In our consume it and toss it world we tend to discard our old electronics for the faster, better newer items. I know we are pretty good at recycling our old electronics, but wouldn’t it be even better to repurpose our old gear, maybe give it a new life as something else? I had an old Microsoft Surface 3 sitting on my desk collecting dust for a while. The specifications were pretty weak. 4GB of RAM, 64GB disk, and a really slow mobile processor. Compared to today’s standards its barely enough to run Windows 10, at least the disk was SSD.
What I did with my Microsoft Surface 3
Looking at the Surface I saw a great opportunity to make a wall clock weather station! With just a few prep steps and a neat low cost trick to mount the surface to the wall I had this project done in under an hour.
I haven’t posted to my blog in over a month, and not that anyone cares, I do this because I personally enjoy writing. (even if I’m not that good at it) When I started this blog back in 2017 my mission was to write articles on things that I found useful, content that I could refer back to overtime and if it happened to help someone else GREAT. Three weeks ago on October 21st I was diagnosed with COVID. I am happy to say I’m still here and almost fully recovered. I would like to take a few moments to record my experience.
COVID-19 IS SERIOUS!
To all the people who said COVID-19 is not real, IT IS 100% REAL and will knock you on your ass! I’m not exactly sure when I was exposed to the virus, I’m not a “front line” worker. I take reasonable precautions, wash my hands often, wear a mask, but still managed to get sick.
IMPORTANT – LISTEN TO YOUR BODY.
On October 20th I came to work and had a headache. Nothing strange about that. A couple Advil and pushed through the day. I remember going to bed Tuesday night feeling extra tired, but again nothing I haven’t experienced before.
On Wednesday October 21st I woke up with what I thought was a head cold. My symptoms were headache and a bit of post nasal drip. I went to work again and didn’t give it a second thought. As the day progressed I felt a cough develop, nothing Luden’s cough drops couldn’t fix. I completely ignored the signs and put everyone I work with at risk to catch COVID!
We take electronics for granted in todays society. Microchips are in everything! Computers, TVs, Smart Phones, Microwaves even your car! If it plugs in and turns on there’s a good chance a microchip will be inside.
Have you ever wondered what is a microchip? I don’t want to cover the history of chips or integrated circuits (IC) in this article, however lets leave it as miniaturized electronic components on a die that is encased in a plastic shell. The components are usually transistors and millions of them can be on a die to compose a single chip.
These are older microchips and the there are a few where you can actually see the die through a small window. These chips were know as EPROMs and were programmable!
Actual Microchip Die!
This is the inside Die Chips found in sophisticated IC’s. The die was fully processed and the next step was to bond gold wires to the different connection points on the IC die and connect them to pins on a plastic IC package. This step was not done.
These are fascinating to study under a strong magnifying glass or microscope. Great for making “electronic jewelry”, study and training.
I love cars, to me they are not just a functional piece of everyday life but more a work of art. Even the ugliest car had to be designed by someone who thought it was a good idea at the time. My kids are getting older and my youngest is learning to drive. We were fortunate to have a 1991 Toyota Camry dropped into our lap. A 30 year old “beater” that runs and drives and is in surprisingly good condition. The only problem is it has 30 year old paint, that has apparently never been waxed or polished. The goal is to do a paint correction that would give the car a great look from 10ft away (lol)
Who would have thought sitting home daily with my two kids during the Covid-19 crisis would lead to the kids each wanting a gaming computer. After pricing out what a “pre” made gaming computer would cost it was decided to build our own on a budget. The goal : How powerful a computer could be built for under $1000.
Gaming computer parts
The debate was on, which parts to spend money on and what parts could we save some cash.
It was decided the 3rd generation Ryzen 5 3600 processor would be used. The Ryzen would give great performance at a budget price. At the time of this post the Ryzen was down to $155 on Amazon (I paid $175)
MOTHERBOARD – MSI B450 gaming Plus Max $110
Finding a gaming computer motherboard proved to be a challenge. I would guess due to the shutdowns in China, and higher demand (I’m not the only one building a gaming computer) many motherboards were out of stock.
Another old meter to add to my collection. This Sencore FE160 meter was manufactured in 1973 and has aged quite well. I connected the meter to a wall outlet and it fired up and is working great! The only reconditioning was to give the exterior and interior a through cleaning.
When cleaning equipment I like to use as mild a cleaner as possible and work my way up to something stronger if necessary. I find automotive products to be very mild and since I’m always cleaning and polishing my cars I have many different types of cleaners at my disposal.
Old radio enthusiast please don’t send me hate mail after reading this blog. I know many of you will frown on what I have done to this 80+ year old radio. I promise you this Zenith will get tons more use in its current condition rather than in original form.
The project consisted of gutting the original electronics from the radio and replacing them with newer more modern tech. Resulting in a working radio that still has the spirit of the original.
Covid19 has pretty much left me trapped in the house over the last few months. Needing to keep busy I started to clean out the basement, selling some stuff on Ebay while tossing the rest out in the trash. I did come across this Everedy Gear Top Bottle Capper under a table gathering dust and rust and decided it would be a good restoration project. Restoration would be very easy as there are only a few parts and the capper was simple to take apart.
Tools you can use
Since the bottle capper is made of cast iron and had some serious rust, I decided to go with a wire brush to remove the dirt and prep the surface for paint.
I am still trying to figure out the back story on this restoration project. What I do know is this is a Dynarometer Model 1260, under the bezel of the meter movement is says Superior Instruments Co, New York NY made in USA. I am not sure if these were sold as a kit or even the exact model year. If I was to guess I would say 1950’s give or take a few years.
A friend was tossing this out so I adopted it and decided to keep it from the landfill. It was dirty and quite rusty. After a through examination to make it operational again would be virtually impossible, however restoration as a piece of art would be the second best thing.
We all accumulate stuff in our homes over time. In fact George Carlin has a great comedy skit about “stuff“. While going through my stuff I came across this antique projector. A Moviegraph D752 made by Keystone in Boston Mass. The wiring was dry rotted and belts were broken, and I was going to toss it in the trash. The only question was does it have any value? After a quick check on eBay similar projectors in better condition than mine were selling for $50 to $100. Not worth my trouble to sell, but old enough to keep as art work!