Category Archives: General

Virgin Cable coming to Chatteris

virgin

 

 

 

 

As part of Connecting Cambridgeshire Virgin Media and BT are rolling out super fast broadband.compare

 

 

 

I currently use TalkTalk via a copper pair for my broadband and phone with a maximum speed of 56.54Mbps download, 17.46Mbps Upload and a Ping time of 10ms which is proberbly the best I can get.

When I saw that the Virgin Media cable enabling works was scheduled for installation on the road I live on via Roadworks.org, I thought I’d start this blog.

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The works is due to satrt on 4 August, expecting to last until the 14 August and I registered my interest HERE,  as the works progress I’ll try and get pictures and journal my cable installation.

Weather Station for WordPress added

Weather Station LogoAdded Weather Station for WordPress to my blog pages, the application needs the following to work:

  • PHP 5.4 or greater;
  • cURL extension;
  • JSON extension;
  • Internationalization support.

My native setup 4.6 provided by GoDaddy had 3 out of the 4, with Internationalization support missing, and thefore the app would not run.

Talking to GoDaddy techincial support, this was resolved very easily.

  1. Use cPanel to access your site.
  2. Click on ‘Select PHP version’.PHP page
  3. Click on the ‘PHP Version’ drop down box and select 5.6 and click ‘Set as current’, by default ‘inil’ is checked.
  4. Click ‘Save’ and all is done.

php version

 

Chatteris.biz SSL secured

secure

My main domain name is Chatteris. biz, Chatteris Weather and M0HTA.uk are  linked to this domain name.

In order to give users confidence that the site they are linking to is secure, I have upgraded to SSL.

SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) is the standard security technology for establishing an encrypted link between a web server and a browser. This link ensures that all data passed between the web server and browsers remain private and integral.

During the transition it was found that some of the existing information displayed broke the security integrity of SSL, and therefore, I have either changed the menu to the remote link directly or removed the link completely, this has been unavoidable.

Pulsar Evolution 800 UPS Repair

I have had an MGE Pulsar Evolution 800 Uninteruptable power Supply for about 8 years through which my computer and other sensitive kit is fed and I serviced it with new batteries in January 17.

This UPS delivers 800VA or 520 Watts (Calculator for Watts/VA HERE.) and is at 67% loading when in use, giving a back up time of 9m 35s, which is more than adequate for my needs.

In early February the UPS stopped working completely, no output or indication of power in, the one I have cost £10 second hand off eBay so I couldn’t complain when it stopped working.

MGE UPS

Before looking for another replacement, I opened it up the check for the obvious, such as internal fuses blown or PCB track damage, looking  near the power regulator stage I noticed a bulging capacitor which is a sure sign that it has failed.

PCB

Mother Board

PCB caps
Bulging Capacitors

Everything else passed a visual inspection, so I bought a pack of 5x 10uF 450v 105c capacitors from eBay for £1.59.

After changing the capacitors, I measured the old capacitors and they had both failed as the meter should be displaying 9.5uF to 10.5uF.

Cap meter
Faulty capacitors

UPS front panel

Once reassembled, I powering up the UPS after inserting the batteries, the UPS kicked in to self-test mode and was working 🙂

Everything is back in place working and I have software monitoring its performance and everything is looking good so far.

A copy of the Pulsar Evolution 800 manual is HERE.

Solution Pac software for the UPS can be downloaded from HERE.

Software dashboard

Software options

Hot Water to Outside Tap

When we first moved into the house I installed an external bibcock tap which I fed by ‘teeing’ into the cold water feed line in the garage which is  used for the combination boilers filling loop.

In the previous house I had hot and cold available outside to wash the car, so the project was to do the same here. The two problems were the lack of available hot water pipes in the garage and no more wall space to add another external bibcock dedicated to hot water.

First things first, locate a source for the hot water, fortunately on the other side of the garage wall is a small utility room with a sink and plumbing for a dishwasher and washing machine.

Isolating the cold water fill to at the tank, I drained the hot water down into the utility sink and emptied the dead leg of the washer fill line using the tap at the bottom of the pipe, once this was done, I put the plug in the sink and removed the sinks waste pipe for ease of access to where I would be cutting and soldering.

Drilling a 15mm hole through into the garage from the house was easy as the internal double skin walls are built using low density thermalite block.

Pipe installPutting some tape over the open end of pipe, I pushed it through the hole into the garage where I soldered an end fed elbow with stub to a compression fitting isolation valve. From the isolation valve a stub with a tee and drain cock were soldered.  A stub pipe from the tee had a plastic stop end fitted, the pipe was then pushed back into securing clips fixed to the garage wall.

soldered bridgeUsing the pipe slicer tool shown in the first picture, I cut out a small section out of the hot pipe and put on a 15mm copper tee, using a half crossover to bridge the cold pipe, I then used a short piece of pipe to connect an elbow to the pipe to the garage.

Once the dry fit went ok, I dissembled it all to clean and flux the pipe and fittings before soldering, all the fitting were end fed here.

Once all the joints were soldered and making sure all the valves are closed, I cracked open the hot water tank fill valve and went to check for leaks after venting air from the system and running water through the garage drain valve to flush out any debris.

Pipe pull

The garage has been converted into a workshop and I didn’t want to damage any exposed pipe  when I throw stuff for storage, so the best option was to use plastic pipe and fish it behind the false wall as their was just enough room.

