DC Circuits Class Notes

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Thanks to everyone who came and participated in the circuits class this past weekend.  There was a lot of material that was covered and there was no way to go through it all in exhausting detail.  So I’m making available a scanned PDF of the notes I wrote for the class.  Enjoy all the spelling errors, in addition to the one found above.  The edges might be cut-off in some areas, but it’s the best I can do:   DC_Circuits_SK

Also, Carl Karsten did the exhausting (and usually thankless) job of recording a video of the class.  It can be found here:

http://videos.pumpingstationone.org/video/32/basic-electronics-dc-circuits-class

The solution to the bonus question was never explicitly stated in the video, so here it is:

bonus_solution

 

 

05

07 2014

Hack Your Coffee!

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Have you ever felt dissatisfied?

Have you ever woken up in the morning, considered all the projects you had ahead for the day, all the worthless meetings and teleconferences, and just said, “blah?”

You take a sip of your morning coffee, expecting a moment of brightness, goodness, something to cling onto by the fingernails, to hold you throughout the day, as you say to yourself, “You know, today is gonna suck, but at least I have this freshly brewed Java Supremo from Overpriced Cafe”?

You take that sip… and you say to yourself, “Really?  That’s it?  This is how my day is going to begin, not with a bang, but with a whimper?”

Yes, I too have felt that way.  I had wished there was a way I could seek out bold new flavor profiles in my morning coffee, beyond just “mild” “medium” and “strong.”  I wished there was a way to hack my morning coffee.

Thankfully, there are options.  Today, we are trained to only look for coffee at our grocer, or perhaps at the local cafe where we can pick and choose from pre-selected and pre-roasted coffee, perhaps even pre-ground, for our approval.  Or, we can do things the way our great-great-grandparents did it, which is, we roast our own damn coffee.  There are many ways to do this, one of which is with an air-pop popcorn popper.

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That’s right, this noble device, previously only a monotasked tool to deliver copious amounts of fluffed corn to your gaping maw whilst watching reruns of ‘Love Boat’ and ‘Magnum PI’ can also serve as a way to roast our precious coffee the same way the pioneers did.  Well, not really, but close enough.

Currently only one batch of green coffee beans has been successfully roasted and served to unsuspecting denizens of PS:1 (No, those are not flavor crystals, THAT’S REAL FLAVOR DANGIT) to glowing reviews.  This is only a proof-of-concept batch at this point, with much more work and experimentation to be conducted, but with continued testing and sampling, the overall goal is to create a viable procedure, optimize the process, and eventually create the capability at PS:1 to roast coffee, and tailor to your specific discerning tastes.

The output of this project will include a wiki page with optional training, an understanding of the variables of coffee roasting and how to tweak the process to serve your tastes (i.e. using APPLIED SCIENCE to understand the roasting process), and recommendations on where to source green coffee beans.

More information is forthcoming in a future 300 Seconds of Fame!

 

 

 

02

07 2014

We have videos

Did you miss the talk on Machinekit: BeagleBone CNC & beyond!? Or maybe you weren’t there for the unboxing of the Shop Bot.

We have videos.

Carl and I have set up Pumping Station: One Videos.

02

07 2014

Women’s Electronics Workshops

Our first round of Women’s Electronics Workshops were a huge hit!

I’ve had several requests for more events like this, so I’ve created a Meet Up page for it. Please join it if you’d like to participate.

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14-06-28-Chris-n-Rodica 14-06-28-Etienne-BreadboardADSC_4535-Sara-n-Rodica14-06-28-Sheila-n-Kathy   ADSC_4546-Jill-Liz-Solder  Read the rest of this entry →

30

06 2014

PS:One and SSH present: Business Planning for Hackers, Creatives, and Other Out of the Box Types

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PS:One & SSH present: Business Planning for Hackers, Creatives, and Other Out of the Box Types

Facilitated by A. Catherine Noon of Writer Zen Garden.

Taking an idea from concept to execution poses unique challenges. One way is to just do it, throwing enough mud at the wall that eventually some will stick. This is time-intensive and may not yield much more than a mud-covered wall.

There’s a better way. Businesses have been around since the time of Babylon; why not experiment with some tools that have made others successful? A business plan can yield benefits not just from the process of clarifying your goals but as a funding tool. If you can crystallize your passion onto the page then chances are, you’ll have a shot at inspiring others as well.

