Monday, December 24, 2012

Linksys WVC54GCA camera useless from a dead power supply?

My poor little Linksys WVC54GCA network camera recently stopped working on me. After doing a couple of tests, I figured out that it was the ac adapter (power supply). It's supposed to supply 5V, but was outputting about 3.5V. What to do?

After not finding any replacement power supplies on Linksys' website, I decided to try their 'chat support'. I highly DO NOT recommend it. It was an irritating experience. I thought I was being pretty clear in what I was asking, but they were just not getting it, directing me to other strange products. Finally after they realized what I was looking for, they told me that they don't carry replacement power supplies for my camera. Thanks for nothing!

eBay had a bunch of options...ranging from just a few dollars to about $15. Most of those adapters looked a bit sketchy so I didn't really want to take the risk.

A little more thought and I remembered that I have a few 5V adapters that I bought from Sparkfun already! I checked the polarity on the camera and the power supply, and the amps, and they actually match!

Linksys Camera specs

Sparkfun AC Adapter specs - they match!

However, it did not fit in the barrel - the camera's jack is 5.5mmX2.5mm, but my adapter has a 5.5mmX2.1mm barrel connector. :(

First what I tried doing was drilling out the hole in the adapter's connector, but ended up runing the whole thing. :(


Eventually I remembered that I have a bunch of 'barrel' connectors laying around somewhere. I test fitted them, and sure enough, I had a 5.5x2.5 barrel connector. Cool!

Sooo...I cut the end off of my AC Adapter since I ruined the connector anyway, and stripped back some of the wiring. Then I took a pigtail that mates with the 5.5x2.5 barrel connector that I found and connected it. Then I stripped back some of the wiring on the pigtail. A few twists, solder and electrical tape later, I had a functioning power supply for my camera.

Sparkfun adapter with the proper connector now!

I plugged it in, and it worked! Woohoo!

Happy camera (see the blue led?)

Saturday, December 8, 2012

7-Zip saves my hide (at least got me around long paths)

Recently I had the simple task of adding more storage space to a Windows server. As usual, everything went well as far as the hardware installation and the software preparation. However, when it came time to start 'moving' network shares (folders) over to the new drive, I had one (folder) that did not want to copy, giving me the following error almost right off the bat:

Oh snap!

Fortunately, my friend Google never leaves me hanging. The first quick thing to try was to run CHKDSK with the '/f' (fix any errors) option on the source drive. I did, and there were a few corrections made. However, when I tried to copy that folder again, I got the same error. Uh oh.

After more searching I found a helpful Microsoft article:

It presented several possibilities, but only a few that were relevant to my situation. I was able to rule out 1 possibility - file names that had 'reserved names'. An example would be LPT1 or PRN or COM1. I ruled it out by searching for files/folders with those names in it. Of course nothing came up, but that was one of the simplest checks against the possible relevant issues.

Now things were getting a bit ugly. It was down to 2 possibilities: 1. There are one or more files that contain an 'invalid name', or 2. There are one or more paths to folders/files that exceed the 256 character limit. As far as I know, there are no built-in Windows utilities to check for either of these conditions. After poking around in my problem folder's subfolders, I started noticing that there were a couple of folders that had many, many subfolders. It looked like I found the culprit. This is a good and bad thing. Good because now I know what the problem is, but bad because I'm not sure how to get around it.

A little more searching around on Google for programs that could copy folders without the restriction that Windows itself has found me a possible solution - 7-Zip! It is a program that I already have on this particular server as it is the destination file format (.7z) for the nightly/monthly backups. Upon opening the program and initiating a folder copy of that annoying little (ok, not little - it's about 25 GB) folder, it started copying with no problem! Yaaayyy!

Real quick, I'd like to say that 7-Zip is a great compression/decompression utility with better compression than .zip files, supports a bunch a formats, and is free! Check it out - it's better than the other ZIP/compression utilities that I've tried (including commercial ones).

Well, I hope that this helps someone out there. Feel free to leave any comments/suggestions below.