CCTV Power supply

W couple of months ago I installed a CCTV system in the house. After a bad rain storm three of the four cameras went out. Now this couldn’t be just the Cameras outside because I have one interior Camera that is also out. The Front door Camera is fine expect now there is Ghosting. This in turn means a Power issue.

The Power Supply is a WBox brand 4 channel 12 V 4.5 A power brick that has screw terminals.


This is the same power supply style and brand we use at work. I’ve had to replace one at another location last Friday. I honestly would steer clear of these. I plan to talk to the Warehouse director and the Owner of the Company I work for and let them know.

For now I am just going to use four 12 V 1.5 A wall warts and a Power strip until I can find something better.


Long wait for a proper desk.

I have been holding out on what I think is the proper desk/bench for electronics, a Tanker Desk. Stopped at a local thrift store and saw it. It was a little more than what I wanted to spend but it is in awesome shape. It has a dark cherry finish and a few dings on the left side file cabinet drawer but everything else is in great almost new shape.

However, when I was moving stuff around to make room my Elenco XP-720 Power Supply fell and hit the ground. So now I’m trying to fix it and also change a few things to it such as the Meters I added a while back.

Back to the desk. The desk is just massive and holds most of my test equipment with plenty of room to spare. Also the drawers hold a ton of stuff and I finally got a lot of plastic storage boxes empty and everything in arms reach in the desk drawers.

The desktop is deep so now I really have to reach for the soldering iron. The desk lamp is pretty much in the center of the desk. Only two draw backs however, the back of the desk is enclosed so I have to either pop a hole to run all of the computer cables through or have the PC on the side of the desk. Could be a good reason to buy a rack. The other issue is now I need to make a new mount for the Computer Monitors. I knew I had to do that anyway so no big deal.

Things to come

Parts for the new Shop Computer are on their way. The CPU came in and I guess I’m lucky, I ordered a AMD A-10 and was sent a AMD A-12.

I was given a Wbox 4 channel hybrid DVR the other day. The password to the system is unknown and if I can’t get a password reset for their tech support then I can use the 1tb hard drive in the new Shop Computer. Nine times out of ten if you send an email with the model and serial number they can give you a reset password. At least with HikVision that is, not sure for Wbox. I know the few unlucky techs at work call Wbox and takes an hour or two for a password reset.

A friend of mine has his Computer over. Had to change out the Motherboard and CPU. The power supply he bought was DOA so now it sits on my workbench until he comes back with a new one.

A great while ago I promised my youngest son that we would build a RC Plane. Since I have some spare cash and the weekend off I plan to drive into town and buy some supplies of building the body and wings. We want to make a A-10 Warthog. Around the time we were making plans about the project I found some nifty DIY instructions for a A-10.


My poor shop PC

The Computer I have been using for the shop died the other day. The Computer is at least 12 years old so really no loss other than some files I can easily recover.

When the new parts come in I’ll put it together as a one day build.

Western Electric model 500 Rotary Phone

I was cruising eBay the other day and saw a nice old Rotary Phone for a couple of bucks. I thought this would be neat to showcase in the Livingroom and maybe even get it working since I have a VoIP line.

The phone came in today and when I pulled it from the box I noticed the phone cable was stiff. Not the handset’s wire but the cord from the phone to the wall side. Well it wasn’t phone cable but RG59 Coax cable. At first I thought someone converted it to Coax for a PBX or something. After opening up the phone I took a closer look and someone just shoved the Coax into the phone socket. Wasn’t connected in any way. Sadly this jacked up the phone jack. To repair it I replaced the phone jack pigtail and hardwire some CAT5e and slap on a RJ11 end on the blue twisted pair. While I was at it I hit the whole thing down inside with contact cleaner and scrub the dirt off. I took it inside and hooked it as is into my ATA box and got a dial tone. I pulled out the Cell and did a test call and that classic ring brought back memories when I was five years old. Can’t dial out at the moment but I ordered a Pulse to Tone converter from

Mini Cluster Part 1

When taking on a project such as this you always want to start with the Power Supply.

I’m using a Computer ATX 300watt power supply for this project. You would think “oh it’s done lets move on” Nope, the plan is to use an Arduino to control the power supply. Yea I could toss on a switch to the Green wire and call it good but I want the Arduino to control the Power ON/OFF state and also add the ability to control the power states of the PogoPlugs and Router from a remote terminal.

The Power ON (Green) is 3 volts and for the power supply to turn on it is pulled to Ground. So with some Transistors, 1K Resistors and a 1n4007 Diode I was able to control the ON/OFF state of the power supply. For some reason the Arduino would always put the Pin on HIGH when powered on so I tossed in a NOT gate to take care of that.

To power the Arduino I will use the +5VSB rail (Purple) to keep the Ardunio powered on. So when I get an ethernet shield I can log in via SSH on the Router and control the Arduino via Serial.

To control the PogoPlugs Power states I will convert the boards to use PoE (Power over Ethernet) and use other pins on the Arduino to control the ground rails to switch on and off. Unless I have some 5v Relays I can use instead. If not I’ll use some optoisolators.

