Saturday, April 23, 2016

Information specific to WLToys L969 truck/truggy

The WLToys L969 truggy is my favorite R/C so far.  However, nobody else seems to agree, since nobody talks about it much.

The L969 is almost identical to the L959 car, which is wildly popular.  But there are enough differences so that finding compatible parts can be a pill.  So, here is a page for other L969 owners out there.

L959 owners:  This page is not for you.  Go here now.  


L969 vs. L212

This post covers items specific to the L969, which is the brushed-motor version.

Given how WLToys made the L959/L202 cars, it makes sense that a L212 truggy will be a L969 truggy with the brushless parts from an L202.  I have no way to verify this and so cannot list such information here.


General Information

See L959/L969 post here.


Advantages and Disadvantages

Generally, the L969 and L959 have identical specs and performance (including top speed).  Traction is limited on all models, especially the brushless models.

Pros:
-  The L969 has much bigger tires and wheels than the L959, allowing it to:
  -  Have more traction, especially on the front end
  -  Have a higher ground clearance
  -  Handle bumps and obstacles better
  -  Jump and land better
  -  Absorb bumps, impacts and collisions much better, reducing frame and steering breakage
  -  Run the tires much longer before requiring replacement

-  The body shell is larger and projects out beyond the car frame, allowing it to:
  -  Function as something of a bumper, reducing the likelihood that the front end parts will become broken
  -  Better protect the body during rollovers
  -  Fit more wiring or other stuff under the shell of the car, where it will be protected
  -  Be taped up or patched easily if it breaks
  -  Be replaced easily when the time comes (as opposed to replacing broken frame parts, which is difficult)



Cons:

-  L969 might be a bit more expensive than the L959.

-  Fewer vendors pay attention to the L969; parts are harder to get, and not always compatible with the L959.

-  The larger wheels/tires may put additional strain on the motor, and may cause the motors to break somewhat faster than on the L959 car.

-  Some trucks seem to be assembled with 12-tooth (12T) motors, which are hard to find.  Using 14-tooth (14T) motors might work, but possibly not well.


User Manual

User manual (NO PARTS LISTS): Litehawk (Canada) (from Litehawk Brute), Wltoys.eu

User manual (WITH PARTS LIST):  Server 1 (big) 

Parts list ONLY:  Server 1 

Note:  The parts lists have been annotated with orange slashes to indicate parts specific to the L969.


Specifications

Public specifications

Scale: 1:12
Size:  395 mm x 260 mm
Wheel Base: 250 mm

Diameter of tire:95 mm
Width of front wheel: 55 mm
Width of rear wheel: 55 mm
Speed: 40 km/h (Brushless: 60 km/h)
Remote Distance: approximately 100 m
Charging Time:  approximately 3 hours
Car Battery: 7.4V 1500mAh
Transmitter Battery: 4 x AA (Not Included)
Car Weight: ?

Other specifications

Dimensions / size comparison:  See here

Battery connector:  T-plug.  (L959 has JST connector)

Transceiver IC: believed to be BK2423, same as WLtoys L959 and V2x3 quadcopter series
ESC FETs: believed to be CET 904 CEP83A3

Motor size:  380 (brushed models) / unknown (brushless models)

[For reference only:
540 motor has a diameter of ~36mm.
380 motor has a diameter ~28mm.
280 motor has a diameter of ~24mm.]

Motor shaft diameter: 2 mm


Part Compatibility

Conventional wisdom dictates that the L959 (car/buggy), L969 (truck/truggy) and L979 (rally car/rally truck/truggy) are the same except for wheels, bodies (covers) and axles, but this is not correct.  There are a number of parts specific to the L969.

It is true that the L959 and L969 are about 80% the same.  Anything not specifically called out here can be presumed to be identical to the L959, but you should check your parts guide to be sure.

Note that some of these parts may also be compatible with the L979, L202, L212 and L222.  I don't any of these and so cannot check this.


On Vendors

Few places carry items specific to the L969.

Worse, most vendors do not distinguish between parts for the L959 and L969.  This is fine when a L959 part fits the L969, but is not fine when the L959 part does NOT fit the L969!

Vendors even go so far as to confuse the L969 with the A969, which is a completely different model.  Or, at least, throw in whatever keywords they think will attract clicks, regardless of accuracy.  So, buyer beware!


The best source I know of for L969-specific parts  Litehawk (Canada).  They sell the Litehawk Brute, which is reportedly identical to the L969, and so carry all of the L969 parts in their Canadian store (list of all Litehawk Brute parts).  As a result, parts are virtually guaranteed to be correct for the L969.  (They also carry L959 parts in their Blast store.)


