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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 »

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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.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x8WUg9fwMqE]

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 »

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…

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This is totally on my to-do list, considering I have a gate control to get into my backyard, and hate having the remotes on my visor!

Hackaday

garagedoor-opener-in-dash

Vehicles with the highest level of trim package sometimes come with the ability to learn garage door opener codes. Less costly offerings lack that feature as well as others bells and whistles, leaving blank plates where fancy buttons would have been. [JiggMcFigg] makes the best of this situation by gutting his garage remote and hiding it behind a button blank.

One thing that raised an eyebrow is the coin cell battery holder you can make out on the size-check image shown to the left. But really, these remotes must drain their batteries at a rate nearly the same as an unused battery so why complicate the hack? A holder was soldered onto the board, and jumper wires were soldered to the push button added to the blank plate. This type of utilitarian button is much more satisfying to use than those fancy-pants silk-screen molded-plastic types anyway!

Of course you…

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It’s not often I get permission to take stuff apart. More precisely, I spend a lot of time doing creative stuff, so my purely destructive side rarely gets its time in the sun to frolic and cavort and otherwise express itself in all it’s entropic glory. Today, however, is different.

But first, a story

A tidy little instrument from the front.

A tidy little instrument from the front.

On a recent trip south to the desert to visit the family (something of a do-over for Christmas, since we were all sick as dogs over the holiday and didn’t see anyone other than ourselves), my brother-in-law gifted our family a used Squier Mini Player Strat with a built-in amplifier and speaker. This thing is a true piece of guitar oddity, and pretty freaking rare apparently. It’s a “mini,” which apparently means it has a 3/4 size neck, even though the body is the same size. Usually Stratocaster-style electrics have three pickups and a selector switch, along with a couple of tone knobs and a volume, but not this one. Because of the speaker, there’s really only room for a single humbucking pickup, one tone knob, and the volume. Of note is despite the somewhat toylike look of the body with the speaker grille, there’s really nothing toy about this; it’s a real instrument. Read the rest of this entry »

I roll pretty hard when I put together a build. Mostly, it’s that I don’t screw around, I find a challenge, and then I beat it into submission. Unless, of course, I don’t, in which case I sulk off and go back to trolling Facebook or Reddit. But that hardly ever happens, yo.

Take for instance the Goat Webcam project. As soon as I knew I was going to do this, I checked out the Raspberry Pi wifi adapter listing and tried finding something that would be able to do dual-band networking on 802.11n. It’s not that I need (or that the RPi can support) 300Mbps throughput, because I seriously doubt this little board could sustain that kind of beating. Realistically, this is more about being able to play in the 5GHz radio spectrum, with the ability to stream something at about 4-5Mbps wirelessly without being completely hosed by everything else that crowds the 2.4GHz band (for instance, the neighbor’s 2.4GHz WiFi access point with the SSID “F*ck Off”, except without the *). Read the rest of this entry »

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