Hayling Island

Hayling Island

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Phones are working .. PoE is on .. and Asterisk and routing

So I have now installed a couple of switches in the loft, and Fireball, the house server is back online. I established two networks - one yellow zone, for the house and the wifi network, and the purple zone with the phones.

I needed a separate network for the phones, since they need to boot from a TFTP server. Some of the Cisco phones, like the 7970 actually won't seem to accept a static IP, so they need a DHCP server that also gives out the address of the TFTP service as well. Now, since the house router doesn't dish out advanced settings like that - a bit Cisco unique -  I have to serve up the phone network DHCP and TFTP settings from Fireball. So it is the router for the phone subnet.

As is commonplace for Asterisk, the phones then started exhibiting the one-way-voice problem. If I call between extensions in the house, no problems. However, as soon as I try to call in from outside, the voice only works one way.

Turns out that it is not the usual codec issue, nor is it a NAT issue, but a routing issue ..

If the traffic is coming from a hard phone to a soft phone, the hard phones are routed to Fireball anyway, since their default gateway is the Fireball interface. However the reverse doesn't work, since the switch is not layer 3, and doesn't know that 192.168.4.x traffic needs to route via Fireball. Since all of the hard phones are on a network that doesn't have a routing rule on the router (not a good name for a device for which I can't provide internal routing information), they can't receive RTP data from POTS calls and the sipgate service.

So I changed the settings in sip.conf to force all traffic for phones to go via Fireball, rather than trying to allow the RTP flows directly between devices. That seems to work. 

sip.conf has to be set to identify each of the internal networks separately. In my case this looks like

externip=hilabs.dlinkddns.com ; This is the free ddns service from Dlink - works fine

localnet= ; allows multiple lines
localnet=   ; 

directmedia = no ; force all traffic to go via Asterisk on Fireball 

Seems to work ok now. The loading on Fireball increases very slightly, but hardly an issue since the compressed audio only consumes about 64K bits/second, and it is compressed and decompressed at source (viz the phones). Unless I was running a call centre, Fireball can cope. It copes an awful lot better now it is running headless, so it's not running KDE, or Gnome, or any window manager at all. I love the command line! 

Monday, April 16, 2018

We've moved!

.. but the lab is not up and running yet. I'm just starting on the home network. The arrangement with Virgin Media to move the broadband connection over to the new home on moving day worked well. Unfortunately the engineer spent four hours trying to get the TV working without success. We moved on the Friday, and it was still broken on the Monday following. It turned out to be something simple - like the engineer had registered the Tivo box for the bedroom, and then unpacked the other one for use in the lounge.

Actually, I found the VM folks on the phone really helpful, and we worked through it quite quickly. The engineer never came back - he'd marked the install as successful on the VM system.

I want to install the new network in the old way - with the VM hub in "modem" mode, but I need to get some wiring into the bungalow without damaging anything. There have been too many other priorities getting in my way. Still, I did manage to find a Netgear PoE hub for pennies on that auction site, which will be good for running the Cisco phones on Asterisk ..!

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

The Lab is on the move ..

.. gradually getting ready for our house move on Friday. The place is in chaos (and packaged in what seems like a million boxes). Family have been magnificent .. I have watched three motorcycles, three mobility scooters, the contents of a garden and two sheds disappear. Just need to clean up and get the rock out of the house now.

What worries me is that I am living on adrenaline, and I feel a crash coming on. As long as it happens sometime after midday on Friday, I shall be happy.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Centre Stand!

I found a video on T'Internet on how to put a bike on a centre stand. Brilliant! http://bikesandtravels.com/biker.aspx?ride=1014

I've always struggled getting a big bike on the stand, and it was getting to the point that I wasn't really lubing the chain properly, so I had to sort it. Google being your friend and all that, I found this video which explains that you don't lift the bike, you push down on the stand as hard as you can. I was sceptical, but it works. That's Physics and levers for you.

and since it has been some months since changing the spark plugs, and the starting problems seem to have faded away (with a small remaining issue with the tap on the petrol tank being blocked except on the reserve tank), I think I can safely say that the spark plugs being wrong were the cause of the starting issues.

Now all I have to do is work out why she is consuming oil at about a litre every 1000 miles - or is that OK for an old girl like this one?

Sunday, September 24, 2017

OK, so is this the bit of pixie dust we needed?

So, the motorcycle was fitted with a refurbished starter motor. And now, it turns over fine every time. However, I still have a bit of a problem starting from warm. It's OK when it is cold, OK when it is hot, but in that midrange, you know like run the bike, leave for an hour or two and try to start it again, it struggles. Since the ferry ride is 45 minutes, it can be embarrassing when it won't start when it's time to get off.

