Tuesday, January 20, 2015

La Crosse Weather Station Gateway

Its alive! Last Christmas (or was it the one before that?), I received a La Crosse wireless weather station from my mom who is obsessed with them. This one has just a small display that can gauge inside and outside temperature. What interested me is that it's a simple 433Mhz radio link. So sometime between then and a while ago, I got a 433Mhz receiver from Sparkfun with the intention of capturing the binary data from the outside sensor.

Stock photo from SFE - CC BY-NC-SA 3.0

Finally Some Home Automation

With all the busyness of FriedCircuits and with taking a late honeymoon to Europe, there hasn't been very much time left for other just-for-fun projects. It's taken a long time to scale up productivity after our trip. A few weeks ago I finally started to dive into getting some sort of a start on home automation, or domotica, as its called across the pond. Since the failure of the Smart Outelet I decided to start on a smaller piece of the home automation beast this time around. Having been following JeeNodes for awhile now, I wanted to make a custom version in which I actually had done last year and never posted about it. I did some testing with his setup and the HouseMon server running on a Rasberry Pi. I have been toying with the idea of writing my own from scratch but I don't have the time and why reinvent the wheel, right? On my daily travels of the web (Feedly) I have come across a lot of home automation projects, but one piece of software struck my interest and this is what got me back to exploring this space.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Wizkers.io Is Live!

Happy New Year! Begin 2015 with Wizkers.io - an easy to use Open Source application that is great for makers and programmers alike. It was designed and is managed by Edouard Lafargue, a fellow maker who has greatly contributed to the USB Tester, which is supported by Wizkers.io. Now that's Open Source in action!

//We look forward to posting projects using Wizkers.io and the USB Tester!

Here is his press release:

"We are live! 
After about two years of work, I am very happy to announce the launch of Wizkers.io.
What is Wizkers? Wizkers is an Open Source application that gives a web interface to your instruments. And much more. 
What's in it for you ? Your measurement instruments often have great IO capabilities that are underutilized. Wizkers unlocks those. You are building a great project that generates a lot data, but you don't want to get locked into one particular Internet of Things provider, and don't want to spend inordinate amounts of time building a great user interface for it. Wizkers solves this. 
With Wizkers, you can visualize, log, download, and send instrument data to cloud services, all using one consistent interface. And if your instrument supports it, you can do full remote control too! 
Imagine your USB-connected power meter being able to do full-screen data graphs, data logging, and even real time uploads to IoT services. This is exactly what Wizkers lets you do. 
Wizkers is a pure HTML5/Javascript application which runs in Google Chrome, and is incredibly easy to setup: you can head over to the Chrome webstore (goo.gl/DgLqXH) and get up and running in a matter of seconds. 
Wizkers is not limited to running as a Chrome app. You can also install it on any embedded device - Beaglebone or other - to create a web interface for your measurement instruments, or even for your own DIY projects. And thanks to the Apache Cordova project, a native Android version is coming up too. 
Wizkers is still beta software. Expect a few bugs, but I feel that I have now reach a level of stability that makes it possible for a larger audience to start experimenting with it. Your feedback will be invaluable! 
So what instruments does Wizkers support out of the box today? At the time of release, we have support for the Medcom "Onyx" Geiger counter, the Fried Circuits USB current/voltage/power meter, Fluke 287/289 digital multimeters, and the Elecraft KX3 Amateur radio transceiver. And more instruments are on the way. 
Wizkers also supports IoT data services like helium.co for data input. 
Last, all the data recorded by Wizkers can be forwarded on to cloud services - talking to "dweet.io" is a no brainer - with a generic REST API output plugin, and more specialized services like Safecast.org. 
Wizkers is already being used daily by a team of beta testers whom I really want to thank for all their support, encouragement and great feedback! 
With this, I encourage you to head over to wizkers.io and discover what it can do for you!"

Sunday, December 7, 2014

USB Tester Firmware and Java App Update

It's been awhile since there has been an update to the firmware or the Java app. I have been working on them on and off for a few months now and I am finally at point for a release. Both the firmware and the Java app have some significant and important changes. I hope this brings some useful changes and lays the groundwork for future updates. Now onto the details...

