Oct 012012

Yesterday I went to my first Raspberry Jam – a get-together of Raspberry Pi enthusiasts. This one was in Milton Keynes at the National Museum of Computing.

It happened to be run by Peter Onion, who I already knew from the world of aeromodelling. So it was a no-brainer for me to go to…

  • meet an old friend (he’s not that old)
  • visit a museum of computers
  • get to talk to people about the Raspberry Pi and Gertboard and demonstrate them
  • see what other people are doing with the Pi (nobody else had a Gertboard – ner ner nee ner ner :p )

It was great. Fairly intense for me, as nobody had ever seen a Gertboard before, so my stand got quite a lot of attention. (Or maybe it was my “eye-candy” demo? ;) Watch the video and decide.) It’s got a bit of everything, lights, movement and noise :)

It wasn’t all plain-sailing though. Right at the start, while setting up, I connected the 5V servo power supply the wrong way round. Because I’d wired up the servos and Atmega through the buffers, the Pi and Gertboard were fine, but the servo was toast. :(

Toasted servo for lunch. That hole wasn’t there earlier.

Fortunately – well, there’s no fortune about it really, since I always carry spares – I had a spare servo. The refit didn’t take too long either. So the show went on and the demo was demoed (if that’s even a word?)

I did manage to tear myself away from my stand (thanks to my security arrangements :rotfl: )

Rev 1 Pi has no screw mount holes, so I made my own arrangements. :rotfl:

A closer look, you can see the hot glue. No Pis were harmed in the making of this blog – only servos.

On the rev 1 Pi board there are no screw-holes, so I had to make my own arrangements ;). The processor still works though, and you get the heatsink for free. ;) I had the whole lot mounted on a wooden board and a metal bracket attached to the central heating pipe with padlock and chain. The Pi is tied to another bracket under the ribbon cable with tennis racket string.

Great to see ICT teachers there

Of the 40 attendees, about six were teachers, which was very encouraging. I think most of them came to visit the RasPi.TV stand. There were about 5 or 6 other people with things to show. I managed to get some video of a couple of them and talked to most of the others. I’ll release some of that later in the week.

Good Jam, Well Run

The event started with everyone saying a little bit about themselves and their “Pi status” – whether or not they had a Pi, ordered a Pi, were already an expert, or had a specific thing they wanted help with. This was really useful as it enabled people to identify who might be able to help them with any issues they might have. The rest of the session was given over mostly to mingling, with a session in another room about how to set up a Raspberry Pi.

There were two standing jokes – one involving the length of time waiting for a Raspberry Pi (No suppliers’ names mentioned;) ) and the other involved booing and hissing every time a teacher reported that their school had just blown the IT budget on iPads. It was a nice, relaxed, collegiate atmosphere and Peter set the tone very well indeed.

It was busy, it was noisy, a bit chaotic at times with multiple people at once requiring attention (apologies if I ignored you or broke off mid-conversation – I’m a bit like DOS – I don’t multi-task very well).

I had fun and I will be going again if I can get a place.

The Venue is Awesome

Hosted at the National Museum of Computing, home to many old computers including the code-breaking Colossus. I had a walk around the museum afterwards. One room was full of BBC Micros – just like a school IT room from 30 years ago. I’ll put some photos up in another blog post later.

  5 Responses to “Raspberry Jam at Milton Keynes – National Museum of Computing – Gertboard Demo Rig”

  1. Hi, i was wondering if it is possible to connect one electrical relay in the outs of the gertboard in order to switch on/of some electrical devices such TV HiFi….etc.

    If so, how many relays can I connect to the gertboard???

    Thank you for your reply.

    • There’s a Darlington array on the Gertboard that enables you to switch up to 6 relays. I’ve got some relays, but haven’t had a chance to get round to playing with that yet. I fancy making a remote controlled fan for next summer. :-D

  2. I’ve seen these videos on youtube:



    He is using two 8 dolars card relay and he is connecting them to the main conector without any expansion board. What do you think? I really want to implment this, but i do not know how to do it :-(

    • The footage is so bad it’s hard to see, but it looks as if that board has some transistors driving the relays. You can’t hook a relay directly to a GPIO port. Well you can, but it won’t work as it only gives 3.3 Volts. The Darlington array on the Gertboard takes care of that for you. The transistor acts as a relay for the relay so it can be switched by a GPIO port.

  3. […] time we had flag waving, but, although that’s extremely cool, that is soooooooo September. The world’s moved […]

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