Crypto: Coinspot.com.au

Ever since 2012 I have been interested in the Crypto Currency market (Yes Bitcoin fascinated me!) however, as like many of us, we thought it was a pipe dream and did not invest in it. I did not even think about putting a cheeky $50 down. In hindsight that was a bit of a mistake. The value of Bitcoin has since gone to the moon! 2010 saw prices sitting below $1, now a single coin is worth approx $7k AUD! ($12k – 27/11/17)

So of course its at this time I decided to do what I should have done years ago! Buy some Bitcoin! or at least some Crypto.  After joining the Crypto Australia group on Facebook and reading through some posts it became clear to me that Coinspot was the most user friendly exchange to get started with. Coinspot is an Australian company operated out of Melbourne Victoria. (That was a win for me, Aussie based company for starters)

For those of you who just skim the page, see below a list of Pro’s and Cons. This will help making up your mind. What I will say quickly though is that this exchange is perfect for the mum and dad investors looking to get a foot in the door!


Coinspot.com.au Pros and Cons

  • Ease of Use
  • Suitable for First Time Buyer
  • User Friendly Interface
  • Crypto Delivered Almost instantly

  • Built In Wallet to Hold your Crypto
  • PoliPay, Bpay and Cash Deposit
  • Secure 2Factor Authentication
  • Identity Validation Completed quickly

  • High Fees (2% for Crypto Transactions)
  • Limited Selection of Coins (However getting better!)
  • Charting is basic (Good for first timers)



A more in Depth look at Coinspot

So you have decided to take the plunge into the Crypto world and you have decided to use Coinspot for your first exchange of Fiat currency into Crypto Currency. See below some more in depth info to help you get started.

Sign Up and Verification

The first step is to sign up for an account on coinspot and go through the verification process. Some might be hesitant to hand over a lot of personal information, however I do believe this added step in security only benefits the members and the community. It makes it just that little bit harder for the scammers and crims to also be involved. Some of the verification steps will require you to scan and send your drivers license, a verification photo holding a handwritten sign, and a copy of a utility bill to confirm address. This is all completed and sent to Coinspot via the secure portal they provide. I submitted my verification on a Sunday morning and it was verified that night. They even gave me a phone call to confirm that I had not given them an incorrect phone number. Once verified you are good to go to buy your first crypto.

TIP - Enable two-factor authentication on your account and get the google Authentication App on your phone. It adds an extra layer of security to your account. When dealing in Crypto and $$ you should go to this effort. It may save you later on. Especially if your portfolio grows.

Buying your first Coin

You will now be required to make a deposit into your account. Coinspot has 3 methods. PoliPay, Bpay and Cash Deposit. Polipay has the lowest Fees at $0, Bpay @ 2% and Cash Deposits at 3%. Cash Deposits are via BlueShyft which you can complete at many Newsagents around the country. At first you will be limited to $2000AUD per day. However once you have gained some “purchase experience” the cap will be raised to $10,000AUD.

No matter how you get your AUD into the exchange it will then show up as a Balance that you can use to purchase Crypto.

Now that You have a Balance in the exchange you can purchase your first Crypto. Click on the “Buy” button in the top menu, and select how much you want to purchase. Either the Crypto amount or how much you want to spend of your Balance. Click buy and you will be greeted with a summary page. This will list the fees for your transaction. Take note of the 2% fee. Once purchased it will take a few minutes, but you will see the balance pop up in the wallet of the coin you purchased.


The Scott Bonnar 45 Project

Have you ever just wanted to get the boys (and girls) away from the PS4 for a while? well I think I found the solution… My son and I decided to give the whole “reel mower restoration” thing a go. After a bit of searching I decided upon the ever popular Scott Bonnar/Rover Model 45. It seems you can still find many parts for these suckers as well as plenty of donor mowers also if required.

We searched the ever faithful GumTree for a semi cheap donor mower and came across an old chap down the road selling the exact one we were after. A 17″ reel mower with the Scott Bonnar 45 stickers all over it. The nice, but old green paint job and oil stained Briggs and Stratton engine has us in awe. I gave it a quick test cut on the lawns and we purchased it on the spot.

