Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Laser Pointer Shenanigans: Part 2

Since the last post about my laser pointer endeavors, I've done a few (minor) things. Well, minor in actual work involved, but major in the grand scheme of things.

Soon after I broke open the last laser pointer and played around with it, trying to get it to work again, I realized that I may have overestimated the complexity in trying to remove the unessential parts to a basic laser pointer. Apparently, the metal housing that the small piece of circuit board connects to is essential in making the laser work and preventing it from breaking into several much smaller, more useless pieces.

Pictured Left: DOING IT WRONG----------------------Pictured Right: Doing it right :)

About a week after the first failed attempt to isolate the usable part of the laser, I stumbled upon another crappy key chain laser pointer (~$2 including tax) while getting a few things from Micro Center. After a few careful minutes I freed the laser (intact) from its original case and to my delight, it actually still worked when hooked up to its recommended 4.5 volts.

I'm hoping to try and make some light graffiti with my digital camera at some point so my plan for the laser is to replace the current press-button with one of less physical resistance and to remount the laser in a more comfortable, easy-t0-handle casing that will allow me to use AAA batteries so it will basically last forever (at least compared to the LR44 batteries that it came with).

Busted Headphones

I was looking through my drawers a few days ago and I came across a box of miscellaneous electronic parts. I noticed a pair of old over-ear headphones that someone in the family had said only worked in the left ear, so I wanted to see if I could fix them because otherwise I would have viciously cannibalized the headphones for parts (dissect the broken ear to learn how it works and save the audio cable and working ear for future projects).

Once I had stripped the broken headphone of it's casing, I saw that the problem was in a broken plastic piece. This piece would have normally kept the supporting heavy wire (which goes over the head to transmit audio and for structural support) in place had broken off, allowing the heavy wire to move around enough to break both of the soldered joints for the headphone. After confirming that the only repair needed was some re-soldering (by testing the headphones with alligator clips), I made the repair using a small additional length of wire so the heavy wire can still jiggle around slightly but so that the wires won't break away again. Yeah, it's kind of half-assed because I didn't actually fix the plastic piece, but it's not noticeable from the outside and I'm fairly confident that the same problem won't resurface later on.