Mozilla Maker Party Pune- Oh Yeah!

CAUTION:This post might sound different. Writing gears need some oiling.

I have moved to pune for work now and exploring the city has always been on my top agenda.  Pune has always been a happening city of makers. Mumbai is close-by and easily commutable. There are a lot of DIY/Maker start-ups here too and who doesnt know about IOTPune/DooThings. [A more detailed city review sometime later]

Bored one night,thinking how to spend the weekend more constructively, i started to scroll through the meetups around my place on weekend. The main priority was “Distance” . People living in Pune can relate. The city transportation is awful and a thread is always running in mind querying, “Dude! Will be able to walk back? ”

Thankfully, I noticed Mozilla is organizing a big event near my place and there is no better way to spend the weekend. After visiting, MakerFest last year, I have really started to like these events.Anool(Sir) from MakersAsylum/Wyolum was coming with his team and so was IOTPune and so was Mark Surman from Mozilla and so were many others.

I stared to plan how to go at Symbiosis Centre for Computer Research, Here Transit comes to the rescue and i boarded the bus and got down at a nearby bus stop. Initial (rather first day) experience has taught me that we should have “Say No to Autos” banner erected everywhere in the city. This is more important than Polybag Awareness etc. if thought in a more citizen centric way. [Weekly, Auto Rant Ends.Stay tuned for more]. I walked another 800m and there i was at the venue.

I entered the gate of the college. I was asked my credentials to check, if i registered. I had , so i went to see the workshops as they were listed on the website. I carried my OpenBadge [A no brains LED Matrix badge that i made for MakerFest but could’nt debug it completely] and some other projects too just in case someone like-minded crossed. Swag!
OpenBadge

I went straight to the main hall and found it jam packed. So, i gave it a pass and went on visiting the booths. There were pretty interesting things showcased. Let start the Booth WATCH:

Makers Asylum was present with all guns blazing.

Banners
The Word Clock was at display.
Word Clock

Samarth from Melting Mints who works with the Makers Asylum showed some mind blowing applications of 3D Printing. This is a human skull printed from a scan.
3D Printed real scan

A 3D Printed Jet Engine for educative purposes.
3D Printed Jet Engine

A 3D printed Music Instrument and a Car that is so awesomely finished.
Does 3D Printing sound good?

When asked if he can print custom parts and more specifically 3D Printer parts. He said, Why not? Plus he does it economically too for students willing to start printing.

The Pipe Lamp
The #PipeLamp by @makersasylum at @Mozilla #MakerParty #Pune #India #MakerWeekend #Makers #DIY

They also had a few 3D pens for visitors to play with.
3Doodling at @mozilla #MakerParty #Pune at #MakersAsylum Stall ! #Event #Makers #Meetup

I managed to build this cube. Tch!
3Doodled Cube

In the next booth, An interesting thing was up for display. A Smartphone and a DSLR ? Connect the dots and you get the triggertrap.
It translates the audio out from a SmartPhone into DSLR jack signals to do interesting stuff. Intervalometers, Event activated clicks.. You say it and app does it all.

Trigger Trap

Trigger Trap Device

I even saw a PrintrBot METAL at Maker Party by Reed Robotics. It was smoooooth.
#ReedRobotics showcasing their #PrintrBotMetal at @mozilla #MakerParty in #Pune ! #3Dprinting #Maker #DIY #Wow

Ant Farm Robotics showcased their tiny WSN nodes that last for months on 2 AAs. The tiny ATTinY Runs a full blown RTOS and uses a TI Radio (RF2500/CC1100) to do the wireless part.
A #Tiny #Node of a #WSN that can have tons of uses showcased by #Antfarm #Robotics at @mozilla #MakerParty in #Pune #India The node uses at #AVR #Atiny micro with a #TI radio. Surprisingly the ATtiny runs a #RTOS that does all the #processing. #ConnectedI

Navstick were showcasing their next generation Autonomous navigation systems that can be used in Quads, RC Planes and IGVs etc.

A Quad with Navstick installed.
Quads

A RTF Bixler that too supports NavStick
Bixler?

