Upgrade Your Machine Learning Boards

via SparkFun: Commerce Blog

Hello, everyone! We have three new products to showcase today and it all starts off with a new version of the Leopard Imaging Camera. This camera is the same one featured in the JetBot v2.1 Kit, but is now available on its own. Second is the brand new Kingston Canvas Go! Plus 64GB MicroSD Card approved by the Raspberry Pi Foundation as one of the go-to memory cards to use with their development boards. Last but not least, we also have a handy USB-C wall adapter.

Today is your last chance to get some great deals on some of our favorite kits! Check out the newest products available in our Spring Sale, which will end tonight, May 22, at 11:59 p.m. MT. We’ve added some books that will help maximize materials you already have on hand!

Let's take a closer look at our new products for the week.

Leopard Imaging Camera - 136 Degree FOV

Leopard Imaging Camera - 136 Degree FOV

DEV-16260
$29.95

The Leopard Imaging Camera is a 136° FOV (field of view) wide angle camera module that is great for machine vision applications, and is designed specifically to be compatible with the NVIDIA Jetson Nano Developer Kit.


Kingston Canvas Go! Plus 64GB MicroSD Card with Adapter

Kingston Canvas Go! Plus 64GB MicroSD Card with Adapter

COM-16498
$29.95

The Kingston Canvas Go! Plus 64GB MicroSD Card is a top-of-the-line memory card perfect for popular single board computers like the Raspberry Pi 4. Featuring superior 170MB/s read speeds and 70MB/s write speeds, it makes adding an image to the card super quick (less than three minutes for the latest Raspbian image). For those using this for photography or videography, it provides the performance needed for 4K Video with U3 and V30 speed performance.


USB-C Wall Adapter - 5.1V, 3A (Black)

USB-C Wall Adapter - 5.1V, 3A (Black)

TOL-16272
$4.95

This is a wall adapter with a USB Type-C Connector that fulfills the 15.3W power requirements of the Raspberry Pi 4, and is the same power supply that we include in our Raspberry Pi kits. It can also be used for other devices that require up to 5.1VDC and 3A.


That's it for this week! As always, we can't wait to see what you make! Shoot us a tweet @sparkfun, or let us know on Instagram or Facebook. We’d love to see what projects you’ve made!

Never miss a new product!

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The Raspberry Pi Press store is looking mighty fine

via Raspberry Pi

Eagle-eyed Raspberry Pi Press fans might have noticed some changes over the past few months to the look and feel of our website. Today we’re pleased to unveil a new look for the Raspberry Pi Press website and its online store.

Did you know?

Raspberry Pi Press is the publishing imprint of Raspberry Pi (Trading) Ltd, which is part of the Raspberry Pi Foundation, a UK-based charity that does loads of cool stuff with computers and computer education.

Did you also know?

Raspberry Pi Press publishes five monthly magazines: The MagPi, HackSpace Magazine, Wireframe, Custom PC, and Digital SLR Photography. It also produces a plethora of project books and gorgeous hardback beauties, such as retro gamers’ delight Code the Classics, as well as Hello World, the computing and digital making magazine for educators! Phew!

And did you also, also know?

The Raspberry Pi Press online store ships around the globe, with copies of our publications making their way to nearly every single continent on planet earth. Antarctica, we’re looking at you, kid.

It’s upgrade time!

With all this exciting work going on, it seemed only fair that Raspberry Pi Press should get itself a brand new look. We hope you’ll enjoy skimming the sparkling shelves of our online newsagents and bookshop.

Ain’t nothin’ wrong with a little tsundoku

You can pick up all the latest issues of your favourite magazines or treat yourself to a book or three, and you can also subscribe to all our publications with ease. We’ve even added a few new payment options to boot.

New delivery options

We’ve made a few changes to our shipping options, with additional choices for some regions to make sure that you can easily track your purchases and receive timely and reliable deliveries, even if you’re a long way from the Raspberry Pi Press printshop.

Customers in the UK, the EU, North America, Australia, and New Zealand won’t see any changes to delivery options. We continue to work to make sure we’re offering the best price and service we can for everyone, no matter where you are.

Have a look and see what you think!

So hop on over to the new and improved Raspberry Pi Press website to see the changes for yourself. And if you have any feedback, feel free to drop Oli and the team an email at rpipresshelp@raspberrypi.com.

The post The Raspberry Pi Press store is looking mighty fine appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

Repairing an HP 3438A digital multimeter

via Dangerous Prototypes

Jeff (aka K6JCA) did a repair of an HP 3438A digital multimeter and documented the whole process on his blog:

This blog post is a record of my notes made while repairing an HP 3438A Digital Multimeter I had picked up last year at a local electronics swap meet. The 3438A is a 3.5 digit HP-IB controllable multimeter. It has five selectable functions: DC Volts, AC Volts, DC Amps, AC Amps, and Ohms. Of these five functions, three can be auto-ranged: DC Volts, AC Volts, and Ohms.

