Monday, 16 September 2019

M-DIY-BL1200 Review and Install

M-DIY-BL1200 Review and Install

Please find below notes on M-DIY-BL1200. 

M-DIY-BL1200 - Intro

The M-DIY-BL1200 is a Bluetooth receiver module. It is quite an attractive offering as it have many additional features over rivals they include:

  • Audio Input (automatically switching when audio input lead is attached)
  • Audio Output (to amplifier)
  • 12v to 25v input voltage
  • 5V connector (not sure if output or input) maybe both!
  •  Various extra connetion points for volume, and track skip buttons etc.
Video overview (terrible sounds and video quality soz). This video was made before I fitted the module / board, so is a bit light on detail.

M-DIY-BL1200 - Install

One of the most attractive things about this module is that it come supplied with detachable wires, which make soldering it a cinch. It is ideal for TPA3116 as the 24v voltage matches upper voltage of TPA3116, so that is ideal. 

Things go down hill from here.

M-DIY-BL1200 - Noise (Ground Loop)

So when I first fired this thing up there was all kinds of noise coming out of the speaker, before I had even started so I googled and I found: 

What we have is a problem with sharing the same power supply as the amplifier, which cuases "ground loop" I had a few spare components  lying around so I experimented to see what would help.

  • I used a step down convertor to power the M-DIY-BL1200 at 12v. The main power supply is a 24v laptop brick (Minger). I guessed that the convertor may incorporate some sort of filter. I guessed wrong. Ground loop noise still present.
  • I ran the M-DIY-BL1200 from a separate battery. This wasn't a fix as such, but just to try and diagnose problem. The ground loop noise went away. BUT there was another noise. . . .  .

 M-DIY-BL1200 - Noise (Buzz)


The other noise sounds like a amplifier when you have a lead plugged in, but no input. It is a steady hum or buzz and is quite loud. It was enough for me to abandon the project, remove the M-DIY-BL1200 module and revert to using a wired connection.  

M-DIY-BL1200 - Powered by Step Down Convertor

M-DIY-BL1200 - Intro Jingle

Whilst I can forgive design flaws as above (after all the board still does what it is supposed to do . . . .  badly), there is one feature that is unforgivable, that is the jingle that plays when the bluetooth is connected. Bling, bling BLOoOoOM. It is SOOOOOO loud, it distorts the speakers, even when the volume is turned down.

In order to avoid this, I had to mute the amp, connect / pair bluetooth, and then un-mute. This is a terrible feature, and I would avoid this board on that basis.

M-DIY-BL1200 - Conclusions

A DIY friendly board rendered unpassable by connection jingles and mystery humming noises. 

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Friday, 6 September 2019

Mix and Match Netgear Powerline Adaptors

A few notes on mixing and matching different models of netgear power line adaptors. These tests were run on a PC with a cable connect direct to the router.

Screen shots were pulled from netgear Genie.

Original Setup

From left to right media store, router (gateway) and house. Total distance about 100m. Rouiter is in shed at bottom of garden. and house access point (connected to XAV2001 by cable) is furthest point.

Test Set Up

Removal of XAV5201 and test of speeds between two XAV2001.

Newer Adaptor at Router End of Line

So by putting the XAV5201 does this make thing better. I should point out that the XAV5201 is a newer model than the XAV2001, and has higher bandwidth. 

Older Adaptor at Router End of Line

There has been an improvement! What does this mean, does the newer power line gear receive signal better than the older stuff? I am not sure, if that were the case then wouldn't we see better TX results by swapping the other way around.

AV500. . .AV 200

Does matching power networking standards help things, both below are AV500 compliant . .  no it doesn't.


I haven't a clue! How about you? Please leave a comment.

Wednesday, 28 August 2019

KodakOne - Image Copyright - Post Licensing

KodakOne - Image Copyright - Post Licensing

I today received an official looking email from KodakOne, demanding 300 euros within 7 days for use of an obscure, low resolution image that has been included on a lesser used page of my web site, 92 views in one year.

I am looking in to whether this legal or not in the mean time if you have any relevant experience please leave a comment below.

