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Posts posted by Strider

  1. On 1/7/2022 at 12:22 PM, Yazwho said:

    Great stuff. 

    When browsing Amazon, its worth using smile.amazon.xx so Amazon give a fraction to a charity for every purchase! Even if you use smile.amazon.xxx a link to www.amazon.com won't auto forward without an extension ( I use https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/smile-always/jgpmhnmjbhgkhpbgelalfpplebgfjmbf )

    Unless you have some sort of referral, it's worth updating the links..?

    I do use Smile, when I remember, buying my own items. But when posting links, it's often just to show the item, I'm not posting it trying to push it for sale. 😁


  2. Oh yeah, there are a lot of "DIY Electronic Kits" on Amazon, and other sites as well if you drop that same search in Google. I have bought a few, just little fun kits to build for others, like a colorful LED heart for my wife (that I posted here with some other stuff), a star one for my daughter, and an "RGB" clock for the heck of it. All very simple but fun kits. Though I did make a handheld game one for me.  I haven't tried any of the kits for tools though, since I either have them or can just do it myself. My primary reason is for fun. I enjoy it, and it will be useful to me. It's how I relax on my time off. 

    @TomXP411My DIY bench PSU will include this regulator, like the one you have (I bought it after you mentioned it in the other thread), minus the barrel jack since it will be powered by the Corsair 450W SFX PSU that will be in my bench. It's been sitting in my closet for a long time, so I figured I would put it to use. It was an item sent to me for review, and that I have not needed since. 

    I picked up a new soldering iron a few months ago as well, and so far it's working great. I also got a spare iron with it, and a set of tips. What's funny is I never knew what I was missing having flux under my brass wool until I got this station and it came with it that way. I kinda want to try the Pinecil and see how well it works one of these days.

    As far as my other tools, this is what I currently use.

    I am looking at a rework hot air gun, maybe this one. Not sure yet, for SMD work.

    Of course, I have my breadboard, PCBs, and a lot of components all over the place. lol

  3. As you all know, I have been doing a lot with Arduino, Raspberry Pi, and a lot with electronics in general. Now I am putting together my own tools like a bench power supply using an old computer PSU, building my own buck converters, and now I want to do my own basic oscilloscope. I don't want or need anything fancy or expensive, but I also didn't want one of those cheap handheld kits you see all over Amazon. So... I just broke down and picked up an EspoTek Labrador and everything I need to put together a DIY scope, as least as close as I can realistically get. I am also curious how good it will work for it's $29 price.

    So I got the unit itself, a project enclosure, BNC connectors, and probes. I have everything else I may need already. I will run the software on my Pi 4 since I use that for most of my electronic work anyway. We will see how it all goes when the parts arrive and I'll post my results.

    That being said, after talking about buck converters with @TomXP411 in a different thread, I wanted a thread to talk about DIY things that don't necessarily fall completely under other specific categories.

    So what kind of "things" do you DIY, or would like to do, and why? Or do you just prefer to buy what you need like a sane person? Or maybe buying kits is as far as you want to do DIY?

    I have a feeling with all the retro tinkerers here, there is a lot of DIY being done. 🙂 


    • Like 2
  4. On 1/2/2022 at 8:03 PM, TomXP411 said:

    Yes, there are some power adapters that will work, but they need a really low internal resistance and  higher voltage than spec. 

    Here's a video that breaks it down:

    What I did is recreate his setup using one of these:

    Now I'm thinking of reproducing that video's test with my own 3B+. I'll probably buy a couple of USB cables I and another buck converter that I can sacrifice for the cause.

    That makes perfect sense.

    I also wonder how much "silicon lottery" is involved. My Pi3's, using the CanaKit adapters, both run at full speed no problems. I haven't seen the old lighting bolt since I got them. Same for the Pi 4, and I just had that thing running at 2GHz with an overvolt of 6 with no power issues. That also explains why my buck converter worked so well, it's a bit over 5V at 5.2. Or maybe that issue was addressed at some point? Both of my 3B+ units were purchased in late 2020, I think... Can't remember now. From Element 14, well, one form Element directly and one from their Amazon store.

    Do you like that buck PS you have? I was actually looking at it recently. I currently use these...

    For testing: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01NALDSJ0/

    In final projects as needed: https://www.amazon.com/MP1584EN-DC-DC-Converter-Adjustable-Module/dp/B01MQGMOKI/

    And I am thinking of building my own "bench power supply" using one of the many good spare PC PSU's I have lying around, since I really only need 3.3V, 5V, and 12V anyway. Plus, it's another project to keep me busy, and it's easy to do. lol

    Either way, I want a good variable buck PSU for testing, and that one was on my list. I have had good luck with DROK products.

