The Electrician's Work bench

The mindless ramblings of a savage drunk with a screwdriver.

Raspberry Pi

Posted by 0ldrunk on June 11, 2012

Another new project/toy on my table is the Raspberry Pi, it just came in the mail a few days ago and I’m looking forward to seeing what this little guy can do!

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CNC build

Posted by 0ldrunk on December 23, 2010

Well it’s been some time since posted or worked on any thing. I still don’t have a lot of free time but just a quick post on something I’ve been poking at.
CNC Build Log 0.1
Not a lot info ready to post but it’s just the first step towards a working 3 axis CNC PICmicro Controlled. At this time I’m looking for a fast cheap build. So it’s going to be small and limited but useful none the less!
For the controller it’s a PIC16F870 3 axis Driver. It was bought as kit total cost with stepper motors was around $150CND dollars.
The kit was purchased online from ChromationSystems.com and the creator has done excellent instructables.com build guide for the driver kit. This is the lowest cost kit don’t expect a professional CNC machine out of this controller but a good small start to familiarize one’s self with the way CNC machines work and how to tell one what to make for you.
For the software end I’m going OpenSource with EMC2(Enhanced Machine Controller). I’ve only run a test so far the assembled Driver works but I need a faster PC since the current test rig is 300Mhz CPU with 764megs of ram but runs Puppylinux very smoothly but EMC needs at least 700Mhz. EMC will run on the PC but misses steps like crazy.

Test setup

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Linux Media Centre PC (HTPC)

Posted by 0ldrunk on March 31, 2010

Some computer stuff again, have not had the time to play around with PIC’s lately but there is always so much to do and so little time.

How to turn a HP Pavilion Elite into a l33t HTPC (Home Theatre PC)

I recently got a HP Pavilion Elite m9080n from some one who had switch to MAC. The HP would be a good media centre PC if it was not the fact it was built by HP. The HP case design is horrible and cramped so its doomed to thermal brake down so this needs to be changed so I had a old rack mount server case to transplant to which would give it much more room and far better cooling. After I got it transplanted I tried to boot it up and install XBMC (Xbox Media Centre) which started out as Xbox hack and now has been ported to linux and currently works off Ubuntu 9.10 distro. I had quite the issue getting this going and not because of linux but the HP hardware mainly HP put cheap crap in their computers. When I first opened up the HP I was surprised to find a Asus mobo then it turned out be a model that is built just for HP and it came with a really crappy butchered BIOS and there was Nvidia Geforce 8800GTS video card, now I’m going to rant so cover your eyes if your blind stupid fanboy. Nvidia here is where the problem was with this system and why I don’t buy Nvidia any more because I’ve been burned twice now. Nvidia will let any one build hardware for them and I mean any one so even though on the outside it looks like a quality piece of hardware because of the flashy looking heat sink glued on top but when you strip that away its total crap under the hood and I mean Crap. Every now again you’ll think your getting a good deal on a Nvidia card or in this case HP being cheap and looking to crank out a few extra bucks but your getting hardware that is overpriced garbage. The Nvidia card that HP sold will only work with one default HP windows Vista 32bit driver version that it was shipped with, forget about update drivers or 64 bit or running another OS, a card that is suppose to be powerful will only work with one outdated driver build and thats it! and I’ve had this happen before, get a Nvidia card thinking you got somthing good until you go to update the drivers and you lose hardware video. So any way I got my HTPC working no problems after I pulled out the Nvidia card and tossed it in the trash since I don’t use Vista and don’t know any one who is dumb enough to use Vista, I pulled the plastic cap off that covered the onboard Intel video on the butchered HP Asus motherboard luckily XBMC has drivers for Intel, ATI and Nvidia.

Gotta say XBMC is really sweet!

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PIC 18F Programing

Posted by 0ldrunk on December 24, 2009

After some trial and error, trying to program the 18F2550 proved to be harder then I thought. I tried to program it first via the ICSP header on my Velleman K8048 and was getting errors during programing, after some reading I added two 47pF caps for PGD and PGC filtering with still no success. Did yet more reading and built a ART2003 programmer which is a simple LPT programmer meant for the 18F2xxx chips and still no success, so after yet more reading finally I figured out it could be a COM problem with my computer and installed PORT TALK drivers and tried again with the Velleman and success the chip flashed with out any errors. One note is that the software Velleman supplys with K8048 is as about as useless as tits on a bull  use WINPIC , not winpic800 but WINPIC. The K8048 will program 18F chips (18F2550 tested only by me) with the ICSP header and some trial and error and 22pF~47pF  PGC/PGD filtering caps!

