MacroCASE- A DIY phone case to see, up close !

A detailed build procedure of this is already posted on Instructables

Last night while I was soldering a TSSOP Package on a home-etched board, i found it really difficult to see the joints whether they had soldered fine or whether i had a healthy track? I used my eye-loupe to see up close.The idea of using eye-loupe was initially introduced to my while my time at CEPD,NSIT .Ah! That was a beautiful solder joint. Something worth saving and sharing. So, I just held the loupe in front of the phone to click a picture and save it. I figured this could be useful in taking macroshots too.
umm.. Like this bajra seed

Bajra Grain under my #MacroCase ! #Macro #Photography #Lumia #Nokia #DIY

A photo posted by Rohit Gupta (@rohit7gupta) on Feb 2, 2015 at 5:28am PST

or this brush

Results of my #own #Macro #Lens #Setup for #Phones ! These are bristles of a Brush ! #DIY #Optics #PhoneMods #Lumia

A photo posted by Rohit Gupta (@rohit7gupta) on Jan 26, 2015 at 1:02am PST

These instances started to occour more frequently. You know the feeling when you figure out that one Juggad has solved a problem and you keep on using it again and again. Sometimes, even when not quite necessary (But for fun!)

So, why not combine the phone and this eye-loupe (sadly but aptly broken due to its relocation from Delhi) and make something permanent and then the MACROCase was made and it gave purpose to that ready to throw back cover that i just made useful.

You wont need much stuff to make it, just almost everything in the picture below is enough.

Building is not very difficult (See this Instructable). I also added a LED to precisely illuminate the scene just in case we went up too close. An assorted SMD switch was added near the camera button (Yes some Lumias have it :P). The whole wiring was done using copper tape. One can also use the wires. I preffered them as they are just stick.

And there I have my own modded phone case that helps me take nice pictures of the smaller things in life and help me pick numbers of those small components like resistors and chips.

This is how a SOIC looks like:

Stay tuned for an upcoming tutorial series on umm.. Lets keep it a secret till then. ! Until next time, (as John Green says) , Dont Forget to be awesome!

Cheers,

Rohit

Advertisements

Kindify: Making PDFs readable on the @Amazon Kindle

Probably YOU too bought the kindle to read those pdfs that you having been stashing in your hard drive and wondering when you will get to read them. YOU too considered it would be fantastic to read them, a single device for only books. Consider this no calumny to the device. But PDFs are seriously not its cup of tea. Mercurial, YOU might be seeing the way the PDF is rendered on the crisp screen. All those toggling and finger gymnastics to get to the line. Dah! I too didn’t seem comfortable.

Next came the fever of converting them to funny formats like .mobi etc that made a nicely indented book look like a unorganised vomit of words.

I tried assiduously to somehow read and lost interest until I stumbled upon a slick python library pyPDF while solving a problem with printing PDFs.

Clip the borders and Light you shall see !

Kindle does automatically clip borders but it retains the primordial page number which limits the usability and since, it also indexes the page number anyway, even if I remove it using some python script it wont hurt.

So, This is what kindify does. Its a command line python utility that simply takes the pdf you intent to read and returns a PDF with the same name but -kindified appended to its file name to be read on the Kindle.

The only dependency is pyPDF .

Install PyPDF using pip :
pip install pypdf

Now clone the github repository:

git clone https://github.com/IndianTinker/kindify.git

Now, paste the PDF in the kindify directory and run the command:

python kindify.py yourPdfName.pdf

An interactive menu will pop up with list of some famous book houses that have predefined cropping parameters. You can always choose the custom one to suit your needs or edit the predefined ones to suit your needs.

Lets see the magic in this sample from Orielly.
Before the script the PDF renders as follows:

Pre Script

And after the script

Post Script

There is a difference between the two images. Clearly the second one is a bit more clear.
So, yet again Python saves the day!

Cheers!

Rohit

Noobs Guide to Pune Relocation !

It has almost been 8 months since i moved to Pune for Work from my hometown Delhi . Pune has a comparably benevolent weather as compared to Delhi. Summers are sweeter and so are winters. People of the city are great. They are quite helpful and humble. The city’s older areas have stark resemblance to Old Delhi and has lots of nice Forts, Temples, Museums and best of all eateries. Language is not a major issue as Marathi is somewhat similar to Hindi and most people understand Hindi but prefer to talk in Marathi. Changla !

I am writing is post mostly in a log format and will keep adding information as an when I get more.

