Quick Neuralyzer Part 1

Remember a some posts ago I was cutting some SRBP circuit board? They were for this project. This is a quick prop for The Outpost. They needed a Men In Black Neuralyzer for the movie promotion. The problem is, there is no way anyone can get a Neuralyzer within such a short time. And even if there is one, its too expensive. Moreover, the toys for the new movie is not even in yet.

So, the solution must be from another dimension...

What Richard wanted was something which looked like a Neuralyzer and not necessary a real one. Okay, this eases the pressure a bit but it must be done within three weeks...

So, I have two challenges ahead. One is the electronics which have done within the time period. The other, is to make everything work in the casing given by Richard, which, incidently was a metal cigar tube.
The board is for the electronics which I have programed the chip

Everything is ready, except for one minor thing. Batteries!!!
So, with everything done, there is one small problem which I overlooked. The batteries to make it work. There is no way I can use some AAA batteries in there. And so, I have to look for some button cell batteries which is a problem because for these batteries, there are no standard battery holders available... Oh-oh.

1/32 Moebius Cylon Raider Part WTF...

Something is very wrong. I am very sure I have designed the circuit board correctly and also, a laser printer verified the print out, which was perfect. But when I got the boards back, the tracks are very close and also, most of the tracks seems to be sticking together...

After half an hour of scribing also also mangling the track, I gave up.

I hate SRBP!

When it comes to making prototype circuits, the fastest way would be to use the stripboards. They are called as such because of the copper strips. One good thing about these stripboards are that not only are they cheap, they are made of SRBP (or FR2) materials which is easy to cut. However, their advantage can also be their greatest weakness.

This is because SRBP (Synthetic Resin Bonded paper) is brittle and easy to shatter when subjected to force or improper cutting tool.

I usually use a hacksaw to cut the stripboards but tonight, I am going to use an acrylic scriber instead

The problem with the scriber is that you need to score the lines repeatedly until you're more than halfway through. Then you can use both your hands to bend the board and it will snap off cleanly. However, this theory only works with acrylics. You can see the failed result here.
Looking at the uneven break, you can see how deep I have scored the board, which is only half the height of the board. This is OK but because I am using a scriber, the depth of the score is very shallow on the both ends of the board. So, when I snapped it in half, the uneveness at the edges caused the failure.
I am going to try again, this time making sure that the depth of the score is level, even at the edge.
But, I am also going to show you another failure. When you snap the board, you must snap it inwards with the copper side in the inside. Here, I 'folded' with the copper side outside the fold. Another fail.
And one more thing, when you scribe, you must use the lines between the copper tracks and not the holes unless you're using a saw. This, in the long run, blunts the scriber blade.

Sigh. I think I will go back to using hacksaws and score the wooden table's surface at the same time. Then again, its not an actual table but a nice wooden board suspended on top of a wooden bed's plank which is supported by a pair of wooden saw horse.

Vee-Chai's new Brake Lights Part II

With the module complete and fully tested, now is the time to get it into Vee-Chai. Its a very simple operation with minimal tools such as a blade, a pair of pliers and a screwdriver. Oh, and a wrench. Some towels too. Don't forget the cool drink and a pair of sunglasses.

Or maybe, just pay RM10.00 to the mechanic at any Car Accessory shop to help you do this....

This is how the Third Brake Light looks like with the bulb inside.

And this is the original casing for the Third Brake Light. There are no screws and it just took me a few minutes to figure this out. I forgot most car manufacturers now uses plastic 'thumbtacks'
Slowly, locate these 'thumbtacks' at the sides of the casing and using a blade, slowly ease them out.
Using the pliers, pull the 'thumbtacks' out but don't throw them away. Not only does it cost a few Ringgit a pair, its not easy to find them.
See the Yellow arrow above? I forgot why I need to put the yellow arrow but it must be important. So, help me by staring at it for a few minutes.
You need to remove the two nuts which bolts the original brake holder to the car's rear hatch. The glass is blocking you from removing the red lens. You need to do this only once because you need to put in the whole LED module inside.
Once the whole unit is out, you can tell your friend/Wife/GF/cat/dog/brick. etc to stop pressing on the brake pedal as the bulb is very hot. And it is also blinding you (this is also the time to wear your sunglasses).
This is how the original Third Brake Light casing looks like. You can now use a piece of cloth to pull the hot bulb out. Well, just maybe, you might want to put the bulb in a safe place for future use.
See the importance of the white connector? It is the same shape as that of the original bulb.
Slowly push the connector into the bulb holder and you must hold on to the grey part (top part of the picture) for strength. If everything is done correctly, you will hear a click which means the plug is now locked in position. If you hear a crack this means the silver reflector is broken bcause you held them by the sides.