Without looking too close, we probably should have checked it a bit more thoroughly. It seems that these mowers have a bit of a problem with the horizontal supports for the engines. Over time the engine mount holes get cracks in them and this can spell disaster for any home restoration project. The good news for us however that after a complete strip of the engine we had zero cracks and the restoration was good to go.


Some History on the mower

Thanks to ‘Bonnar Bloke’ from the Outdoorking.com forums we were able to get this little piece of history on this particular model of Scott Bonnar 45 mower.

“Well that’s one of the early made “Eagle Farm” Scott Bonnar’s after Rover closed the Holland Street Thebarton Factory in Adelaide the previous year. Your mower was assembled in early (March) 1984 with the Engine being made on the 6th of December 1983 over in the US of A.”

“It’s a rather interesting example as the ID plate is of the first batch of green metal plates that doesn’t refer to Brisbane as the city of manufacture. The later ones do, before they changed to silver foil style ID stickers. Also this mower shows evidence that they had not commissioned their new state of the art “Powder Coating line” yet which introduced the Kermit Green coloured Rovers. So the Eagle Farm factory was still shooting Hammertone Enamel paint which was now a different colour than what was used in Adelaide (Apple Green)even though the 1984 Range of mowers brochure still showed the Apple Green colour as being current.”


Getting rid of the paint

So apparently back in the day powder coating was not a thing and the SB’s were painted with a Hammer-tone enamel paint. I can tell you that it is truly very stubborn to remove. Initially I used a sandblaster with the course garnet and it got rid of all the rust and crap. But the paint that was still good quality would not budge.

I then switched to the grinder with sanding pads, which worked pretty well. However all the small grooves proved to be a hassle with the grinder. The third method was to then use those wire brush attachments for the drill and after some time was able to bring the mower back to bare metal.


A new motor

The original Briggs and Stratton engine that came with the mower still runs, however it has seen its best days and I decided a retro fit was in order. Would you believe that you can get a direct replacement “Chonda” or Chinese Honda for $144 delivered? well you can’t really beat this and even if I get 5-6 years out of it I will be happy. The process of removing and replacing the engine is pretty straight forward. 4 mounting bolts, a throttle cable and thats about it.


Update - 29/11/17

So it has been a long time between drinks. Since I started the SB, I have moved workshops, got married and renovated some of the house. Also had a few other projects on the go recently. What I can say is that the SB is mostly stripped back and in primer. I still have parts everywhere, hopefully I’ll find some time to continue the build soon. Oh and I also purchased a “Daily” mower that has been keeping the lawn in good condition. It came with the original manuals! Check out the pics below for more details.


Work in progress

This post is a bit of a work in progress. I’ll keep updating it as we go with the resto. Wish us luck!


TapDoc (BETA)

After playing with NFC and RFID a bit in the last year I realized that the technology is really hamstrung to only a few use cases. Primarily Access Control systems and payment systems. No one has really used the technology for much more. Maybe some active tracking solutions, but really the use cases for NFC are pretty scarce.

The problem with NFC/RFID is that the tags themselves cannot really store too much usable information and storing off site can sometimes be an expensive exercise. The idea of TapDoc is to leverage consumer devices and common cloud platforms to make the technology more usable and accessible.


TapDoc

From here we did a bit of brainstorming to see what we could come up with to utilize the technology a bit differently. Thus TapDoc was born. (I have this feeling though I may need a new name….) In its basic form, TapDoc allows a user to associate files/documents to a NFC tag and place the tag onto an item or in a designated area. In its more advanced form, TapDoc allows a user to create “Pathways” These pathways are a predetermined order of basic tags. Once a pathway is created a user must scan the NFC tags in the order that was set. If your still confused, check out the info below.


TapDoc Apk

Obviously TapDoc is in its very infancy, however if you would like to give it a try feel free. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.


Third-world countries have better internet then me!

We moved into a brand new home about 3 months ago. Most people would have checked out the comms infrastructure in the area prior to buying. Silly me however assumed that being only 20km from the center of Perth city we would be able to achieve decent DSL speeds. Well… I can tell you that no matter how close you are to the city, it is always wise to check out the telephone exchange in your suburb. After moving in and being sold “ADSL2+” we were very disappointed with the speeds and began looking for alternatives. This is my journey…


"ADSL2+"

After moving in I contacted our Telecom company as you do, and requested ADSL2+ be installed. After a few days sure enough we had been setup with ADSL2+ and a 1000Gb Monthly data plan. I was pretty excited that the service had been setup so quickly, however the joy was short lived after I ran a speedtest… 1.6Mbps … consistently.

