Archive for the ‘Projects’ Category
Look! A new kit!
I admit that I’ve been working on this one for a while. Sorry for the lack of updates, but I have been far too busy doing everything last minute and fixing bugs to post here!
I designed this Geiger Counter kit specifically so I could give a workshop at Chaos Communication Camp 2011. I just couldn’t fly halfway around the world only to show up at a hacker conference empty-handed!
My workshops are tentatively scheduled for Thursday and Saturday. I’m not bringing very many kits, so if you’re coming to Camp, sign up early!
More information about the kit is here. I’ll be adding more documentation over the next couple weeks.
The CD101 is an inexpensive (under $40) PID controller sold by Sure Electronics. Aside from the incomplete documentation that is shipped with the unit, I’m pretty happy with this controller. I’m planning to use it to replace the failed PID controller that controls my soldering hotplate.
I am having one small issue with the CD101 – stop mode doesn’t seem to do anything. By that I mean it doesn’t disable the outputs or seem to affect the controller in any way. Based on my interpretation of the user manual, the outputs and alarms should be disabled in stop mode. This is mostly an annoyance in my application – if I want to disable the hotplate I’ll just turn it off. However, I can imagine that the lack of a standby mode might cause problems in some applications.
I contacted Sure Electronics about the problem, and they requested a video. I figured I might as well post it here, since I went through the trouble of making it and everything.
By the way, since it can be hard to find information on this controller (eg. how to change from Fahrenheit to Celsius display), I have been slowly putting together a wiki page for the CD101.
PS: The video was shot with my new Canon PowerShot S95, which seems to take great footage, except that there is no autofocus or zoom control while shooting. (?!)
The ICSPOV is a 6-pin ICSP programmer adapter for the Adafruit Industries miniPOV3.
The miniPOV3 is a great kit, but it has one big problem – if you want to change the pre-programmed message to something else, you have to use a crude programming interface called DASA, otherwise known as ‘bit-bang mode’. This wasn’t a problem back when most PCs and laptops came with serial ports, because most COM ports could handle DASA just fine. However, these days, computers don’t come with serial ports. Instead, USB-serial adapters are the most common way to add a COM port to a newer laptop or PC.
DASA does not like USB-serial converters. What used to be a cheap, easy programming method is now so slow and unreliable on most USB-serial converters that it is almost unusable. What was a fun and easy kit is now much less fun when it comes time to change the displayed POV message. Programming a new message into the miniPOV can take over five minutes depending on your operating system and serial port setup. That is, if it works at all.
Introducing the ICSPOV:
The ICSPOV aims to solve the problem of programming the miniPOV3 by providing a way to connect a proper AVR programmer instead of using the DASA interface. The ICSPOV adapts the 9-pin serial connector on the miniPOV3 to a 6-pin ICSP header used by many other AVR projects and supported by most low-cost AVR programmers. After making one simple modification to the miniPOV3 and editing the project Makefile, an ordinary AVR programmer such as the Adafruit USBTinyISP can be used to program the miniPOV.
Programming times of several minutes are reduced to seconds.
The ICSPOV is completely open source. Schematics and layout files are available for download.
You can purchase a kit on the ICSPOV product page.