My Websites

I maintain several other related websites:Wonderful Life is a blog covering my interests in atheism, particularly as they relate to biology and creationism.North Bucks Road Club is the website of my cycling club.Northwood Wheelers is a website dedicated to the eponymous (but now defunct) cycling club, of which my father was a member.Team Grumpy features stories concerning cycle timetrialling, particularly as they relate to 2-up team time trials.The Team Grumpy blog is Team Grumpy’s blog, and most definitely tongue in cheek.

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Cambridge CC '10' 3rd May 2014

The rather sunny conditions belied the actual temperature as Tony and I got our bikes ready to ride in this event. It was actually pretty nippy in the car park, but once we got racing, I found it quite comfortable. For this event, I'd got out my trusty old Corima disc wheel and paired it with a newly refurbished Hed Stinger 90 (I removed the yellow tub and the yellow and red stickers). I was rather pleased that the chain wasn't jumping on the new cassette I'd fitted to the Corima. I was rather less pleased with the astonishingly loud howl that emanated from my bike every time I applied the rear brakes! That will need a bit of attention, I think.The F2D/10 uses the A428 dual carriageway, starting on the old road and joining the DC at the Cambourne interchange. It turns at the Madingley road junction. Conditions were pretty good, and I found the outward leg pretty quick. I like the turn as it feels a fair bit safer than Caxton Gibbett. The return was a bit tougher, particularly at the interchange that we ride past - there seems to be a striking descent at that point!Annoyingly, the finish of this course is just off the dual carriageway: you exit up the slip road at the Cambourne interchange, and take the first left to the finish. I was just about to catch my minute man when a small car entered the roundabout and displayed all the driving courage of a minnow. This held me up a very little but enough to annoy!I finished with 22:14 (my best '10' time since the 2010 season). Tony finished with 21:41 - so I'm gaining on him! All in all, quite a satisfying ride.Davey Jones was out on the course photographing - here's a picture of me near the turn (with my skinsuit leg riding up!)

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Cycling in Normandy

I regularly compete in the Duo Normand 2-up time trial, held in Normandy in the autumn. Associated with trips to race, we frequently take the tandem for a spot of cycling about the Normandy countryside.

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Stoke Hammond '10' 30/4/14

I had high hopes for this evening's event - recent performances had suggested that my form was picking up under the onslaught of increased training load. Plus the evening's conditions seemed rather promising. However, there seemed to be  quite a bit of traffic, which was making many of us at the start quite nervous.Indeed, I did get slightly held up at the first roundabout, as a chunk of traffic got in the way. From there, things got a bit easier - I tried using somewhat lower gears than usual on the climb up to the dual carriageway section, but found this just slowed me down. Once on the dual carriageway, it seemed rather heavy going (aggravated by a bus passing me rather too close for comfort), but once round the turn, I seemed to be absolutely flying.I dared hope for a sub-23 minute ride, but was sadly thwarted, finishing in a not so great 23:20.Results at the NBRC website. Here's the trace:

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Cycle Touring in Scotland

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Cycle Touring

Annual cycle tours by tandem

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About flies&bikes

flies&bikes is an evolving website covering my interests which vary from biology through technology to cycle sport.  It is presently built using the Joomla! CMS.  The present incarnation now uses an integrated version of the well-known blogging software Wordpress, developed by corePHP. I maintain several other related websites: Wonderful Life is a blog covering my interests in atheism, particularly as they relate to biology and creationism. North Bucks Road Club is the website of my cycling club. Northwood Wheelers is a website dedicated to the eponymous (but now defunct) cycling club, of which my father was a member. Team Grumpy features stories concerning cycle timetrialling, particularly as they relate to 2-up team time trials. The Team Grumpy blog is Team Grumpy’s blog, and most definitely tongue in cheek. Professionally, I maintain the British Society for Research on Ageing’s website.

