EN-EL15 RAVPower 2100mAh Rechargeable Camera Battery and Charger Set for Nikon (2x Replacement Batteries, 2.1A USB Input, 100% Compatible with Original) - Black

Review: RAVPower EN-EL15 2100mAh Rechargeable Camera Battery and Charger Set for Nikon

A Review of the RAVPower EN-EL15 2100mAh Rechargeable Camera Battery and Charger Set for Nikon (Model: RP_PB057).

EN-EL15 RAVPower 2100mAh Rechargeable Camera Battery and Charger Set for Nikon (2x Replacement Batteries, 2.1A USB Input, 100% Compatible with Original) - Black A versatile, affordable, and necessary aftermarket accessory for your Nikon camera.

For the sake of clarity, this is an independent review of the RAVPower 2100mAh rechargeable camera batteries and charger set (model: RP-PB057), intended for a variety of Nikon cameras including  the Nikon 1 V1,  D600, D610, D750, D800, D800a, D800e, D810, D7000, D7100 and D7200.

The product reviewed in this article was purchased from Amazon with hard-earned cash and the batteries tested extensively in a Nikon D7200.

Check the link below to obtain the latest price of this RAVPower charger set.


EN-EL15 RAVPower 2100mAh Rechargeable Camera Battery and Charger Set for Nikon (2x Replacement Batteries, 2.1A USB Input, 100% Compatible with Original) - Black

EN-EL15 RAVPower 2100mAh Rechargeable Camera Battery and Charger Set for Nikon (2x Replacement Batteries, 2.1A USB Input, 100% Compatible with Original) – Black

Good to know: This battery and recharger set comes complete with a free 12 months extended warranty when you register your purchase online.


REVIEW: RAVPower RP-PB057 Battery and Charger Set for Nikon Cameras

Product Description

RAVPower RP-PB057 Rechargeable Battery and Charger Kit

RAVPower RP-PB057 Rechargeable Battery and Charger Kit

The RAVPower EN-EL15 2100mAh rechargeable camera battery and charger set is an affordable aftermarket camera accessory that offers a tonne of features and benefits over the Nikon MH-25 battery charger.

This RAVPower battery and charger set aims to provide a complete backup power solution for your camera. With an extra two replacement batteries and a dual charger to keep empty batteries charging on the go, you will always be prepared for those unexpected moments when your camera battery runs out of juice.

With this kit, you will have the potential to triple your camera’s run time with the two extra batteries alone. And, with the charger being able to connect to any micro-USB power source,  this makes charging extremely versatile, as batteries could even be charged in remote locations with a portable battery, such as the RAVPower 26800mAh Power Bank.


RAVPower 26800mAh Power Bank Portable Charger 3-Port 5.5A iSmart Output External Battery Pack for Mobile Phones, Tablets and More RAVPower 26800mAh Power Bank Portable Charger 3-Port 5.5A iSmart Output External Battery Pack for Mobile Phones, Tablets and More

Good to know: This power bank is capable of recharging one EN-EL15 2100mAh battery approximately 12 times from a full charge.


Package Contents:

  • 2 x Replacement Batteries for Nikon EN-EL15 2100mAh
  • 1 x DC Dual Battery Charger
  • 1 x micro-USB Cable
  • Warranty Card

Batteries:

RAVPower claim that their replacement batteries (RP-PB057 Savior Series) are made to the exact specifications of the Nikon EN-EL15 battery but with a slightly larger capacity of 2100mAh/14.7W compared with the 1900mAh/14W of the Nikon EN-EL15. This equates to a 10.5% increase in battery capacity over the original.

RAVPower RP-PB057 SAVIOR Series Nikon EN-EL15 Battery V Nikon Original

RAVPower RP-PB057 SAVIOR Series Nikon EN-El15 Battery Pack V Nikon EN-EL15 Battery

In my own tests, where I used these batteries continuously for 3 days in a Nikon D7200, I found no discernible difference in battery performance when compared with the original Nikon EN-EL15 battery. The RAVPower batteries charged just as quickly as the Nikon original; shooting duration and number of shots obtained were also on par with the Nikon.

RAVPower RP-PB057 batteries will charge inside camera if your camera model supports this feature. However, note that some models, like the Nikon D7200 do not support inside camera charging.

Charger:

The RAVPower battery charger is light weight, but well made from a relatively strong, fire resistant plastic. It features two battery compartments and a pair of LEDs labelled CH1 and CH2.

RAVPower Charger for EN-EL15 Batteries

RAVPower Charger for EN-EL15 Batteries

The LEDs indicate charging status and glow red when a battery is charging. The LEDs glow green when a battery if fully charged or when a battery bay is empty.

CH1 No Battery (Green) | CH2 Battery Charging (Red)

The RAVPower charger is capable of charging the original Nikon EN-EL15 battery alongside a RAVPower equivalent.

RAVPower RP-PB057 Rechargeable Battery and Charger Kit

CH1 Nikon EN-EL15 Battery Charging (Red) | CH2 RAVPower Battery Charged (Green)

The RAVPower battery charger needs to be connected to a power source via the USB to micro USB cable provided.

RAVPower recommend that you connect to a charger capable of delivering at least 2.1 Amps to maximise charging efficiency. However, connecting to any USB power source will still charge the batteries. It will just take longer.


Raspberry Pi 3 Power Adapter

 

Raspberry Pi 3 Power Adapters 2.5 Amps +

Good to know: A power adapter for the Raspberry Pi 3 is an ideal companion for this battery charger as they are rated at 2.5 Amps minimum.

 


A Recommended Buy

The RAVPower 2100mAh rechargeable camera batteries and charger set (model: RP-PB057) is an affordable, quality made, aftermarket accessory for your Nikon camera. It is less expensive than the Nikon MH-25 charger; portable and offers a wealth of charging versatility with the two replacement batteries and the USB charging station.

With no detectable difference in battery performance from the original EN-EL15 Nikon battery, this kit represents excellent value for money and provides a total power solution for your camera.

Often promoted on Amazon with a substantial price discount, you should grab one of these today. Check the link below to obtain the latest price.


EN-EL15 RAVPower 2100mAh Rechargeable Camera Battery and Charger Set for Nikon (2x Replacement Batteries, 2.1A USB Input, 100% Compatible with Original) - Black

Buy the RAVPower 2100mAh Rechargeable Camera Battery and Charger Set for Nikon

 

 

 

EN-EL15 RAVPower 2100mAh Rechargeable Camera Battery and Charger Set for Nikon (2x Replacement Batteries, 2.1A USB Input, 100% Compatible with Original) – Black

 

 

 


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Review: ZD V Full Vibration Feedback 2.4G Wireless Controller Gamepad Joystick For PC, Playstation 3, Android and Steam

ZD V Full Vibration Feedback 2.4GHz Wireless Controller Gamepad Joystick for PC (Windows XP/7/8/8.1/10), the PlayStation 3, Android devices and Steam.

For the sake of clarity, this is a review of the ZD V Full Vibration Feedback 2.4GHz Wireless Controller Gamepad Joystick for PC (Windows XP/7/8/8.1/10), the PlayStation 3, Android devices and Steam. It was purchased with hard-earned cash, so this review reflects that in terms of value for money.

The controller was purchased to compliment a RetroPie set-up and for occasional use with games on Steam.


The ZD V Full Vibration Feedback 2.4GHz Wireless Controller Gamepad Joystick is designed and manufactured by Dongguan Zhi Dong Electronic Technology Co. Ltd. in China. They are Amazon Marketplace Sellers and offer an incredible piece of gaming hardware for the money. A wired version of this model is also available with the same features as the wireless one. Both controllers are Plug and Play and PC fully compatible. They both contain a 360 core, which means that they are recognized as XBOX 360 controllers.

Check prices on amazon.co.uk:-

ZD V Full Vibration Feedback WIRELESS Controller Gamepad Joystick

 

ZD V Full Vibration Feedback WIRED Controller Gamepad Joystick


Packaging

The ZD V Full Feedback wireless controller arrives quickly and is packaged in a brown cardboard box when ordered from Amazon. Inside is the blue cardboard box that houses the wireless controller and its accessories.

Packaging: ZD V Full Vibration Feedback Wireless Controller Gamepad Joystick

Packaging: ZD V Full Vibration Feedback Wireless Controller Gamepad Joystick

Two polystyrene inserts protect the ZD V wireless controller during shipping. You will find the controller in a plastic bag (not shown) for additional protection. The palm grips of the controller are protected further with easy-to-remove plastic film.

