Monthly Archives: October 2019

#FreePCB via Twitter to 2 random RTs

via Dangerous Prototypes

Every Tuesday we give away two coupons for the free PCB drawer via Twitter. This post was announced on Twitter, and in 24 hours we’ll send coupon codes to two random retweeters. Don’t forget there’s free PCBs three times a every week:

  • Hate Twitter and Facebook? Free PCB Sunday is the classic PCB giveaway. Catch it every Sunday, right here on the blog
  • Tweet-a-PCB Tuesday. Follow us and get boards in 144 characters or less
  • Facebook PCB Friday. Free PCBs will be your friend for the weekend

Some stuff:

  • Yes, we’ll mail it anywhere in the world!
  • Check out how we mail PCBs worldwide video.
  • We’ll contact you via Twitter with a coupon code for the PCB drawer.
  • Limit one PCB per address per month please.
  • Like everything else on this site, PCBs are offered without warranty.

We try to stagger free PCB posts so every time zone has a chance to participate, but the best way to see it first is to subscribe to the RSS feed, follow us on Twitter, or like us on Facebook.



Cisco switches converted into a cocktail machine

via Arduino Blog

If you want to whip up a cocktail, you can measure out the components by hand, or you could use a robotic assistant like this setup by creator Sven Tantau.

Tantau’s project employs an Arduino Nano to control 24 peristaltic pumps via a relay card, plus an ESP32 to run a web interface and send I2C commands to the Arduino letting it know which pumps to enable.  

The pumps, along with the relays and other components, are arranged inside the stripped shell of two Cisco Catalyst switches. In fact, the only electrical part from the router that’s still in use is the 12V power supply. 

This does, however, do a fantastic job of looking good while hiding the electronics inside, and transport tubing is nicely arranged on a 3D-printed grid where the Ethernet plugs once connected!

GPS Buff Up: GEO-Mapping with Google Earth

via SparkFun: Commerce Blog

GPS is one of my favorite nerd subjects, closely followed by anything relating to rocket propulsion. So naturally, I had to dive deeper than our GPS beginner's tutorial. We did some brainstorming on how to take the next step with GPS - once you have a latitude and longitude, you could go ten ways from Sunday with it!

However, instead of delving into the multitude of projects we would like to work on, we asked: How would an everyday person most commonly interact with GPS technology on a day-to-day basis?

The first thought we had was, "What about Google Maps?" Navigation using a GPS system from your mobile device or web browser is an interface that nearly everyone should have some experience with. Much to the delight of GPS enthusiasts or globe groupies, Google Earth gives you the cosmic viewing power of our earth right on the screen. It has tons of features, including geo-mapping capabilities using KML files.

alt text

What is a KML file, you might ask? It stands for Keyhole Markup Language and yes, it is similar to HTML (Hyper-Text Markup Language). This format allows us to easily organize our data (altitude, location, atmospheric data, etc.) for Google Earth. There are a lot of functions supported, but we’ll use the placement tool. When your location is loaded into Google Earth, a graphical pin is dropped wherever you are. This is not only a useful feature for knowing where you are in the world and how to get to other places, but you can use your data to log locations of the best hiking trail, the coolest bird watching perch, or the nicest coffee shop in town.

GPS Geo-Mapping at the Push of a Button

September 27, 2019

Let's ramp up our GPS tracking skills with KML files and Google Earth. We'll make a tracker that logs location and allows us to visualize our steps with Google Earth.

I thought this would be very handy for me as a fisherman. I'm far from having the skills of a professional, but it is one of my favorite hobbies. I’m always on the hunt for the best fishing spot near my home. Luckily for me, there are many lakes and ponds that have potential. The problem is, how do I know which fishing spot is the best?

In our first tutorial, I thought it would be handy to create a system where you can push a button and write down the coordinates to log your catches. Perhaps with enough data, I could find the prime fishing spots at my favorite lake. However, using the tools from Google Earth, I can easily push a button and get right back to fishing without the delay of writing everything down!

With enough data and fish caught, I can easily picture myself fishing the day away at the most relaxing, fish-packed lake near my home.