    I know I am rambling, but I am also seriously looking at an EspoTek Labrador. For what I do, it's all the scope I need. Plus, I get to build it up how I want it. Ever mess with it? Or hear much about it?



  5. Been messing with the Pi4 for the past couple hours, and here is what I get out of mine.


    • Bluetooth is disabled (dtoverlay=disable-bt) in /boot/config.txt.
    • Not currently overclocked.
    • GPU mem set to 512mb, becasue why not, got 8GB available that I will never use. lol
    • Wired net connection, WiFi not being used.

    These are the apps I use the most on mine. Performance in all these apps is great, with two exceptions, listed below.


    Boot to desktop: About 15 seconds. (Cold boot.)


    LibreOffice: About 2.5 seconds when closed. About one second with base loaded.

    Fritzing: About 20 seconds (has a TON of assets to load).

    Arduino IDE: About 4 seconds.

    Geany: About 1.5 seconds.

    Thonny Python IDE: About 1.5 seconds.

    Chromium: About 3.5 seconds. (See notes below)

    Firefox ESR: About 3.5 seconds. (See notes below)

    VLC Media Player: About 1 second.

    GIMP 2.10.8: About 5 seconds.

    Synaptic Package Manager: About 4 seconds.

    Thunar File Manager: About 1 second


    Games & Emulators

    Beneath a Steel Sky (ScummVM): About 1.5 seconds for ScummVM to start game.

    ScummVM Alone: About 1 second.

    Chocolate Doom: About 1.5 seconds.

    DOSBox: About 1.5 seconds.

    FS-UAE: About 3 seconds.

    Steam Link: About 4.5 seconds. (Has no issues streaming 1080P games from my primary desktop PC.)

    RetroArch: About 4 seconds.


    Both Chromium and Firefox perform about the same. Their performance on sites like YouTube are most definitely painfully slow when it comes to loading the page and or video. Once a video is playing, the playback is hit and miss. Some videos play fine, others hiccup, and require you to bump down the resolution. That being said I really don't do a lot of video streaming on the Pi, today was the first time I really appreciated how slow it was on YouTube.

    Image heavy sites like Amazon load slower on the Pi than on a desktop as well, but it's more than fine for someone like me, especially since again, I don't really do it much on the Pi. A vast majority of my Pi's web use is forums and searching for information, and in those cases, both browsers are plenty fast. I ran across several posts claiming the reason they are so slow with some sites, like YouTube, is more of a software/driver issue than hardware. Time will tell I guess.

    Video playback from a local source using VLC however is flawless, at least it was with all the videos I tried, mostly all 1080P, streaming from my NAS.

    While I most definitely would like to see better storage options and much improved performance on the image/video heavy side of the web. I can honestly say I am still pleased with it's overall performance. Then again, it's all going to come down to what you're wanting to do with it.

    Now I guess it's time to overclock. These Argon cases have good cooling, so why not. 😆



    Well, I just pushed it to 2GHz on the ARM, and 750 on the GPU, with an overvolt of 6. I can confirm, YouTube is still slow. lol

    Honestly, I really didn't notice any real improvements over the stock operation. The system was "snappy" already, and the software I use already ran good. I will have to check it using something that will actually benefit from the faster clocks, maybe some more demanding console emulation.

    I know one thing, I wont be leaving it overclocked. It  does what I want it to do at stock, so no point in shortening it's life if it's not necessary and there is no real benefit to it for my specific use case.


    • Thanks 1
  6. @BruceMcF I hear ya on the display, that little 2.8 inch screen on the GPi Case, while nice and sharp, is a pain for me to see. Even though I recently got it all fixed and working as it should, I am rarely using it becasue of the tiny display. I do wear glasses, but that's to help me see at distance, so I really only wear them while driving, especially at night. I don't wear them at home because I can see just fine, normally, at the close distances. Still, that GPi screen is only really viewable for me at full arms length. Go figure. I almost need two pairs of glasses, or bifocals. lol

    Also, I feel the holiday pinch in the pocketbook as well, we blow so much money each year. It's kinda crazy, thankfully it's only once per year.

    @TomXP411 I had that same problem with my first 3B+ Pi when I got it, and wasn't 100% sure why becasue I was using USB chargers with ample ratings, or so I thought, 5V @ 2A. This is where my path took me...

