Category: misc


Hello,

I don’t have much hair left since I passed the age ofย  25. It is no point going to the hairdresser, so I use a hair cutter machine. When I moved to Sweden in 2007 I bought a very simple machine in a local general store. The machine is called Coline. This brand is rather low-end, Clas Ohlson has many type of appliances within this brand.

The machine is battery driven and has a partly plastic blade.

20141231_204126_coline

20141231_204143_coline

Coline

Coline

The battery degraded during the years, despite that I tried to take care of it. Being a Ni-MH unit I tried to deplete it before I started charging. End of 2014 it really became unstable in its operation (motor revolutions variated very much), so I decided to go for a new unit. I speak some rubbis, my wife convinced me that I should buy a new unit. Then she bought me a new unit actually ๐Ÿ™‚

I made some research and used my “extensive knowledge” about hair cutters. None of the battery driven hair cutters convinced me, so I started to look at the ones that are driven on the mains. Much better selection. You can find some pretty serious machines with cord for much less money than the ones on battery drive.

I am partly German, so I liked very much the brand MOSER. Their products mean business, just look at them. These are machines that you usually see at the barber.

I decided to go for the Moser 1400. I really like that they even show the core of the electric motor. This is a nice touch…

Motor core

 

I tried the new machine and it is a bliss to use. You can select the length between 0,1 to 3 mm. I cut my hair to 3 mm, so no need to play around with any interface. Just select the length, lock the lever and off you go.

The machine is very silent and has a good feel and weight. The cord is not disturbing for me, not being dependent on degrading battery power is a clear advantage. The motor feals strong, no speed change when cutting hair. The unit feels very solid and stable.

20141230_210550_moser

It is easy to remove the blade and clean the unit. Video instructions.

Made in Hungary, funny.

Made in Hungary, funny.

The two units side-to-side look similar in size. But the feel of the Moser is much more serious.

Coline vs Moser

Coline vs Moser

The weight is also different. For me more weight means more metal and more quality.

Coline weight: 217g

Coline weight: 217g

Moser weight: 436g

Moser weight: 436g

As I understand on some markets this unit is sold under the brand WAHL, as well. Probably US.

20141230_210834_moser

After using this machine I have the feeling that with some maintenance and cleaning it would serve me for 20 years. The construction is solid and shines quality. The weight and the feel provides confidence, that this is a professional item.

The real bonus was the price. The Moser costs exactly the same money I payed for the “cheap” plastic Coline cutter. Quality does not have to be expensive, it looks like.

With best regards,

Sir Crash a Lot

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2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,100 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 35 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Hello,

I am working on an exciting project. I am converting my Turnigy 9X radio to FrSky. In my other post I wrote about what parts were needed to do the conversion. Now I am trying to give a short summary of how I managed with the actual work.

As it turned out the DIY kit of FrSky is somewhat different of the one that RC Model Review tutorial uses. He used the old module, that was available by that time he made his review. The new kit has a switch for telemetry mode and firmware update.

FrSky DIY kit switch

I had to find some space for that switch. I drilled a hole on the back of radio under the metal support.

3-way switch (telemetry and firmware update)

3-way switch (telemetry and firmware update)

I faced some complication when I wanted to use my epoxy glue to fix the small circuit board with the bind switch and status light. The epoxy got wrong it the bottle, I had to discard it. Placed an order on new epoxy from local hobby shop but it will arrive only in a couple of days.

I followed the instructions when I installed the small programming board from Smartieparts. Rather easy to do. The small board that has USB connection has perfect fit in the radio back, in the battery compartment. Just slides into a cavity without glitch. This board enables even backlighting of screen, I haven’t ordered that though. So far I haven’t felt the need for lit screen.

Smartieparts USB connector 9X board Smartieparts 9X board Smartieparts board in place

Another important part was the battery upgrade. I left the original connector in the radio and cut the wire to the AA-battery compartment. Then I soldered on a servo connector to be able to use the matching connector on the Li-Fe battery pack. I not only double-checked but triple-checked the polarity. Did not want to perform inverse polarity failure.

Polarity!!!

Polarity!!!

Double heat shrink Ready to connect

I had the most trouble with the radio antenna. In the original review from RC Model Reviews that old FrSky module does not have a small washer on the antenna sleeve. The new one has. It is there for having a better mechanical connection. However it was more difficult to push through the plastic feature of my radio. I think the reason is that my radio was already modified once by its previous owner, so some of it parts were already altered. It should work most probably fine on a brand new unit. After some gentle violence I managed to get the antenna in place.