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Stony 11.4 23rd April 2014

I attempted some modifications of my saddle - I attached a piece of cork bar tape to the nose of the saddle with a few bits of tub tape. Actually this was a bit rubbish, twice while riding to work in the morning, the tape came off and had to be rescued from my thighs! At work I fixed it better with some gaffer tape. This was probably just as well, since by the time Katja and I set off for Stony, the rain had begun to fall.After last week’s sunny conditions, it was perhaps unsurprising that tonight’s event was a bit like time trialling through a river. The rain wasn’t perhaps as who should say torrential, but it was very definitely heavier that one would like.I felt pretty good as I left the start line, and rapidly warmed up on the way to Beachampton. once through Beachampton, I climbed up to Nash. I usually attract all sorts of criticism for keeping my bike in a high gear and low cadence for the climb, so this time I thought I’d have a go a lower gear/higher cadence for the steepest bit of the climb. I didn’t really notice any greta benefit, indeed if anything I went slower!I negotiated the sharp left and right through Nash with caution, then sped up towards the turn. On the return leg, speeds were that much higher, as it’s more downhill. As it was still raining pretty heavily, I thought it prudent to take the corners with a modicum of caution. Despite this, I did clock some pretty good speeds on the main descents.I came in with 28:29, which I thought quite respectable given the conditions - good enought for second place, since one of the fast boys punctured with a few km to go.Oh, and the saddle modification not only lasted the course despite the rain but worked…Results at NBRC

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Astwood 10 16th April 2014

This was a lovely sunny evening, though getting rapidly cooler as the evening went on. It was good to be back on the Astwood course - last time we were forced onto the alternative Stagsden course by road works.I felt reasonably OK - considerably more energetic than at Sunday’s ’25’ when I felt distinctly sub-par. Having said that, the problem with my over-slippy saddle was still noticeable. Every few pedal strokes saw me needing to push myself back onto the saddle again. Clearly some modification is needed! On the bright side, this was my first ride in the new club skinsuit. The current kit is sourced from Bio-Racer, and I was very pleased with its fit and construction (changing kit suppliers is always a bit anxious!).I finished with 24:42, I think - a bit slower than I’d have liked.Results at NBRC

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Bedfordshire Roads CC 25 F1/25 13th April 2014

I approached this event with some optimism after recent 10 mile results. However the event switched from the F1B/25 to the F1/25 due to roadworks. Everyone else seems to think the F1B/25 is the slower of the two courses, but I prefer it for a number of reasons. As an aside, this might be the last time I ride on the F1/25 - with the scheduled addition of traffic lights at the Black Cat, the course will be unusable.Over at Tempsford, we parked and were assailed with usual agri-stench from the nearby farm. The weather was exactly as forecast - only a gently 7mph westerly, and clear skies. Sadly it was rather cold I collected my number, donned my fleecy gloves, and rode off for a brief warmup. That left me feeling rather cold!From the off, I felt like I was ploughing through treacle. I hoped that I’d pick up a bit of speed on the slip road down to the A1, but that evaporated pretty quickly. I was riding along at 25-26mph a lot of the time, and I had a clear run through all the roundabouts. I did however find it pretty tough at several points after the Buckden turn, presumably a combination of gradient, the wind (albeit quite gentle!) and my general lassitude. By the time I crossed the Black Cat on the return, it was looking pretty touch and go whether I’d scrape under the hour (but frankly I though by then it would be unlikely). Indeed, I crossed the line in 1:00:40.I’m not sure what the problem was. I’ve suffered recently from pulling my rear wheel, but this was sorted the day before by a spot of judicious tinkering. I will admit to wondering if my wheel was rubbing on the frame after feeling so sluggish (but that definitely wasn’t the case).On the day, I just couldn’t lift my pace, and couldn’t get comfortable. Maybe this is just getting used to riding in the aero tuck position - which is made a bit more difficult as my new saddle seems rather slippy in combination with my club skinsuit. I’ve taken a bit of sandpaper to it (the saddle, not the skinsuit!) in an effort to make it a bit grippier.Davey Jones was out there on the course taking photographs. After the event, he lambasted me for using too big a gear!

