Tag Archives: hardware

Hacking Amazing Soldering Features into the Already Great Weller WMRP

via Hackaday » hardware

Weller, the German soldering tools manufacturer, has a nice range of micro soldering irons (pencils) designated as the WMRP series. These are 12V, 40 W or 55W units with a 3 second heat up time, and allow quick tip exchange without needing any tools. [FlyGlas] built a neat soldering station / controller for the WMRP series based around an ATMega microcontroller running Arduino.

It’s packed with most of the features you see in a professional rig.

  • low offset op amp for soldering tip temperature measurement with type c thermocouple
  • cold junction compensation using the PTC (KTY82-210) included in the WMRP soldering pencil
  • input voltage measurement
  • soldering pencil current measurement
  • recognizing if the soldering pencil rests in the stand (–> standby)
  • 3 buttons to save and recall temperature values
  • rotary encoder to set soldering temperature
  • illuminated 16×2 character LCD module
  • USB for debugging and firmware update
  • 4mm safety socket for +12V power input and a protective earth socket for connection to ESD protection

WMRP_controller_02A PWM signal from the microcontroller controls the load current using a MOSFET. Load current is measured using a Hall Effect-Based Linear Current Sensor – ACS712. The corresponding linear output voltage is buffered and slightly amplified using AD8552 zero drift, single supply, RRIO Dual Op Amp before being sent to the microcontroller ADC input. To ensure ADC measurements are accurate and stable, a low noise precision voltage reference – ADR392 is used. Another precision resistive voltage divider allows input voltage measurement. The supply input has over-current and reverse voltage protection. A set of buttons and a rotary encoder are connected to the microcontroller to allow settings and adjustments. An analog section measures the thermocouple voltage from the soldering pencil as well as the stand-by switch status. The handle has an embedded reed switch that is activated by a magnet in the support stand which puts it into stand-by mode. Another analog section performs cold junction compensation using the PTC sensor within the soldering pencil.

The Git repo contains the initial Arduino code which is still a work in progress. While the hardware source files are not available, the repo does have the pdf’s, gerbers and BOM list, if you want to take a shot at building it. Check a demo video after the break. Thanks [Martin] for sending in the tip.


Filed under: hardware, tool hacks

C.H.I.P. is a Linux Trojan Horse for Nine Bucks

via Hackaday » hardware

I’m sure you’ve already heard about C.H.I.P, the $9 Linux computer. It is certainly sexy to say nine-bucks but there should really be an asterisk next to that number. If you want things like VGA or HDMI you need an adapter board which adds cost (naively the board only supports composite video output). I also have questions about MSRP once the Kickstarter is fulfilled. But what’s on my mind isn’t cost; this is still going to be in the realm of extremely-inexpensive no matter what shakes out. Instead, I’d like to look at this being the delivery device for wider Linux acceptance.

chip-single-board-computer

The gist of the hardware is a small board with a SoC boasting a 1GHz clock, half a gig of ram, four gigs of flash, one USB, WiFi and Bluetooth. It also has add-ons that make it a handheld and is being promoted as a gaming console. It’s amazing what you get out of these SoC’s for the cost these days, isn’t it?

For at least a decade people have claimed that this is the year of the Linux desktop. That’s not the right way to think. Adults are brand-loyal and business will stick to things that just work. Trying to convert those two examples is a sisyphean effort. But C.H.I.P. is picking up on a movement that started with Raspberry Pi.

These are entry-level computers and a large portion of the user-base will be kids. I haven’t had a hands-on with this new board, but the marketing certainly makes an effort to show how familiar the GUI will be. This is selling Linux and popular packages like LibreOffice without even tell people they’ll be adopting Linux. If the youngest Raspberry Pi users are maturing into their adolescence with C.H.I.P, what will their early adult years look like? At the least, they will not have an ingrained disposition against Open Source Software (unless experiences with Rasbperry Pi, C.H.I.P., and others is negative). At best they’ll fully embrace FOSS, becoming the next generation of code contributors and concept evangelists. Then every year will be the year of the Linux desktop.


Filed under: Crowd Funding, hardware, linux hacks

Workbench Eye Candy from Around the World

via Hackaday » hardware

The workbench. We’re always looking for ways to make the most out of the tools we have, planning our next equipment purchase, all the while dealing with the (sometimes limited) space we’re allotted. Well, before you go off and build your perfect electronics lab, this forum thread on the EEVblog should be your first stop for some extended drooling research.

You’ll find a great discussion about everything from workbench height, size, organization, shelf depth, and lighting, with tons of photos to go with it. You’ll also get a chance to peek at how other people have set up their labs. (Warning, the thread is over 1000 posts long, go you might want to go grab a snack.)

We should stop for a moment as give a special note to those of you who are just beginning in electronics. You do not need to have a fancy setup to get started. Most of these well equipped labs is the result of being in the industry for years and years. Trust us when we say, you can get started in electronics with nothing more than your kitchen table, a few tools, and a few parts. All of us started that way. So don’t let anything you see here dissuade you from jumping in. As proof, we’ve seen some amazingly professional work being done with the most bare-bones of tools (and conversely, we seen some head-scratching projects by people with +$10,000 of dollars of equipment on their desk.)

Here’s some links that you might find handy when setting up a lab. [Kenneth Finnegan] has a great blog post on how his lab is equipped. And [Dave Jones] of the EEVblog has a video covering the basics. One of the beautiful things about getting started in electronics is that used and vintage equipment can really stretch your dollars when setting up a lab. So if you’re looking into some vintage gear, head on over to the Emperor of Test Equipment. Of course no thread about workbenches would be complete with out a mention of Jim Williams’ desk. We’ll leave the discussion about workbench cleanliness for the comments.


Filed under: hardware, tool hacks

A Deadbugged GPS/GLONASS/Geiger Counter

via Hackaday » hardware

So you think you’re pretty good at soldering really tiny parts onto a PCB? You’re probably not as good as [Shibata] who made a GPS/GLONASS and Geiger counter mashup deadbug-style with tiny 0402-sized parts.

The device uses an extremely small GPS/GLONASS receiver, an AVR ATxmega128D3 microcontroller, a standard Nokia phone display and an interesting Geiger tube with a mica window to track its location and the current level of radiation. The idea behind this project isn’t really that remarkable; the astonishing thing is the way this project is put together. It’s held together with either skill or prayer, with tiny bits of magnet wire replacing what would normally be PCB traces, and individual components making up the entire circuit.

While there isn’t much detail on what’s actually going on in this mess of solder, hot glue, and wire, the circuit is certainly interesting. Somehow, [Shibata] is generating the high voltage for the Geiger tube and has come up with a really great way of displaying all the relevant information on the display. It’s a great project that approaches masterpiece territory with some crazy soldering skills.

Thanks [Danny] for sending this one in.


