Archive for the ‘Announcements’Category

Bike Night – Fixing bikes in February

Hello everyone!  It’s been cold.  It’s been snowy.  But some of you people are still riding your bicycles.  Being cold and snowy doesn’t stop the need for maintenance.  Every other week is Bike Night at PS:1, and we’ve got our doors open for you.

Sometimes we bring in things to show off.  Sometimes we teach.  Usually we work on interesting bike projects.  (Learning how to wrap bars, building a bike from the frame up, etc) Last night was playing bike doctor more than “here’s fun stuff to work on.”  We had two patients last night.

Bike maintenance at PumpingStation

Bike maintenance at PumpingStation: One

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Patient #1 received a new chain and sprockets to replace a stretched set.  And, the rider discovered the magic of clipless pedals last year, so replaced his platforms with some SPD pedals.

Patient #2 had some cheesy short term replacement pedals replaced with some very nice platforms, and had it’s headset rebuilt.

Does your bike need a tuneup?  Do you have questions about picking a new bike this spring?  Do you want to learn a new bicycle related skill?  Come visit us, we’ll be gathering in the shop March 5 at 7PM.

-Nerobro

20

02 2014

NERP: Spark Core – Warm and Fuzzy Computing

Monday Feb 17th at 7pm Jeff Camealy will present his talk “How to control your electric blanket with a Spark Core”. He describes his use case: “The Spark Core is a small Arduino compatible chip with built in WiFi and Cloud connectivity. This functionally can be used to easily create a device that can be controlled remotely. We’ll see how we can use the Spark Core Cloud to create an iPhone App to direct your blanket from the comfort of your .. blanket.”

nerp_spark-core-2

Lest Jeff sell himself short, it should be said that he’s spotted a technology that’s powerful and significant, but also somewhat strange. Until now the Arduino programming environment hasn’t often been associated with cloud computing. It’s not clear to me whether this is a niche application, or the start of a trend in small embedded controllers. Not surprisingly, the ARM architecture continues to insinuate itself into every corner of embedded control. The Spark Core uses an STMicroelectronics STM32F103 ARM M3 running at 72 MHz. The WiFi is provided by a TI SimpleLink CC3000 module. If you don’t like the cloud you can use the Spark Core as an ordinary USB-programmed controller that has WiFi. The spark.io site contains these [edited] points to help in understanding what the Spark Core does:

The Spark Core is a tiny, open source Wi-Fi development board that makes it easy to create Internet connected hardware. The Core is all you need to get started; power it over USB and in minutes you’ll be controlling LEDs, switches and motors and collecting data from sensors over the Internet!

There’s no need to ever plug the Core into your computer; you can write code in our web IDE and download it wirelessly to the Core. The Core uses Wiring, the same programming language that Arduino uses. Plus, with an accessory called the Shield Shield, you can connect the Core to a standard Arduino shield.

The Cloud is the mother ship that the Spark Core connects to when it comes online. Once the Core is paired with the Cloud, it becomes accessible from anywhere in the world through our open but secure REST API. Cloud service comes free for life with the Core. [excerpts from https://www.spark.io/]

Excitement!

Thanks to Drew Fustini and the kind folks at element14, we’ll have a drawing for a fully assembled Gertboard. “Gertboard is the ideal add-on for Raspberry Pi. Designed by Gert van Loo, it is a flexible experimenter board that plugs directly into your Raspberry Pi, and out into the physical world…” [element14]

NERP is not exclusively raspberry pi, the small computer interest group at Pumping Station:One in Chicago. Find NERP and Pumping Station:One
at http://www.meetup.com/NERP-Not-Exclusively-Raspberry-Pi/
and http://pumpingstationone.org/

NERP meets every other Monday at 7pm at Pumping Station:One, 3519 N. Elston Ave. in Chicago. Doors open at 6:30pm. The next meeting is Feb 17th, 2014. 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, Element14,
Pumping Station One

14

02 2014

NERP: Teensy 3.X – a 32-bit ARM microcontroller board for <20$

The Teensy name has been around for several years in the land of 8-bit MCU boards, but the 32-bit Arm platform introduced in Teensy v3.0, is a game-changer. PJRC (http://pjrc.com/teensy/teensy31.html)sent a few Teensy 3.0’s to Anna (our Electronics area host) at PS:1 with no discussion or fanfare. Thank-you, PJRC.

AT NERP TONIGHT, Ed will show the Teensy 3.0 hardware, Arduino tools, and some sample programs. After that introduction to the Teensy 3.0, Colorado Rob will show how he programs the Teensy 3.1 with a combination of tools and utilities from Eclipse, GNU, Freescale (manufacturers of the Teensy ARM MCU), and freeRTOS. ALSO – We’ll also raffle a new in box original aka white BeagleBone. Thanks to Drew for the donation!

