Category Archives: awesome

Hark24!!! Pastsummer lectures and general NURDing at Hack42

We proudly present the first edition of Hark24!!! A one day event for a max of hundred people. Organized by some people of NURDSpace Wageningen and Hack42 Arnhem.

NURDspace will bring their self-made dome to Hack42. At Saturday the 17th of October there will be lectures about open hackathons, why and how do we do crypto, laser safety, Operation Gladio, !arduino, QtPass, NurdNodes, modified keyboards and whatever else you bring to the microphone.

Of course badges and stickers will be available to every participant! You can even make it a whole weekend trip. About 50 people can stay for the sleepover afterparty in the attic (but bring your own gear!). And if you help out during build-up (Friday the 16th from 14:00 onwards) we promiss NOT to send you home after the hardly intense labour.

Why are we doing this? Because we could! Because it’s fun! Because together!
Read the program and buy your amazingly cheap ticket at: https://hark24.nl/

Thank you for reading our spam. Hark24!!! Pastsummer lectures and general NURDing at Hack42

Robotics Weekend Workshop for Girls Grades 8 – 12

CRASH Member Craig and his FTC robotics team are looking for new recruits for the Rock N Roll Robots Weekend Summer Workshop!

Robotics Weekend Workshop for Girls Grades 8 – 12

The Rock N’ Robots Summer Workshop is an overnight program created and run by current members of the Rock N’ Roll Robots Girl Scouts robotics team, with help from team parents and mentors from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). The camp is designed to prepare girls to compete in the FIRST Tech Challenge robotics tournament. (Although participants are not required to join a robotics team.)

Robotics Weekend Workshop for Girls Grades 8 – 12 Robotics Weekend Workshop for Girls Grades 8 – 12

Overview:

  • Upon arrival, campers will be organized into teams. Over the course of their weekend, each team will build and program a robot to compete in a mini-tournament on Sunday afternoon.
  • As part of this process, campers will receive instruction in the technical skills necessary to build a robot; like design, construction, and programming. In addition, campers will be introduced to other important skills like team building, fundraising, public outreach, and competition strategy.
  • But it’s not all hard work. This camp is planned by Girl Scouts who love to hang out and have a good time! Workshops will be mixed with team building activities, a movie night, and of course, s’mores around the campfire.
  • Family and friends are invited to join us at 3pm on Sunday to watch the tournament and cheer for their favorite robot.

For more information, check out the flyer!

Zero to Hero Class: Pirate Box Edition.

I'll be teaching a class on how to setup a Pirate Box at the Generator on March 22nd. Check out more info and sign up here.

Want to carry around a world of important data, like Wikipedia, and health guides?
Need a way to share a bunch of files with some folks?
Come learn how to make a PirateBox a tool for sharing information in a secure offline manner!

PirateBox is a DIY anonymous offline file-sharing and communications system built with free software and inexpensive off-the-shelf hardware. Perfect for public spaces as a means of sharing interesting data and having offline discussions.

Zero to Hero Class: Pirate Box Edition.During this quick 4 hour  class students will learn how to build a Pirate Box. This class will guide students through the process of converting a plain TP-Link MR3020 and USB thumb drive into a Pirate Box.

$50 lab fee covers purchase of Pirate Box and all necessary materials (MR3020 & USB Drive).

Emergency Power

A few Lab members recently asked me "how do you survive power outages?"

Here's how, and it's all available at your website or department store of choice (cough cough Amazon, Wal-Mart)

One (1) marine deep cycle battery, as large as you can afford
and/or can carry (approx $80) (must buy in store)

One (1) 12 volt trickle charger (approx $30)

One (1) 12 volt to 120 volt inverter, sized according to your needs. 200 watts will power a few devices for around $40; do yourself a favor and get a 600 watt Tripp Lite or similar, around $90

Optional: One or more 12V accessory plugs, to wire into bEmergency Powerattery (approx $10/ea)

My current "Power Box", pictured below, is currently out on an off-grid island staged and waiting to run some Civic Wireless customer premises equipment. The box will run network gear on a small inverter for weeks on a full charge.

