Monday, November 26, 2012

Vonrakohunde D Parker - Six Generations

This is my dog's pedigree, going back six generations:


Pedigree for

ANKC 2100070472

Vonrakohunde D Parker

Born : 18.06.2012

Vonforell Rako

Vonforell Ernst

Fax Vom Grenzgänger
schH3, ZVV1
SG Dolf ze Zakovy hory
Bero vom Friedersdorfer Flur
V Held vom Ritterberg
SG Ivett vom Fürstendamm (DDR)
Centa Kanicky les
V Brytt Sil-Spur
Bria z Kalasova dvora
Fee am Pilgerbach
SG Mink vom Haus Wittfeld
Ylo vom Waldeckerhof
SG Cora vom Haardblick
Cindy vom Lelbacher Hexenteich
V-BSP 1978, 1979, SCHH3, FH
V Wicko von Meran
Pia vom Haus Touristik
Vonhargadain Bali
Asa vom Haus Gebets
Candy von der Knappenmuhle
V Grand vom Ritterberg
SG Aggi von der Datze
SCHH 3, FH 2
Kanzi vom Schutzengel
Quai vom Baruther Land
Trina vom Trappenberg (Ost)
Gina vom Wimbachtal
SG Quattro von Haus Antverpa
Nessel von Haus Antverpa
SG Bella vom Kirchgraben
G Fränzy vom Grüntal
Veith vom Haus Iris
Arit vom Schlegelsberg
Vonforell Fay

Agassi vom SchwarzhundZM, ZVV 2, ZPO 1 (OP 1), SCH H A, SCH H III, 4 X I
SG Dares z Geradonu
Bob Hozmi
V Bob Cega CS
G Blackie Lesta
ZM, ZVV 3, IPO 3, OP 1
Zina z Ulicek
Odin z Ulicek
Xenna z Ulicek
Vonforell Abra I.I.USCHH3, DPO2, WPO, FH
'00&'02 WPO CHAMPION Stormfront's Brawnson
SG Arko Honest CS
Maja vom Fuchsgraben
Bella vom Rosenzweig
Quark vom Schutzengel
Annah vom Haus Gebets
Vonforell MatraSCHH1
SG Hassan vom Grüntal
Veith vom Haus Iris
V Alf vom Körnersee
Mira vom Haus Iris
Arit vom Schlegelsberg
Dolf vom Bramberg
V 24 Yette von Haus Kaiser
Vonforell DerbyVonforell WynnQuick v. Haus Antverpa (B)
Sastra v. Haus Antverpa (B)
Vonforell TaschaVonforell Prix
Cendraise Baija
Paskarla Kolby

Cliff vom fixen Dutt

V Jago von der Lindenhalle
SG Mink vom Haus Wittfeld
Ylo vom Waldeckerhof
V-INT CH Greif zum Lahntal
SG Gabi von der Pollerburg
SG Cora vom Haardblick
SG Ignaz vom Oberscholvenerweg
SG Dora von den Rixbecker Alpen
Falka von der Lindenhalle
Santo von der Kopperpahlerallee
V-BSP 1976, 1977, 1978, V-EUSV, SCHH3, FH, INT
V Drigon vom Fuhrmannshof
Cora von der Kolonie
Anschi von der Lindenhalle
V Aldo vom Eltersberg
G Ira vom Jägermeister
Freya vom kühlen Norden
1989 WUSV SIEGER Fado von Karthago
V Harro aus der Lechrainstadt
V Dax von der Kesmarker Tränke
SG Elly vom Windachquell
Afra vom Stoppenberger Land
V Olf zur starken Eiche
Bessie vom alten Kauz
Annette vom kühlen Norden
Hurtig von Lünsholz
Greif vom Ritterland
Dorle von Lünsholz
Jule von Lünsholz
Cox von Lünsholz
Eiche von Lünsholz
Nicky vom Osterburg Quell

