Toner Transfer on the Cheap

I recently made my first PCB with toner transfer using an iron. It was pretty ugly.

I bought a cheap-o laminator from walmart for $25 + tax. It’s a Scotch TL901. I used masking tape to hold things in place. It worked well enough that I’m not going to complain.

I never realized what a difference a laminator makes! It’s hard to mess up now. I also tried using parchment paper.

http://hackaday.com/2012/04/30/etching-your-own-boards-really-really-fast/

http://www.instructables.com/id/Toner-transfer-no-soak-high-quality-double-sided/

The results are so much better with parchment paper and a laminator than proper transfer paper and an iron. At the end I have a pic of transfer using transfer paper. The edges are a lot more crisp, but it costs quite a bit more.

Toner transfer with parchment paper

20120501-225841.jpg

Scotch TL901 Thermal Laminator

20120501-225704.jpgContinue reading “Toner Transfer on the Cheap”

Arduino Shield Etching Thoughts

I’ve kept a list of links I found very helpful lately. While I’m no stranger to a soldering iron and I know how to use perfboard, I have never etched a PCB before and I’ve never designed a PCB. I don’t think I would have had much luck at all without the following sites. I still use them quite regularly.

http://www.adafruit.com/tutorials

http://www.sparkfun.com/tutorials/category/1

http://arduino.cc/en/Tutorial/HomePage

http://tronixstuff.wordpress.com/tutorials/

http://www.ladyada.net/library/procure/partsdistributors.html

Continue reading “Arduino Shield Etching Thoughts”

Arduino IRremote + Servo Problem

I’m having some sort of issue with this. The servo is twitchy. Using https://github.com/shirriff/Arduino-IRremote and http://arduino.cc/en/Reference/Servo

It twitches just by having both enabled. I’ve included the code I used for the first part of the video. If you know why this is happening, I’d love to hear it.
Continue reading “Arduino IRremote + Servo Problem”

Fixing Laser Module

When I rebuilt the cat laser after the hail storm, I bought a 650nm 5mW laser module.3.2V 12x30mm on eBay from AixiZ Service and International LLC. Shipping speed was great. I would definitely recommend buying from them.

Fast forward a couple months, I broke off a wire from the laser module. This was my own fault and due to rough handling (I dropped it a couple times).

Anyway, to open the laser, the casing screws apart. If you care about not scratching it, remove cut the label and wrap it in tape before unscrewing with pliers. The inside was covered in a rubbery adhesive. I cut that out with an x-acto knife.

I have decided that my new Weller WESD51 was a good choice. Between that and the helping hands, this was one of the easiest soldering jobs I have done.

I covered the exposed wires with hot glue before closing the module back up and hot gluing the wires to the hole they pass through. All in all, a quick repair.

20120415-174207.jpg

20120415-174220.jpgContinue reading “Fixing Laser Module”

Panorama Thoughts

I thought gigapixel panoramas (or gigapans) were the coolest thing I’ve ever seen.
http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~globalconn/gigapan.html

I wanted to make a gigapixel panorama. I’m still a bit short of this goal, but I’m having fun and learning a lot in the process.

The easiest way to make a gigapixel panorama is buying a gigapan or using a telescope mount that runs papywizard.
http://www.gigapan.com/cms/shop/store
http://www.kolor.com/buy/photo-hardware/motorized-head/kolor-panogear-motorized-panoramic-head-gigapixel-3.html
http://www.papywizard.org/

That doesn’t quite appeal to me. I want to be more involved. So of course I hit YouTube to find more information. I was not disappointed.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_3AoUL4t2OI – Gigapan Homemade

I’m a regular reader of hackaday.com and these posts earned a spot in my bookmarks. Especially the last post.
http://hackaday.com/2008/12/10/gigapixel-panorama/
http://hackaday.com/2010/07/14/panoramic-and-spheric-tripod-rig/
http://hackaday.com/2011/03/15/tilt-and-pivot-camera-base-uses-just-two-servos/

I have an iPhone 4 and it is stupid simple to make a panorama with the photosynth app.
Photosynth for iOS
http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/photosynth/id430065256
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6XYSJPbwBT4 – Mastering the Photosynth App – Episode 1: Great Indoor Panoramas

I was quite pleased to discover that Microsoft ICE (Image Composite Editor) was free for noncommercial use and stitched a lot faster than hugin. I bought a cheap tripod from wal-mart and went out to take pics of the flooding with my cheap-o Nikon S220.

