Logitech K400+ Keyboard Water Spill Repair

One of the big life enhancements I have had in the last few years was mounting a computer in the Kitchen above the sink. I realized that there is an inherent hazard in mixing electronics and kitchen activities but I maintain a strong belief that this can also be a very beneficial mix. Having openSUSE available to me, with all its application and reliability goodness has been a life-enhancer for the kitchen.

The Accident

Whilst cleaning dishes in the kitchen one day, I was overcome with excitement about something I had seen on the computer and without thinking transitioned my wet, dishwater-soapy hands right from the sink to the keyboard and thoroughly saturated the K400+. Realizing what I had done I grabbed a towel and to no success, I tried to dry the thing off. I let the keyboard dry for a few days, having it placed in front of a fan for a portion of that and there was still no improvement. I did try it again a few weeks later, same problem of multiple keys being sensed when one key was pressed. This would not do.

Instead of fixing it right away, sort of considering it a lost cause, put it on my pile of broken things to get to it at another time. In the intermediary time, I decided to use this old full sized Apple keyboard. This was from the iMac G5 era of machines, Clear base that acts like a tray to collect all kinds of debris. Really, a terrible design but was cool back in the day, I suppose. The short USB Cable on the keyboard was causing a continual increase in frustration. That combined with the keys are a lot heavier to push than the broken Logitech keyboard was so when typing, I would often not properly press a key completely and have to fix my error.

I continued using this keyboard, though its function had been as an emergency or special project keyboard. They kitchen computer was in no way a special project but I had been using it in an emergency fashion for far too long. I missed the wireless capability a lot and the handy touch pad was also not there for me to quickly scroll and click to something.

After recording an episode of DLN Xtend, I decided it was time to disassemble the thing and see if I could fix it. I have seen many retro computer keyboard repairs on YouTube where the keyboards would have been considered a lost cause by most and they were successful, what is really the difference, outside of them being experts with success and me being one to more often break things then actually fix with success.


Despite my misuse and abuse of this keyboard, id still did (and does) look good and I did miss the feel of that rubber-dome, laptop-style keyboard.

I brought the keyboard to my workbench and gathered my tools. Not much was needed a screwdriver and a triangular plastic case opening tool as this keyboard was likely to have many snaps that are just waiting to be broken.

The screws that hold this together are on the bottom with a total of nine screws that keep this together. Three of the nine screws are hidden. Two under the rubber feet at the backside of the keyboard and one under a sticker with the serial number. There are numerous ways to remove the foot pads, tweezers, flat-head screw driver, fingernails if they are long enough, just be careful not to get the sticky side dirty.

Using the plastic case separator tool, I pried keyboard apart, fully expecting the keys to explode all over the place. Surprisingly, they are nicely retained in the top half of the case. Below the keys sits a silicon like rubber pad. Below the rubber pad is what looks like mylar with a lot of traces or circuits somehow etched, perhaps printed in the surface.

Using isopropyl alcohol cleaned the top of it and I could test the keys by pressing on the circles upon which the keys would normally push down through the rubber domes. I was still getting odd results. Pressing the “J” key would print “je” on the screen and so forth. I cleaned several times, getting slightly more aggressive with no success at each subsequent test.

I could see a reddish-brown discoloration on the mylar and the isopropyl was seemingly not successful in removing it. I was about ready to give up when I made a closer observation of the mylar and noticed there were layers. There were, in fact, three layers which then made it evident as to how this keyboard works.

This answered my question on how this particular keyboard works. When the key presses the top layer of mylar, closes the gap and makes contact with the bottom layer of mylar.

I was also able to easily clean what discoloration remained. I very carefully, with a synthetic towel and isopropyl, cleaned the layers of mylar taking great care in not wrinkling anything or rub too hard. When complete, I held the bits apart to allow the solvent to dry before testing once again.

Still leaving the silicon rubber dome layer off, I tested the key presses with success. Next I set the silicon rubber layer down, and tested the key presses, again with success. At this point, I am feeling pretty excited and took the top half of the keyboard case, pressed it down firmly to allow the snaps to engage and gave the keyboard a full test. Surprisingly, all the keys worked as expected. It was a successful repair!

