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BC - Busses and Coaches Jump to new posts
Allure Sold Muniac 03/28/20 07:23 PM
After almost 8 years of traveling full time and some 25k miles later it was time to get back into a house environment. The sale information we made available is HERE. Just documented for historical purposes. The last 2 years of travel were difficult owing to constant maintenance issues we had to deal with. Luckily I was able to fix everything and keep us on the road. We didn't have any accidents or breakdowns which was very fortunate. Like many things in life, there's a time frame beyond which change needs to be embraced. So we enjoy the many fond memories of those travel years.

For those traveling, please do so safely. I hope the motor coach information documented within this blog is helpful.
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3D Printer Reference Jump to new posts
3D Print Trouble Shooting and Helpful Information Muniac 03/24/20 08:31 PM
Below are some links to information that might be helpful when making 3D printed parts:

Trouble Shooting 3D Prints
Video on PLA, PETG and ASA (ABS)
Tips on ABS Prints
Using PEI Sheets
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Projects Jump to new posts
Installing Applications on Manjaro Muniac 03/23/20 08:48 PM
I've used Mint for a number of years and have installed programs using the software manager or apt-get install. I've found Mint repositories to be out of date in some cases. Manjaro, through the Settings menu, allows access to its Add/Remove Software function. This is a menu driven utility that makes adding and removing applications easier for those not familiar with the command line. It's setup in a similar way to Mint.

As for the command line in Manjaro, apt and apt-get will come back as a "command not found". The two commonly used AUR install helpers in Arch Linux are Yaourt and Packer. They were used for management tasks such as installing and updating packages. However, the two have been discontinued in favor of yay, short for Yet Another Yaourt. It basically provides an interface to pacman. Yay is a modern AUR helper written in the GO language. It has very few dependencies and supports AUR tab-completion so that you don’t have to type the commands in full. To use yay, you'll need to install it with the commands below (one at a time):

sudo pacman -S git
git clone https://aur.archlinux.org/yay.git
cd yay
makepkg -si


Once yay is installed you can use it to install applications per the examples below:

yay -S <package-name-here>

For example: yay -S librecad

The -S is passed to pacman and tells it to synchronize packages so they are installed directly from the remote repositories.

More complete information about yay can be found HERE. And don't forget about the Linux manual page information: man yay or man pacman.

If you need to capture the output in a .txt file and maintain prompts in your terminal window you can use the command below:

yay appname 2>&1 | tee installout.txt

Make sure to replace appname with the name of the application being installed. installout.txt is the file of output saved to the current directory.

When installing options, it's a good idea to select the community version(s) first if they are available. Use the AUR (Arch User Repository) as a last resort as these can be outdated and/or unsupported.

You can keep the system up to date with the following command:

pacman -Syu

Or use the software from the setting menu or system tray icon.
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3D Printer Reference Jump to new posts
3D Printer Filaments Muniac 03/23/20 04:21 PM
Many places are now offering 3D printer filaments. In a variety of blends and formulations. See links to a few suppliers below:

McMaster-Carr (Doesn't provide manufacture information.)
Matter Hackers (Helpful advice too.)
DigiKey
Prusa Research, Prusament (Top quality plastic.)
Amazon (All 20 pages.)
Filament One (Pro Select grade available.)

As for Prusament, I like the zip lock bags, boxes and spools they use. Provides for good storage of the filaments when done printing. McMaster has a lot of helpful information about their filaments, applications and specifications.
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Projects Jump to new posts
Dell M4800 w/K2100 nVidia Graphics Muniac 03/17/20 03:26 PM
This post chronicles my experience with loading Linux Manjaro on a Dell M4800 mobile workstation. Just getting the desktop running so software can be loaded. Also getting the HDMI port working for using a 24" (1920x1080) monitor. The system I'm configuring is as follows:

Important Hardware:
  • GK106GLM [Quadro K2100M] (nVidia Corp)
  • 4th Gen Core Processor Integrated Graphics Controller (Intel Corp)
  • 250 Gb SSD
  • Intel Core i7-4910MQCPU processor running @ 2.9 GHz


1) Most important is to do a firmware update! You can download that from Dell's website HERE. You'll need the service tag number from the PC. This can be gotten off the bottom of the PC or from the BIOS setup menu. While booting, press repeatedly the F2 key to enter this menu. Expand as TEXT shows below:

Settings:
-General
--System Information -> Will give service tag number (Ex: DCPZ462).


[Linked Image from photos.smugmug.com]
Example BIOS setup menu. Large photo HERE.

