Electric Iron Soldering Kit

IronThis is much better… I’ve just received a complete “electric Iron Soldering Kit”. Here are links..  US: https://ebay.to/2Hs5tO2   UK: https://ebay.to/2ERnmQY

As some of you know, I am waiting to move into our new accommodation and meanwhile much of my tech kit is in cold storage – very frustrating. I have the loan (from my very kind friend Jonathan) of a soldering iron but no de-solderer and the iron is heavy, great for some prototyping, not so good for surface mount.

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A Short Piece About Webmin

When referring to “the script” which installs Node-Red, Mosquitto, SQLite and a host of utilities onto Raspberry Pi and other boards and forms the basis of all of my installs, I rarely mention Webmin, as it is just part of the furniture… however this morning I noted that my test Pi Node-Red BigTimer was failing to turn an output on. At 7:50am I’d set a timer for 7:45am going off at 8am and it reported at 7:55am that it would not be turning on for around 50 minutes.

Webmin

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Sonoff 4CH PRO R2

It is always exciting to get something new in the post from Itead and the current postbag includes a Sonoff 4CH PRO R2 unit. This enclosed 4-relay switching unit operates from  5-24v or mains (90-264vac) as required and has four uncommitted outputs with normally-closed and normally open options rated at 30 amps low voltage or 10 amps AC (personally I’d treat that as absolute max for non-inductive loads). The unit is controlled remotely and also has four LED indicators and buttons for local control.

Sonoff

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USB Soldering Iron TS100

I’ve been kindly sent a rather neat tiny soldering iron my the name of TS100. Here are the links: UK: https://ebay.to/JOYaOC and CA: https://ebay.to/2HrYJQ5

tmp8DC3This unit comes in a small box with nothing more than the iron (with tip separated for storage) and an allen key with two spare small locking screws as well as a small leaflet. The iron can be controlled and set up by USB.

Here is the full boxed unit and below that, the assembled iron (which took seconds to put together).

Indeed, writing the blog took longer than opening and assembling this  iron.

The unit has USB but this is only for setup with the OLED display, the iron needing 12v to function. In my case the instructions that come with the iron state that you should go to miniware.com.cn for the latest firmware. After spending time on the wrong site (miniware.com) before eventually getting to the correct site, I still could not find that software. It is however easier to find alternative software for the iron, see comments.. Also they suggest pressing button A to enter DFU mode (bad idea assuming everyone knows what that means). There are no markings on the buttons but button B is nearest to the little display with A further away.

Then I had to go looking for a suitable 12v supply, no mention in the instructions about using 12v and USB at the same time. I tried both and either way I kept getting a config message then a logo but no temperature reading and the iron would not heat up. It turns out that my 12v power supply was not up to the mark (amperage-wise). That will have to wait until I’m near a better supply when I get back from holiday.

.tmp1D4A

That’s how things stand, when I hear from the supplier and get further, I’ll amend the blog.

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Home Control ESP Software Branding at Last

For far too long I’ve been sitting watching others give their ESP8266 home control software branding without following the trend. Having just spend umpteen solid hours updating the software, I’m taking the opportunity, merely for clarity, to go with the trend, The ESP8266 software, used extensively here and by blog readers is to be called ESP-go

This, as regular readers may know, i s native C code for the ESP8266 using the ESPRESSIF SDK (2.0) to provide comprehensive firmware for esp8266 when working with the likes of Raspberry Pi and “the script” in which Node-Red, supported by Mosquito MQTT, allows you to put together home control rapidly. This is all detailed elsewhere in the blog.

At the time of writing version is 2.19, recently (April 2018) updated to fixed a remaining minor issue with fixed IP addressing and to update the supporting Word Document.

Also just realised that a timeout is not practical for permanent manual override in node-red-contrib-bigtimer – so turned that off for version 1.9.2

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The Nano Peripheral Update

I mentioned recently in an entry aimed at beginners, that I’ve been installing “the script” and my ESP8266 code on various devices. I now have three Raspberry Pi 2 boards set up for testing, all with the latest Raspbian on them and running “the script”.

I have a number of ESP8266 boards running with my general purpose code on them, all identical other than ID. Add to that one to dozens of my Nano peripheral…

Nano peripheral

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The Script and ESP8266 Code for Beginners

I’m often asked about setting up MQTT, Node-Red etc. on the likes of Raspberry Pi, with a view to controlling ESP8266 devices.

Novice readers start here

Usually it is difficult for me to see this from a beginner perspective, but having spent 2 months in hospital thanks to an untimely stroke from which I’m still recovering, 4 months after the event, I recently found myself doing new installs without the benefit of doing this stuff every day. I am just SO glad I blog everything.

Array of Raspberry PIs

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IKALOGIC WS200 and SQ200

In today’s mailbag I received a box containing an IKALOGIC WS200 hand held scope and an SQ200 logic analyser.

SQ200 and WS200 unitsThese French-made units are oscilloscope and logic analyser respectively and they arrived in attractive packaging, directly from IKALOGIC in Limoges, France. Translations to English are spot-on, if only some others used the same care.

The packaging as it turns out was not only attractive but functional as the box arrived without any of the usual marks or dents.

To use these units it is necessary to visit  the IKALOGIC web site to grab the software which  is available for Windows/Mac/Linux/Android/IOS

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Mustool G600 Microscope from Banggood

Some time ago, Banggood send me a Mustool G600 Microscope. The intended use for this was and is as a visual aid when assembling and testing small electronic boards (that’s what I need it for anyway).

MUSTOOL Microscope from BanggoodThe scope is excellent for this as it is adjustable from just a few mm height above the test object to 130mm or more. Resolution is also adjustable.

The unit has it’s own backlight and display and runs off USB. It also has an internal rechargeable battery and can run for many hours without a connection to USB power.

As it turns out, when the unit  arrived, I was stuck in hospital for some weeks and for some of that time had difficulty reading anything, full stop. The scope proved to be indispensible in helping me to read. It is worth noting that the scope has an SD memory slot and can make (quality) recordings but I’ve no use for that particular feature.

Now, my eyesight is more or less back to normal and I’m starting to look toward commencing board construction and testing again and the Mustool microscope now has earned a spot on my workbench.

Here is the Banggood link for the G600. https://goo.gl/b5EQZ4

In the photo above, the scope is helping me assemble an Arduino-like board.

Others digital microscopes from Banggood https://goo.gl/wmmMy8

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More of my Postbag

It could take some time before I’m fully fought up with my various postbags, here is some more:

Yokogawa TY720 True RMS Digital Multimeter

In the last entry I looked at the UNI-T UT61E Digital Multimeter in this entry I’ll talk about the Yokogawa TY720 True RMS Digital Multimeter.

Yokogawa  TY720

The TY720 is a solid unit and could well become my favourite meter. As well as the usual voltage, current and resistance measurements, this rather large, backlit, 5-digit beauty (which has closed-case calibration) has data memory and does diode testing, capacitance,  frequency measurement and more. Measurements can be absolute or relative and you can select min, max, average with auto-hold, data hold and more.

Frequency measurement is from 2Hz to 100Khz and temperature readings  from –200c to 1372c (with optional probe for temperature. I did not receive one of these).

The meter runs on 4 AA cells. Too early at this point to say how long they will last but it is easy to replace the batteries. Construction looks fine and overall appearance is good. At this point I can’t find anything negative to say. Operating temperature at –20c to +55c is outside of anything my unit will encounter.

All in all, a very nice meter.

I also have a very nice Owon meter with Bluetooth but as that is currently in storage, a review will have to wait a little while, meanwhile there is far, far more in the current batch of post that I still need to cover.

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