[Arduino] BBVA blogs-blinker

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After a lot of debugging on bbvablogs.com, I needed serious fun to keep it up, and suddently I found the perfect project to remove the dust on my arduino board: a blinking led that would tell us when someone is visiting the website!

BBVA web-blinker

More links about this project:

[RepRap] Completed Shotbot at Metalab

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Few people in Vienna have just finished a RepRap Shotbot:

« This was a collaborative effort with a lot of people at the metalab, grl vienna, and monochrom! »

This machine will print out shotglasses this weekend at roboexotica.org

This is near the RepRap Holy-Grail, I hope it would print some RepRap parts soon! The hardware in use is 2 Arduino Board, and the new electronic parts from parts.rrrf.org.

Photos by Brex

[Arduino] 3D LED Cube

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3D LED cube

After a first try with tiny space between LEDs (see last post), here is another try with enough space to build a proper cube, still following MakeZine instructions.

The fun parts were to add transistors to the board, allowing to get more power for each led level, and the programming: Persistance-Of-Vision and binary manipulation for led on/off switching.

If you need it, you can download the arduino program related to this circuit.

[Arduino] Playing with LEDs

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Arduino led-matrix The original project for tonight was to build a 3D LED cube, and the not-so-clever idea was to compact it the size of a normal dice.

Big mistake: first it was hell to solder all the tiny intersection of led cathods, then there is no way to pile up the array of leds if you don’t let space between them… maybe there’s a solution to that, and I’ve not find it yet.

Anyway, it was ready to connect to Arduino board, and to try to program this new led-matrix. Easy and fun, only problem is debugging messages while verifying source code on Arduino software that doesn’t help much, I’ll have to learn more about its syntax limitations.

Here is the result, 5 days before returning to Toulouse to visit Claire:

[Electronic] Arduino board

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Wanting to do a fast electronic prototype of an idea I had last night (more description about this idea in a later postà, I discovered this morning the Arduino project.

What is Arduino?

Arduino is an open-source electronics prototyping platform based on flexible, easy-to-use hardware and software. It’s intended for artists, designers, hobbyists, and anyone interested in creating interactive objects or environments.


What to do with it?

It’s basicly the Processing.org wet dream:

  • You make and verify you program in Processing (or similar IDE from Arduino)
  • You connect your board to your computer via USB and send the program to it
  • You disconnect it, find any external power source (batterie or plugged), and you app is running on a small hardware machine

Now you can add enough outputs (led, motor, …) and inputs (switches, potentio-meter, …) to make any physical hack. Smaller version of the board are also available!

And Berlin is the best place to live to get this working, everything is available in shops, and this one was particulary cheap: 27€

How to install it?

This board is working on Windows/Linux/Mac platform, but I had some difficulties to make it really plug&play on my Mac. Follow Gck instructions on Arduino forum if you have some problems too.

RepRap: PowerComms card soldered and tested

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PowerComms RepRap card

At last, I’ve just finished testing the PowerComms card for our Darwin RepRap machine.
This is the summary of differents tasks during this process.

Getting PowerComms card

Zach has made an excellent job with pushing difficult Darwin parts on a web-shop.
It’s simple and really faster than doing your own PCB cards, but supplies are limited, so I prefer to order parts step by step to give priority to people well more advanced than me in their RepRap building.

Finding componants

I’ve never order any electronic componants on the web, and when I tried to do so on RadioSpares, it was so complicated I preferred to look for help.
After a week, I went to this little electronic shop – Le Comptoir du Languedoc – in the middle of Toulouse, and everything was ready in 10 minutes 🙂

Soldering componants

Zach has made a great video available on RepRap blog where he shows the steps to follow. The only step to take care of is the PCB molex bug, it has to be reverted (5V to 12V position).

Looking for a power supply

It’s time of the century when you’ll find lots of people with dead computers at home, time to use their spare parts. After SMS-spamming all of my toulousian phone directory, Kortex answered first to the announce, and the power supply was retrieved the day after.

Switching on the power supply

Most of ATX power supply you’ll find won’t have a switch on them, this switch used to be connected on the computer motherboard.
You can easily make one yourself. For this, I used an old lamp switch, and connect 2 wires between the green wire and one of the black wire on the big pin plug.

ATX Power switcher

Mac USB Serial connector

I’ve been a bit lost at first with this usbserial cable, a unknown brand one. After connecting it to an ubuntu computer, it was detected as a PL-2303 chipset.
After that, you just need to install one of the PL-2303 drivers for your Mac, and restart the computer.
Just verify you’ve got this file after reboot: /dev/cu.usbserial

Testing card

  • Open iTerm (or another terminal)
  • sudo minicom -s
    • Serial Port Setup
      • A – Serial Device : /dev/cu.usbserial
      • E – Bps/Par/Bits : 19200 8N1
      • F – Hardware Flow Control : No
      • G – Software Flow Control : No
    • Save setup as dfl
  • Connect the usbserial cable, place a wire between Tx and Rx (pin 13 and 14 on max232 chip), and open minicom. If you type on your keyboard, something should appear on the terminal.
  • Remove the wire between Tx and Rx, verify nothing appear in your minicom terminal when you type.
  • Connect the power to the PowerComms card anb switch on the power supply. If you type something in the minicom terminal, it should appear.

Getting help

RepRap wiki and forums are a big place for information, you should definitely use them in case of problem with your PowerComms card:

RepRap: shop online to buy parts

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RepRapRepRap shopping website has just appear online, this is the place where we’ll be able to buy parts to begin with the RepRap project.

There are probably few people readier than me to build their 3D-printer, and only few pieces are available on the shop. The shop should be filled on regular interval, so I’ll wait another time to to order all parts to build Las Indias printer. I’ve just ordered the PowerComm board now to test the connection between the Mac and the future machine, there is probably some hacking-fun to have here 🙂

Until then, I’ve just installed RepRap java source yesterday on my computer, it’s lauching well from Eclipse if you follow the simple step-by-step instructions, I just wonder how difficult it’ll be to communicate with the external electronic board, I’ve never used any USB->Serial comm. tools before…

Blinken-balloons: mashing Blinken-Lights and LED Throwies

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BlinkenI want my part of fun!
Among the greatest projects of last few years, Blinken-Light and LED Throwies are in my TOP 5.

Now that people are putting their LED into balloons, the next step could be to make an array of these ballons the have a quick-setup blinken-light wall. All we need is a way to figure out how to maintain this array – something light enough to be only supported by helium ballon drag – and an electronic way to control which balloon to light.

It’s simple enough to take a lot of time, and if it’s becoming too simple it could easily be complexified: laser+camera to point which ballon to switch on – aka L.A.S.E.R. Tag from GRL – or some internet/mobile input to send image to the ballon array.

Mood: Having Fun after a bad day on Feevy.com 😉

BEAM Robotics: electronic art life

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From Wikipedia:

The word « beam » in BEAM robotics is an acronym for Biology, Electronics, Aesthetics, and Mechanics. This is a term that refers to a style of robotics that primarily uses simple analog circuits instead of a microprocessor in order to produce an unusually simple design (in comparison to traditional mobile robots) that trades flexibility for robustness and efficiency in performing the task for which it was designed. Exceptions to the convention of using only analog electronics do exist and these are often colloquially referred to as « mutants« .

Interesting links: