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16  Community / Bar Sport / Re: Poll: sleeping time (ours, not Arduino's) on: August 31, 2014, 10:14:48 pm
Gosh Rob, looking from your photo, I could swear you don't look a day over 30  smiley-twist

I've tried to pull back on those long nights of design, where past 02h00 was the norm and getting up around 09h00 to 10h00 was seeing me miss most of the morning, and feeling sluggish.

I still feel like thirty in my brain, hopefully a bit more wiser, but I know I can't jump tall building in a single bound these days

At the moment bed is anywhere from 23h30 to 01h30 for me and wake up time is anything from 06h00 to 09h00.

Like Rob, I too don't have a job as such, I tinker and sometimes people pay me for having fun.

Life is good with a balance of nerdiness and getting outside and playing in the dirt.
17  Community / Gigs and Collaborations / Re: Arduino ethernet + sdcard+web interface on: July 31, 2014, 05:34:57 am
And even I get a pm asking for the code, any one else too?
Wow, I'm amazed, I didn't realise my programming skills were in such demand.
18  Using Arduino / Displays / Re: 20x4 LCD - clear only a specific area on: June 14, 2014, 07:44:24 pm
A quick and easy example I have used which is fairly light on resouces.

lcd.setCursor(16, 2);
if (NVRAM.fanStarts < 1000) lcd.print(" ");
if (NVRAM.fanStarts < 100) lcd.print(" ");
if (NVRAM.fanStarts < 10) lcd.print(" ");

You can see that I check for three conditions before printing the value, with each printing a space if true.
Change the condition range to suit your needs, or functionise it and pass the value to it.
19  Using Arduino / Displays / Re: [Solved] 20x4 lcd problem. (Spent 1.5 day) on: June 13, 2014, 10:25:02 pm
It appears this thread has opened up a robust discussion about the use of oscilloscopes, logic analysers and the like, maybe that could have gone into its own long and exciting thread?

I won't like to take sides on this debate, but will like to say a little as I know the benefits of such equipment, having had my hand in electronics since a young boy building crystal sets and a few of the first micro-computer boards in the late 70's and early 80's possibly using micro-processors many of you won't even have seen.

What I can say, is that even though having fancy test equipment, I rarely found the need to use it, especially for digital projects, even including small development / production runs. My thinking is that such equipment for pure hobbyists is a definite nice to have and a sort of security blanket for when the times get really tough. Though I will suggest for hybrid systems, where you have analog and or a mix of analog and digital, you might be considered quite mad to develop 'blind', without access to such equipment. Conversely, if you are operating a business in this field, then it might look somewhat unprofessional not having such equipment.

A number of important points were raise in this thread, and the one I am hinting at is the need of good diagnostic skills.
How does one attain such skills?

There is no one right answer, but a keen desire to understand and learn and a strong determination to continue in the face of problems and failures I found to be a good value to hold. What is also needed is a degree of guidance, and this is the path I have taken with the OP behind the scenes.
Skype works quite well for this I find, living at different ends of this 'little blue dot' (C. Sagen).

Many of the points raised here by others I had gone through methodically with the OP.
Again there is a number of ways to start the diagnostic approach, with the way I choose in this instance, let's make sure we first have a correct development system and configuration.

Next was to confirm a visual on the OP's actual equipment, so I ask him for clear and detailed photos showing all parts concerned and the wiring used. After a few minutes finding another camera that was working for him, I received the photos, looking carefully over them, confirming his wiring was indeed correct for the use with a program I supplied him that I myself have proved.

So, at this point I knew he had a development system that would compile and upload to an Arduino, Eclipse IDE.
I also knew the program he has is fully functional, as I had developed it and proved it myself on identical setup, barring the source of the LCD manufacturer.
I confirmed a number of test points on the circuit with him, for correct voltages and that the contrast pot was wired correctly and set to a suitable position.
I asked that he use a UNO instead of the Mega, to prove there was no difference in result between the Mega and UNO or fault in either board he had.

After all this and still no progress I was then starting  to think, this is a dead LCD, which I said 'I do not believe', and so I thought it really could only come down to a bad connection. Even though from the photos I had, it all appeared to be ok.

But it wasn't.

It was 01h40 in the morning and I asked him to remove all wires that used slide on connectors and solder all wires to make a good connection.
I left him to it and returned this morning to find he had indeed found a problem with a connection point.
The problem was not a slide on wire connection, but a solder joint on the LCD board.
I then realised my flaw, I had assumed the LCD had arrived to him with the pin header already soldered, when it was not in reality.
This was the culprit, a poor solder joint of one pin on the LCD PCB made by the OP.

The OP was happy to finally see a LCD that displayed information and can now continue to proceed with his project.

I guess many will now see that clearing the bench and pulling out the big toys most probably would not have helped in the finding the problem.
It comes down to a lesson learned and one that many of us have made over the years, some too long ago to remember or care to remember.
I hope for the OP that he too will have learned a little more of what it is to become more skilled in electronics, which I dare say he has.

