Powering Solar Projects

I had mentioned in my Solar Badge post that I had tried to replicate the sun to power a Solar Badge and could not. I improved my method (by placing the HID lamp in a driving light reflector) and achieved full voltage, but not full amperage. You can see in the pictures below, the Solar Badge will put out 5V at 40mA without question. In this quick video you will see an HID light powering a Solar Badge as well as my ATX power supply failing and quickly (and time lapsely) preparing another one. 🙂  Continue reading

Quiet your fan please, I’m working.

So I got a new power supply this last week, and thats a good thing right? It’s 0-30 volts, 0-5 amps, programmable, voltage and current limiting, and LOUD!!! The loud part had to be fixed, it was driving me batty! So the first thing I did was crack open the unit and get the size and voltage of the fan, went to my favorite computer parts website and found a ’15dB’ fan that looked pretty good, and it was only $11. And 5 days away. (It was the weekend and I’m to cheap to pay for speedy shipping on a fan.)

I then remembered I had about 12 different 80mm computer case fans under my other work bench. I fired up all of those and selected the quietest one. I went with the one I had to save 5 days of extra noise and 11 bucks. It was a quick swap out, no blinky, microcontrollers, or even passive circuit mods, but a welcomed simple mod to my ears. 🙂

Overcoming Incomplete.

Some of my uncompleted projects..

I have seen a pattern with some myself as well as other creative people I know. You get inspired, create something awesome, and after you get it working, you go to finish it up. Finishing it up could mean, enclosing a project, transferring to PCB from breadboard, or even writing sheet music for a song. Your’e geeked, you created an awesome thing, it’s the best ever, and now it’s time to make it shine and show the world. And then it happens.. Continue reading

Get on board! (breadboard that is)

So, you have just made an awesome gadget using an Arduino. You love it. OH! wait, you just got another idea for a different great project! But then.. you have to take your old one apart.. Is there a way to have more than one Arduino project without having more than one Arduino?

Yes, by putting you project on a bread board, you can accomplish this task, as well as saving some coin and earning the bragging rights of building it yourself. The video above explains about how to do that. An Atmel ATmega328 IC will serve you greatly. All that is needed is the ATmega IC and a few external components, a crystal, a few ceramic caps, and an FTDI Friend or FTDI Cable interface.

The purpose of doing this is so you can develop more than one project at a time without having to buy additional Arduino’s, and the second is to test a circuit for production. Remember, and Arduino has a lot of handy circuitry on it that you might not want on your project. For example, you might not need power switching, ICSP header, or FTDI/8U2 circuitry. Transferring your project to a breadboard will allow you to see how your project will run with the ‘bare essentials’.

The circuit is surprisingly simple, so if you haven’t tried it, build a stand alone project. Adafruit even has great Arduino stickers so you can quickly and easily identify the pins. Below is a pin reference image. Happy building, it’s a lot of fun! Continue reading