Adding voltage, amperage, and frequency gauges to a cheap rackmount PDU

I found this product on banggood and couldn’t resist. It seemed like it would be an easy install in one of the many PDUs I have around the garage.

Not an affiliate link or anything like that. Just for the curious!

Here are some photos of the process

Inserting the load sensor through the fuse connection wire
Overall this was an easy project, drilling the 22mm hole in the PDU was the largest pain.


Building a Micro HD-SDI Encoder

Some brief notes on building a tiny, low power, low cost HD-SDI encoder. The total power consumption of the encoder is less than 20 watts.


Intel NUC with 2.5″ bay and M.2 Slot.

120GB 2.5″ SATA SSD


Blackmagic Design Decklink Micro

DeckLink SDI Micro Cable, order code: BDLKMICROSDI

Decklink Micro, using Xilinx Artix-7 FPGA, XC7A50T

The Decklink Micro fits perfectly into the M.2 slot on the Intel NUC board – the NUC has a heat-spreader on the 2.5″ Drive cage that makes contact with the Decklink Micro and should provide adequate heat dissipation.

With the cable installed through a hole in the NUC Case (just for testing)

The software used for the encoder will be Gstreamer,

Gstreamer supports both Intel QSV for offloaded H264 encoding, and the Blackmagic Device.


VSAN Mixing SAS / SATA Drives with HPE P420i

Here is the general idea of the issue – with vSAN 6.7~ you cannot mix SAS / SATA Drives when using a P420i Raid controller with a DL360 Gen8. 

I first thought it was vSAN only, but I also could not create a regular VMFS 5/6 datastore on the SATA Volumes (SAS worked fine for VMFS and for vSAN)

The Error I got from VMware vSphere was very generic, so here it is:

A general system error occurred: Failed to reserve disk naa.5002538da03397d4 with exception: Failed to reserve disk naa.5002538da03397d4 with exception: Reserve failed with error code: -1

Operation failed, diagnostics report:  Unable to create Filesystem, please see VMkernel log for more details: Failed to create VMFS on device naa.5002538da03397…

I got around this by installing an H240 HBA controller that doesnt have any issues, and it appears on the VMware HCL. 


HPE NC523SFP with VMware ESXi 6.5 Fix

After VMware basically gave up up on this ticket I was able to figure out that if you want to get the NC523SFP 10GBe adapter to work in ESXi 6.5+ you need to manually add this VIB driver, not the one that VMware has listed.

I have confirmed that this updated driver “qlcnic version 6.1.191” works with ESXi 6.5 on an DL360 Gen8 with 1 x NC523SFP running firmware version 4.20.1 (4.20.20 is not available anymore from HPE as far as I know) This is the fix for the issue below (but I’m not going to post on that horrid website)

This fix should apply to any system running the NC523SFP Network Adapter.

Hopefully this post will help someone save a few hours of troubleshooting.


AWS Snowball Experience

So far the snowball has not been super impressive – Somehow they managed to engineer it to be much wider than 19″ so it will only fit into a rack standing up. Who at AWS thought this was a good idea?

Here it is “Installed” on the datacenter floor

After much fuss getting it installed in the rack, I was greeted with this very nice error message. “The appliance has timed out” I guess this one is going back to Amazon with no data. 


Inside of a Polycom VVX411 VOIP Phone

For the curious minded people – here is the teardown of a Polycom VVX 411

Dated: 2015

1380-48450-001 REV A