For nexus

OK, the project is ready but there are some things I needed to point out:

3-Digit Countdown Circuit
As with most off-the-shelf circuits, they need to be modified. And so, after some tinkering, I got the counter to count down very fast but you have to watch the video to see the speed. Unfortunately, the Nokia 5800's video is not that good and so, in the video, the LEDs look very weird. However, to the human eye, they are perfect.

If, and if, for any reason the counting down is too fast, just locate the 555 time PCB (the smallest circuit board) and just cut off one of the leg of the paralleled resistor which has been soldered to resistor R5. This would slow down the counter and you will see the first two red LEDs blink slower.

Looking at the whole countdown circuit, I think it is possible to connect to another set of countdown module & 3-digit display. This would expand the whole thing to 6-digits. Ah, but there is a catch. The way the 3-digit circuit boards are designed, it is not possible to join them together to form a nice row of 6 digits but rather, a set of two 3-digits. But if you insist, it can be done but it would need a lot of re-wiring onto a stripboard.

Do bear in mind that the wiring is quite fragile and you have to be very careful with them. I will await your SMS for the greenlight to post before I hot glue the wiring. Also, days after I bought the whole thing, they came out with a 4-digit version but using a microprocessor. As it costs about RM4.00 at Rm72.00, I have no more funds for it. And since the kits have been soldered, it is highly unlikely that they would accept any trade-ins. Moreover, since I am not buying it, there is no way I could open the package to see if the assembly code (software) is in there or not. What it means that, if the chip burns, it would cost another RM72.00 to replace it instead of just buying the chip and programming it since there is no software to do so.

LED Badge
As requested, I tracked and bought a female to female USB converter but at the price of RM15.00 which I am sure is a bit steep. Maybe I can search for them in Low Yatt for Rm13.00 or so but I don't think they have any. And so, with the remaining funds until next month, this is the best I could do. I have modified only ONE LED badge as you mentioned there is a tight space near the collar bone, which I think, an unmodified LED badge with velcro would be the best solution.

What I did was to extend the three switches to a few inches longer and with a more user friendly buttons. You do need to charge them for two hours (with the display off) for a minimum of 12 hours of display. The sheet of A4 red filter would have enough to cover both the countdown and LED badges.

Some work in progress pictures.

Testing the down counter module which is soldered
to the 3-digit LED board at . Yeah, its a rip-off but
as mentioned, given the time-frame, thats the
problem with off the shelf solution. Testing the
connections but its hard to see the LEDs light up
since I am using low voltage. When it is OK, I
plugged in the ICs.

To create a clock pulse for the counter to 'run',
I got a simple LED flasher using a 555 timer
for this purpose. Modified the resistors to
give a very fast clock pulse. If you think its too
fast, just cut one of the legs of the resistor that I
soldered to resistor R5 in the 555 timer PCB
module. Also fixed a push button switch where
with a push, you can reset the countdown to
start back from '000'.

OK, everything is almost ready. You need to see
the video for the countdown's timing, if its the
kind of speed you are looking for. Of course
the 6-digits would countdown slower.

Modified one LED badge with extended buttons
because I can only find one USB female2female
converter and got skinned at RM15.00. Due to
costs, I am only modifying one LED badge.

The video:

The hot garlic gravy

This garlic gravy came about when my former Boss was around the office and he called me for a quick afternoon tea. And so, while he had his lunch, I spotted this chicken dish which I packed for home, thanks to his wallet. Heh.

Unfortunately, I did not get the chance to
have it until two days later. So, I added it
to the Sunday Lunch's Chee Cheong Fun.

The smell of garlic was very strong, from the time
I got it into the office, the car, the fridge and so on.
Then I realised its full of chili too. Yeah, this was so
incredibly hot, I had to drink more than 2 big cups
of pure icy water.

Then came dinner, where I helepd Wife to make
the french fries. And I got a little bit itchy hand

Where I sliced some bananas and dumped them into
the hot oil. Suffice to say, without the batter, they
came up lifelessly limp.

Then Wife said I had to fry more fries as there is
not enough. Although they ended up crispy and
all, there is a sweet banana taste, which gave me
an idea of throwing a fresh clove of garlic but Wife
stopped me on this one. Anyway, the fries came
up a bit speckled due to the burn sugar in the
bananas. They also failed the taste test by the girls
whose tastebuds are very sensitive. Once I told
them its due to the bananas, Kaelynn loved it.

Outdoor switch cover

Went to Pasar road this morning to get something for the Wife and at the same time, I spotted this cover. Its one of those that are meant to be placed over a electrical switch and protect it from minor water splashes such as mild rain or something like that. And so, I decided that our doorbell was the best candidate.

