ASK AN ENGINEER – TONIGHT 10PM ET! SATURDAY 3/31/2012… with Amanda “w0z” WozniakASK AN ENGINEER!
By popular demand – “Ask an engineer” with special guest Amanda“w0z” Wozniak. w0z was on a few previous shows (our most info-packed ones so far) – and she designed the MONOCHRON clock enclosure. W0z also designed the very popular and amazing DefCon Ninja Party Badges. W0z is a staff Electrical Engineer at Wyss Institute and formerly an applications Engineer at Analog Devices. This will be a great show, you’ll need to watch it many times at half-speed just to keep up as w0z drops knowledge bombs on us.
What is “Ask an engineer”? From the electronics enthusiast to the professional community – “Ask an Engineer” has a little bit of everything for everyone. If you’re a beginner, or a seasoned engineer – stop in and see what we’re up to! We have demos of projects and products we’re working on, we answer your engineering and electronics questions and we have a trivia question + give away each week. Mosfet the cat stops by too. Previous chats can be viewed at http://www.adafruit.com/ask
And don’t forget, 30 minutes before the show we’re doing our weekly show-and-tell. If you are on Google+ and want to join, just add/follow +Limor Fried’s (Ladyada) page and post a comment so you can be added to the show and tell circle. At 9:30pm ET you will see a link to the hang out. Just keep your mics muted until we call on you and have your project ready.
For those who just want to watch, you’ll be able to watch it live on Ustream here and we usually have a recorded version posted later.
The weekly show-and-tell is SATURDAY NIGHT 3/31/12 at 9:30pm ET! w0z, Ladyada and Becky will here, so show up with an AWESOME PROJECT!
NEW INSTRUCTIONS ON HOW TO BE ON THE SHOW AND TELL. If you are on Google+ and want to join, post a message/comment on Limor’s post on Google+ and say you want to show off a project and she will add you the “Show and Tell” circle. Then just look for the hangout announcement on the very same page later for your invite. There’s an 8 to 10 (at the same time) people limit per hangout, so if it’s full try later or just pop by next week same time. Some weeks are packed!
At 9:30pm ET you will see a link to the hang out. Just keep your mics muted until we call on you and have your project ready.
Inside the plastic tube is a gold plated slip ring for 6 wires. There are six color coded wire sets made of 26 AWG and no matter how you twist the assembly, they will remain in continuity. Each of the wire sets can carry up to 2A at up to 240VAC or 240VDC. There’s a 44mm (1.7″) diameter flange with mounting holes to make it easy to attach or you can cut it off with a hacksaw and drill/machine as you wish it seems to just be ABS plastic. Rated to rotate up to 300 RPM (but you can probably go faster if you don’t mind a reduced life and/or noise).
I have been dreaming about having a 3D Printer at home for many years, but the ones with good quality are not affordable and the low costs just deliver poor quality. Sounds crazy but I decided to build a high resolution 3D Printer by myself at home (people actually said that I was crazy and this was impossible). The funny thing I never saw this type of machines in real life, and still haven’t seen one besides the one I built.
Now that I succeed building the first prototype, the target is to bring this low cost 3D Printer to every home, so we are developing the first affordable one with high resolution. I hope you enjoy our blog, follow us and you can have this printer in your home soon.
Adafruit offers a fun and exciting “badges” to celebrate achievement for electronics, science and engineering. We believe everyone should be able to be rewarded for learning a useful skill, a badge is just one of the many ways to show and share.
The badge is skillfully designed and sturdily made to last a life time, the backing is iron-on but the badge can also be sewn on.
Adafruit’s embroidered badges are manufactured in partnership with AMBRO Manufacturing located in NJ, USA. AMBRO is a family owned and operated business since 1990 that celebrates open-source with Adafruit Industries. You can meet their team here. AMBRO uses non-toxic soy based, water soluble and environmentally friendly printing supplies, threads and more when possible. AMBRO has over 250 solar panels that generate 50,000 Kilowatt hours per year. Their equipment runs solar powered, so the wonderful things AMBRO and Adafruit have worked together on are made with the sun! AMBRO Manufacturing was recognized by Impressions Magazine, a leading trade publication in the garment printing and embroidery business, who published an article highlighting AMBRO and their commitment to their environmentally focused manufacturing practices. Adafruit knows you have a lot of choices as to where you spend your money and time, we hope our open-source values, commitment to green technologies and partners helps make the decision easier and fun!
Here at Adafruit, we are bigfansofKickstarter and crowd funding of open source projects. Crowd funding is a great way for a small open source shop to take a dream and make it a reality. Crowd funding is especially valuable with open source electronics and hardware because there is such a huge discount when buying components in large quantities. Recently, I have become obsessed with combing through Kickstarter and looking for great open source projects to invest my money into. Here are the three latest projects I have funded, and I think you will like them as well.
