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.

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Fixing a Window Lift on a 2008 Chevy Impala (Driver Side Window)


Note: This was originally posted as a joke. However, I did not realize how close I actually was to figuring out how to replace the window regulator. This year (2019) my driver’s side window regulator went out, again, but I was able to purchase a new replacement for only $65 and replaced it myself. Checkout this video by someone else, on YouTube, for a great, step-by-step instruction on how to do this.

When I left work this afternoon I approached my car and found this:


Considering that an automotive windshield is typically rather transparent, as is most glass, it may be helpful for me to point out that the driver side window is down in the above photo.

Upon seeing this was I was so confused that, for a moment, I was actually stupid, which is generally uncharacteristic. Stunned, I entered the car and just sat there trying to remember if I had rolled down the window on my lunch break and simply forgot to roll it back up.

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Replacing my Nintendo 3DS with a Nintendo 3DS XL



I’ve enjoyed owning a Nintendo 3DS. It’s a great portable system. It’s not feature-rich or very powerful, but sometimes those characteristics aren’t enough to make a great system (or necessary). With the 3DS it boils down to how the whole package comes together and the types of games available for it. In my case, I still enjoy many of the classic Nintendo series so this was my portable gaming system of choice.

None of my gaming systems, including the 3DS, are played on a regular basis for various reasons. However, since it’s portable I’ll often carry the system around if for no other reason than to use the StreetPass capabilities.

The original 3DS was a great system but I decided that it was finally time to upgrade to the 3DS XL with its larger screens. This wasn’t my original plan. I was quite happy with the 3DS, but I received an gift card of $100, which easily covered half of the cost of the system.

Overall, there isn’t much of a big difference between the two systems except for the screen sizes. However, if one has a chance to move to the 3DS XL then I highly recommend it simply for this feature. I’ve never had problems with the 3-D features of the Nintendo 3DS, but having larger screens is a more enjoyable experience.

My only complaint about the 3DS XL is its battery life. However, it’s actually an improvement over the 3DS factory battery. I’ve become spoiled with the battery life of my old 3DS because I had replaced the battery with an extended one that, when new, could easily power the 3DS in stand-by for an entire week without losing half of the charge. This is not the case with the 3DS XL and, unfortunately, I have yet to find a replacement battery that I consider affordable (at least one does exist, but at about half the cost of the system itself it’s just too expensive, in my opinion).

This is a fun purchase that I’ve already enjoyed considerably. Perhaps in the near future the cost of an extended battery will drop dramatically. Until then, I’ll just have to remember to charge the 3DS XL more frequently than I did the 3DS (due to the extended battery the system almost never ran out of power before I got around to recharging it).

All of my information from the original 3DS was transferred over to the new 3DS XL using the software provided by Nintendo. The only issue I had, which I knew would be a problem, was that the 3DS XL I purchased came with a copy of Mario & Luigi: Dream Team. As a result of the transfer that game was lost. I already owned a copy of the game, which I had previously purchased via the Nintendo eShop, so it wasn’t a terrible loss as I could have used only one copy anyway.


GE 45603 Z-Wave Technology Wireless Lighting Control Fluorescent Light and Appliance Module



Earlier this week I replaced two X10 modules in my Man Cave. I replaced an X10 slimline wall remote with a Z-Wave remote. As part of this replacement I also swapped out an X10 appliance module with a new GE 45603 Z-Wave Technology Wireless Lighting Control Fluorescent Light and Appliance Module. The appliance module was in the typical cost range for a Z-Wave module of about $40.

The two modules work great together and I haven’t had any problems since I installed them. I can reliably control the connected lamp for the first time since I added home automation modules to this room.

The module includes two outlets. One is for Z-Wave control and the other is a pass-through to power another non-controlled device. It includes a manual on-/off button as well. In the photo you may notice that the power outlet is installed sideways. This is another side effect of owning an older home. Typically, in a house with a power outlet aligned vertically, both outlets on the module would be perpendicular to the floor. This is intended to free up the other outlet but whether or not this actually happens will depend on the size of the power plug used by another device in the other outlet.

Plugable USB 2.0 to Gigabit Ethernet Adapter



Several months ago I lost some network ports on different devices due to a power surge from a nearby lightning strike. Unfortunately, one of the devices that took a hit was the ASUS system I’m using for managing home automation. After the surge I configured the system to use wifi but it was struggling to keep up with network traffic (the system does more than just manage my home automation setup).

After I while I decided to purchase a Plugable USB 2.0 to Gigabit Ethernet Adapter. It’s worked great ever since and as far as I can tell I haven’t had any new problems with the system (and bandwidth has clearly improved over the wifi connection). The device retails from Amazon for about $25.

Linksys Smart Wi-Fi Router N900 Media Stream (EA4500)



A while back I purchased an Apple Airport Extreme Base Station to serve as our primary router and wireless access point. Though initially impressed, I learned that this expensive device wasn’t capable of fully permitting incoming PPTP VPN connections. In addition, it didn’t provide many configuration options. To work around this problem I purchased an ASUS wireless router and instead used the Airport as a wireless access point.