To keep the story short, I went back and forward with the telecom company tech support to see if it was a fault or just the standard. As it turns out they could not offer any better speeds into my residence. The company ended up refunding everything because it was not even possible to use the data in a month with speeds like that.

We all have “that mate” who boasts about his internet speed, and it just so happens my mate has up to 100Mbps and is only 900m away. (Yes….devastating I know…). So I hit him up to see if we could pipe some traffic over to mine. But first I needed to see if we had “Line of sight” (LOS) between the two houses. This is what we had to work with.

~900m shot, one house elevated above the other, a few parks in the way. Easy you say! well….it seems the trees are the limiting factor here. We have large pockets of trees in the way.

What I will say about the Airgrids though is that they are super simple to assemble. (Tool-Less design) and really fast to get up and running. With the Airgrid having the radio inside the feed-horn, all you require is a piece of cat5 and the POE injector and your in business. I foresee the Airgrids being used in rural environments with direct LOS to the target. I would probably look elsewhere if I was trying to push further then 10-15km though.


5Ghz (Make note to self: 5Ghz does not like trees!)

My first attempt at setting up the link failed miserably. Now 5Ghz obviously gives us the most throughput. But with the gear I had, I was unable to even achieve a link.

I purchased the Airgrids for an economical $99ea. Hopeful I may achieve even half the 80Mbps suggest on the ubiquiti planner. The Airgrids are a single channel radio operating in the 5Ghz unlicensed band. For the price and output they appeared to be a good bet. Me being a bit of a novice though didn’t take into account the “tree” effect on 5Ghz. It seems that there is a substantial difference in punching power between 5Ghz and say 900Mhz. (Which I ended up with!)


2.4Ghz (Success - But only just! Not our final solution)

Since 5Ghz for me was a total failure, I decided to give 2.4Ghz Unlicensed a crack. The first thing I want to say is that I did not use rockets with rocket-dish antennas. Everyone has told me, “you would be surprised how much better the good gear works” and I agree, however with a $1200+ outlay I decided to try single channel radios first. I could get my hands on some Ubiquti bullets and some cheap 28dBi grid antennas to test the link first.

I did have initial success getting the links up and running, however no matter what I did I was unable to improve the signal strength. I tried to get as much elevation as I could on each roof mount, I tried lowering the channel widths etc etc. At times I would get a solid 5Mbps of internet traffic but most of the time I would equal my 1.6Mbps that I had with DSL.

Maybe I could double the throughput with Ubiquti MIMO Rockets and dishes, but I was still weary to spend money on the gear only to experience the same “flutter” that I was on single channel gear.


900Mhz (Winner Winner! For this link anyways.)

A mate of mine suggested I give 900Mhz radios a go to see how that went. I was starting to see that as we stepped down the frequency range the “punching” power through the trees was indeed getting better. However using the 900Mhz band in Australia is a little bit tricky and you have to be careful with your setup so that you do not break the law. From what I can tell, 922Mhz is the only frequency you are allowed to use and can use up to 10Mhz channel width on this frequency. Thus the throughput is lowered significantly. However If I can still achieve 20Mbps of actual throughput then I’m still winning.

The other consideration is the power levels. You really need to drop the power (Most 900Mhz Ubiquti radios that come out of Australia are limited by firmware so you cannot push the limits anyhow.) From what I can tell some of the 3G mobile services sit on the 900Mhz range and the ACMA does not want unlicensed users to interfere. Which makes sense.

With all that in mind, if you have another radio sitting on 900Mhz close by you could be in trouble because you cannot move from 922Mhz.

So our initial testing saw us setup 2 x 900 Rockets with the MIMO 16dBi Yagi. We had it sitting on the roof and it already had a link. Not very good but was in. Once we got it up the mast and semi aligned we could see straight away that a lot of the “flutter” had disappeared and the signal strength was sitting solid. A quick speed test saw us get a solid 10mbps on a 5Mhz channel width. This put a smile on my face.