Final Thoughts

Many of my repairs do not go well. I would say I have about a 40% success rate of first time go with things. That actually might be a bit generous, as sometimes, I have to fix things a few times before it sticks. This is something I should have fixed months ago. My fingers are so relieved to not to have to hammer down on that old Apple keyboard and also to not have to keep it on top of the coffee maker to use. I have freedom to roam about my small kitchen once again. I must, however, be more careful as to not mix dirty, soapy dishwater and the keyboard again. I don’t want to have to perform this fix again.


Logitech K400+ Keyboard
openSUSE.org Home
Linux in the Kitchen | Life Enhancement Blathering

Dell Inspiron 20 3048 Black Screen

System failures are not always what you think they might be and had I known what the failure was, I would have saved a lot of time of fiddling around. This is a memo to future me and perhaps a cautionary tale for your future technology adventures. In short, I could have saved a lot of time had I known that my black screen failure was caused by a faulty power supply.

The Rest of the Story

Computer problems are rather rare for me these days. Sure, things go out like Hard Drives but I use monitoring tools catch that before it happens. I am not a fan of reactive fixes. Waking up one morning observing clocks reset and a computer not turning on, I thought this was going to be a tedious process where I ultimately will end up replacing the whole computer because that is how it generally goes.

Doing some research online informed me that possible causes were bad RAM, Corrupted BIOS where the fix would be removal of CMOS battery and a failed hard drive. That meant, it was time to take the computer off of the VESA mount, which is always a chore because it should be a two person job and there isn’t another person in my house to help me with such things. Using my trusty DeWalt drill driver and supporting the bottom of the computer with my shoulder, I removed the four screws, managing to not drop any down the drain.

I placed the computer, screen down, on a towel and carefully pried the back panel off, which is held on with several clips. Once the back cover was removed removed the metal door that hid away the memory and one of the modules. Historically, computer failures have been as a result of bad RAM so this is typically an easy, albeit a bit on the expensive side, fix.

I removed the first SODIMM module and since I was too lazy to climb up and retrieve the power supply, I used one of my 120 Watt power supplies that isn’t often used, generally on some kind of reserve duty. Upon plugging it in, to my surprise, the computer came to life. Screen and everything. I was given a warning about the change in RAM so I shut it down, and thought I would try replacing the module. Sure enough, it came right back to life.

As it turned out, it looks like the power supply was the culprit of the black screen. I find it somewhat puzzling as the indicator and fans spun up with the bad power supply, just no monitor. It was a serendipitous accident that I discovered the power supply to be at fault. There is probably a lesson in there someplace.

I put everything back together and performed the necessary acrobatics to get the computer back on the VESA mount. I am grateful, in my moment of triumph, that I didn’t drop the computer in the sink fastening the mount to the back of the computer. It is unfortunate that VESA capable All-in-one computers are not very common. I see a lot of utility in such things but perhaps that application is less common and therefore the current designs reflect that fact.

After about an or so of dorking around with this machine. I was able to enjoy my openSUSE creature comfort in my kitchen once again. Linux belongs in the kitchen and openSUSE makes Linux a great experience.

Final Thoughts

Something that I often don’t think about and I don’t know the reason why, is that power supplies fail. The results of their failures can manifest in different ways. I have had laptop power supplies start whining but still work for a period of time, some power supplies stop reporting to the computer how much power can be drawn and the computer will stop using it (annoying). This time, the computer turned partially on, omitting the activation of the screen. I now wonder if this failure is the typical failure these types of power supplies have as this All-In-One uses the same power supply as many Dell Laptops to include my E6440. I now want to investigate this failure mode…

It is quite possible that there was just enough of a power surge in the power outage that killed an already compromised power supply. There is no way to know for sure. Ultimately, it would be nice to have a UPS or perhaps a battery back up on that circuit. Neither options are inexpensive. One step further, I do see utility, more and more, in whole home power backup solutions.


Dell Community Forum concerning black screen
Linux in the Kitchen | Life Enhancement Blathering
Outside the Cubicle | DeWALT 20v Max Cordless Tool Platform

Badaptor | DeWalt 20v MAX battery to Ryobi 18v One+

In 2019, I bought into DeWalt 20v MAX cordless tool platform as part of my mission to reduce complexity in and improve efficiency in as many aspects of my life as possible. This is a long term mission of mine with many facets but basic tools was at the foundation of this plan. DeWalt has a great line of tools to choose from, but they are aimed at the commercial, industrial or professional builder. I would consider myself an intermediate or advanced DIY-er with the occasional moonlighting as either a handyman or builder, so I wanted some of those higher end tools to be available.

