Quick and Dirty Charger

Here is a quick and dirty article telling you about a quick and dirty solar charger from jmp.no. It is a nice, simplistic hack to create a USB solar charger.

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Amazing Clock

Taking dead bug style electronics construction to new heights, The Clock project is a piece of art appreciable not only by engineers.

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The project is the creation of Gislain Benoit and took three years to design. He describes the project as this.

…it has been hand crafted. The thousands of parts that compose it are soldered together in a 3-dimensional structure. There is no electronic board involved. The parts are linked to hold themselves and reveal the complexity of the circuit through the solid wiring that keeps them together which gives a visually astonishing result. The symmetry and density of its parts and interconnections has been kept uniform throughout the circuit. Every single part that composes the clock has its purpose. If you would decide to take out a single part of the circuit the clock won’t operate properly anymore.

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Apple Lisa Teardown

Any blog mixing retro computers and electronics deserves a visit, so go have a look at Dave tearing down an Apple Lisa at his EEVBlog.

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C64FC

Over at jmp.no, Stian Soreng recently announced the completion of the C64FC. It is the modern solution to C64 software development.

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By connecting to a development PC through USB and to the C64 via the cartridge port. As floppies become more and more rare, this seems like a nice solution to manage large collections of abandonware, as well as for the coders still preferring 8 bit platforms to today’s bloated behemoths ;-)

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Intel Edison

Intel-Edison-2The Intel Edison module makes it easier to build an x86 embedded computer system. The module itself comes with a 500 MHz dual-thread Atom CPU core and a 100 MHz Intel Quark micro controller. The module also includes 4GB eMMC and 1GB of RAM as well as WiFi and DTLE. All on a postage stamp sized module.

The module itself retails for about 50 USD, but you will need a break-out board to get started. If you want to create your own board, the pinout includes 40 GPIOs, UARTs, USBs and more.

From a development perspective, the Edison platform supports development using the Arduino tools or C/C++, but support for Node.JS as well as Python is planned shortly.

If you want to get away for free, the Tizen Experts are running a giveaway in an effort to get Tizen ported to the platform.

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New hosting

We’ve just migrated to a new host (a VPS), so if you run into anything strange – do tell!

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Raspberry Pi Models

Even more Raspberry Pi stuff today. The Raspberry Pi blog just run a great post on the different models and board revisions out there – you can find it here.

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GertBot

Have a Raspberry Pi? Want to build a robot? Need to drive some engines? or thousands of LEDs? Then you will love the gertbot!

The gertbot is a HAT-board for the Raspberry Pi that adds four H-bridges, two open-drain N-MOSFETs that can handle some serious power. It is also possible to cascade up to four boards, giving you 16 H-bridges and 8 MOSFETs.

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Built around a 64MHz Cortex M3 processor, it solves some of the short comings of a Linux based system – e.g. producing stable high-frequency PWMs in software. It also frees up the Raspberry Pi CPU to do other things such as running OpenCV to look around and make decisions.

The download page over at gertbot.com contains not only drivers and documentation but a couple of examples for various common robot configurations.

Via Raspberry Pi Foundation.

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Beautiful Calculators

As some of you already know, calculators was the driver behind the first computers and the first CPUs integrated on a single piece of silicon. Before that age, we had electromechanical calculators. They are as beatiful to look at as they are outdated today.

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Photographer Kevin Twomey has explored these contraptions (and more).

Via boingboing.

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Improved ATX PSU

Francesco Truzzi just announced a really great ATX PSU break-out board. It can act as a USB charger, has a variable voltage output and a set of fixed voltage levels (3.3, 5 and 12v). The design is based around an open hardware design from dangerous prototypes, this is a real improvement.

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Francesco summarizes the board like this:

  • It has a 24-pin ATX connector.
  • Voltage lines are all broken out individually on binding posts.
  • LM317-based voltage regulator. Using a 300 ohm resistor and a 2K ohm potentiometer, voltage range is 1.25-9V.
  • 2 USB ports based on the TPS2513 from Texas Instruments. They can automatically detect what device is connected and adjust resistance on D+ and D- lines as needed. This means full compatibility and maximum charging speed on both Apple and Android devices. One of them is connected to 5v_STDBY, so that it works even when the PSU is off.
  • Pretty much everything can be fused. I left -12V out because it can only carry low amounts of current on most PSUs (mine is 500mA maximum).
  • Breadboard pin headers so that voltage lines can be connected to a breadboard using jumper cables.
  • Voltmeter headers in order to know the LM317 output voltage.
  • There is room for a 9W power resistor is your PSU needs it to stabilize output voltages. You can connect it either to the 5v rail or to the 12v one by jumpering the corresponding pads.
  • Status LEDs on fused lines and USBs so you can check if everything works fine.
  • Screw holes for standoffs.
  • Breaking Bad art because yeah, this is science, bitch.

Via dangerous prototypes.

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