Daniel's Stuff

I write code

Category: Hardware

Some more pictures of the failed boards

I took a few more pictures of the failed boards and sent them to the fantastic people at circuits.io.  They have very generously offered to send me new ones at no charge 🙂  Hopefully these new boards will work out.

I also had a quick go at getting one of the boards working.  After soldering lots of wires on the bottom of the board I powered it up and let the magic smoke out of my voltage regulator, so it looks like I may have a crook connection somewhere.  It could also be because I didn’t have the right regulator available so tried another with a slightly different pinout.  I put some heat shrink over the input lead and bent it into the right position. Maybe I didn’t get it quite right.  The interesting thing is that the Mac I had it plugged in to didn’t complain about the device drawing too much current, so I don’t quite know what went wrong.  Time to head out to Jaycar and get the part I actually need I guess 😉

My PCBs have arrived

Unfortunately they don’t appear to have worked out as well as I was hoping.
On the top side many of the tracks are incomplete, while the bottom side has no tracks whatsoever 🙁


The boards look really nice though.  I’m going to have a go at making one of them work soon as I have a problem that needs to be solved using them.


After a small hint from one of the Drobo tech support staff I was able to fix my DroboPro 🙂

It turns out that there is a little CR2032 coin cell on the main board that had gone flat.  I replaced that and the machine came good 🙂


Funky Clock 2 is up and running

Funky clock is installed and working really nicely 🙂

I had a little trouble with the digital inputs as the pull down resistors I used were 100K instead of 10K.  Also for some reason I was unable to read port E2 at all.  Once I moved that input to port C4 and replaced the resistors everything started working as expected 🙂

Temperature sensor

weekly graph
I added a LM35 temperature sensor to the unit measuring the water level in my main tanks.  After a mild calibration issue (shown above) it seems to be reading very close to the actual temperature 🙂

daily graph

I find it amazing how much I am enjoying having this data.  Very silly 🙂

Funky Clock 2.0

Here is Funky Clock 2.0, well the processor board anyway.

I have several PIC18F452 in the PLCC package, so I decided to see if I could get that working.
My forth is running on it and I am implementing a new UI for the clock allowing the time to be set using a really cool dial/switch combo.
To connect to the new board I’ve made another daughter board that has the power connector, quadrature dial button thingy and a serial connection plug.  I have made a little RS232 adapter using a MAX232 chip and a hand full of capacitors placed into a DB9 head shell with some pins sticking out of one end and a DB9 on the other.  When I plug the adapter into my Funky Clock it is powered from the Funky Clock and I am able to send code and commands to it via a terminal emulator 🙂
It all works really nicely 🙂

More on the Funky Clock

I had another one of the LED arrays around the place and decided to see if I could drive it directly from the PIC port pins.  It seems I can, and the results are much better than my much more complicated previous setup.  Of course it uses up almost all of the PIC18F4550’s port pins.  All of port A, B, D and E 😉

The thing I was really happy about was that the code I had written for the old hardware needed very little changes to work.  Forth is really good like that.  All I had to do was change the low level code that actually hits the hardware, and the higher level stuff just worked 🙂