When I made the holes on the top of the radio to be able to get access to binding switch and status light I did not use any template. I just drilled one hole, put the small unit there and marked the next hole by eyeballing it. Then drilled it. And it went all right. I did not use a battery drilling machine, I only have a big machine, so was rather careful not to drill too deep into the radio. Went OK.

I received my glue so I can finalize the position of binding switch. I need to do the most tricky part of the build, the actual soldering of the DIY kit connections. When that is ready I can proceed as RC Model Reviews shows in his tutorial and build together the radio.

Soldered and added heat shrink to protect leads

Soldered and added heat shrink to protect leads

Used velcro to secure module

Used velcro to secure module

Velcro to secure module

Velcro to secure module

Module in the middle to not block metal contacts.

Module in the middle to not block metal contacts.

Bind switch "spacers"

Bind switch “spacers”

Bind switch spacer glued into housing.

Bind switch spacer glued into housing.

When all the building part is ready on the transmitter I need to refresh the software to er9X firmware as well. That will be a major leap for the radio software interface. Then I also need to change the radio receiver to FrSky on my Easystar plane. A lot of work is left actually.

As for today I checked if the radio can be turned on. It works, I did not make any fatal mistake yet. Good news, I was afraid that the “magical smoke” might get out of the radio… ๐Ÿ™‚

With best regards,

Sir Crash a Lot

Hello,

I was participating at Winter indoor flights earlier but never could fly for real. I made some practicing with my Lama v3 helicopter and watched the others fly with their special indoor planes.

Now the time has come for me to join as a flying participant. I ordered a nice indoor plane and some matching electronics.

The plane is an Extra 300 made from EPP material. Has 830 mm wingspan and a high visibility colour scheme.

ap-e300-epp-3_9628 ap-e300-epp-1_9626

According to the description this can take some crashes without being converted to confetti. In my case this is not only a good plus point, it is more or less a basic requirement. I think I will need to get some good practice in simulator.

I found a clip where a really expert level pilot flies such a plane indoors. Amazing piece of piloting.

I will be happy to just fly around without touching the walls or other hard surfaces.

As for the electronics I went for the following list of components.

Turnigy 19 gram brushless motor.

2S 370 mAh battery.

HXT900 servos.

10A ESC.

GWS propeller. A lot of them to have spares ๐Ÿ™‚

I planned to use my existing Turnigy 9X v2 radio with it. I have 4 extra receivers, got them together with the radio. Then I have got some second thoughts.

I was watching a lot of reviews about FrSky radios earlier and started to be interested. Rc Model Reviews had some great reviews of FrSky. They just launched a new transmitter, it looks like a very capable piece of kit. Maybe a bit too much for me right now, but I keep it in mind as a possible upgrade for later. My current knowledge and experience does not really need such a high spec radio.

Then I came across a nice review of Turnigy 9X radios and how they can be upgraded to a much more flexible system and also software. The original firmware of 9X radios is a bit cumbersome to use. Rather illogical menu system and some limitations. The receiver is huge and heavy for a foamy plane (18 grams). However it is possible to modify it with some cheap items. The result is a very capable radio unit that still has an exceptionally low price.

With FrSky DIY kit you can actually convert your 9X radio to FrSky protocol. A more robust protocol with great range and features.

With a clever little programming card called SmartieParts 9X it is possible to reflash the radio to er9x firmware even.

This will enable unlimited swith mapping. Anything can be assigned to any switch on the radio. Also it extends model memory to 16 planes (originally 8 memories). And with er9x software you get a more logical menu system.

To be able to fly my Easystar with FrSky radio protocol I need to retrofit it with a compatible receiver. So I purchased a receiver with telemetry. A nice feature, I could for instance see the battery voltage while flying. As I understand I can set a warning even for low voltage. Will check how this works.

For the indoor plane I bought a small 5-channel receiver. It weighs only 2 grams (!!!)

5-channel

This unit is so small that I will need to solder micro servo connectors onto the servos.

To really upgrade my radio I also bought a LiFe battery specially made for transmitters.

Transmitter battery pack

This battery will replace the current array of 8 AA cells. Charging 8 pieces of Ni-Mh AA batteries takes ages and they are hard to maintain on the long run. A TX battery on LiFe will give true voltage reading for the radio and it provides 10V against LiPo batteries which would overdrive the radio circuit board.

