What did you tinker with today?

Anything that doesn't fit in the categories below or spans a few of them
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DigitalOSH
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What did you tinker with today?

Post by DigitalOSH » Mon Jan 10, 2011 9:12 pm

Let's keep this an ongoing thread. It's always interesting to see where people are going with projects.

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DigitalOSH
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Re: What did you tinker with today?

Post by DigitalOSH » Mon Jan 10, 2011 9:14 pm

Today I am going to try to install Magic Lantern (http://magiclantern.wikia.com/wiki/Magi ... mware_Wiki) firmware on my Canon Rebel T1i... this is going to add a ton of functionality to a fairly cost-effective DSLR!

Also, I am organizing all my cords (not a small task). Wife will be pleased.

FingerTech
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Re: What did you tinker with today?

Post by FingerTech » Mon Jan 10, 2011 11:12 pm

I spent my tinker time scouring the net for hi-tech aquarium gadgetry!

I built a 55 gallon tank into the wall between my living room and kitchen, and up to last year it has survived on just an internal Fluval filter. Stock lights, basic internal heater, fake plants.
The fish were doing just fine, but then I discovered the joy of growing plants! :D

Plants need three things to thrive: light, CO2, and nutrients. So last year I upgraded the lighting from 30W crap bulbs to a beautiful 3x54W T-5HO aluminum canopy. It has three 4ft bulbs (all different light spectrums) on two circuits. I didn't want ugly mechanical timers so I bought some electronics timers that normally replace your light switch and modified the canopy so they hid inside. Now the blue-ish lights are on from 11am-9pm, and the daylight bulb is on for a 12pm-2pm daylight burst. I can even set them to be different every day if I want. Woohoo!

I started dosing fertilizers but that's boring (until I construct an automatic fert-doser using a peristaltic pump!) 8-)

I also starting using DIY CO2 which is basically a brewery that mixes yeast, sugar and water in a sealed container with an outlet for the generated CO2 to be directed into the tank. This worked but had a low bubble count. I could add more yeast to the mixture and get more bubbles, but then I would have to redo it more often (like every week) and that was getting annoying. I built my own giant system using two 2L bottles but was still not happy with having to redo it so often.

So I went to Air Liquide and leased myself a 20lb beverage-grade aluminum CO2 tank, and bought a regulator/solenoid/metering-valve setup that I can adjust from something tiny like 1 bubble per minute all the way up to kill-all-the-fish-bubble-explosion (not gonna test that).

Now THIS year I have just recently purchased an external canister filter to replace the internal filter. I think it will be much nicer to see nothing in the tank but plants and fishies. Gotta get that internal heater out too though! So tonight I'm looking for external heaters that I can plumb into the output of my canister filter. While I'm at it I'm going to get a UV sterilizer and I will make a "DIY CO2 reactor" and have alllllll that stuff moved into the stairwell that is out-of-sight from both the rooms (by running the external hoses through the walls studs!).

It's a huge (but fun) money pit of a hobby! :P

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DigitalOSH
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Re: What did you tinker with today?

Post by DigitalOSH » Mon Jan 10, 2011 11:56 pm

Image

But seriously, that sounds awesome. Did you take pics during the construction?

FingerTech
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Re: What did you tinker with today?

Post by FingerTech » Tue Jan 11, 2011 12:16 am

That fellow on the right looks malnourished.

I have no pictures! All the pics I have seem to be up close of fish or plants or algae or whatever I'm focusing on but none of the whole tank. It's weird because I was sure I documented the process as I bashed a giant hole in the wall. If I find some I'll add them later.

For now you have those links. I'll make sure to post pics when I start adding all the new bits to the setup!

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Bergo
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Re: What did you tinker with today?

Post by Bergo » Tue Jan 11, 2011 9:02 am

made a couple dozen RJ-45 to DB9 adapters and setup a serial console server for a bunch of network equipment. Now I can SSH to any one of 32 serial ports to access out of band management interfaces for my network gear.

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DigitalOSH
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Re: What did you tinker with today?

Post by DigitalOSH » Tue Jan 11, 2011 4:44 pm

Based on this: http://hackaday.com/2010/12/30/adding-a ... connector/ ?
I was reading that with bated breath last night

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JamesCooper
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Re: What did you tinker with today?

Post by JamesCooper » Wed Jan 12, 2011 1:06 am

The biggest thing I am tinkering with right now is getting a multi-level backup system for the computers in my home.

My fiancée and I both have SSDs as our primary drives, but we also have HDDs for mass storage, and I have the SSD being backed up to the HDD in each computer (for when the inevitable occurs). I also have a 2TB RAID 5 array in a small computer on the floor acting as a file server, which also carries backups of any irreplaceable data on our desktop PCs, and I just recently added a 2TB USB hard drive to allow me to keep off-site backups. My biggest problem is automating the entire deal. I'm using the Windows Backup thing on the PCs to backup the SSD to HDD, which is working fine, but I'd like to use something like rdiff-backup on my Linux-based file server to pull backups from the PCs (with bonus points if I can use wake-on-LAN to power up the PCs and do the backups at night). I also want to set up monitoring on my file server to email/SMS me if anything goes wrong with the backup or the RAID. Lastly, I want a simple method to automatically sync the USB drive with the RAID array, so that I can bring it home on the weekend, sync it, and bring it off-site during the week.

I know, it seems like a lot of work (considering most people don't backup anything), but I've had a couple failures over the years and a recent one almost lost every CD I've ever owned (all long since stolen from my vehicle). I've finally decided to invest the time in making a system which is reliable, but as low maintenance as possible. I'm also considering offering backup services to friends and family, since I've spent a lot of time trying to recover data for them, but I'm finding the amount of storage and bandwidth necessary to make it feasible quite onerous, so I'm shelving that plan for the time being.

Anybody else have a backup strategy? What would you suggest?

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Bergo
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Re: What did you tinker with today?

Post by Bergo » Wed Jan 12, 2011 10:09 am

I run a VMware ESX host wwith most of my stuff saved on virtual machines. I write a powershell script to use the VCB framework to do full VM backups to a NAS device. I was something I had originally designed for backing up a prod environment at a former employer, but was pretty easily implemented at home as well.

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Odemia
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Re: What did you tinker with today?

Post by Odemia » Mon Jan 31, 2011 12:11 pm

Installed http://chdk.wikia.com/wiki/CHDK on my Canon Powershot SD850 IS this morning. Unfortunately battery is dead on the camera or I would be posting some time lapse photos etc. Should be fun to play with.

And now for some "pichers":

1) In a humorous reversal of the stereo typical roles, last week I was staying late to support a developer in india who was trying to use this Image
It's one of my test benches at work. 6x802.16d (Fixed point WiMAX) Base stations ontop of the rack connected through rf splitters to 96 cpes on the left. In the rack are switches and 2 DC power plants that power all the CPEs via Power over Ethernet (PoE) through the patch panels. Another rack of PCs (not in picture) connects to the appropriate base and subscriber for testing, all done through VLANs. No moving of cables necessary, entirely scriptable.

2) An older project of my Boss. But figured you guys would appreciate the "pichers":
Image
Image
Image

Anyways all for now. Hope that helps satisfy the "pichers" requirement.

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