Category Archives: General

Bluetooth Speaker Giveaway

Uptated June 10, 2018.

You will have seen my blog entry recently about goodies from Inateck including their The BP1109 Bluetooth speaker which I’m now using a lot… it is lovely. Well, they wanted another bite at the cherry so to be in with a chance to win one of these speakers free-gratis, simply do two things.. find the (very) recent goodies blog entry which now has a link to their Facebook page, FOLLOW their page and leave a comment in the same goodies blog entry (you must be a registered user of this blog to do that) to say you follow their Facebook page and would like one of the Bluetooth speakers free gratis. On 10th of June lunchtime UK time, I will look at the comments, pick one reader at random and send their email address to Inateck who will then get in touch with the winner directly to send off the speaker to them. A lot easier to do than to explain. This is genuine, no catches. You’ll find I’ve put Inateck’s Facebook link in the original blog entry.


EleksMaker Pro Laser Engraver

After much delay and I have to say patience from Banggood, I am now putting together this A3 laser engraving machine. Nearly done and today, the actual 500mW module itself has arrived complete with its own power supply (the laser which was not included in the basic kit). Meanwhile, assembling the kit looked like a day’s work so I figured I’d better get on with it. Mechanics all done but at this point I’m not seeing how to dim the laser.


Essentially the unit comes as a well-packed set of 3 motors, various aluminium tubes, a host of pre-cut Perspex pieces and an unfeasible number of nuts, bolts, retainers, wheels and various spacers. I opened the box maybe 9am Friday morning and spent the rest of the day constructing.

At first it all looks a little daunting but that apprehension soon goes away, It did not take long to reach the stage where a whole table was needed to hold all the parts but by mid-day I’d cracked the back of this. I also broke one of the Perspex fastener/tensioners however.  Thank heavens for Gorilla glue. I hope it is strong enough. Seems to be up to now, days later.

Two of the three motors move the laser assembly forward and backward (left and right sides). The third motor is mounted with the laser and moves the latter left and right.

No documentation came with the unit but the Banggood site has construction info, software and drivers. What you see here are my own photos, in the link below, you’ll see the construction photos available, which I used to help me assemble the unit. The images in their docs are good but I was left in doubt as to where to mount the small electronic control box on the front aluminium support beam because other suppliers showed the box mounted vertically whereas in the Banggood-supplied revision, the box mounts horizontally. This box needs some trivial assembly which only takes a few minutes. I do not have detailed wiring information but it looks fairly simple. A power supply is provided. No info as to whether to mount this somewhere or leave lying on the bench (unless I missed something).  Similarly (now the laser is here) I’ve no idea where to put its supply but I’ll figure that out as I go along.

Continue reading EleksMaker Pro Laser Engraver


Big Timer Status

I occasionally get comments in the blog about people having problems with BigTimer, virtually all get resolved by users themselves and it is quite some time since BigTimer has actually had any problems, so for clarification, here it is working alongside Blynk, inject nodes and with MQTT. I am currently in the UK and it is currently 11.45am here in Blighty.

This particular timer is set to turn a light on at dusk and off again at midnight, unless manually overridden by an inject node or by Blynk (I’ve created a button on my phone which can turn on the output or restore it to auto).  I hope soon to have multi-state button as this has been introduced in Blynk (but I can’t get it to actually work (at least not using the local Blynk server).

Big Timer Status


Deceitful Advertising

Sometimes I wonder what has happened to trading standards in the Internet age. Today it is apparently perfectly ok to lie through your teeth when advertising, particularly when you can later hide behind the language barrier.

See particularly bollocks advert here at AliExpress. They don’t do themselves or  us any favours allowing rubbish like this…

  5v 6amp means 30w, not 40w as claimed and how can the output be fixed at 5v when the unit also claims to support Quickcharge 3?  Utter waste of time.


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 a backed-up Raspberry Pi 3B+ board set up for testing, with the latest Raspbian and fully up to date Node-Red nodes including my own and running “the script”, talking to (in this case) a pair of Wemos D1 Mini boards, one of which has my Nano-based peripheral added.

Nano peripheral

Continue reading The Nano Peripheral Update


MCH K305D Power Supply

I just received a neat little switch-mode power supply in the post from Banggood, the K305D.

MCH K305D Bench SupplyThis neat supply runs up to 30 volts output (fully adjustable) and up to 5 amps (constant voltage or constant current)  with 0.01v resolution and 0.001a resolution on the blue LED displays.  The unit comes complete with simple test leads, mains lead and 8-sided “operation manual”. The – connection can optionally be grounded.

The unit measures 70mm x 150mm x 210mm plus feet and buttons. It is quite light (as befits a switching supply) while maintaining a solid feel about it.

Packaging for 220v version K305D Power SupplyRight now I can’t test it to the limits but it works just fine running a new Raspberry Pi 3 B+. The unit arrived solidly packed and will make a fine addition to my somewhat overcrowded workspace.

pcbpcbPlease note that in 2015, XJet (YouTube) did a write up on one of these and having used it for some time, noted poor build quality and issues with current limiting.

Well in 2018, mine seems to work just fine including the current limiting and taking into account that this is not an expensive supply, build quality on mine is not bad. I might’ve made the cables to the output terminals a little shorter and thicker personally but for what this supply is likely going to be used for, they should be just fine.

The unit was supplied by Banggood (MCH-K305D 30V 5A 4 Digits DC Switching Power Supply -- Wholesale DC Power Supply -- EU Warehouse -- )


Prototype PCB Manufacturing and JLCPCB.COM

So, printed circuit boards - or PCBs to most of the electronics COMMUNITY. My friend and one-time business partner has been designing them for around 35 years so he has been through just about every way of laying out a circuit that there is. This means that he started out with a pencil and a large piece of paper, surrounded by integrated circuit manufacturers data books and an idea. Once the circuit had been designed and a prototype built and debugged, then a couple of sheets of transparent film were taped  together and rolls of red and blue tape used to lay down the pcb tracks.


Continue reading Prototype PCB Manufacturing and JLCPCB.COM


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: and CA:

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 for the latest firmware. After spending time on the wrong site ( 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.


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


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

Continue reading IKALOGIC WS200 and SQ200