2013-12-26

Experiments with supercaps - part 1

Hooray!

The long awaited supercaps arrived from China/Singapore....
It was a really good bargain - 5$ for 500F, 2.7V supercap!!!!
(http://www.shop-from-china.com/p-22352496639-South-Korea-three-and-SAMWHA-super-farad-capacitor-2.7V-500F-original-new-low-leakage.html)



They look worn. But I think they work. (this picture is from i-net)
OK - I have them, but now what to do? I don't have a charging circuit.
I could try my NPC1 battery charger, but it is too expensive, didn't want to damage it.

First experiment - I connected them to a cheap solar garden lamp.
I measured open circuit - about 2.1V on the battery ends - so I soldered the ultracap there.
(no picture sorry)

Started from 0.11V, in the end of the day it was - 0.85V.

When the night fell, the LED of the solar lamp worked, but was very dim, and after an hour did not emit any light @ 0.7V. In the end of the night it droped down to 0.65V

Second DAY!
Not very sunny most of the day. From 0.65V to 1.07V in the end. Perhaps this is the best for this set.
Started to give good light , but dropped to 0.86V for an hour and a half.
Next
If I didn't use LED, for 2 sunny days I could charge up to 1.7V. But it is enough only for a 2-3 hours of bright light.
Perhaps bad electronics for ultracap, or solar cell is not powerful enough, anyway it was just a try!


Second experiment - I charge them with 2 NiMH batteries!
For an hour I can reach 2V.
The following table gives the amount of energy in the supercapacitor, on certain voltage levels.
The energy is given for 500F capacitor, but the % full column is valid for any 2.7V capacitor:

Voltage (V)Energy (500F) Joules% full
0.102.500.14
0.2010.000.55
0.3022.501.23
0.4040.002.19
0.5062.503.43
0.6090.004.94
0.70122.506.72
0.80160.008.78
0.90202.5011.11
1.00250.0013.72
1.10302.5016.60
1.20360.0019.75
1.30422.5023.18
1.40490.0026.89
1.50562.5030.86
1.60640.0035.12
1.70722.5039.64
1.80810.0044.44
1.90902.5049.52
2.001,000.0054.87
2.101,102.5060.49
2.201,210.0066.39
2.301,322.5072.57
2.401,440.0079.01
2.501,562.5085.73
2.601,690.0092.73
2.701,822.50100.00

I bought some NCP1402 @ 3.3V from Pololu.
http://www.pololu.com/product/2114
This little board with NCP chip allows to have a stable 3.3V output voltage, while your capacitor
voltage drops from 2.7 to 0.3V. You see that at 0.3V we have about 1% charge, so with this circuit
we use 99% of the capacitor energy.
I have attached a standard 3.3V 20mA LED (I measured the voltage and the amperage to confirm).
Here are some pictures:




/part2/

2013-11-21

Bishke - Battlefield lyrics

What we are talking about:



   It is a very funny serbian song about the game Battlefield, performed in hard-rock-metal-serbianfolk style by Goran Biševac (Bishke). I could not find the full lyrics in the internet, so here is the place to say thank you to Slobodan Đurić, who posted the lyrics in the video comments section. My serbian is not very good, but I think I managed to assemble the whole song. Here it is:



Ko muva bez glave trcim, igru tu da kupim. 
Grlim je u narucju i u sliku ljubim. 
Iz prasnjavog dzepa mog, zadnji dinar vucem. 
Internet da uplatim, s' drugovima tucem. 
Ugasena svetla sva, zakljucana vrata.  
Najnoviji "betlfild", igrajmo se rata. 
Sta se samnom desava, vise mira nemam. 
S' mitraljezom upravljam, i po mapi sevam. 

1x
{Najnoviji "betlfild", moja nova ljubav. 
Najvise me obraduje , kad ubijem druga. 
Oko mene sevaju, puske i pistolji. 
A ja vatru uzvracam, niceg se nebojim.} 




Celu noc stiskam mis , da li sam prolupo. 
Nejedem i nespavam , nisam se okupo. 
Mikrofon je na "timspik" ili na "ventrilu", 
ceo klan je uvek tu demonstrira silu. 

 x2
{Najnoviji "betlfild", moja nova ljubav. 
Najvise me obraduje , kad ubijem druga. 
Oko mene sevaju, puske i pistolji. 
A ja vatru uzvracam, niceg se nebojim.} 


Cheers!

