Why am I Still Waiting? Wating for the Perfect Tablet.

As I have said in other posts, I know I am far from the typical consumer especially when it comes to electronic devices. However it seems there is a good demand for a Hybrid (my preference) or convertable Windows 8 tablet out there with some what really seem to be basic functions.

After reading several other blogs and many, many forum posts I have come up with what I would think would be the perfect tablet;

  • Haswell i5 or i7 CPU
  • 4+GB of RAM (8GB or greater preferred, prehaps as an option)
  • 256GB+ SSD in tablet
    • Addition HDD in dock simular to ASUS & HP Designs (if Hybrid, else secondary HDD)
  • 12.5″-13.3″ Screen
    • 1920×1080 or greater resolution
    • Ideally edge to edge screen
  • 802.1ac Wireless
  • Wacom Active Digitizer
  • 3G/4G connection
  • Secondary battery in base (if hybrid)

Not overly fancy but there you have it

SafeDuino – Part 05: First Released Part Sketches

Further to my last post on the subject I have had a little time, or rather made a little time and created two boards for use in the movement of power and data from the EtherMega to where it’s needed. The first is a RJ12 connection so 4 data pins are possible, the second is a RJ45 connection so 6 possible data connections.

Both boards are double-sided, and have multiple power inputs/outputs and are designed in such a way as to be stackable either vertically, horizontally or both to allow a layer cake effect for these connections, there is a row of single header pins at the “back” for the board and you can mount either horizontal or vertical pins in it, or as I intend to do, pins at an approximately 45 degree angle, but we will see how that works.

As the boards use standard header pins for all instances it is possible to integrate them into your own circuits, however where possible I would recommend integrating the RJ12/RJ45 part directly just to eliminate un-neccicary connections and components.

Anyway eithout futher adu;

RJ12

RJ12

RJ45

RJ45

Fritzing Files

RJ12Connector

RJ45Connector

SafeDuino – Part 04: Further Afield – A Complete Redesign?

After having not had much time to work on this project in the past few months, with a major half-million dollar project going on at one of my clients, which was/is the implantation of a new computer system of my own design that will be serving them for the next 20 years or more (well the physical infrastructure will be, the PC’s wireless, network, servers etc won’t they are replaced on a 3 year cycle, again on my insistence) and with one of the suppliers delivering critical components in excess of week late it has pushed back the final deployment for a couple of months as now I can only do core works on weekends and after hours, I have not had much time for this project.

What I have been doing/contemplating is two things however, firstly is whether I need an LCD screen/buttons interface, and I have decided that I do need one, this has become evident so that I can set up the system “in place” when it is finally deployed.

The other thing I want to do is be able to deploy some sensors and control circuits remotely, including some in hard to access places, well ones that once they are in they will not be easily accessible. To this end I have come up with the idea of using network cable for limited power (5VDC for system power) and command and control signals, and where required I will use Flat-Flex Cables’ (FFC’s)  to get into those tight spots that I cannot otherwise support sensors in. 

 What this leaves me with is a system that is essentially divided into three distinct parts, the main controller (the Freeduino EtherMega) the distribution node which is connected to the EtherMega via network cable, and the sensors and control points are connected to the distribution nodes via CAT3 (telephone) cabling or via FFC’s (which are limited to 18″) where required.

This now leaves me of working out how to select which pins go to which distribution point via the network cabling, this I am still trying to solve, however jumper wires are looking like the best option at this point

HangGoose: The Evolution of a Design?

I am a SCUBA diver, licensed for 40Meters (~130 Feet) with IANTD Advanced Nitrox endorsements, and ultimately I aim to get up to Trimix rebreathers, but that is still a ways off. Anyway, with SCUBA, it is imperative you keep your gear in top condition and more so with mixed gas and technical diving as a failure at depth can easily be fatal.

Wetsuits, drysuits and the other protective equipment such as the booties, hoods and gloves retain water, (drysuit as the name suggests, doesn’t but it still is wet externally) are central to the safe (and comfortable) diving in the area I live, and for maintenance it is imperative to dry these out properly to maximise the life of them it does this by helping prevent mould or other nasties growing inside the equipment.

Most people put their wetsuits on a normal coat hanger style device to dry them out. This, however is not so good for the equipment as the added weight of the water, in the case of some wetsuits is quite a bit (in my case its about 5KG of water is retained by the suit) and this puts extra strain on the shoulders of the suit where it is hung on a conventional hanger, leading over time to weakening and degradation, and over time failure of the materials in this area of the wetsuit.

This is where the HangGoose comes in, hangs the wetsuit at its waistline putting the area of support for the suit over a larger area thereby causing less strain on any one section of the suit. This is evident through simple logic as if a suit hung by its shoulders at lets say 10KG (weight of the suit plus the weight of the water) then all 10KG is hanging below (and on) the shoulders with all the weight pulling in one direction. Conversely if we hang it at its midpoint then whilst the 10KG is still putting downward strain on the wetsuit, due to it having two downward points there is only half the strain and weight of the suit on any one point as they are balanced on the HangGoose, thereby reducing the amount of strain experienced by the suit which in turn extends its useful life. The other benefit of the midpoint hanging is that you have two “low points” allowing the water to drain (under gravity) from both the upper and lower half of the suits simultaneously, and with only having half the distance to travel the water drains quicker, drying the suit quicker.

The HangGoose, as shown below this is really nothing more than a fancy coat hanger, but this one is designed for surfers mainly. However many people are using it for SCUBA wetsuits as well, as the wetsuits involved are similar enough (generally they are just thicker) that it suits that purpose.

