Apr 26

Friday Post: Mausberry Circuits Raspberry Pi Power Switch

Hey All,

First of all I am happy to say that I aced my course this semester.  Woo!  It’s weird having free time again.  Going to be really focusing on PiMAME.  Onto the cool stuff…

So, I got my Mausberry Circuits Raspberry Pi Power Switch in the mail this week.  I linked to the Kickstarter for this previously and I’m really happy it was funded.  The device is tiny, but feels well soldered and sturdy.  My only complaint is that the headers cables for the GPIO pins are on the top of the board, as opposed to the bottom, making it harder to put in a project box or in a DeskCade.

The device itself works flawlessly.  You install the script, connect the GPIO pins, and then hit the switch.  The script tells the Pi to power down, and after it’s completely halted, the power is cut.  It also includes a hard reset button in case the Pi is completely frozen / crashed.

maus1

It’s $22 with shipping, and you can order one at mausberrycircuits.com

Have an awesome weekend everyone.

-Shea

Apr 09

Broken glasses and a new use for Instamorph

Hey all,

While getting dressed this morning one of the stems on my glasses snapped in half.  You’d think I would have a spare set somewhere, but nope.  No spare.  I am really happy this didn’t happen while on my honeymoon!  I could not find any tape, and I wasn’t sure what to do, when it hit me!  Instamorph!

I was able to see well enough to throw a tupperware container full of water into the microwave for two minutes, dump in some Instamorph, and then mold it around the two parts of the stem.  This is actually working really well until I can get new frames tomorrow.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

-Shea

Feb 22

Friday Post: Baked Raspberry Pi

Full Disclosure: Seeed Studio sent me the Wireless Charging Module for free because I entered their reviewer contest.

Hey All,

So I said I had some cool hardware to show off today, and here it is: Seeed Studio’s Wireless Charging Module

photo (1)

This kit uses inductive charging to transfer power “wirelessly” from one coil to the other.  You put in 12v 1A on the transmitter end, and on the other end you get 5v 0.6A.

I initially had some trouble getting it setup.  I was trying connectors in every different position, every combination I could think of.  It took me a day to realize my power supply was set to 9v rather than 12v.  Once I upped the voltage, I could hold the coils an inch away from each other and still keep a charge.  I also tried putting things in between the coils to see how much interference it could take.  It had no problems with a coupon book, business cards, a small plastic mint case, though it did have issues being between a remote.

Now, me being me, I had to try this with the Raspberry Pi, and I knew I had to do something special.  My coworker Mike has been fiddling with bare metal assembly on the Pi, and has ported NyanCat to the system.  His github repo with the source assembly code and pre built binary is available here.

By connecting the receiver coil to the 5v and GND GPIO pins, I was able to wirelessly power the Pi.

I hope you enjoy!

Have a great weekend!

-Shea

—-

PiMAME 0.6 should be out this weekend 😀

Feb 21

3Doodler and Raspberry Pi On-Off Switch

Hey All,

You all know I’m a huge Kickstarter fan.  This week has proved to be an awesome time for projects (and a sad day for my wallet).  Two projects caught my eye, the first one is the 3Doodler.

The 3Doodler is a hot-glue-gun like device that uses a plastic extruder to create 3D shapes in air.  The plastic extruder is one that you would normally see in a 3D printer like the Makerbot, but has been adapted to be handheld.  Because the plastic cools rapidly, it can create sturdy shapes that can be drawn anywhere.

It already surpassed the million dollar mark, so I have high hopes for this project.  I backed it at the $75 October level, so I hope to get mine then and be able to do a review of it.  If you are into 3D Printing and artwork, you may want to consider backing this project!

Another Kickstarter I backed this week is a project for the Raspberry Pi.  It’s an on/off switch that talks to the Pi via GPIO and activates a safe software shutdown before cutting power.

I’ve talked to the creator, he’s a member of the Raspberry Pi forums, and is quite excited about this project.  It’s $22 for this batch of boards.  If you are looking for a power switch for your Pi, this may be it.

I have a cool piece of hardware to show tomorrow.  Looking forward to sharing it with you all!

-Shea

Feb 15

Friday Post: Pebble

Hey All,

I want to start this by saying I LOVE Kickstarter.  I have funded many projects, most have succeeded  some have been delayed, some are still in the will it succeed or will it fail phase.  I really like the Kickstarter model.  It’s not a store.  It’s a risk vs reward for the backers, and a way to make the creators dreams come true.  I plan on putting the DeskCade on Kickstarter very soon(tm).

Today I am going to talk about the Pebble Smartwatch.  I backed this many months ago, and it’s an ambitious project.  It was the first Kickstarter project to reach 10 million dollars.  I received my Pebble last Sunday, and I would like to write some initial thoughts on it.