2013-09-10

4GB RAM on Acer Aspire One D270 (AOD270)

4GB RAM on Acer Aspire One D270? -> Small Mistake!

I decided to upgrade my netbook from 2GB to 4GB, without reading too much in the internet.
First you have to look at this link:
http://ark.intel.com/products/58916/
- The Intel Atom N2600 processor supports up to 2GB RAM!

When I put the new chip, in the BIOS it was obvious - 4096MB RAM.
But Windows 7 Ultimate 32-bit showed 4GB (2.99GB usable). Pictures:




At first I thought it is due to the 32bit architecture, and I used a kernel patch for Windows 7, like I did before. This time it did not work! Even the whole computer acted a little bit slowly.

However it discovers 3GB, which is way better than 2GB. When you put into account that I changed the HDD with SSD (http://fireswordblog.blogspot.com/2013/01/upgrade-hdd-to-ssd-on-acer-aspire-one.html)
I am even able to run virtual machines on this computer. It is responsive enough.

I still haven't found anybody on the internet making it work with 4GB. I also tried Ubuntu 32 and 64, it also sees only 3GB. So it is not a PAE problem. I also must state, that I have the latest drivers and BIOS 1.09 (which are not so new - shame on Acer!!!!).
So it must be some kind of architecture problem, mostly hardware than software.

Please comment if you have found a solution!

INFO:
https://communities.intel.com/thread/33466

Update (23.11.2013) - I updated BIOS to 1.10 - unfortunately no change :(

Update (02.05.2014) -  Thanks to the Anonymous post below, we discover that the remaining 1GB of memory is probably used for video memory. I started DXDIAG - see the results:








However GPUZ thinks that there are only 8MB:



Regards!

2013-08-15

Dim Desktop problem on Acer Aspire One D270

THE PROBLEM

The problem with my AOD270 is when you try to install or start a program, on which Windows 7 reacts as a potentially unsafe - dims screen, you get a black screen! You can notice the backlight shining, but there is nothing on the screen. The computer works, but the screen not!

The only thing I could do is to close the lid, to make it sleep. After that open and wake it, then the screen is OK.


SOLUTION !?

No good solution for now, only a workaround. Go to Control Panel / User Accounts / User Accounts
and press "Change user Account Control Settings":


You have to switch to the less secure option with "do not dim my desktop".

My proposals are that this problem is related to one of the following,
1. Bad drivers, video chipset
2. Bad BIOS
3. May be worng Windows 7 power profile.

Please share some ideas or solutions in the comments below
Thanks

2013-08-01

Monitor FS Primergy R600 S4 hard disks

I have a FS Primergy R600 S4 with RHEL 5.3 on it.
It seems it has:
LSI1078 PCI-e SAS RAID controller with 512MB cache memory,
Description: LSI MegaRAID SAS 8708ELP

/I still don't get which is which/

I tried mpt-status, and followed this guy:
http://www.how2forge.info/monitoring-lsi-raid-adapter-with-mpt-status/#comment-518

but finally I got :
octl: No such device



SOLUTION:

I found  MegaCli-8.07.10-1.noarch.rpm from
http://www.lsi.com/Search/Pages/results.aspx?k=megacli&r=os%3D%22AQVMaW51eAJvcwEBXgEk%22

you can install it witch command:
rpm -ivh MegaCli-8.07.10-1.noarch.rpm

When you install it, the MegaCli command becomes availabale from
/opt/MegaRAID/MegaCli/MegaCli64

However this command has very complicated syntax. To simplify this, I downloaded a special script lsi.sh from: https://calomel.org/megacli_lsi_commands.html
Special thanks to whom created it!!
With its options you can easily check the status of your RAID, or even put it in a cron job.

