Installing Frigate NVR On The Khadas VIM4 Ubuntu | Voltlog #429

Welcome to a new video, in this episode I’m gonna show you how to install frigate stand alone on a single board computer running Ubuntu, how to configure it to start recording on an external usb drive with person detection enabled.

For those of you who haven’t heard about Frigate, it’s an open-source NVR with real-time AI object detection built-in, all recording and processing happens locally on your own hardware so a good thumbs up for being open-source, we love open-source projects on the voltlog channel but another thumbs up is for hosting everything local, so you have security & privacy under your own control.

You can also run Frigate on your Homeassistant server if you wish to do so, but some people might opt to run it independently on another computer for increased processing power and more storage options.

For this tutorial I’m gonna be installing it on the Khadas VIM4 single board computer and this thing is a beast. I’m calling this the Pi Killer for reasons which I will outline in a few moments. This was released this summer, it’s the latest model in Khadas lineup and comes with some stellar specs: This has an 8 core Amlogic A311D2 processor, four of the cores are ARM Cortex-A73, running at 2.2GHz, the other four are Cortex-A53 running at 2GHz and there is an extra 32 bit STM32 microprocessor on here, There is a powerful Mali G52MP8 GPU which supports up to 8K decoding, we get 8GB LPDDR4X RAM on this board, 32GB of eMMC storage, 32MB of SPI flash memory which runs it’s own custom bootloader called OWOW, Bluetooth & Wifi 6 connectivity plus 10 gigabit ethernet, there is an M.2 slot for SSD on the back and the list goes on and on, they practically jammed everything that’s nice on this board and out of the box it can run Ubuntu & Android.

Now you’re probably asking yourself how does this stackup against the Raspberry Pi4 so here is a simple comparison just based on specs, if we look at processor power, ram memory, storage options, connectivity the VIM4 clearly has more options and more horsepower than a Pi4, the only place where the PI4 has more options is with USB connectivity. But having all of this extra horse power does come at a cost and the VIM4 can get pricey especially if you order it with an active cooling kit which is not included by default but you will need if you plan to benefit from that processing power. For the latest price information please check out the links I’ve placed in the description of the video. We could also talk about availability with the VIM4 being available for order right now, while the Pi4 being harder to find. Due to the VIM4 processor being manufactured on a 12nm process we can also expect better power efficiency, providing more performance per watt over the Pi4.

Another impressive feature of the Amlogic processor is the built-in Neural Processing Unit which is rated for 5 TOPS. By comparison a google coral is only rated for 4 TOPS but as we all know a google coral is well supported over many different interfaces while the new NPU inside the Amlogic processor is there but not actually supported in the software due to license requirements which are not yet sorted.

List of CLI commands used for this setup

#Update the apt package index and install packages to allow apt to use a repository over HTTPS:
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install \
ca-certificates \
curl \
gnupg \

#Add Docker’s official GPG key:
sudo mkdir -p /etc/apt/keyrings
curl -fsSL | sudo gpg –dearmor -o /etc/apt/keyrings/docker.gpg
echo \
“deb [arch=$(dpkg –print-architecture) signed-by=/etc/apt/keyrings/docker.gpg] \
$(lsb_release -cs) stable” | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/docker.list > /dev/null

#Install Docker Engine
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install docker-ce docker-ce-cli docker-compose-plugin docker-compose

#start docker
sudo systemctl enable docker
sudo systemctl start docker

#add docker group
sudo groupadd docker
sudo usermod -aG docker $USER

#reboot to apply changes
sudo reboot now

The Best External Monitor To Get T16A | Voltlog #427

Welcome to a new Voltlog, in this video I’m gonna explain why you should get such a monitor for your electronics workbench. This one is an excellent choice as I will show next but I’m mostly referring to the form factor which is great for many things in the electronics lab so it can just as well be a different model with different specs if you choose so but this particular model that I’m going to review has great build quality so it should be on your shortlist.

Now continuing with the review, this is how the unit is delivered, it’s a box similar to a big tablet or laptop, inside you get the monitor with it’s leather like case, you get a thick USB Type-C cable, USb Type-A to USB type-C cable, and a mini HDMI to regular HDMI cable as well as a generic 5V 3A usb power adapter.

The model number is T16A and it’s likely you may find this under different branding, this one in particular doesn’t have any obvious branding. The size of the screen is 15 inches with a 1920×1080 pixel resolution with 178 degrees viewing angle, 60Hz refresh rate, 500cd brightness rating, 16:9 ratio IPS panel with glossy surface with no touch screen. I would have loved to have a matte screen at the expense of losing some contrast and/or brightness but it’s certainly not a show stopper.

