Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Underwater ROV

I am working on a design for my ROV, here are a couple of pics of my basic design from the front and a pic of the control layout on a PS2 controller.

- Air Cylinder from Soda-stream (Aluminium)
- 12VDC NO Air Valve opens with loss of power to blow ballast.
- EDF electric brushless motor (run immersed in water)
- 2 EDFs in each pod wired together
- Pods are rotatable and reversible for forward/reverse and depth control
- 4 small vector thrusters located on each corner 45 degrees to frame
- 2 roller pumps to change ballest level in main trim tanks
- Camera has pan and tilt
- Arduino Mega for onboard control connected to servo board
- Electronic Compass, Pressure, Leak detection, Battery Voltage
- Weights are washers on all thread
- Frame is drilled to allow water entry
- Dualshock cotroller linked via python to arduino
- All telemetry and control via USB to 50m ethernet cable
- USB hub 4 port- Arduino, Camera A, Camera B
- High RES Still Camera with flash
- Car tyre valves backwards in ballest tanks to allow water to exit

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Video of fish tank

Here is a little video of my fishtank, no fish for a few weeks yet.....

CO2 for the fishtank

I added CO2 injection to my fish tank today, this is to help the plants grow. I added 500ml of water to a 2litre softdrink bottle, then added three teaspoons sugar and one teaspoon of bakers yeats. I wanted brewers yeast but the store didn't have any.

Within 15 minutes with it on top of the light on the tank, the warmth had the yeast cranking, I am getting a bubble of CO2 every 1.5 - 2 seconds, I am feeding it in to the pick up tube of the filter pump to disperse it through the tank.

This should help the plants grow quicker..

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

I got a fish tank for the shack

I found a little 50 liter fishtank at a garage sale on Saturday, it has a Biofilter in the hood and had a heater and light as well. All for the small sum of 15 AUD . Ihave planted it out and have a couple of bits of driftwood.

As yet I havent put any fish in, I am waiting for a month or so to give the plants and bio filter a chance to establish, I put some water from a mates tank in it to get the healthy oranisims for the filter. As there are no fish in there it means no food for the plants so I  have fertilised the tank with seaweed fertiliser. I am hoping this will get algae and plants growing well.

All going well the plants will be enough to control the ammonia when the fish go in, I  havent got any photos yet but once it has settled down and the tank clears up I will take some then.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Whats in the box ?

Well I thought I would take some photos of my parts bins, from valves (tubes) to arduino micro controllers we have it all in the twisted shack.

Here are some photos of my bits and pieces all are high res so you can click and zoom around.

New Server

I got a shaw case off a mate a while back and the powersupply went south in it a few nights ago and now our file server is dead :( what to do what to do ??

I got on the old eBay and found a Dell Poweredge 750 rack mounted server to replace it with real iron and not the consumer stuff we had been running. So here are the specs on the server we bought.

Dell Poweredge 750 1RU Server

  • General Features:
  • 1U form factor
  • Intel Pentium 4 2.8 GHz processor
  • 1 MB L2 cache, 800 MHz FSB, Intel Hyper-Threading Technology
  • 1 GB ECC DDR SDRAM (supports up to 4 GB)
  • 2 x 250 GB SATA hard drive
  • DVD ROM drive
  • ATI Rage XL video controller with 8 MB memory
  • Integrated Gigabit Ethernet
  • Motherboard Features:
  • One (1) 64-bit, 66 MHz PCI-X slot  
  • One (1) 32-bit, 33 MHz PCI slot
  • Two (2) SATA connectors (one occupied)
  • Four (4) 184-pin DIMM sockets (one occupied)
  • Front I/O ports:
  • One (1) USB port
  • One (1) 15-pin VGA port
  • Rear I/O Ports:
  • Two (2) PS/2 ports
  • Two (2) USB 2.0 ports
  • One (1) 15-pin VGA port
  • One (1) 9-pin Serial port
  • Two (2) RJ-45 Gb Ethernet ports
  • Case Features:
  • One (1) slim type optical drive bay
  • One (1) 3.5-inch floppy drive bay
  • Two (2) 3.5-inch hard drive bays
  • Power Specifications:
  • 280-watt dual-fan power supply (100 - 240V, 50/60Hz)
  • Unit Dimensions:
  • 1.68 x 16.5 x 21.5-inches (H x W x D, approximate) 
So I will rip out one off the drives and put in my brand new 2 TB drive, The 250 GB drive will be enough to run a few VM's on inside ubuntu server

Thursday, November 25, 2010

B's New Bass and the planned room reno

B got a new Guitar a couple of days ago, it is a shiny white Electric Bass, it came with a soft carry bay, lead and 30 watt amp, the seller also threw in a broken amp the same as the first.