V Dargo von den Thüringer Kronjuwelen
V Anne's Camillo
V Don vom Rolandsteich
SCHH2 KOR 5546/54
V Erko vom Turmpark
V Dixi vom Rhodeberg
SG Wicky von der Kippe
Henk vom Porphyrbruch
Nina vom Haus Lauch
V Nancy vom Schieferschloß
V Xandor vom Eichenplatz
SCHH3 KOR.5547/33
V Ingo von Rudingen
V Quirle v Eichenplatz
V Cessy vom Schieferschloß
V Golf vom Ritterberg
V Katy vom Bärenbruch
Dolly vom Nordplatz
Iwan vom Rundeck
Sascha von der weißen Taube
V Igor vom Haus Assja
Quanett von der weißen Taube
Liz von Trafalga
V Don vom Rolandsteich
V Tendy von Trafalga
Zwecke von der Friesenklippe
Quax vom Haus Leipzig
G Kliff vom Haus Leipzig
SG Lexa vom Haus Leipzig
Molly von der Friesenklippe
Xit von der Wolfshöhle
Anka vom Haus Kaiser

Friday, November 16, 2012

Planned curing/cycle for AquaOne Mirage 50 (43 litre) Nano Reef

  1. Place AquaClear 70 on back of tank, with activated carbon and Hydor 50w heater in filtration compartment.
    • Set heater to 26° Celsius - Will aid in die off.
  2. Place AquaC Nano Remora protein skimmer on back of tank.
  3. Inspect live rock:
    • Mix up a higher salinity water with a specific gravity of about 1.035
    • Inspect the individual rocks for dead sponge and other dead/undesirable organisms.
    • Place rock into high salinity dip bath and shake to dislodge debris. Leave rock in dip for two minutes.
    • After unwanted invertebrates have evacuated place rock in tank for curing.
    • Repeat for all rocks.
  4. Add enough Nature's Own Nutri-SeaWater to tank, as well as to the AC 70 filtration chamber, to cover rocks and turn filtration equipment on.
  5. Turn Hydor Koralia Nano 900 powerhead on and face at rocks. 
  6. Every seven (7) days submerge a simple pump with vinyl tubing attached and blow debris off the rocks, along with doing a 50% water change while siphoning out any organic matter and loose debris that accumulates at the bottom of the aquarium. Use Nature's Own Nutri-SeaWater for the first two weeks, then switch to Red Sea Coral Pro salt mix and RO/DI water.
  7. Measure and monitor the ammonia and nitrite levels in the aquarium weekly.
  8. When both ammonia and nitrite levels are zero, perform a 50% water change on the aquarium. After 24 hours, check the pH of the water and adjust as needed to achieve the desired level of 8.1-8.4
  9. Add 2-2.5cm of Nature's Own Bio-Activ Live Aragonite Reef Substrate to bottom of aquarium. Continue cycle for a further week and then test water again. If levels are safe stock tank.


  1. Install fixtures for a canister filter - the return of the filter goes into the siphon area of fuge.
  2. Place two 50w AquaOne ThermoSafe heaters into the fuge (one in the returns chamber and one in the siphon area).
    • Set heater to 26° Celsius - Will aid in die off.  
  3. Install an AquaOne Proskim G220 Protein Skimmer to centre chamber, HOB style.
  4. Inspect live rock:
    • Mix up a higher salinity water with a specific gravity of about 1.035
    • Inspect the individual rocks for dead sponge and other dead/undesirable organisms.
    • Place rock into high salinity dip bath and shake to dislodge debris. Leave rock in dip for two minutes.
    • After unwanted invertibrates have evacuated place rock in centre chamber of tank for curing.
    • Repeat for all rocks
  5. Mix up enough salt mix using Red Sea Coral Pro to fill fuge and add API Quick Start to mixture. Turn on equipment.
  6. Every seven (7) days submerge a simple pump with vinyl tubing attached and blow debris off the rocks, along with doing a 50% water change while siphoning out any organic matter and loose debris that accumulates at the bottom of the aquarium.
  7. Measure and monitor the ammonia and nitrite levels in the aquarium weekly.
  8. When both ammonia and nitrite levels are zero, perform a 50% water change on the aquarium. After 24 hours, check the pH of the water and adjust as needed to achieve the desired level of 8.1-8.4
  9. Add 2-2.5cm of a mixture of Nature's Own Bio-Activ Live Aragonite Australian Gold Live Sand and CaribSea Mineral Mud to bottom of aquarium. Continue cycle for a further week and then test water again. If levels are safe stock fuge with macroalgae.
  10. Plumb refugium into AquaOne Mirage 50 nano reef.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Krylon Fusion for Plastic in Australia!

So, if you're into nano reef aquariums you may be familiar with the need to paint the rear of your tank black (or blue if that's your thing) to hide your filtration equipment and to make the tank look sharper.