First off is a GPS tracking device developed by DSS Circuits. DSS Circuits have been around for quite some time, but you have more than likely never heard of them, so go check them out. They make some really great open source hardware. Their latest project is a GPS tracking device. This is their first project to make it onto Kickstarter, and the device looks really great. Here is what $126 will buy you:
GPS – An ultra sensitive -165dBm receiver with on board passive antenna that can be configured to a 10Hz update rate.
GSM – SIM900 Quad band GSM module to connect to the GSM cellular network. Unlocked SIM card necessary (not included).
USB Battery charger – charge rate set to 500mA by way of mini USB connector. Can be charged directly from most computers.
Next up is the DRONE Smart Controller by Evolution Controllers. This beautiful looking controller is being sold as an easy way to connect to your iOS or Android device to play games. The internals are going to be Arduino friendly, so the main reason I backed this project is because I would love to use this little controller to operate an Arduino robot. The complete project is open source, and here is what they will make available:
PCB board/layout so that you could make your own board if you want to perform a major overhaul of the electronics.
Atmel ICSP Programming Connector
16 pin “breakout” header will allow you to access all the pins including the X,Y of the Joystick. This ribbon cable can be routed out the front of the controller so that you can use whatever buttons or other input mechanism you want.
The Drone Programming Library will have utility methods and constant definitions that will make writing your own firmware even easier.
The official Drone Firmware will be available as an Arduino Sketch.
For those that are less technical but want to try out the latest we will make a firmware update tool available
The third project I am backing is the MakerSlide. This is a project that has already been successful on Kickstarter, but I missed out on it the first time. For round two they have gone to Inventables for their crowd funding. What is the MakerSlide? The MakerSlide is an open source aluminum extrusion with two special rails for wheels to roll on. What would you use this for?
This component is interesting for people designing CNC machines because it acts as the structural support and the linear bearing system. The biggest design, cost and fabrication hurdles in a new CNC machine design are the linear bearings. There are a lot of commercial and DIY solutions out there, but none support an easy, low cost and rapid fabrication philosophy.
The basic bearing concept is not new. The inventor of the MakerSlide, Bart Dring, had used it for years in his own designs and many high end commercial systems use it. This system is traditionally called a V wheel running on V rail. The problem with the commercial systems is that they are expensive, require a lot of accurate fabrication to integrate, and don’t seamlessly integrate into standard extrusion systems. The MakerSlide solves all three of these issues.
MakerSlide is a V rail integrated into a standard extrusion profile. If you are working on a CNC system like a 3D printer, CNC Mill, or CNC Router this MakerSlide might be the right structural support and linear motion system for you.
Backing any of these projects is a lot of fun. Not only do you support open source hardware or help make someone’s dream a reality, but you actually get a real product when all is said and done. I would love to hear about any other open source crowd funding projects that you are interested in. Share them in the comments!
littleBits is a system of modular electronics that snap together with tiny magnets for prototyping and play. The littleBits starter kit is the first kit by littleBits and contains all you need to get started within seconds. Each bit has a simple, unique function (light, sound, sensors, etc), and modules snap to make larger circuits. With a growing number of available modules, littleBits aims to put the power of engineers in the hands of artists, makers and children. Included in the kit are 10 color coded modules (power, input, output, and wire) that snap together magnetically to create larger circuits, guaranteed to keep kids (or you) occupied for hours. Comes packaged in an attractive case with a magnetic closure and includes an instruction sheet, 9v battery and a custom plastic screwdriver.
littleBits starter kit contents:
A quick-start instruction set
A custom-made 9V battery
A 9V battery connector
Custom plastic screwdriver
Snap and play, magnets prevent you from putting things the wrong way.
Play with light, sound, sensing and buttons without wiring, soldering or programming.
Make your own interactive objects, or combine with other construction toys.
Explain to your children the complex notions of electricity, electronics and science in a fun way!
NEW PRODUCT – Smart Cord – A2DP Bluetooth, 120v 10amp 1200 Watt Extension Cord. This is Zsmart’s patent pending electrical extension cord with manual and Bluetooth® wireless technology control. The Bluetooth wireless range of 30 feet or more, depending on environment. Does not require line of sight. This is an inexpensive way to control on/off power via Bluetooth from a variety of devices. We like using these to turn on and off hard-to-reach projects high up or put inside structures without easy access. Since it uses an almost universal way of accessing it (A2DP Bluetooth) there are a lot of projects possible. Please visit the http://www.thesmartcord.com/ site for more information.
