Tip, upgrading (and fixing) older laptop/computer

One can improve the performance by adding more memory and by replacing the disk drive into a faster one. One does not have to be a specialist to be able to perform these activities, but these activities do require that person is familiar with computer hardware and can understand the steps and perform some troubleshooting (when needed).

As with any major activity, it is higly recommended that the data has been backed up before doing this activities. In this blog, only some alternatives are shown. Please see references for more information and options. In the most activites in this blog, your files nor programs are not kept (and are lost in the process) and one have to restore those separately. The only exception is the alternative B, where a clone is created.

The table below show the different options when upgrading from HDD into SSD.

Activity Alternatives Steps
Adding memory One can either add or one might need to replace the memory 1. use HWiNFO or similar software to figure out the type of memory and number of memory slots
upgrade the storage drive
from HDD into SSD

 

Alternative A:
re-install windows

1. create recovery USB by using recovery method (create a recovery drive)
2. replace HDD with SSD
3. start the computer with recovery drive

upgrade the storage drive
from HDD into SSD

 

Alternative B:
copy/clone the drive

1. created a drive copy from HDD nto SSD by using capable software like EaseUS Todo Backup Free
2. replace HDD with SSD
3. start the computer with SSD (which is the clone of HDD)
upgrade the storage drive
from HDD into SSD

 

Alternatives C:
fresh install of operating system like windows

 

1. make sure you have the installation media
2. replace HDD with SSD
3. start the computer and use installation media to install the fresh install operating system

Note: If this operation is done on a desktop computer, then one might need a physical adapter to connect 2.5″ drive into 3.5″ slot. It is assumed that the desktop has a SATA connector to connect the SSD.

Option A Recovery drive

OptionA1

 

Option B clone the drive

In order to do the cloning from HDD into SSD, one needs a device to connect the SSD into USB, called “USB SATA adapter” or “SATA to USB cable”. (Both the HDD and SSD nowadays have the SATA connector)

OptionB2-SSD-USB2

The figure below is a screenshot when cloning the smaller HDD into a bigger SSD.

OptionB2-packardbell2

If the SATA-USB adapter is supporting USB2 only, then it might take quite some time (see below).

OptionB2-clone

The picture below shows the HDD on bottom left and memory cards beside the HDD on the right in a lenovo laptop. This is an easy access and easy to perform upgrade…

OptionB1-lenovo

In case of a Packard bell laptop, the access is similarly an easy access, please see below.

OptionB2-packardbell3

 

Option C fresh install on SSD

For a very old laptop, the linux migth be an alternative. The challenge with Acer Aspire One is that the HDD is quite well hidden, and there is no straight forward access. One need to remove the keyboard, undo the screws at the bottom and remove the top cover, and only then the HDD is accessable (see pictures below).

OptionC3 OptionC4

OptionC1

 

Replace (fix) a laptop screen

There are several videos available on how to replace the screen, and the procedure is very mich dependent on the manufacturer. In case of Acer Aspire V3, the replacement is straigtforward as only the screen part is being oeprated. In the picture below it shows how the screen looked after booting. As part of troubleshooting, one could verify that one can see the real screen in an external monitor 🙂

Fix-screen1

The first steps is to release the front frame (see below)

Fix-screen2

After that the screen could be released by removing 4 screws and disconnecting the cable. It is only now, when one can hopefully see the real product number that was placed on this laptop.

Fix-screen3

There are several sites which sell the screens and one can find the screen replacement by knowing the laptop model. (However, it is safer to verify that there is match with the one on the laptop before buying the replacement…)

References

Recovery options in Windows 10

Posted in DIY, Hobbies and Other Interests, Recommended Free Tools, Tips, Tools, Troubleshooting | Tagged | Comments Off on Tip, upgrading (and fixing) older laptop/computer

Air turbulence is clearly visible on full moon video close to horizon

This is my first video from the second hand skywatcher maksutov 150/1800 telescope, which I bought. This OTA (Optical Tube Assembly) came with an old Celestron AS-GT (CG-5) mount. For the moon photo, I used a manual skywatcher EQ5 mount…

The moon was about 12 degrees above horizon, and with this maksutov and with a 2x teleconverter one can clearly see the air turbulence… The screen size of video below is 25% of the original to reduce the size of the file.

