Tuesday, 18 December 2018

Linksys Velop mesh WiFi install

This article is primarily to set the record straight that the Linksys Velop WiFi routers can be installed as more traditional access points and retain the advantage of mesh WiFi.

Why did I want this?

I've had WiFi extended out to our stables and yard for many years however I have done it by simply setting the SSID and passwords to be the same.  This works but you cannot roam between them cleanly.

In the above setup a mobile phone or laptop will hang on to a connection to an access point, way beyond it's useful range. What is needed is mesh WiFi that negotiates between each access point. The portable device is directed to connect to whichever has the strongest signal.

In the last year or so, mesh WiFi systems have dropped to a more affordable level.

Why did I select the Linksys Velop?

The Linksys Velop wifi routers include the essential mesh technology I wanted and MU-MIMO with 802.11ac WiFi. I also deliberately wanted a tri-band version, which has one 2.4GHz band transceiver and two 5GHz band transceivers. There were very few on the market, outside expensive business systems, that met all of those criteria.

I was a little disappointed to note that all the WiFi systems, that had the features I wanted, were now routers. They also all used WiFi to extend their range and included consumer, supposedly easy to use, set up software or mobile apps.

It took a bit of reading but I was able to confirm that the Velop system did allow for a more traditional wired installation and that the mobile app provided enough control.

How did I set them up?

I followed the Linksys instructions. These are fairly clear but don't give sufficient help with trouble shooting.

Node one, the master worked without any issues. I had pre-configured my username and password first, to get the e-mail address verification out of the way.  I was right to do this because there was the typical long delay between them saying they had sent a verification mail and it arriving with me.

With the master node installed, and knowing that I wanted to use my existing gateway router, I changed the configuration of the Velop WiFi to Bridge Mode.

I knew I had to do this BEFORE adding the other nodes because their settings change depending on the mode.

The Linksys instructions for how to configure Bridge Mode are easy to follow. The important bit is that the smartphone you are using for the configuration must be connected to the node's WiFi.

Once changed to Bridge Mode, the Velop routers operate as Mesh Access Points in a traditional set up where a separate router or firewall is at the gateway.

It's fairly obvious to me, that in this configuration, not all of the traffic passes through the master node, therefore some features, such as parental control, DHCP and device management, will no longer be available. Those features would now fall to the gateway router, as I would have expected and how I wanted it to work.

Installing the rest of the nodes

Installing the second node went OK but the important bit is that it was done within about 3m of the master node.

The problem came installing the third. I tried to do this in situ, as per the instructions, where I thought it would work but, what I now know, is that the range required between these things is very short or, at least, should not have more than one wall in the way.

When the install got stuck, I tried lots of things to get it going again but what worked was to move the node back to be very close to the master node and the key bit was to not only reset that tertiary node but to also cancel the attempted install and start it again from the app.  It was that last bit that got me out of the endless stuck, retrying, loop.

Neither the app nor the instructions make it clear that to recover from a failed install it is necessary to not use the retry link, as the app suggests, but to abandon the install and completely start again.

Go back to the 'Set Up a New Product' option.

Eventually I had three working nodes but they all had to be so close to each other as to be pointless.

I was disappointed with the very limited extender range of the Velop routers but that will have been affected by the number and type of walls in the way in my home.

My wired network

Luckily for me, I had always known that at least one node would need to be wired, so the need for all of them to be wired was not a big issue.

When I had been doing my research I came across quite a few postings with, what I am now confident, was poor network advice:

  • The nodes CAN be connected to a switch
  • The master does NOT have to be directly connected to the router (if used in bridge mode)
  • The master does NOT have to replace the gateway router (use bridge mode)
  • The nodes can be ANYWHERE on the LAN
  • The nodes do NOT need to be daisy chained

In short the nodes use normal IP networking to communicate with each other so any normal LAN configuration will work, or at least it did for me.

My network

The important bit for my traditional LAN design to work, is that I have set the Linksys Velop to Bridge Mode.