Note that there are a pair of white double-sided tapes on the LED module which you can use to secure it to the Third Brake Light's original casing
One thing I would like to add is that the manufacturer also gave me a clear transparent Lens to replace the original red cover but on hindsight, I decided to stick with the original red lens.
Although this might look 'in style' with the other light clusters, I do not want to show-off that there are LEDs inside until I start using them.
So, now all you need to do is to bolt the casing back on, slot in the cover and push in the 'thumbtacks' and you're done.
Oh, and for the cool drink, its for the Wife/GF/Cat/Dog, etc. but not the brick.
Thanks to my over enthusiastic girls for helping on this little project.
Hope this helps you too.

Vee-Chai's new Brake Lights Part I

I got this sometime ago and due to a lot of things happening, it was only now that I can have a look at it. Basically, this is an LED drop-in replacement for the bulbs in Vee-chai's third brake light. I like to use as much LEDs in cars as legally as possible. Not only do they save petrol but more importantly, it saves me money. Furthermore, unlike bulbs, LEDs have a fast response time.

Don't believe me?

When you're out driving, the brake pedal is the most often stepped pedal in the car. When you step on the brake pedal, the brake lights comes on. And when you're in a traffic jam, they would be on most of the time since no one wants to use the handbrake. And no, this is not the part where money goes down the drain.

If you have the opportunity to open up a rear light cluster, get someone to press the brake pedal and note how hot the brake light bulb is, in a matter of seconds. Imagine this being on for hours. Still with me?

OK. Now note the material used for the bulb holder. Its partially melted now, right? Because when it melts, the contacts are going and not only that, it creates the symptoms of a faulty bulb too. This is the part which you lose money because you need to change that holder, either from the Service Center or from a junkyard.

But luckily for me, Vee-chai used LEDs for brake lights. And I am buying this for fun because it does not make sense where the third brake light uses bulbs while the other lights are using LEDs.

When I opened up the thing, its actually in two parts; the controller and the LED assembly.
For the price I am getting, I am not complaining. Its just that this third brake light flashes and the salesgirl has already told me a few times. I was confident I could modify it to stay constantly on. Luckily, I was right. All it needed was just one wire....

But just in case, I upgraded the resistors to 1watt versions. This is because in a 12volt car, the current generated from the batteries can melt thick wires. I have experienced this many times.
Anyway, the modification is complete. Note the square LEDs which are actually called Piranhas and they're very, very bright. almost to those of 1watt Luxeons.

As this is a direct replacement, the silver reflectors are a perfect fit for Vee-Chai's original casing.
What you need to do is to remove the original bulb, push the supplied connector in and you're done.
I want to show you this because the design of the connectors allows you to fit in the 1watt resistors.
Its blindingly bright. I had to take a few shots before this one came out perfect.
And one good thing is, yes, LEDs are polarity sensitive which means, if you plugged it in wrongly, they would not light up. But the manufacturer of this third brake light has thought of that. See the four black diodes in the middle of the photo? Their job is to make sure the circuit works regardles of which side you plug the thing in. Despite the loss of 1.4volts, the LEDs are still bright.

So, for you guys out there who wish to convert your stock third brake light into LED version and without having to change the whole casing, this kit is a great solution for you.

How to install the whole thingamajic yourself...

Sunday Morning Market

Such a beautiful Sunday morning and it would be a shame to let it go to waste. So, since Wife wants to go to the wet market, I decided that its also a good time to bring the girls or at least, one of them there. So, they would know how much trouble Mommy has to go to cook the food they push to one side every evening.

Yeah, if there was a ratan store, I can also show the girls where to get my supplies. They just seem to 'disappear' most of the time.

Eenie, minni, mynie, mo.
Who wants to go...
And so, here we have Kristine helping Mommy with the shopping

No, she is not unhappy because of this. I will tell you later, why.
I was tempted to get one of these De Agostini magazines but then, logic prevails.
OK, so the first intro issue is RM9.90 but once you buy them, the subsequent issues are RM29.90 each.
Fine if you can afford it, since they come in say, 25 issues or so, you do the math. And this is the 2008 car.
But despite all these, ask yourself, what if, you miss an issue or that the distributor did not bring that one issue in?
Massimo is still King.
And so are the Kayas, you sweet-tooth Malaysian, you.
Coming back to Kristine, the reason she is a bit under the weather is because she has a mouth ulcer.