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Messages - hak8or

Project logs / Hello again! Embedded system inspired by Henrik + an update.
First things first, I took my site offline a year or so ago and have been putting up getting a new version back up. I finally decided to just stick it in a subdomain and update all (yes, all of them, or all of them except the ones I accidentally missed) the links here to point to the new site, Apologies for them being down for so long. It's actually running behind an nginx server using docker on Digital Ocean, here is the dockerfile.

Secondly, I figured that since I updated the links, might as well throw this up here for those who don't read reddits /r/electronics subreddit. My embedded linux system has had an initial documentation pass and is up! I am still writing a new CMS for my site, so it doesn't have proper documentation yet, but this should hopefully be enough to get started for anyone who wants to do something similar.

There was also tons of information in the following reddit discussion for those interested.

So, yeah, hello again! :P

Aw, I just realized phpbb doesn't support markdown. :(
Project development, ideas, and suggestions / Re: Power supply teardown / Upgrade (suggestions needed)
Is there any reason you chose to use diptrace instead of kicad?

Also, for videos, I found that combinng both videos and written content is extremely difficult and hard to orginize. An alternative would be to make gif's of very short clips to demonstrate something which is hard to do in text, but too short to make an entire video for. I have never personally tried it though, and gif's might be problamatic for things such as phones, not to mention they are somewhat bandwidth intensive. If gif's are done wrong, the filesize will be huge, but if done right, they can be managable.

I originally tried to do a timelapse of the design of a simple board design, all the way from selecting parts, through designing and making a schematic, and to the end of the PCB design. I had a program which took a screenshot of my entire desktop every few seconds and saved it to a folder. Unfrutnetly the program fumbled itself, resulting in corrupted files half way through, and it did not tell you that something was wrong untill you are done and trying to render it! It wasn't fraps, but something else instead, sadely I forgot what it was. But, what I did have was very cool. It really does show what the entire process is, including getting side tracked like going on reddit, listning to pandora, and a game here and there. It was fun to watch, but with only half the content it was not worth it to upload. Keep in mind that you will rack up data on your hdd somewhat quickly, so make sure to have plenty of space beforehand!

For communication, I had a similar dilemma a while ago. How much do you value your time, and how quickly do you want to finsh the project? Are you willing to allow the communication aspect become a project in of its own? Will you use the new communication medium in future projects, and will it be warranted considering the increased cost for the communication module, or if will be usefull to you in the future. What will you use for communication before you get the bluetooth working, and will you have enough energy left to work on communication after getting the basic power supply stuff done. And lastely, do you value the expirence and latter know how of the usage regarding the new communication medium enough to warrant the time and project delays? In the end, I decided against using wireless because I am cheap and don't want to pay four bucks for every blue tooth module. But, it does make yoru projects look infitly more professional and brings a much more "cooooool" factor.

I have dabbled with both PIC's and ARM's, and both have their perks. You should also consider MSP430's! The questions are, do you do most of your projects based on battery power? If so, try out the MSP430's.

How much money are you willing to shell out for the initial investment for the new platform, mostly in terms of programming tools. ARM's can be programmed by buying a bus pirate, using their onboard boot loader via UART, or buying a TI launchpad and using the programmer on the board, so all in all it is extremely cheap to get started with the ARM platform. Also, it is getting extremely popular, the M4's are a beast in terms of preformance, and IDE's are starting to improove for arms. Not to mention that the cheapst arm is about three bucks on digikey in single quantaties, and it has a good bit of RAM and flash. The libraries are starting to mature well also. Arm's have a full blown free very mature compiler, so that is good.

PIC's are an intersting creature. It was my second MCU, if you can consider the basic stamp an MCU. You need either a PICkit2 or PICKIT3 to program PIC's. I reccomend a pickit3 so you can program PIC32's. The programmer is a somewhat expensive, but it includes some cool stuff like a low speed logic analyizer and bus interface. PIC's also come in DIP packages and are very cheap for the low pin count packages, such as DIP8. They use some sort of "opensource" compiler thing which I am fuzzy about. It is some sort of GCC thing with Microchips stuff integrated in it, and if you don't pay you dont have access to optimizations. I do not thing there is a fully free compiler for PIC32's, but I might be wrong. Microchip is also very popular, and has some cool libraries.