I will have a major upgrade when everything will be ready. First I need to get hold of the packages. Chinese celebrations mean that hobby parts are delayed. Now the celebrations are already over, so hopefully next week my package will get posted and travel to Sweden from Hong Kong. Exciting it is.

Weather is turning into Autumn, so indoor flight season is soon to be started. As I understand from 1st of November we can fly again at the school sports hall. Not much time left to build my plane.

With best regards,

Sir Crash a Lot

NAS installation

Hello,

I studied the possibility of adding a NAS into my home network for some time. NAS stands for Network Attached Storage. It is basically a small home server that can provide additional storage and/or backup solution even.

You can either build one or buy one. Building is lot of fun if you know what you do and have time for setting up the result. If you build one you can even have a lot of performance. If you buy one ready-made device you will not really need to worry about setting it up, you are provided with handy wizards. That is my way, I am far from being an expert.

I read a lot of reviews, figured out that I would either pick a Synology or a QNAP device. They are the best as far as I understand.

Checked out the specs and prices on both sides and then finally went for a QNAP TS-419P II device. It has 4 bays, you can either use 3.5″ or 2.5″ discs. I went for 3.5″ SATA discs, 3 terabytes each. My strategy is to start with 2 discs at once, these will be set up as Raid1 or Mirror configuration.

This will provide good data safety, since data is duplicated. You get some speed benefit as well, since data can be read and written at increased speed. Only capacity will suffer, you don’t get double capacity. However if you add 2 more discs you can upgrade to Raid5, where you get a lot of storage and good data safety as well.

Installation is easy. You read the manual and follow the steps. Mount the drives, fix them with bolts, be sure to choose right size depending on disc size. You need different for 2.5″ and 3.5″ discs. The trays slide in place and the drive connectors get connected when you lock them in place.

If you have gigabit speed router you can have decent speed even with a slow hard drive. Since I wanted to have silence, I went for 5400 RPM discs that are cool and silent. The more speed you want the more heat and noise you have to tolerate. A note on discs: always choose discs that are approved by the NAS manufacturer. Then it will work for sure.

In a review of the predecessor model you can see what speeds are possible. My very simple testing of moving favourite car show episodes from the computer to the NAS showed approximately 50 megabytes per sec speed. Decent enough for me.

Sound is depending on what you perform on the device. The device can be set up to go into sleep (or standby) after a defined time period of inactivity. Then the disks shut off and only the cooling fan will run. It is controlled by temperature sensors, can be adjusted either manually or automatically. Rather quiet, even in a living room. You can even define a shutdown and startup schedule if you want to save energy. The device can wake up on LAN input.

If you have disc-intensive operations the discs will sound as well. This noise is depending on the type and amount of discs you use. I haven’t got an accurate device to measure noise, however on my phone there is an application that can measure noise levels. More like a gimmic than accurate results, though.

When the discs were doing some copying I held the phone close to the device and measured noise. There was some background noise (my wife doing something in the other room), so this is far from being scientific. Anyhow, a picture of the readings. Low figures are like idle fan noise, high numbers are peaks of disc noise and ambient.

Only fan noise: 27 dB

Peak: 54 dB

It is important to choose hard drives so that their seeking noise is not disturbing. Softer tonality can be less disturbing than sharp “metallic” seeking noise.

Both Synology and QNAP has browser-base interfaces. You type in the IP-adress of your NAS and access then through graphical interface. Even I can fathom it.

You can do a lot of settings, it would be beyond the scope of this short review to talk about them. There is handy live demo on the homepage of both manufacturers, so you can try out how it works.

Right now I am moving all my RC-related files onto the NAS, so that they are both safe and won’t take up space on the computer itself.

All-in-all I am very satisfied with the device, can recommend it.

With best regards,

Sir Crash a Lot

Winter sleep…

Hello,

Right now there is not much activity on the blog, but I shall return during the Spring with more RC action.

Best regards,

Sir Crash a Lot

Video rendering test w1146

Hello,

I mentioned earlier that I am considering updating my computer due it’s being very old. I am trying to not get trapped in the consumer spiral so don’t update it very often. Actually it was last updated (or rather built) 2005. As it is 2011 now that’s 6 years of service life in a world where IT stuff gets outdated and old after 6 months.

My old computer was built following 2 major prerequisites: it had to be quiet and stable. So I opted for components that are more stable (mature) than fast. And I went for little higher quality casing, PSU (power supply unit) and fans than the usual average. Everything was hand-picked.

