Roomba Rumba 
2012.03.25 15:50 - Miscellanea
Not quite four-and-a-half years ago, I snagged a Roomba Scheduler off of After about a year, though, the battery capacity had fallen so precipitously that it barely ran at all, and it didn't seem to be getting much out of being docked on the home base. At the time, I just figured the battery was kaput, so I ordered a new one, swapped it, and ... no dice. Roomba would charge fine directly from the wall, but not off the home base. This suggested a problem with the home base, but, at the time, I didn't have the information to confirm this (because it could still have been the Roomba's connection to the home base, instead of something in the home base, itself).

Three years later, I finally got tired of having a robot sitting around being useless, so I did some research, and hit upon somebody else's documentation of diagnosing their Roomba.

Although the model and symptoms aren't quite the same, that turned out to be my problem: the home base was cooked.

The long and the short of what I needed to confirm that:
  • A voltmeter. I have a cheap multimeter laying around someplace, but can't find it. I wound up buying a new multimeter at Home Depot, but Radio Shack had a cheap one I should probably have grabbed, instead.
  • A 4.7k ohm resistor, good for at least 1/4 watt. I bought some 1/2-watt 4.7k ohm resistors at Radio Shack. They worked fine
  • A means of connecting the resistor to either the probes of your meter, or to the contacts of the Roomba home base. One approach is pictured in the article linked above. I grabbed a bunch of alligator-clipped test leads while I was at Radio Shack.
With each end of the resistor clipped to a different probe, it was pretty trivial to check the voltage being put out by my home base. The good/bad news for me is that, instead of rising to about 22.5 volts, my base was falling to 2 volts. Well, as they say, there's my problem.

When the new base arrived, I double checked the voltage on it, just for good measure: it puts out a bit over 20. Not quite as high as it ought to be, but I'm not sure what the tolerance is on that number, and it sure seems to have done the trick: Roomba's been busily eating dust bunnies and getting caught on cables for over a week, now.
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The World Is Full of Mystery and Wonder 
2012.02.23 11:09 - Miscellanea
People, I don't know if you knew already, but I just found out squids can fly. Like rockets.

(Link stolen from SayUncle.)
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I was wrong 
2012.01.09 09:34 - Guns
I did manage to make it to the range in December, which makes a total of three trips for all of 2011 (not counting AAC's Silencer Shoot, which was pretty awesome, you guys). Not a great year, on multiple fronts.

I shot the Hi-Power, an AR I completed back in May, the 870 (purchased last January) and the Sterling carbine (re-received back in October). I had the CZ and Sig Mosquito packed, but they never got brought out. C'est la vie. I emptied the magazine in the Hi-Power, and fired the AR, 870, and Sterling for the first time. Everything worked! Huzzah!

Alas, I am way out of practice, and hardly hit anything.

I only have one magazine for the Sterling at the moment, but shooting it's a gas. There's almost no recoil, and very little noise or blast (pistol ammo through a 16" barrel: go figure). I couldn't tell how much of the problem with hitting with it was due to the sights and how much was me. (I wasn't impressed with the peep sight, though.) Still, fun.

Just FWIW: the Sterling carbine is a Wise Lite build purchased and worked over by the guys at Crusader Weaponry. Fun gun, and I've been pretty pleased with the customer service.
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I'm blogrolled where? 
2011.10.20 13:02 - Site/Meta
I keep forgetting that I'm actually linked one or two places other than the RGSB list, which tends to contain people I have actually met. Just discovered I'm on a list of 'gun blogs', which, I guess, is as accurate a label as any other.

I expect I'll have some relevant content again, soonish. Before the end of the year, surely. Probably not before the end of the month.
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So, that happened. 
2011.09.28 18:21 - Meatspace Stupidity

Actually, I did have a good time at homecoming last weekend, but I think my first instincts were right: I should probably have skipped the 10-year thing.

That's not to say I disliked seeing people, but it was too many people in too little space for my liking. I also saw pretty much everybody who came that I cared to see both before and after, anyway.

So, it was nice seeing everybody! But I'll probably pass on the 15- and 20-year gatherings in favor of doing something other than moping around in a room that is too warm and too loud.

(Oh, you think I'm kidding about the lamp? Nope.)
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