peacefully.

The four hour journey took me to this system. Yippee.
Its a mess and this was installed by the main distributor
years ago.

My Boss has rigged a bypass system where the customer can
still use the telephones. But if I were to send my technician up
here, I am very confident they would not know what had been
done and would therefore waste a lot of time backtracking

The main culprit was due to the battery connectors which has broken
circuit tracks which shorted the whole system. I told my Boss its not
his doing as the previous person most probably used his cow-strength
to push the connectors in hard. But wait a minute..........its so familiar!

Once done, I told my Boss I would be staying for the night in Prai. He
was so happy that the job has been done, he offered to let me stay for
two nights. But my Wife needs to work on Monday. Since Hotel Berlin
is under renovation, we booked at The Travel Lodge which just nearby.
And the guy at the counter handed us two sets of keys to see which
room we wanted, either a double bed with not so bright windows or
two single beds but with brighter windows. It did not make any difference
to us since both rooms faced the back.

As so, we drove up to Sg. Petani in the evening to meet up with
Wife's sister. Durain season is in but although I am tempted to
get some, I decided otherwise. Don't want to have gout attacks
and stinky smell in the car.

This is the new shoplots where the building requirements says
there must be amenities for the disabled. So they built a ramp
and then locked it. Haih. Its like the classic case of them storing
the building fire hose away due to theft. And when a fire broke out....

Travel Lodge gave us complementary breakfast with the option
of being sent to our rooms! And that, my friends, is the start of
my troubles for the day. After waking up, I had fever and all my
bones were aching. Yeah, I caught the flu. From where, I am not
sure but it could be due to exhaustion. And Loctor was not free
until after 5PM. if I had not gone to Sg. Petani.......

After checking out, I brought my Wife to the shopping centre.
Years ago, this was full of people but now, it has shown signs
of decline and most of the things there are not that cheap, my
Wife told me. Remember my problems? It started right there

I had to rush to the toiled and dumped gallons of
liquid. And not only that, I have to keep looking
at the door.....

Because its a plastic door and someone has melted a hole....

Before we headed home, Wife wanted to stop by this shop in Ipoh
which sells great Duck meat. The address is:
Hong Kong Oil Chicken and Roast Duck
638-640, Jalan Kuala Kangsar,
Taman Tasek Damai,
30010 Ipoh
Tel: 05-2911550
Fax: 05-2915795

I did not care much about the duck meat and all since I am still
groggy with the fever. But what caught my eye was the deep
fried pork rinds which was sweet and crunchy, selling at RM7
per 100gm.

After coming back, again I was stuck in the toilet for a very long time. The pills did keep my fever at bay but I have lost a lot of liquid and have not eaten anything. Still, I went to bed to sleep it off (but with the occasional toilet trips). I think Ihave visited a lot of toilets on the NKVE Highway today too.