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My Eagle Library

Posted 2012.08.19 9.06 in Computers/Internet/Technology by Stephanie

In my recent electronics adventures, I’ve had to learn to use Eagle, and in using Eagle, I’ve had to create some parts layouts.

I’ve a handful of parts (packages and symbols) set up. A few are mostly for reference, eg. items I created in order to make the schematics of my Thermostat V3, or the current prototype of my ISEB-6. The symbols are ok, but the packages (board footprints) are not tested and probably not accurate.

Other parts, that I have set up while working on the ISEB-6 Mark-II are more certain, eg. the TQFP-44 footprint for the ATMega1284P, surface mount TMP-36, et cetera. These parts’ footprints are tested and known good.

I’ve left comments in the library to indicate which ones are known to be good and which ones aren’t.

You can download the library by clicking right here: Stephanie’s Eagle Library.

More Purple PCB Goodness

Posted 2012.08.17 20.41 in Computers/Internet/Technology by Stephanie

Whilst working on the ISEB-6 Mark-II, I have also been preparing some peripherals to work with the latest greatest version of the Electronic Bracer. It seems obvious really, that ontop of everything else, the ISEB-6 should be capable of turning off annoying televisions.

This tiny circuit board (less than one square inch) houses the circuitry for a totally self-contained TV-B-Gone. Pictured below are two populated and one bare board.

Designed to be triggered by another microprocessor rather than a manual push-button, this miniature TV-B-Gone will be integrated into the new ISEB-6 – providing TV off-turning abilities, built right into a wrist-mounted platform!

As evidenced by the Purple PCBs, these boards were fabbed via OSHPark, for only $5 for the three of them. Have I mentioned how much of a fan I am of Laen’s OSHPark service? Yeah, Laen rocks.

Got Some Soldering To Do

Posted 2012.08.10 8.48 in Computers/Internet/Technology by Stephanie

Yesterday I received more purple PCB goodness from OSHPark / Laen. The ISEB6 Mark IIa circuit boards came in!

I must say, I am really looking forward to moving from the current “prototype” version (which yes I am wearing every single day) and the Mark II.

Partially I am eager to be able to take advantage of the new software — I’ve been working on the software upgrades for weeks, taking advantage of the 128kB flash and 16kB sram — but I’m also really looking forward to not having any more ongoing problems…

Yes problems. The current version is a ratsnest of hookup wire. Between two layers of leather. That flexes on my wrist.

Seems like every week one of them breaks. (Grumble grumble.)

Mostly it’s been the battery sensor wire – that one is vulnerable because it does wrap partway around my wrist, and is subject to flexing more than the others. Suddenly I’ll get battery alarms that VBat is at some crazy level like 1.27 volts or 5.82 or whatever. Impossible levels. (Grumble grumble.) Annoying but not fatal.

Sometimes though it’s another wire. This morning the D/C line to the OLED broke. When that happens the display goes crazy, then goes dark. (Grumble grumble.)

With the Mark II, these problems won’t occur any more. Ok there might be other, different problems, but broken wires won’t happen any more. No more %*)(^%& hookup wire!

Except…. quandry.

I designed the board around Adafruit’s original 128 x 64 OLED display. While waiting for the boards to be fabricated, Adafruit came out with an upgraded, larger 128 x 64 OLED display.

It’s a ‘drop in’ replacement in the sense that the driver chip is the same, everything is identical, no software changes are required, and you can use the same exact set of connection to make it go.

It’s not a ‘drop in’ replacement in the sense that a) it’s a different size, and b) the pins are totally completely utterly different.

And I really like it. It’s a perfect size.

So if I go with the display I now want, I’ll have to use hookup wire. If I go with the display I designed for, I’ll be sad because it’s ‘too small’.

Ok the third option is redesign my board but dangit! I don’t want to wait another month, I want to build now!

SFCave for Arduino

Posted 2012.08.06 11.48 in Computers/Internet/Technology, Hobbies by Stephanie

Back in the days of Palm Pilot, there was this great little game called SFCave. It was easy to learn, difficult (for me at least) to master, but it was a quick-n-easy thing to pick up and play when you had a minute or two to kill.

