I am sorry for the lack of new projects and posts on the blog for the first three months of 2024.

This is a long text heavy post but covers what I have been doing the past months.

Learning new things for website development

Apexweb Logo

We have been busy bringing our coding skills more up to date with the latest releases of Microsoft’s Asp.net Core and Visual Studio to enable us to create websites which whilst being written in C#, can be hosted on both Windows Server and Linux servers with the cross-platform .net core system.

The way that website’s function and are built has changed massively since I built my first website in 1996, back then you had to worry about the websites only needing to work on a few web browser versions but now there are many more browser versions and modern websites need to work on everything from low-end smartphones and tablets to desktops and everything in between.

The biggest change to how we have been writing websites for over 25 years was moving from direct database commands using the SQL frameworks to using Entity Frameworks and models to read, write and update the underlying databases which has proved both faster for some things but frustrating for others.

Virtual Swanage

We are working on our websites whilst learning the new development practices and systems and have now rewritten our local tourism website, Virtual Swanage which is now in its 28th year of being online.

The new Virtual Swanage website at www.virtual-swanage.co.uk was rewritten using the latest Asp.net Core with entity framework and Bootstrap platform to ensure both fast loading times and the best possible experience for users regardless of the device or screen size they are using to access the site.

The Blog

This blog was rewritten using Bootstrap and .net core with a new bespoke admin system and optimisation for loading times and file sizes and formats.

AB Electronics UK

Our e-commerce shop, AB Electronics UK at www.abelectronics.co.uk has been the biggest project with a completely redesigned shopping cart system and removed a lot of legacy code which had gradually built up over the past 12 years of the site’s development.

The new website now runs faster and has smaller file sizes and network traffic for visitors.


We also rebuilt our main website development site at www.apexweb.co.uk with a new version of our Atlas Lite Content Management system which we built to use Asp.net Core and the latest Bootstrap 5 frameworks.

New Clients

The new Atlas Lite CMS will be used on future websites for our clients, and we already have two ongoing development projects underway which will use the new content management system and front-end platform.

We are now trying to attract new web development clients again after not taking on any large new projects for several years due to the time constraints of running the AB Electronics online store and producing thousands of boards every year.

Changes with our Raspberry Pi expansion board sales

ab electronics uk Logo

The past four years have been difficult for many industries and with the United Kingdom leaving the European Union due to Brexit, which resulted in all our Eurozone customers suddenly having to pay expensive import charges and experiencing customs delays when ordering from the United Kingdom.

Before Brexit, Europe accounted for over 70% of our total sales with 20% to North America and the remainder to the UK and Australia.

The EU sales have fallen sharply with most orders now being sold to our resellers.

The Covid pandemic and resulting delays and shortages of components and parts also caused many problems for many businesses.

Due to the component shortages, the Raspberry Pi foundation moved production away from consumer products to mainly support their business customers which led to our customer base of small developers and the hobby market being unable to purchase any Raspberry Pi products for development or new projects and therefore no longer required any expansion boards or hats or other accessories.

Any Raspberry Pi boards which were available seemed to be purchased by scalpers and sold at huge prices on eBay.

The component shortages affected us when trying to buy parts to build our expansion hats/boards with basic parts such as resistors and capacitors being in short supply.

The prices we are now being charged for some components have more than doubled since 2020 and this coupled with slow sales of our expansion boards has resulted in us abandoning our previous plans for the purchase of a larger workshop and development workspace and the release of new products at this time.

The cost to send parcels in the mail has also been raised by the Post Office every year and has more than doubled since we started selling our products online.

We are offering free shipping on orders over £35 but the increased shipping costs have also decreased our profit margins making it harder to invest in new products and projects.

With the United Kingdom officially going into recession in late 2023 this also caused our UK sales to decline as well as people stopped any unnecessary purchases and restricted their spending.

We hope that things will start to improve in the rest of this year but after talking to many of our clients and other manufacturers, many do not think that sales will start to grow for some time.