Ordinarily, this switch would have lasted about
so long and not before then. So, in order to make
it last longer and not so before, we used the below

A RM8.00 plastic that comes in with pieces,
a protective foam and a spring. Oh, the price
tag is free, courtesy from the shop.

Wow. Ants in the cavity and these ants
run very fast. But I can't call them Road
runner Ants since this is not a road.

Lazy to remove the wires, luckily, I can
just maneuvre them through the switch
and voila!

All done! Just hope they do not crack too much
or yellow in just a few months.

After installing it, I now dread if someone
would just walk up and then pry the cover
off as its very fragile.

Trapped at Fun and Cheer

with every child's Birthday that falls on a school day, they get to celebrate in the class. And usually, the parents would be buying presents, not only for their kids but also for the whole class. Now I know why Kristine was so happy as she gets to have all the presents to herself. Unfortunately, this was not the case with Kaelynn.

We had headaches enough as it is and so, today, we decided to shop for hers months before the actual day. And what better place than Fun and Cheer. Of course, its a well known fact that everything is from China. Why they did not call the stores Made-In-China, I am not sure. they even had foreign workers. So, this place is 'cheap'. Although there are a lot of things that attracts you, be mindful of the quality and also, the prices as not all are bargains when you compared them with other shops.

This is a place which is more of a 'Cash
& Carry' and personal store in one go.
And all the goods were from China.

I kept telling and reminding them about
the time. But girls being girls, they went
nuts in there until they're almost late for
their swimming lessons. So, I had to use
the Toll to save time. Haih.

Even at RM2 per item on average, by
the time we saw the bill, there were
more than 40 items and well, it costs
us almost RM100.00. Then Kaelynn
decided not to have a party with her
class but in the house. This saved us
a lot of cash but meant more presents
for herself. Very smart, this girl.

We kept the things in the car until the next
day where everyone had more time to sort
things out. Everyone had their stuff.

I could not resist buying this lighter
right after Wife told me that she saw
them on sale at RM5.00 instead of
RM2.00 here. You can see how big
this lighter is, compared to a normal
one. Oh, the flames are big too. Ha ha!

As for me, I got a very big pencil case, maybe
its me but I felt that the make quality for this
is a bit inferior as the ones I bought ten years
ago, did not flex much nor bend at the slightest
stress. The hinges are held with thin copper
wires which comes off easily. Then again you
can't expect much for RM5.00

I chose this because it was big enough to house
all the 24 Faber-Castell colour pencls and plus
extra pens, etc.

Kaelynn helping me to put everything into the
case for test fit. After that, I mounted some of
the rubber foams in there to make sure the
contents do not 'colour' the case too much when
being carried around.

Trying out new stuff

As with the occasional surprises, one of the highlights of the girl's swimming is that we sometimes eat out. And being creatures of habit, we would go to the same place, order the same food and so on. But this time, we decided to try something new.

Kaelynn looking happy (due to
the presents from Fun & Cheer)

This is something new, not sure what it was
but they used macaroni, sliced meatballs and
some weird soup stock which I could only
taste the MSG. The girls loved the pasta but
not the soup.

Then there is the moment with the Takoyaki,
which they're not sure what it was. The girls
were stumped with the 'moving' jellyfish skin
which moves with rising hot air from the balls.

OK, so they do not like it. Guessed who
did all the DBKL job?

Kaelynn wanted to play with my Nokia 5800
camera but I insisted she finished that Tako
ball first. Haih,,,,,,,

Pitiful Death

Somehow, this poor lizard crawled onto Kaelynn's
Strawberry Shortcake sticker. It got stuck with the
sticker's glue and could not free itself. So, I guess,
it eventually starved to death. Not sure if it lost its
tail in the process or it was lost before it died.

One of our magnet is missing

Well, not really. After more than 10 years, the
double-sided tape has failed and it came off when
I pulled my Nokia 5800 away from it. So, just
for curiosity's sake, I pried open the cover and
saw this. there were three magnets and one of
them has actually corroded so badly that it just
literally disintegrated and its remains were
pulled by the surviving magnets. Nice pattern.
Just beware that all magnets will disintegrate
as I think, there is no such thing as rust-proof

Trip to Pasar Road

I was at Pasar road today, and I did not tell someone about it because it was supposed to be a quickie. Anyway, there was a reason why I went there and this has something to do with fact that I bought the remote control system last week. After finally connecting the whole system together, I got the expected result; as usual, it did not work.

I've spent hours after hours poring over the datasheet and checking the connections but to no avail. I know the receiver is receiving the data since it registered some voltage changes when compared to a ready-built 4-channel version. what it did not do, the IC, I mean, was to confirm the data is correct and activate the output.

