Fully Distributed (and qualified…) BMS

The proper way to do it…

The hardware landed last week (very nice kit complete to the wire ends).  Today we had the kick-off that green-lighted us for testing.

What we are looking at is a secure ISOspi bus behind a CAN firewall.  We will be developing some TEST ONLY hardware to interface with and exercise this system.  Look for pics as things develop.

Week 1)  Get the firmware playing nice, confirm command line communication and power draw, put together the LabView spread for viewing all data and exercising all functions.

We will be spending equal time between expanding functional test and trying to break basic functionality (every permutation of what could possibly hang the hardware in a high power state…  so basically…  just testing the dead man and handshake timers).

I have pics now…  but on the run late for my day job (as a superhero)

FYI:  Schindler Engineering is back on non-profit work for now.  That was always where we gave our best performance anyway…  More fun that way.  Sporting.

thanks, – Patrick

 

Tether… to use your Android as a WiFi Hot Spot

A lot of folks are confused about Tethering.  The confusion comes from carriers like AT&T attempting to monetize the feature.  They want you to have a Cell Phone bill *and* a HotSpot Bill.

In a nut shell..  you have your plan, your plan comes with a set amount of “data”, you can burn that data thru watching YouTube on the phone…

If you want to utilize your phone as a HotSpot (to allow you and others to access the internet thru your phone via a computer) you enable Tethering (turn on the WiFi Hot spot Feature).  Carriers attempt to treat this data as “different”…  and they block it until you buy a separate plan.

Every modern Android phone has the native ability to act as a WiFi Hub.  It works no differently than logging into any WiFi hub…  only you can do it anywhere you have 4G service.

If you end up with a used phone that was once an AT&T variant…  you need to turn off the blocking of this feature.  The feature boils down to a single byte in a table that dictates whether it works…  or is blocked.

It is not unethical in any way to remove this blocking.  The blocking is similar to the Music Industry where old money is desperately trying to hold on to an old model of monetization (that no longer fits societies needs).

I TOTALLY GET IT…  they want to make as much money as they possibly can.  They want to lock people into their service in any way they can.  They are free to do so…  BUT…  the world moves faster now.

People are smarter.  Competition catches up quicker.  The White Hat Hacking community is fierce.

Where all this is going (do you know this???) is Charge by the KB across the board.  All internet access will be charge by the KB, even your Cable and DSL.  In the not so distant future the thought of subsidized “unlimited” KB usage will be a twinkle.  Take that to the bank…  as the only way it could be untrue is if large companies like Google decide to just eat the costs (like they do for cloud storage on things like Gmail).

Bandwidth in real time is much more expensive to maintain than static data.

So…  looking at this thru the long term lens…  it makes absolutely no difference whether I burn KB thru watching Youtube on my Phone…  or watching Youtube on my PC.  KB is KB at a given speed.

These days smart phones can Torrent with the best of them, Stream HD, swap very large files, and there is no reason to think of them as any different than a PC.

A PC is just a more comfortable Typing interface…  and it will go away with time as well.

-Patrick

 

Getting Tether on an LG G5 . . . that has 820H (phone herpes)

So it turns out that AT&T…  (after failing time and time again to come up with a good operating system on their own…)   were basically GIVEN Android…  and yet they still don’t want to “play nice” with others by properly exposing the native capabilities of the phone.

Get the idea here – (cant vouch for the source but the info is there)

If you attempt to use the native ability of your LG Android phone to Tether…  they throw up a nag screen to stop you and demand further ransom.  On top of the ridiculous plan they are already charging you for… (like $200/mo?!?) they want to sell you data for tethering.  Eh hem…  Greed.

Here is how you defeat that rude feature… in the event that you buy the hardware used…  and you need to do some testing.

  • Normally you just root the device and clear the AT&T crap off of it.  In this case AT&T triple bolted the front door, added a drawbridge, dug a moat, and basically made it impossible to root the phone.  Proof of this here, I have not proven it myself.

 

(but of course…  while they were busy not playing nice…  they left the back door wide open)

 

  • In that case we are stuck with the OS and all the Bloat.  As time goes on I will painstakingly pick it apart and clean it up..  but until then we need Tether.  Tether is available (as all things are available) via the “Back Door Method” (always liked that term..)

 

  • To “Back Door” AT&T on an LG G5 you need Back Door Tools.  I don’t mean flashlights and lube…  I mean SQL editors and patience.  In this case…  about 25 seconds worth of patience, as seen here.

(Confirmed legit)

What an amazing tool….  the Settings and Database Editor.

Cover art

 Settings Database Editor- screenshot thumbnail

 

  • Follow the steps, takes about a minute, set Tethering from 5 to 0…  AND DONE.

