Monthly Archives: February 2012

Pocket Wizard TT5 Repair

I take my Pocket Wizard gear everywhere I go for shooting.  It’s invaluable for lighting and provides awesome flexibility for my flash to fire off remotely.   I first learned about them thru friend photographer Tommy Pemberton.  Check out this stuff at

Like him I was originally was using it on a Canon 580EX II.  I replaced it with a lesser expensive flash 430EX II after both were stolen from me by some burglar.  While there  are a number of differences with the flashes I found them to be close enough for my sustaining my hobby.   I recommend reading Photo Tips for their side by side comparisons.

So first of all the problem with the TT5 that you will find around the ‘net is some radio interference issues which can be simply fixed with a shield that wraps around the unit. Outside of that you’ll rarely see any posts on the effects of mounting the flash over and over which eventually causes the hot shoe to detach at a 45 degree angle.  I am sure a few stressed pack ups w/o removing the flash to get to the next site did it as well. Unfortunately you have to take apart the whole unit because the screws mount from the inside.  I can’t afford any more TT5s so this is one I thought I would fix myself.

Here are the pics from the repair. Notice the picture where the screws just lying within the unit, they weren’t even stripped which is what I thought I was going to find.   I hope they fix this in the future so that this doesn’t happen again.

This is how i found the screws, they barely catch!


TT5 sensors


Springs have to be carefully put back


TT5 Mother board

TT5 base, you see the antenna here in the corner





iPhone 3GS T-Mobile Hack

Much is written about T-Mobile and the iPhone models.  The tough thing is how many times do you have to reboot that phone in order to test everyone’s theory out there on what cellular setting you should use.  I spent hours working on this from the 2G model, 3G and the 3GS.  I have never set up a hack yet on the 4 series but it can also be done.  I have included a few notes here on the 4.   What I found difficult was that Cydia had a lot of packges out there but none for IOS 5+.  Nevertheless, you can edit the plist manually, by enabling SSH or you can type the values I put in below in the system settings.  Before you put in these settings, turn off 3G, Apple is missing the WCDMA 1700/2100 band, and cannot function on the T-Mobile 3G network.  Turn on Data Roaming, turn off Wi-Fi so that you can accurately test the T-Mobile data plan, verify that MMS messaging is turned on, VPN not connected.  Disable location services.  If any of the above isn’t set, you will experience long search times for a cell tower, as well as dropped calls, and SIM resets after photos taken and/or MMS attempts.  Lastly I set the 3GS to not use iMessage.  I have had it working with the values I mention below but it seemed buggy when sending MMS.  Sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn’t.

Prerequisites:  iPhone 3GS with IOS 5.0.1, Jailbroken with iPad baseband via redsn0w, baseband 6.15.00, old bootrom 359.3 and below, ultrasn0w cydia package

After many variations I found these settings to work.

Celluar Data




MMS, didn’t work for me



MMS Proxy:  (Leave Blank for 4S)

MMS Max Message Size: 1048576  (Leave Blank for 4S)


Optional tip:  You can try a Cydia package to add some of the above values:
Open Cydia and add this source:

Once source is added, find the package T-Mobile US MMS Fix. Executing that app after the download and install will populate the fields for ya.  May require some tweaking of the values to what I have shown above.

I recommend a full reboot of the device to have the settings apply.  You can alternately edit the plist file and the pac file for the above settings, requires SSH to your phone, default pw is alpine set by apple.  Change this please… passwd is the command in terminal to do so.

**if you experience long delays in finding service then try the alternate values I posted above.

**there are plenty of links out there to JB this device for T-Mobile use.  They are not straight forward! They omit steps and lead you wrong.  A full working knowledge of redsn0w is strongly suggested and the knowledge of putting the iPhone devices nto DFU mode (black screen), not the recovery screen which shows an icon to connect to iTunes.

