Friday, April 11, 2014 - 23:40Google Releases Project Ara MDK
It’s been a little while since we’ve heard about modular smartphones, but Google has just released the Module Developers Kit (MDK) for Project Ara. The development kit gives an overview of the inner workings of the project, and provides templates for building your own modules.
Once you’ve agreed to the license agreement and downloaded the MDK, you’ll find a large specification document. It explains how a phone will comprise of many modules loaded into an endoskeleton, giving mechanical support and electrical connections. An interface block provides each module with power and data over LVDS. Modules are held in place by an electro-permanent magnet which can be toggled by software.
When you’re finished with the specification document, you can dive into the reference designs. These include templates and actual modules for WiFi, thermal imaging, a battery pack, and more. Mechanical CAD is provided as STEP files and drawings, and electrical design files are provided as Altium projects and PDF schematics.
We discussed both Project Ara and Phonebloks on Hackaday in the past, but now we’re starting to see real details. Google’s Project Ara Developer Conference takes place on April 15th and 16th, and you can register to take part remotely for free. Is this the start of an open, modular phone? Let us know what you think.
[Thanks to Adam for the tip]
Filed under: Cellphone Hacks
Friday, April 11, 2014 - 23:00Mandalorian Helmet Build
Bounty hunters are popular in the Star Wars universe, and though Boba Fett is cool, so is Shae Vizla. The female Mandalorian from Star Wars: The Old Republic is awesome and has a wicked cool armor design. Taras built the helmet from the costume and started by making a CAD model. Once he was happy with it, he prepped them for 3D printing. He applied Bondo to any gaps:
After sanding the Bondo down, I applied a coat of Bondo glazing putty and left it to dry for half an hour in front of a heater. (Normally, this putty takes several hours to dry depending on thickness, however curing is expedited significantly with the use of heat.)
Next I sanded the putty smooth, and applied more putty to fill in the trouble spots.
I repeated this process over the course of 3 days (tackling the ears and antenna stalk the same way), at the end of which I had a smooth helmet, ready for priming!
Read more about the process at Mynock’s Den.
Friday, April 11, 2014 - 22:41NEW PRODUCT – P-channel Power MOSFET – TO-220 Package [30V / 60A]
NEW PRODUCT: P-channel Power MOSFET – TO-220 Package [30V / 60A]: When you need to switch a lot of power, P channel MOSFETs are best for the job. These P-FETs can switch over 60V and 25A (with proper heat-sinking) and are TO-220 package so they fit nicely into any breadboard or perfboard. Heat sinking is easy with TO-220s, but because of the very low Rds(on) of down to 70 mOhms (depending on the Vgs – check the datasheet) you can get away with no heatsinking for pretty high loads! The threshhold voltage is up to 5V for 20A of current, so you can control it directly from a microcontroller running on 5V logic.
The TO-220 package can dissipate up to 2 Watts without a heat sink (at room temperature). Because it has an Rds of greater than 100 milliohms at 5V-12V logic, that means that you can switch about 10 Amperes without a heat sink – more if you use PWM. For more detailed calculation, we suggest this site which has always worked nicely!
Friday, April 11, 2014 - 22:03A Motor Controller for Your Next Project. What Will it Be?
Friday, April 11, 2014 - 22:00The Ancient Greeks Invented Kevlar Over 2 Millennia Ago
In 356-323 B.C. Alexander the Great of Macedon conquered almost the entire known world by military force. Surprisingly, not much is known about how he did it! An ancient and mysterious armor called Linothorax was apparently used by Alexander and his men which may have been one of the reasons for his ever so successful conquest. A group of students at the University of Wisconsin Green Bay (UWGB) have been investigating in detail and making their own version of it.
The problem is this type of armor decomposes naturally over time unlike more solid artifacts of stone and metal — meaning there is no physical proof or evidence of its existence. It has been described in around two dozen pieces of ancient literature and seen in over 700 visuals such as mosaics, sculptures and paintings — but there are no real examples of it. It is made (or thought to be) of many layers of linen glued together, much the same way that Kevlar body armor works.
The cool thing about this project is the students are designing their own Linothorax using authentic fabrics and glues that would have been available in that time period. The samples have been quite successful, surviving sharp arrows, swords, and even swinging axes at it. If this is the secret to Alexander the Great’s success… no wonder!
The group has lots of information on the topic and a few videos — stick around to learn more!
