Wednesday, 17 October 2018

How to Fix Broken USB Charging Socket

If you are plugging a charging lead in to a socket and it is not work, it may be the socket itself, perhaps the contacts have become worn or damaged.

You should first try a few different charging leads to see if this helps. Also some devices need more than 0.5A current to charge so try a wall socket charger, rather than a USB socket on a computer.


The problem here is that when you try to remove the old socket ( I presume female micro USB) you may damage the board.

You will need a soldering iron and solar and buy a cheap micro usb lead from ebay with a female socket. If you use a lead you will avoid any mismatch in sizes, as the lead is bendy. Strip the wires and solder these on to the solder blobs at the rear of the broken socket. Another option might to be bend open the socket and solder on to the contacts inside there.

Before yo do this you will need to drill a hole for the lead and thread it through. Tie a knot in th lead to stop it pulling against the solder. Knot should rest on inside of casing with slack to prevent pulling on solder joints. Seal around cable with glue of some sort. Best silicone.

So best case you would end up with female lead poking out of casing. Which you can then charge into.

Flood Risk Reports

Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Arty Emojis

Art Emojis

Please find below a selection of arty Emojis you are free to copy these for whatever reason you like. They are my own images.

Arty Emojis - Delirious Emoji

Arty Emojis - Worried Emoji

Arty Emojis - Angry Emoji


Arty Emojis - Alien Emoji

Arty Emojis - Stupid Emoji

Arty Emojis - Scream Emoji

Environmental Consultants London

Monday, 17 September 2018

How to Build a Hovel

1 - Why Build a Hovel?

The pleasure of being outdoors is often spoiled by rain and cold weather. Those summer evenings when you sit and contemplate life over a glass of red wine, whilst listening to the birds and the wind in the trees start to become less frequent come late summer / early autumn.  

We all love a good shed, or a hut, or a log cabin, but these generally disconnect you from the outdoors. Enter the hovel! A quick to build open sided "structure" enabling you to enjoy the outdoors even when cold and rainy. 

A Bout 4 Hours to Build - Not Counting Stove

It is a nice place to go if you are an indoor worker. It is a "different" place to chill to signify a Friday. It is a bolt hole to escape from world pressures. 

2 - Where to Build a Hovel?

Not in plain site, these are ugly shelters that will annoy most people. Of course you could make a pretty one, but then it would take on another name like a gazebo or something. 

Something like this goes best in the corner of a garden partially obscured behind a large bush, or a short piece of fencing.

3 - How to Build a Hovel?

Build a shack or hovel with whatever you have to hand. You may need to buy some bits and bobs such as wood, plastic sheeting, screws. You also need a heat source, please see detail in Chapter 5.

4 - How I Built my Hovel?

I used a sheet of 8 x 4 ply, for a floor. You don't really need a floor, but it will keep your feet warmer in the winter. I used some willow staves for uprights, and cross pieces, and then screwed various corrugated sheeting off cuts on to three sides. I then stapled some woven polyester type material over one other side, leaving the front open. A plank of wood is used for a bench seat.

5 - Heating for your Hovel

Unless you live in Equatorial Guinea you will need a source of heat. I have made a chiminia type thing out of an old gas cylinder. There are lots of ideas for making a DIY wood stove, that you can follow, but most require welding.

However, mots towns have some one who can weld, you may live on the same street as a hobbiest that will weld for you, for a small fee. Ask around.

A balloon gas cylinder, and a few length of pipe is all you need. You could do the ducting you self with a hack saw blade, and then get someone to do the welding for you.

Ventilation ducting or steel down pipe make a cheap chimney. Because the sides of the hovel are open, air can circulate and so a few leaks may not matter too much, although wood smoke is full of carcinogens, and maybe CO1 so a good chimney is better.

6 - Video Tour of Hovel

7 - Conclusions

A fun project. Ask any question in comments please.

