Month: June 2014

Making My Own LM2596 5V DC-DC Step Down Converter

 

LM2596 CircuitI decided to have some fun and build my own down converter for my Raspberry Pi. On my first try I used a LM7805 but quickly realized it would not work with 14V and the TO-220 heatsink I had on hand. I saw some videos on the cheap Amazon/Chinese/eBay voltage down converters, and I really wasn’t impressed. They looked poorly made with copied LM2596’s and are probably very noisy, which isn’t good for my radios. I wanted quality and efficiency to use my Raspberry Pi on batteries, so with a few dollars worth of quality parts I managed to throw my own DC-DC step down converter together with the circuit design direct from Texas Instruments above. (more…)

Modifying The Bunker Hill Digital Safes From Harbor Freight

I needed to buy a safe to lock up some of my expensive medication that had been stolen in the past. I set out to find a digital safe because I didn’t always have my keys with me, and I am very bad at remembering combinations and which way to turn the dial. There aren’t many cheaper/smaller safes now that aren’t digital. Some even have a credit card type system! I browsed around, glanced over reviews, and eventually found the Bunker Hill Security 0.71 Cu. Ft. safe at Harbor Freight for a little under $50 with a 20% off coupon that Harbor Freight usually puts on their website. This was the cheapest digital safe with the most amount of space that I could find. After installing it in my room, and putting my pills and some other belongings in it, I started to wonder why my pills were still going missing a week later. After reading reviews in depth and watching Youtube videos, I found out that this safe was not actually safe.  (more…)

Raspberry Pi Ham Radio #1 – WSPR

WSPR Command Line

Just a few days ago I bought a Raspberry Pi with nothing but the case and SD card expecting to just have it run as a little SSH server so I could remotely login to my weechat tmux instance, and upload weather data to wunderground from my weather station with weewx. I set everything up, tinkered around with it for a day or two and had it running smooth. I got curious and had heard in the past that the Raspberry Pi could be turned into a low power FM radio. Reading further, the Raspberry Pi actually does 1-250Mhz which is a perfect range for amateur radio operators. I knew it wouldn’t provide much power (10 dBm), so weak signal modes were what I needed. (more…)

Linux Mint 17 “Qiana” Official Release First Impressions

I have only 8 months Linux experience under my belt, but I now run Mint 16 and Mint 17 as daily drivers on my desktop and laptop. Here are my first impressions of Mint 17 “Qiana” using my hardware.

After trying the Mint 17 RC installer a few weeks ago on my Asus Zenbook UX301, I ran into a big problem when installing it. Grub couldn’t read the partition map from /dev/sda and errored out of the installer. I gave up trying and installed Mint 16 again flawlessly. Seeing a post last night on /r/linux about the official release of Mint 17 prompted me to give the Mint 17 install another chance on my laptop. I opted for the Cinnamon version to test its new Retina/HiDPI support with my 13″ 2560×1440 screen. (more…)