In terms of connectivity you get two USB Type-C ports and although one is marked power the other one just super speed. I can use each one of these to both power and supply video/audio data to the monitor at the same time via a single cable. But just as a safety precaution maybe it’s best to stick to the port labeled power when using a single cable solution and use USB-C port 2 if you only supply data and get the power supply separately via port 1. You get one mini HDMI port which can also be used for video input from HDMI out devices and a 3.5mm headphone port. 

Next to the HDMI there is also a micro-usb port which there is no mention off in the user manual or any of the online listing that I could find but I felt like it must be for OTG like purposes and by using one of these micro usb to type-A adapters which is not included with the monitor I was able to plug in a flash drive which was immediately discovered on the host computer, so this port is just connected to an internal USB hub. The monitor also includes two speakers and not sure if you noticed it already but all of this comes in a super clean and slim package which weighs just 800 grams on its own but more like 900 grams including the leather case. and it includes the nice protection PU leather case that doubles as a stand by folding it in the correct position.

The monitor has a couple of switches on the side for navigating its On Screen Display menu which feels quite nice and professional and I can say that about this monitor in general, everything about it feels quite nice and high quality with no indication that might make me feel this is a cheap product. The case of the monitor feels high quality, the image on this display is actually better than my monitors so I quite like it

Is The Iwiss Mini Crimp Tool Any Good? | Voltlog #425

One of the more popular videos on my channel is Voltlog #223 where I reviewed the Paron JX-D5 crimping tool, I still have this tool, still working great and I use it occasionally to do some crimps. I mean it’s not going to be the best tool you can buy, or produce the highest quality crimps but for hobby level and for what you pay, it’s definitely a good deal. The only downside of this kit is that with the included accessories you can’t exactly crimp very small JST connectors, or other types of connectors like JAM, Molex ClickMate.

So in order to cover those as well, I decided to give this tool a try which is the IWISS Mini, this is the 2820M model which means it’s specified for AWG20 up to AWG28 so in general for thinner wires and crimps but there is also the 2412M model which is specified for AWG24 down to AWG12. This particular tool was provided by for free for the purpose of this review and should you decide to order one, there will be a link in the description below, for you to check it out. At the time of publishing this video the tool was actually under restocking but I’m hoping it will be back in stock pretty soon.

Construction wise, this is not a ratchet type crimp, but there is nothing wrong with not having a ratchet, in fact in some cases, especially for cheap crimp tools the ratchet mechanism can be a problem and this can also be a matter of preference as some users prefer not having a ratchet system. But when not having a ratchet you have to make sure you are applying the correct force & travel for a good crimp and it does take some practice to reach that level.

Looking closely at the crimp tool, I would say that this is likely manufactured part of a stamping process from a large sheet of metal which means the actual resulting die on the crimp tool is not going to be as perfect or tight tolerance as it would be from a CNC machining process but this obviously lowers production cost which makes the tool much more affordable and if the die and stamping tool is precise enough this could result in a perfectly usable tool too.

Another Cheap Nuclear Radiation Tester | Voltlog #423

Welcome to a new video, today we’ll be taking a look at yet another cheap radiation detector and it’s going to be similar to the one reviewed in Voltlog 416, except it’s cheaper. It’s also not as big physically and it’s not a multifunction tester, this one just measures radiation but let’s start with our basics, this is the packaging it comes in, inside the box you will find this hard shell carry case which is a nice addition when compared to the previous model we reviewed and btw this one doesn’t really have any branding or a particular model mentioned, it’s just a generic radiation tester but because of that I would image that it’s likely you will find this sold under different names, brands or even shapes.

Inside the case the meter sits nicely in this cutout and you get a short USB-C charging cable, a hand strap and a short user manual. Like mentioned this is smaller physically which could be a nice advantage, but also comes with a smaller screen. We have a couple of rubber bands on the sides and a metal clip on the back, with the charging port located on the bottom. Plastic feels soft & decent, matte black, I quite like that.

On paper at least this seems to have better sensitivity when compared to the previous model I reviewed but realistically given the size and cost of the unit, I think it must be using a similar miniaturized geiger muller tube which is not the most sensitive tube for this type of application but it does have the size and cost advantage. We’ll be able to see more about this topic in the teardown but first let’s turn on the unit.

The screen on this unit feels a bit small at just 2 inches. I mean , in this reading mode, I can clearly see the readings which are using this nice and big 7-segment font, but the small text on the blue ribbons, that seems a bit small to easily read. On the plus side, brightness seems good, easily visible even under my bright video shooting lights. The problem is more apparent when you switch to the menu system which feels really crowded, they went with this thumbnail arrangement, the icons feel small, the text feels small. I would have probably preferred just a simple list menu for this with bigger text.

