Category Archives: Gadgets

Interesting/old/Odd Tech (Storage)

Imation 120MB Super disk

The Imation SuperDisk was designed to be a replacement for typical floppy disks and was backward compatible with 3.5″ floppy’s but had a faster read performance due to using the IDE interface instead of the typical floppy connector.

Later a 240MB version was released but with CD burners and USB sticks taking off the product never really got off the ground.




And a 120MB disk to suit:


This was pulled from an old dual P3 server but I thought it was rather interesting due to having a AMD AM79C972BKC LAN controller, a LSI 53C875JE SCSI controller and then an Intel 21152-AB PCI Bus controller all on the same card.

DPT PM3224  PCI SCSI card with 72 pin expandable cache

Another piece I haven’t been able to find a huge amount of information on but have included it as it’s quite an interesting piece and having expandable cache would have been a great feature.

Iomega 100MB ZIP Drive

The Iomega ZIP drive was another attempt like the super disk to become a floppy disk replacement with 100MB, 250MB and eventually a short lived 750MB version.

Again the uptake of CD burners and USB storage caused it’s failure.

Iomega REV Drive 35/70GB

The Iomega REV drive was released in 2009 somewhat as a replacement for the previous Jaz drive.

They used cartridges that contained platters similar to that of a hard drive while the read head was inside the drive.

Late in the products life there was also a 120GB version released, unfortunately due to the design the cartridges could not be used in different sized models.

Unfortunately it would seem quite a bit of the information on the product has since been removed from the internet.

70GB cartridge shown below:

More to come…

(Drift) Trike Part 2 – Custom Nitrous install and upgrades

A number of things have been fixed and upgraded on the trike since the first blog post as well as the beginnings of a Nitrous Oxide system because the trike wasn’t already dangerous enough…

Continuing from the last posts list of items here are the ones that have been sorted:

Front brakes:
Trike now has a set of bike front brakes which do assist somewhat in slowing it down. (They weren’t really designed for 70km/h+)

Front brakes


Exhaust has been mounted:

Previously the trike didn’t have an exhaust and just fired straight out of the engine which was very loud and obnoxious. To fix this issue the exhaust from a Pit Pro was slightly modified in order to fit. Both the seat and clutch had some clearance issues.


Shifter lever has been changed:

Previously the trike had the original shifter from the Atomik quad which required leaning over the seat to pull the shifter which was quite dangerous.

Shifter v2.0 worked alright but go in the way of things and with such a long throw made finding gears difficult.

Shifter 3.0 got a shorten, changed to near vertical and a new gear knob which so far has been much better.

Electric start:

After pricing up parts it was decided that an electric start was not worth the money or effort. In order to get around the issue of the kick starter we removed the kick starter and now just roll start the trike which has proven to be much easier and negates the need for electric start.

Fuel tank:

Fuel tank was moved from the rear of the bars to the front and a vent pipe added to stop excess fuel spraying back.

Wheelie Bar:

A wheelie bar was fitted for safety using a wheel form a kids scooter and a bit of scrap 2″ box. This allows for about 2″ of lift on the front wheel and saves flipping the trike which will becoming more important when the N2O system is fitted.

Nitrous Oxide:

After seeing several small nitrous kits available for pit pro’s/atomik bikes such as this one I became interested in adding N2O to the trike however was willing to shell out the money for the pre made kits.

At some point I had the thought of using a whipped cream dispenser which uses food grade N2O as the source and storage container for N2O.

I already had an electronic solenoid that I had purchased for a project that never got started so I set about building the custom N2O system.

A brass fitting was taped into the S bend after the carbie as the delivery point and the solenoid mounted/zip tied under the seat.


A small lead acid battery was added at the rear under the seat to fire the solenoid which is wired to the electric start switch on the handle bars as I’m not going to be using electric start any more. This allows easy access from the throttle.


The final piece of the puzzle was mounting the whipped cream dispenser which was accomplished with a large hose clamp and a few slits in the back of the seat.

While not the prettiest of solutions it is quite functional and allows easy access to crack the N2O bulbs into the tank.

I am currently awaiting delivery of some N2O canisters to do some real testing but early results have been quite promising. There was some concern about the motor leaning out when the N2O shot was triggered however the carbie seems to run quite rich so should allow for the extra available oxygen.

If not we will find out when the motor cooks 😛


Stay tuned for Part 3 with some high speed N2O runs…

TP-Link TL-MR3020 Portable OpenVPN Router Part 2

After almost a year on the shelf I finally got around to getting the final parts I needed to finish off the portable router/charger project.


First to arrive was the case from eBay which includes a basic case, charging circuit, small solar panel as well as a rather bright LED panel.  These can be had for roughly AUD$6 delivered making them a bargain case for this sort of project or any other that requires on the go 5V power really.

Next was to decide on which battery’s to use, knowing I only really had space to fit two cells after some research I went for a pair of LG-HG2 3000mAH  mostly after reading this in depth review and test.

As the case does not come with battery holders I turned to Thingiverse and found a design that was roughly the correct size and using Tinkercad adjusted it to fit the cells and (roughly) the case and printed it on my Anet A8.


