VULCANS BLOG

Indoor Drone Flying

Indoor Drone Flying has its disadvantages regarding autonomous flight but has many benefits including

  • No CAA Licence required – The CAA is only interested in external airspace and has updated its ANO (Air Navigation Order) to reflect this – in short, if it cant escape into an external airspace then it now falls under Health and Safety and not the Airspace legislator. This also goes further to include netted structures. Having said that, your Health and Safety may want you to have a licence as a competency requirement much like a driving licence but this could also be an in-house course. https://www.caa.co.uk/Consumers/Unmanned-aircraft/Recreational-drones/Recreational-drone-flights/
  • Small drones can reach places for inspection where it may be impractical to send a person i.e. confined spaces or into tall buildings to alleviate the working at height risks or cover search areas with thermal imaging to look for people or faults.

So I am liking this concept and sure enough there is a solution on the market – Enter the ELIOS 2 from Flyability. At this point I will say that I am not on commission and have only seen one of these on display by COPTRZ at the GeoBusiness day.

Image of ELIOS 2 Indoor Drone
An Image of ELIOS 2 indoor Drone (photographed from the COPTRZ brochure)

So this drone is in the realms of £25k but it boasts the following:-

  • Collision resilient cage (Carbon Fibre 40cm Diameter)
  • GPS free Stabilization
  • Distance Lock from object if monitoring one object – i.e. an automated process or inspecting structures – I am thinking visual inspections of aircraft skin joints in a hangar would be one great application with the oblique lighting. Thermal imaging of composits in-situ (an authorised work process would be required of course) etc
  • 4k Camera
  • Thermal Camera (FLIR)
  • 180 degree tilting camera pod
  • Adjustable and Oblique Lighting upto 10k lumens. This is also Dustproof.
  • FPV without line of sight
  • Flight and Reporting is performed via the Cockpit 2 software
  • 1 day of training to get the most out of it.
  • Transport case
  • Remote Control (2.4GHz) and Samsung Tablet
  • IATA approved for carry on Luggage

 

All that with a 10 minutes flight time but with a 1 min battery change time, you could inspect whatever you wanted and send the video or images to the relevent qualified person to study.

One minute a 737 Bulkhead inspection, the next an A380 paint inspection after a storm – One person on location and the expensive engineers at home base for the time duration required – no more or less. Maybe even some post maintenance inspections can be performed remotely this way reducing senior engineers physically onsite.

What does this mean – No more flying teams of engineers with every tool for every eventuality or erecting scaffolding to inspect/appraise faults. You just need a drone operator and a remote engineer.

Imagine the time resource this will free from travel as well as the carbon footprint. This is Proactive Workforce management but of course Regulations and best practices apply and as always I am trying to start a conversation with ideas for you to debate not go ahead and act based on what you have read. Please see site usage terms and conditions for more information.

For more information or Demo please visit the flyability or COPTRZ websites.

If you do, please let them know you saw it here and they may let me review one.

 

NAVVIS M6 MOBILE REALITY CAPTURE

The Terestrial Scanning scene has been dominated by static Laserscanners or heavy post processing of photogrammetric data. Now there is another way:-

The all-in-one indoor reality capture mobile mapping system – NavVis M6

Once set up, all you have to do is push it along and let it scan continuously. Now you no longer have to plan your static scan positions for line of sight, just push it round all objects and the job is done. No more worrying if you had the line of site on that object.

It claims and is foreseeable to be able to:-

  • Scan up to 30x faster than with stationary scanners and devices
  • Capture up to 30,000 square meters per day
  • Adapt to complex indoor environments while continuously scanning

These are bold claims but it just looks so easy.

I do see an issue, being devils advocate, is crossing voids and industrial process floorings. It sure will be able to traverse workshops, warehouses, Hangars and offices but when it comes to Stairs and crossing voids, I am sure some kind of work-around will need to be envisaged. Otherwise it really looks like a game changer for Reality Capture.

Their Brochure is below but for further Information please visit their website www.navvis.com/m6

VISUALISATION WITH PANOPTIKON

PANOPTIKON – It is Swedish,  and as far as I can remember the translation means ‘to observe’ but comes from the Greek ‘all-seeing’ and in English refers to ‘a Prison with cells arranged around a central point so they can be seen at all times’ – Very Colonial, I prefer the Swedish as it is simply clear and just looks cool which is much the story with the PANOPTIKON visualisation software.

I saw these guys at the GeoBusiness 2019 and was blown away by the potential this has to engage with communities in an open and clear method across any language barrier. In short, it is a really good Video/Augmented Reality Communication/engagement tool for BIM.

We have all seen videos of proposed construction sites ‘this is what it will look like if we have the OK’ in dry architectural drawings but this incorporates all BIM model data so it releases all the power of the digital age to show a vision of exactly how it is to how it will be built exactly.

It Does this buy combining Drone footage with BIM Data and combining the two. The following 2 screen shots are from their video but it shows the effect. You can view the video on their website www.bjorkstromrobotics.com

The next applications I see are in farming and infrastructure development to aid positive engagement of communities to develop their land.

Imagine a community or utility has a sudden issue with over development i.e. too much home building (postage stamp houses) and blocks development, maybe there is no parking spaces or playgrounds. You need to address their concerns and convince them that there is a plan to resolve the issue.

This is the communication tool to do just that.

They also have another really useful tool for a tablet which shows where all the utility services run and will visualise in real space (on the tablet) everything that is proposed with accurate GNSS derived positioning.

So now if we combine the 2 products, we are looking at the ability to show a video demonstration of the project life cycle, at the build location, and then after the video you can engage with the audience in live augmented reality to answer any of their questions – maybe discover new ones but it is a full engagement system. They can even walk around with the tablet to see what the new area will look like and get a feel for it. I am hopeful that they will develop for full Mixed Reality soon but they seem keen to develop the product to fulfill their partners need – and I like that Partner attitude, not just customer, customer just sounds disposable to me.

The other use, I see, is in forensics, Health and safety or engineering to reconstruct events on site whether it be an accident and you need to investigate view points on site or an augmented reconstruction, or maybe you just want to maximise your aircraft parking in your hangar.

OK so I am not on commission so I will now refer you to their website for further information and videos www.bjorkstromrobotics.com/

I will however say that it was an insightful discussion I had on the day and they seem like a very helpful and positive group to deal with.

UGEE M708 GRAPHICS TABLET

I always wanted an all singing and dancing Wacom Graphics tablet for my 3D modelling but the thought of paying similar to a new laptop got me thinking about the Lenovo Yoga series of laptop, with the foldable screen hinge, as you can see and interact directly with your model or digital art.

I wanted to also make sure it was what I wanted so thought ‘Go Cheap import to test before investing huge wedge’ and found this UGEE M708 Graphics Tablet for £60 2 years back and it is still going well. I have the older battery powered pen version but the one from amazon below has a self recharging pen which is cool, having said that the battery normally lasts me 2 months which is ok for a single AAA battery. I will also mention there are others like XP PEN which are cheaper still and look the same but that’s all I can say.

Click Here to See the UGEE M708 on Amazon

Ok so after wanting one of these for ages, I now have it. Its A4 ish paper size so quite large so I should be good to go. I mean, I can use Blender and 3DS with a mouse, right, and this was supposed to be more natural. That’s the problem, I have no natural art skill so thats my first thing to say – you can have all the tools but don’t expect to be pulling a Van Gogh in 5 minutes. Now I am glad I only spent £60 and not £400 on its equivalent Wacom.

Ok so I never give up and slowly started to see what I can do with simple spray can art which was great and I managed to make some beautiful coloured boxes in Blender. Without knowing I slowly started replacing my mouse with the pad and pen, for normal computer use, as you can do all 2 button mouse operations with it while not having the Mouse click RSI as it effectively makes a normal computer gain the benefit of a Tablet at a fraction of the cost.

img_20190614_201452.jpg

IMG_20190614_201129

The Tablet itself is easy to use as the pad corners (white Brackets) are mapped to your screen so there is no dragging and scrolling like on the old tablets you just hover the pen over where you want the cursor to appear on the screen and when it is close enough to the tablet, about 15mm, sure enough the cursor appears on the screen. Sure it would be great to have one of the £700+ tablets with a screen underneath but then we go back to my original buying a Lenovo Yoga. Amazon also have them Lenovo Yoga 720

The Following Video shows how easy it is to use with Blender in Plug and Play. I am only using the Pen here but there are 6 more configurable buttons that can be tailored as you desire but you will have to load the Driver Disk (supplied) to configure them. You can also download the driver from the UGEE website if you do not have a Disk Drive.

As you can see it is very easy to use and all of this via USB plug and play. Talking of which, the pen is compatible with windows 10 ink so is customisable in Windows 10 too.

