Saturday, July 14, 2018

Dell Precision Laptop Battery Charger Problem [solved]

Initial Event:

The Dell Precision laptop discharged and auto shut down while the AC adapter (180-Watt DA180PM111) was plugged in.


  • While plugged in 
    • With battery
      • The battery indicator light on the laptop slowly blinks white
      • Powers on for a few minutes at a time before auto switching off
      • Screen brightens erratically
    • Without battery
      • Indicator light does not turn on
      • Does not power on
  • Unplugged
    • With battery, powers on for a few minutes then turn off due to low battery.


At first I only had the original AC adapter and I couldn't find anything on the web specifically stating that my laptop could run from AC without the battery being installed so I wasn't sure if it was the battery, adapter or a motherboard problem.

Finally found another dell adapter (90 Watt) to test and everything works great again, even without the battery installed.

If I had known for sure that the laptop should be able to power on without the battery I could have saved time troubleshooting. Luckily I did not buy a replacement battery before I found another AC adapter to test.


Replace defective AC adapter.

Further Reading:

Dell Indicator Lights

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Coordinates for Abandoned Japanese Gulliver's Kingdom Theme Park

This interesting abandoned and demolished theme park west of Mt. Fuji has been incorrectly located in quite a few blog posts for some reason. This post even has the incorrect coordinates prominently displayed at the beginning of the article.

(doesn't look like anything to me!)

I finally found the correct coordinates on this demolished Japanese places (haikyo) list on google: which appears to be created by

35°24'56"N 138°38'55"E

It's on the north side of the Fuji Classic Golf Course (富士クラシック):

You can still see the remnants of the park and make out the luge.

Google aerial imagery:

Map of the park from this blog post.

Aerial photo rotated to match map:

Another park map:

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Replacing Yamaha YS200 Synthesizer Battery

In this post I will describe one way to replace the CR2032 3V button / coin cell battery in the Yamaha YS200.

First make sure the battery actually needs replacing by performing a voltage test using the YS200's internal test menu.

After turning the unit on hold down EFFECT, then while still holding that button hold EXIT, then while still holding the other two down press STORE

"Test Entry ?" prompt will appear on the screen.

Press the "+" button on the keypad and you should see the "??;Input test number!" prompt.

 Use the number keys to enter "02" and you should see the battery voltage displayed!

This battery is at 0.8V (NG = No Good?) and definitely needs to be replaced.

Items needed:
  • Phillips head screwdriver
  • New CR2032 3V coin cell battery
  • Small binder clip
  • Electrical tape
  • Wire, approx 3 feet (1m)
  • Wire snips
  • Soldering iron
  • Solder
  • Flux

 As you may have guessed this is a bit of a hack, but done properly it is quite easy to reverse and will not damage the board.

For a more complete and professional replacement look into ordering and installing either a through hole battery holder or a CR2032 with attached leads.

Remove all the screws and take the outer plastic housing off.

Inside there is a metal shield over the board with the battery, remove the screws holding it and remove the shield.

The old battery is in the center, soldered to the board.

 Use wire snips to clip the leads and remove the battery, it can be tricky getting them under the battery.

Create your battery holder by stripping two wires, each about a foot and a half (45cm) long, putting the bare ends on opposite sides of the battery and wrapping everything up with electrical tape.

Be sure to note which wire the positive side of the battery is connected to so we solder it to the correct lead. 

Solder the wires to the ends of the clipped metal leads.

I routed the wires out of the shielded area so I wouldn't have to remove it if I needed to replace the battery again.

Use the binder clip to hold the battery in place and apply pressure to the wires.

Not shown in the below picture is the extra piece of electrical tape I put around the binder clip levers to prevent them from accidentally shorting something out.

 Put everything back together and run the battery test again.

 3.3V OK

Now you can again save sequences on the synthesizer with the largest volume knob ever created!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Add a Front Center Pull Brake to Vintage Bicycle

I have a vintage "Derby" brand single speed coaster brake bicycle with metal fenders.  It was probably made in the 60s or 70s and sold by Pep Boys. The design is similar to the classic Schwinn Speedsters of the same era.

I really like the bike but have a hard time trusting the chain during downhill braking, so I wanted to add a front brake.

Hopefully this will help people who are wanting to add a front brake to their vintage bicycles.

First make sure there is a mounting hole for the brake on the fork. You can tell this model was designed for a brake by the hole and also the indentation in the fender.
Get the parts you will need from a used parts shop, I got all the items from the Recycled Cycles Fremont location in Seattle for about $20.

Center Pull Brake [bolt, 2 spacers, pads]

Make sure the brake fits over your fenders and that the pads touch the metal part of the rim when closed.  I happened to find a "Center Pull" style brake that fit.  If you find a side pull style you won't need the Cable Carrier or Cable Hanger, just a longer Cable Housing.

Cable Carrier

Cable Hanger

Brake Lever - Make sure this will fit on your handlebar, I'm not sure if there are different sizes.
 Brake Cable
 Brake Cable Housing and Ferrules - I used 1.5 feet for this project.

To install the cable hanger you have to remove the handlebars. (only necessary for center pull style brake)

Unscrew the top bolt between the handlebars a few turns and give it a firm downward tap to remove the handlebar stem.

 Remove the top Lock Nut.

 Insert the Cable Hanger then reverse the process to reattach the handlebars.

Attach the Brake
I think I lucked out with these two spacers because they fit perfectly under the small chromed flange on the front and back. 

 Push the brake through the hole.
 Attach and tighten the bolt.
Remove the handlebar grip by twisting and pulling, attach the brake lever and tighten in desired position.
 Insert cable into ferrule and cable housing then install in brake lever.
Route cable housing and cable around handlebars and through the cable hanger.
Push cable through the bolt in the cable carrier and tighten. 
 I found that the best way to tighten the cable carrier bolt was to pull the cable out towards the front while holding the brakes closed then tighten.

Give a some good squeezes on the brake lever and do some test braking to stretch the cable out. Afterwards adjust the cable carrier bolt to take up the slack. 
Et voilà, celebrate with a beverage!

Bonus images found around the web showing the most info I was able to find on this model.

all the entries