VULCANS BLOG

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.

Geospatial Modelling For Free

This Post has been really fun to research and what a sense of satisfaction I had when I found out how to do it but I apologise to all that follow as it has taken all my time up dedicated to this one issue so lets crack on as I am so excited.

So what did I want to prove?

  1. I wanted to prove that you could Geospatial model straight from a game engine like Unity or Armory3D
  2. This could be done for free without having to hard code – spreadsheet is fine as most that read this will be able to use basic spreadsheets but few will be able to go off writing Translation programs so it had to be a solution for all.
  3. No Proprietry Lock in to a platform.
  4. It also has to be able to make the Modelling program geospatial so you can tie the world together.

Where Did I start?

First I wanted to see what was possible with what I had, a FARO S70 Laserscan, FARO SCENE LT 2019 (yes its free and meshes point clouds beautifully if you have the hardware), Blender 2.8, Meshlab.

I will first say that the Laserscan I had was Geolocated as a project, If you are inserting a non geolocated laserscan, you can adjust the geolocation in the properties section. Even still, this is not a problem as I will also explain how to geolocate a standard mesh too so you don’t need a laserscan, its just this software makes it a cleaner process.

So I meshed out the laserscan in FARO SCENE and exported as OBJ,PLY,STL etc but none of the formats could show up in the viewport. With so much saying about Blender 2.8 Bugs at the moment, I just dismissed this as an option so I opened up in Meshlab and voila, it was there, a lovely Laserscan of the building. So I saved it and made a new OBJ file which was almost twice the size of the first and imported into UNITY which on completion was nowhere to be seen.

After much faffing with this and that and trying this, standing on one leg with fingers crossed and arms – anyway you get the picture, while exporting or clinching at any last notes from the net, I thought OBJ – its an old format, I wonder if I can open it in Notepad.

Sure enough it is a text file format and the first thing I recognised was that the X,Y,Z looked an aweful lot like Decimal Degree co-ordinates for the area but out of range.

Now while researching GNSS Systems I had to get familiar with different Historical systems of mapping in use and origins as well as the Technical aspects to the satellites themselves – Good Times :-), The point is that I was reminded of not looking at the world as a globe but as a flat paper map. Flat Land Maps, not Naval Charts, Used to be and often are still in a system using Cartesian Co-ordinates commonly known as Eastings and Northings.

So I went to the Ordnance Survey Site and inserted the

  • X value in the Eastings Field,
  • Y value in Northings Field,
  • Z value in the Height Field.

BINGO exactly where the scan was Taken

So if it is here then why cant I work on it in my modelling suite, i.e. 3DS or Blender. Thats simple now, we know Eastings and Northings are in meters like Blender and 3DS so an Eastings of 583947.75m would be 583.94775KM East of the 0 point on the X axis, a little way away so of course you will see nothing.

In Blender, you can correct this easily by first Selecting the Imported Object in the Heirachy, Move the Cursor over the Viewport and Right Click. This will give you a menu where you can select ‘Set Origin’ which opens a sub menu and select ‘Set Origin To Geometry’.

You should now see the Transform Component have a huge number in X and Y but Z hopefully will be the Altitude so much smaller.

MAKE A COPY of THIS AS YOU WILL NEED TO PUT IT BACK.

OK now go into Edit Mode (push tab) and set the Local Median co-ordinates to 0 ( it will not allow Zero and will go to some smallish number). This only sets the centre of the model to 0 or in the middle ish but close enough for this as it is all relative from now on.

Go Back into object mode and hopefully your Transform component numbers have not changed, now set them to Zero. Your model should now be there.

Do your modelling and once finished, put the old Transform co-ordinates that you copied, back into the Transform Component to Re-locate the Model back into its Geolocated Space.

The link between the XYZ to Eastings and Northings is really powerful when we now import our model into a Game Engine like Unity or Armory3D as we can use a simple script to read the player or model current xyz and convert it into a Global Decimal Degree which can be linked out into all mapping systems, Smart Phones and everything Geolocatable thus creating the link between Virtual World and Real World.

This New XYZ can also become an Assets Identifier.

Ok but I have a non Geolocated model, How can I merge this into the GeoSpaced Game.