After all, mud on a wall is mud on a wall.

Over twelve weeks, we will explore our own ideas using tools from right-brained artistic games to classic business school (like SWOT and budgets). You will need a copy of the book, The Creative Entrepreneur: A DIY Visual Guidebook for Making Business Ideas Real by Lisa Sonora Beam, available from Amazon, the Chicago Public Library, and other booksellers.

You will also need a blank journal book, at least 8.5” x 11”. I like the Strathmore 400 Series journals, available from retailers or Mister Art.com; their 12” x 9” is my favorite.

These will be held alternating Thursdays at Pumping Station: One (PS:1) and Southside Hackerspace Chicago (SSH:C). Addresses and links are below the schedule.

Our first four sessions have been well attended and productive. We work in a collaborative fashion, alternating between roundtable discussion and work/play time on our individual projects.

If you’re curious about the process or want to get clear about your own ideas for a business, please check us out.

Week 1: What To Hack… (Thursday, 06/05/2014, 7:00 – 9:00 P.M. @ PS:1)

  • Topics: Intro, Why Plan?
  • Exercise: Mandala 1 & 2

Week 2: Exercise: Mandalagain (Thursday, 06/12/2014, 7:00 – 9:00 P.M. @ SSH:C)

  • Exercise: Mandala 3 & 4

Week 3: Discussion (Thursday, 06/19/2014, 7:00 – 9:00 P.M. @ PS:1)

  • Discussion: Completed Mandala share. Synthesize, answer questions in group. Guides.

Week 4: Exercise: Map Your Brain (Thursday, 06/26/2014, 7:00 – 9:00 P.M. @ SSH:C)

Exercise: Left Brain/Right Brain Map.

Week 5: Exercise: Map Your Modes and Remedies (Thursday, 07/03/2014, 7:00 – 9:00 P.M. @ PS:1)

  • Topics: Modes, Part I: Modes of Functioning: Sensing, Thinking, Feeling, Acting. Constructive & Destructive.
  • Exercise: Mapping Your Modes. Mapping Your Remedies.

Week 6: Exercise: Recipe Cards (Thursday, 07/10/2014, 7:00 – 9:00 P.M. @ SSH:C)

  • Topics: Modes, Part II: Recipe Cards – Mastering Your Modes; Self-Inquiry Portraits
  • Exercise: Recipe Cards

Week 7: Exercise: SWAT THE SWOT (Thursday, 07/17/2014, 7:00 – 9:00 P.M. @ PS:1)

  • Topics: The Art of Strategy: SWOT
  • Exercise: Create a SWOT; Research Punch List

Week 8: Exercise/Discussion: Be SMART! (Thursday, 07/24/2014, 7:00 – 9:00 P.M. @ SSH:C)

  • Topics: Be SMART – Objectives, Strategies, and Tactics.
  • Exercise: Prioritized Task Lists, Not To-Do List. Group Exercise – Synergy
  • Discussion: Brainstorm Objectives, Strategies and Tactics.

Week 9: Exercise: Envision it! (Thursday, 07/31/2014, 7:00 – 9:00 P.M. @ PS:1)

  • Topics: SMART Framework
  • Exercise: Vision Cards – Personal Strategic Plan

Week 10: Exercise: Promote it! (Thursday, 08/07/2014, 7:00 – 9:00 P.M. @ SSH:C)

Topics: Promotion, Part I: Define Target Audience

  • Exercise: Customer Persona Collage, Competitive Analysis

Week 11: Branding (Thursday, 08/14/2014 @ PS:1)

  • Topics: Promotion, Part II: Customer Needs; Features vs. Benefits; Branding Basics

Week 12: Exercise/Discussion: Make It and Break It (Out)! (Thursday, 08/21/2014, 7:00 – 9:00 P.M. @ SSH:C)

  • Topics: Promotional Tactics
  • Exercise: DIY Mini-Journal & Greeting Card Cover
  • Discussion: Wrap – Roundtable – Share Completed Plans

Pumping Station: One

3519 N. Elston
Chicago, IL 60618
http://pumpingstationone.org/

Southside Hackerspace Chicago

2233 South Throop St, Unit 214
Chicago, IL 60608
http://sshchicago.org/

 

27

06 2014

Liquid Nitrogen – Part 1

LN2 withdrawal systemLiquid nitrogen (LN2) rocks. Yes, officially speaking, I need to get liquid nitrogen at PS:One so that we can do serious sciencey stuff, like, say, energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy on the scanning electron microscope. But, unofficially? Driving nails into wood with a frozen banana, or making ice cream, is just plain awesome. And the clouds of chilled water vapor billowing out of flasks like something from a mad scientist’s lab… what can I say, I’m easily amused.

