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Friday, 27 December 2013

Caching at Box

Out with friends to box near bath today to do some 5/5 caches, first involved going down a slippery slope to find some belongings missing by the time we got out.  After being tipped off by a local off duty copper to who he thought was the local dodgy person we confronted him but soon realised it wasn't him and as we were about to give up a dog walker approached us and asked if we have lost anything, so soon had belongings back in place. The next few were near the swan and were quickly located a favourite cave of mine and onto another where things went down hill, we struggled to solve an earth cache and the instructions for the caches here were very vague and one point ended up away from the rest of the group with all of us now low on batteries. So we will be back here another day, hopefully with another friend who knows the caves better than us. 4 caves and 7 5/5 s with an extra one for two members as the rest of us have done it a few years ago. Pictures will be posted up another day.


Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Raspberry pi lcd weather station

Tonight I've been browsing andypi.co.uk, I have already a 16x2 lcd that I have soldered using andypi schematics to a pi expansion board (a write up is on the blog somewhere) and after following instructions to download scrolling rss news feed I decided to change the RSS feed to current local weather observation from BBC and change the search time to check once a minute instead of every 30 seconds, something I might change to every twenty minutes soon. I also decided to add a wifi dongle to make it portable.

There are plenty of RSS feeds out there so this project isn't limited (RSS feeds are your oyster lol). 

If you don't fancy soldering all the wires, you can get a screen already soldered at andypi and also further instructions, scripts, etc.

Lastly to all my followers merry Christmas and have a happy new year and please click and view a banner to support the site.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Some of the search terms used to find my blog

Whilst I've been lucky with Facebook, google, raspberrypi.org Pinterest and geocaching site all pointing people towards my blog I also have search terms which show up in my stats on how people found my blog.

Interestingly things like geocaching and raspberry pi feature, puztoxs that came out from the geolympix geocaching mega event feature too, but one term that's there is raspberry pi radar detector and this has got me thinking how hard must it be to make one and has anyone else had much luck either with a pi or arduino?


Sunday, 15 December 2013

Apple woes

Decided Friday I would update my iPhone from 6.1.2 which has been good to me to the new ios7 and was still trying this morning. I was getting tons of errors 3014 3094 4014 being some, I clear one error and get another error.

So this morning was a 35 mile drive and an hour driving to go to the apple store in reading and the same back. Got through the doors just after they opened to be greeted by Liam who once saw my phone became rude and adbrupt and when I handed my phone to him was treated like I was thick. He looked at the bottom and down the headphone jack and told me they couldn't do anything as the phone had been in contact with liquids, I told him that not to my knowledge as I'm so careful with it, surely it be a time thing that's set off these imaginary markers that I couldn't see. Told that was it nothing else I should buy a new one, so I asked to speak to his manager and once I asked about the eighth time he called the manager over. I explained I couldn't get an appointment online as the site seem to return page not found last night and I've travelled a long way to which I was told tough really, however I can have a appointment Thursday afternoon, for now I should just get a SIM card adapter and cheap phone and if I traded my current phone in in its current state of being stuck in a power cycle that I would get very little for it.

So off to three they wanted to sell me a 32gb iPhone 5s on a two year contract for nearly fifty quid a month with ninety nine quid on my next bill. So working out my current twelve quid a month bill against what they were offering works out very expensive for it.  Back to apple I choose the phone I want, have to get an old adapter to new adapter as I don't really want to spend a fortune on new accessories especially not in here. Asked about a leather case to protect my phone and sure enough offered one for nearly fifty quid, don't think so ill eBay one thanks. Then I find I need a nano sim that be £15 quid, yet these are given away free on the cell operators own sites.  Back to three who hats off to them told me that if I was to buy it all from them it be a tenner for sim, but I could have a nano replacement for my current sim and they transferred my number straight over, then finally back to apple store.

Back here I buy the phone and get offered their insurance, I asked if it protected against so called water damage knowing the answer from my first visit of the day, so I then declined the insurance telling then if it lasts 18 months then I would have had my money's worth and that my lovely home insurance covers the phone anyway.

Back to the car park I then had to pay three quid for an hour and a half parking.

