Ninjago Docks + Temple

Possibly one of the most colourful sets that I have built so far. But then again, this was one of the newer sets and Ninjago is famous for its bright coloured bricks. After the hoo-ha of unnumbered bags, I had no such problem for the Ninjago Docks.

The set comes in 17 numbered bags, each different portion of the build comes within 4 bags. So let’s start off with bags 1 to 4:

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For those with the keen sharp eyes, you will notice that some of the bricks appear warped. The base is actually made out of two pieces and what you see now is actually 3 layers of bricks — the base, a black/green second layer followed by the translucent pieces. So the combination of these 3, will make the edges warp. So do take note of that. Although I feel that this could be avoided when you add the Ninjago City set to the other end to ‘tie’ it down.

And there is plenty of repetition of the translucent bricks and please be careful on the orientation of the bricks, some are placed horizontally, some are vertical and some are just one square brick instead of a rectangle.

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Mill Village Raid + Diagon Alley

Although these two sets differed wildly in their themes, but I needed them for my diorama. Both came with unnumbered bags but since the Mill Village was simpler it wasn’t a problem. That couldn’t be said about the Diagon Alley set. I’m pretty sure this was one of the earliest set as the feel of the bricks were a bit different, the colours on the instruction manual differ a lot especially since each individual building uses a lot of the same colours, and light gray and gray looks almost the same. Being in unnumbered bags made it even harder.

Here are some of the pictures:

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The windmill is hand-cranked, the mill is also set on a higher base which allows you to rotate the mill as you see fit.

These are two halves of the barn I suppose. Which you can open up to reveal the inner workings.

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Possible the worst build so far, and that’s coming from someone who had the Millennium Falcon built. The reasons:

  1. Unnumbered bags
  2. Hard to differentiate colours on the instruction manual
  3. The feel of the bricks is different; I would say this is 80% Lego quality
  4. A lot of repetition in the patterns

The only good thing to come out of this is that if you plan to go down the path of MOC-ing buildings, you will learn a lot of techniques.

Hogwarts Great Hall

This is the review of the Lepin Hogwarts Great Hall. This box set comes with labeled bags so it was pretty easy to build as compared to the Millennium Falcon.

Quality wise, almost the same as the Millennium Falcon although I had trouble sticking on the ‘hair’ on the mini-figures.

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There were a lot of repetitions especially for the walls and also for the latticed windows. Try not to press too hard, but all of them fitted well into the window slots.

As you can see, there is only one covered part of the Great Hall, the other half is easily accessible in case you feel the need to recreate the diorama. The retractable stairs is an interesting feature and it appears as smooth as it should be.

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There is a boat included in the plan which was not in the picture, together with a ?snake, I forgot what it was called in the movies, in which I have it wrapped on the roof in the last picture.

Millennium Falcon (Lepin)

This is my review of the Lepin version of the UCS Millennium Falcon. I bought this set for about USD$160 (MYR 700) from a local dealer and boy, was it worth it. I won’t bore you down with the details, so here’s the complete version. Read more if you want to know more.

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It weighs a whopping 17kg and comes in a big box which is divided into four smaller boxes. With Lepin, it’s called Star Plan, set number 05132. The numbered bags are from 1-17 and each number comes with their own smaller separate bags. The 6 and 9 bags are differentiated with a ‘q’ instead of a 9.

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These are the bags sorted out by numbers, it does look daunting and considering this is the biggest set ever and also my first ever massive build, this will take some beating.

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Additional Info For Flashing v1.0 Sonoff T1

Here are some additional information on top of following the instructions in a previous article:

For the Sonoff T1 3 Gang (v1.0), to wire the FTDI adapter, you are supposed to connect to the 5-hole area on the right of the reset button. The nearest button is your VCC>3v, followed by the Tx>Rx, then the Rx>Tx and lastly GND to GND.

The order in which to ensure you enter flashing mode is to make sure all the connections are made PRIOR to inserting the FTDI into the USB slot on your computer. Once you do it correctly, your Sonoff T1 will be lighted up in bright blue.

Press the reset button, followed by the first button of the T1 (or the left-est), release the reset button and then release the first button.

You know you have reached the correct mode when the bright blue is replaced by a faintish background blue on the Sonoff T1 buttons.

Proceed with uploading the compiled sketch as per Sonoff 4CH.

Hackintosh-ing a Laptop

Today we will look into how I hackintosh a Dell Inspiron 5570 (i7-8550u) into a MacBook Pro. This is not a detailed guide as this is my first time doing so, but I will try to explain from a newbie point of view regarding the whole process.

You should instead check these out before attempting this process:

I have tried both process (vanilla or Olarila) and they worked. But YMMV, the easiest for me is with Olarila.

With that, we will proceed to download the RAW image of the macOS version that you prefer to be installed on your laptop. Take note that if you want NVIDIA graphic cards, then you need High Sierra, anything else and you can go for Mojave.

AMD CPUs are extremely difficult to hackintosh especially on a laptop, so try to avoid them as much as possible

Once you have the image downloaded, unpack it onto your desktop. Fire up the Etcher app and get yourself a 16GB USB stick. Before installing, format your USB stick to Mac OS Expanded (Journaled) + GUID Partition Map.

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Using Etcher, flash the RAW image onto your USB drive.

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How to flash Tasmota to your Sonoff

In a year’s time, we will be ushering in the 2020s, I’m sure you have heard all about making our homes smarter, buying IoT-enabled devices and getting connected to the cloud. I started off just like anyone else, totally oblivious to all these things, not to mention that I live extremely far away from the hub of all these changes. But, I will try to share what I have learnt and we will go off on this journey into the world of home automation.

As with any journey, we need to start off with the basic building blocks of home automation, and with that I present to you a company from China (itead) that produce a brand known as Sonoff, which with the help of the Internet, we will flash it so that it only listen to us and will not send back any information whatsoever to a foreign country.

There are plenty of ways to flash it, ranging from the easiest to the hardest, I learnt my lessons somewhat the hard way, so I will share with you, how I flashed a Sonoff 4CH.

Before you get all these, you need to get a USB-FTDI adapter, I personally use the CP2102 type and also you need the cables and metal prongs needed to connect the Sonoff to the USB outlet on your computer.

First of all, we need to download the Arduino IDE program. As of this article, it is at Version 1.8.9.

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And for the code that we want to flash, I chose Tasmota. There are a few other flavours to chose from but I went with the commonest. As of this article, it is at Version 6.6.0

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Unzip both and open up your Arduino IDE application, there are a few things we need to set up before we can start editing. First, go into >Preferences and paste this into the ‘Additional Boards Manager URL’ : http://arduino.esp8266.com/stable/package_esp8266com_index.json

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Next, go to >Tools >Board >Boards Manager

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(Don’t worry if yours doesn’t show up as many as mine did, I have already downloaded the libraries, that’s why I have so many choices)

Due to the URL you entered above, you will be able to download the ‘esp8266’ boards library whch is at Version 2.5.2. This might take awhile, so go and get yourself a cup of coffee, a screwdriver (Phillips-head) and a marker pen.

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