Feb 122018
Using Wemos D1 mini to control a brushless motor with ESC and servo signals

I’ve recently become interested in making “machines” of various sorts. I was sorting through some of my RC (radio control) plane “stash” the other day and came across various brushless motors and electronic speed controllers (ESC) like these. In RC, Brushless ESCs are usually connected to a radio receiver which generates servo control pulses. So this morning I thought it would be fun to try and get a Wemos D1 mini controlling a brushless motor. I’ve done similar before. I can remember, back in the dark ages of 2013, using a Guzunty Pi to generate […more…]

Jan 082018
Cutting Female Pin Headers with a Hacked Together Dremel Jig

I have an occasional need for 13-way female headers. Actually they are a component in both the RasPiO 7-seg kit and the RasPiO Breakout. But 13-way headers are not as easy to get hold of as other sizes, e.g. 15-way, unless you want to order eleventy-billion of them imported directly from China. If you only want a couple of hundred or less, it’s better to buy 15-way and cut them down to size. It’s certainly quicker if that’s what you already have in stock. It’s rather an unpleasant job, but to do it well with […more…]

Nov 282017
Make a Rain Alert System with Raspberry Pi

You’ve been left at home in charge of the laundry. It’s already washed and hanging out to dry on the line. But you were warned – on pain of death – to bring it in if it starts to rain. The trouble is, you’re totally into whatever it is you’re coding right now and you won’t even notice if it rains. You’ll be toast if it rains and the laundry gets wet. So which is it to be? Code or laundry? That was your choice – until now! Let’s Make a Rain Alert System We’re […more…]

Nov 142017
Full pHAT

In April this year I designed a HAT-sized PCB that would allow two pHATs to fit on one Pi. I was thinking it might make a good “over the summer” KickStarter campaign. But events conspired against me. I had trouble tracking down a source of the right stacking headers and I needed a break over the summer. So I sat on it until recently. Then, a couple of weeks ago I found a suitable header and now we’re back on track. What no KickStarter? I’ve decided to crowdfund this project by taking pre-orders at the […more…]

Nov 022017
High Visibility Cycle Lights with Raspberry Pi, ESP8266 & RasPiO InsPiRing - Day 4 Build Log

I’m going to combine days 4 and 5 into one final blog post and video because I want to get it finished and out there. You can find day 1 here, day 2 here and day 3 here. I’m also publishing the code today in a slightly less documented/polished state than I usually do. But it works pretty well. I’ve been using these lights on my bike since Mid September (~6 weeks at the time of posting) and I’m really pleased with them. On the road, cars treat me like another car because I am […more…]

Sep 192017
High Visibility Cycle Lights with Raspberry Pi, ESP8266 & RasPiO InsPiRing - Day 3

On day 3 (day 1 here, day 2 here) I wanted to see if I could use a Raspberry Pi (3 or 0W) as the WiFi access point instead of my phone. Knowing I was taking a slight risk (with my time) I flashed a µSD card with the shiny new Raspbian Stretch. I tweaked all the things I normally tweak (e.g. remove Wolfram and LibreOffice, enable SSH, SPI, I2C, camera etc. – I may well add a camera to this at some point WJDK). Then I went through this excellent tutorial here, which I […more…]

Sep 152017
High Visibility Cycle Lights with Raspberry Pi, ESP8266 & RasPiO InsPiRing - Day 2

We’ll start with a quick recap of day 1 (which you can find here). By the end of day 1 we had a proof of concept for a phone-controlled, Wemos-driven rear bike light, with indicators (turn signals), tail lights and brake lights. Day 2 started with a bit of real-world testing on the bike. It was determined pretty quickly – within one trip to the gym and back – that mobile phone control was NOT really the way to go. I wasn’t too upset about that because it wasn’t how I originally envisaged things anyway, […more…]

Sep 132017
High Visibility Cycle Lights with Raspberry Pi, ESP8266 & RasPiO InsPiRing – Day 1

A few months ago I thought it would be cool to use some of my RasPiO InsPiRing LEDs to make some indicators (turn signals) for my bicycle. But then I got busy completing and shipping the InsPiRing KickStarter, and then went away for the summer. But just as I was coming back, Lorraine Underwood tweeted about her High Visibility Jacket which reminded me of the idea. Obviously I wanted to do it my way and install something permanently on the bike with wireless control. Also I was due to purchase a new bike, which everyone […more…]

Jul 062017
How to ask for (and receive) technical help on the internet

The internet is a great place to find out how to do things. You can often find a ‘recipe’ for precisely what you want to do or a how-to article to solve your exact problem. But even if you can’t, whatever problem you’re having, the internet is chock-full of people with knowledge who will most likely be willing to help you if you go about it the right way. This article attempts to give you some tips that will assist you in getting the help you need. But What is the Right Way? Two things […more…]

Jul 042017
Pimoroni Pirate Radio Review - Make an Internet Radio in about an hour

Back in February, just before I was about to pull the trigger on the RasPiO InsPiRing Kickstarter campaign, I had an email from Emma at Pimoroni. Essentially it was “Would you like to have a look at one of our new Pi Zero W kits?” Damn-right I would! :) But I warned that I would be unlikely to do much with it for a while because of the impending Kickstarter campaign. So, last week on Thursday I finished shipping RasPiO InsPiRing rewards (3 months ahead of schedule – YAY), which meant I could do some […more…]