Rant: why the hell isn't there a small, universal 12VDC interconnect by now? The only one that is used as a "standard", at least here in the U.S., is the stupid, overly large, clumsy, difficult-to-keep-seated cigarette lighter plug and socket. Searching Radio Shack and various auto parts dealers show nothing else usable. I finally settled on bullet connectors for the work I'm doing connecting solar panels, batteries, laptop, and amplifier. I use the male bullet connector for power and female for ground on the voltage source, vice versa for the voltage user. In the case where an item is both, such as a battery being charged by a solar panel and then feeding the laptop, I use red wires from the battery to its source, and black to its user (the laptop).

There is another plug being used for low-power, and that's the 1/8 inch audio plug and jack such as is used by headphones. But that's a very poor choice because it shorts when not fully seated. I've ruined batteries using that type of connection. And there is the type of plug used on laptops and cellphones, with a center pin and surrounding shield, which would be great if you could buy inline sockets and not just the plugs.

Palomas sucks. That's my conclusion after not being allowed into their only 2AM bar last night. I don't think I'll be going back there except maybe during the day, to buy a liter of tequila. What they charged me for a shot ($3) of the same stuff (Orendain Blanco) of which in the same town you can buy a liter for $6.50 doesn't make me too happy either. And then there was this sleazy-ass drug dealer who, when he realized I wasn't going to buy anything, tried to guilt-trip me into giving him some money for food. I don't go for that. I offered him some of my pecans and he didn't want "my food". But he wanted my money?

I've been thinking, someone could clean up big-time by putting vending machines every few miles along these NM roads. You could use evaporative cooling with solar power and not need any external power source.

How to open the battery pack for an Averatec 3150P: take two jeweler's screwdrivers (flat head) and, starting near the connector where it powers the laptop, pry the glued seal open, leapfrogging one screwdriver with another, in both directions until that whole side is opened. Then just open it like a clamshell. The batteries can be pried up gently, one side at a time. You'll see circuitry right at the connector and underneath the pack, be careful not to break it or cause a short as you're working! It's only shit luck that mine is still alive, as I wasn't being too careful. Now if I can only find a way to connect another set of wires and feed them around to the back; they left me zero room for that. Anyway, my butane soldering iron isn't working any more, the catalyst must be shot. Got to go back to Deming and buy a new one at Radio Shack, if they still sell the damned things. Radio shack has long since forgotten its hobbyist roots and offers only token items for that market, focusing instead on cellular phone and computer sales. More power to them, but I hope someone moves in to take over the hobbyist market. Despite years of fears, DIP devices are still widely available for all common IC's. I guess the death of the DIP is like that of Unix: prematurely announced.

Well, enough rambling. My battery is now charged and my laundry cleaned, and I've taken a long-needed shower here at City of the Sun. Now to dry my clothes and rest up for the ride back to Deming tonight.

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last updated 2013-01-10 20:21:42. served from tektonic.jcomeau.com