TL;DR Cliffs Notes:  It’s got potential, with a firmware update it will be awesome, but it’s just not there yet.

My out of the box experience with the Pebble sucked.  I was using an iPhone 4S with iOS 5 because they said it was supported.  Well it isn’t 100% supported on iOS 5.  The app gets stuck trying to talk to the Pebble, and the firmware update that’s available hangs.  iOS 5 will send a notification when you get a call, but no notifications on texts or e-mail.

The next day I updated to iOS 6, and lo and behold, everything worked.  For about 2 hours.  When I sit down at my work desk, I usually take off my watch to code.  When I stepped away for a bit, nothing worked anymore.  I had to re sync the Bluetooth connection, turn off notifications and then re-enable them for it to work again.  And then I walked away again and it happened again.  It’s a frustrating issue that I know will be fixed in a firmware release.  It has too for this product to be successful.  I has to just work..

One other software gripe:  Please put a battery indicator and a charging indicator somewhere on the screen.

Onto the good:

The build quality is amazing!  Even though it’s only plastic, it feels solid and tough.  The screen is very easy to read.  The battery life so far has been great.  The charger has a very Apple Magsafe connector feel to it.  You place the charger on the side of the pebble and the magnets pull it into position.  As a watch, it’s great.

Conclusion:

This is going to be a great product.  I have no doubt.  Once they get the kinks out of it on the software side, I’m never going to take it off.  I’ve seen it work.  It has the potential to be a paradigm shift in wearable computers with it’s SDK.  I have high hopes for the creators.  I want to be able to back more of their ideas.

——————————-

On a side note, PiMAME 0.6 is in the works.  I’m hoping to release it next week.  Te latest edition of Raspbian came out last week.  I tried moving over to that, but it’s still slower than the older release of Raspbian I’m using.  It also seems to require a bigger SD card as it’s just hitting the 2GB limit.

I’m going to continue using the older Raspbian, I’m putting in a start-up menu so you can access frequently accessed items, and I’m working on making the image smaller so there aren’t as many issues with temperamental SD cards.

Have a great weekend everyone!

-Shea

Jan 30

Video of XArcade Stick Working with the Raspberry Pi

Hey All,

Real quick, just wanted to show a very rough video of me using the XArcade Tankstick on the Raspberry Pi.  I have the Trackball, Buttons  and Joysticks all working.  Gridlee has issues with it (has to have custom inputs set) but Street Fighter 2 and Missile Command worked “out-of-the-box”.  I had to make a minor edit to the AdvanceMENU configuration file, but it looks like its working nicely.

I’m going to try a fresh re-install of PiMAME and try to recreate the results.  I’m hoping to have a guide for this very soon ™.

-Shea

Jan 22

X-Arcade Tankstick Unboxing

Hey all,

My new Tankstick arrived today, courtesy of XGaming.com. They have asked me to test it and get it running on the Raspberry Pi. I only had a couple minutes to play with it, but I made a little unboxing video for everyone:

Size comparison of the Pi versus a Tankstick:

tankstick
This thing has some heft to it!  With the few minutes I got to use it, I notice why some users of the Raspberry Pi are having difficulties making it work right.  It’s nothing wrong with the device, but with the way some of the software interprets the inputs.  I have a couple of hunches and ideas on how to fix it, which I hope to get to within the next week.

PiMAME 0.5 is also coming along nicely.  I’m reverting back to the 0.3 stack and just adding some minor modifications.  That should be released on Friday.

-Shea

Dec 31

Raspberry Pi Powered SNES

Hey All,

HAPPY NEW YEAR!  This is what I assume to be the last post of 2012.  Might as well end it with a bang 🙂

A fellow member of FamiLAB (Orlando’s Hackerspace) has made a great write-up of his Raspberry Pi powered SNES.

I have been watching Ted (Waterbury) work on this project for the past few months, and the work is nothing short of incredible.

I hope everyone has a great new year.  May 2013 bring you joy, happiness, and success.

-Shea

 

Dec 14

Friday Post: PiMAME Image and other neat things

Hey All,

Hope you all like this:

PiMAME

Download Here

This is a fully configured Raspberry Pi image that auto boots into AdvanceMENU and runs your MAME games for you.  It includes a copy of a Free MAME ROM so you can see it working right from the start.  SSH is already enabled, memory split is setup, and everything is updated.

Once you have it flashed to your SD Card, I recommend running “sudo raspi-config” and expanding the file system, otherwise you will only have a few megs of space left to use.

Please let me know if you have any questions, comments, or suggestions!

Raspberry Pi Radio

http://www.icrobotics.co.uk/wiki/index.php/Turning_the_Raspberry_Pi_Into_an_FM_Transmitter

With one wire and a simple program, you can turn your Raspberry Pi into an FM Transmitter that plays on FM 100.0MHz.