New Tools for Livestock Health and Checkups

New digital microscope, slides, clover slips, and fecal tubes came in yesterday. I had the whole thing set up and read my first fecal in under 20 minutes. I found a fecal recipe pretty easy online. Salt, sugar, water.

The Microscope: Plugable USB 2.0 Digital Microscope with Flexible Arm Observation Stand for Windows, Mac, Linux (2MP, 250x Magnification)

The Slides: AmScope BS-50P-100S-22 Pre-Cleaned Blank Ground Edge Glass Microscope Slides and 100pc Pre-Cleaned Square Glass Cover Slips Coverslips

The Fecal Tubes: SEOH 16 X 125mm Plastic Test Tubes with Caps, 25 Pack


Fecal Recipe:

1. Saturated salt solution

Specific gravity: 1.18 – 1.20

General purpose solution.

Sodium chloride: 400 grams
Water: 1000 ml

  • Stir thoroughly before use.
  • May distort eggs.

2. Salt/sugar solution

Specific gravity: 1.28

General purpose solution.

Sodium chloride: 400 grams
Water: 1000 ml
Sugar: 500 grams

Dissolve the salt in water to make a saturated solution.

Add the sugar to the saturated salt solution.

Stir until the sugar is dissolved.

3. Sodium nitrate

Specific gravity: 1.18

This solution is sometimes used for strongyle eggs.

Sodium nitrate: 400 grams
Water: 1000 ml

Add sodium nitrate to water while stirring.

  • May form crystals and distort eggs if left longer than 20 minutes.


fecal recipe source: Flotation Fluids 

New Cameras – Foscam FI9803P

So far I am loving the new camera. I went with a more name-brand one, spent more then the cheap stationary cameras, but I can definitely tell the difference between this and the el-cheapo.

Foscam FI9803P

For starters, it performs like the $300+ cameras I use to install for business (Axis, great cameras) but at a fraction of the cost. I got these between $40-75 with shipping. Since we already have three PTZ cameras we figured why waste the money, and got a few stationary cameras to cover the rest of the spots we want to monitor.

Foscam FI9803 Snapshot

Above is part of the recording screen.The camera isn’t where it will stay. I have learned from replacing 4 crappy camera. And  put it up to test and confirm that the cameras will actually work before climbing up the ladder.

I will end noting that these things are impressive for the money. Incredibly smooth playback, great quality image, very nice color correction and still has a nice nighttime shot. They connected without any issue to my Blue Iris setup, as well as my phone and computer browser.


That’s it for now. Till later, Cheers.

HippyNerd Home Tech

So we run a mix of tech here at HippyNerds.

Here is a general idea with some specs, links and info

Web/External Tech:

  • Hosting is being provided by my boss on our Hyper-V server
  • Our server is a virtual Ubuntu 15 Server
  • We run a mix of software on it which I manage from SSH (completely custom, so no stock options for security reasons)
    • Madsonic: our own Pandora without adds, and allows access to our music from anywhere (check it out: sonos, ldap and support for more) this also supports video and transcoding.
    • Apache: needs no introduction, but just incase: worlds most used webserver software: simply amazing stuff
    • ISPConfig (simplify management): was a process to install and configure (guide I used) but in the end it wasn’t hard, just took some time
    • eMail Server using RoundCube for webaccess –  (guide I used)
    • WordPress for site (clearly, just look around, you will see it) – installed using ISPConfig, applied changes to fix upload problems suggested here
  • Static IPs, Godaddy domain and external DNS

Internal Tech:

