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   Garage cleaning day.  As winter approaches the High Council of Elmwood Park voted to clean the garage so one of the cars can be parked there during the winter.  This eliminates the need for people to remember two alternate the side of the street they park.  We also decided to do some organization and clean off the table that had piled up with parts of projects over time.  We made a pretty good team and soon had the garage in good shape.  Pictured are the results.  We put up a wood shelve above an old desk use to be covered in the wood (and everything else), and cleaned up everything that was under it.
Elmwood Park

Elmwood Park

I didn't have much time to work on the Odroid project today, but I did get the voltage divide resisters and the current sense resister soldered into place for one of the power inputs. This will be for the solar panel which I figure will run between 0 to and 20 VDC. I still need to connect the current sense opamp, but the voltage divide is finished.

Indifferent Donkey

Indifferent Donkey

Today the new Odroid arrived. Rather than attempt to fix the old one which likely involves replacing at least the power supply I ordered a new one. With it's arrival I very quickly had the setup running where I had left off with it. The SD and eMMC cards were undamaged, as was the I/O shield. One assembled the system booted and I was able to SSH into the device. I was also able to run my I/O shield program to monitor voltages and current.

Since this was running it was time to see about the battery and charger that have been sitting for the better part of a month unused. I quickly wired the battery to the charger, and the charger to the Odroid's power supply. I confirmed I was able to switch on and off the bench power supply and the system flawlessly ran from the power supply or battery. When there was enough power the battery charged, but when the supply voltage fell too low the system ran from the battery. This is exactly what I had expected and it was good to see progress on this project again.

I left the Odroid to run overnight on just battery power. The battery was pretty much at full charged and I wanted to see the Odroid run from the battery for several hours.

   Whenever we do gatherings at the house a fair bit of time is spent setting up a visual atmosphere.  I had recently converted all of my empty wine bottles into lighted bottles.  Simply drill a hole in the bottom of the bottle, and stuff in a string of LED lights.  This time of year is the only time I can get orange and purple strings of LEDs, and I've been collecting them for awhile.  Now several are in bottles and I decided to light the stairs down to the basement with the bottles.  I was pleased with how things looked.
Laser Tunnel

Laser Tunnel

   In addition to Xiphos' laser light show at last night's Halloween gathering, I put together my own laser setup.  My laser light tunnel is a simple effect, but always looks cool.  The setup is quite simple: a laser point, a PC fan with a mirror glued to the center slightly lopsided, and a vice to hold and direct the laser.  Bounce the laser on the spinning mirror and the tunnel is made.  Use a little smoke from a smoke machine and it creates a cool laser tunnel effect.  Many have done this setup, and it is a simple party favorite.
   For this setup I used my recently repaired bench power supply to run the laser and the fan.  It worked perfectly and the first time I have put the repaired supply into action since it was fixed.

November 01, 2014

Happy Birthday Amanda

Fixed it.

Fixed it.

   We had our Halloween gathering this evening.  Pictured is Xiphos' laser light show.  The setup consists of three laser diodes, one green and two red.  There are two laser drivers, one controls the green and one of the red lasers, and the other the second red laser.  The board controlling two lasers destroyed itself, thoroughly and after some investigation under the microscope it was deemed hopelessly unrepairable.  Xiphos did some searching around and found a replacement board which is coming from China.  But it hasn't arrived yet and we wanted lasers for the gathering.  In the past we have used laser pointers for some cool tunnel effects and have a couple of laser pointers for this purpose.  Xiphos thought he'd try and use a green laser pointer to fill in one of the missing lasers in his light show.
   The green laser in this particular light show is run through a beam splitter and fed to two mirror sets.  He was able to feed in the laser pointer by simply shinning the laser on the splitter without having to remove the existing green laser.  Once aligned this worked perfectly.  The down side was the laser pointer ran for about 30 minutes before the batteries were dead.  This is where I stepped in.  Using an old computer power supply I wired the laser to 3.3 volts for a continuous supply of power.  The setup ran all night and was a big hit.
Halloween snow

Halloween snow

   Halloween today, and this morning there was snow on the ground.  This is the first snow of the season and rather than just being flurries we actually had accumulation.  This is unseasonably early, but I like snow and all my fall color picture have been taken so I'm pretty happy about it.  Being Friday it was my day to bike into work.  I had a good tailwind on the way into work and made good time.  On the return ride I had a steady headwind and the ride went quite slowly.  This has been the coldest day of biking to work, but I still had to take off articles of clothing during the ride as I was getting too warm.  Unlike my rides to work when in Cedar Rapids, Iowa I have much more than 1.5 miles to travel.  So my record setting ride to work at -24° F will likely not be broken.  Still I would like to keep riding into work for as long as possible, so exploring my options for warm biking clothing is on the list of things to do.