iPhone 4 Battery Replacement – You Can Do It!

June, 2013

After two and a half years, my iPhone 4 battery suddenly would not hold a charge longer than a few hours.  Since I was used to it lasting all day, or close to it, this caused me problems.  I haven’t felt a need to upgrade to either the iPhone 4S or the iPhone 5, so I searched for information on replacing the battery to assess how much of a hassle it would be.

I have to admit I’m quite surprised at how easy it turned out to be.  I’ll get directly to my path to battery happiness:

1. Watch this YouTube video on “How to Easily Replace an iPhone 4 Battery” by HighT3chDad.

2. Order a replacement battery.  I ordered this one on Amazon for only $7.05 with free shipping through Amazon Prime (currently only $4.99 + $0.99 shipping), and it included the tools along with the battery.  “Genuine Iphone 4 16G 32G Battery 3.7V 1420mAh and Tool”

3. Set aside 30 minutes to review the video, and replace the battery.
Really!  It’s that easy.  I’m very happy to have a new battery and not have the hassles of upgrading my phone!


p.s. This post is a bit after the fact, and the replacement battery has performed well for the past year and a half.  With the iPhone 6 having just been announced, I’m likely to upgrade soon, but I’ll probably keep my iPhone 4 as a development device, so for anyone still hanging onto a iPhone 4, don’t be afraid to replace that battery!

Movie Review: Star Trek Into Darkness

Star Trek Into Darkness

PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi action and violence
Rating: B+

Two bad guys, lot’s of action, with  familiar and humorous interplay between Kirk, Spock, Bones, Scotty, and Chekov, the latest Star Trek satisfies that longing for “comfort sci-fi.”
The plot leveraged a demented character from a past episode that we dimly recall, but happily the plot is self sufficient and not knowing the past is not a barrier to savoring the ride.  It was soothing to see Mr. Nimoy with a cameo appearance, although we did have an extended discussion with a family member on the way home about the relationship between the two Spocks.  The acting was true to the spirit of the established personalities, and we got the feeling they were having fun at the same time.

Your “sci-fi genius” credentials will be stroked as you easily anticipate the second half of the movie, but we never started watching the clock and we enjoyed the entire journey.  The audience laughed frequently, including during a “lover’s spat” between Spock, Uhura, and a “trying to stay out of it” Kirk.

Now, we’re not saying this is a ground breaking sci-fi movie.  In fact we ran into several of the “Movie Project Plotchés,” which we won’t list because of their potential spoiler effect.  You might give send us an email with the ones that you noticed.

But as far as our state of mind at the end, we reluctantly got up to leave with that feeling of “All Good things must come to an end.”

Our audience clapped as the credits started to roll, and I already have that sad feeling that we’ll have to wait a year or two before the next installment.  Wait… we can rent  all the Star Trek movies and have a Trek Fest.

Let’s do it, or perhaps even go see “Star Trek Into Darkness” again.


DIY Quiz Game Controller Project

I wasn’t really invited to the Summer Camp Counselor’s meeting since I wasn’t going to be a counselor, but we all knew each other and I went with Mrs. Project.  It turned out that the camp director mentioned that they wanted their own Quiz Game Controller rather than borrowing the one we made long ago.

I’ve been itching to do an Arduino project for a while anyway, so I figured it would be a fun Saturday project.  I should have known.  Start programming something and time goes into the “time evaporator” machine.  The project turned out pretty well, details are at projectnotions.com as well as instructables.com.

I have to make at least one more, so there will be more time evaporated, however, here are some things I learned:

  • How have I done without a Dremel tool for so long?  I needed it for doing button modifications and I like this tool a LOT.  I picked up a battery powered unit and it is nice not being tethered to a power outlet.  So many great uses.  I never knew!
  • The Arduino really IS a pretty nifty device.  And the available options and accessories are exploding.  Regarding size, almost the exact same functionality goes from the Arduino Uno (3″ x 2.5″) to the Arduino Pro Mini at (0.7″ x 1.3″).  Wow.  I’m thinking of putting all the “control box” stuff inside a Staples “EASY” button for one of the next versions.
  • All projects take longer than you think they will.  I knew that.  But still this took a lot more time that I could have guessed.  You know what?  It was a blast!