In short it is a cheap and cheerful tablet that can give you an extra few years out of your old PC when you want to expand your skills into 3D modelling / Paint / Photo Editing / Drawing / Handwriting or even just want to add some signature functions.

Ok the nitty gritty:

  • Active Area – 10″ x 6″
  • Resolution – 5080 LPI
  • Report Rate – 230 RPS
  • Accuracy – +or- 0.01″
  • Pressure sensitivity – 2048 Levels
  • Connection – USB

 

Wiring protection techniques

There are many ways in protecting cables from damage which range from correct routing and bunching to adding extra protection to the cables insulation or outer sheath. We need to discuss a few as you will have to recognise what is to be used when and how. We shall begin with looming which is bundling of a group of wires to route them through the Aircraft or vehicle in an organised fashion. The looming of aircraft wires should always be done carefully and in accordance with the Aircraft Wiring Manual. Failure to comply with this fundamental rule can have fatal consequences. for instance, if a fuel tank sensor wire was loomed with the main generator output cables and after time the loom were to chafe and expose a couple of wires on the main generator output cable and maybe just one wire strand on the fuel tank sensor wire, then there is the possibility that a high electrical charge may be passed down the sensor wire, creating a big spark inside of the fuel tank with the possibility that it might ignite the fuel vapour inside the tank and thus i need not say how catastrophic this could be. ALWAYS PERFORM IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE MANUAL SO THAT THESE THINGS DON’T HAPPEN, IF THEY DO HAPPEN, THE AUTHORITIES WILL CHECK TO SEE IF YOU PERFORMED THE JOB CORRECTLY. REMEMBER YOU ARE AN ENGINEER SO BE PROFESSIONAL. Now if you still wish to pursue this career then we shall continue. Wire looms are generally large in size so they are generally tied with a bundle or loom tie and then broken down into groups which are tied with a group tie. These ties used to be tied with lacing cord which in the main is being phased out and replaced with plastic cable ties no different than what you may find inside your computer or behind your car dashboard except they are approved for aircraft work. When using lacing cord or cable ties, it is important that the tie is tight enough to prevent movement down the loom but not so tight that it bites into the insulation of the wire as this may aid fraying of the insulation. Lacing cord should be tied and secured with a double knot. Cable ties are self locking for a more professional and permanent fix. Cable looms may run for long distances through the aircraft and because of this, cable loom supports known as ‘P’ clips are used at distances stated in the aircraft maintenance manual. As a general rule, the loom should be supported so that no wire is stretched during the expansion and constriction due to the hoop stresses endured by a pressurised aircraft structure during normal flight operations. Having said this, it is not permitted that the loom may exceed more than 1/2 an inch deflection between its supports when the clamps are tightened and a moderate hand force is placed on the loom in the middle between the two clamps. When routing looms near plumbing lines, they should always be level or above the pipeline and it is no closer than half an inch although a six inch gap is preferred where possible. If the gap is less than two inches then a sheathing resilient to the fluid carried in the pipeline should be used especially if it is oxygen or hydraulic fluid. Obviously it is not preferred that looms are routed near moving components but sometimes it is inevitable. When this is the case then there must be mechanical guards fitted to protect the cable and a distance of at least three inches must be maintained from the components path of travel throughout its entire range of movement. When securing cables by cable clamps or p clips, the clamp must be secured directly to the structure if it is being used to support the loom, but if it is only to maintain the spacing of the loom between plumbing lines and the loom itself, then providing that the minimum distance spacing is achieved, then a P clip around the loom may be bolted to another P clip located around the plumbing line may suffice. The bend radius of a loom should be gradual and constant, preferably of approximately ten times the outside diameter of the loom in that area but if the bend must be Tighter then, providing it is adequately supported then a bend radius of approximately Three times the outside diameter of the loom in that area is possible but always check your aircraft standard practice manual. Shielded or screened cables are cables that are covered in a metal braid. This metal braid should be turned back on itself at the end and secured with tinned copper wire or should be cleanly cut off without damaging the insulation or the wire underneath the braiding. If the wire to be routed is a co-axial cable then it must be routed in the most direct manner as possible. Important note; It is not permitted that an unscreened radio aerial lead be passed any closer than 18 inches to any other unscreened aircraft cable. Heat shrink wrapping of wires is a simple process of slipping over an approved piece of heat shrink of the desired length and diameter just slightly larger than the wire or wire group and heating with a WARM air gun set to the appropriate temperature for that heat shrink. Remember if it is too hot you may damage the wire itself.

Connecting Electrical Wire/Cables and Connectors

Connection of wires is performed, in the majority, by two methods either by the use of plugs which insert in to a mating plug with a special external barrel with a screw thread which is turned to lock the connecting plugs together or by a form of terminal block. When using terminal blocks it is important to know the proper installation practice to prevent corrosion and damage to the block and terminals.

If you are connecting copper wire terminals to the block then you should

  • Connect the wire terminal directly onto the nut securing the terminal block stud.
  • Place a plain washer over the terminal.
  • Followed by a self locking nut or, if there is not a self locking nut available, you may use a spring steel locking washer followed by a standard nut.

If the terminal you are connecting is for an aluminium wire then you should

  • Place a plain brass washer over the terminal block stud securing nut
  • Then place the wire terminal onto the stud.
  • Followed by another plain brass washer
  • Then either a self locking nut or spring steel lock washer followed by a plain nut.

If you must connect an aluminium wire terminal and copper wire terminal to the same stud then the following order must be achieved:-

  • Place the plain brass washer onto the terminal stud followed by the aluminium wire terminal.
  • Place another brass washer over the aluminium wire terminal followed by the copper wire terminal
  • Then place a plain washer followed either by a self locking nut or a spring steel lockwasher and plain nut.

Please note that unless the wire terminals are of different materials i.e. copper wire terminals and aluminium wire terminals, then no washer should ever be placed between them.

Electrical Wire Crimping Techniques

Crimping is a method of attaching a terminal lug to an electrical wire. This gives us the advantage of being able to connect and disconnect wires from units without the possibility of damaging heat sensitive circuitry by hot soldering irons.

This crimping operation sounds complicated but is not. Depending on the material of the wire being either aluminium or copper, dictates which of the following crimping methods should be employed.

Aluminium wire crimping is carried out in the following manner:-

  • Refer to the relevant wiring diagram and maintenance manuals and IPC to find out the correct crimp terminal and paste ( Normally petrolatum and Zinc based ) to use ( the barrel of the crimp lug is normally provided half full of crimp paste).
  • Strip the insulation on the wire back sufficiently to be able to insert bare wire into the terminal lug sufficiently so that the bare wire reaches to the end of the barrel ( there is an inspection hole at the end oof the barrel to confirm this ) and so that the insulation butts up against that back or entry point to the barrel.
  • Cover the inspection hole or the end of the barrel with your thumb or finger to prevent the paste from escaping and insert the wire into the barrel of the lug.
  • Now using the approved crimping tool for the terminal ( as designated by the terminal manufacturer ) Which is normally in the form of a set of crimping pliers which may cover a range of crimp sizes, Select the appropriate jaw for your terminal and squeeze the handles together tightly ( modern crimp pliers normally have a ratcheting mechanism which will not release until the crimp is satisfactory to give you a perfect crimp joint between the terminal lug and the wire).
  • If the terminal is not normally pre-insulated so then you must use an approved insulation sleeve which is normally transparent and tied to the wire with a lacing cord to prevent it from moving. This insulation sleeve must cover the barrel and about 3/4 to 1 inch of insulated wire behind the terminal.

Copper wire crimping is carried out in the same manner as aluminium wire but there is no need for a crimping paste to be employed. The reason why aluminium wire crimp joints must employ a crimp paste is because of the inherent tendency for aluminium to form an oxide layer on its surface. The crimp paste breaks down this oxide layer and prevents it from reforming by excluding any air or moisture form the joint.

Copper wire terminals may also come pre-insulated but if not then they must have an insulated sleeve tied to them in the same manner as the aluminium wire.

Pre-insulated copper wire terminals may be identified by the colour of the insulation on the barrel with reference to the relevant data provided by the terminal manufacturer.

Testing of Crimp Joints

The inspection and testing of crimped joints is carried out in accordance with British standard G178 and the cable manufacturers recommendations or Aircraft maintenance manual.

In general though you are looking for a secure crimp fitting with sufficient cable purchase, not exposing un-insulated wire and with a very low resistance from one end of the cable to the other end of the crimped joint.

Electrical Bonding Techniques and Testing.

