Sunday, April 6, 2014

Adventures in Bitcoin

Over the last few months, I decided to try my hand at mining Bitcoins\Cryptocurrency. Recently, I found the best way to get started is to mine what are called Altcoins. Bitcoins and a few others are based on SHA256 hashes which are easier to verify transactions and therefore there are ASIC or Application Specific Integrated Circuits that can mine very fast. Because of this, the network difficulty becomes very high and therefore takes more power for the same reward. Basically you get a reward for mining which is providing processing power to verify transactions. Once the network agrees that a transaction is valid, it then confirms the transaction. Altcoins are based on Scrypt mining which is more memory intensive, so using your GPU to mine is still profitable. Profitability meaning you receive enough to cover your cost of hardware, power usage and a little extra for the wallet. Covering your cost of hardware can take a few weeks to a few months depending on how much you invest and your hash rate. One thing to keep in mind is even if you are not receiving very much, you are also mining for future profits. The idea being that the few Bitcoins/Altcoins you acquire now, will be worth much more in the future. (Some people have become wealthy due to mining Bitcoins a year ago.)  In most cases I wouldn't have any expectations of getting rich or anything but it is a fun learning experience.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Arduino Yún - Power Usage

Last year during Black Friday weekend, I broke down and bought an Arduino Yún from Pololu. They had some great sales and I just couldn't pass it up. If you haven't heard of Pololu, go check them out right now. I'll wait till you get back. See? They have great electronics and tons of robot stuff. I love their power boards, boost\buck boards and ones that do it at the same time. Anything you need they have it.

Arduino Yún with USB Tester

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Bitcoin Now Accepted!

We are happy to announce that FriedCircuits Shop now accepts Bitcoin! Products are still shown in USD but when you check out you have the option of selecting Bitcoin and it will show the total at the current exchanges rates. We are using as the payment processor so if you have a Coinbase account you pay directly that way. If not, you can scan the QR code to pay with your mobile app, of course you can just copy and paste the wallet address and the amount to pay to use with your desktop app. Once payment is sent, just click confirm. It's that easy!

We are all for supporting the Bitcoin community. We'd like to help it grow to become a more dominant currency for everyone, not just for us Tech savvy types.

Friday, February 14, 2014

A Day in the Life of Digi-Key

We buy the bulk of our parts from Digi-Key for the products and projects we make at our home office. Prices are great and you can rest assure that you will not receive any counterfeit parts. When you order something online, I always wonder where its been and what it went through before landing into your excited hands. I recently came across this awesome slideshow from IEEE Spectrum that showcases what it's like at Digi-Key.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

USB Tester Backpack 2.0 Review

Thanks to aerodynes, for the great review of our new USB Tester and Backpack 2.0.

"This is a test and review of the new version of the FriedCircuits USB tester and backpack. If you read my previous articles on the backpack and its extensions, you already know that I am a big fan of this simple and very useful tool. ..."

Read the complete review here:

Monday, December 9, 2013

New Product: USB Tester 2.0 Bundle!

After months of development, the USB Tester 2.0 Bundle has arrived!

Currently available on Tindie and soon on

USB Tester Bundle 2.0
USB Tester Backpack 2.0

The bundle includes both a new version of the Backpack and USB Tester. At this time, the new USB Tester is only available with the bundle.

New on Backpack
  • Micro USB
  • Button Location on the front left
  • 128x64 OLED Display (Double height of the 1.x version, easier to source)
  • Voltage monitoring of the USB Data lines
  • Easier access to almost all the extra GPIO’s

New on USB Tester
  • Micro USB
  • Separated voltage test points (Easier to attach test clips and avoid misplacing jumper)
  • Better labeling
  • Standard Dual Banana spacing 0.75in
  • Standard test probe sized test points

New Firmware Features (Will be available for 1.x version)
  • Peaks
  • mWh and mAh tracking
  • Big Readout Display
  • JSON for serial communications

Updated Java App (Beta)
  • Implemented JSON over serial
  • Will save as CSV
  • Add display of new data values
  • Working on graphing some of the new data

We’d like to thank Ed for all of his help and contributions.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Angstrom Yocto 1.4 from Source

Going down the ROS road has been a long one. Full of hair pulling (if I had any) but also a huge learning experience now that it is working. Due to some of the requirements for mjpeg-server I had to compile Angstrom from source so that I can use the branch for Yocto 1.4. In turn this has lead to having to compile other components like the WiFi driver.

Compiling from source isn't too bad as it uses the same Bitbake process used for recipes. The hard part is flashing the SD Card and then flashing the eMMC. I am not sure if  I did it the "correct" way but in the end it worked. This is how I did it...