Raspberry Pi 3 Giveaway – Free Shipping

by on Mar.03, 2016, under Electronic Projects, General Statements, Raspberry Pi, STUFF!!!!

Our friends at Random Nerd Tutorials are giving away a free raspberry pi 3 this month ( March 2016 ). Click on the link below to try your and at Lady Luck.

Win a Raspberry Pi 3

Till next time, thanks for your time.


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Apple Imac 27″ Mid 2010 Power Supply Issue

by on Mar.02, 2016, under STUFF!!!!

Well, it has been a long time sense I last posted. My Life in the big Oil/Gas industry has been busy.

But along this journey my old mac decided to shut down when ever it decided and did it randomly and then it just played dead.

I did not want to spend the money on taking it to the Apple Store for them to charge me $250 dollars to tell me what I already new…it is to old and I should buy a new one. ( I am to cheap and I am not spending 3 grand on a computer ever again!!!!)

So I started down the road of figuring out what was wrong. I figured either it was my logic board or power supply. I then called Apple and asked what it would cost for either or both. The scary part is I actually pricing and someone was going to ship them to me. How ever as soon as they figured out that I was not a Apple Store that stopped in it’s tracks pretty dam fast.

I did learn that the pricing on the Chinese sites and the Apple Store are not that far apart. Which is good.

To continue the story I decided to start with the cheaper of the two items and bought a power supply. Now you may ask where I bought it from??? I just used Amazon.com and found a supplier that would ship to Canada. After that, made my order and waited 6 weeks.

When I received the power supply and ripped apart my mac, I found the power I just received was the exact same as the one in it….right down to the silk screening on both the boards.

Installed and reassembled my mac and crossed my fingers…..it started and has been working for a month now with no shut downs or over heating or the worst…..electrical shocks!!!!

So for the short version…if you get a shock from your keyboard or the case and/or your system shuts down randomly…get a new power supply. The main isolation capacitors have failed. You can try and replace them, but they are not cheap. (they are a low resistance, high frequency capacitor)

Other thing I noticed: Power Supply 10-30 degrees C higher temps then usual. (Run a Fan control and temperature monitoring software. At present using- Crystalidea.com ‘s Fan Control)


Till next time, thanks for your time.


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RTD Simulator using dip switches and SMD resistors or basic decade box!!!

by on Feb.22, 2015, under Electronic Projects

Decade box (RTD Simultator) using dip switched and SMD resistors.

To start off I did not come up with this idea.

(Search on Hackaday dot com or Thinkcreate).

I work in a world of instrumentation and we have field techs who do not like to return shiny expensive equipment when they leave our employment, so came up with a cheaper and less shiny looking device and may be they will not want to take it as there own.

This is the schematic:

decade box smd


Very basic but brilliant design. If you take 1,2, and two 3 ohm resistors you can make each value between 0-9 ohms. Just increase each back by x10 to create your decade box.

For me I started at 0.1,0.2 and 0.3. I wanted to build RTD simulator.(This also creates a 999.9 ohm Decade box)

Now I tried a new PCB maker. Dirtypcbs.com. They have a 5cm x 5cm board size $14.00 with free shipping. (Took 1 month receive my boards from the China)

They say you may get 10 boards or less or more, I got lucky and got 12. Should have bought a lottery ticket that day… 🙂

They came in a nice little box and shrink wrapped like this:


I am a cheap bastard and like to get the most for my money, so I put two decade units on my main board to use up the 5cm x 5cm board.



My thoughts was to cut them into separate boards, but then came up with a better idea.  Make a high and low side for testing the span on the transmitters we work with.

Also if you want to create a full decade box you could by daisy chaining the two units on the board to give you 8 x10 ranges like below.

Dip 1=.9 ohms, dip 2=9 ohms, dip 3=90 ohms, dip 4=900 ohms, dip 4=9 kohms, dip 5=90 kohms, dip 6=900 kohms, dip 7= 9 mohms and dip 8=90 mohms. (99999999.9 ohms)

Or adjust the resistor values to your requirements. (Try to use 0.1 to 0.5 % resistors for the lower ranges, and 1% for the higher)

My Dual range RTD Simulator:

IMG_8714 IMG_8715 IMG_8713


You can purchase boards from Dirtypcbs.com using this link:




All resistors are 0805 SMD

My Digikey order per Side (double your order for a dual range unit):

1   CRL0805-FW-R100ELFCT-ND .1 ohm resistor 805 R1
1   CRL0805-FW-R200ELFCT-ND .2 ohm resistor 805 R2
2   CRL0805-FW-R300ELFCT-ND .3 ohm resistor 805 R3/R4