Electrical Bonding is a method used to equalize electrical charges throughout all components on an aircraft or system by creating conductive paths for any charges to travel through with a minimal resistance. Maybe when you were younger, you rubbed a balloon in your hair and watched your hair stand on end towards the balloon or rubbed your slippers on the carpet and touch a radiator to see that static spark ( not recommended of course) which is similar to when an aircraft or vehicle passes through air or storm clouds. This is only one issue regarding static but there are many reasons why we bond aircraft and there components, these include:-

  • To prevent high electrical voltage potential differences.
  • To route this high electrical voltage in a way that would not malfunction the aircraft or its components.
  • To minimise damage or injury to the aircraft and its occupants.
  • To minimise radio operation problems
  • To prevent static charge build up
  • To earth the aircraft to the ground via the special conductive nose or tailwheel or boom extended to prevent harm to occupants and personnel when leaving or entering the aircraft.

These reasons determine what type of protection is used and are then placed into two categories which are titled Primary Conductors and secondary conductors.

Primary conductors are the conductors that carry the high voltages i.e Lightning strikes

Secondary conductors are the conductors that carry the lower voltages like static build up.

Because there are diferent types of problems that bonding deals with, the bonding leads and bonding path must be suitable for all the tasks that they must perform.

When bonding between components, panels and structures, it is necessary to remember the following points:-

  • Braided conductors made from aluminium or copper wires, may be used for either primary or secondary conductors, but always remember that if the conductor needs to be replaced, you must always refer to the IPC but for the exams sake, you should select a conductor of the same length and material as the original but with a greater cross sectional area.
  • Terminals should be clean and and the bonding lead secured, it is required that the terminal and bonding lead connector be treated to prevent corrosion, this is normally achieved by a form of a sealant.
  • The routing of bonding leads should be as straight as can be with all sharp bends avoided and routed in a manner that does not interfere with the operation of any equipment.
  • The end terminal lugs on the cables. leads or wires should be either soldered or crimped, these processes will be discussed later.
  • Always refer to the wiring manual to ensure the correct routing and quantity and specifications of the bonding lead.
  • There is one more point in regards to the installation of bonding leads that you must be aware of, and that is in regard to magnesium based alloy structure or parts. Due to the corrosive nature of magnesium, the component manufacturer may make a special lead for the bonding of the component, but in the absence of this, you may use a aluminium alloy bonding lead connected indirectly to the magnesium structure i.e. via a mounting bolt or bolted connection that does not move.

Testing

Bonding leads and jumpers are tested using a 250 or 500 volt ohm meter. Before use the tester should be inspected for the following:-

  • – The ohmmeter unit has not been damaged or tampered with
  • – The leads have not been damaged or repaired ( no repairs or modifications allowed.). If the leads have been damaged then the meter must be fitted with a new set of leads and recalibrated with those leads.
  • – The probes are not damaged or corroded and have a good point on the end to break through the coatings on the metal.
  • – After inpecting the condition of the meter, the unit should be switched on and the probes shorted out to give a full deflection of the scale so the needle registers 0 ohms. There is usually a fine tune knob located on the unit to set up the scale before use.

When testing bonding leads or jumpers it is required that all bonding lead connections not be any greater in resistance than 0.05 ohms.In many installs, the manufacturer may require a lower resistance figure and therefore the lower figure should always take precedent.



Autodesk Recap Photo – part of Recap Pro

This is a much underrated product in the AEC community but it has its strengths and is great for those that need good results that can be exported into most mesh formats.

Ok it costs £42 a month as a subscription to Recap Pro which also handles registering of laserscan data from many manufacturers. With this you get a certain amount of Cloud credit for processing your images or pointclouds into mesh models. This is not great as at last check 1 cloud credit was $1 and upto 300 photos will cost you 12 credits so even though you pay that £42 a month, every project will cost you between £10 to £50 depending on how many images you use.

This brings me on to the next issue, Photo models or closeups can only be 20-300 images and UAV / Drone Models can only be derived from a maximum of 1000 images. Considering photogrammetry tends to need at least a 30% overlap of image data to create tie points between images, you are not going to cover a great deal of area for you £50.

Ok thats the negative and why it quite rightly gets a slam from the AEC community over the costs but there are so many good things about it like:-

  • It is fairly accurate time after time
  • You only need a standard cheap laptop so there is a cost saving.
  • It has a simple GUI system to upload your project images to the cloud and download the result.
  • Once uploaded to the cloud, you no longer need to tie up your computer with processing images to models and can get on with other aspects of your business which is the strength of cloud based solutions as if you stop work, you probably lose 5 or 6 times more money than the processing cost but if it is not as expected then you have to pay again to process another project – no refunds for bad models.
  • You can optimize the export format of the model to many bits of software including Blender so no lock into autodesk products.
  • Autodesk supports students and education facilities with free access to many of their products on a Education Licence.
  • It ties in seamlessly with other Autodesk software like Maya and 3DS which are used extensively within many Industries so it adds to a great workflow.

There is also a 30 day trial available on Autodesk products so it is worth trying out for yourself.

On test it produced a model better than that of non CUDA Open source software to the extent of picking out the Cigarette Butts that had been discarded in the trough which is pretty good for that set of images. Please have a look at the video below which illustrates what you can expect. Do also note how much extra background imagery has been converted too.

I did also like how it computed a bottom for the trough even though there were no deliberate images of the bottom. 

 

 

For a complete look at this software go to Autodesk Recap Page

Please Like and Share this page with colleagues if you found it helpful.

CHAINS AND THEIR ACCESSORIES – Aircraft

This article was written according to aircraft standards but the principles of Chains remain the same but if applying the knowledge to low power chains on Bicycles, Then you can make your own risk economic based reduced standards. If working on aircraft, always refer to the Maintenance manual.

The purpose of chains is to transfer power from one sprocket to another transfer kinetic(motion) energy. To accomplish this task you need at least an assembly of chain(s)(manufactured to SBAC standards like BS228:1994 or ISO606-1982), sprockets(toothed wheels) and possibly other accessories like interplaner blocks for changing the direction of the chains.

We will start with the main unit called the chain. This is an assembly of:-

  • outer plates
  • inner plates
  • Rollers
  • Bearing pins
  • Bushes

The pitch of the chain is taken from centre of one roller to the next one i.e. the distance between the bearing pins.

Maintenance

Chains riveted links are not allowed to be broken down and re-riveted and only accepted from an approved manufacturer, with the correct packaging and transportation precautions taken.

It is permitted that a bolted joint may be disassembled and re-assembled, but, it is worth while noting these next few points.

1) SBAC states that all nut and bolted chain assemblies must be peened with the exception of the 8mm variety which must be split pinned

2) All nuts used on the chains must be locknuts(this nut is normally part of the outer plate)

3) All attachments must be either riveted or bolted

4) SBAC have standardised four sizes of chains by pitch size

BUT

British Standards have laid down the proof load as one third of the minimum breaking load (mbl)

5) Continuous(endless) chains must consist of an even amount of gaps between rollers(pitches)

6) The following table is the four classifications of chains and their statistics.

PITCH — MBL(lbs) — PROOF LOAD(lbs) — BS
8mm ——— 800 ————- 267 ——————— 1
0.375″ ——- 1900 ———— 634 ——————— 2
0.5″ ———– 1800 ———— 600 ——————— 4
0.5″ ———– 3500 ———— 1166 ——————- 6

7) A non-reversible chain is a chain that may only fit a certain way round which can be achieved by correct unsymmetrical positioning by the outer plates fitted to the chain.

8) Irreversibility can be achieved by

  • Non-reversible chains
  • Non-interchangeable end fittings
  • Correct positioning of sprockets
  • Guards and shrouds

9) When storing a chain it must be well soaked in the approved oil, laid flat on its side on top of greaseproof paper and coiled firmly (not tight but not too loose).

GENERAL INSPECTION

This unit is used as a high strength power transfer device. When inspecting the chain make sure to check the proceedure in the maintenance manual which should at minimum account for the Following

  • Wear on the sprocket ( See spec in aircraft manual)
  • Wear on the rollers ( See spec. in aircraft manual)
  • Twisting (This is cause for rejection)
  • Stiffness ( This can be determined by drawing the chain around the fingers on your hand or maybe a substitute of the same sort of shape and texture [ You do not want to damage the chain by scraping the links on an object used in inspection] and checking for smooth articulation of the links. If stiffness is detected, the chain may first be cleaned and re-checked but if this is not a solution, the rollers may be lightly TAPPED preferably with a small pin hammer. if this does not fix it the chain is the scrapped.
  • Deformities, Cracks or corrosion ( These is cause for rejection)
  • Overheating (Bluing)
  • Elongation (Maximum of 2%)( To check for this the chain must be cleaned and dried with compressed air. Lay the chain flat and straight and apply a tensile load/ force [see table below]. Now measure the distance between all the pin centres and apply the following formula:

Percentage of Elongation (Method 1)

Length Of Chain with Force applied x (No. Of Pitches x Pitch measurement)
———————————————————————
No. Of Pitches x Pitch Measurement

Note: All measurements are in inches

Tensile load required on Chain (Size is British Standard)
Size – Load (lbs)
1 —- 12
2 —- 16
4 —- 28
6 —- 28

Percentage of Elongation (Method 2)

Measured Length
——————————— x100
Original Length

Meshroom Photogrammetry

2019 – What a wonderful year for Photogrammetry. Not only have we had great advances in hardware like UAV’s but also the long awaited Meshroom hit the web in open source format using the AliceVision framework.

