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Reboot to commandline did not work in EasyPup

February 29, 2020 — BarryK

Forum member 'thinkpadfreak' reported this. The "Shutdown" menu has the entry "Reboot to commandline". This executes /usr/bin/wmreboot, passing the parameter "nox" to it. However, the wmreboot script in EasyPup is different from the one in EasyOS, and does not have handling for that "nox". Fixed.

"Reboot to commandline" is very useful when debugging X, so important that it be functional. It does require that there be a save-file, and at first bootup, when you are in PUPMODE 5, at shutdown you are asked to save the session, so you would have to do this, so that at next bootup the request to stop at the commandline and not start X is remembered.

thinkpadfreak also reported that the executable 'gtk-query-immodules-3.0' is missing. /usr/bin/gtk-query-immodules-2.0 is there, but not the gtk3 version.

Actually, it is there, at this location:


What I have done is create a symlink to it, from /usr/bin, so it will now be in the $PATH. This fix applies to both EasyOS and EasyPup. 

Tags: easy

Toughening up a 4wd for driving on corrugated roads

February 28, 2020 — BarryK

Outback dirt roads in Australia are famous for their bone-shaking corrugations. I posted about this awhile back:


I will be upgrading to a 4wd soon, with the intention of being able to handle these roads, and also to drive on soft sand tracks. So, I read with interest any experiences and information about toughening-up the vehicle appropriately.

A few days ago, I came across a Facebook post by Benno. Benno took off into the Red Centre of Australia in his new Jimny 4wd, driving 10,000km, 2,000km of those on corrugated roads.

Now that is fascinating. I have done a couple hundred km, and it felt like my car was shaking to bits. Okay, it was only a road car, Holden Barina, with suspension only designed for smooth roads.

This is Benno's Facebook post:

This is a photo Benno posted. The trailer is custom, with tyre-width to match the car, and the original tyres off the Jimny:


Quoting Benno:

The trailer had my bed in it plus battery and charging for the solar panel. Chairs and table and my chemical toilet plus 2 more jerry cans. The trailers tare is about 140kg. I estimate that I pushed it to the 350kg limit with a tow-ball loading of about 40kg. I fitted the tyres I took of the Jimny onto the trailer. The suspension on the Jimny gave up the ghost after 2000km of corrugated road, but I got into Coober Pedy. Found out that TG just released the 40mm lift kit which I had sent the closest installer which was in Alice Springs. Also did my 10k service in Alice Springs. The people in Alice Springs sure know what they do. I can only recommend it. My Jimny is automatic, and if you set it on cruise control, it just goes. Towing the trailer was no issue I would even say that the trailer stabilises the car on corrugated roads. There is always a surprise around the corner, but the Jimny has mastered them all in its stride. From bulldust holes that could have swallowed a truck to cattle grids that had a 10cm step up invisible potholes (more like open-cut mines) to rocks on the road, you would never believe they fit under your car. And whenever you were flying over the corrugation and court yourself thinking, "This is actually not too bad" then this was precisely the point to get ready for the next surprise. But all in all, I would do it again in a heartbeat. 

I posted a reply:

When you say that the suspension "gave up the ghost", what actually happened to it? 
Benno replied:
When you travel over corrugated roads for extended periods, the oil in the shocks heats up, and cavitation can cause the oil to foam, in which case the oil in the shock absorber loses its viscosity and simply stops doing its job. Because of the weight in the back and the tow-ball loading, the shocks collapsed, and I was riding the rubber bumpers. This occurred going around a corner and just given me one more of my unforgettable memories. The back dropped by about 10cm, enough for my trailer chain to hit the road. Suzuki Australia offered to replace the shock, but I decided to upgrade. The original shocks are not built for this kind of work, so if you choose to drive on corrugated roads you probably can do it with very little weight in the back, then I think you will be ok. If you intend to do some overlanding, you have to do some modifications. 1st Tyres, 2nd Bullbar, 3rd Spotlights and shocks. And if you want to put your Jerry cans somewhere, you need a roof rack. After all that you learn to travel light. You know the weight of everything you put into your car. Then comes the point when you simply give up because of all the necessities the better half requires and get a trailer, which I find is the way to go. If you get a trailer, make sure it fits the profile of the Jimny as wind resistance is the most significant factor when travelling. So keep your speed to 100 or less and watch what you put on the roof rack. 
Fascinating! I am beginning to understand why so many serious 4wd'ers do a lift, of at least 40mm. Superior shock absorbers, with longer travel are put in, and most people also go for fatter tyres.

