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4981  Forum 2005-2010 (read only) / Frequently-Asked Questions / Re: Using 3.5mm jacks with a breadboard? on: March 25, 2010, 11:37:45 am
Yeah, those are difficult, and not designed for such use. Your best bet would be to take some cut legs from components (if you don't have any from assembling circuits, remember to save a few when you get around to it - they are handy to have) or other stiff wire of the proper size (diameter), and solder them to the terminals. Make each about a half-inch (5-7mm) in length and bend them to fit on the breadboard.

4982  Forum 2005-2010 (read only) / Frequently-Asked Questions / Re: Arduino and cameras on: March 24, 2010, 04:13:55 pm
I am modifying 2 cameras so that there CCDs are exposed

So - you are basically removing the lens assembly; letting cosmic rays inpinge on the sensors directly (causing "flashes" of some sort) - I think I read about this method somewhere...

Anyhow - what kind of cameras? Are these camera boards of some sort (small PCB style cameras), or are they somewhat "regular" digital cameras that have been modified? Do you have a picture or link for them?

If it is just a small PCB camera, depending on the settling time you might just be able to turn them on/off by switching their power inputs; in that case, a simple relay or transistor control for the power would probably work OK.

For a digital camera, you could try to interface with the shutter button, but both cameras might not go off at the same exact moment.

There might be some kind of inhibit/enable line for the CCD chip used in the camera, but you would need to know the information about the chip used (manufacturer and part number); sometimes this can be found on or near the chip, other times you won't find anything (or you will find a "house" number if the chip is made by the same company as the PCB for the camera). Even with that information, you may not be able to find a specification sheet (or you may have to pay for one, or become an integrator to get it, or both); but without the information for the chip, you can't even start.

There also may be auxilary chips or other interface devices on the PCB you could look for specs on; you may have to reverse engineer the camera's PCB and schematic just to understand what to do where in order for you to acheive your goal...

Good luck.

4983  Forum 2005-2010 (read only) / Frequently-Asked Questions / Re: Arduino Locker on: March 23, 2010, 10:46:57 pm
What should I use?

Common sense.

If you are in "grade school" (ie, high school or lower); quit putting expensive junk in your locker (leave it at home), carry the rest around in your backpack, and keep an eye on your pack.

If you are at a University or College, I am sure someone somewhere sells insurance for dorm rooms and contents, similar to renter's insurance (and if not, that may be a interesting and fruitful niche product you might want to get into if you can find the capital to start it up!).

If you live in an apartment, get renter's insurance. If you own a home, make sure your homeowner's policy is adequate to cover the contents in case of loss. Invest in a home security system. Get to know your neighbors - maybe even become "gasp!" friends with them! Have a trusted friend watch your house, water your plants, and feed your pets.

Above all, document everything you consider "valuable". Keep your receipts (I have boxes of receipts dating back over 10 years). For your really valuable stuff (cash, jewelry, guns, etc) - consider a personal safe, or a safety deposit box (a small size safety deposit box runs about $100.00 a year depending on the bank - it is worth every penny, depending on what you have to put in it).

Yes, this is boring; no, it isn't "sexy", and it doesn't involve using an Arduino anywhere. It is, though, what is called "common sense" and "being an adult" (17 year olds and under need not apply).

One other final bit of advice: keep a low profile and look "poor"; don't go all flashy on things, shop a lot at goodwill, purchase as many items used as possible (especially cars). Bank your savings. You'll end up with a good nest egg, and people won't ask to borrow money off of you. People will avoid hitting the beater you drive because it looks like you don't have insurance (the bigger and uglier the beater, the better - this doesn't mean it has to run poorly, though - learn to fix and tune your own car).

On the other hand, if this is just some fancy "do it to do it" project, then - carry on...


/yeah, I know - I'm such a downer...
4984  Forum 2005-2010 (read only) / Frequently-Asked Questions / Re: Using an IR mouse circuit for a motion sensor on: March 19, 2010, 01:58:56 am
Now that's the definition of a hack, if there ever was one - great job, err - hack, VT!

4985  Forum 2005-2010 (read only) / Frequently-Asked Questions / Re: Using an IR mouse circuit for a motion sensor on: March 17, 2010, 04:28:07 pm
However if you could access some debug mode on the mouse ASIC where you can pull raw data out of it, this could open up some interesting applications for USB mice.