The final work-around resulted in two network devices where one could have worked just fine (I continued to use the Apple Extreme instead of only the ASUS wireless router because the Apple device offered better wireless range). I wasn’t thrilled with this setup and wireless covered was still lacking so I added a new device to my wishlist for Christmas, which I received.

We’re now using a Linksys Smart Wi-Fi Router N900 Media Stream (EA4500). I was impressed with this model beforehand when my in-laws changed their router to one of these and I had a chance to work with it a bit. Since setting up our router I’ve removed the ASUS wireless router and the Apple Airport Extreme Base Station.

There are several features I haven’t used yet such as the ability to connect an external hard drive. The following are a few things I’ve learned about this router since installing it.

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Philips 32″ LCD TV (32PFL5322D/37) Won’t Power On, Red LED Flashes 6 Times


Warning: Based on information provided in several posts, and from talking to friends, it is very possible that you could severely electrocute yourself if you don’t know what you’re doing or if you touch the wrong part of the electronics. If you’re not sure it’s safe to do this then simply don’t. When I replaced the board I was very careful not to touch any components, including the underside of the board I was replacing. Of course, the unit must be unplugged before proceeding and it may be a good idea to let it sit for a couple of days before opening it.

A couple of weeks ago we experienced a power surge from a nearby lightning strike that damaged one HVAC unit along with a few electronics. One of the items that was damaged was our older 32″ Philips LCD TV. This was largely my fault. I used to have a surge protector on that TV but the last one quit working and I forgot to replace it.

When we tried to turn the TV back on it wouldn’t work and I noticed that a red LED, near the power LED, flashed 6 times, stopped, and then flashed the same sequence.

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Removing Blades from a Craftsman Lawn Tractor (917. 289081)


I wanted to attempt to sharpen the blades on our Craftsman Lawn Tractor. It’s hit a lot of sticks since we bought it about three years ago and I’ve noticed that it hasn’t been cutting tall grass cleanly.

Rather than drop the mower deck I decided to take an easier route. Unfortunately I didn’t have a set of ramps sitting around (or a way to build them) so I grabbed the jack from my car.

I first removed the key from the ignition, set the parking brake, and then placed wheel chocks behind the rear wheels.

Finding a good place on the front to place the jack was a bit tricky. If you attempt to do this then make sure that you don’t bend the wrong piece of metal. I’ve never relied on just a jack by itself so once I had it up high enough I placed a jack stand next to it and then let the front of the tractor sit on both the jack and the jack stand.

The next thing I did was gently shake the tractor just enough to ensure that the jacks and tractor were stable and wouldn’t shift once I started removing the blades.

Removing the blades wasn’t too difficult. I had a thick glove on one hand that I used to hold the blade with and then held the ratchet in the other one. It did take some force to remove the blades.

Before fully removing the blades it may be a good idea to make note of the orientation of each blade so the new blades can be placed in the same position.

If you haven’t done this kind of work before you may want to reconsider making the attempt. As with anything like this, safety precautions should always be taken, including those that I may not have mentioned.

Updated 11/18/2012: I’ve used the mower from spring into fall and nothing out of the ordinary occurred as a result of this work.

Moving from an iMac Intel Core 2 Duo to an iMac Intel Core i5


It turns out that my quest to upgrade my iMac wasn’t as critical as I thought (though certainly not a waste of time). One of the gifts my wife bought me for Christmas was a new iMac! The system is considerably more faster than the older iMac.

I’ve managed to test out some of the differences. DVD conversions dropped from taking about an hour and thirty minutes down to about forty minutes. Blu-Ray conversions are much improved. Ripping from disc takes the same amount of time (mostly likely caused by the limitation of using a USB 2.0 drive) but conversions have dropped from 10-12 hours down to about 2 hours. That’s a very impressive difference.

Though I haven’t used Windows 7 via VM Ware Fusion very much I did up the number of cores that it’s using along with the RAM. According to I can max the system out at 16 GBs for about $100, which is much less than I expected it would cost.

In the immediate future I will probably expand the RAM above 4 GBs.

The previous iMac will probably move to my wife’s craft room where it may spend much of its time capturing VHS tapes to digital files.

Updated 12/27/2011: It looks like I’ll be buying my RAM upgrade from Crucial, as usual. I swung by Best Buy today and checked out the prices. It would cost me $40-$50 more to upgrade with RAM from Best Buy. The store only sells the 4GB modules for about $35. I can buy two 4 GB sticks from Crucial for a total cost of about $46. I’ll need four 4 GB sticks to max the system out with 16 GB.

I’m not surprised. It’s rare that I find anything at a good price at Best Buy that isn’t on clearance. I was shopping for some Apple earbuds with the microphone and saw that they charge $40. Walmart sells them for just under $30 and I think both Amazon and Apple sell them for about $30.

:( iMac Hard Drive Replacement (Part 1)


Over the past week, since I last had Time Machine run on the iMac, I purchased a few items from iTunes and downloaded some new e-mails. I decided it was time to run another backup so after work I powered up the iMac.

And then I heard the hard drive click of death…

The only thing that appeared on my screen was a folder icon with a question mark in the middle of it. Unfortunately, it’s very clear that the system hard drive has failed.

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