Arduino Yun booting and running OLED Adafruit Test Sketch - USB data not connected to PC

Java App: https://github.com/FriedCircuits/FC-USB-Tester-Data-Logger-App
  • Start of changelog 
  • Uses temp file instead of memory for better long term logging 
  • Able to resume unsaved session 
  • Remote control of USB Tester display 
  • Option to stop updating graph for long term logging 
  • Option to change graph refresh speed 
  • Option to set how long(in minutes) to keep history in graph or 0 for all
  • Display max and mins on voltage\current graphs 
  • Check github for new version 
  • Check firmware version and check github for new version
  • About dialog shows versions

USB Tester Firmware: https://github.com/FriedCircuits/FC-USB-Tester-OLED-Backpack

  • Start of changelog 
  • Switch to UG8Lib display library 
  • Clean up Energy and Peak\Mins screens 
  • Updated large font screens with bar graphs that auto scale 
  • Added firmware version with serial command

For the firmware you can download the working zip 2.1 which includes the new UG8Lib in the libraries folder. More information on how to update can be found here: http://friedcircuits.us/docs/oled-backpack-how-to-update-firmware/

For the Java App, for Windows download the Windows folder which has the exe (launch4js wrapper) and the needed libraries. For Linux\OSX download the Jar and libraries.

Some future ideas:
  • Possible firmware updating from Java app (Have to figure out cross platform)
  • Online real-time usage map of the the Java app by country.
    • Not really needed but could be cool. It would be just by country and could be turned off in the app. 

Please submit any bugs or suggestions to Github so I can track them. 

USB Tester and the DigiSpark Pro

After supporting the DigiX on Kickstarter, I have become a fan of DigiStump. So what better way to support them than buy stuff? I supported their new Kickstarter this year for the DigiSpark Pro. I got the beta kit which they made at their office and it came with the extras along with being shipped sooner. I posted about the details earlier: http://www.mobilewill.us/2014/06/digispark-pro.html. I finally got around to doing some basic power testing with the USB Tester. I took this picture just before our vacation.

Running the basic blink sketch its using about 22mA. Which is less then an Arduino Uno.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Improving Cooling on Fury Miners

Over the summer, I began adding more miners. The weather had started to warm up about the same time so the Furys started to increase in temperature.  In our area most places do not have air conditioning, so we are up to the mercy of the weather. Most of the year it's a cooler climate off the central coast of California, but this year it has been much warmer. Even without the weather, the Furys ICs would get hot but not the casing, which is a giant heat sink anyway. That told me there is poor thermal transfer. I had to do something about it. Cooler ICs means less hardware errors which means more accepted shares.

Upon research I narrowed down to these two items:

  • Prolimatech PK-3 Nano Thermal Paste (comes with spatula) - Amazon
  • ArctiClean Thermal Paste Cleaner - Amazon
  • .6in Heatsinks - AliExpress (My first purchase from AliExpress)
    • Came with extra Raspberry Pi heatsink sets
Wait, err, make that three items - the cleaner was one of those things on Amazon "people also bought." The stuff works great but I ended up only using it on the first one so I could conserve paste.

Friday, October 31, 2014

On the Web: Circuit Construction Set

During my day job a call was mistakenly transferred to me. It was a teacher that needed help with a website not loading. Normally I only take calls related to the systems I manage and support. Turns out it was a Java applet that a science teacher was trying to us in the computer lab. Once he emailed me the link and I saw what it was, I got excited. It's a Java applet that you can learn basic circuits. Check it out below.

Circuit Construction Kit (DC Only)
Click to Run


Turns out downloading and updating Java fixed it. The joys of Java!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Tessel Has Arrived!

Origianlly posted June 23, 2014...

Last year in 2013, I backed one of the first projects on Dragon Innovation. It's similar to Kickstarter but geared more for hardware and without the restrictions. Basically it's a cross between an online shop and crowd sourcing mixed into one, since you can buy/support multiple of rewards. One of the launch campaigns was the Tessel. Tessel isn't just another microcontroller platform, it's platform that allows you to program it with Java but more specifically NodeJS! Pretty cool, ehh? There site has all the details http://tessel.io. But here are the specs from their site:

The Nitty:

  • Programmable via JavaScript
  • 14 different hardware modules for added capabilites
  • Compatible with 10,000's of Node.js packages on NPN
  • Deploy over USB or remotely by WiFi

The Gritty

  • 180mhz ARM Cortex-M3 LPC1830
  • 32mb SDRAM
  • 32mb Flash
  • TI CC3000 WiFi radio
  • 20-pin GPIO bank for general prototyping
  • Micro USB or battery power

The plug in modules are ready to use out of the box, no soldering headers required. All it takes is some JavaScript and loading the right node for the module you are using. Pretty simple to get up and running. I just received mine a few weeks ago and have tested each module. Here are a few pictures.

Tessel Front