                OBPG  .:.  lsi.sh $arg1 $arg2
    -----------------------------------------------------
    status        = Status of Virtual drives (volumes)
    drives        = Status of hard drives
    ident \$slot   = Blink light on drive (need slot number)
    good \$slot    = Simply makes the slot \"Unconfigured(good)\" (need slot number)
    replace \$slot = Replace \"Unconfigured(bad)\" drive (need slot number)
    progress      = Status of drive rebuild
    errors        = Show drive errors which are non-zero
    bat           = Battery health and capacity
    batrelearn    = Force BBU re-learn cycle
    logs          = Print card logs
    checkNemail   = Check volume(s) and send email on raid errors
    allinfo       = Print out all settings and information about the card
    settime       = Set the raid card's time to the current system time
    setdefaults   = Set preferred default settings for new raid setup


You need to set

# Full path to the MegaRaid CLI binary
MegaCli="/opt/MegaRAID/MegaCli/MegaCli64"

to tell the script where is your MegaCli.
You may also need to set enclosure.

2013-07-25

NEC iSM Client error on Windows 7

When using iSM software from NEC, if you succeed to install it, a strange bug appears.
When you press the "Configuration" button, then "Setting..." button, the following message appears:


[25222] The client under composition setup already exists.

This problem, however, does not occur on Windows XP.
so:


Solution:

Set windows compatibility mode of the shortcut/iSMCL.exe to Windows XP, like this:





2013-07-14

USB devices on Google Nexus 7, cable

Well !

I am a proud owner of Google Nexus 7 3G with 32GB.
You all know that it doesn't have a SD slot or normal USB slot. I watched a few youtube videos, showing that you just need an OTG cable, and you can connect any USB flash drive.

1. First - FORGET ABOUT USB FEMALE-FEMALE scenario like this:


It does not work, I still don't know why and I search for reasons. But many people confirm this.


2. Second - NOT all cables work. I went to some shops with the tablet, and the cables seemed good, but they did not work. Finally I bought this one:


There isn't "OTG" word anywhere on the case, but it works. And I think it is too expensive - 5.5€



3. You have to be very careful, because the original cable miniUSB jack is slightly longer:


It clicks firmly to the tablet, BUT the OTG Hama cable does NOT click. May be there are better cables. I will try to remove 1mm of the plastic and maybe post pictures later. As you can see the tablet mini USB plug is somehow under the cover.


4. Software - if you don't root your device like me, you need Nexus Media Importer software.
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.homeysoft.nexususb.importer
I was unable to do anything without it, even with ES File Explorer.
The Nexus Media Importer can stream files from your flash memory - movies, music.
It can also copy files USB->tablet.
Vice versa tablet->USB is also possible, but only if the USB is FAT16 or FAT32 format.


5. Other devices
I tried to plug a mouse - it is really funny!
I tried an old GamePad, but it does not work so well. The games don't detect it at all, or misplace the keys!
http://community.giffgaff.com/t5/Blog/Tutorial-How-to-use-a-PS3-controller-with-the-Nexus-7/ba-p/5479786



 References:
http://nexususb.blogspot.com/

2013-07-10

Infinite garden solar lamp

Hello folks,

We all have seen many solar lamps. They can be really cheap, lets say down to 1$. For this money you cannot buy even a solar panel, NiMH battery or electronics from a hobby shop.
They have also the disadvantage that the battery is not feeling very happy with all this charge and discharge, not full cycles. And it quickly dies.
Most lamps don't give light all the night, because of many reasons - bad/old battery, small solar panel, awful electronics.
In the light of my prevoius article about supercapacitors, I thought - isn't it possible to use supercap instead of a battery, because it will last longer. Only the electronics should be slightly changed.

I searched the net, and it appears that a wise guy already did that. You can follow the process of developing the schematic of the lamp step by step with the videos below. He put a lot of efforts to make this product, practicaly it should last forever. It has better LED, very huge supercap - 350F, which can illuminate the LED more than the whole night, and a very very decent solar panel.
The electronics itself is a state of art, it is so small, that it is soldered to the supercapacitor.
Actualy it can charge even in cloudy weather. You can put it in any casing you like :)



Follow the development process:

YOUTUBE PLAYLIST

1.



2.





3.



4.



5.



6.