  I then wired the cells, solar panel and LED panel to the charge board and did several charge/discharge cycles charging phones, etc to make sure all was well.

After I was satisfied that all was working well it was time to move the router into it’s new home which proved to be quite a bit more of a tight fit than my first measurements had suggested.

A switch was cut into one end to power the router while still maintaining the ability to use the device as a charger and light.

Some “butchery” had to be done in order to get the network jack to just fit in the height of the case.

An overall view showing the tight fit (and my awful soldering skills)


And some (mostly) final shots.

As you can see everything doesn’t quite fit in the case as well as I’d hoped. I indeed to do a second version however I will design and 3D print a case so that everything fits together neatly.


(Drift) Trike Part 1

I have been toying with the idea of making a motorised drift trike for sometime and after seeing Colinfurze’s build video I thought it was about time to get about making it a reality.

Spoke to a friend and we managed to get two 125cc Pit Pro’s and two Atomik quads in various states of disrepair for next to nothing.

Between the four bike we got a running Pit Pro which was later sold and two working motors (One from a Pit Pro and one from a quad)

After stripping off the motors and any other useful parts we took the 9″ grinder to the rear end of both quads and removed the rear axle assembly including axle, chain sprocket and rear disc brakes. Having a fully functional rear axle and drive train means a heap less fabrication for us.

The second part we needed to acquire was a front end for the trike which came in the form of a BMX bike which was donated to the cause and promptly met the 9″ grinder.

Some 2″ box tube we had lying around and we were ready to begin seeing how everything will (hopefully) fit together:



From the pictures you can get a rough idea of how it should come together.

After some cutting and welding we have ourselves a rolling frame. Both the BMX head and quad rear end directly welded to the 2″ box tube allowing enough room for motor and chain drive.

Drift trike rolling frame
Drift trike rolling frame

Once we were happy with this we set out to create some engine mounts on the 2″ box with slotting to allow chain  tension adjustment. After some fiddling to get everything to fit and tension up correctly this is what we ended up with:

Overall view without seat

Seatless overview side on

Engine overview close up

Carbie close up

Rear axle view


At this point rear brakes were bled, clutch cable, accelerator cable and kill switch were all run to the handle bars.

Left side bar has rear brakes and clutch ~90° offset.

Right side bar has start/stop switch, throttle and front brakes (WIP).

Handle bar overview
Handle bar overview

Left handle bar close up with clutch (silver) and rear brake (black) shown


A seat mount was welded up and bolted to the top of the motor then a plastic school seat fitted.

Trike with plastic seat back overview


A small fuel tank was fitted in the bar forks and then it was time to see how it ran…


During the test I had forgotten to turn the fuel tap on hence it cutting out half way up the road. The carbie has since had a clean out and an exhaust fitted which cleared up a lot of the farting and carrying on that can be seen in the video.

The chase car showed a top speed of around 70km/h during testing. I think it has a fair bit more in it but I’m not sure it needs to go any faster given the stability of trike’s in general….


As many of you will have noticed it’s currently not truly a “Drift” trike given the current tires/wheels on the trike which will be addressed in part two of this. Finding 14″ PVC for a cheap price has proven difficult so different hubs may have to be fitted to allow for smaller wheels allowing for easier procurement of PVC for drifting.


The other things that need finalising include:

  • Finishing mounting of exhaust system
  • Front brakes
  • Electric start (Kick start is in an awful spot under seat)
  • 12v battery mount for electric start
  • Changing of shifter location. (Currently lean over suicide shifter)
  • Finding 14″ PVC or changing of wheel hubs for smaller diameter
  • More permanent fuel tank mount
  • Maybe a coat of paint


Continued in part 2 here.

TP-Link TL-MR3020 Portable OpenVPN Router Part 1

I’ve had a TP-Link TL-MR3020 mini router sitting around in my draw for sometime waiting for an idea for a project for it.


Finally decided that I would configure it as a portable OpenVPN hot spot based on this article from Logan Marchione to allow secure internet access, bypass geo-blocking and also to get around browsing restrictions on both the uni network and other public networks.

I had issues with the standard firmware download from the OpenWRT website as there was not enough room left on the flash to install kmod-fs-ext4 for ExtRoot.

I came across another firmware that had been repackaged with all the required USB packaged installed and can be downloaded here.

After that the rest of the instructions worked fine, I use Usenetserver as my VPN provider as I also use Usenet and configured two different profiles one with several Australian servers just for bypassing restrictions and for security. The second profile is several US servers for getting around geo-blocking.

A copy of the OpenVPN config file I created can be downloaded here.

After configuring and testing the VPN a DNS leak was being shown allowing traffic to still be monitored by my ISP, etc. So I edited the dns servers here to the FreeDNS servers.


And changed the DNS resolve file to a custom one here:

With the lines:



With both of these changes the DNS leak was fixed and now showed the correct information when checked on IP Leak.

I’ve only really tested with a single client so far but throughput appears to be between 500-600kb/s the limit appears to be CPU power in the unit but is more than enough for browsing and the odd download.

After that was solved it was onto the hardware.