I also recently posted about live-axle and IFS (Independent Front Suspension) in 4wd's:

The "old school" front live-axle is superior if you want to do a lift. The problem with IFS, as I understand it, is that a lift will increase the angle of the CV joints, greatly increasing their wear rate.

Then there is the question of legality, and possibly voiding the vehicle warranty. To find out about legaility in Australia, this is a great page:

...that page is written for WA, where I live. Basically, the vehicle height must be increased no more than 50mm (2 inches). Ah, that explains something -- many new Jimny owners are going for an ARB or Tough Dog (TG) 40mm lift kit, with a tyre size of 215/75R15, up from the stock 195/80R15.

The "195" and "215" figures are the tyre width, going to some online tables, I see that the tyre height is increased from 693mm (27.28 inches) to 704mm (27.7 inches), a difference of 11mm.

That tyre size jump will increase the vehicle height by half of that, in other words, 5.5mm.

So, the ARB or TG 40mm lift, with those 215/75R15 tyres, will increase the vehicle height by 45.5mm, which is legal. Very interesting! 

Rereading Benno's posts, it seems to me that what actually failed was the coils. The sudden drop of 4 inches would happen if the coil springs broke. The Jimny has coil springs front and rear. Certainly if the shock absorbers were no longer doing their job, or less so, that would have put enormous stresses onto the coil springs. The effect of the trailer would be to tend to keep the vehicle body steady, further stressing the coils. So one thing lead to another.

Which does make me think, a Jimny without a trailer and not to much weight in the rear, would probably be OK. Well, Benno did say that.  

Tags: nomad

Apps internationalized and touchpad fix

February 28, 2020 — BarryK

Puppy Forum member 'esmourguit' has internationalized the 'ffplay-gtk', 'prename' and 'pmetatagger' scripts. These are all little apps created by Jason ('plinej' in the forum). Esmourguit has informed Jason, and Jason has already updated the ffplay-gtk PET, the others coming soon. Forum threads for each app:




Forum member 'thinkpadfreak' reported that touchpad settings did not persist after a reboot, running EasyPup 2.2.11.

For many years we have used 'flsynclient', a compiled app using the FLTK library. In 2019, a replacement called 'psynclient' was created by mistfire:


Easy is using version 1.3 with some GUI layout fixes. It is supposed to have persistence. Here is my PET:

Until persistence is sorted out, I have reverted to flsynclient. I would like to go back to psynclient, as it is very small, just a script that uses gtkdialog, and it has lots of configuration options.  

Tags: easy

ffplay-gtk internationalized

February 27, 2020 — BarryK

ffplay-gtk is a neat little GUI wrapper for the CLI 'ffplay' video player, created by Jason (plinej in the Puppy Forum). I posted about it recently, February 9:

Esmourguit (Puppy Forum nickname) has "gettexted" it and Jason has bumped the PET to version 0.7a, so the PET is now ''. I will upload it soon and it will be here:

Version 0.7a will be in the next release of Easy. 

Tags: easy

Snap2 removed from Easy build

February 27, 2020 — BarryK

Snap2 is a backup manager, based on rsync, developed by LLoyd Standish (lstandish in the Puppy Forum). The project page is here:

The latest version is 4.25, released in 2012. It was 'gettexted' by Puppy Forum member 'xanad' in 2014. See xanad's many internationalization contributions here:

For the record, there are lots of other old internationalization contributions from 'robwoj44' here:

Lutz (L18L in the forum) has been running into problems with a German translation of Snap2. He cannot get it to work.  It seems that although Snap2 was gettexted, it hasn't actually been tested.

