More on the Control center

While messing around with the Hipstreet tablet I dropped it and cracked the screen. I bought a Unbranded (that is the brand name) 10″ tablet. It had the same Intel Z3537F quad core processor and 2GB main memory. It was also a 32GB storage. It also was upgraded to Win10. I then tried the OTG cable with the power injector. A no go. One end worked for Data, the other for power. It would not work as data and power no matter what I tried.

Side view 10″ Tablet on Play

Next I tried to get a data connection through the keyboard connector. No luck there. It needs a pull down to activate the data port. No firm information on the resistance value. It could be 10K or 100K ohm. After checking the keyboard connector I could no longer charge the Tablet. If it wasn’t for bad luck I would have no luck at all.
So I opened the tablet up. I cut the battery leads. I soldered a small Molex connector into the board. I reduced the LM2596 to 4.1V. Now the tablet is directly powered. Now I had power and Data both. The power system is not optimal. I would like to have the battery in the system as a surge source. I have had some power crashes.
The Control Center works well, but it can take a while for the date and time to correct themselves. The 10″ screen is not as clear as the 8″ was. And the scaling is different. Overall I liked the Hipstreet 8″ tablet better. It was faster (better SSD I believe) and the single cable was a cleaner installation. Size wise the smaller tablet was better overall.
I found it is nice to use a Bluetooth keyboard in conjunction with the tablet. Makes it much easier to change print settings. I setup a public account within my local network. This allows me to send files from my other computers to be used on the tablet. The one problem is the inability to use a USB stick in the tablets for file transfers.

Windows 10 up and connected to printer.

What to look for in a control center Tablet:
Separate power and USB ports. Much easier to setup to operate with the printer
2GB main memory. Allows you to open a web browser while operating the printer.
Decent quality screen.
An extra USB port.
Bluetooth keyboard or Keyboard connector.

I will get you some pictures later.

Dell XPS 8920 tower

I just purchased a new computer last week. My old system, a Dell XPS 8300, was getting long in the tooth being 6 years old!

Dell XPS 8920

The New one is a Dell XPS 8920 tower
It does not look very impressive from the front, but you know what they say, never judge a book by it’s cover! This is a very small tower case. 7.1″ X 14″ X 15.3. But performancewise it has a lot going for it.
I bought mine from the Dell Outlet, as usual! It was listed as “scratch and dent”, but I have yet to find a scratch on it. I was searching for a system that would have most of the newest features and technologies. And was cheaper than “new”. I did pretty well.
My machine;
Windows 10 home Edition
256GB SSD with the OS installed
1TB SATA 3 HDD (western Digital Blue drive)
16GB 2400MHz memory
AMD RX580 8GB Video card
WIFI/Bluetooth M.2 card
The SSD is a NVME M.2 256GB Toshiba drive (THNSN5256GPUK). This drive has Windows 10 installed on it. This makes for a very fast entry into windows from a cold boot. It is faster than most Tablets getting into windows. more later
Another available option is the Intel “Optane”. Optane acts a drive cache to the primary HDD drive. These can be installed into a m.2 card slot on the motherboard. This slot allows faster transfer rates than the SATA3 controller can reach. It is supposedly a PCIE x4 transfer rate.
The 1TB is a standard Western Digital “Blue” drive connected by SATA 3. This tower can have 3 3.5 drives installed.
Considering I was comparing 6 year old technology, to this new machine, I of course was impressed. It sailed through the setup crap. The first startup did take a bit but not the hour it took the old machine to get through setup of the OS. The first start into windows after setup flew. I measured it’s second startup at a counted 27 seconds. Very fast compared to the minutes I was used to on the old system. Getting into a game is a bit quicker as this is SATA 3 versus SATA2. I could move the game to play from the SSD, Drive C:\, then it would move right along. With only 256GB I am keeping most of my 500GB of games on the HDD. I used windows Storage management to move Photos, Music, Documents, Maps and Movies to the HDD. Apps still install to drive C:.


The system has plenty of USB ports! On the back; 2 X 2.0 (for keyboard and mouse), 1 X 3.1, 3 X 3.0. On the front; there are 4 X 3.0 ports.

Power supply swings out for motherboard, Video card and CPU access.