Posted in Camera and telescope, For Fun or Interest, Hobbies and Other Interests | Comments Off on Air turbulence is clearly visible on full moon video close to horizon

DIY CCD camera to Finder scope adapter

I bought a second hand telescope which came with a CCD camera ASI120MC and I will try to use this camera for autoguiding by adapting it to an old finder scope .

I managed to get a 50/30mm rubber adapter from local hardware store, and tried if that fits. The picture below shows the 8×50 finder scope after unscrewing the 2 back pieces out from it. Under these 2 pieces one can see also the 50/30 rubber adapter.

eyepieceFinderscopeadapter1

Luckily this worked! The connection is very tight, and one have to be carefull when using the force.It is better to connect first the rubber adapter and then the CCD adapter, and CCD as the last one. The final focus adjustment can be done with the front (objective) lens, because there is a separate locking ring (left in the photo).

eyepieceFinderscopeadapter2

This setup should work with moderate focal lengths. I have telescopes with 500, 900, 1200 and with 1800mm focal lengths and I think this will work at least with the first 3 ones.

I have not use autoguiding before, so let’s see how this will turn out… (There are good software alternatives, eg. Open PHD guiding .)

Posted in Camera and telescope, DIY, For Fun or Interest, Gadgets, Hobbies and Other Interests, Tips, Tools | Comments Off on DIY CCD camera to Finder scope adapter

DIY eyepiece to EOS lens adapter

For some time I have been thinking if it is possible to re-use the camera lenses for something else, or with some other camera/detector. And I found some plastic adapters which one could print with 3D printer, eg. this.

As I happen to have an unused erecting eyepiece from telescope, and also other camera and telescope accessories, then I wanted to try if one could re-use the existing pieces. After some trial and error, the final adapter can be made from the following 2 pieces: telescope eyepiece 1.25″ to 2″-adapter on the left and 13mm extention ring on the right (for EF lenses).

eyepieceEOSadapter1

In order to make this to work, the plastic 13mm extention will need to be permanently modified by removing the metal pins and by cutting the extra plastic out. The plastic was cut out on the bottom side in the picture above. This reduced the thickness of the 13mm adapter and gave better fit as the eyepiece adapter (50mm) fits over the plastic part of the extention ring, see picture below.

eyepieceEOSadapter3

In the final setup, the end of the eyepiece comes very close (see photo below) and causing worries that what if the lens would come too close and get damaged. Depending on the setup, one could consider to use a teleconverter in between because it has no moving parts and would prevent any damage to the lens itself…

eyepieceEOSadapter4

Why to use erecting eyepiece? For visual usage, when the erecting eyepiece is used with this adapter, then the picture is visible “as normal”. But if one is using typical telescope eyepiece, then the picture would be upside down. If one uses this with webcam or with CCD, then would not matter…

eyepieceEOSadapter2

When this 10mm eyepiece is used with 50mm lens, it gives 5 times magnification. Since this 50mm camera lens (in pictures) has f1.4, then this might provide a lot of light at night sky…

Posted in Camera and telescope, DIY, For Fun or Interest, Gadgets, Hobbies and Other Interests, Tests, Tools | Comments Off on DIY eyepiece to EOS lens adapter

Discussion topic, short definition for security?

If you would need to explain security in an easy way, how would you define it? I came up with 2 definitions.

What is security?

  1. “Trying to influence people to take right decisions on complex things while using layman’s terms”
  2. “It is about getting ready for the bad things”

Any other ideas?

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DIY filter adapter for a camera lens without filter thread

Some camera lenses like Zenitar 16mm (F2.8) do not have a commonly used filter thread at the front of the lens. However, it is possible to make your own adapter. An easy non-destructive way is to used filter adapter rings and some tape. For landscape and sky photos this might be good enough solution.

In the pictures below: on left, the 58/62 ring rests on top of the lens frame. on right, the 58/62 ring is being placed inside the tube and next will be covered by the last 67/77 step-up ring.

