Know How... 134 (Transcript)
This episode of Know How is brought to you by Smart Things. Smart Things lets you monitor, control and automate your home from wherever you are, using your smart phone. Right now Smart Things is offering Know How listeners 10% off any home security or solutions kit. And you get free shipping in the United States when you go to smartthings.com/twit and use the offer code TWIT at checkout.
Today on Know How we've got some mods for your FPV 250 quad copter, Smitty continues his Arduino clock and we are going to talk about a hybrid super car.
Father Robert Ballecer: Welcome to Know How, it is the Twit show where we build, bend, break and upgrade. I’m Father Robert Ballecer.
Bryan Burnett: And I’m Bryan Burnett.
Fr. Robert: And for the next, depending on how much time we have left in our schedule, 30 minutes to 60 minutes we are going to be talking about some of the projects that we have been playing with over the last few weeks. So that you can take them home and geek out on your own.
Bryan: And this next story that I wish we had been able to geek out in, is about a hybrid super car.
Fr. Robert: Now, a hybrid super car. There was a time not too long ago where the motor heads would just laugh.
Bryan: Hybrids are economical, fuel sipping…
Fr. Robert: It is the Prius. What do the guys on Top Gear call it? The Pry Us? they make fun of them because they are electric and they don’t have the sound of a super car. Well, there are a couple of manufacturers have been playing with some hybrid drive systems and it looks like super cars in the future is going to have to be hybrid.
Bryan: If you want to stick with your gas engine and be left behind go for it. That, if you want to go faster it is all hybrid.
Fr. Robert: Specifically this one is the Koenigsegg. Koenigsegg has been known for making some ridiculous supercars. In fact they kind of busted the supercars. Because super cars used to belong to the Begadi, the Iran, and everything from Ferarri and Lamborghini. Then you had a Swedish automaker come in and kind of turn the world on their head.
Bryan: With a really long and ridiculous name too.
Fr. Robert: Koenigsegg. And were like Koenigsegg? I think the breakthrough was when Top Gear took one around the track and they lost their minds. And they also did the same thing which is it is a really ridiculous car. It will kill you if you don’t know how to drive. But it was ridiculously fast. The amount of power that you can put on the pavement with such a light body with all that carbon fiber, it was mind-boggling.
Bryan: I think they are one of the first few car manufacturers that pioneered the carbon fiber reinforced Kevlar. Doors, frame.
Fr. Robert: Actually you have a good point. That whole Kevlar and carbon fiber things that they do is kind of the standard now. Everyone wants to copy that. I think their first car was in 1994. It wasn’t well received. They were getting into the market. But in 2006 they created the CCX and that is the one that the guys at Top Gear took around the track.
Bryan: The one that will kill you in an instant.
Fr. Robert: In an instant. It was right up there with the Pagini and the Zanda. that thing is crazy. And they had carbon fiber everything. Carbon fiber wheels, Kevlar body panels and they made their own engines. It was an in-house 795hp. and then they followed up with the Agera in 2011 and now when gave you a 940 hp engine with everything. That Agera, I don’t think they had it on Top Gear yet, but it does 0-100 in 2.8 seconds, it does 0-200 in 8.9 seconds and 0-300 (km by the way) in 14.3 seconds.
Bryan: Kilometers makes a lot more sense. That's good.
Fr. Robert: Now, last week they rolled out the Regara. This is the hybrid. Oh my word. It is so sexy. This is a 1500 hp super car. It is a slightly older body, but this thing is only 3589 pounds. So that curb Weight is very low. It has a 5 L V8, custom in-house, twin turbocharged engine. Now the engine itself makes 1100 hp and 944 foot-pounds of torque. But they added three electric motors so you have one motor on the drive shaft and two in the rear wheels. Those electric motors add 400 hp and heaped on a load of torque. The wheel motors have 192 foot-pounds of torque, the shaft motor has 221 foot-pounds of torque and they also included a 9 kWh Li-Ion battery. So you could drive this thing for 22 miles with nothing but electric power.
Fr. Robert: Now one of the things that every racer does. It doesn’t matter if you are racing to wheels or four wheels is, your engine develops torque in a very certain area of its RPM. It is not at the beginning. That is why you rev your engine a little bit to try to get more of the power to the wheel.
Bryan: Because you got to get to that point where you are building up enough torque to give you the momentum to go forward.
Fr. Robert: Exactly. Super cars are not exempt from that. What a lot of them have done actually use four turbo chargers. those our air compressors that are driven off the power of the engine, and not off the power of the exhaust, to force more air into the engine to try and develop that power faster.