You will have to have the original restore image for 5.0.1, and clear your hosts file of any references to  I used Tiny Umbrella to manipulate the host file as well as save the SHSHs down.  It was also useful to run in order to simply exit recovery mode in case you got there.   The JB requires iPad baseband files so you can utilize 5.0.1, otherwise you wouldn’t need the iPad baseband files if you use an older IOS.  You will have to install Cydia last, *not* on the first JB or else the phone will fail the JB.  Cydia then gets installed via DFU mode and choosing a IPSW file *PRIOR* to launching the 2nd jailbreak.  I used a custom IPSW I created with redsn0w to do a restore (itunes, then option click restore to choose your own IPSW) after I did the iPad baseband hack.  This seemed to finalize the whole JB process.  It preserved the Baseband at 6.15.00.  You need to know your bootrom value, you can find out via DFU mode and using About This Mac (more info) button on Lion, or System Profiler prior to Lion.  Look at the USB hub and look for the keyword DFU mode, and you’ll see the bootrom value.  Mine was at 359.3 which is the old boot rom.  Search google to translate any other numbers, it has to do with the serial number of the phone, decode that and you’ll find your production run (old or new).

All of the above can be done on a windows OS, you just need equivalent tools. 



iPhone 3GS – Take apart

I did a repair recently on an Apple iPhone 3GS.  Parts were cheap for the backing and the power button.  All under $10 including shipping.  The repair was to replace the back of the phone as well as replace the power button due to a drop that occurred.  No small feat but it’s pretty annoying if you are missing a power button especially if you need to put your iPhone into DFU mode or simply put it back to sleep.

What a lot of the videos out there don’t tell you is that there is adhesive on some of the parts like the antenna assembly and battery for sure.  The top glass section doesn’t get worked on in this fix, however it too has a slight adhesive bond and weather stripping I call it around it that can get damaged on the botton when using the plastic tool to lift it.  Alternatively you can use a suction cup.   I included some of the pics here for reference.

The take apart can go quickly but make sure you record which screw goes where since they are different sizes and it gets confusing later when you have to put it all back.  The button assembly is the hardest to put back.  Screws here are angled and very tiny! I advise you to use a magnetic screwdriver and take photos of the tear down stages.  I strongly advise also when you put back the volume button that you keep the pads on it, they will fall off, put them back the best you can because it allows for the button to fully rock back n forth in a smooth way.  The back doesn’t come with the speaker screens which essentially are just metal mesh stickers.  They pop out easily and keep their stickiness. Lastly, I don’t know for sure but I did fry a 3G once when the order of the flex cables got put back wrong.  I would stress that it is very important to slowly make sure you put back each flex cable in the order they go.  Obviously this means take apart starts with 1, and reassembling starts with the highest number.  On this phone that was #7.

I probably spent 4 hours doing the whole job with a 45 min break to overcome frustration.  If I had to do over again and being familiar with the processes now, it would probably be half of that.



broken case - see where power button broke out


switching out the back cases


iphone 3gs mother board is green.  the 3g was blue if i recall

iphone 3gs mother board is green. the 3g was blue if i recall

speaker and microphone assembly


vibration assembly


button assembly - 3gs

iphone 3gs camera


iphone button assembly - putting back is hard


iphone 3gs battery


iphone frame - must come off including the side buttons


power button replaced into new iphone back case

phone all put back, just need 2 bottom screws and it's ready - you'll need the sticker adhesive to help bond the front to the frame. separate purchase


back in box and booting

all ready, home screen works and so do all buttons.


Canon 5D Sensor Cleaning

One thing about CMOS cameras is that they like dust.  I have read a lot of posts on how to clean the sensor and I think the best advice is to use common sense.  I simply used air and a non-lint cloth to wipe it in one direction.  Done.  I did use at one time some non-lint Qtip style cleaners as well that I had left over from my clean room days at Motorola.  Those help to clean and to be able to apply the right pressure is always a good thing.

The pictures you see here is the sensor of a Canon 5D camera and a picture where I snapped a landscape scene and you’ll notice a hair is in the picture below one of the power lines.  I had to clone out this hair on about 20 RAW images using Lightroom’s  Spot Removal tool which works excellent.

I snapped a quick pic of the sensor using my iPhone flash to show you how it responds to light.  Don’t do this for a long period of time.  I simply took a quick photo but I wouldn’t leave the LED on for a longer time than that.  The 5D has a sensor cleaning function in the menu settings so it makes it easy to clean.



Good local artist, Christina Mesiti

I was browsing today thru Art d’ Art’s site and found an interesting artist named Christina Mesiti.  While her artwork was intriguing I found comforting to read her section on her site in regards to reality and experience. I agree, the process is a continually changing equation.

Check it out for yourself.