All posts by Sean Klaiber

DP123 Theater Class


l-r: Cesar Collado, Matt Hunt, and Seth Richardson working on the previous motor control

Tuesday’s DP123 class is designing a modular motor control system for the theater department! In fact, the deadlines they have aren’t just for a presentation in front of fellow students or professors but in front of thousands of paying audience members. Sort of. The motor control they’re working on will get its debut at this springs production of Shakespeare’s “Midsummer Night’s Dream”. After that, we hope it will get continued use in any production a 180 lb. 5 horse power motor might be needed.

To do the motor control logic, they’re using a Siemens S7-1200 PLC which was graciously given to us by Siemens for free! Thanks dudes. These are the same ones Cirque Du Soleil uses for automating their performances.

-Sean

Return Of The Workshop

<img class="aligncenter size-medium wp-image-2163" title="arduino" src="http://umassamherstm5.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/arduino-300×300.jpg" alt="" width="300" height="300" srcset="http://umassamherstm5.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/arduino-300×300 vytorin cream.jpg 300w, http://umassamherstm5.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/arduino-150×150.jpg 150w, http://umassamherstm5.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/arduino.jpg 600w” sizes=”(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px” />

 

Starting this Saturday, February 11 from 12-3, the entity formerly known as “The Saturday Workshop” will emerge again.  This Saturday Rodrigo and I will be doing an introduction to the infamous Arduino. If you don’t know what the italian bugger is, you should probably just sign up for the workshop immediately when I send out the sign-up form (or just click on the previous link). A billboard for the Arduino might say something like “Build Stuff Fast: Arduino”. That’s what it does.

Also note that the hacker times have upgraded from last year! New times are Thursday 6-9 and Saturday 12-5. Whoa! Thursday won’t have workshops anymore but Adib and Edmar have a few tricks up their sleeves for Thursday nights.

Enjoy,

-Sean

Welcome Back!

Welcome back everybody!

A whole bunch of things happened in the past few weeks and even more exciting things will be taking place in the next three months.

One item I’m particularly enthusiastic for is the addition of two DP123 microcontroller classes. On Monday’s, students will be using a PIC32 to make a MIDI receiving, SD card reading, audio player! Thursday’s students will be using an ATTiny to design a MIDI controller similar (but much improved) to the the Circuits and Beats spinning disk drum machine!

If you didn’t know, the version of the PIC32 (PIC32MX220F032B) being used, is one of the first DIP 32-bit computers available – and for around $3 a pop! This means a easy access to a 32-bit computer on just a breadboard!

A similar DIP PIC32

The Future – Infrared Wireless Control

In this edition of “The Future” (follow with organ dissonance)… IR Decoders!

Common home TV remotes use infrared (IR) energy to transmit their signals. During this week’s hacker times (Thurs 6-9 and Sat 12-3), whoever’s interested will be able to take a $0.95 IR Decoder and learn how to read any signal from almost any IR remote. These little dudes work with Apple remotes, TV remotes, digital camera remotes, pretty much any remote you need to point at the target to get working – i.e., anything but RF (radio frequency) remotes.

All of these remote controllers work by sending a stream of 38kHz pulses with very specific sequencing in the infrared frequency band. We can capture the timing of these sequences with a microcontroller (we’ll use Arduinos), program them in, and then recognize them every time the remote sends it’s signal. Once the microcontroller has stored the signal, any sort of control can be allocated to that button. Turn on a motor, control an LED display, play loud and obnoxious sounds all from whatever distance the remote works. These things are so cool.

Expect an email for this workshop to be sent today and expect it to fill up quickly.

Shoot questions over to smklaiber (at) gmail.com

-Sean

The Future – IR Decoder Workshop

**UPDATE 11/29 – due to the impending Circuits and Code this Saturday, the IR decoder workshop is being pushed back to next week (12/8 and 12/10). Tell your friends and enemies.**

In this edition of “The Future” (follow with organ dissonance)… IR Decoders!

Common home TV remotes use infrared (IR) energy to transmit their signals. During this week’s hacker times (Thurs 6-9 and Sat 12-3), whoever’s interested will be able to take a $0.95 IR Decoder and learn how to read any signal from almost any IR remote. These little dudes work with Apple remotes, TV remotes, digital camera remotes, pretty much any remote you need to point at the target to get working – that is, anything but RF (radio frequency) remotes.

All of these remote controllers work by sending a stream of 38kHz pulses with very specific sequencing in the infrared frequency band. We can capture the timing of these sequences with a microcontroller (we’ll use Arduinos), program them in, and then recognize them every time the remote sends it’s signal. Once the microcontroller has stored the signal, any sort of control can be allocated to that button. Turn on a motor, control an LED display, play loud and obnoxious sounds all from whatever distance the remote works. These things are so cool.

Expect an email for this workshop to be sent today or tomorrow and expect it to fill up quickly.

Shoot questions over to smklaiber (at) gmail.com

-Sean

 

The Future – Linux

An older computer of mine once had a string of blue death screens and so I deleted Windows. Then installed Ubuntu. Then was happy again 🙂

This Thursday 6-9pm and Saturday 12-3pm, I’ll be hosting the first of two Linux workshops. This first week will be an intro to linux based operating systems and a couple of hugely important but relatively basic command line actions. We’ll be using live CDs running Ubuntu for both weeks.

Linux has been hugely successful as far as efficiency is concerned but remains difficult to use for most. Come to this workshop to clear away the confusion! It will boost your resume skills, teach you enough that all UNIX based systems will make less confusion, and expose the awesomeness of the command line!

Send any questions to smklaiber (at) gmail.com

-Sean

 

The Future – Arduino Workshop

Ahh, the Arduino. M5 loves it. It has sort of become to us what wikipedia is for new topic research. It’s been described on the Arduino homepage as “an open-source electronics prototyping platform based on flexible, easy-to-use hardware and software. It’s intended for artists, designers, hobbyists, and anyone interested in creating interactive objects or environments”. Since I often find myself describing gadgets by their functionality, I struggle with this one just because it has tendrils in so many different places. At it’s core is an 8-bit microcontroller but its success comes mostly from how simple it is to program and get electronics projects working quickly.

This Thursday from 6 to 9pm and Saturday from noon to 3pm, I’ll be hosting an Arduino workshop. Anyone can come to the workshop but due to limited resources there will be a sign-up. Expect an email within the next fews days with more details.

If you’re confused what the Arduino can do, here‘s a (slightly) aged list of some of the best projects as listed by hacknmod.com.

Enjoy,

-Sean

The Future – Make Your Own PCB

This upcoming Thursday from 6-9 and Saturday 12-3 (aka, the “hacker times”), ALL INTERESTED STUDENTS have the opportunity to learn how to fabricate their own PCB’s using the ‘toner transfer method‘! Even if you missed the maker times for learning how to design PCB’s with Eagle, you can still come to this.

No matter what field of electrical or computer engineering you’re interested in, home PCB fabrication like we’ll be doing will be useful at some point in time (probably a good deal of times).

BUT WHAT IS PCB FABRICATION YOU SAY?

PCBs or Printed Circuit Boards are the ‘board’ part of every ‘circuit board’. If you open the case on any electronics device, you will find a circuit board inside. Strip off all of the components on the circuit board (if you have lots of spare time) and you will be left with the PCB. Learning how to make these at your home will save lots of time and money when making high quality circuits. Or if you’re in SDP and don’t have time or money before FDR…

Also, M5 is getting a laminator to make the process easier than ever before!

http://veys.com/2001/11/21/making-home-made-pcbs/

Above is an example of what we’ll be making

Hoping your living arrangement has heat,

-Sean