Is it working?

Yes. Exactly what I originally set out to achieve, is working. I can roam inside and out and retain a good WiFi connection and I am still using my original dual WAN gateway router.


Sunday, 9 December 2018

Laptop desk stand

To make a bit more space on my desk I've made an upright stand for my laptop.

It has the advantage that the laptop screen is now level with the main monitor.


Saturday, 8 December 2018

The left hand door

Following on from my earlier post where I fitted the right hand door to Shelley's Defender, I've now fitted the left hand door.

I had the usual help. This time from Tiger.

I took some photos as reminders of some of the things I had not noted when exchanging the other door.

I used masking tape this time because the gaffa tape, I used last time, left some adhesive that needed cleaning off.

I photographed the lock rod connections, this time, so I knew, for sure, how they went back.

The lock bolts are T20 .

The lock after a bit of cleaning with WD40. After this, I re-lubricated with white lithium grease.

The lock fits before fitting the window channel.

Fitted and tested before putting the trim back on.

It took me about 9 hours to do this door.


Thursday, 29 November 2018

Rope with Fusion 360

When finding out how to represent a rope in Fusion 360 I looked up 'coil following a path' this, it turns out, has a name, 'Helical Sweep.' It is more commonly used for curved springs.

Creating the rope is two helical sweeps at 180 degrees rotation to each other.

I found a pretty good video to show me how to create a single helical sweep:

There's no point in going in to detail, the above video explains it clearly.

As a reminder, mainly for me, here are the steps:

  • Create some parameters to make it easier to adjust. [sweepRadius (mm) 10mm, Revolutions (no units) 5, twistAngle (deg) Revolutions * 360]

In model mode

  • Create a path, as a continuous tangent line or curve in a sketch. It will cause an error and fail if it has any awkward kinks from one line segment to the next. I used the 'Tangent Arc' line to make a nice curve.

  • Create a 'plane along path.'

  • Create a sketch on the plane, just created, with a construction line the length of the sweepRadius of the coil and a normal line of any length but about 10mm worked for this model That normal line following on from the sweepRadius construction line. (I revisited this sketch to create the second coiled strand needed for the rope effect, I just did the same lines mirrored.)

Go to Patch mode.

  • Create a sweep following the path, with a twist angle set to the variable twistAngle. That gives a flat helical shape.

  • Create another sketch on the front plane, including 3D geometry.

  • Select the inner edge of the included 3D geometry to create another path.
  • Create another plane along path, selecting that helix. Move the plane to zero on the path.

Back to the model mode

  • Create a sketch on that plane, with a shape centred on the start of the point of the path, usually a circle but could be any shape.

  • Select the shape and create a sweep along the helical path.

I needed two of these coils intertwined to make a nice looking rope.

I used the same sketch for the sweep radius but created another construction line and normal line in the opposite direction from the centre.
Using the same spiral sweep I created another coil.

I needed to patch the patches and stitch them to make them both solid models. I adjusted the diameter of the strands until they just merged, which was 20mm.

I textured them using 'weathered leather,' as that was the best I could find to match a hemp type rope.


For the parameters I ended up with:
sweepRadius = 10mm
Revolutions = 5
This was over a 300mm length of rope.
Each of the two rope strands was 20mm diameter.


Tuesday, 20 November 2018

Fitting a Defender front door

The doors on Fender are, to say the least, a bit rusty.

Some time ago I purchased a pair of new doors and had them sprayed black ready for the full respray in the future.

This weekend I fitted the first of them.

Not a particularly difficult job but it took a while as this is the first time I've done it. There's no point in going in to detail but I will mention a couple of things that may or may not help anyone else doing this job.

The first thing I did was to check that the door hinge bolts were free. I sprayed them with penetrating oil but luckily all of them on Fender came out easily.

With the door removed I took the opportunity to paint under the hinges with black which will be the final colour of the rest of the car.

