About Me





I am the documentation lead for the ToriOS operating system.  This is designed for older systems as it supports non PAE hardware.   ToriOS is a GNU / Linux based and is built on Ubuntu 12.04.

For the documentation I am using the LaTeX typesetting system as it just works.

I also run the Torbay Raspberry Pi jams, along with other members of the Devon and Cornwall GNU / Linux user group.

I work as a play worker in an after school club but would like to work as a teaching assistant or similar and support the new computer science curriculum.

I also have some coding skills in python and scratch.  I have my own github repository with projects,  which may be good to use in schools to see what can be developed with some of my mini projects as a starting point.

I use GNU / Linux at home and have done for several years.

I am committed to safeguarding children, young people and 
vulnerable groups and expect any school or establishment I am 
involved with to share this commitment.

5V Power supply unit (PSU)


One of the things about digital circuits is that the chips usually require 5 volts to run,  this is a problem when you have batteries in multiple of 1.5 volts.

The solution here to to either buy a PSU OR construct a simple circuit that provides the required power output.

The 7805 voltage regulator is ideal for this purpose.  I have prototyped a 5v circuit for soldering up once all the other parts have arrived,  mainly the dc jack sockets.

So I am using just 1 component for this.  When soldered up I will use the dc jack socket and the male AND female headers so there are more options to connect / power other circuits.  The prototype works really well.  I will be using the 1/4 size adafruit protoboard for this when the other parts arrive.

1/2 size proto board with dc jack soldered up.

LED Night lamp


If you are out at night looking at the starts,  then a torch is usually an essential piece of kit.  Use for reading star charts etc.  However being white light your eyes go from looking at the stars to then looking at white light which affects the way the eyes let in light.

The solution is to use red light.  A bit like dark rooms this provides light so you can see what you are doing.

Further to my post on the adafruit protoboard I have constructed a simple light circuit with a 9v battery, six red leds and 3 100 ohm resistors.

This works really well and there is room to add more LEDs too.

UM66 Melody Generator


I have had a um66 melody generator for years,  so as I know it works I have now wired it up in its simplest configuration,  battery and speaker.

A circuit diagram for this is here.


This version of the chip plays happy birthday but the other one I have plays Love me Tender by Elvis Presley.

Given the advances in technology a chip this size now could probably play a full audio of the song and a whole lot more.

Adafruit proto boards


One of the nice things about the Adafruit perma prota boards is that you can take what is on a breadboard and reproduce as a soldered project.

However when it comes to powering this,  you have to solder leds from for example a 9v battery clip to the board,  this ends up as a weak point, and can break easiiy

I have now found an excellent and cheap solution.

Solder a 3.5 mm DC barrel socket on to the board.

There are 3 pins on this

One is a tag or lug on the unit the other two are positive and negative,  I worked out which was which by plugging in a battery and then putting a multimeter across the pins to work out the voltage across the pins.

It turned out for me the end pin was +ve and the one in the middle was 0v (negative)

However there are several different sockets out there so you need to check this.

This board is now ready for the actual circuit to be added.

The advantage here are that the plugs linked to a 9v battery clip can be connected to different battery arrays e.g

2x 1.5 AA or AAA = 3v

4x 1.5 AA or AAA or 6v

1x PP3 or 9v


Diaspora integration


I have Just set up WordPress to save to Diaspora.

Exeter PI jam March 2015


Today saw another really good Pi jam in Exeter.

Demonstrations included a Pi based home automation system.  This also included a webcam which takes a photo of whoever presses the doorbell and e-mails you a picture.


SAM_0209LED Traffic lights ( I think this is PIC based) – Tom Brough

SAM_0206 SAM_0207

Toms latest robot (crazy Ivan)  this moves around, and can turn randomly and move forward again.


Sadly marco mark 2 had a problem, so was here but just not working as planned.


Pi Ready for eager coders / hackers to use.


Lots of people with new Pi’s in need of set up. so I did quite a bit of support here,  also minecraft-pi was popular and people seemed to like my modification which drops tnt blocks over grass.

Robots will make another appearance at next weeks Torbay Pi Jam 14th March, Paignton Library from 13:00

This entry was posted

LED Flasher part 2


A while ago I made a 555 timer circuit on some Adafruit prototyping board.  I have now made a version 2 of this, replacing R2 with a 100k variable resistor to control the frequency rate for the LED.


This all works,  however there does seem to be an issue with the connection between R1,  R2 and the connection between pin 7 of the 555 timer.  Just one section of the board.  So I am in the process of trying to figure out what is causing the problem.

Note the colour of C1 looks browm  The camera flash caused that,  C1 is fully working and the top is shiny.

This circuit should function fine as a strobe light for example.




Update  on 8/3/2015

Turns out problem was connection between pin 3 (output) and the LED,  this has now been re-soldered and the board is working fine.

Paignton vs Chobham


Saturday 28th Feb saw the annual home fixture between Paignton Vets vs Chobham Martyrs


Chobham won the game but as with this the scoreline doesn’t tell the whole story of the game,  a few photos below are from this game.








SAM_0155 SAM_0181

What have I done this morning ?


Things seem to happen in blocks.

Today, I picked up the latest issue of Linux voice April 2015.  This has a big feature on the Raspberry Pi 2.

I have also asked for more flyers for code club,   So I can try and drum up some local interest in this.

I have also replaced my XUbuntu 14.04 install usb flash disk with one that has the ubuntu mini installer on it,  this opens up a minimal install option so that any desktop can be installed with a specific software set.   For the cluster project this means we can get ssh server starting up from a console, install python and any related modules,  install gnu / parallel and then use that computer as a cluster node by just booting in to that specific install option.

Sonic pi 2.0 is also working on my pi.  So ready for a possible demo at the next pi jam.


ToriOS Beta Testing


Now that ToriOS is in beta I am starting to run a few tests to see how it runs in a virtual machine (using virt manager as the front end to qemu)

My set up for this is as follows


The Install went fine,  and I can now boot in to the desktop from the virtual machine.


If you want to get involved and help then feel free to get in touch via the website.  If you have an OLD computer around and want to help test this on hardware rather than in a virtual machine and report any issues,  then this would be really useful.  ToriOS is aimed at older hardware, perhaps running XP which is now end of life.   So you can replace XP with a fast, responsive operating system.