Concept to Finished Piece – Generations of an Electronics Project

Finished ProductI bought an antique telegraph sounder a while back, and I’ve been working on a project that will click out emails from my Etsy store when I get an order. I’ve gone through several generations, and come up with something I really like. What follows is a description of my process for going from concept to finished piece. The code & PCB are open-source, and can be found on my github. Continue reading Concept to Finished Piece – Generations of an Electronics Project

Communique From 1863

I picked up a telegraph sounder on ebay this week. I don’t know much about its heritage, but it definitely looks vintage. I wrote some code (see below) to get my Arduino to clack away on it. In the video, the sounder is tapping out the Gettysburg Address, which is the example text in the code. Continue reading Communique From 1863

Braintree 10% Time: LED Strip

At Braintree, the developers get every other Friday to work on non-work-related projects of their choosing. Collaboration is encouraged, but even if you end up working on something alone, it’s a great way to spread your excitement about whatever interests you at the moment (and it’s a nice perk to the job).

This week, my project was to get some LED strips unboxed and working. The strips are flexible circuit boards, with full-color LEDs dotting one side. Each “LED” is actually three LEDs clustered together (one red, one green, one blue), and with 21 control bits, they can display more colors than the human eye can distinguish. I bought a variety of strips, with different features, and I don’t know exactly what I’m going to do with them, but step 1 is to learn how to use them. Continue reading Braintree 10% Time: LED Strip

Power Hungry

I finished my first significant electronics project in a while: Power Hungry.  The idea is that I use sensors to monitor the actual voltage & amperage usage of various devices in my apartment, and I wirelessly transmit that to a base station, which calculates various statistics.  The results are then beamed to my linode server, where I have some graphs of the data.  The ultimate goal is to use this data to reduce my overall energy usage, but for now I’m just working on establishing a baseline, so I can best judge the effectiveness of whatever changes I make.  The results so far, though, are fairly interesting. Continue reading Power Hungry

Poor Man’s LCD Touchscreen Breakout Board

I recently picked up a graphic LCD display and a clear touchscreen panel for a project I’m starting.  They’re a lot of fun (and pretty cheap), but there are a lot of wires needed to get it hooked up, which means it’s somewhat fragile to move around.

If (like me) you like to move around when you code (couch/coffeeshop/bed/etc), then you’ll want to build a breakout board for your setup. Continue reading Poor Man’s LCD Touchscreen Breakout Board