Here’s a great project using a bunch of Adafruit gear, as well as Occidentalis v0.2 and the Adafruit Fritzing library to solve a common freelancers challenge: it provides a visual reminder as to when you are recording your time spent on one project or another. This rather nice implementation might fit as happily on a lawyer’s desk as a coder’s or engineer’s! From Guy Carpenter.
This build combines a Raspberry Pi with a rotary-encoder, an RGB LED and an OLED character display to create a time clock that logs my time on tasks directly to a Google Docs spreadsheet.
Whenever I have to record time against projects, I find it really hard to diligently keep my time records up to date. Maybe with a purpose-built time clock I will keep better records? Maybe.
Raspberry Pi Model B 512MB RAM: The Raspberry Pi® is a single-board computer developed in the UK by the Raspberry Pi Foundation with the intention of stimulating the teaching of basic computer science in schools. The Raspberry Pi is a credit-card sized computer that plugs into your TV and a keyboard. It’s a capable little PC which can be used for many of the things that your desktop PC does, like spreadsheets, word-processing and games. It also plays high-definition video. The design is based around a Broadcom BCM2835 SoC, which includes an ARM1176JZF-S 700 MHz processor, VideoCore IV GPU, and 128 or 256 Megabytes of RAM. The design does not include a built-in hard disk or solid-state drive, instead relying on an SD card for booting and long-term storage. This board is intended to run Linux kernel based operating systems. This is the Raspberry Pi Model B 512MB RAM model with two USB ports and a 10/100 Ethernet controller. (read more)
Monochrome 128×32 SPI OLED graphic display: These displays are small, only about 1″ diagonal, but very readable due to the high contrast of an OLED display. This display is made of 128×32 individual white OLED pixels, each one is turned on or off by the controller chip. Because the display makes its own light, no backlight is required. This reduces the power required to run the OLED and is why the display has such high contrast; we really like this miniature display for its crispness! (read more)
Rotary Encoder + Extras: This rotary encoder is the best of the best, its a high quality 24-pulse encoder, with detents and a nice feel. It is panel mountable for placement in a box, or you can plug it into a breadboard (just cut/bend the two mechanical side tabs.) We also include a nice soft-touch knob with an arrow in it, fits perfectly and looks great. This encoder also has a push-button built into it so you can press onto the knob to close a separate switch. One side has a 3 pin connector (ground and two coding pins) and the other side has two pins for a normally-open switch. (read more)
Occidentalis v0.2: This is our second distro, Occidentalis v0.2. Rubus occidentalis is the black raspberry. It is derived from Raspbian Wheezy August 16. We have made a few key changes to make it more hardware-hacker friendly! (read more)
Premium Female/Female Jumper Wires – 40 x 6″: Handy for making wire harnesses or jumpering between headers on PCB’s. These premium jumper wires are a little over 6″ (150mm) long and come in a ‘strip’ of 40 (4 pieces of each of ten colors). They have 0.1″ sockets on either end and fit cleanly next to each other on standard-pitch 0.1″ (2.54mm) header. We recentlty updated these so they are in a ‘ribbon strip’ instead of individual wires. You can always pull the ribbon wires off to make individual jumpers, or keep them together to make neatly organized wire harnesses. (read more)
Raspberry Pi solenoid alarm bell:
Controlling components on a separate power supply from the Raspberry Pi. This project uses a PIR sensor, an IR range sensor, a solenoid, a reception bell and some bright LEDs to form a proximity alarm system.
I’m not sure if there’s any real practical use for what I’ve made here but some of the techniques, both with the electronics and the software may be of interest. It was fun making it anyway!
Before we get into the new parts for this week, I wanted to answer several people who’ve asked what software I use to create Fritzing parts. Fritzing parts consist of vector art (tinySVG files) and an XML file which contains the data about the part, like connector names, part descriptions, etc. To draw the SVG files, I use Inkscape. For the text editing, which can get quite extensive on parts with a lot of connectors, I use EditPad Lite, though any text editor will probably work just as well. Finally, the built-in Fritzing parts editor is useful for combining all the images together.
I’d also like to mention that you are welcome to make parts requests in the comments here or on future Fritzing Friday posts — I can’t guarantee that all the parts requested will end up in the library, but I’ll certainly take it under advisement.
Fritzing is an open-source initiative to support designers, artists, researchers and hobbyists to work creatively with interactive electronics. We are creating a software and website in the spirit of Processing and Arduino, developing a tool that allows users to document their prototypes, sharethem with others, teach electronics in a classroom, and to create a pcb layout for professional manufacturing.
Fritzing started out as a publicly funded research project from 2007-2009. Since 2010 development has relied on the community of users and supporters. Adafruit is not a giant company (yet) but we try our best to support communities, orgs, schools, companies, events, people and products that share our values & goals. From sponsoring events like the Open hardware summit to tools like Fritzing, it’s part of our mission to help and celebrate open source. If you like Fritzing, please considering supporting them as well!
Fritzing Friday is my weekly roundup of the parts I’ve added to our Adafruit Fritzing Library. This week, we’ve got multi-segment LED displays, TFT displays, and a whole bunch of breakout boards.
To start things off, we’ve got our 0.56″ 4-digit 7-segment I2C display boards, available in red, green, yellow and blue. In Fritzing, you can switch between colors using the drop-down menu, the same way you choose colors for a regular LED. Rather than use the standard “8888″ 7-segment demo, I decided to mix it up a bit — each color has it’s own 4-digit number.
Next up, our 8×8 LED Matrix I2C displays, also available in red, green, yellow, and blue. Just like the 7-segment displays, you can select the LED color from a drop-down menu in the Fritzing Part Inspector panel.
Our 2.2″ and 1.8″ TFT LCD boards can be controlled over SPI, and have a microSD slot on the back for storing bitmap images with 18-bit color depth. The Adafruit TFT library for Arduino can be used to draw bitmaps or vector shapes:
Finally, I’ve added a bunch of handy breakout boards:
First up, the PCA9685 16×12-bit Servo PWM board (above), which is capable of driving up to 16 servo motors at once. All those motors need a good amount of current, so it’s best to use a separate power supply — easily added with our 2.1mm-to-terminal block adapter (above, top). The PCA9685 Fritzing part behaves just like the real part — all the GND and V+ lines are bussed together, as are the I2C terminals on either end.