Filed under: hardware, Microcontrollers

A DIY Fourier Transform Spectrometer

via Hackaday » hardware

Typical spectrometers use prisms or diffraction gratings to spread light over a viewing window or digital sensor as a function of frequency. While both prisms and gratings work very well, each there are a couple of downsides to each. Diffraction gratings produce good results for a wide range of wavelengths, but a very small diffraction grating is needed to get high-resolution data. Smaller gratings let much less light through, which limits the size of the grating. Prisms have their own set of issues, such as a limited wavelength range. To get around these issues, [iliasam] built a Fourier transform spectrometer (translated), which operates on the principle of interference to capture high-resolution spectral data.

[iliasam]’s design is built with an assortment of parts including a camera lens, several mirrors, a micrometer, laser diode, and a bunch of mechanical odds and ends. The core of the design is a Michelson interferometer which splits and recombines the beam, forming an interference pattern. One mirror of the interferometer is movable, while the other is fixed. [iliasam]’s design uses a reference laser and photodiode as a baseline for his measurement, which also allows him to measure the position of the moving mirror. He has a second photodiode which measures the interference pattern of the actual sample that’s being tested.

Despite its name, the Fourier transform spectrometer doesn’t directly put out a FFT. Instead, the signal from both the reference and measurement photodiodes is passed into the sound card of a computer. [iliasam] wrote some software that processes the sampled data and, after quite a bit of math, spits out the spectrum. The software isn’t as simple as you might think – it has to measure the reference signal and calculate the velocity of the mirror’s oscillations, count the number of oscillations, frequency-correct the signal, and much more. After doing all this, his software calculates an interferogram, performs an inverse Fourier transform, and the spectrum is finally revealed. Check out [iliasam]’s writeup for all the theory and details behind his design.


Filed under: hardware

Old Fluorescent Fixtures Turned Into Fill Lights

via Hackaday » hardware

The Tymkrs are hard at work setting up their home studio, and since they’ll be shooting a few videos, they need some lights. The lights themselves aren’t very special; for YouTube videos, anything bright enough will work. The real challenge is making a mount and putting them in the right place, With a shop full of tools, making some video lights isn’t that hard and easily translates into a neat video project.

The lights began their lives as large fluorescent fixtures, the kind that would normally house long fluorescent tubes. The Tymkrs cut he metal reflector of this fixture in half, capped the ends with wood, and installed normal incandescent sockets in one end.

The inside of this reflector was coated with a reflective material, and a beautiful rice paper diffuser was glued on. The Tymkrs attached a metal bracket to these lights and screwed the bracket to the ceiling. There’s enough friction to keep the lights in one spot, but there’s also enough play in the joints to position them at just the right angle.


Filed under: hardware

Modded Microwave Sets Its Own Clock

via Hackaday » hardware

Of all the appliances in your house, perhaps the most annoying is a microwave with a flashing unset clock. Even though a lot of devices auto-set their time these days, most appliances need to have their time set after being unplugged or after a power outage. [Tiago] switches off power to some of his appliances while he’s at work to save a bit of power, and every time he plugs his microwave back in he has to manually reset the clock.

Thankfully [Tiago] wrote in with his solution to this problem: an add-on to his microwave that automatically sets the time over the network. [Tiago]’s project uses an ESP8266 running the Lua-based firmware we’ve featured before. The ESP module connects to [Tiago]’s WiFi network and pulls the current time off of his Linux server.

Next, [Tiago] ripped apart his microwave and tacked some wires on the “set time” button and on the two output pins of the microwave’s rotary encoder. He ran all three signals through optoisolators for safety, and then routed them to a few GPIO pins on his ESP module. When the microwave and the ESP module are powered up, [Tiago]’s Lua script pulls the time from his server, simulates a press of the “set time” button, and simulates the rotary encoder output to set the microwave’s time.

While [Tiago] didn’t post any detailed information on his build, it looks like a great idea that could easily be improved on (like adding NTP support). Check out the video after the break to see the setup in action.


Filed under: hardware, home hacks

Open Source Hardware Camp 2014

via OSHUG

Open Source Hardware Camp will take place in the Pennine town of Hebden Bridge. For the second year running it is being hosted as part of the technology festival, Wuthering Bytes. However, this year OSHCamp will have the Waterfront Hall to itself on the Saturday and Sunday, with a separate Festival Day taking place on the Friday and with talks on a broader selection of technical topics.

Details of the OSHUG talks and workshops can be found below and the Wuthering Bytes website will be updated in due course with details of the complete programme of events.

Note that socials are planned for both the Friday and Saturday evenings, with the former being hosted at the Town Hall and where there will be a bar, food available and music and a live performance, and the latter will be hosted at a local hostelry that serves food.

Hebden Bridge is approximately 1 hour by rail from Leeds and Manchester. Budget accommodation is available at the Hebden Bridge Hostel, with private rooms available and discounts for group bookings. Details of other local accommodation can be found at www.hebdenbridge.co.uk.

Any questions should be directed to the Discussion List.

Saturday :: Talks

Linux bootloaders and kernel configuration

Linux is popular in embedded devices, but most use it once the kernel has booted and don't consider how it was started. This talk explores just what happens when you first start an embedded device that is running Linux, and will look at common bootloaders, such as U-Boot, along with kernel boot options. Finally, we will look at useful kernel configuration options for embedded devices.

Melanie Rhianna Lewis started a life long love of electronics as a child when her Dad helped her make a "crystal" radio with an ear piece, a coil of wire, a diode and a radiator! At the same time the home computer revolution started and she would lust after the "build your own computers" advertised in the electronics magazines of the time. She never got one but did end up the proud owner of a BBC Micro. Melanie learnt everything she could about the machine and including assembler, operating systems, drivers, interrupt, and, thanks to the circuit diagram in the Advanced User Guide, digital electronics. After the BBC Micro came the Acorn Archimedes and so started a long relationship with ARM processors. In the 90s Melanie became interested in Linux and then developed one of the first ARM Linux distributions running on an Acorn RISC PC. The hobby became a job and Melanie currently works for an embedded device consultancy near Bradford where a lot of her work is still with ARM processors. Recently Melanie became a sporty person and now spends a lot of her time hitting girls. She will probably bore you with tales of roller derby!

Open source archaeological geophysics - is it achievable?

The advance of technology into Archaeology has allowed geophysical surveys to "peer into the ground" and direct the diggers to the most likely "targets". However, as anyone whose watched Time Team will know, using Resistivity and Magnetometry doesn't always guarantee results. Such equipment is not usually within the financial reach of most hobbyists. However, the recent explosion of the Arduino, Pi and other cheap electronics has meant making such surveying equipment may be possible.

A small research project involving an informal collaboration between members of the Derbyshire Archaeological Society (DAS) & Derby Makers is exploring whether a high accuracy GPS unit, Magnetometer and a resistivity probe can be made and yield worthwhile results within a budget of £1,000. DAS has kindly funded this research and we are about 50% of the way through the GPS project. This talk will introduce the project and take a look at progress to date.

Tony Brookes was firstly an engineer and then worked in IT for a while (!) Now working part-time, hobbies easily fill the time available. Drawn to archaeological and historical research by way of Time Team, he now tries to apply open source software (Scribus, Inkscape, Qgis) and hardware (Arduino, et al) to investigating parish history and other interesting topics.

