My New Dell Mini 9

I recently got a Dell Mini 9 for work and travel. It's light weight, long on battery life, and keyboard doesn't suck. So far I'm loving it.Mini9IMG_6525

The first thing most people notice is the small nine inch screen. At just 1024x600 it is a little cramped, but the display is very sharp and small fonts render well. I suggest running Firefox in full screen (kiosk) mode to maximize your display area. If you're looking for the F11 key, it's available, but hiding if you have a newer BIOS. fn z and x are F11 and 12 respectively. This makes switching in and out of full screen mode easier.

Everyone I've shown the netbook to wants to know about the keyboard. It is smaller than a normal laptop keyboard, but not as bad as the Asus eee 2G. Mini9IMG_6529I find that my right hand feels a little cramped and the number placement isn't quite right, but I can still touch type on it with my fat fingers. The hardest thing to adapt to is the location of some of the punctuation, especially the tilde, pipe, and backslash. The grave and tilde have moved to fn q and w respectively and the pipe and backslash moved to the right of the P with the punctuation from right of the zero.

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Doritos Toro Habanero

I just picked up a bag of Doritos Toro Habanero at the grocery store.  I can't tell if this is a rebranding of their Fiery Habanero chips, but the Toro seem to be a little spicier and cheesier.  I might just have to get a bag of each to compare.  Each bite gives a temporary respite from the heat only to be replaced with a lingering and enjoyable burn.

I couldn't find them online but if they aren't a limited trial, Amazon might have them soon.

Warning: If you think the Fire sauce at Taco Bell is hot, then maybe you should pass on these.

Nerf Vulcan Repair and Modification

I purchased a Nerf Vulcan some time ago and was disappointed in the rate of fire.  From the factory it chugged out a bit more than one round per second, or about 20 seconds to run through a 25 round clip.  The battery pack is 6 D cell batteries for a total of 9 volts.  I figured the motor should be able to handle more voltage, so I grabbed a couple VEX 9.6V batteries and wired them up.  Everything went great until I reached 4 batteries, 38 Volts.  The rate of fire was impressive as this video shows.  It emptied the clip in about 3 seconds, twice.  You can see how well the motor handled it below.  The brushes came unglued, snagged the windings on the rotor, and made a general mess.

The motor itself is a standard size and shape toy motor with no markings.  Just over an inch in diameter, and 1 1/4 inch long.  Unfortunately in this state I had no way of determining any of its characteristics.  I tried guessing the RPM by assembling part of the old motor in place and spinning the rotor with a pair of vice grips.  That got old and the gear kept slipping, so I resorted in trial and error.

The first batch of motors came from The Electronic Goldmine, but unfortunately while they fit fine, they did not have the power or speed I needed.  The best motor in that batch fired the gun at near the stock rate with 2x the stock voltage.

Second try was a success.  I ordered a handful of motors from American Science and Surplus.  The fastest of the motors runs at 13.5k RPM (at 12V) and will fire the gun at 4 rounds/sec at 27V.  A 60 second test firing indicates the motor and the gun can handle this rate.  The motor didn't heat up or smell funny after the test.

If you are looking for the motor, it is a Molon hobby motor rated at 6-12 VDC, at 280ma for 13.5k RPM.  AS&S has it here: Hobby Motors

The only problem so far is that the motor is about 1/8 inch too long to fit comfortably in the gun.  I'll need to use some longer screws to secure the orange top to the plastic standoffs, and Dremel out a little of the plastic to make it fit.  I'll post more pictures and video when I get it put back together and shooting.

See also:

Hobby Motors at American Science and Surplus
Nerf Vulcan set on Flickr

This motor should be a close replacement, although probably a little too big around.