This means that the little person can use a good piece of software to create mesh models from pictures – providing that the camera is good enough.

For too long we have had to either pay heavy amounts of money or use command line for any power processing photogrammetry projects but now this promisses to change all that witha full professional GUI and DOPE editor combined with the SFM AliceVision System.

Obviously we need to convince big business that open source is worth supporting so please all spread the word.

Over the Next few days I will be trialling the software and upload some samples and if it produces great results, like they have, we will use it for creating open source models to share so watch this space and lets reduce that modelling time for games.

Here is to Hope but if you want to investigate yourself then please look at their website https://alicevision.github.io/#

Where To Start To Learn Code?

It really all depends what you want to do?

Microsoft Learn is the place to go to learn all about PC computing technology, it is the replacement for Microsoft Virtual Academy (MVA). In short If they can’t provide it online, they will have a link to someone that can. This (then MVA) is where I started learning coding and the potential that computing power brings to the world.

Ok thats not entirely true, I started at the community center on BBC Model B Micro with a 5 1/4 inch floppy drive back in the 80’s but my re-immersion into computer tech happened over 9 years ago learning C++ and Windows Forms ( Not Microsoft Forms in Office 365 / Online).

So as I said I started over as technology moved on and initialy bought books which was costly or downloaded over the net some other books in PDF that may or may not have been allowed to of been shared, we’ve all done it when we have no funds. Then I could not make up my mind which direction to go in until I discovered Blender for 3D modelling which is powered by Python. This led me to find a good Coding Environment. First I used Eclipse but it was not really beginner friendly then or had a good intellisense to highlight bad code so I spent ages looking through code not understanding what was wrong.

I found Microsoft Visual Studio and the love affair began with everything Microsoft because they had really powerfull learning tools online and a free community IDE (Integrated Design Environment), called Visual Studio, to code in and produce these fantastic forms and programs at the end.

Linked to this was MVA which was full of weird and wonderful characters sharing their knowledge of how to code, which is inspiring because they were querky like me.

So what happened to MVA – They say that Microsoft Learn is its replacement but I think the powers that be wanted to simplify and refresh but I don’t think it works as well, although coming from a very high standard, it is great.

Microsoft Learn appears to be all about current and corporate Software with only a courteous look at those that have come to learn the core skills, almost as if they want to move from the end user (i.e. us techies) being able to code to just being a user of their products. One example of this is if you look at the Learn UWP (Windows10) page https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/learn/browse/?products=windows&term=uwp and compare with the old MVA MVA Site UWP I am sure you will agree that the layout and everything about the old inspires you to investigate new technology as you see fit while the new site is all about pushing you down a path with blinkers on. I do however like the transcript style to the lessons but you need 2 screens on your PC to follow along, One for Visual Studio and One for the lesson. With Video Lessons you can watch on your Tablet while working on the PC.

I want to mention Bob Tabor for his C# course and Windows 10 UWP courses, I would definitely suggest trying his UWP course but have a look at his website DEVU as there is a free text only option to his courses and the membership gets you access to all the courses which is great value, having worked on my website – I now appreciate the time and effort it takes and NO I am not on commission.

Other options are to You Tube the coding language. If you type in Learn UWP or Windows 10 coding for beginners, you should get Bob’s course come up and you will see what I mean about how personality of the tutor aids your learning.

OK so enough dribble about MVA, where can I go now to learn about making apps for windows 10.

Visual Studio Website

Here you can learn all about core Windows languages like C#, F# or Python. Yes you can learn and code Python here too. This is an important language to learn as not only Blender is written in Python but most open source applications are too.

OK so you don’t want to write software for windows but you want to write for everything, then learn Xamarin or HAXE. Another flaw in this Microsoft Learn site is it is no longer a one stop shop for all Microsoft products, you now need to go to Xamarin Website.

If you want to code just for Android, then look at Android Studio

If you want to code only for Apple then you need XCODE and of course an Apple PC, this can be prohibitive if all you have is an ipad or iphone and I suggest one of the other cross platform IDE’s like HAXE.

If you want to go open source and model in BLENDER straight into an open source cross platform Game engine called ARMOURY3D seemlessly then you want HAXE.

Now Microsoft are in with UNITY3D which is phenomenal and starts you off slow with good tutorials, but you need to create an account with Unity, and create the models elsewhere like in Blender.

As you can see, you have to know what you want to do, what is your goal. You need a vision of not only what it is you are creating, but also how you will use it, what platform will it be used on etc.

Anyway I hope this has helped in showing you to what is out there for free to get started and please Like, Follow and Share as this website is essentialy open source in ethics.

HOW TO CREATE PUBLIC SURVEYS FOR FREE

Ok, You have a problem and need to create data fast for a presentation. No Problem. This Page is all about Google Sheet Forms.

Anyone can have a Google account and if you have an Android device, you need one for the Play store. If you use Google chrome and save the bookmarks, you should have one.

How Do I know? – its linked to your gmail account so if you have an email address which ends @gmail.com then you can access the free G Suite.

What is G Suite? It’s Googles Office suite. In the past you may have used Microsoft office (Word, Excel or Powerpoint) which was upgraded for cloud connectivity / hosting and branded Office365. You may also have used Openoffice or LibreOffice which are open source versions that rival Microsoft Office products.

I will say now that I love all these Office products and am not, in any way, against any of them but in short, Google seems to be better for personal or low budget companies that don’t have the IT infrastructure for cloud security and generally cloud hosting at minimal cost with a one package fits all. Microsoft Seems to be tailored to the More corporate market where they can afford To have IT infrastructure services who have 10-15 meetings to pick and chose what services they want to pay for.

Anyway, Open your web browser and go to http://www.google.com and click on the account icon in the top right corner(normaly round with an image or letter) and select the gmail account you want to work from and sign in. Ok I will add now that This includes GSUITE customers where google handles the corporate email, such as they do for @vulcansrealm.com. The main thing is its a Google account.

Now click on the Google Apps icon, its a 3 x 3 set of squares, next to the account icon in the top right corner as shown below.

googleWebPageEdited

Now select the google sheets icon as below.

GoogleAppsEdited

This will open Google sheets web service. There is a difference between Google sheets on your device and that on the web, with the web being more comprehensive. Hopefully they will upgrade this one day but if you need it to run on a device with no web connection, then stop here and use ODK collect or one of the other numerous app creation tools. This is aimed at forms that are filled out online using a link via email, Web link or iframe HTML for a webpage deployment.

Ok So we now have google sheets home page open so lets start a new sheet project by clicking on either the + sign in the top left

googlesheetshomepageEdited

Ok First Job is to name the Spreadsheet. So click on the name as shown below in the top left. the first thing to note that as soon as ANYTHING CHANGES, the form is saved.

GoogleSheetsSpreadsheet1a

Now click on the Tools Menu

GoogleSheetsSpreadsheet1b

and Select Create a Form

GoogleSheetsSpreadsheet2a

This will now open up a form editor homepage which will allow you to create a form to gather data, but it is important to note that all the data gathered will be held in this form.

If you look at the top you will see a URL starting https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets……., This is a very important as this form is cloud hosted and it is that URL that locates the file so anyone with that will be able to see the file. This is generally how cloud hosted data is shared. However do not give this out freely and be careful with the document upload functions as someone might upload a self extracting trojan but, for internal coms, you should be able to trust your staff and if public then don’t allow uploads unless its to a secured and sandboxed account that accepts incoming mail only.

I have made no secret about the URL used as for a short time, I will give open access to it so you can see the results come through but I expect someone will try to be clever and at that point I will shut it down.

Ok so what do we put in the form, well this will be anything you want to know about but as I said, this will be public and the results viewable so we do not want to collect email addresses of respondants ( but you might ) and we want just generic information that is not identifiable. Lets create a short commuting survey.

So you should now have the following screen in front of you With a new form with the name of your spreadsheet. A little hint is if you don’t see it, press F5 or refresh the browser and it should be there.

GoogleForms1

Click it to open it into the Form editor as below

GoogleForms2

We can start typing questions straight away but lets set my security requirements first as I do not want to collect email addresses or identifiable information. So lets go into Settings by clicking the Cog icon in the top Right hand corner as circled below.

