24 January 2014

Back In Time - Kickstarter

Back In Time movie poster, signed by director and executive producer
I just received the first 'reward' from the Back In Time Kickstarter campaign.  A poster signed by the Director, Jason Aron and Executive Producer Louis Krubich.  Back In Time is "A film about the cultural impact of Back to the Future—30 years later—told from the viewpoint of the DeLorean Time Machine."  This is the first of many rewards, I will have more in the months ahead.  Stay tuned.

The documentary is planned to released around the 30th Anniversary of the Back to the Future film as part of the We're Going Back celebrations.  There will surely be more 'surprises' as we get closer to 2015.

Update 27 January 2014:  My t-shirt came in today.

Back In Time t-shirt
Adding another DeLorean/Back to the Future themed t-shirt to the collection.  This one features graphics matching the movie poster.  Exclusive to Kickstarter campaign backers.  I think this is the last of my rewards before the movie premiere.  After the release, there will be a Blu-Ray and digital download.

12 January 2014

How to Fix Broken FuelBand Button - Sugru Review

Broken Nike FuelBand button?  It seems there are many FuelBand users encountered this problem.  I have the simple fix.  This will also be a review of an amazing product, Sugru, a compound that turns into a silicone when cured.

Cutting out the button cover
If your button cover is as damaged as mine, it is pretty much useless.  Cut out the button cover on the Nike FuelBand, using a sharp blade.  Follow the inner edge and cut.  Be careful not to use too much force, as you can damage the circuit board.  Use a sharp blade and let the blade do the work.

Naked button
There is a small, clear plastic piece that may fall out.  You will need that.  Mine fell out, I saved it...then lost it.  If that happens, you will need to make one.  More on that, later. 

Activation disc, do not lose this.
If your plastic piece fell out, chances are your small metal activation disc is floating around in there.  Hopefully, it did not fall out of your button cover.  Clean the area as best you can and replace the disc.  Note that the small metal disc has a slight concave shape.  When you place the disc back in, make sure that it is dome up (not bowl up).  The edges of the dome should rest on the right contacts (seem image above).  When the button is depressed, the dome collapses and makes contact with the left/center contact, completing the circuit.  I know there is a better explanation of that from some electronic genius, but that is the best you will get from me.

Make your own plastic piece
If you have your small clear plastic piece, great.  You can move on to the fun part.  If you lost it, you will need to make a new one.  All you need is a small piece of thin plastic, not too thin.  Just dig in your recycle bin and look for any stiff plastic package, like a clam shell or blister back.  Cut out a small piece that will fit into the hole of the button, about 6mm x 4mm.  Snip off the corners for better fit (see above).

To aid in depressing the dome, the plastic piece needs a little nipple.  This was done with a small drop of super glue, applied with a toothpick.  If you are a sharp shooter with a hot glue gun, you can use that.  You can use whatever you have that will create a small bump.  This bump should be no more than 1mm high.

Place the plastic piece on top of the disc, and you are ready for the fun part.  Note that the bump or nipple you have created should face the down, towards the button.

Mmm...packets of Sugru looks like condiments
You will have about thirty minutes to work the Sugru.  These sample packs contain five grams, and five grams goes a long way.   It is a good idea to hunt around and find things that need to be repaired/reinforced before you open your packets.  Go to the Sugur website for ideas and to order your packets. 

Sculpting the new button
Take a small amount of Sugru and begin molding it to the shape you want.  I used some of my sculpting tools to sculpt the new button.  Sugru is really easy to use.  Stiff enough to hold what ever shape you are sculpting, and thin enough to feather out.  With a thirty minute work time, you will need to work relatively fast, depending on how many other projects you have.

Make sure you do not over pack the button area.  Too much, and you will block the electronic contacts.  Just use enough to cover the plastic shield.  Also, be sure to pack it into the corners and edges so it forms a tight seal.

It is suggested that once the packets are opened, you must use it all or it will cure.  I sealed the unused portions in a sandwich bag and placed it in the refrigerator, and it seems to keep the Sugru 'fresh'.

Sugru cures in twenty-four hours.

Finished button
Your button is ready to use.  I admit that I was not sure if this would work.  Though not as smooth as original, it beats having a hole where your button was, and having to use a blunt object to activate your FuelBand.  Now, I can just press the button as normal.  Plus, I have a yellow button.

There you have it, a fix to a common issue in FuelBands. 

Update:  Well, looks like putting the Sugru in a sandwich bag and placing it in the fridge did not stop it from curing.  I guess once the seal on the package is broken, the entire pack will cure in thirty minutes.  So, it would be a good idea to get all your to-be-repaired items together and do them all at once.

