This article documents a LEA-6T module build for general experiments.
The LEA-6T is an inexpensive GPS module (~$40 at time of purchase, but getting cheaper) that can supply raw pseudo range data.
The module above is supplied for use on UAVs of various kinds, and came complete with a plastic radome and cables to suit an APM copter. The module also contains a 3D compass (magnetometer) which is not used here.
Above is the internals of the module with a custom cable to pick up just the RS232-TTL signals from the GPS (and supply 5V). The connector is a 8pin Hirose DF13. Continue reading U-BLOX LEA-6T GPS module – for experiments
The Atten APS3005S is a 0-30V 5A linear DC power supply.
This later model includes a thermostatically controlled fan which at moderately light currents short cycles (10s on 20s off) and is very annoying… especially since it sits above my desk.
This project describes application of the generic heating / cooling controller (hcctl) to control the fan, reducing the short cycling nuisance.
Continue reading Atten APS3005S – a better thermostatic fan control
I bought a couple of ‘generic’ micro SD cards on eBay about a year ago. They were not much cheaper than brand name cards, and though only speed 6 rated, were available locally for quick delivery. I have a vague recollection that it might have been a RPi product supplied with NOOBS on it (I have a couple of SD adapters with the RPi logo on them).
These were both used in RPi B systems and worked without fault for the last year, though they are not running full time (perhaps a couple of hundred hours of use).
During a Raspbian sofware update, both cards failed with the same problem, they effectively became read-only cards. Continue reading Micro SD card premature failure
Some while ago I purchased a EZP2013 device programmer on eBay.
There were literally scores of sellers, and they all looked the same, and some variation in price from about US$25 to US$50… which is not unusual.
I used the thing a few times, and it was clearly a very poor product so I replaced it with a SOFI SP-8B which cost close to US$50 on Aliexpress including a bunch of (6) adapters. Continue reading Chinese counterfeiters at it again – EZP2013
Seeing the promotion of a clear adhesive with cure initiated by ~400nm UV light from a LED source, one’s mind wondered to its application for attaching temperature sensors to heatsinks etc.
A sample of Kafuter K-300 was tested.
Above is the test jig, a 1N4004 diode is attached to the corner of a scrap of 1.6mm thick aluminium sheet using the adhesive which was cured with UV light and then allowed 10 hours further to strengthen (if that helps). Continue reading UV cure adhesive for temperature sensors
I use a number of implementations of the DS1307 or DS3231 Real Time Clock chip, preferably the latter these days as they are considerably more accurate and compatible with DS1307 code.
In some applications, it is necessary or sometimes just better to preset the clock before connecting it into the application, and the need arises to set the clock ‘stand alone’. The method I have used for this has been clumsy and not as accurate as one might want for the DS3231, so this article describes a new solution.
The solution uses an Arduino as the engine if you like. Above is an Arduino Pro, but a range of similar Arduinos would be equally suitable. ALso pictured are three RTCs, one connected to pins A2, A3, A4 and A5 providing GND, VCC, SDA and CLK respectively. Continue reading Arduino app to set DS1307 Real Time Clocks
This article documents initial tests on a MultiStar 5200mAh 3S Lipo.
Two of these were purchased for about A$24 ea + delivery from the HK Australian warehouse.
On delivery, the batteries were served a balance charge to full capacity.
Above, one of the batteries with the usual mods to suit my quadcopters. A heavy heatshrink encapsulation to reduce the risk of battery damage from crashes and flying propeller bits, rocks etc. A little velcro path to help stabilise the battery on the quad, a ‘gripper’ for the balance plug, balance plug secured to keep it out of the props, and a charge indicator for convenience.
Continue reading MultiStar 5200mAh 3S Lipo – initial tests
Fox flasher MkII – owenduffy.net described an animal deterrent based on an STC 8051 microcontroller and running from a single LiPo cell.
This article describes a further development using a solar cell, shunt regulator, 1S LiPo cell with protection board, and two high power red LEDs.
Above, the unit constructed in a medium size Jiffy box, and a 6V 0.6W PV panel fixed to the top with silicone adhesive. The LDR is fixed to one end with silicone adhesive.
Two SM 1W red LEDs are fitted to opposite sides. They are 120° LEDs, the holes are countersunk to provide for light dispersion and the LEDs clamped to the inside with small brass brackets and heat sink rubber, a little silicone adhesive seals the holes. Continue reading Fox flasher MkII – high power 2 LED solar powered beacon
This article describes a build of the PIC Iambic Keyer (PIK).
Above is the generic circuit diagram of the PIK.
This one runs on 4.5V from 3 x AA cells. A 3000mAh battery will run it in ‘sleep’ mode for around 2,000,000 hours or 230 years… the shelf life of the batteries determines their useful life and there is consequently no ON/OFF switch.
So, the variation to the circuit above is that the zener regulator circuit is not required, Z1 is omitted and R5 is replaced by a 50mA Polyfuse. C3 is 0.0068µF to give a range of 6-36WPM on 4.5V.
Above, the internals. The electronics is assembled on a small piece of Veroboard with jacks at the rear for paddle, hand key and output, a pot for speed control and switches for TUNE and AutoSpace.
Above is the external view of the keyer prior to labelling.
Browsing eBay for some high power LEDs for a current project created frustration in trying to wade through the stated performance figures (to they extent that they can be relied upon).
LEDs are often headlined as having some luminous intensity in candelas, but while that might seem to be a good measure of the ‘brightness’ of the LED viewed on-axis, it gives no information about the spatial distribution off-axis and the total luminous flux output or flux density.
I wrote a little online calculator that can be of assistance in finding the total luminous flux and flux density give luminous intensity and apex angle, Calculate luminous flux (lm) from luminous intensity (cd) and apex angle (°). (Note that specified luminous intensity is usually on axis and should be discounted by perhaps 20% to provide an average luminous intensity over the cone angle.)
An example, an eBay seller advertises:
Source Material: InGaN !
Emitting Colour: 0.5W 10MM HI POWER White 0.5W LED
LENS Type: Water clear
Luminous Intensity-MCD: Typ: 290,000 mcd
Reverse Voltage: 5.0 V
DC Forward Voltage: 3.2 ~ 3.4V
DC Forward Current: 100mA
Viewing Angle: 40 degree
Lead Soldering Temp: 260¡ãC for 5 seconds
Power Dissipation: 500mW
Does it appear rational? Lets calculate average luminous intensity at 80% of 290cd, 232cd. Lets assume the viewing angle is the half power beamwidth.
Above is a calculation from the specifications. Of concern is the calculated luminous efficiency of 266lm/W, it is perhaps three times or more the expected value, so it questions the accuracy of the claims. Even at 0.5W input, the luminous efficiency is unrealistically high. Continue reading Making sense of LED output figures