  • Synology Virtual Clone
    • Sec. cams
    • VPN
  • Media Management
    • SickBeard – The ultimate PVR application that searches for and manages your TV shows (find, rename, organize tv shows/series)
    • Couchpotato – Awesome PVR for usenet and torrents. Just fill in what you want to see and CouchPotato will add it to your “want to watch”-list (find, rename and sort your movies)
    • Madsonic: yes, we have two. the one in house is so that we aren’t trying to stream over our crap DSL connection
    • Headphones: Automatic music downloader for SABnzbd: keep your music collection updated, organized and tagged
  • Media/Storage: this is a pita because I haven’t bought any tech in ages, and wanted to not spend money
    • Movie/Download Target: This is all running on a HP HomeServer hardware running OpenMediaVault  (this is dying, I will be replacing  by installing 4tb drives and a 2nd raid controller in my home server box)
      • Download Temp – 250gb 7.2k drive
      • Movie Storage – 3x 2TB 7.2k drives, 2x 2TB external usb – software raided total 7.6ish TB of storage
    • TV Show/Music/pictures: Very old BuffaloTech TerraStation Pro hacked running TS-HTGL/R5 F/W 1.35
      • 4x1tb 7.2k drives, raid 5 around 2.7TB storage
    • Security Recordings: Windows Essentials
      • 1 15k 156gb dell sas drive: OS install, software, backed up to 500Gb external
      • 3x10k 300gb dell sas drives raid 5: this is the storage location
  • Networking: a mix of old and very old tech to make things work wired and wireless
    • Cisco WET200: using as a wireless bridge for my walkout basement home office
    • DLink DSL Router/Modem: crappy Verizon model, used for wireless G (non-service items) so phones and laptops use this
    • Linksys E1200 v2: running DD-WRT this is for service items G/N. I have WDS setup for extending to chicken coup and shop
    • NeatGear WG602v3 x2: VERY OLD but work well as extenders using DD-WRT for converting out wired sec cames to wireless while still extending the network to the shop and chicken coup (using external antennas)
    • 3com 24 port gig manged switch: I haven’t don’t anything with this really, just using as a unmanaged switch
    • HP 8 port gig managed switch: same as above, simply using because its gb and is higher end
  • Services: how things get address, talk, go outbound
    • Windows Server 2012r2 Essentials
      • DNS
      • DHCP
      • Home Domain
      • Software Host (see above for links and info)
        • headphones
        • madonic
        • sickbeard
        • couchpotato
      • VM host: Synology Soft Device (currently getting re-setup, was a physical box)
  • Media Viewing/Serving: I have played around with Plex, XBMC/KODI, Synology, MediaPortal, LMCE. But in the end, I always go back to my beloved Kodi (formally known as XBMC
    • Kodi 15 is on my following devices which have a shared database so progress and watch status is the same across all devices
      • Raspberry pi 2b: our main viewing device, connected to our tv through our denon amp
      • Raspberry pi b: with touchscreen skin, this will be my shop media center, its setup, but not in use at the moment
      • Ubuntu 15 desktop: my main laptop
      • Android phone: for on the go viewing
    • Madsonic: this is used for Music streaming, its the best on the go (subsonic app) and web based player imo. I use it on the following:
      • Devices
        • Android phone
        • iPhone 4s
      • Browsers
        • IE
        • FireFox
        • Chrome
  • Home Automation: still unable to find a software solution that I like. So no central management yet
    • Hardware:
      • power controls (outlets, switches) are Insteon
      • IR: iTach2 ir over network: no used yet
  • Security Cameras: a mix of old and off brand new
    • Hardware
      • Avacom HD PT – using as our porch cam for front yard viewing and package delivery
      • Dlink 5300 – using as our goat cam, currently waiting to be put-up
      • Wanscam w Foscom Hack – was our “baby cam” but it being re-purposed to the chicken coup
      • Others (located around the property/outside home)
    • Software: checking out a view now: installed on our home server. Still nothing found that I like as much as the synology security center

Chicken Coup Revamp 3.0 update (to version 3.2)

We finally got our chicken coup updated to version 3.2. Which means no more chick stench in our house!!!! I am so excited for this to have taken place. If you only have 6-12 chicks, life isn’t terrible. But if you have the 36-40 we have, your whole house stinks and you wish you had a hardwire powered chicken coup that’s FAR-AWAY from your house. But we have lived and learned. We wont do chicks again in the house.

In order for this move to happen we needed to fix our solar power setup in the coup

chicken power

Solar powered chicken coup

Then we needed to install the door to the chick growing area for the coup, nothing fancy, just a board on hinges and a latch lock.

looking for chicks here

Chicks live here

Behind that un-painted door lives our chicks, a mix of meat and egg layers. Since we can only run the one light overnight without spending a few hundred on new battieries. We hope that t will be ok to let them all huddle together over the still cold nights (got down to at least 45 last night) under the 100watt bulb. When they reach teenage weeks we will separate the meats from the eggers.

Our 2016 Chicks

Spring Chicks

So have the lower sides of their area’s are enclosed to keep drafts out. They have two feeders and a 1 gallon waterier hung from their roof for feed and water.

That’s kind of it. They all survived the first night. So hopefully they all live through the next few weeks. I will say that we did close up the coup more so then normal. We closed the human doors, the window we installed and the two suicide doors as well overnight. The idea being that we keep as much heat as possible inside the coup as we can.


