Sunday, November 25, 2018

Puttering in the Shop - Rescuing a Digital Photo Frame

Rescued from the ewaste bin - a digital photo frame gets a new life


If my posts to date have been any indication, I seem to have developed a bit of an attraction to things that other people have considered to be just junk, since I seem to be drawn to places like junkyards, surplus stores and so on.

So at this point it shouldn't be much of a surprise on where I got the raw ingredients for this project.

In some of my spare time, I volunteer to keep a small computer lab operational for a local charitable group. Due the budget (as in, no budget) that I have to keep the lab going, I sometimes need to get creative in sourcing my replacement parts for the lab computers.  In my area, the local landfill has an e-waste program where people can drop off their old electronics. As you can imagine, that would include a significant number of old computers. With the permission of the landfill staff, I usually take a look in the e-waste bin every time I drop something off at the landfill, with the hope of finding some much needed parts.

The last time I visited the bin, I didn't really see any computer parts that I could use, but something else did catch my eye,

The original digital photo frame
The original digital photo frame 

Sitting in a box of what appeared to be old wall-wart power supplies was what appeared to be an old digital photo frame. Taking a quick look at the frame, I saw that the decorative portion of the frame was pretty beat up, but the actual electronics looked to be fairly intact.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Puttering in the Shop - Adding Sound to the Junkyard Entertainment Unit

Our DVD player finally has a voice


Over the past month or so, I've been playing with a DVD player that I had rescued from my local salvage yard with the idea of preparing it for a new life in my home.

While I can easily get the DVD player to start up and play movies, the DVD player was reliant on the vehicle's radio for sound, so the movies the DVD player showed were definitely of the silent variety.

While it would be fairly simply to hook up an audio amplifier to the audio outputs of the DVD player and connect a couple of wired speakers to the amplifier, I wanted to add a bit of a twist to this project  and make the audio from the DVD player wireless.

The obvious choice would have been to hook the DVD player up to a Bluetooth based connection, but I really wanted to keep the cost of the project down to a minimum.  With that criteria, I ended up settling for a much more older, but still a very robust technology - Infrared.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

NOMA Flexible Power Bar - A Review

NOMA Flexible Power Bar

Before I get into the nitty gritty details of things, I do want to disclose something right off the bat.

Here in Canada there is a very well known chain of stores called Canadian Tire. Now as the name would suggest, they do sell a lot of tires and automotive related gear, but they are equally well known for carrying a full range of items - everything from power tools to kitchen appliances to fishing tackle.

I tend to spend a lot of time at my local Canadian Tire store, so when Canadian Tire started up a program, called "Tested For Life in Canada" and sent a call out to their customers looking for volunteers that would be willing to evaluate some of their products that they sell, I jumped on that opportunity pretty quick.

Up until now, I've just been asked to provide feedback on things that I had bought at Canadian Tire - which I am always glad to do, since I subscribe to the notion that in order for a company to offer the things that you want, you need to tell them what you like!

This has gone on for a few months now, but one day a mysterious package showed up at my door.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Project - Little Birdie Welcome Sign



Another one of my Great-Uncle's designs, this is a very simple project that you can create over a weekend with a few scraps of wood and some metal rods.

Like the Cow & Bull Garden Ornament, I've given a few of these away as gifts over the years and I usually make a bunch of these at a time just so that I have some on hand to hand out as the need arises.

Instructions on how to build this cheerful little fellow can be found at this Link