Category Archives: Computers

How to fix loss of WiFi on a Billion BiPac 7404VNPX

We had a power outage the other day while the power company did some maintenance. When I got home, much to my horror, we’d lost wifi. You forget how much you rely on wifi when it otherwise just works all the time.

We still had internet through ethernet, but it was damn inconvenient not having wifi. Our 3G coverage is rubbish and I hate to use that when at home, chewing through my meagre data allowance. No control of my LIFX bulbs and tethered connections to our laptops was just not going to cut it. So I jumped onto Google to see if this was a know issue and if there were any easy fixes.

Thankfully – it appeared to be a well documented issue, as per this Whirlpool thread. From there I found a handy pic of the wifi module showing some corrosion and, even better, this great PDF detailing how one user fixed their loss of wifi.

While I was already going to pull the modem apart to see if I could identify the issue, armed with all this information I had a great understanding of where I should start. So here’s how I fixed wifi on my Billion BiPac 7407VNPX.

Firstly, remove the sticky rubber pads on the bottom and remove the 4 Phillips head screw located underneath (after disconnecting from power of course).

20140215-151157.jpg
On the bottom of the 7404VNPX, remove the sticky pads and 4 screws

Next, flip the unit over and carefully take off the top of the case.

Take the top off the BiPac 7407VNPX
To get the the circuit board, remove the top of the case

I decided to unscrew the antenna connectors from the side, remove and flip over the circuit board to check the bottom for any corroded or fried spots. Thankfully, it was all clear, so I put the board back in and put the antennas back in place.

The bottom of the 7404VNPX circuit board
The bottom of the circuit board – nothing funky there
Top of the 7407VNPX circuit board
The top of the board in all it’s glory

Next was to inspect the wifi module, where I noticed the adhesive gunk didn’t look too crash hot. Based on the PDF it looked like some of this was bridging some of the connectors on the EPROM or RAM chip (whatever it is) on the left in the pic below. With a pointy tool I carefully chipped and scraped this away (did it on the right bracket first as a test). That’s what seemed to be the problem in other posts, so I hoped that would do the job here and didn’t bother removing it from where the antennas are glued onto the module (bottom of the pic).

Dodgy glue
Dodgy looking glue on the side clips and antenna connectors

Then, I simply replaced the top and screwed the unit back together. Powered up, re-enabled wifi via the admin GUI and Ka-Pow! Wifi is working again. It may have just been a fluke of power-off, power-on but as this didn’t work originally, I’m putting it down to my de-gunking as being the fix. Hopefully I’ll get several more years of hassle free use out of what has so far been a very reliable unit.

—– UPDATE 16/10/2016 —–

We had crazy weather which took out the power for a couple of days and when it came back, I had nothing, even after several reboots of the modem. Not even ethernet worked. I had to go to work, and when I came home everything was working properly again. Weird.

I suspect that this (my) router likes running hot and after a day of thermal expansion or something, whatever caused the problem fixed itself. Something to be aware of I guess.

QNAP TS-459 Pro+ Memory Upgrade

 

I’ve been wanting to upgrade the memory in my QNAP NAS for quite some time. They are great machines, but with all the extra features in the Turbo Station UI as well as a bunch of .qpkg add on’s they can sometimes get a bit bogged down.

I had been reluctant to buy new memory as I had trouble finding much helpful info on the QNAP forums as to what to get, or if it was even possible to be done on a 459 Pro+. Eventually I got sick of performance issues and searched again, this time with a bit more luck.

There are plenty of posts around using Kingston memory, and ones that had failed, but thanks to a post on Cyconet blog I decided to go ahead and get a Samsung M471B5773DH0-CH9 module.

The install went fine, swapping out the ADATA module from QNAP as the 459 Pro+ doesn’t have a second memory slot like some of the newer models. Here you can see the memory hiding in there to the right of that big power supply plug.

QNAP 459 Pro+ memory
Memory is the dark thing with the white sticker on it, to the right of that big power supply connector

Powered up and ensure all my normal services were running and I’ve got a decent increase in speed and a lot more free memory now, with usage down from around 70% to around 45%.

Usage before upgrade
Usage before upgrade
Usage after upgrade
Usage after upgrade

This memory module has also been confirmed to work in other models, as suggested by Jamie Austen on his blog, where he was able to upgrade from 1GB to 3GB – also thanks to that Cyconet post.

Getting Google fonts to show in Dreamweaver CC CSS Designer panel

1. Go to andhttp://www.google.com/fonts/ pick the fonts you want.
2. Go down to Step 3 and on the Standard tab copy the href ie ‘http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Open+Sans’ and paste in a new browser tab.
3. Copy the text shown on screen
4. Go to Dreamweaver and create a new .css file, paste in the text you just copied. Done.

Updating Wanscam/Foscam firmware

So I got these cheap cameras off eBay and they’re pretty good, for what they are.