Bryan: More fuel.
Fr. Robert: Which is more in fuel and you still have the torque curve that goes from zero and then it builds up and then it peters off near its maximum RPM. The nice thing about electric motors and we know this from our quad copter episodes, the torque starts at the top. It gives that all its work at the beginning and then it has a linear slide.
Bryan: So you put those two things together and you have maximum power.
Fr. Robert: Right. So it means that you’ve got 644 pounds of torque from zero. Going up to 944 pounds from the gas engine at maximum rpm’s. So at any given time your torque will far outperform any other super car.
Bryan: That is so cool. And I was researching the McLaren P1 earlier this morning after reading this article and that also has a hybrid system and it just makes other cars look like they are sitting still. It will kick in the electric motor between gears or if it is making a turn. It switches back and forth.
Fr. Robert: That is the thing. This is why the hybrid concept is all about racing. Every team that is worth their salt is developing a hybrid system because drag racing is one thing. Drag racing you are only in that hole for the first part of the power. And then you are in the power band and you’ve got your maximum torque and you can go down the strip as fast as possible. But if you are racing, or turning every time you turn you are dumping off the energy and you’ve got to start over again. But if you've got a hybrid system you don’t dive back into the hole. You’ve got full power the entire time. You saw those YouTube videos where you could give a standard internal combustion engine car a crazy head start and you are going to catch it. Even if you are not a great driver you are going to catch it.
Bryan: So it is funny how hybrids kind of started out being not seen as a performance item but being seen as something environmental. And now it is still environmental, the super cars don’t give out very much emissions but they are so fast.
Fr. Robert: Can you imagine if you were driving around one of these and again for the first 22 miles to the office you are under pure electric power. I’m a low emissions vehicle.
Bryan: I can go 0-60 in just a few seconds.
Fr. Robert: And one other cool thing. I saw this in the details. I want to see it actually work but they can do what is called torque vectoring. So because they got an electric motor on each wheel they can actually vary the amount of torque they are using to steer the vehicle. That is another problem which is when you are putting that much power to pavement you tend to spin things off the wheels. But this can actually help keep your card true. Exactly where you want it. Eventually with these super cars the next advancement is going to be some super advanced drive by wire system. Because it is getting to the point where we can’t control all the power that we can get down to the pavement.
Bryan: We definitely are at that point and I think the Nissan GTR that has the system that will individually give the tires the power that it needs or doesn’t need to get the traction as it makes a turn. Which is the one that broke Jeremy Clarkson.
Fr. Robert: By the way, we talked to Leo Laporte and he is actually going to buy us one of these. I’m sure they can’t be too expensive even though Koenigsegg is only going to make 80 of these. How expensive could it be?
Bryan: Not that bad, right?
Fr. Robert: I only have to wait for the technology to trickle down to a Subaru WRX, the next generation of Subaru will have some of this.
Bryan: I want to see it in the Prius. It is pretty cool as it is.
Fr. Robert: Off the line a Prius is actually pretty fast. It is just after the line.
Bryan: Let's put a turbo charger engine in it and really surprise people.
Fr. Robert: If we did a 30 foot drag race I would beat anything you’ve got.
Bryan: And you can sneak up on them.
Fr. Robert: All right. So we will probably not be playing with super cars in the near future. That you know what we will be playing with?
Bryan: Something smart?
Fr. Robert: Something very smart. Like your home, but smart. At CES if you watched any of my coverage you know it was a lot about the Smart home. We’ve had the promise of a smart home forever. With the X10 modules you could turn your lights on and off when you wanted to. Maybe you had something on the door so that you could signal when someone was there. But it wasn’t really easy to tie together period unless you could find all the modules that you wanted and all the features that you wanted from a single manufacturer you probably couldn’t get it.
Bryan: Well that isn’t the case anymore.