An open source aquaponics control system

Aquaponics is a closed system of food production that farms fish alongside vegetables, and this talk will look at the development of an open source aquaponics control system for the Incredible AquaGarden project in Todmorden, highlighting certain features of the design and exploring some of the difficulties encountered and how these have been addressed.

A control and monitoring system with an event-driven 'flowchart' interface will be presented, where data about aspects such as pH, temperature and light level etc. are collected and logged in order to monitor the environment. The system responds dynamically to control the level of water in the plant growing bed, to maximise the yield. Some design decisions and technical aspects of the system will be demonstrated and discussed, together with the open source model for sustaining the project.

Finally, we will look at the operational Node-RED installation in Todmorden, showing how the system is collecting readings and controlling the water level, and we'll talk about how MQTT has been used to loosely couple the code running on the Arduino with Node-RED on a Raspberry Pi.

Gareth Coleman is a inventive hardware hacker who's talent lies in connecting diverse devices. Dr Naomi Rosenberg is a freelance software developer with a background in formal logic who works on a wide variety of platforms. They both get a especially enthusiastic about open hardware, free software and empowering humans.

From Idea to Finished Product: A Tale of DFM and CEM

With numerous easily accessible embedded platforms around and concepts such as rapid prototyping and crowdfunding now being useful things as opposed to just buzzwords, designing the Next Big Thing without leaving your study is becoming a common story for makers and tinkerers.

While it is true that going from an idea to a finished product has never been easier thanks to the abundance of design resources and affordable manufacturing services, designing for volume manufacturing requires a different mindset that usually does not apply to casual weekend hacks. From component choice to packaging and logistics, there are several elements that needs to be taken into consideration, as they may cause significant headaches otherwise.

This talk will provide an overview of electronics manufacturing process, covering details such as managing design data, handling dependencies, component and process choices, testing and certification and several other aspects of DFM: Design for Manufacturability.

Omer Kilic is an Embedded Systems hacker who likes tinkering, a lot. He also likes tiny computers, things that just work and good beer.

Driving milling machines with Linux

Driving a milling machine with Linux is fairly easy and LinuxCNC (previously known as “EMC”) even provides a real-time distribution install disk. However, driving the machine is only half the story and gcode generation is at least as important.

This talk will share experiences using a mill and a router with Linux, looking at PCB manufacture, engraving, 3D milling, casting, tool paths, materials, tools and parametric design.

Matt Venn has run hundreds of creative science workshops for thousands of children and adults around the world. For the last year, he has been working with teachers in preparation for the computer science curriculum changes; creating and leading courses, workshops and projects.

When he's not inventing new ways of getting people excited about science, Matt plays music, invents puzzle boxes, practices martial arts and maintains bikes.

Oxford Flood Network - easier to Apologise Than to Ask Permission

Oxford Flood Network is a citizen sensing project which monitors water levels around the city, in streams, rivers and even under floorboards, sending water levels back to the Internet using low-powered wireless.

The network explores the possibilities of a smart city that is created by its citizens, rather than a more typical top-down deployment. Sensor networks are generally used to collect data about us for reasons and agendas chosen by others, but we can build sensor networks too; crowd-sourced data can be gathered for your agenda — providing evidence for your issues.

In this talk we will hear how Oxford Flood Network has developed an open source model for hardware and software, and the challenges of sticking mysterious boxes under bridges.

Ben Ward is founder of Love Hz, promoting the use of white space spectrum for open innovation in the Internet of Things. A survivor of the dotcom bubble, subsea bandwidth glut and the UK broadband wars, he's still surprisingly optimistic about the future.

An introduction to writing applications for the Parallella board

Parallella is a credit card-sized computer with a many-core accelerator that allows it to achieve high floating-point performance while consuming only a few watts. In this talk we will take a look at the Epiphany architecture and how to use the eSDK to write highly parallel applications for it, using hardware and software features to benchmark code and optimise performance.

Simon Cook leads Embecosm's work on LLVM and is author of the standard guide to the LLVM assembler. He is also an expert on low-energy compilation and is lead engineer on the MAGEEC project. Simon holds a double first class honors degree in Computer Science and Electronics from Bristol University.

Radio Then and Pararchive: decentralised, pervasive, and open story telling

Radio Then is a citywide cultural history experience, telling stories about Manchester’s jazz and popular music heritage using a small, Arduino-powered radio. Participants explore the city and tune in to archival broadcasts related to places, people, and events of note. In actual fact, the ‘radio’ contains GPS and audio breakouts to track its location and cue audio tracks depending on its coordinates.

The project is being created to showcase findings from Pararchive, an AHRC project being conducted by the University of Leeds, in partnership with the BBC, National Media Museum, Science Museum Group, and Manchester Digital Laboratory, among others. Pararchive represents an opportunity for members of the public to engage with archives, decentralising the material from archive holders, and offering alternative and personal perspectives on events.

James Medd is an artist, musician, and maker based in Manchester. He teaches all things digital in the north west of the UK, and creates whimsical, entertaining, and accessible interactive artworks. He currently leads Arduino Manchester, a community group for Arduino users in Manchester, and will be developing more interactive audio experiences at Watershed’s Pervasive Media Studio later this year, as a winner of their graduate and new talent competition.

Commercialising your ideas

Whether you're taking the time to build something fun, or have a solution to a problem you have faced, you are 'in your own right' an inventor.

One of the biggest challenges inventors face isn't making their product work, it's generating a living to continue inventing. Having spent over a decade in both sales and business development I have witnessed people use various methods to overcome this hurdle. I hope to share with you some of my experiences to provide you with some ideas you can take away and use when looking to turn a hobby or bright idea into a financial success. Our topic of conversation will take us from having a light bulb moment, to securing orders and reaping the rewards.

William Stone is the Head of Channel Strategy for hardware manufacturer, Ciseco. He is responsible for various commercial areas of the business including the very familiar responsibility of growing Ciseco's rapidly expanding chain of partners and distributors. Now with 36 recognized distributors worldwide, Ciseco has a growing presence and reputation in electronics manufacturing and Internet of Things (IoT).

OpenTRV: energy technology that saves householders money

The OpenTRV project aims to provide software, hardware designs and excellent interoperability to allow UK and EU householders to as much as halve their heating bills and carbon footprint with simple to fit hardware costing around £100 per house. Everything is freely available under liberal licensing — even our 3D printed enclosures — to enable adoption and cost savings.

Damon Hart-Davis gets excited about electronics, parallelism, robotics, distributed systems and resource efficiency, and solar PV and halving space-heating carbon footprint with cheap microcontrollers (OpenTRV) are two of his current passions. Damon has been working on “mission-critical” systems in banking for most of the last 20 years and before that founded one of the first UK Internet Service Providers.

Interfacing with SPI and I2C

SPI and I2C are industry standard methods of interfacing IO devices to micro-controllers and CPUs using just a few connections. SPI requires four wires and I2C just two.

