Posts tagged ‘Hardware’

New PC laptop purchase

I was going to build up another mini-ITX desktop, however the more I look at it I am better off buying one of those Dell Outlet Inspirion laptops. As  I end up getting a PC that can be used as a desktop replacement and doesn’t need any more hardware purchased. i.e. keyboard/mouse/monitor. So I am monitoring the outlet site the past week watching what Intel i3 Third generation systems come up and the prices.

The PC laptop will probably run Windows 7 x64 Home (or Windows 8.1 if my work VPN finally ends up supporting it). While my existing mini-ITX desktop (i3/16gb ram) will probably be converted to a Ubuntu desktop, so I can implement lxc containers again and some other workload on it. Really want to get tvheadend setup on it and plug in the USB tuner I was using with my Raspberry Pi. Remember the post here, about that?

If I get some time this weekend one evening going to install a temporary hard disk into my desktop and do a Ubuntu 12.04.4 install and do some messing about to ensure the hardware all detects fine and resolution of monitors works fine. The system uses an Intel HD 4000 onboard, so I hope accelerated video works or that could be a problem.

Looking to purchase the laptop the end of this month or early next month.

Obihai, Obitalk and the hardware

We’ve recently been provided an Obihai Obi202 and ObiLine products.

So far I am very impressed, as I was able to plug in the Obi202 and ObiLine with minimal setup. The ability to do basic configuration via the web portal on Obitalk is good, but if you want some serious tweaking and configuration you can use Obiexpert mode via Obitalk portal or the web interface on the device itself.

If you have no VoIP providers configured soon as you setup the Obi202 or similar products you could do free calls between devices. i.e setup an Obihai device say at your own place and grab another one at a relatives. Once these are both configured via the Obitalk portal on each account, you can do Obitalk free calls between them by dialing the Obitalk number that each unit is assigned.

Reposted from Heimic Technology post here.


I’ve been lucky enough to be sent some Obihai hardware, so you will see a few posts from me about my experiences with setting it up and what not. I’ve been sent an Obi202 and ObiLine which I should start to tinker with from the weekend.

Unfortunately they arrived today, however they are waiting at the local PO, which means I wont be able to collect them until Saturday morning.

So you’ll be seeing some posts from me about the hardware and my experience. Looking forward to it to be honest, as it looks pretty impressive on paper. If anyone is already using it, drop me a comment, as I wouldn’t mind doing some test calls via the Obitalk number that is provided when you setup an account.

Noontec N5 Gigalink Firmware info

As discussed in one of my previous posts here. I own a Noontec N5 Gigalink single drive NAS. It’s not the greatest thing around, but for what it does do well (basic file sharing) it does the job. I don’t use any other features of the unit, just simply the file sharing side of it.

I wish I never upgraded the firmware, as the one that it shipped with had a much more basic UI for administration, however the newer firmwares you find may be TerraMaster branded, which I honestly don’t like. Although TerraMaster make a unit based off the N5, I just like it to remain Noontec branding.

I found that the firmware available at the page here, is a recent Noontec branded one. So I have installed it and will be using it for now. It is version as per below;


NOTE: The direct link above to Noontec site may disappear over time. Should it do so, I have zipped up a copy and made it available from my site below; (From:

Makita 18v LXT Li-Ion Cordless Hammer Drill Driver BHP458

The new Makita 18v LXT Li-Ion Cordless Hammer Drill Driver (BHP458) I ordered yesterday arrived. I ordered it as a kit from Sydney Tools, as I needed a charger and batteries for some other skins I purchased on the weekend, so this made a good deal to get those items.

My kit I ordered is here.

I charged up both batteries, and used the drill just briefly and was complete impressed by the torque that it produces when used in driver mode. Very impressive. The dual LED lights are nice and bright too, think this will be one of my new favorite tools for a while.

Will be sure to post more feedback after I use it a bit more.

Removing SSD as my boot drive

I am actually considering the removal of my SSD from my i3 workstation as I dont tend to reboot too often and don’t really use the SSD for anything where I need lots of I/O operations. Although it is nice to see how quick it is.

The SSD use to be from my gaming machine, but I don’t have one of those these days. The i3 workstation is merely an i3 dual core with 16gb ram and some decent disk space for virtual machines.

Very tempted to use the Intel Soft Raid drivers which can be enabled in my BIOS and run RAID1 2Tb drives as my OS and data drive on the system. As the data on the machine is probably the most important thing, compared to performance of the disks. I backup every few weeks, but not as routine as I should.

I think I will continue to ponder this decision, and if I do make the move, it will happen after I can move my user data onto my MacBook Air when it arrives. Hopefully next week. BTO orders tend to take time.

Apple MacBook Air 13inch BTO machine ordered

Ordered myself an Apple MacBook Air 13inch with 8gb ram upgrade (i5/256gb flash drive). This is a BTO custom order due to the ram being upgraded, and as such I need to wait about 2-3 weeks for it to come in stock to the store from Apple.

