2017: A Year of Hacking

Daily log of the my projects, ideas, tips, failures, etc.

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Regular updated log of the projects I am working on. My goal is to update the project log on a daily basis. I hope that sharing my projects inspires others to also post their ideas.

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  • Week 4: 1/23/2017

    Eric Moyer5 hours ago 0 comments

    Today was a little bit of a different type of hack. Needed to come up with something for dinner based on what we had around. I ended up putting together chicken pasta salad w/ apple and walnut. Didn't use a recipe, just added ingredients that I thought would work and it came out pretty good.

    Here are the ingredients used:

    • 3 - 12.5 oz cans chuck chicken breast - shred w/ fork
    • 8 oz wheat elbow pasta - cooked
    • 1 - medium apple - diced
    • 1 cup walnuts - chopped
    • 1 cup vegan mayo
    • 1 tbsp oregano
    • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
    • salt & pepper to taste

    Mix the chicken, apples, walnuts and pasta in a large bowl. Add the oregano and garlic powder, mix thoroughly. Add mayo then salt and pepper to taste. It's best if you can let the pasta salad sit covered in the fridge for 30-60 minutes but you can eat it right away.

    Now to actual updates you maybe interested in.

    At the end of my print yesterday, the program froze multiple times and it required me to pause and restart. Today I printed this bottle opener to see if I could replicate the issue and it did freeze 2-3 times. Some Internet searching seemed to net several possibilities. The last two prints I have been running directly from my computer. Several online solutions seem to indicate I should be only running from the SD chip and not to have it connected to the computer. Let's hope that work.

  • Week 4: 1/22/2017

    Eric Moyera day ago 0 comments

    Rather that create a log for the week and then edit it everyday I decided to make a new log for every time I post. My goal is to provide daily updates/progress of what I have going on. Up to this point about half of my updates have been only on my phone so editing an already existing log and additional information has presented issues.

    Yesterday I received the Monoprice Select Mini 3D printer and it has blown me. As I mentioned yesterday I was set-up, bed leveled and printing in under an hour. I actually didn't finish the first print since I had dinner plans and did what to leave it running unattended. After dinner I came back, restarted the program from the beginning and had a almost perfectly printed cat in 3 hours. The partial cat next to it was the progress I had made at the 1 hour 20 minute mark from receiving the printer.

    I am trying to determine if I am going to start new "project" page for my 3d printer since there are plenty of great projects for the printer already on Near term I will just use my daily posts to keep you up to speed on the 3D printing news.

    Currently I have a "upgrade" printing. If just a simple radius to add to the filament roll holder so the filament feeds easier.

  • Week 3: January 2017

    Eric Moyer01/16/2017 at 04:03 0 comments

    Jan 15th: Today was spent updating my light switch hack project. I have been trying to find a better source for UL1015 16awg and 18awg wire so people are not buying large spools if they want to build this proejct. When I did the original project I purchased wire in 100' spools which is way to much if you are only buying to wire a couple switches. Even if you only buy a single spool for all the heavy gage wiring you still have enough for dozens of projects. If anyones knows a source for shorter lengths of wire please let me know.

    Jan 16th: Verified the wiring for the light switch project.

    I will post a video of the switch in action tomorrow.

    Jan 17th:

    Video of the verified wiring as promised. I also spent time updating the instruction portion of the project, specifically the disassembly portion.

    Jan 18th: Potting boxes arrived today and there were much larger that I expected. I measured what I wanted to put inside the box and checked the vendor drawing to confirm it was the size I needed. Maybe I can find something a little smaller.

    Either way it's great to have some parts in hand to start finding out not only working the integration but also the logistics of pouring the silicone into the box to get a complete fill.

    Onto a new topic, I took the leap today and used the Amazon gift cards I received for Christmas to buy a Monoprice Mini Select. This isn't my first 3D printer however my Printrbot Plus V1 (bought in 2012) always sinks a lot of my time just to get tuned and running. I don't see this Monoprice unit as a walk in the park since at this price I expect some level of headaches. It should be fun to see what $200 gets me since the Printrbot cost $700 new in 2012.

    Jan 19th: My new Monoprice Mini Select is suppose to show up tomorrow so I spent the evening trying to make room for it. I have some PLA filament I haven't used for a while (it's in a seal container with desiccant) so hopefully its still good.

    For my light switch project I found both clear and black GE silicone II in the garage that I am going to try out as a potting compound. I spent about 10 minutes cleaning out the nozzles of both of them so they are ready to go. I was thinking out soldering a small and simple LED project this weekend and potting it to see how well this is going to go. I would prefer to fail on something I don't care about and can just throw away.

    Jan 20th: Spent about 30 minutes on the phone with Amazon tonight on why my 3D printer didn't show up. Sounds like the decided to ship it ground and it got stuck in bad weather and wasn't schedule to show up until next week. The solution they came up with was to reorder me another one since a closer fulfillment center had one in stock and they expect it to show up tomorrow.

    Back to my light switch project, I was able to create and post a powerpoint version of the wiring diagram. I am starting to remember how much time it takes to document a project. As long as I spend 15-20 minutes on documentation every night hopefully it will not become a mountain of work once I am finished.

    Jan 21th: My 3rd week ended with my Monoprice Mini Select showing up. I was printing in under an hour from when it showed up. I will post more later but this thing is amazing for $200.

  • January 2017: Week 2

    Eric Moyer01/09/2017 at 06:17 0 comments

    Jan 8: Today was more clean up and organization of my projects. Since a majority of the time I spend working will be around 30 minutes a day I need to come up with a better work environment so every minute can count. I did get this great silicone project mat for Chritsmas and it makes working on projects so easy and clean is super fast. The best is that small parts don't roll around.

    I am doing some research on LED lights to be used to covert a Sprinter van for camping use for a friend.

    If anyone has any suggested companies/projects/links for electrical/lighting of camper conversion please let me know. My end goal is to have something on a simple key fob remote.

    Finally, this starts my second week of posts and I just wanted to thank the few people who are following this project.

    Jan 9th: One project I plan to tackle this year is going to be to further develop a project I posted on instructables last year. My goal for the next version is to get all the electronics inside the gang box.

    My original thought was to find a electronics enclosure but then I came across potting boxes and it seemed like a simple option. I have never potted electronics before but it seems like it would result in a completely insulated and tamper free solution once complete which is exactly what I need. What potting material/compound is where I have been stuck since there are so many options out there. I will also replace the button and LED indicator with LED tactile button from Spark fun Electronics.

    Jan 10th: First I was completely shocked when Hackaday tweeted out this project.

    The last 24 hours I have been doing some research on what to use as a potting material and quickly found that potting material is expensive. I then found a great post on Hackaday about using silicone which seems like a much cheaper option. Looks like most folks use GE Silicone II which is a neutral cure, non-acid silicone.

    Next, it was off to order a couple potting boxes and for my first try I went with these.

    Jan 11th: Desoldered the LED and button on the existing board.

    Wiring in the new button should be a breeze. Other than the potting boxes which I ordered yesterday I should have everything I need. I am pretty sure I have GE Silicone II but if not it's an easy walk to the hardware store. I hope the potting boxes arrive by this weekend since I will need a couple hours to focus on home I am gonna make this work.

    Jan 12th: Unfortunately the potting boxes will not show up on time for this weekend. I figured I would kick off a new project page to best document this work. There might be some overlap between the two to start but at least it should keep me busy to start the documentation process.

    Jan 13th: Tonight I downloaded fritzing to see if I can make the wiring diagram for my light switch project. Adding a custom board might be a bit tricky but the software was super easy to use and I had a diagram complete in about 10 minutes.

    The diagram shown reflects a great Adafruit project I made but I added a battery charging system. Maybe another project I can document this year since there are some additional improvements I would like to do.

  • January 2017 - Week 1

    Eric Moyer01/05/2017 at 05:02 0 comments

    Jan 1st: Finally got the firmware updated on one of my Bluz DK development boards. I thought I had bricked it and was going down the path of doing a firmware update using a serial adapter. The board showed stuck in safe mode however after leaving it on the Particle cloud for over an hour it magically seemed to connect fully and I was able to flash some code and publish data back to the Particle cloud.

    Jan 2nd: The goal of today was getting my Digistump Oak boards connected to the Particle cloud. Thankfully I had gotten up to speed on doing a serial firmware update with the Bluz DK (which I didn't need to to) so the process went super quick with the Oak. Note: Even after I got the firmware updated over serial on the Oak I couldn't get the board connected using my laptop. I used my phone to connect and it took 30 seconds and worked the first time. See the troubleshooting section of the Oak Wiki for instructions. I downloaded the .zip file after downloading Python and the serial add on.

    Jan 3rd: Today was spent loading different libraries to both my Bluz and Oak for the basic sensors I had. Quickly learned that Oak has almost zero libraries on the Particle cloud.

    Jan 4th: Downloading the Oak CLI and using Arduino 1.6.5 is the only way to program your Oak. After spending much of the day before using Particle (and failing), today went great and I was uploading all my libraries from Arduino and publishing data to the Particle cloud. I am still trying to figure how to use or what "OakTerm" is.

    Jan 5th: Didn't have much time tonight so I thought I would try out the Adafruit Circuit Playground which I purchase before Christmas. I failed after spending 15 minutes of looking for a microUSB cord that wasn't charge only. Tip: Mark your cables as "charge only". Now off to Amazon to get a proper sync cord.

    Jan 6th: I ended up finding a proper sync cable to connect by Circuit Playground to Arduino and played around with the great examples. I wish this board existed a couple years ago when I started learning Arduino since it would have made my on-ramping much quicker. I recorded a video of the "mic_meter" example in action, I will try and get it uploaded tomorrow.

    Jan 7th: Upload of the video I made yesterday. I love this board.

    The rest of the morning I spent taking time to re-organize all the stuff I have in support of my projects. I have decided I am going to start posting all the tools and equipment I have purchased in the "components" section of this project. I am also going to post the future projects I plan to work.

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