Part 2: Exploring solar trickle charging.

Questions? Email: help [at] civicwireless.org
--Chad

Champlain Mini Maker Faire Roundup 2014

The Laboratory B crew had a great time at this year's two day  Champlain Mini Maker Faire! This year we had additional support from FairPoint Communications to allow us to teach kids & adults how to solder.  We had really impressive students this year, many of whom have seen us before at the previous events.  Many people were coming back for their second or even third time.  Good work everybody and thanks for coming out to see us!  As usual, if you had trouble with your kit or ran out of time please feel free to swing by the Lab, but let us know your coming (Info@labotatoryb.org) Awesome!

Charley helping brothers that don't need much help. Good work guys!

Lab B at Champlain Mini Maker Faire 2014

Laboratory B is all set up and ready to see you at Champlain Mini Maker Faire this weekend!  The event is on Sat. October 4th 10am - 5pm,  and Sun. October 5th 11am-4pm at Shelburne Farms in Shelburne Vermont.

Lab B has been at the Maker Faire since it started 3 years ago, and like last year and the year before, we'll be teaching kids & adults how to solder! FairPoint Communications made a donation to help provide kits, and we have four kits from SparkFun in the mix this year; Weevil Eye, Big Time Watch, Simon Says & Mr. Roboto.

From our excerpt in the schedule:

"Join the folks at Laboratory B for a self-paced soldering workshop. We bring the soldering irons and the kits, you bring the desire to learn.  We will have kits from SparkFun and all the required supplies and safety gear for you to sit down and learn how to solder, and when you finish you take the kit home!  Have you soldered in the past but are not familiar with some of the newer techniques such as surface-mount soldering?  No problem!  There will be beginner kits, intermediate kits, and advanced level kits to fit all skill levels."

Aaron’s piHouse Monitor part 2

In March I posted about using my Raspberry Pi to monitor my furnace and the temperature of my apartment.  I moved over the summer and the new apartment does not have the same type of heating that the last apartment did. So I had to make some changes.

The Pi now interfaces with a Rinnai heater, which was slightly more complicated than the furnace thermostat.

Here are some highlights, you can find the whole story here.

The new heater, a Rinnai Energy Saver-551F

Aaron’s piHouse Monitor part 2

The Wiring Diagram and the Block diagram are on the inside of the front cover

Aaron’s piHouse Monitor part 2

Photo of “MICRO COMPUTER PCB” with relays circled

Aaron’s piHouse Monitor part 2

Assembling the whole thing

Life Giving Bazooka – An Ethereum Contract

tldr? "Life giving bazooka" is an example of an Ethereum contract that represents a pyramid scheme. Check out the scheme @ github. It's called "life giving bazooka" as a knock on multi-level-marketing schemes.

We've been having a lot of fun having some nights where we're chatting up Crytpocurrency, and recently we got together and had a working session taking a look at Ethereum. We got the client up and running, and moments later gdot had a little "banking contract" running, from an LLL (lisp-like-language) tutorial.

Which is awesome... But, I really wanted to write in the "c-like-language" (CLL) -- that's what I tend to get. So, I found Vitalik's got a CLL compiler, but it's pretty alpha. Also, it's made progress to work with PoC4, which isn't released yet. All the main releases of the clients (which you can download), are PoC3 based. So, I went ahead and fixed a few things in his compiler, and I'm maintaining my own branch @ https://github.com/dougbtv/compiler/tree/poc3-compat.

But, to make it easier, I've been maintaining my own pre-processor (inspired by the C pre-processor) that makes a few things a little easier to work with. You can download my cll-preprocessor at github, and it includes submodules that fix the things that I needed to get Vitalik's compiler working properly, especially with PoC3.

So... Where's this pyramid scheme!?! It's also on github! There's quite a bit more information there for you to read about how it works, and instructions to run it if you so please.

Quick Links

Aaron’s piHouse Monitor

I've been working on a Raspberry Pi project and got it running this weekend.  This post is about the hardware and the installation.  I will post later about how the code works.