Inside the Box: ZD V Full Vibration Feedback Wireless Controller Gamepad Joystick

Inside the Box: ZD V Full Vibration Feedback Wireless Controller Gamepad Joystick

Inside the box are the ZD V Full Vibration Feedback 2.4 GHz Wireless Controller GamePad Joystick itself and  a second bag containing a 2.4GHz USB dongle; a USB to micro USB cable; a USB to micro USB adapter to enable connection to Android devices, and a folded piece of paper containing the operating instructions, product specifications and manufacturer details.

Contents: ZD V Full Vibration Feedback Wireless Controller Gamepad Joystick

Contents: ZD V Full Vibration Feedback Wireless Controller Gamepad Joystick

Manufacturer Details & Product Specifications:

  • Dongguan Zhi Dong Electronic Technology Co. Ltd., China.
  • Model: ZD-V208
  • Product size: 156 x 105 x 65mm
  • Working modes: XInput / Direct Input / Android
  • Interface: USB 2.0 / 3.0
  • Product weight: 210g
  • Battery: Non-accessible, rechargeable polymer lithium battery.
ZD V Full Vibration Feedback Wireless Controller Gamepad Joystick

ZD V Full Vibration Feedback Wireless Controller Gamepad Joystick

Features & Operation

The ZD V Full Vibration Feedback 2.4GHz Wireless Controller Gamepad Joystick is equipped with the following buttons, triggers and joysticks:

Controls: ZD V Full Vibration Feedback Wireless Controller Gamepad Joystick

Controls: ZD V Full Vibration Feedback Wireless Controller Gamepad Joystick

Both the LEFT STICK and RIGHT STICK are stick buttons and can therefore be clicked: LSB and RSB.

The trigger buttons [LT & RT] feel like single click buttons. They are, in fact, pressure sensitive buttons that provide linear graduation through pressure sensing. This means that the harder you press them, the greater the input value sent to your game. This feature means that the gamepad can be used in conjunction with racing games that require progressive braking and acceleration, or shooting games, where a one click shot is all that is needed.

Shoulder and Trigger Buttons - ZD V Full Vibration Feedback Wireless Controller Gamepad Joystick

Shoulder and Trigger Buttons – ZD V Full Vibration Feedback Wireless Controller Gamepad Joystick

Integral Rechargeable Battery

A micro USB port, located in between the shoulder and trigger buttons, is used to charge the on-board lithium battery and connect the controller to an Android device. The battery can be charged by connecting the device to a suitable 5 volt power supply via the supplied USB cable. A computer USB port or mobile phone charger will suffice. A charging unit is not supplied with the product, presumably to keep the cost of the units low.

The ZD V Full Vibration Feedback 2.4 GHz Wireless Controller GamePad Joystick is shipped with the battery partially charged. The temptation is to start using the game controller straight out of the box without fully charging the battery. I encountered numerous problems when I did just this, problems that disappeared when the device was fully charged later.

Since the lithium battery is integral with the controller, this means that it cannot be changed easily.

Important points for consideration are these:-

  • If the battery runs flat during a gaming session, the battery cannot be replaced. Instead, you would have to connect the controller to a charger, which means that you are now tethered to your charger until the battery has sufficient juice for you to remove it.
  • Lithium batteries have a finite lifespan due to the repetitive cycle of power depletion and recharging. When the battery begins to fail to hold charge for a decent period of time, then changing it may be difficult and expensive.
Rear View: ZD V Full Vibration Feedback Wireless Controller Gamepad Joystick

Rear View: ZD V Full Vibration Feedback Wireless Controller Gamepad Joystick

After a full charge, the ZD V Full Vibration Feedback 2.4 GHz Wireless Controller GamePad Joystick battery power lasts for a considerable amount of time. On a full charge, the battery lasts between 8 and 15 hours of continuous game play. These figures are in line with the published specifications.

Connection

Connection to gaming hardware if relatively simple. Just insert the wireless USB dongle into a USB port of your gaming equipment and select the operation mode of the gamepad with the HOME button.

On a PC platform, the gamepad is Plug and Play – except for Windows XP. For use on Windows XP, you will need to download and install the 360 controller driver from Microsoft’s official website before plugging in the USB dongle.

PS3 and Android platforms are Plug & Play.

How to Turn the ZD V Full Vibration Feedback 2.4GHz Wireless Controller Gamepad Joystick ON and OFF

  • TURN ON: Press the HOME button.
  • TURN OFF: Long press the BACK & B buttons together. Alternatively, the gamepad will automatically turn off after a reasonable time of inactivity.

Mode and Indicator Light Status

Press the HOME button to cycle through the input modes compatible with your device. The  colour of  the indicator light specifies what mode the gamepad is in.

The indicator light will flash until it detects a suitable driver on your gaming system. The indicator light will then shine constantly. Modes can be forced by long holding the HOME button.

Input Modes: ZD V Full Vibration Feedback Wireless Controller Gamepad Joystick

Input Modes: ZD V Full Vibration Feedback Wireless Controller Gamepad Joystick

  • Use the XInput mode to enable the full vibration feedback feature. It is recommended for PC / XBOX360 games that have been written to provide vibration feedback.
  • Use the Direct Input mode for the PS3 and other platforms like the Raspberry Pi.
  • Use the Android mode when paired with an Android device.

Note: the full vibration feature will only work in XInput mode AND when the games have been written to support it.

Exchange D-PAD and LEFT STICK Functions

A great feature of this gamepad is that the D-PAD and LEFT STICK controls can be swapped easily, back and forth, by pressing BACK and the LEFT STICK BUTTON at the same time.

D-PAD LEFT STICK Exchange: ZD V Full Vibration Feedback Wireless Controller Gamepad Joystick

D-PAD LEFT STICK Exchange: ZD V Full Vibration Feedback Wireless Controller Gamepad Joystick

If you want to use the ZD V Full Vibration Feedback 2.4GHz Wireless Controller Gamepad Joystick with RetroPie on the Raspberry Pi, then this function is fantastic for choosing the optimal left thumb controller for a particular ROM, quickly.

Conclusion

The ZD V Full Vibration Feedback 2.4 GHz Wireless Controller GamePad Joystick is rich with useful features that make it a versatile gaming accessory. With its 360 core and its range of compatibility modes, it can be used in conjunction with many gaming platforms. And, being a wireless controller means that you will not be tethered to your gaming hardware and restricted in range as you would be with its wired counterpart.

This gamepad feels good in the hands of both adults and children. It has been designed and produced to a quality resembling that of a PS3 controller. The construction is good; the buttons respond well and the joysticks work with precision.

Positives:

  • A versatile wireless controller with a XBOX 360 core, resulting in cross-platform compatibility. Fully compatible with PC, PS3, Android and other devices using Direct Mode.
  • Full vibration feedback when used in conjunction with compatible games.
  • Integral battery with continuous play time of 8 to 15 hours.
  • JD-Switch: The ability to swap the D-PAD and LS controllers in-game.
  • LT & RT are pressure sensing switches. This means linear and precise control in racing games is possible, depending on how you press.
  • Very good build quality, resembling that of a PS3 controller.

Negatives:

  • The controller is made from black glossy plastic, which attracts fingerprints. Very easy to wipe clean though.

Buy:-

ZD V Full Vibration Feedback 2.4GHz WIRELESS Controller Gamepad Joystick

ZD V Full Vibration Feedback WIRED Controller Gamepad Joystick

How to set up OpenVPN on Linux Mint

How To Set Up OpenVPN on Linux Mint

This guide describes the steps taken to set up the free OpenVPN service on Linux Mint and create a toggle switch in the Network Connections applet to simplify its use.

A VPN connection toggle switch circumvents the need to launch the OpenVPN service by typing a command in a terminal window. Additionally, multiple VPN networks can be added to the Network Connection applet as desired, to manage all your VPN networks effectively.

Linux Mint VPN Network Connection using the free OpenVPN service

Linux Mint VPN Network Connection using the free OpenVPN service

In brief, the steps required are:

  1. Visit vpnbook.com and download the free OpenVPN Certificate Bundles to your computer.
  2. Install the OpenVPN network daemon, network management framework and OpenVPN plugin core using Software Manager.
  3. Create a VPN network connection using one of the downloaded OpenVPN Certificates.

1. Download the free OpenVPN Certificate Bundles to your computer.

Free OpenVPN is the best and most recommended open-source VPN software world-wide.

Visit vpnbook.com/freevpn and download one or more Certificate Bundles appropriate for your needs.

Also, make a note of the Username and Password that are displayed beneath the list of certificates.

The Certificate Bundles are provided in a compressed file and need to be extracted. Go to your download folder and right-click the downloaded zip file. Select Extract Here to unzip the files quickly inside your download folder.

Right-click and select Extract Here

Right-click and select Extract Here

At this point, you may want to create a dedicated certificate folder in which to store all your extracted certificates.

2. Install the OpenVPN software.

Launch Linux Mint Software Manager from the Menu and enter your password when prompted.