Now, if you're like me and are Australian and also happen to live in a regional area then you may find it difficult to find the paint of choice for most of the community: Krylon Fusion for Plastic. It seems that it's the go-to paint for the American enthusiast and as such you run into flat recommendations of "Wal-Mart carries it", which doesn't really help you.

So after some searching I discovered that Crockers Paint stocks it and that they take online orders! I just bought a couple cans of the Flat Black for $12.95 a can and it cost me around $18.80 in shipping, which is a small price to pay when you have no other options xD

As soon as I get them into my hot little hands two of my work-in-progress tanks will have nice and black backs which will let me get on with the rest of setting them up.


They arrived today:

They were stated as being posted on the 09/11/2012 and today is the 12th, so pretty nice timing. I'll be taping and painting my 43 litre Mirage 50 tomorrow, after I finish work. Then I just need to get my AquaClear 70 (with an inTank media basket), AquaC Nano Remora, Hydor Theo 50w heater, Hydor Koralia Nano 900 and some live rock and sand and she'll be on her way to being my first nano reef ^_^

Monday, November 5, 2012

My DIY Pico Protein Skimmer... I hope

This is my first attempt at a pico protein skimmer for my All-in-One AquaOne Cube30 build.

It's  27.9 cm (11") from tip to tail and is made from 32mm  (1.25") PVC. The top is cut at a 45° angle using a mitre box and I'll be drilling a 10mm hole at the top and back of the pipe to attach some 10mm vinyl tubing that'll lead to the collection cup (or jar). I still need to work out a mounting bracket. I was thinking lasercut acrylic, cut out of the excess that is on the sheet from making my AIO back.

It's based on the pico skimmer made by Glazer (only a little less fancy as it's not acrylic). Not sure if it's going to work but I won't know until I get my tank up and running!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

The Pico Display Refugium

I'm at it again it seems.

My AquaOne Cube 30 Pico Reef build is coming along nicely; it's had a few revisements and merging of suggestions from kind One such suggestion was throwing a submersible light and some chaeto into the first compartment. I liked this idea but incorporating it made it look a little off.

That's when I decided to be all creative and build a little display refugium to sit next to the pico reef. This way I'll get to see my macroalgae grow and also add extra filtration potential to the tank.

The above image is my first attempt at a design. It's based around this design. In case of power outage there is going to be a couple PVC overflows in the main part of the tank and be plumbed to a collection resevoir underneath the tanks.

The tank measure 70cm (L) x 27cm (W) x 23cm (D) and holds 43 litres (11.3 gallons). The actual refugium chamber is 51.9cm (L) x 27cm (W) x 23cm (D) and holds 32 litres (8.4 gallons).

The tank will be all glass, 4mm. The baffling will be made from 6mm clear acrylic and the black parts in the first image represent what will be hidden by a nice stained timber cabinet (which will be incorporated into the cabinet of the AIO AquaOne Cube 30 pico I'm building).

At the moment I have ordered the following for lighting the fuge:

1 x 3w Cool White (6000-6500K)
2 x 3w Warm White (3000-3300K)
1 x 4w Neutral White (3700-5000K)
1 x 3w Blue (460-465nm)

I also got:

10 x 1w Red (620-630nm) - Only need three

Which I'll be soldering into the Coo and Neutral White bulbs:

They are all GU10 LED bulbs from Chinese manufacturers and cost very little to get (with free postage) off of eBay. I'm still experimenting with lighting, and I'm still reading through the GU10 LED Build Thread over at, so before I finalise anything I think I'll post in the thread before manufacturing anything.

I'll be making a little cabinet for the fuge which will incorporate the hood, and also may be connected and incorporated into the AquaOne Cube 30 cabinet. As such I'm going to use the above IEC power socket (which I picked up of eBay for under $3 w/ free postage) as the power interface.

More to come as more gets done!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

AquaOne Mirage 50 Nano Reef Aquarium

Another day another tank... at least that's the way it seems to be working out! Although I had been stalking this tank for a about two weeks before I pulled the trigger and bought it xD It's an all glass aquarium, with curved front corners, and it a little over 43 Litres (or 11 Gallons for those that aren't metric). It'll be staying as it is, with very few moddifications to the tank.