I have made the following enquiries, either by web search or phone.  It quickly became clear that I was entirely in the wrong, but I continued my investigations to try and find out if the fee I was paying was fair.


Citizens Advice 

"A copyright owner or the exclusive licensee has the right to pursue you for compensation for copyright infringements. The letter should come either from them or from a solicitor acting on their behalf. You should check carefully that the letter is genuine"

The Intellectual Property Office 

Summary of  telephone conversation was that licensee has the right to pursue for compensation, but they could advise on how much compensation was appropriate.

Citizens Advice

Advised that it is of course legal to pursue for breach of copyright, and that the amount charged is entirely up to the copyright holder.

The 300 Euros

In this case having spoken to the photographer in question he assures me that he receives 60% of the fees charged with KodakOne taking the remaining 40%.

So this leaves the photographer taking £180 for the photograph (of a tractor). I can hire a commercial photographer in London to visit a site and take 20 photos for £100.

Legal Stuff

The Digital Economy Act 2010 has a maximum fime level of £50,000. So that is scary.

Mike Weatherley MP, IP adviser to the Prime Minister, who wrote recently: "There is currently a disparity in sentencing between online and offline crime that needs to be harmonised. This sends out all the wrong messages. Until this is changed, online crime will be seen as less significant than traditional theft."

The above linked guide states:

Although searches for official sentencing guidelines relating to copyright cases suggest that these are lacking in detail, it appears in practice that:

  • If the website is organised and making a significant amount of money (as was the case with SurfTheChannel and, it is possible to use anti-fraud legislation, and substantial (two+ years prison sentences) may result
  • When the operation is more amateur or “hobbyist” in nature, but still earns revenue, a guilty verdict and suspended sentence appears to be the norm (, Juries appear reluctant to convict on fraud charges in these cases
  • The less obviously business-orientated the website is, the harder prosecution becomes (as with Filesoup). No cases have so far been successful
  • Case law has also established that end users are not breaking the law by streaming illicit content via the web, as long as no copy is made (PRCA v NLA)

So it could be that if you are being pursued for copyright infringement on a site that does not make any money. i.e. a blog without advertising, then you would likely avoid prosecution. But of course you would have to pay solicitors to prove this, which would likley cost more than 300 euros.

What I did Get

I asked for 60 day payment terms (rather than 7) and this was accepted. So at least I have longer to pay.


Copyright Law is not something to messed with. Growing up through the era of Napster, and with most contemporary references to copyright being fairly light hearted it is easy to forget that it can bite you in the @$$.

Thursday, 22 August 2019

Use of a Pre-Amp to Boost Amplifier Output

Use of a Pre-Amp to Boost Amplifier Output 

I have a couple of home made TPA3116 boom box (es). I was looking at ways to connect these two up to a single source, and after trying a splitter cable, decided to try pre-amplifier to boost input signal.

The result were that I destroyed my amplifier board and had to spend £7.50 on a new one. I would guess that these cheap amplifier boards are built to deal with a certain level of input power, and although the overall power was increased, and did not sound distorted, damage still occurred.

Burnt Out Inductors - Too Much Current through a thin wire?

The TPA 3116 board used  already has a pre-amplifier built in. 2 x NE5335 chips. I decided to try pre-amping gain using a Behringer HA400 Microamp, as stated above this did increase the volume considerably, but had I checked the temperature of components on the board I would have found that bad things were happening.

No doubt this post will annoy some people as I showed disrespect for the electrical engineer process, and ignorance of basic concepts, but I just like to try things out and see if it works.

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Tuesday, 6 August 2019

Windows - Clock is Showing the Wrong Time

Windows - Clock is Showing the Wrong Time

I have had a persistent problem where the clock on my Windows PC shows the wrong time, despite being corrected on a daily basis.

I have tried sooooooo many different methods to fix this none have worked. I have listed them here because one of them might work for you. There are people on forums who have spent many many hours trying to fix this. I can fix most stuff, but I couldn't fix this "properly". Please see green highlighted below for solution.