This talk introduces SPI and I2C. It describes how they work and how you use them. It will look at common IO devices that connect via SPI or I2C. Finally it will look at controlling SPI and I2C devices from two example controllers, the Arduino and the Raspberry PI, in languages such as C and Python.

Speaker: Melanie Rhianna Lewis.

Introduction to Baserock

Baserock is a new set of open source tools for creating "appliance" operating system images. The aim is to close the gap between source code repositories and the code running on a device. This talk will go over Baserock's philosophy, what it provides and how you can try it out today.

Sam Thursfield likes it when technology is surprising in a good way but does not like it when it is surprising in a bad way. He spends a lot of time trying to reduce the amount of code that is required to do things. He has been known to play the trombone in and around Manchester.

Concurrency in the real world with xCORE and XC

There are many cases where a simple microcontroller won't cut it and the FPGA design route may be too drawn out and costly, particularly if your background is in software.

With the XMOS multi-core microcontroller architecture and toolset it's now possible to tackle complex hardware problems using familiar software and algorithms, avoiding the need to work with Verilog or VHDL. The XMOS XS1 microcontrollers provide tens of nano second resolution and deterministic, predictable, real-time operation in software. The XMOS toolset enables designs to be simulated and analysed, and signals to be monitored and scoped all within the IDE.

The XC extensions to C provide simple interfaces and tasks to write concurrent programs, taking care of nasty race conditions and parallel usage errors. xCORE open source libraries help break down complex domain-specific tasks, allowing you to focus on developing applications. While XMOS Links enable microcontrollers and boards to be chained together in a divide and conquer manner, allowing you to orchestrate your own hardware solutions.

This talk will introduce the XMOS technology and explore a selection of real world applications.

Alan Wood has been working with concurrent and distributed programming for over a decade. His recent work includes smart grid, control, and motion systems based on XMOS' concurrent technology. He is a long term advocate and moderator (aka Folknology) for xCORE and other SHW communities, such as TVRRUG, as well as a founder of hackspace, SHH.

Compered by:

Paul Tanner is a consultant, developer and maker in wood, metal, plastic, electronics and software. His day job is IT-based business improvement for SMEs. By night he turns energy nut, creating tools to optimise energy use. Paul graduated in electronics and was responsible for hardware and software product development and customer services in several product and service start-ups, switching to consulting in 2000.

Sunday :: Workshops

Some workshops will provide tools, boards and components etc. However, subject to demand this may involve an element of sharing and please feel free to bring along equipment and components, but note that you must be able to take full responsibility for your own personal safety and that of others in respect to these. Common sense must be exercised!

Let's build a flood network for Hebden Bridge!

Split into two teams, one will attempt to install flood sensors on the beautiful Hebden Water just outside the venue, while the other links these these to the Internet using readily available technology.

Proven hardware designs will be used to show you how can send water levels back to the Internet using low-powered wireless links, and sustainable approaches to citizen sensing will be explored.

Run by: Ben Ward.

Workshop notes: you may want to bring wellies if you plan to join the sensor installation team! Also feel free to bring sensors and boards that you think may be useful.

Building applications that sense and respond to the real world

Following on from their talk, Naomi and Gareth will be joined by Paulo Marini, the Tormorden project's resident aquaponicist. Together they will facilitate a hack session to help you build applications that respond to the real world.

Run by: Gareth Coleman and Dr Naomi Rosenberg.

Workshop notes: Bring your own hardware to work on, such as Raspberry Pi and Arduino etc. if you can, and they'll try to find ways to get your projects connected.

Do you want to build a robot? #meArm assembly workshop

How about starting with an Arm? With just a screwdriver and enthusiasm you can build an Open Source Robot Arm. If you bring an Arduino or Pi with you, you're free to stay on with your meArm and tinker with the code too.

The meArm is a project to get low cost robot arms into the hands of as many people as possible. Started in February this year it's made fast progress through open development. Already "home brew" (those not from the laser forges of phenoptix in Nottingham) versions have been spotted in the UK, Switzerland, the USA and Mexico!

Ben Gray is a proponent of Open Hardware and founder of phenoptix, a maker business based in Beeston, Nottinghamshire. Ben graduated from the University of Exeter with a chemistry degree and a fledgling phenoptix before moving to Nottingham to complete a PhD in theoretical physical chemistry. Through the open hardware movement he has been able explore the wonderful world of electronics and take phenoptix from a pocket money project to the full time job it is today.

Workshop notes: Bring along a laptop and, if you like, an Arduino or Raspberry Pi.

Introduction to Bus Pirate

The Bus Pirate is a universal open source hardware device that can be used to communicate using various buses, such as SPI, I2C, UART and JTAG, with various devices. The Bus Pirate is, per the designers, intended to "Eliminate a ton of early prototyping effort with new or unknown chips."

This tutorial will introduce the Bus Pirate. Describe how to configure it and install the software required to use it. It will then look at some basic interfacing to devices via SPI and I2C. It will work through how you can 'sniff' buses. Finally it will look at use the Bus Pirate as a simple frequency measurement and generator device.

Run by: Melanie Rhianna Lewis.

Workshop notes: bring along a laptop (Bus Pirate is supported under Windows, Linux and OSX) and, if you can, some hardware to debug. There will be a limited number of Bus Pirates available, but if you have one please bring it along.

Building your first Parallella application

This workshop follows on from the previous day's talk and participants will build a simple project which targets the Parallella board and uses all 16 cores of the Epiphany floating-point accelerator.

Run by: Simon Cook.

Workshop notes: Please bring along a laptop and, if you have one, a Parallella board (a limited number of boards will be available for use by those who do not own one).

The real world works concurrently and so can you

This workshop will take you through the basics of embedded concurrent programming using an XMOS multi-core startKIT. We will cover basic parallel processing extensions to C (XC) using tasks, interfaces, timers and ports. We will also get some insight into our running code using xSCOPE, a real-time debugging system built in to the XMOS tools. In addition we will use software modules to drop in rich functionality from the open source xCORE libraries.

Run by: Alan Wood.

Workshop notes: bring along a laptop and any devices you would like to interface.

Design a PCB Shrimp and have it fabricated

The Shrimp is a super low cost Arduino clone. It makes an excellent teaching resource, and is usually delivered as a 'breaded shrimp' - using a breadboard. For hackers, it's a great way to knock up a quick, cheap microcontroller circuit.

In this workshop we'll make a PCB version of the shrimp — a more robust and Arduino shield compatible version — and you will be guided through the process of drawing the schematic, laying out the PCB and optionally placing an order with OSHPark for your very own PCB shrimp.

Participants will be working in pairs. Boards will cost about £6 each. Kits of components can conveniently be ordered from shrimping.it for £4.

Run by: Matt Venn.

Workshop notes: bring along a laptop.

OpenTRV build and getting started

Kits will be available to solder and boards and cables to buy, along with valves that will be used to demonstrate how you can use Arduino-based technology to halve your heating bill.