Length: 49 cm
Width: 29 cm
Height: 30.5 cm
Glass Thickness: 5 mm

I'll be using Hang-on-Back filters and skimmers so as to keep it at that 43 litres / 11 gallons. By doing so I'll be given the opportunity to keep a pair of anenomefish! Either:
And then I have room for one more little guy, so I'm deciding between one of these:
**My stocking limits stemming directly from lgreen's "Fish Stocking Guide For Nano Reefs" article**

The back of the tank will be painted a flat black in whatever I can find that will do the job as I'm yet to find Krylon for Plastic in Australia (at least not where I live), which will make the tank look good as well as hiding my filtration.

Hang-on-Back Eqiuipment:
Filter: an AquaClear 70 (if I can put my hands on one) with media basket, such as inTanks, running both Chemi-Pure Elite and Seachem Purigen.
Protien Skimmer: an AquaC Nano Remora (hopefully)
3 x CREE XT-E 3UP (2x XTE Royal 1x XTG Neutral)
3 x True Violet 390-430nm w/ 120° optics(?)
1 x Ocean Coral White w/ 120° optics(?)
3 x Inventronics 40w driver - 700mA
3 x pots and knobs
1 x 6" MakersLED kit
1 x DIM4 Sunrise/Sunset Controller V1.0

QUOTE (uglybuckling @ Oct 29 2012, 02:38 PM) *


AquaOne Mirage 50 - 43 litre Tank = $74.00
2 x Krylon Fusion for Plastic - Flat Black = $12.95
                                              Shipping = $18.86
Hydor Koralia Nano 900 = $69.00
Hydor THEO 50w heater = $35.95
Aquaclear 300 ( 70 ) Hang on Filter = $79.00
                                        Shipping = $7.95
AquaC Nano Remora Protein Skimmer = $199.99 USD
AC 70 inTank Media Basket = $43.99 USD
                            Shipping = $19.63
Lighting Fixture = $287.55 USD
           Shipping = $69.50
                                                Total = $931.32

I'll update this post with more information as I get closer to starting the tanks cycle.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

The AquaOne Cube 30 All-in-One Marine Pico Aquarium

Of late I have been bitten by the fish keeping bug (or should that be water keeping?) and have started a few freshwater tanks. That was until my LFS (local fish store) started getting ready to start stocking marine fish and related equipment. Well boy did that hit me hard!

I present to you my first attempt at a marine aquarium, first pico reef, and my first DIY aquarium related project... Well, a SketchUp model and a photo of the cube tank filled with water (to test if it held water, which it did). The tank is an AquaOne Cube 30 (30cm x 30cm x 30cm or 11.8" x 11.8" x 11.8") and is all glass. Un-modded it holds around 27 litres (or 7.13 U.S. gallons) and I expect the final volume of the DT once modded to be 18.2 litres (4.8 gallons). 

The rear partitioning is going to be black 4.5mm acrylic and will hopefully be laser cut by Ponoko

It'll be setup to have either the heater or filter floss in the first compartment, a little in-tank protein skimmer in the second compartment, Chemi-pure and Purigen in the media racks in the last compartment, with the heater sitting in the return channel on the far right (if the heater isn't already in the first compartment) along with the return pump. 

What will be in the tank is as follows:

Return Pump: Resun SP-850
Protein Skimmer: Not settled upon yet. Maybe soon though ^_^
Powerhead: a Hydor Koralia Evolution Nano 240
Lighting: 6" MakersLED kit
3 x CREE XT-E 3UP (2x XTE Royal 1x XTG Neutral)
3 x True Violet 390-430nm w/ 120° optics(?)
1 x Ocean Coral White w/ 120° optics(?)
3 x Inventronics 40w driver - 700mA
3 x pots and knobs
1 x DIM4 Sunrise/Sunset Controller V1.0

QUOTE (uglybuckling @ Oct 29 2012, 02:38 PM) *

As for stocking it I have no idea. I am now thinking about maybe one of the following:

Along with some corals, but as I'm fresh off the boat in the world of saltwater I have no idea (ask me about freshwater and I can at least tread water xD;;) so suggestions/recommendations are most and whole heartedly welcome.