In terms of functionality you get the standard measure & display screen but you also have the options of setting up alarm thresholds and the meter can continue monitoring with the screen off for up to 20 days of battery life and it will trigger an alarm once the threshold is exceeded. It lets you configure the screen off timeout as well as the auto power off timeout which is nice and It can also do data logging although I have not seen any mention of the available memory. A couple of other settings for things like language or screen brightness are also available from the menu system.

Best Upgrade For The Best Hot Air Station | Voltlog #422

Welcome to a new Voltlog, today I’m gonna be showing you what I believe is the Best upgrade that you can do to your Best 863 hot air station and if you remember Voltlog #256. That’s where I did a review of this hot air station, been using it ever since 2019, so that’s about 3 years of service so far, it’s been working great but with the obvious downsides of having this touch screen panel for settings and with the annoying buzzer that you cannot turn off from this standard interface. I mean it takes a lot of button presses even for a simple temperature adjustment and it’s beep beep all the way for every single step.

Well it turns out that someone thought enough is enough and designed a replacement control panel for this station, one that offers a more classic input method through potentiometers for the most important parameters temperature and air speed, offers control over the buzzer but still keeps the touch input if you need to alter any of the other settings and all of this can be ordered as a kit from Tindie which is pretty awesome if you ask me.

If you are interested in ordering your BST-863 hot air station or the upgrade kit which I highly recommend you get for the best experience with this station There will be some links in the description below the video so check them out.

You have two options when ordering this kit from tindie, you can either get it as a KIT which is what I have here or you can get it fully assembled for an extra $10. The Kit version comes with a PCB that has all of the SMT components fully populated but there are a few through hole parts that you will need to solder yourself. I think the author has done a really good job at packing and organizing the different components, Even the resistors come on this little card that shows you where they should be positioned on the PCB. The kit also includes all of the required mounting hardware as well as a sticker for the front panel potentiometers. The package was shipped from Portugal and it got here pretty fast. In fact I’ve had this on my desk for a good while, i’ve just been very busy and unable to install it so far.

MagicDAQ Automate Your Test & Measurements Setup | Voltlog #420

Welcome to a new Voltlog, today we’re taking a look at a device which is not typical to be found in a hobbyist lab but one that certainly has its place with the more advanced user that has some automated test setup needs. This is the MagicDAQ and it was sent in for free for the purpose of this review, I believe it was shipped from New Zealand so I think it might be made in New Zealand.

Here is the spec list for this unit, we have:

  • 8 analog inputs (14 bits, 48Ks/s +/- 10V), typical voltage resolution is 10mV. These can be connected single ended or differential between channels.
  • 8 Digital inputs or outputs (0-5V)
  • 2 Analog outputs capable of Voltage, Sine or PWM output (0-5V), 12 bit DAC resolution with up to 31KHz of output frequency.
  • 1 Counter up to 5MHz with edge detection / PWM up to 65KHz (0-3V3) I’m guessing this can be both input and output?
  • One 5V output limited to 250mA, powered from VBUS rail.
  • It’s USB powered and comes with a DIN rail mount.
  • And another important feature is the way you control the hardware which is through a Python API and everyone loves python these days, however there is one important limitation here, it is only supported under Windows because of hardware driver constraints which prevent it from working under Linux and Mac.

Inside the box I got the unit, the DIN rail adapter and a USB cable, this is good practice, to include the USB cable because users might have a low quality USB cable laying around and they might decide to use that low quality USB cable with your product which might cause all sorts of trouble and head scratching as to why your product isn’t working as expected, By including a good quality cable in the box, you limit the number of things that might go wrong for the user.

Getting all the power I need with the Blitzwolf BW-PG1 Power Station | Voltlog #417

Welcome to a new video, today we’ll be taking a look at a device which I believe is gaining more popularity, especially as summer time approaches and people are spending more time outdoors. It’s no secret that we are dependent on our gadgets now more than ever and we need to keep them charged. 

Regular 10-20Ah powerbanks can save the day for your phone or tablet but if we’re talking about multiple gadgets like multiple phones, tablets, laptops, portable speakers, lights, etc then you need something more serious with higher capacity, multiple ports, maybe even an AC outlet. 

That’s why today we’ll be looking at this guy, it’s the Blitzwolf PG1 a true power station holding 124Ah of battery capacity(in this version which is the upgraded one) and providing you with multiple USB ports for DC output, two AC outputs, a built-in bluetooth speaker, an LED light with everything built into this nice rugged case which comes with a carry handle so this might be a true companion for a camping trip or a summer beach day or even for those unexpected long power outages.

So everything sounds good on paper for this power station and blitzwolf products are generally pretty good. I’ve owned several power adapters, usb charging cables and various other smartphone accessories from Blitzwolf in the past and they’ve been great. I would say they are similar in quality with Baseus products if you are familiar with that brand which I also show a lot on this channel. But in this video we’ll check for ourselves, we’ll do a teardown, because having all of that energy inside this power station can be dangerous if it’s not built with a certain degree of quality and attention to detail.