I promptly ripped out the stuffed amp module and turned it in to an external speaker, a few case clips and some nice stainless screws saw the amp and external speaker morph in to a mini practice stack.

Over the school holidays we will be turning the bedroom (leaving the beds in) in to a mini recording studio for the boys.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Twistedshck reno

Well I am finally finished setting up the shack, I Have an 8 x 8 foot shed (2.4 x 2.4 mt) that I is my hacking space. It had been set up on unpainted or treated pallets made from pine as the floor about four years ago, needless to say they had started tp rot. In my defense I had just bought the shed and didn't have anymore money left at the time for a decent floor.

So zipping along four years I had funds and the weather was clearing up her in "Sunny" Victoria Australia... Time to work on the shed again. I had organised some plastic heavy duty pallets from a friend that had been used to move lead acid batteries so are up to the job of supporting the weight of my tool boxes. A couple of sheets of 9mm 5 ply on top and the floor was sorted.

Now for storage and work space, I go on to eBay and by chance found a desk that was 2.1 x 2.1 mt in an L shape, perfect size with a couple of inches to spare, so I placed a bid on it and in turn won it :)   so I had a desk with an inch thick top so it wouldn't bow with some weight on it for the shed I was wrapped.

So with everything I needed I started cleaning out the shed to get it ready for the transformation this took me 3 weeks of sorting and culling (between the shed and small backyard I took 3 6x4 foot trailer loads of rubbish to the dump.

I gathered a few friends and my sons to help me on the day, we started about 10 am and just picked the empty shed up of its floor in one piece and moved it out from the old site. The by 1130 we had the old floor ripped up and had the site leveled with the new floor being laid by midday and then we put the shed back on the new floor and had it finished by 2pm.

A bit of mucking around to get the desk into the shed (had thought about pulling out a wall) and it was all finshed but for moving all my electronics and tools etc back in which I had done by 10pm that night.

It has taken me a few weeks of shuffling things around but am pretty happy with it now.

Anyway here are some pic's of it..

 Right side of the twisted shed
with some charts on motorcycle
systems and functions

 I have a few toolboxes in total if you
include the filing cabinet I use 
for my power tools I have six of them
check out the shed spec's below for details
of what is hiding in all the toolboxe and
other hiding spots around the shed

 Laptop with second monitor on top of
the toolbox, I display my multimeter on
here as well as images from my microscope

Clock in the background made from an old
fan and an old school clock. In the front is 
the pulse jet that Mick and I built..

 Microscope with camera adaptor
and laptop Dell D600 running Debian

 My old valve shortwave receiver, the empty area
here is going to be for a 19 inch rack I am
building for my rack mount equipment, the valve
radio is there to size up the space for the rack

The "stack" ofelectronics including 2
oscilliscopes a SW reciever and Digital TV
An indian motorcycle, Tux, death
and a dragon slayer sit atop.

The bottom of the stack with power supply
13.8v, mixing desk and darkroom light

Shed Specs
  • 6 toolboxes containg over 1500 tools including tools I have made
  • 2 Oscilliscopes 1 Dual trace
  • Digital TV
  • Floor Space arranged for sleeping area (When I am in the dog house)
  • Air matteress and sleeping bag
  • Portable Gas stove for making coffee :)
  • 2 Stratos Racing seats for chairs, one on castors with swivel base
  • Durst B/W Enlarger and darkroom equipment
  • Canon FTb 35mm SLR
  • Bench Drill Press (outside under tarp on top of filing cabinet with power tools)
  • Asst power tools (My most used is my Dremel Multipro and dremel multi stand)
  • 350voltDC / 6voltDC valve  ( vacuam tube) project power supply
  • Microscope
  • 100's of Assorted components for electornics from valves/tubes to arduinos
  • Ollivetti lettera 32 type writer
  • 48 volt Weller soldering iron
  • 2 digital one HT analog multimeters
  • Lubrication free 2.4hp compressor (no oil when dusting electronics)

Saturday, August 21, 2010

My New Desk

I got a New Desk....