2 x Dwarf Ceriths
1 x Nassariu
2 x Florida Ceriths
3 x Antillean Nerite (Nerita fulgurans)

**Based on Reef Cleaners Pico "Quick Crew" CUC**

Oh, and here is the actual model files:  if you wanted to give it a twirl, or if once I'm done and you kike it you can make your own =)

Thursday, September 20, 2012

My DIY Flirt Pole

So over the weekend Parker got her first taste of some proper training in relation to Schutzhund (I happened to be extremely lucky and bumped into a guy a couple weeks ago that has just moved to town and that was looking for some people to start a Schutzhund group. He's been in the sport and training dogs for 12 years). 

One of the training aids he used were a pair of flirt poles, and since I'll be training her in-between training visits I needed a cheap and easy way of getting some poles quickly.

So I made some! They're easy to make, very repairable and work great. Everything you would need to know about making a pole is in the above video, if you wanted to make one.

If you like it and feel like it please head on over to instructables and vote for my project.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Meet Mr or Mrs Bronze Cory

This is my new and first ever Bronze Corydoras (Corydoras aeneus)!

I picked him (him just rolls off the tongue. I don't really know what sex he is) up last Friday, which was my 23rd birthday, and he seems to be doing well. He's getting TetraColor tropical flakes and Aqua One Vege Wafers every second day. They aren't the foods I want to be feeding him but until I can find a good retailer online it's what I have.

He's breaking the tank in quite well and is all kinds of active. The pet store guy said after about a week I can think about adding another friend to the tank. Eventually he will have another Cory, a Bristlenose Catfish, two Platy's and a little tiny school of Neon Tetra's ^_^

Thursday, September 6, 2012

The ArduQuarium Controller

So, I posted on the New England Maker Group's page about a device I am now working on that will eventually control every aspect of my soon to be built 115L freshwater tropical aquarium and 95L sump (although I'm thinking I may just make two 115 litre tanks for both the aquarium and sump).

I call it the ArduQuarium Controller!

The following you'll find the list of things that will make the controller up when it's done (or at least a partial list):

Dissolved Oxygen (DO) sensor -
Oxidation Reduction Potential (ORP) sensor -
Beefcake Relay Control x 4 -
Real Time Clock - 
(my RTC is coming from eBay, since I saved $17.17 doing it that way -
LCD display -
Arduino Mega -  
(again, my Mega is coming from eBay. $17.50! -
Ballcock - Water level measurement

I will probably end up with only three of those Atlas Scientific water quality sensors, as I won't any time soon be delving into marine (i.e: saltwater) tropicals, and the Mega can only accommodate three of them (but I will try and make it easy to swap a sensor out for another should the need arise in the future). The three sensors that are useful to me (pH, DO and ORP) will be housed in the return water chamber of my sump filter, along with one of the thermal probes, UV steriliser and the heating element. The other thermal probe with sit in the main aquarium and the Arduino will monitor the two and attempted to bring the sump temperature up if the aquarium needs more heat (I'm thinking of utilising a PID program, along with a schedular so as to get everything to work when it needs to).

The relay control boards from SparkFun are there to make controlling the heating element, filter pumps, air pump and a water change pump much easier. The Arduino Mega's firmware will have provisions to initiate a partial water change based on data collected from its sensors and the ballcock will shut things off when it reaches a predetermined level.

Although to start with I'll just be using a single relay controller and a thermal probe to control my current aquariums' heating element based on collected temperature readings to keep the tank a constant temperature.

I will be making the aquarium out of glass instead of acrylic as this is my first DIY tank and a tube of silicon is easier for me as I'm familiar with it. The following are the aquariums figures (including GPH and filter media):
  • Dimensions: 60cm(L) x 48cm(W) x 40cm(H)
  • Glass thickness: 6 mm
  • Glass Area: 1.15 m2
  • Glass Weight: 21 kg
  • Glass + Water Weight: 136 kg
  • Litres: 115
  • Gallons (US): 30.379786
  • Heater Watts: 91.139358
Filter Media:
  • Ceramic Media: 1.21519144 Litres
  • Bio-Balls: 5.741785295785295 Litres
  • K1 kaldness: 1.5189893 Litres
  • Fine Sponge: 0.972153152 Litres
Filter Gallons Per Hour (GPH):
  • Sump: 136.709037 to 197.468609
    • Litres: 517.5 to 747.5
My figures come from's Aquarium Glass Thickness Calculator and DIY Fishkeepers calculators.
This is all just a rather large experiment for me as I'm new to the hobby of aquaria. I will not be stocking this setup heavily, the aquarium will likely only have a small contingent of Corydoras in situ while the tank, sump and controller come together. Wish me luck!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

My new hobby!

