Posts Tagged ‘electronics’

NERP (Not Exclusively Raspberry Pi) meetup 08-27-12

NERP Meetup at PS:One

The bi-weekly NERP (Not Exclusively Raspberry Pi embedded systems) Meetup  focused on  serial i/o. Serial interfacing allows connecting “stuff” to a processor using a small number of wires. There are different ways of making serial connections to processors, and last night we talked about two of them. Drew showed how to implement I2C interfacing to several devices he had out for demo. I2C (I-Square-C) is a way of wiring smart devices like sensors, displays, and microcontrollers to a host computer. The Raspberry Pi has connection pins for I2C on the board and a kernel module for talking to I2C devices from user land. Ed quickly demoed a couple of examples of  UART serial technique with a Raspberry Pi running a login on a dumb terminal demo and an RS485 to PC interface on a Macbook. We’ll examine practical applications of these connection methods and others including SPI in future meetings.

The NERP description and meetup are at   http://www.meetup.com/NERP-Not-Exclusively-Raspberry-Pi/ . (It’s not necessary to use the Meetup signup to attend NERP, but it helps us anticipate how to set up the electronics lab for the number of attendees. Also it shows Meetup that people actually attend the meetings.) .

We’re looking for people who would like to show their work or lead a NERP-related discussion.  We’d especially like to hear about works in progress (i.e., unfinished), both in hardware and software.  Python, C, interfacing, non-Rasapberry Pi embedded systems, media, networking, and physical devices are particularly interesting.  Contact Ed (ed -> kineticsandelectronics – com) to schedule a day.

28

08 2012

NERP – next meetng 8/27 + notes from 8/13

The next NERP (Not Exclusively Raspberry Pi) meeting will be at 7pm Monday August 27th. The new regular format of the NERP meetings is

  1. a new user orientation (first session) at 6pm
  2. The regular meeting (second session) from 7-8:30pm.
  3. The after party which goes on until the building closes.

The orientation sessions help new users get their Raspberry Pis booted and quickly demo where the start buttons are in the operating system. The second session is a forum for talks, demos, free discussion, and questions. Subjects can be of general interest or advanced and highly focused. *

occidentalis

occidentalis – the black raspberry

The purpose of NERP is to promote discussion and exchange of knowledge and ideas. Interruptions and dumb questions are encouraged. The flow of a meeting can be deliciously chaotic.

I didn’t set out to take minutes at the NERP meeting last Monday, but there was so much good information flying around that it was hard to resist jotting some things down.

  • Drew demoed many of the apps that come with the pi by default.

  • Looked at Quake on the RPi. Learned about the Simple DirectMedia Layer (SDL) (“…a cross-platform, free and open source multimedia library written in C that presents a simple interface to various platforms’ graphics, sound, and input devices…”)
  • Looked at /opt/vc where the broadcom videocore libs and utils live. Note to self: some of the utils look useful for low level tweaking at run time.
  • Clarified the difference between Arduino and Rpi by running a blinky demo with the arduino hosted by the Pi
  • Cortex M-series is the microcontroller family of Arms. There are <$20 ARM M4 boards.
  • The logic level output lines are weak. Voltages are: USB = 5V, general i/o = 3.3V, HDMI = 1.8V.
  • It don’t mean a thing if you ain’t got that adafruit clear box and breakout board.
  • Everything is a file. How to do output in Bash:

echo “out” > /sys/class/gpio/gpio4/direction
echo “0” > /sys/class/gpio/gpio4/value
echo “1” > /sys/class/gpio/gpio4/value

  • The video output problem… There are cheap 3.5” video screens (for car rear view cameras) on amazon
  • From Jay: Demo of a Motorola dock for a phone for $55.   11.6” HDMI 1333 x 800. Works well with RPi.
  • Watch ebay, amazon, China direct sellers for cheap $15 -to $50 HDMI to VGA adapters.
  • In the initialization/setup tool set Pi to force HDMI so it doesn’t try to default to composite output at boot. It’ll get stuck there and won’t see the HDMI if plugged in later.
  • Pi has undocumented connectors for CSI (camera serial interface) and DSI (display serial interface) Broadcom is planning a backpack HDMI rez camera for RPi
  • The broken wireless driver problem is sometimes helped by using the Occidentalis v0.1 distro/mod from http://learn.adafruit.com/adafruit-raspberry-pi-educational-linux-distro/occidentalis-v0-dot-1
  • All the cool kids are ditching plain Raspbian. Occidentilis (derived from Raspbian) is the one to have. It’s specifically for doing electronics. It has good support for SPI, I2C, one wire, and more WiFi sticks.  Black Raspberry – wheezy. Yes.
  • Drew will make a wiki at PS:One (DONE)
  • Computer vision is the killer app.
  • That, and network services that interact with the physical world.

-Ed_B

*If you would like to show your work or lead a discussion on NERP, email ed at kineticsandelectronics dot com to set up a time.

