alex

Alex Eames is the founder, owner and main contributor to RasPi.TV more information about him can be found in his Google+ profile.

Mar 202017
 
How to do SMT Surface Mount Soldering by hand

I usually assemble my own prototype PCBs in my workshop. For traditional through-hole technology (THT) and large surface mount (SMT) this is a straightforward matter with no special equipment required – just a soldering iron and regular solder. But, as the boards get more complex and with smaller surface mount parts, you have to shift your methods to something more suitable. For my RasPiO InsPiRing prototypes I’m using 0603 sized capacitors. These are too small for me to be able to do efficiently by hand with an iron. Also the pads on the APA102 LEDs […more…]

Mar 172017
 
Make an LED Arrow Sign with RasPiO InsPiRing

One of the interesting usage possibilities for the RasPiO InsPiRing system is illuminated signage. What could be better than flashy, blinky, multi-coloured signage? Well, not much really? So I decided to make an arrow out of two straight 8s and a triangle. I used white depron foam as a base, ordinary headers and jumper wires to connect all the shapes to each other and to the controller. Then a needle and thread and some hot glue to fasten the shapes to the depron. I then darkened the foam with a marker pen. This is what […more…]

Mar 102017
 
How to make an internet clock with NTP, Pi Zero W and RasPiO InsPiRing

I’ve been messing about with the Pi Zero W and one of my RasPiO InsPiRing boards to make a colourful clock that keeps accurate time using NTP (Network Time Protocol). Because the Zero W has WiFi onboard, it’s perfect for things like this. It’s quite a visual thing, so I made a video about it… Here’s the Code If you want a walk-through of the code, I made a little walk-through video of it, but decided to keep that separate because not everybody would want that level of detail. You can find that after the […more…]

Mar 032017
 
New Raspberry Pi Family Photo 28 Feb 2017

This week the new Pi Zero W was launched. A few weeks ago the new compute Module 3 was launched. It’s the Pi birthday party tomorrow. This can only mean one thing. It’s time for a new Pi family photo. I had an interesting exchange with a publisher this week who wanted to use the November family photo in a book. They made me an offer. I added some terms. A contract was then sent to me, which absolutely didn’t reflect my terms and was very biased towards them. Under advice I declined it. So […more…]

Mar 022017
 
RasPiO InsPiring - a new system of RGB LED boards controllable by Pi and just about anything

I’ve been playing with RGB LEDs on and off over the last year or so. They’re amazing things. It’s incredible to me that something so small can produce such bright and brilliantly coloured light. I’ve played with the Adafruit DotStar Pi Painter project (using APA102), which is enormous fun. Also the Pimoroni MOTE (also APA102), which makes everything plug-and-play. Then there was the McRoboface from 4Tronix (using 2 sizes of WS2812). Then back in October 2016 I bought 4 quadrants of 15 WS2812 on ebay to make a 60-element clock. And then one day, amidst […more…]

Mar 012017
 
How much power does Pi Zero W use?

It’s become traditional for me to do power measurements of any new Pi and update my chart. People have even started asking me about it on launch days (the cheek of it)… @DavidGlaude No. Not yet. Patience. That's usually a day 2 thing :) — RasPi.TV (@RasPiTV) February 28, 2017 Needless to say I have done some power measurements in my Zero W testing and here are the results. Essentially, the Pi Zero W seems to require 20 mA more than the no-wifi Zero. This is almost certainly due to the new radio chip. Methodology […more…]

Feb 282017
 
Pi Zero W - WiFi on the Zero for $10 and a gorgeous new case

Raspberry Pi launches the Pi Zero W today – on the 5th anniversary of the original Pi1 launch. The Zero W sports the same WiFi and Bluetooth chip as the Pi3B. It costs $10 plus shipping and local taxes. Since the Pi Zero release in November 2015, people have been conjuring up ingenious ways of getting it online, such as; ethernet via SPI; soldering a WiFi USB dongle to the back; kickstarter projects for ethernet add-ons; USB hubs providing extra ports; even an IoT pHAT It was clear that people could find a lot of […more…]

Jan 312017
 
How to use external antenna on Wemos D1 mini pro - surface mount rework video

In my previous blog post I showed how I used several Wemos D1 mini to make a network of wireless temperature sensors around RasPiTV HQ. These litle boards are based on the ESP8266 microcontroller with built-in WiFi. There is a Pro version available too. One of its main benefits is that you can attach an external WiFi antenna for greater range. This is an optional feature, and it does require some delicate surgery to reroute the antenna signal from the built-in ceramic antenna, to the external socket. It’s not especially difficult once you know what […more…]

Jan 262017
 
Wireless Remote Sensing with Wemos D1 mini, Arduino IDE, Raspberry Pi and lighttpd web server

For a long time now I’ve wanted wireless temperature sensors scattered around the house and garden reporting their temperatures regularly to a central server. It’s not something I really need, but something nice to have. I’d originally planned to do it with a RasPiO Duino or Arduino nano and inexpensive NRF24L01 radio boards. Albert @winkleink Hickey, a friend of mine, who also runs the Egham Jam put me onto these when he did his buttonflash game. Albert has a useful hobby of trawling ebay for bargain-basement electronics. A few weeks ago he showed me the […more…]

Dec 122016
 
Which is the best Raspberry Pi sound card? DAC review

I have received a fairly enormous selection of Raspberry Pi audio cards from four suppliers (Pimoroni, IQaudIO, HiFiBerry and JustBoom). It’s a bewildering array of DACs and AMPs, which allow you to turn your Pi into a HiFi system capable of playing sound files up to 32-bit 384 kHz, in theory. In reality 24-bit audio is about the highest quality you can buy and it’s questionable whether human ears can resolve any higher anyway. Anyway – I’m not planning to turn into a raving audiophile (anyone seen my gold speaker leads?) so here’s the stuff […more…]