Others:
Banggood all L969 parts
Amazon (USA) all L969 parts
Amazon (Canada) all L969 parts
Newegg (USA) all L969 parts
Aliexpress all L969 parts
Mofars.dk (Denmark)


Note:  ALL of the vendors listed above (except Litehawk) typically do not properly distinguish between L959 parts and L969 parts.  So be careful what you order!


Unique Parts

According to the parts diagram, the following parts are unique to the L969.  Descriptions have been transliterated from the manual.

The "official" parts list does not use the "L" prefix (i.e. "L969-01") so neither does this list.  However, be aware that with the rise of other similar models, such as the A969, many vendors may use the "L" prefix for their parts listings.

More details on some of these are presented in the sections below; however, the specific differences are not known for all parts.

-  969-01:  Front tires (x2)
-  969-02:  Rear tires (x2)
-  969-03:  Car shell frame (x1)
-  969-04:  Front suspension bracket (x1)
-  969-05:  Rear shock plate (x1)
-  969-06:  Rearward shell column (x2)
-  969-07:  Rearward connection frame (x2)
-  969-08:  Forward shell scaffold (x1)
-  969-09:  Motor (x1)
-  969-10:  Motor gear (pinion gear) (x2)
-  969-11:  Rear axle (x2)
-  969-12:  Front axle (x2)
-  969-13:  Car shell / topper (Green) (x1)
-  969-14:  Car shell / topper (Red) (x1)
-  969-15:  Motor mounting bracket (x2)
-  969-16:  Lithium-iron battery (x1)
-  969-17:  Lithium-ion battery (x1)
-  969-18:  2.4 GHz receiver box (x1)

All of the other parts have L959 prefixes and are common to the L959 car model. 


Front Tires (969-01) / Rear Tires (969-02)

Tires are different between car and truggy.  Duh!

Front tires (969-01): Banggood, Litehawk (Canada) (from Brute)Amazon (Canada) (search), Amazon (USA) (search), Heli-PartsGoogle search 
Note:  Banggood has been known to sell rear tires as front tires.  Rear tires have a hex hub, front tires have a round hub with no hex.  Photos might be accurate but you may still get the wrong item.


Motor (969-09)

The L969 seems to use the same basic motor as the L959 but with a 12-tooth (12T) pinion (gear) attached.

The prevalence of the different gear types is unknown.  It is not known if all L969s use the 12-tooth gear or not, if this is a batch-by-batch thing, or if it was changed at any point in the past.

However, the L969 does have different pinion and motor part numbers.  So there is speculation that this is a model-specific difference between the L969 and L959, with all L959 cars using the 14-tooth gear and all L969 trucks using the 12-tooth gear.  This has not been confirmed.


The motor is the biggest PITA for L969 owners since nearly everyone sells the 14-tooth version, which might not be compatible with your truck.  See "Motor Pinion" below.

969-09 motor (believed to be 12-tooth / 12T):  Litehawk (Canada), Hobbyworx

959-33 motor (believed to be 14-tooth / 14T):  Banggood, Aliexpress, Heli-Parts, Litehawk (Canada)


Motor Pinion / Motor Gear (969-10)

The motor pinion is a different part number than the L959.  It is suspected that this is because the L969 truggy uses a 12-tooth (12T) gear, while the L959 car uses a 14-tooth (14T) gear.

Unfortunately, both the 12 and 14 tooth gears appear very similar on casual inspection, so always compare the new motor to your old one.

You can assemble the gearbox using the "wrong" pinion but it will feel stiff and require quite a bit of torque to get it to spin.  Using the incorrect pinion version may cause motors to wear out prematurely, causing the car to go through motors or gears quickly.  It may also cause the car to "stall" and stop working completely (both drive and steering) due to excessive current - this may be a feature of the receiver box.

Using a replacement speed reduction gear along with the new motor may correct the issue, or it may not.  It has not been verified if there are different speed reduction gears for the 12T pinion or 14T pinion.  In fact, the rationale between having a 12T version and 14T version is completely unknown.

You can move the original 12-tooth pinion to a new motor, but only if you have a good-quality 1.5mm hex wrench handy to remove the set screw from the pinion. You can also buy new 12T/14T pinions separately, but be careful you're getting the right ones.
 
Sources for 12-tooth (12T) pinion:  Litehawk (Canada)Hobbyworx (USA), RC Planet (unverified)

Sources for 14-tooth (14T) pinion:  WL-Toys.com, Litehawk (Canada)

Note:  RC Planet has the 12T version listed here, but the photo is clearly of the 14T version.  Similarly, Hobbyworx has the 12T here, also with photos of the 14T.


