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…]

May 262017
 
Debugging a Tricky LED Problem Using Inspired Logic and a Rigol DS1054z Oscilloscope

Last week I had a bit of a scare. Having tested all 100 of the trial batch of RasPiO InsPiRing straight-8 boards and found 100/100 working perfectly, I issued an update to let the KickStarter backers know. Testing was done with a DigiSpark, which is based on an ATtiny microcontroller. It’s the same device I sent to the manufacturers for their QC testing because it is small, cheap, pretty bullet-proof and I would not have to explain to them how to use a Pi (which would also need a screen, keyboard, mouse etc. thus making […more…]

Mar 272017
 
Parody - Sing a Song of Crowdfunding

Here in the UK it’s Monday morning and yesterday the clocks ‘went forward’, so we’re now in British Summer Time. Everyone could use a bit of ‘good cheer’ on a Monday morning, so I’m releasing a short parody video that I hope you will find amusing. Just Why? Simple answer. For fun. It’s an experiment. I hope it will make you laugh and you’ll want to share it. There’s quite a few geeky jokes buried in the lyrics, but it also tells a story. It took me 8 full takes to get it. I kept […more…]

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…]