Archive for the ‘Announcements’Category

NERP Can Reflow, and So Can You! [6-19, 7pm]

Surface Mount Technology is not a new thing. Eventually it’ll be the only thing because new MOSFETS, chips, and computer-on-modules are pretty much all SMT. If you’ve never  soldered SMT parts, you might be surprised at how easy it can be. In fairness, parts below a certain size can be challenging to solder, but with practice you can start big and go smaller and smaller as you get better. But where to start? At NERP on Monday, June 19th Drew Fustini will give a gentle introduction to SMT soldering.

Drew will be building   I can reflow! Badge  and showing the SMD Challenge board, also called the Unfortunate board because the 0201 resistor and LED will unfortunately make you nuts trying to solder them. The boards were made by , a commercial prototype and open source hardware board house. They have a huge catalog of boards designated as shared projects by their customers. You can buy those boards, or design your own in KiCAD or Eagle, and share them if you like.

Drew has a few extra reflow Badge boards if anyone wants to follow along. We’ll try to get enough parts together to fill the boards. Those parts are:

  • Q1 & Q2 – MMBT3904
  • R1 & R2 – 0805 100Ω
  • R3 & R4 – 0805 100kΩ
  • C1 & C2 – 0805 10µF

And two 0805 LEDs and a CR1220 battery clip.

Schematic diagram in Hackaday’s coverage of the I Can Reflow Merit Badge
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. Find NERP and Pumping Station:One at

www.meetup.com/NERP-Not-Exclusively-Raspberry-Pi/­
and
http://pumpingstationone.org/­

17

06 2017

NERP Tonite: MOSFETs with Ste!

Mosfets – They can be “on” — They can be “off” — They can even be in between! Tonight at NERP, entrepreneur, engineer, and really good teacher Ste Kulov will guide us into the world of mosfets. Metal Oxide Semiconductor Field Effect Transistors if you want to impress your friends.

N-Channel MOSFET [wikipedia]

Since mosfets are a wide and deep subject, I asked Ste where he wanted to focus his talk. With great economy of words, he said it better than I could.

“Most of the generic stuff, fairly quickly.  A few simple examples I was probably going to cover are: making a logic inverter, a logic controlled load-switch, and reverse battery protection. Simulating in LTspice [circuit CAD], since I can draw that stuff in two seconds and put it on the screen.  If you want to do a power MOSFET application, I would need to see the datasheet for it.  Also keep in mind that high current stuff is no good for breadboards. If you need a list:  4 vs 3 terminal, body diode, Rds(on), gate drive, switching speed, N-channel, P-channel, CMOS digital logic, CMOS analog switches.”

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. Find NERP and Pumping Station:One at

www.meetup.com/NERP-Not-Exclusively-Raspberry-Pi/­
and
http://pumpingstationone.org/­

Tags: electronics, embedded, NERP, Open Source, raspberry pi, hackerspace, Beagle Bone, Pumping Station One

05

06 2017

Turning the Shopbot into a plotter

Former PS:1 president Derek Bever and I were joking in the PS:1 IRC chat room awhile back about using the Shopbot as a tool for uses it was not designed for, and turning it into a plotter seemed especially ridiculous. Since I’d wanted to learn how to use the Clausing lathe, it dawned on me that this ridiculous idea could, in fact, become a terrifying reality. So thanks to Anna Yu who taught me how to use the lathe, I made a bit with an 11mm bore to fit into the 1/2″ collet on the Shoptbot:

Having spent the time to make the part, it seemed silly to stop there, so I realized I’d have to make a post-processor for VCarve and Aspire (Fusion 360 coming soon!). I already had experience with Shopbot’s post-processors, creating a “Always turn spindle off” version of Ryan’s “Always turn spindle on” post processor as well as the XYZ Zero Finder program that works with the XYZ plate made on the Bridgeport. So hunkering down on the computer in the CNC Lounge (where Aspire is installed), I made a “Sharpie Bit” post processor that 1. always turns the spindle off, and 2. always sets Z to 0, regardless of what is done in Aspire or VCarve. This also means you have to explicitly set Z’s 0 position without use of the Z plate as there’s nothing to tell the machine when the ‘bit’ is at the right spot.

The first attempt was made using some cardboard I found in the garbage. This test did not go well because I had set Z to 0 in one corner of the cardboard, but because the cardboard was folded over, it was more puffy in the middle, which means that the Shopbot happily plunged the sharpie into the cardboard. Oops. Try #2 used a piece of acrylic that was laying around and I assumed was garbage, so I used that and the second attempt went much better. Inspired, I grabbed some acrylic from my shelf and made the version below.