They use a GoPro for Aerial Photography. Kewl!
Go Pro

A part of Navstick Hardware Family. Built in India
Navstick

On the way to the second floor, I met Nishant Modak of IOT Pune.He too is(was) suffering from HP Laptop Syndrome and we talked a bit about his Makerspace in Pune called DoThings. He is doing a Pan America trip visiting MakerFaires with his team.
With Nishant Modak of IOT Pune

They have developed an awesome BLE Arduino Board that does great things. Its called Tah! They also have a campaign running on crowd supply. Get yours now!

Its #Arduino. Its #BLE and the best part its #Proudly #MadeInIndia ! Get the latest #Tah from @anujdeshpande , @nishantmodak and Team  Support their #Crowdsourcing #Campaign https://www.crowdsupply.com/revealing-hour/tah-open-ble-arduino-board #Wow

He accompanied me to their booth where Anuj was giving a talk about Tah!
@anujdeshpande giving a #Talk on #InternetOfThings at @mozilla #MakerParty in #Pune #India

They do great things at their MakerSpace which is verrrrry far from my place(Remember the thread). I saw an Intel Galileo which they had brought.
Yes! Its Intel Galileo-Top

Yes! Its Intel Galileo-Bottom

It was time to go. As i traveled back, I thought of various things like Autowalas, 3D Printing , Makerfaires and of course Food.

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

CoffeeBreak Tutorial #3:The Easy Peasy Stepper Driver/Stepper Motor Test Circuit

 

Stepper motors are quite widely used for CNCs/3D Printers or other Electromechanical hacks like the polar plotter etc. ! There is as always a constant need to run the motor to check whether its aligned properly or not? Does the flex coupling has any issues? Is the driver dead or alive and the best one- whether the current setting is fine to generate enough torque to hold or move the lead screw.

Pestered by the same above questions i wanted to build my own driver/motor tester overnight and it ‘must’ be microcontroller-less since there is no actual use of a controller here! I stumbled open this awesome project that i saw on Hack-A-Day.

It uses an ATiny AVR microcontroller which is (no offence to the author) an over-kill as most modern stepper drivers like the ones from polulu  need just two signal i.e STEP and DIR.

A pulse on step pin will initiate a step to the internal indexer that handles what coil has to be energized based on the sequence and micro-stepping settings, while the DIR is a level signal whose level decides whether the internal indexer of the driver counts up or down!

So, only two inputs i.e Pulsed input for STEP and level input for DIR. This can be achieved using the 555 timer in the astable mode. The Output of 555 i.e pin 3 will go into the step pin and the DIR pin is pulled up using a resistor and it is also connected to ground via switch.

This gets the job done! We can also have a POT to vary the frequency since some motors dont respond to faster pulses due to rotor inertia.The driver i am using is based on DRV8825 from TI. It is slightly wider than the polulu one. (You might call me a TI fan boy 🙂 )

With the designing almost final , I grabbed a piece of perfboard since, i didnt had the time to etch the board.

The circuit is as follows:

final

It has two power inputs 12v, 5v and a common ground, all of which are sourced from an ATX! The circuit itself is pretty simple.

The final build on a 8mm perfboard is shown below.

perfboard1

PERF

I chose to use a SMD 0603 10K resistor between pin 8 and 7 to reduce the space and connected 104 (0.1uF) Ceramic caps as shown. The switch is a 10xx and the capacitor is required at the input of stepper driver to reduce supply dips when it draws current. I have used female headers for the motor since most motors come with a connector that can be easily wired up with a single strand wire. I used the Power Terminal connectors for the main 12V Driver supply as the driver is rated for 2.5A which is too high for the usual jumper cables !

top and bottom
 

TIP: If you are using the non-tinned/less tinned headers that have been lying around in the component box for a while, make sure to rub the connectors using sandpaper to remove corrosion residue on the contacts else it might seem soldered but it wont actually be soldered. Also you may use some extra flux.

Video:

Cheers !

Rohit Gupta

EventReport: Renesas GR Sakura Competition India

Today, I got a chance to present my project at the finals of the GR-Sakura Design Challenge in New Delhi at Radisson Blu-Dwarka. Although i did`nt win ( 😦 ) But, It was a great experience to be there and meet new fellows. I clicked some pictures of interesting projects and prototyping ways. It was great to see people use 3D printed motor mounts and extensive use of android phones in projects. One out almost every 5 projects had an android assisted interface.