I also found that there were some Ryobi cordless tools that I wanted as well. I didn’t, however, want to have another battery platform as that would go against my mission of reducing complexity. The good news is, I was able to find this adapter on eBay from a US Seller, the cost $25. Significantly cheaper than a Ryobi battery plus charger.

Enjoy my low-fi video. Maybe I would have been better off scrapping.

Design fit and Function

This is actually the second adapter I bought but what caught my eye is that it is a more simplified design and I am certain I prefer this. There are no moving parts, the battery retention latches into the tool but this is very welcome as it makes the design far more low profile than another version I have purchased. It almost makes using a DeWalt battery on a Ryobi tool purposeful looking.

The design of this appears to be quite rigid too. It doesn’t feel flimsy or fragile. The manufacturer claims it is has been rigorously tested for shatter resistance and general wear and tear. I do think that to be an accurate statement based on how it feels. The wall thickness is between approximately 2.5 mm and 3 mm with what appears to be a glass filled plastic. Interestingly, the Ryobi battery packs I have disassembled have a wall thickness of about 2 mm.

DeWalt 20v MAX battery on Ryobi Hot Glue Gun

I am very confident in the design of this adapter that I will get many years of use out of it. It feels quite robust in the design. It’s rigid and the marketing on the website promises it won’t shatter!


The tools that I currently use with my Badapter are a hot glue gun, caulk dispenser (something of which DeWalt does have but I already had in my possession), and a chemical sprayer that I use around my home for fertilizing my small garden and flower beds as well as spraying for insects. At the time of writing, DeWalt doesn’t have a hot glue gun or chemical sprayer. Maybe that will change in the future? No idea. I don’t really see them adding such things as those are more “hobby” or “home-gamer” type tools, not something you would see in the commercial or industrial space.

Final Thoughts

There aren’t many Ryobi tools that I want or need but this really opens up the possibilities to getting whatever tools I think will make taking on challenges and home owner responsibilities a bit more enjoyable. I do believe that work and accomplishment should be a rewarding experience. Badapter certainly is an efficiency multiplier.

It should also be noted that Badapter has other adapters as well. Bosch, Milwaukee and Makita to Ryobi. If those are of interest to you, check them out.


Badapter.com Home Page
DeWalt to Ryobi Badapter
DeWalt Tools
Ryobi Tools
Outside the Cubicle | DeWALT 20v Max Cordless Tool Platform

APC Smart-UPS 1500 Battery Replacement

I am of the opinion, if you plan to have a desktop computer, and by that I mean a machine without a built in battery, you need to have a UPS or Uninterruptible Power Supply. I am of the belief, go as large as you can reasonably afford. Should you have a power interruption, your computer and equipment will thank you in the best way it knows how, by not turning off unexpectedly and corrupting your data.

I Received this used, APC Smart-UPS 1500 a few years back. They did work when I got them, not for long as the batteries failed. After building my workstation / server / desktop unit that I make do things all the time. I decided, after a power outage, it was time to investigate the failure and fix it. I was 99% sure that the batteries were dead as it was the “Replace Battery” light that was on.

Video montage of repair. It’s not very good…


Like in any repair of mine, I find that disassembling it first is the best way to go about it. I have had countless other projects that have gone wrong because I trusted online documentation and batteries for a UPS are never cheap. The first objective is to open it up. The tools required for this was just a crossed-recess (Phillips) screw driver. I opted for the battery operated driver because I am lazy.

Two screws on the front hold the battery compartment door shut.

After removing the batteries, I was completely certain that they were dead as the multi-meter made that very clear.

Search for Batteries

My initial search for batteries lead me to realize that this was not going to be a cheap repair. My local supplier of batteries had them listed at $54.00 each. Others I found all were comparably as expensive.

Then I stumbled upon a site called BatterySharks.com that had these batteries for sale $48.00… for a pair. For a pair! I double checked the specs from the old batteries to the new batteries and I completed the order.

I can’t guarantee that the prices will stay so low but was certainly a fantastic deal. Shipping wasn’t too bad, another $24.59 which brought the grand total to $72.55. I was thinking, however, I am making a $72 gamble that there isn’t anything else wrong with this UPS.


