Too much stuff, it's getting out of hand... (warning: unsolicited piece)

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by raspabalsa, Aug 22, 2019.

  1. raspabalsa

    raspabalsa Brain stuck BogoMipping

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    Thanks jig, I had forgotten about Office Depot, and there is one just across the street from the office :rolleyes:. I'll be sure to go take a look later today.
     
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  2. raspabalsa

    raspabalsa Brain stuck BogoMipping

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    Found it! Not at Home Depot, but at Home Center. This is one of my favorite places, it's a very large and well-supplied hardware store. They only have the low profile Dual Lock Fasteners:

    20190823_192234.jpg

    They look like someone hacked the fingers and toes off a thousand albino geckos and glued them vertically to a flexible strip :eek:. These are rated at 18 pounds, so I'm guessing they'll do the job very well. They're short, so I'll have to check first if and how deep I have to carve the G6's case for the best fit.

    However, the project has suffered an unexpected delay: my three-year old grandson (well, he's my wife's grandson but I think it's about time to stop saying that) just arrived with his backpack packed for the weekend. I'm wondering if I'll get any time to rest this weekend, let alone to work on the project :D
     
  3. lelisa13p

    lelisa13p Your Super Moderator Super Moderator

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    Wow. Just wow. :vbwink:
     
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  4. raspabalsa

    raspabalsa Brain stuck BogoMipping

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    I wish they had been melanistic geckos instead... the white strips look awful against the G6's black case and Q1's black anodized aluminum skin.

    I had the chance to continue my projects because my grandson was invited to a soccer party, so I set to work on fitting the dual lock strips to phone and amp. First, I spray painted two strips black and they still lock properly, but the paint started to peel every time I unfastened them:

    black.jpg

    Anyway, I decided to place the black strips on the phone, and replace them if and when they start looking ugly. My G6 has a Caseology case, which is a flexible TPU case with a rigid plastic bumper all around. I measured thickness of the dual lock strips, and figured the case thickness is just about the same as the strip, meaning I could cut away part of the case and place the strip directly on the phone's back, then the strip's gecko fingers will be flush with the outside of the case. I decided to place two strips on the phone and amp each, so I measured a 4cm x 5.5cm oblong on the case, cut it with a scalpel, and placed the strips directly on the G6's glass back. Here's the result:

    phone and amp.jpg

    You can see how the paint continues to peel away. I guess I'll have to look for the black strips sometime soon. Alignment wasn't perfect on the amp. These strips can be removed by pulling on the tabs labeled 3M, and supposedly can be reattached afterwards, but I'll leave this as is for now. The strips on the back of the phone don't look so weird, at least in black :D, and they're almost flush with the case, so holding the phone doesn't feel rough or uncomfortable.

    This setup works surprisingly and satisfyingly well:

    all set.jpg

    The Q1 MkII is firmly held in place, there is absolutely no wiggle, no feeling like it's going to fall apart. Pressing phone and amp together with slight force engages the locks in place, and pulling them apart requires some more force, but nothing out of the ordinary. I placed the Q1 MkII just below the fingerprint scanner, so I don't lose that capability while using this setup.

    With some Fiio-supplied rubber bands I finally have a proper stack!

    raspystack.jpg

    That's the LG battery pack strapped to the Q1 MkII, fastened to the G6, held in raspy's hand :D

    As a bonus, the stack doesn't require a stand! It can hold itself upright both in portrait and landscape mode.