18

08 2012

NERP (Not Exclusively Raspberry Pi) Meeting Monday Aug. 13 at 7pm

Rasberry Pi session on a dumb terminal

NERP (The Not Exclusively Raspberry Pi embedded systems interest group) will meet Monday August 13th at 7:00pm. During the last meeting we talked about what the Raspberry Pi is and the nature of its capabilities. Jay showed a couple of videos to demo the HDMI output and described the process of setting up a new RPi. Drew Fustini took notes and has posted some comments and resources on the PS:One public list.

After the meeting, a few people stayed around to try some fun but not completely simple experiments with the RPi’s serial port. Using what I learned in the NERP serial port experiments, I made a RPi demo for to the Evanston Mini Maker Faire. The demo involved adding a 1984 Televideo 910 dumb terminal to a serial port on the Pi. The terminal is text only and displays characters as green on black. In addition to the normal gui session on the LCD screen, the RPi ran a separate user login on the dumb terminal. The LCD screen showed a video clip every 40 seconds, and the terminal showed a root login. Quite a number of people stopped by to check out the terminal and were surprised to learn about the Raspberry Pi’s role in making the demo run. More images of the Raspberry Pi at the Faire, and more technnical photos are at  http://kineticsandelectronics.com/RPi-makerfaire

On Monday 8/13, Drew will demo some of the basic applications that one might run on the Pi, and possibly discuss some issues around the subject of hardware interfacing. Open discussion is always welcome. An hour before the NERP meeting begins, Jay will be available to help anyone who has a RPi and would like help installing the basic operating system and apps. Jay starts at 6pm. The regular meeting is at 7pm.

09

08 2012

Automation Night: Wednesday August 8 at 7pm

The second Wednesday of each month is our monthly Automation Night (AKA: DIY CNC night)!

Are you interested in automated manufacturing? Do you like the idea of owning your own 3D printer, laser cutter, automated mill, router table, or other automated tools? Then this is the night for you!

Automation Night is an ever-growing group of enthusiastic amateurs and professionals in the field of do it yourself automated manufacturing (ie 3D printers, CNC mills, laser cutters, cake frosters, etc) hardware and software.

Please come if you’re interested in learning more, already have an automated tool at home, want to show off your latest build, or just want to meet locals who are into this exciting technology!

  • Who: Open to the public
  • Where: Pumping Station: One, 3517/3519 N Elston Ave, Chicago, IL
  • When: Wednesday, August 8th, 7pm
  • Cost: Free ($5 suggested donation for non-members to help us pay the rent)

Typical Schedule:

  • 7-7:10: people show up
  • 7:10-7:25: introductions round-robin (and sometimes a guest speaker)
  • 7:25-’till everyone leaves: schmoozing, machine assembly and show off, discussion of tools and techniques

Image: Model of Mars Curiosity Rover by Thingiverse user ThePlanetMike

06

08 2012

Arduino for Total Newbies workshop

Hackers on Train 2012 will be pulling into town the first week of August, and maker instructor extraordinaire Mitch Altman will stopping by our hackerspace for a special “Arduino for Total Newbies” workshop on Thursday, August 2nd.  Mitch writes:

You’ve probably heard lots about Arduino.  But if you don’t know what it is, or how you can use it to do all sorts of cool things, then this fun and easy workshop is for you.  As an example project, we’ll be creating a TV-B-Gone remote control out of an Arduino you can take home with you.

Registration: Eventbrite (space is limited so please register as soon as possible)

Cost: $40

Date: Thursday, August 2nd, 2012

Time: 7:00 – 10:00pm

Where: Pumping Station: One, 3519 N Elston Ave, Chicago, IL 60618

Workshop Itinerary:

  • Very short lesson to learn everything you need to know about electronics!
  • Then we will learn to solder. Don’t let this scare you! Mitch has taught well over 35,000 people to solder, many of whom have never made anything before in their lives. It is actually a very easy skill to learn. It is also very useful.
  • Then we will each make our own Arduino clone from a kit made by Ladyada: BoArduino
  • Now that we each have our own Arduino, we will set up the free and open-source software on our laptops (if you bring one) — Windows, MacOS, or Linux are all fine!
  • And then its time to make something and learn how easy it is to use Arduino! Mitch will show you how to read schematic diagrams, and you’ll put together your own TV-B-Gone remote control using your BoArduino. We will use a solderless breadboard. These are really useful, and provide a fast, and very easy way to put circuits together without needing to solder.

 

20

07 2012

eSymposium: Circuit Bending Saturday 7/21 noon-3


To nurture the Midwest experimental electronics community, the circuit bent duo Roth Mobot hosts a free weekly “eSymposium,” a lateral lecture series where participants are both teachers and students. There’s soldering, tinkering, Q&A, show-&-tell, bending circuits, hacking toys, and Chicago’s only weekly Circuit Bent Open Mic. Stop by, or keep in touch with the growing membership via the eSymposium’s Google Group, or listen to some unedited audio from the open mic on the eSymposium’s SoundCloud Channel.

