Nov 5, 2013

Poor S&W Customer Service [M&P 15-22 Repair Unboxing] [Update: Thx S&W]

I love my S&W M&P 15-22, but if only S&W shared the same sentiment...

I purchased a brand new M&P 15-22 Performance Center Edition at the beginning of October. Took her to the range one time and had a great time. Then noticed the extension tube was bent, so I contacted S&W and they had the rifle shipped back to their repair center.

2 weeks went by and no communication was made. I received the rifle today, and to my surprise, no work was done on it. I will send this back again to get serviced.

Will update in a future video.

Update 11/6/13:
From S&W Facebook, they reached out to me and sent a prepaid label to ship the rifle back.

Update 11/8/13:
S&W followed up and said their engineers and production line people will look into this.

I bubble wrapped and shipped the lower back to S&W. In the box, I requested a new replacement lower.

Reports of crooked buffer tubes, during October, were reported on

Update 12/4/13:
S&W Customer Service requests to send back the upper. I sent it with my FFL info. The lower was confirmed to be defective. They will now ship a new rifle.

Update 1/3/14:
I contact S&W CS for an update...

Update 1/16/14:
S&W CS replies asking for my FFL info. Also, they are "waiting on production to get one built.  It may take a few weeks due to the current large backlog." What happened over the last month?

I then contact S&W Facebook, and let them know of my displeasure of having to wait another few weeks for a rifle. It's now been 3 1/2 months.

Update 1/27/14:
S&W FB representative responds that he'll do whatever it takes to expedite the process. He gets the ball rolling in the right direction.

There is a disconnect in the level of customer service. S&W FB knows how to properly handle customer service in a friendly and professional manner. However, the warranty side does not. It would be good to have a status of a warranty repair, better communication through follow up/follow through.

Update 2/10/2014:
Rifle shipped out

Update 2/20/2014:
Received boxes of S&W swag. Knives, hats, and more. Thank you S&W for going above and beyond in customer service.

Update 2/21/2014:
After a 10 day wait from my FFL, the rifle was picked up, and all is well. The rifle shoots great, looks great. Buffer tube is now completely straight. S&W delivered, and then some. Thank you again Matt and S&W for the excellent customer service.

Oct 29, 2013

Jetbeam JET-I V2.0


The IBS circuit allows you to set three defined output states (A, B, C) through a continuously variable brightness mechanism similar to some Liteflux, EdgeTAC, and DBS lights. Interface is the same for all IBS models, and is as follows:

Mode Switching
Default settings for the three modes are: A is Default High, B is Default Low, and C is the warning signal/stobe. See my comparison data below for approximate estimates of the relative output levels. There is no memory mode - when switched on each time, the light enters mode A. Lightly press the tail cap button (i.e. quick flash), and the light will go from mode A -> B -> C in cycle. 

Changing the Brightness Level
To access the IBS cycle in any of the 3 modes, lightly press the tail cap button three or more times within one second in the mode you want to change. Now in “Brightness Setting” mode, the output will ramp in brightness from Min (5%) to Max (100%) gradually. Once it reaches Max, the light then starts over at Min and repeats the process. A complete cycle is supposed to take about 8 seconds according to the manual, but I’ve found that my engineering sample takes about twice that long (see Ramp graph below). During this process, the light flickers once at Min (5%), twice at 50% output; and three times at Max (100%). Simply turn off the light to select the output level you want, and leave it off for at least ~2 secs. It will then retain this setting the next time you turn the light back on.

Special Functions Mode
After entering the Brightness Setting mode of the Hidden Menu, lightly press the tail cap button once, and the light enters the Special Functions mode - which goes from 1HZ to 15HZ strobe, warning signal, standby signal, 100% SOS and 5% SOS. Again, if you want to select any of these functions, just turn off the light, wait 2 secs, and it will be set for the next time you turn on.

Reset Function
From the Special Functions mode, lightly press the tail cap button once and the light enters Reset mode. Turn the light off, wait 2 secs, and when it comes back on you will be in the factory set default A, B, C settings (i.e. A: Default High brightness; B: Default Low brightness; C: Warning Signal). 

Jul 20, 2013

First ride Phoenix II Electric Bike [2000W TOP SPEED]

A vlog of my first ride on a Crystalyte 4840 Brute 48V 2000W ebike kit. The ride was comfortable, destroyed the hills, tons of torque, and was a blast to ride. It's going to be my daily commuter going to and from work.

tl;dr I hit my top speed of 35.5mph without pedaling. Felt like I was going warp speed at 35mph--definitely did not expect that.

Please excuse the poor quality Bluetooth audio. My helmet cam failed, but the GoPro kept on truckin.

