A weblog about engineering and home brewing

21 November 2016

Having received a Pi2Go Lite for his birthday, my eldest son finished assembling it and wanted to move on to some software. He’s used Scratch at school so the intention is to use ScratchGPIO (thanks @cymplecy) to control it and get it following a line. There seems to be little documentation on using the Pi2Go with Scratch though.

I thought I’d get him started by providing an SD card with Raspbian installed and working.  We then plugged it into the TV and booted, set the SSID (we’re using a Pi3) and connected to the WiFi.  I then installed Tightvncserver so he could remote desktop into it.  All good so far.

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10 November 2016

A friend recently gave me an ESP12E module to play with. I’ve previously played with the ESP8266 at Open Source Hardware Camp 2015 when Omer Kilic ran an ESP8266 workshop. The workshop focused on NodeMCU and LUA.

My immediate thought there was to use LUA again and I built some NodeMCU firmware to experiment with different LUA scripts.  It worked pretty well.  Later I wanted to have a go with the NodeMCU support in the Arduino IDE.  That turns out to be very nicely done 🙂

I’ve therefore added a couple of DS18B20 digital one-wire temperature sensors to the board and made use of the OneWire, DallasTemperature and Thingspeak libraries in order to collect data and push it to the web.

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17 July 2013

This describes how to take an image file (origBBB.img) that has been extracted from a Beaglebone Black (BBB) – (see here for how to do that) – and shrink it so that it will fit onto a smaller SD card.

First we need to be able to inspect the file system locally.  We can inspect the image file with:

file origBBB.img
origBBB.img: x86 boot sector; partition 1: ID=0xc, active, starthead 1, startsector 63, 144522 sectors; partition 2: ID=0x83, starthead 45, startsector 147456, 6979584 sectors, code offset 0x0

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3 July 2013

Ok, so you’ve been playing with your BBB and you’ve installed this package and that package, oh and that package you forgot about.  So now you want to setup another BBB in exactly the same way but wait… oh no, what did you install again and how did you configure things… this could take some time.

That was me recently when I wanted to set up a second BBB.  I’d installed qt4-embedded on the eMMC as well as lots of other stuff and really didn’t want to start from scratch on another board.

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25 May 2013

I’ve recently bought a Beaglebone Black (BBB) and an RS232 cape (BB-BONE-SERL-03). Mine is revision A1 (important to know which, see later).

At the time of writing this and at the time I bought it, I did not realise that the cape was not yet supported in the Angstrom release. Because of the move to kernel 3.8, the majority of capes available need some software modifications to get them working. A list of compatible capes can be found here.

What follows is a summary of how I got the RS232 cape working

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8 June 2012

Over a year ago I decided I wanted to build a small Quadcopter. I bought some Hexatronic 5 gram brushless DC motors (HXM1400-2000) and some 6A Turnigy speed controllers. I designed a lightweight aluminium frame on CAD and did some research on how to stabilise it and control the four motors.

I came across an open source flight controller project designed for Quadcopters called Simple Flight Controller (SFC) which is based on an MSP430 – specifically the RF2500 2.4GHz development modules. I modified the source to compile on MSPGCC and got it to say “hello world” to me but then had to shelve it due to pressing work projects.

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11 May 2012

A friend of mine recently asked me to install Linux on her laptop which I was happy to do. I installed Xubuntu alongside Windows7 as dual boot. After a few days of use, she complained that the Ordnance Survey “Getamap” webpage would not work. When I investigated, I found out that the website requires Silverlight to be installed in order to work.

When vieweing the OS website in Firefox or Chromium on Xubuntu, it asked to install Silverlight then set about installing Moonlight (the Linux alternative since Silverlight only seems to work on Windows). Sadly, Moonlight does not support the while Silverlight API therefore the website would still not work properly.

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