It didn’t take long for the batteries to arrive. The rather weighty package landing with a thud on my front porch signaled it had arrived. The actual installation was really quite simple. Just a reversal of disassembly. Installing the terminal connections, reinstalling the protective terminal caps, I used a little double sided sticky tape to hold them together like the originals (and thinking about it, totally unnecessary), and screwed it back together. Extremely basic.

I did clean up the corrosion with white vinegar just to be sure that there wouldn’t be any issues from the old battery acid that leaked.


After assembling it, it was time to do the initial “smoke test” to make sure that I didn’t mess anything up. Sure enough, I turned it on and an incredibly uneventful yet thrilling beep followed that meant, all was well and ready to be used. I did want to do some testing.

This included using a laptop hooked up to see that when the grid power was removed from the UPS, that it would continue kicking out uninterrupted power. Upon removal of the power, a clunk with a 60 hz hum sound coupled with an alarming “beep” to signal the loss of power and sure enough, just like its name, the power to my computer was uninterrupted.

I let it sit a while so I could watch to see the battery charge meter climb while it remained plugged into the mains. Since it all seemingly worked well so I shut down my server, router/firewall, access point and switch to plug it into the UPS. The load indicator was fluctuating between 1 and 3 bars out of 5 while I was standing there and monitoring it for a while. That was good news as it is well within the limits of this newly repaired but well aged device.

Power Loss

Within a week of installing this newly finished UPS system, the power went out at my house. The server, and network equipment kept chugging along and the battery charge held surprisingly well. Since I was using my laptop, I could still access all things on the server, wirelessly, though I was unsure as to how long it would hold out. After about 40 minutes or so, I thought I should probably start shutting things down nicely. I checked the display and I still had plenty of battery to go so I left it and within 20 minutes of that, the power was restored.

The timing of this repair couldn’t have been better…

Final Thoughts

This was one of those projects that was well worth the time and effort. I do know that I can connect this UPS up to a computer and have it do things but I really am not sure what. I think I need to start playing with the power awareness features so I can figure out how to safely shut down my server and Firewall safely should power levels get low.

Buying a new UPS can be quite expensive. Repairing a used one is much more affordable and also, a better choice for reducing e-waste. Hopefully, this little writeup and crap-tastic video will give someone just enough courage to try it out themselves.


APC.com UPS manufacturer website

Rebuilding a Ryobi 18v NiCad Battery

This was one of those unscheduled projects that I really had no intention of doing but when you have a persistent 9 year old that wants to take apart and rebuild a battery for some Ryobi tools, sometimes, you just have to give in.

I did purchase a bunch of NiCad 2200 mAhr C-cell batteries with tabs some years back with the intention of rebuilding my batteries when the time came. In that time, I changed tool platforms and went with Lithium Ion as the capacities are greater and the packs lighter, so the batteries sat along with some dead batteries.

I don’t use Ryobi batteries but have cordless Ryobi tools that I use with DeWalt Batteries. Doing that was easy, I just bought an adapter, popped it into the tool, slid on the DeWalt battery and I was off to the races, or at least, in many cases, off to burning my hand at my lack of attention paid to the hot end.

Sure, it looks a little goofy, but the benefit of having only one battery is quite substancial in keeping life efficient and simplified. By having one battery system, I am always ready with a cordless tool… But that is not what this is about, at all.

What started me down the path of this was that I needed, or rather wanted, a chemical sprayer for my garden to spray fertilizer or insecticide around the house and the like. Since I live in Michigan, bugs are a plenty and I use it to keep away things that will eventually infiltrate the house, like ants. I have a manual sprayer, but that is, well manual, so I bought this Ryobi One+ 18v Chemical Sprayer in an effort to enhance efficiency. My intent was to sell the battery and charger on Ebay but for whatever reason, my oldest took a shining to this system and made a case for why we should keep it. Although I didn’t fully agree, I appreciated the effort and we agreed on his active involvement with certain chores if I keep it. Ultimately worth the $40-ish I would have made from it on Ebay.

That same day, I was at my workbench riffling through the things littered about. It has a lot of my fix-it projects at various states where my kids put things that they break. They seem to expect whatever they place there to magically heal so I have to stay on top of that. I pulled out an old dead Ryobi NiCad battery along with a few other brands of battery packs I have been hording. I also had some 2200mAh cells in some boxes so my boy begged me to rebuild an old Ryobi battery.

