replacing the magsafe adapter cord

we realized it was easier to splice the 2 wires from the old cord with the new cord because it seemed difficult to desolder the old wires from adapter itself, since the wires were not only attached to the circuit board, but also soldered to some copper shielding. we wanted to cover the spliced regions in heat shrink. the problem was there wasn't that much wire to work with, and the heat shrinks we put on one end started to shrink a little from the heat of the solder joints. fortunately we were still able to move the heat shrink, and after we finished soldering, my father sealed the shrinks with a lighter. we then curled the wires back into the adapter and closed it up. we didn't have any super glue in the house so final sealing will have to wait until tomorrow.

soldering header pins to raspberry pi zero

neither of us really knew what we were doing. my father solders but he's never soldered pins onto rings on a circuit board before. we practiced first on a pair of RCWL-0516 microwave radar sensors that needed 5 header pins attached to each. the solder kept globbing up and not detaching onto the pins. later through trial and error we discovered that we were holding the tip of the soldering iron (375°) and the solder itself too far up on the pin, when they should be closer to the base of the pin. we also moved the soldering iron away the moment the solder starting melting, which would solidify the solder, making it glob up instead of release onto the pin and into the ring.

once we got enough practice on the sensors, we moved onto the raspberry pi zero board, which required 40 soldering points. we clamped the board into a vise to make work easier. some soldering points were perfect (shaped like metal hershey kisses), while others looking terrible (fat glob og silvery solder), but not bad for our first time. it was actually fun, because if you hit the pin just right, the solder would melt into the ring with a satisfying shrink, and sometimes you could hear it as well.

inspecting broken bathroom exhaust fan

while my mother went with my sister to the winchester fells to walk the dog, my father and i took apart the bathroom exhaust fan that stopped working recently. inside was a thick layer of dust, which we vacuumed out, before taking apart the fan. my father was hoping it was just a simple matter of cleaning the fan motor and apply some machine oil, but even afterwards the motor wouldn't run so it needed to be replaced. the fan model they have is a nutone 663L. it's not so common that we can just get a new one from home depot. instead, we'd have to order the replacement part online. they probably don't make 663L anymore because i couldn't find any exact replacements. the closest thing i got was a replacement motor with fan blade off of ebay ($19.39). hopefully it'll arrive next week.

replacing lawn mower blade

while we were outside inspecting the neighbor's excavation site (there seems to be some hidden unused foundation, like maybe they were possibly thinking about installing a nuclear fallout shelter but never finished the construction), we pushed out the lawnmower to replace the blade. even though it's been cutting grass kind of ragged, the blade still seemed to be in very good shape, perhaps even sharper than the new blade. with some new sharpening, it could very well be better than the new one. removing the old blade was easy; i thought there would be more fixtures but it was just attached by a single nut which i easily took off with a socket wrench. the new blade is about an inch wider, and i was afraid it would strike the inside of the mower, but there's just enough clearance. since i was out, i decided to quickly give the new blade a test, quickly mowing the front lawn. it seems to work just as well as the old blade, i couldn't tell if it was doing a better job cutting the grass. later i moved the mower into the backyard and mowed over all the buttercup squash vines growing on the lawn.

harvesting buttercup squash

with the temperature turning cooler, it doesn't look like we will be growing any more butternut squashes. so we decided to harvest the ones we do have, given that many of the leaves have already succumbed either to the cooler temperature or disease. we ended up collecting 9 squashes, which was more than we expected, as some were hiding. water was still dribbling from the vines like hoses when we cut them, which shows how well they were growing. all of this from a single plant. the main root had rotted a while ago, but all the vines would send out roots of their own.

earlier for lunch i had some rice porridge in beef broth with bean sprouts along with a croissant. looking at the latest harbor freight catalog, i noticed that the discount price of the 100W solar panels had increased from $145 to $150. in fact, due to trump's tariffs, a lot of items in the most recent catalog had smaller discounts compared to the previous catalog. when my mother and sister came back from winchester, my mother brought back some pastries from the farmers market.

after dinner i returned home. my raspberry pi zero with newly soldered header pins could finally use the redbear IoT pHAT module i bought a while back for $5. these modules are no longer relevant now that the pi zero w comes with wifi and bluetooth for the same price as a regular pi zero. and actually, the module takes up all 40 pins so if you wanted to use some pins to run a sensor, you can't when the module is installed. that's why even online, i see vendors desperately trying to get rid of their stock of IoT pHAT.

a while back i got my sister an ariic mini drive along with a 128GB SD card to expand the memory on her 13" macbook pro. but i noticed recently that even though you could still read files from the drive, you couldn't save onto it. you could try, and it'd look like it saved, but when you went looking for the document, it wouldn't be there. i thought i could fix the problem by backing up everything on the SD card and then reformatting it, but when i ran disk utility, it would fail every time i tried to format or erase the drive. i tried command line and specialty formatting apps, even disk repair software, but none of them worked. most likely the SD card itself is physically damaged and can't be repaired. the only fix is to get a new card.