I’m going to clean up the code a little (like removing a bunch of debugging stuff, unnecessary pauses, etc.,) and then will run it by Matt (CNC area host) and if he’s cool with it, the bit will go in the drawer and the post processor available to anyone using VCarve and Aspire.

07

05 2017

NERP Tonite: Replicape rev B!

Tonight at NERP, Elias Bakken of Intelligent Agent AS and Thing-printer, in Oslo, Norway, will tell us about the Replicape rev B. [http://wiki.thing-printer.com/index.php?title=Replicape_rev_B]

“Replicape is a high end 3D-printer electronics package in the form of
a Cape that can be placed on a BeagleBone Black. This page is about
the Major revision B. It has five high power and low noise stepper
motors with cool running MosFets and it has been designed to fit in
small spaces without active cooling and without the need for physical
access to the board once installed. That means no potentiometers to
trim or switches to flip.”

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. 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. 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, Pumping Station One

27

03 2017

NERP Next: Up to Speed on Motors (Jan 30th)

If you’re a maker, hacker or DIY person, you don’t need to understand how a motor works “under the hood” to use it. However, a bit of theory will help you make the best design choices for your thing that runs in circles. At the next NERP, Jerry Morrow will bring us up to speed on motor technology.

 

Jerry’s presentation is a full overview of DC and Brushless DC (BLDC) motors and their associated drive circutriy.  Topics include the physics of electric motors, DC motor operation, motor bridges/inverters, control topologies, motor terminology, brushless DC motor operation, hall effect and encoder position feedback, current and velocity control, Park/Clarke transformations, and Space Vector Modulation (oooh..).

People need to make things go ’round. Car wheels, train wheels, drone propellers, compressors and fans in HVAC and refrigeration, hard drives (at least for the moment), reclining seats, robots, power tools, and on and on. Motors are everywhere. The variety of sizes, shapes, and internal structures is bewildering. About the only functional elements that the different types have in common is a moving part and a stationary part joined by a changing magnetic field. Whether or how you can controll the speed, direction, torque, or power consumption depends on the type of motor. Electric motors have been around for about 150 years. Most of the older classes of motor types are still in use, still useful, and still suited to new design.

We are seeing a revolution in motor technology. Software is eating the world, and it’s finding electric motors pretty tasty. The new generation of motors depends on embedded processors to the extent that the software is as much a part of the motor as the shaft. Sophisticated driver algorithms (and in some cases new materials) are making motors smaller, stronger, and more efficient. In addition to making better citizens of existing applications, the improvements open doors to new classes of applications.

Jerry Morrow is, or has been, a bass player, electrical and computer engineering student, home rehabber, sound technician, electro-mechanical actuation software engineer, Japanese student, father, and maker, and member of Pumping Station One,  He prefers the command line, VI editor, and makefiles over IDEs, and wont hold it against you if you don’t.

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. 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. 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, Pumping Station One

23

01 2017

Wear-A-Circuit Workshop on Sunday

2016-10-27-3-patches-dark-13-32-00

2016-10-27-patches-on-13-35-11

Circuit Patches are wearable circuit boards made from knitted yarn and wire. I’m doing a workshop Sunday using these. Check it out!

I use a knitting machine to make the patches. Add snap buttons and  attach the circuits to anything you like.

Rapid prototyping for Wearables!

2016-10-27-13-26-38-self-portrait

 

I made these patches for my workshop this Sunday, 3-5pm. Participants will receive a 3″ x 5.5″ knitted proto-boards in black, pink, or teal. Solder LEDs and a battery on it, and you can add lights to your clothes, just in time for Halloween.

 

Of course, there’s lots of things beyond LEDs you could add– I’m hoping to do workshops for interactive circuits using the knitted protoboards in the future.

I’ve made a number of circuits with this method so far, often in black. For this workshop, we’re adding  fun colors: circuit-board-teal and… pink! I  couldn’t resist adding 10mm gumdrop LEDs to the pink protoboard pictured above.

We’ll have some of those jumbo LEDs for the workshop, but also smaller ones in blue, yellow, red, white. I’ve even got some color-change and flicker LEDs.

2016-10-27-patch-back-13-37-15

Power is supplied by a hidden battery pack.

If you’d like to participate, please RSVP. Hope to see you Sunday! (Bring a shirt or a hat or a bag so you can add snaps to mount your circuit on it.)

2016-10-27-snap-press-13-44-37

My new favorite machine: the snap press applies snap buttons without sewing.

27

10 2016

NERP^2 = Hardware: From Concept to Retail && PiAQ: Indoor Air Quality Sensor

PLEASE NOTE: NERP WILL GET UNDER WAY AT EXACTLY 7PM ON MONDAY!