Again I am reminded not to make assumptions.

My methodology is to make no assumptions and to have very clear and concise information at hand.
Having clear and concise information is only going help solve the problem if you understand clearly and concisely this information, lest it be solved by trial and error or by chance.

One last thing I wish to say is that I have seen many times on this forum what appears to me as poor communications from people new to the field. Specifically, that when they strike a problem and ask for help here on this forum, often I notice the question is not clear or concise and leads many to making assumptions in their quest to help. It seems many only gain the skills of good communication after many years in the relevant field, in knowing how to pose their question in a way that is clear concise. While, sadly for many others, this skill never arrives.

I know 'beingobserver' has learnt from this exercise and am happy that he can now move to the next step of his project.
Hopefully he will become more 'beingobservant'  smiley-grin
20  Using Arduino / Networking, Protocols, and Devices / Re: Help with ModBus RTU Master-Slave: SimpleModbus [SOLVED] on: May 17, 2014, 06:37:19 pm
The only difference between the example in the library and the example in that 'Examples.rar' file is what has been discussed at quite some length here already, namley, the removal of the serial parity section in the instance configuration.

Like I said earlier, it would be worth your while to read this whole thread.
Then you will know and understand better what you needed to do.

So, again, for the sake of clarity, the original line to configure the instance in the SimpleModbusSlave code:
modbus_configure(9600, SERIAL_8N2, 1, 2, HOLDING_REGS_SIZE, holdingRegs);
And the modified line:
modbus_configure(9600, 1, 2, HOLDING_REGS_SIZE, holdingRegs);

That is the only difference between the two examples, look for yourself.
Of course you will need to make the appropriate changes in the library code as well, again, as has been discussed here in this thread quite clearly.

I am thinking people may only become confused with your post, saying 'The example in the library folder does not work' and with offering another place to download from.

This will be more so as you don't clearly state under what conditions you are using this library, for example, what version of the Arduino IDE are you using and for which board.
21  Using Arduino / Networking, Protocols, and Devices / Re: Help with ModBus RTU Master-Slave: SimpleModbus [SOLVED] on: May 12, 2014, 07:17:01 am
Hi JuanB,
I had a quick look at your links, thanks for them, I will continue with my own SCADA based on HTML5 and as a web application.

My idea is that I will use a small Linux board such as a Cubieboard-2 I have and continue to develop a combination of C/C++, Node.JS and Python based server, using web sockets for reasonably fast next to real-time viewing, especially from remote sites.

You can get some idea of some of what I will do at this link
It is my own home based renewable ernergy system, a combination of micro-hydro and solar.

Still a lot of work ahead, but progress is being made each day toward the sort of SCADA and control systems I would like in my more industrial systems.
22  Using Arduino / Networking, Protocols, and Devices / Re: Help with ModBus RTU Master-Slave: SimpleModbus [SOLVED] on: May 10, 2014, 06:15:07 am
Just want to let you know I appreciate your fine work on making this library available.
I am using the Eclipse IDE with the Arduino 1.5.2 toolchain.

I downloaded the version 9 of Modbus Slave and have it seemingly working fine on a Ether Mega 2560 board.
I edited out the serial parity sections for it to compile correctly under the 1.5.2 toolchain.

Since I'm on Mac OSX and Linux I wanted to test it, so I downloaded a GUI based Modbus master program which will only operate under Windows unfortunately, this one

 So I ran that within VirtualBox which I have Windows XP and set up the COM port to be directed back to the USB port to which the Arduino Ether Mega (Freetronics) is connected to.
Well, blow me down, it works, albit with some time-outs  smiley-grin

I might even try making a small SCADA test using CitectSCADA I have on my XP image.
(My aim is to lessen my dependance expensive Allen Bradley Control/Compact Logix PLCs in my future projects, and to use start using Modbus with a mixture of Arduino based controllers together PLCs that can talk Modbus)

Next is to write some nice Python code to have my Cubieboard talk Modbus to serial1 on the Ether Mega.
Then the Cubieboard is my local server and link back to the outside world.

So, yes, your code works on Arduino Mega under 1.5.2 (Eclipse IDE), keep up the good work  smiley-grin
Paul (Tasmania)
23  Using Arduino / Networking, Protocols, and Devices / Re: Help with ModBus RTU Master-Slave: SimpleModbus [SOLVED] on: May 10, 2014, 05:49:43 am
dv215, you really need to read this thread before posting this questiong you have.
I am sure if you have read it you would have found your answer.
24  Community / Bar Sport / Re: Your latest purchase on: May 05, 2014, 06:48:26 pm
No need to be so modest Rob, I know that these 'new' tools are in fact the latest range for PCB and assembly.
I notice you got the funky porpose built SMD set, for very fine work, right?
I know you'll be using them soon on the new Quub boards that are currently being built.

