Wednesday, June 29, 2016

MY latest home improvement - removed wall for an "Open Concept"

I have removed the wall between the dining room and kitchen.  This creates an open concept, making the living room and kitchen seem bigger.
Being a mobile home there was already two 8 inch by 2 inch laminated beams down the center.  There was a one inch gap in the center between the beams that was filled with plywood to bring the beam size to 8 inches by 5 inches.  The existing wall was not a supporting wall as it was only under one of the beams and was made out of two pieces, having a top and bottom half.  The beam was then covered with 1 by 8's to make it look better.

To fix the floor was a little bit tricky as the flooring material was no longer available.  I found some similar laminated flooring that almost matched the old flooring and then used that.  I used a real oak bridge to fill the gap between the laminate of the living room and the kitchen flooring.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Raspberry Pi with 2.4 inch parallel interface TFT LCD

After about 2 weeks of trying I finally got a parallel interface LCD to work in Python.  I converted the code from C for the Arduino.  It did not appear to be working until I slowed it way down and discovered little lines appearing on one of the LCD's.  The driver is roughly a ILI9325 driver based on the Arduino code and the ILI9325 specifications.

The picture shows two screens and they both work with the same software.

Here is what the text looks like on the other screen.

Here is the first video demonstrating that it works.


Here is a second video, I added a Analog to Digital converter and made an "Etch-a-Sketch".

2016 Chaffee NY Hamfest

The 2016 Chaffee Hamfest was last weekend.  It was supposed to rain so we used the pavilions.  It was a little too windy for my books so I kept them in a box, and hence did not sell many of them.  I did sell about 1/2 of the stuff that I brought.

This first picture is of my stuff for sale.
 Here is the next pavilion.
Here is a picture of the main pavilion.
 This next picture is of the Pioneer school's stuff.
I used to go to a lot of Hamfests but these days I only get to two or three of them every year.

Monday, June 13, 2016

My Respberry Pi family is expanding.

The Raspberry Pi Zero was supposed to be a $5 single board computer.  However they were quickly bought up and resold for $25 or more.  With the introduction of the Raspberry Pi Zero camera edition the prices are now coming down to around $18.  So I bought one and a kit to be able to use it for another $15.  To be able to use the Zero you will need a micro SD card with NOOBS on it, a 5V 2 Amp AC adapter, a mini USB to regular USB adapter/hub and a Mini HDMI to regular HDMI adapter/cable.  A case to hold it in helps a lot too.  To be able to use the GPIO pins you will need to solder in your own 26 or 40 pin header.

This first picture is of the Raspberry Pi Zero camera edition.

This picture shows the Raspberry Pi 1A, 2B, and Zero next to each other.

This third picture shows the Raspberry Pi's in their cases.  I have a model 2/3 case on order from china that has not arrived yet.

As far as cases go the case on the left broke off one of the corners.  The hole for the ribbon cable does not fit the ribbon cable connector.  I was not happy with that style of case.  The case for the zero consists of two layers of Plexiglas and that style of case is what I ordered for the Raspberry Pi 2.

Here they are all in their cases.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Raspberry Pi and ILI9341 2.8 inch SPI 320 by 240 LCD

Over the holiday weekend I finished up writing my code for this 2.8 inch LCD.  It can now do bmp graphics as well as text and even large text.  All of the code is written in Python, so there are no dependencies except for SPI support that is now built into the Raspberry Pi operating system.

This picture shows a sample of the text.  It supports colors as two sizes of text.

This is the wiring chart:
LCD
Raspberry Pi
1 – Vcc
Pin 1
2 - Gnd
Pin 6
3 - CS
Pin 24/GPIO8/CE0
4 – RST
Pin 18/GPIO24
5 – D/C
Pin 16/GPIO23
6 – SDI/MOSI
Pin 19/GPIO10/MOSI
7 – SCK
Pin 23/GPIO11/SCLK
8 – LCD
10 ohms to Vcc
9 – SDO/MISO
NC
10-14
NC

This is the code to display the bmp graphics:

def Image (filename):
  Write_CD (( 0X2A, 0X00, 0X00, 0X00, 0XEf )) #240 Columns
  Write_CD (( 0X2B, 0X00, 0X00, 0X01, 0X3F )) #320 rows
  Write_cmd ( 0X2C ) # Next: red, Green, Blue bytes
  GPIO.output (RS, True )  # RS = 1 will send data
  try:  # Prevents crashing when images do not work
    with open(filename, 'rb') as bitmap: # Must be 240x240-320 image
      for x in range ( 0,320 ):
        pixline = []
        for y in range ( 0,720 ):   # 720=240*3
          bitmap.seek(0x36 + x*720 + (719-y)) # 36 is header size
          Pixel = ord(bitmap.read(1)) # 719-y reverses image horizontally
          pixline.append (Pixel)
        spi.writebytes (pixline)
  except:
      pass

Here is a video of it running.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Raspberry Pi and ST7735 1.8 TFT SPI LCD display.