Front Axles (969-12) / Rear Axles (969-11)

Longer, to accommodate the fatter truggy tires.

Front axles (969-12): Litehawk (Canada), Heli-Parts, RC Planet, Hobbyworx

Rear axles (969-11)Litehawk (Canada), Heli-Parts, RC Planet, Banggood, Kinglton



Motor Mount / Mounting Bracket (L969-15)

The L969 is listed with a different motor mount.  
This actually makes no sense since:
-  The motor body is (supposedly) the same as the L959 car - it just seems to have a different pinion installed; and
-   Photographs seem to indicate the car and truck mounts are identical, and
-  14-tooth L959 motors seem to fit on the stock L969 mount 
So it is possible the L969 and L959 motor mounts are actually the same part.  This has not been confirmed.



Motor Heat Sinks

It seems that most, if not all, L969 trucks come with heat sinks.  This may be because the bigger tires are expected to strain the motor more.

Note that many receiver boxes do not actually have any spare connectors.  If you get a heat sink with a fan, expect to have to splice in the fan yourself.  If connected directly to the battery, the fan will run even when the receiver box is OFF; there are pros and cons to this.

Heat sinks reported working on L959/L969 (not personally confirmed):
-  Passive:  Banggood 1, Banggood 2   
-  Active (with fan):  Banggood 1 (update: confirmed to fit/work)
Not reported working: Aliexpress search, Futaba (Aliexpress)    

 Note:  many of the heat sinks that include fans are for 540-size motors, not 380-size motors.  They also obviously require power and the fans are subject to breakdown.


Battery (969-17)

The L969 uses a T-plug (B1 on this diagram) on the battery.  A T-plug is also called a Deans style connector.

Not all batteries are created equal: they seem to range from 1500 mAh to 1800 mAh.  Whether these specifications are real, or not, is up for debate.

It is theoretically possible to swap in the 959-38 receiver with the JST connector (B3 on this diagram) in order to make it compatible with the L959.  You would probably only do this if you had a lot of JST batteries and didn't want to modify or replace them for your L969.

Some may be uncomfortable with the lower current rating of the JST, but in all honesty it will probably work just fine. The brushed motor, at least, doesn't pull enough current long enough for the connector to appreciably heat.

Of bigger concern is the fact that since the receiver box is a different part number, it may have differences other than the external connector.  There is no way to know for sure except to try it for yourself.

Sources:  BanggoodWL-Toys.com, Heli-Parts

Note:  RC Planet has the L969-17 listed here, but the photo is clearly of the JST plug version for the L959.  Same for Hobbyworx, shown here.


Receiver (L969-18)

The receiver uses a T-plug connector to match the battery.

It is possible that low-battery or motor-overcurrent protection limits are different in the truggy reciever; this has not been confirmed.

Sources:  Litehawk (Canada) (from Brute), Aliexpress (search) , Wl-Toys.com, RC Planet,

Notes:
 -  Many vendors confuse the JST receiver with the T-plug receiver.  Or, at least, use "reference" pictures that show the JST model, making it hard to know if you're going to get the T-plug model or not.

 -  Older receivers were not waterproofed.  Newer ones are mostly waterproofed by being filled with glue, but there are gaps in the coverage, so water still might kill them.

 -  Replacement waterproofed receivers may have glue in the plugs that needs to be cleaned out with a needle or X-Acto knife.

-  Some references indicate the receiver has spare plugs able to provide power for accessories, but actual receivers may not have these.  If they are present, they might be blocked with waterproofing silicone or glue.  So don't plan to plug anything in to the receiver aside from the stock servo and motor.


 

Costco premium alloy Saturn C-wheels do not fit 2005 Lexus RX330

Problem:  As above. 

Although the Costco fitment guide states that the Saturn C-Wheels (model CW081495) will fit a 2004-2012 RX330 and related models, they do NOT fit on the rear. 

The Costco guide is terrible because it does not list wheel offset nor wheel width, and in this case they do not work.  I realized this going in but somewhat naively figured they knew what they were doing.

Width is not much of an issue because most tires will fit a wide range of wheel widths.  For example, the stock 235/55R18s of the RX330 will fit wheels from 6.5" to 8".   As the typical wheel width these days is 7" to 8", with 7.5" being quite popular, this is OK.  (To figure out the range of wheel sizes for your tires, try this handy calculator.)

Offset can be a real problem.  Too much offset and the tires will hit stuff on the car.  Still, you do tend to have a fairly wide range to worth with.  So it seemed low risk.

Unfortunately, in this case, the actual offset for the CW081495 is 42mm, while the stock offset is 35mm.  This extra 7mm pushes the tire further "in" to the body of the car. 