Still, Sugru is a great product.  I made my repairs about two weeks ago, and they are all holding up, even with daily use as the FuelBand.

Update - 5 May 2014:  I have received a few questions in the few months that this post has been up.  I answered a few of them, but I think I should include some of that information in the body of the post.   As suspected, it seems that many of you are having the same issues with the FuelBand.  Hopefully, for some of you, this post has helped you repair your FuelBand.  I got a question from Auginator :
The same exact thing you describe in this and the previous post have happened to my FuelBand!
I have cut mine open, and I discovered 2 metal discs instead of one! Both seem quite flat - like you, I had been manhandling the button to get it to work. I also noticed that the plastic bit has no blob on it, but there is some goop distributed throughout the cavity.

Any idea on the two discs? Would you like me to provide you with a picture of the original plastic part for others that find their way here?
Mine only had one disc.  For a long time, I had a hole in my button, one may have fallen out.  Although, it is possible that you just have two.  Perhaps the two discs worked with each other so there would not bee a need to dome the one disc.  I noticed my one disc was a little domed, not completely flat.  When I cleared everything out the one disc was resting on top of the button contacts.

The idea was that dome would 'bridge' the contacts.  Pressing the dome would flatten the disc and create the contact.  Then, the dome will spring back up, so there is no more contact.  This is why one reader kept getting the reset-bluetooth-battery cycle.  The button was stuck as if holding a non-broken button.

I lost the little plastic plate  It fell out of the hole one day, I saved it, then lost it.  So, I do not have a picture of it.  That is why I had to make a one that looks very similar to the lost part. I added the little nipple to the plate to aid in depressing the metal disc.

As for the gunk you have around the button.  I suspect that this is debris, like lint and/or dirt, mixed with oil from your skin.  Every time you sweat or press the button you can transfer oil in through the hole in your button.  I also had some gunk inside the button area, and it looked like dirt and oil.

I could be totally wrong.  The button gunk could be contact grease that is sometimes used in electronics.  No way of knowing unless someone volunteers to cut open a FuelBand, or we get an answer from Nike.  Too bad Nike just got rid of their FuelBand group.

I can see that there are many readers of this post and I hope that you have all fixed your buttons, whether through ideas in this post or through other methods.  Now, get moving and earn those FuelPoints.

UPDATE:  Click here for some alternate ways to tackle this issue

08 January 2014

The Bradley - Kickstarter

I love good design.  On occasion, I will come across great design.  This, in my opinion is a great design, as well as a great idea.  The Bradley:  A Timepiece Designed to Touch and See, by Eone Timepieces, was a Kickstarter project that is just awesome.

In addition to my love for titanium, I also love watches.  This watch was designed for the blind, to be read by touch, as well as sight.  Beautifully made in titanium, the watch over exceeded my expectations. 

Shipping box
The Bradley came in a typical brown shipping box.  Nothing too fancy, about what I expected.  Once you open the box, you are greeted with the product box wrapped in vellum, with braille.

Braille on the box cover
I had a tough time figuring out what it says in braille, it seems that some of it is in a foreign language or shorthand braille.  I was using the US and International Braille Charts to 'decode' it.  Basically, it says "The Bradley Timepiece, Designed to Touch and See".  The braille alphabet is fascinating.

Inner box
Sliding off the cover, we see a faux leather box.  Again, nicely designed and executed.  You can tell that someone went to school for package design.

Thank you card and booklet
With the lid open, there is a thank you car from Eone.  This is also a coupon for future purchases from Eone.  The inside of box is lined with a soft velvety, almost terry cloth-like, fabric.  Very nice presentation, feels like an expensive watch.  A booklet is included.  Printed on thick stock as each page is in braille as well as translated in traditional print.

Beautiful presentation and packaging of the Bradley Timepiece
There were two basic variations, stainless steel band or fabric/leather band.  For the fabric bands, there was a option of olive green, mustard yellow, or silver blue.  While I like stainless steel, I felt the design of the metal band was not as elegant as the fabric ones.  Also, stainless steel does not match the titanium body of the watch itself.  So, I went with the silver blue band.

Time shows 11:14
I was worried that the watch would be a bit on the thick side because of the design.  I was surprised to see that it was relatively thin.  The way you read the watch is, the bearing on the inner channel give you the minutes, while the bearing on the outer channel gives you the hour.  You use the raised markers to gauge where the bearings are in relation to the clock face. The time shown above is 11:14.

The ball bearings are held in place with a magnet in the inner watch mechanism.  That way, if you accidentally knock/move the bearings while feeling around, it does not change the time.  A simple flick of the wrist will realign the ball bearings to the time.  Adjusting the watch is done with traditional crown on the bezel.