Thank You Android for building a proper operating system that not even a trillion dollar machine could break.

Thank you Settings and Database Editor for doing the right thing.

Now…  with all this free time on my hands (this usually takes half a day…) I am not quite sure how to spend my time.  Sleeping perhaps.

-Patrick

 

Next Up…. a G5

We picked up a G5 for a reasonable price on Craigs List.

Of note…  the battery is removable and this device came with a spare batt + charging casket.  The battery charger doubles as a USB source…  so it looks like we will be set for longer flights.

The phone is USB-C and I got it up and running in less than 10 minutes with an AT&T Straight Talk uSim.

This model also takes a 2TB SD…  which I much prefer to on-board memory.

Now…  to root it as fast as possible, scrub off that AT&T trash, and get back to what the phone should be.  Pure, Simple, Android.

-Patrick

Update: Android BootLoop Recovery

The Android booted up and stayed online long enough for me to perform the following mission critical activities:

  1.  Change two-step verification to a different method
  2. Manually back up my SMS history

I am now officially on to my next phone…  and what it will be nobody knows.  Whatever is the best value on Craigs List (for equal or better) most likely…  or the cheapest Water Resistant phone I can find (used of course).

Final Word on the Nexus 5X:

It was the best phone I ever owned.  It failed only because the motherboard would no longer function.  Every other aspect of the phone was amazingly Patrick-Proof.

Google absolutely killed it with that phone…  and it must have been sold at an epic loss…  because every little nugget in that phone was dialed…  especially the camera.  The pictures that came out of that phone were unbelievable.

RIP Nexus 5X

-Patrick

(A) solution to the Nexus 5X Bootloop failure

As you know I am a fan of the Nexus line of phones that LG did for Google.  My test piece is a Nexus 5X (one of the first with USB-C Fast Charge…) and the phone is indestructible by all rational accounts.

NOTE:  This is a Pass/Fail test where we ask only:  “Does it still WORK?”  Y/N

It has survived:

  1.  A fall into the Puget Sound
  2. Many skittering skitters at 25mph off an ebike
  3. Many falls at every angle you can think of (100ish?)
  4. All the glass broken out of it
  5. Multiple disassembles
  6. Of course it is rooted with whatever random crap I could find (including my own crap) installed on it

This phone is a solder…  but…

This time I caught the BoOTloOP (AHHHHHHHH!)

Onward…

You can do your own research…  but it is commonly agreed upon (wich is worth exactly SHIT without a proper test…) that the failure mode is Hardware Based.  My failure happened during a “high heat” period after a “long time in the hands of a 5yo) so…  I am pretty sure I understand the failure mode.

Its a hardware failure…  (even tho technically just taking it apart did a reset…  but stick with me on this)

So we clear the table of the kid projects (explains the background…)

Phone comes apart clean…

An engineer notes that all of the fasteners are of EQUAL SIZE and that they are all pre-hit with loc-tite.

If you dont have a BAG of screwdrivers like this…  then this may not be the activity you want to get into.   Just let it wash over you.

The flat-flex assembly picks apart like beautiful little scabs…  Pick them ALL or rip them on the way out.

That’s the front facing camera…  amazing…  how much would that cost at the Spy shop in San Francisco???  Probably $500 + $200 in add-ons.

Yes my hands are filthy.  We brought a 2001 Prelude back from the grave over the last two days.  Those snaggly fingernails are called “tools” and I intend to keep them until our Schindler Engineering camping trip is completed.

Ah HA!  Just as easy as that.

See that USB-C plug…  that’s the one you want to support…

Now..  for some history…

THAT is corrosion.  Maybe Aluminum Oxide…  maybe some sort of tin…  du’know…  but I can tell you its from falling into the salt water and then seeing electricity, moisture, and warmth.

The corrosion above is why we do the solvent soak below.  Without writing pages…  things fail because…

  1. There is no conduction where there should be conduction
  2. There IS conduction where NO conduction should be

That pretty much sums up every failure mode there is…  at the root…  they are mechanical in nature…  and even a thermal failure is mechanical (as is electrolysis to my thinking)

So…  we are going to absorb any salts on the board.  Normally I would like to soak it in DI (DeIonized water, then 99% ISO, then bake…  but we have what we have on hand)  —  <different impurities absorb into different solvents…>

This is what I have to work with.  Its the standard stuff from the drug store.  For killing bugs you want to use 70%.  For cleaning circuit boards you want to use something higher than 90%.  If you see 99% on the shelf buy 5 of them.  What I have is 9% water…  and thats fine…  as the isotropic mixture will do fine absorbing all the nasties on the board.

But…..  before we jump the gun…  we need to open up the little water-catchers.