Select Software Manager from the Linux Mint menu

Select Software Manager from the Linux Mint menu

In the Software Manager search field, type openvpn.

Search for openvpn in Software Manager

Search for openvpn in Software Manager

If the following packages are not installed, install them using the Software Manager interface:

  • Openvpn | Virtual private network daemon.
  • Network-manager-openvpn-gnome | Network management framework (openvpn plugin gnome gui).
  • Network-manager-openvpn | Network management framework (openvpn plugin core).

3. Create a VPN network connection

Click the Linux Mint Menu button and type network in the search bar. Select the Networking Configuration Manager.

Select Network

Select Network

Add a new connection by pressing the plus symbol beneath the list of available networks.

Add a new network connection

Add a new network connection

Select VPN from the Add Network Connection options.

Select VPN from the options

Select VPN from the options

Select Import from file…

Import from file...

Import from file…

Navigate to your certificate folder, chose a certificate (.ovpn file) and press Open to import that file.

Chose a certificate file

Chose a certificate file

A User Certificate, CA Certificate and Private Key are extracted from the vpnbook certificate file and stored on your computer. File locations can be obtained by clicking the folder icon adjacent to each file.

Enter the username and password in the appropriate fields and press Add to complete the Add Network Connection process.

It is important to note that the username and password are case sensitive.

Add username and password

Add username and password

The new network connection will now be visible in the Networking manager. It can be enabled and disabled in the Networking manager to test the connection.

Connection added to Linux Mint Networking Manager

Connection added to Linux Mint Networking Manager

Most connection failures will be due to an incorrectly typed username or password. To edit a network configuration, select the network by left clicking it in the list, then press the crossed spanner and screw driver icon in the Networking manager.

Upon confirmation of connection success, close the Networking manager window.


How to use

Left click the network icon (located at the bottom right of the Linux Mint task bar) to see a summary of available networks and those currently connected.

Linux Mint Network applet

Linux Mint Network applet

Use the toggle switch to enable or disable VPN Connections.

If you have multiple VPN connections configured, the one in use will be shown at the top of the list with a bullet point to its left.

To connect to a different VPN network, use the Network Settings option to return to the Networking configuration manager. Enable and disable VPN connections there.

Note that the vpnbook password is changed frequently. If you find that a previously working vpn configuration fails to connect, visit vpnbook.com and obtain the new password. Then make the appropriate change in the configuration as described in step 3.

Ecoair DD1 Mk5 Dehumidifier

EcoAir DD1 Classic MK5 Desiccant Dehumidifier

For the purpose of clarity, this is a review of the EcoAir DD1 Classic Mk5 Desiccant Dehumidifier (formerly DD122 Classic), purchased with hard-earned cash.

Overview

The EcoAir DD1 Mk5 Desiccant dehumidifier sets the bar for home desiccant dehumidifiers with its innovative design and a wealth of comprehensive features that optimize performance and save energy. It rectifies problem areas quickly and maintains them intelligently by toggling between full power, economy and standby modes as it senses the environment around it. This means that once your environment is under control, dehumidification requirements will be adjusted continuously so that power is only consumed when absolutely necessary. It works effectively at cold temperatures, even as low as 1ºC. Its operating range of 1ºC-40ºC makes this machine incredibly versatile for use in almost any home enclosure.

EcoAir DD1 Classic Mk5 Desiccant Dehumidifier

EcoAir DD1 Mk5 Classic Desiccant Dehumidifier

The EcoAir DD1 Classic Mk5 Desiccant Dehumidifier can be used to dry laundry indoors quickly yet keep humidity levels within a comfortable range. Clothes dried with the assistance of this dehumidifier smell fresher than those dried more slowly indoors.

The 3D-Louvre on top of the machine can be controlled to tackle problem areas quickly, like mould growth on a wall, by channeling airflow towards a target in a precise manner.

3D-Louvre

3D-Louvre

The selective Ioniser purifies the air by releasing negative ions from the air outlet. This has a normalizing effect on the human body, providing ideal conditions for breathing and relaxation. A silver filter traps airborne particles and kill bacteria on contact. The filter is designed to be cleaned very easily.

Desiccant technology means no more noisy compressor at the heart of the machine. This model is advertised as Whisper Quiet at only 34 dB(A). Measurements made confirm this fact, but whether or not you could sleep with this unit running in the same room is a moot point. However, it is barely audible at night when operating on a landing behind a closed bedroom door.

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The unit has intuitive controls, a filter that is quick and easy to clean and a neat carrying handle that folds flush with the top of the unit.

EcoAir DD1 Classic Mk5 Desiccant Dehumidifier Water Collection

EcoAir DD1 Classic Mk5 Desiccant Dehumidifier Water Collection

The EcoAir DD1 Classic Mk5 Desiccant Dehumidifier has a water  tank capacity of 2 Litres, which is simple to empty and replace. An anti drip mechanism prevents water drips when the tank is removed. Continuous drainage is possible with a supplied hose that can be plumbed into existing waste outlets.

What’s in the box?

Packaging and Contents

Packaging and Contents

The EcoAir DD1 Classic MK5 Desiccant Dehumidifier arrives well packaged with the main unit protected with polystyrene blocks. Included with the dehumidifier is a transparent hose 1.2m in length and 12mm in inner diameter. This can be connected to the dehumidifier if continuous drainage is desired. A manual, which contains the 2 Year Guarantee Card on the final page completes the ensemble.

The EcoAir DD1 Classic Mk5 Desiccant Dehumidifier manual

Specifications

  • Temperature range: 1ºC to 40ºC
  • Dehumidification extraction rate: 7 Litres/day @ 20ºC and 60% RH
  • Water tank capacity: 2 Litres (Continuous drainage possible)
  • Voltage: 220-240V @ 50Hz
  • Net weight: 6 Kg
  • Dimensions: 290mm x 475mm x 175mm

Review

Design

The EcoAir DD1 Classic Mk5 Desiccant Dehumidifier is impressively smart and fashionable in design and would compliment most decors and furnishings. It is slender enough to tuck away in a corner when not in use. And, it does not seem obtrusive at all when brought out for use. The blue light in the front grill is in vogue with modern appliances and rounds off a very pleasing design.

Operation

The push button controls on top of the unit are intuitive and easy to press. The dehumidifier can be programmed for simple or specific tasks with just a few button presses.

Essentially, the amount of noise emitted from the machine is governed by the two power settings, economy and high. The type of sound that is created is akin to the noise made by the fan in an extraction hood, common to most kitchens. If you want some idea of how this unit will sound, and more importantly, how loud it will be, go into your kitchen and listen to your extractor fan on low and high settings. The video below compares the sound from the EcoAir DD1 Classic Mk5 Desiccant Dehumidifier with the fan of an extractor hood. Sound intensity levels from both units are also measured and displayed for comparative purposes. Advertised as Whisper Quiet at 34 dB(A), measurements made during the making of this video confirm that the intensity of the sound emitted is correct. However, the type of noise created is unlike a whisper, and in my opinion, it is not pleasant to listen to. Nontheless, behind a closed door, the noise is barely noticeable.

Sound measurements taken at a distance of 1 metre (3ft) from all sources.

Buy the EcoAir DD1 Classic Mk5 Desiccant Dehumidifier from Amazon UK

On the high power setting, the EcoAir DD1 Classic Mk5 Desiccant Dehumidifier will dehumidify a room to comfortable levels within a very short period of time. Additionally, the unit will dry partially dried washing very quickly and wet washing reasonably quickly, and at the same, heat the room and maintain a comfortable humidity level. Clothes dried rapidly in this way smell fresher than clothes that are dried more slowly on radiators or airers. Although this dehumidifier cannot compete with the drying times of tumble driers, the EcoAir DD1 Classic Mk5 Desiccant Dehumidifier is a viable alternative for those seeking to dry their laundry in a smarter way; where space is at a premium or home occupancy is low.

This model uses 300W and 590W of power in economy and high power modes respectively. You can calculate the cost of using this appliance by entering these details and your electricity tariff in this calculator. To give you an idea of the energy cost, you will also need to enter how often you expect to use this device.

Don’t be alarmed when you see the prediction! The EcoAir DD1 Classic Mk5 Desiccant Dehumidifier really is an efficient device. This means you will not need to run it as often as you first thought. It will get humidity levels in your home under control very quickly and then it will be a case of running the unit when needed to maintain those levels, or to dry laundry effectively.

Change your habits

Condensation will not disappear instantly when a dehumidifier is in operation. If you are generating excessive amounts of water vapour from cooking, boiling a kettle, washing, showering or bathing, it will be necessary to ventilate your property by opening windows and using extractor fans to expel the excessive humidity.

