I’ve spent a few days relearning how to solder and put together a small project for my raspberry pi – a breakout board.
The idea is to have the GPIO pins easily accesible whilst providing each with a bit of protection from mistakes when wiring – specifically to have each behind a resistor as well as a zener diode to stop passing too much current through the pin (check out the links below for a more accurate description!)
It is designed by Mike Cook (the same chap who did all the interesting stuff for the BBC B in micro user) and he has full instructions on his website here
He also has some excellent further projects and really handy information about the pi – well work keeping an eye on his site for further updates: website
I have made a couple of very minor alterations so that I can use the materials that were to hand – Mike’s version has a very neat wire layout however I didn’t have anything thin enough to allow for 2 connections in the same hole – hence the messy and multicoloured wires!
Its a simple project and I thought that it would handy to teach me how to get soldering and read circuit diagrams – in the end it worked perfectly however it was let down by my rubbish soldering skills and general poor level of quality control.
(I’m not going to show a photo of the back as it looks like a baby transformer has spluttered his solder based dinner all over i!t)
At least I’ve now learnt how to trace faults and rectify them as well as use my meter and soldering iron more effectively. As with all things Pi I bought it to tinker with and to enjoy learning new skills and it has not disappointed.
Toady I’ve been experimenting with 2 webcams to film the bird feeder. Unfortunately its a bit wet so not much happening however at least I’ve been able to test some things…..
Here’s a pic of the setup – a microsoft webcam on the window cill with a logitech blue-tacked to a telescope!
Both are linked to the computer running i-spy using motion triggers so they automatically record when something happens (they have to be pretty sensitive to capture such small objects so most of the videos are of twitching leaves!)
The link below goes to my first test of the system where I’ve got the times to tally up when editing.
Based on an article in the latest magpi online magazine – http://www.themagpi.com/ I’ve had a go at using the GPIO to control LED’s.
After a bit of fiddling around (rectifying my own mistakes with a wrong resistor!) I managed to get the type in program to work – basically you press the switch then the red LED produces between 1 and 6 flashes to represent a dice.
It was quite tricky to see when the counting started and stopped so with the help of a multitude of websites and python programming guesswork I fitted a further green LED to another of the IO pins. The alteration gives a green light to show it is on. When the switch is pressed the green light goes off and the red LED gives the flashes…. when done it goes back to green.
Its all very basic stuff and laughably useless (!) but I am really pleased that my first step in programing and electronics has resulted in something that works.
Here is a video so that you can witness the excitement (?) in real time:
We thought we’d pop in to town to go to the shops and ended up watching old traditions.
Apparently it is to ensure that the council officials haven’t been living it up whilst in office, so they are weighed at the start of their stint and at the end. If they weigh more then the crowd boo’s!
There were also morris dancers and re-enactors. The musicians were great and the guns scared the life out of the local pigeons!
Its such a pity they held it in Frogmore – it looks a right mess.
We’ve just spent an excellent day at the Chiltern Open Air Museum.
Its a place where local historic buildings are donated and scenes of old are recreated.
The highlight was the roundhouse, especially as there was a saxon themed guide who showed us how to light fire with some fungus.
Really good also to see a prefam complete with interior and fittings as well as the lambs and tollhouse from about a mile down the road.
The whole museum is a great day out and really brought to life with the people in the buildings ready to talk with us. It’s also great for leting you try stuff on – I’ve been a blacksmith and WW2 RAF pilot in the same day!
Recently the squirrels have been sitting on the bank opposite the window, staring at us until they are thrown a peanut.
Today we thought it would be fun to lower peanuts to them on a bit of string, rapunzel style.