Friday, April 11, 2014 - 22:00Bringing 3D Printing to Congress and Beyond
Friday, April 11, 2014 - 21:22The New & Improved Adafruit Learning System
Wow, what a crazy week! Not only did we launch an all new Adafruit.com, we launched a single sign-on system, new forums, new blog, and of course, a completely revamped Adafruit Learning System. The updated ALS has so many great new features, but many of them are happening behind the scenes to give you a better overall learning experience.
As you can see, the homepage is revamped to be much more packed with useful data. The biggest are the little blue tags hanging off of the right of each guide preview block. Hover over the tag to see the category and subcategory that the guide is attached to. Our biggest issue with the old system was projects that belonged in multiple categories, but our system wouldn’t allow it. No longer! Over the next week or two, the categories will be reworked to make it easier to discover new guides.
On the individual guide pages, you can see the same blue category tags. If you are mostly interested in this project because of the LED Pixels, then you have a quick way to discover similar projects. If you want to learn more about the FLORA, just click on the tag.
Some of the other changes include bigger overall images (a trend at Adafruit), new fancy fonts, better single page guide viewing experience, updated mobile and tablet experiences, and major performance tweaks.
We have a lot of exciting changes planned for the Adafruit Learning System, and this version sets a lot of this up for us. We’re excited to continue making the Adafruit Learning System the best place to come to learn about wearables, open source electronics, and much, much more.
Friday, April 11, 2014 - 21:00The Commodore Pi Project @Raspberry_Pi #piday #raspberrypi
The Commodore Pi Project via hackaday.
The primary goal of this project is to develop a native Commodore 64 operating system for the Raspberry Pi, with hooks that allow for access to more RAM, GPIO, USB and Ethernet.
Friday, April 11, 2014 - 21:00An Emulated Commodore 64 Operating System for the Raspberry Pi @Raspberry_Pi #piday #raspberrypi
Are you a Commodore user who just can’t let go? Check out this emulated Commodore 64 OS for the Raspberry Pi, from hackaday.
It’s no secret that Commodore users love their old machines with the Commodore C64 being chief among them with 27 Million units sold worldwide. Speaking as a former Commodore Business Machines (CBM) engineer the real surprise for us is the ongoing interest and devotion to an era typified by lumbering 8 bit machines and a color palette consisting of 16 colors. Come to think about it, that’s the description of Minecraft!
Jump forward to today and it’s a generation later. We find that the number of working units is diminishing as age and the laws of entropy and physics take their toll.
Enter the Commodore Pi, an emulated Commodore 64 operating system for the Raspberry Pi. The goals of the project include an HDMI and composite compatible video output, SID based sound, Sprites and other notable Commodore features. They also plan to have hooks for more modern technology to include Ethernet, GPIO and expansion RAM.
A video demo of the emulator can be found below. If you’re just warming up to the Commodore world, you’ll definitely want to know the real story behind the C128.
Friday, April 11, 2014 - 20:39Using RFID for a DIY Keepsake Box
Mike Buss used an Arduino Duemilanove, Parallax RFID reader, micro servo, and piezo electric speaker to make a personalized, lockable keepsake box for his girlfriend’s birthday:
The outside of the box is really simple: it just contains a button and an RGB LED. When she presses the button, the LED lights up green or red depending on if the box is locked. When she waves one of the three personalized RFID cards over the box, a little tune plays and the box unlocks.
As part of the project I also did some cool trick with a Pololu pushbutton power switch to make the battery last a lot longer. Since the Arduino is only powered for a few seconds when listening for RFID tags, the battery lasts a lot longer. When the box is finished locking or unlocking (or after a small time delay), it sends a signal to the power switch to turn off the power and conserve battery life. The box has been running on the same 9V battery I put in 4 years ago!
Friday, April 11, 2014 - 20:26New Project: LaunchIt Rocket Controller
Friday, April 11, 2014 - 20:19Make a battery backup circuit for your Pi! #piday #raspberrypi @raspberry_pi
Repair Hub has a useful post on how to build a battery backup circuit for your pi.
This is a step by step instructions on how to make a battery backup circuit for your Raspberry Pi computer. For more information about Raspberry Pi visit the Foundation’s website.
First I’d like to explain a little bit about what I tried to achieve with this design and also pros and cons of this approach. I’m using my Raspberry Pi as a backup device with two hard drives connected to it, to back up various online servers that I administer. I use automated backup scripts based on Rsnapshot, and also I’m using this particular Pi as an Apple time machine server. Because Raspberry Pi is a very low power device, I thought it would be possible to design a cheap backup power supply using a 9V rechargeable battery, and this way prevent any abrupt shutdowns during power cuts or when someone accidentally unplugs it from the mains. As an added feature it also will provide a convenient way to safely power the device off without adding a hardware button or logging-in remotely and issuing a shutdown. But what this circuit doesn’t currently do is monitor battery levels, nor provide any king of low voltage cut off, but there is a time limit/delay after which it will automatically power off and disconnect the battery.
