Acrylic RPI Case + Twin Fans

This recently turned up for me from Banggood.. a great new case for the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B, complete with coated copper heatsink and DUAL fans. Something new every day!!

Case and dual heatsink for RPI3 Model B

The dual heatsink is great if a little bit of a tight fit, I like the case and already it has the job, it is now protecting my main Pi3. The fan connector plugs straight into the PI.

In case you were wondering, the Perspex IS clear, in the top photos I’d not yet removed the thin protective covering. I did eventually but not without some wear and tear on my fingernails.

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K2 OLED HD Colour Display Bluetooth Smartwatch

K2 SmartwatchThis item turned up for me on my return from the USA: The K2 OLED Bluetooth Smartwatch.

It has magnetic charging and an App for iPhone and Android – I used the Android version.. called “iband”. The app is referred to in the 12-sided booklet that comes with this inexpensive watch and it all works well. I had no difficulties at all pairing the watch to my Pocophone F1, a process which thanks to the use of a QR-code took moments only.

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Digital Breath Alcohol Tester

Not so much a stunning new development as a quick Christmas gimmick, this one. Well, I had to have one.

Alcohol tester

This pocket gadget should not be used for medical purposes – more for having a laugh this Christmas – and that’s something we should be doing lots of. So here’s the reference… stone, cold sober – I’ve has no alcohol for days and it shows in a reading of 0.00%

This pocket gadget takes a pair of AAA batteries and is easy to use. The unit has 4 buttons and two displays. The upper display runs constantly and shows the actual time and ambient temperature. The second display, once you breath onto the device, momentarily shows % BAC and g/l alcohol.

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Seeed Air602 WIFI Module

Seeed Air602Touted as an alternative to the ESP8266, the Air602 WIFI is a tiny module from Seeed Studio in Shenzhen. Also available is a development board with USB and Flash memory.

The basic 2.4Ghz WIFI module is based on the W600 embedded WIFI SoC chip with a simple 12-pin interface. at 2mm pin spacing The unit overall is 12mm by 10mm and supports IEEE802.11b/g/n and AT commands.


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Big Timer

tmp17DBBig Timer is (probably) the best-ever timing node for Node-Red, providing a general purpose timer as well as  handling summer/winter correctly as well as (importantly) lighting up time (for which you should provide longitude and latitude). After all you probably don’t turn the outside lights on at 6pm!! You turn them on when it gets DARK.

As always - available at node-red-flows and at

Short extract from the readme file:

The ultimate Timing node for Node-Red


BigTimer is a powerful timing node offering a range of timing facilities for Node-Red. BigTimers can be used singly or in groups. Full support for dusk/sunset dawn/sunrise and variations also day/week/month (and special days) control. The node offers outputs suitable for MQTT, speech and databases. You can also manually over-ride the UTC time setting on the host computer if required.


Suitable for general use and very powerful (yet simple), BigTimer has 3 outputs, the first of which triggers when there is a change of state and presents one of two messages (for, for example, MQTT or other control mechanism), the second output is a simple 1 or 0 every minute in the payload and also has additional outputs reflecting the status message in msg.state and message time and others. The third output presents a message which could be used for speech or debugging.

New: “toggle” mode. Now with new seconds timer mode AND updated for Node-Red 0.17.5+ including new help formatting and tips on input and output.

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Coming up soon

I’ll be back at my writing desk toward the end of this week, once I recover from the transatlantic flight mid-week – back to the UK via Amsterdam. Meanwhile I’ve just been reading the pre-Christmas gadget hype, it seems we now have phones with 5 cameras (putting to shame my 3-camera Pocophone F1 – though it does have the redeeming feature of easily capturing 4K video), AI and 6.2” height, Android 9 (and soon, Android Q).

Merry Christmas

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H96 Max Plus USB 3 TV Box

imageThe H96 Max+  is, how can I put it, wonderful. It has Android 8.1, both WIFI and high speed Ethernet, 4k HD video (yes, I have a 4K TV) 32GB storage (4GB internal RAM), USB 3.0, HDMI output and more. At the time of writing, it is a very low £38.87 at Banggood.

At this point I would normally send you off to look at the ad but in this case you might be put off as it is the usual gloss complete with language errors. The unit deserves so much more.

I’ve tried all manner of TV boxes from PCB level Android units to full blown Android TV. The former generally work but often need some technical knowledge to set up and often come with old versions of Android, The "Android TV" units (as against full Android which this unit supports) are, in my experience, a let-down.

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EleksMaker Pro Laser Engraver

Update November 29, 2018
Earlier this year I put together this excellent A3 laser engraving machine. Originally, a 500mW laser module arrived complete with its own power supply (the laser which was not included in the basic kit). It turns out that was the wrong laser and now I have the 2300mW violet laser complete with upgraded 2.5A power supply. In the photo you also see the (important) green protective glasses that came with the kit.

Cutting door signs with Eleksmaker

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New Toys in the USA

Currently we’re over in the USA for Thanksgiving which seems to be a curious mix of reasons to eat, drink and shop even more than usual. Add to the mix Black Friday and Cyber Monday and apart from the weather (it is truly cold in Chicago right now) this is certainly a great time of the year, especially for bargain-hunting techies.

The very first thing I noticed when out shopping, was the large number of huge 4K TVs available in the likes of Best Buy. In the Northeast of England, these 55”+ monsters are still expensive and far from the norm, with a few exceptions such as occasional deals at Aldi (our latest 4K TV is an Aldi purchase). At Best Buy, 4K seems to be the norm rather than the exception.

4k tv sample

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