But that first tool in your photo list, I'm unsure what that is used for and can only guess it is for bit banging, I know you like serial protocols, right?  smiley-mr-green
25  Topics / Home Automation and Networked Objects / Re: HELP! Greenhouse contol concept problems PLEASE READ! on: April 28, 2014, 06:31:22 am
lilrags16 wrote:
I am in an engeneing class
Me too, four years ago, I couldn't spell injuneer, and now I are one  smiley-evil

But seriously, like other have already said, sit yourself down and start putting together a functional description, you should at least know how to do that. Then, you will have a better idea of what your criteria and scope of your project will be.

All too often we hear the words of "Please Help", usually not even written properly.
26  Community / Bar Sport / Re: Are microcontrollers considered to be kiddies toys in real world? on: April 24, 2014, 08:46:18 pm
SirNickity wrote:
I worry about that with some of my old audio hardware, like my Ensoniq MR and Korg Trinity rack synths
Yep, I have the same fears with my beloved Kawai K5000S Additive Synthesizer.
It is non replaceable, for me.
27  Community / Exhibition / Gallery / Re: The Catweazle on: April 23, 2014, 07:32:03 am
Have you thought of coding up an 'Additive' Synth?
I have a Kawai K5000S, man, is this thing one beautiful piece of sound machinary that is not seen in synths these days.

Additive synthesis is different from the more common subtractive type of synthsizers that is mostly used, where the sound is built up from an fundamental and its harmonics, rather than having a noise source that you then filter out to get the sounds.

I wonder  smiley-grin

Well done with the project so far
28  Community / Bar Sport / Re: Your latest purchase on: April 06, 2014, 09:05:40 pm
Possums, don't talk to me about possums Tom. Each night I get out to chase them from my small veggie garden here on the mountain.

With a bright LED head torch, I scan the bush and see six eyes out of one tree, four from another tree and a single pair out of another, all waiting for their chance. Some are ringtail, which pretty well keep to themselves. It's the big brush tail possum that has 'no fear'.

Wallabies, they're no problem, even cute and inquisitive  smiley

That is what I should buy, or even make, an electric zapper. I'm about fed up with so many possums at this time of the year.
Picking up possum cage trap tonight so I can give some of them a holiday to a new location they have never seen before.

Tom, what sort of PLC and software do you use then, I'd like to have another option for PLC only projects possibly?
29  Community / Bar Sport / Re: Your latest purchase on: April 06, 2014, 07:57:17 pm
TomGeorge wrote:
Now if  ABB and Seimens can only get down off their high horses?  Ridiculous prices for software for a start.
I avoid both brands like the plague when they say how much their software is, unforunately its there distributors salesman that looses the sale. I was trained on both brands and got sick and tired of keys and security on their software.
Especially when the key was a so-called uncopyable fragile 3 1/2 floppy.
Tom, I'm wondering if you meant to say AB, as in Allen Bradley from Rockwell Automation, which manufacture a range of PLCs and VSDs rather than ABB which make VSDs and other power technologies for industry?

Yes, you are correct Rob, the software licence I purchased for AB PLCs, RS5000 produced by Rockwell Software for use with AB Control Logix range of PLCs cost me around $4k and it is only mono OS platform as well.

Guess which one it is that I need to continually keep a current live version of VirtualBox to run this software?
I bought it a few years back now and is well out of date and would not be looking forward to shelling out more money to have it upto date. To make it a bit safer from being a software only licence I have it in a USB security dongle. That allows me to operate it from more than one computer. I just need to make sure I don't loose the silly thing now  smiley-eek

As Tom infers, Open Source, love it, and it seems to be a thriving business model. Many who have worked in the traditional business world find it difficult concept to grasp in terms of making any money from it, I am sure.

Tom, I still have some of those 3½" floppies with the activation codes for the older RS500 software for SLC-500 range. A total PITA, but I was able to get around the complex and tricky copy protection and made a few backups, for myself only of course  smiley-mr-green

Hence my desire to utilise the micro-controller these days in my industrial applications when it is appropriate. Did I mention your nice Quub design there Rob?

Like Rob, I am also making mancave, I mean new shiny R&D area for our pursuits. New floor is being laid next week as soon as I finish building this current PLC replacing Arduino project.

I haven't bought anything new for a while, I'm setting some money aside for Quub and looking forward to developing with it. Bugger, I mentioned it again?

Anyhow, Rob, that MIG-150 is looking very attractive in its green and black colour.
30  Using Arduino / Sensors / Re: 4-20ma output from arduino 2560 on: March 06, 2014, 04:44:03 pm
Yes, there is definitely a lack of analog interface solutions for Arduino systems where we want to control industrial devices.

I have it mind to develop some boards to do more with analogs, specifically analog inputs from industrial devices.

There are many circuits available on the web, but as retrolefty says, you will need a digital to analog convertor.
You can, again find many sorts of these with various interfaces, I2C, SPI and so on.
You will need a suitable driving opamp to then provide the 4-20mA signal.

Remember, that to drive the 4-20mA signal, you will want to supply the opamp with something other than your 5 volt Vcc supply. Commonly 24Vdc is used and the final stage of the 4-20mA driver modulates the current.
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