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