Run by: Damon Hart-Davis.

Workshop notes: Please bring your own soldering iron, solder and AA batteries if you would like to build a kit to take away, and be aware that SMD soldering experience and a steady hand will be required to solder the TMP112 temperature sensor.

NOTE:

  • There are separate tickets for Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
  • A light lunch and refreshments will be provided each day.
  • Please aim to arrive between 09:00 and 09:15 on the Saturday as the event will start at 09:20 prompt.
  • Speed (overclocking, souped-up BBC Micro, compiler optimisation)

    via OSHUG

    The thirtieth OSHUG meeting is dedicated to the quest for computing speed. It will feature talks on a hardware design to aid overclocking, retrofitting a 30+ year old microcomputer with modern processors, and compiler optimisation.

    Fast and Furious: Overclocking chips for fun and profit

    Due to the variance in silicon manufacturing technologies, integrated circuits used in everyday designs are usually spec'ed at lower speeds than their actual capabilities. It is, therefore, not unlikely for chips to run faster than their advertised speeds, sometimes at significant margins with a little push. The umbrella term used for this practice is overclocking and it encapsulates a variety of techniques from simply increasing the clock speed to employing elaborate systems with liquid nitrogen cooling.

    This talk will provide an overview of overclocking and overvolting techniques — investigating the effects of forcing chips to run faster on the silicon level — and present vftweak: an open source hardware design that aims to simplify experimenting with circuits by providing a programmable interface and monitoring tools.

    Omer Kilic works on Erlang Embedded, a Knowledge Transfer Partnership project in collaboration with University of Kent and Erlang Solutions. The aim of this project is to bring the benefits of concurrent systems development using Erlang to the field of embedded systems; through investigation, analysis, software development and evaluation.

    Before joining Erlang Solutions, Omer was a research student in the Embedded Systems Lab at the University of Kent, working on a reconfigurable heterogeneous computing framework.

    Omer likes tiny computers, things that 'just work' and real beer.

    Souping up the BBC Micro

    This talk will introduce a selection of projects which allow modern processors to be used with a 30+ year old BBC Micro, before exploring in more detail the speaker's own open hardware contribution to the options available.

    Jason Flynn creates open electronics designs for the amateur radio and retro computing. His main areas of interest are digital TV, microwave, satellite and most things related to Acorn and ARM. He previously held a post on the RSGB Data Communications Committee, is an honorary member of SSETI, has been committee of Martlesham Radio Society for 7 years, and is presently involved in setting up a hackspace in Ipswich.

    How compiler optimisation helps you get the best out of your hardware

    This talk will give a high-level overview of compiler optimisation, covering general approaches used in both local and global optimisation, and also taking a look at the technique of superoptimization. The talk will conclude by looking at some of the 200+ optimisation passes used in GCC.

    The talk will be given by Jeremy Bennett, and he will be joined by Joern Rennecke and Simon Cook, who will take questions about optimisation in the compilers on which they are involved.

    Dr Jeremy Bennett is founder of Embecosm and an expert on debugging and silicon chip modeling. A former academic, Jeremy holds a MA and PhD from Cambridge University and is a Chartered Engineer, Chartered Information Technology Professional and Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. He is the author of the standard textbook, "Introduction to Compiling Techniques" (McGraw-Hill 1990, 1996, 2003).

    Simon Cook leads Embecosm's work on LLVM and is author of the standard guide to the LLVM assembler. He is also an expert on low-energy compilation, being lead engineer on the MAGEEC project. Simon holds a double first class honors degree in Computer Science and Electronics from Bristol University.

    Jörn Rennecke is an expert on compiler back-end optimization and also leads Embecosm's work on GCC. Over 18 years he has become one of the all-time largest contributors to the compiler. During 2006-9, Jörn was a major contributor to the EU-funded MILEPOST project, which developed the first machine learning compiler optimization framework. He is currently maintainer for GCC for the Epiphany and Synopsys ARC architectures and a major contributor to GCC for Atmel AVR.

    Note: Please aim to arrive for 18:15 as the event will start at 18:30 prompt.

    Sponsored by:

    Production by the Proletariat (RepRap, TVRRUG)

    via OSHUG

    For the twenty-ninth meeting we will be joining forces with the BCS Open Source Specialist Group, to host talks from the creator of RepRap, Adrian Bowyer, and Alan Wood of Thames Valley RepRapUser Group.

    The Ownership of the Means of Production by the Proletariat

    Look at your computer setup. Imagine you hooked up a 3D printer. Instead of printing on bits of paper this 3D printer makes real, robust, mechanical parts. To give you an idea of how robust, think Lego bricks and you’re in the right area. You could make lots of useful stuff, but interestingly you could also make lots of the parts to make another 3D printer. That would be a machine that could copy itself.

    This talk will be about RepRap – the Replicating Rapid-prototyper. This 3D printer builds the component up in layers of plastic. This technology already existed before RepRap, but the cheapest proprietary machine then would have set you back £15,000. And it wasn’t even designed so that it could make itself. So what the RepRap team have done is to develop and to give away the designs for a much cheaper machine with the novel capability of being able to self-copy (material costs are about £300). That way it’s accessible to small communities in the developing world as well as individuals in the developed world. The RepRap machine is being distributed entirely free to everyone using open-source – so, if you have one, you can make another and give it to a friend…

    Adrian Bowyer holds a first degree and a PhD in engineering from Imperial College. He was an academic at the University of Bath for 35 years. He retired in 2012 to help to run the company RepRap Professional Ltd.

    Adrian's areas of research are geometric modelling and geometric computing in general (he is one of the authors of the Bowyer-Watson algorithm for Voronoi diagrams), the application of computers to manufacturing, and biomimetics. In 2004 he created RepRap – humanity’s first self-replicating general-purpose manufacturing machine.

    Experiences from the Thames Valley RepRap User Group

    Thames Valley RepRap User Group (TVRRUG) was set up to provide support to those who wanted to build their own RepRap 3D printer, and to exchange information and ideas between those who had already successfully completed builds.

    TVRRUG has now organised three group build rounds, sourcing and printing parts, and resulting in many working printers. Along the way the group has produced extensive documentation, and designed its own electronics and a variant of the Prusa Mendel design.

    Alan Wood originally trained in systems engineering, and got lost in software engineering and F/OSS for a decade, before returning back to his hardware roots via the open source hardware and makers movement that has gathered momentum in recent years.

    Note: Please aim to arrive for 17:30 - 18:20 as the first talk will start at 18:30 prompt.

    Open Source Hardware Camp 2013

    via OSHUG

    Open Source Hardware Camp will once again take place in the Pennine town of Hebden Bridge. However, this year it is being hosted as part of a larger technology festival called Wuthering Bytes. Details of the OSHUG talks and workshops can be found below and for the full programme please see the Wuthering Bytes website.

    Hebden Bridge is approximately 1 hour by rail from Leeds and Manchester. Budget accommodation is available at the Hebden Bridge Hostel, with private rooms available and discounts for group bookings. Details of other local accommodation can be found at www.hebdenbridge.co.uk.