1   311-1.00CRCT-ND 1 ohm resistor 805 R5
1   311-2.00CRCT-ND 2 ohm resistor 805 R6
2   311-3.00CRCT-ND 3 ohm resistor 805 R7/R7

1   311-10.0CRCT-ND 10 ohm resistor 805 R8
1   311-20.0CRCT-ND 20 ohm resistor 805 R9
2   311-30.0CRCT-ND 30 ohm resistor 805 R10/R11

1   CR0805-FX-1000ELFCT-ND 100 ohm resistor 805 R12
1   CR0805-FX-2000ELFCT-ND 200 ohm resistor 805 R13
2   CR0805-FX-3000ELFCT-ND 300 ohm resistor 805 R14/R15

4   GH7170-ND 4 position rocker switch SW1/2/3/4

1   WM4393-ND Terminal dual X1


I would recommend a Gold contact switch if you are decide to make the dual range unit. (Digikey part 360-1181-ND)

I am very pleased on how this proof of concept project turned out. I also hope it helps you on one of your projects.

Till next time, Thanks for your time.











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Raspberry Pi Arch Linux: Another thing I have learned. NTPd

by on Apr.16, 2014, under Electronic Projects, Raspberry Pi

A quick post.

NTPd service should not be installed as root. Specially if you want to run it as a daemon.
Make sure you install from a less user.

So install ntpd like so:
sudo pacman -S ntp

Enable the systemd:
sudo systemctl enable ntpd

sudo nano /etc/conf.d/ntpd.conf
NTPD_ARGS=”-g -i /var/lib/ntp -u ntp:ntp”

sudo nano /etc/ntp.conf 
#driftfile /var/lib/ntp/ntp.drift
driftfile /ntp.drift

Now configure the chroot environment:

mkdir /var/lib/ntp/etc /var/lib/ntp/lib /var/lib/ntp/proc
touch /var/lib/ntp/etc/resolv.conf /var/lib/ntp/etc/services

sudo nano /etc/fstab
#ntpd chroot mounts
/etc/resolv.conf /var/lib/ntp/etc/resolv.conf none bind 0 0
/etc/services /var/lib/ntp/etc/services none bind 0 0
/lib /var/lib/ntp/lib none bind 0 0
/proc /var/lib/ntp/proc none bind 0 0

Reboot or run this:
sudo systemctl restart ntpd

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Raspberry Pi TreeCam project Arch Linux Motion USB Cam Gdrive Gmail

by on Apr.13, 2014, under Electronic Projects, Raspberry Pi



Finished my TreeCam project.


Just a reminder, I am pretty much documenting my adventure for a reminder to myself of what I did.  If others can use what I have done, so be it.  However I am still learning and go to the great and all powerful GOOGLE to find answers to the questions I seek when I just don’t know or understand something.

To start you should head to the net and read how to load a image of Arch Linux for the raspberry pi. 

Get your pi running Arch and then head over to this page. Kean has done great job of explaining the loading of the software, python scripts and getting the system running. If you follow his directions, you will have a working system when done.

Note: If you have a problem loading the gdata package like I did. You might have a unit with only 256k. To fix this, create a swap file on the system. 128k swap will be enough. (my first Raspberry Pi post talks about this)

Here is a video of my unit in action watching the cat post.
I have the motion.conf set to show 5 frames before motion is detected and 30 frames after motion has stopped in the video. Makes for a more complete video.

Now down to business.

The Parts:

Raspberry Pi B1 256mb (market price)
4gig SD card (DX.com $4)
Arch Linux (Free….)
Microsoft LifeCam HD-3000 Camera (used at garage sale $5, got to love garage sales!!!!!)
Wifi Dongle (Comfast CF-WU720N, bought it from DX.com  $8)
     -next time purchasing one with the external antenna.CF-WU730A $10
12 volt to 5 volts converter (DX.com as well $4)
JB Enclousure (HomeDepot 6x6x4″ $20)
White Vacuum couplers and tubing.(Leftovers from Centeral Vac install)
Clear glass cut to fit White Vacuum coupler ($5)
Misc stuff ($5)

Now if you want, you can down load my image from *****.  It fits on a 4gig or larger card and make the changes mentioned below and have a running system in a short while. (if this file is not accessible by the link, contact me and I will send a link to the file to you.)

You can use Win32diskimager to load the image on to the SD card.
My image is for a 4gig or larger SD card. You should not have to expand to full size of your SD if 4gigs or  larger, as all storage of video files is done on Google’s gdrive.

Ethernet is set to DHCP, so you will have to find your Ip address on the network before accessing the unit using Putty, Xshell or terminal program. ( I run my system headless… no monitor, keyboard or mouse)
Wifi is set DHCP.

