Chad Don Cooper Projects and ponderings…


Faulty Optoma EW533ST

I've had a faulty Optoma EW533ST kicking around for sometime now. It has a common fault with the DLP (DMD) chip which manifests itself as lots of white and black dead pixels.
The projector itself is actually an Optoma GT720, a fairly well respected 720p projector, which comes highly recommended for gaming, as stated in this review.

  • Display Technology Single 0.56" WXGA DC3 DMD chip DLP® Technology by Texas Instruments
  • Resolution Native WXGA 1280 x 800
  • Brightness 2500 ANSI Lumens
  • Contrast 3000:1
  • Noise Level 27/29dB (STD/BRIGHT mode)
  • Aspect Ratio 16:10 Native, 4:3/16:9 Compatible
  • I/O Connectors Inputs: PC/Video: HDMI, 15 Pin D-sub (RGB/YPbPr/Wireless), S-Video, Composite, Audio In - RCA
  • The lamp life is quoted as high as 5000hrs!

All in all, worth saving in my opinion. To avoid ordering the wrong DMD chip I proceeded to strip down the projector and remove the DMD chip to get the part number, which turned out to be 1280-6038b. Reading showed that the 1280-6038b and 1280-6039b are both interchangeable, along with some other models. Further to this a newer model, the 1280-6338B, was released which apparently addresses the dead pixel issue.

The chip I have purchased can be found here:

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iPod 4G screen replacement

Had to replace a smashed iPod 4G screen the last week. While it honestly wasn't all that hard, there were a few things I noted as being painful.

Firstly tools, without them you can't get very far. Make sure you have both a small and a large plastic pry tool. A metal "spudger" also makes installing the screen's data and back-light cable a much more pleasant process. A small Phillips screwdriver and a hairdryer are also needed.

Secondly be sure to remove all the glue and glass fragments from the old screen as they will stop the new screen from sitting flush - the Chinese replacement glass is already slightly thicker. It may even be worth avoiding 3rd party replacement screens and digitizers altogether (they're combined, don't buy a digitizer without the LCD, the amount of extra effort isn't worth the few $ difference). I've found putting pressure on a 3rd party screen results in LCD distortion occurring more often than with the original, it depends on how fussy/careful you are.

Lastly, watch out when seating the new screen. Make sure to fold the data cable in on itself, otherwise you won't get the screen to sit flush with the case. Transferring the home button is usually essential, the metal clip however is not. Personally I chose to transfer the clip and I also bought some pre-cut 3M double sided tape to hold the top and bottom of the new screen.

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Dreamcast deminta

Since I've been using my Dreamcast lots lately to archive some of my games, I wanted to do something about the console fogetting the date and time. This is a common fault with all Dreamcasts, where the rechargeable battery inside the console has reached the end of its life and refuses to charge. The solution is to swap out the battery. Unfortunately, unlike the Saturn, SEGA never designed the console's battery to be replaced by the end user.

At first, rather than hunting for an exact replacement for the original Maxell battery, I bought a 3V lithium-ion battery designed for laptops. The  one which I opted for was made by Panasonic which has a higher capacity than the original.

Replacing the battery involves opening up the console, de-soldering the old battery and soldering in the new one as a replacement. After completing the work with the Panasonic battery, a week or so later I came to realise the battery I fitted wasn't rechargeable. Rather it was just a CR2032 wrapped in plastic. While it didn't cause any problems, such as exploding or leaking, I decided to seek out the correct replacement.

The manufacturer and part number of the battery I needed was Maxell - ML2032 T26. The only UK company I could find which sold them was Farnell, a large electronics distributor, who require a business account to make purchases. Luckily a kind soul where I work added 3 to an order he was making, enough to replace the battery in all three of my units. For now I've just done my original console. Now it remembers the time and date like it did back when I purchased it in 1999.

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So I thought I'd weigh in on my experience with the so called Red Ring of Death (RROD) issue with the XBOX 360.

I've personally owned three XBOXs. I traded my first in order to get my a newer revision Jasper Arcade unit, hoping the newer revisions were problem free.  The jasper unit died just inside the revised warranty period of 3 years, for consoles suffering from RROD, so I sent it back for repair. When I got it back I decided to immediatly list it on eBay and buy a new style 2011 unit as I had heard horror stories from others of them breaking again shortly after coming back from repair. Sure enough after just a day with it's new owner the console died again, forcing them to continue dealing with Microsoft and not me. Bullet dodged, or so I thought.

My father also owns a 360, his is the 120GB elite version. Unfortunately his died a couple of weeks ago with the same problem, out of warrenty. Giving into desire, I decided to take it apart and try a DIY repair kit from eBay. Costing a whopping £1.70, there was very little to lose.

The kit consisted of 8 screws, 8 nylon washers, 8 metal washers and 8 metal spring washers. The idea being that the original clamps on the heatsinks don't work properly when the console is piping hot, the lead-free solder melts and the GPU chip shifts enough to allow some of the contacts to no longer be made.

Fitting a  kit like the one I bought isn't particularly hard, mainly thanks to all the YouTube videos explaining step by step what to do. Personally the part I hate the most has to be removing the old clasps on the heat-sinks. Anybody who's dealt with socket 7/A processors will know what a slip of the screwdriver can do to a motherboard. On the XBOX you have to forcefully remove at least two legs of each clasp, one slip and you may scratch or knock something off the board. In my case I actually didn't hurt the XBOX, just my finger, with a nice deep cut that didn't want to stop bleeding until after I had finished. So anyway I followed the instructions; opened the XBOX, removed the heatsinks, cleaned them and the chips, before fitting the kit and reassembling the XBOX. After the overheating/cooling down process, I plugged the thing in. Low and behold it worked! Definitely worth a shot for out of warranty consoles if you ask me.

Update 22/7/11: Nearly two months now and its still working just fine.