What’s going on?

Things have been fairly quiet in my “workshop”. There’s some things slowly going, but mostly I’m just sitting around waiting. Here’s what’s going on.


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My favorite website project has come online again! Check out Canada’s Wonderland Facts!

The website was last online in 2012. Since then, PHP and MySQL has changed so I spent a full day updating the code. Now, I’m just sort of catching up by updating and adding more content. There are still some functionality changes that I want to make eventually. I’ll probably get more motivation to do it as we move into the Wonderland season, which just began yesterday. I’m considering getting a domain name but I don’t want to buy one if I’m just going to give up on the website like I’ve done in the past. We’ll see how things roll.


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I’ve got new PCBs being manufactured¬†right now! I’ve gone back to basics with the ATmega328p Breakout Board with nothing but the breakout pins and only using through-hole components. I think these changes will make most makers more interested in it because it’ll be easier to assemble since the original had surface-mount components, and more components in total compared to this upcoming one.

I also put in another design to get manufactured that’s mostly for my own use. There’s some breakouts for 0805 and SOT-223 surface-mount components. I also finished a new voltage regulator design that uses the NCP1117 low-dropout regulator. I had ordered a small set of components for that board in my last Digikey order. I also have some AMS1117 regulators in hand, which is the reason for those 0805 and SOT-223 breakouts. I’m not quite sure if I will put those regulator boards up for sale but I like to use them in my own projects with 9v batteries.


None of my eBay orders have arrived just yet. To recap, some of the items coming in are for an update to the Light Show Project. I’m especially excited to try using WS2812 RGB LEDs for the first time. I can’t wait!


So that’s it for now. Thanks a lot for visiting! Good luck in all of your experiments and projects!

 

 

 

 

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Moving on

It’s kind of depressing when you think about it, but my ESP8266 project is held up by two little switches I need that are somewhere in the mail. It’s going to sit off to the side until those switches come, so I thought I’d shift gears and give you a quick preview of what’s coming up.

RF Transmitter and Receiver

IMG_0001I’ve never been much of a communications guy. Protocols and accommodating for noise and interference and all that has always been confusing/boring to me, but I seem to be tip-toeing toward it these days. I received two RF transmitter and receiver pairs in the mail today. I didn’t have a project idea in mind when I ordered them, but they’re so cheap that I figured it would be would be nice to have lying around if I did come up with something one day. I’m still drawing up a plan, though I think it’s only natural that I try to use that temperature sensor that was originally destined for the ESP8266 project. I haven’t done enough research to see what is and what is not doable with this pair so I can’t confirm anything just yet.

bbIn the ESP8266 project, I have three mini-breadboards that each have a main purpose on them: One for my AMS1117 power regulator, one with the sensors, and one with the ESP8266 module. I decided to try and combine two of them so I could free up one so I could use it to play with the RF pair. I managed to cram the AMS1117 and ESP8266 onto one mini-breadboard… As long as it still works, it’s fine. I hope that this project will be on a perfboard soon anyway.

74HC595 Shift Register Boards Rev B / Light Show 7

I hadn’t mentioned it before but I sent the next revision of my 74HC595 boards to get manufactured and they are on their way to me right now. I’m pretty excited to see how they turn out because they are my first manually routed board.

I’m also excited because it’s part of some upgrades I want done to the Light Show Project before I start programming a new show. These new shift register boards break out the Output Enable pin which allows for some PWM control. The backdrop will definitely have that, but I’m also considering having all LEDs in the project controlled by shift registers, including the fountain LEDs which have always been controlled directly from the Arduino. There are advantages and disadvantages to that but, either way, I plan on taking a close look at how everything is wired.

In addition to working on the wiring, I’m still looking for ways to make it even bigger. For every version of the show, I watch the show and pick out things that I want to focus on. What I realized with Light Show 7 is that it’s not designed very well to watch on a widescreen… We’ll see what comes of that.

 

Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for more!