    selfstand.jpg

    I'm very satisfied with this setup, although there is one thing to fix: th Fiio Q1 (original) has a "charge" button to toggle charge on/off, meaning you can prevent the amp from charging its battery with the phone's battery and draining it. But the Fiio Q1 MkII doesn't have such a toggle. Fiio's product page says the Q1 MkII intelligently detects when it's connected to a phone or PC. When the former, it toggles charge off, and when the latter, toggles it on to recharge its own battery. But the page also says the Q1 MkII is certificed "Made for iPhone", and yes, this means it's only intelligent enough to detect an iPhone, not an Android phone, as a "phone". This means that when I connect the USB OTG cable to the G6 and Q1 MkII to use as a DAC, the phone starts to drain its battery recharging the DAC's one. I haven't evaluated how much of a drain this is, but since the Q1 MkII is also advertised as having fast charge I assume it can be substantial. In short, I have to modify the USB OTG cable I made for the Q1. I have to see if cutting the +5V wire will still allow for a proper connection between phone and DAC. Ideally, I could place a microswitch on the cable's USB-C end to toggle this on/off. I'll search my electronics bins for a microswitch and then I'll take apart the USB OTG plug, see what happens when I cut the 5V wire.

    But first I'm going to enjoy some Italo dance on the raspystack :newpalm: :cool:
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2019
  5. lelisa13p

    lelisa13p Your Super Moderator Super Moderator

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    4bowing.gif
     
  6. raspabalsa

    raspabalsa Brain stuck BogoMipping

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    No go on the cutting wire idea... If I cut the +5V wire the G6 does not detect the amp/DAC at all, and will continue to direct audio to its own speaker. The same thing happens if I only cut the GND wire. I also tried connecting the G6 and amp/DAC normally, waiting for the G6 to decide it's an audio device so it will redirect audio to the USB port, and then cutting the +5V wire. Unfortunately, when I cut the wire the G6 stops detecting the amp/DAC immediately and redirects audio to its internal speaker. This is very frutrating. The original Q1 had a switch so the user could decide when to charge or not, and the "intelligent" Q1 MkII does away with this basic functionality, or only implements it for istuff. The Q1 MkII has better sound quality and better gain for my headset, so I don't want to go back to the original Q1. I will continue to research this, see if it's a driver issue, or if it's possible to go inside the Q1 and hack it somehow. I will also measure the actual current being drawn from the G6, see if it's a substantial drain or not.
     
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  7. RickAgresta

    RickAgresta Peanut, leader of the Peanutty Forces

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    Is this all to avoid a 5 inch (12.7. cm) male-to-male 3.5mm connector, or does one (or both) of the devices not have an earphone jack? {before posting, rick checks on the earlier parts of the thread…}
     
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  8. raspabalsa

    raspabalsa Brain stuck BogoMipping

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    Oh no, not at all... I do have several 3.5mm audio cables, in fact, apart from the 5 cables I carry everywhere I found 4 more in my cable bins. Also, both the G6 and the Q1 MkII (and the MkI also) have 3.5mm audio jacks. The thing is, the Fiio Q1s are headphone amplifiers and DACs (digital to analog converters). If I connect G6 and Q1 via a 3.5mm cable, then I'll use the Q1 only as an amp, relying on the G6's internal DAC to process the music. My G6 is not one of the fancy models equipped with multiple hi-quality DACs, such as my V10 was (yeah, that premature death still rankles). The G6's audio output is mediocre at best, and seriously impaired sometimes. For example, I ripped the film Dunkirk from Blu-Ray disc and it's nearly unwatchable using the G6's audio output: on the scene where the Stukas dive on the troops, Jericho trumpets screaming, and drop bombs on men and ships, the audio is severely distorted because the signal is clipped by the G6's DAC. It's not the headset, because distortion was very audible on both my current Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 and my previous Sony MDR-1RBT, and it's not the file because I play it on my TV and home theater and it sounds very well and undistorted.

