Thursday, May 13, 2021
Saturday, May 8, 2021
My son got an XPower "Pulls up to 50 Lbs!" dump truck for his birthday, but within a week it had stopped working. It would turn on and make noise, but would only drive sporadically. It turns out the problem is a somewhat flaky button design with an easy repair: Add a spring to the button.
There are only two kinds of screws used, both with Phillips heads, so disassembly is easy. You have to remove the wheel drive assembly to get to the circuit panel on which the problem switch is located.
- Remove the bottom plate, which includes the battery pack.
- Remove the wheel assembly (all four wheels come off in one large assembly). This will reveal the two screws noted below (Figure 2)
- Slide the cab off of the gear and motor assembly. The cab slides "up" from the truck's perspective.
- Remove the circuit board, speaker, and bed-closure button (Figure 3). There is no need to disconnect any wires.
- Remove the button (Figure 4)
Saturday, January 23, 2021
I'm a proponent of the Ross Greene approach to to parenting (and teaching, disciplining, etc). If you're not familiar with Dr. Greene, one of his core arguments is that the behaviors we want to see from kids are skills that needs to be taught and practiced. Scolding or punishing a child do nothing to help him or her learn the skill they are lacking.
I titled this post How to Teach your Kids not to Beg but in the Ross Greene way of thinking, an alternate (but wordier) title would be How to Teach your kids the skill of seeing something they want and walking away from it.
Humans (big and small) do not learn new skills well while under emotional stress. Our brains simply do not take in new information when we're angry, scared, tired, etc. Trying to teach a skill to a child during a tantrum is all but certain to fail. Instead, you need to intentionally practice the skill when the child's brain is in a ready-to-learn mode.
With my children, we do lots of practice walking through toy aisles and not buying anything. Whenever we go to Target I tell my kids, "we can look at toys, but we will not be buying anything." Almost every time we go shopping, we spend 5-10 minutes looking at toys and not buying them. This process gives my kids practice walking away from things they really want.
This practice has paid off over and over. My six year old has been saving money for a new bike for months, but was willing to go to the bike shop, look at bikes, and walk away empty handed multiple times.
If you're interested in our bike purchase story, check out the video below!
Thursday, December 31, 2020
Continuing this month's statistics theme, I also spent some time looking at my LEGO purchases over the last few years. During each of the past few years I've purchased between one and four thousand LEGO bricks.
LEGO pretty regularly turns over their product offerings, which means that popular sets become scarce a year or two after their first release. I compared my initial purchase prices for my sets to the the current lowest price on Amazon (not including shipping).
This chart makes it look like LEGO would be a great investment, but note that what I'm comparing is the asking price on Amazon, not the actual sale price. There are also significant fees when selling items on Amazon or eBay. Here's another look at the price change, this time by series.
Friday, December 25, 2020
2020 was a strange, stressful, and busy year, but our family did quite a bit of reading. The year isn't quite over, but it felt like a good time to assemble some statistics.
The total word count of Pokémon books is likely skewed high, because the word count from readlinglength.com for most of the Pokemon book series is based on page count.