Apr 282013
Cyntech GPIO Breakout Paddle Board Review

The Cyntech GPIO paddle board is a new type of breakout board for the Raspberry Pi. It’s nice and small (about half the size of the Pi) elegantly simple, and I like the connectors. To connect a wire, you hold down the orange tab, push your wire into the hole and release the tab. The wire is gripped by a spring-loaded contact. It comes with a very nice “rainbow” ribbon cable, which is much more cheerful to look at than a grey one and it’s a decent 20cm length as well. You don’t always want […more…]

Apr 212013
How to use soft PWM in RPi.GPIO 0.5.2a pt 2 - led dimming and motor speed control

In part 1 of this series, we looked at the basic commands for using software pulse-width modulation (PWM) in RPi.GPIO 0.5.2a and higher. In this article we’ll get a bit more hands-on and into some practical applications for it. It’s all very well being able to make nice square-wave pulses on an oscilloscope, but what’s it actually useful for? Our servo said? EEEEH AAAAH I tried using RPi.GPIO soft PWM with servos in response to a query after the last article, but, although it did change the servo positions, it was jittery. Servos require quite […more…]

Apr 142013
Raspberry Pi in the classroom (Y5) - sensors and switching

Back in November I made a Raspberry Pi controlled “light and fan relay switching” demo that you may have seen before on the Official Raspberry Pi blog. Before it appeared on the Raspberry Pi web site, I’d previously displayed it at Milton Keynes and Oxford Raspberry Jams and I’d also taken it along to let my year 5 ICT class have a go with it. Did they like it? You can see for yourselves in the video what the year 5s thought of it. I didn’t tell them what was going to happen, as I […more…]

Apr 122013
DesignSpark and RasPi.TV flying the flag in China

Mike Brojak from DesignSpark, whose voice you can hear in the video, asked me to put together a Wii controller flag-waving demo (plus other bits) on their new PiGo board. You may remember catching a glimpse of it in the flag waving video I produced a few weeks ago? This demo was destined for the Electronica exhibition in Shanghai, and I’ve just received a link to a little video the guys shot while they were there. (Thanks Yan :) ) Apparently it was well received, worked really well and only needed rebooting once in three […more…]

Apr 102013
Tandy Multiface Gertboard Compatible Interface Board for Raspberry Pi

The Tandy Multiface is a brand new I/O interface board for the Raspberry Pi designed by Darren Grant from Tandy. The reason it came about is that, back in September 2012, Tandy was marketing a Gertboard kit, having bought a supply of official Gertboard PCBs from Farnell. This was a bit of a coup because Tandy beat Farnell to the punch with their own product. Farnell struggled to get their ducks in a row (I seem to remember comments about a shortage of one of the chips) and launched their kit about a month later. […more…]

Apr 072013
RPi.GPIO 0.5.2a now has software PWM - How to use it

Over the last couple of weeks the pace of development for Python programmers who like to dabble in GPIO has gone up a gear. Both main GPIO systems for Python on the Raspberry Pi have been getting some enhancements. RPi.GPIO, now at version 0.5.2a, has interrupts and threaded callback capability. You will probably have seen my three recent posts showing how to use those. WiringPi for Python version 2 is in Beta testing. I discovered two bugs while I was trying it out. Both of those have been squashed. One by Gordon “Drogon” Henderson in […more…]

Apr 032013
Bramble Case for the Raspberry Pi model A review

Nicholas Luzzietti, who runs Bitcrafts, based in Dresden, sent me a review copy of one of his Bramble cases for the Raspberry Pi. It’s a laser cut, 3 layer birch ply finger-jointed box construction. Mine has a very nice Raspberry Pi logo lasered into the top, but other variants are available. All the holes are in the right places and are a good fit for all the ports. All the parts fit together very well – so well in fact that no glue is needed. I wonder if they will loosen with time? The case […more…]