This was not anywhere on my plan for the week or month but he insisted, I again struck a deal with him where he obligated to other various tasks if we were to do this. So, the project began. He started taking apart the battery and exposed the innards hidden away in its plastic tomb.

Once figuring out how they were chained together. I was able to replicate it with some “new” NiCad cells.

Building was tedious and since I don’t have the proper equipment, I used a lack-luster soldering iron and the tabs that were already welded in place. The soldering job is absolutely embarrassing so to ensure I never get a job soldering, here it is under construction.

Unfortunately, I misread the pack and thought that minus meant minus so I did have to rewire the connectors after I was finished soldering it. I could have probably handled it better but the battery is together and functional.

My son did help me put together the final bits and he finished screwing it together. Unfortunately, after putting it together, I discovered that I do not have correct Multi-chemistry charger for it so I had do charge it the brute force way. Regardless, it was a success, it holds a charge and seemingly operates as one would expect.

The Glue gun looks almost as silly with this battery as it does the DeWalt battery on an adapter. I don’t know how long this battery will last and if was worth the time it took to make but it was certainly educational. I don’t see myself making any effort to use this but it is amazing how excited a 9 year old can get fixing a 12 year old battery

Final Thoughts

Power tools are another nerd hobby of mine. I am amazed by the amount of power and capability you can get out of a plastic casing hand tools. Tearing them apart and seeing what is inside and fixing them, certainly, gives you a sense of accomplishment. It does make your tool much more yours.

Though I don’t see myself using the fruits of this exercise very much, what I do hope it sparks in my son is the desire to not just use but understand his tools, whether they are power tools, computers or any other electronic or mechanical device. That is ultimately why I did this with him. Strike while the curiosity iron is hot. I have also given my son a sense of ownership. Not only does he suddenly want to care for these tools but also use them properly. I see it as a great step forward in his growth.


Ryobi One+ Cordless Chemical Sprayer
Tenergy Batteries

2001 Ford F-350 Radiator Replacement

My trusty old Diesel powered truck developed another issue, the radiator was leaking coolant and I couldn’t help but think about the many Star Trek: The Next Generation episodes where Geordi La Forge telling the bridge, “We have a coolant leak”

That began my task of gathering things and knowledge to get this process started. I consulted one of the smartest people I know, a buddy of mine that lives locally that is quite literally one of the smartest people I know. He encouraged me that I could do it. He also directed me to a site that provides parts at a much reduced cost. I am all about saving money.


In order to replace my leaky radiator, I prepared by making a few purchases and gathered a few items:

  • Purchased a radiator online to save a few bucks
  • Adequate amounts of replacement coolant
  • Coolant system lubricant
  • Buckets to collect the coolant
  • A couple funnels and some tools

I watched a YouTube video and was mentally prepared for the task at hand.

Step 1: Drain The Radiator

In order to remove the radiator, I had to drain it first. There is a little drain at the bottom of the radiator that makes it super easy to open up. I opened up the cap on the overflow to allow for air to flow in as the coolant escapes.

Step 2: Disconnect the Hoses

In order to get to the overflow hose at the top of the radiator, the overflow tank, which is an interesting design to me because it also contains the radiator cap… but it’s not on the radiator… Part of the jack kit also resides at the top of the radiator and integrated into the radiator retention bracket.

Once the brackets are removed, the hose clamps are easily accessible. The hose clamp to the engine return line uses a 5/16 driver while the smaller hose to the overflow is the squeeze kind that a channel lock does a fine job of releasing the compression forces.

The next task was to remove the connections at the bottom of the radiator. Two hoses and two lines to the transmission. I want to note here that I should have removed the hoses before I removed the transmission lines. I didn’t realize that the transmission coolant lines were not filled with coolant but transmission fluid. I should have known better. The fan shroud was was held in place by 2 screws and is retained at the bottom by tabs that fit into slots on the bottom of the radiator.

Step 3: Remove the Radiator

Once the disconnected I allowed the radiator to drain a bit more and I removed it from the truck. The radiator design is rather clever in that there are pegs at the top and bottom of the radiator that retain radiator in its place. It was actually nicely engineered to be easy to service, which makes me think, how often do they expect radiators to be replaced. The only area of difficulty was that the fan shroud had to be pushed out of the way as to make clearance for the connection points. It made for a little bit of struggle to get it out but really, it wasn’t that bad.

