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. 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 +Adafruit’s 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 & YouTube LIVE and we usually have a recorded version posted later.
Featured Adafruit Community Project: Rick Winscot’s LARS Robot
Rick Winscot shared: “Just a heads-up on completion of another robot design called “LARS” which is short for (LARson Scanner). Again… contains Adafruit parts! I’ve attached a photo and here’s a Vine to show-off all that scanner goodness.” (read more)
There are people making amazing things around the world, are you one of them? Join the 59,502 strong! And check out scores of projects they shared this week after the jump!
Since their introduction less than a year ago, the humble NeoPixel has exploded into more than a dozen different varieties and form-factors. There are so many tips, tricks and frequently-asked questions, we’ve now collected them into a single densely-packed destination: the Adafruit NeoPixel Überguide!
Is there any glue that sticks to the weatherproof flex strips? Can I connect multiple strips to one Arduino pin? Will a 10 Amp supply make my pixels explode? All these questions (and many more) are resolved.
Whatever. I still think they came from crashed UFO technology.
I ended up making a derivative of the Stacking Pi Case and calling it the Raspberry Pi Case (with Camera) because, that’s what it is. I just made the Stacking Case taller and added in some holes to mount the camera.
So if you’ve got a Raspberry Pi and Camera Module, this case might do well for you, since it’ll hold them both. Grab it from Thingiverse! …
Raspberry Pi Camera Board: The Raspberry Pi Camera Module is a custom designed add-on for Raspberry Pi. It attaches to Raspberry Pi by way of one of the two small sockets on the board upper surface. This interface uses the dedicated CSI interface, which was designed especially for interfacing to cameras. The CSI bus is capable of extremely high data rates, and it exclusively carries pixel data. The board itself is tiny, at around 25mm x 20mm x 9mm. It also weighs just over 3g, making it perfect for mobile or other applications where size and weight are important. It connects to Raspberry Pi by way of a short ribbon cable. The camera is connected to the BCM2835 processor on the Pi via the CSI bus, a higher bandwidth link which carries pixel data from the camera back to the processor. This bus travels along the ribbon cable that attaches the camera board to the Pi. The sensor itself has a native resolution of 5 megapixel, and has a fixed focus lens onboard. In terms of still images, the camera is capable of 2592 x 1944 pixel static images, and also supports 1080p30, 720p60 and 640x480p60/90 video. (read more)
I have built a tree house (though it is not finished yet) that is nearly 30 feet up a tree. I got tired of climbing a ladder six and a half million times a day, so I made a bicycle powered elevator to solve this problem. Don’t you wish you had one? :p I welcome any questions or comments.
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It’s Labor Day, and that means millions of Americans are celebrating. Most Americans have no idea what Labor Day is, other than self-serving political speeches, hot dogs, burgers, a pool party, and the last day of a three-day holiday. Few even know that Labor Day exists to allow people to remember and honor the struggles for respect, dignity, and acceptable wages and working conditions for the rank-and-file employees.
We don’t know that the Knights of Labor created the first Labor Day in 1882 and that Congress made it a national holiday in 1894.
Almost none of us, including life-long union workers, know the personalities of the labor movement. About Mother Jones (1830-1930), the militant “angel of the coal fields” for more than six decades. About “Big Bill” Haywood (1869-1928) who organized the Industrial Workers of the World, a universal coalition to fight for the rights of all labor. About cigar-chomping Samuel Gompers (1850-1924), the first president of the American Federation of Labor, a job he held for 38 years.
This photo is shot in 4×5 on Kodachrome Professional Type B, probably with a Speed or Crown Graphic camera using a normal (150mm) or normal-wide (135mm) lens. “Type B” refers to the color balance of the film, in this case set at about 3400 Kelvin. This film has an ASA (ISO, or film speed) of 10, which means that if you wanted to take a picture at 1/8th of a second @ f/5.6 you’d need about 4000 watts of incandescent light, set up 15 feet away. Needless to say, this picture was likely taken not with tungsten floods but with magnesium-foil flashbulbs, which in the larger sizes could put out a truly heroic quantity of light.
The very natural but vibrant color and incredible sharpness are the reason why Kodachrome was so well-loved over it’s 75-year lifespan, and it is part of what makes this photograph look so stunning.
Mark Williams has shared his PiBBOT V2, a balancing, RPi powered robot:
This is my second successful attempt at a balancing robot using a Raspberry Pi
Mark’s PiBBOT code is available here so you can try it out for yourself!
Featured Adafruit Products
RGB backlight positive LCD 20×4 + extras – black on RGB – This is a fancy upgrade to standard 20×4 LCDs, instead of just having blue and white, or red and black, this LCD has black characters on a full color RGB background! That means you can change the display background color to anything you want – red, green, blue, pink, white, purple yellow, teal, salmon, chartreuse. (read more)
Membrane 1×4 Keypad + Extras – Punch in your secret key into this numeric membrane keypad. This keypad has 4 buttons, and since every key has its own wire line, no matrix code is required – just treat these like every day switches. The membrane is soft and has a removable paper backing to expose a strong adhesive so you can stick this on an enclosure and feed the cable through a slot. (read more)
Simple RF M4 Receiver – 315MHz Momentary Type – These Simple RF receivers are the easiest way possible to add wireless control, painlessly! There’s no programming, configuring or addressing – simply power the receiver with 5-10VDC and press the buttons on our matching RF keyfob remote. When the A button is pressed, it activates the first pin, when the B button is pressed, it activates the second one, and so forth for all four buttons. (read more)
Here’s an overview of Techcamp 2013′s Raspberry Pi course from Gordon Henderson:
So the past two weeks has seen me attending Techcamp 2013 held at at Sparsholt college just outside Winchester. I was the lead tutor for their Raspberry Pi course. And now, a few days later I’ve finally had enough sleep to type this up
Techcamp is run by Tom Ward, an Electrical Engineer who previously worked as Head of Science at Elstree School, Berkshire. Tom believes that young people should have ever opportunity to enjoy a summer camp from a technical perspective as opposed to those other summer camps where you play sports, etc… (Although Laser Tag is an active outdoor sport played here!)
A few months ago Tom was looking for some Raspberry Pi people and I replied to his posting and before I knew it, was in the system… Young people (8 to 17 year old!) attending the camp had to pick 2 courses to do over the week. The camp ran for two weeks and a very small number of young people stayed for both weeks, (attending 4 courses), but the majority were one week only.
Helping me with the Raspberry Pi class was Andrew Mulholland who flew over from N. Ireland for the fortnight.
The young people are split into day and residential “campers” and the residential ones arrive on the Sunday afternoon… So evening activities are arranged, to encourage people to get to know each other.