I've never played with one of these sensors, but I remember reading about experiments done with them; from what I understood from those pages, they had removed the sensor and interfaced with it directly, pulling out the raw data like you note.

Now, I am not sure if this is possible with today's optical mice; it may be that back then many mice used one of a few sensors made by a few companies, so it was easy to get the spec-sheet for the sensor to figure out how to pull the data. Today, it may be that such parts are house-numbered or otherwise obscured (or even complete custom) to prevent this kind of hacking (which boils my blood).

Regardless, what I remember most about such hacking was that such a sensor, internally, would do the conversion really rapidly, then output deltas for x/y position - but dumping the raw image data took much longer (you could get maybe 2-3 fps tops), even though it was a fairly small matrix. Apparently, the on-board processor in the sensor could sample the frame much more quickly, but the "debug/raw" mode was a slower mode, and real direct access to the data wasn't possible.

That didn't make it useless, just less useful than what it could've been...

4986  Forum 2005-2010 (read only) / Frequently-Asked Questions / Re: Looking for the "best" Arduino...suggestions? on: March 19, 2010, 07:02:27 pm
If you are just starting out, for the least heartache I would go with a standard Arduino 2009 (Arduino Duemilanove) board with a standard USB connector; while not the cheapest or the smallest (and maybe you have a closer source), I would go with SparkFun's boards. Their build quality, IMO, is excellent. For me, they are close by - but you might be able to find an official supplier closer to you. Once you have that up and running with the IDE, and you know what you need for an official project (and your skills are better), you can then move on to other boards or minimalist designs from other suppliers (or roll your own, if you want)...
4987  Forum 2005-2010 (read only) / Frequently-Asked Questions / Re: List of IC's for sale trade on: March 19, 2010, 01:57:43 am
Damn - you didn't steal my box of parts out of my shop, did you?


Nope, still there...!


Seriously, many of those part numbers match a big box of "scrap" parts I got from a local vendor (Apache Reclamation, for other Phoenix Arduino fans) - they sold it to me by weight (even got the nice plastic bin it came in) - lots of great parts (and a great many that are fairly old, but still worthwhile)...

Good luck with your sale!

4988  Forum 2005-2010 (read only) / Frequently-Asked Questions / Re: Faucet Solenoid Valves? on: March 21, 2010, 06:34:58 pm
Something that I wasn't clear enough on - I mentioned "there may be code isssues"; what I meant by that is that, depending on the laws in your area, it may not be "legal" to install sprinkler parts into a system that could potentially be used as a source of "drinking water".

By "legal", I mean you could get away with it, until you (or a buyer) have to have the house inspected for a sale (should that occur); it might fail, you might be fined, at a minimum you will have to replace everything if it isn't "up to code". So check with your local building laws to see if that is something you care about.

Also remember my concern on whether such valves could be used with hot water; this I don't know. I would imagine that they aren't spec'd for use with hot water, nor are the parts rated for such usage, simply because sprinklers don't use hot water. You wouldn't want such a system to fail (of course, when you least expect it, like when you are on vacation). Also know that sprinkler valves (like all valves, but sprinkler valves seem especially prone) fail; keep that in mind as you build your project - you might want to set something up (in-floor drain?) to handle such an issue, if it is a concern. Otherwise, keep your homeowner's coverage up!

4989  Forum 2005-2010 (read only) / Frequently-Asked Questions / Re: Faucet Solenoid Valves? on: March 21, 2010, 04:02:04 pm
While not exactly what you may normally consider (and I am not sure they can handle hot water well; also, there may be code issues!), have you thought about using standard sprinkler valves? They are fairly cheap (although  if this is for your house, I would spend the money and purchase commercial-grade brass solenoid valves, which tend to be more expensive), although bulkier than other solenoid valves, of course.
4990  Forum 2005-2010 (read only) / Frequently-Asked Questions / Re: question of final build on: March 21, 2010, 03:57:53 pm
Note that at a certain point, as your skills mature, you may want to integrate the microprocessor used in the Arduino into your design; at that point, it would no longer be an Arduino, though the chip may still be running the boot loader (although in the real final design, you may want to eliminate this, too). If you do run the boot loader, bring out the pins needed for serial communications to a header; that way, in the future (if needed), the device could still be "field-programmed" using an FTDI cable or breakout board.

Realize that the Arduino is just a particular system and layout, based upon a widely used (and low cost) microcontroller family from Atmel; what you do with it is up to your imagination in the end...