This electronic foosball goal system will make score markers a thing of the past

via Arduino Blog

Like most of us, Joey Cumeras Khan has been stuck inside for the last couple of months. As a foosball fan, this not only meant plenty of time to play with his fellow housemates but also the perfect opportunity to tech out his table with an automated scoring system.

Khan’s setup works by tracking goals via an LED and LDR pair situated in each player’s scoring tray. When a ball drops into the net, the score state is picked up by the sensor as a lack of light, thus signaling the controlling Arduino Nano that a goal has been made. This info is sent to an Orange Pi Zero, which runs a web app to display the current score on both players’ phones.

To get started, one simply has to scan a QR code on the side of the table. This prompts the scoreboard along with some custom sounds and a reset interface to enhance your game experience!

Enginursday: Efficiency Gains through Design

via SparkFun: Commerce Blog

Efficiency is the name of the game these days, and the SparkFun QC team is all about it! We have successfully deployed a new test-fixture we are calling the “Qwiic Test-bed” and I am here to tell you all about it.

If you are new to SparkFun or haven’t stopped by for a while, you may not be aware of our Qwiic line of products, if so, check out this Qwiic explainer. Being a high variation electronics manufacturer, we in QC keep very busy designing testing hardware and software for new SparkFun originals. We are always trying to find and take advantage of efficiency gains to increase the bandwidth of our three-person team, and the new Qwiic Test-bed does just that. Below is a brief overview of the reasoning, technical details and results of developing with our new test-fixture.

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The Motivation:

We wanted to find a way that we, as a team, could increase our bandwidth by saving time developing. Typically we design a test-bed for a product, and that test-bed is only used to test that individual product. This means for each new product we have to: design new testing hardware, build the new test-fixtures, write the software to control the test-fixture and test the product, and maintain the test-fixture through ongoing Production use.

One of the easiest steps we can take to save time during our hardware design process is to repurpose past design files and make modifications to suit your current application, and the same can be done for testing software. But even with these efficiency gains we can’t outrun the turnaround time on test-fixture hardware. What we needed was a physical test-fixture that could be reused to test new products while still supporting the old.

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The key to making this test-fixture possible was in part due to the standardization in form factor and pinout of the Qwiic breakout boards, and in part due to all of the boards utilizing the I2C communication protocol. One hard standard was set in regards to form-factor, this standard dictates the ordering of the four essential plated through holes (PTHs): ground (GND), power (VCC), I2C data (SDA), and I2C clock (SCL) (they must also be adjacent).

It should be said that this test-bed was never intended to be able to test every Qwiic breakout board, we just want to capture the majority - some designs just need to break the standard for one reason or another, and trying to design a fixture around all the imaginable deviations would have caused too much scope creep.

The point of the exercise was to expedite as much of the development process as possible when using the Qwiic Test-bed. We opted to use a collaborative firmware sketch that runs on the test-bed, allowing us to build on the test-bed firmware by easily adding new product source files and testing functions required to test new designs. This meant that we could now use the same physical test-fixtures to test multiple assemblies, thus saving time on building up hardware for each new design. By removing the need to design and assemble a physical fixture we’ve saved a bunch of our team’s time, and also allowed the product cycle to move quicker. As an added bonus, the fixture can also be used during the prototyping phase to test new hardware and software.

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Hardware:

The Qwiic test-bed utilizes pogopins to make a temporary connection to the board’s PTHs while the board is held in place by the hinged acrylic bar on the top. A small nubbin can be spun to keep the bar clamped on the board during testing, or the user can manually hold the bar down. The processing and testing peripherals for the test-fixture are handled by our original testing development board called the “Flying Jalapeno.” Check out Pete’s posts about the development of the Flying Jalapeno here:

The test-fixture has two available capacitive sensor pads, four LEDs, and available serial debug for the user to interface with.

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The fixture centers around the four main pogopins: GND, VCC, SDA and SCL, which are separated by a standard 100 mil spacing. Because many of these assemblies break out other signals such as interrupts, enables, analogs, PPMs, clocks and serial RX/TX, the four essential signal pogopins are straddled by eight extra pogopins - four above and four below. Five 74LVC4066 quad switches route the most functionally capable pins from the Flying Jalapeno’s ATmega2560 to the eight extra pogopins, giving the developer the ability to select which pins of the 2560 to connect to the test-board’s signals, and which to disconnect.