    After doing a bit of research, I found out what I sort of already knew but dismissed for whatever reason at the time, that most USB chargers suck under any "heavy" load that requires stable clean power, too much voltage drop, and their quality is a lottery for most brands. I seen a lot of recommendations to use Samsung 2.5A chargers if you had one, becasue they performed better under the loads the Pi puts on it and had that extra .5A of headroom, especially considering all USB devices are also pulling power from that same source. So my wife gave me an old one she had and my power issues went away. When I got my 2nd 3B+, this time I bought a CanaKit power supply specifically designed for the Pi, and I could not have been happier. Worked great from day one, even when overclocked. They have the extra headroom as well, and maintain a stable clean output under load.

    When I got my Pi4, I was originally powering it with a 5V 5A output buck converter because I didn't have anything else. So again, I ordered CanaKit's Pi4 power supply, and it's also been working great.

    So I highly recommend them if all else fails. It's an extra $10 to the cost of t he Pi, but I think it was worth it in the long run. 😁

    Also, I want a MiSTer, and I don't. My tinkering retro loving brain wants one to play with, but my logical brain has trouble with the cost. I get the whole idea of it being better than software emulation, and I love me some FPGA goodness, but I am honestly perfectly happy with modern emulation. Besides, I am going down another rabbit hole thanks to the stupid Atomic Pi, and it's a lot cheaper. lol

    @Scott Robison As far as Retroholics Anonymous goes, sign me up! Though I think it will take at least a 16-bit...err...16 step program to even make a dent. 😆

    • Haha 1
  7. That Tom's Hardware article is one of the reasons I gave it a try. Though since it's writing, performance has been improved and you can boot straight from SSD now, so boot times are better than before. One good trick is to disable Bluetooth in Pi OS, that speeds up boot time as well, if you're not using it of course. That helps no matter what boot media you use.

    I want to do some "benchmarks" on my Pi now that I am thinking about it more. I am putting in a 12  hour shift today at the hospital, but I have the next 2 days off. Gives me something fun to do. lol

    I can say that LibreOffice runs fantastic, but it should. I will test boot time, app launch times for whatI use, and mess around with 1080 video streaming more. I also use the Pi with Steam Link, and that works wonderfully as well. Now I can't wait until tomorrow to mess around with it. 😜


    @TomXP411 Best case for the Pi 4 in my humble opinion. Honestly, I don't think I would be using it as much if it wasn't for that case. It's just so darn convenient, tucks right where I need it.



  8. On 12/31/2021 at 8:20 PM, TomXP411 said:

    The problem I have with the Pi is that the modern web slightly overwhelms that machine. Something similar to the Pi, but with about 2x the CPU power would probably be ideal for a simple desktop system.

    The biggest problem I run into is it sometimes struggles with 1080 video streaming (YouTube), but it's hit and miss, sometimes it plays fine, sometimes it hiccups. To be honest, a vast majority of the web usage I do while on the Pi 4 runs great, but that's mainly forums, tutorial or technical doc viewing, or searching for information I need for whatever I am doing in that moment. So I really have not had the chance to really push it all that hard in that respect. I will have to do that one of these days.

    To be fair, like I said, I run everything from that M.2 SSD and have it hooked up via cat6, I don't use the wireless on it.

    Overall I am quite happy with the Pi 4's performance for what I am asking it do to. It's definitely not a desktop replacement, but as an alternative, it's not bad. I could honestly see me using it as a daily driver if I had no other choice. However I definitely see room for improvement for the next gen Pi. Just like you I would love to see a faster processor, and if nothing else, M.2 or SATA. The SSD over USB if lightyears ahead of using an SD card or flash drive, but a lot of the Pi's performance issues come from the highly limited storage speeds.

  9. 2022.jpg.7a792383c80d90bba9e06a31b6bafea1.jpg


    Goodbye 2021. Hello 2022.

    To say the last couple years have been a roller coaster would be an understatement, with it's fair share of hardships. Still, I have a lot to be thankful for as we complete yet another trip around the sun. I have my great family, a good job, and a fun hobby.

    In 2021 I dove into learning new things, such as Arduino, to give me a stepping stone into programming, something I left behind a couple decades ago. Learning how to properly use and exploit the power of the Raspberry Pi. Resurrecting my old electronics hobby, designing and building my own devices and circuits. Just to name a few.

    In 2022, I'm going to try and take a few more camping trips with my family, those are something I greatly enjoy doing. Maybe a trip back to my home state to visit family there as well.

