Monday 22 September 2014

Reliable RDP on Windows 8.x

I am falling in love with Windows 8.1 but the Remote Desktop is extremely frustrating; it regularly drops the connection and makes remote administration horrible.

On Windows 7 my remote administration worked but from Windows 8 onwards, it wouldn't. Having a look around it appears that Microsoft has tried to reduce the RDP overhead by allowing UDP packets when the connection allows.

How can we force Windows to revert back to TCP? Well, we can use the Local Policy Editor to do just that.

To open the Local Group Policy Editor from the command line
  • Click Start , type gpedit.msc in the Start Search box, and then press ENTER .

To open the Local Group Policy Editor as an MMC snap-in

  1. Open MMC. (Click Start , click in the Start Search box, type mmc , and then press ENTER .)
  2. On the File menu, click Add/Remove Snap-in .
  3. In the Add or Remove Snap-ins dialog box, click Group Policy Object Editor , and then click Add .
  4. In the Select Group Policy Object dialog box, click Browse .
  5. Click This computer to edit the Local Group Policy object, or click Users to edit Administrator, Non-Administrator, or per-user Local Group Policy objects.
  6. Click Finish .
The policy editor should now be running:

Navigate to 
  • Computer Configuration
  • Administration Templates
  • Windows Components
  • Remote Desktop Services
  • Remote Desktop Connection Client

Enable "Turn Off UDP On Client"

That's it!

Sunday 17 August 2014

Upgrades Completed!

All of the server upgrades have been completed and I'm feeling smug!


Monday 4 August 2014

ECUFix has been updated to v5.9.9.4

ECUFix - has had a few extra binaries added v.!

Download it from HERE.

Once you install the above program, you may have to install a new license key; please email me if you need one....

Sunday 6 July 2014

ECUFix has been updated to v5.9.9.3

ECUFix - has had a few extra binaries added v.!

Download it from HERE.

Once you install the above program, you will have to install a new license key; please email me if you need one....

Wednesday 25 June 2014

VW Golf Mk6 Diesel Air-Conditioning Pump Replacement

Hi All,

One of my cars is a 2009 VW Golf Mk6 1.6 TDI and the air conditioning has never worked. Basically, after a little Googling around it is usually the Air-Con Compressor that fails.

The Bad Compressor

Hmmm, removing the under-tray and shoving my mobile phone under the car, gave me the picture above; the compressor is manufactured by Delphi and has a 5N0 820 803 A part number.

OK, look on eBay and there are quite literally hundreds to choose from with greatly varying prices from £50 up to £500 for a brand new one. Now, if you look carefully at the pictures of the different types of compressors for sale, you can notice that they all look remarkably similar but have different part numbers and prices! (Incidentally this is also true for other items like the alternator too)

So looking at a specialist web-site SINSPEED, one can see that these air con compressors have a LOT of part numbers.

To prove the point, I bought a used compressor off a 2013 Audi Q3 8U 2.0 Litre from Charles Trent Ltd (who got my compressor to my doorstep within a day - excellent!).

1st job is a trip to Kwik Fit who will empty the gas out for free - nice. 2nd job is to swap the compressors, this is a bit of a tight squeeze and probably needs two of you to do it. Here are the two compressors side-by-side:

The 2 Compressors - Bad on Left
Incidentally, there are a number of reasons why these compressors fail, mine was due to the centre screw on the pulley becoming loose and damaging the clutch mechanism. Trust me to have something with a revision A in its part number!

Swapping took about three hours including tea-breaks. Bonnet down and back to Kwik Fit who, for a reasonable £49.00 will vacuum down the system, add compressor oil, add tell-tail dye (in case there's ever a leak) and re-fill it.

Hoses Connected

The Re-filling Machine
Vacing took about 20 minutes and re-filling took another 15 minutes.

Does it work? Of course it does!

Friday 13 June 2014

ECUFix - has had a few extra binaries added v.!

ECUFix - has had a few extra binaries added v.!

Download it from HERE.

Once you install the above program, you will have to install a new license key; please email me if you need one....