    There will be a social event on the Saturday evening and those interested in pre-event drinks on the Friday should join the discussion list.

    Saturday Talks

    The Importance of Mini Makers

    14 year old Amy Mather discusses why the maker culture is so important to the younger generation and introduces us to her idea of a Mini Mini Maker Faire, where only under 18's would be able to exhibit their creations.

    Amy Mather, a.k.a. MiniGirlGeek, has been making and coding for 18 months with the guidance and support of the community that she found at Manchester's MadLab and hackspace. Amy was the closing keynote speaker at the world's first Raspberry Jamboree event, speaking alongside Professor Steve Furber and Pete Lomas of the Raspberry Pi foundation. Amy also presented at the inaugural event RSA FutureMaker event at London's Somerset House, where she also ran a workshop introducing attendees to the world of sewable electronics.

    Building a Maker Business: Sharing, Education, Open Source and Conscience.

    How open are you prepared to be when starting a business? Explore the wonderful shades of grey in the moral and legal landscape, as well as the risks and benefits to your survival in those early days, with war stories from Pimoroni's first year of existence.

    Paul Beech is a co-founder of Pimoroni, makers of the Pibow, Picade and other things Raspberry Pi. He also designed the Raspberry Pi Logo, and was somewhat responsible for the short-lived Interactive DVD phenomenon. He lives in Sheffield, in the Pimoroni workshop, because that's where all the good toys are. He prefers small-scale subtractive manufacturing processes.

    The @ShrimpingIt Manifesto

    Electronics engineers find it trivial to build an Arduino-compatible circuit on a breadboard using components which are just one tenth the cost of an official Arduino board. The @ShrimpingIt project curates open resources and projects so that everyone can progress their prototyping with simple components and materials, just like the experts. The approach delivers a whole host of benefits for those learning to prototype - not just saving money.

    We'll be introducing the project, sharing the choicest cuts from our year's experience running it, and featuring lots of the great spin-off projects people have built on our work. The @ShrimpingIt manifesto combines insights from open design and community engagement, arriving at a challenging standpoint of how beginner microcontroller projects should be designed, presented and taught for a better tomorrow.

    Cefn Hoile sculpts open source hardware and software, and supports others doing the same. Drawing on ten years of experience in R&D for a multinational technology company, he works as a public domain inventor, and an innovation catalyst and architect of bespoke digital installations and prototypes, working most recently with Tinker.it, BT, the BBC, EDF, Nokia.

    Cefn is a founder-member of the Curiosity Collective digital arts group, and a regular contributor to open source projects and not-for-profits. He is currently completing a PhD in Digital Innovation at Highwire, University of Lancaster.

    White Space — Connect all the Things!

    White space spectrum may hold the key for wide-area sensor networks. Find out how we can all enable the Internet of Things with this new technology.

    Ben Ward is founder of Love Hz, promoting the use of white space spectrum for open innovation in the Internet of Things. A survivor of the dotcom bubble, subsea bandwidth glut and the UK broadband wars, he's still surprisingly optimistic about the future.

    Introduction to Robot Operating System

    Robot Operating System (ROS) is an open source modular robot middleware. It is used in many many Universities and research projects around the world, and is starting to move into industry as well.

    This talk will provide an introduction to ROS, explaining what it is, how it works and some of the things it can do. There will also be a practical demonstration of a robot running ROS.

    Nick Weldin initiated the first public Arduino course in the UK in 2005, because he didn't want to program PIC chips on the accounts computer at work after everyone else had gone home any more, and he couldn't get his boss to send him to the Arduino course that was running in Spain. When Tinker London started up he joined them and ran courses teaching Arduino wherever anyone was interested. He is co-author of the Arduino Cookbook and now works for Middlesex University.

    Risking a Compuserve of Things

    More and more companies are staking a claim to be the platform for the Internet of Things. Should we be aiming for a more open Internet of Things? Is the platform for the Internet of Things not just the Internet? Adrian McEwen will be exploring some of the challenges in implementing the Internet of Things and suggesting ways to improve collaboration and interoperability.

    Adrian McEwen has been connecting odd things to the Internet since the mid-90s. Starting with cash registers, and then as part of the team who were first to put a web browser onto a mobile phone. For the past five years he's been working with the Internet of Things.

    Adrian founded MCQN Ltd, an IoT consultancy and product company, which is based in DoES Liverpool - a hybrid makerspace and office, which he set up with some friends. He's putting the finishing touches to a book — Designing the Internet of Things — and also working as CTO of start-up Good Night Lamp.

    Measuring Energy Consumption in Embedded Systems

    How energy-efficient are your programs and how long will your devices last on battery power?

    Particularly when writing bare-metal applications, we have a great deal of control over how much energy the processor and hardware connected to it consumes. In this talk I discuss how we can accurately measure the energy consumption of our devices, and techniques that we can use to extend battery life.

    James Pallister is a graduate of the University of Bristol, where he achieved joint First Class Honours in Computer Science and Electronics. During the summer of 2012, he led Embecosm's research program into the impact of compilers on energy consumption in embedded systems, which was a development of James' work at the University of Bristol with the XMOS multi-core processor.

    James returned to Bristol in October 2012, where he is studying for a PhD in low-power multi-core system design. He remains a Technical Advisor to Embecosm.

    Polling is for Wimps — Asynchronous Communications for the Internet of Things

    They say that, if the only tool you have is a hammer, everything looks like a screw. Don't get me wrong, I love REST. It's great for posting data and one-off access. However, REST is not a good way for IoT actuators to get their instructions from a controlling system. aul will discuss his experiences with Sockets, XMPP and MQTT. One of which will usually be a good solution for most implementations.

    In each case arguments for and against will be presented, in the context of systems that must operate in near real time with low power budgets. Relevant open source technologies will be referenced. For a case example we’ll use the MQTT system that Paul and Adrian Godwin have been building for an experimental, thermally-efficient new build home.

    Paul Tanner is a consultant, developer and maker in wood, metal, plastic, electronics and software. His day job is IT-based business improvement for SMEs. By night he turns energy nut, creating tools to optimise energy use. Paul graduated in electronics and was responsible for hardware and software product development and customer services in several product and service start-ups, switching to consulting in 2000.

    A Basic Introduction to Interfacing for the Hardware Curious

    So you've got a Raspberry Pi or Beaglebone and now you want to connect some hardware to it. You know basically what you want to do but you're are feeling a little bit lost in the jargon. What is a GPIO pin? What is an SPI or I2C bus? What is a shift register? How do I get more outputs than I have pins? How do chose the resistor for an LED? How do I read the value of a push switch? What does 3.3V tolerant mean?

    This talk will look at the basics of hardware interfacing. It will describe the basics of the interfaces typical of embedded systems and how to approach programming them. It will discuss some very basic electronics theory that will be useful to the beginner hardware hacker. Finally it will give pointers as to where to look for further information.

