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31  Community / Bar Sport / Re: My dream home workshop: construction is underway on: February 23, 2011, 06:46:07 am
@graynomad: Regarding the number of outlets on a circuit, I was a bit worried about that too so I had a good chat to the sparkie about it. He said the regs previously had a hard limit on the number of sockets per circuit, but that it's now been relaxed to allow a higher number at the judgement of the electrician. In this case I'm likely to have a lot of low-power devices plugged in so we came to the conclusion that it would be OK to have a higher than average number of sockets per circuit. For example, a typical workstation may have a few things plugged in at once:

 * Laptop
 * Soldering iron
 * Cellphone charger
 * VoIP phone
 * Scope
 * Logic analyser
 * Small bench power supply
 * Desk lamp
 * A plugpack or two

That's 9 or 10 devices, but none of them are real poweraholics so the total current draw would be fairly modest. In any case we still split them up in reasonable numbers so there are a bunch of separate circuits cabled back to the distribution panel.
32  Community / Bar Sport / Re: Sparkfun going into the cloud? Invitation to praise/curse cloud computing on: February 23, 2011, 12:46:45 am
@liudr: "You will cease to own a piece of software, have the ability to own a perpetual license to a software, or sell your license to others like selling used books, or refuse to upgrade."

That's already the case. With proprietary software you don't "own" it anyway: you can't "buy" software unless you're paying for a copyright assignment. People talk about "buying software" all the time but in almost every single case that term is totally incorrect: what they really mean is "buying a license to the software". And selling licenses like used books? You generally can't do that either. In fact if you have a Windows license, and buy a new computer, you can't just install it on the new computer and use the same license key even if you've physically destroyed the old computer so it can never be used again. The license terms don't allow it. You're expected to buy a whole new license for every machine, whether you already have one or not. You can't transfer it between your *own* machines, let alone sell it to anyone else.

I totally get the point that you're trying to make, but saying that "moving to the cloud" removes a lot of the rights you're used to having is silly because you almost certainly didn't have those rights in the first place. You just think you did.

Long live Open Source! It makes all these stupid restrictions just go away.
33  Community / Bar Sport / Re: My dream home workshop: construction is underway on: February 23, 2011, 12:35:08 am
I've just come inside for a rest after spending the day with the sparkie dragging cable. There's now 400 meters of power cable roughed in, and I've just started dragging the cat 6. I'll be heading back out there in a minute to get as much of it roughed in tonight as possible.

@graynomad: built-in benches around 2 walls. There'll also be a heavy workbench on locking casters for mechanical work. I have a rough floorplan drawn up but I'll try to do a neater one and post it here.

By the way, you *do* live in a house: just not one with a fixed address! Or maybe it's just that your stumps are made of rubber and they rotate. That truck of yours is bigger than some houses I've seen.
34  Community / Products and Services / Freetronics "Eleven": Like an Uno, but with proto area on: February 22, 2011, 07:57:34 am
When the Uno came out with the ATmega8u2 in place of the FTDI chip I thought it was a very cool idea, so at Freetronics we got ourselves our own USB IDs and created a version of the TwentyTen (our equivalent to the Duemilanove) but with the 8u2:

You can do all the same tricks as with the Uno, such as installing your own firmware into the 8u2 to have it act as a HID object such as a keyboard or mouse. Other changes include:
  • Prototyping area
  • Proper crystals on both the primary and secondary MCU
  • D13 isolated by a FET to prevent bias by the LED
  • Low-profile USB socket
  • Includes a USB cable
  • LEDs are located on the edge so you can see them even with a shield fitted
  • Connection overlay on both the top and the bottom
  • Extra info on the overlay, including DC jack size, polarity, and voltage range

Lots more info about it here:
35  Community / Bar Sport / Re: My dream home workshop: construction is underway on: February 22, 2011, 07:39:53 am
Just been working out what sockets to provide at each workstation. This is my current plan:

So that leaves 4 power sockets and 2 Ethernet sockets under the bench, with 8 power sockets, 2 Ethernet sockets, and a ducted vacuum socket (plumbed through a low-speed fan for fume extraction) above the bench.

