A Quick Multimeter Fix

The last couple of times I went to use my multimeter, it wouldn’t read voltages or do a continuity test. I didn’t really need it at those times, so I set it aside. Well, I needed it tonight to diagnose something causing problems in a circuit, so it was time to figure out what was wrong.

After unscrewing the back of the multimeter and looking inside, I noticed there were contacts where each of the cables plug in. I got out some alligator clips to use as test leads and the device worked fine. Then I did continuity tests on the cables and the red one failed.

It was time for some surgery so I hacked the ends off. The wire inside was so small and fragile that it had pulled apart from the probe’s end. I cut a new cable using some silicon wire I bought last week since it’s really flexible compared to the wire I use to build circuits. Soldered the ends back on, put some heat shrink tubing over the connections, and I’m back in business!

10 Years of iPhone

Today is the iPhone’s 10th birthday!

I waited in line at the local AT&T store on launch day, but they only received 5 or 10 phones, so I had to place an order. I had been in the audience at MacWorld that January and got to witness Steve Jobs reveal the iPhone to the world.

I can still picture him repeating “a widescreen iPod with touch controls, a revolutionary mobile phone, and a breakthrough internet communications device” as if it were yesterday. The device and watching Jobs on stage were magical in many ways. I got chills from watching the video again.

Link Dump – 2017/06/28


I received the latest Adafruit AdaBox last Thursday and made this unboxing video.


As you may have guessed, AdaBox004 has a music theme. I’m excited because I’ll be using several of these parts in my current project. I need to finish it before the weekend so I guess I better get my ass in gear.

When you lay it out, this one seemed a light compared to the first 3 AdaBoxes, so I added up prices from the Adafruit store. It came to $73 without factoring in the empty white box for making a custom project enclosure, collectible “Boomy” pin, SD card, Make volume 57 signed by LadyAda, and free shipping. Probably about a $90 value for $60 as a subscriber, which is worth it. The $25 Music Maker FeatherWing with the $20 Feather HUZZAH really drove up the price, limiting what else could be included.

If you enjoyed the music in the video, it was released by Adafruit’s in-house musician to go along with this box. Check out “ADABOX004” on SoundCloud. BartleBeats also has a full album I’ve been listening to a lot while working at my hobby desk. “Frequency” is available on SoundCloud or via iTunes.

Next up… this morning I received the tracking info for HackerBox #0020. Note that AdaBox uses a 3 digit identification system, while the HackerBox uses 4 digits. The difference between a quarterly and a monthly subscription I guess.

Refinished Golf Balls

I don’t remember the last time I bought new golf balls. I’ve written about the topic several times over the years because golf can be an expensive sport. Losing balls on the course can add up really fast if you’re paying retail, especially for the best balls on the market. I’ve played plenty of rounds where I lost 5 or more Titleist Pro V1s, which go for about $4/ball new if you buy a dozen.

All of the tests I’ve seen find very small differences in the performance between new and used golf balls. As a golfer with a 12-15 handicap over the last few years, I doubt I or most of the guys I golf with would be able to tell the difference between new and used balls. After all, a golf ball is only new until you hit it. 😉

My supply was running low, so this time around I decided to try some refinished balls from Foundgolfballs.com. After a 20% off special (which most of these golf ball places seem to constantly run), I picked up 10 dozen Titleist Pro V1x 2014 Mint Factory Refinished No Logos Golf Balls for $144.80 plus free shipping. That’s less that $1.21 per ball for a 70% savings over new balls.

Are you looking for a golf ball that looks and plays just like new, but at half the price of new? With Mint quality refinished golf balls from Foundgolfballs.com, you get a ball with no player or pen marks or other cosmetic damage, no corporate or sports team logos and balls, which play almost like new. Our extensive testing has proven that new balls and factory refinished mint balls have less than 1 yard difference.

The stamping on these isn’t perfect but nobody would ever look close enough to notice unless I said something.

Apple TV Remotes

When I bought a new Apple TV (quite awhile ago), I moved the 3rd Generation model to my office where I had a small TV not connected to anything. I’ve rarely used it since, but turned it on a couple of times in the last week to play something from YouTube. After using the new remote with the touchpad for so long, it’s quite a shock to pick up this ancient model. Having to navigate by clicking buttons seems so foreign. Don’t even try to fast forward or rewind to a specific point in a video.

5V Relay Module – Part 1

You can buy all sorts of 5V relay modules on Amazon for as little as $3-4 (probably even less if you get really cheap). They even sell boards with multiple relays if you need to switch more than one thing. Since I had all of the necessary parts I built my own. Yesterday I finished the board, because I had to do something before National Week of Making ended.

It worked great switching power from a 9V battery, but the real test was hooking it up to mains power. Electricity gets a lot more dangerous at 120V! It was a little scary plugging everything in and flipping the input, especially after reading so many warnings online, but there were no sparks.

Tester shows the wiring is correct.

I need to pick up a plastic outlet box to house everything so it’s safer with the exposed soldered circuit board in there; I don’t know what I was thinking when I bought a metal one. I’ll publish a more detailed post this weekend when it’s complete.

Update: I realized the relay I used in this module can’t handle the amount of current I need, so I ordered a different type of relay and will be making a new module. I’ll take the opportunity to make a more compact design as well. I did shrink this one a bit and cut off some of the board. I’ll save this module in case I ever need it for a project.

Check out Part 2.