Who: anyone!

What: Circuit bending eSymposium with Roth Mobot and friends

Where: Pumping Station: One Electronics Lab (2nd Floor) 3519 N. Elston Ave Chicago, IL 60618

When: Saturday, 7/21 at 12pm-3pm

19

07 2012

Introducing…Apollo 13.

Greeting everyone! I’m glad to be a part of the bloggers here at PS: One and even more excited to share the project that took me the past four months to complete. The Apollo 13.

But it’s actual name is the Maven. Because DJ Sasha happens to be the only one in the world who owns one – until you know, today.

Sasha is just one of those DJ’s that stands out to me, he’s not just putting two songs together, he’s putting on a real performance and he’s doing it with Ableton Live and the Maven. A one off piece of hardware so unique that if you know what Ableton is you drool just looking at this thing. It’s a fantastic looking device and I wish I could see the thing in person! Alas, I went entirely off of photos and four months ago began the project to replicate the device.

Click  for more pictures and video: Read the rest of this entry →

15

07 2012

Automation Night: Wednesday, July 11, 7pm

modular hollow universal joint by sirmakesalotThis Wednesday night is the triumphant return of Automation Night!

The second Wednesday of each month is our monthly Automation Night (AKA: DIY CNC night)!

Are you interested in automated manufacturing? Do you like the idea of owning your own 3D printer, laser cutter, automated mill, router table, or other automated tools? Then this is the night for you!

Automation Night is an ever-growing group of enthusiastic amateurs and professionals in the field of do it yourself automated manufacturing (ie 3D printers, CNC mills, laser cutters, cake frosters, etc) hardware and software.

Please come if you’re interested in learning more, already have an automated tool at home, want to show off your latest build, or just want to meet locals who are into this exciting technology!

  • Who: Open to the public
  • Where: Pumping Station: One, 3517/3519 N Elston Ave, Chicago, IL
  • When: Wednesday, July 11th, 7pm
  • Cost: Free ($5 suggested donation for non-members to help us pay the rent)

General Schedule:

  • 7-7:10: people show up
  • 7:10-7:25: introductions round-robin
  • 7:25-’till everyone leaves: schmoozing, machine assembly and show off, discussion of tools and techniques

 

Image: Modular Hollow Universal Joint by thingiverse user sirmakesalot

09

07 2012

Automation Night (was: DIY CNC Night) Wednesday 4/11 at 7pm

The second Wednesday of the month is coming up which means that our monthly Automation Night (was DIY CNC night)  is upon us again!

Are you interested in at-home automated manufacturing? Do you like the idea of owning your own 3D printer, laser cutter, automated mill, router table, or other astounding automatons? Then this is the night for you!

Automation Night is an ever-growing group of enthusiastic amateurs and professionals in the field of do it yourself automated manufacturing (ie 3D printers, CNC mills, laser cutters, cake frosters, etc) hardware and software.

Please come if you’re interested in learning more, already have an automated tool at home, want to show off your latest build, or just want to meet locals who are into this exciting technology!

  • Who: Open to the public
  • Where: Pumping Station: One, 3354 N Elston Ave, Chicago, IL
  • When: Wednesday, April 11th, 7pm
  • Cost: Free ($5 suggested donation for non-members to help us pay the rent)

Planned Schedule:

  • 7-7:10: people show up
  • 7:10-7:25: introductions round-robin
  • 7:25-’till everyone leaves: schmoozing, machine assembly and show off, discussion of tools and techniques

Image: 120 Cell by Thingiverse user George Hart

04

04 2012

Arduino 101 workshop at Flourish 2012

Arduino 101: A hands-on workshop presented at Flourish 2012 by Pumping Station: One (pumpingstationone.org) at the University of Illinois at Chicago, Room 430 Student Center East, 750 S. Halsted, 1:00pm

Tim introduces PS:One to Flourish
Instructor: Ed Bennett

The purpose of the Flourish Conference is to promote the use and adoption of Free Libre Open Source Software (FLOSS) by demonstrating the practical applications of FLOSS in the business and academic world.

The workshop had around 40 attendees. It introduced the Arduino platform starting from the basics of software, hardware, and microcontrollers. Since there were a lot of programmers at the conference, we went a little further into the “behind the scenes” aspect of the Arduino environment than is usual with basic introductions.

Eric looking for trouble

Working with circuits and breadboards isn’t hard, but you have to train your eye to see the physical sense of the thing. Starting afresh, it’s very easy to make mistakes. If it weren’t for the volunteers from PS:One who patrolled the room watching for people needing help, the workshop would not have been possible.  Patrick, Anna, Avner, Steve, and Eric stayed very busy for the whole two hours.

More images and the workshop outline are at KineticsAndElectronics.com.

Images by Anna Yu.

03

04 2012