I have now tried the programed chip in the PICkit 2 clone and well I have to go back and double check my wiring as there seems to be a problem, windows reports it as a unknown USB device and the PICkit2 software won’t detect it at all, but if I hold down on the button well plugging in the USB the busy LED starts to flash which means its going into bootloader mode to take firmware updates, so this is a good thing I’m guessing it means the chip is flashed and working it just may have to do with my build of the circuit board, stating to realize that its time I just learn how to do printed circuit boards and get the materials needed so that I can eliminate future errors on my part.

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PICkit2 Lite

Posted by 0ldrunk on December 21, 2009

Well I have just about finished my PK2 clone all is left is to program the 18F2550 with Microchips PK2 firmware and test it all out.

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USB PIC Programmer

Posted by 0ldrunk on December 5, 2009

Well after some some more research and a trip out to my local electronics shop I ended up figuring out that I can build a “Junebug” which is a striped down lite clone of Microchips’ PICKit2. about the same amount of parts to build as the GTP but supports more chips and is supported by software like MPLAB IDE and Flowcode3/4 which I use so this should shave some time and effort on new projects as it will be faster then my old serial Velleman K8048, plus now I can use my laptop for programing since the PK2 is USB . Nothing wrong with the Velleman and its proven it’s self to be a good programmer for the cost and getting started with PICmicros.The old serial programer will still be handy for some chips that need more then 5VDC for programing as my PICkit2 lite will only do 5V chips, as well I need the old serial programer to build the JuneBug as at the core of the new programmer is a 18F2550.

* One important note is if using the Blueroomelectronics schematics for the PICkit2 lite, there is a mistake on the USB connection, PINs 15(D-) and 16(D+) are backwards, when building you have to switch them around or it may not work, if you download the datasheet for the 18F2550 you will see this too!*

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GTP USB PIC programmer

Posted by 0ldrunk on December 3, 2009

I came across a great find today surfing the net the GTP-USB-Lite Programmer . I’ve been looking for new PIC programmer and I found one that I happen so have the parts to build it, that saves me a lot of time.

I’m going to start building this one tomorrow hopefully, just pulling out the parts right now!


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Computer build

Posted by 0ldrunk on November 28, 2009

Some friends of my’n just had their computer die on them, at first it seemed like the video card may have died but even with a swap out of the video card still no go, it just wasn’t booting up at all. So took advantage of the Black Friday sale and picked up a Asus mother board, 2Gigs of Crosair DDR2 1066Mhz RAM , AMD Phenom 64 X3 2.4Ghz CPU with 3.5MB Cache, Diablotek 400Watt PSU , and a extra DVD drive.

When I pulled out the old hardware and took a better  look I found two blown Capacitors near the CPU, so the motherboard is NFG. I’m hoping the old Ram may be still good so I can get another old computer going but the old PC3200 Ram physically don’t look too healthy some of the resistors look blown, going to test it any way just to be sure.

Right now I have all the new parts installed into the case I have reused the old video card assuming that it still works, the old DVD drive, and the HD, I had spare 200Gig drive kicking around so I tossed that in too as the new C: drive seeing as I’ll need to re-installed windows and the original HD is the only back-up of my friends’ Data. So going to try to boot the new hardware and begin with OS install I don’t foresee any other problems at this time.

Update: the spare 200Gig bit the dust, rebooted the system and drive failure came up. Any way the rest of the computer runs fine, just no spare drive.

Update 2: Well Mycrowshit found a way to screw me up(again!). Every thing was fine and running till I brought it back to my friends’ place and connect it to the network and windows activation comes up, “no problem” I think “I’ve had this happen before, just re-activate because of the new CPUkey” so I tryed activate over the internet and would not work “Okay…I’ll just call MS support” an Hour of swearing at Raj from India later got me transferred to a US Mircosoft rep, she kindly tells me. To sum this I was told I’m up shit river with out a paddle. Oh Yay me! The orginal company that build the computer needs to give me their activation key but the company is long gone!

I’ve resolved the issue and let just say IF you ever wondered why people hack and crack software, NO its not because of piracy it’s because software makers are F**KING IDIOTS!!!!!!!

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Flowcode 4

Posted by 0ldrunk on November 21, 2009

It’s been out for a number of months now so it’s not new but I used Flowcode3 for the R/C nav lights project and it worked really well, just downloaded version 4 from http://www.matrixmultimedia.com  the fine people who make Flowcode and a number of other interesting products.

One thing I’m looking forward to trying in this version  is the USB support for PICmicro chips that support it, so when I get around to my LED Cube I maybe able to pull off some cool things.

