*NEW*National Instruments NI GPIB-USB-HS Interface Adapter IEEE 488 Controller (WHL #87F1)

Well hello again, welcome to the famous “the internet is full of fake GPIB adapters” show! Today we got… *drum roll*…a fake National Instruments GPIB-USB-HS! Like last week, but different!

In all seriousness, after the recent experience with the fake adapter from Amazon (and NI’s reaction, or the lack thereof), I decided to buy one myself. After all, my HP 6644A power supply does offer HPIB/GPIB so I could maybe control it remotely and log data (with a Raspberry Pi?), plus likely any outcome of delivered goods would be suitable for a blog post. […]

Fake National Instruments GPIB-USB-HS converter (and NI not caring about it) (WHL #87)

Niche hardware again for today, a USB to GPIB/IEEE-488 converter from National Instruments. Or at least what the Chinese have deemed necessary for a functional copy…but first things first.

This adapter was bought at work for connecting an ancient beast of a scope (a LeCroy LC334 – 4 channel, 500MHz/2GSa/s, 400W, 20kg spread across 50 liters of chassis volume, 9″ 640×480 color CRT) to a modern computer. While that sounds crazy (well, it is), that old hulk was purchased with a current probe, which is actually very useful for a current (ha!) […]

RIP RS DesignSpark Mechanical (#R19)


It looks like RS has pulled the plug on the free Designspark Mechanical 3D modelling software. I’ve only been using it for about three years, starting right on the transition from DSM4 to DSM5, but I spent countless hours with it, making or editing probably close to 100 models, plus opening hundreds more, e.g. recently checking electronic component STEP files before importing them into Altium. OpenSCAD doesn’t really work for complex geometries, and Sketchup, later Google Sketchup, was quickly dismissed when I tried DSM – it’s simply inferior software, at least, it was back in ~2019/2020, plus Google als tried monetizing it at that point. […]

JBC HDE soldering station repair/refurbishment (WHL #86)

Do you own one of those very expensive JBC soldering stations?
A damaged or defective one, maybe with a display (with salt water ingress) like this?

Or an abused case with pinky-sized holes and damaged inner wiring like this? (after a lot of cleaning!)

Or a smashed stand with dislocated tip holder (and several 3D printed replacements that all shattered like the original one after hard impacts on the floor) like this and this?

Or just a soldering iron with broken wiring near the moulded handle, caused by people ripping apart the bend relief and then folding it even tighter because they can…like this? […]

Samsung TV custom USB jacks (#R18)

Dear Samsung,

here’s a random thought: If you already know you’ve fucked up a device design, and you know it so well that your own folks have decided to create a custom solution because it’s obvious the end-user will tear apart a standard part in no time…then maybe (just maybe!)

  • don’t make that special part and fix your impractical design? Reaching inconveniently placed ports with minimal clearance for cables and devices is a terrible user experience in the first place?
  • …or

  • make that part available to everyone (you’re a big company, you can handle that!)

Panasonic TX-55AXW634 backlight “fix” lifespan data (WHL #84F1)

Someone’s busy, so here’s a lame, lazy follow-up post to the Panasonic backlight “fix” from WHL #84:

It died. Again. Another string of LED backlight bit the dust just four months after the first one. Guess they’re all the same type, age and power-on hours at the same load, so why wouldn’t they fail left, right and center once the first LED has reached its lifespan?

Well, I had fun disabling another string on the Rohm BD9479FV backlight driver. Exactly the same procedure as shown before, and conveniently, someone already routed AGND for the PWM pin to connect to . […]

YIHUA 850AD Digital Display Hot Air Desoldering Station Air Pump Can Adjust Temperature Heat Gun SMD Phone Soldering Station (WHL #85)

I got a (reasonably) big box from China!

Since changing jobs, I’m in the process of buying tools that I dearly miss – some of them are no longer easily accessible in the new place, some aren’t available at all, and some are so darn useful, I should have bought a unit for myself at home ages ago. A hot air station checks the last two boxes, since my regular 2000W hot air gun is certainly useful for like removing stickers or preheating boards, but temperature regulation clearly isn’t good enough for soldering. So…I bought a Yihua 850AD. […]

Panasonic TX-55AXW634 backlight (short-term) fix (WHL #84)

TVs are apparently still a thing, and so are defective ones. Here’s what I did to a 55″ Panasonic TX-55AXW634 with the red blinking light of death – likely also applicable to similar units of the “LA58 chassis” generation, e.g. the TX-48AX630B 48″ unit or the even smaller 40″ TX-40AX630E. While this fix isn’t perfect nor permanent (I heard it lasted for four months, when presumably another row of LEDs died), it’s good enough to keep the TV going for a bit longer, so one can order spare parts or decide/save up for a new unit. […]

gLabels printer settings for the Brother PT-9200DX label printer (WHL #83)

Looks like another PSA-ish post…for a label printer.

I’ve scored a dirt cheap Brother PT-9200DX on eBay last October, and while I absolutely wouldn’t recommend this thing to anyone new in the Brother community, it’ll do for me until the more recent models become more affordable. Brother still has a support page for this model but driver support only spans Windows 95/NT (!) to Vista 64-bit. It is possible to install that driver in Windows 10, but it’s a bit buggy and more often than not, the printer needs a power cycle between prints. […]

Seasonic modular power supply accessory cables list (#E19)

Here’s a quick PSA: Seasonic power supply cables. There are many, and apparently an important aspect is undocumented.

This week I sold a Seasonic PSU that was part of a full system build. I didn’t need it, I already got two reasonably-sized Seasonic PSUs for my two active systems, and since I only swapped boards, I had a surplus one. Unfortunately (thanks, modular power supplies!) it didn’t come with all the cables installed. But since most Seasonic modular cables are interchangeable across all product lines, I could just fill in the gaps with spare parts from my stock, right? […]