Honeywell Security users beware, bad TC 2.0 update

In my line of work I install Security systems from time to time. We use Honeywell products such as the Vista 15p/20p  series and they work very well. However there is one issue going on that has not clicked in Honeywell’s head. The Total Connect 2.0 app for Android and Apple is screwed up. Tech support will tell you otherwise but I have done four house calls today with the issue. We don’t go out the next day when an issue arises, we go out after a couple of days to two weeks so this isn’t all of a sudden, just a bad TC 2.0 update. There are only four of us to cover Northeast Florida so it takes us a bit of time.

Anyway, the issue with Total Connect 2.0 is it does not want to talk to the GSM very well. Takes a while for a command to send and receive. There will be an issue with Zone 1 but the Panel will tell you its fine (mostly because it is fine). One customer could send a command to arm the system and the system doesn’t arm but TC 2.0 says its armed.

There is a web-based version of Total Connect 2.0 and it does work. It can be used on a phone or tablet as well as a PC. So I’ve been getting people to use the Web-based TC 2.0 and tell them to leave the App alone and check once a week for an update. If a update arises to then update TC 2.0 and give it a try.

DIY CCTV Tester idea

In my line of work I install Security Cameras. We mostly use the HikVision Turbo HD series and some cheaper ones from wBox. 95% of our customer base is residential and they just want a clear video picture and able to see their camera feeds when they’re away from home to catch the neighbor’s dog pooping in the yard. So to keep things easy on our selves and the client’s pockets we use Analog cameras. Every now and then we will install IP cameras but usually the client knows how to use them and doesn’t want to install them their selves.

To make my job easier I want to build a CCTV tester. Granted I can buy one but I don’t have 300 bucks to drop on something that I don’t use on a daily basis.

A while back I bought some small 7 inch LCD monitors from a thrift store. They come in handy for testing Analog video stuff and I thought it would be handy in the feild as well since some times I have to install a TV antenna and the customer doesn’t have their TV yet. Also a year or two ago I modified a Arduino Voltmeter sketch to work with the TVout Library. Not to mention there is an overlay circuit floating around the wb that uses a LM1881 with the TVout Library that can add a text overlay to a video feed. This would be handy to mix it all up into a CCTV tester. Also to power the device I would need two power sources of 12 volts and 5 volts. Well my Drill battery is 18 volts so with a Buck Converter to power the LCD and Camera under test I can also use a LM7805 regulator to power the Arduino. This way I don’t have to carry around another battery charger in the Van. If I can also add a continuity tester into the mix it would be very handy for other things in the field as well such as troubleshooting security window/door switches. Maybe even a tone generator that outputs a tone for toning out wires and speakers would be handy as well since a Arduino has PWM pins and the TVout Library has an audio function as well.

I tried a quick mockup with a knock off Digispark and sure enough my knockoff board doesn’t work so I might just buy a Arduino Nano so I can add the other features I was thinking of.

News 4/14/18

Today was the day I trimmed a bunch of trees in the backyard. The builder didn’t clear the whole lot where the house was built. The Wife wants me to put up a fence soon but thinks it will make the backyard too small and wanted me to cut down some trees. I don’t want to cut down any of the trees and told her we can trim them to make room. So today I was armed with a sawzal and went to work. After spending half the day trimming we gained 10 or 15 feet of the lot back. Plenty of room for a fence with plenty of room to spare. Only a slight problem, sod wasn’t laid in that area but I am planning to mulch that area so down the road we can add a bench and possibly a fire pit. All the branches I cut down I tossed into the woods so it would be harder for trespassers and animals to reach the backyard.

I had to Jerry rig my audio system to get a powered Onkyo subwoofer working. The Onkyo had a bad speaker. Right where the terminal is soldered to the voice coil snapped off. I tried to use my old Panasonic sub that connects to the right and left speakers but it puts a damper on the sound quality on the left and right channels. So for the time being until I can locate a replacement 10 inch speaker I have the Panasonic sitting on top of the Onkyo running off the Onkyo sub’s amp. Looks like total crap but functional.

I gutted the Sonos Play3 to start retro fitting it into the TrueTone radio cabinet. I’m thinking to add a double gang pot to use it as a volume control. Unless I can find a way to make the push button volume control to some sort of electrical mechanical, maybe I can use a Rotary Encoder. I can still use the old Volume pot as a power switch so that can be reused. The other two for tuning and tone I’ll just make them as dummy knobs.

The parts came in for my Ultimate Cap tester but I’m still drawing up a PCB for it.

Repurposing cases and cabinets for projects

In the past I have used old VCR cases and such to house a project of some sort. I’ve never really went “hog wild” on modifying the look of the old case but over time I have thought of some nifty ideas.

I have seen people cut the bezel off and slap on plywood or sheet metal as a bezel replacement but I think a cheaper and easier solution is out there.

95% of the time if you look at the backside/inside of say a case bezel it will have a stamp on what type of material it is made out of. For an example PA6 is Nylon. However cheaper products will be ABS plastic.

The broken DVR I gave up on and kept the case for a future project. The front Bezel is ABS and I know I am not going to reuse all of the button locations on the Bezel. So my solution is ABS glue. Just toss some scrap ABS plastic into a glass jar and pour in some Acetone. The Acetone will break down the ABS to a putty like state and you work it in like JB Weld. Sand it and it would be a fresh slate to work with.

However with the rear IO ports I would have to replace but I am in luck for that. The rear IO plate is removable so I can replace that with sheet metal. It’s really the front you have to worry about since 90% of the time you’ll only see the front.

Just an idea I have been tossing around.