I have written six books on the Arduino, but only one on the Raspberry Pi.  Now I am working on a second Raspberry Pi book called, "Raspberry Pi LCD Projects".  The third LCD init is this 1.8 inch 128x160 pixel color LCD.  This first picture was taken when I first got it to work doing a Red/Green/Blue test.
Then I worked on the setup configuration so that instead of using 4 bits or 5 bits per color it uses 6 bits per color or three bytes per color.  That way it matches up with the BMP file format making it very easy to display a BMP image.  Sorry but my camera does not show the colors very well.....
I used IrfanView to edit and create this 128 by 160 Raspberry Pi logo image.
At first the BMP pictures appeared to be out of sync.  The problem was that the code for this display that is listed on the Internet is wrong.  The display was not using all of its 128 pixels in the width. After a few tweaks everything came up working as it should.

Here is the video:

Friday, May 13, 2016

More medical problems - Learning to eat healthier

First of all I must say that I am not a doctor nor do I play one on TV.  But the doctors have sure seen a lot of me.  If you are sick see a doctor!

You may be wondering why there has been so few posts and no videos from me for such a long time. Well to put simply I have been sick.  In November I was not feeling well and made a doctors appointment.  I also started taking more supplements trying to stop the downward spiral of my health.  In January the doctor observed lumps in my thyroid and sent me for an ultrasound.  During the ultrasound I noticed that the tech was taking lots and lots of pictures.

Next I was sent for a consult and a biopsy.  They had observed many lumps including two that were about one inch in diameter.  One of the larger lumps had no clearly defined edges and both had unusually high blood flow.  Both of those things are bad signs.  They took three biopsy samples from each of the larger growths.  When they pierced one of the growths I flinched every time even though they had anesthetized me.

When the biopsy results came back, there was no cancer found.  Now they will observe the growths every few months to see if they are growing in size.  Also by this time my health was improving.  I was taking lots of supplements, fasting for 23 hours at a time, and mostly drinking green stuff (Greens Pak).  I am taking Turmeric with black pepper, Una De Gato (Cats Claw), and Super Supplemental vitamins as well as the supplements that I have been taking for years.  I have also eliminated all corn syrup (was in yogurt) and almost all sugar.

I have found issues with some tings that I was eating almost everyday.

Oatmeal - Recent studies found very high levels of herbicides in oatmeal.
They are using herbicides to kill oat and wheat plants for faster harvesting.
I am now eating organic oatmeal instead.

Yogurt - They use corn syrup for a sweetener.
Corn is genetically modified (GMO) to have BT Toxin in the plant.
It is also sprayed with herbicides to kill any weeds.

Pretzels and bread - Wheat products have herbicides in them.


Friday, April 29, 2016

Dodge Stratus Anti-Freeze Leak Repair

Our Dodge Stratus is nearing the end of its useful life.  It has over 150,000 miles on it.  The exhaust is held together with clothes hangers, the suspension is bouncy and it is leaving puddles everywhere it goes.  Recently it overheated and I discovered it was about a gallon low on antifreeze.  The next time I checked it was low again so I took it to a garage.  They estimated $450 for repairs so I said "No thanks" and took it home.

I could not find the problem at first because I was looking at the engine.  The problem was fastened to the inside of the passenger side wheel well.  You have to remove the antifreeze reservoir to get a good look at it as in this next picture.  The lines to the heater are rotted out.  They get even worse just out of the view of the camera.


So I removed the one hose as in the above picture.  Then I removed the other one where it attaches and coupled the two hoses together with a short piece of pipe and a screw tightened pipe strap.


The top hose attaches just below the thermostat and the bottom hose attaches someplace under the engine.  Taking the bottom strap off leads to a antifreeze leak so I held my thumb over the end of the hose until I could get it up to the junction.

So far so good, but I would not recommend this repair to anyone.  For one thing you no longer have any heat!

Monday, April 18, 2016

Comparing Sony Cameras DSC-h2, H10, H50 and DSLR Alpha A330

I have preferred Sony cameras for years.  I once saw a Sony camera that produced a picture that was much better than what I could see with my eyes and that sold me.  I have owned several Sony cameras over the years and now I have a Sony A330 DSLR camera.

In these pictures the A330 is on the left, followed by the DSC-H50 then the DSC-H2.




The DSC-H2 runs off ordinary AA Cells.  It makes a great backup camera.

The DSC-H10 is a little plastic toy.  The flash quit after a couple of months.