Precautions: Triple check all connections to and from Raspberry Pi before connecting either power supply or battery as I have made a mistake and applied 9V to the GPIO pins which destroyed it instantly. Even better is to use a buffer board of some kind, there are plenty sold online. Also double check that the power supply delivers expected voltage before connecting it to the circuit, and don’t use bad quality power supplies. DO NOT work with mains voltage unless you are qualified.
The finished circuit does the following:
- Trickle charge the battery while on mains power
- Send a signal to Pi GPIO pin when mains power is disconnected
- issue a shutdown after a few minutes if power haven’t returned (Done via software)
- disconnect the battery from the circuit after shutdown is completed (this is to prevent discharging the battery below its limit)
- keep a log file with all the time stamps and alerts for mains power, shutdowns and restarts of the Pi
Featured Adafruit Product!
UBEC DC/DC Step-Down (Buck) Converter – 5V @ 3A output: Your power supply problems just got SOLVED! This little circuit board may look tiny but inside is a high efficiency DC/DC step-down converter which can output up to 3 Amp at 5V without the need of any heat-sink or forced cooling. (It does get a bit toasty at 3A though) UBEC stands for “universal battery eliminator circuit” and this UBEC is designed to replace a 5V supply in RC planes and ‘copters but its also great for any kind of microcontroller or electronics project that runs off of 5V. We tried a half dozen different ‘BECs and found this one to be the best in terms of range and stability. You can check the technical tab for the analysis of input/output range and current draw. Read more.
Friday, April 11, 2014 - 20:14First look – Raspberry Pi Compute Module (photo gallery) #raspberrypi @Raspberry_Pi
The compute module contains the guts of a Raspberry Pi (the BCM2835 processor and 512Mbyte of RAM) as well as a 4Gbyte eMMC Flash device (which is the equivalent of the SD card in the Pi). This is all integrated on to a small 67.6x30mm board which fits into a standard DDR2 SODIMM connector (the same type of connector as used for laptop memory*). The Flash memory is connected directly to the processor on the board, but the remaining processor interfaces are available to the user via the connector pins. You get the full flexibility of the BCM2835 SoC (which means that many more GPIOs and interfaces are available as compared to the Raspberry Pi), and designing the module into a custom system should be relatively straightforward as we’ve put all the tricky bits onto the module itself.
Friday, April 11, 2014 - 20:07Building Up to Maker Faire, Shawn Thorsson Brings ED-209 to Life: Part 4
Friday, April 11, 2014 - 20:07Building Up to Maker Faire, Shawn Thorsson Brings ED-209 to Life: Part 4 — Vacforming
Friday, April 11, 2014 - 20:00Raspberry Pi robot with two 9V LEGO motors #piday #raspberrypi @Raspberry_Pi
Drudoo made this really cool LEGO robot and you can check out the full step by step process over at his blog.
After getting a DC motor to work on both CUI32 and the Arduino my next task was it make it work on the Raspberry Pi. I wanted to make it work with a small LEGO robot so it wasn’t just a motor running, but an actual moving robot.
I had to make a few modifications from my previous post about DC motors. Instead of using just 1 motor i wanted to use two. This is not a big deal and looking at the datasheet it is just a matter of plugging in the extra motor at the right place.
To get access to the GPIO pins on the Raspberry Pi i used WiringPi. This is a great C++ library for GPIO on the Pi and the documentation is fantastic.
The robot is a basic example from the Mindstorms RCX 2.0 instructions booklet.
The Pi needs 6 pins; 3 for each motor (2 directions and 1 enable). I’m using an Adafruit prototyping shield for easier access to the pins (and better labeling) but you can just plug them in directly to the Pi. Im using pin 17, 18, 22, 23, 24 and 27. These pins correspond to WiringPi’s pin 0, 1, 3, 4, 5 and 2 respectively.
The code can be found on github.com. You just need to have WiringPi and openFrameworks installed on the Pi for it to work.
The motors are controlled with the UP, DOWN, LEFT and RIGHT key on the Pi’s keyboard (I’m using a wireless logitech K400r).
Featured Adafruit Product!