Fr. Robert: That isn’t the case because we’ve got Smart Things. Now what is Smart Things? Quite simply it is a way to network all of your smart devices to get the smartest home possible. They’ve got this. This is the Smart Hub. This is where it all starts and that is the device that will type to gather the different networks from your Nest, or your Drop Cam, or sensors for your doorways or your windows. Now Smart Things does make a lot of sensors. Everything from a water detection sensor so you can put it in the basement to find out if you are getting excess moisture. They’ve got motion detectors and Dave got this which is my personal favorite. This is the present sensor, what this will do if I put it on my person is that it allows the smart home to know that I have come back. You can program this using an IFFT to say, when you detect my present sensor turn on my Sony so that it is playing my music, turn on the thermostat up to the temperature that I like it or maybe even activate some of your appliances that might be smart enabled. Really, the only limiting factor when you are using Smart Things his how smart you can be. Now this is CNET’s highest rated smart home system. It lets you control your lights, your lights, your thermostats, your home security. Pretty much everything. And all through a single app, kind of the holy Grail of smart homes. As I mentioned with Smart Things, you can customize the way that you’re smart devices talk to one another. You are limited only by your imagination and the number of models that you want to connect to your appliances. You can set your lamps to brighten each morning, you can set your sound system to turn on when you got a visitor. You can set the speakers to broadcast the sound of a barking dog. You want to scare people off if you are doing the whole antisocial thing. If you want, you can use one of these systems to turn your home into a smart home. And that is what we recommend. If you are going to do it, why not use a product that was named CES’s 2015 editor’s choice award? Now to get you started setting up your smart home right now, Smart Things is offering our listeners 10% off of any home security or solutions kit and you get free shipping in the United States when you go to . And use the offer code twit at checkout. Smart Things, smart home right now. Boom.
Bryan: What is next, Padre?
Fr. Robert: Well, I was just thinking you know we kind of laughed our folks with this.
Bryan: Is that a quad?
Fr. Robert: If a quad copter.
Bryan: I've never seen one of those on here before.
Fr. Robert: We did have a lot of people who have bought kits and that is fantastic. We get to see them on Google plus.
Bryan: I went through a very deep rabbit hole last night where I went on the Google plus page period I was going to spend five minutes and I spent about 45 minutes looking at all the projects.
Fr. Robert: There are people doing some amazing things. We have someone who used Instamorph to put a car body on his quad. I want to see it when it is fully painted. It is ridiculous things like that that seems so stupid and then five minutes later you are like, Huh. but we understand that there are people out there with FPV 250s who may start to get close to the end of what the original design, the stock design, can do. So what we would like to do is to give you a couple of different mods that you can do to your FPV 250 to take it to the next level. So let’s go ahead and start it off.
Fr. Robert: The FPV 250 from Hobby King is a tough versatile and find 250 class quad copter. But there are some improvements that could be easily made to increase the performance and the endurability of the crafts. The most commonly made complaint about the FPV 250 is the landing struts. We have used CA, hot glue, epoxy and pretty much every kind of adhesive to secure them to the frame but the combination of constant vibrations and hard landings always seem to knock the struts off the arms. Usually in flight. Our solution starts with small zip ties. We are using small ones because large ones are overkill and weight is our enemy. I bought a large can of them at a hobby store for about three dollars. Choosing ties and colors that reinforce my color scheme I ran them through the cutaways on the sides of each motor mount to the landing strut. It is a longer link so you will need long bets and zip ties or you can just double up by daisy chaining two of them together. I've used a few methods for zip tying the struts. The easiest is to read through the cutaway, across the bottom of the motor mount, down the other cutaway and then up to the strut. This will give you a single zip tie across the strut holding it to the frame while allowing it to flex under stress. The second method uses the same cutaways but instead of running across the back of the motor mount both links of that ties are right up and across the strut. This gives you a more solid mount, though it may not give as much in a hard landing and could therefore be more susceptible to snapping under load. No matter what method you use, you now have a way to keep those pesky landing struts attached to your craft period the second mod that I would suggest for FPV 215 pilots is to upgrade the power distribution harness. That PDH that comes with the kit is nice because it doesn’t require any soldering. But the short power leads from the ESC’s usually mean that the harness is dead center of where you want to mount your battery. If you mount the battery over the leads, the strap will hold the battery but only loosely period with an uneven surface between the battery and the craft it will tend to slip and slide. The same goes for those who mount the battery on top of the FPV 250. Not only will it move in high-speed maneuvers which is horrible for the stability of the craft, but it raises the center of gravity. What we need is a way to mount the batteries securely on the bottom and that means modifying the power distribution harness to clear the area. You will need some heat shrink tubing, a soldering kit, wire, wire