The DSC-H50 is a GREAT camera.  I use it for most of my videos and stills.  It does not do wide (16:9) aspect ratio video.

The Alpha A330 is a nice DSLR.  However it does not do movies.  The standard lens does not do zoom. It is my first professional camera with a interchangeable lens.

I have recently added another camera.  It is a Sony Alpha A3000.  The A330 does not do video, the A3000 does.  I thought I could use my old lenses, and you can with an expensive adapter.  However for a little more than the price of the adapter I also bought a standard lens for the A3000.

These pictures have the Alpha A3000 on the left and the DSC-H50 on the right.



Thursday, February 11, 2016

LG Optimus Fuel L34C teardown

Someone dropped a fairly new LG Optimus Fuel phone into the tub.  I had to tear it apart.  It was really amazing how easy it was to take apart.

INSTRUCTIONS:
Remove the back cover.
Remove the battery.
Remove 6 tiny screws.
Remove back gray plastic.
Unplug two connectors, they pull straight out.
Remove the circuit board.
Disconect two metal hooks and the metal shield comes off.
Insert parts in bowl or rice and wait several hours.

The two connectors to the screen are in the upper right corner of this picture.

The two screen connectors are in the lower left corner of this picture.

 These are all of the parts minus the battery and back cover.

Everything worked when I put it back together.  A little while later the screen died and has been blank ever since.....


Monday, January 25, 2016

My next Robot - the biggest Dinosaur yet.

I am making a servo based tyrannosaurus modeled after my wooden version.  Here is a picture of the two of them side by side.  The biggest disappointment is his head.


Well that problem is solved.  Now to make him longer and taller....

He just keeps growing, but I am not sure the leg servos can lift this much weight?

Here he is in his first video. Yes the servos can lift his weight.


Here is how to control over 20 servos with an Arduino uno.  The tail can have two servos attached to each servo output with this two way splitter adapter.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Arduino Uno Powered 13/15/17 DOF Humanoid robot revisited

I had problems with weak servos on my 13-17 DOF humanoid robots.  So I am rebuilding them with better servos (MG-958's) and with better software.  They also have "heads" now!  Here is what the new 13 DOF robot looks like.
Here is the video on YouTube:


Next up is the 17 DOF humanoid robot.  This is what he looks like.

Here is his video on YouTube:

This next picture shows the back view.

Here is the array for walking forward:
int walkf[8][10] = {
// 0    1    2    3    4    5    6    7    8    9
{ 95, 105, 105, 105, 105,  95,  90,  90,  85,  85}, // Left Ankle
{ 90,  90,  90,  85,  80,  75,  70,  70,  75,  80}, // Knee
{ 90,  90,  90,  85,  80,  75,  70,  70,  75,  80}, // Hip
{ 95, 100, 100, 100, 100,  95,  90,  90,  85,  90}, // Hip
{ 95, 105, 105, 105, 105,  95,  90,  90,  85,  90}, // Right Ankle
{ 90,  90,  90,  85,  80,  75,  70,  70,  75,  80}, // Knee
{ 90,  90,  90,  85,  80,  75,  70,  70,  75,  80}, // Hip
{ 95, 100, 100, 100, 100,  95,  90,  90,  85,  90}, // Hip
};

This is the code to execute that array:
      case 'f': // forward key
        for (int i=0; i<10 i="" o:p="">
          servo1.write(walkf[0][i]); 
          servo2.write(walkf[1][i]); 
          servo3.write(walkf[2][i]); 
          servo4.write(walkf[3][i]); 
          servo5.write(walkf[4][i]); 
          servo6.write(walkf[5][i]);
          servo7.write(walkf[6][i]); 
          servo8.write(walkf[7][i]);
          delay(twait);
        }
        break;        

I have also added some more commands as seen in this video.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Dell 2300MP repairs part 3 - Replacing capacitors in the power supply

I spent some time fixing Dell 2300MP projectors for Africa once again. As usual I replaced the 22 uF at 50 volt capacitors (see previous posts).  This time I also replaced another capacitor.  The new capacitor is rated at 1500 uF at 16 volts.  Here is a picture showing the new capacitor to change.  The capacitor is oozing goo so the problem is rather obvious!

Here is a pile of Dell 2300MP power supplies to try to fix.  I needed to fix four power supplies for the current pile of projectors.

Here is the pile of projectors, I managed to fix three of them.  I only had two bulbs so that is more than what I have all of the parts for.  I still have three projectors that are parts piles.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Samsung LN-T4069 and LN-T4071 40 inch LCD repair.

Someone gave me a 40 inch TV that they found in the garbage.  It actually worked at first but after about 15 minutes the picture started jumping.  The first thing I did was to replace all the capacitors in the power supply.  They are located in the upper right corner of the next picture.  I used 1000 uF at 16 volt caps.  Be careful the polarity of one cap is the opposite of all of the others.  That did not help.