    Melanie Rhianna Lewis started a life long love of electronics as a child when her Dad helped her make a "crystal" radio with an ear piece, a coil of wire, a diode and a radiator! At the same time the home computer revolution started and she would lust after the "build your own computers" advertised in the electronics magazines of the time. She never got one but did end up the proud owner of a BBC Micro. Melanie learnt everything she could about the machine and including assembler, operating systems, drivers, interrupt, and, thanks to the circuit diagram in the Advanced User Guide, digital electronics. After the BBC Micro came the Acorn Archimedes and so started a long relationship with ARM processors. In the 90s Melanie became interested in Linux and then developed one of the first ARM Linux distributions running on an Acorn RISC PC. The hobby became a job and Melanie currently works for an embedded device consultancy near Bradford where a lot of her work is still with ARM processors.

    Compered by:

    Gareth Halfacree is a freelance technology journalist and the co-author of the Raspberry Pi User Guide, alongside project co-founder Eben Upton. He also writes the maker-centric Hobby Tech column for Custom PC Magazine, as well as numerous features in magazines including PC Pro, Linux User & Developer, Micro Mart, Computeractive and others.

    Formerly a system administrator working in the education sector, Gareth's passion for open source projects has followed him from one career to another and he can often be seen reviewing, documenting or even contributing to projects including GNU/Linux, LibreOffice, Fritzing and Arduino. He is also the creator of the Sleepduino and Burnduino open hardware projects and numerous small software tools, all released under permissive licences.

    Sunday Workshops

    Please feel free to bring along equipment and components provided that you are able to take full responsibility for your own personal safety and that of others. Common sense should be exercised!

    M2M with MQTT

    Following on from the talk on asynchronous communications this session will provide the opportunity for people to get their hands dirty with MQTT.

    We will have an installation of the Mosquitto micro-broker and a rules engine running on a Raspberry Pi. Dale Lane's MQTT client for Arduino is available, as are other implementations for low-power platforms.

    Run by: Paul Tanner.

    Hardware Interfacing Clinic

    Get expert advice for projects that involve interfacing peripherals, chips, sensors and other inputs, displays and other outputs. Bring your laptop. Bring along your interfacing woes and project ideas!

    Run by: MelanieRhiannaLewis.

    Persistence-of-vision and Face Tracking with ShrimpingIt

    Novice participants will create a persistence-of-vision project based around the Arduino-compatible, Shrimp. The perfect workshop for the hardware curious and crossover coders!

    Those with more hardware experience under their belt will have the opportunity to construct a face tracking system, using a webcam with a Linux host running an OpenCV application, which uses a Shrimp-based circuit as an interface to driving the servos which steer the webcam.

    Dr Jeremy Bennett is the founder of Embecosm, and an expert on hardware modelling and embedded software development. Prior to founding Embecosm, Dr Bennett was Vice President of ARC International PLC and previously Vice President of Marconi PLC.

    Simon Cook has a background in low-power processors, with a particular focus on the energy constraints of code running in embedded environments. He works for embedded systems consultancy, Embecosm, where he provides support for their work on low level binutils for both GNU and LLVM toolchains.

    Profiling Energy Consumption in Embedded Applications

    Following the previous day's talk James will be demonstrating the energy consumption measurement kit, with several instrumented platforms: Arduino, Raspberry Pi and a BeagleBone.

    Participants will be able to instrument their code and run it on the available platforms, showing where the energy hot-spots are. Bring along your code to be profiled on one of the platforms, and if you bring your own hardware along we can also try to hook it up.

    Run by: JamesPallister.

    Soldering is Easy: Assembling the OSHCamp Kit

    Build the OSHCamp kit, a special version of the LittleWire board, that has been designed by Boldport just for Wuthering Bytes. This is an incredibly handy USB multi-tool that can be used to program microcontrollers, read sensors, control outputs and much more.

    Great for beginners, there will be expert support on hand to help you assemble your kit.

    Run by: Anish Mohammed, Alan Wood and Steve Crozier.

    Receiving FUNcube Satellite Telemetry

    The FUNcube-1 satellite is ready for launch. Are you ready to receive?

    This workshop will show how to set up a receiver to decode telemetry from the satellite and to submit it to the data warehouse which relies upon crowd-reception. Bring along your own FUNcube dongle receiver or a suitable USB DVB dongle and check that it's working.

    Participants will be able to connect up sensors and actuators that they bring with them and make use of a rules engine to create ad-hoc applications.

    Run by: Jason Flynn

    Note:

    • This year there are separate tickets for the Saturday and Sunday.
    • Tickets will permit entry to all Wuthering Bytes sessions and not just OSHUG ones.
    • A light lunch and refreshments will be provided on both days. Please ensure that you make any dietary requirements clear when registering.
    • Please aim to arrive between 09:30 and 09:45 on the Saturday as the event will start at 10:00 prompt.

    Boards (Beautifully Functional Circuits, Little Printer)

    via OSHUG

    At the twenty-seventh meeting there will be a talk on designing printed circuit boards that are aesthetically pleasing as well as functional, and a talk on the design and manufacture of the Little Printer, and the upcoming BERG Cloud dev board.

    Beautifully Functional Circuits

    Circuit design is typically thought of as block-based and purely functional; it doesn't necessarily have to be. Our inherent creativity as engineers has been dampened by unimaginative and limiting design tools, that have forced us to "forget" that functional circuits can, and should, be beautiful too. This talk will explore these limitations and how we could do better.

    Saar Drimer is an experienced hardware engineer. In the past few years he's been developing tools for effective and efficient hardware design.

    Little Printer

    In 2012 the design and product company BERG launched Little Printer, their internet-connected thermal printer that prints its own face. It was the first consumer product that BERG had made, and went on to be nominated for the 2013 Designs of the Year by the Design Museum.

    In this talk we will explore the project's evolution, from prototype to mass produced product. The talk will cover the way BERG's design process works, going to China to organise plastic injection moulding, passing certification and EMC, and many other practical aspects of making and selling consumer products that connect online.

    The talk will also cover a technical overview of the whole stack that brings Little Printer to life, the extraction and evolution of the underlying BERG Cloud platform, and the forthcoming developer kits that open up the platform to anybody.

    Nick Ludlam is CTO at BERG, and is responsible for the collective software development, from the embedded code running inside Little Printer, the Ruby/Rails-based cloud architecture, and the use of Amazon Web Services to scale.

    Andy Huntington is Hardware Producer & Designer at BERG and is responsible for all of BERG's physical hardware, from the electronics and PCBs to the industrial design and manufacturing of Little Printer itself. He has a background in music and moved through software into hardware following an Interaction Design MA at the Royal College of Art.

    Note: Please aim to arrive for 18:00 - 18:20 as the event will start at 18:30 prompt.

    Sponsored by:

    Sensor Networks (Contiki, Low Power Wireless Sensors, quick2link)

    via OSHUG

    At the twenty-sixth meeting we will have talks on Contiki, the open source operating system for the Internet of Things, low power wireless sensors and quick2link, a protocol for distributed sensor/actuator networks.