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Club ’10’ Stoke Hammond bypass 9th April 2014

This was an overcast evening, but rather nice conditions for a time trial. We were all a bit concerned by road changes associated with the roadworks at the Kelley’s Kitchen roundabout (and the impact of the traffic lights on traffic flow. On the evening, we moved the start and finish slightly.I felt pretty good all round, but nothing spectacular. I had a pretty clear run through all the roundabouts, but flagged a bit on the rising road up to the dual carriageway section.Despite my hopes for a sub-23, I recorded 23:02 for second place equal in a field mostly consisting of  veterans. Quite an acceptable outcome! Full results at the NBRC website.

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Team Salesengine 10 (F2A/10) 5th April 2014

The F2A/10 is on the A428 dual carriageway, with a turn at Caxton Gibbet. It’s a bit of an exposed course, and in my experience is a bit susceptible to the effects of a windy day. And so it proved.Tony and I went over not quite knowing what to expect - in Tony’s case because this was his first event in 2014, and in my case because my training has a bit off the boil since before my last open event (the EC Cycles ’10’ in March).On the day, it was a reasonable temperature, the rain held off, but there was a significant crosswind out there on the course, which I found made my front trispoke a bit twitchy. I don’t know whether this is merely age-related caution or nerves, but I’m pretty sure I never used to find crosswinds so much hassle is the past. That, together with a close pass from a high speed car, made me rather unwilling to give it ‘full welly’!The initial couple of miles seemed to be slightly uphill, and I struggled to keep a decent speed up. Once over that, I had a reasonably straightforward ride, with little hassle from traffic, even at the turn roundabout. After the finish, I looked down and saw my rear wheel rubbing against the frame. This is a bit annoying - the little screw that’s supposed to prevent this is bent - and the placing of the disc wheel is difficult at the best of times because its profile doesn’t leave a lot of clearance at the chainstays.I finished with 22:54 - a little slower than my 22:47 at the EC Cycles ’10’ - a ride on a course with a similar profile but in much nicer conditions. So that’s encouraging at least.Other points of note, numerous dead badgers on the course gave it a rather gruesome appearance!Davey Jones was out on the course taking pictures!

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A Second Raspberry Pi Squeezebox

In my first foray into Raspberry PI, I set one up as a Squeezebox networked music player using piCorePlayer - this one has a HiFiBerry DAC card and is remarkably easy to use - to switch it on or off you just plug in or unplug the power respectively. For the new project, I wanted to try the new Wolfson DAC card from Element 14, particularly as I was getting occasional crackles and pops from the USB output in Raspian. This DAC isn’t currently supported by piCorePlayer, so I was keen to take a different route.I ended up with a media player that didn’t have an obvious way of shutting it down, other than via the command line. So I wanted to figure out how to add a pushbutton that would shut the Pi down to state in which it can be powered down.

Installing the Wolfson DAC

Installing the Wolfson DAC card is pretty straightforward. It uses a set of sprung connectors to conenct to the P5 header of the Raspberry Pi, pushes on to the P1 header and fixes in place with a plastic screw. The screw is important to make sure the connectors are held against the P5. I didn’t bother with trying to set the DAC up with a stock Raspbian OS - Element 14 have an image file of a modified Raspbian with all modules etc set up from the get-go. It can be downloaded from here, though I found that the file wouldn’t unzip on my Mac, unless I used Keka, a third party archiver utility available from the App Store. There’s some discussion on the Element 14 discussion forums about the unzipping problem.I set up wifi and installed squeezelite as described in this tutorial - all pretty straightforward as I have a fair bit of Linux experience. I’m using an unbranded wifi USB stick that steadfastly refused to work with piCorePlayer - but it seems fine in Raspbian.In use, the Pi starts squeezelite when it boots, and it’s then visible to the LMS web interface and other squeezebox control apps such as SqueezePad and iPeng. I was using a terminal to shut the Pi down via the command line before powering down. This seemed less than ideal, so I investigated setting up a ‘shutdown’ push button switch for an easier and more orderly shutdown.