Been working towards this for about 6 months.

It worked out rather well as I used some JB Hi Fi vouchers I had been given due to merit based awards, which meant I only had to pay the difference out of my own pocket. This made for a good priced machine.

Will be sure to post back on what I get up to with it.

Realtek RTL2838 DVB-T tuner on Raspberry Pi with TvHeadEnd success

I decided to give my DVB-T usb dongle (Realtek RTL2838) another go with the Raspberry Pi and TvHeadEnd. As I thought the newer version of Raspbian if available might address the condition I had previously where I had no dvb device after plugging it in. Older post found here.

It would appear it was a good to check this out again.

I downloaded the latest Raspbian available from the Raspberry Pi site. The version available at the time of this post is the one below;

I installed to an SD card and booted my Raspberry Pi.

I plugged in my Realtek RTL2838 tuner and it detected fine and when I checked for the dvb device structure, it was populated all correctly, which never happened previously at all.

[26848.628778] usb 1-1.3: new high-speed USB device number 6 using dwc_otg
[26848.741110] usb 1-1.3: New USB device found, idVendor=0bda, idProduct=2838
[26848.741147] usb 1-1.3: New USB device strings: Mfr=1, Product=2, SerialNumber=3
[26848.741166] usb 1-1.3: Product: RTL2838UHIDIR
[26848.741183] usb 1-1.3: Manufacturer: Realtek
[26848.741199] usb 1-1.3: SerialNumber: 00000001
[26848.851456] usb 1-1.3: dvb_usb_v2: found a 'Realtek RTL2832U reference design' in warm state
[26848.857238] usbcore: registered new interface driver dvb_usb_rtl28xxu
[26848.921368] usb 1-1.3: dvb_usb_v2: will pass the complete MPEG2 transport stream to the software demuxer
[26848.921447] DVB: registering new adapter (Realtek RTL2832U reference design)
[26848.965698] usb 1-1.3: DVB: registering adapter 0 frontend 0 (Realtek RTL2832 (DVB-T))...
[26849.001551] r820t 0-001a: creating new instance
[26849.014447] r820t 0-001a: Rafael Micro r820t successfully identified
[26849.021655] Registered IR keymap rc-empty
[26849.022183] input: Realtek RTL2832U reference design as /devices/platform/bcm2708_usb/usb1/1-1/1-1.3/rc/rc0/input0
[26849.022231] rc0: Realtek RTL2832U reference design as /devices/platform/bcm2708_usb/usb1/1-1/1-1.3/rc/rc0
[26849.022262] usb 1-1.3: dvb_usb_v2: schedule remote query interval to 400 msecs
[26849.035148] usb 1-1.3: dvb_usb_v2: 'Realtek RTL2832U reference design' successfully initialized and connected

And device files

root@raspberrypi:~# ls -la /dev/dvb
total 0
drwxr-xr-x  3 root root   60 Jan  1 14:51 .
drwxr-xr-x 13 root root 3080 Jan  1 14:51 ..
drwxr-xr-x  2 root root  120 Jan  1 14:51 adapter0
root@raspberrypi:~# ls -la /dev/dvb/adapter0/
total 0
drwxr-xr-x 2 root root     120 Jan  1 14:51 .
drwxr-xr-x 3 root root      60 Jan  1 14:51 ..
crw-rw---T 1 root video 212, 4 Jan  1 14:51 demux0
crw-rw---T 1 root video 212, 5 Jan  1 14:51 dvr0
crw-rw---T 1 root video 212, 3 Jan  1 14:51 frontend0
crw-rw---T 1 root video 212, 7 Jan  1 14:51 net0

Next I configured other tools before compiling and installing the TvHeadEnd per the steps below;

sudo apt-get install unzip libcurl4-openssl-dev pkg-config git build-essential dvb-apps

cd ~
git clone
cd tvheadend
sudo make install

At which point I executed the binary via “tvheadend -C” and I could now access the web interface for the TvHeadEnd software via http://raspberrypi_ip:9981/ where I could now see my dvb tuner was detected.

At this point you now have to configure the network and channels according to your region. Can be a bit tricky, but I followed the info available at the post here (step 14). This helped me make sense of the sequence of actions.

Below is a screen grab showing VideoLan Client from my Windows 7 desktop and a web browser in the background attached to the TvHeadEnd which is running on the Raspberry Pi with the RTL2838 tuner.



EDIT: And to get my TvHeadEnd to auto start with boot I performed the following additional steps.