Digital Temperature - Hygrometer

Digital Temperature – Hygrometer

Invest in a digital hygrometer that will measure and display the humidity level of the room you keep it in. Switching on your dehumidifier only when humidity levels are excessive will keep your energy costs low. If you own a home weather station or a modern smart phone, then the chances are that you already have a hygrometer at hand.

Conclusion

Positives:

  • Sleek, modern design and aesthetically pleasing. Its slender design makes it easy to store.
  • Incorporates intelligent features that run in parallel to optimise efficiency and reduce power consumption.
  • Desiccant technology means a consistent extraction efficiency over a large temperature range. Extraction rate of 7 Litres/day @ 20ºC and 60% RH.
  • 2 Litre water collection tank capacity with the option for continuous drainage.
  • No compressor means a quieter product.
  • 3D-Louvre system can target problem areas by channeling airflow precisely.
  • Purifies the air with negative ions to aid breathing and relaxation.
  • Silver filter scrubs air particulate matter and kills bacteria on contact.
  • Dries laundry very quickly while maintaining comfortable humidity levels and thereby preventing condensation.
  • Works so effectively that you will use it occasionally rather than continuously. This keeps energy costs down.
  • Built in shutdown timer.
  • Lightweight and easy to carry at only 6Kg.

Negatives:

  • Although the intensity of noise produced is low and in keeping with that stated by the manufacturer, the type of noise produced in unpleasant to listen to, especially in the high power mode. However, the noise is barely detectable through closed doors. That said, deployment times and locations can be organised so as not to annoy people in the home.
  • Although this dehumidifier contains a hygrometer to measure the humidity level around it, it does not display that measurement. This would have been a useful feature.
  • The humidity thresholds at which the dehumidifier switches to economy, high power and standby modes are preset and cannot be altered. The option to change these would have been beneficial for refining power savings.

A very good product and value for money.

Buy the EcoAir DD1 Classic Mk5 Desiccant Dehumidifier from Amazon UK


Humidity Guide

There will always be water vapour (or moisture) in the air. Water vapour in the air is measured as the ratio of the actual amount of water vapour in the air to the amount it could hold when saturated, and expressed as a percentage. This measurement is known as % Relative Humidity (% RH). Too much or too little moisture in the home can be unhealthy and uncomfortable. The optimum humidity range is 40% – 60% RH.

It is important to maintain a consistent humidity range to preserve your home and possessions and at the same time, remain comfortable and healthy.

Low Humidity

If indoor humidity is too low, this can lead to excess drying which in turn can cause skin irritations, eczema, chapped hands and a dry nose. It can also cause damage to wooden furniture, musical instruments and works of art by drying them out too much.

High Humidity

High humidity indoors causes condensation and damp. The damp left by condensation can damage plaster, wall paper, furniture, vehicles, timber, windows, doors and clothes.

Damp areas are breeding grounds for anaerobic bacteria in the air, which land in patches of moisture and then thrive, ultimately resulting in visible mould, fungus and the accompanying musty smells.

% Relative Humidity Guide

% Relative Humidity Guide

Condensation

The graph below shows the relationship between temperature and the amount of water that can be held in the air at 1 Atmosphere of pressure.

Amount of Water in Air (g/Kg) Versus Air Temperature | Graph calculated from http://www.lenntech.com/calculators/humidity/relative-humidity.htm

Amount of Water in Air (g/Kg) Versus Air Temperature | Graph calculated from http://www.lenntech.com/calculators/humidity/relative-humidity.htm

Warm air has the potential to hold more moisture than colder air. When the air inside the house becomes colder, the moisture content in the air can no longer be held as the air becomes saturated and water molecules coalesce to form droplets of water on colder surfaces like windows, bathroom mirrors and walls. This is condensation caused by a rapid increase in % relative humidity.

How To Repair A Nikon MH-25 Battery Charger

How To Repair A Nikon MH-25 Battery Charger

This is a fault finding and repair guide for the Nikon MH-25 battery charger.

Nikon charger not working | Nikon battery charger MH-25 not working | Nikon battery charger no light | Nikon battery charger not blinking | How to open charger MH-25?

The Nikon MH-25 Battery Charger

The Nikon MH-25 Battery Charger

The Nikon MH-25 is a mains operated battery charger for the EN-EL15 lithium-ion battery, which is specific to a variety of Nikon cameras including the D800, D600, D7000, D7100 and D7200.

This article is a general repair guide for the Nikon MH-25 battery charger and shows:-

  • How to fault find the Nikon MH-25 battery charger when the LED light fails to blink to indicate a charging state.
  • How to dismantle / take apart the Nikon MH-25 battery charger.
  • How to inspect the Nikon MH-25 printed circuit board (pcb) for common electrical faults.
  • How to repair the Nikon MH-25 battery charger pcb.
  • How to reassemble the Nikon MH-25 battery charger.

Step 1 – Conduct Simple Tests

  • Make sure the power cable is pushed firmly into the Nikon H-25 battery charger.
  • Try a different power outlet.
  • Try a different figure of eight cable from another device.
  • If you have a UK model, change the plug fuse and re-try the Nikon MH-25 battery charger. The fuse rating is 3 Amps.

If your Nikon MH-25 battery charger is still non functional after these tests and you want to attempt a repair yourself, then jump to step 2.


Alternatively, find a replacement MH-25 battery charger here:

Nikon MH-25 UK Battery Charger for EN-EL15

Nikon 1900 mAh Lithium Ion Rechargeable Battery for D800/D600/D7100/D7000

MH-25 battery charger variants


Step 2 – What You Will Need

To take apart the Nikon MH-25 battery charger you will need the following items:

  • A precision Torx screwdriver set.
  • A flat blade screwdriver with a long shank to assist with leverage.
Tools Required to Dismantle the MH-25 Battery Charger Case

Tools Required to Dismantle the Nikon MH-25 Battery Charger Case

For any electrical repair on the circuit board, you will need:

  • A soldering iron with a fine tip.
  • Solder.
  • Sheathed wire.
  • Wire cutters or scissors.
  • Long nosed pliers.
  • A knife.

Work in a well lit area and consider having the means to magnify the pcb board if your eye sight is poor.

Step 3 – How To Take the Nikon MH-25 Battery Charger Apart

The Nikon MH-25 battery charger is held together with one small Torx screw and lots of glue.

The Single Torx Screw on the Rear of the Nikon MH-25 Battery Charger

The Single Torx Screw on the Rear of the Nikon MH-25 Battery Charger

The head of the Torx screw can be seen at the rear of the charger, next to the power connector. Unscrew it and store it safely at one side of your work area.

Using the flat bladed screwdriver, start to work your away around the unit, applying gently pressure to prise the two halves of the case apart. The glue is strong and this part of the procedure may take some time. You can see in the image above, the small amount of damage that is inevitable in prising the case apart.

When the back of the case is removed, the circuit board, rotary power connector and spring battery clip can be taken out easily.

The Rear of the Nikon MH-25 Battery Charger Case Removed

The Rear of the Nikon MH-25 Battery Charger Case Removed

WARNING:

The rear of the Nikon MH-25 circuit board has two areas clearly labelled Primary and Secondary.

The Primary circuit deals with transforming incoming voltage to the lower voltage requirements of the Secondary charging circuit. It is possible to receive an electric shock by touching any of the points in the Primary circuit even when mains power is disconnected. The capacitors will hold charge for a significant period after mains power has been removed. The capacitors should dissipate their charge to reasonable levels a few minutes after the removal of mains power.

Components of the Nikon MH-25 Battery Charger

Components of the Nikon MH-25 Battery Charger

Step 4 – Inspect the Nikon MH-25 Printed Circuit Board

More than likely, most faults will be on the underside of the circuit board; the side with the printed tracks.

An examination of the printed circuit board from my Nikon MH-25 battery charger shows the track-side to be peppered with indentations and other mechanical induced marks. In my case, there are clear pot-marks on the incoming power rail, which have caused my unit to fail.

This youtube video shows an example where solder joints have not been completed properly during the manufacturing process and a small knock can be enough to dislodge components from the electrical circuit.

However, it is worth taking a look at the electronic components too while the board is out of the case.

Top side / component side of MH-25 pcb

Check the condition of the capacitors. Look for capacitors that may have blown and replace them if necessary.

Bottom side / pcb side of MH-25

Look carefully at the tracks and solder points all over the board. Look for poorly soldered / loose joints and tracks that appear to be damaged or broken.

Re-solder loose/dry joints. Patch broken pcb tracks with solder and wire.

In order to solder to a broken rail, use a knife to scrape away the green insulation to reveal the copper surface beneath.

