Fujitsu FUTRO S520 (Thin Client) – My experience

Not too long ago, I started looking at PCs that would serve as a web-server for the FM-DX Webserver. My local Czech market was not particularly filled with good options, especially since we don’t have huge marketplaces available locally. I scouted through marketplaces from other countries such as Aliexpress and eBay; however, I couldn’t find anything cheap shipped within Europe.

As a last resort, I decided to visit the Polish marketplace Allegro. Nevertheless, I was positively surprised. I checked the cheapest Mini PCs, and what caught my eye in particular was the Fujitsu S520 thin client at a very good price tag of 56 zł, which equals roughly to 13€. This offer, in particular, also included the original power supply and an extra mouse, which was a nice addition.

 

The S520 in its full glory.
The S520 came in looking almost brand new.
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Dell Optiplex 3000 Thin Client – Home Server

Recently Dell Optiplex 3000 Thin Client has become widely available on the second-hand market at affordable prices. As compared to the previous generation of low-power terminals (like my previous Dell Wyse 5070 Extended), it has an improved performance and decreased idle power consumption. It features a passively cooled Jasper Lake Pentium N6005 CPU (4 cores, up to 3.3 GHz) and supports DDR4 RAM. Built-in eMMC disk can be used for storage or an optional NVMe SSD installed in the M.2 2230 slot.

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My Commodore 128 repair journey

What could go wrong if you buy a broken retro machine for cheap just to repair it and make it shine again with VIC-IIe colors and sing with glorius 3 channel SID chip? It’s not as easy task as I thought earlier and this repair went for much longer and costed me way more as compared to my previous Commodore 64c repair. Despite all the time, money and effort I put into it I don’t regret it at all. This repair allowed me to learn A LOT about electronics and electronic repair.

Commodore 128 in it's gloryMy mighty fixed Commodore 128 in it’s full glory.

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Fixing Airspy HF+ Discovery VHF interferences issue

A few years ago I bought the original dual port Airspy HF+ and was amazed by it’s reception quality. I’m using this sdr receiver up to this day for both HF and FM DX-ing and couldn’t find any other affordable yet so good receiver. Back in 2021 I bought Airspy HF+ Discovery as a replacement in case my dual port receiver is struck by ESD during lightning storm or something else.

Airspy HF+ Discovery

Most noticeable differences are lack of metal casing which if present, could be useful in noise and interference reduction, and it has only a single SMA port which is fine for simple setup with single wideband scanner antena, but it’s definitely problematic for someone using separate HF and VHF antennas for better gain and performance. Similarly to dual port model, this device also uses micro-USB port which can potentially cause some troubles. If you stumble upon a connection problem when your computer doesn’t detect a device, or does detect but for some reason SDR software can’t connect to it, please check your usb cable. In my experience even good looking cables with no visible damage to the plug can be faulty, that’s why I’m using my trusted high quality cable filled with ferrite chokes/beads.

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Dell Wyse 5070 – Home Server

Recently I have upgraded my home server to Dell Wyse 5070 Extended. This is a very interesting low power computer in a small form factor. My unit came with Pentium J5005 CPU, 8 GB DDR4 RAM (2 × 4 GB), an Radeon E9173 PCIe graphics card and a M.2 SATA SSD drive. The case is really nice, but the Windows sticker is not. There are many ports around, but I’m not going to use most of them anyway.

My previous setup based on Celeron J1900, 16 GB RAM and Intel 730 SSD has been working fine for 7 years with many services, including FMDX.pl website. I decided to build a new Linux home server, which could also be sufficient for such a long time, while still keeping the power consumption at a low level.

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Raspberry PI 4: PoE with LM2596

During last Black Friday I bought Raspberry PI 4 on Aliexpress for just $36. After initial tests I’ve found out that a good cooling case is definitely a must have. The SoC quickly reaches 80°C under a full load and then throttles from 1.5 to 1.0 GHz per ARM core to maintain the temperature limit, so I ordered a very nice Chinese aluminum case. I love PoE devices – my new toy must also support Power over Ethernet – and it does!

I took a cheap LM2596 DC converter and installed it together with the board in the aluminium case.

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Laptop upgrade: Dell Latitude E7440 → E7270

I have been using my Dell Latitude E7440 laptop (i7-4600U / 16 GB RAM / 480 GB SSD) literally every single day for almost 6 years. I still say this is one of the best laptops ever built. I’ve been looking for a upgrade for quite a long time though. However, I could not wait any longer, because my current laptop would require some expensive investments, including new:

  • High-capacity battery – that would be the third one (original $100).
  • Keyboard – that would be also the third one (original $50).
  • LTE Cat 6 miniPCIe module – to replace the Cat 4 modem ($100).
  • Some case elements – e.g. bottom cover with rubber feet, but also palmrest w/ touchpad in the near future…

In fact, no wonder that I could not find anything suitable for a very long time, because my requirements for a new laptop were very detailed and specific. 

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