The Radisson Blu Hotel, Dwarka

My Project


My Setup 😀

First one to reach!


The Stage!

Yet to start!

The Registration Desk

Exclusive Preview to Kurumi Board

Preview To Kurumi Board

Automatic Diesel Generator Control

Automatic Diesel Generator Control by Power Grid

Train collision avoidance system

A Train accident prevention system with sub-metre accuracy using GSM-GPS-GLONASS-WAD made by very senior person with about two decades of experience in designing safety systems. He also won a prize !

Farm Automation based huge project

A huge farm automation project with almost everything LabView+Android+Sakura+Servo+Panel Tracking.. and the list goes on!

IIT Bhubaneshwar used 3D printed mounts

Another Great project from IIT,Bhubaneshwar.It studies the control requirements for designing a Uni-cycle.These guys have a huge stratasys 3D printer at their college which they call RPM-Rapid Prototyping Machine. They built the mounts for the motor and pulleys using solid works and later printed them.

PLC based on Sakura

A PLC based on Sakura Board

Vibration Analysis

Another interesting project which uses accelerometer and Temperature sensors to determine whether a rotary machine follows the ISO standards!

Project Idea

I met a really interesting person at the event. Butani Sir is from Rajkot and has a very good knowledge of topics ranging from Microcontrollers ( you name any! ),Dev Boards, Aero-modelling,Graphics and Hands-On in general. He is a professor at a college in Rajkot and has a Btech,Mtech in ECE.This is his idea of a final project would look like! Cool Sketching 😀

Butani Sir and his project

Butani Sir while packing up (He too has a Chronos)!

Nice Way of Prototyping

How he did the board was real cool. Using his exp. from aero-modelling he made it almost like a shield and glued dangling components. Tip for ppl who prefer the perfboard

Intense Moments

Judging

Judging in Process

The Entire Setup for demonstration

Prize Distribution

The prize distribution

To view the entire set go here.

It was a great event.This was their first edition. If they ever plan to scale it up, they can see how TI does it in India.

Looking forward to hearing from you all!

UberCubeX4- The MSP430 based benchtop LED Cube

I recently made a led cube. It is a project i was dreaming to fiddle with for quite a while(years). I finally managed to make one. Here is the complete video of the demonstration.Its basically a 4x4x4 Led Cube with various patterns programmed into it. I made it during Diwali-The Indian Festival of lights. The entire build procedure is documented in the video.

Want to build your own?

Keep watching this place and i will bring a complete tutorial in while!

Cheers,

IndianTinker

Update:

The source code is available on github .

 

 

Unboxing Sunday: Renesas GR-Sakura Board

I recently got a cool new development board by participating in a competition by India`s premier Electronics Magazine- EFY or Electronics For You. The board is a Renesas Rx-63N microcontroller based developement board that has been coloured quite interestingly. It has a ‘PINK’ solder mask. Thats quite rare color for the solder mask. The word ‘Sakura’ means Cherry Blossom which is probably pink in color and hence the justification of pinkish tone of the board.

GR Sakura Board Box

GR Sakura Board Box

Delivered/Facilitated/Distributed by Element14

Delivered/Facilitated/Distributed by Element14

So Lets not waste any time and see what we have inside this tiny little package!

DSC06244

DSC06246

Opened! 🙂

DSC06247

The first thing you see is the getting started card with text in both English and Japanese. The box is about 2.8 X 2.4 inches and nicely done.

Here`s what the getting started slip has to say!

Plug and Play!

Plug and Play!

Hmm,Pretty straight forward! (will cover the entire process in the next post) It has been made by Wakamatsu Tsusho Co. Ltd and yeah.. Made in Japan! 😀

Here comes the angel!

Here comes the angel!

We can see the pin map and the board has an Arduino form factor. Behind we have the SakuraBoard in a bluish bag, probably ESD Proof. Some pins are 5V tolerant and are indicated in white color.

Box Contents!

Box Contents!

We  have a USB host connector for our USB needs. It hasn`t been soldered as that would make the board uneven from the bottom and hence, difficult to pack!