Introduction

I have been using microcontrollers for a long time now.  I started in college as part of the program and have never stopped.  Professionally, educationally, hobby, I've done projects of all types.

Recently I decided to try something with a Raspberry Pi.  It is the next step up, basically being a little computer.  This was so I could play with Linux again (it's been years) and do something with a web browser.  These are things I don't have experience with and have been interested in learning for some time.

The project I settled on was a monitor for the furnace in my apartment.  This monitor will measure temperature(s) and sense if the furnace is running, then log this data.  There will be a web interface that will draw graphs of the data on a daily basis.  There will also be an LCD screen on the pi so that I can see the current data without needing a web browser.

Part 1: Hardware

The first step was to make sure I could sense whether the furnace was running.  My furnace is controlled by a thermostat.  A thermostat is a temperature controlled mechanical switch.  Mine looks like this (The wire hanging down was added later):

Aaron’s piHouse Monitor

 

I needed to open this up to see how it worked.  So, I pulled off the ring on the front and exposed 3 screws holding it to the wall.  I took out the screws and pulled the switch off the wall.  I was left with a mounting plate that included a set of screw terminals with a 2 conductor wire attached.  This is the wire running to the furnace in the basement that controls the furnace.

Aaron’s piHouse Monitor Aaron’s piHouse Monitor

 

The screw terminals were labeled as RH and W.  I took out my mult-meter and started doing some measuring.

Open (Furnace off): RH -> W, 25.8 VAC
Closed (Furnace on): RH -> W, 0 VAC @ 95mA

This means that I need to monitor the voltage across terminals RH and W.  If voltage is present, the furnace should be off.  The 95mA is mostly unimportant because the thermostat is going to stay in place.  I just need to make sure the pi doesn’t draw so much current that it turns on the furnace on it’s own.  I drew up the below circuit to accomplish this using a rectifier circuit and an opto-isolator fed into GPIO24.

Aaron’s piHouse Monitor 

In this circuit, when the thermostat is open, the 10K resistor attached to the terminals limits the current feeding the 4 diodes, which function as a bridge-rectifier.  This rectified AC then drives the LED of the opto-isolator.  When the LED is lit, is turns on the transistor, shorting GPIO24 to GND with a 1uF cap for smoothing because its an AC signal.  When the thermostat is closed, there is no current driving the opto-isolator and GPIO24 is pulled up to to 3.3V by a 100K resistor.

With the furnace monitoring designed, I had to decide on a temperature sensor.  Unfortunately, the raspberry pi doesn’t have any built-in analog inputs.  This was a little disappointing because it’s a standard feature on most microcontrollers I have used, however this is a computer.  After a little research, I settled on a sensor that uses the Dallas 1-wire protocol.  This is a serial bus that is similar to I2C.  I liked it becuase there is pi support and since it is a bus, it is expandable (multiple sensors) without using more inputs.  I found some DS18B20 1-wire Temperature Sensor ICs in a probe package with wire attached on Amazon, a bought a few.

Following the datasheet recommendations, I wired up the temp sensor like this:

Aaron’s piHouse Monitor 

The last piece for this was an LCD screen.  I did some research and picked a product from Adafruit that has a 16X2 RGB LCD Screen and 5 buttons on a “shield” style board that plugs into the GPIO header on the pi.  I ordered one and when it came in, I soldered it together.

After much programming (That will be a future post), I had all the parts working.  So it was time to put the unit together.  I plugged the LCD screen into the pi, then soldered some wires to the backside of the header-pins on the LCD shield.  The other ends of the wires go to some proto-board where I built the schematics pictured above.  I then added a 2-conductor wire in parallel to the thermostat and connected the other end to the pi’s “furnace” input.  I wired up the Temperature sensor.  I mounted it all to a bookshelf and fired it up.

Aaron’s piHouse Monitor Aaron’s piHouse Monitor Aaron’s piHouse Monitor Aaron’s piHouse Monitor

Aaron’s piHouse Monitor