 3 Pin Header on the Wolfson DAC

The Wolfson DAC pretty much covers the main set of header pins, and makes three of these available via a three pin header on the card (referred in this thread).

Wolfson_Card_J8-1:RPI_TX  ->  RPi: P1-08 - TXD0 (ALT0) - GPIO14Wolfson_Card_J8-2:RPI_RX  ->  RPi: P1-10 - RXD0 (ALT0) - GPIO15Wolfson_Card_J8-3:GND

[caption id="attachment_2527" align="alignleft" width="400"] The J8 Header[/caption](GPIO14 is the pin closest to the edge of the DAC card, and GND is the one furthest from the edge). I connected a pushbutton switch on a breadboard to GPIO14 and GND for testing purposes.

Setting up the shutdown script.

Bearing in mind I’d never done any prior work with hardware interfaces, and never done any python work, this proved an interesting exercise!First, I installed RPi-GPIO:
sudo apt-get updatesudo apt-get -y install python-rpi.gpio
I don’t recall installing the time and os Python modules, so I assume they are there by default. I copied the shutdown code (from here) and saved as /home/pi/scripts/ Note that the comment lines indicate sources - all I had to do was to edit the pin numbers from the original to use Pin 14.
# This script will wait for a button to be pressed and then shutdown
# the Raspberry Pi.
 import RPi.GPIO as GPIO
import time
import os
 # we will use the pin numbering of the SoC, so our pin numbers in the code are
# the same as the pin numbers on the gpio headers
 # Pin 14 will be input and will have its pull up resistor activated
# so we only need to connect a button to ground
GPIO.setup(14, GPIO.IN, pull_up_down = GPIO.PUD_UP)
# ISR: if our button is pressed, we will have a falling edge on pin 14
# this will trigger this interrupt:
def Int_shutdown(channel):
# shutdown our Raspberry Pi
os.system("sudo shutdown -h now")
# Now we are programming pin 14 as an interrupt input
# it will react on a falling edge and call our interrupt routine "Int_shutdown"
GPIO.add_event_detect(14, GPIO.FALLING, callback = Int_shutdown, bouncetime = 2000)
# do nothing while waiting for button to be pressed
while 1:
To run the script at startup, I added this line to rc.local:
sudo python /home/pi/scripts/
One reboot, and voila! My first attempt to use Raspberry Pi GPIO pins was a success! I’ve now soldered the switch to a couple of push-on connectors which fit to the J8 pins 1 and 3 (GPIO14 and GND respectively), so it’s a little fragile in the absence of a proper case! Pressing the shutdown button shuts the system down. I suspect that a reset button connected to Header 6 would re-start the device from that state, but I’ve yet to investigate.I’m presently using this Pi as a small player to drive a pair of headphones - it sounds rather good. Here's a photo of the finished device:[caption id="attachment_2526" align="alignleft" width="1000"] Raspberry Pi with Wolfson DAC (click to enlarge)[/caption]

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Astwood 10 22nd March 2014

This event was transferred to the backup course - the Stagsden ’10’ - owing to roadworks on the Astwood circuit. It was another cold and windy morning, and I was feeling decidedly ropy after my recent trip to Africa. Not because I’d caught anything, but maybe because of the continued antimalarial tablets. Anyway, on the day I felt distinctly sub-par, and shortly after starting I found myself on the climb up to Astwood into the teeth of a stiff and cold breeze. Sadly, I was struggling and couldn’t keep a decent speed up. Once past Astwood, things did improve, but the nagging headwind really did keep me in check. As I moved up to catch my minute man, I found my progress impeded a bit by a line of cars behind him (the leading car seemed rather timid), but eventually I made it.Once round the roundabout, things were a bit better, indeed I topped 37mph. But it wasn’t enough to compensate for my lack of form on the outbound leg and I finished with a long-ish 25. What was worse was that I had a horrible cough - and that was still with me on Sunday!Ho hum.Results at the NBRC websiteHere’s the Garmin trace (to be added)