I’m looking forward to doing a software update to implement a “Wheel of Fortune” mode in addition to the existing “Jeopardy” mode.  I offered family members an Arduino Starter Kit if they found the Easter Egg in the game code.  (NO, this is not a public offer!!)  The prize still isn’t claimed, but I’d be happy if a young person got interested in electronics by finding the Egg and getting the prize!

Buy a Dremel, program an Arduino, have fun, and enjoy life!


Quiz Game Lights Test Mode

DIY Quiz Game Controller





Note: projectnotions.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com


Lights and Sounds Buzzers by Learning Resources, Out of the Box Review

I didn’t just go shopping for buttons, bigger buttons, “EASY” buttons, buttons to press, buttons to buzz and buttons that light up… for no reason.   And I didn’t put out the shopping searches because I have a “thing” for buttons.  It started last century when Mrs. Project needed a “first to respond” device for a summer camp.

I enthusiastically rose to the challenge and made a quick trip to the library to look up a “lock out,” or “first to respond” circuit.  Sure enough, Graf’s “Encyclopedia of Electronic Circuits, Vol 6.” came to the rescue with an ideal SCR (Silicone Controlled Rectifier) design that was perfect for the task. Radio Shack with project saving inventory, and several project boxes, buttons, lights, (not LEDs!) a power supply, and “ta daaa!”  The rugged device has worked well all  these years.

It happened that a new camp director wanted their ownlock out” device, and the notion that I’ve wanted to do an Arduino project just bubbled out of my brain, through my mouth, and out of my lips as I said, “no problem, we’ll make a new one.”

That’s how I came to start typing in “buttons” in the search engines.  I also found out my search terms were out of date, and better hits happened with “Jeopardy,” and “Quiz Game.” I found these buttons and really liked them for the new “Quiz Game Controller.”

We think you might like them also, or at least be curious about them.  Check out our written review and our video review to get a feeling for how they work.

May your projects go smoothly,


Lights and Sounds Buzzers by Learning Resources


“It takes half your life before you discover life is a do-it-yourself project.” – Napolean Hill

Indeed. While the projectnotions.com site will be dedicated to documenting substantially completed projects, this blog will chronicle the thoughts, motivations, emotions and struggles in getting to the project completion.

The projects have no clear coordinating theme, other than that they captured my attention and energy.  Projects normally start with some notion that motivates the project, but in some cases the project is a notion.  For example, a trip to China ten years ago caused me to contemplate the notion of “What makes America Great?”  The project to answer that question, at least in my own mind, transversed years, continents, and relationships.  Not quite completed even yet, it’s a project about a notion.

The “ultimate” do-it-yourself project is made more rich, satisfying, and complete with the projects that consume our time.  While “all is vanity,” it’s also fitting to “enjoy the good of all your labor under the sun.”

Thank you for stopping by and best wishes in your own notions and projects.

Kenny B.


To Blog or not to ….

207,000 results in 0.29 seconds for Google to return hits on that clichéd alteration.

Much longer for the personal decision to blog.  It’s the commitment to be consistent that is most intimidating for me.  And there’s no way to prove consistency without getting started. Then there are the doubts about “who cares?” and is it “worth it?” and …

I think it was the Open Source movement that finally pushed me into it.  In working on a couple of recent project notions: an Arduino based electronic project, and a music macro language programming project in Python.  In pursuit of those ideas, I benefited greatly from people who took the risk and made their code freely available.  I learned a lot from them.  As I contemplated making my own projects openly available, the haunting questions emerged. Will I be embarrassed?  Did I make some obvious mistake?  It is in the public for everyone to see… forever!

Reading opinions about “To Blog or not” only fuels the flame of those doubts.  Risks of job impact, career impact, even legal problems.  Then there are questions about to use a pen name or your real name.  Then what hosting site?  What blogging tools?  In the mean time my projects kept progressing and if I was going to “Open Source” them I was just getting further behind.

So, with some trepidation, the Blogging project is started.  Yahoo Hosting, Word Press, real name, web site name: projectnotions.com.

Thanks for stopping by!

Kenny B.