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LED Cube

Posted by 0ldrunk on November 21, 2009

Just another limbo project I haven’t had the time to sit down and work on more but hope to soon maybe over Christmas.

I started building a 4x4x4 LED cube some time ago and now that I’ve set myself up a personal blog I can can continue to post my work. Right now the LEDs have been soldered into a cube and have only started to plan out the controller, most if not all LED cube projects I’ve seen online are Atmel/AVR based and any PICmicro controllers I’ve come across have been for small 3x3x3 cubes or disPIC(16bit?) chips or built for RBG LEDs. I’m just using solid colour LEDs for cost right now and I’m use to working with the 8bit PIC micros. I’m going with 18Fxxxx PIC chip for the brains and the one I’d like to use has built-in USB function so I can update the LED animations with a computer and have it open for future projects like a winamp visualization plugin someday , most likly I’ll never get that far but wishful thinking.

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As far as I got!

Posted by 0ldrunk on November 21, 2009

This is officially the final post on the R/C nav lights project. I lost time and interest to continue it, the final controller worked but never got around to working in the error checking as I would have had to redo most of the program due to limited code space on that model of PICmicro, even if  I did want to continue it now most of my original work was lost when my home server was attacked.

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First test flight!

Posted by 0ldrunk on November 21, 2009

Build Log / Posted by Oldrunk / Feb 08, 2009 @ 03:12 AM / 949 Views / 0 Comments / Reply
Well I got the comanche back together with the finished prototype installed, had to change out all the wire I had used for the LED’s for somthing more flexible.But she’s ready for a test flight and see how dose with this extra weigh on.
Build Log / Posted by Oldrunk / Feb 08, 2009 @ 11:08 PM / 1,113 Views / 3 Comments / Reply

well got my first test flight in and not too bad other then I found a bug going to have to go back and rework the glitch checking I had the lights go out mid flight in dark room, well I made a video and and got a better camera so if you watch you’ll see the glitch, when it happened the stats LED on the board started to blink to show an error, you can’t see it in the video but I saw it glow though the Comanche body.

 

 

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Working prototype

Posted by 0ldrunk on November 21, 2009

Discussion / Posted by Oldrunk / Feb 07, 2009 @ 06:24 PM / 714 Views / 0 Comments / Reply

Well got back early but have to leave Monday for another few days. I did get some work in on the prototype and it all works, just need to do some tweaks and it will be ready, the next step is to put the Comanche back together and test fly it with the Nav light controller on.
Even got a chance to toss a little video together, its not great and my 3megapixel camera only records video 15seconds at a time but it works.

 

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Ready for testing

Posted by 0ldrunk on November 21, 2009

Build Log / Posted by Oldrunk / Feb 03, 2009 @ 07:13 PM / 1,153 Views / 0 Comments / Reply
I have every thing assembled now and ready to go, just need to program in the lighting patterns and see how it looks on the finished product. I’m still far from done, I’m going to have to rework the circuit and board to try to get it smaller I guess that will be my version 0.2 . Don’t have the materials to do printed circuit boards other wise even with the current design it could be a little smaller.With the circuit board that is just going to lead me to my next build a CNC router to mill out boards for me. :rolleyes:
Any way all this will have to be put on hold till Monday, being called away out of town for work so here will every thing sit on my desk until I’m back. :(

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LamaLight V0.1

Posted by 0ldrunk on November 21, 2009

Build Log / Posted by Oldrunk / Feb 02, 2009 @ 05:57 PM / 1,152 Views / 0 Comments / Reply
Well here it is the first beta of my project. The circuit it fully complete and the software is mostly complete just need to program in the different lighting patterns and then its all ready to go.
Some details about the controller are it supports 6 light channels, of the six channels it supports the following 3 Nav position lights(two forward, one tail end, one mid tail) 1 Strobe light , Landing Lights(two outputs) and Search lights(two outputs).
I built every thing with parts I had on hand so the microcontroller is a PIC16f627, the transistors for switching the output are BC547B(or 2N3904) they can handle up to 100mA of current, most designs I’ve seen online use a 2N2222 which can handle double the current but don’t feel that the 2N2222 is needed since the average LED is 20 to 25mA , there will be at most 60mA of current running though the collector with 2 LEDs connected. If higher power LED’s are needed/wanted the transistors can be replaced for 2N2222 or better.

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Build Update on Nav Lights

Posted by 0ldrunk on November 21, 2009

Build Log / Posted by Oldrunk / Feb 01, 2009 @ 02:50 PM / 962 Views / 0 Comments / Reply
Did a test on breadboard of the individual parts of the final circuit and made a couple of changes to the schematic and its all well on its way now, with a fresh start this morning I have finally began the assembly of the first prototype, once I’m happy with the layout and can get it as small as I can then I’ll solder and connect all the components.
Last thing left to do is mount the LEDs on the Co-Comanche body.