GoogleForms2a

Now I have set this one up as a form style, and I have screen shots below which are self explanatory except the last Screen shot shows the option to create an online Quiz and you can adjust the setting by clicking the toggle switch button, at the top, which will make all the options active. A handy little tip, maybe a community BINGO session should entail for those that want to play without betting. This kind of was how early role playing games back in the Commadore Amiga and Atari ST days were played across the old dial up internet. Looked more fancy but the scripts in the back end were doing basicly this.

GoogleForms3GoogleForms4GoogleForms5

Next Thing, Lets Personalise it a little, and it is only a Little, but we can add our corporate Logo or a nice image where the blue is at the top in the last screenshot. I will use my image. The one thing to bear in mind is images must be at least 800 pixels wide by 200 tall. You can alternatively chose a colour from the online pallet which I have used for the next screenshot to emphasise how changing even the colour can change how it is received and ultimately its success.

There is so much to know about customising themes that it turns into a speciality regarding people or human factors and non verbal communication generally, as some pages on this site demonstrate, that you need a specialist so i say go for what you think is good, not too bright etc, pastels look boring though, I want to highlight something aswell, and that sometimes we need to look for strengths in people with disabilities or impairments and this visual communication is a strong skill in people with some impairments. It makes comercial sense too as that skill can’t be taught in the same way as they experience it and coding or computer sciences can. I would love to champion Disabilities more and if this site grows then I will but for now I have no legal team to protect me from a whimsical lefty that wants to make 5 minutes of fame.

Ok rant over and back to the customising. Select the Painter pallet icon in the top right as below

GoogleForms6aNow select Choose Image in the sidebar that opens from the right hand side.

GoogleForms7a

Select Upload Photos in the bottom left of the pop up box

GoogleForms8a.png

Select the Upload button and upload using the file browser or drag the image onto the upload area.

GoogleForms9a

This will then open the image crop editor, remember 800×200 pixels for the header space. I am not being too artisticaly carefull in this crop below.

GoogleForms10

It should now look like this, with your picture of course.

GoogleForms11

If you select Font Style below Background colour, you can change the Font of the text on the Form but you only have 4 types by default. I have circled them below. My preference is Formal for this form but your application my find better suit to another font.

GoogleForms11a.png

Ok now lets get writing questions and exploring what types are available.

When You start typing your question, The form will try to guess what you want, and it is about 50/50 accurate, I asked ‘Do You Use Public Transport?’ and it thought that Multiple choice was the best fit. Indeed that was what I wanted but if I did not, then I could select other types from the dropdown list where it sais Multiple choice. It also tries to guess good responses and lists them in Suggestions below your question. If you want to use any of these then just click them and they appear as an answer. Otherwise, click on the Option 1 text and replace it with your bespoke answer. To add more questions, click Add Option and repeat the process. If you want to Give the option of free text then click ADD OTHER.

GoogleForms12a

Notice I also circled the Required Toggle Switch in the bottom right, This is to make an answer compulsory before the form can be submitted. I want at least one answer on this form so I made this required.

In This next image I have finished my first question and want to add another, Simply Press the + button to the right of the form as circled below. If you mess up a question, you can always change it later or you can delete it by clicking on the Trash Can Icon at the bottom of the Question.

GoogleForms13a

Ok, I now have the below form and don’t want the suggested multiple choice Question but Checkboxes. I simply Click on the Multiple choice arrow as circled.

GoogleForms14a

This bring up a list of options and I select Checkboxes, as circled below, because i want to allow multiple selections.

GoogleForms15a

I now fill this out in the same way as before with the different answers till it looks like this

GoogleForms17

From now you get the gist and I will just note what each option does.

The next image is Drop Down, You use this to create a drop down menu for a one answer question

GoogleForms18

The next Image is for a slider. You use this if a physical scale representation is important that also conveys clarity of the response required. You can set the scale from 1 to 10 or any number between but remember to anotate the slider so people know which is good or bad in this case.

GoogleForms19a

The Next Is a Date picker. This displays a calender to pick a date from.

GoogleForms20

Hey, what time is worst to travel, lets ask using a time picker

GoogleForms21

Ok, now we have a complex question. I want to know how often they use different transports but that is comparable visualy. Lets use a Multiple Choice Grid. Remember this is spreadsheet based so Rows are stacked ontop of each other and columns are side by side. this works well here as the rows can be the types of transport and freequency in the columns. This type can have one answer per row

GoogleForms22

What if we want it the other way round, say we want to ask how good or bad a service is, we might want the transport horizontaly (column) displayed and the good and bad in height (Rows). So lets use a Tick Box Grid as this allows us to have multiple answers in a row.

GoogleForms23

So we have covered all types except file upload, As I  said this form will not be accepting file uploads but if you did, the file would be uploaded to your Google Drive and linked on the spreadsheet. You can upload upto 10 files and specify the file size between 1MB and 10GB. The following options are in the image below. note I have selected to restrict certain file formats to show that you can and it also shows the supported file types.

GoogleForms24

There are other options in the menu to the right like adding images for backgrounds etc or to add a new section. This is good if used for exams as it breaks areas of relevance up. Lets say you have a combined science exam, you can split it between Physics, Chemistry and Biology like chapters. Awesome Right!!

Anyway we have our form made but we need to send it, Go back to the top of the screen and click Send.

GoogleForms25a

If you want to send as email to selected email addresses then enter the email addreses as shown below

GoogleForms26a

If you want to embed a link maybe in a webpage or confidential email group then select the link icon and click copy and then paste this where you are going to allow people to link from.

GoogleForms27a

It will look like this if you select shorten url

https://forms.gle/58mA2eouSy4WKNSc8

If on a webpage and you want to use in an html page, an iframe option is there under the double chevron icon. Again click copy and then paste into your html.

GoogleForms28a

It will might look like this depending on browser.

If you want to take the survey and see the options to view statistics then please go ahead. I have tested the Link and the iframe using Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge, so if there is a problem, it might be worth trying one of those Browsers. The bonus is that it makes surveys quicker if they are filled out from a browser rather than email and you can reach far more people than with a link.

If you want to view the spreadsheet, the link is below but if it is abused, it will be withdrawn.

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1qUyPiuI47uErJH1dXakeT-ihwev0sOyvLREItKO3cHM/edit#gid=15108430

Now looking at the spreadsheet, you can see that the columns can be filtered and the information trended with scripting. It can also be exported in many formats.

So there we have it, a free way to create data for whatever reason publicly but the caveat is that for data security if you wanted to collect personal data, you need a paid service of GSUITE starting at £4 a month – see terms and conditions.

Please like and share if you thought this was a helpful post.

Gravitational Energy Recovery System (GERS)

Time for a concept that can solve the energy crisis for infrastructure power systems. When reading this, please be open minded to see the fundamentals at work and open your mind to the possibilities if we use alternative fluids.

You can download the full report with workings at the bottom of this post.

The Gravitational Energy Recovery System (here on referenced to as GERS) answers the question of how we produce renewable power for Static power systems to further secure energy resources for consumption.

There has been much research into this field of recovering gravitational energy, some more famous than others but have always looked at a direct approach, much like climbing a hill in a car without changing gear. These methods of recovering the energy are flawed in principle much like some of my early work but now I have achieved a positive output which can be readily developed further and enhanced with further development – not of the mechanical system but fluid components. The mechanical system has already had 2 potential configurations through concept development but the simplest is used here.

In this paper I have used electricity as the output medium to be distributed but it is possible to also be a purely mechanical output.

The Theoretical model discussed has a daily (24hours) output of 0.292.6224 KWh with water (SG1) but the practical has an output of 1.1705 KWh per day from 1.2 cubic meters of fluid at Specific Gravity of 4. To put this in perspective, 1.2 Cubic meters is 1200 litres, to put in perspective, if you are 5 feet tall, then about a third of your height, again in length and depth. This gives the scalability of the solution especialy if containment of toxic fluids, like Mercury (Specific Gravity of 13), is possible.

Toxic Fluids – Why?

  • Don’t forget this is about stationary power production and no matter how Toxic a Fluid is, it can be controlled and recycled, which in my mind is better than Nuclear or other Gas Pollutants.
  • It is important to note the link between Specific Gravity and power output as we can research into heavier low viscosity fluids but may have to accept that to be commercialy viable, we may need to adopt less favourable materials.

 

So How Does It Work?

