Archives April 2007

Sunday 29th April 2007 - 12:04:28


RC Day today! Josh is coming over with is lunchbox and we're going down the park!

I nearly struck disaster though. My charger would not make a connection to the battery, so, I broke out the other mechanical charger - which was also borked. I took it apart and worked on it. The problem was threefold, one there were a number of dry joints about the place, two the trickle indicator globe was shorted and the ammeter shunt was not actually connected to the board!!! This meant that the charger was trying to charge the battery through the windings of the ammeter! I fixed all of this and re-assembled. It was now fine. The original charger, upon checking wasn't receiving the full 13.8 volts from the power supply - there was a corroded contact on the fuse holder which was to blame. A little scrape and re-fitting of the fuse and we're up again! Two working chargers, now that I have spent the time to fix the older one! I think I will keep the older one as it has a discharge function too. The circuit is also much more robust using a pair of 20W resistors as shunts.

Should be a good day!

Tuesday 24th - Saturday 28th April 2007 - 10:13:00

Another massive week. I just have no time! Today I will probably clean up a bit, there are some bits and pieces that I'd like to gather up and put in boxes so they are out of the way. On the cards is also re-visiting the mechanical speed control in my RC car that I resurected the other week. It seems that I have actually put too bigger resistor on it and it's wiping out the whole voltage and just extending the neutral contact.

Monday 23rd April 2007 - 21:21:02

What a massive day! I'm back up in the office this week working on SugarCRM again.

Sunday 22nd April 2007 - 11:05:58


I resurected my RC Car today. I replaced the shunt resistors and servos. I also had to repair one servo whos limiting wiper wasn't even touching the final output gear - so it was just continuously grinding away agains the mechanical limit (a lug on the final output spur). It turns out that the other radio and servos are OK but I can't mix them - they aren't compatible. I only have one set of crystals though =/

I found a perfect double-tapped resistor in my collection of bits and pieces recovered from old TVs and Stereos. I soldered that in and fitted a spacer to the old mount and it fits clsoe to perfect. Although I can't put the body on properly anymore =/ I will have to remedy that with some creative mounting or some agressive grinding =)

The buggy looks like something out of mad max - all battered and beaten, looks like it's cobbled together out of bits found in the desert!

I also had to repair my charger. It appears to be working but doesn't indicate it is. Well it pulls the current and the battery gets charged so it must be. All the voltage measurements I took worked OK. There are a few blown resistors. Perhaps a short inside - the resistors are only related to the indicator LEDs. The charger is a aligator clip type arrangement designed for a car battery. I hooked it up to my trusty Manson Power supply which can deliver up to 25 Amps at 15 Volts. It's going to come in handy later when I test motors and what not, though they will probably peak above 40A...

Speaking of repairs I came across two beautiful repairs I made about 10 years ago!

Saturday 21st April 2007 - 21:27:15

The Rack

I have assembled my rack and fitted all my gear into it. There was some trouble locating the screws to hold on the rack-ears for the Cisco 2924-XL-M switch though. There was some initial trouble with the orientation of the horizontals on the 19" wide side because they did't mesh with the verticals. So I had to pull it all apart (pain in the butt - friction fit joins) and then re-assemble it.

From The Top:
* Cisco 2924-XL-M with 2 x C2922-XL-V Dual 100 Base FX Fiber Modules.
* 3 Empty RU for Potential Cisco Routers Later.
* 56K Dialup Modem, Billion ADSL Router and Netgear Wireless Router.
* IBM 8045-012 Hub - Used for watching the LAN.
* D-Link 14 Port 10 Base T Switch + 2 x 100M uplinks.
* Cable Organiser
* Cisco 4000M with 2 x NP-1E (Ethernet) and 1 x NP-1RV2 (Token Ring) Interfaces.
* Dell Poweredge 2400 Server.