And so, because I know that today I would pass through that area, I decided to bring the whole circuit to the shop. I showed it to the guys and they too was stumped. And so, I went through the steps one by one with them, until I reached the frequency part and that's when we all went, "Aha!".

The problem is that I have paralleled the oscillating resistor instead of putting them serially. This means, I have created a frequency which was ¼ of the original value. And so, after that, it was smiles all round. But the guys at the shop told me not to feel bad since I work on this late into the night and so, my train of thought was stuck in a loop. They, being not familiar with my design, could look at it from a fresh point of view.

So, my circuit is very simple and I think, it can be done without using any circuit board as I can just solder everything onto an IC socket and let it run from there. But the voltage regulator and the pair of relays would require some imaginative soldering. Oh, heck. I forgot to look for a 12volt switchover relay! I just hope I have one spare.........

Hee hee hee hee! It works and I tested it to be
working to a range of about 70 metres or so as
I called into the office while pressing the remote
from across the road. I told my coordinator to
watch for the lights and tell me when it lights up

While I was there, I went back to the same shop I bough the 3-digit countdown kit only to find a new kit that costs RM4.00 more, at Rm72.00. Its a complete solution, suitable to what nexus was asking for; 4-digits which can not only count down but up as well. The only problem is that I would need to get a clock pulse generator to simulate the button presses ion a very fast pace. However, there is a catch. It is using a microprocessor. Although there was a sticker blocking it, the tell-tale clue was a clock crystal which a certain range of microprocessors needed and this Ic was THE IC for a lot of Pasar Road kits. Its obsolete and so, someone got them from a clearance sale, I would think. Since I bought the other kits and also soldered them, there is no way I can get them exchanged. But the main thing that stopped me was that what I am paying for, is the copyright of the programmed code inside the chip and I doubt it comes free with the kit. So, if the IC is burnt for some unforseen circumstances, you're out of luck. Still I cannot confirm abut the code unless they allow me to open the pack, which I know, they would not. Nor would they accept credit cards either.

The cost of this kit, at one glance, is obscenely cheap but I am not going to tell you how much.

Damn it. I think I can make one but then,
it would take time to design the PCB and
with the deadline, its not possible.

The Rice Con

"I want you to finish this rice"
"I can't. too much."
"Then take 10 scoops of rice"





"...ten! I finished"
"How come still so much rice?"

"You cheat me! You only scoop a few grains of rice!"
"But its 10 scoops, Mommy, Daddy!"

"Show me how you scoop, then."
"Bluff me again. Take another 10 scoops!"


New Layout

Saw this new feature (Template Designer) on Blogger when I logged in. So, I decided to give it a try and redo the whole Blog page. What do you think?

Activities from a Saturday evening

OK, I am bored today. Bored because there is a lot of things to do and bored because I don't know which one to start because there is so little time left to do them before family time kicks in. In other words, its a lazy Saturday after a very heavy lunch with my Aunt who is going back to Australia in the evening. We had to say goodbye to her instead of sending her off since the kids had swimming to go to.

Because I am not in the pool this time, Kaelynn
played around in the water.

Yes, she meant to splash me with the
water until I scolded her as I was not
in the mood

Kristine on the other hand was practising
hard. But in her class, she is easily the

OK, lesson's over and teacher is handing out
sweets; the highlight for the day. I had to
get her to thank the teacher before going off

Normally, at this time, the Federal Highway
would be full of cars. Thanks to the World Cup,
everyone stayed away.

On the way home, we stopped by a petrol
station to get some things for tomorrow's
trip to Tanjung Sepat. And I noticed the
staff's ingeniuity in solving a leaking air-con
problem. they tied a string to 'lead' the
dripping water to a rubbish bin without
wetting the products on the shelf.

Then I saw these special cans of coffee and hot
chocolates for Rm6.30. What is so special about
this? well, its not because of the contents, that is.

And it has nothing to do with the special
top cover which was designed to allow
you to sip instead of gulping the contents

The answer, ladies and gentlemen, lies at the
bottom. Its a self heating can!

And there are some temperature indicators
on the side to tell you when the drink is OK
for well, drinking. Knowing me, it would still
be too hot and I'll scald my tongue anyway.

Since everyone bought their own stuff, I decided
to get mine too. And I got this. Looks like some
weiedo enjoying a very nice ********

But why I got it was not because of the
sweet. And also not because of the front
which can double up as a badge once you
insert a safety pin on it. Let me show you

Ahm nyum nyum nyum.....

Yam nyam nyam....

And there you have it. Once you put the transparent
cover back on, it looks like one of those Sci-Fi test
tubes or specimen vials. And, the middle part can
serve as some kind of ignitor or focusing element
when it lights up.