You can support this project here:
https://www.tindie.com/products/rtpreppers/infinity-supercapacitor-solar-sun-jar-unit/

The guy wants to make more decent price, by reaching 100 orders, and buying all the stuff with a discount. I wish him good luck, and I hope we will see lamps like this in the shops soon :)

.
P.S.
I also found a company that produces supercapacitor garden lights. They look AMAZING!
http://nextgensolar.com/
http://www.solarcap-lighting.com

2013-07-04

Supercapacitors info (incomplete)

There are tons of information about supercaps on the internet.
That is why I decided to put everything, that I find practical and interesting here!

The Wikipedia link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supercapacitor

The supercapacitors are capacitors that can hold nearly 1000 times more energy than a normal capacitor. In many cases they can replace rechargeable batteries, or lead-acid batteries.
However there are a lot of differences, that are important to know.

I will make a table of comparisson and descriptions. Please leave a comment to correct my data.
Red color means worse, Green means - better.


Supercaps NiMH batteries
1 Energy density 5-10 Wh/kg 60-120 Wh/kg
2 Charge time seconds few hours
3 Discharge voltage drop down to 0V, constant Almost stable 1.2-0.9V
4 Charging cycles ~infinite 500-1000
5 Price expensive cheap
6 Element voltage 2.7V 1.2V
7 Self discharge fast slow
* Working Temperature
* Charging circuit
* Shelf life


Explanations:

  1. Even 1000 times more than biggest capacitors is not enough to hold the energy of a normal 1.2V NiMH battery. A 3000Farad 2.7V supercapacitor has almost the same energy of a single AA 2500mAh 1.2V NiMH battery.


    The calculations are very simple:
    AA Battery = Ah*V*3600 = 2.5*1.2*3600 = 10800 Joules
    Supercap = 0.5*F*V*V = 0.5*3000*2.7*2.7 = 10935 Joules

    Lets compare also the size and weght:
    AA Battery = length - 50.5mm,   diameter - 14mm
    Maxwell 3000F/2.7V supercap = length 138mm,    diameter - 60mm (~12x bigger)

    AA Battery = 31g (NiMH)
    Maxwell 3000F/2.7V supercap = 510g (~17x heavier)

    Some more calculations:
    AA Battery = 15.28 Joules/mm2 ,   348.39 Joules/g
    Maxwell 3000F/2.7V supercap = 1.32 Joules/mm2 ,   21.44 Joules/g

    ----
  2. Everybody knows you have to leave NiMH to charge overnight. Supercaps charge in seconds, if you can supply enough current for them. Like every capacitor, they charge on a curve. At first maximum current flows, and after that it lowers, as the supercap charges. In the end no current flows any more.
    ----
  3. While discharging the supercap linearly drops to 0 Volts. This means that you can use all the stored energy. However most devices are not happy if the supply voltage changes in so big range 2.7V-0V. On the other hand NiMH batteries keep almost stable around 1.2V while discharging. When they drop under certain voltage, they can die and become useless. To solve this problem a DC-DC converter can be used for the supercap.
    ----
  4. The supercaps have the advantage that they can be recharged many many times, and their capacity does not change much in time. NiMH batteries have a limited number of charging cycles, and their capacity deplete in time. Specialist also reccomend that you fully charge and discharge them (discharge to ~0.9V) to keep them in good health. No such problem with supercaps
    ----
  5. Yes, the supercaps are expensive, but it seems the technology is not so complex, and they will get cheaper in time. These days (July.2013) one of the best offers I found is - Maxwell 350F 2.7V for 11$.
    ----
  6.  You know one NiMH battery can be charged to 1.2V or even slighly higher. The supercaps are not like ordinary capacitors, where you can buy 500V capacitor. It does not matter if the capacitor is big or small - it is limited to 2.7V (some supercaps like LiOn supercaps can reach 4V). If you need higher voltage you can stack several supercapacitors, like batteries.
    ----
  7. Both NiMHs and supercaps discharge while they stay idle. However modern NiMH can keep up to 80% of their charge after 1 year of staying on the shelf. The supercaps can discharge completeley for a few weeks. However LiOn supercaps voltage drops about 5% for 3 months, which is quite good.