Nikon MH-25 Battery Charger Printed Circuit Boared

Nikon MH-25 Battery Charger Printed Circuit Boared

The image above shows two breaks on the same pcb track for incoming mains power. The larger red circle shows a repair that I made to the pcb track with wire and solder. The smaller red circle shows another potential break on the same pcb track

Nikon MH-25 Battery Charger PCB Track Break

Nikon MH-25 Battery Charger PCB Track Break

Scratching away the discolouration on the pcb track with a knife clearly shows that this part of the track is broken too.

Broken tracks can be bridged with wire and solder. In this instance though, I decided to bypass the pcb track all together and run a sheathed wire between the two solder points rather than make another fiddly repair on the same track.

PCB Track Bypassed With Sheathed Wire

PCB Track Bypassed With Sheathed Wire

Step 5 – Reassemble the Nikon MH-25  Battery Charger

Reassembly of the Nikon MH-25 battery charger is relatively easy to do provided you follow these steps.

  • Take the rear part of the MH-25 battery charger case and lay it flat on your work surface.
  • Slot the circuit board on to the charger case.
  • Put this assembly to one side.

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  • Lay the front part of the MH-25 battery charger case on your work surface.
  • Insert the rotary power connector so that it latches in the slide lock mechanism.
  • Insert the spring battery clip as shown.

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Carefully bring the two assemblies together until they snap shut. Take care not to damage the LED.

Insert the Torx screw and tighten.

Connect the power cable and test.

Obtaining a Replacement Nikon MH-15 Battery Charger

If your repairs have been unsuccessful then consider the following options:-

I have written a Review of the RAVPower 2100mAh Rechargeable Camera Battery and Charger Set for Nikon cameras, a product which I have purchased and use on a daily basis. This kit consists of two replacement EN-EL15 batteries and a dual USB charger. It is less expensive than purchasing a replacement Nikon MH-25 charger and is a total power solution for your camera. Check the latest prices out in my review.

However, if you want to purchase another Nikon MH-25 battery charger then check out the prices on Amazon:

Nikon MH-25 UK Battery Charger for EN-EL15

Spare battery:
Nikon 1900 mAh Lithium Ion Rechargeable Battery for D800/D600/D7100/D7000

Dual MH-25 battery chargers, USB MH-25 battery chargers and non Nikon MH-25 battery chargers:
Search Amazon for MH-25 battery charger variants

Samsung 128GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive Fit

A Review of the Samsung MUF-BB 128 GB USB 3.0 MicroFit Flash Drive – Silver

For the purpose of clarity, this is a review of the Samsung MUF-BB 128GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive Fit as shown in its packaging below.

Samsung MUF-BB USB 3.0 128GB Flash Drive Fit in packaging

Samsung MUF-BB USB 3.0 128GB Flash Drive Fit

Summary

The Samsung MUF-BB 128GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive Fit is a discrete unit that will compliment the look of any laptop and at the same time, provide 119GB of fast storage space. The short length of the device means that it cannot be knocked from a laptop port, thus preventing data corruption. It is fast enough to integrate with a smart TV to provide time-shifting and programme recording. It can store at least 35 hours of recorded HD content due to its large capacity.

Additionally, this flash drive incorporates a number of unique features to protect your precious data. It is resilient to water, shock, magnets, temperature and x-rays. And, transfer speeds are very good when used in conjunction with either USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 ports.

The Samsung MUF-BB 128GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive Fit is manufactured in Taiwan and comes with a 5 year limited warranty.

Samsung MUF-BB USB 3.0 128GB Flash Drive Fit additional information

Samsung MUF-BB USB 3.0 128GB Flash Drive Fit additional information


Buy the Samsung MUF-BB 128GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive Fit from Amazon.


It can be used with old and modern hardware and a variety of operating systems. At the time of writing, this flash drive offers excellent value for money and is highly recommended as a versatile storage device.

Introduction

This tiny device, just 2cm (3/4″) in length, boasts transfer speeds of up to 130MB/s and is backward compatible with USB 2.0. Samsung claim that this storage device is water proof, shock proof, magnet proof, temperature proof and x-ray proof. These are welcome features that can protect your data from being lost accidentally.

Size of Samsung MUF-BB 128 GB USB 3.0 MicroFit Flash Drive

The Samsung MUF-BB USB 3.0 128GB Flash Drive Fit is just 2cm (3/4″) in length

For out-of-the-box compatibility across computers and game consoles, the Samsung MUF-BB 128GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive Fit comes pre-formatted in FAT32. This format provides cross platform usability but with a 4GB limitation on individual file size. If you intend to copy huge files to this drive, you will need to reformat the drive to the NTFS format, where no such limitation exists on individual files.

Windows detects this drive immediately as a Samsung USB.

Samsung USB shown in Windows Explorer

Samsung USB shown in Windows Explorer

Windows reports that the Samsung MUF-BB 128GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive Fit has a usable storage capacity of 119GB when formatted.

119GB usable capacity when formatted as FAT32

119GB usable capacity when formatted as FAT32

The free program H2testw, which can be used to detect fraudulent drive capacities, shows the true capacity of this drive to be that reported by Windows, 119GB.

Samsung MUF-BB 128GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive Fit - H2testw Results

Samsung MUF-BB 128GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive Fit – H2testw Results

Note: H2testw reports the usable capacity of the Samsung MUF-BB USB 3.0 Flash Drive Fit as 122,335 MBytes. Expressed in GB, the capacity of this drive is 122,335/1024 = 119GB.

The H2testw test was performed with the drive in a USB 3.0 port. The procedure took 55:40 mins to write data to the drive and 17:45 mins to verify it. The average writing and reading speeds were 36MB/s and 115MB/s, respectively.

Samsung MUF-BB 128GB USB Speed Test

CrystalDiskMark 5.1.2 x64 was used to determine the sequential read and write speeds of the Samsung MUF-BB 128GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive Fit in both USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 ports.

The different benchmarks of the CrytsalDiskMark are explained in this article.

USB 3.0 | FAT32

The benchmark, Seq Q32T1, writes and reads sequential 128KB blocks of data with multi-queues and threads. The average read and write speeds reported were 154MB/s and 102MB/s, respectively.

Samsung MUF-BB 128GB USB Flash Drive Speed Test | FAT32 / USB 3.0

Samsung MUF-BB 128GB USB Flash Drive Speed Test | FAT32 / USB 3.0

USB 2.0 | FAT32

With the drive in a USB 2.0 port, reported Seq Q32T1 read and write speeds were both 39MB/s. These transfer speeds are remarkable for a flash drive connected to a USB 2.0 port.

Samsung MUF-BB 128GB USB Flash Drive Speed Test | FAT32 / USB 2.0

Samsung MUF-BB 128GB USB Flash Drive Speed Test | FAT32 / USB 2.0

Computer – In Use

Although the Samsung MUF-BB 128GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive Fit is a small device, the plastic moulding on the end of it enables its easy removal from a USB port. A faint, blue light is emitted from the centre of the moulding when there is read and write activity. The moulding also incorporates a cut away so that it can be attached to a lanyard or keyring to prevent loss. This unit is certainly discrete and would compliment a laptop or smart TV. It even looked good when connected to my black desktop computer.

As expected, writing speed to the USB varies considerably during the transfer of many files. Typical write speeds when copying over 35GB of photographs from a hard disk drive to the Samsung MUF-BB 128GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive Fit, ranged from 35MB/s to 72MB/s.

Writing speed when copying lots of small files

Writing speed when copying lots of small files

During intensive copy operations, the Samsung MUF-BB 128GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive Fit does get warm. However, the heat produced does not result in a device that is too hot to handle, nor does it affect performance. The device cools quickly when intensive operations cease.

Smart TV – In Use

The Samsung MUF-BB 128GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive Fit performs admirably when used as an external hard disk drive for a Smart TV. Once connected the drive enables faultless time-shifting and programme recording.

How many hours of recorded television can a 128GB flash drive store?

Ultimately, the resultant file size of a recorded programme is dependent on the bit rate of that transmission. That bit rate will be relatively low for Standard Definition (SD) channels and much greater for High Definition (HD) channels. There is even bit rate variation within these two groups. Sports broadcasts tend to be of the highest quality and so have the highest bit rate and consequentially, the greatest storage rate.

The table below shows the expected recording time for the range of SD and HD channels on Freeview. These data were compiled by making random recordings from different channels then noting the recording time and file size. The storage rate was then calculated and then the total recording time for a 128GB USB flash drive.

Smart TV file storage rate and total recording time

Smart TV file storage rate and total recording time for a 128GB USB flash drive

The maximum storage rate of 56MB/min was courtesy of BBC ONE HD Match of the Day. The table shows that if this was the only scheduled weekly recording, a 128GB USB drive would be able to store approximately 35 hours of this programme. In comparison, one thirty minute recording of  ITV HD Coronation Street utilises 1.2GB of storage. A storage rate of 40MB/min.