clippers, wire strippers, a set of helping hands and four sets of male and female 2 mm bullet connectors. The wire I am using is 18gauge silicone insulated with temp resistance up to 200°. This is the same gauge of wire used in the ESC power leads and the power distribution harness. The first step is to cut for length of wire, two red and two black. You want each length to be approximately 2 3/4 inches. Just enough to extend the for ESC power leads to the rear of the craft. With your four lengths of wire cut, use a pair of wire strippers to remove 4 mm of insulation from each end. try to keep your link and straps as uniform as possible across all the wires, because you want the final installation to be tight. Tin each end of the 4 wires, remembering to apply solder to the strands and not to the soldering iron. The bullet connector we will be using are the 2 mm variety. We need eight total. Four female and four male. Essentially we will be making extension cords to lengthen the current power leaves of the front to mounted ESC’s. Clamp a female bullet connector into the helping hands and heat it until you can melt solder inside the mounting cup. Melts enough to create a small pool at the bottom of the cup but not so much that it overflows when you insert the wire. Still applying heat with the iron, insert the wire and allowed the tinned tip to reflow before removing heat. Once the solder on the tip has re-melted, remove heat and keep the wires still until the solder has cooled enough to harden. repeat the process for all four wires and then move onto the male bullet connectors. The process is the same period keep the connector until it is hot enough to melt the solder, partially fill the cup, insert the wire, allow it to cool. Now we need to shrink wrap the female ends of the wire. We won’t shrink wrap the male ends because that will hinder their insertion into the power distribution harness and because we will be shrink wrapping the entire harness altogether. Cut two lengths each of black and red 1/8 inch shrink wrap, making sure to cut enough to entirely cover the bullet connectors plus 1/4 inch beyond the connector. This additional link will give sure protection and will provide strain relief for the connector. We need to cut two lengths of 3/8 inch heat shrink tubing that will insulate the power distribution harness. You will need about 1 1/2 inches of each color to cover their respective blocks. Disconnect all the power leads from the distribution harness. Now connect the positive and negative leads from the four ESC leads to the extension wires that you just created. Making sure that the heat shrink tubing covers the leads entirely. Shrink the red and black lengths of heat shrink tubing onto the harness and connect all of the leads to the rear of each power plug. This isn’t usually possible because the connectors are too thick when wrapped in heat shrink tubing which is why we didn’t shrink wrap the male connector. Without the heat shrink the bullet should all fit snugly into the appropriate block. Slide each link of King shrink tubing back onto each block making sure to cover all the connectors while leaving the front of the blocks accessible for future mods. The tubing should insulate the power leads while also ensuring that they stay snug in the block. Now it is time to make everything neat. Using zip ties pull the leads to the sides of the crafts belly. Snug the ties and you should have a clear undercarriage on which you can firmly not your battery. I like to use a strip of Velcro on the belly and some Velcro on every that or repack in my inventory to hold the pack snugly. Combined with the Velcro strap you should now have an SPV 250 with a solid battery mount that won’t allow shifting weight to disturb your flight. As an added bonus the new location of the power distribution harness makes it easier to access the power connector and to run future power system mods.
Fr. Robert: Now, we started with these mods because these are the easiest to do. And they don't cost too much.
Bryan: My favorite is the zip ties.
Fr. Robert: Doesn’t that change the way you fly it?
Bryan: It helped a lot. Because before I was landing on the battery and my GoPro.
Fr. Robert: The thing for me was that they fell off so often no matter what I did with them that I just left them off. So I would try to catch it in my hand. That is not ideal. And I have only had these things pop off once. That was the tree impact.
Bryan: Under normal landing they are perfectly fine.
Fr. Robert: And they give just enough so that it will flex left and right. Which is nice. But the big thing has got to be the battery placement. That changes entirely the way you fly your FPV 250. Because when the battery is loose it shifts from side to side and that throws your quad off.
Bryan: It is always trying to compensate. And it helps if you are going to strap a camera or something to the front of it then you can position the battery more easily and it will stay when you need to balance out the quad.
Fr. Robert: Let’s go ahead and answer a really quick question that we get a lot. People are complaining that they go through props a lot. These snap with regularity when you hit things. That is what they do.
Bryan: If you don’t hit things they don’t break.
Fr. Robert: So typically I go through about 10 of these in a weekend. And that is a lot. I’ve gotten to the point where I am flying through obstacles now. I live in a school so I have a lot of those hurdles. I set the hurdles up like an obstacle course with different elevations and stuff.
Bryan: You like to give yourself a challenge. There are not prop guards that you could get is there? I
Fr. Robert: You can buy prop guards and actually I will show them off in a future episode. Ready to fly quiets has prop guards that screw straight onto this. And all it does is give a perimeter so that you will bounce instead of chopping off your props. But, I don’t like them because it changes the center of gravity. It moves the way to the outside so you can’t pivot as quickly.