So would I recommend using the apple shop in future, no, it was the worse experience I have had, a 4s that still doesn't work and a 600 quid sent on the credit card.

From what I can see apple are quick to take your money but not to help or provide customer service. But hats off to three and also to sky promotions team giving out bags of popcorn and wishing everyone a merry Christmas, I think it was that that stopped me from going into full meltdown in apple.

Lastly was the idiots walking around the shopping centre stopping dead for no apparent reasons, changing directions for no reason and general not understanding how to walk through a shopping centre.

I know I'm not well at the moment but Christ these sorts of people make me look like a genius.

So total spent today parking, fuel, phone over 700 quid which could have quite easily been just fuel and half parking price had apple either tried the update themselves or replace the phone, next time I'll just go to my local car phone warehouse.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Cacheberry pi add on

After finding that the pi would occasionally throw a wobbly if you switched it off without shutting down I decided to add a switch that resets the pi.

On the pi board p6 near the power socket has two holes, I soldered two pins in here and bought a cheap pc reset button switch off eBay which I attached to p6. Now if the pi hangs or I need to turn it off I can hold the switch in and switch off the pi at the cigarette socket or press it quickly to reboot.

I have also added it to the top and also cut a little hole to let the heat out.

The p6 where I soldered the two pins (not soldered in this picture)

Monday, 9 December 2013

Cacheberry pi case

After looking around the house I found a small cardboard box. With some gaffa tape I had left from taping up geocache containers I had everything I needed. A hole in the roof and in went the gps, next was a hole for the usb so I can update the caches with a usb stick. The other side where the flap is a small hole for power and to get to pi if needed. To the front I had to cut a small hole for the i2c module on the back of the lcd to sit through with the lcd sitting flat along the side of the box. Lastly was to bring the led out the top and face forwards so you can see what is going on.

I then finished taping it all together to make it stronger and look a bit better, I know it looks blue Peter ish but that's the fun.  As the tape warms up and slightly shrinks over time it will mould better creating (hopefully) a better case.


And finally front with led 


Whoops broke the pi

I accidentally knocked the raspberry pi off the table last night and Sod's law it fell using the sd card as point of impact with the floor snapping the sd card holder. With part of an old credit card cut to size and some arildite I managed to mend what was left. An idea I have had since is to get a micro card converter and glue the micro card converter within and just use micro sd cards but for moment I will have to see how this lasts out.


Cacheberry pi update

The latest thing in this project was to make a gpio plug that I could plug n go. No messing with breadboards or loose wires, but I did want to be able to swap the lcd or gps should either failed and this is what I made.
The start

Soldering iron needs a new tip thus the poor soldering

Tidying up

And with the lcd and gps attached.

Next part of this project is to find the right size box I can use to build it all into.


Repair or replace

My voltmeter started flashing low battery last night so I opened it up and used a spare 9v battery to replace the flat one. It got me thinking again, should you bother replacing a three quid battery or just buy another three quid multimeter? When I snapped one of the leads it was cheaper to buy another multimeter than buy the leads on their own, but surely we should be looking at repair and maintain instead of chuck and replace?

Friday, 6 December 2013

Cacheberry update

I managed to getting it working with a ublox gps off eBay for under a tenner.  Certainly cheaper than the adafruit one and also runs off 3.3v. However word of warning it won't flash or blink till it actually gets a lock this is what was making me think it wasn't working. The first time it can take up to 45 minutes to get a lock. But providing you have clear view of the sky I would say around a few minutes max.

There we go, you have the £30 pi just get a £7 ish i2c lcd screen and less than a tenner gps and you to can have a cheap cacheberry pi too.

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Cache berry pi success

As some will remember I started off with jclements cacheberry pi project before moving to aurock s which is an updated version.

After having problems with the i2c lcd screen aurock pointed me to his development area and bingo the hd44780 file worked perfectly.

I need to have another look at the ublok gps as I couldn't get that working, so for now have the adafruit gps wired up.

There still needs to be some work on the calculating of nearest cache as it keeps getting stuck on one or jumping to another miles away, but so far I'm happy.  

I'm guessing this could be used for speed cameras or petrol stations providing you have the data in csv form.