So, to answer the question: “How many hours of recorded television can a 128GB flash drive store?”

Anything between 35 and 124 hours of recorded material, dependent on what you watch.

Conclusion

If you are looking for high capacity, fast, inexpensive flash storage then the Samsung MUF-BB 128GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive Fit will not disappoint. It is discrete, aesthetically pleasing and versatile and contains a rich set of features to protect your data from harsh environments. Highly recommended.


Buy the Samsung MUF-BB 128GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive Fit from Amazon.


Competition

There are many 128GB USB 3.0 flash drives on the market. Still unsure about the Samsung MUF-BB 128GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive Fit? Check out the competition on Amazon by clicking the link below.


A list of 128GB USB flash drives available on Amazon right now.


Delete Hotmail Account Without Mobile Number

Years ago, many of us created hotmail accounts simply to use MSN Messenger (Windows Live Messenger)  – and send and receive a few emails of course. Following the discontinuation of the messenger client in 2006, my hotmail account became dormant as I had moved over to other providers for my instant messaging and email needs. Just recently though, I needed to brush the cobwebs off my ageing hotmail account and log in to check an old email.

I was appalled at the fact that I could not just log in and get on with my work as Microsoft tried to embark upon a data collection exercise. It was at this point that I decided I was going to delete my hotmail account for good without providing my personal telephone number and email address.


Even if you are logging into one of your old hotmail accounts to delete it, Microsoft insist on taking your mobile phone number and another one of your email addresses before you reach the option to close the account. This stage cannot be bypassed.

Here’s how to work around the forced two-step authentication process and delete your hotmail account without providing your personal mobile telephone number and another one of your email addresses to Microsoft.

It can be done by using a disposable mobile telephone number and a disposable email address.

WARNING: Only follow this procedure if you want to delete your hotmail account. It is not advised to use a temporary disposable phone number and email address on an account you wish to keep.

How to delete a hotmail account without providing your personal details:

1 .Log in to your hotmail account with your username and password.

If you have never associated a telephone number with your hotmail account, you will see this prompt:

Help us protect your account.

Hotmail | Help Us Protect Your Account

Hotmail | Help Us Protect Your Account

This step cannot be bypassed, even though you just want to delete your account.

2. Obtain a disposable mobile number for free.

Visit SMSReceiveFree and choose a telephone number from the list.

Disposable Mobile Phone Numbers | SMSReceiveFree.com

Disposable Mobile Phone Numbers | SMSReceiveFree.com

In the Microsoft form:-

Enter that number, taking account of the country code.

Choose whether you would like to receive a mobile phone number verification code via text SMS message or voicemail (Call).

Click Next.

3. Enter the Microsoft verification code.

On the SMSReceiveFree website, click the mobile number that your entered in step 2.

Wait for your SMS text message or voicemail to arrive.

Received SMS Text Messages and Voicemail | SMSReceiveFree.com

Received SMS Text Messages and Voicemail | SMSReceiveFree.com

When your code arrives, complete the Microsoft telephone verification process.

Hotmail | Enter Verification code

Hotmail | Enter Verification code

4. Obtain a disposable email address for free.

Similarly, Microsoft will then ask you to provide a second email address for the hotmail account you are about to delete.

Google disposable email to find a temporary disposable email provider.

Guerillamail

Guerillamail

Enter the random email address in the Microsoft form.

Wait for an email confirmation and respond to it to complete the email verification process.

5. Hotmail protect your account.

Once Microsoft have a mobile telephone number and a second email address associated with your hotmail account, you will be asked to Protect your account before you are allowed access to the sensitive information like emails and settings.

Microsoft Hotmail/Live | Protect Your Account

Microsoft Hotmail/Live | Protect Your Account

Complete the form by using the telephone number you used in steps 1 and 2.

6. Delete your hotmail account.

At this stage, you should now have full access to your hotmail account.

Before deleting your account, take steps to delete all your emails and remove them from Trash. Delete your profile information and profile picture.

Delete your hotmail account.

How To Convert ZX Spectrum Programs From Cassette Tape To TZX Files

How To Transfer ZX Spectrum Programs From Cassette Tape To Computer TZX Files

This article describes an effective method to transfer ZX Spectrum programs from cassette tape to a computer and  convert those files for storage in the TZX file format.

C15 Computer Cassette

ZX Spectrum Programs Stored on a WH Smith C15 Computer Cassette

Once preserved as TZX files, ZX Spectrum programs can be enjoyed on modern hardware capable of running ZX Spectrum emulators.


About This Guide:

This file transfer and conversion guide is based on a PC running Windows 10 in conjunction with the MakeTZX decoding engine by Ramsoft.

It records the steps I took to salvage all of my ZX Spectrum BASIC programs from tape that I wrote in the early eighties.

Hopefully, in following this guide, you should avoid the stumbling blocks I encountered and save yourself a lot of wasted time.

You are advised to read through this document in full before commencing in order to understand the process and gather the materials you need.

Enjoy this archiving process and looking through your old code!

Good luck!


1. What You Will Need To Transfer ZX Spectrum Programs From Cassette Tape To Your Computer And Convert Them To The TZX File Format

  1. A cassette tape containing ZX Spectrum games / programs.
  2. A cassette tape player with an amplified output connection; a headphone socket or similar.
  3. A computer running Windows or a Linux operating system. The computer must have a Line-In connector.
  4. A suitable cable to connect your cassette tape player to the Line-In connector on your PC.
  5. Ramsoft’s MakeTZX  software, appropriate for your operating system.
  6. Software to analyze and edit audio wave files.
  7. A ZX Spectrum emulator for your operating system.

1.1 Cassette Tape Containing ZX Spectrum Programs

Your cassette tape may be more than three decades old if it has had the good fortune of surviving from the early eighties. Certainly, you need to treat it with care as it is unlikely that you will have the data it contains  backed up on another tape.

Assess the condition of the cassette and the tape itself by inserting a pen into one of the spools and rotating it in the direction of normal tape transport. Repeat the process with the pen in the second spool to transport the tape in the opposite direction. Before proceeding, look for loops of tape that may have been thrown off the wound spools during storage.

Ensure the tape is wound properly on both spools before inserting it into a cassette tape player.

Turning a Cassette Tape Spool With a Pen

Turning a Cassette Tape Spool With A Pen

With the cassette inserted in a cassette tape player, fast forward the tape fully to one end, then rewind the tape completely.

1.2 Selection Of Cassette Tape Player

I found this to be the largest obstacle in achieving reliable data transfer from tape to computer. Why?

  • Households today are no longer abundant with cassette tape players, so choice is limited.
  • More recent cassette deck technology, that was not around in the eighties, may interfere with the signal being played back. Disable features such as Loudness, Mega Bass, DSGX, EQ, etc…
Disable Modern Features Such as Mega Bass

Disable Modern Features Such As Mega Bass

  • Less expensive cassette players may be built from cheap electronic parts that introduce noise and cause errors during data transfer. This particular issue cost me lots of time during this project. Shown below is an example of DC offset and noise caused by a poor tone control circuit of a cassette player that I tried to use.
Signal Errors | DC Offset and Noise

Signal Errors | DC Offset and Noise

  • Avoid using a hi-fi separate cassette deck without an amplifier. The output is unlikely to have sufficient and controllable gain on its own for good data transfer.
AKAI Stereo Cassette Deck HX-1

AKAI Stereo Cassette Deck HX-1

1.3 Identify The Line-In Connection Of Your Computer

Computer Line-In connections are typically made to accept 3.5mm stereo jacks.

Computer Line-In Connection

Computer Line-In Connection

Line-In connections are normally labelled on your computer and are therefore relatively easy to identify. Examine your computer / motherboard manual if you are unsure of the location.

1.4 Connect The Cassette Deck To Your Computer

Using a suitable cable, connect your cassette tape player to the Line-In connection of your computer.

3.5 mm Stereo Phono Jack Cable and Adapter Plug

3.5 mm Stereo Phono Jack Cable And Adapter Plug

It is best to connect to an amplified output of the cassette deck so that signal levels can be adjusted with the volume control prior to data transfer. The headphone socket is usually a good choice.

Headphone Socket to Line-In

Headphone Socket To Line-In

You may require phone jack adapters or a cable with specific jacks to enable the connection.

1.5 Download The MakeTZX Software

Visit Romsoft’s MakeTZX Homepage and download the appropriate software for your system.

Versions of MakeTZX are available for Windows, DOS, Linux x86 and Amiga from the MakeTZX Download Center.

If you have a Windows operating system, download the two compressed files, MakeTZX and WinGUI.

Download Both MakeTZX Files for Windows Operating Systems

Download Both MakeTZX Files For Windows Operating Systems

Uncompress both zip files. This will result in two separate folders. Then, move / copy the contents of one folder to the other so that all the following files are contained in one folder.

