Building A Budget Gaming Computer During Quarantine

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.

Processor – AMD Ryzen 5 3600 (3rd Generation) $155.00
Ryzen 5 3600
Ryzen 5 3600

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.

MSI Motherboard
MSI Motherboard

You are going to want to look for a mother that supports the AMD Ryzen 3000 series. I original purchased an MSI Gaming Plus Max and it was broken out of the box. Then I went with an ASRock motherboard, only because it was in stock and it too was broken.  Finally  I found an MSI B450 Gaming Plus Max in stock and it was $110. Since I purchased the board the price has increased to $215 on Amazon. Keep searching and you will eventually find a good board in the $125 range. Continue reading “Building A Budget Gaming Computer During Quarantine”

Vintage 1973 Sencore FE160 Field Effect Meter

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.

Great Cleaning Products to use:

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1940’s Zenith Radio Restomod

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.

Parts List – Hardware
MS Surface

An older Microsoft Surface Pro 3 – I don’t recommend you go out and purchase a surface for this project. Re-purposing and old laptop, or tablet is ideal to keep the cost down. I’m sure you could even use a Raspberry Pi with an external display. I just happened to have an old Surface that needed a new job. Continue reading “1940’s Zenith Radio Restomod”

The Superior Instruments Dynarometer 1260 Vintage Electronics Restoration

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.

TOOLS YOU CAN USE

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Dell Latitude E5550 Battery Replacement

In the office we tend to buy Dell Desktops and Laptops. In my opinion they are no better or worse than any other brand and are priced competitively. Normally we have a 3-4 year cycle moving old equipment out and new equipment in. This one E5550 has been hanging around for whatever reason and was feeling slow. I originally popped the back cover to upgrade to a SSD and noticed the battery was in bad shape and needed to be replaced.

E5550 Battery Replacement

From the looks of it, two of the cells out gassed and have a belly. This is very bad since the battery capacity is obviously reduced. It is also dangerous to the hardware since the added pressure from the battery could damage the system board or cause the case to crack.

E5550 BatteryE5550 Battery

Where to purchase a suitable replacement?

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Father’s Day Round Up! Great Gift Ideas For Dad

Father’s Day is approaching again and if you’re like me I always wonder what would be a good gift for Dad. There have been years where a bottle of wine was the gift of choice, or maybe a couple of dress shirts. How boring! Hopefully your Dad is as great as mine and not only deserves a fun cool gift, but would also appreciate your thoughtfulness.

Father’s Day Gift Ideas!

Is your Dad into computers? Maybe a fun USB drive would be the perfect gift? Low cost, yet thoughtful!

16GB Mercedes-Benz USB Flash Drive in the style of a Car Key!
$12.99 GeekGearStore.com

This is a very cool gift for Dad, especially if he drives a Benz and enjoys electronic gadgets. On sale at GeekGearStore.com $12.99 Continue reading “Father’s Day Round Up! Great Gift Ideas For Dad”

A Blast From The Past – Panasonic Panapet Radio

I love when I find vintage electronics in the basement or back of my closet. During some recent spring cleaning I came across this 1970’s something Panasonic Panapet radio. In itself its not very remarkable, but when you think about how much technology has changed in the last 45 years its quite amazing. Also kind of funny that they named it “PANA”sonic “PET”

History Of The Panapet

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WTF – Is Amazon Selling Nazi Magnets?

Like most of the world I use Amazon to buy everything from electronics to dog food. I needed some magnets to complete a project and stumbled across this image. The $10 – 200pcs magnet set. Which normally would be innocent enough, except when the magnets are placed to reference a swastika.

What is going on here? Amazon Nazi Magnet Set?

Seems inappropriate if you ask me. Click here to see for yourself

Unless they took it down already, then click here to see a local copy

Nazi Magnets?

I wonder how much more inappropriate stuff is floating around on Amazon. If you find something let me know.

Thanks for reading my blog,
Joe

 

Fun Desk Clock From Recycled iPhone 5

Technology changes so fast, and we all want the latest gadget, but what is the cost of consuming so much? Big business wants us to keep buying devices, even if the old ones are still good. We wind up with millions of abandoned iPhones, Androids and tablets. Some are recycled responsibly while tens of thousands are just tossed in the trash or the back of your desk draw never to be seen again.   Here is a super simple way to recycle your old iPhone into a great retro looking desk clock.

Recycle Your iPhone into a clock – WHAT YOU NEED

 

I needed a stand for my clock and since my objective was to keep this project as simple and low cost as possible. I started with two 3×5 acrylic photo frames.

 

3×5 acrylic frame. Very low cost, about $5.00 at Amazon

 

You will also need 8 flat rare earth magnets (Neodymium) The stronger the magnets the better. Keep them small and flat, the actual shape round or square does not matter. $14.00 at Amazon

 

A little glue to hold it all together. I tend to like GOOP, but any strong adhesive should do. Goop at Amazon $ 11.00

 

 

The last two items you probably have around the house.

  • A colored spay paint for tinting the acrylic frames, I used black.
  • Some type of counter weight for the back of the stand to give it stability, I used a pair of hard drive spindle motors.
Putting it together

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Battery Replacement – Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5

It seems like everyone on this planet likes the latest shinny new gadget, and I’m no exception. However, there are times when one of those gadgets has everything you want in it and does a good job. My Samsung Galaxy Tab S is one of them.

Its OEM battery is running on fumes and basically it needs to be tethered to the wall almost all the time. Rather than toss it in the trash or take it to the kiosk in the mall I figured I would make a run at changing the battery myself. This replacement was MUCH easier than expected. I have changed a number of iPhone batteries over the years and they are a pain to do (because of all the glue). The Galaxy was easy and only took about 15 minutes to complete.

TOOLS AND PARTS

First stop was to Amazon to check out the replacement battery choices. There was a number of different  units on sale from $17 to about $55. While scrolling through they all seem to be the same Chinese replacement so I simply picked the lowest cost kit

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