    I also want to take more time to enjoy my hobbies, electronics and retro-computing. I would love the see an X16 kit sitting on my desk sometime in 2022 as well, just waiting to be soldered together and built! Time will tell. 😜

    Any excuse to have a soldering iron in my hand. lol


    Lastly, I want to wish all of you a safe and wonderful holiday and hope for great new year!


    Are you looking forward to anything in 2022? 😁

    • Like 3
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  10. I agree with @Edmond D when it comes to "modern" tutorials.

    In my recent quest to learn how to program Arduino, I found a lot of trash tutorials that glossed over many fundamentals and went right to the "just do this" and did not explain WHY.

    Luckily I ran across this guy: Paul McWhorter @ https://www.youtube.com/user/mcwhorpj

    While I already know a vast majority of the electronics hardware he goes into (been doing that since the 80's), he does a great job explaining WHY he's doing what he's doing and what the programming is doing. I still found myself watching the parts I already knew, and not skipping to what I didn't (the coding itself), because he does such a  good job explaining it.

    He's an excellent instructor, a diamond in the sand.  😜


    • Like 2
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  11. Like @JimmyDansbo, for me, it already exists, and it's the Raspberry Pi. The Pi4 is a more than capable alternative for me. I use an 8GB model, running off SSD over USB3, and it's impressively fast. I use it for most of my Arduino and circuit design, and do a bit of gaming on it. I use the 3B+ for classic console emulation, and between the two that's good enough for my alternative.

    That being said, I am VERY tempted to grab a Atomic Pi, an x86 single board, so you have more OS, software options, and more horsepower to play with. It's powered by an Intel Atom x5-Z8350 quad core @ 1.44GHz with a 480MHz IGPU. It's limited to 2GB DDR3L-1600 RAM, but for my needs, that's more than enough. I want to use it for more demanding emulation, or see if I can get it running something like Win 95 OSR2.5, just for kicks. The big drawback is drivers for older operating systems, but I may still give it a go and see what I can get to run on it.


  12. On 12/27/2021 at 12:27 AM, Edmond D said:

    The 8Bit guy replied in Dave's GYouTube comment thread - that Dave G did a great & complete job, and that he (8BG) could probably borrow to two units for a video. 

    I seen that. You can see how excited Dave gets when talking about Commodore, and how much of a fan he is of our 8-Bit-David. 😁

    • Like 1
  13. My first experience was on my dads Magnavox Odyssey, but I am pretty sure he had a Coleco Telstar as well, and a couple others. I remember the Odyssey, but I was very young. I remember taping plastic sheets to the TV for different games, but I don't recall exactly what console that was. My dad repaired Pinball machines as a hobby back then, so mom got him those consoles to have fun with at home. They were not all new, they showed up a lot cheaper in thrift stores and yard sales really quickly, or so I was told later. lol

    Good times. Of course, my first console was the Atari 2600 like many of us kids born in the early 70's. 😁

  14. Doom Eternal has some cool Easter Eggs in it. One such hidden gem of pure retro awesomeness, you can find 14 disks hidden around, and install the original Ultimate Doom on an old PC in your room on your "Fortress of Doom" ship.

    You can play the entire Ultimate Doom game, from within Doom Eternal, on an old PC, on your spaceship. I love it!

    Time to track them all down! Already found some vinyl! 😆

    Love it when games pay tribute to their past.







    FYI: The disks you track down also unlock original cheat codes for use in Doom Eternal. You can also unlock and play Doom II on that same retro PC in Doom Eternal by simply entering this code "FLYNNTAGGART". Unlocking Ultimate Doom is not required to unlock Doom II. Flynn Taggart is Doom Guy's name in the original Doom novels.

  15. Story time!

    So, I'm running an XFX RX 580 DD 8GB card in my system. It does what I need it to do, even though the 580 line has been out since 2017 and was technically a "refresh" of the 480 line . Had it about 2 years now. Was under $200 when I got it, before the silicon hit the fan and sky-rocked in price.

    About a year ago a fan started making noise, and XFX kindly sent me a set of new fans and a shroud. So I tore the card apart and replaced it, and in the process I had to replace the thermal compound as well. Put it all back together. Worked great.

    Fast forward to this past week, and I start putting it under heavy load for the first time in months. Temps are pushing 85C, got the fans cranked to 2300+ RPM, so it got loud and hot. Started under-volting it to drop the temps, got them down about 5 or 6 C to just under 80, but still too hot and loud. It was running at 65C to 70C max, under full sustained load.