Drilling 110mm holes, allowed me plenty of room to push trunking lids taped together for the 4.5m run, string was attached to the end of the lid and pushed in place.

At the other end it was a pain to fish for the string using a torch, mirror and bent hook, however, once grabbed, I tied on stronger blue rope  to the string and pulled this back to secure on the pipe as shown, (the last thing I wanted to repeat fishing!).

At the utility isolation valve end, I clipped the John Guest Layflat Speedfit pipe to the wall and used a cold form bend to hold its radius and take strain off the ‘plastic to copper’ coupling.

The design to allow me to use one external bibcock tap was to use a three port valve, this suggestion came from DIYNOT plumbing forum.

SchematicParts

The pressure reducing valve, 3 port valve, double checkvalves and themostatically controlled valve were from eBay, all other parts from Screwfix.

How it works

The cold water has a local isolation valve for ease of maintenance, a double check valve stops contaminants getting back into the upstream water system, a ‘tee’ allows the pressure reducing valve to be bypassed, and if the 3 port valve is in the right position, allows full mains pressure at the outside tap for use with the hose.

The pressure reducing valve is set for 3.5bar which is the same water pressure as my unvented hot water tank, therefore the water pressure for both feeds to the thermostatically controlled valve (TCV) is the same.

The hot water also has a local isolation valve and double check valve before it feeds the TCV, the temperature of the blended water leaving the TCV is 42C.

Garage pipeAs the cold water was available, I connected this first to the valve and allowed pressure testing, the biggest problem I had was sealing the 1/2″ BSP threads on the 3 port valve.

I tried using fibre washers, PTFE tape and jointing paste but a couple of joints would still weep very slowly over time.  I searched the problem in the DIYNOT forum and the advice from experienced plumbers was to use Locktite 55 , following the instructional video on the locktite site, I applied the sealing material onto the prepared threads and it worked, no more leaks.

At the end near the bibcock tap, I used another ‘plastic to copper’ coupling and piped up and over to the hot water isolation valve.

A hot water drain cock was installed where the pipe emerged from behind the false wall so I can drain down if needed.

Hot pipeThis shows the hot water pipe coupling about to be soldered, hence the heat resisting mat, on the right of the picture is the cold water valve which is open and testing for leaks.

In the garage is another isolation valve directly behind the bibcock, this stops unauthorised use of the external tap.

The final job was to flush the system thoroughly and check that the water coming out of the bibcock tap is at the correct temperature, once proven, all exposed pipes were insulated and where the risk of damage was high, boxed in.

The most expensive part of the job was the plastic pipe as this comes in a minimum of a 25m roll and I only needed 4.5m. The option of pulling in straight lengths with a connecting coupling behind the false wall was discounted as I didn’t want any inaccessible joints, so I had no choice but to pay for more than I needed.

Apart from hassle of sealing the weeping threads, the job went well and I’m happy with the result.

Lagged pipe

Bat Detector

For a few years now we have had bat which regularly flies round the garden, Googling about bats I came across a bat detector circuit from  Tony Messina.

Tony’s site is packed with interesting information and a link to the UK where you can buy the printed Circuit Board if you didn’t want to use veroboard.

The PCB is from Lee Rogers (mail: lee@lrogers.co.uk) in the UK for £5 including p&p, the majority of the parts are available from Rapid Electronics , things out of stock at Rapid can easily be found on eBay or Maplin.

UK parts list Rapid

The testing and adjustment was done by pointing at running water or rattling keys and tweaking the volume to a comfortable level as you go.

The total cost of the project was £28 and took about an hour to construct.

SAM_5686 (Medium)

Just got to test it on the real thing now 🙂

iPhone 6 WiFi Connectivity Issues and HG633 Router Solved

I have recently upgraded my Broadband package and this came with a HG633 router, blog on this is here: Router Upgrade, a day or so after installation Apple updated my daughters iPhone 6 after this update the phone kept dropping in and out of WiFi connectivity.

A the router was new and my Samsung Galaxy worked fine as did the i tablet mini, so it pointed to her phone.

Cutting a long story short including swapping the phone for a new one, the problem seems to stem from the fact that the HG633 has two WiFi frequencies available (5GHz and 2.4GHz), both being ON by default and sharing the same SSID, this makes the iPhone 6 very unhappy.

The problem of frequent disconnects and reconnects was solved by entering the router setup and renaming the WiFi SSID’s so that each frequency had a unique identification, based on the signal strength is the frequency you ‘pair’ with, this has cured the problem.

Hope this helps bring peace and harmony back into the homestead.

download (Small)
Apple update (Feb 16) causes frequent WiFi connection issues with HG633.

 

Router & RAM Upgrade

I have had Fibre to the Home for a while at 38Mb download speeds, Talktalk my ISP offered 76Mb download speeds for a small increase in costs, the engineer called today (27 Jan 16) to check my actual speeds which were well below that quoted and installed a new HG633 router.

The problem of reduced speed performance is Openreach’s as its infrastructure, so I’ll have to wait and see, the current download speed is 56Mb so still not too shabby for here.

Manuals  for the Huawei HG 533 can be found here, the actual HG633 manual I haven’t managed to track down yet.

hg633

At the same time of the Broadband upgrade, I decided to increase the RAM in my Weather PC from 8Gb to 32Gb as it was regularly running at 7Gb used, the PC is a Dell Precision T490 and uses Server RAM modules which cost a total of £60 from ebay.