Back of the Bradley Timepiece
The back of watch is stainless steel, by default.  One option was to have this in titanium.  Of course, that is what I selected.  If only they had a titanium band as an option.  One thing rarely seen in watches, is the double hinge.  On most watches, the band is attached right on the bezel.  Note the extra piece of, you guessed it, titanium that bridges the bezel and band.

It is considered rude to whip out your watch or mobile phone to check the time, especially in social gatherings.  With this watch, you can just discreetly reach over and touch the time.  And, it looks really cool.  Fashion and function, both executed perfectly. Bonus points for choosing titanium for the watch.

06 January 2014

Trailing Arm Shield Bracket Kit

I have been driving without my Air Deflector Plates for almost two years.  One day I decided to finally install my plates.  The plates were clean and ready to go, the car was jacked up...then, the typical DeLorean issues arise...as soon as you tackle one project another problem shows up.  The bolts that hold the plate were rusted out and basically useless.

What to do?  There is a replacement part available at most DeLorean vendors.  The Deflector Retaining Strips (#K111230) are stainless and a better design than original, more on that later.  These are about $26 a pair, plus shipping/tax.  I was in no hurry to get these.  One day, while surfing on eBay, I found a pair of these for $25, shipped.  They were basically new, still in the bag.  The seller bought these and had them for over ten years and never installed them. 

The kit I got was from P.J. Grady, Inc.  He calls these Trailing Arm Shield Brackets (#110811G), while everyone else calls these Deflector Retaining Strips.

Installation is simple, very simple.  The hardest part of this project is getting to the existing bolts.  This means taking out the battery...which means I will need to reset my clock and radio stations.

Batter compartment with Retainer Screws
There are six original Retainer Screws (Big Head Stud M6 #SP10250), three on each side.  They are held in place with silicone (or similar).  These popped right out easily with a pry of a screwdriver.

Rusted out screws
Screws underneath the battery were most likely rusted out because of the battery.   At least on previous owner may have had a leaky battery with would explain the condition of the screws.

Original screws versus the new brackets
The new design features a three stainless steel bolts, welded to a stainless steel bar.

Bracket fits perfectly
The design locks the bolts in place, they will not rotate as you tighten the bolts.  Original three screw set up can loosen up, especially if the three decade old silicone starts to deteriorate. 

Silicone for waterproofing
Speaking of silicone, it is recommended to squirt a little around the base to seal out any moister.  A little piping of silicone, like decorating a cake, around the base of each screw will do the trick.  There is an option to use pop rivets, note the holes in the plate, to secure it to the fiberglass body.  This will require drilling and a pop rivet gun.  I elected not to do this, mainly due to laziness, and I did not want to drill in to the fiberglass.

Driver's side bracket installed
Instead of the pop rivets, I just screwed in the nuts holding the bracket in place, so the silicone can cure.  Then, I will be ready to install my Air Deflector Plates.

Bonus Round:  I was going to install the Air Deflector Plates, but I just got a set of Trailing Arm Bolts.  These are new bolts made of Inconel, similar to the world famous 'Toby TABs', from DeLorean Parts Northwest.  In the last few months, there have been a few pairs sold on eBay.  One pair went for over $900.  These are a hot item.

My new TABs are from DMC-Midwest, Dave Swingle had a bunch made.  At a mere $130, shipped, I picked up a pair.  Yeah, Swingle TABs!

So, the Air Deflector Plates will wait until I get the new Trailing Arm Bolts replaced/installed.  That should give the silicone plenty of time to cure.

One more thing:  Happy Birthday, John.

03 January 2014


Here we go, new year means new asshole telemarketers to deal with.  Well, not really.  Sometimes they are return callers, and I really do not deal with them.

3 January 2014
  310-879-0523  Gardena, CA - Like I said, return caller.  This would be their fourth call, not that I am keeping track.  This was one of those late calls, coming at 8:45PM.  Who the fuck does 'business' at that hour?  I know Target it open, but Target is awesome, there is a need for Target to stay open.  No one likes telemarketers, so why open so late?  Hell, why the fuck open at all.  Fuck off!

6 January 2014
   360-322-6663  Marysville, WA - Looks like a new player in the game.  Or, just a new number, I  received a call from Marysville in August of 2013.  Those fucking hipsters in the Pacific Northwest are not only an eyesore, they are an ear sore.  Ha, see that I did there?  Welcome to Fuckoffville.

8 January 2014
   701-771-9654  Rugby, MD - I wonder if this is where the sport of rugby originated.  Do you think the telemarketers have a rugby team?  Probably not, do not seem like the active type.  I hope these telemarketers get tackled by a rugby player. Fuck you.