Here`s what the USB connector bag has to say:

DSC06259

Now lets unwrap the blue bag and meet our new Sakura Board!

Ah! Beauty..

Ah! Beauty..

DSC06253

RX63N uC @96Mhz

The ammo on board is a 32bit  RX63N 100-pin (R5F563NBDDFP) micro-controller running at 96Mhz. It has :

  1. 1 Mb Flash
  2. 128Kb RAM
  3. Tons of communication interfaces like: USB (host/function), Ether-MAC, I2C, SPI, CAN, IEBus
  4. 16 bit and 8 bit Timers and a separate WDT
  5. 12/10 bit ADC with DMA(Direct memory Access) [what it means is that data can be fetched easily from the ADC]

This was what the massive guy has inside it.

Top View:  DC Jack (5V only) USB for flashing Ethernet for communication LEDs,Regulator and Rx63N all in an arduino-like form factor

Top View:DC Jack (5V only), USB for flashing, Ethernet for communication, LEDs,Regulator and Rx63N all in an arduino-like form factor

Another View!

Another View!

Bottom View: SD Card for data storage,Un-populated XBee Connectors and tons of solder bridges to customize!

Bottom View:
SD Card for data storage,Un-populated XBee and USB Connectors and tons of solder bridges to customize!

This is probably the prettiest board i have seen.The pads,holes and vias are done very beautifully in ENIG to make them last long. There are mounting holes at same spots as Arduino Duemolive. The R5F563NBDDFP controller is in the LQFP form and probably machine soldered.

On board we have tons of features and the best part is that most of the board is Arduino Compatible not only in Hardware and well as software, this means you can use Arduino type IDE for Sakura Board too, better its web based ( will talk about it in  the next post) and most of the arduino shields are compatible. Thats the WoW Factor!

Lets see what the board real estate looks like:

▶USB function pins (mini-B): Download by USB mass storage (write)

//Means you can just compile code and drag and drop the .bin file into the device when it enumerates on the USB as a Mass Storage, Voila programming Done!

▶EtherNet (RJ45) pins : LAN such as Web server and remote download available

//On Board Ethernet connector and ability to work as a server and client ( #IoT guys will love it)
▶ USB host pins (A): applicable to Android-ADB-ADK

//On Board USB host.. WoW.. You ‘might’ be able to connect you keyboard,mouse and other USB devices.
▶ MicroSD jacket: possible to share data with PC

//There is an MicroSD card which can be used to log data and can be used to run music files etc.
▶ XBee ready pins: mount XBee module for wireless remote download

//There are unsoldered XBee Pads to connect your own XBee.
▶4 User LEDs and 1 User Switch..

That`s equivalent to an Arduino+Ethernet shield+SD cardAdapter+XBee Adapter+USB Host Shield.

On the whole, Its a pretty nice board and has tons of features meant for a beginner and advance users.They are several domains where it can be used, be it data logging, SCADA Applications,Remote Monitoring, IoT,Music Playback,and lots and lots of projects. The possibilities are huge! 🙂

If you need more information about the board, you can see this.

Hope you like the unboxing post. If you want me to try anything on this or if u have any questions, feel free to comment. If you made a dev board/shield and want it to be un-boxed/reviewed you can contact me here as well.

Stay tuned to see what happens when we play around with the web IDE for the board.

Till then,

さようなら(Sayōnara)(Bye in Japanese)

IndianTinker

Open Agitator

After a somewhat woeful week at college that shook my belief in several sectors.. I mustered up my courage to realize an old project they knocked the door every time i used to Etch PCB boards. Since, the solution i use has already done close to 20 boards of small size one has to really keep shaking/stirring/Agitating the solution for a fairy long time.. ( ya 7-8 mins of man power is fairly long time 😛 )

The idea came to me when i visited my brother in Bangalore earlier this year. He was generous enough to give us a tour of his world class Biotechnology lab in India.. He showed us stuff and things/instruments which were difficult to pronounce in one go but they all had a thing in common- They ended with syllables like –‘-izer’,-‘ator’,’-ation’. 

One thing that they used for not allowing things/particles to sediment was called a shaker. It would be great if i could get one for myself that will take the work out of etching. When i returned i made an over-killed 3D model of the agitator that i had in mind. It would just be a 1-axis CNC with a stepper motor and belt, That was doing a lot for the task..