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Stoke Hammond 10 15th March 2014

I rode this event solo which, as it turned out, was no bad thing! I was keen to ride the event in part because that afternoon I was off to Kenya for a few days work. The morning was fairly breezy and quite cold. I left my jersey and backpack with the timekeepers, as I wanted to make a quick exit so i could pack for the Kenya trip…within a few meters of starting, it was clear that I had a mechanical issue. Looking down, I could see that my rear wheel had pulled and it was rubbing tightly against my frame. With a bit of a curse I stopped and climbed off to reposition the wheel. This took a fair bit of time, and I don’t think I recovered my composure!Another issue I noticed was that with the modifications to the big A5 roundabout near the start (which includes several traffic lights), the traffic along the course seems to come in ‘packets’ which can be a hassle when negotiating roundabouts on the course. Indeed, I got held up a couple of times for a few seconds - nothing major, but a distraction.So, mechanical ineptitude aside, how did the race go? Well, as I say, I didn’t really regain my composure, so I was reasonably pleased with 24:37!Results at NBRC websiteGarmin trace will be added 

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EC Cycles 10 - 9th March 2014

In 2013, Team Grumpy regrouped as usual for the Port Talbot Wheelers 2-up ’25’, but on that occasion I was suffering too much from a bad back to ride. This year, work commitments made it impossible to enter that event (which was a week or two later in the calendar), so we entered the EC Cycles ’10’, on the R10/22A. Unfortunately, this event had no 2-up event listed either at entry or on the start sheet (though indications from at least one results listing indicated 2-up entries had been expected).After a few days of typical Team Grumpy preparation (i.e. takeaway curry and Leffe), we set off for the event, some 45 minutes from Team Grumpy’s welsh base. On the drive over to Resolven, the weather just improved steadily, and ulimately we rode the event in quite balmy conditions - bright sunshine, warm temperatures and a light breeze from the south-east.We warmed up briefly on a nearby road, and found no mechanical issues - unlike two years before, when I punctured while warming up! Gerry was down to start a minute ahead of me, so we finished our warmup together near the start.The course starts some way down a minor road to an industrial area, and no sooner had I got up to speed than I had to do a sharp left turn onto the dual carriageway at a roundabout. This briefly checked my speed, before accelerating again. The outbound leg is largely a gentle descent, though it does undulate somewhat. I was cruising at a decent speed in the southbound leg, often at more than 30mph, but though ny HR seemed to be up where I expected it, my legs didn’t seem to be chucking out as much effort as I would have hoped.I reached the turn having caught my 2-minute man, and never saw another rider in the race. I negotiated the turn as best I could given I only ride this stretch of road once a year - it’s an extended flyover junction that seems to go on for ever! The return leg was quite a bit tougher, as it was mostly slightly uphill, and what little breeze there was didn’t seem to offer any assistance. But then again, it dodn’t seem to offer too much hindrance, either! The finish is just off the same roundabout that we entered the dual carriageway section, and I gave it everything to get round the corner quickly, then motored on to cool down on the smaller road alongside the course.I finished with 22:47 for 18th place, not bad for this point in the season, though my legs didn’t feel like they’d done enough work! That being said, my heart rate was about where I’d expect it to be… Result EC Cycles 10 Mile Time Trial (9 March 2014) Course R10/22A (revised)

