Posts Tagged ‘Open Source’

NERP Tonite: Pingo means “pin, go!”

NERP is Not Exclusively Raspberry Pi, the small computer and
embedded systems 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.

Luciano Ramalho is a member of Garoa Hacker Clube in Sao Paulo,
Brazil (http://hackerspaces.org/wiki/Garoa_Hacker_Clube).
Tonight at NERP, Luciano will tell us about the Pingo
project in progress at Garoa HC
(http://www.pingo.io/docs/intro.html). Pingo aims to make
interconnecting small controllers of all sorts easy and
transparent, so that they can use each other’s peripherals. An
example use case would be using Python on a Beagle (or similar)
to effectively “program” one or more attached Arduinos.

From the website:
“Pingo provides a uniform API to program devices like the
Raspberry Pi, BeagleBone Black, pcDuino etc. just like the
Python DBAPI provides an uniform API for database programming in
Python.

The API is object-oriented but easy to use: a board is an
instance of a Board subclass. Every board has a dictionary
called pins which lists all GPIO pins on the board. Each pin is
an instance of a Pin subclass with attributes that you can
inspect to learn about its capabilities.”

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 July 7th, 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, BeagleBone, Element14, Pumping Station One

07

07 2014

NERP June 23rd – BeagleBoard Project co-founder Jason Kridner

BeagleBoardCompliantLowRes

NERP June 23rd – BeagleBoard Project co-founder Jason Kridner

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.

Jason Kridner, BeagleBoard project co-founder, community manager, and software cat herder will speak at NERP on June 23. His topics will be “JavaScript on BeagleBone” and “Real-time programming with BeagleBone PRUs”. As part of his job at Texas Instruments, Jason provides support and development of the BeagleBoard.org project. He is also a member of hackerspace i3 Detroit.

The BeagleBone Black is the most recent in a series of single board Linux computers created by the folks behind BeagleBone.org http://beaglebone.org. The BeagleBone is designed for educators, designers, makers, and hackers. The BoneScript language, based on JavaScript, reaches out to Web software developers who want to get out of the box. Being a Linux (plus Android and others) computer, the BBB natively runs Python, C++, and the usual suspects. There is also a growing ecosystem of hardware add-on “capes” that shield the user from the complexity of developing interface devices.

Some quick specs on the BeagleBone Black rev C : Technology: Texas Instruments Sitara® 32-bit ARM core cpu @ 1GHz, 512MB SDRAM, accelerated HDMI, Ethernet, USB, 69 (max) GPIO, and a host of i/o peripherals directly accessible from onboard headers. Dim 3.4”x2.1”, weight 1.4 oz., Debian Linux pre-installed, Price $55. Availability: everywhere. Element14 is a good place to look http://www.element14.com/community/docs/DOC-54121?ICID=knode-beagleboneblack-space/

PLEASE NOTE: For this special NERP, we will keep introductions short and start promptly at 7pm. Please use the meetup (below) to confirm your attendance!

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 June 23rd, 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, BeagleBone, Element14, Pumping Station One

19

06 2014

U Can Has BeagleBone Black (but only one).

 BeagleBoard_Boris_Tux

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.

The BeagleBone Black is a small single board computer in the same vein as the Raspberry Pi. The two boards are similar in appearance and composition but different in style. Both boards are based on 32-bit ARM-based processors. The Beagle’s is more recent and faster. The RPi is designed as a teaching platform that happens to have very nice graphics and video, but not much i/o. The Beagle’s graphics are wanting, but it has tons of i/o on the board. The Pi is more polished than the Beagle, in that what’s supposed to work usually does. The Beagle is more suited (for the moment) to dirty-fingernails hackers who enjoy hardware for its own sake.

One thing the two boards have in common is that their first manufacturing runs sold out quickly. It’s been weeks since there were any BeagleBone Blacks to be had for sale. (People have been hoarding them as OEM parts for their startup projects.) In the last few days, BeagleBone Blacks have been trickling out of CircuitCo’s production line. There are about 47,600 boards in the pipe, but you’re allowed to buy only one. http://specialcomp.com/beaglebone/ has them now for $45.00 each.

It’s time to give the BeagleBone Black another look at NERP.

Tonight we’ll go over some of the getting started routine, and have a peek under the hood of the Bonescript, the Beagle’s Arduino-like programming environment built on Node.js.

It’s time to give the BeagleBone Black another look at NERP.

Tonight we’ll go over some of the getting started routine, and have a peek under the hood of the Bonescript, the Beagle’s Arduino-like programming environment built on Node.js.

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 April28th, 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

04 2014

Tonight at NERP: Drew demonstrates Software Defined Radio

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.
radio-1
Software Defined Radio is a set of techniques for generating modulated RF waveforms in a transmitter, and demodulating the waveforms in a receiver. In traditional radio transmitters, the broadcast carrier waveform is generated in resonating analog circuits. The carrier is subsequently modulated in a specific way to encode information onto the carrier waveform. There are several distinct methods for doing the encoding and modulation. At the receiver the modulated carrier is received, amplified, and decoded to extract the transmitted information. Analog circuits are bulky. They could never fit in a cell phone, for instance. Worse, a specific analog circuit can operate over a very narrow range of frequencies (a “band”) and the modulation/demodulation method is inflexibly determined by the circuit topology.

Software defined radio allows the radio hardware to generate the physical carrier frequency and modulation format by algorithmic synthesis. Until recently, open (or open-ish) hardware capable of doing the waveform generation math in real time was not available at an affordable price. This has changed. Tonight at NERP, Drew Fustini will demo Aafruit’s “Software Defined Radio USB Stick” receiver. From the product description on the Adafruit site, the little radio does some absolutely amazing things. Software is eating the world, and radio is on the menu.

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, Software defined Radio Pumping Station One

31

03 2014

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

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

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