Next Monday at NERP we’ll have a double feature. We’ll hear part 2, of Ste and Nicks’s story of adventure in bringing a successful consumer product to market. Part 1 was about technology, and part 2 is about the _business_ side of bootstrapping HD Retrovision (http://hdretrovision.com). Also on Monday, Dave Conroy will tell us about the PiAQ Open Source Indoor Air Quality Sensor for the Raspberry Pi (http://piaq.io).

hd_retrovision-1

About HD Retrovision:
Nick and Ste have been friends since 1999 and both share a passion for playing the (now retro) video game systems that they grew up on. Since then they’ve both studied Electrical Engineering at University, and are now business partners in a company called HD Retrovision that is dedicated to improving the modern day experience with retro consoles while making it accessible to as many people as possible. In this presentation, Ste and Nick will walk you through the ups, downs, and lessons learned while taking a college project and turning it into a profitable company. This talk will cover how they took the idea for HD Retrovision’s Genesis and SNES cables out of the lab, got it funded, and eventually mass-produced overseas.

piaq3-small
About the PiAQ: As an R&D Engineer for NAR’s Center for REALTOR® Technology & CRT Labs, Dave Conroy investigates emerging technologies, educates NAR members & the public through presentations, webinars, blogs and podcasts, and develops products for use by members. He’s presented to REALTORS® on the national, state and local levels. The PiAQ is an open hardware and software indoor air quality sensor developed by the National Association of REALTORS’ CRT Labs. The goal for this project is to make information about the air people are breathing more accessible.

http://piaq.io/

About NERP:

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. 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. 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, Pumping Station One

21

10 2016

NERP Tonite! Google Summer of Code students build BeagleBoard.org projects

Tonight at NERP, Drew Fustini will be sharing highlights from his presentation at Maker Faire New York 2016.

Drew explains How Open Source software and Open Source Hardware intersected in several BeagleBoard based projects done for the Google Summer of Code.  “Google Summer of Code is a global program that offers students stipends to write code for open source projects.”  These students’ projects demonstrate the synergy of devices and the code that makes them what they are.

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. Find NERP and Pumping Station:One at

www.meetup.com/NERP-Not-Exclusively-Raspberry-Pi/

and

http://pumpingstationone.org/

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, Pumping Station One

10

10 2016

NERP Tonite! Improving the Retro Gaming Experience

Ste Kulov is Lead Design Engineer at HD Retrovision. Ste (known in NBA Jam as STE) was born and raised in the suburbs of Chicago and spent most of his childhood with his hands glued to a SNES controller. Like so many life-long nerds, Ste went to school for electrical engineering and became an expert at working with circuits. His passion for working on really cool engineering projects is second only to his obsession with video games. Ste conceived the original idea for HD Retrovision in his engineering design class to solve the world’s most pressing problem: allowing gamers to play their old systems on TV’s that don’t have the right inputs. [NERP Note: HD Retrovision cables are analog circuit devices. The HD Retrovision circuit board is molded into the cable.]

PS:One knows Ste for being a really good teacher. We wish he could find time to do more analog and fpga circuit classes (hint, hint).

A vital aspect of manufacturing is testing and quality control. Someone has to do it, and they need test instruments, test fixtures, custom software, and detailed written test requirements and procedures. Ste had to design a turnkey QC system for use by his contract manufacturer. The HD retrovision circuit itself is all analog, but the QC system is FPGA based. At NERP tonite, Ste will explain how you QC a cable on the other side of the world.

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. 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. 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, Pumping Station One

12

09 2016

100th NERP Tonite! Embedded GUIs part 2 of 2: Qt

For the 100th NERP Meetup (Yea!), we’ll have the second of a two-part discussion of embedded GUIs on small Linux devices. Qt is much more than a GUI library. Tonight Ron Olson will share some wisdom on the Qt application framework. Ron tells me that Qt promises a lot, and it delivers. Sounds good to me!

Ron says “I figured the main thrust of the talk would be Qt, how it works, its two main parts (C++, QML), and how it works with the BBB as well as a Qt project controlling an Arduino, all with an eye towards demonstrating the QML, and lightly, the C++ connection.”

After graduating from NYU’s film school, Ron took full advantage of his film and theatre background by becoming a software developer. For 24 years, Ron has been one of the developers that companies go to when they want to make their customers lives worse; he helped write the system to show commercials at MTV, worked on cancelled projects at an animation studio that went out of business, pioneered allowing you to lose your retirement savings on the web at Bankers Trust, came up with new ways to target ads to you at DoubleClick, did his part in the financial crisis at Goldman Sachs, and lately has been writing software to help your attorney remember when your trial date is.
Mostly in C++ and Java.

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. 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. 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, Pumping Station One, programming, Qt

06

06 2016