Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Blue, Red Yellow trails

On the second full day of Scout camp, I took a morning hike up the Blue trail from Camp Saffran toward Camp Finney and the new water front. I only had about 3 hours before lunch, not to mention it was quite sticky.

I sent time recording locations of trees across the trail, other than small or dead ones I could remove. After meeting the Red trail, I took that to where it meets the Yellow trail at Broad Creek. Along the way I knocked out a few more Broad Creek Hiker patch questions. The answer to #5 was hard to find, even with a GPS, though the number marker was easily visible.

I doubled back up to the Blue Trail for a short tangent, but didn't make it to the waterfront as time was passing. The bird feather in the trail was on BigFoot Road.

More camp fun the rest of the week!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Hacking a rechargeable camp lantern

I had a basic 6 volt lantern that used standard dry volt batteries, but decided to try to update it to use rechargeable lead acid power supply after disassembling a lantern I bought a few years ago. The fancy one came with a solar panel, a 12 volt car adapter and a 120 volt wall transformer, and included an LED lamp as well as a fluorescent bulb, with a switch for either or both light sources.

The friendly folk at Baynesville Electronics set me up with a "super bright" LED bulb ($2.79) and a pack of 68 Ohm resistors (4 for $1.39). The LED part number is NTE30045 (NTE Inc. link). Oh, yeah, and a couple spade connectors for 35 cents each. Both were red, so I marked one with black magic marker. I also used red and black wire, so that should keep the polarities straight.

First problem was unexpected - while the old and new batteries were about the same size, the wet cell was a bit taller, so the lid didn't fit back on. I chipped off 2 of 4 fins that were in the bottom to keep the square dry cell from spinning.

Then it was time to dip into the parts box for soldering iron, wire, and, eventually, a switch. I was unable to reuse the existing switch as I had to break off part of the metal ring to keep the new battery from shorting, and could not get a wire to stick to the remaining section. It might be aluminum; I'm not sure.

The next to last shot shows the LED bulb lighting up the scene; the last shot was after all the switch rewiring. I believe it should be pretty easy to pull this battery out and swap it into the larger lantern with the solar panel feed.

The battery itself came from an Amazon reseller. SKU was UVUB645F1. Two of them showed up within a couple business days. My only complaint was the weak packaging - both batteries were in thin cardboard boxes, stuck in a padded mailing envelope. At least one of the terminal protection plastic terminals had slipped loose, and the cardboard boxes were torn a little from the mail handling.

We'll see how the light does at camp this week!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Dog days of summer

Like a lot of projects, my Crumbs From The Spork blog posts have slowed down lately. It's not that I haven't been writing, it's that a lot of it is for work, with non-disclosure content. I did a bit of work getting WordPress installed on my NetBSD machine,thanks to a few links out there which I will recapitulate RSN (real soon now). I've been writing under SharePoint at work (about 70 blogs there in about 6 months), am nigh onto 150 blogs on the SAP SCN site, and generally tweeting short bursts of what has been called my inner monologue.

I also have been shooting Bengies Drive-In Theatre marquee changes nearly every weekend that it's been open this year. Here's one:

From Bengies

What else? Upgraded to NetBSD 5.0; trying to work through how to cutover to X11r7, the first dot release change to X Windows in a few years. Putting stuff onto Google Earth via Panaramio. Doing some geocoding of hikes and trails.

From Crumbs from the spork