If google sent you here, then probably you too are interested/moving to Pune soon.I hope you find the information useful. The post is divided into several important sections that will be updated from time to time. Lots of unorganized info to follow so lets get started:

Shelter

This section deals with housing related things

  • If you are coming here for an IT company, most of them are concentrated in Hinjewadi and Wakad side of Pune, which geographically comes under Pimpri Chinchwad city of Pune Metropolitan Region. Then most popular housing locations will be Wakad, Hinjewadi, Vishal Nagar(Jagtap Dairy), Pimple Saudagar and Pimple Gurav.
  • Before you hit the land, searching for houses/flats , take note of the relocation policy of your company and make sure brokerage is covered.
  • Choose room-mates wisely. Initial judgements can be pretentious. You would certainly like to live with people on the same frequency as your’ s else, things could go wary.
  • Prefer searching online on sites like Housing.com, MagicBricks etc first and prefer ones that are listed by Owners themselves to avoid steep brokerage , which is usually 1 month rent for 11 months agreement and 2 months rent for more than 11 months.
  • Most societies have a board Beware of Dogs right below a board that says Bachelors Not Allowed that pretty much sets their priorities straight. Dont go looking for flats in them.
  • Prefer on pakka agreement which requires you to go to the municipality office against a Notary Agreement. This depends on the landlord entirely. A pakka agreement is useful when you wish to own a vehicle in Pune where a notorized one bites the dust.
  • In case you need furniture, the market has a rental based system. You can buy cheap and flimsy furniture and once you leave you can return it for 50-60% its value. Mattresses are also available for cheap.
  • Some flats come with a furnished status but are usually 10k more than normal. If you plan to stay about 11 months then evaluate the economics. 10k* 11 = 1,11,000 INR. So, if the facilities are worth that even after depreciation. Go for it! else negotiate.
  • Chalk out a Room Mate Agreement like Sheldon ! It helps in long run.
  • D Mart is the best place to shop here.

Transportation

This section deals with Transportation related things

Expect Nothing

  • The city’s transport is abysmal and has been so since ages. The Pune City is a bit better but PCMC is worse. Its like Noida of Pune. Auto walla’s make money on your sufferings.Prefer Ola Cabs !
  • You wont get a direct bus quite often. That was pretty irritating initially until i met Mr. Chaturvedi on the Rakshak Chowk Bus Stop one day. He his golden words were: “Only a few buses go to your destination directly, but many go that way !” Saying so he boarded his bus to Vishrantwadi leaving me with ideas ! So, the trick is use Here Transit to find buses that go in the direction you want and board them and deboard at the point they divert from your path and then reboard. So, if you want to go to FC Road. Take a bus for PMC/Station and use the above algo.
  • Get a 2 wheeler (I don’t have one though) ! OLX is great place to find or go to Rasta Peth for second hand stuff. Again you have to pay more to the brokers here, and a notorized agreement wont work !
  • There is also a local train service in Pune but is not preferred unless you wish to travel out of the city like going to Lonavala or Malavali etc.
  • If you wish to go to Mumbai ! Trust only Shivneri , Neeta has a terrible service everywhere and even to Ahemadabad (Been there Done that). You can also take shared cabs from Chinchwad Station. They charge about 200 – 250 bucks based on demand.

Food

This section deals with Food related things

  • Everything is awesome! There are lot of options here. Dosa’s and Vada Pao’s are like staple street foods. The Standard Price for Vada Pao is 10 bucks and Dosa is 20- 30 bucks .
  • There are lot of good places in the city. Try GoodLuck Cafe’s Fruit Fanny,La Plaisir Patisserie & Bistro’s Chesse Cake, Garden Vada Pao , Marz-o-rin’s Sandwiches, Durvankur’s Thali or Sabutdana Wadi at Shaniwar Wada. Check Zomato for more listings. There is a Burger King as well in Koregaon Park where you get gross burgers and the infamous German Bakery is there too, near Osho Ashram
  • You can’t get on eating from these restaurants on daily basis so, for usual days you can either hire a cook. There is no dearth of them and they charge around 600-700 per head.
  • If cook is too much of a pain, go get a dabbawalla . He serves hot food in a tiffin at a reasonable price. Do ping me in the comments if you need any contacts. I have tried about 4 of them 😛

Internet

This section deals with Connectivity related things

  • Internet Broadband service is a booming business here and there are tons and tons of them. To name a few Spectranet, iConnect, Reliance, Tikona, Tata Docomo, Airtel etc.
  • Tikona is Ok and there are several breakdowns, but customer service is good.
  • Docomo is great but limited to certain societies only.
  • Reliance s*#ks as usual ! No support and useless Helplines, but its the cheapest.
  • iConnect and Sprectranet are good too but again limited to some societies.
  • As far as cellular connectivity is concerned. Voda>Idea>Airtel>Docomo

POIs

This section deals with Places to roam around

  • Shaniwar Wada
  • Dagdu Shet Ganpati Temple
  • Raja Dinakar Museum
  • Lonavala
  • Karla Caves , Malavali
  • Sinhagad Fort
  • Bike ride through Pashan Area
  • will add more as i visit

Hope people find this useful!