Merge The Contents of Both Folders | MakeTKZ Windows

Merge The Contents of Both Folders | MakeTKZ Windows

Make a note of the folder’s name or rename the folder if you prefer. This will be your working folder. This software requires no installation and can be run directly from this folder.

The file mtzxwgui.exe is a Windows graphical user interface designed to simplify configuration of the DOS-based sampler and TZX encoder, maketzx.exe

The file mtzxman.htm is the user manual for MakeTZX and can be viewed in your default web browser by double-clicking it.

1.6 Audio / Wave Editor

Although not essential, it is beneficial to have an audio / wave editor installed on your computer to assist with signal analysis, fault finding and editing.

Audacity is free, open source, cross platform software for recording and editing sounds. Audacity will run on Windows, Linux, Mac and other operating systems. It is highly recommended.

1.7 ZX Spectrum Emulator

There are many, free ZX Spectrum emulators available for all types of hardware and operating systems.

Recommended ZX Emulators:-

Download the ZX Spectrum Emulator – Spectacol – Android Apps from the Google Play store.

Download FUSE – ZX Spectrum Emulator for Linux, Windows, OS X and many other operating system.

Alternatively, use your favorite ZX Spectrum emulator. Just make sure that it is able to load TZX files.


2. How To Use MakeTZX To Transfer ZX Spectrum Files From Cassette Tape To Your Computer And Convert Them To TZX Files

2.1 MakeTZX Help File

The help file, mtzxman.htm,  as described in Step 1.5, is comprehensive and explains everything you need to know about MakeTZX. You may need to refer to this document if the conversion process fails at some point.

2.2 MakeTZX | Sampling Your Cassette Tape & TZX Encoding

Double click mtzxwgui.exe to launch the Graphical User Interface (GUI).

Enter a name for your Output file (TZX), i.e. OUTPUT.

Enable DirectMode and check Save WAV file.

Change the sampling rate to 48000 Hz.

DirectMode means that MakeTZX will use the Line Input of your sound card to capture and convert the input signal in real time.

MakeTZX WinGUI | Configuration for Sampling and Encoding

MakeTZX WinGUI | Configuration for Sampling and Encoding

Press the Start button. This will launch maketzx.exe in a console window with the configuration set in the GUI.

Upon launch, you are invited to set the input signal level from the cassette tape player to an appropriate level; a level high enough to have a good signal to noise ratio but not so high that signal clipping (distortion) occurs. Press Play on your cassette tape player and you should start to see the signal strength of the recording displayed dynamically on the text-based vu-meters.

MakeTZX VU Meters

MakeTZX VU Meters

Adjust the volume of the cassette tape player so that the signal strength is high but does not exceed the text Volume] within the vu-meter.  Signal strength greater than this will result in clipping and is detrimental to data transfer.

Once you are satisfied with the signal levels, Stop and Rewind the tape.

With the console window selected, press Return to start the sampling and conversion. Now press Play on the cassette tape player.

MakeTZX will now search for pilot header tones and data as the tape recording is played back. Details of program headers, and data blocks will be reported as the cassette tape plays. It is recommended to keep the cassette tape playing until you are certain that no more data exists on the tape. At that point, press Stop on the cassette tape player and with the console window selected, press a key to terminate sampling.

The output in the console window should look something like this:

MakeTZX Console Window

MakeTZX Console Window

The information displayed includes where data blocks start and stop, header lengths, the gap duration between data blocks (in milliseconds), program names, data files (“Bytes”) and any errors encountered.

At this point it is worth noting down these details by either copying the text in the console window to a text file or by capturing the console output as an image for reference later.

Notice that two files have been generated in your working folder; one is an uncompressed audio recording of the playback  (.wav file) and the other is a .tzx file.

MakeTZX Output Files

MakeTZX Output Files

Opting to save a digitized audio file is beneficial in removing any encountered errors without the need to re-sample from the cassette tape again. Details are provided towards the end of this document in section 2.5.

2.3 Testing The TZX File

TZX files store programs and data in the same sequential order that they were stored on cassette tape.

If a file association exists between your ZX Spectrum emulator and the extension .tzx, double-clicking a TZX file should open your ZX Spectrum emulator and then load the first program it encounters.

If no association exists, open your ZX Spectrum emulator, File > Open > your.tzx will load and run the first program in the sequence of programs.

If you want to load a program other than the first, open your ZX Spectrum emulator and go to Media > Tape > Open

Select the TZX file.

With the ZX Spectrum emulator window selected, press J , Ctrl+P, Your Program Name, Ctrl+P

This results in:

LOAD “Your Program Name and the flashing L cursor.

ZX Spectrum LOAD Program

ZX Spectrum LOAD Program

Press Return to load your program.

2.4 One TZX File For One Program

If you would prefer to make a TZX file for just program, this can be achieved by either:

  • Re-sampling that one program from cassette tape.
  • Cutting the program data from the digital audio file and submitting that data to maketzx.exe to make a new TZX file.

I found the latter to be the easiest and fastest method as it is time consuming to position the cassette tape accurately to sample a program mid-tape.

Using your preferred audio editor, load your sampled audio (.wav) file.

ZX Spectrum Programs & Data Sampled From Cassette Tape By MakeTZX

ZX Spectrum Programs & Data Sampled From Cassette Tape By MakeTZX

Using the output that you saved  earlier from the maketzx console window, you should be able to determine where your program resides in the wave form, based on the gaps between data blocks.

Highlight the section of the wave form that you wish to save and File > Save Selection As… to save an audio file of your selected program.

Alternatively, rename your file then delete portions of the wave form you don’t need until you are left with your program data.

Tip! Remember that a header precedes any program or data block and all associated data needs to be saved. The example below depicts two ZX Spectrum programs as audio waves. The top trace consists of a program header, which contains the name of the program. It is then followed by the program itself. This is a typical example of a simple ZX Spectrum BASIC program.

The bottom trace is one program but is more complex than the previous example as it consists of many data blocks and headers:-

  • Program header containing the name of the program
  • A short BASIC loader
  • A bytes header
  • Binary data (this could be a full screen picture, graphics data or machine code)
  • Program header
  • Program data
  • Bytes header
  • Binary data

All of these need to be selected to produce a working TZX file.

ZX Spectrum Data

ZX Spectrum Data

Launch the MakeTZX Win GUI and press the Browse button. Choose the modified audio file that you wish to convert. Ensure DirectMode is Disabled and click Start.

MakeTZX Win GUI Convert Audio File

MakeTZX Win GUI Convert Audio File

MakeTZX will then convert your audio file to a TZX file and output the details in the console window.

MakeTZX | One Program One TZX File

MakeTZX | One Program One TZX File

Test the generated TZX file by double clicking it or by loading it as tape media in your ZX Spectrum emulator.

2.5 MakeTZX | Removing Errors

MakeTZX incorporates an arsenal of powerful digital filters that are able to rectify many of the problems found on old tapes. The filters are explained in detail in section 11 of the user manual.

R Tape loading error, 0:1

R Tape loading error, 0:1

If you encounter a R Tape loading error, 0:1, load the wave file into MakeTZX WinGUI and enable the Digital Filter with the default settings. Ensure DirectMode is disabled then press Start to generate a new TZX file.

MakeTZX Digital Filter Enabled

MakeTZX Digital Filter Enabled

Refer to the accompanying documentation to determine what digital filters could work for your situation.

Also note that if you are attempting to transfer and convert a commercial game with this method, check Autodetect loader to circumvent the multitude of protection schemes that were used to prevent piracy.

If all else fails, re-sample the cassette tape recording with a different output level.

200M PLC Passthrough Adapter Power Packet Utility – InTellon

InTellon Power Packet Utility for 200M PLC Passthrough Adapters

This review provides download links to the InTellon Power Packet Utility and User Manual for the 200M PLC Passthrough Adapters that were manufactured circa 2005-2009. The links are provided at the very end of this document beneath the original copyright notice.

Power Packet Utility

Power Packet Utility

Check the photographs and description of the 200M PLC Passthrough Adapters to make sure that the Power Packet Utility software is the correct version for your units.

Introduction

These 200M PLC Passthrough Adapters were manufactured in China. Based on the Intellon INT6400 chipset, they  were one of the first incarnations of the HomePlug to go on sale in the UK. Relatively inexpensive, they were able to extend the reach of  local area networks by utilizing the existing electrical wiring of the home. They were a welcome arrival for those suffering the woes of weak and unreliable wi-fi.