Enter the service tag number in Dell's site. Choose BIOS as the Operating System. Below you'll see a single entry for download. Download this file which is about 10Mb. In my case the file was named M4800A26.exe Your file may or maynot be different. Most of the firmware update instructions lean in the direction of Windows. Saying you need to create a bootable USB drive. This isn't correct! All you need is a clean USB drive formatted as FAT32.

As it turns out for firmware updates, Dell provided a special one time boot utility. The F12 key (press repeatedly on boot) will get you to this special boot menu. Before doing that, you'll need to copy the firmware update file to a clean USB drive formatted as FAT32 and plug that in to one of the USB ports. There are options in the special boot menu to flash the BIOS (lower group) and ellipses (.... upper right) to allow selecting this file from the previously mounted USB drive containing the xxxxxxx.exe file. Follow the menu options to get this started. It takes about 10 minutes with progress bars for the various updates. Multiple hardware items will get updated. The PC will boot automatically after the updates are finished. MAKE SURE the firmware update process isn't interrupted at any time. The PC's BIOS and hardware are now up to date and current as this point.

2) I downloaded Manjaro 19.0.2 (XFCE 64 bit) HERE. You'll get a 2.8 Gb file named manjaro-xfce-19.0.2-200311-linux54.iso as of the time of this post. I used K3b and my LaCie USB burning to create a bootable DVD. My PC came with its SSD wiped clean so no boot record on it. If the PC has an O/S loaded that boots from the SSD, you'll need to change the boot order so it looks first at the optical drive. This can be done from the setup menu (F2 key while booting). Make sure to be connected to the internet through the ethernet RJ45 jack. Manjaro booted fine on my system. Go through the Manjaro install and setup process which takes about 30 minutes. Let it update as required.

On reboot, I got a "Invalid partition table!" message which halted the boot process until I pressed the ENTER key. After which the system booted properly. After some hours of research I trace this down to a boot flag that needs to be set. You can open up a terminal window and enter the command below to set this flag:

sudo parted /dev/sda set 1 boot on

This will remove the message and allow the PC to boot through to the desktop. The time zone was the next issue as its setting isn't clear. Right click on the time and click on properties. You'll need to enter the Timezone: field as below:

US/

This essentially is interpreted as blank forcing the system to pickup the local time. I also set the correct time in the BIOS setup menu. Also note that media gets mounted in the directory per below: Different from Ubuntu and Mint.

/run/media

[Linked Image from photos.smugmug.com]
Manjaro desktop on 24" HDMI monitor.

3) The M4800 has hybrid graphics (Intel & nVidia). The HDMI port is hardwired to the nVidia display hardware. The native resolution of the laptop screen is 1920x1080 so it can drive an HDMI monitor at full resolution (60 Hz) which makes for a nice display. You'll need to get the nVidia hardware up and running. This requires installing some utilities and drivers. I had some trouble with this initially but got things ironed out. I first went to the Manjaro settings per below:

Settings->Manjaro Settings Manager->Hardware Configuration

Then hit the Auto Install Proprietary Drivers to load the Bumblebee drivers.

Should see video-hybrid-intel-nvidia-418xx-bumblebee installed checked. I'm not sure these are required as it appeared later on there were issues with the Bumblebee drivers. These didn't work as expected. Suggestions were to use the optimus-manager instead. Found this out after the fact. I backed up and used the following (pick options 1,2 to get the two required programs: aur/ means it comes from the Arch Linux repository and not the community branch.

For the hybrid graphics to get the HDMI port going.

sudo systemctl disable bumblebeed.service <--- Reboot after this.
yay -S optimus-manager
yay -S optimus-manager-qt
<--- This gives you an awesome tray icon!
sudo systemctl enable optimus-manager.service

This should give you a system tray icon that allows switching between Intel (laptop display) and nVidia (HDMI display). Such was the case on my system. This worked as expected and I was able to get output to the HDMI monitor. At this point Manjaro was basically up and running and ready for applications to be installed.

4) As for removable USB drives you can setup some behavior using the following settings. I have it setup to jump into a directory when a hot plug event occurs. Proceed as personal preferences dictate.

Settings->Removable Drives and Media

Check:
Mount removable drives when hot-plugged.
Mount removable media when inserted.
Browse removable media when inserted.


A notification box will appear in the upper right corner of the display for hot plugs. The behavior of this can be changed to your liking per the menu below:

Settings->Notifications


Some programs like FreeCAD don't display removable media in the expected way. As previously stated, finding mount points on Mint was through /media as opposed to /run/media for Manjaro. Changes like these in Linux distros can be frustrating until you find what you need.
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