Adventure Lights – Tactical Lights

Adventure Lights Guardian LED

Once upon a time I was introduced to Adventure Lights the hard way.  I had just come out of Iraq and I don’t think I even got home when they told me to fly to our HeadQuarters in Lakehurst New Jersey and pick up an assault pack of Adventure Lights that our Engineers were testing for use in Helicopter Landing Zones and VTOL Pads.  I was then to proceed to the Philippines with them. This was sometime in late 2006 or early 2007.

They weren’t authorized for fleet use at that time.  However, the 1st Marine Air Wing was tasked with a humanitarian mission in Bicol Province in the Philippines.  Three typhoons hit back to back to back which caused a mudslide which destroyed an entire village.  A field hospital was set up and a farmers field was utilized for helicopter landings.   Because it was supposed to be multinational the Marines requested the Adventure Lights (VIPIR model) to make a NATO “Y” marking for the landing zone.

Continue reading

DJI Osmo Action Camera

DJI Osmo Action Camera

Just was in the big city and picked up a DJI Osmo Action camera at BestBuy.  Even though they have been released for a while there seems to be a lag time between ordering and receiving at least on most of the sites I’ve seen.  This may be because there was a large price drop recently which is probably an indicator that a newer camera is coming out soon or this camera is End Of Life.



  1. The camera must be activated online prior to use.  I find this very bizarre and somewhat annoying.  If you read forums or reviews for the DJI Osmo Action they are full of “I can’t activate my camera and therefore I can’t use it” posts.  A bit scary.  All I can say to those people is that they obviously can’t follow instructions.  I activated mine on the first go around.
  2. Firmware updates:  DJI seems to be actively fixing all the quirks via firmware updates and the most recent update is from June 2020.  Their competitor, GoPro, seldom releases firmware upgrades which is a frustration in that community.
  3. Having a front screen is awesome and seems to be the new standard for action/vlog cameras.
  4. The camera is WELL BUILT.  Feels more robust than my GoPro Hero Series.  And it seems to be a bit more compact.
  5. There is no external microphone jack.  To be fair there isn’t one on the GoPro Hero 8 Black either.  Adapters must be used on both cameras.
  6. Screen layout and navigation seems to be more intuitive.
  7. There is no GPS on the DJI Osmo Action.  That is a bummer.  The ability to overlay GPS tracks and have speedometers visible is cool, however in my opinion once you’ve done it  and then shown it to people everybody will say “that’s cool” and then it really isn’t that cool anymore.   It also ties you to software and apps and to be honest I just want GOOD QUALITY video and I’ll just dump it in software like iMovie.  I don’t even want an app to control the camera.

Continue reading

Fixing Household Appliances – Revisited

One of my neighbors sat out a washing machine that looked pretty doggone viable for the Friday “Big Trash” city pickup.   I got a hold of him and asked what was wrong with it and if he minded if I took it.   Before I get into this story I did tell him that if it was a simple fix I’d give it back to him and after I fixed it I did indeed offer it back to him.  He declined, and stated he had already replaced it and of course he had set it out to dispose of.

I just don’t want anyone to think I would take advantage of a neighbor.

Anyway it was a General Electric WDSR2080D5WW.  The serial number indicates that it was made in September of 2005.

GE Washing Machine

Continue reading

Akaso EK7000 Pro Action Camera Mini Review

Akaso EK7000 Pro

Let’s face it.  GoPro’s are expensive.  And your phone already has a pretty good video camera on it.  Somewhere in between those two items is a niche that an INEXPENSIVE action camera can fill.

I don’t know about you but I don’t want to mount my phone on my bike or carry it when I run or  when I’m otherwise pounding around.

I have a GoPro Hero 8 Black which is a $300 camera (now) and it doesn’t have a removable lens cover on it.  The thought of it catching a rock while I’m riding my bike does not appeal to me.  And yes, while they have protective cases, the minute you stuff your camera in there you lose the ability to change the battery quickly.  I take nearly 2 hour bike rides and it requires a battery change.

The battery change has to be done carefully with sweaty hands, and then it hit me………WHY NOT A CAMERA CHANGE?  Or just ride with a cheaper camera.  So I stumbled across an Akaso EK7000 Pro which I got for just over $60.  Wow!  That’s a bargain.  It claims to shoot in 4K but the camera sensor actually isn’t capable of that.  They use interpolation to get 4K.  Translation:  It ain’t 4K.

Continue reading

GoPro Cameras

Never have I been so conflicted over a tech product before.  The GoPro line both inspires me and frustrates me.   My introduction to GoPro goes something like this:

I bought a new Toyota Tacoma in 2017 and realized that there is a GoPro mount glued to the windshield near the rearview mirror.  Not having a dash cam I originally bought my GoPro (a Hero 4 Silver) for that purpose.  And I still use the Hero 4 in my Tacoma.  It does pretty well.