WP 20130718 001

WP 20130718 003

 

Now Recently I was sent an email stating that the price of the HangGoose would go up at the end of that month, considering that with the falling Australian Dollar, and the fact I was looking at getting a Drysuit so I could dive a little more comfortably during the winter period, I decided to grab one before the price went up, nothing unusual there. What did catch me by surprise though was the fact that when it arrived a week or so later, the design had changed considerably.

This is what I first saw when I got it out of the box;

WP 20130718 008
A bit of a change in this version hey…

 

Now as shown in the first set of pictures the design for the HangGoose was and is purely functional, some pieces of reclaimed teak, or at least the original was claimed that it was (something about floorboards if I recall correctly), the site now claims that it is heirloom quality teak. The new design has changed from this “chunky” original design, to a new design on the suit hanging area that is more rounded, I was taken a bit aback by this considering that the original design as above is still predominantly featured on their home page, and yes whilst the new design is in the photo gallery I did not look at that, as I had no need to see it being used as I had one.

Below is a side by side comparison of the two HangGoose wetsuit areas:

WP 20130718 004WP 20130718 009

 

As you can see the design has changed to a more “elegant” rounded one, and whilst I like the original, I do believe that the new design will provide a better support to the wetsuit or drysuit hung off it, all in all I am happy with the new design.

All in All I love both my HangGoose’s (HangGeese?) and I highly recommend them

Product Review: Rifle Rods

I have been thinking about doing this review for a while, but had not got up to doing it…. until now.

As you may have inferred from previous posts, I am a shooter, and considering where I live (Australia, for those who have not worked it out from the domain) I do have a rather extensive, and expensive collection of longarms (well for Australia at least), and as with any hobby, space is always at a premium. Due to this, and the fact I have plans to double my collection over time, I had to find space to fit more into the (do more with less anyone??). Considering I already had two safes, one being used to store ammunition and the other the firearms themselves, as to comply with Australian law, I had to get as much into the Hy-Skor (Hyskor) HSCH2 (a 30 longarm safe) as possible. As anyone who has had a firearms safe with any type of modern scoped rifle in it, can attest there is no way you can fit the stated capacity in the safe as it is (if I am to believe what I am told) based on how many shotguns, specifically over/under shotguns it can fit, not rifles.

So it is with this starting situation I start looking for solutions, as it happens someone else at the time over at Shooting.com.au (No longer a forum) was looking for something called Rifle Rods (available through Store More Guns) them, and I saw the thread and my interest was piqued. After some research I decided to purchase some on my trip to the US in December 2012/January 2013, and this is exactly what I did, I purchased them and had them delivered to my hotel in San Francisco, then flew back with them.

After several months of having other things to do, including hours of catch up work for taking 6 weeks off (is it really a holiday if you come back and do the work anyway?) I finally got around to doing the first part of the install in April. The first part is/was the modifying of the safe itself, whilst strictly not required and I could have put the special hook and loop material onto the bottom of the shelves and internal compartment, I would have only got about two thirds of the possible shelf space. So instead I took measurements using the pre existing mounting points for the firearms and the pre-existing shelves and internal compartment bottoms to get dimensions for shelves, these turned out to be as follows;

Shelf: 590mm in width; 360mm in depth with 2 folds on the 590mm edge adding another 10mm for each fold, and the material being 1.5mm steel
Internal Compartment Bottom Extension: 540mm in width; 360mm in depth with 1 fold on the 540mm edge adding another 10mm for the fold, and the material being 1.5mm steel

Which I then took to a local metalshop and got them to fold me the new larger shelves, when this was done both shelves were then primed with 2 coats of Kill Rust primer that I purchased from the local hardware store, as well as a top coat of “hammer tone” black to make it more closely match the powder coating of the safe. I also cut and fitted the Hook and Loop material to the bottom of the shelf and the bottom extension, with the shelf also getting a piece of non slip matting being cut for its upper part. That was the easy part done, now to install them.

To install the shelf was the easy part of the installation process, simply take the old one out, and put the new one in, the extension to the internal compartment bottom was a whole different ballgame.

To affix this new bottom/shelf to the safe I firstly had to remove the lining from under the compartment, this was very, very well adhered to the bottom of the compartment with some form of glue, so after about an hour of scraping away at it will a scraper, and making a mess in general but I eventually got a clean(ish) surface to work with, I then proceeded to use SikaBond to glue it to the base, using various objects from around the safe area to hold it in place until the SikaBond had dried, then plus a few days to ensure it had cured.

Once this was done it was simply a matter of re-installing the lighting system and putting the rifles and other bits back in. Now I have not only a safe that will hold the advertised amount, but more than the advertised amount I believe, but I will have to find out at some point.

Overall I am very happy with this, I do want to make a couple of modifications to the system, namely for the shotguns where the rods really need a rubber or silicon part attached to the rods that makes them a little wider so they sit properly upright, I suppose I had better break out the moulding gear and the vacuum chamber.

Now back to the Arduino Project.

More Arduino Project Stuff

Just thought I would make a quick entry in a couple of spare minutes to state that I have decided to “split” the Arduino system, well rather the PCB’s as I was simply trying to do to much on one PCB so what I have done is split the power supply onto one board, and as I am splitting it I have taken the opportunity to add a second regulator to the design for 3.3volt along with its associated smoothing capacitors so I can integrate 3.3v electronics into the system in the future if I want, besides I can then intergrate the powerboard design into other projects making the extra PCB’s I will purchase usefull as most places have a minimum run of 4 or 5, which means that for the once of projects its not paticuarly useful, but if I design it right the first time I can use the board on other projects as well. On this board as well will be the two OPAMP’s and the linear optocoupler to allow for the monitoring of the power via a plug in lead to the board, meaning that in total there will be 2 leads to the board, the first one carrying power (12VDC, 5VDC, 3.3VDC and ground) and the second one being the voltage monitoring.

I will release the designs for it once I have built it and tested it

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