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31  Community / Bar Sport / Re: Your latest purchase on: March 22, 2013, 05:56:26 am
20 x MAX7219 multiplexing display-things.
I tested one at random (the missing one in the photo) and it worked fine. Note the nice packing.

SWEET!  Wow, the shipping to Oz from Shenzen is fast, huh?  I am expecting that my order will still be another few days to arrive.  Yeah, they do tend to be no-frills packing, but these guys I use for price and not for fluff and pretty stuff.  

I really have no idea how they maintain the prices that they do, between them and another similar vendor, I just can't find a fault except for shipping times from overseas.  Beyond that, I swear the prices on half of it won't even cover the shipping cost, never mind the items themselves.  I don't even see how this could be profitable if they were knockoff chips-- you still have to make a knockoff chip that works, or you aren't going to sell many.  All I can think is that they buy whole warehouses of surplus and blow it out.  One tip off that this may be the case is that some times they will have the same device with multiple prices.. In other words, they think in terms of bins, not products.  Two identical products from two different wholesale purchases with a standardized markup.. Employees only know them as bins number 013345 and 547758, or something.

Their employees don't know anything about the products from what I can tell, I had a fruitless and frustrating time trying to let them know that they had made a mistake in their listings ( calling these Voltage regulator modules "CC-CV" when they are not constant current devices.  They were polite enough, but between the language barrier and not understanding the product, it was pointless.  If anyone can send them a note in Chinese explaining, maybe they will fix the listing, until then, just have to know better.  Caveat Emptor, as always- even when the vendor isn't trying to stiff you, unless you are a smart consumer, you still might not get what you think...
32  Using Arduino / Project Guidance / Re: Trying to etch my own PCB on: March 21, 2013, 08:33:52 pm
Easy solution:  Take it and make a copy in a standard copier.

Most copiers use the same technology as laser printers.
33  Community / Bar Sport / Re: My Safety Valve Project on Indiegogo (subject changed) on: March 21, 2013, 06:58:46 pm
Finished up making the project promo photo a bit more appealing amd eyecatching:

And new video, some goofy looking idiot in it, however...

Link to the project funding site:

If tracking is correct, I should be getting my next parts shipment including several new sensor types by the beginning of next week.
34  Community / Bar Sport / Re: Your latest purchase on: March 19, 2013, 07:21:25 pm
You know, I never considered that use for a Pi.. as a slave to an arduino, for connectivity and such.  It certainly can provide a lot more flexibility and "support" than a standard WiFi shield... Hmm.  (gears grinding..)
35  Using Arduino / Project Guidance / Re: Any ideas for motorized/linear-motion objects that I can repurpose? on: March 18, 2013, 10:26:24 pm
Been doing it, no bites yet.  I've been interviewed by the affiliate, and I am meeting with the editor of a local paper this week.   What would be really ideal would be something like mainstream media, of course.

It may very well be that if shared around, it might end up in front of the right person, someone with either the media or industry connections to move the mountain.. I am hoping that I can crowdsource the right connections, because it's the connections and media support that I need.

That's the hope, anyway smiley
36  Community / Bar Sport / Re: Your latest purchase on: March 18, 2013, 06:51:58 pm
I just got a shipping confirmation and USPS tracking number... SOMETHING is in that box smiley-grin

In trying to price it out, I see it used for $1000, and I see the less accurate version (.05) sells for $2600.  Looks like it's used for serious precision avionics, like a remote display.. I think it connects to an encoder or synchro that provides the data.  The synchro is a distinct device, it would appear that I have gotten whole device in terms of what is sold as the unit.  Still in shrink wrap, new.

It still wouldn't be a winning Powerball ticket unless I can sell it!  Looks like it is a limited market kind of thing.  Hmmm.

EDIT: Found one that sold on ebay previously.. For $799 without its packaging.,  sold March 5th.

I think I may have just made a huge donation to the project funding smiley-grin
37  Using Arduino / Project Guidance / Re: Any ideas for motorized/linear-motion objects that I can repurpose? on: March 18, 2013, 05:06:15 pm
No problem.

Tell you what- here's something you can do in return.  I'm building and trying to have promoted a safety valve system for residential gas installations- long story short, I lost my parents in a gas explosion as a teenager, and am trying to make those tragedies a thing of the past.

In reality, it's not money which will make or break this thing- it's public knowledge and support.  The technology behind it is quite simple and established- I am just tying a few things together.  What the project really needs is for people to understand what it is and what the impact the device can have.  It needs for people to say "hey, why isn't that in my house already?".  It needs to attract both the media as well as industry attention to succeed.  That's people, not money.  Most engineers recognize that the device itself is pretty simple, almost common sense.  I believe that due to a number of influences, the technology costs and ability to muster support are now within reach, implementing a device to save the millions of lost dollars and the lives lost every year due to preventable tragedies is a possibility I have dreamed of for thirty years- and you can help, if only by looking at it and thinking about what it can prevent, and maybe telling others who might have the power to help do what is required to do what I am attempting.

What I'm asking is that if you can't contribute any other way, take a look at it, tell people you know about it.  This will take groundswell support to move an entire industry.  The device works, I am trying to upscale it and to bring a couple of people to bear that have some of the legal and industry contacts required to make this device a reality.