The gettexted 4.25 PET is here, package

I have reverted to the original un-gettexted 4.25, and named it, which will be uploaded soon, the previous one removed from the repository. So grab the gettexted one now, if you want to work on it.

I don't know if anyone uses Snap2, never received any feedback about it, although it has been in all my builds since 2012. Due to this issue with internationalization, I will leave it out of the next release of Easy. 

Tags: easy

Finishing touches to solar water distiller

February 26, 2020 — BarryK

Today finished off construction of the latest solar water distiller, intended to be put together as DIY plans. The previous post is here:

I am using a piece of 3mm window glass, not low-iron, just ordinary window glass, as used in my tilted-wick prototype:

...that glass is 572x672mm.

The wood frame of the latest distiller is sized such that the glass only overlaps about 10mm onto the frame, the wood being 19mm thick. I purchased silicone foam strip for the glass to sit on:


...I ordered 3 metres of 5x10mm (second from left in above photo), at AU$7.22.

Note that some vendors on eBay have solid silicon strip, but I thought perhaps that would be too firm.

I ran a bead of white silicone sealant around the wood frame, for the strip to sit on, and placed a MDF sheet on top to hold the strip flat while the sealant set. Later, ran another bead around the inside, where the silicone strip meets the wood, so that no water can seep underneath the strip.

Then there is the question of some kind of brackets to hold the glass in placed, firmly pressed against the foam strip. There are various ways that the brackets can be designed, what I did was buy 1 metre of this, at AU$7.40:


...I marked out 25mm lengths, and holes suitable for inserting 6G wood screws, then used a hacksaw to cut off the bottom flange, then each 25mm length. Tidied up with a file.

I bought a packet of wood dowels, 38mm long, 10mm diameter, 50 pack. Prestige brand at Bunnings. Oh, I see, don't seem to be stocked anymore, but these slightly smaller one should be OK, at AU$2.80:

Um, the "Tools" section of Bunnings does have these, more expensive brand:

I cut some of the dowels in half, length-wise, and this is what the final bracket looks like:


...notice that the screw is at a slight angle, not 90 degrees to the wood surface.

And after installing all of the brackets:


Almost finished! Now for the water inlet and outlet...

For the water inlet, I purchased a funnel from Supercheapauto. This is designed for automative use, and has a removable filter, and an adaptor for plastic pipe, at AU$9.99: came with a short length of pipe, however, I attached my silicone tube. The adaptor looked like suited for 9mm plastic pipe, so what I did was glue a 13mm trickle end-plug onto the adaptor.

I have posted about doing this kind of operation before. It requires special plastic-bonding glue. I use Selleys All Plastic Fix, at AU$8.35:

And the end-plug is a Holman's brand:

So that you can see how it is done, see this link:

And here it is all in place:


For the water outlet, I just used a cheap 13mm inline tap from Bunnings, at AU$3.97:


Shopping list, prices in AU Dollars:

Glass, 3mm, 572x672mm

Silicone foam strip, 5x10mm, 3m
Aluminium sail-track extrusion, 1m
Wood dowels, 8x32mm, 50 pk
Plastic funnel, with pipe adaptor
Plastic bonding glue
End plug, 13mm (Holman)
Inline tap, 13mm, plastic

Now I need to wait for a nice sunny day... 

Tags: nomad

EasyPup version 2.2.11 released

February 23, 2020 — BarryK

Here is the post about version 2.2.10:

Release notes:


Forum feedback:

If you don't know what the difference is between EasyOS and EasyPup, I recommend the former, as that is where the on-going action is. EasyPup is a throwback, to satisfy some of the Puppy old-timers.

