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…]

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…]

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…]