I'm pondering whether it's worth putting in any audio connections: perhaps a set of 4 RCA sockets wired through to a central patch panel somewhere. I don't have any uses for it right now though. Another idea is USB sockets wired to a 5V power supply (handy for charging things that plug into USB). I'm not convinced it's worth the trouble though.
36  Community / Bar Sport / My dream home workshop: construction is underway on: February 21, 2011, 08:42:47 pm
Last year I posted asking for advice on what people would want in their dream home workshop, and got some great responses:,1161.0.html

Since then construction has got underway so I'll do a few progress reports and talk about specific details and decisions that may be useful to other people.

The concrete slab was poured a couple of months ago, allowing for a double garage at the front and the workshop at the back. The garage was deliberately made longer than necessary to allow plenty of room at the end for a "dirty" workspace where I'll have a heavy workbench for mechanical work and bulk storage. The workshop has been designed in such a way that ultimately it could be fitted out as accommodation (like a granny flat) if we sell the house down the track, so it has a bathroom in one corner. Should be handy for me in the meantime too: no need for trips into the house to use the main bathroom.

As of this morning the workshop area looks like this:

That view is standing in the middle of the garage looking through the workshop to the back wall. Weatherboards have just gone on this morning. The big open area to the left (where the saw is sitting) is the double-door entrance to the workshop, and behind the yellow rubbish bag is the bathroom area. The total workshop area is about 5m x 6m (15' x 18') with one corner used for the bathroom.

Roughing in of the electricals begins tomorrow morning. There will be about 60 power outlets in the room (12 at each of the four dedicated workstations, plus others) and at least 20 Gig Ethernet sockets. All the electricals are being cabled up for automation, with loads being switched directly from a central wiring closet using DIN-rail mounted relays controlled by Arduinos. Light switches etc won't have any high voltage wired to them at all: they'll just be Arduino-based PoE devices that send messages over the LAN to an automation controller.

There will also be cabling through the wall for video, audio, and power for wall-mounted status screens.

More updates to follow!
37  Forum 2005-2010 (read only) / Troubleshooting / Re: Adapting sketch from Ethernet Shield to WiShield on: January 03, 2011, 05:17:59 am
It's an unfortunate side-effect of the various driver implementations that code written for one particular networking shield (WiShield, Wiznet-based Ethernet Shield, or ENC28J60-based Ethernet Shield for example) has to be structured in totally different ways. There's some discussion on the Arduino Developers mailing list at the moment about possibly (in the distant future) having a generalised API so that any sketches that need network support could talk to the API, and not care about the hardware of the underlying network device. That's not here now though, so it doesn't solve your problem.

The best place to start would be to install the WiShield drivers using the instructions on the Async Labs wiki, and test out one or two example sketches to make sure you have the driver and shield working correctly.

Test the "SimpleServer" example sketch and make sure you can access the demo page in your browser.

My suggestion is to then take the SimpleServer example as a starting point, and copy the DS18B20-related code from the OnlineThermometer sketch into it. That should get you pretty close, and you'll then need to modify the "sendMyPage" function to have it build the response page dynamically including the temperature sensor values. You should be able to lift most of that code from the OnlineThermometer sketch as well.
Freetronics TwentyTen (Arduino-compatible with built in prototyping area)
38  Forum 2005-2010 (read only) / Troubleshooting / Re: Practical Arduino logic analyser can't get going on: October 23, 2010, 08:43:57 am
In your original message you mentioned that you were working on the project from Practical Arduino, and at one point I said I assumed that meant you had read the book. That was never clarified though, so I'll ask it directly: do you have Practical Arduino? Have you been through the steps described in it?
39  Forum 2005-2010 (read only) / Troubleshooting / Re: Practical Arduino logic analyser can't get going on: October 14, 2010, 04:36:30 pm
pde file extension as with Arduino programming

Yes, that's quite a trap and you're a long way from being the first person to be caught by it. Like PaulS, I assumed you already knew what Processing was but if you don't it's certainly confusing. The difference is explained in Practical Arduino, and because you mentioned you were building a PA project I assumed you had a copy of the book and had read the explanation of the oscilloscope project.