Things you need to update to have working system:

Setup a Gmail account and gdrive information in the uploader file: /etc/motion/uploader.cfg
Wifi information: run wifi-menu , follow the programs prompts.  If you want to make static edit /etc/netctl/wlan0-??? file. Search the net for the proper information to place here. This is what I would have in mine:(the ESSID and Key will already be there from when you ran the wifi-menu script.)

DNS=(‘’ ‘’)

Motion information(if you want it act differently): Edit /etc/motion/motion.conf

Now change the Passwords for root and pi to make it your own.
Default for this image are:
User: root     Password: root
User: pi          Password: rpi

Reboot the unit and cross your fingers and you should be catching the neighbour’s dog pooping on your lawn.
Below I have attached pictures of the unit. Very simple and easy to build. If you can not cut the glass, visit your local glass shop, they can do it for you, if you ask nicely. Also plexi-glass will work as well.

Till next time, thanks for your time.


IMG_7531-800 IMG_7536-800 IMG_7533-800 IMG_7545-800 IMG_7522-800 IMG_7517-800 IMG_7529-800




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Raspberry PI Arch Linux visudo (sudoers file) edit using nano

by on Mar.30, 2014, under Electronic Projects, Raspberry Pi

Very Quick one!!!!

To be able to edit visudo using nano instead of vi, is great thing. This is not a permit fix, so you have to do it every time you need to edit visudo after a reboot.

export EDITOR=nano && sudo -E visudo
allows you to edit the sudoers file with nano.

Extra one for you…if you want to edit crontab with nano…
export EDITOR=nano
Will work for this. Same as above, it reset with a reboot.

Till next time, thanks for your time.

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Raspberry PI SSH Terminal Putty Xshell

by on Mar.30, 2014, under Electronic Projects, Raspberry Pi

This is a quick one. If you are using Putty for Windows and find it limited on its options, try Xshell. It is free for students or home use.

I like it as I can easily do tunneling and also allows me to do a simple cut an paste from window to window, or  to a text or word document with out it trying to paste it my command line. Also allows one to have multiple  tabs linked to the same location…great when working in two different areas in the RPI or different users.


Till next time, thanks for your time.







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Raspberry Pi Arch Linux Not Enough Memory Issue

by on Mar.30, 2014, under Electronic Projects, Raspberry Pi

Been a long time.

But pretty much have been wandering around wondering what to do. I got a used Raspberry Pi a some time ago and decided to start working in the Linux world for me and not just for work. 

The Arch Linux is a very robust and reliable. You add in only what you need to do the job.  But know that support from the general community is not as large as other loads. So be patient when looking for answers. This version is mostly for those who have a good understanding of Linux world.

I was working on project that required me to load in gdata. ( Google’s python library for many things, but for me I wanted the gdrive function)

Now my Raspberry Pi is of the older variety and it only has 256 mb memory. Which would be enough to run my project….but not enough to load the gdata library.

After a lot of reading and then taking the plunge…installed a swap file. (not a fan of swap files on embedded processors….can take up way to much of the processor and read/writes to a SD card)

-fallocate -l 128M /swapfile

-chmod 600 /swapfile

-mkswap /swapfile

-swapon /swapfile

Then add the following line to /etc/fstab.
/swapfile none swap defaults 0 0

After doing the above and rebooting….BAM…. and was able to installed gdata and the project moved forward. Great days!!!!

If wondering on a good place to start with the gdata, take a look at:

Motion-Dection RPI

Till next time, thanks for your time.




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Netgear SC-101 NAS Drive ( For Sale …Oh Hell-Give away!!!!! )

by on Aug.05, 2013, under FOR SALE, General Statements




Netgear SC-101 NAS Drive ( For Sale …Oh Hell-Give away!!!!! )

I have a Netgear NAS drive. Should just needs drives and Netgear only has windows drivers.

The drives need to be of the older style IDE interface.


I would like to trade it for something…but not sure it is worth that much.

So, if you want it, just let me know and we can get it sent out…shipping this in North America will cost about $22.

If interested let me know.

Till next time keep going outside and seeing if the sky has fallen.

P.S. A word of advise for this or any other NAS system you wish to use….put it on a UPS ( Uninterruptible power supply ). You will be happier if you do….



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Vonage V-Portal x2 For Sale

by on Aug.05, 2013, under FOR SALE, General Statements


Vonage V-Portal x2 For Sale

I have two Vonage V-Portal ‘s for sale.

Used them at the small shop I had…but sense then moved on to a Cable TV phone.

I am asking $15 each or two for $25 for both. (Offers/trades are welcome )

The cost to ship one will be about $16 in North America. Or about $25 to ship both. ( Canada Post not cheap to ship by. )

If interested let me know.

Thanks for your time…..enjoy the day.

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