Some Unreal Footage

Just recently I managed to find some time to head down to my mates place in Fingal, NSW. To most Fingal seems like a bit of a trek, but what I have noticed recently is that the Gold Coast has pretty much all merged all the way down the coast and now it just doesn’t seem that far to get to Fingal. It was a nice winters day with little to no wind. Checkout the video of the Phantom 4 performing flawlessly.


Watch in HD!


Choppy Preview Playback in Adobe Premier Pro

Over the last couple of weeks I have been playing with Adobe Premiere Pro with varying results. The biggest problem I have run into is the preview of a sequence becoming choppy after a few seconds of playback. After reading MULTIPLE forum posts and articles on this matter I still have not found a complete solution. What I plan to do is take note here what I have tried and what has been suggested to me. Feel free to comment with any further tips. On a Side note, I am working with Adobe Premiere Pro CC 2014.


1. Changing Playback Preview Settings

If you click on the sequence you are using then navigate to the top “Sequence” Menu item, select “Sequence Settings” and navigate down to “Video Previews”. You will notice that it is stuck on “I-Frame” and is greyed out. You need to change the “Editing Mode” to “Custom” and then you can select anything other than I-Frame. What you also need to do is change the resolution down low to something like 640×360.

This technique has been reported to work, however I am still having a few issues with it. After you have set these settings you may still need to delete any previews that have been generated and delete the cache.


2. Change Renderer to Software only

In case your GFX/GPU is not upto task, you can try using “Software” only as the Renderer. Go to “File”, “Project Settings”, “General” and select the “Video Rendering and Playback” drop down. Switch to “Mercury Playback Engine Software Only” Click the image to see the exact settings.


3. Render the Sequence

After a bit of reading it seems that those with inadequate hardware (me included) will need to render the clips that you have inserted into your sequence. From what I can tell this “rendering” process pulls all your clips together and brings them down in size/resolution etc etc and makes the preview playable. If anyone wants to enlighten us further as to exactly what is happening here then please feel free.

To get this done you will need to use the “in” and “out” markers. (Shortcut keys ‘I” and “O” funnily enough) Once you have selected the section of your sequence to be rendered using the markers, you then can press “Enter” and the process will begin. I had a few issues with pressing enter as it was just playing that section of the sequence for me. So instead I go to “Sequence” on the top ribbon bar and click “Render In and Out”. This will begin to render your sequence between the markers you set.

You will then notice that the line above the clips turns green and you should then get much better playback in the preview window. This does not effect your final export or rendering of the clips.


4. If editing from a laptop, disconnect your dock or USB 3.0 Display Link Cable

So, I think I may have solved one of my problems. Today I decided to do a bit of editing on the couch and noticed a massive improvement in the preview window. But how can this be? I have not made any changes to the settings. I decided to head back to my desk and plug into my port extender which uses ‘USB 3.0 Display Link’ to connect the monitor….(Massive Light bulb moment!) I decided to then change my monitor properties to “Clone” mode instead of “Extend”. I noticed straight away that the choppiness still appeared on my larger monitor through the USB 3.0 display link, but it was not nearly as bad on the laptop screen. Of course I had been using the larger external screen the whole time with premiere pro. Saying all of this, it has not fixed it perfectly yet, but we are getting closer to complete resolution.


DJI Phantom 4 Drone

Last week I was trying to decide upon a hobby both my son and I could do together…Now buying a drone was not one of those “Homer Simpson – Bowling Ball” moments but a decision that would have us get out of the house a little more often. Even though the Phantom 4 Drone is a one-man show it can still be enjoyed by all the family. Well, I hope it can! So we purchased the DJI Phantom 4 last week and to our surprise only took 3 days to arrive directly from Hong Kong! (Thanks DHL and BecexTech AU) The drone arrived in good order and we did not have much trouble getting the unit up and running. It helps to spend a few hours on youtube to figure out all the issues first so that it is smooth sailing when you get it.


DJI Phantom 4 - From Zero to Hero in 5 minutes

This is a quick and nasty HD summary of day 1 with the drone…It went up, it did the whole “Auto Tracking” thing really well and we did not crash it! I’d say pretty successful. I think the biggest tip is to get all the firmware updated prior to first flight and ensure you let the drone warm up and acquire at least 10+ GPS satellites before taking off.