Marin Nail Trail 26" Hardtail MTB
48V LiMnCO2 10AH battery pack
4840 26" Rear brute kit W/LCD display
Twist grip throttle
Schwalbe 2.15" Marathon Mondial tires
SKS Grand MOM and Grand DAD fenders
Blackburn SPX-1 Ultimate Seatpost Rack

DIY Electric Bike - Building the Ultimate Commuter [UPDATED]

5/22/2013 - Where to Start

Between work, home life, and responsibilities, my personal time consists of my drive to work and my drive home. An 11 mile drive from work to home takes me 40 minutes on some days--that's California Bay Area traffic for you. I want to turn that time into something productive where I can bike to work to enjoy the outdoors, get exercise, and save money.

Production eBike vs DIY build
When I think of an eBike, I see myself flying up hills, feeling the adrenaline rush of torque, and the wind howling in my ears. Top speed is not so important for me but how fast I get to 20mph is. My time is limited. I like learning new things, but then again, I cannot dedicate time to experiment. Therefore, I want a bike that's quick to assemble, parts I can replace, and teaches me something while I build it. 

Comparing the production ebikes like the Stromer ST1, BH Emotion Neo Jumper, and a2b Metro/Octave resulted in prices around $4,000 with features like purpose built frames, high quality components, and pedal assist. From my reading, the power ranged from 250w-500w. The good thing about production bikes are that they're ready to ride, have a warranty, and can be well designed. The bad thing though is that they use proprietary technology, so if you have issues, you'll have to go back to the manufacturer. Also, upgrading the ebike takes a lot effort and time.

My plan is to purchase a bike and an eBike kit from a USA distributor, assemble, and document the challenges and fun of commuting via an eBike to work. I like the idea that I can replace parts if they break, and the power per dollar is better in an eBike kit when compared to a production ebike.

Stromer ST1

BH Emotion Neo Jumper

a2b Metro/Octave
The $10,000 Stealth Bomber

5/23/2013 - Purchased the bike

'06 Marin Nail Trail

Looking through Craigslist ads was fun. Imagine the possibilities. I started my search dead set on getting a downhill race bike because I liked the full suspension and loved the look of the front forks. However, after thinking about the initial cost, maintenance for the suspension, and battery placement, I ended up going with a '06 Marin Nail Trail hardtail mountain bike. I figure the hardtail mtb triangle is plenty big for the battery, and the price of the bike will provide flexibility when I choose the motor kit and battery.

Next on my list will be a full tune up for the bike, and a possible brake upgrade.

5/24/2013 - Purchase rear brake

$81.45 Picked up a Hayes Stroker Trail hydraulic brake to replace the aging rear Hayes Nine brake.

6/6/2013 - Accessories installation

An old bell ringer
Stroker trail rear hydraulic brake (front brakes were stroker trail brakes when I purchased the bike)

Giro Remedy 2013 Full Face Helmet made from fiber glass. Check out the unboxing:

6/24/2013 - 48V 10AH LiMnCO2 battery fitment

My battery arrived today. Before purchasing the battery, I used the spec off of electricrider's website to estimate the fitment in the triangle. Luckily, it's a perfect fit with some extra space for some padding. Now I can move forward and pick up a triangle battery bag to house the battery.

Top view of the 48V 10AH battery
Side view of the 48V 10AH battery

6/26/13 - Battery Box Enclosure

I used a 3-5/8 in. x 10 ft. 25-Gauge Galvanized Steel Wall Framing Stud and stainless steel U bolts to build the battery enclosure. The parts were picked up from Home Depot. 

Metal shears
Dremel 48V 10AH LiMnCO2 battery fitment

Cut the metal with some metal sheers
Cut an aluminum 90 degree bar to use as an edge to bend the metal
Bent into shape the battery enclosure
Test fitted the enclosure
Drilled holes for the U bolts

6/29/13 - Installed the kit

Parts parts parts
Test fitted the controller--this location ended up hitting my legs when pedaling 
Kit installed

7/2/13 - Rear rack & fenders

SKS Grand MOM and Grand DAD fenders
Blackburn SPX-1 Ultimate Seatpost Rack

Used wire loom to hide the wiring, and routed the wires to the seatpost rack

7/6/13 - First ride

The ride was comfortable, destroyed the hills, tons of torque, and was a blast to ride. It's going to be my daily commuter going to and from work. 

Felt like I was going warp speed when I hit the top speed--definitely did not expect that. 

Please excuse the poor quality Bluetooth audio. My helmet cam failed, but the GoPro kept on truckin.