Battery life in GoPro’s is pretty limited so I purchased a power cable from here.  And I blogged about that installation here.

Although GoPro makes cameras now with Image Stabilization I find that the Hero 4 still is my choice for a dash cam for the following reasons:

  1. No one really makes a power cable kit like I linked above that goes from fuse block to USB-C connector. The newer GoPro’s use a USB-C connection at the camera. You can rig something up but an off the shelf solution would be great.
  2. Putting a cam inside a truck doesn’t really require Image Stabilization.  The platform is fairly stable to begin with,   Your big truck gives a nice plush ride to your camera..
  3. You don’t need the latest and greatest technology just for a dash cam.

Ok, on to my GoPro thoughts………..

Continue reading

Home Generator

How To Install A Back Up Generator at Home


I recently moved to Eastern North Carolina right in Hurricane Alley and felt the need to have a secondary electrical generator at home. I managed to find a really inexpensive 3200 watt generator from Harbor Freight


and when the power went out I ran multiple extension cords into the house, through a doggy door and one cord through the door which enters the garage to power the deep freezer. This got me to thinking how unacceptable this would be during the dead of winter during a power outage. Not only that I felt I was kind of limited in power and couldn’t power enough items. Although the basic needs were met I didn’t think I could provide heat and definitely not air conditioning. Lights, and refrigerators and TV’s and radios.

Hey, that ain’t bad when you have nothing but it can always be much, much better. The first issue at hand was to power the generator up outside, with no extension cords running through the home and no open doors. Closed doors mean a reduction in sound as well from gas powered generators which are, well, noisy.

Continue reading

Garmin Fenix 6X Pro

Garmin Fenix 6X Pro

I got the Mac Daddy of Fitness Watches, the Garmin Fenix 6X Pro.  It wasn’t the top of the line Solar or Titanium version but still wildly touted as the best fitness watch on the planet.

Is it?  We’ll see.

My favorite “Fitness Watch” is my Apple Watch Series 5 for a variety of reasons not the least of which is that it has a cell phone in it.  And while it fairly easily syncs with either Strava or my favorite 3rd party fitness application, RubiTrack, my absolute favorite fitness software is Garmin Connect.


What a dilemma that is! 😀.  Of course the way around that is to have a Garmin watch and carry a cell phone with you.  Not a problem while biking but not something I’d do while jogging.

Continue reading

Garmin Instinct Mini Review

Garmin Instinct (credit:  Garmin Website)

Yep.  Another Fitness Watch Review.   This time it is for the Garmin Instinct.  I love fitness watches and specifically I love Garmin fitness watches because of their EXCELLENT ecosystem.

Garmin stuff JUST WORKS.  A lot of these fitness watches and smart watches have all manner of weird sync errors and glitches sometimes.   But typically you won’t get that in the Garmin ecosystem.  My watch is a refurbished watch from Factory Outlet Store..  Sure looked brand new to me when I opened it up.


Now before we dive in to whether I like this watch or not let’s discuss some of the advertised criteria.   One of the major claims that Garmin makes is that this watch is built to the U.S. military standard 810 for thermal, shock and water resistance.

Garmin Mil-Spec claim

Yeah, these kind of claims bother me.  I’m not going to say that this claim is untrue however I will say this about it.  Watches (or anything for that matter) that are tested and conform to Military Specifications are then placed on something called the Qualified Products List (QPL) and are then authorized to sell their product to the US government.

Right now, today, the only company authorized to sell watches to the United States Military is The Marathon Watch Company, ironically based out of Canada.  Not Casio, not Luminox, and not Garmin either.

Continue reading

Rotary Encoder on Raspberry Pi

IQ Audio DAC+ Rotary Encoder On Raspberry Pi B+

Stacks Image 1986

This is a quick tutorial on how to add a rotary encoder to a Raspberry Pi with an IQAudio DAC+. There were bits and pieces of this on the web but nobody has a Barney style tutorial and that’s what this is.

The assumption is that you have a Raspberry Pi and IQAudioDac that plays music. And now you want to control the volume manually.

And I’m making the assumption that when you got your IQAudio DAC that you soldered on the header pins they sent with it. You’ll need to do that. Follow the directions on page 30 of their user guide.

First get the rotary encoder and some female to female jumpers from Adafruit.

Continue reading

Compact Bowden

Old Info on my 3D printer build and configuration that I thought I lost.  Found it on the Internet Archive WayBack Machine and preserving it here for my future use.

Compact Bowden Extruder on RepRap Prusa i3 with MK8 Gear.

I had previously built a Compact Bowden extruder for my RepRap Prusa i3, 3D printer that utilized a plain insert filament drive gear. I built it from parts from my stock extruder.
Stacks Image 31544
Stacks Image 31548

After a bit of research I determined I wanted to go the route of the MK8 hobbed gear. Why change something that works fine? Because I can. I got mine here.

Continue reading