Category Archives: Hardware

Did you know that RC model aircraft pilots must keep their instruction manuals with them while flying? I didn’t.

FAA regulations require that operating instruction manuals be kept on board aircraft when the aircraft is in operation. Pilots can refer to manuals in the event a problem develops during flight.

Because unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are defined as aircraft, legally speaking, the FAA rules require that the operating manuals for drones be kept on board the drone. This is a problem when the manual is larger than the drone! 🙂

The FAA has, for practical reasons, decided to interpret the rule as requiring the pilot of a UAV to keep the manuals at the point where the flight controls (Remote control unit) is located, rather than on board the aircraft.

Source: See – Rupprecht Law P.A.

(This is my go to source for legal and often other information, regarding aviation and RC model aircraft rules and regulations).

This FAA interpretation interesting for two reasons:

1. I did not know that the operating instructions are supposed to be kept at hand while flying my RC model aircraft. I do keep my own check lists with me, which I have distilled from the instruction sheets, but I have not kept the instruction sheets with me. I think I will put all of them in a manila filing folder now.

2. This illustrates the problem of turning over everything in life to bureaucrats who cannot foresee future changes in technology – and who fail to go back and review all existing rules to detect such conflicts.

Excellent: Tech startup builds repairable, upgradeable notebook computer

Good for consumers and the environment:

Laptops these days are slimmer, sleeker, and lighter than ever—but their repairability and configurability are taking enormous hits in the process. Framework is seeking to roll back the clock in a good way with its first product, the upcoming Framework 13.5-inch laptop.

Following the lead of companies like Fairphone, the startup is focused on respecting users’ right to repair by building systems focused on modular design, with components that are easily configured, replaced, and even upgraded.

Source: Framework startup designed a thin, modular, repairable 13-inch laptop | Ars Technica

Meanwhile, my old Apple Macbook Pro has batteries glued inside and which take 2-3 hours of labor to replace… not repairable, re-usable, recyclable technology.

Texas semiconductor factories shut down during power outage

Semiconductor plants – perhaps five of them – were ordered shut down, in Texas, due to the state’s failed electricity grid.

Semiconductors are manufactured in a chemical engineering process that can take weeks, per chip, along the line. The time required depends on the components being manufactured and can range from weeks to two months.

Thus, shutting down these lines could disrupt service for some time.

Source: Samsung, NXP, and Infineon chip fabs shut down in Texas amid record storm – DCD

There is already a global electronic components shortage that has caused most all major auto manufacturers to temporarily close or slow down auto manufacturing. This shortage is compounded by a multi-day fire at AKM Semiconductor in Japan, last fall. That firm made up to 90% of the world’s components for consumer electronics, plus Bluetooth chips and other items and was expected to cause at least six month delays in parts shipments.

I an electronic item I ordered last October has been postponed indefinitely – a key part was made by AKM. Another item I ordered in January, with expected shipment of Feb 12, was delayed until June 21, 2021.

Can the liquid in your CPU liquid cooler freeze?

The title is a serious question. I have a computer located in the loft of an outdoor shop. The shop and loft are unheated and during the winter, the temperature can easily fall below freezing in the loft.

What happens to the liquid in the liquid cooling system for the CPU when the temperature is below freezing?

It turns out “it depends”: some liquid coolers use water, others use various additives including an anti-freeze material. The only way to know for sure is to contact the cooler manufacturer.

My CPU cooler is an Enermax Aquafusion 240. I contacted their tech support center, who did not immediately know the answer but graciously forwarded the question to their headquarters who got back to me and let me know that they had tested it in the lab down to -15 degrees C (or about +5 deg F).

That’s good information to know! And a big thank you to Enermax for pursuing an answer to that question!