LED Matrix Panel Mounts

I dare say that as I play with more and more of these LED matrix panels I’ll come up with multiple ways of mounting them together. If you have more than one panel and you are bench testing then you will know about the struggle of holding these things up whilst testing. Most of these mounts are quick nasty perspex runs, however, you could easily modify them to suit your application. I’ll continue to add mounts as I make/use/design them. #Happymounting


LED Matrix Mounts

Parts designed in Solidworks 2015, also please check measurements of the LED matrix panel. There is a long list of panels coming out of China. These mounts fit the panels I have received, but may not fit yours.




JX-1212 CNC Router

A year or so ago we managed to import a 1200 x 1200 3 axes Chinese built CNC router into Australia. Obviously, you get what you pay for, this beast came in at under $7k landed. However, the build quality has been pretty good with only minor issues. But these have not affected the machine’s output at all. If we were to go again with a router of this size, I think we would have to go a full sheet size (2400 x 1200). The additional charges/costs would not be too much greater, but having the flexibility to put a full sheet down could save some time. I guess it just comes down to what your intended use is and how large the end product is.


JX-1212 Specs

  • Cut area 1200 x 1200
  • 3Kw Spindle
  • Hiwin linear bearings

  • Vacuum Table
  • Rack and Pinion X axis
  • Dust Brush/Collector

  • DSP Controller with remote.
  • Collets, Router Bits and a few other accessories.



Software and Firmware

The CNC came with a RichAuto A11 DSP. To be brutally honest it is not the most user-friendly interface. However, it is usable and after a bit of manual flicking, you will understand what the controls are. You can find more details about the RichAuto DSP here: http://www.richauto.com.cn/en/product_view.aspx?id=53

On the software side of things, I use Aspires Vetric CAM software to generate my tool-paths and convert to a format the CNC/DSP can understand. So a complete project flow might involve designing the 2D part in solid works, then import the DXF into Aspire to create the tool-paths. From here I export the tool-path to a USB drive and bring it up on the DSP controller.



Redsail X700 100W Laser Cutter

Did I mention that we just took possession of our new laser cutter? After a 4 -5 week wait for the new Redsail X700 laser from China finally rocked up. And to be honest, first impressions have been pretty good. You can still tell the unit has come from China, but the build quality is definitely better than some of our past purchases. The Redsail X700 is marketed on eBay by “Lasercheap” and at first, I was a bit wary of ordering from them. However, a mate of ours managed to do the hard yards first and got one in for us to have a look at before ordering ours. It took the guesswork out of it. I’m hoping this post will also help you make an informed decision when purchasing a laser from China.


X700 Specs

  • Cut area 500x700
  • 100W ReCi Laser
  • DSP controller

  • USB/Ethernet Interface
  • Exhaust Fan, Air/Water Pump

  • Reflect Optics
  • Red Dot



Software and Firmware

For those of you that are not sure where to start, the biggest point is to ensure you have the correct software up and running. Our machine arrived with the TL-403CB DSP controller. As at 24/5/16 we have tested up to Firmware V.L007.075 and AutoLaser v2.2.2 We had to do a bit of”googling” to find out the manufacturer of the DSP and finally found the software here: http://www.topwisdom.com.cn/en/down.asp – I cannot guarantee this will work for everyone, best to check your DSP controller first. (You can find the model number in the side access panel of the machine)


Update 13/2/17 - I fried the Laser

I got to work on a small piece that I had drawn up. Just a simple mount for an LCD screen out of perspex. The problem is that I had to do multiple pieces of the LCD mount and ended up needing 18 of the same cut. As it turns out the ambient temp of the workshop and the small reservoir of water I was using for cooling was in not way sufficient for the repetitive cuts I was doing.

The end state is that we literally cooked the laser. The laser was now shorting inside the tube…Lesson learnt…the hard way.

So, we had a spare 125W tube lying around that clearly was never going to fit length ways, however it was the same dia. Seems legit? What do you think. Any problems? apart from someone tripping on the protrusion..

I’ve also sorted a proper cooling solution using some oldish MRI cooling units that I sourced. In the past I had just been using these to cool the spindle on the CNC router.