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Rack PC Build - Part Two

Another rack-PC put together this week. Intel X99-chipset with LGA2011-3 CPU socket. Only PCI-e slots, no legacy PCI-slots.

Again I didn't get the polarity of the HDD-LED and Power-LED wires right on the first try. How come the industry cannot agree on a standard connector for the bundle that has the power-switch, reset-switch, HDD-LED, and Power-LED?

Another glitch was that this board has 8 slots for RAM, and the two RAM-sticks I got need to be installed exactly in the right slots - otherwise it won't even boot into the BIOS. Some reading of the motherboard manual was required.

After installing Ubuntu 14.04LTS (from USB-stick! No CD/DVD required) the NVIDIA-drivers (for the GTX750TI) were not automatically detected. I downloaded the latest driver from NVIDIA and installed it manually. This requires logging in to a text-only console (CTRL-ALT-F1), and then killing X for the duration of the install (sudo service lightdm stop)

op-amp PID controller

Here's an old-school PID controller based on simple op-amp circuits that I put together a week or so ago.

Espoorastit Mikkelä

The last Espoorastit and fitness-orienteering event for this year. But there might be some city-sprints during the winter.

Pretty steady going with no major mistakes. Control #6 is the best split, the others look pretty bland, but the overall result is good since I am 16th out of about 100. The long straight path south of the #2-#3 line would maybe have been faster and easier. I almost ran past #8 before turning back. Close to #11 it was hard to tell where I had crossed the path+river.


Rack PC build

I assembled this new PC for use in the lab.

Itärastit Latokartano

This was the last itärastit event for this year. See you next year in April again!

#2: wrong direction and slow pace out of #1 is probably the cause of the bad split.

#4: completely lost it when almost inside the control circle. Through to the big road and even ran along the road in the wrong direction for a bit...

#11 down the hill too much to the north, then looked for the control in the wrong place before I found the bend in the road,

#15 tried to look for the path marked with a thick dashed line, but there are many paths and it's not clear which one to follow. Might have been faster to simplify the plan and run to the big road behind #10 first.


Installing the latest KiCAD on Ubuntu 14.04LTS

Add the ppa:js-reynaud/ppa-kicad to your list of sources:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:js-reynaud/ppa-kicad

Then update package repository info

sudo apt-get update

Then install kicad

sudo apt-get install kicad kicad-common

Done. As of 2014-10-19 I get "Build 2014-jul-16 BZR unknown" - which should be new enough to contain most of the features I want.

There is a problem with this install because the environment variable KIGITHUB is not set. We do that by adding this line to ~/.profile

export KIGITHUB=""

For this to take effect you need to log out and then log in again. You should now see KIGITHUB defined in the under Preferences/Library Tables in Pcbnew. I still have KISYSMOD undefined, but that doesn't seem to matter(?).

So far so good. Next stop is learning how to work with the kicad github plugin so I can store my own symbols/footprints in my own github repo.

Fusion splicing optical fiber

Update: Here's the other end of the 100m cable, spliced a few days later.


I spent most of the afternoon splicing this thick 12-strand single-mode cable to an LC patch-panel.

The fusion splicer and cleaver we have are quite similar to the ones shown here:

Iltarastit Kivikko


The last Iltarastit event for this year.

A map with lots of details and lots of controls. 24 controls on a 7km course means 280 m/leg on average - at a pace of 10 min/km that means there's a control to punch every 2min 48s during 70 minutes of running. I was slower than that however, roughly 81 min...

Itärastit Kauhala


Had to use a hand-drawn map, since they had run out of printed maps.

Towards #1 I am correctly on course but then run down the hill to some big stones which were not the correct ones. Probably +2 minutes and the second-worst split.

#5 is jointly the best split (with #9), but I would have liked to stay along the edge of the blue swamp and not drift right and high up on the hill.

#10 is the worst split, but a short leg so not that much time lost. Maybe everyone else used the two paths and the flag was clearly visible from the second path?

Overall 10th out of 62 runners which is OK.

Espoorastit Latokaski


Maybe a bit straighter to #1 would have been better? Then a slow S-bend avoiding the wet(?) bit between #1 and #2, which was very slow. Similarly straighter out of #2 towards #3 would have been faster.

Surprisingly #4 is the best split - probably because someone else was in front of me until just before the control...

The route choice down the hill from #4 towards #5 was not fast, and I had to backtrack and look for a place to cross the stream. Rounding the swamp to the north would have been an option too. Then close to the control I climb the slope to slightly the wrong cliff loosing a little time.

#7 through to the finish are all quite straightforward. Just after #7 I almost hold the map 180-degrees the wrong way but quickly correct my mistake. Before #9 I follow someone else onto the yellow field when staying on the path would have been better.