Environmental Consultants London 

Wednesday, 12 September 2018

TL-MR6400 Firmware Update - For Bandwidth Monitoring / QoS

TL-MR6400 Firmware Update - For Bandwidth Monitoring / QoS
Below is a chat string, in which I discovered that apparently you can update firmware to get bandwidth control. 
Jonil.A5:10 pmGood day to you! We will be glad to help you out with your inquiry.
KermitHi I have a TL-MR6400 and would like to throttle bandwidth in 3G/4G mode please. How do I do this. I have have version 2 firmware, which supports this in wirless only mode, does version 3 support in 3g 4g mode?
Please let me check
for this model, once that you are using a sim card on it, it will automatically switch from 3G to 4G, it depend on the signal that the router is getting from the cellular Provider
KermitNo you misunderstand. I wish to throttle bandwidth. Reduce bandwidth. I have a 50GB 4G data plan, and it is used up too fast.
Jonil.AI see
so what you mean is the bandwidth control
KermitCorrect :-)
Jonil.AOne moment
on this router you can allow specific data allowance per month
KermitI have seen that. But I would like to limit bandwidth, I thin this is also called QoS on some products. Can I create a "rule" to do that if so how please.
Jonil.Afor this is doesn't have option for it
WillWhat about version 3 of the firmware?
Jonil.Ayou can't update to the hardware version
the only thing that upgradable is the firmware
KermitYes. I have version 2. If I used Version 3 does this have QoS or Bandwidth Control?
Jonil.Alet me check
Yes the Version 3 has Bandwidth Control
KermitIs this for "4G" mode or "Wireless Router" mode?
I have read this page already.
Jonil.ABoth mode jas it
KermitI have a UK model TL-MR6400, can you send me a link for the correct firm ware please.
Jonil.Aone moment
Would there be anything else I can assist you today?
KermitThis link is for version 2 firmware. Can I install version 3?
Jonil.AThat is correct for V 2, no your router might got brick if you use the firmware from version 3
KermitFirmware Version:
1.0.12 Build 170627 Rel.66669n
Hardware Version:
MR6400 v2 00000000
Jonil.Athis it the latest version for you router
TL- MR6400(EU)_V2_180508
KermitOK Thank You Jonil.A. Have a nice day. I require no more help.
Waste Transfer Station Permit

Illustrator Devon

Energy Strategy

Property Investment Company London

Tuesday, 11 September 2018

Top 5 Garden Shredders

Top 5 Garden Shredders - Intro

I havn't actually used any of the below, but I have assembled this list based on internet reviews, and intended to purchase the one I think is best. We have quiet a large garden so I need one that will last, and is lower end industrial grade, although upper end domestic may suffice.

I typically buy branded stuff.

Top 5 Garden Shredders - Hyundai HYCH7070E - £800

Catchy name. Thsi shredder is a petrol powered offering from well know manufacturer Hyundai, it has a 7hp engine and looks like it can kick bottom.

Top 5 Garden Shredders - The Handy PDS65 - £700

Another petrol beast. This employs a flail to mash feed material. I have used flails shredder before the have a tendency to get clogged because they cut in line with the grain of the wood producing long fibers which wrap around the cutting drum.

Top 5 Garden Shredders - BOSCH AXT 25TC - £400

This shredder gets good reviews and is also quiet. Bosch normally make pretty good stuff, so you could take reassurance from that.

Top 5 Garden Shredders - Makita UD2500 - £300

Perhaps similar quality to the Bosch, but less payout for name.

Top 5 Garden Shredders - Titan TTB353SHR - £80

A very cheap offering that get very good reviews.

Waste Transfer Station Permit

List of Cool Artists

Work in Progress, just somewhere for me to keep record of stuff I like:

Lindsay Rapp


Slava Prishedko

RĂ©mi LaBarre

Friday, 31 August 2018

DIY Passenger Handles for Cargo Bike

DIY Passenger Handles for Cargo Bike

It cost a fortune to buy ready made passenger / grab handle for cargo bikes such as the Yuba Mundo or the Xtracycle. Why not make you own with some wood. Plywood is best. You will need a jigsaw and some sand paper, fabric tape optional. Some screws and a screwdriver. 

A stiff wooden hand lke this is good, because it does not move around, unlike a rope loop or similar which is lousy for keep balance when the driver brakes. 

Aim is to make a some rigid handle that kids or other passenger can hang on to to stop them falling off when you wizz around corners etc.

Simply cut out a shape, similar to above using a jigsaw. You could use a brad-saw, or even the saw on a swiss army knife if you are patient. 

Attach the handle by screwing up through the base of the rear deck, use fairly long screws you want about 2" / 50mm of screw in the handle after it has gone through the deck. If you deck is plastic drill some pilot holes. 

Done, sane done splintery edges, and then you could wind some tape around the grips. I used some cloth tape I had hanging around. Video on bike here.

