Interview: FieldKit Team the Morning After Winning the 2019 Hackaday Prize

We caught up with Shah Selbe and Jacob Lewallen the morning after their project, FieldKit, won the Hackaday Prize. FieldKit is an open-source field-based research data collection platform. Which is basically a lot of fancy words for saying it’s a system for collecting sensor data in the field without being snagged by the myriad of problems associated with putting electronics in remote locations. It’s a core project of Conservify, a non-profit organization that seeks to empower conservation research.

via Interview: FieldKit Team the Morning After Winning the 2019 Hackaday Prize — Hackaday

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Interview with Matt Berggren of Autodesk on EAGLE and more

The wonderful electronics podcast The Amp Hour recently interviewed  Matt Berggren of Autodesk about EAGLE and more:

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#471 – An Interview with Matt Berggren

 

Interview with Matt Berggren of Autodesk on EAGLE and more

Hackaday Supercon badge boots Linux using SDRAM cartridge

Jacob Creedon designed an a cartridge board that adds 32MB of SDRAM to the Hackaday Supercon badgeMichael Welling just assembled a version of the PCB made with the OSH Park “After Dark” black FR-4 service:

The addition of SDRAM provides enough memory to boot Linux on a RISC-V soft-core in the ECP5 FPGA on the badge.  Here’s a screenshot of Linux running:

Read more about “Team Linux on Badge” in this Hackaday post:

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And finally, receiving the biggest applause was Linux-on-Badge: this team used all the badge hacking tricks in the book. The hardware component was a 32 MiB SDRAM cartridge by [Jacob Creedon]. The default badge SOC FPGA bitstream was entirely replaced in order to support a minimalist Linux. Much of the development was done on [Michael Welling]’s computer, guided by the precedence of a LiteX project putting Linux on the Radiona ULX3S. This is a true success story of Supercon collaboration as the team (including [Drew Fustini], [Tim Ansell], [Sean Cross], and many others) came together and worked late into nights, drawing from the massive body of collective expertise of the community.

Watch the demo during the Badge Hacking ceremony (jump to 17m 35s):

Resources:

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Note: click the “After Dark” checkbox if you want clear solder mask on black substrate

UPDATE:

Demo of Linux-on-LiteX booting on the badge:

Wondering what LiteX is?

LiteX is a FPGA design/SoC builder that can be used to build cores, create SoCs and full FPGA designs

Hackaday Supercon badge boots Linux using SDRAM cartridge

Open Source Hardware column in Hackspace Magazine

I wrote about Open Source Hardware and the Open Hardware Summit 2020 in the December issue of HackSpace magazine.  If you don’t subscribe to the print edition, then you can download the free PDF.

This October, people all over the world celebrated Open Source Hardware Month with meet-ups, talks and workshops. The month kicked off with events at RAIT in Vienna (Austria) and SparkFun in Colorado (USA), followed by gatherings in Poland, Panama, Thailand, Japan, Ghana and more!

In total, there were 40 events in 14 different countries across five continents, showing us that the world of Open Source Hardware is expanding rapidly. But while many people in the maker community will have used some kind of Open Source Hardware technology — such as an Arduino — there is some confusion about what the term actually means.

Open Source Hardware column in Hackspace Magazine

Hardware Happy Hour announced for Omaha (USA)

Kevin Neubauer recently created CircuitBrains and wants to meet up with other electronics hobbyists in Omaha (in the USA):

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Hardware Happy Hour (3H) Omaha

Omaha, NE
5 Members

The purpose of this group is to get Omaha hardware hackers together for routine idea sharing, feedback, show & tell, and socialization (you all know you need to get away from …

Check out this Meetup Group →

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Did you know there are Hardware Happy Hours in many cities?

Hardware Happy Hour (3H) Seattle

Seattle, WA
779 Members

Sometimes the formality of meetups is too much. This group exists to socialize and show off your latest piece of hardware. If it’s a simple Arduino based thingamabob or your c…

Next Meetup

Seattle Hardware Happy Hour January!

Thursday, Jan 2, 2020, 7:00 PM
9 Attending

Check out this Meetup Group →

Hardware Happy Hour (3H) Berlin

Berlin, DE
199 Hackers

[EN] Sometimes the formality of meetups is too much. This group exists to socialize and show off your latest piece of hardware. If it’s a simple Arduino based thingamabob or y…

Check out this Meetup Group →

Hardware Happy Hour (3H) Chicago

Chicago, IL
664 Members

Sometimes the formality of meetups is too much. This group exists to socialize and show off your latest piece of hardware. If it’s a simple Arduino based thingamabob or your c…

Check out this Meetup Group →

Hardware Happy Hour (3H) SF

San Francisco, CA
327 Members

Sometimes the formality of meetups is too much. This group exists to socialize and show off your latest piece of hardware. If it’s a simple Arduino based thingamabob or your c…

Next Meetup

December Hardware Happy Hour (3H) SF!

