All things Tech with a dash of Geek for good measure!

If anyone is interested I have uploaded A C# library for control of XpressNet compatible model rail command stations to GitHub at Documentation/Example app is a bit light at the moment but I hope to improve it over time. But if you are any more than an ameteur developer hopefully what I have written will make sense. It was designed from scratch to be as speedy as posible with an event driven architecture and is much more complete command wise than many of the other libraries available.

I also have a full program that is capable of talking to an eLink (wont work with the out of box example due to a boot sequence check packet). I did plan to release it this year but since moving to a house that needs a lot of renovating, I haven’t had the time to improve it to a state where I think it is ready. However if anyone wants a try, PM me and I may send you a link. I spent a extrordinary amount of time working on the communications aspect as such is much less prone to USB errors than RailMaster.

I recently won a competition with the prize being an Android Wear LG GwatchR. Cool I thought, well until I found out that it is a brick without an android smartphone running android 4.3 or later. You see I have a windows phone (Lumia 1020) and I am quite happy with it, but it is getting old so thought I could possibly upgrade to a Samsung galaxy S6… as well 95% of the apps I use on my current phone are available or having a comparable app available and then some. The problem is that the camera on the 1020 is immense, coupled with the Xeon flash and the camera interface makes it near perfect (only held back by the between photo time). I also love the Qi wireless charging and have a dock in my car that allows me to be free of wires. Update: I believe the S6 will be Qi compatible… To me, these are show stoppers, well that and Googles blatant disregard for privacy!

So I thought to myself, how can I get this watch to actually do something useful… well it turned out not to be too hard…

I downloaded the latest android 4.4 image from and spun up a new VM in VMWare Workstation (although it should also work in the free VMWare Player), I then installed Android (instructions can be found linked from if needed). Don’t bother with using HyperV as it cant connect to peripheral devices which is really annoying!

I then connected through my computers built in Bluetooth to the VM (right click the Bluetooth symbols in the bottom right of the VMWare window and click ‘connect’) and setup android by following the instructions (which included creating a Gmail account).

Next it was simply a case of downloading the “Android Wear” app from the play store and turning Bluetooth on.

So I now have a watch that can tell the correct time and monitor my heart rate and steps when away from my computer and when the VM is switched on be a perfectly usable smart watch (without phone call and SMS notifications of course).

I guess the next thing will be to try and extract the APK to figure out how the protocol works (some research can be found at ) so that I can hopefully make it integrate to some level with windows phone (it already allows Bluetooth pairing) however their notification API is locked to OEMs and ‘special’ companies! However the true hope is that google will release a companion app for windows phone (never gunna happen springs to mind) but that is for another day as other projects are still higher on my priority list.

when you have created your configuration in ICE, you might want to burn it to disk, to do this, from the tools menu, hover over “Create Media” then click “Create IBW image from answer file”.

this will then create a folder with all the things needed to create a disk.

to create the disk, you can either follow the guide

or open the windows PE command prompt and use the tool oscdimg.

e.g. oscdimg -n -bc:\WindowsEmbeddedMediaShare\BOOT\ETFSBOOT.COM C:\WindowsEmbeddedMediaShare

some other neat tricks can be found in the pdf:

Packages needed

1. “Enhanced Write Filter” (“FeaturePack” => “Embedded Enabling Features” => “Enhanced Write Filter”)
2. “Embedded Windows 7 Boot Environment” (“FeaturePack” => “Boot Environments” => “Embedded Windows 7 Boot Environment”)
This package contains the HORM aware boot binaries necessary to make HORM work. Do not use the native boot binaries in the peer package (“FeaturePack” => “Boot Environments” => “Windows 7 Boot Environment”)
3. Useful utilities such as shutdown.exe, regedit, diskpart etc
3a.”Power Management” (“FeaturePack” => “Management” => “Power Management”)
3b. “System Management” (“FeaturePack” => “Management” => “System Management”)

Preferrably resolve all optional dependencies as well. Build and install the image containing these packages. Follow these steps to configure HORM post install

(4) Enable hibernation
> powercfg.exe /h ON

(5) Disable false bootstat warnings
> bcdedit.exe /set {current} bootstatuspolicy ignoreallfailures

(6). Enable EWF on all partitions
> ewfmgr.exe /all /enable

(7) Restart to have the command take effect
> shutdown.exe /r /t 0

(8). Activate HORM
> ewfmgr.exe C: /activatehorm

(9). Capture the HORM state by hibernating the machine once
> shutdown.exe /h

(10) Resume the machine and start using HORM. At this point each restart should result in a resume from the state captured in the previous step

(11) If you wish to deactivate HORM
> ewfmgr.exe C: -deactivatehorm

(12) If you wish to disable ewf (disable HORM first)
> ewfmgr.exe /all /disable
followed by a restart

when trying to install an embedded standard 7 image on VMware workstation, make sure to add the SCSI driver to the image, or change the hard drive type to IDE. if you dont do this you will receive a stop 0x0000007b error when installing.

CNC Resources

OK, so I am looking into building a CNC machine.

So I thought I’d show the resources I have found so far…

CNC Resources

CNC Forums

CNC Shops

Control Systems

Aluminum parts suppliers

Particually the layout:

Picture of a possible control box layout


This is a future project, so as it is here, maybe I wont forget!!!

CNC Machine

to build, or not to build, that is the question!

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