Intel To Retire Merom Core 2 Duo Processors

Wolfgang Gruener, over at Tom’s Hardware, noted that Intel released a Product Change Notification (PDF) that they are discontinuing production of nine Intel® Core™2 Duo processors and Intel® Core™2 Duo processors LV, code-named Merom.

It seemed like I was just writing in anticipation about Merom and Santa Rosa but that was actually back in September, 2006, when I was contemplating the purchase of a Merom laptop. I bought a MacBook “Late 2006 Core 2 Duo,” which lacked that “Santa Rosa” Centrino chipset but the T7200 processor does have a 4MB L2 cache. The current Macbooks (late 2007), use the 2.0GHz or 2.2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor with an 800MHz FSB, and the Santa Rosa chipset with the Intel GMA X3100 GPU.

My Macbook still doesn’t feel slow yet, even though the 1 year warranty expired last November. I somehow doubt that’s a testimony to Vista or Leopard, though.

Roar of the Penguin

Roar of the Pelican parts

The Roar of the Pelican is a Maglite flashlight mod that derives it’s name from the use of Pelican flashlight’s replacement bulb #3854 and a combination of non-stock battery holders (or batteries) to get a higher voltage and therefore much brighter (roar) flashlight than a stock Maglite.It’s supposed to be an inexpensive mod. I keep calling it the Roar of the Penguin, because of the recent spate of penguin movies.

For my ROP project, I started out with a 2D Maglite and bought most of the required parts from a Hong Kong electronics reseller,

The stock Maglite reflector is made out of plastic, as is the lens. Because of the greater heat produced by this bulb/battery mod, you need a metal reflector and glass lens.

Modified Maglite Switch

Aftermarket reflectors are available with a cam or camless. The Kaidomain reflector and bulb combination wouldn’t adjust to the best beam using the included cam, so I made a modification to the Mag switch recommended by modamag in this post at It puts the bulb in a position allowing for beam adjustments by using the threads on the flashlight body. Shims between the reflector and the bulb holder can also be used to adjust the beam quality when using a cammed reflector.

Bulb and Socket

Candlepowerforum members have discussed the higher light transmissive properties of anti-reflective coated lenses – some to the point of using mineral glass watch crystals for flashlight lenses. I’m not that critical a worker.

For power, I used two 3AA to 1D battery adapters, which gives 7.2 volts using NiMH AA batteries. I bought 8 Sanyo Eneloop batteries. Eneloops and other similar batteries use a relatively new NiMH Low Self Discharge (LSD) technology.

I wasn’t sure if these plastic battery adapters would have a problem with the heat produced with the higher current draw of the bulb, so I bought one of these beautiful adapters, made by fivemega over at the candlepowerforums. It’s definitely a safer choice. The Kaidomain socket allows the use of these bi-pin incandescent bulbs, though fivemega also makes a much nicer socket (USD $16-$19).

Beam shot

Costs (USD):

Mag Instrument 2D Flashlight
Aluminum reflector
Glass lens
G4 Bi-pin socket
G4 Bi-pin bulb
fivemega 6AA to 2D adapter
6 AA NiMH batteries

I haven’t done any run time tests, but my Roar of the Penguin is very bright.

November 15, 2008, I updated some links and prices for components.

Fence Repair

Where the fence use to be
Where the fence is

The Pacific storm that knocked down our Redwood lattice top fence in the beginning of January gave me an opportunity to buy a router. The wind snapped a 4×4 fence post and cracked off the 2×3 end sections from the fence panels. These one inch grooved 2x3s weren’t available at the lumber yard, but I thought with a router I could just get some 2×4’s and use a router to make a groove in them.

I ordered a bunch of Redwood 2x4s, some treated 2x4s for caps, a treated 4×4 for a post and a 60 lb. bag of ready-mix concrete.

Makita RF1101 Router

I started digging out the old post and encountered my first problem – did I need to remove the old concrete footing? That involved more digging than I wanted to do. When I got down to the concrete footing, I hacked away the remaining part of the 4×4 out of the concrete and planned to put the new post in that hole with some more concrete around it. That sort of worked, but I wasn’t able to get the 4×4 post vertical. It was the beginning of another bush job.

I’ve seen Norm use a router on TV, but I’ve never used one. I found a Makita RF1101 that didn’t have any trouble cutting a 1″groove. It also made a lot of sawdust.

I also didn’t know about rough lumber until I routed two of the side rails, nailed them to the fence panel and hoisted it up into position. It was about 3/4″too long. I had to cut off 3/4″off one side of the fence panel. How are you supposed to know these things?

Routed Rough Redwood 2x4

The next day, I ordered some more 2x4s and 2×8 Redwood lattice, because the lattice was also broken in some sections. This time the lumber yard sent 1 1/2×3 1/2 2x4s.

