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Collection of Computer and Other Tips
Linksys LNE100tx PCI Ethernet Card
I spent some time today looking for an updated driver for one of my LAN cards and came up blank. I have a diskette for this card which doesn’t contain a more recent driver that Win/XP will load over this one.
This one doesn’t make me happy since it doesn’t provide settings that let me disable the “Wake on LAN Event” feature. But at least it works.
I don’t own this driver. I don’t know where it came from. If anyone wants to claim ownership and objects to my having it posted, please let me know. I’ll be happy to provide you credit, take it down, link to another site…
It just seems to be needed. Here it is. The file name is “an983.sys”.
As you can tell from this web site, I shut my machines down at night to save power. I use the Start Button / Control Panel / Scheduled Tasks facility to do that. To shut down nightly, I create a task that runs at the desired time with the command line:
C:\WINDOWS\system32\shutdown.exe -s -f -t 30
To make the computer hibernate nightly, I use the following command:
C:\WINDOWS\system32\rundll32.exe powrprof.dll,SetSuspendState Hibernate
Fast User Switch
I run a number of services (HTTP, etc.) on my machine, so I wish to have my profile logged into the computer constantly. So when I leave the machine, and to allow others access to the server, I use the following command to quickly invoke the Switch User feature. I also have a shortcut for this command on my desktop.
c:\windows\system32\rundll32.exe user32.dll LockWorkStation
Restart after Shutdown
I’ve had some trouble in the past with my computers restarting right after shutting down or hibernating. I’ve traced this to the Ethernet card’s “Resume on LAN” feature. Essentially, my LAN cards remain on-line while the computer is “soft off” and can be woken up when called over the LAN. To fix this I disable this feature everywhere I can, including in the BIOS, in the network card’s device configuration settings, and in the Power Management screen on Control Panel. Look to see if your computer’s lights go off on the hub or router its connected to when your machine powers down. If the light remains lit, it means your LAN card is still powered and at risk. My machine with the LNE100tx doesn’t get to full off state, but I’ve turned enough of the feature off that it no longer wakes up from LAN activity.
TPLink TL-WA850RE WiFi Range Extender
Initially I found these devices very unreliable. They frequently stopped allowing devices to connect to my home network through them. That’s bad, of course, since that’s the entire point of them.
To address this I used my browser and logged into each one by browsing to the IP address of each device and entering the access name and password. In the Wireless / Wireless Advance settings menu I cleared the “Enable WMM” check box. The help text on the web page says that WMM is some kind of packet priority scheme, highly recommended “on”. For me, “off” (or unchecked) works better.
Belkin® WeMo Light Switch
One time I’ve had to install a WeMo Light Switch in a box that is wired as a load first switch wring, as:
This is a common wiring configuration since it reduces the number of feet of cable needed to do a switch-first wiring. Some web sites claim that this wiring configuration is against contemporary electrical codes, but I don’t know the code (even for my own area). Belkin says that you can’t wire a WeMo Light Switch in this configuration. And maybe you can’t. But…at your own risk, maybe you can. If you know how to handle wiring, and you’re smart enough to turn power off to the box and test it before working on it, you can try to wire one WeMo switch black wire to the incoming line black or white, and the other WeMo switch black wire to the outgoing line black (doesn't matter which). Then, connect the WeMo switch/white (neutral) and the WeMo switch/green (ground) both to the box ground. The box ground is usually a bare piece of copper that connects to the wall of the box. This may trip a GFI circuit as those allow only a very small amount of WeMo current to escape to ground.
The more common problem for me is that the WeMo Light Switches are very deep and getting them and the wires back into the box takes a good deal of force.
Belkin® WeMo Three-Way Light Switch
I went to install a 3-way Belkin switch, only to find that my house doesn’t have the required “white neutral” at the box. Instead, my switch was wired like this:
Solution? Pretty much the same as above. I connected the two “traveler wires” (the pair connected at the top of the switch) to the two traveler wires (red and blue) on the Wemo. I connected the white Wemo wire and the green Wemo wire to the ground to the ground wire in my box. I connected the black Wemo wire to the Line wire (connected to the bottom screw on the old switch).
Genie Garage Door Opener Hack
I purchased a Genie Powerlift 900 ½ HP screw garage door opener. It was a pain to install and replace the 25 year old Crusader Model 200SS unit that came with the house. The Genie comes with a very large wall-mount console as pictured here on the left:
Since I have 3 garage door openers and a rolling gate, I have 4 push buttons mounted in a neat row on the wall of the garage. There wasn’t any room for a clean install of the Genie “monster” lighted console.
I purchased, at Home Depot, a Genie push button switch as pictured above, right. But it did not work with the Series 3 Powerlift. It took a few calls to find someone at Genie that explained that there was no push button remote that was compatible.
The Genie lighted three-button wall mount console is NOT a simple relay. The inputs to the garage door opener can’t be simply shorted to open and close the door. Instead, the console sends some kind of code over the 2 wires to the opener to turn on the light and open and close the door. The “lock” function seems to also set a mode in the opener.
But I found a web site, which I can no longer find, that gave me the information to solve the problem. When you open the Genie console remote and look at the circuit board there are two small holes in the circuit board in the upper left corner. These two pads provide a relay port for the console though they are not brought out of the case.
So I connected the twisted pair to the old relay switch and put back in line on the wall. I soldered a pair of wires to the two circuit board holes, brought the wire out and put the Genie console back together. I mounted the console (using some zip ties) up near the garage door motor and connected it to the opener. I tested it, and it controlled the door fine. Then I connected the twisted pair from the wall-mounted relay to the pair that I brought out of the console, and the old simple relay now works to open and close the garage door.
Now, with the simply relay working, I could readily connect it to any home automation system using that same pair of wires I brought out in parallel with the wall button.
Another trick about Genie Door Limit Adjustments. Be very careful that you don’t let the screw-drive and motor over push the down-limit adjust on the door. I made this mistake and the opener turned the connecting parts between the trolley and the door into twisted metal bars. I suggest that you set the down limit well above the fully closed position, then set the up limit with some room to spare, too. Then traverse the door a few times and see how it does. Be ready to unplug or reverse the door quickly though in case it tries to over-limit the door at either end. Then when you are comfortable with it, set the down limit more fully closed and set the up limit to its fully up position. If the door ever jams going up or down and the trolley “skips” while the screw is turning, the limits will be out of adjustment and you MUST reset them again. Or again, they will crush your mounting hardware or break something else.
Wansview W3 (X Series) camera and Blue Iris Pro v3.66
Purchased a new Wansview security camera to replace my old Wansview Model NCM621W. I went to install it in Blue Iris Pro v3.66 (the PC software I use to record the security camera video) but I found that there was not a compatible model supported by this old version of Blue Iris.
After a good deal of playing around, some research, and some luck I found that I could get it work using the following settings:
· Make/Model: RTSP H.264/MJPG/MPEG4
· Video path: /live/ch0
Of course all the other easy settings have to be right; username/password, IP address, ports, etc.
The W3 is a 720P outdoor camera. It works fine. I found that it has a much wider horizontal field of view than the NCM621W. So I was able to use the “area of interest” setting in Blue Iris to reduce the amount of data that I was recording. This W3 is also much smaller than the NCW621W.
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