0 - Net Time (My "Solution")

After spending around 16 hours trying to fix this problem (please see below list) I came across a suggestion to use NetTime. It is a very small neat program that runs as a service, and instantly fixed the problem. If I had the same problem on another machine I would start here and spend the saved time cycling, walking or playing nerf with my son. - Link

Install this and all your troubles will be far away. I was so happy I donated some money to these chaps, but it is free software.

1 - Time Syncing 

Date and Time Settings > Internet Time > Change Settings

In this window you can selected automated syncing. Now I have had this enabled since I owned this PC (10 years) and never been a problem, but I disabled to see if it was the problem. It is not. But others have reported that is could be.

If you click the "update now" button this is the quickest way to put your date and time right, don't bother setting it manually!

2 - Windows Time Service

Type "Services" in the search box, open scroll down the list of services find "Windows Time". This service runs a sync between all computer on network. Somehow a master computer is chosen in the network, and perhaps you computer is syncing time with a computer with the wrong time.

Switch this serice to disabled. If it doesn't help, then you can always enable it in a few days time.

3 - Power Settings

This problem started after I switched from a power management plan which included hibernation / sleep, back to an always on power management plan.

I have read that hard disk turning off can cause a time problem, so choose advanced power settings and set "Turn Off Hard Disk" to "Never".

4 - CMOS Battery

There is a little battery inside you PC, Laptop somewhere that keeps the time keeping elements of you computer powered when it is not plugged in. If you computer keeps time whilst plugged in, but show a weird time and date when you plug in back in then perhaps it is a dead CMOS battery.

A time of 12:00 or 0:00 on start up is a sure sign of a dead CMOS battery.

5 - Screen Savers 

Some screen savers take a "picture" of the desktop and distort it to create screen saver effect. Clock will remain fixed time whilst screen saver is active.

6 - BIOS

When you switch on you PC you will often see a little message say "Press F10 to Enter Setup" select this option, to enter BIOS settings. Be careful not to change anything.

Navigate around using the arrow keys, looking for time and date settings, check they are correct.

7 - W32tm.exe

 "W32tm.exe is used to configure Windows Time service settings. It can also be used to diagnose problems with the time service. W32tm.exe is the preferred command line tool for configuring, monitoring, or troubleshooting the Windows Time service."

Perform the steps mentioned below and see if it helps.
a: Press Windows key + X. (or open command prompt)
b: Then click command prompt(admin)
c: Now type the following commands and hit enter:
net stop w32time
w32tm /unregister
w32tm /register
net start w32time
w32tm /resync
Restart the computer to test the issue again.

8 - Change Time Zones

Change to a different time zone, apply changes, and then change it back to your normal time zone again.  

9 - Scheduled Task to Update Internet Time (Hammer Time)

I created this Windows Internet Time Update Program, which you can download here. Save this some where, and then set up a scheduled task to run it every time you start you computer, or everyday at a certain time. If the problem is very bad you can scheduled the task to run every 30 minutes, effectively updating your time to a server of your choice, every 30 minutes or less, hammering the problem in to submission. Boom.

You can also use the

10 - File Transfer Time Pause

I have heard that windows pauses time during file transfers. Is it something to do with this mechanism.

11 - Corrupt File System

You could run file checker. (Built in to windows) you dont need to download anything:

Windows 7

  1. Click the Start button and in the search bar, type cmd.
  2. Right-click on cmd.exe and select Run as Administrator.
  3. Click Yes on the User Account Control (UAC) prompt that appears, and once the blinking cursor appears, type SFC /scannow and press the Enter key.
  4. System File Checker starts and checks the integrity of system files.

Windows 8/8.1/10

  1. From the desktop, press the Win+X hotkey combination and from the menu select Command Prompt (Admin).
  2. Click Yes on the User Account Control (UAC) prompt that appears, and once the blinking cursor appears, type SFC /scannow and press the Enter key.
  3. System File Checker starts and checks the integrity of system files.
If you find corrupt files, you might try to repair them.

12 - System Error 1290

When trying step 7 above I got the below message: 

C:\Windows\system32>net start w32time
System error 1290 has occurred.