Adafruit Prototyping Pi Plate Kit for Raspberry Pi: Now that you’ve finally got your hands on a Raspberry Pi® , you’re probably itching to make some fun embedded computer projects with it. What you need is an add on prototyping Pi Plate from Adafruit, which can snap onto the Pi PCB (and is removable later if you wish) and gives you all sorts of prototyping goodness to make building on top of the Pi super easy. Read more.
Each Friday is PiDay here at Adafruit! Be sure to check out our posts, tutorials and new Raspberry Pi related products. Adafruit has the largest and best selection of Raspberry Pi accessories and all the code & tutorials to get you up and running in no time!
Friday, April 11, 2014 - 19:30NEW PRODUCT – NeoPixel Diffused 8mm Through-Hole LED – 5 Pack
NEW PRODUCT – NeoPixel Diffused 8mm Through-Hole LED – 5 Pack: LOLwut? NeoPixels in through-hole variety? Oh yes, we haz them! If you like NeoPixel strips you’ll luv these 8mm diffused through-hole NeoPixels. All the single-pin-controlling-hundreds-of-LEDs goodness in a breadboard friendly format. Each LED looks just like your classic through-hole 8mm RGB LED with 4 legs, but instead of just red/green/blue there’s a little chip inside that can control the LED with high speed PWM for 24-bit color.
Power them with 5V and chain them together, tying the Data-Out pin of one to the Data-in of the previous one in the chain. If you’re using an Arduino, you can control these LEDs with our wonderfully-written Neopixel library for Arduino. They also work great with our Trinkets. Note that these are “RGB” instead of “GRB” format used in the 5050-sized LEDs you are so used to. Check in the NeoPixel example code for how to swap the colors automagically.
These great looking LEDs are also fast and responsive with diffused color that will make your project glow!
Friday, April 11, 2014 - 19:00Reach Out and Touch Your Next Project with Long Range RC Controller
Long range wireless control of a project is always a challenge. [Mike] and his team were looking to extend the range of their current RC setup for a UAV project, and decided on a pair of Arduino mini’s and somewhat expensive Digi Xtend 900Mhz modems to do the trick. With a range of 40 miles, the 1 watt transceivers provide fantastic range. And paired with the all too familiar Arduino, you’ve got yourself an easy long range link.
[Mike] set the transmitter up so it can plug directly into any RC controller training port, decoding the incoming signal and converting it into a serial data package for transmitting. While they don’t provide the range of other RF transmitters we’ve seen, the 40 mile range of the modem’s are more than enough for most projects, including High Altitude Balloon missions.
The code for the Arduino transmitter and receiver sides is available at their github. Though there is no built-in error correction in the code, they have not had any issues. Unfortunately, a schematic was not provided, but you should be able to get enough information from the images and datasheets to construct a working link.
Friday, April 11, 2014 - 19:00Use Raspberry Pi to Print From Your iPad or iPhone @Raspberry_Pi #piday #raspberrypi
Use Raspberry Pi to Print From Your iPad or iPhone. via snapdragon tech
Today my parents asked me to help them set up printing via their iPads. They have a rather old HP Deskjet 5940 printer with a simple USB interface.
First you need to install CUPS (common unix printing system) for printer access. In my case the required printer drivers were installed automatically (hplip). If you are using a different printer you might have to check which packages you need.
After cups is installed (took about 20 min here), enable remote access to it by editing the file /etc/cups/cupsd.conf in 3 places. Add those lines in the relevant places:
1 Listen *:631
2 Order allow,deny
3 Allow 10.0.0.*
Order allow, deny
5 Allow 10.0.0.*
After editing the file and restarting cups with service cups restart you can login to your print server on http://raspberry-pi.local:631. Simply click Administration > Add Printer and follow the steps. If the correct driver package is installed, and the printer is turned on, it should show up on the top of the list.
If your printer installed correctly, it show up in your list of nearby printers, as well as on your iPad and iPhone. It’s not necessary to produce a special avahi-script any more, as with older iOS versions.
Friday, April 11, 2014 - 19:00NEW PRODUCT – UV/UVA 400nm Purple LED 5mm Clear Lens – 10 pack
NEW PRODUCT – UV/UVA 400nm Purple LED 5mm Clear Lens – 10 pack: Need some really bright LEDs? We are big fans of these 5mm clear UV / Purple LEDs. These emit UV ‘blacklight’ in the UVA spectrum so they are great for projects with fluorescent materials referred to as UV/blacklight-reactive or ‘glow-in-the dark’. They are bright (350mcd) and have about a 20-degree LED beam. They go easily into a breadboard and come in a pack of ten so you can easily add that extra UV zing to your project.