Here are some pics of the model:

Looks Cool Though..

Looks Cool Though..

Freewheel mount and stepper motor

Freewheel mount and stepper motor

Realizing the overkill design, I went on to an easier one earlier this month ( actually previous month ) when a relative who was ‘demolishing’ his old PC gave me some old CDROMs that didn`t work. The mechanics did work though..

So, I just ‘damaged’ the tracks around the main feed motor and attached my own custom circuit based around the MSP430 micro-controller and majority of TI parts as they can be shipped to anyone  with an address making it very easy to re build yourself.

Here is a proof-of-concept video i posted a while back where the Etchinator ( now Open Agitator after i realized it could do a lot more like cooling hot milk  😀 ) was etching its own control board  :

I used a L293D H bridge motor controller to control the forward and backward movement of the cradle with an adjustable speed by giving a PWM on the Enable Pin . People who had made LFR`s in the first/second year know its a child`s play.

After running the aforementioned set up for a while i noticed that  the cradle would shift to the farther end where the gear was slightly worn out. So, when loaded the cradle would :

1. Latch on to that part and stay stuck.
2. The whole system would move a bit forward each time and latch on the wrong part.

So, an end-stop detection was required which would keep the cradle in the fixed portion.. some what similar to the ones i had seen in the CNC`s which tell them their legitimate playing fields.

The answer was using the old mouse push button that came with the CD-ROM. Its softer and probably made to withstand greater number of press-cycles than a standard SPST Tactile switch.

So , now the logic would work like, whenever the button/EndStop is pressed, the direction will be reversed for a fixed time and then reversed again.. So, the cycle keeps on going.. .. .. ..

Here is the final  schematic i came up with:

Schematic

Schematic

Since, i did`nt wanted to leave any pins un-used i included 3 LED`s which show the different states of the agitator.

The power supply needs special mention as it converts from a standard 12V DC adapter to 5V for the logic of the bridge (L293D) and again an LDO LP2950-3.3V for the MSP430. The LDO can be sampled from TI and 7805 is available locally with every tinkerer.

Even the driver i.e L293D can be sourced from Ti. The brain of the device is a MSP430G2231 also sampled from TI and programmed from the MSP430 Launchpad. So, This project was indirectly sponsored by TI 😀

The next came the board layout.. I designed it to have the least number of  vias (They can be a pain sometimes) while fitting at the back of the CD-ROM. Here is the one with just two vias.

Board!

Board!

Since, the position of motor/EndStop switches were flexible they eased out the routing a bit. You can also add a DC Jack to it if you like. The files are available on github here.

Here are pictures of the final build i managed to pull off.

The EndStop

The EndStop

Shiny Copper Board

Shiny Copper Board

All in Place

All in Place

Scratchy Soldering

Scratchy Soldering

Power Test Complete

Power Test Complete

Fixed to the back of the CDROM

Fixed to the back of the CDROM

The next thing that was left was to give it a sturdy base. I choose two planks of wood that were lying around. It was essential to leave it without any base on the middle section as if ‘ever’ there is a chemical spill that can be cleaned without unscrewing the entire assembly!

So, Here is the final build :

Final Build

Final Build

You can fork the complete code and design from my git.

Here is a video of me explaining the build.. Please ignore the following :

  • Bad camera quality
  • Some goof-ups with the IC names.. Keep an eye on the Sub Titles/Captions
  • Background Noise (if any)

Hope you like it and build one for yourself..
Cheers,
IndianTinker

😀

Edit: Please vote for this project on instructables here !

See another make of my project by a reader on instructable:

(Thanks for sharing Aleš )

 

Travelogue: Bangalore

Bangalore! Bangalore!!Bangalore!!! . Twice i have missed chances to go there.. The last missed chance was when i had invested a full weekend in planning out the probable travel outings after my presentation ends.. But due to unforeseen reasons.. I missed that opportunity.
Being a an Engineering Student and that too in the Electrical Engineering School , one never gets time to visit places too often ( Thing only an Engineer can understand ).