The Arduino IDE is based on a fork of the Processing IDE (via the Wiring project, but that's a whole other story) and in the early days the Arduino developers didn't bother changing the file extension. The "p" in "pde" is actually for Processing. Now, of course, Arduino has become insanely popular and is used by many people who have never heard of Processing or the origins of Arduino, and they just assume that all .pde files are Arduino sketches. Oh, and the term "sketch" is also taken from Processing where the IDE is referred to as the "sketchbook", and the language structure is similar as well. So what we've ended up with is programs called "sketches", using the same structure and the same file extension, and created using almost identical IDEs, but are intended for totally different target systems and purposes.

One of the changes being discussed for the v1.0 release of Arduino is giving it its own file extension.

So, for the benefit of anyone else coming across this thread in future:
Arduino Shield List:
Practical Arduino:
40  Forum 2005-2010 (read only) / Troubleshooting / Re: Practical Arduino logic analyser can't get going on: October 11, 2010, 04:38:42 pm
I think you may be looking in the wrong place to change the code: what you're probably looking at is the file, which is a library that provides functions to make it easier to write a software oscilloscope in Processing. You shouldn't need to modify that at all. The changes you need are most likely in the oscilloscope project itself.

One way to think of it is to analogize it to an Arduino project such as a web server. You'd probably use a library such as Ethernet to let you use an Ethernet shield, but you won't typically modify the library itself. Your sketch would written on top of it and use features of the Ethernet library for connectivity.

In the same way, the arduinoscope project uses to provide features that can then be used by the actual scope project itself, which is written in Processing.

Where you probably need to look is around line 44 of "SimpleSerialArduinoscope.pde" in the "examples" directory. There's a setting there to specify how many channels you want.
Arduino-compatible board with prototyping area built in:
41  Forum 2005-2010 (read only) / Troubleshooting / Re: SPI Library Issues (URGENT PLEASE) on: October 11, 2010, 04:48:31 pm
What version of the Arduino IDE are you using? There were changes in libraries related to Ethernet / SPI over the last couple of releases, so it's important to state what you're actually using.
Arduino Shield List:
42  Forum 2005-2010 (read only) / Troubleshooting / Re: Webserver on Freetronics Ethernet with POE board on: September 10, 2010, 07:23:49 pm
I've just tested this with a TwentyTen, Ethernet shield, and the exact same sketch (but with the IP address changed to suit my local network) and it worked perfectly.

Could you please open the serial console at 9600bps and see what messages you get after resetting the Arduino?
43  Forum 2005-2010 (read only) / Troubleshooting / Re: Webserver on Freetronics Ethernet with POE board on: September 03, 2010, 12:39:23 am
Can I use the Freetronics sheild as just an ethernet sheild (not using the POE feature)?

Absolutely. The PoE header simply exposes the connections necessary to pass power to the shield / Arduino through the LAN cable, but if you leave the jumpers off the PoE header it does nothing at all and the shield should behave just like the official shield.

When you plug in the LAN connection do you see any of the LEDs illuminate? The normal behavior is for there to be about a 1 to 2 second delay while the Wiznet chip figures out the type of connection, then at least the LNK ("link") LED should illuminate, and possibly FDX ("full duplex") and 100 ("100 megabit") LEDs as well. Then if there's other traffic on the network (including your ICMP PING requests) the RX LED should flicker.

Does any of that stuff happen?
44  Forum 2005-2010 (read only) / Troubleshooting / Re: Unable to build Virtual USB Keyboard on: May 29, 2010, 06:50:41 am
Could you provide a bit more detail about the error message? The actual wording could be very helpful. I'm guessing it says something about detecting a new device, then something like "unable to enumerate" or "device not accepting ID".

Also, what sort of Zener diodes did you use? Do you know what their power rating is?
45  Forum 2005-2010 (read only) / Bugs & Suggestions / Re: Visual Programming complement to IDE for Arduino on: July 11, 2010, 06:05:26 pm
Something like this?

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