Archive Page 2

Clever Arduino Case

One of the challenges that seem to keep coming up when working with an Arduino is where to put it so that it won’t get banged up on the workbench or tossed off the dining room table to make space for dinner. I’ve written about using wood, and my books give examples of various types of enclosures (everything from PVC tubing to pro-grade test instrument enclosures), but what other options are available? Is there an off-the-shelf solution? Turns out there is, if you have an R2 or R3 type Uno (or Duemilanove), and best of all it’s inexpensive.

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New series: Arduino Test Equipment

The ESR electronics Tricorder, Part 1

In this article I describe the beginnings of a device that I like to think of as a Tricorder for electronics. This is the first of a three part series in what will (hopefully) be the start of a series of articles that describe ways to use Arduino boards and AVR microcontrollers to build useful, low-cost test, measurement, and control devices.

For additional details and definitions be sure to check out my books “Practical Electronics: Components and Techniques” and “Arduino: A Technical Reference“. Both are available from O’Reilly, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and numerous other places where fine books are sold.

Continue reading ‘New series: Arduino Test Equipment’

Dropbox Drops the Ball

I like use a secure file sharing service to move things around between myself, publishers, co-workers, and so¬† on. For years I’ve been using Dropbox and its directory syncing feature under Linux without any major hassles. I finally decided to pay them some money and get more storage space, and it was fine at first. But lately that all changed. Continue reading ‘Dropbox Drops the Ball’

C.H.I.P: The VGA test setup

Here are some images of the CHIP test setup I cobbled together. It’s not pretty, but that’s not important for right now. It works, and it demonstrates one way to assemble things and get a working single-board Linux system up and running. Continue reading ‘C.H.I.P: The VGA test setup’

Chinese CNC Tools

Maybe I’m spoiled, or just out of sync with things, but when I worked with professional CNC equipment (I worked on the control systems and servo amplifiers for big things like vertical mills, jig bores and huge lathes) the software was usually custom made for a particular machine type. If not, then it was some type of high-reliability real-time operating system or maybe a real-time OS for a minicomputer, like a PDP-11 or the IBM Series I machines.

But at the price some of the Chinese CNC tools are going for these days it would be nuts to expect them to come with custom control software. Instead, a lot of them come with Windows-based software, and some of that is of dubious heritage. As someone who likes to open the hood on things the poke around inside, Windows is a problem for me. I prefer to use Linux instead, but when the shiny new CNC tool that just arrived only comes with Windows software, then it’s time to start looking for alternative software. Continue reading ‘Chinese CNC Tools’

More CHIP computer notes

After getting the VGA “DIP” add-on PCB installed and running I’ve been playing around with the CHIP a bit more. Between the day job and a couple of books in progress I don’t have a whole lot of spare time, but I did find out a few interesting things. Continue reading ‘More CHIP computer notes’

Fun with Bluetooth and Android

About a month ago I went on vacation with my family, part of which involved a large cruise ship. I also had a new Samsung Galaxy phone, and I was curious to see what it could do. I had been avoiding getting a “smart phone” for a long time, but lack of 4G and generally crappy reception almost everywhere finally pushed me into it. Now I have something that has both WiFi and Bluetooth, in addition to being a phone. Lots of possibilities there. Continue reading ‘Fun with Bluetooth and Android’


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Little Buddy

An awesome little friend

Jordi the Sheltie passed away in 2008 at the ripe old age of 14. He was the most awesome dog I've ever known.