Long story short, I and my friend [Jaspreet] had made a project for TI-ADC 2012-2013 which ultimately got selected as ‘Consolation Prize Winner’. You can see the project video that we submitted  here . Basically it was  initially developed to log the data from our solar car and display it on the GUI wirelessly. Not only that we can switch many loads inside the cars like fans and lights but also we can monitor and control everything except the driver! We scaled up the project into a multi-nodal sensor system. The use of it is that we now don`t need to wire these units physically. The GUI does that entirely!

Micro-Nodes!

Micro-Nodes!

As consolation prize winners we had to present the paper at TIIEC-2013  and demonstrate the project at NIMHANS Convention Centre,Bangalore! At about the same time, another college team of [Shashank a.k.a Shank] and [RohitKrSingh a.k.a RKS], our juniors also made it to the Consolation stage with their Autonomous Ship Navigation System. It was great!! Now we all had to reach bangalore. The possible ways was by train or air! Train took a hell lot of time ( almost 2 days) and plane took just 2 hours. So we booked Air Tickets and We were soon on board Spicejet SG-211 !

All the participants will be grateful to TI as they had arranged accommodation for two in an awesome IBIS Hotel,Hosur Road ,  All meals, all travel and were even reimbursing us train tickets.. In the mean time ,since we had planned to visit and roam around in Bangalore and maybe visit Mysore we need accommodation for an extra 2 days.. Since we wont be staying in the hotel after the conference we needed some alternative place.. I ringed some relative and cousins in Bangalore and finally got us an accommodation for the next 2 days! I also made some city roaming plans in my little diary. I had heard that Public Transport connectivity is pretty good in Bangalore and one should refrain from taking the “AUTOS” . So , i noted all the major route and at least 3 alternative routes with bus numbers in case Google Maps ditched me! ( more on this later)

Sambhar Dosa- Not like the one we get here  in Delhi.Chutney and Sambhar served in equal qty.

Sambhar Dosa- Not like the one we get here in Delhi.Chutney and Sambhar served in equal qty.

Conference was great! We talked with a lot of like minded people from across our country and made new friends , learned some “Marathi” from the team we shared our booth with. Their description of the marathi songs we heard in some TV shows was enlightening !

It was the best exhibition i had attended and the best part was that our booth was the first of all, nearest to the gate. So , everyone would first come to our booth. [Jaspreet] did all the explaining most of the time. I was mostly roaming here and there, asking others exhibitors about their stuff ( Courtesy: Restlessness ).
I would be great to bring the fact that the Conference was inaugurated with an electronic lamp which is a project i was involved in.You can read about it here!

In between the conference after the day got over, i had to make a quick run to my aunt and the case was same for [RKS]. Apparently the route was pretty much the same. We had planned that all four of us will go, but that did`nt panned out . So, only two of us were going at their respective aunts. We walked to the Bomanahalli bus stand waited for like 40 mins. It was 9pm and none of the buses google said i could get, were coming.. Further, the place where my aunt stayed was kadubesanalli. I repeatedly kept saying it to the drivers/conductors and they all made faces like ” What the hell?? Is that a place , in around here? “.I found out i was pronouncing it very badly. Finally at 9:15 pm a bus came and a passenger said that go to the “Silk Board” and catch the bus. No bus goes directly from here.

We went to silk board and got the bus!
MISSION ACCOMPLISHED! The buses were great, very clean and with an air conditioner that was really effective! Reaching at my aunts place was not difficult after that. We returned at about 12 that night and crashed on the bed to go to the conference the next day!
I presented my first paper and then the next day was the Awards night!
Now, we had planned to roam around for the next two days! The IBIS Hotel offered us extended luggage vault this saved us a lot of miles else we would have to run to my brother about 20km away and that would cost us quite a part of the day.

