IR Controlled SPDIF Optical Audio Switch (TNP Toslink)



I continued dealing with some audio problems after replacing the TV that our son destroyed. The audio output, when routed through the TV from different devices, often had a significant delay when playing via the soundbar. The soundbar received the audio signal over an optical cable from the TV. I tried adjusting numerous audio settings on the TV itself, as well as the connected devices, but no configuration would ensure that all devices worked without a delay (in some cases one device might be good but others experienced problems).

It’s likely that simply using the TV’s speakers would have resulted on no audio lag but that’s simply not why I have a soundbar in the first place. In order to test this problem I grabbed an old optical audio switch out of the closet and set it up with each input running into the switch. It has a single output that I connected to the soundbar. This was a manual switch, so in order to change inputs one had to turn a large dial on the device to physically change the active connection.

Sure enough, it worked without any problems. I decided to order something more modern, that could be controlled via infrared (IR) in order to allow the Harmony Companion system to handle the audio switching.


After reading through several reviews on Amazon I settled on theĀ TNP Toslink SPDIF Digital Optical Audio Switch with Remote Control and ordered one. We’ve had this in place for a while. The product itself seems to work great but I’ve had some issues with using it in the Activities. Specifically, it doesn’t always change the source input. However, I don’t believe this is a problem with the unit itself but simpy the fact that the IR receiver for the optical switch often becomes slightly misaligned relative to the Harmony Companion IR blaster. I suspect this is the result of my son moving the soundbar from time to time. It may also be in need of some tweaking within the Activity setup as it usually works when I manually change the source via the Harmony Companion app.

Overall, I think it works well and it’s much better than the manual switch I was using. I think it will work perfectly once I take the time to rework parts of the Harmony Companion setup, including the physical location of devices.


Replacing a Power Connector on an HP ENVY dv7t-7200 (with Beats Audio)



Some friends of ours asked me to see if I could repair an HP laptop that was suffering from power problems. The system was prone to lose power even when moved only slightly. In addition, the battery wasn’t able to charge properly and the power LED often flashed different error status codes.

After looking at a repair manual, and the system itself, I concluded that there were three likely causes of this problem: (1) a faulty power connector, (2) a faulty motherboard, or (3) a faulty power button.

The power button seemed to be the least likely cause. If it was bad I would expect it to only be a problem starting up or shutting down the system, but not a problem once the system was powered up and running.

The motherboard was a more likely candidate than the power button. However, since the system does have a separate power connector, which wasn’t soldered onto the board, I figured it was the most likely cause, and also the least expensive to fix.

Continue reading