1Billy OliverRST Sport/Aero-CoachS20:2790
2B Xavier DisleyRST Sport/Aero-CoachS21:0280
3David BriceBynea Cycling ClubV21:2965
4Joseph BeechOgmore Valley WheelersS21:3020
5Anthony Mark JonesBynea Cycling ClubV21:3232
6Adam JonesEC CyclesS21:3776
7Harry EdneyScuderia R TS21:3830
8Christopher GibbardBynea CCS21:5379
9Richard WilderSan DomenicoV21:5519
10Gareth ReesCwmcarn ParagonS22:0070
11Christopher JonesRide Bikes WalesV22:0556
12Courtney RoweCardiff JifV22:0915
13Chris TattonSodbury Cycle-SportV22:0929
14Rob JonesOgmore Valley WhsS22:1075
15Thomas WeirCC AshwellS22:2761
16Gareth ThomasSan DomenicoS22:3327
17David MedhurstCardiff Ajax CCS22:4625
18Robert SaundersNorth Bucks RCV22:4748
19Daniel GoughSwansea University Cycling ClubS22:4859
20Thomas AshfordCardiff JifS22:5139
21Ian ReesPontypool RCCV22:5735
22Gerard OramBynea Cycling ClubV23:0047
23Jonathan PittMonmouthshire WheelersV23:0082
24David EvansWorcester St. Johns CCV23:0240
25Wayne ThomasPontypool RCCS23:0887
26Leigh JonesRide Bikes WalesS23:1437
27Richard BeechOgmore Valley WheelersV23:1921
28Steven MadeleyOgmore Valley WhsV23:2538
29Mike BroadbentBynea CCV23:2569
30Steve MorrisOgmore Valley WheelersV23:4188
31Lee WattsBynea Cycling ClubS23:4749
32Chris MasseyCwmcarn ParagonV23:4777
33Mark NottOgmore Valley WhsV23:4941
34Alexandre ToucheCwmcarn Paragon Road ClubJ23:5454
35Stephanie PostCardiff Ajax CCW23:596
36John ReganPembrokeshire VeloV23:5918
37Colin Richard WalliceMerthyr CCV24:0050
38John ShehanBynea CCV24:1167
39Richard LawtonNewport PhoenixV24:1355
40Richard HayesTaff Ely Triathlon ClubS24:1363
41Adrian SullivanMerthyr CCV24:1771
42Jonny WebbGannet CCV24:2526
43Ian McdonaldSan DomenicoV24:2684
44Andrew HarriesOgmore Valley WhsV24:2751
45Mark CaneCardiff Ajax CCS24:2889
46David Wilson-EvansBynea CCV24:3281
47Edward MalarczykeCwmcarn Paragon Road ClubV24:3434
48Thomas ValeSwansea University Cycling ClubS24:4568
49Mathew AtkinsCwmcarn Paragon Road ClubV24:5053
50Nigel ThomasBynea Cycling ClubV25:0052
51Paul GriffthsCardiff Ajax CCV25:0174
52Georgina HarperCardiff Ajax CCVW25:031
53Hamish BeldingCardiff Ajax CCS25:0486
54Christopher GoodwinOgmore Valley WhsV25:1328
55Ayrton PeelSwansea University Cycling ClubS25:2257
56Jason StrangeOgmore Valley WhsV25:3464
57Andrew GristBynea Cycling ClubV25:4242
58Nic ForbesBynea Cycling ClubV25:4743
59Chris BarnettBynea Cycling ClubS25:5533
60John DiffeySan DomenicoV26:0516
61Kevin ThomasPontypool RCCV26:2662
62Heather DennisCardiff Ajax CCVW26:262
63Lloyd MorganSan DomenicoS26:4422
64Sally WilderSan DomenicoW26:4513
65Gareth Robert HillAbercynon Road ClubV26:4573
66Susan BurnettNewport PhoenixVW26:4610
67Phil BradshawCwmcarn ParagonV26:4878
68Suzie WarrenCardiff Ajax CCW26:545
69Frances WilliamsSan DomenicoVW27:187
70Sally HarmerPembrokeshire VeloVW27:338
71John SeawardSan DomenicoS27:5336
72Sue HollinMonmouthshire WheelersVW28:013
73Tim RaineOgmore Valley WheelersV28:2383
74Chris JowittMonmouthshire WheelersS28:3046
75Paul ReesBynea Cycling ClubV28:4023
76John EvansBynea CCV29:0872
77Nia JamesCardiff Ajax CCW29:1414

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HiFiBerry DAC for the Raspberry Pi