If you would like to support us and purchase Raspberry Pi expansion boards, you can order them from www.abelectronics.co.uk

The loss of our family dogs

The end of 2023 was difficult with the unexpected loss of two of our family dogs, Tom our 10-year-old greyhound suddenly passed away at home in October 2023 and Poppy our 14-year-old lurcher had to be put to sleep just before Christmas after the vet found a large cancerous tumour which was not treatable.

We had lost our whippet, Dany in late 2022 and have gone from four dogs in the house to now only one with Daisy, our 13-year-old lurcher left now.

We plan to get another rescue dog but want a smaller breed such as another whippet or a small lurcher as I don’t want to risk damaging my back when lifting a larger dog such as a greyhound into the car or the bath.

The Dogs

Personal and family news

Geoff Dorey

This month my family experienced the unexpected loss of my father on the 10th of March. I am still trying to process his death and trying to do all the things that need to be dealt with after someone has passed away.

My dad is the reason I am interested in how things work, and he taught me from an early age how to take things apart and put them back together again. He was a plumber and heating engineer all his working life and would often bring home plumbing and heating equipment for me to play with and take apart to see what made them work.

As a small child in the late 1970s, Dad would bring home old clockwork central heating timers and give me a screwdriver and pliers so I could take them apart on the kitchen table. Looking back, I am surprised that I never lost any fingers as the timers had a huge steel spring inside which would run them for weeks after a single winding.

The central heating systems evolved with electronic timers and controllers and Dad would often bring home faulty equipment and we would try to fix them I learnt how to solder and repair electronics using these and on household equipment including a valve radio which he had purchased in the 1960s.

Dad liked to keep things with the view that it might come in handy one day, this is why we have so many boxes and containers full of everything from screws and nails to random plumbing parts which are over 50 years old!

Dad was also very keen on listening to radio stations around the world on shortwave frequencies and as the technology improved, we moved into radio scanners then to CB radio and Ham Radio when I got licensed.

He was never very keen on buying ready-made antennas, so our roof was covered in homemade antennas and long-wire aerials. I would often climb out of the loft skylight with a homemade antenna in one hand and a drill in the other to test the latest build to see what it could receive.

I was taught to ride a bike at an early age and remember going out on my bike with stabilisers so I wouldn’t fall off and a rope tied to the seat so I couldn’t get far from my parents.

When I was older, we would go on weekend family rides to Poole or Bournemouth and sometimes a 30+ mile ride to Lulworth Cove over the Purbeck hills on very heavy steel-framed bikes and BMXs.

I still enjoy cycling but find it difficult to find time due to work and other commitments.

I was taught from an early age how to maintain the house and appliances and would help decorate the rooms and rewire mains electric plugs and cables on equipment.

Later the skills would be helpful when the house was struck by lightning which resulted in the entire electrical system needing to be replaced and parts of the plumbing also being damaged and required repairing.

The plumbing skills helped greatly when we fitted our solar thermal system to the roof and installed the new dual-cylinder system around 10 years ago.

Dad was a keen gardener, and he inherited the family allotment from his father, I grew up working on it growing vegetables and fruit and using all the tools which had been passed down through the generations.

As Dad became older, he was unable to continue to work on the allotment myself my brother Andrew took over the work with our mother. We still have an allotment and grow fruit and vegetables on the land using the tools passed down by the family.

My earliest memories of my dad are working in the garden shed taking things apart.

Planned Projects

We have several projects in the planning and partial completion stage which we hope to finish soon.

Cassette Player Repairs

In January I purchased a faulty 1978 cassette player from a local shop, and they told me that it did not power on or work. After testing I found that it just needed a new set of belts and after buying a set from eBay, I was able to make it usable again.

Microscope Lighting Controller and LED ring

Andrew has been working on a new RGB based LED light for our microscope using an ESP32 WiFi module to control the lights and directions with modes being selected using a rotary encoder switch.

Raspberry Pi based home alarm project.

We are looking into the possibility to replace our home alarm with a Raspberry Pi and using an ADC Pi analogue input to monitor the reed switches on the doors. Our alarm system has resistors across the door switches and measures a resistance change when the switch is activated. This is better than the normal make/break style of sensor as it also detects the cable being broken due to the change in resistance across the wires.