I went fishing up near Steamboat for a nice family vacation. It was catch and release, but it was an even better day of relaxation

Whatever your position, GPS is a fun and useful tool that's widely available to the public. Whether you're casting out a lure or just strolling through a park, put the power of the globe in the palm of your hand today!

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Build a Raspberry Pi chartplotter for your boat

via Raspberry Pi

Earlier this year, James Conger built a chartplotter for his boat using a Raspberry Pi. Here he is with a detailed explanation of how everything works:

Building your own Chartplotter with a Raspberry Pi and OpenCPN

Provides an overview of the hardware and software needed to put together a home-made Chartplotter with its own GPS and AIS receiver. Cost for this project was about $350 US in 2019.

The entire build cost approximately $350. It incorporates a Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+, dAISy AIS receiver HAT, USB GPS module, and touchscreen display, all hooked up to his boat.

Perfect for navigating the often foggy San Francisco Bay, the chartplotter allows James to track the position, speed, and direction of major vessels in the area, superimposed over high-quality NOAA nautical charts.

Raspberry Pi at sea

For more nautically themed Raspberry Pi projects, check out Rekka Bellum and Devine Lu Linvega’s stunning Barometer and Ufuk Arslan’s battery-saving IoT boat hack.

The post Build a Raspberry Pi chartplotter for your boat appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

4 Port high power USB hub

via Dangerous Prototypes

Dilshan Jayakody has published a new build:

In the last couple of years, I tried several powered USB hubs to drive some development boards and USB peripherals. Most of the USB hubs which we can find in the local market are unreliable or not designed to drive more than 500mA of a load.
After having a few bad experiences with powered USB hubs, I decided to build a USB hub by myself. I specifically design this hub to drive USB powered development boards and experimental peripherals.

See the full post on his blog.

The Raspberry Pi Foundation and Bebras

via Raspberry Pi

We are delighted to announce a new partnership that will ensure the long-term growth and success of the free, annual UK Bebras Computational Thinking Challenge.

Bebras UK logo

‘Bebras’ means ‘beaver’ in Lithuanian; Prof. Valentina Dagiene named the competition after this hard-working, intelligent, and lively animal.

The Raspberry Pi Foundation has teamed up with Oxford University to support the Bebras Challenge, which every November invites students to use computational thinking to solve classical computer science problems re-worked into accessible and interesting questions.

Bebras is:

  • Open to students aged 6 to 18 (and it’s quite good fun for adults too)
  • A great whole-school activity
  • Completely free
  • Easy to sign up to and take part in online
  • Open for two weeks every November; this year it runs from 4 to 15 November and you’ve still got until 31 October to register!

Woman teacher and female students at a computer

Why should I get involved in the Bebras Challenge?

Bebras is an international challenge that started in Lithuania in 2004. Participating in Bebras is a great way to engage students of all ages in the fun of problem solving, and to give them an insight into computing and what it’s all about. Computing principles are highlighted in the answers, so Bebras can be quite educational for teachers too.

Male teacher and female student at a computer Male teacher and male students at a computer Woman teacher and female student at a laptop

The UK became involved in Bebras for the first time in 2013, and the numbers of participating students have increased from 21,000 in the first year to 202,000 last year. Internationally, more than 2.78 million learners took part in 2018.

  • Bebras runs from 4 to 15 November this year
  • The challenge takes 40 minutes to complete
  • Use the practice questions on the website to get your students used to what they’ll encounter in challenge
  • All the marking is done for you
  • The results are sent to you the week after the challenge ends, along with an answer booklet, so that you can go through the answers with your learners
  • The highest-achieving students in each age group are invited to Oxford University to take part in the second round over a weekend in January

To give you a taste of what Bebras involves, try this example question!

You’ve still got three more days to sign up for this year’s Bebras Challenge.

Support computational thinking at your school throughout the year with Bebras

The annual challenge is only one part of the equation: questions from previous years are available as a resource with which teachers can create self-marking quizzes to use with their classes! This means you can support the computational thinking part of the school curriculum throughout the whole year.

Woman teacher and female students at a computer

You can also use the Bebras App to try 100 computational thinking problems, and download sets of Bebras Cards for primary schools.

Follow @bebrasuk to stay up to date with what’s on offer for you.

The post The Raspberry Pi Foundation and Bebras appeared first on Raspberry Pi.