Saturday, 30 November 2013

Gertduino and piface cad

Two little boxes arrived this week, neither have had much time spent on them yet.

The first is made by the maker of the gertboard, a board that can take arduino shields on the raspberry pi as rpi and arduino start working together. Nice idea and price wasn't bad, however lets hope there are more tutorials compared to the lack of them for the gertboard of which mine is a white elephant covered in dust.

Next up was the piface cad shield, a lcd display with rocker switch, 5 buttons and infrared compatability. So the pro a for this, there is support for this, the radio function worked well but could incorporate a volume switch or button. The weather demo worked well too, but the biggest con was it doesn't fit into a case like the adafruit lcd one does and I think the display would have been better if it was a different colour than green with black text (thus another vote for the adafruit one).

But on a plus side its uk made and the makers are always happy to add more coding and examples to their git page and YouTube channel. Certainly see these two items going far with the pi.

Bit coin mining with the pi

I've been running minepeon for a week now with a usb asic 335mbs dongle and in slush's mining pool. In just over a week I have watched bitcoin s go from $700 a coin to over $1200 considering these started out at less than a dollar each a few years ago things have improved greatly, especially since silk row was shutdown where a lot of bitcoins had been traded. With the darknside currently shut down by FBI it means in theory that the bitcoins can now only be spent legally thus increasing their value and the recent price surge on mtgox bitcoin exchange.

So for a weeks work I've made only £2 and probably nothing after I take out electric, but I have a butterflylabs unit coming my way which will increase income by twenty times and therefore make some coin. Yes it be nice to make money from it, but I would like to do this for the longhaul as I see the price increasing much much higher yet.

Stert Street Stream

I was pointed to this cache by the cache owner recently, after a good week of no finders i decided to venture out to it. I had told the cache owner that there was a tunnel somewhere that went under Abingdon as a now retired work colleague told me about his adventures up it as a kid. Soon as the cache owner sent me a picture showing the entrance, I couldnt wait to try it out. So off to Abingdon today, parked in the pay and display by the river that was free today because of some christmas shopping thing going on in town (footloose&frodo decided to go to this instead). Got the kayak up and ready and off to my usual launch spot along here. After battling choppy waters I was soon in the back stretch by the old gaol which still has its look of an old prison. On arriving at the entrance I set about getting my headtorch on and started going up the rather low tunnel, this soon became a bit higher and soon i could go no further. Knowing it couldnt get deeper i decided to leave the wellies and just wear my caching boots which seemed to do the trick apart from my trousers that got soaked when they unrolled. After tying up the boat (luckily I had some paracord in the car which did the trick) i started the walk up the tunnel, finding the old entrance to the old gaol. Completly forgetting about the cache I went on a walk and found various entrances from properties that have been sealed up, wooden beams that had completly rotted away and even the section where the church is above it. It was only a few inches deep along here and walked pass some workman lighting that had been set up here for some bizzare reason, but as soon as i got up to abivale vets the tunnel started to loose height and i decided it was for another day to explore the last section. It was up here that my walkie talkie fell off my backpack and hit the water, now i had no communication down here and no phone signal, but luckily enough after taking it apart once home and drying it out it now works fine. Now it was back to the cache. i had forgotton the hint but knew it was somewhere near pipe three and as I approached it from this way saw it immediatley, hoping that it was a clean log I carefully opened it to find i was in fact the first to find it. I hope the cache owner increases the rating as you will need some specialist equipment and as winter comes and the river gets higher there will be times that you will not be able to get into the entrance unless wearing diving gear, but there will be times of the year that it will practically be bone dry once pass the first pipe. Certainly brought back memories of doing hippos below another 5/5, favourite point out of my rare to give out favourite points given and wouldnt have a problem going back there again. Equipment needed is boat, wellies (or after a lot of rain waders), headtorch, spare torch, spare batteries. floatable device and possibly walkie talkies Thank you to Daniel Glover the cache owner for placing such a wonderful cache, maybe a bigger container could be placed here soon and slightly up rated to 5/5 to cover the specialist equipment and danger involved. ;)