The main features of these 200M PLC Passthrough Adapters were:

  • Transmission of data up to 200Mbits/s across the household power line.
  • Every socket became a connection. No new wire required.
  • Effortless creation of high speed networks that could carry video, voice and data consistently, with zero drop outs.
  • The passthrough feature meant not having to give up an electrical outlet. The product provided a female socket to which devices or power strips could be connected.
  • Built in noise filters to improve data transmission.
  • 128 AES encryption.

The 200M PLC Passthrough Adapters were sold in pairs and each pair came bundled with a small user manual and miniature CD containing Power Packet software: Powerline Ethernet Adapter Series Utility. Two RJ45 Ethernet cables were also provided to complete the kit.

200M PLC Passthrough Adapter | User Manual & CD

200M PLC Passthrough Adapter | User Manual

Overview of the 200M PLC Passthrough Adapter

200M PLC Passthrough Adapter | Front

200M PLC Passthrough Adapter | Front

The front face of the 200M PLC Passthrough Adapter features the pass through female electrical socket to receive a 240 volt UK male 3-pin plug. Three green LED lights in the bottom right hand corner of the unit display Power, LAN and PLC activity.

  • Power: The Power LED illuminates when the adapter is powered on.
  • LAN: The LAN LED flashes to indicate activity over the Ethernet connection.
  • PLC: The PLC LED flashes when there is activity over the power line connection.
200M PLC Passthrough Adapter | Right

200M PLC Passthrough Adapter | Right

On the right hand side of the unit are two switches labelled  RST and NMK.

  • RST – Resets the unit to factory defaults.
  • NMK – Network Membership Key. Adds new devices or removes old devices from a HomePlug AV logical network (AVLN).
200M PLC Passthrough Adapter | Ethernet Connection at Base of Unit

200M PLC Passthrough Adapter | Ethernet Connection at Base of Unit

At the base of the unit is the connection for an Ethernet cable.

200M PLC Passthrough Adapter | Rear of Unit

200M PLC Passthrough Adapter | Rear of Unit

The rear side of the 200M PLC Passthrough Adapter contains important information about the default settings of that unit, namely: Mac Address, password and serial number.

The default password is required when adding that HomePlug adapter to an AVLN with the supplied Power Packet Utility software.


In 2009, I purchased four of these Ethernet passthrough adapters in order to extend the range of my home computer network. And, it is fair to say that they have withstood the test of time. Seven years on, they are still working admirably. Except for one that is, that got reset accidentally when I moved it to a new location.

To reconfigure that one unit would have been easy enough if I still had the Power Packet Utility software installed on my computer. But,  three operating systems and another PC later I’m dead in the water. I can’t find the original CD or find the correct version of the Power Packet Utility online. And, InTellon no longer trade under that name.

Working on another project today, I found the original Power Packet Utility CD and manual purely by chance.

I thought it only right to make that software available to others who might be in need of it.

The original copyright notice allows me to do this providing I display that original notice:

Copyright (c) 1999 – 2005 NetGroup, Politecnico di Torino (Italy).
Copyright (c) 2005 – 2009 CACE Technologies, Davis (California).
All rights reserved.

InTellon Power Packet Utility - Version 5.0, Build 2.0 - Released 3 Nov 2009

InTellon power Packet Utility – Version 5.0, Build 2.0 – Released 3 Nov 2009

Download 200M PLC Passthrough Adapter User Manual.

Download 200M PLC Passthrough Adapter Power Packet Utility, version 5.0, build 2.0, released November 3 2009.

InTellon Power Packet Utility Installation Files

InTellon Power Packet Utility Installation Files

Install WinPcap_4_1_1.exe first – this contains the drivers for the Passthrough Adapters, then install setup.exe.

Works on Windows 10 64 bit!

How To Install CPUMiner in Linux and Mine for ZiftrCOINs

How To Install CPUMiner in Linux and Mine for ZiftrCOINs

This article shows you how to install cpuminer-ziftr on a Linux distribution in order to mine ZiftrCOINs with a CPU.

Tested on Xubuntu 14.04.4 64 bit.

Requirements:-

  • A ZiftrCOIN-Qt Wallet installed on either a Windows PC, Linux  operating system or Mac.
  • A ZiftrCOIN receiving address.
  • A computer running a Linux distribution of your choice.

1. Open up a terminal window.

In Linux open a new terminal window by pressing Ctrl + Alt + T on the keyboard.

2. Update your computer and install dependencies:

sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get upgrade -y

sudo apt-get install -y git curl unzip gedit automake autoconf dh-autoreconf build-essential pkg-config openssh-server screen libtool libcurl4-openssl-dev libtool libncurses5-dev libudev-dev

3. Visit the Github Repo: https://github.com/ZiftrCOIN/cpuminer-ziftr taking particular note of any build instructions that are required.

4. Download CPUMiner for ZiftrCOIN by cloning the repository.

Click the icon circled in red to copy the exact address of the CPUMiner ZiftrCOIN repository to your clipboard.

Grab the GitHub Address

Grab the GitHub Address

The address at the time of writing is shown below in red and you may need to replace this with the contents of your clipboard if this has changed by the time of reading.

cd ~

git clone https://github.com/ZiftrCOIN/cpuminer-ziftr.git

5. Check the CPUMiner Ziftr folder name.

List the contents of your home directory by typing:

ls -l

Locate the cpuminer-ziftr folder, taking note of its name.

cpuminer-ziftr Folder Name

cpuminer-ziftr Folder Name

If it differs from the one shown in red in the next command, make the appropriate change in step5.

5. Compile, make and install CPUMiner for ZiftrCOIN mining:

cd ~/cpuminer-ziftr

chmod +x autogen.sh

./autogen.sh

Now check the build instructions on the git repo page (as described in step 3). You need to look for the Linux configuration details to configure CPUMiner for ZiftrCOIN:

CpuMiner ZiftrCOIN configuration details on GitHub

CpuMiner ZiftrCOIN configuration details on GitHub

In this case:

./configure CFLAGS="-O3"

make

Finally, complete the installation with:

sudo make install

6. How to mine with CPUMiner-ZiftrCOIN in Linux.

At this point it is now possible to start mining for ZiftrCOINs with cpuminer.

Enter the cpuminer-ziftr folder:

cd ~/cpuminer-ziftr

For help using CPUMiner-ZiftrCOIN, type:

./minerd -h

The options for CPUMiner will be displayed.

CPUMiner ZiftrCOIN | minerd -h

CPUMiner ZiftrCOIN | minerd -h

To start mining for ZiftrCOINs straight away, type the following command to begin pool mining at ziftrpool.io, replacing the red prompt with your ZiftrCOIN Wallet receiving address.

./minerd -a ziftr -o stratum+tcp://ziftrpool.io:3032 -u <your Ziftrcoin wallet receiving address> -p x
ziftrpool.io | ZiftrCOIN mining pool

ziftrpool.io | ZiftrCOIN mining pool

You can, of course, modify this command to mine wherever you like.

7. Where can I find my Ziftrcoin Wallet receiving  address?

Open your ZiftrCOIN wallet, and click File > Receiving addresses…

Your receiving address(es) will be shown in the table.

If you are setting up multiple mining rigs, you may find it beneficial to create new receiving addresses in your ZiftrCOIN wallet for each of your machines and the type of mining resources employed.

For example, a second machine running Linux, mining with the cpu and gpu could have separate ZiftrCOIN receiving addresses from your main Windows mining rig. That way, when the virtual ZiftrCOINS come rolling in, you’ll know exactly where they have come from . This will assist in monitoring the effectiveness of each mining machine and its components.

8. Create a batch file to start CPUMiner and mine for ZiftrCOIN.

Creating a batch file simply automates  step 6. Typing just one command will start CPUMiner mining for ZiftrCOINs.

The name shown in blue will be the command to type that will start the cpu mining process. Make this something memorable.

cd ~

gedit ziftrcpu

In the window that opens, copy the following commands to it, making sure to correct / replace anything shown in color if needed.

#!/bin/bash

cd ~/cpuminer-ziftr

./minerd -a ziftr -o stratum+tcp://ziftrpool.io:3032 -u <your Ziftrcoin wallet receiving address> -p x

Click Save and exit the editor.

Now make the batch script executable:

chmod +x ziftrcpu

Running the batch script is easy. Just make sure that you are in your home folder

cd ~

A listing of that directory shows you batch file in green:

ls -l
Mining batch script

Mining batch script

To run it, just type it’s name preceded with a dot and a forward slash.

./ziftrcpu

To terminate the batch script, press Ctrl + C.

9. Install SSH for remote login.

If you wish to log into your Linux computer remotely,  install the open ssh server:

sudo apt-get install openssh-server byobu

Then log in to it using ssh from another Linux machine or PuTTY from your Windows PC.


ZiftrCOIN Donations: ZY3NkLnWSbpWwXi5fN3P6h1k6ZRWrUaWJu