Sending a SMS text message to the EU from UK

Success depends on your network provider

Since the UK left the EU we found that we could not send SMS messages via Vodafone to our neighbours in France. Despite asking we never did get an answer why this was a problem. Vodafone also removed free roaming when in the EU and added a daily charge even if you only sent a single SMS or made one call.

Our contract with Vodafone was due to expire this month so we shopped around with a number of alternate providers and in the end decided to switch to giffgaff. This is a UK service provider that uses the O2 infrastructure in the UK. Big plus – they offer free roaming in the EU. The change over process was very simple to do and we ported our old Vodafone numbers using a PAC code. We were probably ‘off air’ with our numbers for less than 24 hours. It was a totally web based transfer with clear instructions and regular text and email updates from giffgiff on the transfer progress.

Once up and running on giffgaff I tried sending a SMS to France. I got an error message from giffgaff. While we will be paying a monthly service charge this does not include International Calls which is how my SMS was regarded. The solution is to put a small amount of money on an ‘extras’ account that sits outside the normally monthly billing. My SMS was then delivered to France and cost me 24p. We can live with that for the number of times we need to send a ‘we will be arriving’ message to our neighbours.

Links to similar or related post are listed below : –

French Model Steam Engine Gathering

5″ Gauge Activity at Montcuq

We were very lucky to be invited to this event near Cahors. A significant number of the engines were Polly designs and the owner of the track has had a long standing relationship with Polly Model Engineering.

The track has two loops and a very significant incline which tested not just the engines but also the drivers. One very encouraging aspect of the weekend was the number of young people, both male and female who were enjoying driving the track.

Links to similar or related post are listed below : –

One Hundred Subscribers

I didn’t see that coming and fibre in France

When I installed Gravitec it was more out of curiosity than anything else. Did people read any of my waffle or was it just a freaky high bounce rate ?

While this number is just a drop in the ocean on YouTube sites it’s nice to know that people still read things and for some weird reason must enjoy my Yorkshire sense of humour and my engineering inquisitiveness.

If you are one of the Hundred – thank you !

Other things …. we are currently in France (hence the lack of posts). We had an offer we couldn’t refuse from our service provider SFR to swap out our ADSL copper based connection for a fibre-to-house replacement. The ADSL dribbled along at around 9Mbps which was more than enough for Fusion 360 to connect and for Netflix to keep us entertained in the evenings.

The house sits around 60m from the roadside telecom pit and is connected via an underground duct. I fully expected the duct to be blocked but the engineers successfully used the ADSL copper to pull the fibre through.

Not quite so simple in the house.

The external duct rises in the utility room and then branches via internal buried ducts to various telephone points around the house. The copper was solidly stuck in the one duct we needed so a Plan B was needed. After 3 hours of drilling holes in walls, floors and pipework trunking we finally got the fibre upstairs into the office.

The fibre is clocking a fairly symmetrical 800Mbps according to Okla which is staggering. Fusion is a bit quicker to load and general web activity seems a bit quicker but not 10 times quicker. Downloads are pretty quick though. If we had a house full of teenagers we would probably appreciate the increased bandwidth but we are long past that scenario – well that is until the grandchildren get online…….

Links to similar or related post are listed below : –

November update

Mainly jobs in France and 3D printer choice plus thin wall printing

Sorry it has been quiet on my blog. We took a few weeks off in France. This should have been relaxing but things got in the way. Our elderly French neighbours seem to store up their ‘can you just have a look at’ jobs for when we arrive. This ranged from leaking coffee percolator, dead washing machine, DVD player not working etc. I don’t mind this because in return they keep on eye on the house for us. The only frustration is that I am not as well kitted out with repairing resources as I am here in the UK.

From our point of view the spa was coming up with two error messages – no flow and UV lamp needing changing. The flow problem was traced to the flow sensor. This I think might be a Hall Effect sensor that is tripped by a magnet on a thin metal strip that is bent towards the HED with the water flow. It could equally and more likely be as simple as a reed relay that is tripped by the magnet. I managed to source a replacement from a French source.