 

Specification Table

ITEMS FI8918W
Image Sensor Image Sensor CMOS Sensor
Display Resolution 640*480 Pixels
Lens f: 2.8mm, F:2.4
Min. Illumination 0 Lux
Viewing Angle 70°
Audio Input/Output Linear Input/Output, which can realize two-way voice the intercom
Audio Compression G.711/G.726, Audio sampling Bit rate  128kbps ~ 2.048Mbps
Video Image Compression H.264
Light Frequency 50Hz, 60Hz
Image Resolution VGA(640*480
Image frame rate 25fps(50Hz), 30fps(60Hz), Down adjustable
View H.264  dual streaming
Image adjust The brightness, contrast, saturation, chromaticity, is adjustable
White balance Automatic, Indoor, outdoor, is adjustable
Infrared mode Automatic, manual (on/off)
Night visibility Φ5mm 11 IR LEDs, Night visibility up to 8 metres
Network Ethernet One 10/100Mbps RJ-45
Supported Protocol TCP/IP, UDP/IP, HTTP, SMTP, FTP, DHCP, DDNS, UPNP
Wireless Standard WIFI(IEEE802.11b/g/n)
Data Rate 802.11b: 11Mbps(Max.) 802.11g: 54Mbps(Max.)
802.11n: 150Mbps(Max.
Support IP address static IP address, dynamic IP address
Alarm Alarm detection The motion detecting, detection threshold Settings
Alarm inform Support& nbsp;Email, FTP etc alarm inform way
Hardware Interface Memory      /
POWER Interface DC 5V/2.0A (EU,US,AU adapter or other types optional) ,
Power Consumption ﹤8 Watts
Audio Input/Output Interface One audio input jack,One audio output jack.
Reset Buttons One Reset
Ethernet One 10/100Mbps RJ-45
Wireless Interface WIFI antenna
Other Pan/Tilt Angle Horizontal:300° & Vertical: 120°
LED Explain One& nbsp;SD CARD Instructions,One power Instructions
Environment Operate Temp 0° ~ 40°C  (32°F ~ 104°F)
Operate Humidity 10% ~ 80% non-condensing
Storage Temp  -10°C ~ 60°C(14°F ~ 140°F)
Storage Humidity 0% ~ 90% non-condensing
Physical Dimension(LxWxH) 110.5*103*127mm
Gross Weight 768g(color box size:200*120*175mm)
Net Weight 420g
PC Requirements CPU 2.0GHz or above (suggested 3.0GHz)
Memory Size 256MB or above (suggested 1.0GHz)
Display Card 64MB or above
Supported OS Microsoft Windows 2000/XP, Vista, Windows7, Mac OS, Linux
Browser IE6 and above version or compatible browser, Firefox or other standard browsers
  Certification   CE, FCC
  Warranty   Limited 2-year warranty

 

Like most of these things, they are OEM and then someone else makes them popular. Such is the case here – I have Wanscam ones (Model AJ-C2WA-C118 or JW0008 – they appear to be the same), but Foscam are the popular ones at 3 times the price. Go figure.

I wanted to update the firmware, but didn’t want to brick them. Turns out it doesn’t really matter – firmware from Wanscam is branded with Foscam logo. So for firmware or manuals, go to the Foscam site. Firmware for FI8918W (currently loaded 11.37.2.54) works well.

It’s worth noting that the WebUI firmware from Foscam (2.4.18.18.001) is worse than an older Wanscam one (2.4.10.8).

———- Update 27/01/2014 ——–

Just updated with the latest firmware firmware from Foscam’s Australian site, released on Jan 23. Now on Firmware 11.37.2.55 and WebUI  2.4.10.9 (both Foscam ‘official’), both working like a charm.

———- Update 23/06/2014 ——–

Firmware 11.37.2.55 and Web UI 2.4.10.10 are now available on the Foscam site. Both work fine for me. FWIW I can’t seem to find firmware from Wanscan anymore.

———- Update 02/01/2016 ——–

Firmware11.37.2.65 and Web UI 2.4.10.13 are now available on the Foscam site. Both work fine for me.

Adding ID12/ID20 RFID reader to RasPi

Here is how I got an ID12 RFID reader from SparkFun to work on a Raspberry Pi. The same will work for an ID20 reader too. Using udev rules is the way to go here too…

Parts used:

Installation:

  • Plug everything in.
  • NOTE: This device probably works fine without the FTDI D2xx drivers. Test with sample code found here. I tested via the AdaFruit WebIDE.
  • You can find the ttyUSB device the RFID reader has been assigned to by doing ‘dmesg’ after plugging it in. You should see something like this, indicating I’m on ttyUSB4
[173832.871279] usb 1-1.3.4: new full-speed USB device number 13 using dwc_otg
[173832.995485] usb 1-1.3.4: New USB device found, idVendor=0403, idProduct=6001 
[173832.995518] usb 1-1.3.4: New USB device strings: Mfr=1, Product=2, SerialNumber=3
[173832.995535] usb 1-1.3.4: Product: FT232R USB UART
[173832.995550] usb 1-1.3.4: Manufacturer: FTDI 
[173832.995565] usb 1-1.3.4: SerialNumber: AD01SU55
[173834.105994] usbcore: registered new interface driver ftdi_sio [173834.112869] USB Serial support registered for FTDI USB Serial Device 
[173834.120217] ftdi_sio 1-1.3.4:1.0: FTDI USB Serial Device converter detected
[173834.122730] usb 1-1.3.4: Detected FT232RL 
[173834.122783] usb 1-1.3.4: Number of endpoints 2 
[173834.122820] usb 1-1.3.4: Endpoint 1 MaxPacketSize 64
[173834.122839] usb 1-1.3.4: Endpoint 2 MaxPacketSize 64
[173834.122855] usb 1-1.3.4: Setting MaxPacketSize 64[173834.130135] usb 1-1.3.4: FTDI USB Serial Device converter now attached to ttyUSB4 
[173834.130268] ftdi_sio: v1.6.0:USB FTDI Serial Converters Driver
  • If you find everything is working fine, you probably don’t need to do the following steps. I had already done them before I figured our how to check ttyUSB value.
  • Setup FTDI D2XX drivers as per this with more detailed development information in this PDF.
  • NOTE: as of this writing the RasPi compatible version did not work, so I used the one here.
  • During installation it says to do ‘sudo rmmod ftdi_sio’ and ‘sudo rmmod usbserial’. I did ‘sudo rmmod ftdi_sio’, but don’t know if it was required. ‘sudo rmmod usbserial’ threw an error saying it was in used by pl2303.
  • I couldn’t figure out which ttyUSB device was my reader and noticed in dmesg the following, indicating the device had been detached when I did ‘sudo rmmod ftdi_sio’. This also suggests it would have worked fine without the FTDI D2xx drivers. That caused me some problems during testing.
[193184.440517] USB Serial deregistering driver FTDI USB Serial Device
[193184.445448] ftdi_sio ttyUSB4: FTDI USB Serial Device converter now disconnected from ttyUSB4
[193184.445607] usbcore: deregistering interface driver ftdi_sio
[193184.445802] ftdi_sio 1-1.3.4:1.0: device disconnected
  • Once I restarted the Pi everything worked fine, found the ttyUSB ID from dmesg and tested with the sample code, which successfully printed the RFID tag number
  • ‘dmesg | grep FTDI’ shows the following, showing that ftdi_sio is back in use again but on a different ttyUSB ID.
[ 5.010753] usb 1-1.3.4: Manufacturer: FTDI
[ 8.358161] USB Serial support registered for FTDI USB Serial Device
[ 8.546943] ftdi_sio 1-1.3.4:1.0: FTDI USB Serial Device converter detected
[ 9.222204] usb 1-1.3.4: FTDI USB Serial Device converter now attached to ttyUSB1
[ 9.375986] ftdi_sio: v1.6.0:USB FTDI Serial Converters Driver
  • It’s probably a good idea to add persistent names for USB devices to overcome the ttyUSB issue in future. This can be done with udev rules, with a great article about it here
  • See related project here with sample code here, which will be handy starting point for my door lock project.

CarPi

Here’s the things I would do for a carputer.

Objectives:

  • Wifi Hotspot for other passengers
  • GPS logging
  • OBD2 logging
  • Web Radio/Spotify client/iTunes streamer/MP3 player
  • Bluetooth and BlueProximity (for keyless entry?)
  • RFID reader (for keyless entry)?
  • Parking sensor with image?

And things to install

  1. Setup as per Bog standard install
  2. Add a 3G modem
  3. Turn into a wifi hotspot as per this post or this one
  4. No-IP for remote access as per this
  5. Add bluetooth support and BlueProximity
  6. Setup autorun scripts like this

DevPi Changelog

This is just for keeping track of what’s been installed on my dev Pi.

—– Added 03/03/2014 for The Rig —–

NOTE: edit /home/pi/.profile and add

NODE_JS_HOME=/usr/local/node

PATH=$PATH:$NODE_JS_HOME/bin

  • Install socket.io (sudo npm install socket.io)
  • Install moment.js (sudo npm install –save moment)
  • Install node-raspicam (sudo npm install raspicam)
  • Create folder to mount network share (mkdir share)
  • Modify /etc/fstab to auto mount share on my laptop (sudo nano /etc/fstab)

//mobile-melchoir.local/Users/the_bfg/Documents/Daimons\ Files/My\ Pictures/Elysian\ Visions/Clients/evok3d/The\ Rig/
/home/pi/share cifs

username=USERNAME,password=PASSWORD 0 0

 

—– To be installed —–

  • 3G modem setup as per this and this
  • Motion for USB camera monitoring as per this and this (especially the second one)
  • BluetoothBlueProximity – sudo apt-get install python-gtk2 python-glade2 python-configobj python-bluez hcitool bluez-utils
  • sudo apt-get install arduino and sudo apt-get install xrdp for Arduino development
  • GPS as per this post
  • Add cups (sudo apt-get install cups) for a cloud print server, with help from here and here (specifically sudo usermod -a -G lpadmin pi)
  • Add python-serial (sudo apt-get install python-serial) for RFID reader testing
  • Add FTDI2xx drivers for ID12 RFID reader as per this