GERS is a very simplistic system and works in much the same way an internal combustion engine works but rather than having a negative overall Energy balance, GERS delivers more output than input of kinetic energy by recovering the gravitational effect on the fluid with the following Components:-

  • Pump
  • Pistons
  • Chambers
  • Rotating valve plates (system illustrated uses magnet control but could be more directly coupled)
  • Pipework
  • Output Shaft
  • Electrical Generator or Load Control Unit (if purely mechanical)
  • Control System

 

In simple terms you have a first chamber with a piston inside (much like a shock strut). The Piston has orifices much like a shock absorber but also has a rotating disc on top with corresponding holes and magnets on its perimeter. This cylinder has fluid pumped to the top of the cylinder where the fluid is in freefall onto the top of the piston. This piston is driven down by the weight of the fluid. Once the piston reaches full travel at the bottom of the chamber, the valve plate (on top of the piston) is rotated by the repulsion force of the magnets on the valve plate to the magnets on the outside of the chamber. Once the valve plate is opened, the Fluid will pass through the orifices in the piston allowing the Piston to receive an upthrust based on the principle of buoyancy of Materials of different total specific gravity i.e. wood naturally floats on water. This upthrust will reset the piston position at the top of the chamber ready to be driven again. While the Piston is driven to the top, the valve plate is rotated to the closed position using magnets on the outside of the chamber. The piston may be mechanically locked in position operated by a control circuit.

If we have a 1m tall column of water and we just return that water via a pump, then the theory is that the energy loop will always be deficit the efficiency of the pump. So we will not do this yet. What we will do is let gravity empty this cylinder into an identical but shorter cylinder and Piston system till this fluid has levelled at half its original height.

So far we have recovered energy from 1 full drive down from the first cylinder (Value of 1) and have recovered quarter again from the shorter second cylinder (0.5 of fluid x 0.5 of distance)

We now Have 2 columns of water at 0.5m and can split them again (2 x 0.25m)

We now have 4 columns of water at 0.125m tall which can be split again (4 x 0.125m)

For my theory example I have stopped here deliberately as I only wanted to prove the positive energy output but in the real world application the amount of cylinders is limited only by the value of the energy recovered by the cost of the extra components.

The actual mechanical operation for a 4 cylinder 4 stage system would be as follows. (Please see method below drawing)

gers1

  1. Water is pumped from the pump to the top of Cylinder C1
  2. Once the piston P1 has moved full travel, the valve orifice plate is rotated and opened allowing the piston to return to the top of the cylinder.
  3. Valve V1 is now opened allowing Cylinder C2 to be filled and Piston P2 to be driven down to full travel.
  4. Now valve V1 is closed and V2 opened to fill Cylinder C3.
  5. Piston P2 valve orifice plate is now opened and the cylinder is returned to thetop of the cylinder where the valve plate is rotated closed.
  6. Once Piston P3 is at full travel, Valve V2 is closed and Valve V3 is opened to fill cylinder C4.
  7. Now piston P3 valve orifice plate is opened to allow the piston to return to thetop where it is closed again.
  8. Once Cylinder C4 is filled and Piston P4 has reached its full travel, The piston Valve orifice plate is opened to allow the piston to return to the top. Valve V3 is also closed.
  9. The fluid is now pumped out of the bottom of cylinder 4 via drain D3 to the top of cylinder 1.
  10. After a delay but before all the fluid has been pumped out of cylinder 4, Valve V6 is opened to drain Cylinder C3 to Cylinder C4 to repeat the Piston P4 cycle. The valve V6 is closed again after the Cylinder C4 has been filled.
  11. The Drain D2 on Cylinder C3 is connected to the Pump and fluid returned to the top of cylinder C1 while the Cylinder C4 Piston P4 is returning to the top of the cylinder.
  12. Now Valve V4 is opened to fill Cylinder C3 and cycle Piston P3 again.
  13. Step 9 is repeated
  14. Once cylinder C3 is filled, Valve V4 is closed and V5 is opened to fill cylinder C4.
  15. Once cylinder C4 is filled Valve V5 is closed and the drain D1 on Cylinder C2 is connected to the pump to return the remaining fluid back to the top of cylinder C1.
  16. Step 9 is repeated.
  17. Step 10 is repeated.
  18. Step 11 is repeated
  19. Step 9 is repeated.

By now you should be able to see how it works but please download the whole report below.

GERS_V2

Raspberry Pi – Connect with an Android

Here we have one lovely little trick with this RPI3B+ is that we do have the option to use Android devices with SSH aplications. 2 main applications are

  • RaspController
  • JuiceSSH

These are shown below in the top right of the image. You can download these via the PLAY store in the usual way.

Android_show icons

First of all we shall set up RaspController

Open the RaspController app by clicking on the icon. Currently looks like the Blue icon in the top right of the bove image. You will be greeted by the following screen but without any devices in the list.

RaspController1

Now click the + button in the bottom right corner. You should now have the following screen but without details filled in.

RaspController2

Enter the Device Name – This is what it will be called on your Android device, like a file name.

Enter the Host IP Address – This is the IP of the Raspberry Pi on your network

Port / SSH: This should be set to 22, if not set it to 22.

Timeout – This is how long it will keep looking for your Raspberry PI, in seconds, before it gives you an error message. Set this to 10

Username – This is the Username of the Raspberry Pi. the default is pi but yours maybe different. The main point to know is these are the logon credentials on the Raspberry Pi.

Authentication – Set to Password. If you are an advanced user then you may have RSA keys assigned but we will use Password

Password – This is your Raspberry Pi password for the user entered above. Default is raspberry but you should change this. Again the important thing to note is this is the Logon credentials on the Raspberry Pi.

Now tap the Connection Test button.

You should receive a Connected Notification.

If there is a problem then you will get a message stating Connection error:timeout:socket is not established.

Now Click Save. this is the icon with a floppy disk symbol in the bottom right corner.

You will now be taken back to the Device list page.

Click on your device and it will connect and display the following page showing a multitude of options and helpfull diagrams.

RaspController3.png

From here you can access most of the controls on your device without requiring code. When you do want to use code and programmaticaly use your SSH connection, Then you can click on Shell SSH.

You may prefer to have only an SSH command or connection App that has the ability to attach Plugins, and that is why I also say you can connect via the JuiceSSH app in Android

To Connect Via JuiceSSH

Start tha app by tapping on its Lemon Icon. You should then be greeted by a screen like below. your Freequently used area will be blank on first use.

Juice1.png

The first button at the top of the list is called Connections. Tap it once and it will bring you to the Connections Tab, as below.

Juice2.png

Push the Yellow + button in the bottom right corner to show the following screen.

Juice3.png

Enter the Nickname – This is the name you want to call the device on the Android device only.

Type – Leave as SSH

Address – This is the IP address of the Raspberry Pi on the local network.

Identity – Select New ( This is the connection Details)

This then opens the following screen

Juice4.png

Set the Nickname to Whatever you want but I always state Connection as you can reuse these onto another Connection.

Set the Username to the Raspberry Pi Username ( default is pi) This is the Raspberry Pi credentials.

Set the password to that users password (default is raspberry) This is the Raspberry Pi credentials.

Then press the Tick in the top right corner.

You will now be returned to the New Connection Screen and the Identity will now be set to the nickname that you entered in the last screen.

Advanced settings affords more connectivity options but for now check that the

Port is set to 22

Connect Via and Run Snippet options are showing Optional

Backspace is set to Default(sends DEL)

Now click the tick in the top left corner.

I have had 2 different behaviours from this app after clicking the tick depending whether I used an android phone or tablet. It will either take you back to the connections tab or where you tap on your device name, which is the normal process once you open the app and logon to the Raspberry Pi, or it will try to connect automatically.

Either way you should see the connection screen as below, promptly followed by a Shell script prompt ( Think old DOS command line) at the top left corner.

Juice5

You should now be able to code your raspberry Pi using SSH.

When we use an Android application in these tutorials, we will use the RaspConnect app but it is usefull to know that there is an alternative that is freely available and allows you to expand when your skills do.

RASPBERRY PI – CONNECTING TO

To connect to your RPI3B+ may seem impossible without being able to see it but it is quite simple if you follow the instructions below.

Just as a quick note, if you want to connect to a mobile phone and use that as your wireless network(maybe you dont have a fixed internet and only use mobile phone internet), then that is possible and easy providing you can connect a keyboard and monitor first to connect to the wireless of the mobile phone. If you then connect your computer to the phone using the phone as a mobile hotspot, then you can follow along from here.

Ok so the basics of networking are very much like the mail system. Everyone has an address and their mail is delivered to that address. When you send a mail, you write your address on the back of it. Simple right – if only it were that simple, but for now we will follow this analogy and slowly get to super coder level.

Ok, so the first thing we need to know is where are we. If we don’t know where we are, we don’t know where to go or how to get there. To find out where you are on the network, Your Network Address, we need to open a way to talk to the pc we are using at the moment. In windows we use the command prompt and Linux we use the Terminal or console application. Depending which one you use, follow the below

If using windows, type in the search box ‘cmd’ but without the quotes and press enter. I am using windows 10 and it looks as below. Click the ‘Command Prompt’ icon.

cmd_prompt

If using Linux then click the Terminal icon in the Task Bar normaly at the top of the screen, its a black square icon with a blue bar across the top and a forward chevron with an underscore in the black area.

