Category Archives: Uncategorized

Down a Tech Rabbit Hole

Some days I see things that trigger my tech “fix-it” gene.

I saw this Intructable and the author mentioned the problem of programming a non-P version of the ATmega1284P processor.

I had to look at my tech notes doing this in the Arduino IDE.

It was actually the ATmega328P. I had bought 10 of the ATmega328 processors, raw chips for my Carbon Block Aquaponics project two years ago and then found out it is not supported by the Arduino IDE. This tech note saved me.

The device signature for ATmega1284P is 1E 97 05 for the ATmega1284 it’s 1E 97 06. I’m sure the same avrdude.conf edit would work with this to program the non-P processor. Let me know if you try it.


Job Posting for Contract Position

With assistance, provide the following services for a client in Fergus Ontario:

  • Enhance control systems using Visual Basic or Aveva SCADA software
  • Configure Aveva Historian using PLC OPC tags using ControlNet or Ethernet/IP
  • Design Operator HMI control screens
  • Clone hardware disk images, update configuration and supervise installation in the manufacturing plant
  • Verify wiring connections with electricians during system installation.
  • Determine customer needs and recommend solutions based on RM Systems design practices. Involve outside suppliers when the scope of work exceeds company expertise.
  • Update network IP’s by changing workstation, Motor drives, HMI and PLC configurations
  • Functional system test after network changes
  • Develop software programs that provide system diagnostics and control functions.
  • Data collection using an Oracle database and bar code traceability
  • Provide customer communications, including written project updates, service reports, telephone updates and email.
  • Document software system and develop training documentation.
  • Configuration and Verification of Oracle data collection
  • Train operators and engineers on use of the applications.

This project requires PLC programming and HMI design for wire and cable manufacturing

Sample Project:

Employment Type

Contract 6 months starting June 2021 with possible extension. Office will be provided at the Fergus location.

Approximately 80% of the work will be at the factory. 20% remote work.

Working knowledge of PLC, SCADA, database, computers and networks is an asset.

RM Systems Integrators has been providing service to various industry sectors since 1994.

This is an opportunity to learn about running a successful system integration company.

Apply to: mailto://


A friend asked what websites I have so here are my blogs and other sites:

New for 2021 – Winter Trail

Ottawa West Winter Trail: Webmaster and editor.

Beyond Twitter

My first blog: Various thoughts from 2003 to 2010. Blogspot doesn’t seem to have the continuous scroll feature so you have to actual pick the archives at the right side to see the old posts.

An old bad tech story:

Carbon Block

Yes I’m searching a grassroots way to reduce global warming: first blog about sustainable communities

Line Dance 

I ran a large Toronto event for 5 years but passed it to Judy McDonald and Tina Veliotis. I started Donna on WordPress in 2010. She’s kept her site good-looking and up to date.

Robotics and ACI

I was a member on the Agincourt Collegiate Institute School Council in 1999. I started their first website (done in Frontpage, archaic MS tool) then helped on various incarnations at this high school. These are what’s left online about the Robotics team which I consider I officially retired from in 2015. newer but little content older but with some video links a placeholder but I don’t want to give up the URL remaining link to now retired registered charity

Distance Cycling 5 day ride from Toronto to Montreal in 2011 Unused placeholder that I forgot I registered. I think I meant to use it for my 5 day unsupported ride from Ottawa to Montreal in 2012. When I say unsupported I mean with panniers and carry all our own clothes, food and water. This is in contrast to previous supported charity rides where all our camping gear is moved each day and there are organised snack, lunch and water stops. Also support vans if we have a bike problems. We just needed to ride our bikes.


This is the community I used to live in: I put Courtney and Sandra on WordPress. The site is looking so good now.

Rotary Club of Agincourt  I maintain this even though officially I’m no longer a member. I helped organise this walk in 2011. They dropped the Trump this year so it’s just Poker Walk for HIV/AIDS

Bookkeeping Services My wife

Bryan’s Journey

My nephew fight with cancer in 2007

Carmen’s Journey

Life is more than the words that were said Website is now private but let me know if you’d like to access this

So I can remember who no longer has a spouse or parent:

Also deleted a WordPress site that was a demo created for a friend who’s a dentist and a Rotarian.

This JMT blog which was supposed to be my 21 day hike in 2015 but ended up being a different journey.

RM Systems Integrators (Here)

My company website: This site went through a few incarnations in Microsoft Frontpage, Java bits, HTML hand coding then to WordPress.

Journey to the Cloud – Part 1

Started using AWS (Amazon Web Services). I signed up for a free account and they ended up offering me a $300 credit to use until the end of February. You can actually run a small Linux and a Windows Server for free for 12 months even without the credit. Use Roy Westwood’s procedure:

One of the main things I did was load a bunch of Ignition Maker Edition instances. They have LAMP instances (Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP) that can be loaded and ready to run in a few seconds. They are good for WordPress but also good for Ignition since you don’t need to load another database. The free LAMP is instance is a bit underpowered at 512 MB but I did manage to coax Ignition to run with MySQL shutdown and a second free LAMP instance running MySQL. After the fact, I found out the MySQL JDBC drivers are no longer included with Ignition and is an extra download and install. Most users have moved over the MariaDB which is a Open Source branch of MySQL after Oracle bought it.