To save repeating it at every stage in this post, I used a lot of White Lithium Grease. I sprayed it on every, screw, bolt and hole. This is primarily to reduce corrosion but, in the case of bolts, to help to keep them free to remove in the future.

I bought a kit of all the parts to replace the window runners which includes the plastic filler pieces which go on the outward side of the window channel.

The felt lined window runners fit inside the lower part of the plastic filler strips.

The runners are held in by small screws. I did watch a video where they used small dabs of adhesive instead of screws but I decided I liked the screws better. Easy enough to drill a 2mm hole and fit the self tappers. I only used 2 on each runner at the top and one on each of the long runners where they touched the frame at the lower end.

The kit with the runners included aluminium strips that fit behind the window runners. I have no idea what they are for but I fitted them anyway.

The top bracket on the hinge side is held on by a single bolt and needs to be transferred to the new door.

As I had the doors apart I fitted a new window regulator. The doors use a lot of 10mm long M6 bolts, with spring locking washers.

This shows how rusty the steel work of the door was. I am glad I chose to replace the whole door rather than attempting a repair.

There is a foam strip across the door just under the window opening. I'm not sure what it does but I had some, so I fitted it.

The door latch caught me out. It needs to be fitted BEFORE the window runners are installed. There was a bit of back tracking at this stage to get that in.

I gave the catch mechanism a good clean up before refitting.

I used a new handle. I don't know how some of the these OEM and after market suppliers take their measurements because the pivoting puller caught on the door and needed to be trimmed to fit!

The doors I purchased did not come with one of the brackets. I had spotted this so I had already made the lower hinge side brackets and included a cut out to support the central door locking cable conduit.

The extra bit on the bracket is enough to block the glass when trying to fit that, therefore the bracket has to go on after the glass has been fitted.

This is held on with M6 x 20mm bolts and spring lock washers.

Not only was one bracket missing but the bracket on the other side is in the wrong place. If I had not already had them painted I would probably have sent them back because they were advertised that they were for this age of Defender! I made something to bridge the gap out of a bit of galvanised strapping.

As a slight upgrade, I chose to fit the newer style rubber door seal to the bottom of the doors.

This required an extra couple of 5mm holes, one drilled at either end, just up the side from the bottom of the door.

In addition, all the holes along the bottom of the door needed to be enlarged from 4mm to 5mm. If these doors were designed for a newer model, which is what I had suspected, why did they only have the smaller holes for the older door seal.

They are nicely made doors but I am not impressed by their attention to detail.

I fitted my design of central locking solenoid bracket.

When refitting the doors it is worth noting that the fillers for the hinge on the A pillar side are not the same as those for the door side of the hinge. The forward ones have cut outs to accommodate the spring of the captive nuts

I replaced the captive nuts. I would have preferred those like the originals I removed, which are proper nuts in a spring frame. Unfortunately, the hole in the bodywork was not quite big enough for me to fit the type I had so I was forced to use spire chimney nuts instead.

It might have been easier with two people but I was able to line up the door myself and use the latch to hold it in place while I got the first of the hinge bolts in.

I made sure the window was open so that I could release the catch from the inside as well as the outside, just in case something did not work properly.

I was pleased with how the door lined up with minimal adjustment.

As soon as the door was on, and the hinges bolted down, I refitted the check strap to avoid accidents.

I had to tuck the central locking solenoid cables up in to the bracket to avoid them fouling on the window mechanism.

In typical Land Rover style, Fender now has one odd colour door :-)


Update: 8 December 2018:

I've now done the left hand door as well. I kept track of the time so I now know it took me over 9 hours in two sessions, just for the one door. I wasn't rushing but I'd have to do a few more if I was to ever get any faster.

I remembered to fit the condensation shield or whatever the bit of plastic sheet is called.
I bought some PU adhesive in a mastic tube. A bit messy but I think it's the right stuff to attach the plastic sheet.

I used some 1000G plastic from eBay and the old one as a template.

I will have to revisit the right hand door at some point to fit the plastic to that door.