Tomorrow I am going to go through the bits of RC Car that I picked up from Mum and Dad's today. I had the wrong idea about the bits being together, as in something that resembled a car. It will be interesting to see what I can cobble together with these bits. I have a Tamiya Super Hornet with a smashed front, and cracked gearbox, broken wing. I have a Tamiya HotShot which is pretty slawed too. It's actually not in one piece, got cracked suspension mounts (tricky single-shock suspension) and probably gearbox troubles. I also need to fix the front gearbox and re-install the center shaft so that it does 4WD again... I have two body halves, the gear train, shocks and running gear are all in bits in my container (I'm not usually one to misplace bits - although I can forget where I "organised" them to...). I have an Attack II Control in unknown condidtion with - of all things - a 9v battery snap on it that I have obviously modded in there at some time. Ah the modding started early. I have crystals which is an excellent start and two radio recievers. Now one RX is in the parts box and the other is in the car. I'd say one is dead. Guess which =)

Unfortunately I couldn't find my l33t 13T (that's 13 turns), pretty labelled bright looking, fins at the back and replaceable brushes racing motor. It's gotta be somewhere at Mum and Dad's still. That was good I got it for like $5 years and years ago, we are talking pre-highschool. So, I dunno, maybe 8+ years ago. Bougth brushes and stuck them in and cleaned it all up - but never used it.

I have a lot of small nuts, bolts and washers available from my electronics collection that I am pretty sure I will need! I also need to track down some resistors for the speed controllers - or get an ESC. Probably resistors for now 'cus they're going to be free =) In my wisdom I had removed the resistors and jumpered them, so, it's either full-throttle or nothing on the speed control at the moment. Now that I actually know why they are there and what they do - I think I will put them back, they chew power though. I have a backup remote control that I bought for $8.50 from eBay and also a set of ball-bearings for $9 including the teeny tiny ball bearing in the middle of the diff!!! This will help with run-time. Some of the cheaper upgrades until I get a car working ! If I get ambitious I will make my own ESC, I can probably look at that now pretty easilly. There is a DC Motor Controller Kit from *shudder* Dick Smith that would be easy to modify as an ESC. It's a little bigger than a bought one but will pack lots more punch and would have a better current-handling capacity. If not, there's always eBay Cool

Saturday 21st April 2007 - 10:16:32

Today I'm going to assemble my rack and put all the switchgear in it. I need to take out one of my existing shelves first though. Lots of stuff to move.

Sunday 15th April 2007 - 19:21:13


Today I went to Josh's new house to install a LAN. We managed to get all the cable pulls done but unfortunately it was getting late so I had to go before I finished. The cables for the "Cyber Den" are all pulled though the floor and ready to take sockets though. The patch panel is also neatly finised. I also ran out of time with the phone as there was a dodgy connection in the phone line where the outcoming cable was not following standard. Unfortunately I didn't have time to pull apart the connection and inspect it. The connection is a nasty one by the looks of it. Three cables coming into a bundle of twisted-and-taped type joins. No solder it seems. I will see though apon further insepction.

Saturday 14th April 2007 - 19:20:12

Much vegetation. Not much news.

Friday 13th April 2007 - 19:18:47


It's now burned permanently into my brain!

Pull R9, R10, R11. Break the trace from pin 6 to the +10V rail. Repace R10 with a 3.3KR 1/4W Carbon Film Resistor. Replace R11 with a 33 microfarad 35 volt electrolytic capacitor with negative facing the SCR. Turn the board over. Scrape the broken pin 6 trace on the pin 6 side. Solder a 15V Zener Diode from pin6 trace to ground. Solder a 1n4148 signal diode from pin3 to pin 6. Add a 680p ceramic cap in parallel with C2 on the back of the board. Run a 330K 1/4W Metal Film Resistor in heatshrink from pin 6 to active after the fuse.
Fit the power cord, socket and mounting block. done.

I modified 16 boards in this way - it doesn't seem like it'd take so long. It took me a little over 8 hours. It is delicate work though and must be done accurately or the board will toast it's self. Something different. I did enjoy it - even though I was stuffed after 8 hours of soldering and assembly =)

Thursday 12th April 2007 - 18:53:05

What a massive day! Programming, Electronics and Sales. I'm still working on the supplier pricing updater. I learned a modification to a lighting board that needs to be made on a number of units for an associated company - The actual run of modifications I will be doing tomorrow. I also worked on our other project - the SugarCRM modification.

Wednesday 11th April 2007 - 20:22:40


Today I started work customising the SugarCRM objects that we have chosen that are most suited to hold our customer's data. Other than that it was the sales floor for the rest of the day!