Idealy you would have GNSS Equipment Like SPECTRA SP20 GNSS Device for BIM or one of their other High Accuracy units but if you are at home, you could use a web map to derive a Rough location (still might be better than your phone) Google Maps (Left Double click Location to drop a pin, Click on the decimal degree output at the bottom pop up, Copy and paste from the left hand sidebar)  or Bing Maps (Right click location, select copy below the decimal degree co-ordinates, pres CTRL + C)

Put these co-ordinates in the Transform Tool Decimal Degrees section at Ordnance Survey (If using maps, you will only get Lat and Long without a height value, set Elipsoid Height to 45.734 to pin on the ground at 0m height) which will give you an easting and Northing.

Ok This is your reference position. We can simply enter them in the Global Transform Component (Object Mode) after setting the Local Median (Edit Mode) to the location of the object that is to locate at that geolocation.

If not using Blender, then at worst case to apply your vertex points we need them in a spreadsheet for editing.

Open the OBJ file in Notepad (rightclick -> open with other apps -> select notepad)

We need to copy all lines beginning with a ‘v’ and there might be a few thousand. Each line has six values, position x,y,z and colour x,y,z(the colour is ranged from 0-1).

Select the first line and scroll to the end of the ‘v’ lines and hold shift and click at the end of the last line which will select everything inbetween.

Open your spreadsheet editor and paste. You need to chop and divide the text into seperate columns, there are lots of youtube videos on how to do this, and you can use the space to identify the place to seperate.

Once you have seperated the values into seperate cells, write a formula to add the reference easting to the first value, reference northing to the second value and reference height to the third value. Then copy cell all the way down for it to autopopulate the new figures.

Now concatenate (join) the values back into one single line of text with the spacings and colours added back in. Again lots of youtube videos on how to do this.

Copy the new data into the OBJ notepad file replacing the old ‘v’ values and save as a new OBJ. If the file extension is not available, select saveAs, type the filename followed by ‘.obj’ without the quotes.

now this obj will open in its new geolocation in eastings and northings, sorry I mean XYZ, co-ordinates.

Just to conclude that now we can write a script that tracks the xyz of anything we require to track either its movement in the virtual or even be effected by the movement of something in the real world to give a truly real time virtual simulator.

Imagine if a bridge was raised prematurely, you could not only see a visualisation of what is happening but also use AI to aleviate the problems as it can read and control the virtual easier than the Real but with full control of the Real by Proxy.

VIRTUAL WORLD IS POSSIBLE EASILY, CHEAPLY AND RELIABLY

NOW!!!!

Please Share and Like as I do not have a virtual Billboard, That will be the next big thing, Immersive Advertising – I can Hear George Carling now.

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Hiding from AI

So as I trawl the net to share other good posts that are tech related, I found this one which I had to share regarding hiding from Surveilance systems. This is very noteworthy for those that are using security camera based security systems as well as those at the more advanced end of the state level spy game.

There will be an answer developed but for those wanting to rely on facial recognition software, have a look before investing your millions of pounds.

AI Invisibility

Control Cables – Teleflex Control Systems

This type of control system can be used in both push and pull directions and gives positive,accurate control to a remotely located device on the aircraft with only one cable. The advantage of accurate control at the receiving end by the use a sliding link or toothed wheel means that the system may be used in various positions for use with precise controls by a method of locking or restraining the lever or control device at the transmitting end by use of a system like a lever that has position locks in the form of detents (notches cut into the cotrol lever casing which the lever can lock into thus restraining it from moving until it is released from the detent/notch.

In some systems, a combination of Teleflex and conventional push/pull rods can be found to have its advantages.In this type of combination, there is Teleflex systems on either ends of the control run which are linked by push/pull rods.

There are two types of cables available.DS 23/2 OR DS 380. Both types of cable have a high tensile steel core. The DS 23/2 (also called a number two) cable has a right hand compression winding around the core which then has a left hand helix winding which is pitch spaced with a spacer winding.

The DS 380 cable has a larger diameter core wire than the DS 32/2 cable. This cable also has no compression winding. The helix winding is a right hand helix winding which is also pitch spaced by a spacer winding.

These two types of cable can be run in either a flexible conduit or a rigid conduit but Flexible conduit can have problems with excess backlash due to the clearance required between the bore of the conduit and the cable although Flexible conduit can be used in areas where the fixture may move.