Zenitar-adapter1Zenitar-adapter2

In this DIY solution, an adapter ring 58/62mm is placed inside a tube made by 67/77 (step-up) & 77/67 (step-down) adapter rings. The 58/62 ring prevents the tube moving too close to the lens. Some tape around this 58/62 ring is needed. Also about 3 rounds of tape is needed around the lens frame to make the tube to fit tight to the lens. The focus ring is left free, as the adapter tube is short enough.

Zenitar-adapter4

The final setup is shown below.

Zenitar-adapter3

Posted in Audio and Video, DIY, For Fun or Interest, Gadgets, Hobbies and Other Interests, Tests, Tips, Tools | Comments Off on DIY filter adapter for a camera lens without filter thread

Touchscreen on Raspberry PI, to show key performance data

A tiny touchscreen on portable Raspberry PI (RPI) might be very helpfull for showing sensor values or key performance data like memory, CPU level or disk space left. My intention is to build a portable air quality monitoring tool based on RPI. This monitoring system will be able to show values of temperature, humidity and dust level.

This blog is about the first step, to use the screen for something simple, like showing key performance data. The figure below shows how the 3.2″screen looks like when attached on top of the RPI. I got my TFT Display 3.2 V2 on a good discount on a local computer store 🙂 …

raspberry-touchscreen01

Operating System

First I tried to get the screen working with the current raspbian OS. After some trial and error, I decided to try the manufacturer’s OS image. And as it was working right away, then I continued with that path. Remember to use “sudo raspi-config” command to configure your keyboard, localization, time etc.

One can clean up and remove the unnecessary packages, eg. wolfram-engine, libreoffice, sonic-pi and minecraft.


dpkg --get-selections > packages.txt
dpkg-query -Wf '${Installed-Size}\t${Package}\n' | sort -n > packages-space.txt
sudo apt-get purge wolfram-engine
sudo apt-get clean
sudo apt-get autoremove
sudo apt-get purge libreoffice*
sudo apt-get clean
sudo apt-get autoremove
sudo apt-get purge sonic-pi minecraft-pi
sudo apt-get clean
sudo apt-get autoremove
sudo apt-get purge scratch scratch2 squeak-vm squeak-plugins-scratch
sudo apt-get clean
sudo apt-get autoremove

Link: How To Free Up Some Space On Your Raspbian SD Card? Remove Wolfram & LibreOffice

Text mode in console

At first I tried to use the text mode in console, but this display (with 320×240 pixels) is still too small for anything more serious work. It is better to use the ssh (putty) over wifi to operate anything on command line. However, if you wish to use the text mode, then one can use “sudo raspi-config” to activate booting into text mode. And the font for the console can be set in console-setup file by adding 2 lines, see below (see link).


sudo vi /etc/default/console-setup
FONTFACE="Terminus"
FONTSIZE="6x12"

It is possible to utilize a virtual keyboard (eg. matchbox-keyboard) , and use the mouse for typing (see link). And/or one could simply activate a screensaver called termsaver, which has several utilities like matrix, clock and system monitor.


sudo apt-get install termsaver
termsaver matrix
termsaver clock
termsaver sysmon

Graphic mode in touchscreen

As the goal is to create a portable “low security” gadget for measuring the temperature, then one could easily activiate the windowing mode with automatic login (by using again the famous command “sudo raspi-config”). At reboot, the X-server environment is automatically started. In order to launch your custom script/tool, then one can follow the instructions here, and add the corresponding line in autostart file:


vi /etc/xdg/lxsession/LXDE-pi/autostart
@/usr/bin/python /home/pi/Display/pitkgui-custom.py

Custom start script in the touchscreen
pitkgui script in github was used as a base for the customized script, and it can be modified to provide different performance values to be monitored. The screenshot below shows the output of the customized script (pitkgui-custom.py). (The screenshot is taken with scrot command. One can install it with “sudo apt-get install scrot” command).

2018-05-07-001551 320x240 scrot

The custom1 and custom2 buttons are still unused, and will be used later for the humidity and dust level sensors. (The 3 hardware buttons outside of the screen could be used by another script…)

Posted in Anvanced Tools, DIY, For Fun or Interest, Gadgets, Hobbies and Other Interests, Innovation and new tech, Internet of Things and M2M, Raspberry Pi, Tests, Tips, Tools | Comments Off on Touchscreen on Raspberry PI, to show key performance data