Friday, March 5, 2010

External battery charger for HTC Touch

I recently purchased an external battery charger for my HTC touch. Bell Mobility doesn't offer an external charger and thus far the only way to charge the battery was to plug in the phone. When the USB port broke, I was faced with either discarding the phone or finding a way to charge the battery out of the phone. For about $20 CDN, including shipping, I acquired this charger from It not only keeps my spare battery charged but will also accept the extra-capacity battery I had on hand. It's dual voltage so you can use it abroad with the appropriate adapter. Great product - great price - every HTC owner should have one!!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Receiving emails on HTC Touch

Since acquiring my HTC Touch from Bell Mobility I have been having an annoying problem sometimes where a notification of incoming email arrives but when I click on the message I get:
"Get entire message and any attachments (xK)" and then when I click on that message I get:
"Message and all attachments will download next time you connect and receive email."

When I check my email at home, the message is just an ordinary email with no attachment and I can receive and read it just fine.

Bell Mobility was not able to offer me a solution other than to try a hard reset. I discovered, however, that when you create an email account on the phone the default maximum message size is 2K. If you change this value to a higher (I used 50K), normal emails all come through just fine.

Click on Messaging (main menu list), click on the account you wish to modify, then Menu - Tools - Options. Again click on the account you wish to modify and then "Next" six times to get you to "Message Download Limit". Change the value from 2KB to a higher value (20K or 50K) and then click "Finish".

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Onan Generator Fuel Pump replacement

My MCCK marine generator needed a new fuel pump - Onan part number 149-2159. Onan-Cummins in Ottawa quoted me $480 for a replacement pump. Got a Carter P60898 for $110 at Part Source. Make sure you keep the spacers that go between the underside of the bracket and the pump so your fuel lines will be the right length and wham - bam - thank you Part Source!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Sparkplugs for Onan Genset

When I went looking for new shielded spark plugs for my Onan 6.5 MCCK marine genset, I was greeted with a variety of "nope - never saw anything like that" and "Uh oh - they're awful expensive" responses. Finally, on the advice of a marine mechanic, I tried Part Source. Issue solved - plug is a Champion XMJ20 and commonly available. I paid 14.99 each - I've seen them for less (in US); I've seen them for more (both US and Canada).

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Installing software on a netbook

As you know, if you have bought or are considering buying one of the new 'netbooks', they do not have an optical drive. This can make installing software awkward. However, the solution is simple, if you have a wireless (or wired, for that matter) network which includes both your netbook and a computer which has an optical drive.

1. On the computer with the optical drive, go to My Computer, right click on the optical drive, and choose sharing and security. Click on "if you understand the risk ... click here."

2. Check the box beside "Share this folder on the network" and give it an easily recognizable name. Just calling it "E Drive" might make it hard to distinguish from other network locations. Call it, for example, "Optical Drive on my Laptop" instead.

2. On your netbook, right-click on Start, choose "Explore" and then "Tools" and then "Map a Network Drive". Windows will assign a letter (probably Z or Y) and in the box below you need to browse through the available locations and choose the drive you named so distinctively a few minutes ago. Leave the box "Reconnect at logon" checked. Click "Finish".

My Computer, on your netbook, will now list that optical drive in your list of drives.

3. Place the disc with the software you want to install in the optical drive. If the software starts to self-install, choose 'cancel' or 'exit' or whatever will stop the installation.

4. Then, at your netbook, browse through the files on the shared optical drive until you find 'setup'. Double-click on 'setup' and you're off!!!

OH YES - VERY IMPORTANT (as I discovered after hours of frustration) - make sure your firewall settings allow file and printer sharing. Otherwise the optical drive on your other computer won't be available and you'll think you've done something wrong.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Digital TV for boat or RV

Beware, Canadians! If you're in the market for a new TV for your boat or RV, and you plan to travel where you'll receive antenna signals from the United States, make sure the TV you buy has a digital tuner. As of February 2009 (in the US) and August 2011 in Canada, broadcast signals will be digital and you MUST have a digital (ATSC) tuner in your TV to receive them.

The time delay between the two countries has left a glut of NTSC tuner (analog) TVs dumped into the Canadian market. They WILL NOT work with American signals after February 2009 or Canadian signals after 2011. Of course, a digital converter box will make an NTSC television work but in a boat or an RV the extra appliance draws additional power from your already limited power supply.

So - if you're buying a TV in the next few months (or years) make SURE it has an ATSC tuner listed in the specs.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Extra seat for Zodiac dinghy

Want a second seat for your Zodiac dinghy? You can buy one for about $300 (get real, Zodiac - it's a piece of plywood!!!) or you can fashion a plywood seat yourself and buy just the seat brackets for $45. Being too cheap to do either, I set out to make brackets. Attempts with oak and plywood failed. Then my 'duh' moment! Sitting in the dinghy, I noticed two plastic brackets attached to the lower transom, holding down the floorboards. Guess what - they're seat brackets!!! Remove them, replace them with blocks of wood (I used oak) and attach them to your new plywood seat with 10/24 X 1 1/4" oval head stainless steel bolts and VOILA! You've got a second seat for your dinghy and the floorboards are secured better than before.

Self-bailer diaphragm failure -

btw - I hope you never have to order parts for a Zodiac. Dealers in both Kingston (Source for Sports) and Ottawa (Hurst Marine) are distinctly UNhelpful and email directly to Zodiac has gone unanswered. The diaphragm in my self-bailer failed and it appears to be impossible to order a new one. Beware - the Zodiac self-bailers were changed in 2002 and the old diaphragm and the new one have the same part number. Mine is like this (Z60501) Repairs to the old one with duct tape are holding for the moment but when that gives out I think I'll go to Westmarine and buy and install a new self-bailer. That's a lot of hassle for a $10 part but at least I'll be able to buy replacement diaphragms!!