Purchased this on ebay in the last week, a large desk for the shed, I hope the measurments are right, it was advertised as being 2.1m by 2.1m and the shed is 2.2m by 2.2m so it should just fit in fingers crossed.

The plan for the shed is to make it less workshop more home office with an electronics workbench, I am also going to go from having desk around three sides and only a small corridor down the middle, to having just this desk, to make up for the reduced desk area I will be putting shelving up along the back of the desk all the way to the roof.

I am going to empty the shed, put down plastic forklift pallets with 7mm ply on top, I am going to have to pull a wall out of the shed and build the desk in place then put the wall back in as I wont be able to turn it to get it in to place.

Here is a photo, thanks to Dan who sold me the desk as this is his pic

Monday, July 26, 2010

HTC Tattoo and tethering

I hooked up the HTC in tether mode tonight, I had to go to settings and switch it off then on manually but then it shared the connection over the phones 3G, cool now I dont have to buy a 3G modem for internet access when I am out, there is also an app in the market to share the connection over an adhoc network so I might give that a try in the future..

Friday, July 23, 2010

An Android Smartphone the HTC Tattoo

I have been playing with my HTC Android phone for a week or so now and thought I would jot down my thoughts on the phone over the next few weeks, things like how it rates going from symbian s60 v3 to Android 1.6 and what a 'budget' phone brings to the market.

The Processor is a  Qualcomm running at 528 MHz The phone runs Android 1.6 with the HTC SenseUI on top. A really nice feature is the seven desktops this UI gives you, Makes for a nice uncluttered home screen.

It has 512 MB of ROM and 256 MB of RAM, the size of the phone is also great for me as I ride a motorbike and wanted a smaller phone to keep in my jacket when riding. The phone is 10.6cm long 5.5cm wide and 1.4cm thick at its thickest point and it only weighs 113 grams.
The screen is small but quite clear, a little hard to read in full sun,it is a resistive screen , a few people see this as a bad point but I like it as I use a stylus on devices like the tattoo with smaller screens.

The phone has a d-pad instead of a trackball, great for using as a joystick in my opinion and buttons that are well laid out and it is fitted with a standard 4 pin 3.5mm socket for handsfree units and normal three contact headphones. The bluetooth media is great in full stereo on my TDK bluetooth headphones, as clear as the on board for me and the on board isnt bad. The tattoo is also fitted out with the following a GPS, 3 axis Accelerometer, 3 axis Compass, WiFi, 3G, and FM Radio to round out the package, not bad for a budget phone.

It doesnt run the latest offering from google and as of writing it is stuck at Android 1.6, there was some buzz about 2.1 coming to it from HTC but I am not holding my breath.

Even though this phone may seem crippled on RAM and processor speed, it runs surprisingly well with 1.6, and snaps along quite nicely even with a few apps and widgets galore running, I am running a task killer to free it up as needed and that works well.

Well thats enough for this post, I will follow up with more of my thoughts on the phone in the next few days..

Monday, July 19, 2010

A geek and his Android Phone

Well I went a got an Android phone, it is a HTC Tattoo running android 1.6 with HTC's Sense UI on top, I actually like the Sense UI.. For a budget phone it is great, it cost me AU$210 with postage.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Updated script for DFM offset

I have updated the script to calculate the offset for a reciever or transmitter, taking the frequency directly from the local oscillator results in a mix of the tuned frequency and the offset frequency that gives us the Intermidiate frequency. we need to add this off set to a frequency that we want to tune to.

So for instance if you want to tune to 531khz a broadcast frequency in the AM band you would need to add the offset (in my case 455khz) to the required frequency, now you tune the radio watching the DFM until it reaches in my case 986khz (531+455).

If you have tuned in to a station and dont know the frequency you take the displayed frequency on the DFM and subtract the offset to give you the actual tuned frequency.

The script takes your entered values and displays both the minus and plus offsets and then starts again, use ctrl c to exit the script as it just runs in an infinate loop.