Bryan: You’re such a purist.
Fr. Robert: I mean it is more fun. Besides, it it is like a badge of honor. I have a box full of dead props.
Bryan: You can tell when Padre has been out at the football field and where he is by the scattered props.
Fr. Robert: We had a security guard who was complaining to the administration of the school because kids were finding sharp pieces of plastic on the field. They said, “you wouldn't have happened to have left a bunch of broken propellers on the field did you?”
Bryan: Well, once they snap they go everywhere. And cameras that you can’t find too.
Fr. Robert: I will say this. Buy yourself a lot of props. Give yourself a lot of them. You are going to go through these with regularity. So if you could find a source online where you can get them for about a dollar a prop just by yourself a full set. I have like 100 of these things. It is not like I am ever not going to use them. I am always going to be breaking props and I’m always going to need new ones. When you buy them in bulk you can get them a lot cheaper.
Bryan: I haven’t had to buy any because you keep giving me props. So thank you.
Fr. Robert: Let’s go ahead and move off of our Quad copter segment. We last week looked at the first episode of Smitty assembling his Arduino clock, a way to turn some old analog gauges into something that you could put into a beautiful steam punk design. We need to continue. We’ve got this episode and we’ve got met before you can have all the Arduino goodness to put together the hardware. But remember, you are going to have to go to Coding 101 to find out how to do the software.
Mark Smith: So if you remember from our code, there are three pins that we used for switches and then three pens that we used for pulse with modulation outputs. I’ve got my code up right here on my laptop so let's go ahead and hook up the buttons first. The buttons we use pin 2, 4 and 7 so we are going to hook up pins 2,4,7 to each of the buttons. We are going to bring 2 from right there all the way up to switch 1 and then 4 up to switch 2 and then 7 up to switch 4. So that will line up with minutes, seconds and then calibrate. I am going to be trimming up some wires here and I’m going to start out by stripping a little bit off the end and that is the part that we are going to put into the hole. Then I am going to try and measure from pin 7 and go over to switch 4. And then cut a little bit of extra here just so that we have enough, pull that wire out and then we are going to rig this up from 7 all the way over to 4 and just like that. So we have run a wire from pin 7 there over to switch 4 there. That is going to hook up the calibrate to pin 7. Flip it over and then solder. Trim off the excess. We hear little bits of metal wire fly across the room. Then I am going to do the same thing to pin 4. You don’t want to spend too much time with the soldering iron because they will melt the insulation especially when you have two wires that are so close to each other right here, that they might short out with each other if you are not careful. One more. Pin 2 to switch 1. Again trim off the excess. We have rigged up these three pins going over to those three switches. So now that switch is rigged up to pin 7, pin 4 and pin 2. Which is right where our software expects them to be. Now we are going to move on to the analog outputs. We are going to take these potentiometers and we are going to solder them onto the board. Now this board is a lot like the breadboard that we used where each of the rows are all connected together, you can kind of see the solder bridges between those three pads. So if I put something here it will automatically be connected to those two pads as well. So that allows us to put a potentiometer in there and get it to do what we want. But I am also noticing that over time this broke right here, is already connected to ground. So we are going to go ahead and hook up our resistors like that. So that I have access to all three of the pins of the resistor right there. And I am going to hook up all three of them like that. I’m going to use a similar trick here that I used on the headers where I will solder in one of the pens to use to hold the potentiometer in place. Then I am going to flip it over and I am going to reflow that solder to push that down and then remove the soldering iron, let it cool and now that potentiometer is held in place and I can solder the other two pins without having to worry about it being out of whack. Cut off the excess. And we will do the same for the other two potentiometers. If we didn’t do this then these extra wires would be hanging down and potentially touching parts of the Arduino that we don’t want him to touch. That could be very bad. All right, so now I need to hook up the input side of these potentiometers to pins 5, 6, and 9. Which is where we go the PWM output. I’m going to go ahead and use different colors of wire so we know which one is. I am going to use red this time. I’m going to strip off a little bit of that. We just got little short jumpers that we need to do one knees so I am going to make the short wires. Bend that in a U shape like that. And now we are just going to jump right from 5. I’m going to use this one for 6 instead. Six goes to the first side of the middle potentiometer. I will have to make a little bit longer of a jumper for the other one. But you can See how it goes into the first pen of the potentiometer. So let’s go ahead and solder that into place. I’m going to do a slightly longer jumper to get 5 into the first one. So I've got pen five going into the first pin of that potentiometer. One more jumper and this one is going from pin 9. Which is right there over to there. So it is going to be a short jumper. If you’ve got big fingers like I do sometimes it is easier to use your needle nose pliers to put these into place. Notice what I did? I put it in the hole right between those potentiometers. Notice that you need to get these into the correct place. Now it is in the whole on that last pot there. Okay, so what have we done so far? Well we have put the pins on so that we can plug it into Arduino. We have soldered in a reset switch so that we can reset our hardware if we screw something up. We’ve got three switches up here that we can use for minutes, hours and calibrate. We’ve got a red LED that we can use here for the taking. We’ve got all of the switches hooked up to their digital inputs over here. We’ve got the 3 analog going to their potentiometers. We have not hooked up the ticking LED and we should do that next. We have not hooked up the output of the potentiometers to the analog panel meters and that will be after that.
