Archives for the month of: February, 2013
The sometimes vexing and mostly curious InfoLithum M

The sometimes vexing and mostly curious InfoLithum M

As part of my business, I deal with a fair amount of batteries. I’ve dealt (and still deal) in all flavors of these: alkalines, nickel metal hydride (NiMH), sealed lead acid (SLA), the god-awful Nickel Cadmium (NiCd), Lithium Polymer (LiPoly or LiPo) and the now rather venerable Lithium Ion (Li-Ion). Recently, I purchased a really amazing camera for the production company, and in so doing have come into possession of some Sony InfoLithium batteries (the “L” type, for professional camcorders). As it happens, I already had some of them because of a piece of audio equipment that runs on those type of Sony batteries, but that’s not the point, is it?

Years back, I purchased a Sony MiniDV camcorder, a really nice compact one. And as part of that, it came with a (now totally defunct and dead) InfoLithum M-type battery, model number NP-FM50. Now that those years have passed and this battery is no longer viable, I figure its best purpose is for science, wouldn’t you agree?

Read the rest of this entry »


So, just when you thought things couldn’t get more interesting, I’m setting up to launch the next dimension of awesome here at Randy Builds Things: my own YouTube channel! Yes, that’s right, you’ll soon be able to play and replay videos of your favorite Randy tearing into boxes that get delivered from suppliers and other people, teardowns of things both exotic and ordinary, and even occasionally some research or other things I might do to make sure I’m not about to kill myself doing this silly hobby. Don’t miss it. It’s coming. Seriously. I promise.

Not perfect, but it'll do in a pinch.

Not perfect, but it’ll do in a pinch.

So, this is something else I like to do: tinker with PCB layout and taking projects (some blatantly ripped off from elsewhere, some not) and creating a board that I might like to have manufactured.

Almost always I’m doing this as a mental exercise, but often the results are handy to have, and so I figure they’re worth putting up here. Read the rest of this entry »

Looks mean. And by that, I mean it looks wonderful.

Looks mean. And by that, I mean it looks wonderful.

From Vimeo and the Freefly crew. The motion-control geek in me just got a big slap in the face.

CineStar 3 Axis Gimbal from Freefly on Vimeo.

Henning Sandstrom stopped by FreeFly HQ on his way to Maui to teach me how to film beautiful forest scenes like he does so well!

The weather was really challenging, but we got the chance to do a few flights with the newly completed 3 axis gimbal. This video shows the gimbal with a Sony FS100 and 18-55 lens.

Henning also was flying his CineStar 8 for some of the zoomed in shots with a 160mm lens equivalent (Canon 100mm lens on 7D)

We shot the behind the scenes with a RED EPIC at 300FPS.

Really fun to get to see how Henning works his magic and get to feed him some huge American cheeseburgers

Led Lamps

Led Lamps (Photo credit: Dedication of Merits)

OK, rebooting… stand by…

All right, here’s where I am: I now run a production company out here in Sonoma County, which if anything gives me even more reason to make stuff and use it credibly as part of my business.

The upshot of this is that I’m 99% likely to start YouTubing my projects, including teardowns, characterizations, research and more. So, if you’re into fat dudes tearing electronics apart with gusto, stay tuned, should be fun!

And now, the updated project list:

  • A motion-control rig (start with two-axis, then move to automate dolly and even perhaps crane/jib)
  • (Still want) flexible LED lighting in both tungsten (3900K) and daylight (5600K) color temperatures, without kowtowing to Litepanels
  • A high-quality DIY reflow oven, built from a toaster oven, but with the ability to program reflow profiles at runtime
  • A solar-powered weather station, including wireless sensor network and the ability to update the firmware over-the-air

I know, I know. It’s like Christmas reading this list, I kinda want to already have gotten started (oh hey, I have already gotten started(!), and will be posting about each of these projects to properly introduce where I’m at with them!) In the “pending” category are the following projects:

  • The home power meter is on the back burner with all the other awesomeness I’m trying to get to.
  • Wine Biz Radio is on a more-or-less permanent hiatus, so getting an “on-air” light isn’t quite as pressing as it once was. Yeah.

And I promise you, I’ll love this blog much more than I have for the last umpteen months.

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