In this case, the offset difference was just enough to make the rear tire touch the shock tower.  Meaning they do not fit.

As the wheels fit on the car without tires just fine, there was no way to know this up front.  Everyone, including the tire tech, figured they would be OK.  And it was thaaaaaat close.

It's rather too bad since the wheels actually look pretty good on the car.

The tire shop was able to fix me up with similar 18" wheels for a similar price, and I can obviously return the wheels to Costco.  But I will not get back the tire shop fees for mounting tires to wheels that don't fit, then having to dismount them again.  Thanks Costco!

So, for anyone interested, be aware that Cotsco / CW has already made one mistake for wheel fitment.  I imagine there might be others. 

If you do decide to buy, I recommend you get the tire shop to mount ONE tire and test fit it on all four corners.  Otherwise, they may mount all four, then have to dismount all four, and have to charge you more money. 

(Obviously, in retrospect, I wish that I had asked them to do this myself, but it did not occur to me at the time.)


For reference, the actual specifications for the Costco Saturn C-Wheels CW081495 premium alloy wheels are as follows:

Brand:  CW Alloys
Size:  18 x 7.5
Bolt pattern:  5 x 114.3
Offset:  42mm
Hub: 73.1mm

For reference, a 2005 R330 was listed as accepting wheels between 20mm and 35mm offset.  So these did not even fit "on paper" - assuming, of course, I'd had that information up front.


Note also that the Saturn wheels are listed as "silver".  They are not silver - they are most definitely grey, possibly with just a touch of blue. 

Now, this is not something that most people would notice unless you put them right up against stock wheels that are actually silver, but the difference is there.  And, of course, EVERYONE will put their shiny new wheels up against their old ones, which are most likely silver.  So you will see the difference more or less immediately.

The wheels appear to be painted or coated rather than being the natural aluminum finish.  Why they didn't actually paint them real silver is beyond me.

This may not be a big deal to some.  I was initially worried about it, but my wife did not care at all, and once they were on the car you probably couldn't have told the difference.  Hell, for some cars, they might even be an improvement.  However, if you want true silver wheels, look elsewhere.

Incriminating pictures (or it didn't happen):

Wheel:


Specs:


Here's the wheels on the car:




Here's a picture from the rear, showing the shock hitting the tire:


Here's a picture from the top, showing the back of the tire touching the shock:


Here's a picture showing the clean spot where the tire was rubbing the tower.  (They were not driven, this occurred merely from the test fitment.)



Monday, April 11, 2016

Using Private Internet Access VPN with OpenDNS filtering/protection

Short answer:  You can't.

Wish I'd known this before spending half a weekend figuring out how to change client DNS servers by MAC or IP address.

If you try to reset your router or PC to the OpenDNS DNS server addresses, it will not work.  DNSleak will still report you using the PIA DNS server(s) associated with PIA, such as 209.222.18.218.

The reason is that PIA forces you to use these servers.  From the OpenDNS support system:

DNS Servers Keep Changing Away from OpnDNS Automatically

3) 209.222.18.222 and 209.222.18.218:

You are currently using a privateinternetaccess VPN service. This service's VPN client automatically sets your DNS servers to 209.222.18.222 and 209.222.18.218 and cannot be changed while you are connected to the VPN. Unfortunately, there is no way around this, and you will be unable to use OpenDNS while connected to this type of VPN client.

Solutions: Cease using privateinternetaccess for VPN service and switch providers to one that supports a standard VPN client if you wish to use OpenDNS over the VPN."


I do not currently know which other VPN services support the use of OpenDNS.  Research to date suggests that Hide My Ass! and TorGuard do or can use OpenDNS, so one presumes that the parental access restriction and online content filtering services offered by OpenDNS would be supported by HMA! and TG.  I have not taken any steps to verify this.

(Note: I do not work for any of these companies, nor have I used their services, and so am not endorsing them in any way.  In fact, I would personally rather avoid HMA! since they are on record as cooperating with U.S. and U.K. authorities by providing their log files, which rather defeats the purpose of a VPN.  PIA and many other providers state they do not log, period.  Just information, use as you see fit.)


Incidentally, for anyone planning to set up restrictions on their kids internet access, you might want to consider this tidbit from Linksysinfo.org, posted by "JeffD":

"Just an idea thinking about the problem of a parent restricting children I came across this thread and have a slightly different approach to what others might consider for setting up the router's DNS values.

