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…]

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 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…]

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…]

Nov 112016
 
Extending Python Vocab Tester With Dictionary Lookups and Storage

In my previous blog post, I showed you my Python based vocabulary tester and suggested some ways it could be “taken further”. You probably won’t be overly surprised to hear that I have taken it a bit further myself. Actually, I’ve taken it rather a LOT further, but this blog article is to show you the next couple of steps. Let’s Compile a List The first, fairly easy, tweak I made was to store the words I don’t know in a file. I figured it would be good to make a list of these so […more…]

Oct 132016
 
How to Estimate Your Vocabulary Using a Python Script and the Scrabble Word List

The other day I read an article on the BBC website which suggested a method to estimate your vocabulary. Essentially, you sample 20 pages of your dictionary and note down how many words you know on each page. Then you add up the total, divide by 20, then multiply this by the number of pages in your dictionary. This gives you an estimate of your vocabulary. (Results will depend on the number of words in the dictionary, so use the largest you have.) This seemed like a good idea, so I tried it. I used […more…]

May 242016
 
RasPiO Analog Zero - an 8-channel zero-sized board for Raspberry Pi

Exciting news today. I’ve just launched a new KickStarter project for a Pi Zero sized analog board. I’ve called it the RasPiO Analog Zero. It works with GPIO Zero and is very easy to use. Here’s what it looks like… …and here’s the KickStarter video showing some of the things you could use it for… If you like the look of it, please come and back us on KickStarter.

Feb 032016
 
Using MCP3008 to measure temperature with GPIO Zero and RasPiO Pro Hat

In the previous article I showed you the GPIO Zero Experimenter’s Kit I put together to go with the RasPiO® Pro Hat. Today I’m going to give a quick overview of how to use the MCP3008 analogue to digital converter to read the TMP-36 temperature sensor. This gives us a temperature reading (in °C) that we can use to make “decisions” in our Python program. In our case, we’re going to switch on a red LED when the temperature is 24 °C or greater. But there are all sorts of other things you could do, […more…]

Jan 152016
 
RasPiO Pro Hat  - Putting Pi Ports in Perfect Positions for Productive Play

Today I launched the RasPiO Pro Hat on Kickstarter. It’s a Raspberry Pi Hat for GPIO tinkering (it goes perfectly with GPIO Zero). It arranges the GPIO ports in numerical order around a mini-breadboard, which, to my knowledge, has not been done before. It also replaces the RasPiO Breakout Pro (now end of life) because it protects all the ports from over-current and over/under-voltage as well. It should prove a very useful board for GPIO tinkering and education. Have a look at the video and pop on over to the RasPiO Pro Hat campaign page […more…]