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Nav Lighting Control

Posted by 0ldrunk on November 21, 2009

Build Log / Posted by Oldrunk / Jan 30, 2009 @ 05:41 PM / 964 Views / 0 Comments / Reply
Just a update on my work. When I started this project I just wanted to make a simple “RC switch” to turn lights on/off but have found that much more can be done. So I have it worked out and working so that the lighting can be fully controlled and set off the free fifth channel on the modded Esky 404 TX.

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It works!

Posted by 0ldrunk on November 21, 2009

Build Log / Posted by Oldrunk / Jan 21, 2009 @ 04:12 PM / 1,553 Views / 4 Comments / Reply
After some tweaking and moving some bits around it works , reads out values to where ever I move the pot and reproduce the same values over and over on the same positions, well almost on the high end I’ll get 80~82 but 81 seems to come up most and same for the low end I’ll get 33 or 32 but that could be just the trimmer pot on channel 5 of TX and getting some variation because of it, not a big deal and won’t affect me any way so now with phase one complete I can move on to phase two and work on my nav light control.
BTW I did this all in flowcode and did not type a single line of program code, my PC mouse and my brain did most of the work.  Can you believe it?
Pics attached show it works.
Just ignore the notes written on paper its from early code trials and trying to map it

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It’s alive!!! Kinda???

Posted by 0ldrunk on November 21, 2009

Build Log / Posted by Oldrunk / Jan 21, 2009 @ 11:57 AM / 1,087 Views / 0 Comments / Reply
Well after some hardship getting the LCD screen to work and finding out I had a bad setting keeping it from working I finally got to test my servo pulse input code and with some success. The LCD is spitting out values when I move the pot for channel 5 to different positions and getting repeating values at the same positions only problem is its slow to read whats coming off the channel and won’t return any value at some positions, so back to drawing board to rethink and rework the code. :confused: :(

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Microcontroller

Posted by 0ldrunk on November 21, 2009

Build Log / Posted by Oldrunk / Jan 19, 2009 @ 05:29 PM / 1,264 Views / 5 Comments / Reply
So now that I have a 5th free channel on my TX/RX got to do somthing with them so back to my other hobby of electronics and I have been interested in microcontrollers for some time but never had a goal with them so never got past blinking some LEDs, now I want to blink LEDs remotely via the free channel. Now I have seen already made controllers that do this for sell but whats the fun in that if I already have the parts and resources to do it my self and learn something in the processes.
I don’t have much experience in writing code and all I know is some C code but never really used it but can read it and generally get the gist of whats going on and whats it doing. Did a lot of reading and most sources point to PICbasic as easy to learn but already familiar with C( found C easier to learn then basic) so didn’t want to go that way.Tried some demos of different C compilers for PICmicro, and later found Flowcode3 which has become my first choice because its stupid easy with just a datasheet on your device and Flowcode and little/no programing knowledge/experience you can get a lot done without typing a single line of code. If you where ever intimidated by microcontrollers try FlowCode you’ll be surprised how easy it is to make working software for a microcontroller and it will spit out your flow chart code as readable C code, its great for learning to program. Now just to figure out how the PIC controller functions work like interrupts and timers so I can get I want done.

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If ain’t broke : Fix it!!!!

Posted by 0ldrunk on November 21, 2009

Build Log / Posted by Oldrunk / Jan 16, 2009 @ 03:06 AM / 1,411 Views / 0 Comments / Reply
Well modded my TX and RX for a 5th channel to used for nav lights and other projects figure I’d post some pics of the 5th channel mod as well modded the throttle by putting some tubing over the metal ratchet to get some smoother control. The 5th channel is being controlled with a 5K Pot and the knob head is a OKW part# A1320260 , you can get this and other knob heads as FREE samples from their site www.okwenclosures.com as well they have project boxes and battery holders that they freely sample you can order what ever you want as long as its under a $100USD and not more then once evey 4 or 5 months or you’ll get black listed.
Been working on programming a PIC to take the servo input from the 5th channel, still new programming PICmicros so its a challange trying to get it to work.
Press ahead!

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Electronics Log

Posted by 0ldrunk on November 21, 2009

I’ve had a hobby interest in electronics ( mostly controllers) for some time now and had a log going at a R/C forum but my projects are not just R/C based, I like get my hands on any thing. I’m going to start this blog with re-posting one of my first projects using PICmicro controllers. I never really did finish it but it did mostly work which I was pleased with.

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