It may be better to make the kid-safe DNS the router's default and add exceptions for the parent's devices. This way, as long as the parent can keep the kids from becoming admins there's less chance will accidently get access to the unrestricted DNS addresses. As new devices (xbox one replaces 360, PS3, PS4, etc) come online, by default, they are restricted until the parent white lists them into the unrestricted DNS list. "

This does solve the problem of unknown and/or new devices potentially bypassing the content filtering.

Note that if you do this then the majority of your devices will be leaking their DNS lookups rather than running them through your VPN.  However, this appears to be a necessary trade-off to use services such as OpenDNS content filtering - you can either use secure VPN lookups, or content-filtered lookups, but nobody has fully integrated the two (except, possibly, HMA! noted above).

Besides, tour own personal devices will still run through the VPN, so you're OK, and I don't think it matters too much what lookups your Xbox and TV might do.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Moving Minecraft PE worlds from one Android to another Android

For some reason everyone overcomplicates this.

Versions:
 - Android 5.0 or 5.1
 - Minecraft PE v0.14.1

td/dr version:  Connect both tablets to your PC as storage devices, then copy the following folder from the old tablet to the new tablet:  \games\com.mojang\minecraftWorlds

Hint:  Minecraft seems sensitive regarding the version of the game.  I suggest that both tablets have the same version of Minecraft installed before you try the transfer.  I don't know if this is required, though.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Setting up folder permissions on a Synology Rackstation using DSM 5.2

Contrary to much of the information out there, setting up folder-level permissions on a Synology DiskStation or RackStation is not actually too hard.

Apparently previous versions of DSM didn't actually support this, or at least, not very well.  You could only set user access to an entire shared folder (root folder) but not to the subfolders within it.  (Unless, maybe, you knew your command-line interface (CLI) or had Windows Active Directory capabilities.)  But DSM 5.2 seems to support it OK.


Note that DSM uses the term "Shared Folder" to refer to the root of the shared volume.  Many people would refer to this as a "root folder" or a "shared volume", but Synology has chosen to call it a "Shared Folder".  (Awesomeness....)

You can obviously set up different Shared Folders (root folders) for various purposes, if you want to.  Some people are in a situation where this doesn't work.  Like, maybe, you want to share your files with various users - which is kind of the purpose of a file-sharing appliance, hm?



I'm assuming you have the Shared Folder, subfolder(s), and user(s) actually created.  If not, go do those first.

Also - hopefully obviously - if the user in question is an admin user, they will have full access to everything regardless of what else you do.  So the user has to NOT be a member of "administrators".

Here's what I had to do on my RS2416RP+ running DSM 5.2-5644 Update 6.  I assume it works on any Synology appliance running DSM 5.0 or above, but obviously have not checked that.


-  In Control Panel / Shared Folder, give the user in question at least "read" access to the Shared Folder, which is what most of us would call the root folder.  You can go one of two ways:

  -  If you prefer they have write access to nothing except what you explicitly turn ON, set their access to "read".

  -  If you prefer they have write access to everything except what you explicitly turn OFF, set their access to "read/write".

-  Go to File Station.


-  In File Station, navigate to the subfolder in question.

-  Right-click on the folder, select "Properties".

-  Select the "Permission" tab. 

----

IF all the permission controls are annoyingly grayed out:

-  Select "Advanced options" and click "Make inherited permissions explicit".

----

IF the user you are interested in is not listed in the resulting list of users:

  -  Click "Create".

  -  Click the down arrow on "User or group".  Select the user in question.

  -  Proceed as listed below.

----

-  If not already set, set "Inherit from:" to "None".

-  Set "Type" to either:
  -  "Allow" to enable the selected permissions, or
  -  "Deny" to disable the selected permissions.

-  In the bottom "Permission" box, check all of the permissions that you want to allow or deny.

-  Hit "OK".

And - yay!  You've just set the subfolder permissions!  Giving specific users read, read/write, or no access to a specific subfolder within your Shared Folder.  Awesome.



I believe this works for groups as well.  Just substitute "group" for "user" in the instructions above.

Notes:

-  You do NOT need to select the "Apply to this folder, sub-folders and files" box.  I'm sure this can be useful sometimes, but is not required here.  If you do check it, DSM will take a while to set the permissions for every single file.  I don't recommend doing this unless you have a clear and specific reason because it may have unintended knock-on effects for how permissions behave in the future.

-  If you deny read and write permissions, the subfolder should not show up in Windows Explorer on client machines. If this does not happen, check in Control Panel / Shared Folders that the Shared Folder in question has the "Hide sub-folders and files from users without permissions" option checked.  If that doesn't work, I don't know what else to try.

-  Inaccessible folders may, unfortunately, show up in other interfaces such as FTP.  Users who try to access it will see an empty folder, but the root folder name is still visible.  I don't know how to get rid of this.