3 Prong Plug and Outlet.
Interior use only.
~4 Feet in Length.
Controls up to 1200 watts.
120v / 10 amp / 1200 watts.
FCC ID: A4B-ZC30 Bluetooth Compliant
APP Name = Smart Cord
ZSmart technology works on ANY A2DP Bluetooth capable Phone, Computer or Tablet, including the following mobile operating systems:
iPhone 3G and beyond, iPad
Windows Mobile 7.1+
The Zsmart Smart Cord works on ANY A2DP Bluetooth capable Computer or Tablet with audio playing capabilities, including:
This movie (which you should definitely watch in HD) ends with new images of Messier 9 from the Hubble Telescope, which at full size resolves over 250,000 individual stars. More from Universe Today:
First discovered by Charles Messier in 1764, the globular cluster Messier 9 is a vast swarm of ancient stars located 25,000 light-years away, close to the center of the galaxy. Too distant to be seen with the naked eye, the cluster’s innermost stars have never been individually resolved… until now.
This image from the Hubble Space Telescope is the most detailed view yet into Messier 9, capturing details of over 250,000 stars within it. Stars’ shape, size and color can be determined — giving astronomers more clues as to what the cluster’s stars are made of. (Download a large 10 mb JPEG file here.)
Meet someone who has completed four years of design education and ask them to reflect on their education, and they’ll likely tell you stories of the dreaded foundations assignments. These craft oriented projects focused narrowly on a single “core” of design, like color, or line, or texture, or shadow. I remember the “coloraid” projects at Carnegie Mellon. We were to select a magazine layout, pin it to a board, and examine it.
And then, our task was to recreate the layout – exactly – using tiny 1/8″ square pieces of colored paper. It took forever (my memory of freshman year is a bit tired, but I recall it taking close to 100 hours), and at the time, we all questioned the point. What on earth could we learn from such a menial and monotonous activity, and how was this a good use of our really expensive education?
In fact, the foundational year of design education is full of activities like this. Paint a hundred color blocks a single color, but with a complete spectrum of saturation. Draw every letter of a single typeface, as realistically as possible. Sand a perfect sphere out of a cube. Sand a hundred perfect spheres out of a hundred cubes.
In a word, these projects were intended to teach craftsmanship, and many have historic roots in Bauhaus education, or pre-Bauhaus arts and crafts approaches to the production of artifacts. By focusing on a simple, contained, and tedious task, students formed tacit skills necessary for visual decision making – for a thoughtful process of design, related to the creation of form-based objects. Specifically, these projects offered four major benefits to students.
The Tricorder Project aims to bring a diverse array of inexpensive sensors together in an accessible, easy to use, handheld design that can be easily kept close in a pocket or bag. More than simply bringing the technology to people, the Tricorder aims to provide intuitive ways of visualizing data — so you might see magnetic fields, temperature, or polarization as naturally as you see colour.
I need a sketch for arduino duo motor shield to control the speed of a dc motor.
I can turn the motor on and off but need for code for speed control. Is htis just a loop that sets the value of digitalWrite(motor1Pin, value); if so what is the numeric range of the value and how does it work?
You asked this question at the right time! I just finished a simple DC motor controller for a quadcopter I am making to show my students (I know……everyone is making quadcopters)
Controlling the speed of a motor is a very simple process with Arduino thanks to a built in function and technique called pulse-width modulation or PWM. Since you are using an Uno, you actually have the ability to independantly vary the speed of 6 DC motors (on pins 3, 5, 6, 9, 10 and 11). The PWM is controller by the analogWrite(pin, value) command which when executed will pulse anywhere between 0 and 255 duty cycle at 490Hz (this is why motors that are being PWM’d make noise at low duty cycles) The lower the number the slower the motors rotation and vice-versa. One of the cool things about the PWM command is that it actually runs in the “background” of your sketch. Once you execute the command, it will continue at that duty-cycle until you change it. This makes it great for things like quadcopters!
In order to drive anything much more then an LED, you need an external piece of hardware to supply more current….hence your motor shield!
The Arduino Motor Shield provides you with a dual full-bridge driver which can deliver 2A per channel to 2 DC motors or 1 stepper motor. The channels are connected to D3 and D11, direction pins to D12 & D13, brake on D9 and D8 and current sensing on A0 and A1, making this a pretty sweet shield. I do not have the shield, so I apologize if this isn’t 100% kosher, but here is a sketch that should sweep your motor through its complete range of speed control:
//set our constants
const int dirA = 12;
const int dirB = 13;
const int brakeA = 9;
const int brakeB = 8;
const int senseA = 0;
const int senseB = 0;
const int pwmA = 3;
const int pwmB = 11;