Visual Impact Assessment London 

Monday, 27 August 2018

TPA3116 2.1 Speaker Build

TPA3116 2.1 Speaker Build - Intro

This is a series of photos on the construction of a TPA3116 2.1 Channel Potable Speaker. The speaker uses wooden casing, up-cycled driver units, a 12v battery and can be adapted to run on main power also. If you would rather watch this on You Tube then please click here > TPA3116 Build Video

Finished Thing

TPA3116 is an amplifier, which runs on a variety of voltages. This "2.1" variant has stereo speaker out puts but also a third channel of sub-bass. This is my second build with this amplifier and it works well.

TPA3116 2.1 Speaker Build - Shopping List

For this project you will need the following. However, please do not be afraid to substitute materials, or even the amplifier board itself, for another model. For a smaller speaker you might try the PAM8610 which is a good little amplifier. For a very small speaker you might try the PAM8403.

I should also point out that if you are using recycled driver units, and they are still in the speaker case, why not re-use the case as well. You could glue, screw or bolts the two speaker together, and mount all wiring in side the speaker. This would avoid costs of buying wood.

For my speaker I used:

  • 12mm Shuttering Ply - Main cabinet / box
  • 9mm OSB (thin sheet wood - speaker grill support)
  • Screws
  • Two Part Filler
  • Paint (Optional)
  • Fabric or Cloth or Mesh
  • Amplifier Board
  • Speaker Cable
  • 12V to 24V boost convertor
  • Switch
  • 3.5mm jack cable
  • Driver Units
  • Insulation tape

  • Drill / Electric Screw Driver
  • Jig Saw
  • Tape Measure
  • Soldering Iron
  • Solder
  • Pencil

TPA3116 2.1 Speaker Build - Using Recycled Speakers

Making the box is perhaps the most demanding part of the whole project. As mentioned above perhaps re-use you speaker cabinets if you are recycling. I had some large sony speakers and the cabinets were fiar quality (not very weather proof though) and could have been bolted together, and used as is. 

Most speakers will have 2 or 3 driver units inside. 

Once you have removed the driver units from their original cabinet have a look on the rear of the speaker to try and figure out what ohm rating they have. For this project 4ohm speakers are best, but 8 ohm are OK, although the speaker will be quieter overall.

TPA3116 2.1 Speaker Build - Speaker Holes

You will need half a 4 x 8 sheet of ply to make this cabinet. Plywood is good, because you can get it wet, unlike MDF which swells when wet. Shuttering ply is a low garden water resistant ply, which can be sourced from most builders merchants.

Before you cut the panels, cut the holes for the speakers, it is easy to use a jig saw when the board is still in one piece.

Cut holes for driver units.

Try ou the driver units frequently to check fit. 
Do not make the mistake of drawing around the driver unit and then cutting, the hole need to be large enough that the screw holes sit on the wood.

Mark past inner edge of screw hole.
Rest the driver unit where the hole is intended, then mark the very inner most edge of the screw hole. Do this for all the screw holes. Then take away the driver units and join up the marks to make a cut circle.

Cut Line Smaller than Full Diameter

TPA3116 2.1 Speaker Build - The Cabinet

Once you have cut your speaker holes (for mounting driver units) you can continue with the rest of the cabinet. The front panel of the cabinet is the deciding factor in term of measurements for the rest of the cabinet / box. Take care cutting this panel, to ensure it is square.

Taking Shape

Cut the sides the same size as the front panel. Cut the top and bottom the same BUT 24mm wider to account for overall. Always cut bigger if you are unsure. You can always cut off excess with the jig saw although this results in a messy finish.

Blood, Sweat . . . but no Tears
Once the cabinet is complete you can paint it, and add a front mesh cover. This could be stapled in place or glued, or anything really. Just have fun choosing what ever you have laying around and do it!

Feet Made from Stiff Foam

Bass Port Doubles as Handle for Carrying

TPA3116 2.1 Speaker Build - Electronics

You could run this speaker on any number of different power supply's. I have compiled a list in a separate post: Power Supply Choices for TPA3116. I have also made some notes on the general performance of the TPA3116 amplifier board.

At 24V (max voltage) you are building a 40W amplifier. It is a class D amp, very efficient, so you get a lot of noise for those 40W RMS.

Hopefully your board came with a wiring diagram. This will show you which wire go in which clamps etc. Here I am running 2 x 8ohm speakers run paralleled to give 4 ohms.

Board Mounted on Steel Plate or Plastic Sheet Material
The board is supported using the 3 potentiometers, that control volume, treble, and bass. You could use the mounting holes also, but I find this unnecessary. 