I discovered that if I plug in a computer the picture jumps non stop.  So I replaced the input board as shown below.  This fixed the problem but introduced another problem.  The new board had the V-Chip programmed to block some shows.  Now I have to get a remote control so I can wipe out the memory and hence delete the V-Chip programming.
I suspect the problem is in the power supply section located in the upper left corner.  The regulators have been so hot that the metal is purple in color.  I think I will start by replacing the 100 uF at 25 volt caps.

Replacing the capacitors was a complete flop.  I tried carefully wiggling the caps from side to side to remove them but in every case I removed the runs from the board.  I guess I am staying with the new board as it mostly works.  I was able to wipe out the V Chip programming with the remote control.

Ramsa WR-S208 Mixer Power Supply Repair

Over the weekend I finally got around to repairing this Ramsa Mixer.  The symptoms included that the solo light was on in one place and not on at another and that the overload LED's were lit with no input.  I opened it up to look inside and then everything started working correctly.


I started wiggling things and when I touched the power supply the mixer stopped working.  So I removed it and examined it for bad connections.  Sure enough one of the voltage regulators was no longer soldered in.

Here is a closer look at the problem.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Designing a DIY "Head" for your 15/17 DOF Servo Robot

There are many robot kits on eBay.  They all lack a "head".  So to get ahead you need to make your own.  I used a "Make your own Christmas tree Ornament".  They sell these 2.5 inch diameter clear plastic balls that you can use to make Christmas tree ornaments.  They can also make a head for your robot. Here is a picture of a robot without a head, just a servo motor.

He looks better with the clear ball over the servo.


You can also paint it and add a circuit board with some LED's for eyes and a mouth like in this picture.

Here is another DIY robot head this time it is made out of a 3.2 inch Christmas tree bulb.


Friday, December 4, 2015

Arduino Powered Hexapod/Spider 18 DOF Robot Part 2

Its time for an update on the spider robot.  So far I have repaired the sensor shield twice, replaced the power cable and now replaced two of the servos.  I have changed two of the MG996's to the more powerful MG958's.  That made a huge difference!  The spider can now get up completely off the floor!  The new servos also made the spider a lot quieter as the other servos do not have to work as hard.

Here is a picture of the spider folded in.

 Here is a picture of him walking.

Here is video one before replacing the two servos with MG958's.


This is the next video with the better servos.


And now the latest video with better software.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Fix for adding Servos on the Arduino Analog Port/Pins of Servo/Sensor Shield

Over the weekend I found and fixed the design bug that prevents servos from working properly when they are connected to the analog port connectors of the standard servo/sensor shield.  The problem is that the logic five volts is always used to power those servos.  If there is any load on the servos they will overload and shut down the logic five volt voltage regulator.  The fix involves cutting two runs and adding two jumpers.  This change is needed to route the five volts around the servo connectors.
The problem showed up with my spider robot project.  Some servos tried to come to life without the six volt power supply being turned on.  It took a while to figure out where they were getting their power from.  The logic five volts was being pulled down to about two volts!

Also do not forget to remove the green jumper near the six volt power input screws.  It will also short the five volt logic power into powering the servos.  That could seriously damage the Arduino!

Another thing you might need to do to use more than 12 servos is to change a line in servo.h.  This limit gets mistaken as to why servos do not work on the analog pins.  There are usually 12 servos already on the digital pins and when you try to use the analog pins you have exceeded the 12 servo limit.  The line says something like "Maximum servos per timer = 12" and you will need to change it to 18 or even 20 if you want.  I have made the change months ago and it does not hurt anything to increase the maximum servos per timer.  Servo.h can be found in your Arduino/libraries/servo folder.

While working on my "Spider" smoke rolled off the Servo/Sensor shield.  This time a run had burned off the board!  I never had these problems with my home made servo shield!  Here is a picture of the burned run in the top left corner:
Here is the cure for the burnt run as well as a cure for the power distribution issues.  basically you take power from the screw terminal and distribute it to the top and middle of the 16 digital pin servo connectors as well as to the top of the 6 analog pin servo connectors.  With this change the spider worked perfectly.

While I am showing fried stuff, here is what happens when you buy a cheap servo on eBay:

Get real servos that say "Tower Pro" not "TowardPro".  Do not buy them if the seller intentionally hides the manufacturer name.  There are a lot of junk servos on eBay!

Another issue I just confirmed is that all HiTec servos work in the opposite direction of all other servos.  I now have five HiTec servos!  There are two options: Sell them or figure out how to reverse them internally.  I might do that and then post on how to reverse them.