Category Archives: Announcements

Locktoberfest 2017!

 

Locktoberfest is a party! First things first, we’re here to have fun. What’s fun for us? Lockpicking! Also: brats and…. you! Locktoberfest is open to everyone, from world class lockpickers to those interested in learning for the first time.

Locktoberfest is a day of learningteaching, and competitions (serious and frivolous) related to lockpicking.

The Chicago chapter of TOOOL has been getting together to play with locks for a while now and we decided that “October” is just as good an excuse for a party as any. Come on out and join us on Saturday 14th October 2017 from 1PM to 8 PM at PS:One.

The event is BYOB and BYOF, but I heard there will be some brats and pickles.

Please help us know the head-count and register here: Registration

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Shine on You Crazy KiCAD — and Other Tales from Chris Gammell

Chris GammellOn Monday July 17th, NERP will host Chris Gammell. Chris is an analog electrical engineer and product manager. He may be known to some of you as co-host of The Amp Hour, and as the charter member of Contextual Electronics. CE offers subscription based electronics courses with different levels of project-oriented learning and personal interaction with an instructor. The Amp Hour is a non-scripted off-the-cuff format show that usually airs every Thursday evening US time. It is the worlds largest and most respected electronics oriented radio show. Discussions range from hobbyist electronics to the state of the electronics industry, components, circuit design, and general on and off-topic rants.

At the NERP on Monday, Chris will present a free rendition of  the Contextual Electronics course titled Shine On You Crazy KiCad. NERP has talked about the open source electronic design program called KiCAD before, but this presentation is different. It’s designed for simplicity and fast execution to give a quick win for new users who follow along on their own laptops. The course is designed as an end-to-end art-to-part experience using KiCAD.  amphour logoWhen I say quick, I mean just 20 minutes start to finish to draw an electronic schematic and then translate the schematic into a printed circuit board PCB layout. (It’s possible to spend lots of days working on a complex circuit board design…) After that, the last step in the process will be for everybody who’s following along to pack up their KiCAD PCB layout files and send them off to OSH Park to actually be made into atoms and snail-mailed back to you. Chris’s demo board is a small, but useful add-on for a Raspberry Pi. The PCB is about 1″ square, so the cost at OSH Park is very small.

made with kicadEven if you don’t plan on actually making the circuit, go ahead and load up a copy of KiCAD  http://kicad-pcb.org/download/ so you can at least have a look and ask questions. It’s open source and free. Win, Mac, & Linux. Kicad is a pretty piece of software in my opinion, and I have a few good reasons for preferring it to Eagle (KiCAD’s freemium competitor).

Chris tells me there’s one thing that NERP might be able to help him with. Contextual Electronics is getting a new course for “absolute beginners” in electronics. This would be along the lines of “what do you need to know about electronics before even thinking of a course like CE”. When you first encounter a subject as broad and deep as electronics, it’s very hard to sort out the signal from the noise. You can spend a lot of effort on something that doesn’t matter while at the same time missing some small Rosetta stone or simple concept that’s perhaps in easy reach. conceptual electronics logoAfter we move past those first trembling steps, we can forget what it was like just building a knowledge framework. To make the best connections with absolute beginners, Chris wants to hear about your conceptual roadblocks or things you wish you’d known from long (or not so long) ago, and how they resolved (or didn’t resolve) themselves. I’m sure he’ll be happy to talk about it at NERP, but consider signing up for CE and visit the Building an absolute beginner course page and add your thoughts.

NERP is not exclusively Raspberry Pi, the small computer and embedded systems interest group at Pumping Station:One in Chicago. NERP meets every other Monday at 7pm at Pumping Station:One, 3519 N. Elston Ave. in Chicago. Find NERP and Pumping Station:One at

www.meetup.com /NERP-Not-Exclusively-Raspberry-Pi/­
and
http://pumpingstationone.org/­

Tags: Beagle Bone,electronics,embedded,hackerspace,NERP,Open Source,Pumping Station: One,raspberry pi,OSH Park,The Amp Hour,Contextual Electronics

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NERP Can Reflow, and So Can You! [6-19, 7pm]

Surface Mount Technology is not a new thing. Eventually it’ll be the only thing because new MOSFETS, chips, and computer-on-modules are pretty much all SMT. If you’ve never  soldered SMT parts, you might be surprised at how easy it can be. In fairness, parts below a certain size can be challenging to solder, but with practice you can start big and go smaller and smaller as you get better. But where to start? At NERP on Monday, June 19th Drew Fustini will give a gentle introduction to SMT soldering.