I’ve written an Arduino sketch inspired by SFCave, and all you need is an Arduino, a 128×64 OLED from Adafruit, and a single pushbutton.

You are ‘flying’ a ribbon through a cave. You can’t control your speed (it gradually increases) and the cave gradually gets narrower and narrower. Gravity is a factor – push the button to thrust upwards, release it to fall downwards. Try not to crash into the ceiling or floor.

There is no end, the only goal is to see how long you can last / how far you can go. The score is a frame counter, each time the screen advances the score goes up. Check out the action:

You can download the sketch here:

Ok, Gonna Try Learning Eagle…

Posted 2012.06.13 13.35 in Hobbies by Stephanie

I’m going to have another shot at learning this Eagle thing. I’ve tried twice before and both times it made me want to cry (why does it have to be so difficult!) but enough people are using it that it seems to be the standard when it comes to schematics and pcb layouts.

Still, what ever happened to hastily-drawn pencil sketches on the backs of napkins?

Anyways, it would really, really be nice to get my own custom PCBs made now and then, for some of these projects. And it would be equally nice to be able to have a schematic to share.

If anyone can suggest a good tutorial, please let me know! I know there’s dozens of tutorials but I don’t know which ones are any good and which ones are crap.

 If I do manage to figure this beast out, then I’ll give myself two rewards – first, I get an Eagle badge from Adafruit! And second, I’ll get a custom PCB made for my ISEB-6 Mark II which will be loads of fun to assemble.

No deadline for any of this – maybe ‘end of summer’ but maybe not.


Integrated Sensors Electronic Bracer

Posted 2012.05.27 23.34 in Computers/Internet/Technology, Hobbies by Stephanie

Introducing the Integrated Sensors Electronic Bracer (6), or ISEB6, a wrist-mounted sensor platform.

A comfortable wrist-worn leather bracer, that provides: time & date, compass heading, Exposure Value for photography, positional data, walking tracker (distance, time, average speed), galvanic skin response data, local temperature and humidity data, “alarm-clock” functions (alarm by time or countdown seconds alarm), and simple illumination / flashlight functionality.

The ISEB6 is powered by a small / lightweight Lithium-Polymer battery, running up to 48 hours usage on a single charge, and with a simple & fast on-board recharging system.

The ISEB6 is based around Sparkfun’s Pro Micro development board and Adafruit’s SSD1306 OLED display screen. The number six in the name refers to the number of sensors integrated into the bracer. It contains the following sensing circuitry:

  1. Illumination is measured with a TLS2561 digital luminance sensor.
  2. Magnetic fields are measured with an HMC6352 digital magnetometer.
  3. Location is detected with an MTK3339 GPS module.
  4. Humidity is measured with an HIH4030 analog sensor.
  5. Galvanic Skin Response is measured with a simple resistor dividor and gold-plated electrodes inside the bracer.
  6. Local temperature is measured using the on-board temperature sensor in the ATMega32u4 microprocessor.

In addition, the ISEB6 also utilizes two voltage sensors, but as these only monitor its own internal status they are not counted among the ‘listed sensors’.

Read more »

Oh. My. Goodness.

Posted 2012.05.20 7.51 in Computers/Internet/Technology by Stephanie

I have to confess, when I soldered the final power connection and this came to life on my wrist, I kind of geekgasmed a little bit.

Yes, I mounted the parts and did the final soldering with it already on my wrist. It was the only way to be sure things would have the right fit and feel. And it was damn fun too, despite being awkward – soldering iron in my right hand, holding the solder in my teeth, keeping my left hand still…

In the photo above, it’s still ‘just’ the bare circuitry and power supply mounted to a leather bracer. There is still some debugging to do of the software. And I have to finish the exterior.

When completed most of the goodies will be hidden under a top layer of leather, with openings of course for the screen, light sensor, etc. but the idea is that the delicate parts will be protected.

The only thing it doesn’t have yet, is a proper name. It’s kind of a wrist computer, except it’s not really a computer. I’ve been jokingly refering to it as the Wrist-mo Comp-ulator. I’m not sure I want that name to stick.