Monday, 25 November 2013

Lots of church micros

Out with frodo today to get marbles cache and some church micros and ended up getting more than we originally planned. A nice mile walk out to marbles made me think how it could do with a night cache up here. From here it was across the downs to get a few church micros including one that had what looked like three plastic crosses in a triangle shape in the church yard, then off to say hello to the horses. There was also a micro on a seat which became a busy point in the middle of nowhere. Now getting low on fuel and needing to pop something off in didcot we got the final one at Ardington thank god me and frodo got these out of the way. Nice but cold day.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Bitcoin mining on the pi

After reading about the recent hike in bitcoin prices, a decentralized banking system, i took the plunge and purchased a bitcoin miner usb. I have also downloaded MinePeon for pi which im in the process of setting up and have also set up a account with Coinbase Donate Bitcoins I know im not going to become a millionaire with this but its an interesting little project which i will blog about as i go on my adventure. Donate Bitcoins

Monday, 18 November 2013

Github woes

I was trying out a friends project the other day and was struggling to download some of the files. Internet couldn't find me the answers but I soon got an email about what to do and this is what I got told to do:

git clone https://github.com/the directory/thesubdirectory/
Cd thesubdirectory
git fetch origin Development
git checkout Development
git submodule update --init


Then it worked a treat, hope this helps others out.

The power of twitter

My blog normally gets around 50 hits a day, but recently I advertised via twitter that I had updated my blog around 6pm that evening. Up to this point I had around 30-40 hits, the next 6 hours generated over 900 hits as fellow geocachers and raspberry pi users retweeted my link about my blog.

I'm normally lucky to earn a few pence a day from the advertising on my blog, but this particular day it was a few quid, still nowhere near my activation level to have my money processed, but a step closer and hopefully when I do get it I will be able to buy some more raspberry pi add ons to try and blog about.  So slight hint, like my blog then please click an ad and help support me ;) however many thanks for taking the time to read my blog, gives me more reason to take time out to blog things to it.

Cacheberry pi

I came across a post on twitter about making a car caching gps to warn you if you are close to a cache n dash cache.

I then googled it and tried two different github versions. One being jclement.ca and another by aurock. Each time I could get both a usb GPS and also the adafruit gps working, but the lcd i2c screen? Not a chance. From what I've read there is a lot of slightly different 2x16 led i2c s.  

I've since ordered another i2c and see if that makes any difference, certainly would be good if it works.

Why are us Brits charged so much?

I recently had to pay for my premium geocaching membership renewal, the company wanting £24.99 surely that's a lot just so I can download geocaches to my gps. So I looked up how much if I was American and it was £29.99 .  So I set to work 1.60 dollars to the pound or one dollar worth 60p so I'm sure if you do the maths you see how much more it costs to be a uk member than an American.  However there is more, they charge uk members vat, but don't have a vat number and from the research I've done no offices in the uk. According to uk tax laws this is wrong charging vat to uk members when they are American based with no offices in the uk.

There are many threads on the geocaching site about this but no clear answer to why uk are charged so much compared to American members.

So if your membership is up for renewal have a look around at different currency values I'm sure like me you can save yourself some money too.

Monday, 4 November 2013

Out near high worth


A well stocked cache
Out for a 3-4 mile walk with frodo today, a few drivebys to start with before going onto the walk in near by village of Hampton. The paths started out muddy but over the course became nice to walk.  As with all roobydoo caches they were good size, well stocked and well maintained and a pleasure to do his caches. 

We ended the afternoon with a newish side tracked at shrivenham. A cleverly hidden cache, but soon found I was on private rail track ground after a worker turned up.

Him: what you doing?
Me : having a rest from driving and stretching my legs? Why what you doing?
Him: I work for rail track and I believe you're acting suspicious.
Me: what watching for trains, is it cos I don't have an anorak on?
Him: no its just you don't look like a trains potter and this track to the gate is private rail track land.
Me: I'm sorry but never saw any signs, but heyho I will watch them from my car instead.

Which I did and after a few minutes he went and I got the cache. Looks like I'm afraid to say this one is on private land, but certainly a cleverly hidden cache.

