Shaun Merrigan's Information Pages


Category: Tech


NEST Connectivity Issues Solved

Posted by Shaun Merrigan in NEST Thermostat, Tech. Comments Off on NEST Connectivity Issues Solved

12th October

I have two NEST thermostats, one v1 and one v2. The v1 had been ticking along fine until about July 2014 when I began to experience connectivity problems. More specifically, the thermostat itself would say that it was connected properly,  but the NEST browser and mobile apps would show it as offline. I tried all the usual fixes: reboot, restart, reset, both (router and NEST), static ip, DHCP Leasetime tweaks, etc.  Long story short, nothing I did solved the connectivity issues.

As it turned out, I was reconfiguring my home network and decided to change my main router from a Netgear WNDR4500 to an ASUS RT-AC68U. This change has resolved all my NEST connectivity issues. NEST Connectivity Issues Solved !  Both my NEST thermostats are fully connected and accessible any time I check them. It turns out that the RT-AC68U has … Read More »


Dell Poweredge CS24-SC Servers

Posted by Shaun Merrigan in Tech. 1 Comment

12th October

I recently acquired two Dell Poweredge CS24-SC Servers, each equipped with dual Xeon 5420 processors and 8GB of ECC ram. I love this industrial grade gear because:

1) the excellent quality of construction
2) ease of servicing and use
3) designed to run 24/7 for years
4) no frills, but good solid, reliable hardware
5) Baseboard (BMC) management features
5) amazingly power frugal with the right settings

These servers were (reportedly) part of a large run of 10,000 or more units manufactured for cloud/cluster computing. Many of them have turned up in the surplus market over the past few years. The units I obtained had sequential serial numbers and were configured identically. They were very clean and in excellent condition. The BMC firmware was the latest available version, and the motherboard firmware was the penultimate version. I therefore chose not to attempt any firmware upgrades.

I installed Linux … Read More »


Nest thermostat: Should I assign an IP or Not?

Posted by Shaun Merrigan in NEST Thermostat, News, Tech. Comments Off on Nest thermostat: Should I assign an IP or Not?

25th June

Nest thermostat: Should I assign an IP or Not?

The question is: Does assigning the NEST thermostat a static IP using your router result in a more reliable wireless connection?  For my first generation NEST running v4.2.3 of the NEST software, the answer is a definite no.

Background:

I am using my home router as a DHCP  server in order to assign IP addresses to various devices behind it.  This is the typical default behavior of most home routers.  I like to tweak the setup, however and assign static IP addresses to various devices so that troubleshooting is simplified and  IP address conflicts are avoided.

My NEST thermostat connectivity had been generally very good, until a couple of weeks ago when I found that the NEST thermostat could not connect reliably to my router.  (I had updated my router firmware about that time as … Read More »


Xbox 360 Power Supply Replacement

Posted by Shaun Merrigan in Gaming, News, Tech. Comments Off on Xbox 360 Power Supply Replacement

17th January

Xbox 360 Power Supply Replacement

If you own one or more Xbox 360 in its various incarnations, including the newer 360S and 360E, you have likely experienced a power supply failure. These units all use an outboard power supply which plugs into the wall outlet at your local voltage, and connects to the 360 by a special power cable. I say special cable because the cable and plug design has charged numerous times over the years. The failure modes that I have experienced go something like this:

1) The power supply (“brick”) begins to get noisy on power up, but then settles down to its former noise level in a few minutes. This behavior continues for a few weeks or months. At this point I generally take the brick outside and blow it out with a super duster (canned air).
2) The noise … Read More »


Xbox One Media Center Solution

Posted by Shaun Merrigan in News, Tech. Comments Off on Xbox One Media Center Solution

24th December

Xbox One Media Center Solution

I have been learning the ins and outs of my new Xbox One over the past couple of weeks and here are some of my observations:

I like the tiled menu interface, and the look and feel of the menus
The entire system feels very fast and responsive
The integration of kinect seems to work well
No TV integration (guide or satellite/cable box) in Canada
Some games available, but nothing I am interested in as yet; let’s see what happens at E3
No Media Center (like the Xbox 360)