First, we need a source to buy LN2. Fortunately, a very generous individual, who happens to own a really cool company that has helped us in the past with CO2 tanks and refills, and provided free LN2 to test the EDX detector on the scanning electron microscope, offered us a great deal for purchasing it. But transporting -321F liquid to PS:One and storing it presents unique challenges.

LN2 boring the plugSo we need to start with a large storage dewar. These can be ridiculously expensive. I scoured eBay, found one, posted a crowdfunding request to the PS:One mailing list, and, thanks to the generosity of a bunch of donors, I made the purchase.

Read the rest of this entry →

26

06 2014

Basic Electronics – DC Circuits Class – Sunday June 29th @ 2pm

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Well, I finally got around to finishing the curriculum for a beginning Electronics class.  This class will cover a lot of the fundamentals that should be known when designing any type of electronic circuit.  DC circuits will be covered here, so no frequency dependent (AC) topics will be touched.  Hopefully in the future, I’ll have time to eventually write a followup Intermediate Electronics class that will cover AC circuits.

It will be broken up into two parts, a lecture-ish part with lots of fun whiteboard time and a lab (hands-on) portion:

Lecture Topics:

  1. Electricity, conductors, and insulators
  2. Ohm’s Law
  3. KVL & KCL: Series and Parallel circuits
  4. Voltage Dividers
  5. Traditional Circuit Analysis: Mesh Currents & Node Voltage
  6. Better Analysis Tools: Superposition & Thevenin’s Theorem
  7. Silicon Diodes and LEDs

Lab Topics:

  1. DC Circuit Simulation with LTspice (the best analysis tool)
  2. Learn how to use solderless breadboards
  3. Build simple circuits using resistors and LEDs

I will be giving away one small electronics “starter kit” consisting of a solderless breadboard, bags of resistors and capacitors, a bunch of jumper wires, and a digital multimeter.  I’ll most likely dish this kit out by asking a bonus question and giving it away to the first person with the correct answer.  Anyway, hope to see you there!

The Details:

  • Who: Anyone who knows basic Algebra (Open to the Public)
  • When: Sunday, June 29th – 2:00pm to 4:00pm…..or 5pm or 6pm or however long you wanna stay and learn
  • Where: 3519 N. Elston – 2nd Floor in the Electronics Lab
  • Cost: FREE

 

26

06 2014

Microcontroller Talk: Energia & Rekam1 Wireless Projects

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“Energia & Rekam1 Wireless Microcontroller Projects”

Wednesday, June 25th, 7PM

Open to the Public and Free

Texas Instruments engineer Leo Estevez will be in town for the Sensors Expo & offered to give on a talk on developing microcontroller projects with Energia IDE and Rekam1 wireless operating system.

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Rekam1 enables easy communication between a microcontroller and a mobile device (Android or iOS) via WiFi or Bluetooth. Rekam1 currently supports the MSP430 LaunchPad. Leo will demo his MSP430-based Beer Machine which can be controlled by a smartphone or tablet

Further info on the Events calendar

25

06 2014

From Laser Cutting to Casting — Starting My Projects at Pumping Station: One

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Here is my latest creation

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In wax before it is to be cast

This is a turkey vulture pendant that I created as per request of a member here for a birthday present. The recipient is a Naturalist for the Nature preserve here in IL.

So how I went about creating this: created the design through Adobe Illustrator, laser cut the pendant out with our Epilog  laser engraver, and did a lost wax cast to get the final piece in sterling silver, then added a patina to the metal for the shading.

To check out my website or contact me for collaborations see www.ellagentz.squarespace.com.

24

06 2014

SIGBOT is starting tonight!

Hey everyone! We’re starting a new robotics group tonight at 19:00. SIGBOT is the Special Interest Group for Robotics. We’ll be meeting the 3rd Thursday of the month in the electronics lab at Pumping Station: One.

Tonight we’ll be talking about what this club will really be all about. I want to hear everyone’s ideas for projects we can work on as a group, and also what projects people are working on individually.

Hope to see you all there!

19

06 2014