This is part 4 of a ‘however many parts it takes’ series on an LED installation we’re doing for a nightclub on Railroad Square in Santa Rosa. Check out my previous installment, or go read the series.

At least the soldering job is looking more pro-quality.

At least the soldering job is looking more pro-quality.

There is something deeply motivating about soldering wires to a white board with hundreds of LED pixels while being serenaded by a variety of speed metal whose lead singer is best described as a deeply, deeply angry Cookie Monster. Expletives were shouted in the deafening roar of 300 beats per minute on the base drum; I think some of them were shouted by me, possibly telling someone to get a box of cookies for the damned Muppet. Read the rest of this entry »

This is part 3 of a ‘however many parts it takes’ series on an LED installation we’re doing for a nightclub on Railroad Square in Santa Rosa. Check out my previous installment, or go read the series.

A brief update for all of you, in case you were wondering. I’ve been busy with stuff. Blinky stuff.

And yes, the cheap YouTube dubstep is so you don’t hear me saying things like “EFF YEAH”.

This is part 2 of a ‘however many parts it takes’ series on an LED installation we’re doing for a nightclub on Railroad Square in Santa Rosa. Check out my previous installment, or go read the series.

So, Caleb ordered 15 five-meter strips of APA102 IP67 sleeved LEDs. APA102’s are relatively new, and straddle the world of addressable LEDs, somewhere between the LPD8806 and the WS2812 in terms of utility and awesomeness. Curiously, they are available only in strips at this point (at least on AliExpress). One little problem with them: Caleb bought IP67 rated strips, which have a silicone sleeve surrounding it. Given the indoor nature of the installation, this sleeving was just going to be a nuisance.

Hey there, little fella.

APA102 freed from it’s IP67 prison. Hey there, little fella.

Read the rest of this entry »

This is part 1 of a ‘however many parts it takes’ series on an LED installation we’re doing for a nightclub on Railroad Square in Santa Rosa. Check out the series.

I freely admit that I have a soft spot for LED lights. Early in 2014 (during the dark months), my maker space had a light painting event, where people brought all manner of lights and long-exposure cameras to play with light in myriad ways. Never mind that it was storming outside. While the rain fell, we all hung out in the dark and played.

Gorgeous. Super jelly that I didn’t have a hand in building it. Photo Credit – Mike Solari

Then fellow Chimera hacker/maker/hustler Caleb got a project put together for Google making a gigantic cloud made of steel and lightbulbs, lit from within by color LED lightbulbs. Needless to say, I was crushed. Read the rest of this entry »

I’ll admit, I’m not an avid guitar player. My instrument of choice has always been percussion. Whether it’s slapping my legs to some rhythm in-between my ears or pounding on a djembe or a doumbek or a bodhrán, that’s my first musical love. Heck, I even have an O.G. Roland electronic drum set still sitting in a box after, I don’t know, 9 or 10 years?

Finishing the job

In many ways, this is a continuation (culmination?) of the Randy Destroys Things from last year, when I tore into the Squier Mini Player.Today, I got a bug up my behind, dug out the old amp board, and literally tore it down to the bare PCB. Or as near as matters.

Yup, all torn down. Even tore out some traces on the other side.

Yup, all torn down. Even tore out some traces on the other side.

But it wasn’t all for naught: I spent the day also painstakingly tracing all of the circuits on this board to give you (drumroll) a PDF of the schematic, as well as the KiCAD .SCH file (once I figure a good place to host it). Read the rest of this entry »

You’d think it was winter

I’ve come to realize I need to break out a space heater in my workshop in the winter. My knuckles still ache from the cold. And this is Northern California. No wonder I don’t live in New York or Minnesota.

What happens when you eviscerate a 3D printer.

What happens when you eviscerate a 3D printer.

Having just stripped down the printer (i.e. all wires and electronics are pulled, while the motors, extruders, hot end are still in place), it is high time I start figuring out how to rebuild it. A friendly comment from Arthur Wolf of Smoothieboard got me thinking a lot about their electronics package (seeing as I have an affinity for open source hardware and software), which also got me thinking about not only the stepper drivers that we would need, but the power for the heated bed. Read the rest of this entry »

Oh. My. God.

You know that feeling. The feeling when you hold a real tool in your hand for the first time.

It has heft. It feels like a tool. Your mind instantly starts to work out all the projects that you can do with it, because it calls out to be used, to be exploited.

Read the rest of this entry »

It’s winter time everyone, and that must mean that it’s time for Randy to break things and perhaps put them back together. Or perhaps not, only time will tell, friends.

Anyhow, from my friends at Chimera Maker Space I was handed a not-exactly-functioning Bits From Bytes BFB3000 3D printer that was, in the words of Executive Director Dana Woodman, “about to be shitcanned” (NOTE: those were probably not his precise words). My mission, if I chose to accept it was to “make it work.”

Of course, I took this to mean I had unlimited budget and resources. And by that, I mean that whatever I felt like spending on it out of my own pocket to get it running was probably what it would take.

But first…

Read the rest of this entry »

Silly Questions

Damn you, Intel Galileo! Why must you vex me with your question, so innocuously posed, in bright yellow letters?

NYC Resistor: 30th Anniversary Macintosh

I’ve been storing a Macintosh Classic (which sadly doesn’t function properly any longer) that I picked up as salvage a couple years ago. I definitely want to replace the guts with something more geekly than the 6800-based original Mac hardware. To that end, I wonder: do I tear out the old CRT and replace it with a more modern and recent LCD, or do I try to go the full geek route and go after recreating the display circuit from the original Mac hardware using something like a BeagleBone Black?

I’m confident the first way can be done; however, here’s evidence that leaving the original CRT in place is an option too. Color me intrigued.

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