Cheers !!

Rohit

Nokia 5110 GLCD and our friendly MSP430

Originally Posted Here

I had this Nokia LCD i picked up a while back. It is perfect when you want to play with graphics on a tiny lcd that comes from the good old days of Nokia’s Monochome days. Several might have spent days playing space invaders/snakes etc.

The time came when I was bored in my hotel room and I had it in my parts bin which i was carrying while moving from Delhi to Pune.

The LCD used a Phillips PCD 8544 Driver which communicates on SPI.The voltage levels are 2.7-3.3V happy for our MSP430.

NYC has a pretty nice explanation on how it works and how to play with it with MSP430 over on his blog

For TL:DR;

The LCD has the following pins to interface to:

Pin Number Pin Label Pin Function Input/Output? Notes
1 VCC Positive power supply Input Supply range is between 2.7V and 3.3V
2 GND Ground Input
3 SCE Chip select Input Active low
4 RST Reset Input Active low
5 D/C Mode select Input Select between command mode (low) and data mode (high).
6 DN(MOSI) Serial data in Input
7 SCLK Serial clock Input
8 LED LED backlight supply Input Maximum voltage supply is 3.3V.

The display is divided into 6 horizontal bands of 8 bits each (48) and 84 columns .

At a time you write to a single bank.

And you can continue to update only a single bank just in case you have dynamic data in that particular bank.

The communication is done using SPI.

The code that i used is based on RobG’s post.

It displays the temperature (from the internal sensor ofcourse!) and some static text

Connections are as follows(PORT1):

  • LCD5110_SCLK_PIN- BIT5
  • LCD5110_DN_PIN- BIT7
  • LCD5110_SCE_PIN- BIT0
  • LCD5110_DC_PIN- BIT1

WP_20140803_19_27_04_Pro
Code is available here on as a gist .

When u are #Bored in a #Hotel room, Its time to #play with new #Hardware #MSP430 #DIY #Pune

Just incase you need to play more with graphics see this cool post by Sparkfun

If you have any difficulties post here in comments.

Fiddle – The DIYed Music System

Originally Posted here

Zu ZU ZU ZU ZU UUUU ..BR.BR.CHIK Thats how my old ‘Phillips All in One’ failed a couple of weeks back. It was a pretty archaic piece. All it could do was play Cassettes, Do Radio, Had an Aux In and offcourse the marketed CD Player with a segmented Display. But today most of the music is digital and hence Upgrade was necessary.

I was planning to buy one and browsing the estores but then then Makers Dilemma struck me.

Why Buy? When it can be Built!

And alas! I was fiddling with microcontrollers and SD Cards to make one. But couldnt get to the level i wanted. I wanted one that could:

  • Play MP3s
  • Radio
  • Aux -IN
  • Take SD Cards
  • Remotes will be good too.

Fitting such things in a project would rather be heavenly. I searched online for references and You have it boy! there is one ready to amplify (supply) module from our friends in China that does it all . See this . I had seen this in a Taxi (less formally called Gramin Seva) while commuting to college once, which made me realise that this would certainly be available in India. The next day i was in the market looking for it and I did source it for about 9 $ (INR 500 ) Now all i need to do is :

  1. Decipher the connections
  2. Build a power supply and Amplifier
  3. Find/Repurpose/Build a 2-Component (1-Woof and 1-Tweeter) speaker box
  4. Modify the box to fit all in
  5. Enjoy