# Filename:- dfm.sh Ver:- 
# Copyleft 2010 Mark (Hiddensoul) Clohesy
# shed.twistedsouls.com
# Linux Bash Script to add and subtract a given offset (OFFST) 
# from an entered number, it is used to calculate the frequency
# of a radio reciever or transmitter by adding or subtracting
# the offset of the local oscillator. ctrl c to exit       
for ((;;))
        echo -n "Please enter Valus to offset in Khz:-"
        read -e KHZ
        MKHZ=$(($KHZ - OFFST))
        AKHZ=$(($KHZ + OFFST))
        echo;echo -n "Minus Offset Frequency:-" $MKHZ "-Khz"
        echo;echo -n "     Entered Frequency:-" $KHZ "-Khz"
        echo;echo -n " Plus Offset Frequency:-" $AKHZ "-Khz"

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Scipts for Digital Frequency Meter conversions

Here are a couple of little BASH scripts one to convert the displayed value of a DFM connected to a reciever, it subtracts 455 from the displayed value to give you the frequency you are tuned to. It is called dfm, you can change the offset to suit your reciever

hiddensoul@hiddenslap:~$ dfm 986

Entered Frequency:- 986  khz
Tuned Frequency:- 531 -Khz

Second is dfm-tune that lets you input the required frequency and it will give you the displayed frequency to tune to on the DFM by adding 455 to it,

hiddensoul@hiddenslap:~$ dfm-tune 531

Required Frequency:- 531  khz
DFM Displayed Frequency:- 986 -Khz

The 455 is the generated frequency to bring the RF up to IF, most radios use 455khz but it may vary as I said you can always change the offset to match your reciever/transciever If you dont know the off set tune to a known station, eg a local AM broadcast station if your rig covers the broadcast band, then subtract the stations frequency from the displayed value on the DFM, this will give you the offset you need for the scripts.

Not much and anyone could knock them up in a few minutes, but it makes my life easier, copyleft do what you want with them..

First dfm

#Enter walue in khz on command line following the command dfm eg dfm 986
#Calculate tuned frequency of reciever by subtracting 455khz from
#Displayed Value on Digital Frequency Meter
AKHZ=$(($1 - 455));echo;echo -n "Entered Frequency:-" $1 " khz";echo;echo -n "Tuned Frequency:-" $AKHZ "-Khz";echo;echo

second dfm-tune

#Enter value in khz on command line following the command dfm-tune eg dfm-tune 531
#Calculate displayed frequency of DFM by adding 455khz to required
# tuned frequency of reciever
AKHZ=$(($1 + 455));echo;echo -n "Required Frequency:-" $1 " khz";echo;echo -n "DFM Displayed Frequency:-" $AKHZ "-Khz";echo;echo

Oscillator Output on DX-200

I finally got off my butt and went over the circuit diagrams for the DX-200 SW reciever I have, I wanted to add a BNC ouput for an external frequency counter. I took the cover off and probed around Q104 Q105 the local oscillator and buffer amp, I found a frequency of 986 khz which after subtracting 455 khz gives me 531 khz a local AM station it was tuned to. The 455 subtraction is due to the addition of 455 khz to get the IF.

The counter I have is a 500 mhz unit and will cover all my needs including UHF, I am going to make an haceduino controlled counter that automatically subtracts the offset

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Loaded folded dipole

One of the projects I am working on is my dipole for my small lot. With the position of the mast I have just over 3 mt from the center of the mast to the two fence lines as seen is this cad drawing.

I have the design of the antenna

Some Photos of the shack

Here is a photo of my little 8 foot by 8 foot shack that I use as a listening post and as my workshop mainly electronics, bigger projects are done in the carport or yard. I have big plans this year for the shack, I am going to be builiding all new desks and a new floor for it, just need to save up the money for the job.

On the drawing board is also a vertical antenna using one of my antenna masts and a folded loaded dipole from three fishing rods, one cut down to 1.2 mt and 2 at just over 3 mt arranged in a delta for the fold, it will be rotatable and is designed for my small lot

. My backyard is 2.9mt wide by 12 meters long, I have a 10mt mast near the shack and a 12 meter mast at the the top that is on the house roof, the higher mast is for TV antennas and UHF CB and Scanner.