Drew will be building   I can reflow! Badge  and showing the SMD Challenge board, also called the Unfortunate board because the 0201 resistor and LED will unfortunately make you nuts trying to solder them. The boards were made by , a commercial prototype and open source hardware board house. They have a huge catalog of boards designated as shared projects by their customers. You can buy those boards, or design your own in KiCAD or Eagle, and share them if you like.

Drew has a few extra reflow Badge boards if anyone wants to follow along. We’ll try to get enough parts together to fill the boards. Those parts are:

  • Q1 & Q2 – MMBT3904
  • R1 & R2 – 0805 100Ω
  • R3 & R4 – 0805 100kΩ
  • C1 & C2 – 0805 10µF

And two 0805 LEDs and a CR1220 battery clip.

Schematic diagram in Hackaday’s coverage of the I Can Reflow Merit Badge
NERP is not exclusively Raspberry Pi, the small computer and embedded systems interest group at Pumping Station:One in Chicago. NERP meets every other Monday at 7pm at Pumping Station:One, 3519 N. Elston Ave. in Chicago. Find NERP and Pumping Station:One at

www.meetup.com/NERP-Not-Exclusively-Raspberry-Pi/­
and
http://pumpingstationone.org/­

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NERP Tonite: MOSFETs with Ste!

Mosfets – They can be “on” — They can be “off” — They can even be in between! Tonight at NERP, entrepreneur, engineer, and really good teacher Ste Kulov will guide us into the world of mosfets. Metal Oxide Semiconductor Field Effect Transistors if you want to impress your friends.

N-Channel MOSFET [wikipedia]
Since mosfets are a wide and deep subject, I asked Ste where he wanted to focus his talk. With great economy of words, he said it better than I could.

“Most of the generic stuff, fairly quickly.  A few simple examples I was probably going to cover are: making a logic inverter, a logic controlled load-switch, and reverse battery protection. Simulating in LTspice [circuit CAD], since I can draw that stuff in two seconds and put it on the screen.  If you want to do a power MOSFET application, I would need to see the datasheet for it.  Also keep in mind that high current stuff is no good for breadboards. If you need a list:  4 vs 3 terminal, body diode, Rds(on), gate drive, switching speed, N-channel, P-channel, CMOS digital logic, CMOS analog switches.”

NERP is not exclusively Raspberry Pi, the small computer and embedded systems interest group at Pumping Station:One in Chicago. NERP meets every other Monday at 7pm at Pumping Station:One, 3519 N. Elston Ave. in Chicago. Find NERP and Pumping Station:One at

www.meetup.com/NERP-Not-Exclusively-Raspberry-Pi/­
and
http://pumpingstationone.org/­

Tags: electronics, embedded, NERP, Open Source, raspberry pi, hackerspace, Beagle Bone, Pumping Station One

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Turning the Shopbot into a plotter

Former PS:1 president Derek Bever and I were joking in the PS:1 IRC chat room awhile back about using the Shopbot as a tool for uses it was not designed for, and turning it into a plotter seemed especially ridiculous. Since I’d wanted to learn how to use the Clausing lathe, it dawned on me that this ridiculous idea could, in fact, become a terrifying reality. So thanks to Anna Yu who taught me how to use the lathe, I made a bit with an 11mm bore to fit into the 1/2″ collet on the Shoptbot:

Having spent the time to make the part, it seemed silly to stop there, so I realized I’d have to make a post-processor for VCarve and Aspire (Fusion 360 coming soon!). I already had experience with Shopbot’s post-processors, creating a “Always turn spindle off” version of Ryan’s “Always turn spindle on” post processor as well as the XYZ Zero Finder program that works with the XYZ plate made on the Bridgeport. So hunkering down on the computer in the CNC Lounge (where Aspire is installed), I made a “Sharpie Bit” post processor that 1. always turns the spindle off, and 2. always sets Z to 0, regardless of what is done in Aspire or VCarve. This also means you have to explicitly set Z’s 0 position without use of the Z plate as there’s nothing to tell the machine when the ‘bit’ is at the right spot.

The first attempt was made using some cardboard I found in the garbage. This test did not go well because I had set Z to 0 in one corner of the cardboard, but because the cardboard was folded over, it was more puffy in the middle, which means that the Shopbot happily plunged the sharpie into the cardboard. Oops. Try #2 used a piece of acrylic that was laying around and I assumed was garbage, so I used that and the second attempt went much better. Inspired, I grabbed some acrylic from my shelf and made the version below.