The UV lamp was not so straightforward to replace but I did question the validity of the message on the display. The UV bulb has a recommended life of 2 years. The software in the spa has a clock which we reset to current time and date when we turn the spar on for each visit. The UV bulb life is based on the clock count down. I am not sure whether it is recording the period from clock time to clock time or the actual running hours given our intermittent short period visits. I carefully checked that the bulb was still glowing brightly and then reset the countdown timer. I’ll take out a new bulb next visit.

There were various other distractions but the weather was amazing for October with one or two days reaching 30 degrees.

Arriving home I have landed a project that requires 3D printing items that need a Z height of over 200mm. The project also needs thin wall printing. My trusty but now dated Sindoh DP200 falls short on this. The Sindoh has been a loyal and reliable device giving me few problems and repeatable quality print results. The main frustration has been having to be single sourced on Sindoh PLA or ABS as their filament has to have the associated custom Sindoh personality chip. Later versions of the Sindoh range (1X and 2X) purport to allow third party filaments to be used.

This has led to some soul searching. I am now comfortable with the concepts involved with 3D printing and have felt for some time that an upgrade of printer was on the cards. My wish list clearly needed to include allowing 3rd party filaments and not just PLA and ABS. (Carbon fibre being very attractive). The list also included an increased build volume and possibly a dual nozzle.

Clough42 has had some recent videos focussed on the Qidi products, namely the I Fast and the X-CF. Qidi also have the X Max. All three of these printers have Z heights of 300mm. Pricing is not low but these are all enclosed printers. There are many other Qidi review videos on YouTube. Qidi seem to be hot on support which is good news. So I have a debate raging on whether to jump and which way. Here is my basic spreadsheet comparison chart which includes the Sindoh 2X as a possible contender. Sindoh might be moving away from their own models and working with more higher end products under their brand Fabweaver. There are some interesting technology articles on the Fabweaver blog.

I investigated the thin wall printing issue and came across a very interesting post by Wayne from SoarKraft. Wayne uses thin wall printing on his slope soaring glider models and he details how Cura and Prusa slicers (free downloads) have only relatively recently caught up on this whereas Simplify 3D (subscription) has had it as a facility for sometime. Wayne’s video is worth a watch. The Qidi printers like many other manufacturers use a variant of Cura. There is a very good support article on the Simplify 3D site that relates to thin wall printing.

My printer upgrade debate continues but the I Fast looks the most attractive. The only problem is it has a large physical envelope and I don’t have a plan where am I going to put it in the office/workshop……

Links to similar or related post are listed below : –

Some French Connections and Contemplations

Apologies that it has been quiet on the blog.   We took a couple of weeks down in France.   This coincided with some very hot temperatures (>40C) both in France and at home in the UK.   We had a number of outside jobs to catch up on down there and the only way to get these done was to get up very very early and do what we could before getting back inside to shelter from the sun.

The jobs and the temperature aside it was a good visit with some excellent community meals and celebrations.   We also met and compared notes with a UK couple who also own a second home in the village.

The French are very formal about saying hello, shaking hands etc and do get offended if you don’t indulge, something that Brits abroad don’t always understand.   I saw this on a blog site which sums it up in an amusing way.

The other reality incident was a close model engineering friend contacted me to say he had had a heart attack but was thankfully recovering in hospital.   Having just notched up my 70th birthday it was a sobering thought.

The other news during our stay in France was John Saunders posted about the loss of his dog Judd who often featured in John’s YouTube posts.   John was clearly quite emotional and I fondly remember Judd from my week long training course at NYC CNC.

Anyway back in the workshop today and trying to remember where I got to on various projects.   I’ve also got a few catch up blog related requests for Fusion files and further help with some of my post content.   It’s only when someone looks at your text with fresh eyes and comments that you realise how badly you described something … Please be patient as I respond to these messages.

Similar or related subjects : –

Verified by ExactMetrics