I removed the USB port and soldered the USB stick internally to tidy the whole package up.

The next step is this project is to move the router and USB stick into a USB charger/power bank such as this DIY kit below with an additional switch to allow toggling of the router functions.

Allowing for true portability as well as the convenience of charging phones and other USB devices on the go.

Solar USB charger
Solar USB charger stock picture

Followed on in Part 2 as the router gets installed into it’s new portable case.

Quick look VoCore

Had a package arrive the other month with my VoCore which was a project I baked on Indiegogo a while back.

The VoCore is a tiny computer running OpenWRT with a 360mhz processor and 32MB of RAM and 16MB of flash with built in Wi-Fi, two 100mbs network cards, USB and 28 GPIO ports.

Perfect for projects that have limited room or that require WiFi.

I knew the board was small but really didn’t think it would be as small as it is, here it is next to a USB stick:


The size (and my soldering skills) made soldering connectors onto the board quite a challenge.

They do make a dock for it which breaks out the USB and Ethernet connectors but pretty  much doubles the price of the unit.

Initial configuration is done over serial with the provided USB-TTL converter but first power and serial lines have to be soldered on.


As you can see my soldering skills aren’t the best on these small pitch connectors I will have to redo them before I use the unit in a permanent installation.


After firing the unit up and connection via serial I reconfigured the wireless to operate in client mode and connect to my home Wi-Fi and was then able to connect via SSH:


My intention is to use this board with a USB Relay board to operate my garage door as well as other projects out the front of the house, this saves having to get a cable from the house into the garage which would be a nightmare.

Future projects may also include Wi-Fi connected appliances such as washing machine, dryer, kettle and the likes due to the small size, GPIO pins and cheap price.

Raspberry Pi Doorbell and Camera Part 1

After missing several people knocking at the door it was decided a doorbell was in order but I didn’t just want some annoying ringing bell to drive me nuts so after seeing Ahmad Khattab’s project on Hackaday here planning began on my own Raspberry Pi based door bell.

You can find Ahmad’s original Github repository here and Google doc with build instructions here.

Parts List:

Raspberry Pi Model B

Raspberry Pi Camera

Cheap wireless doorbell

Weather proof Case


I downloaded the complete SD image from here and used Win32 Disk Imager to put the image on an 8GB SD-Card after boot I went in and modified the code slightly by commenting out lines related to the LCD as I won’t be using it and have added support for Pushover a service that allows for push notifications to be sent to iOS, Android and also desktop browsers.

I also modified to take two pictures one at 800×600 which is emailed and a second at full resolution which is later copied to my NAS for storage. is used to start it monitoring the GPIO pin, I added this as a cron job on reboot.

Can download the modified files here.

The files that need to be customized for use are: – Set your email address and SMTP server – Set your email address and SMTP server – Set your Pushover User and App Key’s – Un-comment and set path if you wish to copy the picture to a network share

There is also Google hangouts, twitter and Zapier support but I have not used them here.


With the software sorted it was onto the hardware:


I stripped the circuit board from the receiver unit and un-soldered the speaker and battery connectors and replaced them with new leads. Someone was even nice enough to silk screen the board with all the appropriate labels.


I then connected the battery leads to 3.3v (Pin 1) and Ground (Pin 9) and the speaker leads to GPIO7 (Pin 26) and Ground (Pin 25) for my build I omitted the 10K resister and am yet to have any issues.




A quick test and seconds later both a pushover notification and E-Mail arrived:


Open up the email and we find the picture attached:


I’m still awaiting my case from China after it arrives the next step will be to mount all the hardware in the case, run a network cable to the location and wire up PoE for the unit.

I also intend to add support for the camera to be triggered by the motion sensor out the front for when I’m away or asleep for security.


Read on in Part 2

USB “Charger Doctor”

Just a quick post today, received this in the mail from China today. A USB voltage and current tester for a whole $2

Nice simple setup plug one end into a USB port and connect the device you want to the other end and the display changes back and forth from current to voltage every few seconds.

Measures 3.5-7V and 0-3A.

Lets connect it up:

Unloaded USB port voltage.

4GB USB stick connected.

Connect to a USB 2.5″ HDD. 0.45amp

Nice simple device that does what it says on the box and quite useful for diagnosing USB devices, well worth the $2 to have around for the odd time you even just want to know how much current you’re getting out of a charger.


Chumby One

First read about the Chumby a few years ago but at the time it was quite expensive to get one here in Australia and so mostly forgot about it until I read an article the other week mentioning that the Chumby was back!

The Chumby is a bedside clock replacement with over 1000 apps you can cycle through from clocks, weather, Facebook, picture slide show, etc.

Shipped from the USA on Tuesday and arrived Friday morning, time to unpack it 🙂

What do we have here? All the way from the USA

All wrapped up

Chumby One Front

Chumby One Back

Chumby up and running

Now time to load some “apps” up and have a play.

Eventually hope to write an app to integrate into my Insteon system allowing bedside table control of the whole house.

The Insteon Hub allows HTTP requests to be used to control devices and the Chumby uses Flash Lite so shouldn’t be too hard.