I now have a 21 litre Marine Master 'EziStart' freshwater aquarium. It measures 44.5cm (L) x 38cm (H) x 20cm (W) and weighs about 25 KG fully loaded.

It's very pretty at night.

The kit, out of the box, comes with the tank, the light and the pump/filter. You need gravel, a pH kit, net, and plants (if you want) separately. You also need a heater for tropicals, so I also added a 25w aquarium heater to my setup (tropicals are the way to go, much cleaner).

At the moment it's burning in for about a week, to get the water aged and settled, before I add in a little sacrificial Corydoras to really get the tank ecosystem going. They're hardy little fish, I've been told, so maybe he/she won't be so sacrificial in the end (which would be nice).

After the aquarium is all set up and able to support life I'll add some nice fish that shouldn't die =D I'm also very aware that this may become addictive xD

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Von Rakohund D Parker

Meet Parker (her full name being Von Rakohund D Parker) who is my new 10 week old purebred working line German Shepherd Dog. She is from the D litter of Von Forell Rako x Paskarla Kolby and was bred by Scott and Elaine Edwards of Von Rako Kennels, who breed and supply to the police and other law enforcement agencies as well as train them. Von Forell Rako, as the name suggests, was bred by Kris Kotsopoulos of Von Forell Kennels who breed some beautiful dogs.

She is growing by the day and is already bigger than she is in the video, at nine weeks. She was born on the 18th of June 2012 and I first saw the litter when all the pups were six weeks old. Now, you don't pick the pup that you want. Nope, none of that "Pick the puppy that comes up to and licks your hand" stuff. The breeders, Scott and Elaine, pick a pup suited to what you want from it.

In my case Parker is going to be somewhat of a personal protection dog, and hopefully a good contender in Schutzhund. She has a very good prey drive and is already beginning to become a quite solid dog.

They are all registered with the Australian National Kennel Council (ANKC) on the limited register so as you can't breed from them with mongrels etc... and sell them with papers), through the respective State institution (Dogs NSW in my case).

If you are looking for a working line German Shepherd companion and protector I can highly recommend Von Rako Kennels.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

The EPSON Perfection V33

I introduce you to my new toy:

It's an EPSON Perfection V33 flat bed scanner. I picked her up from my local Dick Smith (which is extremely different from the DickSmith's Electronics you remember from your childhood) store.

The reason I got it? It works on my iMac and on OSX 10.7 (with a little hoop jumping) and I didn't have to wait a couple weeks for it to ship to me. It's only an A4 scanner (I would have rather of had a larger scanning area), and as I won't be using it on my Windows box I can't use the bundled Arcsoft® Scan-n-Stitch Deluxe package to seamlessly stitch larger image together. But apart from that I'm quite happy with this 4800 x 9600dpi scanner.

It's image quality is good:
It's a page out of the 'EBS Bulletin 5: Earth-wall Construction, 3rd Edition', published by the Australia Government Publishing Service in 1982 (used as demonstration material only and in fair dealing... It was all I had close at hand that would show the scanners detail). As you can see the diagrams are crisp and detailed as well as the text being perfectly legible, even when zoomed wight in.

You can scan documents and create a single PDF out of the images, as well as using character recognition software to make documents searchable (Windows only option). This PDF creation feature is one of the reasons I got it. I plan to make copies of my design journals so as to preserve them =D

I'll be using it to duplicate documents, designs made with pen and paper, and many other things I imagine.

Now, as I said there is some hoop jumping to get it to work on Mac OSX 10.7 and up. The included CD is supposed to come with all you need to get it to work... Except it's not.

The included application crashes when opened, sometimes even opening to a menu before crashing so as to get your hopes up. You will need to go to the American EPSON support page (not the Australian or New Zealand OSX 10.7 compatibility page as they have nothing on them):

Where you will find downloads for the EPSON scan utility & driver package, the event manager (to assign actions to scanner button pushes) and the ICA scanner driver for Apple's Image Capture utility. All of these work and the drivers update through Apple perfectly.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Texas Instruments and Sample Kits

One of the good things about Hack a Day is that they usually let you know about good and free stuff if they find out about any. This happened yesterday in relation to one of the things in their Hackaday Links post:

The second item in the list leads to what TI call their 'Brushless DC Motor Drive Solution'.