4991  Forum 2005-2010 (read only) / Frequently-Asked Questions / Re: Magnetic field on: March 20, 2010, 01:55:04 am
ahvie: I work at a small web applications development company here in Phoenix called Inexo; we do *AMP-based development, using the classic trinity of Apache, PHP, MySQL; usually running on top of Linux or BSD, though a few clients insist on Windows (or their host uses it). We throw in a mix of Prototype, Scriptaculous, and Dojo for DHTML fun.

Its actually a great little company to work for; everyone is a geek, we have fun, and the ICEE machine is great in the summertime (that's a total story unto itself - I'm unofficially certified in ICEE machine repair and programming since we got the thing).

I love where I work!

4992  Forum 2005-2010 (read only) / Frequently-Asked Questions / Re: Magnetic field on: March 18, 2010, 11:43:03 am
Why on earth would you use the 0 on the phone though?  surely it takes the longest time for the rotary dial to return?

Oh, man - that brought back a memory.

When I was a kid, my parents had a big ole' black "ma bell" rotary phone (the kind you rented!); this was in the early 1980's, and we hadn't switched over to touch-tone, yet (probably because the switches hadn't been upgraded by then in our town).

I remember building a "crystal-radio" on my 150-in-1 kit from Radio Shack, and using the finger hook as my antenna connection; I found lots of interesting far away AM stations that way (especially at night - probably due to ionosphere propagation or some such).

Damn, now I sound old...

4993  Forum 2005-2010 (read only) / Frequently-Asked Questions / Re: Magnetic field on: March 16, 2010, 05:12:53 pm
Man, I'm glad all you "oldster's" responded! Like I said, my heart is there if my age isn't.

I never got to play with punch cards, but when I first got into software development as a profession after high school, I was shown how to manually load a 9-track tape drive with vacuum columns. That was one of my first "duties" at the place I started at. Mostly it was to convert the half-inch tapes to cartridges for import into a database system.

I collect old computer junk, the older the better (well, at least until it becomes unaffordable). My wife and I recently hung a 16K core memory module card on our wall (it was sitting for a long time in my shop collecting dust); it was originally for an old mainframe or something, I think I paid scrap value for it.

I also have a few individual punch cards, one 9-track tape (had more at one time, but they are waaay too large to store and move with), my Altair (which needs major refurbishing), and numerous old books on computing and computational theory.

I love the stories; as far as FORTRAN is concerned, one time I converted some FORTRAN 3D graphics plotting code that I found in a library book into BASIC (TRS-80 Color Extended Basic on my Color Computer). That was many years ago...

4994  Forum 2005-2010 (read only) / Frequently-Asked Questions / Re: Magnetic field on: March 15, 2010, 12:44:47 am
well, thanks for your reply,, sorry for what i've said before,,, and sorry im not a boy,,,,im a girl...and im using my phone last time i replied you,,, that's why im using zero..instead of o,,,, Embarrassed ..sorry...........


Something to keep in mind about tech boards and blogs like this: Number one, they are typically filled with guys, in many cases guys who have been online longer than many on the internet have been alive. In some cases, we cut our teeth on homegrown BBSs (bulletin board systems) dialed up in the dead of night on a 2400 baud (or sometimes less) modem. Some of us even ran our own systems. Mustang Software, a purveyor of one of the more popular shareware BBS systems, was in my backyard.

A few of us even predate the internet (not I, unfortunately; but my heart does - hell, my heart predates modern electronics and the airplane, if the truth were told) - I would guess there is at least one Arduino fan on these forums who has submitted code to an IBM 360 or other mainframe via a deck of cards - ouch!

So you can say we have likely seen or done it all, and when we see things like your character substitution, we may remember when we were "kids" on the machine, or when some other new passing "computer fad" was in vogue; for me, it brings a chuckle - but inevitably, some minor teasing occurs...

I am pretty sure I can say that we didn't mean anything by any of it; I know I didn't (my first thought really was a broken keyboard!).

Live, learn and laugh, especially here; this thing we call the internet is really the most amazing tool mankind has created thus far. Like any tool, used properly it can expand horizons, broaden minds, and incite further creativity. Take wonder and enjoyment from being alive during a time when this is possible, and laugh...

4995  Forum 2005-2010 (read only) / Frequently-Asked Questions / Re: Magnetic field on: March 14, 2010, 02:42:57 am
Well, you know that's why I have a zero in my handle...

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