Marin Nail Trail 26" Hardtail MTB
48V LiMnCO2 10AH battery pack
4840 26" Rear brute kit W/LCD display
Twist grip throttle
Schwalbe 2.15" Marathon Mondial tires
SKS Grand MOM and Grand DAD fenders
Blackburn SPX-1 Ultimate Seatpost Rack

7/7/13 - Added CRG mirror and Crampbuster

Crystalyte APM display - Battery meter, Speed, Efficiency, Torque, RPM and more

7/19/13 - Pletscher Double Kickstand

Added a much needed kickstand. The great thing about the Pletscher double kickstand is that it folds up into a single kickstand making it compact and looking slick.

8/24/2013 - Carbon Fiber battery reinforcement

On my setup, the battery's weight sits on one of the corners in the battery enclosure. My concern was the weight would put pressure on the battery cell, and riding over bumps would cause the cell to eventually get crushed.

I went ahead and added a single layer of 5.8oz carbon fiber and epoxied it to stiffen up the two bottom corners.

The batter is now solid.


Useful eBike Links


Quantification of Car vs. eBike


Jun 24, 2013

48V 10AH Lithium LiMnCO2 Battery Unboxing []

The battery and the chargers arrived today with good packaging all around.

Here's what I ordered:
48V 10AH LiMnCO2 battery
2AH Veribest Charger
4AH Veribest Charger

My plan is to leave a 2AH charger at work, and a 4AH charger at home. This way, if I need a quick charge to venture around town, the 4AH will get the battery topped up quickly. When I'm at work, I can take the whole day to charge up. Also, if I need to bike to places around work, I can pick up the 2AH and haul it along for the ride. The 2AH charger is small and portable.


48V LiMnCO2 Battery


Anderson power connector to the motor
Battery XLR charge connector

The 4AH charger is close to double the size of the 2AH charger. The external bodies of the chargers are aluminum.

Veribest 2AH Charger with XLR port
3 prong charging cable
extra fuse
instruction manual

May 22, 2013

Quantification of Car vs. eBike

Ongoing eBike build

Last update: 6/19/2013

The Car
Plans for The Electric Bike:
$18,000 car$375 '06 Marin Nail Trail (purchased)
$2,000 for gas a year$100 Overhaul tuneup by:
$600 for insurance$749.99 Phoenix II 4840 Motor Kit 28mph
 48V 40amp Controller
 7-Speed Freewheel
Active Power Management LCD
Spoke Wrench
$180 for oil changes$30 Brute 26" Rear for more torque (my route has hills)
$200 for wear on tires, smog check, and wheel balancing alignment$689.00 LiFePO4 Lithium 15AH Battery w/BMS + 4A charger + 12 month warranty
$150 registration$50 Shipping
Air pollution/noise pollution
Enjoy outdoors
Good for long distance travel

Fun when turbo kicks in

Total: $18000 car + $3130
Total: $475 bike + 1469.98 kit + $50 shipping

Useful eBike Links



YPedal's Intro to eBikes:


Choosing a frame:

 Phasor Frame Made in the USA

Battery Supplier:


Electric Rider - USA

e-BikeKit - USA
My brief customer experience with was excellent. Communication was fast and top notch here. Well known on the internet for their 5 star customer service.

FalconEV - USA

Conhis Motor - China

Bike Maintenance 

Production eBikes


Torque Arms

Storage in the triangle

Mount Battery Ideas:




May 21, 2013

XBMC + Xubuntu 12.10 + VDPAU working flawlessly [Nvidia ION Media Center]

Xubuntu 12.10 is lightweight, stable, and fast. It's Ubuntu with a turbo slapped on. In this post, we'll go over setting up a XBMC media box with Dolby Digital/DTS out and Chrome with adobe flash over HDMI.

With the newest version of XBMC, the installation was smooth. I did not have to configure the sound output for DD over HDMI--the sound worked immediately after installing XBMC. In my previous blog posts, you'll notice the issues I ran into getting sound to work over HDMI. The only challenges I ran into this time around was getting overscan issues corrected and getting Google Chrome to work with Adobe flash hardware acceleration to which a solution was eventually found. Let's give this a go.