A 12V battery feeds a 12V to 24V boot converter. This is better than 2 x 12V batterys, as 2 x 12V batteries linked in series can be 28V fresh off charge which is too many volts! 24V is maximum.

The power switch on the side of you build, should switch the BOOSTER on and off.

Externally, cut a neat hole, and then drill holes in this for RCA Sockets, Volume Knobs and Toggle Switch. Finally, you can add two protruding bolts, that can be used to charge the battery without opening the cabinet up every-time.

TPA3116 2.1 Speaker Build - Conclusions

On completion you will have a loud speaker that give very good low bass sound. The cost can be a bit high, but for me this was becuase of the wood. I bought a 4' x 8' of plywood, why cost £40. But I still have over half left. . . . the battery would also be a significant cost.

Total cost disregarding these would be £20, with the added bonus that you can fix it when it breaks. You built it after-all. Oh! Its pretty heavy.

If you would rather watch this on You Tube then please click here > TPA3116 Build Video

Environmental Permit Applications

Desktop Study

Illustrator Devon

Tuesday, 24 July 2018

Thorpy's Guide to Puncture Prevention

Thorpy's Guide to Puncture Prevention

It is quite annoying to have one's plans muddled by a puncture. Either you plan to ride, but can't because of puncture, or a ride is cut short by a puncture. Either way there is no sure fire way to prevent a puncture that will not impede slightly (or massively) on your riding pleasure. I should state that:

  • I am a fan of Shwalbe tires and most of the below relates to that brand. 
  • I have not covered tubeless systems. I know nothing about them.
  • My cycling is not sport based it is commuting, utility based cycling with a rural escapade thrown in on a regular basis.  
In conclusion if you are not fussy and just want to reduce puncture risk to minimum then use a sealant. If you are fussy and want the best options then use a V-Guard tire with a quality tube.  

Both will require some attention now and again, but it will be very infrequent, and will not spoil the enjoyment of your ride. 

Puncture Prevention - Tire Liners - NEVER

Awful (In my experience). 

The idea is that they provide a tough layer between the tire and the tube. They are normally made from a tough plastic. The problem is that they are fiddly to mount, often cause punctures and often do not stay in place whilst inside the tire.

Perhaps the worst of the above problems is the ability of the sharp edges of these plastic strip to cut in to the inner tube. So badly in fact that you will have to throw the tube away! I have only tried one brand (Zefal) and these should be avoided.

Puncture Prevention  - Extra Thick Tubes - SOMETIMES

For down hill racers, or very heavy riders riding low pressure tires over bumpy ground. 

Most inner tubes are made so as to keep air inside of them at pressure. Some tubes such as "thorn resistant" tubes or "down hill" tubes are made thicker than normal so as to give better puncture protection.

This may work against pinch flats (smashing in to a hard object causing a pinch between the rim and hard object) but I have found them to be little good against my main enemy, thorns. I still get plenty of punctures from thorns even with thick tubes.

Puncture Prevention - Puncture Proof Tires - OFTEN

These are often the perfect choice. A balance between puncture protection and performance. 

Now there are many options here, and I will deal with the best. Schwalbe offer some of their tires with V-Guard, this is a thin tough layer in the tire that does not alter the feel of the tire yet provides excellent puncture protection. These tire are very expensive, and there is limited choice, in terms of tread patterns etc.

A more common puncture protection choice is smart guard or kevlar guard, in both these case we see a squashy layer of rubber built in to the tire. A thorn (hawthorn / blackthorn) will go straight through a Kevlar guard tire. However, I have yet to see a thorn go through a smart guard (or green guard) tire which use 3mm - 5mm of rubber to protect the tube.

V Guard or Double Defense (DD) is the Best Option in my Experience

The problem with these green guard and smart guard tires is that they do affect the feel of the ride. Whilst riding green guard tires I notice a deadening of the ride which I do not like. The bike is noticeably harder to pedal .

Apart from "V-Guard" the best option for me in terms of choice and also cost is "Race Guard" this will not stop thorns, but is does stop all sorts of other sharps spiky things such as flints and stones. After 3 years my rear tire (Schwalbe Big Apple) is laced with cuts and "wounds" but examining the inside of tire shows no cuts reaching the inside of the tire.

Puncture Prevention - Sealant - OFTEN

A reasonably reliable choice for many, good for kids bikes, inexpensive and quick to implement. 

