Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Sat Nav dashboard mount

The windscreen mount for the TomTom SatNav in Shelley's Land Rover Defender works just fine but it is not very tidy and I just don't like anything on the glass, if it can be avoided.

I think it looks nicer to have accessories built-in, or at least as near to as is possible, when retro-fitting things.

To that end I have designed a dash mount for the TomTom Via 53 5" that Shelley has in her Land Rover Defender.

It was modelled in Fusion 360 and printed using PLA on our Ultimaker 2+.

First prototype

It is deliberately designed in several parts so that the different bits can be made to fit without having to keep printing the whole thing. I can get the fit to the dash and to the Sat Nav separately. That also means that if we ever change Sat Nav, I would only have to redesign the front clips not the dashboard mount.

First prototype printing

I always worry about tall prints. There's just so many opportunities for the print to go wrong. I was pleased that the prototype finished first time. I printed it on end, with a raft and full supports.

When in the car, the stress on this piece will be front to back rather than side to side. Which is why I wanted the layers to run front to back because they tend to be stronger than the inter-layer bond.

Adjusted version

Second version

The first version fitted but was a bit tight and the holes needed some minor adjustment to line up with the dash. The second version had a complete corner cut out to avoid encroaching on the, already poor, vents.

The speakers and the power cable come out the back of the TomTom, so the holder had to cater for that. The power button is in the top right hand corner which, as it happens, is very convenient for where I wanted the holder to fit.

It's held on to the dash using a longer screw that secures the air vent.

I am very pleased with the end result.

Sunday, 11 March 2018

Elite Dangerous - things I needed to know

I refrained from buying Elite Dangerous for a long time because I found the demo difficult to pick up.

The trouble is that this type of space game appeals to me, so eventually, when the price was reduced due to a special offer, I bought it.

Now this is when it got complicated. It is a very difficult game to learn and, in my opinion, the built-in tutorials are inadequate. It's one of those games where you need the Internet at hand beside you to learn even some of the basics!

The training missions only barely gave me enough confidence to start playing but I am glad I did.

There are plenty of guides and tutorials available on the internet, I'm not trying to repeat those. I have the Horizons add-on and the Commander edition so some of these comments may be specific to those extras.

This is a list of the things that I found confusing when starting out. I'll update this as things happen to me:

Lock on to a base before docking - the tutorial says, "get the speed and distance indicators in to the blue to approach a station." I could not see any blue for those on my HUD.

The training mission had neglected to highlight that you need to lock on to the space station using your target panel before the approach details will display at the bottom left of your main HUD.

Scanners need to be setup like weapons - you need to assign them to a weapons group. Target an object and hold down whatever fire button you assigned.

Discovery scanner - all ships start equipped with the basic one of those. Takes a while to charge while you hold down the trigger.

Planetary scanner - get close to a planet in super-cruise and you can scan the planet which is worth credits. [TBC: is the scan automatic?]

Scan a Nav Beacon - don't ignore them, they provide useful information about the system,  specifically where the bases are. I spent ages trying to find bases to drop deliveries off at before I read about Nav Beacons.
Drop out of super-cruise close to the Nav Beacon. The actual beacon will be near to where you originally targeted but for some reason not the actual position the target lock claims. Look round for a small object and target it. If it is the Nav Beacon your HUD should put pale blue chevrons either side. Get close, I'm not sure how close but I know it works at 50m. A message will display. Wait until the data has finished downloading. It does not take long and the message will change when it is complete.
I have not confirmed but apparently an Advanced Discovery Scanner will do this at a longer distance.

Drop cargo - when a pirate asks for money you need to drop cargo to that value. There is no way to hand over cash, as far as I know. When you only get 10 seconds to do this, learning what and how is not an option!

Planetary flight - when it says you are in the glide path, it means you can travel faster -5 to 60 degrees to the horizontal. Any deviation from that range of angles and you drop out and go slower!
This is supercruise for orbital flight.
If you remain in the blue orbital section of your glide path indicator, you are orbiting the planet and again you can do that more quickly. [TBC: Very quick to orbit the planet.]

