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eBay Special 2.5″ HDD USB Case

Since I have a fair few 750GB disks sat doing nothing, I figured I’d get some USB3 caddies for them. Back when USB -> IDE caddies appeared, they were hideously expensive. Not so much these days!


For £6 on eBay, you get a basic plastic box with the required bridge circuitry.

USB - SATA Bridge
USB – SATA Bridge

Here’s the PCB – a very basic affair, with only 2 ICs. The large QFN IC on the left is the USB-SATA bridge. It’s a JMicron JMS567. Unfortunately JMicron are rather secretive about their bridge chips & I can’t find much information about it, nor a datasheet.

PCB Reverse
PCB Reverse

Here’s the other side of the bridge PCB – not much on here, the activity indicator LED is a bit of a bodge job, but it’s functional. The IC on the right is a Pm25LD512 512Kbit SPI EEPROM. This is used to store things like the USB device & vendor IDs, device name, type, etc. Here’s what dmesg spits out when the disk is connected on my standard Linux system:

[snippet id=”1769″]

Here’s some speed benchmarks:

USB2 Benchmark
USB2 Benchmark

First attached to a USB2 port, above

USB3 Benchmark
USB3 Benchmark

And finally attached to a USB3 port, above

Tests were done with a 320GB 5400RPM Samsung HM321HI drive, direct into the root hub, for the shortest possible signal length.


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Recording QSO’s From My Shack

Since my new Wouxun has audio output jacks, I figured it would be useful to have the ability to record what my rig hears, if anything interesting comes on the air.

Under Linux, I use an application called, (creatively enough), Audio Recorder.

Recorder Screenshot
Recorder Screenshot

Using a simple connection to the mic input on a USB soundcard, I can capture everything the radio hears. Unfortunately this doesn’t work for outgoing audio, so it’s not much good at capture of my personal QSOs. For this I will have to set up another radio to act as the main receiver.

At some point in the future I will implement this with a Raspberry Pi as the audio capture server.

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Raspberry Pi Touchscreen Kernel Support

Here is a compiled version of the Linux kernel for the Raspberry Pi useful for those who have USB/Serial touchscreens of the 3M Microtouch or eloTouch variety.

Works with a freshly installed & fully updated Raspbian image.

I have tested this only with a 3M Microtouch EXII controller currently.

Simply overwrite the /lib folder with the new modules & overwrite the main kernel image in /boot to install.

[download id=”5568″]

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Rare Veroboard Design Tools – Stripboard Magic

Stripboard Magic

Stripboard Magic is a Windows application for designing PCB layouts on stripboard (aka prototyping board, aka Veroboard). It was released by a British company called Ambyr which ceased trading a long time ago.

The interface is a quite primitive and a little strange but the program is functional even on Windows XP. It also works great under wine in Linux, at least with version 0.9.38 and above as this is all I have checked. It should probably work on older versions too. I haven’t tried it on Vista though.

It can be a handy program when called upon and I have successfully used it a few times when throwing together random small circuits. Due to the interface I would imagine it to be a bit clumsy for very large circuits. The biggest gripe I have with it is the inability to change the orientation of components on the board, so some circuits tend to be slightly larger than they need to be.

I downloaded a copy of Stripboard Magic 1.0 back in the 90’s and recently just found it lying about on my computer. As I would consider it to well and truly be abandonware and as it seems to be a little sought after by some hobbyists I have provided a link to download it below.

[download id=”5624″]

Here are some screenshots showing the schematic view (top) and board layout view (bottom):



Stripboard Designer

Another hard to find app these days is Stripboard Designer, mirrored here for people who wish to use it.

[download id=”5626″]

[download id=”5628″]