Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’Category

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

CNC Build Club with Alden Hart: 1/23/2014

AldenHart

Alden Hart, the creator of TinyG and the grblShield will be in town later this month and will give a talk at the 1/23/2014 CNC Build Club @7:00pm.  The meeting is open to members and non-members.  If you want to attend, please RSVP via Meetup.

The grblShield is a basic stepper motor driver Arduino Uno Shield.  It is part of the standard parts list for the Shapeoko and there are thousands of these in the field. It can also act as a shield for the Arduino Due and run a special version of TinyG firmware.

grblShieldv4-800-600x399

 

 

 

 

 

 

The TinyG project is a multi-axis motion control system. It is designed for CNC applications and other applications that require highly precise motion control. TinyG is meant to be a complete embedded solution for small/medium motor control. Here are some of the main features of the v8 hardware.

  • Integrated motion control system with embedded microcontroller (Atmel ATxmega192)
  • 4 stepper motor drivers (TI DRV8818) integrated on a ~4 inch square board
  • Stepper drivers handle 2.5 amps per winding which will handle most motors up thru NEMA23 and some NEMA34 motors
  • Accepts Gcode from USB port and interprets it locally on the board
  • 6-axis control (XYZ + ABC rotary axes) maps to any 4 motors
  • Constant jerk acceleration planning (3rd order S curves) for smooth and fast motion transitions
  • Very smooth step pulse generation using phase-optimized fractional-step DDA running at 50 Khz with very low jitter
  • Networkable via SPI to support off-board devices and for networking multiple boards into multi-axis systems
  • Microstepping up to 1/8 (optimized DDA makes this smoother than many 1/16 implementations)

tinyg

 

05

01 2014

NERP tonite! BoneScript and the BaconCape.

The Beagle Bone Black is  an Altoids-tin-sized $45 Open Source Hardware Linux computer.  It can be programmed in pretty much any language, since “it’s just Linux, but small”.

“BoneScript is a Node.js library specifically optimized for the Beagle family and featuring familiar Arduino function calls, exported to the browser.”
(http://beagleboard.org/Support/BoneScript).

Tonight at NERP,  the inimitable Drew Fustini will be presenting a quick refresher on BoneScript and then an introduction more advanced BoneScript capilbities using the BaconCape:

http://beagleboard.org/support/BoneScript/cape_bacon/

“an add-on board meant to give you access to some hardware to help build your understanding of doing basic embedded I/O on BeagleBone”

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 Dec 16th, 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, Pumping Station One

16

12 2013

Cybersecurity for Everyone

Monday November 25 from 7-9pm, Lisha Sterling from Geeks Without Bounds will be teaching Cybersecurity for Everyone at Pumping Station: One.

“No one would want to hack me!” (Famous last words.)

In this workshop, I explain what the real risks and threats are when you put your devices on the Internet and we discuss how to balance convenience with security in a sensible way.

You’ll get to see what wireless traffic looks like when someone’s sniffing it out of the air. You’ll see quickly why HTTPS is important for your personal web browsing, and why just having a WEP or WPA protected wifi connection isn’t good enough. (And if you don’t know what WEP or WPA are, you’ll learn that, too!) I’ll show you how people can find your vulnerable home and office devices — routers, printers and more — and tell you how to protect yourself before you get hit. How secure are your passwords? I’ll teach you a few tricks for creating memorable but unguessable keys for all your digital stuff. We’ll discuss how to use TOR safely, including common pitfalls and we’ll ask, is it possible to have secure email communication? We’ll finish up the evening with a quick tutorial on using Mailvelope for encrypting your webmail.

25

11 2013

Using Bronze Age Technology to Move the Mill

When the Bridgeport  mill was delivered on Tuesday, we had the driver did set it on the floor by the back dock. The metal shop is near the front of the building, so we had to move the mill by hand into it’s new home. The mill weighs bout 2200 pounds, and it’s very top-heavy. This makes moving it difficult and somewhat dangerous. Dean suggested that we use pieces of 1-inch black pipe as rollers, Egyptian style. He brought along a large pry bar for lifting an edge of the mill up enough to slip a piece of pipe underneath. After a couple of pieces of pipe are under the machine, it can be rolled. It looks like it would just sail along, but small imperfections in the floor make pushing very hard in spots.

Bridgeport_Move

Steering is done with the pry bar by lifting up an edge of the base a tiny bit and then swivelling the captive edge about the fulcrum of the pry bar. A change of direction is accomplished in increments of a few inches per swivel. [We need to name a unit for inches per swivel.] Steering is also effected by the angle the pipes lie at, relative to the line of motion, and also by sheer force. My rough estimate is that the move was about 75 feet, and took about an hour and a half. JP set the pipes, Dean worked the pry bar, Mike and Steve did the forward push, and Tucker guided the machine into curves. As of Wednesday, the machine  is connected to power. Yea!

