Are you being served?


Many moons ago, approximately a century of moon cycles (11/9/11), I started building, what was at the time, a top-notch RAID server (40 TB, or it may have been 60 TB – I forget which), but never got around to finishing it – I only got about 50% of the way through, and hadn’t yet purchased all of the disks, when the great flood of Thailand happened (circa 5th October 2011), wrecking all of the hard disk factories and consequently caused the price of hard disks shot through the roof. 3.5″ Hard disks had been about £50 for 2 TB, and then they went up to £80, and so I put the project on hold.

I had got the board, case and power supply fitted up, along with a few various hard drive [hot-swappable] bays installed, and that was about it.

There had also been an issue of the so-called top notch motherboard refusing to boot from a USB port, and thereby requiring an IDE CD-ROM drive to be fitted. Even back then, it was a bit of an antiquated method and that added to the whole phhfff-let’s-give-up-on-that feeling…

Today I found the server case and realised that I had an IDE DVD-ROM drive in hand. So, I decided to give it another go…

Continue reading Are you being served?

How to reverse engineer a PCB


A colleague and I have been trying to reverse engineer a few different PCBs recently (a coin operated washing machine’s control board (see Reverse engineering the coin box) and a Bastl Trinity are a few examples) and we have been scanning them or simply photographing them, with the aim of either copying them, coming up with a schematic or coming up with a PCB mask, with mixed or limited results. Like this:

After watching EEVblog #675 – How To Reverse Engineer A Rigol DS1054Z, I saw that Dave explains a pretty good process, using a tripod mounted camera, light box and a back light.

Continue reading How to reverse engineer a PCB

Three Fives on veroboard


Following on from Ha Ha Ha… 555 fun, after watching Dave’s video on the Three Fives kits by Mad Scientist, EEVblog #555 – 555 Timer Kit, I set about making a veroboard design. After a few hours I’d finally come up with a design that fits perfectly on 24T x 37H veroboard (see Veroboard).

The transistors 2N3904 and 2N3906 are £0.99 for 100 pieces of each:

or for $0.99

Continue reading Three Fives on veroboard