Lab Weather

My small lab assistant and I have our anti-cabin fever project figured out…
pinchy
Phase 1) Assemble as is
Phase 2) Go nuts for a while
Phase 3) Sever wires / attach to breadboard
Phase 4) Automate with Arduino

I forgot Phase 0, which is a refresher course on ‘soldering irons being very hot: “ouch”‘ As long as there are screwdrivers and wires involved, Emma will be into it. Could be very fun…

rbcreation

In the home stretch…

turbullenhelpulator

examine the reflection…


…which I thought would be a slam dunk. As it turns out, the programming phase for team swantron is a laborious thing at best. Code is boring. I knew that coming in, but Emma picked up on my ruse…we do a lot of jumper-ing breadboards in programming phase.

Saturday should be interesting.

Encabulation

Quick update on the Red Bull Creation status.

tur bull encabulation

grnd efx 2k13

We’re turbull encabulating…

I’m lacking a sufficient power source to push a ton of these LEDs simultaneously, so that is that for now. Power brick and a back-up strip are in the mail, so ambition will dictate how bright we go with this. The physical stuff is largely roughed-out, so now the challenge lies in refining the UI to this thing. Well, the secondary user’s interface is the thing that needs attention. My user is ready to roll.

Time is running short…tune in soon.

*** **PROTIP** ~burn the shit out of the copper contact tabs if you chop a RBG LED strip…the remnant rubber is a solder contact’s worst nightmare~ ***

TurBull Encabulator Unboxing

Big news. Team swan tron made the cut for the 2013 Red Bull Creation competition. Sweet and I made an unboxing video to signal the official start of awesome junk…


–kit guts–

wangs

As the video demonstrates, the mood in global HQ is babblingly excited. Grabby and frantic, but excited.

The competition in these sorts of things is typically a lot tougher than the balsa bento box this kit shipped in. Maybe Emma and I can pull out an upset.

IOIO on LiIon Battery Power

I finally bucked up and picked up a few Li-Ion batteries for my dust-collecting Clocky mod project. A two cell, a three cell, and a suitable charger for the two arrived in the mail yesterday. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…lithium ion battery tech is crazy. I can’t believe how deprived we were, or more accurately, how pumped I am to utilize this stuff at a decent price point.

Anyhow, I managed to spec out a high quality, thrifty Li-Ion that will fit on my payload…

ioio external liion battery power

whrrrrrrr

…and, the little sucker screams…

I have a hard connection from my phone to the IOIO in the vid. I need to configure the new ROM with bluetooth, and wanted to test the power function stand-alone. That will be the next step. The next next step will include piecing the payload together as a drivable unit. The next next next step will be tweaking the UI for some more realistic control units. After that is next next next next, and will involve a video of the unit in action.

Arduino 120V AC Relay Example

I got tired of poking around with LCD drivers with my Arduino. Time for a quick project to mix it up…staring at a surge protector always puts 120V on my mind. As it turns out, I tore apart an old humidifier a while ago on my ‘workbench.’ Monday night is Katie’s reality TV night…time for something sweet.

Investigating duty cycles on this plastic fan:

fan hack

fan hack

I figured that I could horse around with my PowerSwitch Tail, and make it somewhat mimic a PWM 5V setup. I was curious how long I would have to ‘pulse’ the switch with juice to keep the fan constantly rolling. I started with it fully on, and kicked my ‘active’ duty cycles lower until I reached a nearly-continual state of motion. Pause for Arduino code snippet:

/*
PowerSwitch Tail Template
-
120V AC Driver w/ LED indicator
-
Joseph Swanson
2011 | http://swantron.com
*/

void setup() {
// declare pins (13, 7) for writing
pinMode(13, OUTPUT);
pinMode(7, OUTPUT);
}

void loop() {
// Fire relay / LED
digitalWrite(13, HIGH);
digitalWrite(7, HIGH);

// Configure for “on” time
delay (50);

// Kill relay / LED
digitalWrite(13, LOW);
digitalWrite(7, LOW);

// Configure for “off” time
delay (950);
}

Pause for a small small-video break:

As that code and vid indicate, 1/20th of a second is all it took to keep the fan rolling, with 19/20th of a second idle. Not bad. Not sure what the takeaway is, but that is something to mention.

Put that knowledge somewhere safe, provided the question of humidifier fan duty cycles should spring up.

Evolution of a Project

I have two speeds when it comes to projects: percolate and bazooka. Whereas my swantron comment / to / LCD project was bazooka, this Twitter deal has been percolate. Haven’t been able to jump in completely, rather, I have been poking this one with a stick.

Still poking…

arduino controlling blue lcd

dual terminals and a terminal

Making progress…snagging my Twitter page via Python, and dumping it to LCD:

body and html closing tags on my lcd

+1 closing tags

I just need to hammer out some parsing, and I will be good to go. I really need to figure out some sweet regex and drop this whole ‘import (some junk)’ stuff. Who knows…at this rate, I just may.

HTML to Python to Arduino to LCD

Last week found me standing tall upon my shell script soapbox, shouting command line praises to all who would listen.

Thou ought direct thine output aftways, to-wards thine USB port of thee. And that is well and righteous.

Well, that still is the case. My latest project has made it glaringly obvious that sometimes a little Python script will render a whole bunch of shell scripting moot. Namely, parsing HTML. Let’s see a picture…

outdoor hacking

bad lab mobile

Lunch hour project: parse the comments from swantron.com; feed said comments to an LCD screen.

I was horsing around with wget from a CLI a few days ago. I found myself trying to smash through the resultant file via pure regular expressions…which is incredibly clumsy. Well, as luck would have it, my go-to after my main go-to is Python, and this type of thing has been issue enough to warrant a library. BeautifulSoup. It acts to parse the HTML info into items, that can be smashed around as I see(med) fit.

My setup was simple: py script to snag my comments and write serial, Arduino sketch to drive a LCD and read/write serial. And a source of shade. And a WiFi signal to snag.

mobile mobile

bad lab mobile-mobile

Check, check, check, etc. Video time:

Pretty slick…hit the fold for the code, as promised, and a summary.
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