• catching up...

    esot.eric04/16/2017 at 12:17 0 comments

    Oy! Recent-ish Drama has been occupying basically every waking moment for the past several weeks. I've got to give a shitton of "Thanks" to those who've listened to it and kept me going and optimistic through it all.

    On the HaD-side of things: Last I looked, before tonight, I had 534 feed-items, then I tried to catch-up and only made it a couple pages... then the next thing I knew, 400ish more new feed-items.

    So, I've obviously been out of the loop for a while. I'm sad to say I'm sure I've missed out on some great stuff!

    I've scrolled all the way back through my feed, but it stops (and somewhat thankfully) after X number of pages. Otherwise I could be doing little more than scrolling through the missed-feed for days! Glad to know all y'all are being so productive!


    So, I guess project-wise: "recentish-drama"... well, I've a "project"-page up about it, but I guess it's just drama, not really a project, so I'd rather not link it here.

    Before that... I was pretty much doing little more than working on #Floppy "Fun" -- Backing up a unique Kay-Pro disk, and sleeping/eating, for about two months... That guy *finally* got finished, or at least *functional*, then I had the brilliant idea to spend an evening cleaning the system; making sure all its screws were tight, no corroded solder-joints, etc... That, like everything with that project (except the initial boot-up, surprisingly) turned into a comparatively *huge* ordeal. I've done my share of PCB cleanups and never once ran into one where rubbing-alcohol did anything but good... In this case, not so much. Not at all, in fact. Now I've a plausibly nearly-extinct PCB covered in white powder. A good friend transported a gallon-jug of distilled water halfway across the city for me, if not entirely on-foot, then certainly enough on-foot to justify tremendous gratitude from me, so I'll be attempting that, next.

    There've been some minor updates on other projects, as well. Interesting realization brought to my attention: AVRs have a "shift-left" instruction, which takes a clock-cycle... and many also have an 8-bit multiply instruction which takes 2 clock-cycles. So, if you want to shift-left 3 times, it's actually *faster* to do-so with the multiply-instruction. (whoa).


    Here's a bit of TMI for ye... I realized just now... No, really, it's way too much information, don't read it unless you really don't believe just how much this "drama" has been affecting me...


    My court-date for "The Drama" was on Wednesday... it's now Sunday Morning. When I woke that day I pretty much ran out the door... I've been doing a lot of (actually exclusively) sleeping on the couch for a while now... basically whenever I possibly can sleep, I've been taking it, to take my mind off shizzle... And those moments seem to come completely randomly and on a moment's notice, which would be lost entirely if I had to get up to prepare for and climb into bed. Which means I haven't been changing clothes, which means... I'm pretty sure I was wearing the same clothes on my court-date that I'd been wearing non-stop for days prior... and now it's four days *after* the court-date, and I'm still in 'em.

    Sorry friends, I've little doubt I'm stinking up a storm.

    Yeah, the court-date results maybe should've been considered a relief, but I'm still stressing. Oh yeah, there was more drama after that, as well... which I really haven't told many folks about... so they're probably wondering why I'm still stressing when I should probably be celebrating.

    On that note, I'm feeling the urge to sleep. Head meet side-arm-rest. Maybe tomorrow I'll shower.

  • Starfleet in San Fran...

    esot.eric04/03/2017 at 07:23 0 comments

    PLEASE: if you look up this/these songs... DO NOT watch the video. Allow your mind to do what minds are good at. Remember "video killed the radio star" it's not a joke. Cover up the video with another window, or something. PLEASE.


    "Don't You Remember... We Built This City On ROCK AND ROLL"

    Having just watched pretty much the entirety of the series' of Star Trek, back-to-backish... there's one thing that stands out...

    Starfleet is headquartered in the city once built on Rock And Roll.

    "Who rides the wrecking ball into our guitars?!"


    I got news for yah...

    Trees can live *hundreds* of years...

    Janis Joplin's tree.... could *easily* still be alive in the 24th century...

    And yet, Starfleet, which focuses on being *intergalactic* (aka *space*)...

    has to center itself in one of the cultural-hotbeds of the country, if not the world.

    Is Janis's tree still there?

    Does anyone, in the 24th century, even remember Rock And Roll?

    (Does anyone *today*?)


    I got more news for yah... The Same Band that played what might well be one of the cheesiest '80's songs... Also played White Rabbit. You remember that metaphorical mind-trip? Yahknow, it inspired a generation, and generations thereafter... That same band is crying-out, in the cheesiest '80's style, accompanied by the cheesiest '80's synthesized sounds (one of which I *really* like)... including "bow bow"'s akin to a videogame... Trying to appeal to a new generation--interested only in the latest "bow bow"s and Material Girls--to remember what once was... metaphores of enlightenment... and more.

    But, yahknow, none of that matters, because in the 24th century, a mere three hundred years from now, the entire city that once was a, if not the, cultural hotbed of the world, and all the history it had... will be forgotten... replaced by Starfleet.

    Don't get me wrong... Starfleet has its place... And, if you're into TNG, then you know that it has a place of enlightenment that... well, frankly... we should've had *long* before being handed Star-Trek Communicators.

    But... They could've been centralized anywhere on the planet, or frankly anywhere *in the galaxy*, and they chose to place themselves there. And, for that, I can't forgive them.

    Yah see "the bridge" in countless episodes, yah see sights from around the town... but yah never see Janis's tree, nor even hear about it... Yah never hear about the generation that made that city. Nor the generations thereafter trying to recapture that level of cultural-influence. Nor the generations prior... whose details are too grim for me to think about, let alone discuss.

    And, frankly, that goes for many other cities, as well... Many of whom may not've been "built on rock and roll" but something else entirely... once tremendously important to our society, now completely forgotten, replaced by Starfleets of other sorts, and three-hundred years earlier.

  • "pseudo-FPD-Link" using PWM

    esot.eric06/13/2016 at 07:58 0 comments

    Here's an old project...



    This same system was used in #my very first binary-clock

    The idea is to use PWM with dead-time-generators to simulate FPD-Link serial-data to drive an old laptop LCD display from an AVR...

    The project is pretty well developed, at this point. I've had installations running non-stop for months on end. (The video shows it installed under an eve on a porch).

    The code, however... It's like most of my code... I document *really well* dang-near every thought-process... timing-diagrams, tables, in depth explanations... at first. But then it gets copied around from file to file, and gets a bit messy, conceptually the notes are there, but things like Register Names might be off, since it was a copy-paste from another chip... Or notes will be in the wrong files because originally they were all in one file, then those files were broken-up into several... It happens.

    Anyways, here I've finally gathered some of those thoughts to at least explain the concept of pseudo-FPD-Link.


    Here's an e.g....

    (haha, completely random that it's on line 613 and it's 6-13, and just happens to be my birthday).

  • that moment when...

    esot.eric06/07/2016 at 20:56 0 comments

    when you realize you've been building prototype circuits on soldered-breadboards for so long

    that you completely forgot you have not only Rolls of hook-up wire for solderless breadboards, but even a whole shitton of precut lengths, and have been fighting with a tiny supply for months on end.

    Holy shizzle, I can color-coordinate again!

  • MicroUSB Timing...

    esot.eric06/06/2016 at 02:35 0 comments

    Fighting with my charger, the connector's not particularly good, sometimes makes contact, usually doesn't... someone walks up to myapartment-window, right then... "Hey man, you don't happen to have an extra microUSB cable to go with this charger, do yah?" (even had it ready to show me the charger's USB port). Reasonable assumption, but apparently I invested in MiniUSB cables too early in the game, and only one Flakey Micro to my name. Something about BetaMax? And definitely something about timing...

  • Fun.

    esot.eric06/05/2016 at 21:58 0 comments

    Started working on my version of the ol' #Mini PCB printer

    The axes are moving, and smoothly. I think I posted logs under #CD/DVD mechanisms and cartesian thinggie[s?] So, it's just a matter of a few more things before I can try lasering some toner onto some copper-clad.

    And here's something fun...

    (From someone else's project-files)

    I wonder what .01 bytes would be...

  • seed! and two drills for the price of one!

    esot.eric05/21/2016 at 07:48 1 comment

    So, there've been some moolahgical (haha, right?) enhancements to this month which are more than appreciated!

    Found a coupon a few months back for $16.99(?!) for an 18V variable-speed cordless drill, and its expiration is just days after the moolah came through, so I Made It Just In Time! YEAH! I had an older model of the same drill and it's been great for my needs, but a couple years ago the AC-adapter for the charger burnt out... Battery chargers are one thing I don't particularly like to mess with, and the voltage of the adapter was a weird one... So I've been using the drill with alligator-clips and a cord to my bench power-supply... when I have the patience to rig it all up (and patience to reclip those alligator-clips whenever they fall off)... which has been a bit of a hindrance.

    Now a new drill AND a new charger is like *two* new drills. AWESOME, and Thank You to the contributors to this month's "moolahgical enhancements!"

    (BTW: If you're interested in the deal, one day left for $16.99: Harbor Freight LOT 69651, Coupon: 97689992. Or $19.99 until 6/4/16 LOT 69652, Coupon 12348737, includes a flashlight!)

    So, why didn't I just fix the old drill's charger...? Certainly I have the skillset, right...? Here's my thought on battery-charging:

    Read more »

  • Time Flies In Project-Lulls...

    esot.eric05/05/2016 at 07:48 5 comments

    Holy snap, it's been over half a month since the last post... which almost means about half a month since any project-stuff, as well... Oy.

    I've fiddled, a tiny bit, with the laser-mechanism... It's pretty much not much. But I'm working on how to make the upper axis (containing the laser) adjustable/focussable for various different lower-axes (and material-thicknesses).

    The current (conceptual) incarnation is something like this:

    OK, so the yellow-ish part is the laser-lens/axis which moves left-right in the image.

    The bottom black part is a base.

    The red upright is a threaded-rod which sits (and can spin) in a hole on the base, and has a couple nuts locked-together to provide some support.

    The Magenta part is a nut that's fixed to the laser-system (doesn't turn).

    The blue upright is a bolt that's fixed to the base and doesn't turn. The green nut is turned for adjustment.

    Actually, there's two of the blue-bolt/green-nut systems, so the entire upper system is supported by three points: the red threaded-rod/magenta-nut, and two blue-bolt/green-nut systems. (And is obviously quite-dependent on gravity)

    So, the idea is the "level" can be adjusted in multiple axes by turning two nuts and the threaded-rod. Likewise, so can the overall height.

    Since the blue-bolts are fixed to the base, I think they'll be capable of preventing torquing of the entire system e.g. in the clockwise/counter-clockwise directions, or in and out of the page.

    The idea, then, is that this axis can be placed "around" various different lower-axes. Another CD/DVD sled is the obvious choice, but I think my future PCB plans will need to be a bit larger. E.G. for #sdramThingZero - 133MS/s 32-bit Logic Analyzer, which will need to be at least long-enough for a DIMM. So, this lasering-axis could also be affixed to e.g. the (currenly only) axis on #Big Ol' Modular CNC

    I think the idea's sound, but actually implementing it is... slow.

    I've threaded the rod (woot!), but that's about it so far. That little bracket for the blue-bolts is still eluding me, as-is the ability to focus on project-stuff these days. Wee!

  • Laser-Tonering featured! + Project-Lull 2.0

    esot.eric04/14/2016 at 08:58 0 comments

    @johnowhitaker's toner-lasering method for PCB-printing got featured on the HaD Blog! http://hackaday.com/2016/04/10/a-low-cost-mini-pcb-printer/ Coolness. I'm honored to have been asked to contribute to the project: #Mini PCB printer

    So far, my experiments are done-by-hand, and the results are extremely promising.

    I've been trying to work myself up toward building an actual 2-axis system, but some "real-life" stuff has been kicking my ass lately, and I haven't really been able to think about anything else. Wee!

    Fallen behind on catching up on the HaD blog, and my feed is in the multitudes of hundreds. :/ What've I been missing? Will I ever "catch up"?

  • feed-catchup + project-lull

    esot.eric03/28/2016 at 07:18 0 comments

    I think I need to figure out a better way to manage my feed... Been gone a couple days, it took FOUR HOURS to catch-up!

    In other news... I keep waking up with project-ideas, but haven't actually done anything project-wise for several days.

    A recurring-thought is that of using a "cheap"/"hobby" motor attached to a mouse-encoder... directly-coupled to a gigantic dial (like a hand on a clock), hung vertically, then using a feedback-loop (PID?) to set the dial's position... It'd be an interesting experiment. Those motors are generally-intended to be spinning *fast*... thousands of RPMs. Instead, I'd be using it to hold a constant position. I've managed to squeeze <0.5degree resolution out of a 48-slot mouse-encoder (via #anaQuad!). So, it'd be interesting to see how accurate that is... and my current test-bed using a printout on a regular sheet of paper is too small to see any error.

    So, there're several strikes against this system's ability to accurately position the "dial"...

    • Hanging vertically
      • torque will vary *dramatically* depending on the angle
    • Motors meant for high RPM
      • (heat?)
      • "snappy" action (they definitely prefer to be in one of six positions per revolution)
    • Low-resolution encoder
      • anaQuad increases the resolution dramatically (48 slots -> 768 positions)
        • but isn't *exactly* evenly-spaced
          • calibration (electrical)
          • mathematical (I use *2 for CPU-intensity-reduction, where *1.7 should be used)

    (Could also be interesting to see a log of how much power it takes to hold each position...)

    So, I'm thinking...Maybe this could be like a clock, except instead of three hands, it'd just have one that points to the time over a 24-hour period. If I did the math correctly, with 768 positions, that'd give a resolution of ~2 minutes. But, if this thing works, then I'd like it to look nice enough for a gigantic wall-hanging *and* it'd be nice if it showed-off the motor/encoder wonkiness at the same time. I was thinking about having the motor in front of the system, then that'd require some sort of mounting-system like a clear plexiglass sheet or something over the dial... But it just occurred to me, what about throwing mirrors behind the system, the motor could be mounted as one would expect (behind the dial) in a clear window... And maybe mirrors behind that in a pyramid-shape... Hmm... Anyways... Realistically, testing this for proof-of-concept is just a matter of a few lines of code which I can't seem to bring myself to do.

    Other project-things running in the ol' brain lately:



    Half of me wants to get working on sdramThingZero... Specifically, to test out the "CKE" setup that will make it possible (and likely speed up sdramThing4.5 as well). The other half wants to get @johnowhitaker's PCB-laser-tonering thing going *so* I can work on sdramThingZero.

    And... my CNC system is still only one axis, so PCB-toner-lasering is way off... at least with that system... OTOH, I should just get my friggin' a** into gear and build something like @johnowhitaker's #Mini Laser Cutter and quit dilly-dallying. (Sheesh, having that thing would be handy for a ton of uses... why am I putting it off?)