Bryan: Nobody knows what we are talking about.
Fr. Robert: That is what happens when we are…
Bryan: In between videos.
Fr. Robert: Now we will be giving you part three. So after next week you should be able to put together all of the meters that you need in order to make your Arduino clock. I am actually going to do a couple of projects based off of Smitty’s hardware. I am going to use the same software slightly modified and the same hardware set up to play with some LEDs. So this is definitely something that you are going to want to get. If you don’t have the parts, go back about three episodes either in Know How or Coding 101 and go ahead and buy some of those parts. They are not that expensive. The uno’s will cost you about $20, the gauges can cost between $1 and $10 and the parts in bulk are really not that expensive.
Bryan: I’ve been enjoying watching the Smitty crossover episodes because they are maker projects but you learn a little bit of code, you build something, and if you are following these projects you are going to like some of the Rasp Pi projects that we do later on.
Fr. Robert: And, Smitty mentioned this in the Coding 101 crossover where he was saying it is all about taking inputs, finding information from the real world, processing it in some way and then pushing it into an output. And that is what we are going to be doing. But now we are doing it with Arduino. Let’s go ahead and move on, we’ve got a couple of questions that we didn’t get to last week because Alex was Alex.
Bryan: Controlling the show again. How much time do we have?
Fr. Robert: Alex can we do this?
Alex: Yes. You have plenty of time.
Fr. Robert: Now we have a question here from John Mink. He is a long-term member of the Google plus community and he had some networking issues that he was hoping we could help him with.
Bryan: So John asked, what is the best approach for connecting wire devices ( desktops) when Ethernet is not an option, renting an apartment so he can’t use any existing wiring and he can’t add his own. Is Wi-Fi the way to go or some form of existing wiring better? He has #1: AC, #2: coax cabling for TV and #3 phone lines. Very short DSL.
Fr. Robert: This is actually a great question period we get this a lot from people who have either temporary installations where they are in a house that they cannot modify. They don’t want to go drilling through the walls or dropping things into the ceiling or down into the floor. Well, you have options. The first one that he mentioned is AC. There is an AC power line network period and I am not a huge fan. It works most of the time but I have never, and I’ve been testing AC power line adaptors for a decade, and I’ve never had a power line adapter that didn’t eventually die. You are plugging into a system that is naturally not good for it.
Bryan: What is the life expectancy?
Fr. Robert: The longest I have ever had one last is about 2 1/2 years.
Bryan: So if you are renting an apartment then you might not be there for longer than that.
Fr. Robert: It might work, but that was a high end estimation. A lot of the cheap ones will die within a couple of months. Now the way that works is that it is like the old X10 model. Essentially sending a signal along the same lines that deliver power to your house. The issue with that is it has to be on the same circuit so those signals do not go through a breaker and you also can’t plug it into a surge protector or power strip which is probably another one of the reasons why they die. An issue for me is that encryption on a lot of those devices is not great. So if you live in an apartment building and you have an neighbor who was on the same circuit, if he or she was snooping they could technically have access to your network.
Bryan: That can be a little frightening.
Fr. Robert: Not a huge issue but it is definitely a possibility and is very easy to do. I would probably put the other solutions and had a bit before I considered the AC. The other one is the co-ax cable for TVs. Co-ax networking is fast and it is inexpensive. The problem is if you have co-ax cable I don’t know why you wouldn’t also have Ethernet cable or at least the ability to have Ethernet. You can find a adapter’s before pushing Ethernet over co-ax and I would actually take that over AC if that is a possibility, then it is wired and wired it good. I love wired.
Bryan: Definitely especially if you have little Skype guests on the show.
