Sunday, December 31, 2017

Vizio M70-E3 will not work with HDMI adapters

This is only a problem, as I have no solution.

I tried to set up my new Vizio M70-E3 display (circa Dec 2017) to accept HDMI audio/video from two Acer Veriton N4640g mini-PCs.  These PCs are quite capable and run Windows 7, which I prefer.  They are also small and almost silent, and so good media PCs.

The Veriton is VGA only.  I figured that I could use a VGA-to-HDMI adapter to convert the signal.  However, the adapters I tried did not work.

(For anyone reading who is unfamiliar with Vizio TVs, they have no discrete audio inputs.  If they had, I would have bypassed the HDMI video first thing.  But this is not possible.)

The first was the Cable Matters VGA-to-HDMI Converter with USB Audio.  The video on this worked perfectly but there was no audio.  The drivers were fine and Windows showed the USB audio device playing, but the TV did not play the audio.  I tried several ports, several HDMI cables, and two separate identical converters without success.

Figuring there was an issue with the USB audio, I next tried the Bytecc VGA-to-HDMI with 3.5mm audio.  The 3.5mm jack on the PC worked, but the TV again refused to play audio.

Finally, I  tried the Vantec USB 3.0 to HDMI 4k converter.  I didn't have much hope, but the audio worked perfectly (surprisingly).  However, the video playback was ever-so-slightly laggy, making it unsuitable even with locally stored 1080p video files.  I don't know if the issue was with the Core i5, the Veriton USB, or USB 3.0 performance in general, but it didn't make it.

In the unlikely event that anyone other than me wants to try this, be aware that the Vizio M70-E3 does not like the audio signal produced by x-to-HDMI converters.  Be sure you test the configuration beforehand.

Also, as a note, anyone looking for a "media PC" might want to look at a laptop/notebook instead.  They are frequently cheaper than a "media" or "mini PC" when on sale, are just as quiet/power-efficient, have better specs, will fit most media centers (when folded closed) and are (in my experience) much easier to set up owing to the built-in screens and keyboards.  I snagged a couple of new Win 7 laptops on sale to fix my issues and they worked very well.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Repairing the Snuggles My Dream Puppy

Problem:  Snuggles either stops working or begins barking incessantly.  This is apparently a very common issue, and also one that most parents dread - a broken toy on Christmas morning.

Cause:  Snuggles has a loose battery connection, somewhere.  This is causing the puppy to either not work, or reboot over and over.  The constant rebooting is the cause of the incessant barking - it is replaying the startup bark over and over.


1.  Try removing the gaskets in the battery holders.  They look like this:

These are normally separate parts and are not glued into place or anything.  Just pull them out with your fingernail.

The gaskets really don't have any function in Snuggles.  They theoretically seal the batteries against water, but this should not make any difference since Snuggles is not a water toy.

Once this is done, reinstall the paws (battery covers) as normal.  They should be able to press down on the batteries more effectively and will (hopefully) solve the connection issue.

2.  There is a video on the subject that shows how some Snuggles - likely earlier ones, though that is just conjecture on my part - have a loose cap on the battery compartment in the left-hand leg.  Repairing the cap requires removing the battery holder from the leg, which takes a bit of doing.

I removed mine and found that the battery holder was already fully glued, with no possibility of disassembling and regluing it.  So that did not work for me.  I did not try the right leg because I felt that it was unlikely that one leg was glued properly and the other not.

One way you (should) be able to tell if the video will work out is if Snuggles starts to behave when you push the battery holder together with your fingers.  If so, the internal endcap is likely loose and can / should be fixed.  If not, that is not likely to be the problem, and you might want to look for another solution before removing the compartment from the leg.

For what it's worth, removing the compartment from the leg is not too hard and is easy to reverse, so you're not risking much by trying it.  But it may be unnecessary since it takes only 10 seconds to remove the battery holder gaskets.