You should now have a mainly black window open which we can type into. If using windows, type ‘ipconfig’ or linux ‘ifconfig’ again without the quotes.

You are looking for something called ‘IPv4 Address’ (Linux is ‘inet’), note on mine I have 192.168.43.217. This is because I am connected to a mobile phone. If I where connected to a fixed landline internet router, I would most probably have 192.168.1.09 so if yours looks different, don’t worry. Another difference is that I am connected wirelessly having connected my RPI3B+ to my phone aswell but if you have connected to the wired hub then your address will be under Ethernet adapter. Anywhich way we get the information  but just don’t worry if its a different section as long as we have an address.

ipconfig

To test your connection, your should ping your gateway but if using a mobile, like I am today for this piece, then you can’t.  What you can do is ping yourself so I will type ‘ping 192.168.43.217 and wait for a reply as below.

ping reply

Why is this important, its like checking the letter flap works and is not screwed shut.

Ok so now we need to find the other devices on the network so lets use the address resolution protocol and type ‘arp -a’ in the cmd(Windows) or Terminal (Linux) application. If you want to see what other functions you can do here then type ‘arp -all’ and it will list what each function of the arp option can do and how to access it. but we want -a and list all our connected devices as below.

cmd arp

Now remember our IP address ended .217 and is listed above everything else. This function shows that it has identified where the request has come from and can see everything else. If you later run this on your raspberry pi, the ip addresses will change position. Ok so above I can see there are 3 other numbers starting 192.168.43. we now the one ending .1 is the gateway so our pi is not that. It is also not .255 for complicated reasons you will understand much later, or google it now, as this is typicaly the broadcast address. Ip addreses only go upto 255 and the highest number is normaly used as the broadcast by default. So surely my raspberry pi is .244 so I will ping 192.168.43.244 and low and behold I get 4 replies as before when I pinged myself.

OK so now we know our address of us and the RPI3B+, how do we access it. There is a multitude of ways from SSH, and we will cover some of the android apps much later but we will use what we get with windows 10 and that is remote desktop.

In the search box, type ‘Remote Desktop’ and click on the application as below

remote desktop search

Now ‘raspberrypi’ in the computer dialogue box. Now click the button marked connect.

rd connect

You should now have the xorg screen shown as below. Type the username and password of the RPI3B+. If it is new then the user is pi and the password is raspberry. Now Click Ok as below. note I have already changed my password.

rd connection screen

Ok so if everything has gone smoothly then we should have a connection to a screen as below.

rd RPI connected

If you move your mouse around and click on icons, you will see stuff happening. This is because you have control of the RPI3B+ and thus with one computer, you have the ability to use 2. There is no reason that this can’t be a 1000 or more. long over are the days of having to wait for something to finish processing before you can get back on the net or whatever you were doing.

This is the essence of cloud computing. Now in cloud computing you use software created computers and it all gets complicated with hardware resource sharing but at the moment we are running another computer that is tucked away out of sight and can be doing work while we go off and enjoy ourselves. So if that was your aim with your RPI3B+ then great, you are there.

This tutorial is aimed at getting the most fun and learning out of the RPI3B+ so we want to configure the wireless to connect to the hub like you most likely have your laptop at the moment. If you can click on the wireless icon at the top right, on the RPI3B+ remote desktop and connect to your wireless now, we can move on to the fun stuff and going through the accesories / Toys.

See you on the next topic.

Raspberry Pi 3B+ – Getting Started

Picture of the Raspberry Pi and accesory box
Picture of the Raspberry Pi and accesory box

Ok so we got the above in the mail – its all bits and I have to add heat sinks – PANIC!!!!!!!

First off, if you are a man like me, you tossed the instructions to the side……. There should be an A6 size leaflet on how to set up your Raspberry Pi for first time use but incase you have sourced yours elsewhere then you should have the following.

  • Raspberry Pi 3B+ (nowon called RPI3B+)
  • Micro SD card 16GB minimum for this section but you can use just a 4GB card to make the RPI3B+ work. The speed of the card is important and needs its speed to be class 4. This is the number on the card encircled by a C.The number indicates the write speed in MB per second.  On my card I have a SanDisk Ultra 16GB C10 (this is the class speed) MicroSD HC I which was supplied in the package.
  • Power adaptor (micro USB) with a switch.
  • HDMI cable if you are connecting to a monitor in addition to USB Keyboard and Mouse( I would suggest a wireless one as we will need the USB ports later but cross that bridge when we get there.  we will be controlling through a remote desktop to give you the feel of IOT and server interfacing.
  • A case is supplied in the kit but is technicaly not required but it does protect it nicely when kids and pets are running around.
  • Card Reader for installing the Operating System (OS) onto the memory card.
  • Heat Sink for the CPU
  • Heat Sink for Network Chip

If you purchased a kit then your SD card should be preloaded with the OS and you are itching to go but STOP!!!!!!! You must fit the Heat Sinks or your RPI3B+ is going to cook eggs. Ideally I would like a fan too but maybe thats a project for later.

Your heatsinks should have nice self-adhesive pads so, one at a time, unpeel the pad cover foil and stick the big castlated one on the CPU and the smaller metal flush plate on the Network Chip as shown below. ( My one is already in its case so ignore that continuity error at the moment.

Raspberry Pi 3B+ with lid off
Raspberry Pi 3B+ with lid off

 

Ok now pat yourself on the back and then gently clip it into its case, first locating it on its base and then clipping both into the walls of the case. Then clip on the Lid but be carefull not to try and force it as it is ment to have that 2-3mm gap.

Raspberry Pi 3B+ in its case
Raspberry Pi 3B+ in its case

Now its in its case, lets insert that SD card

It slips in here

Raspberry Pi 3B+ SD card slot
Raspberry Pi 3B+ SD card slot

like this

Raspberry Pi 3B+ SD card slot this way up
Raspberry Pi 3B+ SD card slot this way up

 

Ok so connect up your power supply and if you have a monitor and keyboard then you can just power up and ready for the next section. If not and you are going the route as me and remotely accessing your RPI3B+ then you have to connect it to the LAN (network) port on your router (Internet Hub in laymans speak i.e. Sky Q hub). This will require a LAN cable that is normaly supplied with your router. If you need one then it is called a CAT5 network cable. If you are having networking problems with it then check that each of the 8 contacts has a wire by looking through the plastic. Some really cheap ones only have 4 wires and never work. If your ISP (Internet Service Provider) gave you one of those, you may have grounds to question the service they will provide over that locked in contract.

Anyway Turn the Power on and you should see a green light come on by the power adapter. Awesome stuff and ready to move on. If you do not have a green light, either it is faulty but more likely you have no power to the RPI3B+. Either bad power adapter or supply.

Ok so thats the end of this page and the next will deal with the OS setup and first time configuration. If you like this then please like and share so I know or even leave a comment.

BIM – The OpenSource method

Ok so today is all about creating a Virtual World without spending too much money although I would always advise donating and supporting the OpenSource projects because we all benefit from them and they tend to have great imaginative and ethical origins which remain strong throughout the lifecycle of the project. Throughout this post I have added the links to the websites which will open in new tabs, if clicked, and you will see that they all have ethics and a dream at their core.

So to Generate the Virtual World / BIM solution – What do we need? (aside from a little training – all documentation is available on the websites)

Domain (£20 per year) – to have a web address like http://www.vulcansrealm.com, you need to buy it and register it on a Domain Name Service. Its all done for you and is as simple as buying a computer on Amazon.

Next we need some serious Hardware which can be upgraded slowly as required. A cloud network allows us to do this brilliantly and to surprisingly use low cost equipment to do this. So for instance you may want to spend a £1000 on a nice refurbished all in one server 64bit, 16GB RAM, 2TB disk with dual network cards — but this is not a traditional server service – its a cloud service and maybe you are starting from more humble origins

So as a cloud service, in the not too distant future, we will need a cloud resource handler. This is, In Laymans speak, what makes all the servers talk and co-operate together seemlessly. There is no reason why we can’t incorporate that from the start and use OPENSTACK and now we can change our hardware requirements to something more humble like a Raspberry Pi3B+  and I believe this is the way.

You can start with 1 and as you develop you can slowly add them till you have a small  cluster of raspberry pi3B+’s. I say small, maybe you will end up with a large cluster in multiple Global locations or Hubs.

