Technology in recycling

Automated glass recycling acceptance machine
Automated cartons, cans and plastic bottle acceptance machine

Machines have made the world a better place. It is actually the engineers who develop these machines that are responsible for such improvements. Take the machines that we have in Australia as an example, these eliminate the need to sort bottles from cans, from plastics etc. The device scans each device that is entered and either accepts it for the recycling credit or rejects it! This makes good sense for the company recycling these items and those whom can conveniently drive to one of these machines and quickly get some cash back. Here you could 10 cents per plastic bottle. This is sustainability as it should be.

The ubiquitous Raspberry Pi (RPI), as a Network Attached Storage (NAS) device

A Plex Server home screen. Running on a Raspberry Pi (RPI)
The Network Attached Storage (NAS) using a Raspberry Pi

I followed the instructions below here, in order to use the RPI as a NAS with a RAID-1 array with two mirroring 2.0 TB Harddisk drives (the abbreviation for these is: HDDs, they can be seen in the photo). Samba is a service which makes the NAS accessible to Windows computers on the same sub net mask. The IP address and RPI credentials are used to access the NAS from a Windows computer. Also install CX File Explorer on your phone and then the NAS is accessible on you Android smartphone, a very cool feature.

I then simply used that same RPI which acts as the NAS, to also run the Plex server which is accessible behind the NAT by typing the IP address and port number which defaults to 32400. The Plex server is accessible with any webbrowser by any device on the same subnet as the Plex server. You can also set-up Plex server to port forward and thus serve you anywhere in the world using your login credentials. I have a double NAT, which means two routers between the RPI and the Internet Service Provider (ISP), so that is a tricky proposition to get external access for me. It can be done but one has to bridge the first router through to the second one, which I don’t want to do.

In the above photo you will see a powered hub and a RPI. The RPI gets its power from the battery bank and I will make a connection for the powered USB hub also to take its power therefrom so that it acts as a UPS, in the future.

Plex server instructions are summarised below:

Plex Install:

Set a Static IP for the RPI:

Install a Torrent Web App called Deluge:

You also need to type in the following command:

sudo chmod -r 755 “your USB HARD DRIVE Path ie: /sda/pi”

This is required or the
Plex server won’t be able to read you usb drive.

If you don’t have a UPS and have a power failure and the RPI cannot see the RAID-1 array follow these instructions:

One of my drives failed and in the process of setting up a new one that I bought, which was smaller than the functioning 2.0TB HDD, I realized this cannot be done unless the sdb drive which only had one massive partition called sdb1 needs to subdivided with one partition exactly the same as the new 1.0TB HDD that I bought.

This is problematical as all the data on the Raid-1 array has to be copied into another drive, the sdb drive partioned and reformatted. The easiest way for me was simply to use the Diskmgt.msc function from Windows. The raid-1 array has to be stopped using the mdadm utility. Don’t reboot the RPI as this will cause a major lockout and disk fault. I did exactly that and then had to use the new rpi imager to reimage the RPI’s SD card and rerun through all these steps again. Oh mercy, that was a painful lesson.

Do I need to use vinegar when making biltong?

Hennie Coetzee’s biltong machine

This is a question which comes up quite often when people are making biltong.

The truth is it does give the biltong a ‘funny taste’ and in my experience is quite unnecessary, provided you follow two critical steps.

1) You need to leave the meat in the fridge in the biltong spices for about 48 hours so that a curing process takes place. The meat draws in the preserving salts and spices.

2) This step is very important as mould can form on the biltong if you haven’t used vinegar in the curing process. It is imperative that you monitor the humidity within the biltong Machine for the first 18 hours, this biltong machine should have enough heat generated within it, in order to keep the internal humidity levels at 100%. This represents a situation where the air is saturated with moisture that is being drawn out of the meat . This process rapidly seals the outside of the meat thereby preventing any mould etc. I use the DHT22 sensor to monitor the internal humidity, within the biltong Machine. The fan/s effectively vent this moist air out of the box, which is continuously being drawn out of the meat by the heat source.

I believe the vinegar was used prior to the invention of refrigeration, by the Voortrekkers in South Africa, in order to allow the curing of the meat to occur without any nasties coming into play. With the advent of a low temperature environment in the cooling compartment of the refrigerator, this acidifying process is no longer required for the curing. The heat source is thus a must to quickly seal the outside of the cured meat. I hope this will give you confidence to try out a new way of enjoying an old South African favorite – Biltong.

A friend of mine’s biltong machine. He uses an incandescent lamp (60 watts) as his heat source. The bulb was removed to show the fan. Credit: Hennie Coetzee

The ‘secret sauce’ controller is a controller that can switch the heat source every few seconds, giving better control in making your dried foods. It also allows all interactions via Bluetooth from your mobile phone and if you connect to your local Wifi will show progress on a webpage, how cool is that! It also uses RF to control a plug socket so no electrical connections required. This is the state-of-the-art. If you want to buy a plug and controller it costs $100. Leave a comment we will get your details for an order. You are really going to love it! πŸ‘πŸŒŸπŸŒπŸ₯©πŸ΄πŸŒŸπŸ‘

Buy this Bluetooth, secret-sauce controller which controls a plug socket.