The configuration is as follows:

– AMD Athlon64 3200+ CPU

– 1 gigabyte of RAM

– ATI Radeon X800 GTO2 VGA (equivalent to X800XL)

– 19″ CRT screen that is dizzy and flickers above resolution of 1024×768, so I used it at 1024 resolution at 100 Hz.

This was quite okay until the HD-era (high definition) arrived. I could do virtually anything on the computer. Process images, panoramas, small videos and some RC simulation. With time it became quite slow though. Even when you try to use as old software as possible the required performance is increasing. A simple web browser eats up all the RAM, a virus defense program can bring down the computer on its knees. Not mentioning video playback and processing. The increase of quality (ant bitrate) demands more and more power.

So the upgrade was difficult to avoid. I thought about getting a modern VGA card, that helps with HD playback. That could have worked, but does not solve the issue of lacking computing power when doing video editing. Changing some component starts a domino-effect, I had to change everything at once.

So I went for a new computer instead, one that I could buy through my consulting company where I am employed. This is beneficial from a financial standpoint.

The prerequisites were a bit adjusted. It has to be very quick, very silent and of course very stable. I did not want to build it myself, so I went for a ready package instead. Thought a lot about some DELL, but one special demand made me think further.

I wanted to have a screen that has following characteristics: IPS-panel with at least FullHD resolution and LED backlighting. Could find screens with one of this characteristics but there is very few with both same time at this time when I write this very text. As fas as I know it is only Apple that has such a screen.

I thought that if I buy something it has to last for some years, hopefully at least 3 years, so I chose something with nice design and solid package deal. I went for an Apple iMac. Joined the dark side ๐Ÿ™‚

The specs are as follows:

– Core i7 CPU at 3.4 GHz, I think it is called 2600. Has 4 cores and all of them simulate further 2, so in Task Manager you see 8 cores ๐Ÿ™‚

– 4 gigabytes of RAM, I will extend this to 12 gigabytes soon (just in case)

– ATI Radeon HD 6970 with 2 gigabytes of VRAM

– 27″ S-IPS LED-backlit screen with 2560×1440 resolution

I am delighted to say that this meets and surpasses my dreams of a workstation. Has the same noise as a good laptop, virtually silent. The screen is a dream, I cannot really fathom that such resolution is possible. The power is insane, will talk about that in a moment.

What do I need power for actually? Well power is something that you can always have in computer world. It is never enough maybe. This time it is quite enough though ๐Ÿ™‚

What I was after is to have a fluent workflow in video editing, a nice fluid speed impression while using the user interface. Not being limited by resolution, if I record in 720p for instance the computer should handle it without problem. And rendering speed is also something I wanted to have. To not wait one and a half hours for rendering some 10 minutes of Youtube video. And maybe have the possibility of using the computer while rendering.

Also running a RC simulator on decent detail level is a demand. I made some studies about system requirements for Aerofly 5 simulator. This is one of future projects to test and run. I took into consideration the official specs on Aerofly homepage and the reviews of Nightflyyer. The VGA card that sits in this computer surpasses demands so it should provide me good amount of simulation fun and joy for the eyes of detail level.

Now some testing. I am quite square-headed so we have to get some Excel-chart soon ๐Ÿ™‚

I recorded some simple footage with my Hobbyking HD Wing Camera and processed it as a picture-in-picture footage. A small 1/4 size frame was superimposed onto the top-right corner. I measured rendering time under following conditions.

Rendered in 640×480 resolution and WMW 11 format with 3 megabits per second bitrate. On the old computer I used Powerdirector 9 and Sony Vegas Movie Studio 9.0 and noted rendering times. On new computer I used the brand new Sony Vegas Movie Studio 11.0 version. Please find my short video about how responsive user interface I have now and what results I ended up with.

I have the chart as a still picture, you can read the results there. The new computer is approximately 6x faster under rendering. I am happy with this. I made a terrible mistake. Wrote 2200+ instead of 3200+ on the chart. My memory has some leaks as it seems ๐Ÿ™‚

I will test further different aspects of the new computer. So far so good.

With best regards,

Sir Crash a Lot

Hello,

I purchased a shiny new Hobbyking HD Wing Camera recently. Did test it but haven’t wrote a post yet. Now it is high time then.

This camera is slightly bigger than the simple keyfob camera. To summarize the parameters I can write a small comparison for you. HD camera first, SD keyfob second.