The latest version of EasyOS is 2.2.10, announced here: 

Tags: easy

Insulation under floor of water distiller

February 22, 2020 — BarryK

The saga continues. Here is the previous post in the gradual accumulation of what is intended to be DIY plans for a solar water distiller:

Now for the insulation under the floor of the basin. I was going to use fibreglass batts, after misadventure with using expanding foam with the previous prototype: that case, I had spread baking paper, which turned out to be a very bad idea. If I spray the foam directly onto the (slightly damp) plywood, it will stick and (hopefully) not lift off. So, decided to give expanding foam another go...

Before we get to putting in the insulation, there is the matter the inlet and drainage plumbing. Contrary to what you might expect, I put the inlet as a hole in the floor of the basin, not on the side wall. I also cut a hole for drainage. These two holes are at opposite sides of the basin, with the intention that water can be poured into the inlet and flow out the drainage hole, for periodic flushing of the basin.

Both holes were cut with a 16mm spade drill bit. Silicone tube is then inserted into the hole and sealed with black silicone sealant. I want the tube to bend 90 degrees, so I bought two Norma brand 13mm elbows:

...these are for automotive use, and the plastic will work up to 120 degC. Cost a bit more than trickle irrigation elbows from Bunnings though, AU$4.97 each.

These are attached to a short length of silicone tube, and I did use a cheap Bunnings trickle-irrigation plastic pipe clamp:


...the silicone tube could probably have been bent 90 degrees without needing an elbow, without kinking, and maybe with some channel to prevent it from flattening. Anyway, I went for the Norma elbow.

Next, it was glued into the basin floor, here is the underneath view:


...there are some pieces of wood placed to hold it in place while the sealant sets.

Here is the underneath view when both inlet and drainage pipes are fitted:


...notice the two blocks of wood in the top-middle. They are just some scrap pieces, placed there to give the bottom plywood something to screw onto.

The bottom plywood is two pieces. I won't give measurements, as it is easy enough if you build this, to measure and cut the plywood. It is the same 6mm marine ply that I used for the floor of the basin, cut from the same original 810x1220mm sheet purchased at Bunnings. Here is what the two sheets look like when fitted:


...16mm holes were cut for the tubes to stick through, and filed to allow the tubes to come through at an angle.

About those little holes in the above photo. 12mm holes. I had the idea of screwing on the bottom plywood sheets, then use those holes to inject the expanding foam.

Ha ha, that stuff has a mind of its own! Yes, I did try that idea, injected the foam, but it built up enormous pressure, and the plywood bowed out. I needed to have screwed it down more firmly in the middle. I had reasoned that the excess would come out of those holes, but that didn't happen ...perhaps the holes should have been bigger.

Aborted that. Took the plywood sheets off, bought another can of expanding foam and, the next day, after a spray of water, spread the foam all over the surface, as best I could anyway. This snapshot is just after spraying, it did expand some more afterward:


...baking paper was wrapped around the silicone tubes, with sticky tape, not that I really expected the foam to stick to the silicone tube, just being paranoid.

Waited another day, then used a large wood saw for most of the cutting, then a hacksaw blade to finish off, got it reasonably flat:


So, what's next? Obviously, any water placed into the basin is just going to run straight out of the pipes in the floor. However, the drainage pipe will have a tap attached and the inlet pipe will bend up and be attached to a funnel.

This means that there will be water in those pipes, and you might think that will mean heat loss. However, water is quite a good insulator, and mostly any heat loss would be due to convection, hot water rising and thus the water circulating -- which won't happen in this case, as the hot water is at the top.

Actually, this is an experiment. I will measure the water temperature where the pipe comes out the bottom of the distiller, very interested to find out just how much it will heat up. 

Shopping list (prices in AU Dollars):

Norma elbow 13mm x2
2x $4.97
6G 16mm wood screws, 40pk
Expanding foam, 750ml (Bostik)

* I used two 500ml cans, however, that was due to a misadventure. A single can should be OK, and probably it will have to be more than 500ml. 

Tags: nomad