Sealants such as tire slime and OKO do work. They do seal holes made by thorns. However, they do not seal well when the thorn remains stuck in the tire, and can also clog the inner tube valve.

If a thorn remains stuck through the tire, the sealant will make a poor seal. The tire may take a few days to deflate, and will hold pressure if pumped up again long enough for most rides. But you will need to remove the thorn to get a good seal again. The easiest way to do this is to examine the outside of the tire until you find the "stub" of the thorn sticking out, then use pliers to pull it out.

I have ridden a bike for over year without having to remove the tube and tire. However I have had to extract thorns on 3 or 4 occasions. This can take almost as long as fixing a puncture if they are hard to find.

Puncture Prevention - Solid Tires & Solid Tubes - RARELY

Unlikely to be acceptable unless you performance requirements are low. 

I tried these many years ago and they were a disaster. They slip on the rim, have a terrible feel, and whilst these they will not get a puncture they will suck 30% of the enjoyment out of a ride. I guess they have there place in a zero maintenance, bike hire situation but if you own you bike, and enjoy riding it they have no real worth.

I slight deviation on these  is a solid inner tube, which is a ring of foam that you squash in to you tire. I have not used these but one would think they suffer similar characteristics to the solid tires, with the added complications of mounting them. Most also restrict the width of tires that you are able to use.

Puncture Prevention - Conclusions

Please find below recommendations:

Small Budget and Moderate Performance Requirements 

A large bottle of tire sealant can be had for £15 that will treat a whole families worth of bicycle tires. I would suggest OKO ATV Tire Sealant , as it comes with a steel valve removal tool (as apposed to flimsy plastic), is much cheaper than bike specific sealants and does the job. 

I use this in all my kids bikes, and my wife's bike, as they don't even notice it is there, and means when we set out for a ride, even if a tire is deflated, I can inflate it again and it will stay inflated for any length of ride. 

Higher Budget and Higher Performance Requirements 

"Race Guard" Tire with quality tube can be set up for around £25 a wheel. A "V-Guard Tire" with a quality tube can be set up for £40 - £50 a wheel. 

The later is a better choice, but you may not find a tire to suite, and the price is a little eye watering. 

Flood Risk Assessment London 

Thursday, 19 July 2018

Schwalbe 13F Inner Tube Review

Schwalbe 13F Inner Tube Review - Intro

A few years ago I purchased some Michelin C6 inner tubes to run with my Schwalbe Big Apples (26 x 2.35). They are a wide tire and I feel  that a wide tube is required. The Michelin C6 is a very thick walled down hill tube, but the valve had sheered off, so I have replaced with a Schwalbe AV 13F, which is a tube designed for use with wide tires.

Wiiiider than the aaavergage tube!
To be clear Schwalbe's Inner Tube Selector Tool , suggests I can use standard width or wide tubes.

Schwalbe 13F Inner Tube Review - First Impressions

The tube is very light for its size. The wall thickness is less than a typical tube, which means this tube can weigh just 185g. A little under double a regular tube. By comparison a down hill tube of the same diameter will weigh 300g +.

The rubber is very supple, and the valve is re-enforced with thicker materials in this area.

I have found these thicker tubes to offer no better protect against thorns than a normal thickness tube. Which leads me to think I will not get any more punctures using a light weight tube.

I I were in to extreme riding, then perhaps a pinch flat would be a problem. But for me that is unlikely.

Re-enforced valve tube interface

Schwalbe 13F Inner Tube Review - Do You Need a Wide Tube?

No this is the main question for me. I suppose the answer in a nutshell is NO, you do not need a wide tube. Many inner tubes offer wide ranges 1.5" to 2.5" for example, which would suite my tires.

But as with so many things bike, we are all of us tinkerers and experimenters in search or our version of perfection.

To my mind a standard high quality tube will be stretched to near its max width when used in a wider tire. Some questions this raises:

1 - Does this mean that the air pressure in the tire is pushing out against the elasticity of the inner tube, rather than the wall of the tire?

2 - Does this mean that the rubber held taught, is more prone to punctures?

3 - Does this mean that tube is less supple? Effecting rolling resistance?

For me these questions and the negligible worries they create are reduced by using a wide tube designed for wider tires. And for the sake of £3 extra per inner tube that is worth it for me.

Schwalbe 13F Inner Tube Review - Conclusions

So I don't really need this inner tube, I am not sure if it offers any advantages, but I feel more comfortable using it. Which in my book is worth something.

Environmental Permit Application London