Blackpool LUG&Makerspace meeting 22nd August 2015

Attending: Mike Hull, Mike Hewitt, Ricky, Tony, Les, Martin, Arthur and James.

Basement space update

The shower/washroom/toilet cubical partition wall is in place and has sound insulation behind the plasterboard skin. 
All the copper water pipes are in place and tested for leaks. 
Cabling for mains sockets, lighting and networking are being put into place.
From next week, there is going to be a major push forward in an attempt to make the space usable for the “make:shift:do” event in October, 

More information can be found here:<> and applications can be made via the Crafts Council website or accessed directly here – you must create a Crafts Council log-in to apply.
James demonstrated his new HP Pro stylus 8 Android tablet.
The HP Pro stylus 8 can do a really neat trick.
Use the stylus to write or draw on a standard paper notebook placed next to the screen, and whatever is written/drawn, appears on the screen.
The handwriting recognition is really good as well.
Arthur has built a one armed robot:-
“I have finished the hardware side for a simple one servo Kalman filter testing robot.  It’s an inverted pendulum with the accelerometer/gyro at the top of the arm.  I have a second identical robot that just needs the electronics adding, the idea is I’ll have one and I’ll give the other to Martin and his son to play with.  Once the software is written for it I’ll really get into trying to learn the maths.”


Windows 10 IOT core, who/what is it for?

Windows 10 IOT core (internet of things), who/what is it for?

I bought the latest Raspberry Pi to try Windows 10 IOT core, and wrote about it here:-
I was disappointed to say the least.

The following post on Hackaday concludes that Windows 10 IOT is not for makers/hackers.

While Windows 10 IoT Core is great for any company that has a lot of Visual Basic and other engineering debt, it’s not meant for hackers, makers, or anyone building something new”

Windows 10 IoT Core is a beginning, and should be viewed as such. It’s there for those who want it, but for everyone else any one of a dozen Linux distributions will be better.

Meeting – 15th August 2015

Attending: Mike Hull, Mike Hewitt, Martin and Tom.

Basement space update:

Work on the rainwater recycling system has started with the installation of a header tank in the loft.
Rainwater will be collected in a tank at ground level, and pumped to the tank in the loft. The loft tank has two feeds and two control systems. A feed from the water main is controlled by a ball cock system, which keeps the tank half full. When rainwater is available, water is pumped up from the ground floor tank, when the tank is filled to capacity a sensor turns off the pump. Mains water only comes into use if no rainwater is available.

Having discussed the water system, we moved on to talk about

solar, wind and water power.
In the UK, we use a lot of energy on heating and lighting during the long winter evenings, when there is no solar power being produced. Could wind power be at least part of the answer, we are on a windy coast, where historically, there have been windmills, some of which are still standing.

What is the best way to harvest and store solar/wind energy?
What is actually cost effective and viable/practical when you take away government supported schemes?
Biomass and wood burning stoves. Have you got a garage to spare to fill up with the required fuel?
Should solar PV tiles be used to roof every new house built?
Is the insulation going into new houses environmentally friendly?
Will water meters push more people to recycle water?

There were far more questions than answers, and in some cases, it is not easy to find out which are the correct answers.

Arthur was at the BBC make it digital display opposite the tower.


Meeting 1st August – Karman filters, robots, programming, rainwater re-use.

Attending: Mike Hull, Mike Hewitt, Ricky, Les, Tony, Arthur, Martin, and Cliff.

Arthur is still pursuing the perfect robot, and continued his discussion with Martin about cleaning up signals using filters, specifically, the Kalman filter.
“Kalman filters also are one of the main topics in the field of robotic motion planning and control,”

This link was suggested as a useful resource on control systems.

By the end of the morning, Arthur started to consider that the mathematics might be too involved for him to fully understand. However, you do not need a maths degree to use systems designed by others, and Martin provided Arthur with some Python code to try.

Les continued to improve his barcode scanning game,
Tony was experimenting with Scratch programming
Ricky spent the morning gaming,

Basement update: 

No pictures this week.
Mike Hull started to plan the layout and implementation of the proposed rain water re-use system, which will use an Arduino as the control system.
Work has been going on outside of the basement in preparation for various ancillary systems including rainwater and waste water re-use. 

Meeting 25th July 2015

Attending: Mike Hull, Mike Hewitt, Ricky, Martin, Les, Jeff and Arthur.

Basement space update

15mm copper pipework going into the shower/toilet/washroom before the walls are boarded up. The Breezeblocks have arrived, these will be used to provide a solid foundation for the shower base to sit on, while also raising the shower base enough to allow room for the waste pipe plumbing underneath.

Mike and Jeff inspecting the pipework inside the framework of the shower room.

The meetings take place on the floor above while the basement is being refurbished.
Arthur is still trying to improve the performance/balance of his robot, and spent the morning talking with Martin about how to clean up noisy signals using filters.
Ricky browsed catalogues of computer parts with the intention of building the ultimate gaming computer.
Les was working on a Raspberry pi project /game which involves barcode scanning.
Jeff is still considering what to do about the system used to maintain his Blackpool Rugby club supporters site.
Both Joomla and Blogger have been looked at as possible replacements for the existing system, but no decision yet.