The service start failed since one or more services in the same process have an
incompatible service SID type setting. A service with restricted service SID typ
e can only coexist in the same process with other services with a restricted SID
 type. If the service SID type for this service was just configured, the hosting
 process must be restarted in order to start this service.

This post suggests using the below added underlined command line prompt:

.\net stop w32time
.\w32tm /unregister
.\w32tm /register
.\sc config w32time type= own
.\net start w32time
.\w32tm /config /update /manualpeerlist:",,,",0x8 /syncfromflags:MANUAL /reliable:yes
.\w32tm /resync
You may then get It results  "Access is denied (0x80070005)"

 ..  . . the storey continues. 

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Tuesday, 30 July 2019

Belkin MIXIT 6600mah Battery Pack Won't Charge Fully

Belkin MIXIT 6600mah Battery Pack Won't Charge Fully

I have noticed that my Belkin MIXIT 6600mah Battery Pack will only charge to about half way, with only two of the green indicator lights illuminating. This is rather vexing.

FIX: Use a charger rated at 2.4A. 

I have tried numerous leads and numerous wall powered chargers, and computer USB sockets, but I get the same result.

I began to think that the fix might be to use a more powerful (amps) charger. Most wall chargers are 1A (Amp) , with some around 1.5A. Most USB of laptops etc are also around this level.

The spec sheet for the Belkin MIXIT 6600mah Battery Pack says that it requires  2.4A, but I would not have thought the Amperage of the charger would make a difference.  . . . .

The huge battery on my ebike, can be charged using a 2A charger or a 5 amp charger. Its just takes longer with a lower power charger. The voltage is important but that doesn't change.

The Belkin MIXIT 6600mah Battery Pack should take around 3 hours to charge from empty, if you are using a 2.4A charger. If a 1.0A charger is used then around 7 hours.

When I leave mine of charger for 48 hours it is still only half full.

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Monday, 29 July 2019

Fischer Tour 45 Dynamo Headlight Review

Fischer Tour 45 Dynamo Headlight Review  - Intro

Looking for a super cheap Dynamo Headlight I came across the Fischer Tour 45 Dynamo Headlight on Amazon listed for £13. So what is it like?

Fischer Tour 45 Dynamo Headlight Review  - Size & Weight

The headlamp / headlight is small, and light. Part of this lightness is due to the all plastic construction, and and thin mounting bracket. Its all fit for purpose, but if you are famailr with Busch and Muller headlamps. . .well it is a lot light and plasticy. Not saying its bad or anything.

Fischer Tour 45 Dynamo Headlight Review  - Quality

Quality is perfectly adequate. And surprisingly the LED "bulb" / emitter used is labelled as Osram, which are a good make. The switch on the rear feels pretty good. The metal bracket is thinner than a busch and muller bracket, but about the same as an AXA bracket.

The lamp come wired with a relatively short cable, which may need extending. I had to but I was installing mine on handlebars so probably OK for fork crown install.

Fischer Tour 45 Dynamo Headlight Review  - Lighting

The light comes on at walking pace. It flickers a bit obviously they all do that, but I was quite impressed how slowly you can push the bike whilst still maintaining a good light out put.

The light is very fierce, certainly very very visable in the daytime, the beam pattern I am not sure of, because it is summer and I haven't ridden in the dark yet. I will update in the autumn.

Fischer Tour 45 Dynamo Headlight Review  - Conclusions

A small, light, yet powerful dynamo headlight at an excellent price.  A stand light would be a nice addition but, no big deal for rural riding with not much stop start.

Update: 09/09/2019: This light is very flashy, and by that I mean blink blink blink, it could really use a standlight. You have to be going quite fast  to get rid of the blinking, probably 8 miles and hour or more. When pushing the bike this rapid flashing can be very annoying, and hard on the eyes.

The light is bright, and the LUX rating I think is accurate, it is comparable to a Busch and Muller Cyo 50 LUX light that I own (linked review is for 80 lux variant).

Fischer Tour 45 Dynamo Headlight Review  - More Pictures



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