Those coverings can serve MULTIPLE PURPOSES…  so pay close attention!

Notice that this cover has polyimide tape… (which is often used as an electrical insulator that thermally conducts…)  but more importantly… it has what looks like a thermal conductor pad to me!

That little square sponge touches one of the chips and it spreads the heat…  so…  yes these are for FCC compliance but they are also HEAT SPREADERS.

Spread your heat or be sorry   !

Now..  back to cleaning the boards.  Just SOAK THEM, agitate them, brush them if you must.  This is a normal part of the process and every part on the board must be sealed (including the buttons…  I hope/presume)

Skip the part pictured above and think hard about the step listed below.  One involves a proof which need not be proven…  and one involves… possibly…  superstition.

(well…  we always stand our Construz Jesus in the pool of solvent while trying a Hail Mary…  and it always works…  so…  )

Wrap it up tight buddy…  those iso fumes will give you a headache.

With it wrapped up tight you can agitate the crap out of it.

I have seen some bozo’s use Aluminum Foil for a base while attempting to reflow in the oven.  Think long and hard about the logic of reflowing over metal.  Just …  does not make sense to me…  even if 99% of the time it wont be an issue.  I just use silicone or FR-4…  in this case Pyrex (borosilicate glass)

I did a quick pre-dry with a hair dyer, set the oven to 390 (which is an early reflow temp) and tossed it in there until the oven beeped.

(This is not rocket science…  you cant be an idiot about it…  but you don’t need superstition.  I have done a lot of reflow work…  so I have the magic touch.  Don’t burn the silk screen and you are pretty much fine)

Now…  dont get all YouTube on us and think that you are actually reflowing BGA’s here..  with no flux…  with low temps…  come on…

At BEST something is re-seating that was twirked or something along those lines.  Some sort of kissing contact…  or …  some cracked conductor moving a micrometer…  its something that you DONT WANT TO KNOW ABOUT…

But what you SHOULD KNOW>….  is smothering the border of a BGA with flux then blasting it with a hair dryer is NOT anything more than triple P.

So if you are reading this in the future…  and your phone is all taken apart…  and you are looking at the picture above (which should be rotated 90 degrees…  grrr…) you have possibly lost your faith.

In programming we call it the Leap of Faith when viewed thru the lens of recursion…  but if you like you can call it just faith

Ok… so…  while you are looking at that jumbled pile of parts…  feeling fear and anxiety… just tap into whatever faith you have.

Maybe its bold confidence.

Maybe its a Construx Jesus.

Maybe its Buddha, Jah, Flying Spaghetti Monster

Dont know, dont care…  you believe what you want to believe…  I believe what I want to believe…  we dont fight…  we work together…  we win.

Simple as that

Now…  to fold back  (thats a trick professors used to either confuse the hell out of you or be sure you absorb the information…)  Here is some closeup work of those HEAT SPREADERS

 

See that little foam pad…  its not there to hold the chip on…

Those spots match and if they are not touching then you ARE going to have overheating chips.  Dont EVER assemble a phone without its heat spreader.

SERIOUSLY..  WTF Youtube?  (jab at a few videos I watched…)

All tight and buttoned up.

At this point you might as well go for broke and fully assemble…  as it either WORKED or it DID NOT WORK and further fussing probably wont help.

SINCE I have skill, experience, and faith in my abilities…

My fix WORKED

(Not that I needed it since I already had full backups run thru Google.  Yes…  that gives them and the NSA free run at your data.  YES they do dig thru it in 32,768 “anonymous” ways that SHOULD protect your privacy UNLESS you match a profile…)

Now…  Profile matching…  that’s a $50,000.00 post.

Want to know what happens when your “randomized and anonymous data” hits a high match with search algorithms intended to identify threats to the <US Government As It Stands> (er…  I mean “National Security”)?

Lol…  You get your privacy invaded without a warrant and without warning or notification afterword.  You either know that or you dont and I dont really care.

Schindler Engineering wants you to succeed whether you want to or not.  Just accept the surveillance state…  dont struggle too much…  and soon we will have you settled into your pod so that we can suck your juices and keep you busy.

Lol…  (I live in Santa Cruz)…  We actually have “Chem Trail” meetings posted on street corners, UFO accounts, people who think they can smoke pot all day and improve their work performance…  wtf?

Until next time. . .

Eat your greens, get your exercise, pay me on time, and keep it real.

Schindler Engineering is going into Cold Storage for a year or a decade.  When we return…  it will be with a vengeance…  So look out crooked politicians, authoritarians, and non do-good’ers round the world.  Our first order is to “Do The Right Thing” and our second order is to “Get Money, Get Paid”.