It does seem to start on a stand better than when I am sat on it. However that might be just coincidence, since it is usually when I have failed to start the bike, and then I leave it for five mins and just spin it up one more time while it is standing there.

So, next I thought, time to change the spark plugs. That will give me a chance to have a look at what is going on inside the engine - are they black with soot, and so on? So any way, the routine for changing the spark plugs is the same as everything; remove seat, remove tank, remove air cleaner (bought a new air cleaner element just in case) and then pull plugs out. I even bought the right size plug spanner, and 3/8 inch extension bars ready to go to reach the spark plugs way down in the engine.

Pulled them out - very disappointing - nothing really very wrong with them at all. Not been burning too hot; not been in the bike very long to be honest. They had a little bit of blackening, and the gaps were set very wide. I did note some slivers of metal on two of them when I pulled out the new plugs. Odd, that. Maybe they had been over-tightened. I thought about not replacing them, but I have a new set already delivered anyway. Then I noticed that the new ones weren't the same as the ones I have just pulled.

So the set I pulled out off the bike are NGK CR9EH .. which have a profile like this one.

.. and the new ones I bought online (quoting the bike and the year) are NGK CR9E, and look like this:

I checked the manual several times, and googled for them, and yes, the ones I have bought to replace the plugs are the correct ones, not the ones that were on the bike already. The keen eye will note that the correct plugs have a thread that goes all the way, and allows the spark to protrude into the correct place in the cylinder head. The ones that were on the bike have a shoulder, and even with over-torquing the things into the head and damaging the top threads, won't put the spark in the right place in the cylinder head.

I know that this is the risk one takes when buying a bike from eBay; maybe not unique to eBay, but the history of people futzing with the bike is unknown, and there are an awful lot of ways of cocking up, but this is just careless. On top of the starter motor that was on its last legs, the starter solenoid that had been borrowed from another bike and jerry-rigged into place, and the unique changes to the wiring loom that have been made, starting to wonder about my new girl.

Bike starts well now, but we will see how allergic she is to ferries again this week. Fingers and toes crossed.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Have a new (to me) motorcycle ..

And she is lovely .. ZZR1100 1995 (D3).
Unfortunately the former owner forgot to tell me about the issue with starting from anything other than cold. It happened to me once on the way back from Southampton on my first outing, but it was really bad the first time over to the Isle of Wight. I bump-started the dang thing five times in one day!  It just clicks when I press the starter .. so I changed the battery (no improvement), changed the starter solenoid (no improvement) so it's on to the starter motor. Since I really need the bike to get to work - especially on the Isle of Wight, I thought I would buy a new one rather than try to refurbish the older one. So I went to a reputable bike bits supplier, and they duly sent one for a rather large lump of money. Part duly arrives, set aside some time this Bank Holiday weekend to do the swap.

I eventually got down to the bit in the bike - removed petrol tank, disconnected battery, removed lower side panel, removed alternator (eventually! had to go and buy a long allen key to get to the bolts required) and then removed the old starter motor. This at least avoided the guidance in the service manual which says Remove Fuel Tank. Remove Carbs. Remove Engine Oil. Remove Engine.

So, out comes the old starter motor and I go to unbox the shiny new one. And, guess what? It is completely the wrong one. The picture in the advert was the correct one, much like the one closer to the camera below. Unfortunately the one further away in the picture is the one they sent. It has the wrong size, wrong fittings, wrong oil seal size and the wrong pinion. *sigh*. 

So I may end up trying to repair old one instead. I have cleaned it all out (it was a big mess inside), checked the armature which seems to be connected in all the right places, and insulated in all of the (different) right places, and I have a kit of bits coming from the very capable Wemoto to replace the brushes and springy things, and I hope for a good result.

Meanwhile, catching the bus and stealing the car from wifey, who is very understanding.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Moving house ..

The laboratory is upping sticks and moving - just as soon as we sell. This does mean that I have had to suspend electronical things for the time being, to sort out the house. Well, my motorbike has needed some attention too. And I did put a new satellite dish on the wall, since Fireball, the house server has moved out of the office downstairs. I thought I would use it to watch TV in the front lounge, (I have a suitable satellite card for it) but I then found there was no satellite signal. Living on Hayling does mean that the air is saturated with salt water sometimes, and the LNB arm had rusted pretty much all of the way through, and wasn't aiming right any more.

No way to sell a house, is it? You need to project the image of a house being taken care of for the prospective new owners.

New dish on the wall.