That’s it for now.
Till later, Cheers.

Solar Power – piecemeal setup

We have a solar panel on our chicken coup. The plan was to power the veggie garden watering pump and chicken coup accessories with it. Our original purchase was a 100watt solar panel, 10 amp charge controller and a small solar 12volt battery off of ebay (Jamie bought these, so I don’t have the model info right now). We have since added in parallel a spare 12volt lawn mower battery and car battery that came with the house when we bought it. See below the installed solar panel on top of the chicken coup

chicken power

Solar powered chicken coup

You may notice the separate solar powered light for the non-chicken portion of the coup. This has its own tiny panel, light and built in battery.

The main panel connects to our piece-meal battery charger system consists of 1 proper solar battery and 2 found/free batteries:

cheap battery bank

piece-meal battery bak

As you can see (or not, from left to right) that we put together our one proper deep charge battery in parallel with the other two mower and car battery. Then we have a 1500watt current 3000watt max peak inverter connected to the positive of furthest battery and negative of the closest battery. You may notice to the two clips (positive and negative) on the side of the inverter, this is for our weak-powered bilge pump that was suppose to push water from our water barrel to the vegetable garden. Learn from our mistake, and do not buy a bilge pump, it simply does not have enough power to pump water threw hoses, purchase a utility pump instead.  Finally you will notice that we have a plug into our inverter, this powers the 100watt flood light to give our chicks some heat overnight (which does last for 12hrs in our setup).


Quick summary of the components:

1 -100watt panel

3 – batteries

1 – 10amp charge controller

1 – stand alone solar light

1- 1500 concurrent/3000watt peak inverter

1 – flood lamp/light


That’s it for now. Before our next batch of chicks I hope to replace our two funky batteries with proper deep cycle batteries with enough deep cycle batteries for  a combined 400amp+ hours. This will let us run a 1500watt bulb for over 12 hours.

Till later, cheers.

Network Cameras – Stay away from SRICAM

Take my advice and stay away from SRICAM cameras. I have tried old, new, ptz and stationary. Everyone of these cameras has had an issue. The stationary one’s  IR never worked (I had 2 that had this issue).

The PTZ (SP008) not only doesn’t have its own web interface, but also no camera picture control. Which means you cant adjust brightness or contrast. Lastly it constantly drops network and video, which makes it worthless as a security camera. The only way to get the camera to work again is to power it off and on. Which for me, means going into the attic 2x a day. I’m sick of it.

Lastly of the SRICAM family I will be returning is the AP006 model. This is an older one, not HD. It stays connected for the most part, but has one major flaw. If you connect it to your network it floods it and crashes your network. I have tried a few resets to the device, created a separate wireless network just for it, but nothing maters. If its on the network everything else stops working and requires a reboot.


So I will be going back to the drawing board. I have found a few stationary cameras that are 1080p and are the same price as the SRICAMs. Which once I get refunds on I will probably purchase. Luckly I have a week or so before that happens so I can do ALOT of research on any cameras before purchasing. Problem is, what looks good on paper doesn’t always work in the real world.


That’s it for now. Cheers.

New tool… Finally arrived

We have been waiting on our new sawmill (Harbor-freight) for just over 3 weeks. It’s been a painful wait.


Fully assembled. It did take a helpful hand from our great neighbor Ed to lift the actual saw/motor onto the sliders and track. Overall this was an easy setup, but I still need to adjust the track so it’s square.


Tomorrow at lunch I will complete the setup, which is making sure the blade is aligned and won’t jump off its track. Leveling the saw and confirming it will cut straight boards and such. Then it’s just a matter of putting in some gas, oil and putting on a log and start making some lumber.


Well that’s it for now. Going to finish up the new brood box and then we will get to finish up the chicken coup make over, which we of course haven’t been bothered to take any pictures of. But eh, so goes it. But I’ll write more on that later.


Quick Cam Quality – Rear fence camera

Here is a sample of the SRICAM SP008 I added last week, hate the interface, true admin seems to only be done threw the phone/mobile app, only web-access is through the Sricam website. I was able to get the camera to connected with the sricam software, which lets me move and zoom the camera without having to use my phone.

fence monitoring

sample quality from one of the rear cams


So overall its a bland camera with crappy access features, unless you only use your phone and want to record to an internal memory card… It doesn’t appear that either iSpy or Blue Iris works with this camera very well. I am testing iSpy tonight to see if I can get the PTZ to work from the software.

till later. cheers.