The last point is really critical for me.  I want to use my Xbox One for my own music, pictures, videos, recorded TV, etc.  In other words, I want Media Center functionality on my Xbox One.  This is right in line with Microsoft’s vision for the Xbox One :

“The all-in-one entertainment system. Where … Read More »


NEST Thermostat Update and Voltage Measurements

Posted by Shaun Merrigan in NEST Thermostat, News, Tech. 1 Comment

18th November

NEST Thermostat Update and Voltage Measurements

I have had my NEST Gen1 for almost 16 months now and I probably could not go back to a regular dumb thermostat, given the choice.  The NEST charging problem has been solved by connecting the “C” (AC Common) wire from my furnace to the NEST.  See this post for details: Nest Thermostat Charging Solution

I find the monthly NEST Energy Reports very useful, and I am saving them so that when I make important changes to our house (new windows, more insulation, more efficient furnace, etc) I can see an actual difference.

 

I thought it would be helpful to anyone still troubled by the charging problem if I posted my NEST reported and measured voltages:

Furnace running (heating) NEST Reported Voltages: Voc 38.33V, Vin 31.57V, Vbat 3.864V, Lin 100mA (i)

Voltage measured between Rc and C (Power and … Read More »


The Nike FuelBand: 5 Months On

Posted by Shaun Merrigan in News, Tech. Comments Off on The Nike FuelBand: 5 Months On

15th November

The Nike Fuel Band: 5 Months On

I purchased a Nike Fuel Band in late June 2013 with an idea that I could use it as a step counter over the summer and during the winter.  I did quite a bit of research, and examined competing products. While other products had more features, the Nike FuelBand was elegantly simple, easy to use, looked great and had the best software support (I do not use Android devices).  Since receiving it in June, I have used it continuously for over 5 months, and I am still using it.  How do I feel about it?  I love it.  It is easy to wear, rugged, and easy to use.   No gimmicks, no BS; it just works.

I love statistics, so the hourly, daily, weekly, monthly and yearly charts on the Nike website are great.  I can … Read More »


No Video Card Upgrade this round: No compelling reason

Posted by Shaun Merrigan in Gaming, News, Tech. Comments Off on No Video Card Upgrade this round: No compelling reason

15th November

No Video Card Upgrade this round: No compelling reason

AMD recently came out with their reference design for the R9 series of video cards (Hawaii Chipset): R9 Video Cards Overview .  I have read the reviews and the benchmarks, including comparisons to the 7990, GTX690 and Titan.  I see no compelling reason to “upgrade” my GTX690.  In fact, based on the benchmarks and reviews I have read GTX690 to R9 290X is more of a downgrade in power consumption, noise and mulit-monitor (2560 x 1600 X3) performance.  Crossfire is out of the question, since it does not support individual monitor color calibration, and I don’t even want to think about the TDP of such a setup.

I have looked through many benchmarks which have the GTX690 and HD7990 in the top spot for most games at the resolution I mentioned above.  The … Read More »


New Vacuum tube box scans

Posted by Shaun Merrigan in Site Updates, Tech, Vacuum Tubes. Comments Off on New Vacuum tube box scans

29th October

New Vacuum tube box scans

I have added several new images to my gallery of Vacuum Tube Box Artwork.

The new images include Westinghouse, Tung-Sol and Quality Brand tube boxes.

 

 

Shaun M

 

 


New Section added: Vacuum tube glow, box scans and artwork

Posted by Shaun Merrigan in Site Updates, Tech, Vacuum Tubes. Comments Off on New Section added: Vacuum tube glow, box scans and artwork

27th October

New Section added: Vacuum tube glow, box scans and artwork

In the spirit of both preservation and exploration, I have added a new section to the the under Photography: Vacuum tube glow, box scans and artwork

Here I will be documenting the artwork used on vacuum tube boxes as well as showing some of the images I have captured of vacuum tubes while they are operating.  I will be adding more images over time as I work through my vacuum tube inventory.