MSP430's have the launchpad, which has its own programmer on the board, and costs only twelve bucks or so. It is VERY beginner friendly. They have a fantastic community on 430h, and they have some dude that made a full tool chain setup thing. All you do is download eclipse, and via maybe four clicks install a plugin, and bam, you are ready to start coding and flashing. It is also continously updated, but it is lacking some features, such as seeing variable values when debugging under certain conditions, but otherwise you can easily start using it. It is the least popular of the two though, and has less full blown libraries, but I have never had a problem because of it. C is C, the libraries do not change that much between microcontrollers, you just need to muck around with the lower level components a bit to get it working on your platform.

For ultimate power stuff, you should check out the gecko line, they have some super awesome power consumption tools while debugging.

Damn, my professor got back, so I have to end it here. Good luck! :)
Edit: Holy batman, this is long, sorry! Though, this might be a front page worth small look on microcontrollers. :D
Project development, ideas, and suggestions / Re: Emulate SD, MMC, or XD card with microcontroller
I am really liking the idea regarding two SD cards. It would get rid of the problem for fully emulating an SD card, which would be difficult for a lowely PIC or ARM or whatever you are using. If the picture frame thing does not read the image, you can make the picture frame cycle through all pictures in a folder or the root of the card via a slideshow feature. This way, it updates the image on the screen based on how fast it cycles through to the next image.

You can get plenty of extremely cheap SD cards these days, probably under a dollar a card if bought online through ebay or craiglist. The switching can be done right after the screen has updated to the next picture, giving you a good few hundred millaseconds to write to the SD card and switch the cards before the next image loads.
General discussion / Re: I just bought this, and you what did you buy ?
Oh wow, thanks for the information guys! I personally never had an ic go like a popcorn when de soldering them with a hot air station, though the humidity where I live seems to be low for the most part. By blue dots you are referring to the little slips of paper with colored dots on them inside some chip packaging?
General discussion / Re: I just bought this, and you what did you buy ?
I got my digikey package, damn I love them for having the cheapest shipping option being only 3 bucks!


Anyone know what happens if it is opened but not used before the date listed? First time I ever saw anything like this.

Anyways, I might be getting myself a Rigol scope instead of the 3d printer. Makibox decided to jack up their cheapest shipping (via cargo ship, month wait) price to 128 damn dollars from the original 28 dollars. So instead, I am looking at getting a new scope, as my current analog one is starting to be less useful. I want my FFT, automatic duty cycle calculating, the ability to save my waveform, and save the image on the screen itself.

And on a unrelated note, I finally got a blog thing up on my site! I am changing all the nav's to be done with with PHP instead of html, so I only need to change it once and have it propgate to all pages, instead of changing it manually on each page.
General discussion / Re: Congratulations Ian!
Out of curiosity, how much space is being occupied by all these posts? I am guessing maybe 5 Gigabytes at most?

Also, congratulations! :)
Project logs / Re: PAW1 - NU-Xtal
Did you test it to see if the total capacitive/inductive load would present any problems with such a header setup at 16 Mhz using a crystal?

Have you considered a oscillator instead, or even a voltage controlled one with a pot on it?

I love the idea of a new simple board every week though! Very good way to learn the entire process of designing a PCB including the EDA package you chose, and then how to get it fabbed and whatnot. I did the same with my super simple lux meter to remind myself how to use Altium and learn OSH park.
General discussion / Re: I just bought this, and you what did you buy ?
[quote author="matseng"]
With the discs oriented in X/Y/Z directions like that it almost looks like a home made accelerometer.  Did I ruin the surprise now? ^_^[/quote]
Nope :) That does give me something really interesting to try out though! I did not even think of such an application for these!

[quote author="Sjaak"][quote author="sqkybeaver"]
wired in paralleled, possibly an attempt to make an omnidirectional speaker or microphone? If I am wrong feel free to slap me with a trout![/quote]

Indeed. :P Omnidirectional speaker or mic would be interesting, but I would be missing a mic for the above area because the middle piezo would probably block sound from above, and the side pizeo would also block sound for the lower piezo. Good idea though!

