Sunday, 28 May 2017

Having fun with electronics

Last year I noticed that my boss had two Gameboy handheld game consoles lying on his desk. When asking about them, I learned that they were the original 'family' Gameboys from the 1990s. They had served faithfully for many years, but unfortunately the years had taken their toll on them. Before they could be added to the retro gaming room at the office, they'd need to be repaired. I thus offered to repair them.

Fast-forward more than half a year, and I had not done so yet. Not because I didn't want to, or couldn't, but because I was struggling with depression, significantly worsened by the sudden eviction case against me. I wanted to be happy, to fulfil my obligations and have fun, but I simply couldn't.

These past weeks, however, things have been changing gradually. Even against the background of a forced eviction, becoming homeless, losing all my belongings and emotional destabilisation into suicide. Maybe it's just that I have been under so incredibly much stress the past months that I simply cannot care any more, thus learning to finally let go and not worry as much. Whatever the reason, I finally managed to fulfil at least my promise towards my boss regarding these Gameboys.

In the end it's an easy repair: disassemble the system, remove the rubber strip on the display's flatflex tape followed by heating it with a soldering iron to make the solder connections reflow and restore the pixel columns on the display. Then clean the contacts (both sides) with isopropyl alcohol and reassemble the whole thing again. Or put it into a new Gameboy shell, as the case may be.

Doing this kind of work is fun, and makes lots of people happy. I also recorded a video of the whole repair, which I hope to soon edit into a short video which I'll put on my new YouTube channel. I still have a Commodore 64 left to fix in my backlog as well, which I hope to get to soon as well, along with a number of other projects, including a robot cat, power COB LED module heatsink and power supply experiments, and of course the custom CPU architecture on FPGA project.

It makes me happy that I am now finally able to do these things, and have fun with them as well. Yet it's still hard to shake off the leaden feeling that I may only have weeks left to live, depending on the outcome on the eviction case and its effect on my emotional stability.

This week I sent an update to my lawyer that the owner of the building has seen fit to finally have some maintenance work performed on the building, which seems to have fixed the rusty water issue that existed from the beginning. That still leaves the incredibly noisy heating system and cold air pouring in from gaps around the windows during the winter, but it's a start, I guess.

I still hope that the building owner gets told off by the court, leaving me free to cultivate this small seed of normalcy that I seem to have found, as well as work out what I want to do with my future.

One thing which I have also learned from doing electronics for years is that it requires a lot of space. Buying that single-family home might be the only realistic way to move forward from here, yet there the medical issues take priority for now. I need to be healthy first before I take on more stress.


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