I have acquired an IBM 8245-012 100 MBit Ethernet Hub from my boss. Hub you say? Yes, Hub. Stick a hub inbetween you and the LAN so you can monitor all the traffic - once I set up port mirroring on the cisco switch. This is an inegral part of troubleshooting a LAN at a higher level than just LED on equals link. Slowly I will build up a lab for learning. I really need to get at least a CCNA I think at this stage. The knowledge I would gain would be excellent. I am currently a bit weak on the complexities of routing. I have no doubt I will learn what I need to learn from the "intermanet". I have an audio rack here which will be suited fine for communications gear. I need a few of the higher/medium end routers to work with though. Currently I have a 4000 series router and a shelf that I can use to add it into the rack. It's only 18RU and 450mm deep anyway - I can't add my dell servers into it, besides, they've got no rack rails anyway.

Tuesday 10th April 2007 - 19:40:22


Back to work! Automagic updates of prices from the supplier. The code does it, but needs work on it's mechanics. Getting the pricelist from the passworded area of the suppliers website, loading it up and unziping it all with a few commands in the console issued through a web-interface. I love wget, wget is my friend =)

We started discussing the work we needed to do on the crm + asterisk project we have undertaken. It's going to work well I reckon - just a matter of moulding SugarCRM into something that matches the customer's business logic and work flow.

Monday 9th April 2007 - 22:37:47

The last of my four days of relaxation! I played some WoW and vegetated for the day.

Sunday 8th April 2007 - 19:33:57

Today we went to my Nana and Grandpa's house for an Easter Lunch. Liam had great fun. My Sister Jen and her Boyfriend Chris were there, Mum and Dad and of course Grandpa and Nana.

Saturday 7th April 2007 - 23:32:09

I played a lot of World of Warcraft today. More grinding of skills, but this time mainly with an alt and Enchanting.

Friday 6th April 2007 - 10:32:03

Lots and lots of World of Warcraft. Mainly Cooking and Leatherworking grinding. I then logged on my alt and played that for a while, a lvl 16 enchanter. I was grouped with Azen's (A guildie) alt character which is 23 and quested in darkshire. I died quite a few times because 16 is just too low for that area. I ended up logging on Zag and taking Azen's Alt though one of the harder quests (Killing lots of Plague Spreaders). I also caught up on some more Stargate Atlantis.

Thursday 5th April 2007 - 18:41:21


I didn't get as much coding done as I would have liked today. I had to re-install windows on a customers laptop as well as serve customers on the sales floor for a large chunk of the day. I did manage to create a tool I think will be usefull and reusable in other jobs. Its a simple report on categories for OSCommerce/CRELoaded that lists each of the categories and it's sub-categories with a count of them and it's active products. This will come in handy when debugging for me, but may also be handy for the product content maintainers. You can clearly and easilly see the tree structure of categories of the entire site.

I managed to get a little WoW time in tonight. I levelled up cooking a fair way with a big grind of Cooked Mightfish. I had like 80 of them that I cooked up and raised my skill to nearly 300! I had run out of money by that point and had to stop grinding. I had some leather and thread in the bank so I also made some Fine Leather Pants to grind up my Leather Working skill a bit.

Wednesday 4th April 2007 - 18:22:00


Worked on the price changes and $4/$9 rounding for most of today. It's inter-woven into everything! Because of the nature of our custom system builder the shopping cart doesn't store the contents of the system, so the discount price must be pulled out and calculated on the fly per-section. Probably about 20 files needed changing! But, I've done it and It appears to test OK. I'm going to get a few people to try it out now and check everything with a calculator.

I also went through my phone and found this join that I made on a CAT-5 cable in the ceiling cavity. That was a feat =)

Tuesday 3rd April 2007 - 11:08:29


The joys of OSCommerce. I'm getting a lot better at working with it. It's a lot more familiar to me now. I have been working on a system builder for a customer and a discount must be applied when the condition of a full system is met. Easy right? Well, not really =) It is very difficult to manipulate the price of a product under a certain set of conditions. It works now at least!

Vegetated at home. Not really much got done at all.

Monday 2nd April 2007 - 21:22:32

It's on now! 3 days to write a slew of features for an OSCommerce installation. Should be fun. I worked on a package discount today which OSCommerce doesn't do. I nearly finished it and stayed back a little bit longer. Oh well, tomorrow. I also visited Josh today. We took home the boxes of cable and Patch Panel for his LAN. I'm going to build him a structured LAN for his house.

Sunday 1st April 2007 - 08:01:40

Poor Liam is upset because Bambaloo is not on. At least he has good taste! It's a Jim Henson production.

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