Posts Tagged ‘hackerspace’

NERP: Playing with the BeagleBone Black

NERP is not exclusively Raspberry Pi, the small computer 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.

Tonight at NERP, we’ll be playing with the BeagleBone Black. We’ll compare the look and feel of an original Angstrom Linux install with a fresh Debian Wheesy install. Beagles and their kin are complicated little devices, and there’s lots to see and try out (and fix) for a newbie user. We’ll sniff around the Beagle install and hardware just to pick up some landmarks for future projects and ideas.

 

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. The next meeting is March 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

 

17

03 2014

NERP: At Last — A JavaScript MCU!

NERP: At Last — A JavaScript MCU!

NERP is not exclusively Raspberry Pi, the small computer 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.

It was time, perhaps past time for a JavaSscript microcontroller to appear. Tonight Drew Fustini will show us a high-level overview of the Espruino. The Espruino controller board is just emerging from Kickstarter and can be ordered through one of their distributors. http://www.espruino.com/
Lots of people know JavaScript and its programming environment, and many of those people could be convinced to try their hand at using a microcontroller if they could use their preferred programming language – in a Web IDE. This is important stuff, but the really striking thing is that event-driven processes are now in easy reach of people who need the capability but don’t want to learn a real time operating system. A very common question people in their first hour of Arduino programming will ask is “Now how do I blink two LED’s?”. Having spent a lot of time teaching Arduino 101, I can say that it’s always an awkward moment when you say “Well, you can, but it’s really involved”. JavaScript combined with a bit of Arduino vernacular solves the problem in a way that might be expected in an event-driven system. It’s wonderfully short and simple. Snagged and slightly edited from the espruio.com site:

function toggle1() {
on1 = !on1;
digitalWrite(LED1, on1);
}

function toggle2() {
on2 = !on2;
digitalWrite(LED2, on2);
}

setInterval(toggle1, 400);
setInterval(toggle2, 456);

Each time you called setInterval(), it returned a different number. If you want to change how fast the interval runs (or cancel it altogether) you need to use this number:
changeInterval(1,1000);
or
clearInterval(1);
[end quote]

Almost predictably the CPU is an ARM M-series like so many other of the 32-bit MCU convenience platforms. For instance an M3 type is used in the Espruino and an M4 type is used in the Teensy 3.1. It is unclear to me whether portability of code will carry across different chip makers, but the M3 vs M4 difference per se may not matter. From Element14's community site:

...most features of the Cortex-M3 and M4 are the same with the significant difference that Cortex-M4 has DSP extensions and an optional FPU. There is nearly no need for modification of hardware and software to migrate from M3 to M4. [http://www.element14.com/community/docs/DOC-36208/l/migrating-from-cortex-m3-to-cortex-m4-by-element14 ]


Like the relationship between the Arduino and the ATMega MCU’s from Atmel, there is an Espruino board and Espruino libraries. Also similarly, the libraries are open source and theoretically portable to other boards using the same or similar chip. Some possibilities labeled as “unsupported” are listed on the Espruino site.
Will it become common to pick your ARM board and then pick your development system?

–----------

Also tonight, Ed will talk about some of the issues in making a clock that uses a funky, antique digital display called a “one-plane readout”.

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. The next meeting is March 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

03 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

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

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

NERP tonight — 5400 seconds of Fame!

It’s Open Mic Night at NERP! Bring your comments, suggestions, questions, works in progress, etc. to NERP (not exclusively Raspberry Pi), the small and embedded computer interest group at Pumping Station:One. Tell us what you’re working on, show a demo, or get feedback, or maybe even ideas!

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

NERP meets at 7pm 9-23-13 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

 

23

09 2013

NERP Tonight: QT and Steppers

NERP Tonight: QT and Steppers

 

Tonight at NERP, we’ll have a show and tell about the PS:1 entry in the Element14 hackerspace challenge.(http://www.element14.com/community/community/knode/single-board_computers/next-gen_beaglebone/blog/2013/06/12/beaglebone-black–the-2013-hackerspace-challenge/)We’ll highlight use of the QT framework and gui tools on the Beagle Bone Black to run the stepper motors on the pick and place machine. There are always challenges in getting a new platform up. One challenge has been resolving version problems with the QT3 to QT4 transition on ARM. We’ll find out how that’s going. Also we’ll also have a tour of the system’s Z- and θ- axes mechanism and find out what the test results were on using some very small stepper motors to drive the head. As a bit of improvisational comedy, some of the tests will be done live during NERP! Yow!

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 7-15-13 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

 

 

15

07 2013

NERP: Retro DOS Gaming on the Raspberry Pi, and a Hackerspace Challenge Update

Tonight at NERP,  Jay Hopkins will show us some how to set up an MSDOS emulator and use it to run 8-bit games. Bleep.

Ed will talk about the status of PS:1′s project for the Element14 Hackerspace challenge. While amusing, entertaining, and informative, the update will also be a pitch for anyone who is interested in the technologies to help PS:1 compete for the big prize.

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 7-1-13 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

01

07 2013