MacBook Core Duo Goes Solid State

Why Replace My 2006 MacBook HDD with SSD

My MacBook is the 2006 original; the white Core Duo 32bit. I got it upon starting University and that ended up taking six years. Amazingly, it is still going strong and whilst I want a nice retina MBP, it would be truly frivolous, given how well this one still runs.

Over the years I have given it a number of upgrades: 70GB > 500GB HDD, 512MB > 2GB (max for Core Duo) ram, new battery and a complimentary top deck from Apple (long story). Now I was turning to an SSD.

Continue reading MacBook Core Duo Goes Solid State

Setting Up a USB WiFi Dongle on Raspberry Pi Arch

For my AirPi, I needed to make my Raspberry Pi wireless. Being the man of thrift that I am, I found the cheapest dongle on eBay: a (Digitaz) RaLink RT5370.

Now Arch isn’t exactly plug and play, but that’s part of the fun. Plugging it in, the only way you’ll know it is there is using:
Continue reading Setting Up a USB WiFi Dongle on Raspberry Pi Arch

Van GPS Dash Integration

Those little window sucker things for GPSes and cables dangling everywhere get on my tits. Since getting the van, I’ve been intending a dash integration of sorts, whether completely containing a GPS unit, or building a CarPC with my Raspberry Pi, it was put on hold until I had some time. With the race season over and Uni finished, now was the time.

I opted for a neat GPS dock rather than trying to integrate the thing fully. That way, the GPS can be removed for other vehicles and updates. I’ll let the photos do the rest of the talking.

AirPi: DIY Airplay Speakers using Shairport and a Raspberry Pi

We have speakers in all the ground floor rooms of our house, all driven from the same amp. It’s neat but controlling the input requires going back to the amp.

Surrounded by iDevices too and with apps like iPlayer, Spotify and home share on iTunes, being able to throw audio to the speaker system had to be done. Que Airplay, however, this requires a nice Airplay amp or getting an AirPort. I then found out about Shairport, a program that emulates an AirPort’s Airplay function. With a Raspberry Pi kicking around, I had just found its new job.
Continue reading AirPi: DIY Airplay Speakers using Shairport and a Raspberry Pi

Musical Colours Update

I finally got around to completing my musical colours project:

  1. Make the prototype permanent by building a perfboard arduino.
    Includes the standard 5050 driver and usb to serial connection.

    I wanted to keep the standard 5050 controller for general van lighting, controllable by the IR remote. I did this by using another transistor as a switch for the 12v line into the controller. One of the routines in the code then pushes the gate high to turn the controller on.

  2. Continue reading Musical Colours Update

Garmin Stem Mount

Having seen the Bar Fly I became set on a ‘SRM style’ mounting for my Garmin. I wasn’t set to pay £40 for one however.

Doing my research, it turned out the Bar Fly was inspired by a thread on a bike forum (a Triathlon forum none the less), where many had come up with a number of different mounting methods. I decided I could come up with my own variation using a £2 piece of acrylic from eBay and a dremel.

My first attempt is fairly crude compared to some fine examples of home design and build but it does the job for an hour’s work. If I can get my hands on a 3d printer I have some other designs in mind…

Musical Rainbows in the Van

I always intended on creating my own driver for the LED lights in my van but with the thieving skum pointlessly taking the remote for the included unit, I was spurred into action. Having installed a sound system, a musical light system was a given, to enable the van to live up to the Bang Bus name it has acquired (of certain definition!).
Continue reading Musical Rainbows in the Van

FYP: MATLAB A* Based Path Planner for Autonomous Off-Road Vehicle

A picture says 1000 words


A new venture for the University of Bath and a collaboration with Mechanical and Electrical Engineering, the autonomous quad project aims to convert an ’off the shelf’ miniature quad bike to a driverless one. Generation of a least cost path to a pre-defined goal is required, which avoids known obstacles and will update for new obstacles detected during driving. The A* search algorithm is chosen and a comprehensive planner developed within MATLAB.
Continue reading FYP: MATLAB A* Based Path Planner for Autonomous Off-Road Vehicle