My next concern was how to cut the lattice, since the sections on the fence were 15″wide. Also for privacy, I used two pieces of lattice back-to-back, which fortunately fit in the 1″groove. I ended up clamping the lattice between two 1x6s and using a cross-cut hand saw to cut the eight foot lengths to 15″wide. My friend Chuck recommended a Skil HD5825 6-1/2-Inch Worm Drive Saw, whatever that is.

This is why professionals should do this kind of work.

Nikon AF-S DX Zoom-NIKKOR 18-70mm Repair

AF-S DX Zoom-NIKKOR 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5G IF-ED

[Added February 27, 2010]: After looking at the 77 page repair manual for this lens, I don’t recommend that you attempt this repair yourself. Lens optical equipment, a wave output analyzer and other specialized tools are used in the repair of this lens. If you attempt this repair yourself, you will likely never get the lens working like new.

I somehow managed to get lucky and was able diagnose the problem with my lens and repair it, with the auto-focusing, manual focusing, manual zoom and auto exposure all working again. You may not be so lucky, read the comments. I am not sure how my repaired lens would compare in resolution and sharpness with a new lens.

[Added April 30, 2009]: If you don’t feel confident doing this repair yourself, I recommend you send your lens to a Nikon Repair facility. Remember, if you are unable to repair it yourself, you will have a paperweight, a lens that might not autofocus or at least a more costly repair if you send it to Nikon.

[Original post]: Our Nikon D70 came with a “kit” lens, the relatively highly regarded AF-S DX Zoom-NIKKOR 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5G IF-ED.

AF-S DX Zoom-NIKKOR 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5G IF-ED Electronics

After a couple of years of non-professional use, the zoom ring suddenly became balky. Sometimes it would get stuck between 24-50mm, occasionally, it would zoom all the way to 70mm. It felt like there was something jamming the zoom mechanism, so I tried blowing Dust-Off in from the front and rear, hoping that would dislodge the offending chaff. That didn’t work.

It didn’t make much sense to me to send in for repair a mostly plastic lens that costs $350 USD new or used on eBay for $175 USD. Besides, I probably wouldn’t buy another 18-70mm lens. The Nikon AF-S DX VR Zoom-NIKKOR 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G IF-ED or the Nikon AF-S DX Zoom-NIKKOR 12-24mm f/4G IF-ED would be my first choices.

Loose Screw

I started at the rear of the lens and removed the screws holding the bayonet mount to the lens. The fact that there are a row of electrical contacts made me think that it was likely that the patient wouldn’t survive the surgery.

Under the bayonet ring there was a circular printed circuit board with various flex connectors encircling it. I pried all of the connectors free and unscrewed the rear element.

I eventually stripped the lens to the point where I could see the zoom mechanism and how one of the three screws mounted every 120 degrees around the body of the lens was loose. The nylon foot that it screwed into was now rattling around inside the lens. When it dropped out, I inserted it back into it’s groove and used nail polish on the screw threads to hopefully keep it from vibrating loose again. The lens was assembled with some sort of thread locker on the screw but it still managed to vibrate loose.

AF-S DX Zoom-NIKKOR 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5G IF-ED Parts

As they say in the auto shop manuals, reassembly is the reverse of disassembly. The first time I put it back together, the zoom worked fine, but the camera didn’t auto-focus. After taking the lens apart again, I saw that the focusing prong was connected to the drive mechanism. Another hour later, it was working.

Remember, don’t try this at home.


MacBook Air’s Thin Obsession

nalts over at YouTube writes:

Has Apple considered the implications of its glorification of thin models? Has it once considered the feelings of my “big boned” HP, and how she’s felt living in a society where you’re only as attractive as you are THIN? And what about the young processors that are at an impressionable age. Do they need this pressure? I think not.

Storm Damage Questions

Where the fence use to be

The high winds and heavy rain from the Pacific storm over the weekend knocked down two Redwood lattice top fence panels in our backyard.

Routed Redwood Header

A new 6×8 section is about $US 90. The only damaged pieces were the header and sides. They have a groove routed in them. Nobody sells them. Can’t I just buy a router and some Redwood 2x4s and make them myself?

Concrete foundation support

Also, the one 4×4 support post that broke at the base was just buried in the dirt. (01/08/2008: Actually, the post was in a concrete, I hadn’t dug deep enough) I have this concrete support that holds up our house. Can I just bury that and use that to support the post?










LED Festoon Bulb Replacement

Oznium Chrome LED Module

I bought some “Chrome” surface mount LED modules from to see how they’d work as replacements for automotive Festoon light bulbs (the ones with the pointy ends). The modules are about 2.3″ (60 mm) long with an adhesive strip on the back. The “chrome” is plastic.

Oznium actually sells some LED Dome Light replacements that are 5×5 LED arrays that include common bases with the LED array.

I thought that these modules would fit inside the BMW Bavaria trunk light housing that uses a 8.5 x 37.4 mm Festoon bulb.

The photograph showing the trunk is a little misleading – it’s actually about 4 times brighter than the bulb with the filament – you’d have to strain to read by the light.

BMW 63 31 1 362 709
Trunk Lighting