Friday, October 24, 2014

A Feeling of Power

Bought a couple of those stick-on LED dome lights for the rather dark Orchestra Pit. Turns out they were designed to turn off automatically after five minutes. So I opened them up, and after figuring out the circuitry, cut the traces to the chip and soldered a jumper. Now they stay on as long as you want.

There's a real feeling of power in doing that. A lot of tech is going the Apple direction these days -- in which it decides it knows your application better than you do, and will actively get in the way of you using it the way you actually need.

Also repaired a wireless microphone I'd bricked myself. The mini locking connector for the microphone element is under a lot of stress in use, and tends to snap inside. I've learned the way to remove the old connector is to dike it into little pieces while still in place; then you can carefully de-solder the remaining bits and solder on a replacement jack.

The first time, though, I tried to pry the whole thing off, and ended up tearing the traces right off the PCB. Well, fortunately, all of the traces to the jack pads also lead to test points. And the test points are just big enough to take a drop of solder and the end of a jumper wire:

That's the tip of a miniature screwdriver visible there in the blur. This thing is small, and tightly packed. But the repairs passed the bench test. Next is to hook it up to the sound system and see if it is quiet and resists vibration.

Oops.  So it did work after all -- after re-seating the RF daughterboard. But there's a shot button on the motherboard as well and I'm not quite up for reworking an SMD button. 

And around again. Turns out you can repair one of these SMD buttons in situ; I carved a hole in the plastic with an X-acto, slipped the tip of the blade under the metal, and pushed up to crimp it slightly. Works now.

However...turns out the board has low RF. Maybe something shorting the antenna?

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