ESP8266 WIFI Serial Dev Kit Development Board

These development boards sidestep some of the problems encountered when using a bare esp8266.
Battery powered with an onboard voltage regulator, just put batteries in the holder and you are ready to start programming it.
Add the esp8266 development board to the Arduino IDE using the board manager, and you can then use an Arduino to program the blink sketch into the esp8266 board.
If you hit this problem with the firmware updating software
  • The firmware updating software only works on COM ports 1-6. If your USBSerial device enumerates to a higher port number than that, you will have to change it via Device Manager in Windows.
  • You can download all the required files in this ZIP file
Guide with firmware bundle, flasher didn’t work for me as I was on com 8
download and used this Flash tool instead

adding esp8266 board to arduino

Get it here

using the Arduino to blink esp8266 LED

looks familiar,
void setup() {   // initialization
pinMode(16, OUTPUT); // set the io pin 16 to output
void loop() { // loop
digitalWrite(16, HIGH); // GPIO16 high TTL, LED on
delay(1000); // delay 1s
digitalWrite(16, LOW); // GPIO16 low TTL, LED off
delay(1000); // delay 1s

A temperature monitoring project with the esp8266:-

Meeting 11th July 2015 – Pi, windows 10, rtos

Basement space update.

Mike and Arthur stood in the area which will become the toilet/shower/washroom, the framework for the walls already in place.
Various projects ongoing in the temporary space (Mikes dining room)

Arthur has started using the Raspberry Pi for one of his robot projects

and wants precise motor (real-time?) control for the walking motion, but the Raspberry Pi does not
support real time operations when it is running raspbian.
Arthur has found a pseudo real-time library that may do the job and will report back about this in due course.
Doing a Google search for Raspberry Pi rtos brings up multiple
hits and possibly one of these would be of use.

RISC OS can be installed to the Raspberry Pi

and RISC OS can exert full control over the Raspberry Pi and do real time
So yet another possibility, although Arthur  has said he is not keen on learning more programming languages and operating systems.

I looked at windows 10 on the raspberry pi. The documentation is clear and easy to follow. getting started guide
You need windows 10 installed on a computer, not a virtual machine, to get windows 10 onto the pi.

New pi to run windows 10
In a post on the Raspberry Pi blog

Upton writes that the Raspberry Pi 2 will be compatible 

with Windows 10 

BUT:- “it’s windows Jim, but not as we know it”

There seem to be quite a few disappointed people who were expecting a full desktop version of 

windows 10.

Nodemcu – meeting 4th July 2015

Attending:- Mike Hull, Mike Hewitt, Ricky, Joe, Les, Tony, Jeff and Olly

Basement Space update

One Half of the flooring is done.
Next job is to baton and board the walls.
Mike and Olly discussed the layout of the network cables.

James generated a fair amount of traffic on the mailing list by asking for help reseating the heat sink on his overheating Dell i7 laptop. The opportunity to dismantle this machine was enthusiastically accepted, and even brought Olly out of retirement.
Unfortunately, on the day, James did not appear. He needed to hack on his car which had failed to start.
Consolation picture: The cooling system of my Dell laptop.
Les had picked up a nodemcu at Liverpool Makefest last weekend. This is an ESP8266 based board, and Les soon had a flashing  LED using the Lua programming language. 
This board makes using the ESP8266 so much easier than a bare 8266. No messing with voltage regulators, rx/tx pins, voltage dividers etc. Just plug your USB cable in and you are ready to start using the ESP8266.
Embedded image permalink
LUA is not the only option, nodemcu is supported in the arduino IDE
Jeff had made a start using Google Blogspot Blogger for his rugby site, but is still interested in learning more about Joomla.
Thank you to Mike Hull for hosting the meeting.

Pirates Vs Ninjas with the ESP8266 – Meeting 27th June 2015

Attending: Mike Hull, Mike Hewitt, Ricky, Joe, James and Arthur

Basement Space Update.

One half of the basement space is tanked and insulated.

The flooring has tongue and groove fittings down the sides and along the ends. All the edge joins are being glued as the floor goes down.
This is the ESP8266 project produced by Arthur
The ESP8266 is programmed to provide a Pirates Vs Ninjas open wireless network. You connect with your phone or Laptop, and are presented with a basic web page with two buttons which you can click on to vote Pirate or Ninja. 
When people start voting, a servo moves the pointer to indicate which is more popular, Pirates or Ninjas.
Arthur takes this along to various events.
James, was the first of our group to notice the ESP8266 when it started it’s rise to fame. Initially, I think some people, myself included, did not appreciate the  power and capabilities of this device. The ESP8266 now has many fans, and it is one of the boards already supported by the new Arduino IDE, meaning that if you are familiar with the Arduino, you can easily get started with the ESP8266.  

Meeting and Basement update

Mike Hull, Mike Hewitt, Les, Tony, Arthur, Ricky, Joe, James, Keiran and Phyllis.

As mike indicated in his mailing list post, one half of the room has had the floor insulation added, and work on the wall insulation has started.

Showing the thickness of the floor insulation. Two pairs of legs standing on it for context.

This is the thickness of insulation on the walls. Batons go on next, then plasterboard.
I spent all morning talking to Arthur about the ESP8266, and neglected to take any pictures or notes of what other people were up to, so no write up this week, Sorry!
Les, Tony and Arthur left at 12 to go to the Blackpool Raspberry Jam.
Don’t forget Liverpool Raspberry Jam next week.