Resolution: 5 megapixel vs 0.3

Video resolution: 1280×720 vs 640×480

Memory card needed: Class 10 MicroSDHC (on both)

Price: 35 USD vs 15

Weight: 30 gram vs 15

Wide-angle lens: YES vs NO

Battery life: 2 hours vs 3/4

If you compare the two it is a no-brainer actually. To have decent wide-angle you have to get a converter for the keyfob camera. That jacks up the price to same level as the HD Wing Camera. And then image quality just decides on favor of the HD camera.

Using this camera is very easy. You can find the manual on Hobbycity homepage or just Google on RD32 camera. It is some sort of action camera, that is waterproof and you can mount it on your bike or cross buggy. Or whatever extreme sport you might do.

Appearently this is the same board, but no waterproof shell. Only the circuit board and some shrink wrap around. Hence the price. It is no GoPro, but does not cost 220 USD either.

I made some very simple comparison test. Had the old SD camera and the new HD camera in my hand and tried to pan them around.

I will need to try it out in flight as well. With some tweaks it can be used as FPV camera. Can record and broadcast same time. So quite a versatile unit.

Best regards,

Sir Crash a Lot

 

Hello,

I have two keyfob cameras from Hobbycity, the old SD resolution ones. Their code is #7, the worst of the lot actually. #3 was far better.

These cameras have a built-in battery, that is a 1-cell Li-Po with 140 mAh capacity. You charge it from USB-port. As far as I know traditional USB ports supply maximum 500 mA current. So this would charge up in roughly 17 minutes. I am very unsure how good the battery charging circuitry is in the unit. I would assume not so good. The premature death of my battery underlined this thought.

I was reluctant to just dispose the unit. It costs 15 USD, so quite cheap. But why dispose something if there is a chance of mending it. So I tried.

The idea was to buy a small Li-Po battery (done), and some JST connectors. So that I could remove the small battery, solder on the JST female connector and then use the external battery with some adhesive velcro tape. Brilliant ๐Ÿ™‚

I tried to solder the contacts onto the wires. These wires are very thin, so use a fine grade soldering iron. Mine is very coarse, had to be very cautious.

When you have soldered the wire onto the metal pin you have to push together the last portion that forms an open U-shape. Otherwise it will not enter the plastic connector housing.

Then I had to remove some material from the other half of the housing. To have a good support for the connector I removed a rectangular area.

The connector fits nicely.

I double checked the polarity to be sure. Then I could assemble it and glue in the connector. It will be subject to some force when connecting and removing the outside battery. I used CA glue.

Just a size comparison, the new battery next to the camera unit. I will use adhesive velcro to fix it on top.

Maybe I will have the battery on the plane and the camera will sit on the battery. This way I will get better (less) drag coefficient. Important in flight.

I will need to do this on my other camera, that has reduced battery life. Probably will throw in the towel soon. Since this new battery is 240 mAh (vs 140 for the original) I will get significantly better battery life. And I can monitor the cell voltage with my Cell Voltage Monitor device. Important factor in keeping batteries healthy.

Best regards,

Sir Crash a Lot

Hello,

I would like to write a post about how to assemble Hobbyking Magnetic Prop Balancer device. It might look easy on the picture, but when you get to it you might find this helpful. Since no instruction manual is shipped, like in case of an IKEA furniture you need good assembly skills.

You will need to align the two sheets that have trapezoid shape and connect them with the U-shaped ones. Something like this.

For assembly you will need to slide the metal inserts and bolt them on with the small diameter screws. Please observe that only one side of the inserts is threaded, so you need to insert the screw from the mating side. This way you will have clamping force.

Then you will need to do so on the other side as well. You might need to peel off the protective paper layer. Depends on how tight the metal inserts are.

After this you can insert the big metal cup on one side. Secure it with the larger diameter screws.

One side is open, the other side is like a sunken cup. Into the open one you can insert the matching big cup. It is threaded, allows adjustment.

With the threaded cup:

Then comes assembly of panels.

Now comes the difficult part. You have to tear apart the 2 magnets. They are really strong. Do it carefully. When they are apart you can insert them into the cup features on both sides.

Between the two magnets should the axle float. The axle is pointy at the ends, so friction will be minimal.

Onto the axle you can slide the 2 conical rubber features. This will support the prop.

If I am right the rubber O-ring can sit on the adjustable side of the balancer.

When ready it looks like this.

A short video of how it does work.

Best regards,

Sir Crash a Lot