* not finished, updated almost every day, little by little :)


References:
http://electronicsbus.com/batteries-vs-edlc-ultracapacitor-supercapacitor/

2013-04-24

Making BAT files to switch Full/Reduced processor speed Windows 7


Problem:
I have an old HP 530 Laptop. I upgraded its RAM to the max 2GB, and now it runs Windows 7 pretty smooth ! The thing that bothers me is the fan noise! In the usual things I do, I don't want the computer to be very fast, but I don't want to hear the fan noise. To do this I change the Power Options, the maximum CPU utilization.

It is in:
Control Panel
Power Options
on the selected Balanced - choose "Change plan settings"
Change advanced power settings
Processor power management
Maximum processor state



I put there 50%, and it is just fine for cooling the system.
(You can also adjust "System cooling policy" if you like)

On the other hand, when I watch 720p or more videos, I need full CPU speed, and I don't care about the fan! I need to go again through all these settings.


Solution:
I decided to make 2 .BAT files on my desktop to switch easier between the two modes

FULL.BAT
powercfg -setacvalueindex SCHEME_BALANCED SUB_PROCESSOR PROCTHROTTLEMAX 100
powercfg.exe -setactive SCHEME_CURRENT

COOL.BAT
powercfg -setacvalueindex SCHEME_BALANCED SUB_PROCESSOR PROCTHROTTLEMAX 50
powercfg.exe -setactive SCHEME_CURRENT

Now I just click on them when I need speed or quiet fan. You can put other percentages instead of 50 and 100.



Another way for achieving this task is to make 2 power profiles and switch between them.

Resources used:
http://stackoverflow.com/questions/2503579/modifying-procthrottlemax-with-powercfg-has-no-effect-in-2008-r2

-=update 31.12.2015=-
Thanks for the comments people! Really happy!
As I mentioned below now I have 3 files - Cool, Mid, Full :) Anyway don't forget to clean, vacuum clean your laptop ventilation holes.
 
Another trick to help you do the BAT files is to make a file LOOP.bat with a single line - loop (only these 4 letters). When you start the file it will utilize your CPU as much as possible.
Then you can experiment with other bat files, shown above, start from 100 and reduce the number until you see your frequency dropped. Then you know, where exactly to stop.

When I have time I can try to make an automatic BAT file that does that, if possible, it will be awesome!

Some more info - I upgraded my laptop HP 530 to 3GB - it is working fine with them, although not all brands are OK. According to the specs it should work with up to 2GB only. To tell you the truth, now it is much much more responsive. (I even use 16GB flash drive for ready boost, but increasing the RAM helped much more than that flash drive).


-=update 16.09.2014=-
Using the windows gadget "All cpu meter" I saw that my cpu has 3 frequencies:
1000Mhz
1200Mhz
1600Mhz

Since I made COOL.bat for 50% CPU usage, I thought - isn't it possible to make it more than 50% and still be at 1000Mhz and cool. For my CPU the limit is 78%, every number above that switches to 1200Mhz when working.
But it is OK - now I am faster and still cool!!

Cheers!!!

2013-03-25

No Sound on MSI 945GZM3 with Windows 7 64bit

It seems the saga with the old MSI 945GZM3 mainboard and Windows 7 continues :)

First of all, MSI Live Update 5 does not detect that it needs to download sound driver !?
It is helpless this time.

If you try the driver from the MSI site - it installs with no errors, but yet you get no sound.
I tried older versions - no luck!


Solution:
Install a driver from Realtek (mine was AC'97).
http://www.realtek.com.tw/downloads/downloadsView.aspx?Langid=1&PNid=23&PFid=23&Level=4&Conn=3&DownTypeID=3&GetDown=false

It is written "Audio Codecs", but it is a driver!
You can see your file on the very first row (Windows 7).


After you extract it, you have to load it manually. Open the device manager, and on the Yellow undefined "Multimedia" , right click and choose "Update Driver". Then choose the location where you have extracted the ZIP. Unfortunately I cannot post screens.

....

2013-03-19

0xC000021a while installing Windows 7

I had and error 0xC000021a while installing Windows 7. I searched the web, but could not find the cause of this error. I tried various things, but what fixed it, was:

Upgrading the BIOS version on the MSI 945GZM3 mainboard!

I used http://www.msi.com/service/download/
and downloaded Live Update 5.

The computer already had Windows XP, and this tool has done everything automatically!