The Teensy 3.X’s cost less than $20 and include all the peripherals you expect in a regular MCU. Some specs on the Teensy 3.1 are:

MCU MK20DX256VLH7 Cortex-M4, 72Mhz (96MHz overclocked), 256k flash, 64k RAM, 2k EEPROM, 34 dio pins, 21 analog input pins, etc.

The Teensy 3.0 is (mostly) pin compatible with the 3.1. The v3.0 uses an MK20DX128VLH5 MCU with 34 dio pins, 14 analog input pins, etc. Other spec values are one-half or less of the ‘DX256VLH7.

The 32-bit ARM chips are internally much more complicated than 8-bit processors, but the user doesn’t have to be aware of this when programming them. The Teensyduino IDE from PJRC provides a familiar user interface and Arduino(TM) libraries that make getting from zero to blinky very easy. There are additional libraries that provide access to some of the ARM-specific resources such as the USB port.

I’ve been exploring the v3.0 samples and am pleased with their sale price and performance. My setup is the basic Arduino install + Teensyduino on Linux. After doing the Arduino install I played with some sample code that does HID mouse and keyboard emulation on USB. Making it work was pretty straightforward.

Colorodo Rob writes:

I have been playing around with the Teensy 3.1 for a few days. It’s an ARM board for $17.
http://store.oshpark.com/products/teensy-3-1

My thoughts on it so far are that the CPU is way overkill for most embedded things that you’d program with the Arduino programming environment and library.* Also, there is a huge increase in complexity to overcome to program if using “real tools”. But the Arduino tools are easy to set up and use. But for my embedded project, the Freescale CPU it uses has the potential to save a bit of money. Even though the CPU costs more than the AVR part I currently use, it includes a USB controller and a voltage regulator, so those component costs go away. I’ve been following a tutorial for setting up a dev tool chain for these CPUs using Eclipse, GCC and Freescale’s tools:

http://mcuoneclipse.com/2013/07/20/dyi-free-toolchain-for-kinetis-part-1-gnu-arm-build-tools/

I’m looking at FreeRTOS (modified GPL) now. I’ve just gotten the ADC working with DMA which is pretty cool. My completion handler gets called when there are 32 samples ready for me, which is what I need for the carrier detect algorithm. The Freescale tools are pretty powerful for what they allow you to do, and an RTOS provides interesting departure from the sequential programming typical of Arduino development.

*Rob and I differ on this point…

NERP is not exclusively raspberry pi, the small computer interest group at Pumping Station:One in Chicago.

Find NERP and Pumping Station:One
at http://www.meetup.com/NERP-Not-Exclusively-Raspberry-Pi/
and http://pumpingstationone.org/

NERP meets every other Monday at 7pm at Pumping Station:One, 3519 N. Elston Ave. in Chicago.Doors open at 6:30pm.The next meeting is Feb 3rd, 2014. 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, Element14,
Pumping Station One

03

02 2014

Next NERP Jan. 6th, 2014 with Rev. Todd Freeman

Please remember that NERP will not meet on December 30th.

On Jan. 6th, Rev. Todd Freeman of the OpenSource Temple will be giving a short talk called “How an Embedded PC bonanza can save mankind”.

The good Reverend has used a variety of small embedded PC’s for data acquisition and control and embedded networking applications related to the various ministries of the OpenSource Temple. Some of these systems overlap the functional capabilities of the Raspberry Pi and BeagleBone, but live in market niches that are not usually encountered by the average maker/hacker/diy-er. At NERP we want to know about these kinds of things.

I asked Todd if there exists a website that catalogs for comparison the features of a bunch of these dark horse platforms. He replied that “While there is not a site I am aware of that has a comparison of every display-less mini pc, I think it’s primarily due to the difficulty narrowing down what that means.” He went on to describe a rather long list of devices, categorized by a couple of different schemes. I for one am eager to learn how we can use this “bonanza” to save mankind!

NERP is not exclusively raspberry pi, the small computer interest group at Pumping Station:One in Chicago.

Find NERP and Pumping Station:One
at http://www.meetup.com/NERP-Not-Exclusively-Raspberry-Pi/
and http://pumpingstationone.org/

NERP meets every other Monday at 7pm at Pumping Station:One, 3519 N. Elston Ave. in Chicago.
Doors open at 6:30pm. The next meeting is Jan 6, 2014. 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, Element14,
Pumping Station One

28

12 2013

Holiday Open House Schedule

PS:One Bar Decorations

With Christmas Eve and New Years’s Eve falling on Tuesdays this year, we won’t have official open houses or member meeting on the 24th and 31st of December. Both will resume January 7th; please join us in the new year.

In the meantime, happy hacking!

21

12 2013

3D Printing Cage Match: 7pm Dec 12 at Beauty Bar

3DPCM LogoWe’re throwing a 3D Printing Cage Match Party at 7PM at Chicago’s Beauty Bar.

See factory teams, local businesses, and hobbyists compete to print a medieval weapon as fast as possible, and then fire marshmallows at their slower competitors!