Connections were pretty easy as the silkscreen had some references. It basically needs a 5V DC supply that’s the two pin connected on the left for and give stereo output using the 3 of 4 connectors on right (Right, Left and GND) and the last one is for the FM Antenna The Landscape The next part was testing if i will see the blue smoke of death as sometimes they can mess up with silkscreens too. FingersCrossed It worked fine and i was playing things off the USB straight away! USB Reading Now, the power supply and Amplifier. I used the omnipresent 7805 Regulator that could power the module easily as i estimated the current requirements to be around 250-300mA . The supply was going to be 12VDC due to the Amp i was building and hence, a heat sink was necessary. The Amp was build out of ST’s TDA2030 which is a 14W,voltage friendly, High Fidelity (Correct Portrayl of sound without much loss in clarity), Class AB , Mono Amplifier. The Application circuit works charm. So, i assembled them on a single perfboard and was short of one heat sink. I now had to decide. Who needs the heat sink badly? Demo runs showed TDA2030 needs it badly. Now using some thermal glue and nuts and bolts i screwed the heatsink to the TDA2030 and made a makeshift heat sink for 7805 Ortho View Circuit -Front Circuit- Back I heard a strange buzz sometimes in the background which was because of some filtering issues. Adding a snubber (filter) for AC frequencies (50Hz) that was almost gone. Used the 10k and 0.1uF combination. I had an Old but dis functional Column 2 component speaker, we had bought probably 12 years down the line. It was the ideal candidate for the purpose. Now opening and digging i found phenolic pcb with broken and corroded traces. I reworked them and the Woofer was working . (Oh! Yeah) Look at that Woofer I planned to fit the circuit inside the speaker box itself. For that i had to cut a small square pocket in the body for the module to peep out and the other electronics would be inside it. This was a bit more difficult than anticipated. After 2 hours and 2 broken saw blades , I was able to do this. The 2 hour , 2 broken blades cut Now it was assembling time. All Messed up After a few half hours, i got it all working.. No Buzz and all music! Charm Cheers! Rohit

#NowShipping- Micro Adjustable Breadboard Supply V2

Ahh! I am back ! I have been travelling a lot and quenching the inner travel monster in me. According to my calculations largely based on GPS i have done 6444kms in the span of 8 days this month. That an average of 800kms per day. I covered states from Tamil Nadu in the south to Jammu and Kashmir in the north. The travel bug is now on a hangover of sorts ! Quite a while back, i made an adjustable, tiny-form-factor,no space wasting supply as you can see here . I really loved that project and went on to make it a bit better. Since, i wanted to keep that form factor intact. I went on and invested in getting the PCB made professionally. It turned out great! I added the two things to enhance usability :

  1. Ability to measure current on the fly without messing( Ah! Argentina..:/ ) with  whats connected to the supply.
  2. Provided some pads on which you can use a multimeter to set voltage without poking into the breadboard.

Here is the final board and the kit-assembly sequence.

Kit Contents

Kit Contents

A diode on the bottom! Do'nt worry it sticks out and doesnt hinder!

A diode on the bottom! Do’nt worry it sticks out and doesnt hinder!

Pads to measure voltage! The Headers poke into the power rail on the breadboard!

Pads to measure output voltage!
The Headers poke into the power rail on the breadboard!

Supports standard DC jack with polarity protection

Supports standard DC jack with polarity protection

The pink jumper can actually be removed and an ammeter can be connected to measure current!

The pink jumper can actually be removed and an ammeter can be connected to measure current!

The completed board

The completed board

Aligning the regulator with the silkscreen

Aligning the regulator with the silkscreen

Heat Sink

Heat Sink

Heat Sink Compound

Heat Sink Compound

Just in-case anyone is interested ! I am providing a DIY kit around it that is available here. Free Shipping(India Only)Yeah! Only additional tools required are just nippers( micro-shear)/cutters and soldering iron+solder. Cheers, Rohit

The Small Solution to the BreadBoard Power Problem

We all use breadboards for prototyping. We all use DC Adapters to add power to them. But i used to do this by simply taping the wires to the DC Jack and then use it on the breadboard. This was always loose and clumsy and i always has to find out the polarity as some manufacturers are smart to not ground the outer shell. I even blew an IC this way once, when it was taken for granted. Some manufacturers do keep the outer part (shell) as positive while ‘most’ keep it negative!

Duh!

So, I found out a better way to make breadboards compatible with DC jacks and polarity issues. This is small board with headers that plug into the breadboard. It has a diode to make sure nothing flows reverse and a small 0.1uF cap to provide some rudimentary decoupling.

I quickly designed the board,etched it and filed it to shape.

Board design

Board design

Schematic

Schematic

Before the bath

Before the bath

On the breadboard

On the breadboard

And Tada! I have one little board that has ‘inherited’ two worries ! Two things of the “To-Worry-about” list 😀
This shall end the biggest #issues while using #breadboards #DCJacks and #PolarityCheers!