    To bypass the G6's DAC, I have to connect the Q1 via the G6's USB port using an OTG adapter (USB-C to USB-A female) and a regular micro USB cable because the Q1 has a micro USB plug. Then the G6 will send the audio stream as a digital, unprocessed and undistorted signal to the Q1 and the Q1 will use its own DAC to process and amplify the signal. When I plugged the Q1 to the G6's USB port and watched the Dunkirk scene again it was like I was deaf before: the Stuka's Jericho trumpets were audible maybe 10 seconds earlier compared to using the G6's DAC; explosions sound clear, rumbling but with zero distortion, and there's no clipping on any part of the audio. I have a couple of OTG adapters, and I spliced one with a micro USB cable to make a custom USB-C to micro USB OTG cable (it's item 19 on the first photo on the first post in this thread). I works fine because the G6 recognizes the Q1 as a DAC and redirects audio to the USB port, etc. I hadn't noticed any problem while using the Q1 (original model) because it has a charge/no charge button and I kept that off so it didn't drain the G6's battery charging its own. The problem arised when I started using the Q1 MkII, which does not have the charge/no charge button, so it will always charge itself from the G6. This drain is very significant, dropping about 1% of the phone's battery every 3 minutes with the phone's screen off.

    Anyway, I solved this already. I found some info here and here, and what it boils down to is that Fiio decided to go for the "Made for iPhone" certification, and were afraid of saying the Q1 MkII was "compatible with Android" because they couldn't guarantee that the device would work with every model from every brand with every OS version, and for some reason the MFi label required them to remove the charge toggle, presumably because iOS takes care of that by software.

    The info online wasn't 100% accurate, but had a key fact: for the charge function to be disabled, pin # 4 on the micro USB end of the cable has to be shorted to pin # 5 (GND) on same end. This is standard for a micro USB OTG adapter (I made one years ago), but I thought this was taken care of with the USB-C OTG adapter. So I had to take apart my custom adapter and modify the micro USB end. I decided to go radical, and made the cable short enough to just connect the G6 and Q1. I also placed both cables at right angles to the connectors to reduce footprint. Finally, I decided not to place a microswitch on this cable, meaning the charge function is permanently disabled. No problem, I can charge the Q1 MkII with a standard micro USB cable, and use this same cable to connect it to my computer if needed. I'll spare you the details of the surgery, and jump straight to the result:

    cable.jpg

    The new cable works perfectly, the Q1 MkII is properly detected by the G6, and the G6's battery is no longer drained, the Q1's charge LED remains off.

    This a comparison of the older adapter (left) and the newer one (right):

    both cables.jpg

    I also ordered a Fiio CL06 Type C to Micro USB OTG Cable for Fiio Q1 Mark II Q5 M7 etc cable from Amazon. Mine works fine, but Fiio's is more compact and better looking. And comes with charge function disabled. Probably it won't arrive before I have to return to Bolivia, but it's no big deal because I have a fully working solution.

    Now I have to continue sorting the raspystuff. I have the Molle pouch almost ready, it's slimmer, lighter, and less cluttered. I'll see what else I can eliminate.
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2019
  9. RickAgresta

    RickAgresta Peanut, leader of the Peanutty Forces

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    nice work (as always), and nicely explained, thanks
     
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  10. raspabalsa

    raspabalsa Brain stuck BogoMipping

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    Thanks, Rick, and you're very welcome!

    Happiness is in the details... Setting up an audio stack isn't as straightforward as just connecting cables! When using the Q1 MkII as a DAC I lose the ability to change tracks easily. My Sennheiser headset has a volume rocker that doubles as play/pause and next/previous track control. But this only works when the headset is connected via BT, so it's of no use when connected with the wire. The inline controls in the 3.5mm wire don't work, because the wire goes to the DAC, not the phone, so the phone doesn't detect the buttons being pressed. I don't want to have to remove the phone/DAC stack from my shirt or pants pocket just to change track, so I searched the Play Store for a soultion, and I found Next Track, and app that lets you repurpose the volume up/down buttons on the phone to change track, play, pause, etc, and with a combination of multiple presses or press and hold a button you can mantain the original volume up/down functionality. Works very well on my G6. The free version is more of a demo because it doesn't offer full functionality, but the Pro version is just $ 1.58, so I purchased it right away. Now I can change tracks just by pressing the volume buttons on my G6, and I can control volume either with the volume knob on the Q1 MkII or with a double press of the G6's volume buttons. No need to remove phone from pocket, unlock the screen, and tap on the player to change tracks. I think my setup is very nearly optimal now.
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2019

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