Guides, tips and tutorials that I found useful:

Starting out

HUD and controls
https://4onegaming.com/elite-dangerous-guide/ - includes Xbox controls

Ship components


Sunday, 18 February 2018

Wine cellar

Another addition to the living room space. It's not underground but it is under the stairs.

We call it the wine cellar.

One other finishing touch to the living room is the clock.

I bought it on e-bay as 'spares or repair' and have now replaced the movement with a modern quartz mechanism which includes a working pendulum.


Monday, 12 February 2018

Matching sockets

The white power and data sockets stood out in our newly decorated living room. Originally they had been hidden behind furniture but in the new layout they were a bit too prominent.

I have replaced them with black nickel style outlets where available.

The telephone socket and the thermostat I painted black.

They blend in much better.

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

The stove is in

The last touch to the living room is a wood burning stove.

We had a Yeoman Exe double door flat top stove fitted.

It finishes off the fireplace and the room very nicely.

Saturday, 3 February 2018

Increase Synology DS412+ NAS capacity

We take a lot of photos and have a lot of videos and after a few years we have started to run out of storage on our main Network Attached Storage (NAS).

It is time to add more storage to our Synology DS412+ NAS. It was using 4x 2TB.

With larger capacity drives available it would have been nice to drop down to use only 3 disks and have a hot standby. I did a lot of checking and there is no way to reduce the number of disks within an existing array. I'm not prepared for the days of downtime to do backups and restores so I have to stick with the full 4 disks that I am using.

Synology Hybrid Raid (SHR) volumes support mixed sized disks so I am upgrading only some of them from 2TB to 8TB disks.

The way the fault tolerance works, the calculation for space is fairly easy. The capacity equal to the largest disk is lost to parity bits.  Another way to think about it is to just add up the total capacity of all the disks and deduct the capacity of the largest and that gives you the usable space.

I decided to swap two disk so my capacity goes from a usable 5.4TB to 10.8TB.
Due to the way hard disk manufacturers calculate size and the overhead of file systems a disk rated at 2TB only has about 1.8TB of usable space and an 8TB disk has a little over 7.2TB of usable space!

I have also bought an additional 8TB drive to keep as a cold spare in case of disk failure. I trust the Western Digital Red NAS drives that I have but no matter how good they are, drives are a mechanical device and can fail.

There are already a few good sets of instructions about how to increase the capacity of the array so I won't go in to much detail here.

The DS412+ that I have supports hot swapping of drives so that means the thing can carry on running as normal while the work takes place. The DS412+ processor is also fast enough so that unless you are particularly sensitive, the performance remains at an acceptable level throughout the process. Just slightly slower logins and response in the user interface but access to files from the network is not noticeably changed.

The steps:

  • Backup all your data
  • Just in case you didn't read that, make sure you have a good backup before you start.
  • * Storage manager *
  • Check that all disks are normal and that there is no existing repair in progress.
  • Pull out one of the drives (I have a hot swap model, you may have to power yours off to do this bit)
  • Put in a larger capacity drive
  • * Storage manager *
  • -- Manage
  • ---- Repair
  • ---- Next
  • Select the new drive, which is probably the only choice and already ticked
  • ---- Next
  • Read and accept the warning. Only continue if you are sure
  • Wait, many hours...

After the first drive has completely repaired you can do the next drive.

In my case it was the backups before I started that took the time. Luckily my monthly backups had just run but my less frequent photo backup was months out of date so I had to run that. In my case that took nearly two days! It's the increase in that type of data which requires me to increase the capacity in the NAS.

The repair of the first drive took less than 11 hours. I didn't sit and watch it so I can't be more accurate. The second drive took less than 6 hours.

The first disk does not add any more space because it is taken up with the parity information but on completion of the repair on the second drive the Synology automatically expands the volume.

Job done. I now have nearly double the capacity.


As a historical note, going back about 30 years, my first IBM PC clone had a massive, for the time, storage of 80MB. That was in 2x 40MB 5.25" hard drives.

The total capacity I have connected to my home network today is now over 100,000 times that!


Thursday, 1 February 2018

Living room

We are now living in the living room.

We've run some network cabling that passes through to the kitchen, fitted and painted the skirting board, tidied up the back of the fireplace ready for the stove to be installed, installed the lights, installed the cast iron radiator, moved the furniture back in and started to dress the room.