I’m going to clean up the code a little (like removing a bunch of debugging stuff, unnecessary pauses, etc.,) and then will run it by Matt (CNC area host) and if he’s cool with it, the bit will go in the drawer and the post processor available to anyone using VCarve and Aspire.

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NERP Tonite: Replicape rev B!

Tonight at NERP, Elias Bakken of Intelligent Agent AS and Thing-printer, in Oslo, Norway, will tell us about the Replicape rev B. [http://wiki.thing-printer.com/index.php?title=Replicape_rev_B]

“Replicape is a high end 3D-printer electronics package in the form of
a Cape that can be placed on a BeagleBone Black. This page is about
the Major revision B. It has five high power and low noise stepper
motors with cool running MosFets and it has been designed to fit in
small spaces without active cooling and without the need for physical
access to the board once installed. That means no potentiometers to
trim or switches to flip.”

NERP is not exclusively Raspberry Pi, the small computer and embedded systems interest group at Pumping Station:One in Chicago. NERP meets every other Monday at 7pm at Pumping Station:One, 3519 N. Elston Ave. in Chicago. Find NERP and Pumping Station:One at
http:// www.meetup.com/NERP-Not-Exclusively-Raspberry-Pi/
and
http://pumpingstationone.org/
Doors open at 6:30pm. NERP is free and open to the public. Ed Bennett ed @ kinetics and electronics com Tags: electronics, embedded, NERP, Open Source, raspberry pi, hackerspace, Beagle Bone, Pumping Station One

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NERP Next: Up to Speed on Motors (Jan 30th)

If you’re a maker, hacker or DIY person, you don’t need to understand how a motor works “under the hood” to use it. However, a bit of theory will help you make the best design choices for your thing that runs in circles. At the next NERP, Jerry Morrow will bring us up to speed on motor technology.

 

Jerry’s presentation is a full overview of DC and Brushless DC (BLDC) motors and their associated drive circutriy.  Topics include the physics of electric motors, DC motor operation, motor bridges/inverters, control topologies, motor terminology, brushless DC motor operation, hall effect and encoder position feedback, current and velocity control, Park/Clarke transformations, and Space Vector Modulation (oooh..).

People need to make things go ’round. Car wheels, train wheels, drone propellers, compressors and fans in HVAC and refrigeration, hard drives (at least for the moment), reclining seats, robots, power tools, and on and on. Motors are everywhere. The variety of sizes, shapes, and internal structures is bewildering. About the only functional elements that the different types have in common is a moving part and a stationary part joined by a changing magnetic field. Whether or how you can controll the speed, direction, torque, or power consumption depends on the type of motor. Electric motors have been around for about 150 years. Most of the older classes of motor types are still in use, still useful, and still suited to new design.

We are seeing a revolution in motor technology. Software is eating the world, and it’s finding electric motors pretty tasty. The new generation of motors depends on embedded processors to the extent that the software is as much a part of the motor as the shaft. Sophisticated driver algorithms (and in some cases new materials) are making motors smaller, stronger, and more efficient. In addition to making better citizens of existing applications, the improvements open doors to new classes of applications.

Jerry Morrow is, or has been, a bass player, electrical and computer engineering student, home rehabber, sound technician, electro-mechanical actuation software engineer, Japanese student, father, and maker, and member of Pumping Station One,  He prefers the command line, VI editor, and makefiles over IDEs, and wont hold it against you if you don’t.

NERP is not exclusively Raspberry Pi, the small computer and embedded systems interest group at Pumping Station:One in Chicago. NERP meets every other Monday at 7pm at Pumping Station:One, 3519 N. Elston Ave. in Chicago. Find NERP and Pumping Station:One at

http:// www.meetup.com/NERP-Not-Exclusively-Raspberry-Pi/

and

http://pumpingstationone.org/

Doors open at 6:30pm. NERP is free and open to the public. Ed Bennett ed @ kinetics and electronics com Tags: electronics, embedded, NERP, Open Source, raspberry pi, hackerspace, Beagle Bone, Pumping Station One

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Wear-A-Circuit Workshop on Sunday

2016-10-27-3-patches-dark-13-32-00

2016-10-27-patches-on-13-35-11

Circuit Patches are wearable circuit boards made from knitted yarn and wire. I’m doing a workshop Sunday using these. Check it out!

I use a knitting machine to make the patches. Add snap buttons and  attach the circuits to anything you like.

Rapid prototyping for Wearables!