Step 4: Install the New Radiator

I pulled the new radiator from its box and made the unfortunate discovery that the radiator was damaged. The side of the radiator was crushed enough that I didn’t feel good about installing it. I wasn’t about to put a damaged radiator and live on hopes and prayers that it works. Since I didn’t want to go another day without my crusty old truck, I called a local parts store, AutoZone, to be exact, and found that they had one radiator in stock, it wasn’t the inexpensive version either, it was their high dollar unit. So much for saving money with the online company.

Step 5: Drive to the Parts Store to Get Another Radiator

I made the trip to get a radiator that wasn’t partially smashed and since I did lose a notable amount of transmission fluid, I picked up a couple quarts. I was pretty sure that I didn’t lose more than a quart but better to have extra on hand than not enough.

Step 6: Install the Radiator, Take 2

Installing the radiator was actually much easier than removing the radiator. Probably due to the fact there was nothing to drain. I started by attaching the fan shroud, then the transmission cooler lines to stop the bleeding of fluid there. Next I put the rest of the brackets in place, bolted the overflow in place so that I could connect that to the lower part of the radiator. I attached the hoses at the top of the shiny new part and began the filling process and double checking all my connections because I was not interested in making any silly mistakes that could lead to a fluid catastrophe. I added two gallons of coolant and started the truck to get the fluids circulating. I added two more gallons of coolant and almost a quart of transmission fluid. The transmission fluid was a bit tricky as I had to shield the fluid from being blown at me by the spinning fan.

What I forgot to do was add the coolant lubricant early on. That was my only mistake

Step 7: Happy Dance

I successfully completed the radiator replacement and had no drips. I am quite happy that I was able to do it myself. I need a “win” in life in this area. Not that I want to go from playing in Linux to playing with Automobiles but I am a strong proponent in self-empowerment and owning your own hardware, in this case, owning my vehicle.

Final Thoughts

I don’t see a future in being a mechanic for me. It’s certainly not my strong suit and does require a greater level of patience than messing with computers, at least for me. I have a greater appreciation for the skill and capabilities of mechanics are are truly are a people with a special talent and grace upon their lives to do the work that they do.


2000 F250 Radiator Replacement video on YouTube

Broken Headband on Bluetooth Headphones | Repair Instead of Replace

I purchased a medium of the road Bluedio headset that I have been using in both Bluetooth and wired modes. It’s pretty decent and they fit my head well. Unfortunately, my Magilla Guerrilla handling of it I snapped the headband. I didn’t think I was being rough with it but I do have a track record of such things. The break was on the left side near the slide out adjustment and although the set was still wearable, it felt like one ear cushion loose enough that it would slap the side of my head at every turn.

I had three choices, buy new headphones, deal with it and get used to the gentle paddling of my left ear or lastly, fix it and see if I can return it to an acceptable, usable condition. The paddling was completely unacceptable to live with and the the headphones would no longer fit snugly to my head so this option was ruled out. The option to buy something new was also out. My budget had already been allocated and I am not interested in getting new hardware when these were still electronically functional. Why wouldn’t I at least attempt a repair?

The padded headband was well stitched together in such a way that the stitching was easy to delicately remove. This exposed the poly-carbonate (I am assuming) structuring beneath.

Looking at it, the fix wouldn’t be difficult at all to do it, with the right combination of adhesive chemicals: Loctite 444 Ethyl cyanoacrylate liquid adhesive along with Loctite SF 7452 cure-speed accelerator for the aforementioned adhesive.

The nice thing about the accelerator (a trick I learned at work), you can add adhesive and immediately follow it with the accelerator to layer on material and consequently, greatly increase the strength. This was a technique demonstrated when I fixed my broken Porter-Cable Drill some time ago.

Just a few minutes of gluing and applying the celebrator, had extended the life of this headphone set. Would a normal upgrade to something new and better? Probably but that is just not how I roll. I can’t bring myself to toss out something that is easily repaired. I have yet to sew the padded headband back together but I am no longer getting paddled by the ear pad and when I do handstands, they don’t fall off of my head.

This is not an advertisement for Henkel but fixing toys or equipment is easily accessible to just about anyone as long as you have these two chemicals. It opens up a whole new world of fixing possibilities. I have seen YouTube content creators struggle with gluing broken bits together, clamping them for hours at a time when the job can be done in a fraction of the time. Sure, these are not the cheapest of products but they are extremely effective and drastically reduces the likelihood of your project ending in frustration.


