Landing is Inevitable

Saturday, June 28, 2008

My Big Boy...

Figuratively speaking of course. Ashraf has grown quite a bit now. He can walk, crawl around, his first word was "cat", blow flying kisses, flag cabs, dance to Barney songs and the list goes on and on. He's also been discharged from going Kandang Kerbau Hospital (KKH) for his bi-monthly development check up. When he was born, Ashraf was so small he was within the third percentile of being the "appropriate size". Please don't quote me on this one. Now, he's out of the third percentile, he's on the FOURTH and that was good enough for the doctor to discharge him. Yeah! My son's not small anymore.


I'm all set for school, Nya-i!

I'm a dancin' machine!

Now that Ashraf is quite mobile, we cannot take our eyes of him even for a second. He's always up to something. It's been a rollercoaster 13 months with Ashraf around but I won't trade it with anything else in the world.

Signing Off,

The big plane project: Putting together the high-power shunt

OK, I got really bored cutting out wood from the airframe and re-covering it so I decided to get some of the electronics on the plane done instead. This time around I'll be putting together the high power shunt, a safety feature.

What's a shunt you may ask? In short, it's a plug. It'll be located on the live (red) wire on the ESC. So when the shunt is not plugged in, there won't be a closed circuit and the motor will not be able to power up. The shunt will enable you to power the receiver and all the servos while having all the batteries connected without powering up your motor until you're ready at the flight line. Once ready, just plug the shunt in, let the motor power up and you're good to go.

Before I did any soldering, I did a simple mod on my clamp. This clamp has been a faithful servant in holding up my wires, dean plugs and gold connecters while I soldered away. Recently I read that metal clamps actually draw heat away from the stuff that you're soldering while holding it down. This may cause cold solder joints and basically making it difficult to get the object to the right temperature. I understood then why it was a PITA to solder anything metallic. Some balsa wood I saved from the Yak 54 proved to be exactly what this mod needed. I cut a small piece, glued it to the metal clamps with medium CA and in two minutes I'm done.

Less than 2 minutes work

I'm not so sure if it was just me, but I did find it so much easier to solder the deans onto my Rx pack. This simple mod really works, and to whoever who reads my blog (I dunno if there really is anybody): DO IT. 2 minutes is all you need.

OK, back to the shunt. The main component on the shunt is the AstroFlight Zero Loss connecter. I had originally planned to use Deans connecters, but since the current spikes might go up to around 80-90amps, I do not want the shunt to be the weak point in this setup. I figured this will be the best bang for my buck.

I'll just be working on the male part of the connecter for this post. The female part will come into play in the later stages while soldering stuff on the ESC. Stuff for the job: 1. Astroflight Zero Loss connecter (just the male part) 2. 14 AWG wire (black) and 3. soldering tools.

Firstly, I measured out around 4.5cm worth of wire for the plug. I took note of this so that I can have similar length extension wires on both the red and black leads of the ESC.

I then prepped the gold connectors and wire and soldered them together. The important thing to take note on this step is to get the wire and the gold connecter soldered as straight as possible. Or else, it'll be impossible to pull it through the plug. Once I'm done letting the solder joint cool, I pulled it through the plug and worked on the other side. I soldered the other side of the wire while it's in the plug and once that was done, mission accomplished.

Ta Da!!!

Fast, simple work all in the name of safety.

Signing Off,


Thursday, June 26, 2008

Weekend Walkabout

The last weekend was definitely one of the more fun ones in recent memory.


It all started from Friday. NR (Shahirah), Benjol Boy (Ashraf) and I went to Harbour Front to get a new stroller. NR needed a light stroller which she can handle easily and carry around when she's out alone with Ashraf. The current stroller, the Esprit one, has been serving us well and is not too bad. But small things like the extra weight, the "not-as-friendly-as-MacLaren folding mechanism, the manual locking "thing", etc does make the stroller more of a PITA.

So we got ourselves the MacLaren Triumph. 2 kilos lighter, single button harness release, user-friendly folding and locking mechanism and a butt-ugly neon harness (which I have already gotten used to). Definitely not the best looking stroller, but it fits our brief.

So off we went to get ourselves (ie ME) some grub. I do get very cranky when I'm hungry/thirsty/sleepy/headache-ey. So we had to get some food.. fast. Along the way down we passed a Barney-themed ride. It's like Barney's van, with the purple dinosaur on the front passenger seat with Baby-Bop and BJ in tow at the back. I thought that maybe Ashraf would enjoy himself on this thing. This rides cost so much more now. A friggin dollar for a 2 minute ride. Whatever happened to all those 20 cents ones.

As expected Ashraf loved the whole two minutes on the Barney ride. He recognised the songs played as the ride swayed back and forth. And when the ride ended, he gave the hand gesture signalling that the ride was over. Awwwwwww. Cute. Also as expected by NR, Ashraf did not want to relinquish his spot on the driver's seat and we had to pry him out of the seat. Ashraf started bawling and out came the "puteng".

Finished off the rest of the evening with dinner, walking around Vivo City for a bit and headed home.


The evening started off at around 6.30pm when NR, BB, Hiqma (NR's niece) and I left Chai Chee to go to Bedok North Ave 4 to send fabric, which we bought during the Chinese New Year weekend, to be tailored for Hari Raya. Picked up my nephew, and headed down to Bedok Reservoir for a free Arts Fest show. There, we rendezvous-ed with Shahirah's two sisters and bro-in-law. While waiting for pizza at Canadian Pizza, Mom and Ibra (my niece) also arrived at Bedok Reservoir

Hydro Sapiens, by award winning troupe Lunatics from Netherlands, started at 8.15pm sharp. As we devoured our pizzas, we watched the performers jump into the cold reservoir waters, pyro-technics going off here and there, and got to see a big dancing robot made of plastic water dispenser bottles. I thought the robot was the coolest part of the show. Amazingly Ashraf went through the whole show quietly. He wasn't cranky at all. He generally just concentrated on what the performers were doing. He seem unimpressed by the fireworks at the end of the show too. Overall, I think he behaved very well. So proud of him :)


Wicked Aura Batucada rocks!!! I was initially not really impressed by them before the show but the minute the drums started I could not help but jump to the beats.

It was amazing to see so many people clamouring and crowding at the front of the stage even before the performers started playing. I guess you would do that if the performers were really good. The performance was actually good enough to justify a ticket. People were cheering and jumping around. The energy was high and the beats; contagious.

But amidst all these moving bodies, Ashraf was a picture of composure and concentration. Just like the evening before, he was staring intently on the performers. He seemed throughly UNimpressed, and he even yawned a few times. Amazing. Ha ha.

The show at the Esplanade wrapped up a very eventful weekend. It's amazing how many really good shows around are free. We definitely had fun, gotta do this again... soon.

Signing off,