My set up:

Zotac Nvidia ION, Atom N330 Dual Core
Xubuntu 12.10 x386
XBMC Camelot Beta 1
Western Digital 150 GB Velociraptor

1. Download Xubuntu 12.10 x386 (I chose 32bit because Flash was more stable for me)
2. Either burn it to disk or create a startup USB:
3. Install Xubuntu and choose login automatically. Then reboot
4. On your HTPC, open up Firefox and go to this blog post
5. Install Nvidia drivers by opening up terminal and copy and paste line by line

Copied from mygeekopinions blog:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ubuntu-x-swat/x-updates
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install nvidia-current

6. Reboot

7. If you have Overscan issues, open terminal and run (more info on nvidia-xconfig):
sudo nvidia-xconfig

This will set up a xorg.conf file located /etc/X11/xorg.conf

For my installation, I used this nvidia-settings to find the right resolution for my TV. You will need to modify this to best fit your TV. (from the pclinuxos forums):

nvidia-settings --assign 0/CurrentMetaMode="DFP-1: 1920x1080 { ViewPortOut=1820x1020+50+30, ViewPortIn=1920x1080 }"

Once you find the optimal settings, do the following to set it permanently:

cd /etc/X11/

sudo apt-get install gedit

sudo gedit xorg.conf

Paste the Option line, in the Section "Screen", between EndSubSection and EndSection

Option "metamodes" "DFP-1: 1920x1080 { ViewPortOut=1820x1020+50+30, ViewPortIn=1920x1080 }"

8. Save & restart

9. Enable VDPAU (from the linuxforums)

sudo apt-get install libvdpau1 vdpau-va-driver

10. Unmute HDMI/spdif

11. Open Firefox and install Flashaid

12. Restart firefox and open Flashaid and choose Adobe Stable 32 from the repo

Under tweaking options, place a checkmark next to Override GPU Validation and Enable Linux HWDecode

Follow the instructions, and once complete, restart Firefox

13. Install XBMC

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:team-xbmc/unstable
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install xbmc

14. Install Amazon Prime Video addon via HowtoGeek

15. Go to Xubuntu Settings Manager
Then Window Manager Tweaks
Go to the Compositor tab and uncheck Enable display compositing

16. Install Chrome
* Go to: http://about:plugins
* Click on the + Details to expand details
* Disable all versions of flash except for Version:11.2 r202
* Restart Chrome
* Confirm flash hardware acceleration is on by playing a video, right click, and Show Video Info
* Accelerated video rendering, accelerated video decoding should be displayed

May 17, 2013

Intel WiDi Sucks

*********Update 9/4/13*********
WiDi hit a new level of suckiness. With the new driver update, my WiFi still randomly disconnects and is unable to reconnect. WiDi disconnects and is unable to reconnect. Now, the Netgear PTV2000 goes into some kind of screensaver mode and doesn't wake up out of it, so I have to disconnect the power to the device and reconnect power to the device.

I have updated the drivers listed on the Intel site. Download them here:

I try not to complain about technologies because technology is always improving. There's always a positive. Intel's WiDi on the other hand was such a bad user experience, I felt the need to share this with those looking to invest in the technology.

Intel WiDi sucks as a wireless display technology, and here's why. The connection constantly disconnects, fails to connect, freezes, laggy refresh rate, and has poor driver updates. As a consumer, it's already frustrating finding the right driver, and to add to this frustration, Intel instructs the user to install multiple drivers and install the drivers in a specific order as well.

Once completing the driver installation, it's like rolling the dice to see if the WiDi connects to the display. Most of the time, the dice come up snake eyes. If you're lucky enough to get the device to connect, a few minutes later, the screen freezes, so disconnect, reconnect, rinse repeat.

If using WiDi as a monitor extension, the mouse cursor and screen have laggy refresh rates. There is an option to scale down the resolution to 720P, which helps with refresh rates, but if you're trying to do some gaming, you can forget about using WiDi.

My setup:

Asus Zenbook UX51VZ with latest Intel Wireless drivers
Netgear PTV2000 with updated firmware

May 3, 2013

nexus 7 turns off/shutdown when bumped [solved]

My nexus 7 would always shutdown with the slightest tap. The nexus would shutdown at the worst time too: when I was using GPS Navigation. 

Turns out it was a loose battery cable. Using my nail, I was able to pop the back cover off and push in the battery cable. 

Now, the nexus 7 no longer shuts down when bumped.

Thanks itoldyouiwouldeatyou on reddit:

Feb 15, 2013

Harlem Shake Breakdown [What is the Meme?]

Harlem Shake videos explained:

1. The intro to the song Harlem Shake, by Baauer, plays for a total of 30 seconds throughout each meme video.
2. One person dances oftentimes with hip thrusts or pelvic movement, and arms swaying from side to side
3. The audience is oblivious to the dancer.
4. #2 & #3 go on for 15 seconds into the video.
5. At 15 seconds in, this is where the music transitions with a deep bass beat.
6. At 15 seconds in, the audience increases in size, and the audience joins in with the dancing. Energy levels go up.
7. Towards the end of the video, there is another transition in the song--this is where slow motion can be seen.
8. Yes, this post was not to be taken seriously.

Have fun and laugh hard!