Thursday, Dec 19, 2019, 6:30 PM
25 Attending

Check out this Meetup Group →

Hardware Happy Hour (3H) Phoenix

Tempe, AZ
192 Members

Sometimes the formality of meetups is too much. This group exists to socialize and show off your latest piece of hardware. If it’s a simple Arduino based thingamabob or your c…

Check out this Meetup Group →

Chris Gammell tries to keep a list of all the 3H meetups, so feel free to ask on Twitter.

Hardware Happy Hour announced for Omaha (USA)

Weird World of Microwaves Hack Chat

Join us on Wednesday, December 18 at noon Pacific for the Weird World of Microwaves Hack Chat with Shahriar Shahramian! We’ve been following him on The Signal Path for years and are excited to pick his brain on what is often considered one of the dark arts of electronics.

No matter how much you learn about electronics, there always seems to be another door to open. You think you know a thing or two once you learn about basic circuits, and then you discover RF circuits. Things start to get a little strange there, and stranger still as the wavelengths decrease and you start getting into the microwave bands. That’s where you see feed lines become waveguides, PCB traces act as components, and antennas that look more like musical instruments.

via Weird World of Microwaves Hack Chat — Hackaday

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CircuitPython in a small factor with CircuitBrains Deluxe

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Kevin Neubauer has designed a System-on-Module (SoM) to make it easy to embed Circuit Python in project:

CircuitBrains Deluxe

I love Adafruit’s CircuitPython product line. The ability to just plug your board into USB, make code changes, and see them take effect in real-time is amazing. However, when it comes to finishing up a CircuitPython project, I felt limited in choice for a small form-factor, streamlined board. I always ended up creating my own boards. The overhead in doing this was huge though. You have to make sure your design has proper power, decoupling, and clock. Then you source all of the parts. After that you lay out the PCB and have it fabricated. When the PCB and parts arrive, you have to deal with finicky small-pitch surface mount assembly. Finally, you need to download the sources for the UF2 bootloader and CircuitPython and define your board, compile, and flash. This makes what should be a small project pretty time consuming and tedious!

Goals:

  1. Reduce barriers to entry for custom CircuitPython-based boards & badges
  2. Package CircuitPython into a small form-factor module that will add minimal dimensions to a parent project

Specs:

  1. Dimensions: 29 x 29 x 3.5 millimeters / 1.15 x 1.15 x 0.15 inches
  2. Atmel ATSAMD51J19A Microcontroller (32-bit ARM Cortex M4)
    • 120 MHz
    • 192 KB SRAM
    • 512 KB Flash
  3. 8 MB SPI Flash
  4. Onboard 3.3V LDO Regulator
  5. Power and Status LEDs
  6. Breakouts for SPI and I2C
  7. Breakouts for 14 Analog and 19 Digital Inputs/Outputs

Links: https://github.com/neubauek/CircuitBrains

CircuitPython in a small factor with CircuitBrains Deluxe

Time lapse build of Retro CPC Dongle

So the next build of the CPC2 is done. I recorded the process with a time-lapse camera because it’s hard to make a 7 hour build entertaining. Each second of video is 30 seconds of assembly time, so this 7-hour build ended up at 7m19s of timelapse, after cutting out the cursing and head-scratching. See if you can spot my hands start to shake at the 2-hour mark of trying to precisely place the sub-millimetre components and enjoy.

via Retro CPC Dongle – Part 41 — Intelligent Toasters

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Open Hardware Summit: Ada Lovelace Fellowship deadline Dec. 15th

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Want to attend the Open Hardware Summit in New York City on March 13th?

The application deadline for the Ada Lovelace Fellowship is Sunday, December 15th. Apply Here!

The Ada Lovelace Fellowship was founded in 2013 prior to the annual Open Hardware Summit at MIT by Summit Chair Addie Wagenknecht and OSHWA Director Alicia Gibb as a way to encourage women,  LGTBQ+ and/or other minorities in open technology and culture to actively participate and foster a more diverse community within open source.

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For the sixth year, we are excited to offer up to ten Open Hardware Fellowships to members of the community which includes a $500 travel stipend and entrance to the Open Hardware Summit.

By offering the annual travel and summit conference assistance to community members,  the Open Source Hardware Association hopes we as a community can encourage more women, LGBTQA+ and/or people of color to participate in open source. We have many strong leaders and speakers in our field and we personally want to continue the trend upward.

Open Hardware Summit: Ada Lovelace Fellowship deadline Dec. 15th

Applied Ion Systems: Open-Source Satellite Propulsion

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Applied Ion Systems is leading development in the world’s first and only open-source home-based advanced electric propulsion program!

The Hackaday hackchat this week covered this exciting project:

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Michael Bretti is on the leading edge of the trend toward making satellites more DIY friendly. He formed Applied Ion Systems to address one of the main problems nano-satellites face: propulsion. He is currently working on a range of open-source plasma thrusters that can help keep nano-satellites on station and in orbit longer, and someday you’ll be able to buy them off the shelf like any other component.

In this week’s Hack Chat, we’ll discuss the design of plasma thrusters, the details of Michael’s latest testing, and the challenges of creating something that needs to work in space.

Follow them on Twitter for more exciting news!

Applied Ion Systems: Open-Source Satellite Propulsion