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Night cache for my 9600th find

Out tonight with frodo to do a local night cache as it seemed fitting for my 9600th find. The start was well marked with firetacks and each one ahead lit up well with my led lenser head light. I reckon I could have found it in the light with how bright this headlight is but it's not as fun in the day as it is at night when all the animals are out. Made a quick video showing the reflective tacks for those that don't understand it and a photo of firetacks at night. TFTc we enjoyed it, even more so for my 9600th cache find.
See the two reflective bits on the branch?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PaoIUIEQbI4

Bird webcam

It started about a year ago and I never got it running so I went back to it today and did a fresh install installing ffmpeg and motion as instructed by many other sites and blogs.

Sure enough it worked straight away which was good, god knows what I did wrong last time. 

Even through I can use the raspi cam that plugs into the csi on the motherboard, I really wanted to finish this project off and mark it as success.

So with a sweex national geographic hd usb webcam I was able to do this and with a generous lead can place this on our bird tree within and watch the birds close up.  It saves as jpeg pics but with details in my timelapse post with the raspi cam from the summer you can turn the pictures into an excellent timelapse video.

I also have a 8000mah usb battery pack that can charge three iPhones from flat that powers this. The 2amp usb socket is linked to the power in cable and the .2amp into the usb socket once I have set it up as I find occasionally it needs that extra .2 amps to stop it resetting itself.

The battery lasts over 12 hours and a 16gb card is more than adequate for the project. I'm yet to write a small python script that starts up motion on start up like I have done on my raspi cam project but this is early days.

Hdmipi


A kickstarter project for an hdmi 9" screen started a few days ago and hit its £55k funding in 50 hours. This is something the raspberry pi has been calling out for since day one, an affordable, transportable screen.

A hype of attention on twitter all day Saturday with tweets and retweets soon brought the goal within reach and beyond. With 28 days still left to go and fu ding now at £68k as of writing this, I firmly believe this could hit the half million mark before its 31 days are up on kickstarter.

If you would want one of these which can also be used with gaming consoles, DVD players, dslr cameras then pop over to kickstarter and look up hdmipi certainly is a worthwhile project with nearly 700 pledges in three days.

Pi noir

Yes the camera was out this week so I purchased one and with the help of phenoptix sourced a little ir light that now has a usb lead attached so it can run from a usb battery pack.  Although you can only get a few metres so fr from the infra red light it is bright and although to the naked eye just glows a dim red, shone it to the camera and its like a flash light.

My next project with it is to get a 48 led ir light from china for a few quid, a 8xaa battery pack to run the ir light and try this on a dry and not so windy night outside in the garden on a time lapse.


Kingston loop

Out with frodo on the 7 mile 21 caches Kingston Loop today placed by opti and t bag two friends of ours. Weather was windy but dry at 10c.  We soon made pace of an average 3mph through out and by the half way mark was having to spread our search as cache containers were just out in the middle of paths and didn't seem to be placed back correctly. We didn't enjoy the short walk along the a415 Witney road, we thought that to be dangerous. The next cache we spent ages at only finding the remains which we signed, photographed and texted the owners that it needed maintenance after finding that ringing only lead to the voicemail. By the time we got to too I was feeling soaked from sweat and light headed, no doubt from lack of fluid and a drop in sugar levels.  We then went over to dry sand ford to do an earth cache a lively area that was once a quarry, but now a nature reserve, some caches here to, but I've done them previously.

Now home in dry clean clothes with some chocolate and sugary hot tea, yum. Thanks for a nice series me and frodo enjoyed.

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Halloween mega

Me and frodo have been out this week on walks as advised by the doctor and decided to clear out abingdon, get a couple at Isley and a few out at lambourn. However today was the big one where we also met some of our caching friends too.

The Halloween mega is one event that always guarantees quality and quantity. In the daytime we walked 11 ish miles completing over 60 caches, we had also done some drivebys too which helped add up to and the caches in the forest for the daytime were really good quality so we knew we were in for a treat later on.

Come 6pm the event got its 1000 person sign in making the event mega. The night time caches got released shortly afterwards and while everyone shot off me and frodo sat down and programmed the 19 caches in and sure enough it paid dividends as the organisers had on purposely put them in a random order. We plotted our route and was second to find to our first one where a local radio station were recording an item on geocaching and the next one which was my favourite was the night cache where you have to follow the reflective tags through the forest. With a very bright head torch it was easy and a ftf for me and frodo aka team text :) we came across lots of excellent caches a snake that squirted water at you on the daytime ones was my favourite, but nighttime there were to many to name; a deranged bat waving its arms about, a huge coffin and a electric chair with something/one in it being electrocuted were definitely my favourites. The only down point was the queues to a few caches where on one it took 15 minutes to sign the book, this didn't help when cachers decided to flick through the logs to see if their friend had been. Also groups of people on the trail walking slowly and taking up the whole path, going the speed me and frodo do (nearly 3.5mph average today) we don't hang about and don't need people slowing us down, please in future move out the way and let those who enjoy a fast pace through and those who want to go through the logbook wait till everyone has signed it.

So once again the Halloween mega committee have pulled it off and a big well done to you all.

Ps it was also refreshing to be allowed dogs in the venue so thank you.

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Piglow

Latest was to play about with the ever so versatile piglow for the raspberry pi. After printing off the demo scripts and getting the python code book out I got to work, but couldn't get it to work. After a SOS tweet Jason who did the example scripts and Gareth who is pretty good with technology asked what the problem was and in minutes Gareth had a script knocked up. After tinkering with the script with indents and a few other bits n bobs I adjusted brightness and time and now have a super fast and super bright flashing random twinkle led randomiser.


Please visit Gareth's blog at http://blog.pukkapi.co.uk/random-piglow-flicker/ for the script

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Raspberry/arduino weekend

Decided to get on with a few projects this weekend.

1. 2x16 lcd soldered and wired to a humble pi plate which works on raspbmc and other projects.


2. Adafruit gps after soldering the legs on and installing gpsd onto pi I left this in the conservatory to connect to the satellites, my next plan is to display the info on a lcd display and also to convert the co ordinates to hh mm.sss format.

3. Atmega/arduino project that I bought for a fiver that includes small breadboard, atmega chip and a few other bits and bobs. Following a couple of online tutorials and installing some software onto the pi I was able to get the project to flash four LEDs , next I want to use two LEDs to flash out a coded say morse code message that could be used in the field for a geocaching project .


Lastly was the 8x8 lcd display, couldn't find what I needed for it but was looking around to try and make this a graphic equaliser and also want to get four more to make a cube up that a random light or two moves around the cube at speed.

Hopefully someone reading this project might be able to point me in the right direction.

Friday, 11 October 2013

Skoda update

Recieved a phone call from my local garage today with good news, skoda uk were willing to foot some of the bill of my abs unit. As I had spent nearly 1200 quid on fixing it, service and new brakes all round they are paying 120 quid of it so now waiting for the cheque to arrive, at least that's the next service paid for.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Make your own e cig juice

Firstly I must say this is dangerous if you don't follow the guides correctly. Nicotine often comes in bottles at 72mg strength. Very high nicotine cigarettes are around 30 mg and Marlboro lights around 8 mg.

I managed to purchase all the stuff needed from alchemist cupboard on the net after a recommendation from a friend. Here I bought pg, VG, nicotine and flavouring and some syringes for measuring the amounts.  With an app off the App Store I was able to enter how much I wanted to make and at what nicotine strength and it told me how much of each I had to mix up.

While it costs me around a fiver for a bottle to last three days, I can make my own up at 89p for three days or 30p a day, cheaper than one cigarette and far more healthy.

So what's 30p a day not even the price of a coffee. I'm much happier on e cigs as now I can control nicotine doseage and hopefully be off these soon too.