I mentioned at the end of my previous blog article on the Raspberry Pi that I had a DAC board in transit. Well it has arrived, I’ve fitted it and after a few trials and tribulations, it is set up and working well.The attraction of having an onboard DAC in the Pi is really one of neatness. It also frees up one of the USB ports that I would otherwise use to feed a USB DAC (for example I can boot the Pi into Squeezeplug, and use the Pi as a Logitech Media Server with Squeezelite as a player). The case that I’m using for the Pi doesn’t really offer a lot of room for manoeuvre when installing additional boards, but in the end I bodged together a neat enough solution.The HiFiBerryThe HiFiBerry DAC is a small printed circuit board about half the area of the main Raspberry Pi board. It attaches to a set of 8 connecting pins - the onboard sound connector P5 - you have to solder an 8-pin header to the Raspberry Pi main board first.I’d ordered the board with two RCA connectors, but no headphone style jack plug. The RCA connectors were three pin sockets, obviously intended to be soldered to the board. It was immediately clear that this would mean the Pi would no longer fit in the case, so I decided to connect the RCAs via wires to the board, and mount the RCAs in the lid of the case. The board came with the GPIO and P5 sockets already soldered.AssemblyStep 1 - I soldered the P5 header to the Raspberry Pi board. This proved pretty easy. The P5 sits right next to the GPIO connectors.Step 2 - I soldered four wires to the output terminals intended to output to a 3.5mm jack. Two from GND to the GND tag of the RCA sockets, and one from the L and R channels to the appropriate tag of the RCA sockets.Step 3 - I drilled two holes in the case lid. I also needed to remove some bits of plastic from what appear to be strengthening ribs in the case lid to allow it to fit over the HiFiBerry board. I fixed the RCA sockets into the holes, which needed a spot of araldite to hold them firm.Step 4 - I mounted the HiFiBerry board on the P5 connector - it also slots onto the GPIO header for added support. The card came with a polythene pillar and screws to further support it in place, so I fitted those.Step 5 - I assembled the case back together, inserted the SD card and booted the Pi.[caption id="attachment_2499" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Upper side of HiFiBerry board[/caption]You can see the wiring I added to connect the RCA sockets to the board. Obviously, the sockets supplied are intended to be soldered to the board in the positions labelled 'Left' and 'Right'.[caption id="attachment_2501" align="aligncenter" width="300"] The underside of the HiFiBerry board[/caption]There's not much to see on this view of the HiFiBerry - other than my soldering, and the two connectors that attach the board to the Raspberry Pi - the board came with these already fitted.Using the piCorePlayer web interface, I selected the option for the HiFBerry DAC, determined the ALSA settings for the HiFiBerry and entered them, and saved the whole setting to the SD card. Then I excitedly hooked up the phono cable to my amplifier, booted the Pi and sat back to listen to the music.Well, I could listen to the right hand channel, but the left channel was sadly absent!A problem!Clearly I’d done something wrong! I referred to the forums on the HiFiBerry site. Most people having this sort of trouble had evidently made minor cockups with soldering, though there were hints that some cards may have been defective. A quick email elicited a rapid response suggesting I check the connectors for evidence of shorting out. I did this, finding no problems. As an aside, I found Daniel at CrazyAudio very responsive and polite in the face of a neophyte solderer asking questions.A little while later, it occurred to me that the two non-ground pins of the RCA connector might not be equivalent - in particular, it wasn't easy to see how they connected within the socket. I plugged in an RCA plug into the L channel socket and used my multimeter to determine if the signal wire from the plug actually made electrical contact with the tag to which I’d soldered the wire from the board. It didn’t, so after a bit more investigation I detached the wire and soldered it to the third tag of the connector. At this point the Pi was properly outputting audio from both channels!Triumph!So, how does the Pi perform as a media player with the onboard DAC? First impressions are that it compares well with the two external DACs I have available, though both are budget items (a Cambridge Audio DACmagic 100 and DACmagic XS). More on this later, though I'm not really a serious audiophile and I've no way of doing a proper blind test.

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