Fr. Robert: Phone lines. With a very short range DSL. No, don’t do it. I am going to nix that right now. I have seen some interesting installations that are too varied and I've had way too many glitches with the technology. I had a dozen products that I refuse to review just because I couldn’t make them work consistently.
Bryan: So than it sounds like Wi-Fi?
Fr. Robert: My big thing with Wi-Fi, because you can make it really dependable and if you are talking about a temporary installation you probably are not looking at a super fast network. You can get decent throughput with Wi-Fi and it will work pretty much everywhere, you've just got to set it up properly. What I have done here is I got a DDWRT set up on a WRT 55G so this is the original. This is one of the guys that made DD WRT and custom firmware possible. Because it actually had enough power to be able to do some of these cool features that you would only usually get on advanced routers.
Bryan: These things a been around for a while.
Fr. Robert: Yeah. More than a decade. Since 2006?
Bryan: It’s been around long enough that this is the iconic thing.
Fr. Robert: There are other firmware is by the way. You can get Tomato, open WWRT, I’m still a fan of DDWRT. Probably because I grew up with it and I know it really well. This is what the control panel looks like. This is a super old version of DDWRT. This is from 2006. The interface was basically the same. They have changed a few things and made a few things better but it is going to work the same way. The features are going to work the same. Dump the software almost immediately. One of the things that you will notice is that if you go into the wireless tab under wireless mode you get a couple of different options. AP is just like it sounds it is an access point. So it just makes a broadcast spot to which other devices can connect. But then we've got client bridge and ad hoc. You don’t get that in the basic firmware. At least in most routers. Some now do it because they realize that people wanted it. DDWRT was the first one that really gave us all these options. Client will use the wireless like the WAN port so it will connect to a wireless network with the onboard radio and then it will map out to any computer that is connected to its wired LAN ports. so for example I could go to Starbucks and set up my router on wireless client mode and it would get the signal from Starbucks and would create a map there. Which is kind of nice because no one in that café would have access to my computer. And then I could plug in my laptop and have the wire port. I wouldn’t actually do that but you could.
Bryan: You might get a few looks.
Fr. Robert: Actually the only way I would do that is if I also came in with the desktop and a monitor and set it up on the counter.
Bryan: The way I’m imagining you do this is with duct tape so that you just have the router taped to the back of it. With a tin foil hat on too.
Fr. Robert: That is useful and you can actually have setups like that. But the one that is far more useful is this. Client bridge. What this will do is it will use the radio on my router to connect to the network like a client and it basically just makes a bridge. It is a straight through bridge. If I can ask something to the ethernet port on this client bridge router, it is allowing all those wired devices to access the wired network through that device. It is actually a very useful way. I do this a lot. Most of my DDWRT’s because I have most of my WRT 50G’s, since I have like 20 of these things, they are set to client bridge. Because it is a fantastically flexible way two connect my wire devices to a wireless network.
Bryan: Is it a good way To extend the range of your network?
Fr. Robert: No. You can. You can do it this way. What I have actually done is I have set up a pair anything so one will act as the bridge and then I have one acting as the standard broadcasting. I do that so I can get them far enough apart that I am not getting the traditional interference problem where I am basically repeating the signal and causing a lot of interference. We will go into that later. This is what you need. You need to be able to have the SSID setting and of course you need to have your wireless security settings if you’ve got any, so that you are setting up this WRT 50G to act like a client on the wireless network. So everything you would need to access and to connect your laptop to the wireless network you are going to need the WRT 50G.
Bryan: The SSID and the password?
Fr. Robert: Yes. So that is my preferred solution. I like doing it that way because it tends to work really well. But again, wired is always better than wireless. I can say that with very few exceptions.
Bryan: It has gotten a lot better but when it comes for me and it is my desktop or it is my gaming device I want to be wired.
Fr. Robert: Yeah. By the way I think I just flip the description of client and client bridge. I need coffee. Let’s go back to the Starbucks. We will be doing a special. I looked at the schedule and I realize that it’s been like two years since we’ve covered DDWRT. So what we are going to do is we are going to do a DDWRT special. We are going to show you how to flax your firmware on your router and we are going to show use some of the advanced features. For example, you can play with wireless power settings and people have to learn how to do that. Because you can do it in a really wrong way and totally mess up your wireless network. We are going to show you how you can install things like VLAN module so that you can segment out your network into a private area and a guest area. We are going to show you some of the really cool guest features for like installing open VPN. So if you have any hankering for network shenanigans stay tuned.
Bryan: I want to extend the range of my Wi-Fi in the house.