    So... tore it apart again. Thermal compound was hard...it dried out, I used my tried and true Arctic Silver 5. Dug out the tube, checked it out, it's barely still pliable, and I picked it up new a year ago when I replaced the fans. Guess I got a bad tube, or one that sat in a warehouse forever. So, I just got 2 tubes of Arctic MX4 recently, and I like it better anyway. Put that on there and...

    65C under max sustained load at 1600'ish RPM. Cool and quiet! Even more so than it was originally!

    On a side note, I did discover my card can  under-volt to 1050mV and remain 100% stable, at stock it runs at 1140mV under stage 7 (max) load. May see if I can get it under 1000mV, I know some cards can, seen some people saying they got them running at about 960mV.

    Lower temps, lower RPM on  the fans, a win win out of an annoying situation!

    Amazes me how much heat modern hardware produces sometimes, but the level of control they give you over it is so nice. 😁

    This is my card, love the look of it as well as the performance for the MSRP. NOT the current prices of hardware. These cards are going for $600 new right now. NOT worth it! lol


    • Like 1
  16. HOW did I miss this?!?!?

    Seriously, I have been doing a lot with Arduino lately, but I kinda want to mess around with MMBasic and this gives me an excuse to mess with the Pico. At $4 a pop they are a pretty attractive micro-controller.

    I really liked the Color Maximite 2 and wanted to get one when I first seen David review it, but was never able to do so, they were always sold out. I gave up on it, but MMBasic looks like fun to me.

    I have a special place in my heart for BASIC, I gave up on programming a very long time ago, and only recently started fumbling though it to learn a bit later in life. At least this will be somewhat familiar, and I don't care about the speed on a micro-controller. So why not give it a try?  

    Well...guess it's time to guy a few Picos... And down another rabbit hole I go. 🙃

  17. I just have to say, I am pleased with both GeeekPi and RetroFlag for their customer support.

    GeeekPi is the company I bought my RetroFlag GPi Case kit from, and after trying to figure out the issue I am having with the case not detecting the built in controller, they gave me a full refund.

    In doing research and troubleshooting on possible issues with the case, I stumbled across the possibility there is an issue with the ribbon cable header. RetroFlag is sending me a special ribbon cable that actually solders to pads on the board, bypassing the header, to see if that solves the problem. How cool is that? I discovered it via an obscure YouTube video of someone fixing a similar issues with a broken header.

    I love it when a company stands behind the products they sell. It's a rarity these days, and I'm glad to see it in the retro community. 🙂

    gpi-ribon-cable2-s.jpg.0062ac2d3c7625391e6874ee9b0d3837.jpg gpi-solder-cable.jpg.945bb4eeac734c093bd5fe3404aed447.jpg

    • Like 1
  18. I totally agree with the whole "Consumermas" feeling sometimes.

    I guess for me I like to think it's not so much about the items given as the time spent opening them, seeing peoples reactions, and talking about it as the day goes on. Christmas in my home was that special occasion when family got together, had a big meal, and had an excuse to spend way too much money on things we would not normally buy. Where as my wife and her family had the same gatherings, but they often gave gifts of necessities, ordinary items you buy all the time. My brother-in-law in particular would go out of his way to make gifts as hard to get into as possible, or make finding your gift an adventure style scavenger hunt with clues, puzzles, and all. Everybody does it a little different, and it's all special, it's all about spending time with family and having a little fun.

    Now that we're all "older", the magic of Christmas has indeed lost a lot of it's appeal. Still, the child inside me cannot live with the idea of not getting my wife gifts, even if I do suck at it, hence the lists. Even when she tells me she don't want anything. Honestly, through the year, we don't buy much we want, only what we need. I'm not sure why, but we just don't. So Christmas is that excuse we use to do it. I use it as an excuse to stock up on parts, tools, etc. for my hobbies. lol

    • Like 2
  19. I was sitting here the other night, dozing off in my chair, getting ready to go to bed. Noticed a new video posted "We asked A.I. to dream of Christmas nostalgia." So, I had to check it out.

    About a dozen replays later, I finally made myself go to bed, where I had my own dreams of nostalgia.

    I agree with @TomXP411, @Perifractic's music is most excellent! it's just fun to listen to.  😁



    The "spiders" in the instrumental version were awesome. It was fun seeing what images and patterns my brain would try and recognize, like BB-8, R2-D2, Darth Vader, Atari logos, HAL, wired computer mice, D&D dice, and things that reminded me of TV and movies like Blade Runner, Six Million Dollar Man, and Knight Rider. Needless to say, both videos are fun to watch and listen to.

    • Like 1
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