Due to the backlash problem, it is necessary to keep the conduit and cable as short as possible. These cables are manufactured to be used in specific areas and the correct part number from the Illustrated Parts Catalogue must always be used.It is normal that this conduit/cable can vary in length by up to 10% and cannot be bent in a radius tighter than 9″.

Rigid conduit does not suffer from backlash to the same extent as flexible conduit and can be made from Aluminium, Light alloy, Tungum or Steel. Aluminium conduit is normally lined with PTFE (PolyTetraFluoroEthylene) to reduce friction between cable and conduit thus reducing wear and heat. Do not forget that cables expand as they heat up thus possibly moving controls. This is highly undesirable.

Teleflex control systems are normaly accompanied by various devices to aid their reliable operation including the following:- 

Anti-vibration devices (Damping devices)

This is normally accomplished by a sprung loaded friction plate sprung against the gear wheel which is adjustable so that the force applied can be adjusted to ensure that the control cannot be adjusted inadvertantly by the vibration in the system.This is normally located in the transmitting device

 

Quick Break Unit 

This is a unit that allows the rapid removal of an item in the system without altering any of the settings of the system. This saves time in fast component replacement which is very valuable in fast turn-around situations as found on the highly pressured ramp/line environments. There are many forms and designs of quick break units in use today but the basic components are:-

connecter box / casing

interlocking rods fitted to the ends of the cables

 

Swivel joints

This is a ball and socket joint used where angular movement is required. The control is permitted to move only 45 degrees either side of the central position (90 degrees total). The angular travel is 8 degrees either side of the central axis giving a total movement of 16 angular degrees.

 

Conduit/Cable connectors

When lengths of cables are needing to be connected to complete a control system cable run, connectors are required.They sometimes are equiped with nipples for lubrication and can be fixed to the structure. It is worth noting that the type of connector used with the PTFE type of conduit has a larger internal bore than a standard connector.With all this in mind the necessity to check the IPC for the part number is obvious.

 

Sliding end Fittings

These units are used where it is not necessary to convert lateral motion into any other form of motion. This is operated by the pushing and pulling of the cable by a handle located on the transmittting end of the conduit and secured by a split collet or lock spring and plug assembly. Like many other cable connections a witness hole is provided to ensure safe engagement.

 

 

Control Cables – Bowden Control Systems

This type of control cable is used to operate remote control systems on the aircraft. A remote control system is a system where the controls are located in another area of the aircraft in relation to the item to be controlled. For example Landing gear emergency extension.

Bowden control cables are constructed from stainless steel cable, Then coiled wire is placed around the cable which is covered by a cotton braiding which in turn is housed in a conduit to keep out moisture and contaminants. Then a cap is placed on the end of the conduit (not cable) to stop the coiled wire from unravelling and help to seal the end of the conduit.On the end of the the cable a nipple is either soldered or swaged on (see maintenance manual and airworthiness notices to see which one to use). to transmit the control load. Depending on the type of fitting and control there are three types of nipples available, Plain, spherical or Trunnion (Refer to the maintenance manual for the correct one to use). It must be noted that this system is designed to operate lightly loaded components/systems.

This type of control will only operate in one direction like a normal cable and therefore some means of moving the control back must be provided, This is achieved by the two methods, either by two cables, This gives control in both directions , or a cable and return spring.

This type of control , like any cable can become slack over its service life. This problem is overcome by the addition of one of two little devices. These two devices are adjustable stop or double ended stop. The adjustable stop is the standard stop consisting of a tee-barrel, locknut and hollow threaded portion fixed on the conduit at the receiving end of the cable which is fitted through the tee-barrel which is mounted to the structure of the aircraft. A lock nut is fitted to stop the adjuster moving.

The second type of adjuster is the double ended stop. This type is used when the system does not permit appropriate access to the ends of the cable to permit the use of the standard adjustable stop. This is located at an accessible portion of the cable and is easily adjusted in the same manner as the adjustable stop with the exception that the tee-barrel is replaced by an internal female threaded hollow tube which is fitted with a witness hole to inspect for serviceability.

Sometimes it is necessary to connect Bowden control cables to other types of control cables and this is achieved by a cable connector. When only a one to one joining is needed, you can use a cable connecting barrel. When it is necessary to connect one cable to more than one cable, a junction box may be used.

