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.


VPI Logo

A good friend of mine wanted a 3D logo to go with his VPI turntable.

I designed and 3D printed one.

I used to make the bitmap logo very distinct, just black and white, then Inkscape's trace bitmap tool to convert it to a vector graphic. Saved as an SVG file and then imported in to Fusion 360.

From there it needed a little bit of tidying up to form a closed outline and then simply extruded to the thickness I wanted.

To be able to 3D print I moved the dot over the 'i' so it touched the stroke. I also added a square peg at the bottom to insert in to a stand which I have made out of timber.

Wednesday, 24 January 2018

The living room

We've been planning to decorate the living room for many years but the idea of moving all the furniture out and the upheaval kept putting us off.

This year we planned it and started work just after Christmas.

We were a couple of days later than intended because neither of us were feeling very well.

Keith came round for several days to help. Stripping the old flooring, channelling out for some conduits, repairing the floor.

I added a chemical damp proof course along two walls as there was clearly a problem under the stairs. I also wanted an extra damp proof layer over the whole floor and slightly up the walls. We used that to hold the thermal insulation sheets down.

There were two especially big jobs. The acoustic boards on the party wall and the floor.

We started with the acoustic sheets on the walls. Each half sheet of part plasterboard and part foam weighed 28Kg! We held those on to the wall with some strong multi fix adhesive and some hammer fixings. With three of us, that job was easier than expected.

The walls and ceilings were then plastered for us and the end result is very nice.

Keith cut out a bit of the screed from under the stairs to find the source of the damp. That exposed what we assume was the original floor surface. That got a damp proof layer and filled back in.

The other big job which we did while the plaster was drying, was the floor. We bought the reclaimed parquet flooring over 10 years ago. We originally used it in the extension with plans to do the living room as well. There was a lot of work cleaning up each block and then even more work lining it up and gluing it down. Followed by cutting and fitting the diamond shapes parallel with the walls. That in turn followed by fitting two rows round the edges of the room and some fiddly finishing bits.

Because it was reclaimed it had bitumen on the back. Sikabond 5500S is one of the few adhesive I could find that said it could be used on bitumen. It's expensive. Unknown, until we opened the tin, it has a strong solvent smell. It also eat in to the insulation board but luckily, once dry, it was stable. The insulation board had the advantage of being able to take up the different in the thicknesses of the bitumen residue.

Due to the delayed start we did things in a slightly different order than originally planned.

Shelley painted the walls and ceiling while I was at work. The walls are Farrow and Ball off-black No.57 estate emulsion paint. Shelley said it is the best paint she has ever used.

It already looked good at this stage but having spent a few minutes trying to sand the floor we decided it was worth paying a professional.

We are so pleased we did. Michael, from Essex Woodfloor Sanders, spent a full day just sanding with some very heavy equipment. His small sander was so heavy it could barely be lifted by one person. The large sander had to be taken apart to get it in the house.

Apparently the floor was very hard to sand and took longer than expected. This and the colour has led him to think it might be maple rather than oak. I had expressed my doubts about it being oak before he started. It was too pink and some blocks were a bit harder to cut than I expected, so I am happy to accept the conclusion that it is probably maple.

He filled all the gaps, sanded a lot and then, on the second day, added several layers of water based sealant using a roller for the most part.

The end result is just an amazing floor. When, one day, we can clear out the hall and study, we will get him back to finish those floors.

We are currently waiting a few days before putting anything heavy on the floor. That works out OK for me because I am back at work, so will not have time until the weekend.