Created /etc/init.d/tvheadend file with the contents below;

# Provides: tvheadend
# Required-Start: $local_fs $remote_fs $network
# Required-Stop: $local_fs $remote_fs $network
# Should-Start: $syslog
# Should-Stop: $syslog
# Default-Start: 2 3 4 5
# Default-Stop: 0 1
# Short-Description: start/stop tvheadend Server


start() {
if [ -e $PIDFILE ]; then
PID=$(ps ax | grep -v grep | grep -w $(cat $PIDFILE) | awk '{print $1}')
if [ -n "$PID" ]; then
echo "$TVHNAME already running (pid $PID)."
exit 1
echo -n "Starting tvheadend: "
start-stop-daemon --start --background --pidfile $PIDFILE --make-pidfile --user ${TVHUSER} --exec ${TVHBIN} -- \
-u ${TVHUSER} -g ${TVHGROUP} -f -C
echo "Done."

stop() {
if [ -e $PIDFILE ]; then
PID=$(ps ax | grep -v grep | grep -w $(cat $PIDFILE) | awk '{print $1}')
if [ -n "$PID" ]; then
echo -n "Stopping $TVHNAME: "
start-stop-daemon --stop --quiet --pidfile $PIDFILE --name ${TVHNAME}
echo "Done."
echo "$TVHNAME is not running."
echo "$TVHNAME is not running."

status() {
if [ -e $PIDFILE ]; then
PID=$(ps ax | grep -v grep | grep -w $(cat $PIDFILE) | awk '{print $1}')
if [ -n "$PID" ]; then
echo "$TVHNAME is running (pid $PID)."
echo "$TVHNAME is not running."
[ -e $PIDFILE ] && exit 1 || exit 3

case "$1" in
start) start ;;
stop) stop ;;
restart) stop && sleep 2 && start ;;
*) echo "Usage: $0 [start|stop|restart|status]" && exit 1 ;;

exit 0

Now set the script as executable using below;

sudo chmod 755 /etc/init.d/tvheadend

Create a tvheadend group

sudo groupadd tvheadend

Create a tvheadend user that is part of the video group and tvheadend group.

sudo useradd -g tvheadend -G video -m tvheadend

And now set the initscript tvheadend to startup and shutdown as system does

sudo update-rc.d tvheadend defaults

Raspberry Pi and Xbox 360 camera as a Webcam

Have wanted to configure an Xbox 360 camera as a Webcam on a Raspberry Pi. I’ve simple followed the post here.

I wasn’t interested in having the camera capture images with motion, as I want to act more like a traditional webcam that captures an image every set interval. To perform that task you just need to enable the option below in the motion.conf (/etc/motion/motion.conf) and you can test it by running “motion -n” as root (or via sudo).

# Make automated snapshot every N seconds (default: 0 = disabled)
snapshot_interval 120

With the interval set below it will create a file every 120 seconds. You’ll also get a lastsnap.jpg symlink which links to the last/latest capture.

I modified the configuration to also append some text to the webcam capture and overlay it on the picture. A demo of what I captured is below and how it looks.


Raspberry Pi with RTL8188CUS 802.11n wifi adapter – Update

I’ve actually been playing around with my Realtek RTL8188CUS wifi adapter and found that the configuration of the wifi adapter without wpa_supplicant seems to be a better way to go.

The information I found below was taken directly from the source Far Robotics Website. Thanks to those folks for posting the 3 methods below;

Installing rtl8188cus and rtl8188eu based wifi adaptors for raspbian without using wpa_supplicant.

Edit the file /etc/network/interfaces using the following format for networks with WPA/WPA2 security. Use the command sudo nano /etc/network/interfaces to open and edit the file. Exit the editor and save the file using keys cntl-X, Y, Enter.  Enclose Your-Network-Name and Your-Network-Password within quotation marks as in the example below.

auto lo

iface lo inet loopback
iface eth0 inet dhcp

allow-hotplug wlan0
iface wlan0 inet dhcp
wpa-ssid "Your-Network-Name"
wpa-psk "Your-Network-Password"

Edit the file /etc/network/interfaces using the following format for networks using WEP security. Use the command sudo nano /etc/network/interfaces to open and edit the file. Exit the editor and save the file using keys cntl-X, Y, Enter. Do not use quotation marks around Your-Network-Name and Your-Network-Password.

auto lo

iface lo inet loopback
iface eth0 inet dhcp

allow-hotplug wlan0
iface wlan0 inet dhcp
wireless-essid Your-Network-Name
wireless-key Your-Network-Password

Edit the file /etc/network/interfaces using the following format for networks using no security. Use the  command sudo nano /etc/network/interfaces to open and edit the file. Exit the editor and save the file using keys cntl-X, Y, Enter. Do not use quotation marks around Your-Network-Name.

auto lo

iface lo inet loopback
iface eth0 inet dhcp

allow-hotplug wlan0
iface wlan0 inet dhcp
wireless-essid Your-Network-Name

If you have success and/or failure, be sure to post a comment. Feedback is always most welcome.