Adventures in hardware, software and geekery.

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Goodbye Flipboard!


I’ve been a heavy user of Flipboard for iOS for my daily news intake. There’s just something about the flipping motion, and the presentation that I find attractive. On the PC side, I’ve been using the Feedly web app. This worked well with Google Reader as a backend, syncing my “read” posts to both service.

With the upcoming demise of Google Reader, however, this solution won’t work anymore. Flipboard made it possible to import my Google Reader subscriptions, however they will not interoperate with other services and are still lacking a desktop application.

Since I’ve been using Feedly on the desktop, I decided to try them out again on iOS. To my delight, Feedly for iOS now has a stunning design, and allows for “cards” presentation, which fairly close in presentation and gesture to Flipboard’s.

Sorry Flipboard, I was rooting for you, but in the end you let me down!

Heathkit IP-17

Heathkit IP-17


A few weeks ago, a Heathkit IP-17 power supply was graciously donated to me by a fellow member of the local hackerspace, HubCityLabs. I was very excited to be able to rescue this piece that’d been sitting unused for years. Since this power supply is capable of outputting 0-400v (dual outputs), this will be the perfect high voltage power supply for my upcoming tube projects.


Although it seemed in good shape, this power supply was dusty, rusty and full of grime. I decided to take the whole this apart, and clean it up as must as possible. I took off all the hardware, and cleaned the rust off of all the screws and panels. Scrubbed everything clean, and applied a light coat of Armorall gel to all the plastic hardware to put some color and shine back into it.

Mullard 6L6GC

The inside was full of dust and cobwebs, so I gave it a light dusting/vacuuming to remove as much of it as possible. In the above picture, you can see a pair of IEC Mullar 6L6GC power tubes.


After cleaning it up, a quick visual inspection showed everything looked in good shape. There are lots of old paper capacitors, but none of them look swollen or distorted. I fired up the unit, and it worked! I did some quick adjustments, so that when the dial is off, the output is precisely at 0v, and when it’s turned on fully, the output is 400v. After that, I took the voltage measurements as per the original Heathkit IP-17 schematic, and confirmed that all was working correctly.

Heathkit IP-17 Schematic


All in all, after a cleanup, this power supply turned out great! This will be a neat addition to my lab.

Heathkit IP-17

Arduino Uno Mega 2660

Arduino Drivers on Windows 8


A little while ago, I was having problems using installing Arduino drivers on Windows 8. Turns out, you can’t install unsigned drivers on Windows 8, without jumping through some hoops.

I searched around and found this post on DIY Drones.

Long story short, open a new Command Line with Administrator Privileges, and issue the following commands:

bcdedit -set loadoptions DISABLE_INTEGRITY_CHECKS
bcdedit -set TESTSIGNING ON

After that you can reboot, and you’ll be in “Test Mode” with driver integrity checks disabled ready to install your Arduino driver (or any other unsigned driver).

Raspberry Pi @Author:GijsbertPeijs @Original:www.flickr.com/photos/gijsbertpeijs/7988262046

OpenMediaVault on the RaspberryPi!


OpenMediaVault is a wonderful web interface to create and manage a NAS (Network attached storage). Getting OpenMediaVault installed on Raspbian (armhf) requires a little bit of effort, as there is no official packages from OMV. Some users however, have ported the majority of the packages, and I’ll share with you how to get them installed.

Package Sources

First, you need to elevate your privileges:

sudo -i

Add package sources for OMV and armhf:

echo 'deb http://packages.omv-plugins.org fedaykin main' >/etc/apt/sources.list.d/omv-plugins-org-fedaykin.list
echo 'deb http://packages.omv-plugins.org fedaykin-armhf main' >/etc/apt/sources.list.d/omv-plugins-org-fedaykin-armhf.list
wget -O - http://packages.omv-plugins.org/apt/99omv-plugins-org > /etc/apt/preferences.d/99omv-plugins-org
wget -O - http://packages.omv-plugins.org/omv-plugins.pub|apt-key add -
apt-get update && apt-get upgrade

Install OpenMediaVault

apt-get install openmediavault
Note: You might get prompted for preconfiguration info. Unless you know better, use the defaults.

If you encounter an error when setting up tftpd-hpa package then you’ll need to edit it’s configuration file:

nano /etc/default/tftpd-hpa

Change TFTP_OPTIONS like this:

TFTP_OPTIONS="--secure --ipv4"

To resolve the tftpd-hpa package installation and cleanup the mess:

apt-get install openmediavault

OMV Houskeeping

You can change the webgui password with the omv-firstaid utility. OMV seems to disable SSH when installing. If you want to re-enable SSH, that can be achieved through the raspi-config utility.

If you’re going to be using NFS, then issue the following command, to start the service on boot:

update-rc.d rpcbind defaults

You can now reboot your RPi. When it comes back up, browse to it, and you should see the OMV login prompt!

Raspberry Pi @Author:GijsbertPeijs @Original:www.flickr.com/photos/gijsbertpeijs/7988262046

Enabling I2C on your RaspberryPI


In order to be able to use your RaspberryPI’s I2C bus, a few things need to be done. The steps below assume you have the newest RaspberryPI (with 512mb of RAM), running the latest Raspbian image.

Modprobe Blacklist

Edit raspi-blacklist.conf:

sudo nano /etc/modprobe.d/raspi-blacklist.conf
Comment out this line: blacklist i2c-bcm2708

Kernel Modules

Edit the modules file:

sudo nano /etc/modules

Add the following line:


Now you can issue the following command:

modprobe /dev/i2c


Install i2c-tools:

sudo apt-get install i2c-tools

You can now reboot your RaspberryPI. You should now be able to issue the following command:

sudo i2cdetect -y 1
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 a b c d e f
00: -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --
10: -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --
20: -- -- -- -- 24 -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --
30: -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --
40: -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --
50: -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --
60: -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --
70: -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --
Note: If you have an older RaspberryPI, you will need to do “sudo i2cdetect -y 0″ instead.

Also note that in the above example, an I2C peripheral is attached to the RaspberryPI, with the I2C slave address of “0×24″. If you don’t have any peripherals attached, i2cdetect should return all blanks.

Using I2C

You are now ready to use I2C on your RaspberryPI. If you want to use I2C with Python, you can also use the Python SMBus module, or use Quick2wire‘s excellent Python Library for SPI and I2C.