Friday, February 19, 2010

Arduino At Last

Well guys after wanting an arduino for so long I finally got one. Most of the people in the hobby electronics arena are familar with the the arduino platform. Its open source and easy to learn.
I have recommended this platform to several others because of the number of tutorial.

I got mine from Sparkfun with a few other toys.I have great plans for this along with the other toys that I have.

Start looking on the horizon for a wireless motor control using an Synapse RF Engine!


Saturday, January 30, 2010

Synapse Wireless

The other day a friend of mine slipped me a Synapse Wireless development kit to play with. For those not familiar with synapse, they are a company that specializes in wireless communications for embedded system. Similar to the Xbee module, but much easier to work with.
The end user develops scripts in Python for controlling the module. One of the major advantages of this is its "networking out of the box" the network is instant on. The end user does not have to write the communication stack. It is also a mesh based and self healing network.
I had the unit up and running out of the box using an included python script. It includes multiple demo scripts.

The portal software is also easy to use, there are multiple tools available to the user. Such as node info, script window, event log, and channel analyzer. You can get the portal software from their support forum. The software is offered for Windows, Linux and Mac

One script that I tried is a link quality script. I had the bridge unit tied to my PC and the other in my hands walking around the shop floor. I was aprox 300ft away with a 20% signal quality, and this is going through walls and machinery. In this particular setup was using the amplified "f" antenna on each radio, there is an external antenna model available for increased range.

I have not messed with the Xbee modules, but I have heard they are difficult to work with. I would suggest looking in to this for the hobbyist. as they are easy to work with and are comparable in cost to the Xbee modules. I can see these modules picking up traction in the DIY market cause of their ease of use and range. These are ideal for embedded home projects as well as use in the industrial controller markets.
The basic eval kit can be picked up at Digi-key here for $99 USD.

Until next time,

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Dev system in a watch !!!!!!

Ok, I know this is not new news to most out there including me, but this is a cool concept. Texas Instruments has released the ez430 Chronos wireless development system in a watch. This kit integrates a wireless link to a PC via the included USB dongle. One example is controlling Media Player from the watch. Another major use that you can do is take readings from a chest strap that monitors heartbeat and then you can upload this to a PC via the wireless link. In essence you can keep track of your workout stats.

I will add this to my wishlist.


Thursday, December 17, 2009

Easy PIC'n with the EasyPIC5 from Mikroelektronika

Last night I broke out and old friend and started messing around with it. I got this development board last February. I have done a little with it, but nothing of any significant importance. The nice thing about this dev board is the included inputs and outputs. There are a number of LEDs and switches along with LCD ports, serial, USB, and PS/2 communications. I would suggest this to anyone that is learning to work with the Microchip PIC.

You can use this board with HEX files generated in MPLAB and the company also offers several compiler options for a reasonable price. All the compilers that I have checked out have free versions available. MikroC has a 2k word limit on programs. This will give the user enough room to test out the compiler.

I know it sounds like im pushing the product and maybe I am, but it is a good board. Hop on their site and read about it.


Monday, December 14, 2009

The Best of Open Source Hardware of 2009

While browsing a few of my favorite blogs, I seen where Make did a list of the top open source hardware of 2009. There are a lot of good projects mentioned here. Give it a read

Make: Open Source Hardware of 2009

Good Day,

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Project Idea

From time to time I get the need to work on a project. The biggest problem that I have is the idea of what to work on. Well this past week I got an idea of something to work on thanks to my friend Luke. He is a budding filmmaker and is in need of some high tech camera rigging. We decided to collabrate on a Pan/Tilt mount for a camera crane, which the crane is to come later on. I know this is not a new idea, but I want to add a few spins on it

We started talking about it and I suggested to use a Wii nunchuck to control the pan/tilt. This would give a more intimate feel in the camera operation, and give me a good excuse to learn to hack on one. I plan on using a Arduino for the control since I have been looking for an excuse to use one.
A point about me, one of my hobbies is collecting dev kits, I have a ARM,PIC,Renesas,Freescale,TI MSP430, and a basic stamp. I am looking at getting a ST STM8 Discovery kit when Digikey gets them in stock again.

I will keep everyone posted on the project progress along with other ramblings.


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Welcome to the first post

Hello all,
Welcome to the first post of the new blog. To give everyone a bit of background. I am a geek that likes to play with electronics and mechanical hardware. I am still learning the art of the hack and one of the goals of this blog is to help out beginners and receive input from the community.

Thanks to anyone watching the blog from now and in to the future.