I need to test if you can just pull one memory card out of one RPI3B+ and insert into another so you can have your little RPI3B+ cloud service easily maintainable if a Component fails. I have no reason to doubt this could be the case as RPI3B+’s don’t appear to have a TPM (Trusted Platform Module) chip and use open source Operating systems which are not intended to prevent sharing. This is one of the aspects why you can’t pull a hard drive from one windows 10 pc and put it in another.

Ok so what software do we need to make my Raspberry Pi3B+ into a cloud server, Simply put UBUNTU server (free) and NEXTCLOUD which is free for home use and companies with upto 50 employees. When you become a big boy commercial, you will have a small support package to buy but if you have more than 50 employees, a few thousand pounds is merely a round of drinks. I should add, I am happy to tag along to an open bar if anyone is offering.

So we are starting small which means we probably do not have a fixed IP address on our internet providers connection and running this from a home Internet connection like SKY, which changes the IP address each time it connects or after a period of time, so we will need to have whats called a DDNS handler. Once your device is registered on this service, all traffic that was routed to your old IP address is routed to the new IP address automatically in real time. For more information Google DDNS but a service with noip.com will typically cost £25 a year – hold on why not the free personal use option with other providers, they are for personal use and they will know what you are upto. Its the equivalent of being caught with your hand in someones wallet and saying I didn’t know. If you believe in KARMA (not the drone) you will stay above board. you can also get a whole host of other services and even your domain name from noip.com too.

Ok so we have an always connected managed server(s) in our cloud network, we need an email service to be contactable with our users and for security reasons. For this we can use hMail server (free) or alternatively you can have noip.com provide this for you but we are going for less reliance on others so lets have hMail.

To handle all the Geospatial Information we can Incorporate QGIS server or other OSGEO server products(free) so we now have mapping. Its building up isn’t it.

So we really want to get to the fun stuff and walk around in virtual space but we need to identify with the technology and with this being industrial related, lets use OpenMaint for asset management and data maintenance.

One of the beautifull things with Cloud computing is Virtual Machines, they absolutely anhialate bandwidth but NextCloud supports them and it simplifies the process so for those updating and creating the Virtual Space. Lets Install XAMP vm server running apache. php and mySQL.

We can now load,submit and run pointcloud files using POTREE point cloud viewer (free)(see next cloud docs and using docker)

For converting point clouds into mesh to be modified as models for the Virtual World physics engines, we can run MESHLAB running on a vm instance (free)

We can process the models once converted using BLENDER 2.8 on a vm instance (free) (requires good graphics upgrade, suggest a good pc and transfer the data after processing in a separate render farm but not from the realms of do-able at low cost)

So we have a dumb Virtual World now. Lets add Physics and gamifi using ARMORY3D(free) (requires BLENDER 2.8 but this is packaged with the download)

So we have our world but how do we make it accesible. lets use AGONES (requires kubernetes) or GAMINGANYWHERE(requires windows OS) for online realtime hosted games/simulations (free).

Hold on – Kubernetes why not just use this to manage the cloud instead of OPENSTACK. It is more a preference to make them work together. In laymans terms Kubernetes is the operations manager of container ships where Openstack is the shipping company. Yes the operations manager will perform the work like the company but the company also has a finance department, customer liason, Welfare, Sales etc.

We should now have an online fully interactive cloud hosted virtual world for nearly no money, reliable and infinitely upgradeable.

So What about That Pint you mentioned…………..

SPECTRA SP60 GNSS RECEIVER

So following on the current theme of How do we collect accurate Geolocations to high Precision, I believe the first point of call is the SP20 but when you need that separate Receiver mounted on a pole and Bluetooth connected to your device, then this is a High Precision GNSS Receiver that is tested with a standard Samsung Tab S2 aswell as the high spec Ranger series of Data Collectors.

The object of the application is for Industrial BIM and PAS256 data capture but the mock location in Android makes this a formidible device for all Geolocation applications, not only for data collection, but including automated IOT drones and Bots.

There is a more advanced version , the SP80, with its additional web interfaces but the end result is the same but maybe they will be kind enough for me to test that one too one day……..

Anyway have a look at the review SPECTRA SP60 GNSS RECEIVER and see what you think.

Mapping Underground Assets

The vivax metrotech system for mapping underground assets like pipework and cable runs with a relatively high accuracy.

The equipment that has inspired this idea is the VIVAX METROTECH vSCAN range which can be viewed here. https://www.vivax-metrotech.com/

Like many utility detectors, It locates wires and buried metalic objects but what is so great about the direction of this product range is that it can combine with locating a sewer Inspection camera head which brings the ability to reality capture, with photogrammetry, inside of pipework or cable runs. Not the best result as it is only in one direction but there is nothing stopping this being developed into fore and aft cameras.

To do this, you send the vCamMX camera up the pipe or chamber  which records all the image data while someone walks above the ground with the vLocCam2 Locator. This will provide the depth relative to the locator which records it geolocation.

It is also handy to be able to Geolocate all detected power lines and utility services like CATV, telephone and pipework over 50mm. I think thats a safe bet as the diameter of the smaller head is 18mm so might be able to be used in smaller bores to confirm the laying of a water pipe for instance but the manufacturer states 50mm.

There really is not much to say about this process as it is just amalgamating a current CCTV of sewers process with an upgraded utility detector with GPS but it is more the tool that makes it easy to process the data in an automated fashion.

Having said that, with the potential to 3D model the video, it can also aid non destructive computer based testing and defect detection of underground utility services.

The geolocation aspect of this also provides a way to satisfy much of the financial risk of PAS256 and the geographic linking between non-infrastructure assets.

 

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Screen Record with VLC Media Player

Screen Record with VLC Media Player video is now live and can be viewed on you tube or below.

This is an awesome feature of VLC media player as it gives the ability to record your desktop and everything that is displayed on it – nudge nudge wink wink – without having to go to great expense of proprietary software or the restrictions of Windows 10 Game Bar.

Please watch the video and leave comments if this was useful to you and you want to see more like this. Don’t forget share PLEASE.

 

 

Rotating Videos With VLC Media Player

When you are out and about and just want to capture that moment, you are not thinking about which orientation you need to record in so often you start in portrait (vertical) mode and rotate the phone for a better shot later. Unfortunately this looks great on the phone as the screen rotates automatically but often the video is locked in the original orientation that you started recording in and when played back you find that the video is now playing at 90 degrees on the screen as below.

videorotate1.PNG

This is easy to correct with VLC media Player, for free without watermarks, as detailed in this video but I have also detailed the steps below the video.

First of all you need VLC media Player which can be downloaded here https://www.videolan.org/vlc/

Once Installed, Open it up and select MEDIA -> OPEN FILE

videorotate2.PNG

Select Your File and Click OPEN

videorotate3.png

Now the Video should auto play and let it play till you get to the part where it needs rotating. I will say at this point that it converts the whole video file so I suggest you save a copy and trim only the parts you need rotating in a video editing suite. If you have Windows 10, you have the Video Editor tool located in the menu under V. You can easily cut up a video and stitch it back later with this free tool. Alternatively there are other free tools out there.

Ok so we have a point where the video has rotated. Pause the video here and In the top Menu bar, select  TOOLS -> EFFECTS AND FILTERS

videorotate4.PNG

This Will display a pop up box as below. Select the Following Tabs

VIDEO EFFECTS -> GEOMETRY

videorotate5

You will now want to select the TRANSFORM check box and select how you want to rotate it from the drop down menu. See image below. You will note that the video rotates in the background to confirm you have the correct Transform applied. I have selected 270 degrees which is the same as -90 degrees.

videorotate6.png

Once you are happy, Click on Close.

Ok, we now have a rotated video but we need to export it ( Save into a new independent  file) so lets go to the Top Menu Bar and select

MEDIA -> CONVERT/SAVE

videorotate7.PNG

This will produce a pop up box. Click the ADD button

videorotate8

This will open the file explorer so select your file and click OPEN

 

This will return you to the Open Media Pop up so now at the bottom, click on the drop down menu (arrow) next to Convert / Save and select CONVERT.

videorotate10

Select the Profile (output format), I always leave as MP4 as this is widely used. Now in the Destination Section, Select the BROWSE button.

videorotate11

You now need to select the output folder (this is where your video will be found after conversion). I tend to put it in the same folder and filename but add what has happened to the file name. In this case rotated 270 degrees. Click the SAVE button.

videorotate12

Nearly there, You will be returned to the CONVERT pop up and now you simply click the START button.

videorotate13

You will now see a blank screen, as below, with the blue bar increasing from left to right to show progress.

videorotate14

Once complete, The screen will go back to the opening/launch blank screen.

You should now have a converted file in the file location specified but play it back in another media player or close VLC and re-open. If you try and play the video straight away, you may find it at the wrong orientation because you still have the Effects Transform set to rotate it. You could also go back to EFFECTS and Set the Transform to none or 0 degrees rotation.

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