    An Introduction to the Contiki O/S

    This talk aims to introduce the Contiki OS and some of the development hardware that is used with it. We will learn about the process of bootstrapping the development environment and there will be a hands-on tutorial.

    Ilya Dmitrichenko was born in Soviet Latvia in 1985, grew up and attended a secondary school there, and moved to UK as soon as Latvia joined the EU. He attended the biggest university in London and was rather disappointed with the education, but nevertheless carried on and had fun working on a final year engineering project which served as an introduction to the topic of this talk. Ilya is interested in various aspects of hardware and software, spanning from WSN to DSP and several other random fields.

    Note that this talk was originally scheduled for OSHUG #15.

    Low Power Wireless Sensors around the Home

    Have you ever wondered how much electricity the kettle used this week, what effect installing that loft insulation had on the temperature of the living room, or how humid the loft is?

    Small low power wireless nodes make it very easy to deploy a network of sensors to monitor, for example, electrical power, temperature and humidity around the home or office.

    This talk will give practical examples of connecting low power wireless sensor nodes to the Web using RFM12B/SRF/XRF 433MHz/868MHz wireless modules, Arduino-based hardware and firmware, and a Raspberry Pi base station running the Emoncms open-source web-application to log, process and visualise the data. Experience will be drawn from OpenEnergyMonitor, a project to develop open source energy monitoring tools to help us relate to our use of energy, energy systems and the challenge of sustainable energy.

    Glyn Hudson is a hardware developer for the OpenEnergyMonitor project. Together with Trystan Lea he runs the OpenEnergyMonitor website and online shop. Glyn has a passion for open hardware, sustainable energy and rock climbing… in no particular order!

    quick2link

    Romilly Cocking spent the ten years before his 'retirement' as an agile software developer, coach and trainer. He spent the first two years of retirement experimenting with robotics. Then Raspberry Pi came along, and now Romilly works full-time running Quick2Wire.

    Note: Please aim to arrive for 18:00 - 18:20 as the event will start at 18:30 prompt.

    Sponsored by:

    Is Three (Writing AVR Firmware, Panel)

    via OSHUG

    The twenty-fifth meeting marks our third anniversary, and will feature a talk on writing embedded firmware and a panel discussion that will explore the future of open source hardware.

    Writing firmware for the AVR: A Morse Code Beacon

    In this talk we will look at a number of techniques for making the most of the miniscule MSP430 and ATTiny embedded microcontrollers. Explaining how to approach the task of developing software for constrained systems such as those with only a few hundred bytes of RAM or a few kilobytes of Flash. Predominantly writing in C and using Chris Swan's Morse Code Beacon as an example, revealing why code needs to be structured in ways that may initially seem counter-intuitive or undesirable, as well as how the resources are used and allocated.

    Such techniques are essential for getting almost any useful program to run in small systems, and when applied to slightly bigger machines such as the ATmega — found in platforms such as Arduino — they can allow really comprehensive programs to be executed successfully.

    Andy Bennett is an engineer that likes to inhabit the void between hardware and the software that runs on it. After graduating from Imperial College with a degree in Electronic & Electrical Engineering, he joined Access Devices Digital Limited where he designed software and FPGAs for the UK's first Dual Tuner Personal Video Recorders. He continued working on Advanced Product Development at Pace Micro Technology before leaving to build distributed database engines at GenieDB. One year ago he founded Knodium where he applies his finely honed ability to produce software on a shoestring.

    Panel discussion: The Future of Open Source Hardware

    Interest in open source hardware continues to grow unabated and the movement has come a long way in the three years since our first meeting. However, could it ever provide opportunities on the same scale as those afforded by its much older and now well understood cousin, open source software? What are the barriers to growth? How are the intellectual property and economic considerations different to those of open source software? These are just some of the questions that we plan to explore as part of this panel discussion.

    Moderated by: Paul Downey.

    Professor Cornelia Boldyreff is Visiting Professor in the School of Computing and Mathematical Sciences at the University of Greenwich, and Chair of the BCS Open Source Specialist Group. She is a Fellow of the BCS and HEA, and a member of the ACM and the BCS Women's Committee. She has over 30 years experience in software engineering and has lead extensive research within open source software.

    Sukkin Pang is a design engineer and a director at SK Pang Electronics Ltd. He graduated from the University of Hertfordshire and has over 20 years of industrial experience. He is passionate about open source hardware and has four Arduino shields published. He used to tinker in assembler on the Z80, 6502, PIC and AVR, but nowadays he mainly uses C and C++.

    Alan Wood originally trained in systems engineering, got lost in software engineering and open source for a decade, before returning back to his hardware roots via the open source hardware and makers movement that has gathered momentum over the last few years.

    Nigel Rix is Director of Electronics at the ESP KTN, part of the UK's innovation agency, the Technology Strategy Board. Nigel has over 30 years experience working with a variety high tech companies from multi-nationals to start-ups and on hardware and software based products from electron beam lithography and laser systems to solutions for the security sector.

    Note: Please aim to arrive for 18:00 - 18:20 as the event will start at 18:30 prompt.

    Sponsored by:

    Lightning Talks

    via OSHUG

    For the twenty-fourth OSHUG meeting we've decided to try something new and we will be hosting a series of lightning talks. The first five talks have been confirmed and details of these can be found below. Offers of additional talks of between five and ten minutes are invited and proposals can either be submitted in advance via e-mail or made on the night (please arrive early).

    Note that this month the meeting takes place on a Wednesday.

    FUNcube Satellite

    FUNcube-1 is a UK amateur radio educational satellite that is due to be launched later this year, and that uses open source hardware to bring real-time space based experiments to classrooms around the globe. Three members of the on-board computer team will discuss project goals and progress.

    64-core Parallella Prototype

    Simon Cook will be demonstrating one of only two 64-core Parallella prototypes in the UK.

    PCBmodE — a PCB design tool written in Python around JSON, SVG and Inkscape

    Saar Drimer will be talking about an open source PCB design tool, that reads shape and placement information stored in JSON files to produce an SVG graphical representation of them. Routing is drawn with Inkscape, then extracted by PCBmodE and stored in an input JSON file that's used for the next board generation. A post-processor 'gerberises' the SVGs into "Extended Gerbers" (RS-274X) for manufacturing.

    Interfacing High-performance Low-cost Embedded Systems with FPGAs

    Mustafa H. Yuce will be talking about an open source project that interfaces embedded systems including BeagleBone and Raspberry Pi with FPGAs, to enable the implementation of high-speed parallel processing applications such as computer vision.

    Flux

    Alan Wood will be talking about the recently developed Flux series of boards that are used for motion control applications.

    Open Source Junction 4 Report

    Paul Tanner will be providing a report from the OSS Watch two day workshop, Open Source Junction 4: Open Source Hardware meets Open Source Software.

    Note: Please aim to arrive for 18:00 - 18:20 as the event will start at 18:30 prompt.

    Sponsored by: