Dec 31

2018

Hey All,

I almost didn’t blog for the whole year. To be truthful, it’s been hard to write this past year. Lots of amazing wonderful things have happened to me in 2018, but I’m exhausted. And this blog was easy to overlook. I want to write again, but at my own pace. I’m going to try to start again.

That said…. BEING A FATHER IS AWESOME! I have an amazing little mini me who is 20 months old and is just so much fun. He has made me grow in ways I never even knew imaginable.

Maker Faire Orlando 2018

My friend Jacob and I worked on an awesome project for Maker Faire Orlando this year, and I am so proud to say we won Maker of Merit! It is a deep honor to me to win that award. And of course it’s Raspberry Pi related ūüėÄ

We made a 4096 LED pixel framebuffer display powered by the Raspberry Pi!

LED Display playing a clone of Snake
Prototype at the Orlando Science Center

How it works?

We are using P10 LED panels as the basis for the screen. P10 means a 10mm dot pitch, so 10mm between each LED. They range from 3 – 10mm. The panels also usually come in a size of 16 x 32, but luckily they are daisy chainable!

The Raspberry Pi can even handle upto 32 of them in 3 chains! For our purposes we only used 8 16×32 panels in one chain.

8 P10 Panels, daisychained to an Adafruit LED matrix bonnet, connected to a Raspberry Pi 3b+, with power distributed via a CFOL Distro 8 board.

The above picture may look complicated, but it’s not that bad.

8 P10 panels are daisy chained together using a standard HUB75 cable (it’s like an smaller IDE cable).

The panels are mounted together with the orange and red 3D printed brackets.

The first panel is connected to a Raspberry Pi 3B+ via an Adafruit LED matrix bonnet.

The power for the panels and the Pi comes from a 10amp DC supply, which plugs into the bonnet. The bonnet powers the Pi, and has two screw terminals for the voltage output. The +/- screw terminals connect to a CFOL Distro 8 PCB (in the center of the board) which takes the input and breaks it out to 8 screw terminals. We only need 4 since each cable powers two panels, but it gives us room to expand.

After that we use https://github.com/adafruit/rpi-fb-matrix to copy whats on the HDMI framebuffer out onto the LED matrix!

and Voila! You now have a giant low resolution display!

Many thanks to Adafruit for making such a great beginner tutorial that we could jump from, and building a great bonnet for the Pi!

Happy Making and a Happy New Year! Here’s to a wonderful 2019 everyone!

-Shea

May 26

Friday Post: PiPlay Portable funded :D

Hey All,

Thank you, to my backers, and supporters, for helping to fund the PiPlay Portable. I’m so excited to get to make this.

We just got the latest prototype boards in, as well as our stickers from StickerMule.  We were also able to get some polybags for real cheap (they are in beta, so why not!)

Also MegaCon is this weekend!  I finished making my Nintendo Switch Arcade Machine and made it an Ultra SF2 Machine.

Have a great weekend all!

-Shea

May 20

PiPlay Portable – Last Day

Hey All,

This has been an exciting week.  The PiPlay Portable is fully funded, and we have less than 12 hours to go on the Kickstarter!


Sam has been growing so fast! ¬†I love being a Dad. ¬†It’s an experience I am so happy I get to have, and of course I have 3D scanned him and got him 3D printed…

 

I also won the Community Leadership award from IMS Global at the LILI conference.  I had no idea I was even nominated!!  I am really humbled by this.  Thank you IMS!

Apr 28

Friday Post: PiPlay Portable is fully funded! And meet the newest member of the PiPlay Team!

Hey All,

The PiPlay Portable Kickstarter is fully funded!!!  Thank you to all of you.  We are super humbled and excited that we get to see this kit succeed.

In even more incredible news….

I’m super excited to introduce our son, Sam, born Monday April 24th.

Mother and Baby are doing great. ¬†We came home from the hospital yesterday. ¬†I’m so excited for this new chapter in our lives.

Have a great weekend all,

-Shea

Mar 31

Friday Post: Fix It Felix Jr. running on the Raspberry Pi!

Hey All,

This post is made possible because ELTechs has provided me with an early version of Exagear Desktop 2.0.  This is commercial software that was provided to me free of charge.

One of my game room goals has been to have a full sized Fix It Felix Jr. arcade cabinet, and now that I can run the game on the Raspberry Pi, I’m one step closer!

