Virtual Dorkbot PDX on Monday, May 4th

Exciting news!  Dorkbot PDX will be moving to cyberspace and everyone can now join in:
Screenshot from 2020-04-30 13-53-06

Virtual Dorkbot Meetup

Part virtual hackathon, part virtual geek social, these virtual biweekly meetings are a time for you to virtually join others for insight, inspiration or just insanity.

Bring your virtual toys for others to see, or log on to see what others have been painstakingly chipping away at in their spare time.

Whether it’s code or chips, hacking of all sorts is encouraged. But we also like to hear your crazy ideas, so please come join us online and bring your willingness to share your brilliance.

p.s. This event is open to everyone, dork or robot. No ^H membership is required to attend. All are welcome. That means you!

We’re meeting on jit.si as well as mozilla hubs, link here: https://kik.to/HY

Virtual Dorkbot Meetup

Monday, May 4, 2020, 7:00 PM

Online event
,

3 Hackers Attending

Part virtual hackathon, part virtual geek social, these virtual biweekly meetings are a time for you to virtually join others for insight, inspiration or just insanity. Bring your virtual toys for others to see, or log on to see what others have been painstakingly chipping away at in their spare time. Whether it’s code or chips, hacking of all sort…

Check out this Meetup →

 

Virtual Dorkbot PDX on Monday, May 4th

Debugging Electronics: To Know Why It Didn’t Work, First Find What It Is Actually Doing

Congratulations, you have just finished assembling your electronics project. After checking for obvious problems you apply power and… it didn’t do what you wanted. They almost never work on the first try, and thus we step into the world of electronics debugging with Daniel Samarin as our guide at Hackaday Superconference 2019. The newly published talk video embedded below.

Beginners venturing just beyond blinking LEDs and premade kits would benefit the most from information here, but there are tidbits useful for more experienced veterans as well. The emphasis is on understanding what is actually happening inside the circuit, which explains the title of the talk: Debugging Electronics: You Can’t Handle the Ground Truth! So we can compare observed behavior against designed intent. Without an accurate understanding, any attempted fix is doomed to failure.

To be come really good at this, you need to embrace the tools that are often found on a well stocked electronics bench. Daniel dives into the tricks of the trade that transcend printf and blinking LED to form a plan to approach any debugging task.

via Debugging Electronics: To Know Why It Didn’t Work, First Find What It Is Actually Doing — Hackaday

 

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Low-cost Amateur Radio SDR Receiver

writes on the Tindie blog about a DSP-based radio that can receive SSB:

DSP_radio_featured

Low-cost Amateur Radio SDR Receiver

As an amateur radio operator, I am always keeping an eye out for cool new radio-related things to tinker with. Hams have a long tradition of building and designing their own radios, and it’s great to see this still happening in the digital era. This DSP-based radio can receive SSB (single sideband) over almost the entire amateur HF band. This band spans from 1.9 MHz (also called 160 meters) all the way up to 28 MHz (10 meters) and everything in between.

This is a great radio for portable use. Paired with a small CW (continuous wave, the mode used for Morse code) transmitter, it would make a great QRP set for those who love low-power Morse communication. Bandwidth can be adjusted from 500Hz to 4kHz, which is perfect for CW as well as digital modes. The designer specifically designed it to be used with the extremely popular new digital mode FT-8, and it indeed fits the specifications very well. It could also be used for many other digital modes, including PSK, RTTY, JT65, and many more! The audio output can be wired directly into any PC — even a Raspberry Pi — to enable digital reception modes.

Low-cost Amateur Radio SDR Receiver

New CERN Open Source Hardware Licenses Mark A Major Step Forward

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Blog post by OSHWA president, Michael Weinberg (@mweinberg2D), about the new CERN licenses:

New CERN Open Source Hardware Licenses Mark A Major Step Forward

Earlier this month CERN (yes, that CERN) announced version 2.0 of their open hardware licenses (announcement and additional context from them). Version 2.0 of the license comes in three flavors of permissiveness and marks a major step forward in open source hardware (OSHW) licensing. It is the result of seven (!) years of work by a team lead by Myriam AyassAndrew Katz, and Javier Serrano. Before getting to what these licenses are doing, this post will provide some background on why open source hardware licensing is so complicated in the first place.

 

New CERN Open Source Hardware Licenses Mark A Major Step Forward

KiCad Development Highlight: Altium PCB Importer

Exciting news from the KiCad blog:

import-non-kicad

Altium PCB Importer

As a preview of a feature coming in the next major release, the ability to import Altium PcbDoc files is now available in the latest nightly builds. This was thanks to the work of Thomas Pointhuber in MR#60

The board import option can be found under the File > Import Non-Kicad Board File option and changing the file type filter

import-non-kicad-filter

 

After selecting your PcbDoc file and a short delay. Pcbnew will display it’s best attempt at a import and provide warnings if it had any difficulties importing the file.

import-non-kicad-pcbdoc-complete

If you want to give the board import a spin, simply download the latest KiCad nightly and take it for a spin. Feel free to report any issues.

Both this feature and nightly builds are in development, please only use them for testing and experimentation

KiCad Development Highlight: Altium PCB Importer

Project ideas for the CircuitBrains Deluxe

In this Crowd Supply update, Kevin Neubauer describes project ideas for the CircuitBrains Deluxe:

Project ideas for the CircuitBrains Deluxe

Here is a handy list of project ideas that CircuitBrains could be used in:

  • Attach some sensors and make an environmental monitor
  • Home automation sensor brains
  • Hook it into some stepper drivers and move some motors
  • Add an antenna circuit and use it to send or receive RF data
  • Do some 3D printing around CircuitBrains and a servo to dispense hand sanitizer
  • Use the DAC on it to produce some sound through an amplifier
  • Build a reflow oven with a PID and a solid state relay
  • Attach it to a computer and use it as a HID device
  • Attach a couple buttons and a display and make a scoreboard for a game
  • Make an electronic badge
  • Make a digital alarm clock
  • Build a quirky random number generator
  • Add a GPS breakout and capture positioning data
  • Add a display and a couple of buttons and make a retro game system
  • Add a liquid flow meter, hook it onto a sink or toilet and record how much water you use
The board is a tiny, CircuitPython-compatible ARM Cortex-M4 module:
Screenshot from 2020-04-09 12-47-51

 

Project ideas for the CircuitBrains Deluxe

Intro to Python scripting in KiCad

Great introduction to Python scripting in KiCad from Maciej ‘Orson’ Suminski:

“The Python Whisperer Guide”

The Python scripting interface in KiCad is a powerful tool that can relieve you from repetitive and tedious tasks. It is also a great method to address issues that are specific to your workflow and are not likely to be solved in the upstream code. In this talk, I will show you how to start your scripting adventure with KiCad by explaining the principles of python scripting and exploring a few examples. Do not be afraid…pythons are not venomous.

Screenshot from 2020-04-20 16-55-50Slides are available:

Screenshot from 2020-04-24 12-22-27

Intro to Python scripting in KiCad