June 12, 2008

Rebuilding an old friend.

What a great day! I woke early and started working with conviction and a cup of strong coffee (and instant creamer, hahaha), and by seven in the evening I called it quits and went on a two hour walk through my city. The sun was just starting to set, and a warm glow emanated from the brown stone walls and old rooftops - even the cobbled streets seemed to welcome each footstep, one after another, ever onward, ever forward. I made it down to Plaza Catalunya, picked up some supplies, and walked home with a purpose, working up a sweat and a smile the whole way back. It was time to rebuild an old friend, because I don't give up easily or without a fight, and if I can fix something, you know I will. I set up shop in the living room, affording myself some slightly better light, and a larger workspace than my tiny little room. It was time to resurrect iCarus, stronger, better, and with a larger capacity to hold that which moves me - my music!

Using my room mate's hairdryer (I know, I know, but my Snap-On super heat gun is buried away in B-rad's garage back in California), I loosened the adhesive resin behind the white plastic plates that seal dirt and debris out of the little shuffle.

My Target bought tools (oh, the embarrassment, hahahaha) would have to do, as it's been said that the artist does not blame the brushes, and it's true. I used an exacto knife to gently peel up one side of the plastic, moving slowly and carefully so as to not bend or damage anything. On the side with the audio port, it's simple to see the junction between the plastic plate and the headphone jack. The sharp point of the blade is almost a perfect weapon for this operation. This plate is held on solely by adhesive glue.

The side with the two switches, power and "shuffle", is slightly more complicated, but nothing some precise attention can't handle. Not only is there adhesive to deal with, but there are small plastic clips holding the plate in to a thin metal backing plate that is screwed into the shuffle body. The plastic comes up, then the switches just fall right out. It's simple to remember how they go in, as there's pretty much no way to screw up replacing them (they're different). Each side has two small screws (use a #0 phillips, or smaller if you have it), and it's no trouble to remove them. I use a piece of tape stuck upside down to the table to hold all the small bits that I don't want to disappear, in the event of a super sneeze or something else unexpected.

Once the screws and thin metal retention plates are out, the circuit board, audio jack, and battery unit are accessible. You can use whatever you're comfortable with to push the assembly out. Everything is packaged tightly, and it's a marvelous design that utilizes the internal space perfectly. I used the back of my pointed tweezers to push the unit free from the body.

There you have it! The old brain and heart of iCarus!

There's a nice thick piece of silicon bonded inside the shuffle body, keeping moisture and dust out. Unfortunately, my iCarus was powered on when it was tumbling without a direction through my washing machine, and there's no way to keep water out of the audio port. A serious short circuit must have happened, because it was never the same again. I took a moment to clean out the shuffle body of any detrimental material, using a light rubbing alcohol and water solution, and then using a compressed air can to blow away any remaining liquid. Once I was sure that the unit was pure and free of any dreck, I began the process of disassembling the donor shuffle.

Yup, two screws here. I already had a green one before (stolen in Qatar), and since I'd tried that flavor, I had no problem stripping it down so I could renovate the pink ranger. Generation one and two appear to be identical from the outside, but this time around, I went for something bigger. Gone was the little 1GB flash memory, I was going to double up, twice the storage, twice the magic and beauty of my music to carry with me on my adventures around the world!

There she is, the new heart and soul of iCarus!

I use both thumbs to carefully insert the new assembly into the old body.

Voila! All that's left to do now is charge it up and load in my latest playlist, culled from decades of feelings and emotions strewn throughout the notes and beats of my past. And I left a lot of space for new grooves, new sensations.

While iCarus was powering up, I took some time to further dismantle a cheap Malaysian replica watch. It is utterly fascinating how many intricate pieces are manufactured and assembled into a working automatic timepiece, one that runs and functions well and costs almost nothing. It's fun to learn about the internal workings, and I never feel bad when I eventually throw them away. One of these days, though, I'll be able to put everything back together, hahahaha. It's those damn springs that always seem to get me!

What's the matter, don't you like fresh fish?!? Crispy, salty goodness headed my way!

It wouldn't be a true MotoLiam day if I hadn't run across the Unicorn! I found it! While on my stroll I stumbled upon one of the strangest factory machines I've ever seen. An early to mid-eighties Yamaha 500 twin cylinder, two-stroke dual sport from France! I haven't done any real research yet on the beast, because I'm certain there are readers from around the globe who have actual experience with one of these things, and I'm waiting for their emails.

Can you imagine how squirrelly this thing must get with that substandard 120mm rear tire twisting and deforming under the power of the 500?

Oh, the wheelies this machine has seen :)

The business side of things. Sorry for the camera phone pictures, that's all I had with me on my jaunt.

My iCarus is back, alive and well, stronger and more potent than ever! It's time for me to walk again, to explore the night and revel in the soundtrack of my life.

Welcome back, Mojo, I missed you.



next stop: shave


If you need an ipod clip, just holler, we have a spare mate...

See you soon!


Liam that's a TDR250 same engine as the TZR250 from the mid 80s. evolution of the RD250/350 motor.

Actually the French Yamaha imported designed the bike

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