2015-11-26

The Golden Apple

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Again, I want to share something apart from all the technical mambo-jambo on my Blog. Since my childhood I am a big fan of fairy tales and animations. I never lost interest, although I don't have much time to watch everything that I want.

A few young professionals in my country are working on a project called "The Golden Apple". Animated series inspired by the stories and creatures from the Bolkans. Endless resource! Watch the trailer below:



In my opinion it is absolutely AWESOME! I can't wait to see it live. Many people think that it looks like Samurai Jack series, which makes it even more amazing for me, because I am also a fan of the Samurai :) In fact it is quite original and different from everything that I have seen so far.
Good luck for the team!



You can find some more information on their web site:
http://goldenappleseries.com/

If you like it, you can support it here:
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/goldenapple/the-golden-apple-series


Cheers,
and keep the child in you :)

2015-11-08

How to make simple wardrobe LED lights

In this blog I will show you my idea for off the grid wardrobe LED lights.

Task
I wanted to have some light in my wardrobe. However I don't have any electricity there. I can use one of these button push sticky LED, but I don't want to change batteries all the time. If I use NiMH for them, most of the time they will be dim, and in order to charge them, every time I have to dismount and dissasemble the unit.

Idea
I use a simple power bank with flat sides and single 18650 battery.
On one side I put some velcro, and on the wardrobe ceiling too!
I am using a USB touch LED board , which you can buy from ebay very cheap.
When you touch it - it switches On/Off. Do not worry that the "Touch me" surface is towards
the wardrobe ceiling. It swiches if touched almost anywhere, including the elements side.
When there is no more power, you just unstick the velcro and put it for charging.

Lets calculate how much shall it last. My bank is 2000mah.

2 * 3.6 = 7.2Wh power

The power consumption of the LED board is 5V @ 150mAh (in my case, measured).

5 * 0.15 = 0.75 w ,  so for 1 hour it needs 0.75wh
7.2 / 0.75 = 9.6 h - So roughly 7-8 hours

I use mine for a month and it is still working. I usually use the light for a few seconds, so the mentioned time is far enough. You can always put a bigger power bank of course.

Watch my video


Note:

Some power banks have issues:

1. When you try to turn it off, it comes on again (probably becasue power bank resets power)
2. Due to the low power consumption - 130-150mA some power banks switch power off.

2015-08-13

Turbo-X PCIe USB3.0 controller stays yellow in Device Manager

Problem

I bought a Turbo-X branded PCIe USB3.0 controller, because I don't want to spend money on a new computer with USB 3.0, but I have a few devices which can benefit from that.
The price was quite reasonable - around 13€.
I mounted the board, and Windows 7 issued an error that there is a problem with the installation. There was a small CD with the package, and I installed the driver from the CD.
Several restarts - there the problem remains, and the device stays yellow in the device manager.


Solution

At least from the TXT file on the CD I could find out that the board is based on Renesas uPD720202 chip. So after that I could find some good people on google like here, where I understood that I am not alone, and a lot of manufacturers use this chip.

The problem was connected with the chip firmware, it needs to be updated. Unfortunately the link mentioned in the forum above does not show directly the necessary software. You can see it HERE, and I chose the last version "Controller Firmware Version 2.0.2.6".
If there is a newer version, maybe it is better to download it. But be careful, some of the links are not for uPD720202, but similar, and some of them are drivers, others are firmware.

---------------------
After installing the firmware update - one button click - and restarting the computer, everything worked like magic.

Cheers!


14.12.2016 - P.S. 
To summarize things  I put 2 download links from my hosting, to make sure these rare files are available. I lost the CD with the drivers, and Plesio was not able to help me.

Drivers - LINK
Firmware - LINK

Original TurboX driver from CD (looks the same) - LINK

2015-03-16

Recording Audio from Microphone and Playback (karaoke)

Hi folks.

First I want to say thanks to all of you who read me regularly. Well - THANKS .... to both of you! :)

PROBLEM
Windows 7!
Of course I wanted to make Karaoke at home with my friends and while using Audacity to record
the fun, I found out that it cannot record both the song from youtube, and the singing on the microphone. So we had to record the singing only. It was really fun :-D


REASON
The reason for that is that the Windows cannot see a recording device called Mixer, from the audio card. It looks like this:

It is capable to mix the different audio sources at certain levels.
The reason it is missing is probably becasue you are using the standart Windows drivers for your audio card!
* You can reach this screen (Windows 7) from right click on the speaker icon in the lower right corner and choose "Recording Devices" or from the Control Panel.

SOLUTION
At first you have to try Right click there and see if both options "Show Disabled Devices" and "Show Disconnected Devices" are checked.

I thought that my audio card does not support mixing sources.

But after that I downloaded the driver from DELL and everything is OK now!


Not a very useful post, but it might help somebody..... Bye

2015-02-01

WiFi speeds or why I don't get 300Mbps from my router

I have a linksys E900 (802.11n) router .For many years before that I have used WRT54GL(802.11g).
Usually on all router boxes you see that:

802.11g - is limited to 54Mbit/s
802.11n - 300Mbit/s (sometimes 150, or 600 it depends)

On the other hand I bought an expensive HP ENVY 15-j105en laptop, which is equipped with 802.11ac, which 802.11ac according to the many ads is capable of speeds over 1200Mbit/s.

Of course I thought that the speed between my router and the laptop will be 300Mbit/s.
Well it was only 72Mbit/s

WHY?

I don't want to explain all the story and everything I went through to understand the simple truth.
Wikipedia saved me after a lot of hours and chatting with Linksys support.
This table explains it all - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IEEE_802.11n-2009#Comparison

The big difference is that 802.11g is not able to use the so called MIMO streams. So usually it transmits through one antenna, and receives through one antenna.
If you keep the same set-up -> one-one and switch to 802.11n actually the speed won't go much higher - only 72Mbit/s.

BUT

There are two ways 802.11n reaches higher speeds - the router uses 2 (or more) antennas , and if the laptop has 2 antennas you get double speed - 150Mbit/s (300Mbit/s for 4 antennas).
The second way is that the router tries to use 40Mhz channel width to communicate with the laptop, which in case of one-one antennas doubles the speed.
So my router, having 2 antennas AND utilizing 40Mhz channel can reach 300Mbit/s.

According to the specifications, my laptop HAS 2 antennas, and of course is able to communicate on 40Mhz wide channel. Then why am I getting only 72Mbit/s?

FURTHER

40Mhz kill - actually 40Mhz wide channel can be used if there is a clean wi-fi spectrum. Since I am living in a block I see more than 15 other routers around. So when I start my router it gets 40Mhz channel for a few seconds, meanwhile the laptop is connected on double speed 150Mbit/s. But after that it switches back to 20Mhz channel width, and the laptop back to 72Mbit/s.
2 antennas kill - OK but what about the 2 antennas? I still should be able to get 150Mbit/s because of the antennas. According to the ENVY specifications on HP website, and my local dealer website it has 2x2 antennas. Taking a closer look in the device manager, I saw that my laptop is equipped with AC 3160, which has only 1 antenna.
And that folks, describes why I have only 72Mbit/s having a fine router and a good laptop!

So watch carefully, choose an ENVY with AC 7260 or similar which has 2x2 antennas.
I will upgrade it soon.

Regards



P.S.
I recommend reading THIS






-=Update 20.Aug.2016=-

I successfully upgraded my laptop with AC7260. It was 20 GBP from ebay. It worked like a charm on WIndows 10, even didn't ask for drivers.

You have to be careful though,  read the seller review, not all boards are HP laptops compatible.
The speed is really good and stable. Here is the result: