I literally wanted to start this post with “I literally hacked the PiDrive cable…” but I actually have sawn it instead. Duh!
I’m using quite a few Raspberry Pi boards as servers, gateways, etc. and recently started to ‘polish’ their design. Instead of hard drives hanging beside them with a bunch of loose cables I’ve started to buy WD PiDrive Cases and Cables to pack all of them into nice ‘little boxes’.
The PiDrive Cables are really neat: they are designed to be positioned between a Raspberry Pi, its power supply, and an USB hard drive. The cable is designed for USB 3.0 hard drives, but in one case (hah) I wanted to use an external USB 2.0 drive I had lying around. So without further ado I’ve removed the USB 3.0 extension of the connector with a saw. It looks crude but works perfect…
About a year ago (2016) Aliexpress decided to
cripple simplify their search engine. They’ve removed really useful search options and added (at least in my eyes) unnecessary ones.
These useful search options were removed from the search panel but they are still available as URL parameters. I’ve mainly written this post to document these missing options for my everyday searches — but I’m pretty sure others may find them useful as well.
Aliexpress Hidden Search Options
||Show Price per Piece
||Minimal Quantity in Lot
||Maximal Quantity in Lot
||value (e.g. 1.23)
|| Minimum Price
||value (e.g. 9.87)
|| Maximum Price
||Results with 4+ Rating
||Free Shipping only
||Country of Origin
Especially the option isUnitPrice is helpful when searching for the best price per piece and not price per lot. I really cannot understand why this option is not available per default.
So when I’m searching for the lowest price per piece within a certain quantity range (here: 10 – 50 pieces) with free shipping I would add to the URL (Example Search):
Side Note: It also makes a difference which keywords you are using when searching. The following three searches will (at least the last time I’ve checked) give different results:
- “stm32f103c8t6 lqfp“
- “stm32f103c8t6 lqfp48“
- “stm32f103c8t6 lqfp-48“
So even slight variations can make a big difference. Unlike the search on eBay, the search on Alibaba and Aliexpress does not split up keywords into smaller ‘chunks’ which are used for searching.
2018-08-02: Updated the List of Search Options
As a (silent) long-time reader of the Hackaday blog it was really nice to talk to on of the authors, Elliot Williams, on the 33C3… 🙂
TL/DR: Use extended partitions for Linux in a dual-boot setup with Windows 10 — otherwise you might not be able to boot after a Windows update.
A few days ago I had to fix a dual-boot setup consisting of a Windows 10 and a Linux (Ubuntu) system. After deploying the latest Windows 10 Anniversary Update neither Linux nor Windows was accessible anymore. Only the GRUB rescue prompt appeared:
error: unknown filesystem.
Entering rescue mode...
GRUB wasn’t even able to manually boot into the Windows or Linux partition. Continue reading
I was pretty surprised to find Silver Thistles / Silberdisteln in the Fröttmaninger Heide (north of Munich). They are pretty common in the alps but I did not expect them directly in Munich…
I’ve started to rework my Raspberry Pi ‘dial-up’ interface. Instead of just handling my external VPN and SSH connections I’ve extended it to also function as an intermediate file server and Git repository (both via NFS+SSH). I’ve also inserted the Raspberry Pi into a new case and added a 1 TB 2,5″ drive. I think it can handle additional load so I plan to extend its capabilities to also serve as a RetroPie console.
By the way: the case and the connector cable between the drive and the Pi are both from WD Labs. The hard drive is not a PiDrive but a refurbished USB 3.0 1 TB disk (it was a recertified My Passport Ultra) before I’ve dismantled it. For me it was cheaper that way. If you’re looking for a similar setup and need an additional power supply and SD card maybe you should think about buying a Nextcloud Box (free shipping; handled by WD). You might not need to use its ‘cloud’ functionality but still get all hardware I’ve previously mentioned which I think is a pretty good bargain.
I finally completed the free USB IR Toy v3 PCB I got over a year ago (May 2015) from Dangerous Prototypes.
It took so long because I had to order some of the parts from Digi-Key – and I wanted to wait until I’ve a longer list of parts to order.
I’ve used a PicKit 3 to program the PIC microcontroller. The trickiest part was finding the setting to power the USB IR Toy with the programmer. (I could have powered both devices via USB, but only had one appropriate cable at my hand at that time.)
So far I’ve only verified that the USB IR Toy is detected as serial device and shows its version number in a terminal window. It looks like the build was successful… 🙂
Today my kids impressed me by repurposing/hacking/misusing the toilet-occupied-light to send (morse-like) signals across a railway car. Their fingers were thin enough to press the micro-switches in the doors which normally would signal a locked door (i.e. occupied toilet). Not sure if someone noticed the strangely flashing lights… 😀
Last weekend I had to replace a 230 V fan (120 mm), a Sunon DP200A, that ‘smelled’ strange and also made strange noises. Better safe than sorry…
Well: I ordered a slightly less powerful Sunon DP201A (at Reichelt Elektronik) to replace the possibly dangerous fan. Although they look similar their connectors are completely different. So I’m now wondering if the first one (the DP200A) wasn’t an original fan at all…?
A few days ago I was able to get my fingers on, and under, an infrared camera. I had already heard before that the thermal signature of fingerprints is visible for quite some time — but what surprised me was that we were still able to see them for over a minute…