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Month: February 2014

Cloud Based Components

Cloud Based Components

Seems like an odd title since components are those discrete gizmos on a circuit board.  Truth be told, the aggregate processing power of the cloud is not fully realized.  This cloud of potential is increasing with each passing moment.  Everyday, some individual, group, team, research facility, corporate entity, or government agency adds another bit to it.  It’s more than the data stored on it.  It’s more than the hardware it runs on.  It’s more than the software that supports it. …

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Smart Helmets and Dumb Drivers

Smart Helmets and Dumb Drivers

The concept of using a sensor laden helmet is nothing new.  My first thoughts of this type of bike helmet were brought about by the QuickFire sensor lab last quarter.  The smart helmet term is something coined to describe a helmet that has sensors on it.   Truth be told, wearing a helmet is fundamentally the smart thing to do.  I can attest since bomping my noggin at the skate park with my son.  Actually, I’ve known that fact for much…

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3D Components – Using SketchUp

3D Components – Using SketchUp

The process of creating scaled 3D models in SketchUp is time consuming.  It took me an hour to create one component, the lowly 2×16 parallel LCD.  I had to finally give up trying to draw one of the pinouts, the software rendered it incorrectly each time I went to edit it.  This took most of my time, correcting mistakes the software was creating.  I felt like it was in a wrestling match and the rules of the game where in…

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Compact Arduino Options

Compact Arduino Options

There are a few projects that I want to incorporate the Arduino micro controller.  Most of my projects have been developed using the Uno board.  This board has worked well and I’ve grown to rely on it.  There is one challenge that I face using the Uno, it’s size.  Although it’s small, it’s not compact enough for some of my projects. Fortunately, they do make them smaller, much smaller.  I was able to source a Pro Mini from Sparkfun for…

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3D Design – PCB and Casing

3D Design – PCB and Casing

When I was working on the Planet Bike tail light, I had designed a custom PCB and had it manufactured using ExpressPCB.  I had etched my own boards before.  This was a big improvement from that experience.  I initially tried to use proto board and ended up damaging the components while I assembled them.  I would have spent more time doing it any other way. While brainstorming ideas about a case design, I thought something 3D should already be available. …

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It’s In The Bag Part 2 – ebike electronics loosely held inside the pannier

It’s In The Bag Part 2 – ebike electronics loosely held inside the pannier

The bike controller connectors that I’m currently using are modeled from the KU63 brand motor controllers that I purchased from EVAssemble.  I was mistaken when I first purchased this controller, thinking it was the KU63 discussed on Planet Sphere in regards to mods.  It turned out to be a similar controller.  However, it had the same connector types as the KU63.  I eventually did purchase the KU63 controllers from BMSBattery and was a bit put out by how small they…

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Compacting Part 7 – Update

Compacting Part 7 – Update

It didn’t take long after finishing the revamp that I had opportunities to put the system to use.  I have done 3 rides since completing it and realized more work needs to be done.  Here’s a run down of some of the issues I ran into, why, and what I’m doing to improve them. First I’ll start off with what has worked without any trouble.  The handlebar switch has been in the elements for at least 2 months prior to…

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It’s In The Bag Part 1 – ebike electronics loosely held inside the pannier

It’s In The Bag Part 1 – ebike electronics loosely held inside the pannier

For the most part, I’ve been able to get by with my setup.  The setup is stowing the battery pack, motor controller, watt meter, and boost converter in the pannier bag without any fastening.  It’s been treated like luggage for the past 2 years.   The only issue that I’ve noticed in that time is broken wires, mostly the smaller gauge.  Hot glue at the base of the connector heads has helped. I liked this setup because I don’t have the…

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Cord Cutters Part 2 – Breaking the bonds of the power conglomerate

Cord Cutters Part 2 – Breaking the bonds of the power conglomerate

It turns out there are 2 module boards that connect to the device.  The first is the USB module that we currently  use.  The second is a Serial module that uses RS323 to communicate.  Both of these modules connect to the device through a 9 pin connector.  However, neither of these modules had any published information specific to board layout, schematics, or even theory of operation. I was able to source a RS323 / TTL converter and a bluetooth module. …

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