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Team LOTC the original Team reunion

Like with pop bands say the sugarbabes, there is only one original member, so by hostile take over and the fact I had a Team LOTC stamp, myself and figures decided to do a reunion tour minus one member and stamped all caches (apart from the drive bys i did before and after dropping figures off) with Team LOTC. There was the usual size pots about, but a few nice regular caches and some nice views from the south downs. We managed a good 2.3 mph average speed and completed over 100 caches and 20 miles of walking. We both are aching and not suprised, especially how hilly it was including one 250ft climb. A great day and a great laugh, thank you all cache owners for setting the caches we really enjoyed it.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Expensive car repairs


So after my ESP light came on recently (in the rain along with ABS and brake warning lights) I thought nothing of it, after all Ashmore skoda told me it was normal in the wet, but according to Ridgeway Skoda its not. After using vagcom aka vcds I was able to identify the fault to a brake pressure sensor, it was this that kept the ESP light on constantly. Furthermore it's a fault with all vag vehicles that have K01 brake system., a fault so common and back to 2006 (before my car was made) that most garages knock off 1500 quid on second hand cars they purchase in case they have to replace it.  Vosa are also aware but claim its still safe to drive, yet its an mot failure as its a lit warning light on the dashboard that doesn't go out making the car fail the mot and therefore not roadworthy.

Skoda uk wouldn't give any goodwill telling me my car is six years old and 78k on the clock, even through every service has been with a approved skoda dealer and on time.

So after finding out on vag forums about lots of similar cases I was made aware of a repair kit for around £200, not bad but three hours labour 270 quid. I also needed a service which was another 250 and nearly 500 quid including labour to replace every brake pad and every brake disc as they were worn and pitted. Oh and a courtesy car as it was a full days job.

So went back today to collect my car, paid on my credit card and all seemed fine, car looked ok, but got home tonight and was greeted with swirl marks on every panel, it looks like a monkey has gone to work on my car with a dirty grit filled sponge, I'm fuming, guess where I'm going tomorrow. 

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Busy raspberry pi weekend

Busy weekend, started building a piduino and weather lcd display on some humble pi k001 boards. Still got some work to do on them.

Next up was a pn532 board, although it couldn't read my works ID card it could read my credit cards rfid. Just need to get my other two rfid boards running then  I could have a cloner/emulator.

Then was the 8x8 led board which following raspi.tv video got it working, so have now ordered a second one.

Lastly was my 2.8" TFT touchscreen I bought off eBay from texy in thatcham. Never got this working before but after a few hours tonight it was soon working but found once it powered down I would lose the screen again so hopefully I will get that sorted soon, although I followed the instructions, something must be missing somewhere, oh well.

One more thing was the ledborg on my server pi can now change the light by ssh so can light up my hallway in the colour I feel like.

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Bourton wander

Today we went for a walk near Swindon, place called bourton. Weather was fine till we got there then a very fine drizzle for a while which was nice in the 20c heat.

All caches were easy to find covering just under five miles in an hour and half.  The puzzle cache with padlock had been broken which was a shame, so I tried to repair it the best I could. On the way to the next one we disturbed a deer in the field which bounded off.  Later on we had trouble at shiny getting the logbook out which someone had jammed in and was unretrievable so marked the logbook with my green pen and let the owners know.

A lot of the footpaths around this bit were unmarked and guess work was required, but all in all a nice series for me and frodo  and signed in as team text tftc

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Raspberry pi stuff

So with a weekend looking poor, between sleeping I decided to mess around with my raspberry pi s.

First project was the rfid module, although it detected my work ID and showed this through the blinking led I soldered to it as an unoffical mod that was as far as I got.


Next up I got my raspberry usb power supply up and running 4 usb sockets with one at 1.1amp for the pi. The power supply is 5v 3amp so copes well like my other usb power supply and this takes less than 3 watts of power according to the lcd electric monitor we have in the kitchen equating to about a penny an hour dead cheap compared to my huge psu to run loads of pi a running in at 20 watts.


Next up was piglow and now I have it working, after looking at various scripts and playing with them all I eventually made an emergency flashing blue/red strobe.

Lastly out came the old ledborg which I have since ordered a second and this sits on my piserver to show CPU usage.

If anyone can help me with the rfid 630 that would be grateful especially if in python.


Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Marcham series

Out to finish the second half with frodo today although I got many ftf s on the first half. The series took us past many caches we had done in the past bringing back many memories there was even a cache named after me which I got ftf on.

Although we did these mid morning it was already mid 20 s and very hot. Maybe the cache owners will expand and make this series the Marcham 200 series TFTc s a great series.