The unit was super nicely packed in a thick double box so it arrived in perfect condition and its own internal packaging and protection is very professional so I don’t think anything can happen to this product during shipping but it’s also not wise to underestimate what shipping companies are capable of.

Blitzwolf PG1 Teardown Pictures

Getting a Geiger Counter Radiation Detector Might Be Useful | Voltlog #416

So I looked around for a portable Geiger counter that might give some indication or warning if the radiation levels start to increase. There are a few models available online, some which are for professional use but ofcourse you would expect those to be very expensive, so I was looking for something on the affordable side of things.

This model popped up in my searches, is the JD-3001 multifunctional Geiger counter and this can monitor gamma beta as well as electric and magnetic fields all in the same unit. I’m gonna put the specs of the unit on screen while I mention that it was offered for free by for the purpose of this review and right now there is a high demand for these, but it shows in stock on, the price is discounted and on top of that if you look in the description of the video you will find a coupon code that will provide you with an additional discount for this product.

Not sure how relevant it is but the unit also includes a temperature + humidity sensor which is located in this small extremity. When compared to other units available on the market this one seemed more interesting because it had some nice features like built-in lithium battery, rechargeable via USB Type-C port. It can do data logging on its internal memory and then you can access and download the logs through the USB port and probably the nicest feature is this big crisp color LCD display.

REJOE Power monitor EMK850S+ Review & Teardown | Voltlog #415

Welcome to a new video, this will be a review & teardown of this power profiler device so this can be useful if you are trying to measure the power usage of a particular board that you are working on. It can internally generate an adjustable voltage power supply rail which it outputs on these terminals, you use that to power the device under test then by using the supplied PC software you can analyze the power usage of your device in great detail. 

As you may remember I also have a Joulescope which is an awesome piece of equipment, high resolution, high dynamic range for doing the same kind of analysis but it does not include the power supply. This guy with its included power supply is closer to something like an otii arc, cause that one also include the power supply so I might make some comparisons in terms of specs with these devices during the video.

Inside the box you get a power brick which feels low quality, a mains IEC cable with an adapter for European plugs, we won’t be needing these as I can use my own IEC cable with the proper plug, and a set of short test leads with banana plugs and J clips, The cable feels nice, flexible but the connectors are of low quality and you are likely to encounter problems if you will be using this types of clips long term so I will be replacing these as well. In my opinion, instead of including cheap test leads, you might not include any at all. Saves the final user the trouble of dealing with bad test leads.

The front panel features the two output banana plugs widely spaced apart, two rotary encoders crammed together and a couple of 7 segment displays for voltage and current so that you can get readings independent of the PC app. On the back we get the DC 12V input and the USB connection for the computer plus an on/off switch. They had plenty of space on the front panel so I think it would be nicer to have the on/off switch on the front. And the two potentiometers spaced wider apart. The model number for this unit is EMK850S+.

They don’t tell much in terms of specs but they mention Input Voltage 12V DC, Output voltage 0.5-12V,

Measure Range: 0.1μA – 2A, provides μA resolution current measurements with a sample rate of up to 10 ksps. No claims on accuracy as of now but maybe they’ll add those later, as I said this is a new product. If we compare it to the joulescope which has a 2Meg sample rate and 1nA resolution the TechRejoe unit is clearly lower specced but also less expensive

Best Affordable USB Analyzer QC/PD AVHzY CT-3 Shizuku | Voltlog #407

Welcome to a new Voltlog, In this video I’m gonna show you what I think it’s the best affordable USB Meter you can get right now in terms of functionality and build quality. The functionality built into this usb meter goes beyond your imagination and it’s hard to even remember all of the different functions this meter will support and the PC app they offer has to be one of the best apps I’ve seen from a Chinese company. It doesn’t mean it’s perfect, might still have a few bugs but definitely the best choice you can make right now.

The meter is branded AVHzY, the model number is CT-3 and full disclosure here, they offered this unit for free for the purpose of this review but they don’t pay me and I have full control over this review. The meter comes in a hard shell case so it’s well protected during shipping and to my surprise I got this in just under 2 weeks while the usual transit times for my packages are in the 3-4 weeks. Inside you get this english quick start guide, there was also a screen protector film which I already installed, it went in there perfectly and I really appreciate having that included because it was the perfect size.

This is the typical USB meter sandwich construction with different layers, this one seems to be using a single PCB in the middle with a couple of metal sheets on the outer layers which makes it feel premium and more rugged than simple plastic. We have the typical USB Type-A connectors for input and output , USB Type C input and output and also a micro USB for PC connection. The LCD is 128*160 pixels at just 1.77” which is not a lot, you can definitely see those pixels but for a small USB Meter I can’t complain, it’s still readable.