2016-10-27-13-26-38-self-portrait

 

I made these patches for my workshop this Sunday, 3-5pm. Participants will receive a 3″ x 5.5″ knitted proto-boards in black, pink, or teal. Solder LEDs and a battery on it, and you can add lights to your clothes, just in time for Halloween.

 

Of course, there’s lots of things beyond LEDs you could add– I’m hoping to do workshops for interactive circuits using the knitted protoboards in the future.

I’ve made a number of circuits with this method so far, often in black. For this workshop, we’re adding  fun colors: circuit-board-teal and… pink! I  couldn’t resist adding 10mm gumdrop LEDs to the pink protoboard pictured above.

We’ll have some of those jumbo LEDs for the workshop, but also smaller ones in blue, yellow, red, white. I’ve even got some color-change and flicker LEDs.

2016-10-27-patch-back-13-37-15

Power is supplied by a hidden battery pack.

If you’d like to participate, please RSVP. Hope to see you Sunday! (Bring a shirt or a hat or a bag so you can add snaps to mount your circuit on it.)

2016-10-27-snap-press-13-44-37

My new favorite machine: the snap press applies snap buttons without sewing.

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NERP^2 = Hardware: From Concept to Retail && PiAQ: Indoor Air Quality Sensor

PLEASE NOTE: NERP WILL GET UNDER WAY AT EXACTLY 7PM ON MONDAY!

Next Monday at NERP we’ll have a double feature. We’ll hear part 2, of Ste and Nicks’s story of adventure in bringing a successful consumer product to market. Part 1 was about technology, and part 2 is about the _business_ side of bootstrapping HD Retrovision (http://hdretrovision.com). Also on Monday, Dave Conroy will tell us about the PiAQ Open Source Indoor Air Quality Sensor for the Raspberry Pi (http://piaq.io).

hd_retrovision-1

About HD Retrovision:
Nick and Ste have been friends since 1999 and both share a passion for playing the (now retro) video game systems that they grew up on. Since then they’ve both studied Electrical Engineering at University, and are now business partners in a company called HD Retrovision that is dedicated to improving the modern day experience with retro consoles while making it accessible to as many people as possible. In this presentation, Ste and Nick will walk you through the ups, downs, and lessons learned while taking a college project and turning it into a profitable company. This talk will cover how they took the idea for HD Retrovision’s Genesis and SNES cables out of the lab, got it funded, and eventually mass-produced overseas.

piaq3-small
About the PiAQ: As an R&D Engineer for NAR’s Center for REALTOR® Technology & CRT Labs, Dave Conroy investigates emerging technologies, educates NAR members & the public through presentations, webinars, blogs and podcasts, and develops products for use by members. He’s presented to REALTORS® on the national, state and local levels. The PiAQ is an open hardware and software indoor air quality sensor developed by the National Association of REALTORS’ CRT Labs. The goal for this project is to make information about the air people are breathing more accessible.

http://piaq.io/

About NERP:

NERP is not exclusively Raspberry Pi, the small computer and embedded systems interest group at Pumping Station:One in Chicago. NERP meets every other Monday at 7pm at Pumping Station:One, 3519 N. Elston Ave. in Chicago. Find NERP and Pumping Station:One at
http:// www.meetup.com/NERP-Not-Exclusively-Raspberry-Pi/
and
http://pumpingstationone.org/

Doors open at 6:30pm. NERP is free and open to the public. Ed Bennett ed @ kinetics and electronics com Tags: electronics, embedded, NERP, Open Source, raspberry pi, hackerspace, Beagle Bone, Pumping Station One

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NERP Tonite! Google Summer of Code students build BeagleBoard.org projects

Tonight at NERP, Drew Fustini will be sharing highlights from his presentation at Maker Faire New York 2016.

Drew explains How Open Source software and Open Source Hardware intersected in several BeagleBoard based projects done for the Google Summer of Code.  “Google Summer of Code is a global program that offers students stipends to write code for open source projects.”  These students’ projects demonstrate the synergy of devices and the code that makes them what they are.

NERP is not exclusively Raspberry Pi, the small computer and embedded systems interest group at Pumping Station:One in Chicago. NERP meets every other Monday at 7pm at Pumping Station:One, 3519 N. Elston Ave. in Chicago. Find NERP and Pumping Station:One at

www.meetup.com/NERP-Not-Exclusively-Raspberry-Pi/

and

http://pumpingstationone.org/

Doors open at 6:30pm. NERP is free and open to the public. Ed Bennett ed @ kinetics and electronics com Tags: electronics, embedded, NERP, Open Source, raspberry pi, hackerspace, Beagle Bone, Pumping Station One

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