The desktop version of Fix-It Felix Jr. has been notoriously hard to find.  It has been released as a flash game, an Apple iOS app, Android app, and even a homebrew Sega Genesis/MegaDrive ROM, but never as a stand alone application.

The version that ran at Disney Quest, and which was on tour at some of the themeparks, was never officially released.

Recently though, it got released to the internet, and I quickly grabbed it and ran it through a hex editor to see what makes it tick.  

It uses a 3rd party framework called FOCAL, which powers many small games on desktop and mobile, made by Code Mystics.  I was excited to finally have the software, but I wasn’t thrilled that I needed a Windows machine to run it.

Enter ExaGear Desktop.  An inexpensive (~$27) x86 emulator with OpenGL support for the Raspberry Pi.  It’s acts more as a virtual machine, running an x86 distro of Debian (or Ubuntu) inside a shell on top of Raspbian.

To get it working once you have purchased Exagear:

In a fresh install of Raspbian, you need to make sure to run sudo raspi-config and enable FULL Open GL support.  After that, install ExaGear ( sudo ./install_exagear.sh ), and then double click on the exagear icon on the desktop to bring up the shell. Run sudo apt-get install wine, then run wine FixItFelixJr.exe .

Wine should start up and asks to install some dependencies.  And then the moment of truth, the Fix It Felix Jr. window should pop up, and the game will be fully playable!

You can even change the window orientation and run it full screen!

I’ll be uploading video of the game in action ASAP!

Have a good weekend all!

-Shea

P.S: Baby Silverman is expected any day now !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

Mar 14

Pi Day Giveaway!

Hey All!

Happy Pi Day!

For Pi Day, I am going to be giving away TWO things.  A Raspberry Pi 3, and a PiPlay Portable kit.

All you have to do to enter is enter your email address in the form below.  I will be closing the submission at the end of the week!  Look for the PiPlay Portable Kickstarter this month!

-Shea

Mar 07

AdvanceMAME 3.4 for the Raspberry Pi Zero

Hey All,

AdvanceMAME 3.4 has been released with a lot of enhancements for the Raspberry Pi.

I got a message that it wasn’t working, so I recompiled a version JUST for the Raspberry Pi Zero. ¬†This is meant to run on the latest version of Jessie with Pixel.

Get it here

To Install and play, run these commands from the command line

sudo dpkg -i advancemame_3.4-1_armhf.deb
advmame

This will install and create your AdvanceMAME folders.  Now place your ROMs in:

/home/pi/.advance/roms

Then run:

advmame romname
example: advmame sf2

AdvMAME should now start playing your game file.

Have fun!

-Shea

Jan 07

Friday Post: 2017! New Year New Stuff!

Hey All!

Happy New Year! Less than 99 days till the baby is due. I’m building stuff for the nursery, getting stuff ready. Feels more like demolition because it was our game / media room and most of the week was spent moving stuff out.

I installed my first ceiling fan today! Feels good, feels accomplished.

I am also working on a homemade DDR pad for Stepmania. It’s still not great on the Pi2/Pi3. I can get it running at 30FPS, but the audio is too choppy. I want to try to offload the audio to a USB sound card and just output it via HDMI, but I don’t know if that will help.

Found an awesome Mario mushroom power up beanie. ¬†This kid is going to be a geek ūüėÄ

The PiPlay Advance board is coming along! ¬†I am super happy with it and it’s almost ready to release!

Oct 17

Awesome news and MakerFaire Orlando 2016 coming up

Hey All,

I have extremely awesome and happy news to report!  K is pregnant!!!!  We are having a baby!

In other news, MAKERFAIRE ORLANDO 2016 is this weekend at the Central Florida Fairgrounds!!!!

Come see me, FamiLAB, and hundreds of other exhibits showcasing the biggest show and tell on Earth!

Jacob and I have recently finished revision 3 of PiPlay Advance, and it’s looking awesome!

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We are currently testing out a variety of buttons, but it’s coming together really nicely!

And finally, the Elections are coming up soon, and my race for Florida House District 49 is heating up. ¬†I’m very excited to see what happens in the next few weeks. ¬†That being said, I have the most amazing supporters out there!

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Have a great week all!

-Shea

P.S.: In sadder news, at 91, my Grandmother Bernice passed away peacefully two weeks ago.  I was very hesitant about posting this, because it makes it feel so real now.  She lived an amazing life, and got to hear that she was going to be a great grandmother.  I miss her, and I love her, and it sucked that Hurricane Matthew hit the same week as the funeral, so everything had to be rushed.

Thank you all for being there for me.