Monday, October 15, 2012

Recent Works 2012

Working title: Old constellation with new idea.


"A few chances to get a leg up."

Untitled work in progress.

We agree. No. We agree.

Please stand behind the yellow line.

Working title: "Why would the guards choose to levitate at such a sensitive moment?"

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

No. 33: I Got What I Deserve.

I wastes most of a day and at the beginning of a new year. I can't believe I let myself get sucked into participating in the 2012 Sparkfun Free Day. I can't blame Sparkfun one bit. They merely presented the opportunity and fell for it. I spent from 9:00 to around 15:15 today (not counting a few short breaks now and then) typing in captchas as fast as I could just to try and randomly be selected to win one of the $100.00 prizes out of $200,000. Here is what I won instead of $100.00.
  • A hard earned vacation day wasted
  • Nothing to productive to show for what I put into it (other than I hope I learned a lesson)
  • Tired aching fingers
  • A keyboard that is a bit more worn out with nothing to show for it
  • Upcoming nightmares about captchas Ahhh!
  • And the Sucker/Idiot award
If I ever had any urges to gamble then this should have gotten rid of them for good.

It was interesting to read some of the hundreds of comments posted on the Sparkfun site especially from those who won. One guy says he won in a short time and it was well worth the effort. If he won without spending a lot of time. What effort? He was lucky. A lot more people put in more and longer effort with nothing to show.

Well I congratulate the folks that won. Some of us just aren't that lucky in these kinds of things. Never again. I will just stick with purchasing everything I get.

Monday, January 2, 2012

No. 32: My First Capacitive Proximity Sensor

Well actually this is my second attempt at making a capacitive proximity sensor using some aluminum foil, resistors, and my Arduino Uno. The first one used a large square of aluminum foil just to try it out and get things going. I got the idea from the Bare Conductive site on one of the tutorials featured there. I tried several experiments with different resistors. Here is the next one that I did using four strips of aluminum foil.

The aluminum foil strips are about 1" x 4" pasted to a section of corrugated cardboard and covered with a layer of clear packing tape. I left .5" of the foil of each strip exposed on the edge of the cardboard to allow for connecting the wires that go to the breadboard.
I wanted to make it so each strip of aluminum foil has to be touched directly in order to get a reading so I am using 100kΩ resistors. The first capacitive proximity sensor used a 1MΩ resistor.
Anyway this is my first attempt at working with homemade capacitive proximity sensors.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

No. 31: A Few Homemade Connectors

I was hoping to get something in the way of art to post over the Christmas holidays for variety sake but I came down with an illness and haven't felt up to doing much. I did however put together a few homemade connectors from some material I have hanging around.

From left to right connectors 1 and 3 are made from some multiple strand wires and connectors 2 and 4 are use some single stranded wire. I used some yellow shrink tubing left over from another project I worked on years ago to tidy up the solder joins on the 3 paper clip connectors. I had a bag of alligator clips I purchased from Radio Shack that didn't come with wires connected to them so I decided to alter them. I ended up soldering wire to three more of these alligator clips and have used them on a proximity capacitive sensor project.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

No. 30: Light Theremin

Finally something that works. After trying several projects that are not Arduino related I finally get one that works. And not only a breadboard version but a soldered PCB version. The original Light Theremin project by Steve Hobley can be found on Here are the results of my project.

Here are the stages I went through to get to the final (or near final) completed project. A: The breadboard version I succeeded in getting to work. B: This was my first attempt to solder the circuit on a PCB that I got from Radio Shack. Since the PCB wasn't laid out like the breadboard I goofed up somewhere in rerouting the wires. C: This is the final soldered version that works. The PCB is one I got from Mouser and the layout is very similar to a breadboard so I figured I couldn't wrong. I did make some modifications to the circuit from the original. See the explanation with the next image.
1: The original plans called for two .22uf capacitors from Radio Shack. I wanted to see how many components I could get away with ordering online without having to purchase from Radio Shack which can be a bit on the pricey side. So I got this .22uf capacitor from Mouser. 2: The original plan doesn't call for a pot but I put one in so I could get more variable pitches in the sound. This is a 10k ohm pot. 3: This is a .22uf capacitor from Radio Shack. I ended up buying a pair of these anyway. It turns out the different capacitors add a bit more variation to the sound than using the same two capacitors. Two of the yellow ones give a deeper pitch even with the pot turned all the way up than the two from Radio Shack. 4: I decided to play around with some plug and play by using some machined header pins. That way I can swap out different capacitor combinations and different LDRs if I want to.
Here is the whole set up with speaker and a 6 volt battery pack hooked up to the circuit. I am thinking about putting it into an enclosure as a next step. You'll notice that I am using alligator clips to attach the the speaker wires to the board. I haven't decided what to do with those connections.
 This was a lot of fun to put together and learn something in the process. I still find looking for components online a bit mystifying and confusing. This light theremin is fun to play with and extremely irritating to some of my family.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

No. 29: New Shift Register Breakouts Part 2

I couldn't wait to get home from work this evening and hook this circuit up. I went from a lot of jumper wires on the previous circuit to 9 jumper wires on this new circuit. The same code is used to run both setups.

A bunch of jumper wires, 2x 74HC595 shift registers, 8x yellow diffused LEDs, 8x red diffused LEDs, 8x 220 ohm resistors, 8x 150 ohm resistors.
9x jumper wires, 2x shift register breakouts, 16x 220 ohm resistors, 5x green diffused LEDs, 6x yellow diffused LEDs, 5x red diffused LEDs. The LEDs are rather bunched up in this setup and I could spread them out if I added some more jumper wires and still be using less wires.
I need to get some more LEDs so I can hook in the third breakout. The fun is just beginning.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

No. 28: New Shift Register Breakouts Part 1

My three new 74HC595 Shift Register Breakouts came today in the mail from Sparkfun along with some new jumper wires and some right angle female and male headers from Digi-Key. Of course I couldn't wait till the weekend to do some soldering.

Each breakout came without any of the headers attached. The one at the top has two 7 pin female header soldered onto each side. I decided to make that one always be the first in the chain that way the header on the left will be where the wires go to the pins on the Arduino and the next breakout in the chain will plug into the right header and then the third.
Here is how they work when all of them are hooked together.
Next comes hooking everything up with some LEDs.