I just released chibiArduino v0.54 which fixed the broken release known as v0.52. I had thought I tested v0.52 before releasing it into the wild, however an experimental configuration header file got into the release and was wreaking major havoc with the stack. I recommend anyone that downloaded v0.52 to not use it and switch over to v0.54 immediately. It is tested and working with Arduino v021 and v022 IDEs. If there are any questions, please feel free to email me or post on the forums.

Link to chibiArduino Project

The Safecast bGeigie is an Arduino-based radiation data logger that is being used to generate data for the safecast radiation map . It uses the Freakduino-Chibi board and a customized data logger that interfaces to an International Medcom geiger counter to geotag all the radiation data. Within Safecast, we're currently trying to have one bGeigie travel to hackerspaces around the world and measure the radiation in those areas.

 

Link to Make Magazine

Ugh. Analog Devices put up a great video tutorial on Thermocouples, but had incoherent links to the 8-part series. They were meant to be watched in series but Youtube doesn't organize the videos properly. Here arelinks to each part in the series in the correct order they should be watched in.

Part 1: Thermocouple 101: What is a Thermocouple?

Part 2: Thermocouple 101: Cold Junction Compensation

Part 3: Thermocouple 101: Measuring the Tiny Signal

Part 4: Thermocouple 101: Setting the Common Mode Voltage

Part 5: Thermocouple 101: Open Thermocouple Detection

Part 6: Thermocouple 101: Filtering a Thermocouple

Part 7: Thermocouple 101: Thermocouple Nonlinearity

Part 8: Thermocouple 101: Compensating for Nonlinearity

It's been a while since I posted anything and that deserves another post just to talk about everything that happened in the last 8 months since the March earthquake and tsunami here in Japan. I'm a little bit tired of heavy topics and serious projects so I thought I'd put together a little something that's kind of fun and also timely. Now that we're moving into the holiday season, we're about to start seeing the hard core Christmas people setting up the elaborate light displays. The equipment to switch all the lighting channels and sequence everything is usually a bit costly but it doesn't have to be. If you're familiar with the Arduino environment and willing to put in a bit of elbow grease, blinging out your lawn is just a couple of mouse clicks away :)

I put this three part video tutorial together on how to use the Arduino platform to decode the DMX protocol. The DMX protocol is a standard protocol for stage lighting displays and it happens to be supported by a nice freeware light sequencer called Vixen. In the first part, I go over the DMX-512 protocol and the Arduino source code to decode it. In the second part, I show how to configure a lighting sequence with Vixen, some hardware implementations, and the whole system working together. And in the final part, I show how some simple changes to the code can enable you to control your lights wirelessly.

I recently got a very nice surprise in the mail.  @wa7iut, aka Bob, from Ambient Sensors sent me one of his latest breakout boards. I've been itching to try out the LTC3108 for a while because it can boost input voltages as low as 20 mV up to a very usable 3.3V. People have been sticking probes into plants to power their sensor nodes using these chips.

 

Bob is well known in the open hardware scene and also has been doing a lot of interesting work in the sensor network field. My personal favorites are measuring the impact of tackles in high school football and setting up irrigation monitoring at a wine vineyard.

 

This is just a test page to view aggregated Pachube feeds:

This is the old firmware node:

This is the new firmware node:

It's been a while since I updated the blog. Things have been hectic recently and it's difficult to get a chunk of time together to write a proper post. I've decided however that I'll just start writing blog fragments to get back into the rhythm of updating the site again. I've recently been extremely busy with Safecast and Tokyo Hackerspace. Safecast is a volunteer group that is helping put together a radiation sensor network around Japan and the pace of movement is amazing. Tokyo Hackerspace is collaborating with Safecast on the project and between those two, consulting, and the shop, I'm surprised I have time to sleep. Anyways, this is a little slice of what I'm up to these days...

I just got back from Boston for the Safecast/MIT Media Lab trip and I'm completely jetlagged. Since I couldn't sleep, I though I'd try out my MPC2000 gross alpha/beta counter. This type of counter is used to check if a sample has any alpha or beta radiation content. Its good for checking air filters, food, water, and soil. The main reason you'd want something like this is because alpha and beta radiation is only harmful if ingested. Normally it can't penetrate skin so it won't do any damage outside the body. However once inside the body, it becomes toxic. So knowing whether there is any alpha/beta particles inside a sample that could potentially enter the body is useful. That's also why it's good for air/water/food/soil samples. I'd also like to start posting alpha and beta counts of food and water samples since I think that's one area that is a huge concern for the public in Japan at the moment.