Monday 28 April 2014

Domoticz, Raspberry Pi, RFXCom RFXtrx433 and LightwaveRF Protocol

I'm experimenting with various sorts of Home Automation bits and pieces at the moment. My primary goal is for the final set-up to be as cheap as possible, for it to work as I would like it and to convince the wife that it was all worth the bother!

My protocol of choice at the moment is Z-Wave using a Razberry add-on board - as previously blogged about. However, I have been quite interested in the LightwaveRF stuff, so I purchased a few dimmers and set about to get them to work with my Raspberry.

You first need to hook up a RFXtrx433 USB adapter. These are a bit pricey but they just plug straight into the RaspberryPi and you are up and running.

RFXCOM RFXtrx433 USB Adapter
My Raspberry is loaded with Domoticz (superb bit of free software, by the way) and currently handles my Z-Wave devices in a simple set-up.

However, once I received a few sets of LightwaveRF dimmer switches, I had to go through a bit of pain to try and learn how to set them up with Domoticz - this is what I'll share with you.

Once you have your Raspberry PI and Domoticz set-up, head along to the hardware tab.

You need to switch on the LightwareRF protocol to get things working. To do so, click on the Set Mode button and the following screen should appear.

Simply check the AD/LightwaveRF protocol box and then click on the Red, Set Mode button.

We now have our Domoticz set-up able to transmit LightwaveRF protocols but we now need to get it to learn about the switches we have. Z-Wave stuff is largely automatic but the LightwaveRF devices need to be added manually. Here's how we do that.

Click on the Switches tab within Domoticz.

Click on the Manual Light/Switch button (there is a slight spelling mistake there, the "/" is not needed).

Set the hardware as Rfx and give a description. Usually the switch type is a Dimmer and the [protocol] Type is LightwaveRF. The ID section is a bit unusual; basically this is normally generated from the last few digits of the MAC address when using the proprietary internet link box. However, just enter any unique combination you wish. Click the button "Add Device" and you're good to go.

We need to perform one more step - in the switches screen, locate the switch you just added and then set the dimmer switch into "learn" mode by pressing both buttons and holding them pressed for a few seconds. You can tell it's in learning mode because the front LEDs will flash back and forth. While this is happening, simply turn the light on in Domoticz.

Does it work? Of course it does!

Lightwave is quite good but it does have some pros and cons.


1. You can get everything you need in a switch and only need 2 wire wiring.
2. The switches are quite cheap and fit most standard UK 25mm backboxes.


1. Z-Wave is a Mesh network; LightwaveRF is not. This means that a Z-Wave network can pass network packets through different devices to be able to get to its final destination.
2. You don't appear to get any feedback of the light status from the wall switch, i.e. if the switch is manually switched on or off, Domoticz doesn't get any feedback. This is a pity because I like to have lighting status feedback so you know when the bloody kids haven't switched off the lights!
3. You can only buy Dimmer Switches. On/Off relays are available but they are only available as in-line devices.

Thursday 24 April 2014

Dodgy China LED Lights and Exploding Power Supplies!

I like messing around and in our house, we use a lot of LED fittings. However, in recent times a large number of these LED lights have been going out.

The first batch I bought some three years ago have been working just fine. However, the past year or so have seen a lot of failures - not quite the 20,000 hours quoted by the manufacturers!

The most common failures I see are down to bad quality LED SMD "Fried Eggs". All of my fittings use 3W LEDs with 3, 4 or 7 LEDs mounted on a PCB in series depending on the desired power. The problem with failures like these are if one fails, they all extinguish - a bit like Christmas Tree lights from the past.

Getting hold of replacement LED "Fried Eggs" generally involves an order to China and they arrive in the UK within a few weeks. Removing the failed LED involves unscrewing the aluminium casing and using a soldering iron. Checking which one had gone can be done with a simple DVM switched to diode testing mode.

However, this week I came across something quite worrying, especially as I got an electric shock while standing on a ladder! Basically, these latest China power supplies blow up and then burst out of their protective casing.

The problem? Well, when replacing failed LED fittings, you don't expect to put your bare hand onto 240V AC!