Fr. Robert: No you don’t.
Bryan: No? Then I won’t do that.
Fr. Robert: We've got one more.
Bryan: From Ben Reese. he is asking about Arduino. Here is a little project he did a few days ago. His 15-year-old fridge door doesn’t always close all the way so he wanted an alarm to tell him when he or his wife leave it open. The switch is a few pieces of aluminum foil, it buzzes after 30 and 45 seconds and beeps continually until the door is closed. That is pretty clever. I have a fridge door on that does this exact thing.
Fr. Robert: And look at that thing. It is literally contact points. So you need contact points on the input and on the Arduino takes care of the rest.
Bryan: That is really clever.
Fr. Robert: Now this is exactly what Smitty was talking about. About finding something in the real world that you want solved and then figuring out how to do it with an Arduino or a Raspberry Pi.
Bryan: Give yourself a project.
Fr. Robert: Folks, if you’ve got projects like this we want to show them off. Just like with Ben Reece, find something, do something and show it off. We will make sure your work is rewarded. Please jump into the Google plus group and probe in some love because he did a real maker thing there.
Bryan: I promise you will get lost in there. There are a lot of cool projects and things that people have been posting and showing.
Father Robert: It is not all quad copters. Although sometimes it feels like it.
Bryan: It is pretty cool some of the frames and all the excitement that people are having in there with the frames that they bought and the different props that they want to use and things like that.
Fr. Robert: My favorite part is if you go back a couple of months no one was talking quad copters. But now we’ve got enough people who have learned a lot. Either on this show are on other shows or just by doing it. Where they can actually answer the questions for new quad copter enthusiasts before either of us even get in there. And that is what I like. That is the community and that is the whole maker spirit.
Bryan: It is cool. I got lost looking at gyros for quad copters and then that turned into gyros for motorcycles which then turned into…
Fr. Robert: Motorcycle quad copters!
Bryan: Motorcycle quad copters. But then I got down the rabbit hole of magnetically powered valves for engines instead of using a cam on an engine and I thought that was pretty fascinating. That’s what happens when you start filling your head with knowledge. You just go down these different paths especially on Google plus.
Fr. Robert: A knowledge hole is vast.
Bryan: It is vast and all encompassing. It is the universe.
Fr. Robert: Now folks we know this was a lot of information especially the mods for the FPV 250s. So make sure you go to our show notes page to make sure you get those notes. We actually give you step-by-step procedures. Where can they find that?
Bryan: Twit.tv/kh and if we are doing a projects we have all the links of worry you can buy them along with the prices that you have put together. And there are also handy links for subscriptions so if you have any device that you would like to view this on or download to we make it easy with a little drop-down menu. And that is the show notes from last week and they get extensive. I wouldn’t say they are overwhelming. Everything we talked about with handy links in the price of everything.
Fr. Robert: We should mention that people are pointing out the fact that those frames are kind of sold out on Amazon, this is great though that means there is a demand. What I would suggest is actually eBay. I know a lot of people don’t like eBay but you can get a very inexpensive Alien X / Dead Cat frame from eBay right now probably for a tiny bit less than you can get on Amazon. We won’t be continuing that project for two weeks so you still have time. In fact this is why we spaced out the project so that people could get their parts in before we actually start the integration. If you are just now seeing that list and you want to get and on some of this quad copter for fun, go ahead and start buying your parts based on the list from last week show notes. Don’t forget that you can also find us on Google plus. Our Google plus group is fantastic. We can’t talk enough about it. In fact every episode we try to bring in more and more material from the Google plus group. If only our TD would let us do it. I've been told never to mess with the people who control the buttons. Also if you are not into Google plus please drop into Twitter and follow us and you will get to see what we do every week. And you will be able to suggest topics for future shows. You can find me @PadreSJ.
Bryan: And I’m @cranky_hippo. The show is out of control. He’s got too much power back there. That is Alex Gumple and you can follow @anelf3.
Fr. Robert: If you could all go to @anelf3 and please ask Alex….
Bryan: He’s got too much power.
Fr. Robert: Until next week when we will actually be talking about tips for Windows, we are going to be finishing up the Arduino clock project and we are going to do a super special segment I’m balancing props because now that we are getting to the big boys…
Bryan: That sounds dangerous Padre. Will something go wrong if we don’t follow proper safety procedures?
Fr. Robert: You could die, Bryan, you could die. Until next time, I’m Father Robert Ballecer.
Bryan: And I’m Bryan Burnett.
Fr. Robert: And now that you know how…