Nonprofit Random Ramblings

Home Network Redesign

So after many years (almost ten) of having all my networking hardware sitting on top of my old IBM eServer, it was finally time to tidy it up and reduce some ambient fan noise in the room. So the motivation for this was really the latter part, as there’s a few things in my computer/radio room that have fans running. The loudest one was from the HP 2524 ProCurve switch that has been the backbone of my home network until I recently retired it and replaced it with a fanless TP-Link 24 port managed switch. The benefit of the new switch is its speed (1Gb/100Mb/10Mb) where the HP is slower at only 100Mb/10Mb.

So here’s what I have so far (top to bottom) 24 port patch pannel, TP-Link 24 port managed switch, HP 2524 ProCurve (retired) Various Raspberry Pi’s, power board and 5v PSU and an original OpenSpot.

Eventually I’ll around to feeding the remainder of the house (ongoing 15 year round to it job!)

Nonprofit Random Ramblings

Still Nothing of Maisie 😢

It’s now been 16 days since Maisie disappeared. We’ve done two letterbox drops of the street and I’ve been searching the local tracks close to our house and I’ve found nothing. No clumps of fur on the ground, no blood trails, it’s just like she vanished.

Although I will never stop looking for Maisie, it’s obvious that something or someone has taken or trapped her. As hard as it is to admit, I don’t believe that Maisie is going to return…

Maisie will certainly be missed and I don’t believe that I’ll ever have such a strong bond with another cat…

Amateur Radio Nonprofit Raspberry Pi

Nextion 3.5 screen for Hotspots

I’ve used Pi-star now for around a year and a half. The first screen I used with the Zumspot was a 0.96″ OLED screen (I thought it was awesome!) but after a while I started seeing other amateur radio guys were using the Nextion screen/s These are an amazing piece of equipment they run on 5v and have many uses, the main one I’ll be using is the NX4832K035_011 this is the advance type. Basically the only difference between the two (normal & advanced) is the on board memory, RTC and GPIO available for use with external items (not used for MMDVM)

As you can see above there are six screens! I used a sheet of 400x400x8mm polycarbonate (plexiglass) and cut it down to make it match the border (25mm) There is still enough space to get access to the micro SD card for updating the screen code.

Here’s the finished product in place, I’ll need to do a bit of cable management as it’s bit untidy but overall I’m happy with the end result.

Nonprofit Random Ramblings

Ten Years with WordPress!

So a thing happened…

It all started from reading Linux magazine that had a feature article on WordPress and well I must liked it cause I’m still using it! Originally I was hosting my own website from home, but after quite a few years I then moved to hosting with Gandi and its lived there ever since… 😀

Arduino Nonprofit Random Ramblings

LED Tea Light

With Xmas not far away I’d ordered some LED tea Lights for the wife to make some decorations to give away to the family.  I was interested to find out what was driving the LED, but because all the candles were required I was not able to autopsy one to find out.  This got me thinking, I have an Adafruit Trinket that would be great to drive an LED via PWM and create the desired flame effect.


Now after searching the web for examples of what it was I wanted to do, I finally settled on this one from .ledhacker This is pretty much what I was after! Here’s a copy of that original code…

#define FLICKER_LED_PIN 10
// the start of the flicker (low)
static int flicker_low_min = 200;
static int flicker_low_max = 240;
// the end value of the flicker (high)
static int flicker_high_min = 230;
static int flicker_high_max = 256;
// delay between each low-high-low cycle
// low->high |flicker_hold| high->low
static int flicker_hold_min = 40; // milliseconds
static int flicker_hold_max = 80; // milliseconds
// delay after each low-high-low cycle
// low->high->low |flicker_pause| low->high...
static int flicker_pause_min = 100; // milliseconds
static int flicker_pause_max = 200;  // milliseconds
// delay low to high and high to low cycle
static int flicker_speed_min = 900; // microseconds
static int flicker_speed_max = 1000; // microseconds
void setup() {
int flicker_random_low_start = 0;
int flicker_random_low_end = 0;
int flicker_random_high = 0;
int flicker_random_speed_start = 0;
int flicker_random_speed_end = 0;
void loop() {
  // random time for low
  flicker_random_low_start = random(flicker_low_min, flicker_low_max);
  flicker_random_low_end = random(flicker_low_min, flicker_low_max);
  // random time for high
  flicker_random_high = random(flicker_high_min, flicker_high_max);
  // random time for speed
  flicker_random_speed_start = random(flicker_speed_min, flicker_speed_max);
  flicker_random_speed_end = random(flicker_speed_min, flicker_speed_max);
  // low -> high
  for (int i = flicker_random_low_start; i<flicker_random_high; <span="" class="hiddenGrammarError" pre="" data-mce-bogus="1">i++) {
    analogWrite(FLICKER_LED_PIN, i);
  // hold
  delay(random(flicker_hold_min, flicker_hold_max));
  // high -> low
  for (int i = flicker_random_high; i>=flicker_random_low_end; i--) {
    analogWrite(FLICKER_LED_PIN, i);
  // pause
  delay(random(flicker_pause_min, flicker_pause_max));

So I loaded this on the Trinket and at first I didn’t include a current limiting resistor and the LED showed a slight flicker, but not anything like a flickering tea light! After adding the current limiting resistor (220Ω)and that didn’t really change much except for dim the LED ever so slightly.  So obviously I needed to tweak the code and see what I end up with..