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Qwiic Test-bed Schematic (PDF LINK)

By making the acrylic mating surface for the PTH connections slim, a test-board can be placed on either side of the mating area to suit any PTH header orientation. Alignment is facilitated by matching the silk of the test-board with that of the test-bed. In most scenarios, the assembly being tested has fewer PTHs than the test-bed has pogopins; when a pogopin is not being used it’s pushed down by the PCB and separated from any signal by the mask. Reports about usage from our Production department have been positive, and the hardware is holding up well.

Results:

As a whole we’ve been very pleased with the results of using this test-fixture. The three of us in QC are getting a lesson in software collaboration, but with a few rules implemented, co-development has gone smoothly. As a rough calculation, the testing development process for the boards being tested with the Qwiic Test-bed took about 25 percent of the time they would have previously, and with all the projects in the pipes, saving any amount of time is welcomed.

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Design your own Internet of Things with HackSpace magazine

via Raspberry Pi

In issue 31 of HackSpace magazine, out today, PJ Evans looks at DIY smart homes and homemade Internet of Things devices.

In the last decade, various companies have come up with ‘smart’ versions of almost everything. Microcontrollers have been unceremoniously crowbarred into devices that had absolutely no need for microcontrollers, and often tied to phone apps or web services that are hard to use and don’t work well with other products.

Put bluntly, the commercial world has struggled to deliver an ecosystem of useful smart products. However, the basic principle behind the connected world is good – by connecting together sensors, we can understand our local environment and control it to make our lives better. That could be as simple as making sure the plants are correctly watered, or something far more complex.

The simple fact is that we each lead different lives, and we each want different things out of our smart homes. This is why companies have struggled to create a useful smart home system, but it’s also why we, as makers, are perfectly placed to build our own. Let’s dive in and take a look at one way of doing this – using the TICK Stack – but there are many more, and we’ll explore a few alternatives later on.

Many of our projects create data, sometimes a lot of it. This could be temperature, humidity, light, position, speed, or anything else that we can measure electronically. To be useful, that data needs to be turned into information. A list of numbers doesn’t tell you a lot without careful study, but a line graph based on those numbers can show important information in an instant. Often makers will happily write scripts to produce charts and other types of infographics, but now open-source software allows anyone to log data to a database, generate dashboards of graphs, and even trigger alerts and scripts based on the incoming data. There are several solutions out there, so we’re going to focus on just one: a suite of products from InfluxData collectively known as the TICK Stack.

InfluxDB

The ‘I’ in TICK is the database that stores your precious data. InfluxDB is a time series database. It differs from regular SQL databases as it always indexes based on the time stamp of the incoming data. You can use a regular SQL database if you wish (and we’ll show you how later), but what makes InfluxDB compelling for logging data is not only its simplicity, but also its data-management features and built-in web-based API interface. Getting data into InfluxDB can be as easy as a web post, which places it within the reach of most internet-capable microcontrollers.

Kapacitor

Next up is our ‘K’. Kapacitor is a complex data processing engine that acts on data coming into your InfluxDB. It has several purposes, but the common use is to generate alerts based on data readings. Kapacitor supports a wide range of alert ‘endpoints’, from sending a simple email to alerting notification services like Pushover, or posting a message to the ubiquitous Slack. Multiple alerts to multiple destinations can be configured, and what constitutes an alert status is up to you. More advanced uses of Kapacitor include machine learning and anomaly detection.

Chronograf

The problem with Kapacitor is the configuration. It’s a lot of work with config files and the command line. Thoughtfully, InfluxData has created Chronograf, a graphical user interface to both Kapacitor and InfluxDB. If you prefer to keep away from the command line, you can query and manage your databases here as well as set up alerts, metrics that trigger an alert, and the configurations for the various handlers. This is all presented through a web app that you can access from anywhere on your network. You can also build ‘Dashboards’ – collections of charts displayed on a single page based on your InfluxDB data.

Telegraf

Finally, our ’T’ in TICK. One of the most common uses for time series databases is measuring computer performance. Telegraf provides the link between the machine it is installed on and InfluxDB. After a simple install, Telegraf will start logging all kinds of data about its host machine to your InfluxDB installation. Memory usage, CPU temperatures and load, disk space, and network performance can all be logged to your database and charted using Chronograf. This is more due to the Stack’s more common use for monitoring servers, but it’s still useful for making sure the brains of our network-of-things is working properly. If you get a problem, Kapacitor can not only trigger alerts but also user-defined scripts that may be able to remedy the situation.

Get HackSpace magazine issue 31 — out today

HackSpace magazine issue 31: on sale now!

You can read the rest of HackSpace magazine’s DIY IoT feature in issue 31, out today and available online from the Raspberry Pi Press online store. You can also download issue 31 for free.

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