Monthly Archives: November 2014

Replace D Size Batteries with Eneloop


I have a motion sensor spotlight that uses 4 D-size batteries. The motion sensor trips a lot — too much. I changed the batteries 2 times since I got the unit (about 3 months ago). To save costs, I’ve replaced the alkaline batteries with rechargeable NiMH batteries.



D-size batteries are considerably larger than AA. It’s not just wider, but taller. The insert compensates by having an extension contact at the top and a bottom spacer with another contact. The battery fits snuggly in its case.


So far, the battery output is strong enough to power the sensor and the lights. Looks to be a win on this lifehack.


Sony HDR-AS15

Sony has discontinued the HDR-AS15. Deals are to be had…and I was able to snag one, plus multiple mounting gear to boot (more on that later).

YouTube is finally supporting faster frame rates. I stumbled upon a few videos at 60 fps. I like the faster frame rate. To me it looks like there’s more detail (optical illusion because of the extra frames?–dunno, but I like). I have multiple devices that can record 720p @ 60fps. I didn’t shoot at that setting because YouTube didn’t support it. I opted for the max resolution of 1080p instead. And now YouTube supports 60 fps. I’m all in!

Techmoan on YouTube posted a comparison video of two action cams: Hero and Sony (link here). GoPro has a strong presence in action cam videos. I didn’t necessarily want to buck the trend, but GoPro’s price points are too steep. There are a lot of non-mainstream brands that are considerably cheaper, but I’m not too confident about their product support, and the build and video quality. I didn’t know too much about Sony’s offering. So I watched some reviews and posted videos. I liked what I saw. I then stumbled upon Techmoan’s AS15 review (link here). What caught my attention was Sony’s firmware updated to allow the AS15 to shoot 1080p @ 60fps.

I didn’t really consider an action camera. I’m not a big fan of the wide angle. I don’t do extreme activities. I do however, find myself holding my video camera or my phone at awkward angles to try to get that POV shot. That’s where an action cam (with the right mount) excels. But what really sold it, was again 1080p @ 60 fps. There are units that can shoot at that frame rate and also within my budget. I had to at the very least look into it.

I priced the HDR-AS15 at Amazon — around $150 (US). I then checked — $120 with the headband mount (BLT-HB1)!

Apparently that’s not all of it…I guess I got a little tunnel vision because I was only interested in the Action Cam + the headband mount. The deal also included:

Sony has discontinued this model, and they have a newer offering, but this thing can still get the job done. Even with the discontinued pricing from various vendors, BHPhoto’s offering had more bang for the buck. In fact, at the time, the camera and the various mounts were still cheaper than purchasing only the camera from the other vendors. This was like a Black Friday or Cyber Monday deal. I couldn’t pass it up.

The HDR-AS15 firmware required an update. I was expecting this (thanks to Techmoan). It’s now ready to shoot at 1080p @ 60 fps.

Here’s a little unboxing porn shots:

Testing Accuracy of Digital Hygrometer (Measures Relative Humidity)

I picked a digital thermometer from eBay. This unit also displays the relative humidity — the amount of moisture in the air. The temperature reading was pretty accurate (I matched it against the other thermometers I have). As for relative humidity (the digital hyrgrometer), I didn’t have another device to compare it to.

I looked online and found that you can test the accuracy of the hygrometer by using a solution of salt and water. The materials used are: salt, water, a small container, a sealable plastic bag and a timer (or clock).

The procedure is really straight forward. You need a small amount of salt. Then add even a smaller amount of water. The water should only wet the salt; the target consistency is similar to wet sand. If you add too much water, you can use a tissue to soak it up. It’s then a matter of waiting.

From the research I did, the wait time seems to be around 6-8 hours. A properly calibrated hygrometer will read 75%. For my test, I marked the reading at 6 hours, 7 hours and finally 8 hours. I based the accuracy of the hygrometer from the average of those readings. Is my reading going to be accurate? Probably not too accurate, but it’ll be close… it’s a lot better than taking the digital reading at face value.

Yukon Outfitters Mosquito Hammock (unboxing + suspension mod)

I snagged this Yukon Outfitters Mosquito Hammock from at a great price. Woot sells items for a limited time or until inventory is exhausted (which ever comes first). This deal was only limited for 1 day. It was too good to pass up.

From the very beginning, I was going to replace the suspension system of the original hammock. I wanted to use the Dyneema rope I had on hand. I figured I would tie a stopper knot of some kind (or a bend knot at the ends) to make a loop. I did some research on Dyneema rope and found that knots tend to slip on Dyneema because the rope is slippery. Further research, suggested splicing an eye/loop instead of tying a knot. There are great references on how to do exactly that. I was able to splice my own with the tools I had on hand.

I also opted to use two SMC Descending Rings for the suspension system. To connect the hammock suspension to the trees, I ordered some straps from The straps will be connected to the SMC rings via garda hitch (you’ll need a pair of rings to deploy the garda hitch).

I posted a video of the unboxing and the suspension modification. As stated above, I’m swapping the existing rope and carabiner suspension with a continuous loop of AmSteel Blue (Dyneema) rope and a pair of SMC Descending Rings.

Knots used: lark’s head (cow hitch), prusik hitch, surgeon’s knot, figure-8

Curb Rash Rim Repair

I damaged my front driver’s side rim when entering a parking garage. The loud crunch sound made me cringe. The damage was bad. Not just scratching the paint, but the curb took some chunks off of the rim. It was isolated to the upper lip; the spokes came out okay.

All the products I used to fix and paint the wheel can be easily found at a local auto supply store or even a big box store. The following is a list of items I used:

This should have been a straight forward repair, but I encountered two big issues… you’ll see it on the video:

Sugru + Neodymium magnet + sponge holder = movable sponge caddy

I found this cool sponge caddy years ago. The caddy hung over the sink; it hooked over the edge of the sink. I could only reposition it on the left and right sides of the sick. The center wall dividing the double sink was too wide for the caddy to hook onto.

Another problem to this caddy were the tight corners. Food particles from the sponge would get stuck. It was very difficult to clean.

I happened on a different caddy design. The mounting mechanism relied on suction cups. This however didn’t work on my sink. That was the only flaw. I tried ceramic magnets, but that wasn’t strong enough. I then tried rare earth neodymium magnets. That was the perfect type. I used Sugru to affix the magnets to the caddy.

I now have a movable sponge caddy — I can affix this to any wall of the sink.

The sponge holder was around $6 from Target.
The neodymium magnets was around $4 (1/2″; 6-pack) from Home Depot.