• Drilling my own enclosures

    09/02/2020 at 16:49 0 comments

    Just a quick post about a little project I'm doing for buddy of mine. Normally I never really get my hands dirty with enclosures (I suck at them, and have no patience for the learning curve ha ha), but when assembling a mini test rig for the project I decided to give it a go.

    Pretty bloody happy with the results! A few buttons are slightly off thanks to drill bits jumping (using a nail as a centre punch isn't brilliant) but overall I'm really happy.

    Next up I need to wire up the encoder, five pots and the encoder, mount an Arduino Mega and Pi4 4gb inside, cut a hole for a panelmount USB port to power the Pi and add a phone holder on top.

    It's sad how pleased with myself I am ha ha ha!

  • 2020 Targets

    01/01/2020 at 23:42 0 comments

    Just a little list of things for me to aim for for this year:

    • Complete DigiBone - i have an L shaped idea top prototype that I keep procrastinating over and it's time to stop doing that. Rather than having a full over-the-shoulder part the L shape will just have the mouthpiece area, the slide stock (where the ping sensors will be located) and then the speaker on the other side of the L, roughly in the position the bell would find itself.
    • Complete my Pi Pedal - the pedal enclosure is built, and it's just a case of wiring it. Buttons to pi pins, power supply to Pi, then the case sockets to the HAT ins and outs.
    • Explore another Pedal Idea - I have an Acer Revo Build that would sit nicely on a small pedalboard. It should run something like Guitar Rig, so building a large, Arduino-based foot controller for it would be something I'd like to pursue. Perhaps even de-casing a USB soundcard and housing it in the controller with a USB Hub could be on the cards
    • Finish building Pi Cluster - the Pi boards should be in my possession in the next week or two, so putting the kit together and getting Kubernetes working will be the next phase. Also contemplating a new enclosure design for it; more rectangular. Screen to the left, with the Pis mounted to the right. The switch and its power brick underneath.
    • Totem Maker Kit Review.
    • Fix Totem Spider.
    • Write up the NodeMCU wifi clock I made for my son.
    • Write up and build the new Pi version I have planned.
    • Finish Car Pi audio install - awaiting Mauseberry board
    • Build Totem rack to hold din rails- triangular ends, beams to support. Cut din rail and mount the rail PoS and Nodemcu to the angled side, power modules to go on the back side rail. Face back side rail inwards to keep it small and tidy. Install arduino Mega w/ Ethernet or Wi-Fi shield in base with breadboard and potentially a small switch or access point. Will simplify development. 

    I'll add more as and when I think of them.

  • Product Review | Totem Mini Lab

    10/17/2019 at 16:19 0 comments

    The Totem Mini Lab is a kit to build an all-in-one lab setup. Built around Totem's take on an Arduino Uno, it features a companion lab board which adds many useful tools and features to your prototyping and development. 


    The kit comes with the following parts (as listed on the Totem site:

    • TotemDuino – our improved version of Arduino UNO;
    • LabBoard – a capable experimentation and measuring platform;
    • 34-pin flat cable – use it to connect TotemDuino and LabBoard together;
    • Collection of Totem construction parts – for building Totem workbench;
    • Voltage adapter – to power laboratory from the mains;
    • Breadboards CYB-120 (2 units) – to extend your experimentation area;
    • Breadboard cables – Jump wire 20 cm x 40 pcs. U Shape Breadboard Jumper Cable Kit, 140 pcs;
    • Building instructions – suggested use of Totem parts for building a workbench where everything neatly mounts together;
    • Standard USB 2.0 Mini Cable 1m (A-male to mini-male).


    I thoroughly enjoyed putting this kit together. Having recently assembled the little 2WD Car Kit from Totem I found building this an absolute joy. The included parts sheet for reference came in very handy for organising and measuring out parts and accompanied the printed build guide brilliantly. Some of the images in the book can be a little unclear as to where the nut inserts go, but once you have done the first few steps it becomes clear what is meant. The printed guide was a much better reference tool than using the online guide that the 2WD Car Kit requires to use, but I feel that is because I used my phone to view it.  Still, the high quality printed document is a nice addition to the kit.

    The build itself was fairly straight forward using the included driver (the only tool needed). I did find a few of the screw angles were a bit tight for a fat fingered fellow such as myself when assembling the frame, but the driver does have a wide angle of use to help it still do the job at an angle, plus the order you attach the brackets can also make it easier.

    Still, all in all I had a great time assembling this, and look forward to using it :-)

    Finished Build

    Software & Usability

    ***Software review to follow***


    It is possibly to add add-on modules to the lab it further increase its value as a prototyping and development lab.


    All in all I think this kit is absolutely fantastic. As someone without a dedicated workspace for prototyping and development I was really excited at the prospect of an all-in-one system that could improve my workflow and also tidy up the stack of boxes full of random microcontrollers, components and all kinds.

    Once I have received the add on modules I am going to be moving my development for my current projects ( #DIY SamplePad Controller  and #Digibone ) exclusively to this lab and will then update the software and usability section of this review. I am also keen to test how this would work in conjunction with a raspberry Pi w/touchscreen setup. Or even use the Maker Kit to build a Pi cluster chassis to add to this build.

    I'm really hoping to see Totem continue developing add-on boards for this lab; it's a great form factor, and increasing the options available will really increase it's appeal as a useful tool for makers.

    One in particular I'd love to see is a Network-based add-on, build around an ESP32 to add Wifi, Bluetooth and perhaps ethernet ports for IoT development. I'd also love to see some further TotemDuinos developed, using perhaps the Mega as a base rather than the Uno, maybe even including an ESP32 on it rather than as a separate module. 

    Anyway, I'm really excited by this lab and look forward to seeing where the future takes it!

    UPDATE - Using the Lab [26 Nov]

    In the last few weeks I have received my add-on boards for the lab. I have received the one on the right in the picture above, and also the...

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