Posts in Category: Electronics

RetroPie with the Raspberry Pi

20160130_203005464_iOSSo a buddy of mine had a raspberry pi that had lost its HDMI functionality so he got a new one.  He knew I liked toying with electronics and such so he gave me his old one.  I had never played with a raspberry pi before but knew that it is basically a little linux computer with GPIO outputs for electronics…so of course I was eager to toy with it.

Having 3 young kids, I don’t have much free time on my hands so I wanted a project that would be quick but cool at the same time.  Did some online searches and decided to make a little retro gaming station with it….and the results couldn’t be more gratifying!

I had an old playstation 1 that the kids broke (took the spindle off the cd rom) so I had controllers.  I ordered one of these puppies to be able to hook it to the pi.  Download the image for the pi from here…boot it up all hooked up and voila!  If you’ve got the controller hooked up, you don’t need to do any setup…it just walks you through and sees the controller right off!  You can use a keyboard if you want but it’s not needed.  The project even had a tutorial on how to wire in a controller if you like.

20160215_144529680_iOSNice to break my kids into gaming old school.  =) Yes, that is them playing Ninja Turtles Arcade for NES.

Update on the tessel arm

Figured I’d give an update on how the tessel arm has been coming.

I have since purchased a 3d printer kit…which was a little pain-staking to get going but now that I’ve got it working, I definitely know it pretty well…which was the point.  I mentally prepared myself for the trials of getting it working and am continuing to learn still.

Using the 3d printer, I’ve been using a guy’s design and tweaking it as needed.

Here are some pics.

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I’ve got it using pretty simple gcode right now.  The software is going to be the kicker for this.  I will end up having it work pretty similar to 3d printer to pic things up and move them.  I’d like the software to be pretty intuitive to the user, drag and drop “locations” and loops to handle tedious tasks.  =)

A buddy an I went in on a 10 pack of some 84oz/in torque steppers….and those things hold pretty well.  With the motors engaged, I can pick up the whole thing by the end of the arm and it doesn’t budge.  =)

Will post more as I progress.  Time for this is short but still fun to play with when I can.

Delta 3d Printer Build (He3d DLT-180)

So I sold a few other things and ordered the cheapest delta 3d printer kit I could find. It came in and took a bit of learning curve… but that is the point when you get into 3d printing, isn’t it? =)

First off, my stepper motors were wired incorrectly. Thanks to the help of those into he 3d printing community, I found I could just play with the wiring till I found out what worked. It did help that I had my little tessel board already programmed to play with a stepper.

Once I got the wiring corrected the motors were still extremely loud when moving. Finally a user on reddit mentioned I should check my jumper settings. Jumper settings?! I just assumed the firmware could do all that. Guess not. Of course, the kit I got was missing all the jumpers needed. Between some help from my awesome neighbor and some old computer drives I had laying around and was able to get all that I needed (12 in total). Once those were in, no more shaking and buzzing! Still not done though.

After scouring through the G-Code wiki and reading up on the firmware that I had (micromake) I found the key setting that I really needed to tweak was the z-endstop-offset. Using the “paper test” that many refer to, I was able to home that setting in. Then came the fun of learning how to load filament in this thing.

Tessel.io

tessel_2So I was able to get my hands on a tessel board and it has been a lot of fun! I’ve been toying with simple servo controls all the way to the Bluetooth Low Energy module (learning that from scratch was interesting!).

Using the servos I made a little arm to pick things up…but since it is made out of balsa wood, it is pretty flimsy.tessel_1

I was able to get my hands on a stepper motor and get that working with the tessel so ideally I’ll keep going the same route to have the “arm” move up and down a track knowing it’s position as it goes.  Maybe even have the arm be able to do a full 360 twist as well to be able to work on both sides of the track.  Check out a video of what I have so far here.

The cool thing about the tessel is it’s native language is javascript so most developers coming from a web background can easily get to tinkering with hardware/electronics with it!

Will be exciting to see what others pull off with this thing!