-Patrick

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To be logged into STATS:

To be brutally honest the stress level is high but so are spirits.  We have been focusing on “wins” and have managed to stay pretty busy while converging on full time work.   Priority for Schindler Engineering is lowering risk/stress for the next 10 years.

Recent Details   –  (will disambiguate and provide references upon request)

  1.  (LabVIEW) contract complete, production code delivered, hours left on the books. (5 week quote, rush job delivered early)
  2. (LabVIEW) contract conditions met, underbid job, over hours, functional but in need of 4hrs re-architecting (to be something which meets standards) (1 day quote, 1/2 day in the queue, “rush job” aspect delivered on time)
  3. (OEM Startup) contract work shifted to Consultation, on warm standby pending critical path milestone blocks.  Totally normal startup stuff.
  4. (Sevcon) Three jobs in the queue at local design company.  Parts in hand and <projecting> under a weeks effort to get 2 customer jobs shipped and 1 assembly into full production.  Very late…  but we ran on a tight budget as resources were available and while working other ventures.  We did good work and the end product will be safe, reliable, and sustainable.
  5. (Robotics) work spooled down but contract still open (awaiting round 2)
  6. BMS work about to ramp up again but strictly venture (no billing/hobby work – low risk big reward)
  7. Local odd jobs caught up…  we take whatever comes our way.  We are always glad to take a job that will get someone out of a pinch.  Recently replaced the starter in a neighbors car and installed an audio system in a commercial vehicle.  Fun work that aids in the avoidance of “baseline skill atrophy”.

 

Stated Intent:

We have a heavy preference for contracts that may lead to full time work, long term contracts, or overall stabilization of income (which leads to lower risk/stress).

 

Recent Bids:

  1.  Soliciting Requirements from a contract Test Engineering firm in hopes of teaming up for work heavy in LabVIEW.
  2. Meeting scheduled with a Recruiter (whom I had luck with in the past) for work unknown.  Likely Test Engineering.  Likely involving some LabVIEW.

 

Prospective Customer:

Feel free to make contact.  If the work you have is not a good match we will do the best we can to put you in contact with someone we can vouch for.  Engineering these days involves infinite complexity…  every engineer is like a 7 sided puzzle piece.  The trick is finding the person who covers most of what you need…  and can learn the rest quickly and efficiently.  The days of just hiring an “EE” or an “ME” really are over.  Wish I could say it were different…  because if I could…  I would be a SUPER-ENGINEER!  (and would require a cape)

thanks,

the management

An interesting place to test your skills…

Conditions:       Low Tide, high surf

Procedure:       Clamber out to the rock indicated, leave your stuff, paddle out

Expect:               Rocks everywhere…  but a two stage ride all the way to shore

This spot offers a very fun ride for the bodyboarder who is not faint of heart.  There is a good channel that loops you around about 50 yards.

Paddle out…  get pulled south.

The outside break is too much work to get to but the middle break is great.  When you ride it in you will end up about 50 – 75 yards south of the launch point.  Strangely…  paddling straight back out will land you back at the rock.

(PERFECT!  This sort of loop-current is exactly what you want)

Waves are easy to catch and there is a 1-2 connect…  If you get ahead of the first wave you can connect to a second and ride all the way in to the rocks.  At the end of the ride just pull back… and froth out.  (if you cant “decide” when your ride is over this is not the spot for you)

There are very large outcroppings…  wear a helmet…  dont take a fancy fiberglass board with fins.

This is all sensitive reef…  so…  dont mess it up for the next person!  You can walk on the reef but be sensitive to the life that is on it.  If you look closely it is all “liverock”…  this is rock built up of layer after layer of dead sea life.

It is easy to identify the larger rocks in the deeper water.  Maybe 6′ – 10′ at low tide.  Look for where the break is starting.  Look for disturbances in the water.  Rocks surface as far as 50 yards out.

Assume at all times that you are in 18” of water!  Dont hang your knees too deep unless you want to “find out”.  Trust the board to skim over the rocks…

If you are with a friend…  the beach is a great place to walk and explore.  Not necessarily epic tide pools, but …  legit Northern California Beach.  We went out at sunset and it was amazing.  Leave time to walk back in the dark.

-Patrick

Back online…

During the outage Kimberly and I made it out to one of the “treasure spots” north of the lighthouse.

A “treasure spot” is defined as a beach which you can only get to by repelling, swimming, spelunking, or otherwise not taking the stairs, a path, or an easy method of approach.

These beaches are the best…  No footprints, lots of beach glass, flotsam of every sort, privacy, and are generally packed full of adventure.

We revived the ol’ Go-Pro…  so video soon.  Hopefully some underwater video!

-the management