I have a weather app that display and trend logs Ottawa data using a free API. Ignition Maker Edition only has Perspective and no Vision module. Perspective makes pages look good on both the desktop and mobile (phone/tablet) screens. I have a custom display for current weather on my phone and desktop.

AWS cloud security is all public encryption key based. There’s no password. You have to have to safely protect the 128 byte SSL file they give you. I am currently working on getting an ESP32 Arduino to communicate to a server, Industry 4.0 style. The real cloud method is to never put up your own server for data acquisition since you need to add account then open ports, configure receiver software, etc. Using a transaction protocol like MQTT, the device can send the secure data directly to the cloud with no server involved. No server to hack and never needs updating. A cloud script can display the device on a web page or log the data.

Exercise for 3D Printing

  1. Replicator Exercise

Open stl. Rescale to 75%. Place on platform. Generate GCode.

Try functions for View, Rotate. Undo.

  1. Sketchup Exercise

New drawing. Draw 80,60 mm rectangle at origin.

Delete guideline figure. Zoom Extents. Orbit so you can see the rectangle drawn.

Draw 21,15 mm rectangle at origin. Draw 4.5 mm radius circle at the endpoint.

Draw a 6 mm slot, 30 mm above the 4.5 mm hole and 35 mm long. Hint: Use tape measure or a rectangle

Outline plate to 60×85 mm and add 1mm mounting holes at the corners.

Delete construction lines and pull face up to 3.6 mm

Challenge exercise: Fillet corners to follow the mounting holes. Redo 6 mm slot and radius it to the 4.5 mm axle hole.

3) What keys/mouse button are the same as Solidworks?

4) Make a bracket to hold something at a 120 degree angle

Create a part that might be useful on this year’s robot.

Further resources/notes on the Makerbot Thing-o-matic:

Google search “thingomatic generate settings” Use version 0027

0040 doesn’t work with Makerbot 7. Maybe a version in between will work smoother? Software quirks: Long start-up, long delay after a build to recover the control panel. Always close RepilcatorG before computer hibernating otherwise the COM port gets lost and needs a reboot.

Softwware for printing with the FLSun:

Copy of Powerpoint



Using Rafts

3D Objects to download See #3DBenchy

Formlabs Laser Sintering, Epilog Laser Cutter

Ignition SCADA Links

Ignition 8.0 documentation

Static PDF copy (no components)

Perspective Overview

Using Chrome to test on Virtual Phone

Ignition University Select Videos

Other Notes:

Ctrl-f. Search and replace. Select items/screens.

How to merge with existing apps. Use export and import tags. It’s in XML so it can be edited before importing.

Ctrl-/ toggle script comments

See more properties. Filter .. All

Windows Update 1809 and VPN

So after a few months of suffering, I’ve rolled back update 1809 and my Aventail VPN is working again. The annoying thing was the connection would open for about 30 seconds and then Windows would go into a hard crash and do auto reboot. After a few Google searches I finally found this: 

and the VPN is a specific split tunnel configuration. I have another client using SonicWALL which was unaffected.

I guess I am only doing Hotfixes until the next major Win 10 update comes out. Hopefuly, they fix this. I sent them at least 10 crash dumps. I did revert to my older Win 7 laptop for a while until I gave up and uninstalled update 1809.

Time Series Database

Data has been collected since the 80’s typically in a desktop database or relational database like Oracle. This data has found newer data formats for storage to accommodate the Cloud and Big Data. Specialty software tools are emerging for IIoT and Industrie 4.0.

Click here to see article on Times Series Database

Win 7 disk recovery – Bootrec

I just spent two days on a laptop hard drive recovery. I woke up and powered on my computer and it would not boot. The drive was also listed as uninitialized by the BIOS.

I feared the worst but put the SATA drive into a USB adapter and ran EaseUS partition manager. It was able to recover the three disk partitions and I immediately copied any recent files to a backup drive. All my files seemed there and undamaged. An HDScan said there were no bad blocks.

I put the drive back in the laptop and found I didn’t have a Win 7 DVD handy to run the Recovery program. Luckily Win 7 ISO is readily available in the Internet. Once I downloaded it, ran the recovery option (below the new Win 7 install button). It booted the computer twice but then finally said it could not detect any errors.

Using the option to get a command prompt, I learned all possible options for using diskpart. Then tried bcdboot and bcdedit.

The final answer was “bootrec.exe /FixMbr” and magically the laptop was back to normal. Really? What was the MS Win 7 recovery program really doing besides hard drive error scans? Shouldn’t the final step of the recovery done this?

Anyway glad to have my laptop back to working order.


Modbus Resource Sheet

Modbus Comms Information

Proface Modbus Explained Serial vs. TCP

Articles on Modbus

RS485/Modbus Wiring

Honeywell  Standard wire terminals:  A 485+, B 485-, Ground, Shield

Modbus on XNX transmitter pg 185-189

Scott Meridian Gas Detector – includes 4-20 mA and Modbus RTU



SCADA Demo with Modbus TCP and RTU over TCP

Wireless Modbus  US$121.75 $400

Modbus TCP versus Modbus RTU over TCP

Modbus servers