Operating hand levers are located at the transmitting end of the cable and connect to a cable nipple to transmit the control load onto the cable. The most common types are Thumb, Ratchet and plain type. The ratchet type and plain type both have a three and a half inch throw in radial motion. The ratchet type operates on a ratchet mechanism so that more than one pull of cable is possible to allow more cable movement whereas the plain type can only use one pull on the cable thus limiting the movement on the other end of the cable.

The thumb type of hand lever works on the same mechanism as the plain type of hand lever but has a shorter lever thus giving a shorter throw of only one and a half inches.

Axial alignment of cable assemblies must be such that the centre line of the cable within the conduit is in a straight line through the mid position of the rise and fall of the arc of travel of the lever. This can be more simply explained by moving the control lever to three quarters of total travel one way, check that the cable is in a straight line with the conduit. Now move the control lever to three quarters of total travel in the opposite sense (the mirror position of earlier) and check that the centre line is straight with the rest of the conduit as before. The reason why this is so important is that when a cable is moved through the angles of the control it can rub and chafe against the the casing of the control lever thus giving accelerated wear and possibly impairing flight safety in the future.

The inspection of a Bowden control system is called upon at regular intervals along with the maintenance and lubrication. As with a normal cable system you would follow the service manual for the correct methods and lubricants but in general you would inspect for:

  •             Corrosion
  •             Deformation, bends, kinks
  •             Chafing
  •             Tension
  •             Cleanliness
  •             Broken strands or wires
  •             Other forms of damage or cause for concern.

 

Remember you are going to be a professional, DO NOT EVER TURN A BLIND EYE, If you are unsure always fail until you can prove otherwise by further research not the other way round. Remember at 36000ft there are no second chances.

 

 

Control Cables – Swaging

This is a process that is widely used in the aviation industry an in most applications it has replaced the traditionally spliced on ends.

The actual process is simple enough in theory but can be quite a difficult task to a less experienced engineer. It is basically the correct type of end fitting i.e. for end fitting with a hollow shaft deformed to clamp the cable. It is recommended that a kink be made in the end of the cable so that it does not move during the swaging process as this has the potential to be disastrous with a possibility of a catastrophic event. Once the cable has been swaged it must be crack detected by the dye penetrant method. If any cracks are detected the assembly is rejected. All swaged cables must be proof loaded to determine their serviceability. Before proof loading a cable you must put an approved paint on the joint between the cable and the fitting and allowed to dry. Any cracking of the paint indicates slippage of the cable in the fitting and this is most certainly a cause for rejection.

Note: BRITISH CABLES ARE PROOF LOADED TO 50% OF THEIR MINIMUM BREAKING STRENGTH BUT THE AMERICAN CABLES ARE PROOF LOADED TO 60% OF THEIR MINIMUM BREAKING STRENGTH.

 

 

Control Cables – Tensiometers

There are various makes of cable tensiometers but the most well used in the commercial aviation industry is called the Pacific T5 model. This is a compact instrument Which is packaged in a box to protect it with three raisers for different cables and two charts, one for British and one for American cables. These two charts both have the Tensiometers serial number printed on them. It is of utmost importance that the correct charts are used as they are calibrated for the actual instrument.

NEVER EVER SUBSTITUTE A CHART FROM ANOTHER INSTRUMENT AS THIS WOULD GIVE AN INCORRECT READING AND COULD IMPAIR AIRCRAFT CONTROLLABILLITY WHEN IT IS OPERATED.

This type of tensiometer is calibrated by the dead weight method. The average of four readings is used. This reading must be within one point (plus or minus) for the chart to be certified calibrated, If the chart is out of tolerance it must be redrawn and re-certified.

The operation of this instrument is straightforward.

  1. i) Refer to the chart (check the serial number) and select the correct riser for the cable
  2. ii) Fit the riser

iii) Lower the raiser (Pull handle away from the aluminium body)

  1. iv) Place cable between body and the two raised hardened steel pins/blocks
  2. v) Pull lever/handle to the body until it makes contact with the body of the tensiometer
  3. vi) Set brake lever (Rotate 180 degrees)
  4. vi) Release handle lever

vii) Take reading.

viii) Compare reading against riser and cable size and temperature on the calibrated                  charts.