I should have given more info earlier, but the piezos are wired fully separately. This was my first attempt, and it failed horrifically, for two key reasons. First was because of a totally obvious design flaw, and second because it kept falling apart. Hot glue sucks for this. :( My second attempt also used hot glue, which also fell apart. The application of what I am trying to do is minuscule. Ok, no more hints or anything of the sort, or else someone will actually guess this. :P

Anyways, here is yet another thing I got in the mail a while ago! I learned that these magazines information on computer related things leaves something to be desired compared to magazines like maximum pc.
General discussion / Re: I just bought this, and you what did you buy ?
[quote author="bearmos"][quote author="hak8or"]So now I have 15 piezo's ready to go! :D[/quote]
What project are these slated for?[/quote]

I do not want to say what they are meant for yet, as I want it to be a interesting surprise thing, so instead here is a picture me messing around with them! Sadly I have my final exams now, so this will be left alone for the next week or two. :(

And testing out photo stacking. I originally wanted to do it in gimp but then found a free program which does all the masking, re positioning, and other stuff for me. This is a cracked piezo up close under the microscope.

Off topic: I finally sold the Iphone 5, via ebay, making a cool $375 ish after all the fees and whatnot, and I should be getting access to my funds in a few days! Still debating a 3d printer like the makibox vs a kick ass biological microscope. I would add it to my savings, but damn curiosity and eagerness. :P

And yeah, at my college they do this thing where you need an activation code to do courses and exams online through either web assign or some other garbage. Don't have the code? No homework credit for you, and sometimes you don't get to do the exams, which essentially means you fail the course or pass it just barely. This happened for my intro to psychology course. And if you want to just buy the code, it costs more than the text book with the code. And guess what, the ebook version costs the EXACT same as the printed version. For some classes you need the code only for the homework, which is usually at least 10% of your full grade, normally it is from 15% to a 1/4 of your grade though. For classes which do not use the online code, the books generally cost less than thirty dollars because people are reselling the old versions, while the books with the code generally cost 100$ and up. The funniest part? When you get the print version, you get the ebook version included. The company that seems most at fault for this is Pearson, so now what I do out of hatred of them is just buy the book, look at the free included ebook version on their website, and download the entire book. What I do further with it I cannot comment on this site, but I can safely say that I am quite sure it violates their TOS. >:l Screw Pearson and my university for such garbage!

Also, I think I am derailing this thread, sorry guys!

To keep this on track, I took some pictures of what I got in the mail a while ago.

I don't remember ordering this or anything. I didn't even get a chance to look through it properly yet, but with a quick glance I did not see any nice pictures. :(

But my loss of pictures in the earlier sales magazine thing was fixed with this calendar I got from Agilent! I must say, this is the coolest calendar I ever had. :P

This picture does not do it justice, the image in the calender itself looks friggen amazing!
General discussion / Re: I just bought this, and you what did you buy ?
[quote author="Sal_The_Tiller"]
Hey, another biology nerd! Where did you pick up that Micro textbook? I'll be needing one myself fairly soon.[/quote]
Right here: ... 00_s00_i00
Only eight bucks for the used version, versus over a 100 for one edition, or one year newer version. I despise publishers and their relation ship with schools. Nowhere near enough new things have been discovered or changed to warrant the necessity to buy a newer edition for over 100 dollars.

Here is what I just got in the mail!

The original package was lost in the mail by usps, but the guy I bought this from on ebay for only a tiny 5 bucks including shipping for ten, decided that I should not suffer a total loss of the first package, so when I ordered a second time, he sent me an additional five discs! So now I have 15 piezo's ready to go! :D
General discussion / Re: Idea of online schematics and PCB "old school" editor...
Oh wow, this is amazing. :P

Thank you for open sourcing it too! Hopefully you will get a good following of people, and in a few years maybe, just maybe, beat Altium in PCB and schematic design! But first, we must get started with ASCII art of a few specific body parts, like what is getting started on the top right ish of the board.

Anyways, yeah, this is awesome! Are you referring to auto routing when you said auto tracing? I am excited to see any PCB's that might come of this!
General discussion / Re: I just bought this, and you what did you buy ?
Bam! :D
A very good microbiology textbook for only 12 bucks including shipping. Used, one edition old (basically a year old), and quite a bit of highlighting.
An iphone 5 for 200 which I will flip for around 700, netting me 500 bucks which will go towards a proper biology microscope, like one of these: ... d_i=507846 ... d_i=507846 ... d_i=507846
or this guy if I find a similar one on ebay: ... 7675.l2557

And the rest of the money will go towards paying off my parents mortgage. A pretty good "investment" considering it will give me a good yield, tax free, and 100% safe! Yes, paying off a mortgage early can be considered an investment.

And here comes the tiny thing in the bottom of the picture, my PCB's from OSH park. The guy or gal there is extremely helpful, helped me out by telling me which files I should generate from altium, and even canceled an order of mine by request after it was panelized! I will be doing all my PCB buys from OSH park from now on.