21

11 2013

Math Office Hours, this Sunday from 5 to 7

Express your inner mathnerd! Come join us for an evening of learning: algebra, calculus, word problems, finding x, and much, much more. We’re open to anyone looking to brush up on basic skills and to those who want to learn about more advanced topics. We can even stray into set theory, topology, and fourier analysis…. it’s all up to you!

If you’re feeling intimidated, don’t be. Any level of math experience is welcome. We will be happy to discuss any topic that falls under “math”. No question is too basic. Got a homework question? We can help! Trying to solve a tricky equation for a problem? We’ll think it through with you. Want to learn the basics of what math is all about? We’ve got you covered!

Math should be a common language to all, and we will be more than happy to help you take the first steps towards a lifelong appreciation of this beautiful subject!

Show and Tell

At the start of this week’s Math Office Hours, we’ll be doing show and tell. If you have a math topic you’re interested in, come tell us about it. Presentations can be as short as 2 minutes or as long as 20 minutes.

Whos, Whens, and Wheres

  • Who – Anyone who wants to learn about math
  • Where – PS:One, second floor, in the electronics area
  • When – Sunday, June 9th, 5pm until 7pm
  • How much – Free

10

11 2013

An ARM-Based SBC with an RTOS

 A couple of NERPs ago Russ Porte gave a 15 minute intro to the Freedom Board, an inexpensive single board computer.

FRDM-KL25Z_BDTN

Tonight, Russ will present a closer look at the Freescale FRDM-KL25z, using some of the built-in peripherals to start building an interactive device. While building, we’ll cover some i2c basics and learn how using an RTOS can solve synchronization problems.

1) Prototyping on the Freescale FRDM platform.

2) Brief intro to the MMA8450Q Freescale three-axis accelerometer using i2c.

3) Brief overview of synchronization problems and how RTOS primitives can help you solve them.
ALSO

Drew Fustini has passed along a heads-up about NERP being mentioned by Jason Kridner in a twit.tv interview. http://twit.tv/show/floss-weekly/269 Jason works at TI and is one of the designers of the Beagle Bone. It’s very cool that he enjoyed visiting NERP last August . Jason has a standing invitation to speak at NERP whenever he’s in Chicago.

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 Oct. 21, 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

21

10 2013

NERP: Implementing MIL-STD-1553 with 3 Beagles

Tonight Trefor Delve will present a distributed simulation development making use of three Beagle Bone Blacks as part of the network. The simulation is used as a proof of concept for a general purpose, configurable simulation platform making using of public domain software.

Mil1553_timingMIL Standard 1553 bus timing [wikipedia]

The presentation will introduce the principles of the MIL Standard 1553 data bus, show a simulation with simulated hardware and demonstrate the same software running on distributed Beagle computers making use of the Beagle’s ADC, PWM and SPI interfaces.

The presentation will also demonstrate the use of the QT widget set to allow remote virtual hardware to interact with the Beagle simulation.

The presentation will demonstrate the setup of the ADC, PWM and SPI interfaces using the system capabilities.

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 Oct., 7, 201313 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

07

10 2013

Urban Sensor Hack (with MAKE and GE), Thursday 9.26

logo

As the the participating hackerspace for MAKE and GE’s Urban Sensor Hack! MAKE presents Maker Sessions, Urban Sensor Hack. But what is the Urban Sensor Hack?  It’s an event happening in real spaces and online. The USH includes talks from….

  • Alasdair Allan, Author of numerous books published by O’Reilly on sensors including “Distributed Network Data” with Kipp Bradford and “iOS Sensor Apps with Arduino.”
  • Ter0 & Kimmo Karvinem, Authors of the “Getting Started with Sensors.”
  • Patrick DiGiusto & Emily Gertz, Authors of “DIY Enviromental Monitoring with Arduino” and “Atmospheric Monitoring with Arduino.”
  • Tim Dye of Aircasting & Michael Heimbinder of Habitatmap.org
  • Rob Faludi, Author of “Building Wireless Sensor Networks”

But what is everyone talking about? The practical, real-world applications of continually developing sensors that enable microcontrollers to interact with our world. This series of events is free and open to the public. Whether you’re an experienced maker or trying to figure out what this whole culture is about – these are the events are for you!

Thursday night (9.26) will be led by Tero and Kimmo Karvinem, the authors of Getting Started with Sensors (http://www.amazon.com/Getting/dp/1449367089). The Google Hangout starts 5:30pm central and you can attend here https://plus.google.com/u/0/events/c3275tpg1f75iosr4mglem32nl8?authkey=CM7Mh-6D7oL47AE&cfem=1

 

Check out http://makezine.com/urban-sensor-hack/ for more details.

26

09 2013