Wednesday 18 February 2015

The Challenge Update

There has been a few eventful moments since that fateful night outside the Rutland Arms. The Challenge is now in full swing called the Maker Faire UK Lasercut Challenge.

Big thanks has to be given to DefProc for organizing the event and rules, so far seems to be a war of words between myself and Oomlout :)

Version 1

I have decided to go for a Ping Pong Ball Impeller it involves a  horizontal cylinder  design with a spinning set of fins inside firing the balls out of a small opening. 

So for the cylinder shape I used one of my favorite laser methods of creating a living hinge :) though this one of the biggest I've ever tried to cut.  

Unfortunately I didn't secure the fins that well in this design and spun it up a bit quick a fin flew out and smashed the housing.   OOOOPPS!

Version 2

 One of the other problems with V1 was also i had no bearing in the system and I self suspended to fan in the top of a drill well this next version will have a few changes.

  • Smaller Overall size 
  • Fan suspended on skate bearings 
  • Top bracing for the fins 

The current schematics, drawings and rules can be found on the MFUKLC Git repository. If you fancy joining the rest of us in this challenge there are rules for submitting ranged entry's (for people who can't make Maker Faire) in the Repo.

Sunday 8 February 2015

$4 Dollar ARM development platform

Cypress Semiconductor a US based chip manufacture are pushing down the price point on Development boards. They have released two development boards based on there PSoC 4 series Microcontrollers and priced the boards at $4.

The Unimaginatively Named PSoC 4100 and 4200 Prototyping Kit are powered the PSoC 4 ARM Cortex-M0+ based with a nice stack of peripherals including UART, SPI, I2C PWM and on the 4200 kit and an upto 12 bit 1Msps SAR ADC this is not to mention 36 GPIO pins.

The added bonuses of this board is that it comes with a built in programmer that can be broken away to embed the board into your design while retaining the programmer so it it possible to flash already embedded MCU's

These Development boards are a very cost effective way of getting it ARMv6 programming and 32-bit architecture. The development suite is a little tricky to get up and running but it does have a few nice features like the ability to visually configure the MCU's IO ports and peripherals with the added bonus of being able to swap some peripheral pins around for your design. 

All in all I give this 3 Sparks cheap lead-in, but setting up could be easier.


Tuesday 3 February 2015

RPi-GPIO and the Raspberry Pi 2

So the New Raspberry Pi 2 Model B was released this week. I managed to get hold of one on the Monday and then spent the whole evening playing around with it. 

It is true that the pinouts are identical  to the Model B+ and A+ but this doesn't mean that in these first few day of release getting the GPIO running is plane sailing.

My first port of call was Python and RPi.GPIO so opened Python tapped in 
import RPi.GPIO as GPIO

and was greeted with this message.

This could pose a problem. Thinking that a small update is probably required I decided that an 
apt-get update 
sudo apt-get install python-rpi.gpio 
was in order to make sure I was up with the latest version.   


Here's The Solution 

Download the new version from Source Forge with:

and install it using:
sudo dpkg -i python-rpi.gpio_0.5.9-1_armhf.deb

This should bring you joy.

Hope this helps anyone wanting to get the GPIO running.



Monday 2 February 2015

Brand New Raspberry Pi 2

This new Raspberry Pi 2 Model B has all the bells and Whistles and dramatic improvements in almost every aspect.

Unlike the previous revisions of the model A and B Raspberry Pi's the GPIO layout has not changed since the HAT spec was introduced July last year
The Major update this time has been the Soc it is a complete revamp of the application processor this It comes with the all new BCM2836 manufactured by Boardcom and still containing the VideoCore 4  GPU but this time paired with a Four ARM Coretex-A7 CPUs each running at 900MHz WOW also the RAM has been moved to the underside of the board instead of on-top of the Processor in a PoP format it has been moved to the underside and upgraded to 1GB LPDDR2 twice as big twice as fast.

And the best thing about all of this it is still keeping it's $35 price tag

This is a major move for the Raspberry Pi foundation make the Raspberry Pi one of the meanest single board computers outstripping the Beagle Bone Black, Banana Pi,  Orange Pi,  Imagination Creator CI20 and coming into contending with the  monster $35 board that is the ODROID-C1.
It will be interesting to see how this new Pi is excepted by the community, my point of view is that it will put another feather in the Raspberry Pi Foundation's cap give them a powerful mutli-core platform to help grow the next generation of Programmers and Engineers this also breaks away from the aging ARM V6 architecture and bring it inline with embed consumer products already on the market.

I'll be sad to see the breakaway from the older platform this is mainly down to my own belief that getting the most out of an older platform leads to better more efficient  programming. 
Hoping to see some mutli-coring hackie goodness coming from the community very soon and full review and spec rundown coming soon.

Ps. Pimoroni  are already selling it with their PiBow Case