As suggested, we took the One Day AC bus Pass ( Which i have secure in my ‘Ticket Collection’ ). As planned we would go to Banerghatta Park to watch some animals, then go to a couple ( which ultimately came down to one! ) museums. It was Saturday and roads to park was packed! The AC bus driver was playing local songs in Kannada ( i guess). The other passengers were enjoying it.. It was alien to me but i enjoyed the tune..
The bus conductor dropped us about 1.5km before the entrance of the park. I still don`t know why as the bus was there at the park when we reached. As we walked towards the entrance, we saw a group of “Art Of Living” volunteers on a cleaning mission, we shopped some drinks and local “namkeens” (which i am really fond of  tasting where ever i go) and at last reached the gate. Then, i turns out there are several options and ways to browse the park, we went with the most common one that is normal bus with cage like windows! If somebody happens to have been to Borivali National Park, the bus is pretty much the same! But the catch is that you have to occupy the seats in order of your entry to the bus and they are hell strict about  it.The Park is very well maintained and its not allowed to take any plastic stuff inside the park and the guard on the gate packed all the “namkeens” i had bought into separate paper bags!

Phew! We happened to be at the last one and we got the back seat and also there were lesser people so, we could choose, Right or Left??
We ended up on the Left Side ( which was an awful choice as it turns out later ). The bus started, everybody got their shooters out . There are separate areas( bigger than those as in Borivali National Park ) for lions, tigers,bears, deers and elephants! The bus driver would stop at every place from where we could see any animal. This time we were in the cage and animals were in open. You can check out the pictures below and have a look at all the animals we saw. The bad thing happened on that particular day all the animals choose to come on the right side and we could hardly see then with all the people busy finding their niche in those 7 windows of the bus !  :/ . But thankfully [jaspreet] and [rks] chose the right side and they could click some pics which we rejoiced later!It was pretty hot that day, most of the animals were either in water or near water .
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After the bus ride got over, we were left like in the middle of nowhere , A walk with the other people on the bus, ended up at the ButterFly park! It is a good place to visit and has a lot of nasty butterflies roaming inside the specially prepared bio-dome for them which creates the right amount of humidity for them to survive. There is also a museum about the butterflies which we quickly breezed through. We saw a lot of people bringing macro lens clad DSLR to click those tiny restless butterflies. Wonder how they (butterflies ) felt about the photo session (Random Thought !) 😀

Here are some we manage to catch in our CMOS-CCD!

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Having spent the day, in such a wonderful way was just great! To make it better, we wanted to go it HAL Museum which was pretty far. So, we boarded the Bus , which dropped us at Richmond and then we boarded another bus to HAL Museum. The stomach was ringing hunger bells but it can be ignored for a while as the museum entry closed at 5pm and it was already 4pm. We had to hurry! Fortunately the bus came in about a minute and we were on the way to the HAL Museum. But this time again, even after mentioning to the conductor that we needed to go to the “MUSEUM”. He dropped us 2.5km before. With the time not on our side and no bus stop near we had to walk..walk..walk..walk. During, the walk we saw some great labs (from the outside ) like Shape Memory Alloy Lab and Metal Workshops also. Being students of engineering the very sight of “Textbook” words written  on laboratory doors was pretty spell-bounding and assuring that what we are studying is not fiction.

So, we reached the Museum all drenched in sweat and thankfully the doors were open. We got in.. We saw a PSLV Heat shield (used/recovered/prototype ) in which the satellites are protected during the launch!

Heat Shield Inside!

Heat Shield Inside!

There are several real models of planes used in Indian Airforce and they are pretty well presented. Apart from that there is a whole museum of circularly arranged chambers which show Indian History as far as Aeronautics is concerned. We were blessed by the presence of [RKS] who in my eyes is the mobile wikipedia of Aeronautics. The moment he say a name plate which may be of an engine , ejection system or the plane.. He would tell us about the history and specifications of the engine and all such details which none of the display boards mentioned. It is a great place for someone who is interested in seeing planes.

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We spent close to an hour in the museum and then we were back at Mc`Donald`s for feasting! We then boarded the bus back to IBIS Hotel (actually a couple of buses) to get our luggage and move to JNCASR,Jakkur where my brother was waiting for me!

Ah! What a day spent after a wonderful conference!

We had plans for Mysore the next day! Catch it in the next edition i.e Travelogue: Mysore!

Stay Tuned!

Tiano-MSP430 based TouchScreen Piano

Touchscreens..huh.. They are all around us..Phones ,tablets, phablets and now even laptops. Most of them have a capacitive touchscreen where the change in capacitance at a point is used to sense it and then perform the corresponding action. Capacitive ones are multi point sensing. They sense more than 2 points and hence we get those pinch to zoom features etc.

