Apr 112014
 
How does the RasPiO Breakout Pro protect your GPIO ports?

You may remember I launched three RasPiO® boards a couple of weeks ago. One of them, the RasPiO® Breakout Pro, offers protection for the GPIO ports on the Raspberry Pi. I thought it might be interesting to explain how the port protection works, so I’ve made a little video about it… Current Limiting Resistor One of the ways you can potentially damage (or kill) your GPIO ports is to try and draw too much current from them. You’re not supposed to draw more than 16mA from any one port (and 60mA from ALL the GPIO [...more...]

Mar 212014
 
Launching the RasPiO product range - first three boards

The day has finally arrived for me to launch my first three products in the RasPiO® range. What’s RasPiO®? I hear you ask? It’s a family of add-on boards for the Raspberry Pi®. It’s pronounced “Razz-Pie-Oh” (emphasis on Pi) and is derived from the fact that the boards will mostly be I/O (input-output) boards for the Raspberry Pi. We’re starting small and simple, and will grow in size and complexity with time. I spent most of last summer designing PCBs. It takes a frustratingly long time to bring things to market. But that’s another story, [...more...]

Mar 142014
 
A Quick Look At My New Soldering - Rework Station

I’ve been hankering after a hot air rework gun and a soldering station for some time. The main problem is that most rework stations are hundreds of pounds. I don’t really need an ‘industrial strength’ one, so when the most recent CPC Tradesman offers came through the door, two items by TENMA caught my eye. One was a simple soldering station for about £30 (+VAT), the other had both soldering iron and hot air gun for £99 (+ VAT). In the end, I opted for the combined model (SDO174105). I ordered it on Saturday and [...more...]

Jan 162014
 
Texys 2.8 inch touchscreen with RasPiCamcorder - step 1

At the end of August, I bought one of Texy’s 2.8 inch 320×240 touch-screens to have a play with. I thought it’d be great if I could somehow get it working with my RasPiCamcorder. Although, at the time, you had to jump through quite a few hoops to get the drivers working, and nobody had yet done the necessary work to enable camera output to be displayed on it. Then I got busy with KickStarter and HDMIPi and it lay untouched until December. I periodically looked in on the camera section of the Raspberry Pi [...more...]

Dec 132013
 
Cambridge Raspberry Jam

Last Saturday (7th December) there was a Raspberry Jam at Cambridge Institute of Astronomy. This one was a bit different from previous jams because we had some beginners’ Scratch workshops for children in the morning. I was tasked to lead the workshop. The support was tremendous. There was a small army of people setting up ~20 Raspberry Pi systems when I arrived. Another small army assisted with the workshop itself, intervening when the children needed a prod in the right direction. Thank you to all these helpers. It couldn’t have been done without you. We [...more...]

Dec 032013
 
Hong Kong and Shenzhen HDMIPi Trip

Just back from a week in Hong Kong and Shenzhen. Shenzhen is the capital of the Chinese electronics market. If you buy components on ebay, chances are they’ll be shipped from Shenzhen, and through Hong Kong. Shenzhen is a large and sprawling city. There’s an awful lot of new construction going on. Every time we went to see a supplier, we went past dozens of new blocks of flats/apartments being built. And we’re talking skyscrapers, each and every one of them. It was a really busy time there and I didn’t get many pictures, but [...more...]

Oct 142013
 
Pi Supply - ATX style power switch for Raspberry Pi - Review

Pi Supply is an external power switch for your Raspberry Pi. I have to be scrupulously honest here and say that, when I first heard about it, I thought “well that solves a problem I haven’t got”. But in the Raspberry Pi forums, quite a lot of people complained about not having a power switch. It’s never been an issue for me. I don’t find unplugging a micro USB cable all that hard. I’ve never broken the capacitor off the Pi (although I have broken a couple of SD card slots and fried a couple [...more...]

Sep 302013
 
MotorPiTX build and testing with photos

On Saturday I decided to build my MotorPiTX, by Jason ‘boeeerb’ Barnett. It was a straightforward build. The only difficult part was the optional micro-USB power connector. Overall it took me about an hour to build. I took my time over it – knowing that I was going to photograph it and that you lot would be scrutinising every blemish. ;) About 20 minutes of that time was spent trying to ensure that I didn’t bridge two connections on the micro USB connector. I rarely use desoldering braid, but on this occasion I did. I [...more...]

Sep 172013
 
Boeeerb's MotorPiTX has arrived - a couple of quick photos

MotorPiTX, by Jason Barnett, was delivered today. It’s a robotics board for the Raspberry Pi, combined with ATX style power supply. It was one of this summer’s successful Kickstarter campaigns. It was either the first or second KS that I’ve backed. I’m a bit busy this week, but there’s a part of me that’s saying “never mind all that, just get out there and put it together”. I’m not going to do that tonight. I think we’ll have to settle for some kit photos and I’ll let you know how I get on with the [...more...]

Sep 062013
 
Using PiGlow with GPIO button control on the Raspberry Pi

Pimoroni released the PiGlow in August while I was away in Poland. It’s a small, purple board (that fits inside a PiBow) with 18 LEDs in 6 colour groups, arranged in a 3 armed spiral formation. It has an 8 bit, 18-way PWM controller that can be used to control the brightness of the LEDs (0 = OFF, 255 = Fully ON). (More on PWM here) Although I was abroad when it came out, there was plenty of banter about it on twitter. In a few short weeks, various people have written Python classes to [...more...]