Our own DJ Adam Dzak will be spinning, Jim Burke will provide commentary, and PS:One’s Lulzbot AO-101 and Makerbot Replicator will both be competing as well.

Want to attend? RSVP (free) here.

Want to compete? Register (free) here.

More information at the 3D Printer Cage Match Homepage.

Please note that this event will serve as the CNC Build Club meeting on the same evening.

02

12 2013

The Mill Arrived Today! Yippee!

Bridgeport-1

Thanks to the effort and generosity of a committed group of PS:1 members and project donors, we now have a Bridgeport milling machine. Special thanks go to Zlotan for keeping up the project momentum. Thanks to Tucker for setting the goals and doing a bunch of research and leg work.  And a big thank-you to Bart Dring for hooking us up with a sweet deal on a great machine and arranging the move.

Bridgeport-2

There will be more to say and more to report as we integrate the mill into our shop. Stay tuned for further announcements.

19

11 2013

NERP Tonight: Big Blinkies

Tonight at NERP, Yours Truly will show a couple of ways to interface from low level logic to 120VAC to control lights, motors, etc.

It’s well understood that small microprocessors have very little power available on their output pins. A load controlled by the processor can be AC or DC, and low or high voltage. The interface circuit has to amplify the logic level signal to the appropriate power for the load.  An unusual method (Ok, it’s a hack) for controlling 120VAC light dimmers involves adding a photocell to a commercial wall dimmer, and coupling the photocell to the processor via a PWM’ed LED. (This method of interfacing involves working with dangerous voltages and currents. It is presented for demonstration purposes, only. Don’t try this at home. Or do. It’s your choice.) A simpler method of interfacing to 120VAC uses solid state relays for on-off control. We’ll see SSR’s  used for making a big blinky for large lamps.

NERP is not exclusively raspberry pi, the small computer interest group at Pumping Station:One in Chicago.

Find NERP and Pumping Station:One
at http://www.meetup.com/NERP-Not-Exclusively-Raspberry-Pi/
and http://pumpingstationone.org/

NERP meets every other Monday at 7pm at Pumping Station:One, 3519 N. Elston Ave. in Chicago.
Doors open at 6:30pm. The next meeting is Nov. 18, 2013 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, Element14

18

11 2013

NERP Tonight: Ste on the Launchpad

Tonight at NERP, Ste Kulov will introduce the MSP430 line of microcontrollers from Texas Instruments. His talk will focus on using the MSP-EXP430G2 Launchpad kit.

The MSP product line from Texas Instruments contains an extensive variety of microcontrollers varying in size, peripherals, etc. MSP microcontrollers are know for being 16-bit, very low power, feature-rich, and low-priced. The development boards are called Launchpads. Open source software for developing on Launchpads has been scarce and not condoned by TI. This is changing however as TI has joined the msp-gcc project in collaboration with Redhat. One outcome to date is the energia development tools, which are a fork of the Arduino tools.

http://energia.nu/Guide_MSP430LaunchPad.html (see the pix of Launchpads)

Here’s what Ste says he’s likely to cover. (It’s a lot, so we may run a little over time).

1.) Talk about the MSP-EXP430G2 Launchpad kit and what comes with it.

2.) Very brief overview of Energia, which is software that turns your Launchpad into an Arduino.

3.) Introduce Code Composer Studio, which is the official software used for most Texas Instruments software development.

4.) Basic Boolean algebra review.

5.) Go over simple tasks such as setting, clearing, and toggling bits.

6.) Run a simple “Hello World” LED blink program.

7.) Run through the project I had to create for my job.  It uses Timers, Interrupts, and the Low Power modes.

NERP is not exclusively raspberry pi, the small computer interest group at Pumping Station:One in Chicago.

Find NERP and Pumping Station:One
at http://www.meetup.com/NERP-Not-Exclusively-Raspberry-Pi/
and http://pumpingstationone.org/

NERP meets at 7pm Nov. 4, 2013 at Pumping Station:One, 3519 N. Elston Ave. in Chicago.
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, Element14

04

11 2013

CNC Build Club: Shapeoko 2 Demo

Shapeoko

 

At the next CNC Build Club, on Thursday 10/24/2013 at 7:00pm, we are going to have a demo of the, soon to be released, Shapeoko 2 CNC router.  The ShapeOko was designed by local inventor, and PS:One friend, Edward Ford.  The original version was extremely popular.  The new version adds many new features.

  • Larger work area.
  • Easier to expand
  • Open front and rear for feeding stock through
  • Dual motor Y axis is now standard
  • More ridged
  • Belts lay flat and are easier to install

Shapeoko

 

It will go on sale at Inventables very soon.  Inventables will also be giving away one milling bit starter kit at the meeting.  This a a kit of 5 solid carbide 1/8″ diameter bits.  It includes 2 spiral upcut bits, 2 straight flute bits and 1 ball end mill.  You must be registered on Meetup for this meeting and present to  be eligible for the bit kit.  The meeting is open to members and non-members.

Shapeoko

18

10 2013