What you get in this sample kit are as follows:
  • LM5101B – 100V MOSFET Driver 
  • LM3S8971 - Stellaris® Integrated Motor Control/Driver 
  • AMC1200 – Isolation Amplifier
That's a free kit and free shipping to Australia. But wait, there's more! I also happened to find in the side bar of the motor control kit page a chemical and gas sensor sample kit:
  • LMP91000 – Configurable AFE Potentiostat 
  • MSP430F2003 - 16-bit Ultra-Low-Power Microcontroller 
  • XTR117 - 4-20mA Current Loop Transmitter
And in that same side bar I also spotted this:
It is a "...multi-sensory portable audio and display solution featuring high-fidelity sound, multi-point touch with haptics for tactile feedback and programmable high brightness backlight driver that combine to deliver a richer user experience in a small-form factor." It includes: 
  • TPA2011D1 – 3.2W mono class-d audio power amplifier with auto-recovering short-circuit protection 
  • TLV320AIC3256 – Very low-power stereo codec with miniDSP and DirectPath™ amplifier 
  • DRV8662 – Piezo haptic driver with integrated boost converter 
  • LP8552 – High-efficiency white LED backlight driver with integrated boost converter 
  • TSC2004 – Nano-power touch screen controller with I2C serial interface
Not real sure what I'll use them for but I love me some free stuff!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Say hello to my tiny friend!... Or an update on the ATtiny 45/85 development board.

I've been working on an ATtiny 45/85 dev board for a while now. It went from it's infancy of no external power input to being a toddler and using an FTDI cable to supply the 5v needed. Now it's a teenager and has on-board power with 5v regulation:

It's the third revision of the board I've done, and it's also the largest of them. Still, it's not too expensive from OSH Park or BatchPCB. It now has a power jack and 5v power regulation (should be able to plug that Arduino power adaptor in and get her to fly) circuitry, ISP header, reset switch and two sets of broken out headers. The two sets of headers do serve a purpose. The first and inner set are for 'shields', while the second, outer, set is for both breadboard use and to give access to any unused pins that a 'shield' may not be using. It doesn't have an external crystal etc... as it shouldn't need one (as far as I understand), but the next revision will likely include a ceramic resonator, or at least be able to plug one in if wanted.

The board came from the want and need for an easy to use board for the ATtiny 45 and 85 (mainly the 85) that included all I would need to use it to make a Toaster Reflow Oven, but also be viable for use with other projects.

To further this idea of ease of use I designed an AD595 K-type thermocouple amplifier 'shield' for the dev board:

This is the second revision of the breakout board. It started life as something very basic, with the bare minimum for what I needed... I also cocked up my first prototypes. The thermocouple solder pads (which aid in getting better readings) were not accessible to solder to. So in this version I rectified this, in a very ugly way. But it works.

This revision also has an alarm LED, which will alert you if a thermocouple isn't connected or if the chip is damaged in some way. I also now use a 3-pin screw terminal to connect to the relay board I will be using (

The AD595 is rather useful as you only need one pin on the microcontroller side of things and it's dead easy to work out the temperature:

Signal Values

The nice thing about the AD595 is that the signal it generates is linear with temperature. This means that it is really easy to convert from an analog reading to a real temperature. Secondly, the AD595 outputs 10mV/C which is simple to work with. at 1V, the temperature is 100C, at 2V, the temperature is 200C, etc. With a reference voltage of 5V, the sensor can make readings up to 500C.
The way to read the temperature is easy. First you convert an analog reading to voltage, then you multiply by 100 to get the temperature in celsius:
Voltage = analogRead(X) * 5.0 / 1024.0; //Note that 5.0 is the A/D reference voltage. Celsius = Voltage * 100;
Or, to simplify:
Celsius = ( 5.0 * analogRead(X) * 100.0) / 1024.0;
It does mean that the breakout board can only output up to 500°C since it only has 5v to work with, but we don't need to go higher than that for a reflow oven (I imagine it wouldn't be hard to bring the 9v from the power adaptor up to the AD595 to give it a 900°C working range). I'm going to be using the firmware from the Pleasant Hardware reflow controller ( as the basis for my code. He managed to get full PID controlled temperature management, 3 'programs' and a minimalistic UI into the limited memory of the ATtiny 45!

Anyway, this is just an update of what's been happening with the dev board. More to come about the reflow oven!