Loctite 444
Loctite SF7452

New Life to Rock Candy Gamepad for PS3 | Another Repair

I am not one to just toss something when it is broken. I want to give every piece of equipment a shot at another life whenever possible. Somethings do have to go to the big recycler in the sky but not without some kind of fight at my end.

I couple years back when I thrusted myself into the foray of “modern” gaming, I purchased two of these “Rock Candy” Gamepads from a local retailer. This was for my first Steam Game purchase, River City Ransom: Underground. They worked quite well but having kids with passion bubbles very near the surface, gamepads have a tendency to go flying or falling from time to time.

After some time of play, one had a fall too many and the plastic broke that held the batteries in place on one controller. Within a week, the other decided it would no longer turn on. Both controllers were put away into storage, until yesterday.

My oldest son asked if they could be fixed and I suggested that we could take the board from one and put it in the body of the other. He said he wanted to do it. I supplied some tools, provided just a bit of guidance and my 8 year old took the screw driver to task. I guided him on disassembly and used a magnetic bowl to hold the screws so didn’t roll away.

When he started to put it together, he asked how to do it, to which I gave the proper fatherly advice, “just like taking it apart, but in reverse!” Surprisingly, that was enough. I just made sure that the Left and Right Bumpers PCBs was correctly placed. He knew what screws went where and placed everything just right.

I double checked the screws to ensure that they were all snugged up properly, popped in some batteries and we were off to the races. There is only just a bit of confusion now as the blue controller now goes to the green dongle.

In another proud moment, my boy turned to a SNES emulator and played Super Mario All-Stars. Those old games are still fun to play today, even for the youth, which is a testament to the fun-gineering of yeaster-year

Final Thoughts

Technology is certainly a fun thing to play with but it is so much more fun to pass on the joy of owning your technology to your kids. The amount of confidence my boy has earned through this exercise is worth far more than the cost of both of the controllers. I am hoping this sparks a flame for a passion for technology, not just in using but in creating and imagining new ways to use technology. I am quite sure that his abilities that will far surpass my own.

Garmin Vivofit 2 Battery Replacement

A short time ago, my step tracker and watch went dead. It is a Vivofit 2 that is very plain and ordinary with no bells or whistles, as compared to other trackers. All this tracker does is time, date, steps, estimate of distance and calories burned. No heart rate or altimeter to tell you how many steps you’ve climbed, that said, this is also the first “smart” wearable that has lasted longer than 6 months. As far as watches go, this thing has lasted longer than any other.

garmin vivofit2-01-dead

This device, of which is primarily my watch, was supposed to last one year on two Lithium button cell batteries. It ended up lasting over two years which makes me start to believe that these button cell run times are all underestimated.

In preparation for this repair, I pulled out my card of CR2032 batteries thinking I could just pop in the batteries on hand. Once apart, however, an unpleasant surprise greated me beneath its dirty shell. I didn’t have the proper battery, the Vivofit 2 takes CR1632 batteries which are far more expensive. When I looked on the shelf of the store they turned out to be the most expensive batteries on the shelf at $4.99 each.

garmin vivofit2-02-opengarmin vivofit2-03-batteries

Before doing another thing with it, I cleaned the gasket and housing with rubbing alcohol because it was two years sitting on my arm and looked terribly gross. Popping out the batteries was easily accomplished with a flat-head screwdriver. Inserting the batteries, only required a bit of pressure to seat them properly. Four screws hold the body together. Upon putting the thing back together, the device immediately reactivated.

garmin vivofit2-04-fixed

I let it do its thing of synchronizing with my mobile and that was it, the job was done and I have my watch back.

Out of curiosity, I wanted to see what voltage the old batteries were to know how much voltage was not enough voltage to power this wearable.

garmin vivofit2-05-old button cell voltage

5.327 volts was the magic number. Instead of just tossing the batteries into the recycling, I decided to hang onto them. Who knows when I might come up with a use.

Final Thoughts

The batteries were a bit more than I wanted to spend but replacing the batteries was still cheaper than a new tracker or even a decent watch. Since the thing is mostly a watch and I don’t need anything fancy, this will do just fine for now. The total cost of this repair was $10.58. Still far less expensive than $109 for a replacement from Garmin.

