Anna K. Hegedus

The Projects, Thoughts, and Daily Life of a Tinkerer.


Thank You for Allowing Me to Drone On and On…

Motor controller board, close-up.

Motor controller board, close-up.

So during the latest test of the new GPS unit and some lithium polymer batteries, the motor controller on the front left cross member decided to die. What happened was pretty odd–it would start upon takeoff, but soon after, the prop would stop turning and refuse to move further. I checked it for free range of movement, and I could spin it easily with my fingertips, so I knew it was either the motor or the logic board itself. Fortunately, the replacement procedure of the entire motor system on a central cross member is not too difficult.
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PS4 Controller Teardown and Thoughts.

PS4 controller, back off.

PS4 controller, back off.

Someone brought a Dual Shock 4 Playstation controller into the shop for repair. It was my first time every disassembling one of these, so I was kind of anxious to tear into it. While there are only four or so screws on the back, the rest is held together by plastic clips around the edges that need to be “snapped” out of their locking position. This is a mixed bag. Compared to the Dual Shock 3, it allows for a better presentation with fewer screwholes, but in all, I think it gives the controller a little less stability. Sure, it feels solid, and there isn’t much creak in the plastic, but I would have preferred a screwed-together configuration.

This one had a broken analog trigger. It looks like the triggers work by means of a spring mechanism. There is a tiny spring on the inside of a pivot. When the trigger is depressed, the spring compresses. Letting go allows the spring to relax. Well, as you can see from the picture here, the pivot point broke and the one side broke free. Unfortunately, this was the side where the spring loops around the pivot point, so there is a lot of stress here. The Dual Shock 3′s triggers were a huge pain in the butt to take apart. Getting them to line up with the plastic on the other side of the controller and snap everything down did not take too much effort once you got used to it, but at first it was a real bear. These look like they could be a little less of a pain, but only time will tell.

Everything inside is neat and tidy, with the light bar in the back connected to the PCB by a ribbon cable. If you’re taking one of these apart, be careful not to tear that ribbon!

In all, I like the new hardware design. I don’t necessarily like the way it feels in my hands though. The finish of the center touch pad feels great, but the triggers are a little “mushy” for my taste. Then again, I prefer the oldschool Dreamcast method of triggers, so your mileage may vary.

Broken PS4 analog trigger.

Broken PS4 analog trigger.

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When I was very young, I would wait for my dad to come home. I would sit on the couch near the door and watch cartoons, waiting for the familiar sound of his tan and cream-colored F-150 Custom to come barreling down the gravel driveway.

When he came back, he would typically fix himself a large-ish plate of food and take care of small tasks around the house. Around 7pm, he would shower, and we would watch "Star Trek: The Next Generation together" until he fell asleep. We did this for years, it seemed, and it became somewhat of a ritual. Through some sort of Pavlovian conditioning, I began to associate The Next Generation with an odd sort of comfort. It was soothing to me. It was soothing to him, I assume.

Yesterday I was in his hospital room. As he was there talking to me, I noticed that the television was on in the corner of the room. He asked me to find something on TV for him―a western if I could. (He loves "The Duke.") All I wanted to do was change the channel on the bed remote and find Patrick Stewart. All I wanted to do was take all the pain away. I wanted that one moment for us again, without the whirring machines, without the sickly-sweet smell of clinical sterility, and without the awareness that he was fighting for his life. I couldn't though, and all I could do is cry on the way back to the car.

(Mon Apr 21, 5:03 am).

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