Now my first thoughts on why it didn’t work out as expected is that the code was obviously written for a 5v logic, however this trinket is 3.3v logic. I made the following changes (after a little fiddling)and got more of what I was after  🙂

< #define FLICKER_LED_PIN 10
> #define FLICKER_LED_PIN 0
< static int flicker_low_min = 200;
< static int flicker_low_max = 240;
> static int flicker_low_min = 15;
> static int flicker_low_max = 175;
< static int flicker_high_min = 230;
> static int flicker_high_min = 180;
< static int flicker_hold_min = 40; // milliseconds
> static int flicker_hold_min = 20; // milliseconds
< static int flicker_speed_min = 900; // microseconds
> static int flicker_speed_min = 800; // microseconds

As you can see I only made small changes to some timings and they seemed to work better for the 3.3v logic

The next thing was how long would this run on a 1000mah lipo battery? well, somewhere between 4 to 5 days!

I’ve placed the code and supplement files on github should you wish to make one. 🙂

Nonprofit Random Ramblings

Migrating to HTPPS

Over the next coming weeks I’ll be gradually updating old blog posts to be fully compliant to https, Should I find anything that can’t be done then depending on the content I’ll most like just delete it!

For now I’ve forced a redirect from http to https at the server level, hence why some content may not display correctly (especially links to external sites that are http only)

So I suppose just watch this space? 😉

Nonprofit Random Ramblings Raspberry Pi

Raspberry PiZero

I managed to get my hands on the much sought after Raspberry PiZero the smallest of the Raspberry Pi line. The PiZero was release with edition number 40 of the MagPi Magazine that included the PiZero board for free! (well you had to buy the magazine!) but now 3rd party distributors have limited stock and I managed to get mine from my favourite electronics supply Little Bird Electronics.


I was not quite sure what to do with the PiZero and then it struck me that it’s the perfect thing to host the current official OS Raspbian & the NOOBs bootloader. so it’s currently running Transmission-daemon and is seeding four files.

Screenshot from 2016-01-17 10-54-01

Obviously this won’t be it’s only role but until I find something better this will do!

Nonprofit Random Ramblings

New Domain Name

I’m currently in the process of transferring my self hosted server to Gandi (domain and hosting) so there’s going to be some content that will no longer be available. I’m used to hosting my own server and have enjoyed it for the last 9 years but the costs of running gear and maintaining it has got to the point where It’s cheaper to off load it to someone else and free up some time on my end.  Things that will go are Gallery3 and the phpBB Forum as I no longer use either and I’ve not been maintaining them anyway.

I was going to make this a fresh start, but there’s some content on this blog that still get hits so I figured that the original content should stay so it’s still available. I’m also hoping that the content with try to stay away from politics as the blog has been pretty much dominated by local and national events that have annoyed me or I’ve felt that I must say something! as with all things there’s no guarantees! 😉

Nonprofit Random Ramblings Raspberry Pi

Pictures of Pi

RasPi 1

RasPi 1 is T2TAS (APRSC) aka VK7HSE-1/4 (APRX) This is the Raspberry Pi Model B

RasPi 2

RasPi 2 is currently setup with Ras Pi Cam Control keeping an eye on the server room! This is the Raspberry Pi Model B+

RasPi 3

RasPi 3 is this blog ( and email.  This is the Raspberry Pi 2 model B

Nonprofit Random Ramblings Raspberry Pi

Raspberry Pi(s) Online

I’ve finally got around to completing the transfer of data for my Website, Email, File server, T2TAS & APRS iGate/Digi services. I’m using a model B for the APRS duties with the VHF port using TNCPi kiss tnc and still using the old faithful PK-232MBX & USB to serial converter for the HF port. For the website and email servers I’m using the new model 2B. Both are using 16gb Class10 sdhc. This leaves the third Raspberry Pi for experimenting with whatever suites!

Raspberry Pi Model B+ Raspberry Pi 2 Model B

The motivation behind this was to retire my aging IBM eServer 220 (costs about $100AUD per quarter) that had suffered the loss of 1GB ram due to age and the 10k SCSI drives sounding like they were about to self destruct! So performance may not be comparable from the old server, but that’s not the focus here.