Truly, I think trackers are kind of dumb but I like the metrics it gives me and there is something fun with the dumbness… like the competitions with friends on steps. This thing is a fine watch and I don’t care about status symbols so until this thing has some catastrophic failure, I’m not likely to upgrade.

Oh, one last thing, I have also created a short video on this repair and edited it with Kdenlive. My first foray into doing video with Kdenlive and so far, I like it very much… once I figured out what I was doing. The machine I used, Dell Latitude E6440 running openSUSE Tumbleweed. I didn’t have a single crash or lockup of the software.

If you happen to like this, great, if you don’t, that’s great too. It was a fine learning experience that I enjoyed.

Further Reading

Vivofit 2 from Garmin.com

Garmin Vivofit 2 Battery Replacement on YouTube

Dell Latitude E6440


GB Boy Colour Repair

GB Boy Colour-10-Title.png

Last year’s Christmas present to my oldest boy (2017), started to misbehave in such a way that made playing it no longer enjoyable. This GB Boy Colour, a Game Boy Color clone, likely not made with the highest quality components started to have switch problems. It either wouldn’t turn on or turn on and immediately off, have continual reboots (is that what a Game Boy does, reboot?) or some other odd screen dimming, random lines flickering across and other peculiar behavior. This malfunctioning device was causing my boy serious frustration.

Old Tech Is Better Tech

GB Boy Colour-12.pngThese older Nintendo Game Boy games are great because they don’t require internet connection so there is no way I am being spied on and there isn’t any advertising. On top of it, these old games games are still fun many years later.

If you want to know more about the device itself just search “GB Boy Colour” and there are numerous reviews. What is particularly fantastic about this device is that it is a color screen with backlight and it not only has a bunch of built in games but it has the cartridge slot so that you can pop in those 25 + year old games and play them with an even better experience than you had in the early 90s. I wasn’t into the Game Boy when it came out but this particular unit is pretty great.


I turned this broken device into an education opportunity for my kids. They not only get to see the inside of this portable fun-box, they can also observe the process of soldering and the importance of taking care around tools, like the soldering iron. I consider it a huge win that I burn myself or my kids.

Easy OutTaking apart this device was a bigger headache than it should have been. The Nintendo specific screw heads could not be removed with the tool I purchased to remove it. I could have customized the tool to make it fit in the counterbore but since I don’t have a metal lathe (yet), I was not able to do so. I suppose I could have chucked it up in my drill and used a metal file or die grinder to grind it down but that seemed like far too much work. Instead, I decided to use an “easy-out” to remove the screws and replace the screws with standard cross-recess drive style.

GB Boy Colour-03-Screw Heads

Six screws is all that holds this case together. Pretty typical plastic screws you would see in devices of this type. Two of the screws are in the battery compartment which I didn’t immediately see.

GB Boy Colour-07-Back

Once the case is apart, there are three more screws that hold the main board to the front case.

GB Boy Colour-08-Separated.jpg

Once separated, you have to be careful not to let the screen dangle around and get beat up. That reveled the power switch soldered joints.


My inexperienced observation of the device reveled that the soldering of the switch was likely done too cold so there wasn’t a good bond between the board and the switch. The fix was rather easy, I was able to use my soldering iron to heat up and add a bit more solder. When I completed soldering the switch I also noticed that the switch itself was ever so slightly cracked. The metal contact was pulling away from the sliding action. I fixed this by applying a little glob of hot glue to properly support the bits to keep it from pulling apart.

GB Boy Colour-04-Switch

After reassembling this Game Boy Color Clone, I gave it a test run (read: played games instead of get work done), lost track of time for a bit until my boy insisted that he try it out himself.

GB Boy Colour-13-Super Mario Land.png

Final Thoughts

I was pretty fortunate that I was able to just re-flow the solder on this switch and beef up the walls with hot glue to hold it together. Using this as an educational opportunity with my kids made for some good family time. It brought about many questions about what the components do, how a soldering iron works and why it melts the solder. I not only helped them to understand electronics a little bit, it also created respect for the tools and the need for increased caution. From their perspective, the most important part was being able to play Super Mario Land and Ms Pacman again without the thing getting stuck in reboot cycles.

Further Reading

Nintendo Life Review of GB Boy Colour

NES SNES Security Bit Screw Driver on Amazon.com