So far I have the masts up, the two TV aerials (One for Melbourne one for Gippsland) and a 10 meter long wire for Shortwave reception on 40 meters 1/4 wave length. I also have a UHF aerial for UHF CB (Australia) Tx/Rx on my motor bike, I have a mast/aerial made from aluminum pipe that goes flat packed on the trailer behind my motorbike, this extends to just over 8 meters as a mast for an inverted V antenna or sloped long wire. As a vertical reception aerial I extend it with a steel whip tip to get 1/4 wavelength on 40mt tuned with a bottom loaded coil, once I am finshed I will get some pictures of them up on the blog.

CW and Linux

I have recently gotten in to Shortwave radio, my aim is to get my amateur licence and get on the air to work the bands myself. At the moment I have two receivers, a realistic DX-200 my main receiver and a Boat anchor valve (tube) receiver for a bit of fun. The antenna is a 10m unbalanced long wire about 4-5 meters up.

I use Linux to do digital signal processing and also display the audio in waterfalls and spectrum displays. Here is a video of a CW session, note the bright spots on the PC that correspond to the CW, in real life I can read the CW from the screen, well I cant as I am still learning but you get the idea :)

Monday, March 15, 2010

Eggs and Ham

I have been spending most of my evenings listening to Amateur radio operators (Hams) on my shortwave recievers. It gives me someone to listen to now that Mick has gone.

Currently I have three shortwave receivers, the first one I brought is a realistic DX 150-B from the 1970's. It is a great radio. The second is also a realistic model the DX200 from the 1980's, this is my main listening set. Finally I have a boat anchor an old valve (tube) receiver that covers 11, 10, 15, 20, 40, 80 and 160 meters, it is a little deaf at the moment and needs a service.

I am working to get my amateur radio licence and have started to design an antenna for my shack. It is sort of a folded dipole loaded at the center, I have done the math and worked out all the values, it will be designed for 40mt but should also tune up via an antenna tuner on power of twos so I am hoping it will work on 10,20,40 and 80 meters. I was reading a site that said early antennas had SWR of 3:1 and a high SWR breeds character. Anyway with an ATU you can make nearly anything resonate at the desired frequency :p

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Dxing 7BU 00558 khz

Contact Details

Time UTC:- 1130

Date:- 29 Jan 2010

Strength:- 2/5

Noise:- 2/5

Fading:- 3/5

Interferance:- 4/5

Overall Quality:- 3/5

Distance:- 315 km

Mode:- AM

Frequency KHz:- 00558

Station ID:- 7BU www.7bu.com.au

Station type:- Commercial

Location:- Burnie Tasmania Australia (Table Cape)

Polarisation:- Vertical

Antenna Height (MAX):- 60 mtrs

Maximum ERP:- 20 kw (120ᵒ - 300 ᵒ)

Adj ERP for bearing:- 2kw (0ᵒ - 120ᵒ)

SWL DXing.... and "local" AM stations

At night one of the things I like to do is see what is the furthest AM broadcast station I can aquire. I am only working the AM broadcast band when I do this and dont want to say hey I picked up China Radio from Beijing at 200.000 watts when I can try and tune a "local" station say in Colac at 2000 watts. Needless to say the Beijing signal aimed at the pacific area by bouncing it off the ionosphere is much much stronger then Colac...

Reciever is Realistic DX-150B FET SW Receiver with a 20' long wire aerial about 10' off the ground running North to south horizontally.

For those that dont know the quality strength etc is shown as a rating out of five, 5/5 is the best and 1/5 is the worst.

Strength is the received power

Noise is atmospheric interference

Fading is the signal fading in and out, this affects the overall volume

Interferance are signals from other transmitters on the same frequency or are very close to it

Overall Quality is a combination of all of the above and how "listenable" the station is

ERP is short for Emitted Radiated Power it can be different at certain directions from the transmitter depending on the broadcast pattern. It might be omnidirectional and be as strong in all directions or it might transmit north south or east west. For example the weather is broadcast to shipping from two transmitters, one in Queensland doing the east coast and one in WA doing the west coast, they are set up to transmit north to south to follow the coastline and both are inland with the Qld one near the NT border not the coast


Mark (Pocket's) Clohesy