38  Community / Bar Sport / Re: Your latest purchase on: March 18, 2013, 03:38:22 pm
Kind of seemed that way, looking at the docs.  Well, here's to hoping that he sends it-- if they sell for a grand USED, maybe I can flip it for some stuff that will be useful for the gas valve project among other things.

That's my hope when I grab these dollar-bid items, in reality.  Of course I am hoping to find a diamond in with chaff, and sometimes I do.. however, then "mysteriously" the seller often "can't find" or otherwise backs out of the sale (which ebay gets pretty nasty on).  I've only had one real home run, a cable tv analyzer unit (like the techs use) that I got for a buck and sold for a hundred... however, if this one actually is shipped, there has to be potential for some pretty decent upside on this....
39  Community / Bar Sport / Re: Your latest purchase on: March 18, 2013, 02:59:02 pm
Okay, so now onto something more fun.  So I was up to my usual shenanigans, and have purchased (for a buck including shipping) : a "North Atlantic 801 Synchro Panel Meter".

This was one the of the first successful "dollar fishing" bids in quite some time, so I went and looked this thing up.

It appears this is a seriously useful device for CNC and that type of thing- it's a display unit for sensing and displaying angle of rotation.  From the documentation blurb:  

"The 800 & 801 are Synchro/Resolver Panel Meters, with resolutions up to 0.01°, and accuracies up to 0.03°. Both Synchro or Resolver mode can be programmed and the unit operates over a broad frequency band of 47Hz to 1200Hz. "

What the heck is it, and how can I misuse it..that's the question.  Of course, if it's actually valuable and slipped through the cracks (has happened before) I maybe ought to looking into flipping it for a profit.  I do prefer to play with toys rather than sell them, though... but with the projects I have going on right now I really would be better off getting some profit.

There's an industrial electronics recycler and dealer next town over, they buy and sell a lot of PLC stuff- so I am hoping to take a few things over there and do a little Yankee Swap.  They have racks full of bench gear, decent hardware I could use well--  and I have several industrial electronics devices, new in packaging, that I have no use for but know are worth quite a bit.  One's an industrial ultrasound sensor- designed for measuring volume in huge tanks and the like.. I know it's worth a few hundred.  If I can swap a few of these items that I've gotten for a dollar each for a couple hundred dollars worth of bench equipment-- Win.

EDIT:  Erm-- let's see if the guy actually ships this.  After looking around a bit, the only other ones I could find are USED (this one is new in shrinkwrap) selling for $1000 and up!
40  Using Arduino / Project Guidance / Re: High quality SOUND sensors (E-saximeter) on: March 18, 2013, 07:40:20 am

Another possible sensor.  As it's designed for vibration, might be more durable than a microphone
41  Using Arduino / Project Guidance / Re: High quality SOUND sensors (E-saximeter) on: March 18, 2013, 12:27:49 am
Well, using the SOUND, just about any microphone would pick it up.  Muffled, baffled, just about any of the mic modules you might find on ebay or SparkFun would work fine for picking up the impacts. 

How about adding a rf remote, that way the operator doesn't have to actually touch the impact counter at all?

When the six feet passes, click a keyfob kind of thing (cheap and easy to use) and the device makes a note of it.

So, are you going to want to store the data?  SD card?  or just display it on an LCD?

If I understand right, the device keeps track of the impacts and the operator clicks a tally button when six feet have passed.  I suppose this tracks how far each impact is driving in the piling, you would just display the "current"  impacts per tally (six feet).. right?
42  Community / Bar Sport / Re: Your latest purchase on: March 17, 2013, 10:08:27 pm
In general regarding cheap components, I try the less cynical view that maybe these lowball 'gimme' prices are simply a loss leader.. Meaning you buy something super cheap, you like it, and come back and buy more stuff but at retail.  If they lose fifty cents to get a sale that turns the net into a fifty dollar profit- "taking a loss" is worth it even at a 1% success rate.  I do in fact browse the items of sellers that have the lowball items... getting a potential customer to browse your catalog is the holy grail for a mail order seller...
43  Using Arduino / Project Guidance / Re: High quality SOUND sensors (E-saximeter) on: March 17, 2013, 09:59:56 pm
That could be handled all sorts of ways, but the easiest would be a simple switch telling the Arduino to not count.. Toggle off, throw it across the yard, no change. Place it down and turnback on.
44  Using Arduino / Project Guidance / Re: High quality SOUND sensors (E-saximeter) on: March 17, 2013, 06:35:48 pm
I'd say it's likely to be the cheapest and easiest solution.. I think a condenser element micxrophone is just going to break at those levels.  Seeing as the piezo element would probably be able to detect either the loud sound or the vibration, it would be my first choice to try, particularly as they are very cheap and there's many notes out there on how to interface them.
45  Using Arduino / Project Guidance / Re: High quality SOUND sensors (E-saximeter) on: March 17, 2013, 05:37:41 pm
How about a Piezo element?  They respond well to shock waves, and can probably take that kind of jolt and survive... Seems to me that what you are dealing with is more of a shock wave than it is sound per se.

Piezo elements give off voltage when they are flexed, impacted, or otherwise strained- probably perfect for the sensing of those impacts.  That, and they are DIRT cheap fornthe common disc type, which will probably suffice.
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