After the BIOS update, the PC issued the error "Bad CMOS checksum", but do not worry.
Just enter the BIOS with "DEL" key, check the settings, and Save!

Cheers!

2013-01-16

Upgrade HDD to SSD on Acer Aspire One D270 (AOD270)

I decided to upgrade my netbook with SSD and I made a list for my reasons:

1. It consumes less energy, which means longer battery life
2. It does not move - there will be no vibration, which you can feel now, when the HDD spins up
3. It is absolutely quiet!
4. The netbook is slightly lighter (in my case 41g - Samsung_SSD-55g, WD_HDD-96g)
5. The netbook performance is stable - the shock and vibrations, will not affect it.
6. Does not require cooling, and can work in hot and cold temperatures.
7. It will be faster, but I put it on last place

Disadvantages:
1. It may wear out more quickly than the HDD, because of the flash technology, and more specific the TLC technology (not sure!)
2. You cannot take full benefit of it because most SSDs are SATA 3, but the AOD270 has SATA 2 controller, and generally is a slow machine, with a slow CPU
3. Not very reasonable, because the SSD price is about 70% of the price of the entire netbook


That is why I am not looking for speed, but for stability and long life. After a consultation I choose Samsung 840 SSD (250GB) with TLC technology. Samsung produces all the parts for its SSDs, that is why it can afford stable drives. This SSD is the first on the market with TLC technology. It means that every cell remembers 3 bits - so it has 8 states. It seems more unreliable technology, but the tests on the Internet show otherwise.
The 840 Pro series even has 5 year warranty.
In conclusion - Samsung has the lowest % of returned failed SSDs worldwide.




(image from http://www.storagereview.com)


(image from http://www.thessdreview.com)

Really a great, great device! I can write a lot for the device itself, but if you are interested in details
you can read this: http://thessdreview.com/our-reviews/samsung-840-series-240gb-ssd-review-the-worlds-first-tlc-ssd-takes-the-stage/



I wanted to show you how to change your drive, and make a video. It was not an easy task for me, so I decided to show you how the professionals do it, where I learnt .... (many many thanks to that guy):



Warning!
I recommend that you use Samsung software for transferring your system and files to the new SSD drive here:
That means, you install and start it before switching the two drives, under the Windows OS.
It is weird, but it can transfer live partitions somehow!!!! (I used it later on a Desktop PC - it works perfect!!)

I did it totally wrong, switched the two drives, and tried gparted with Ubuntu on USB stick.
It copied everything correctly, but while booting, the Windows said there is something wrong with the hardware. So I needed to make a new installation!

Here is an image of my netbook with the new drive:


The SSD drive is slightly thinner, than the HDD. Perhaps 2mm, that is why it seem it has "drowned" in the socket.
Assembling the netbook backwards is not an easy task either. Don't forget the 5 screws, you removed! :)
You can check if the new drive is visible in the BIOS, but there should be no problem.

Here is the original hard drive by Western Digital, put there by Acer:


It is written SATA on it, but a diagnostic program and a google check showed it is SATA 2.

I used a SATA -> USB kit to transfer the data from the old drive to the new SSD.
The average transfer rate was about 25MB/s.

So much for the hardware part!




-=Software=-

It is highly recommended that you install Samsung Magician software (you have the link above).
You don't have to run it all the time, but here are the reasons, why it is so important:
1. It monitors your SSD, can alert for problems and its lifetime
2. It has a performance optimization tool, which can enhance performance
3. Important - it switches off some windows functions, which are not for SSD, and will shorten its life, like defragmentation, indexing....
4. It upgrades firmware


-=Conclusion=-
The netbook boot windows - power button to desktop for less than 30 seconds.
It is really fast. Windows puts an index of 7.7 to the SSD, compared to 5.9 to that of the
WD HDD. Not a big difference but the performance is increased much.
That includes - installing programs, office, drivers, starting programs, word, excel, video players
The Magician software measured about 270MB/s which is close to the SATA 2 300MB/s maximum

Finally - very expensive upgrade for this netbook. But for me it worths every penny.
As I mentioned above - now I have faster, lighter, shock resistant, quiet, and not vibrating netbook, with longer lasting battery. I think for a mobile device these things really matter.
So - Upgrade! 

Cheers!!