I learned a thing or three about taking panoramas manually. The first is that water makes a terrible subject. In order for it to stitch you need to have something identifiable in all corners of the picture.

I’ve upgraded slightly since then, I bought a Nikon L120 and an aluminum tripod. If I were to do it over again, I would probably buy a Canon camera that can run CHDK

I’ve tried a few other panorama stitching programs, but I have the best luck with hugin or Microsoft ICE.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_photo_stitching_applications
http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/um/redmond/groups/ivm/ICE/
http://hugin.sourceforge.net/

After all of this, and the success with servos in the cat laser toy, I decided to build my own. I hit youtube once again for inspiration. Once again, I wasn’t disappointed.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7JXtnEVdu98 – DIY Gigapan testing 11/09
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e-aLj4TZWIw – Pan Tilt Panoramic Robot head (version 2.0)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZgFEY7lAnaA – Panoramic MERLIN HEAD – TĂȘte panoramique motorisĂ©e Merlin – Papywizard
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=obRiQJ27BoY – PanoBot motorized panorama pan head
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HNIvJlx0E4U – Gigapan Tutorial – 1 of 4
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p83lZeiGc68 – GigaPan Pro Epic Quick Guide

I’ve made a few other posts about this, and I hope to make more.
http://www.ragingcomputer.com/category/panorama

I’ve got a few pictures of the panorama robot and pictures I’ve taken
http://pictures.ragingcomputer.com/index.php/Panorama

I’ve uploaded a few panoramas to photosynth.net (Requires Microsoft Silverlight)
http://photosynth.net/userprofilepage.aspx?user=RagingComputer

Arduino Laser Turret Cat Toy

Laser pointer turret, x y coordinate laser pointer, overgrown cat toy, whatever you want to call it. It has been done before 1001 times over, but I wanted to do it again, for myself. The hardware part of this is extremely simple. I just switched the device from the cat annoyance post from solderless breadboard to perfboard and headers. The X axis servo is on pin 9 and Y axis servo is on pin 10. I broke the Aixiz laser module I had on there, so I replaced it with a cheapo laser pointer from wal-mart.

20120411-232712.jpg

http://www.ragingcomputer.com/2011/11/cat-annoyance

I didn’t care for the code I had written before. It just moved the laser from one point to another random point. The cats seemed more confused by its erratic behavior than amused. I figured circles would be a good idea. I swiped snippets of code and inspiration from the following forum post.

http://arduino.cc/forum/index.php?topic=97984.0

I want it to turn off after 15 minutes, and reset after an hour. To add some variability, the diameter of the circle increases and decreases, the speed is random, the circle point of the circle is random too (all within certain limits).

I’ve included the code below
Continue reading “Arduino Laser Turret Cat Toy”

Crappy Wireless Device – Auto Reset

I’ve got a piece of crap wireless network device. It disconnects or the server part just locks up, or dies, or I have no idea, but it stops working. I am not fond of this behavior. It seems to work pretty well after it’s reset. It could be any misbehaving device like a modem, router, wireless cam, network security camera, bridge, or repeater.

This runs on my linux box running ubuntu server. It runs the job every 5 minutes, pings the crap device and the router. If the router has reset itself (very crappy unreliable century link DSL service) it makes note of this. The router usually comes back within 5 minutes.

If the device has stopped responding to ping and the router is up, it uses my CM11a X10 interface with heyu to turn off the appliance module the crap device is plugged in to. It’s not nice on the crap device, but beating on its power supply is a fair punishment for just stopping work after about a week.

Continue reading “Crappy Wireless Device – Auto Reset”

MythTV Roku Overview

This is a project I’ve been tinkering on and tweaking since Roku released the SDK for their Netflix player / DVP. Much of this is shamelessly stolen from posts on MythTV Wiki.

Disclaimer: I haven’t documented how I installed everything, so I don’t remember which things I installed from source or which I installed through apt-get. It’s a kludge built on a kludge with no planning whatsoever. It hasn’t been cleaned up, but it has been working for me for over a year without any issues.

The overview…
A user job is run after each recording has completed. Many parts are common between the job that chops out commercials and the one that doesn’t. Videos are then transcoded to h.264 by ffmpeg, interleaved with MP4Box, put where they need to go and XML files are generated.Continue reading “MythTV Roku Overview”