On the other hand , almost archaic version on touchscreen is the resistive version. That are pretty easy to interface with almost any microcontroller with an ADC. In this project i did over the weekend i tried to interface a touchscreen ( resistive one..) ,available at mobile repair shops in Delhi with a MSP430G2553 (Although MSP430G2231 would also do)  to make a piano.

Touchscreen setup

Pre-requisites: The touchscreen may not be easier to get. I got mine from a mobile repair shop in LR. It is a 4-wire Touchscreen, pretty common with horribly thin contacts that took a lot of patience to solder.There is a lot of literature available on Touchscreens on the internet. I found two app notes that were best. First one from Atmel , that explained the working of the touchsreen in a pretty clear way and one from TI that some what helped in the software part.

You must read the atmel one ( atleast the first few pgs to get how it works). Its essentially a resistive voltage divider. The value of the touch point is determined by the ADC value read.

formula

From the illustration above(borrowed from TI App Note). One can easily see how the co-ordinates are read. In order to find out, what wire on your touch sreen corresponds to X and Y meshes. You can use a multi-meter first to measure the resistance between pins ,usually the alternate pins belong to same axes. in my case it was X-,Y-,X+,Y+  then to differentiate between x and y , one probable method will be to power the touchscreen i.e. giving the drive voltage and then find out the voltage at any other terminal w.r.t. ground and see whether is changing horizontally or vertically in your reference plane.

CAUTION: Be careful about the current while powering the touchscreen externally!

After this coding part is pretty simple. For the algo refer to page no.7 on the TI App Note. If you plan to run your end application on a battery and you have hard-coded the co-ordinates and the Vdrive is sourced externally i suggest that you sample the Vdrive as well . If you are using  microcontroller pins to supply Vdrive then this can be neglected.

I have a desire to learn to play music but unfortunately due to my low patience levels , i have failed to keep up. 😀

So, i made this Piano using the MSP430 Launchpad and a touchscreen along with a speaker. The code algo is pretty same as TI App Note Suggests and i encourage the reader to code it himself . Any difficulties can be discussed. It uses the tone library i posted earlier to generate the solfeggio.

Here is the shaky and horrible video i made:

Cheers! 😀

Reverse Engineering an Automobile Fuel Gauge using MSP430 Launchpad

I have been keeping my hands off the blog for a while after the previous post.. I had exams at university. But in the meantime i had some time to get my car`s faulty petrol/gasoline Gauge Indicator Changed. I got the old one and as usual i tried to reverse engineer the gauge with all the simple tools i had. Technically, Its a ” Floating type Liquid Level Resistive Transducer’ (You can trust me on that..I am a student of Electrical Engineering 😀 ). So basically its a variable resistor much like the LDR or a Potentiometer. The one that i have is a pricol make for Maruti Suzuki Cars. You can have a look at the pictures below. DSC05612

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Using the TI MSP430 Launchpad i decided to sort of simulate how the Indicator would actually work in real situations. So i pulled up the ADC Pin on the MSP430G2231 using a 220 ohm resistor and connected the fuel gauge indicator as in the set-up picture you can see below.You can use any platform you like arduino,stellaris etc. all you need to do is read the ADC value and produce a corresponding brightness for the LED and when at a low level raise a low fuel alarm which in my case is the RED led. I used Launchpad as it has Two on-board LED`s while my arduino has only one ; additionally i was lazy enough not to wire another led to arduino 😛 .

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On measuring the resistance across the fuel gauge i found that when at the lowest position it has a resistance of about 112 ohms and at the maximum it was about 7.2 ohms. On the sticker pasted on the top its mentioned-” Do not connect direct 12 volts”.Which is pretty obvious because since the resistance is low, the current will be pretty high.

12/112=0.1amps

but on full scale its about 12/7.2 ohms=1.67amps

This current is pretty high and will surely burn the coil.

So we now know why the sticker is there! 😀

The program simply blinks the red led when there is low fuel. Rest of the time the intensity of the Green LED is proportional to the amount of fuel thereby producing a variable DC voltage which can be sensed using a voltmeter quite similar to the one fitted in the car console.

TL;DR

Watch this video:

Thanks and Regards,

IndianTinker 😀