I am not going to go into deep detail of the technologies used in this box. I will hit them lightly. The NVME M.2 connector is right on the motherboard. The SSD is (edit) 22mm X 80mm. It installs like laptop RAM. You put it into the connector at an angle to the Motherboard, then push it down flat. There is one screw to keep it in place. There are several screw holes for different lengths of m.2 devices. This motherboard uses the “M” connector standard. There are sizes available from 128GB to 1TB. The standard is WW-LL-HH-K or K/K. So the THNSN5256GPUK Toshiba unit is Single Sided 22mm-80mm-S3(single sided)-M (connector). So it is 2280S3M. Unfortunately they never seem to show this at retailers, which would make it a lot easier to find a replacement or upgrade!
The other device for this connector from Dell is the Intel Optane accelerator. Usually Dell uses the 16GB model. It is a high performance SSD type drive that is used as a “Cache” to the primary Hard Disk Drive. It only caches the primary disk. If there are other drives installed they do not benefit from Optane. To use Optane you have to have Windows 10, A motherboard that can accept it (M.2 slot), Bios that recognizes it! You also need an Intel Storage Driver that supports Optane. So you cannot retrofit it to an older system. My brother has the 16GB Optane module and is very happy with it so far. It takes a bit of use to get the cache populated and operating at it’s best. I beat him into windows he beats me, usually, moving from map to map in the games! Dell does not offer the 32GB Optane module in it’s systems! I costs about $75 for the 32GB module online. The 16GB module is about $48.
NOTE: You can only have 1 of these options in any system. Either a m.2 SSD or an Optane cache! They cannot work together!
Either of these helps performance. You have to decide which is best for you. Setup for either is very technical. But if you can install more memory (bios changes, new drivers, driver settings, windows settings) you can probably follow the directions to install either one. Installation of both is well documented.
If having last years technology is not good enough, the XPS 8930 has even newer specs. Like 8th gen Intel processors, a newer Z370 chipset, Faster memory and more USB 3.1 ports. The case is essentially the same, as is the power supply. But remember I was almost two years off the mark on the last system and it was still playing the newest games.
That is the one component that was getting tired after 6 years, The HDD! It started corrupting files when I was copying files to the new computer. This process has the HDD’s running continuously for hours on end. I transferred about 500GB of files and that pushed it over the edge. But for that, it would still be running probably for another couple of years. (pssst, oh yeah! it is still running!) The only other component that failed was the power switch about a year ago. I had to search to find a replacement. Ended up having to repair the one I got off Ebay to make it work! (psssst, revived) It has been updated with a newer 2GB 7770 video card and the HDD was upgraded to a SATA 3 from a SATA 2 drive, replacing the tired drive with a totally clean load of Win 10!
The old system had an i7-2600, 8GB of DDR3 memory a 1.5 TB Seagate SATA2 HDD, a DVD player, a DVD-RW writer, WIFI/Bluetooth adapter (M.2) and 1GB Radeon 6770 Video card. I upgraded it with PCI card for 2 X USB 3.0 ports. I then put a 32GB USB 3.0 PNY stick in one for Readyboost. It came with Windows 7, upgraded to Windows 10 with no problems at all! It was a relatively high end system for it’s day. And the new one is of the same caliber!
The things I DON’T like about it!
Power supply would not be easy to upgrade.
The Laptop style 8X DVD-RW unit.
Extra 2 HDD bays face the side cover. You need a 90 degree cable ends, at both ends, as the other end is encroached by the Video card. The bays need to be deeper and the motherboard SATA’s need relocation away from the video card slot!
Most of these are the price you pay for such a small full featured computer case!

Benbox DIY Laser engraver kit

I bought a 2500mw Laser kit from
I waited a few days the started making upgrades. First recessed the gantry screws with 6mm X 16mm flat head allen screws.

Original screws hex head cap. Changed to flat head ta
pered and flush mounted.

Cut the controller mount loose using the desktop mill from the back legs and mounted it on the gantry.

Cut the rear mounted board mount loose to be moved to the gantry

Used USB cable and some micro switches to make up homing switches. Soldered to the back of the controller board to get an I/O for the switches.

L7 board soldered in wire to lead to homing switches.

Added a wire drag chain to it and some rubber feet. when moving fast it would slide all over the table and screw up the engraving. It only has about $10 worth of installed upgrades on it! There will be more upgrads in the future. Looking at either adding code controlled focus or Z axis to keep the beam in focus as it cuts deeper. Designing a Multi-Diode Laser assembly. This allows you to have two cheaper Diodes, used as one beam, rather than a more expensive single Diode. also should add flexibility as you can shut one diode off for things like engraving where you do nt need as much power. Planning on using a Tablet as the control just as I did an the Printrbot Play 3D Printer.

Tablet controlling Laser engraver.

Some of the upgrades have been done so far in a manner that allows others to carry them out without all the equipment I have. Later these will be redone usin things like the 3D printer to make mounts for the Drag chain as an example.
I have an Upgrade Controller on hand. It is an Arduino Uno/CNC shield boards from Banggood. The Uno does not have any more power than the Arduino Nano used in the stock board but the the 4 axis CNC shield means you do not have to solder into it to get access to the I/O pins. And it has the extra axis for the focus or Z that I will need later. I also have a TTL board from Banggood this allows better PWM control of the Laser. The Stock Laser driver boards are somewhaty iffy when it comes to PWM control. I am looking at replacing the stock lens with an upgrade to a glass lens or the G2 glass lens.

Still needs work but looking better and working better. Homes to start point after upgrading firmware settings.

You can see more of this and other DIY kit lasers at BenboxLaser.US
There will be more later!