Archive for August, 2007

Arduino Woe

29 August, 2007

Lately my Arduino’s been giving me terrible problems, it would take absolutely AGES to start up, and then once it did, the moment I clicked on the “Tools” menu it would freeze for about 10 minutes before the menu would pop up. Not good. anyway, after a long time of Google searching and then giving up and then resuming my searching for a solution I recently came upon a post in the Arduino forums here which had the answer. It seems that by having a Bluetooth module attached to my computer (for Salling Clicker, a GREAT piece of software) the Arduino IDE was constantly searching through the COM ports for an Arduino BT or one of the COM ports, a Bluetooth one most likely, was giving it something unexpected.

Happily I just had to disable my Bluetooth adapter and suddenly it all worked. So to try I tested the following piece of code:

/*
Test of interrupts and clock
(CC) 2007 TheFallenIndustries
Complies to around 2032 kilobytes and needs an ATMega168
*/

#include <FrequencyTimer2.h>

unsigned long freq = 667; // f = 1/T so 1.5kHz is about 667uSec
int val = 0;
int analogPin = 5;
int pin = 13;
int capdump = 7;

void setup()
{
pinMode(11,OUTPUT); // clock is on io pin 11
pinMode(7,OUTPUT); // capacitor dump
pinMode(2,INPUT); // the interrupt input
attachInterrupt(0, fire, RISING); // 0 is pin2, 1 is pin3
FrequencyTimer2::setPeriod(freq);
FrequencyTimer2::enable();
}

void loop()
{
val = analogRead(analogPin);
if(val >= 1000) // Capacitor Charged
{
FrequencyTimer2::disable(); // stop charging
}
else // Capacitor Discharged
{
FrequencyTimer2::enable(); // start charging
}
}

void fire()
{
if(val >= 1000)
{
digitalWrite(capdump,HIGH);
}
}

This seemed to work fine, so I’m expecting a flurry of Arduino experimenting soon. Hopefully I’ll get some LCD displays running in both 8 bit and 4 bit mode.

Another blog I’ve come across recently is http://www.uchobby.com/ It would seem that should you link to this guy’s site, or write an article about hobby electronics, he will send you a kit or a PCB for free. In the past it has been LCD displays but recently it has all been Arduino themed. I found a particular article that was very interesting as I’ve been tryign to convert my La Fonera’s into embedded device servers. However some of the articles are not as complicated, for example this about sorting through large “lucky bags” of components.

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The Trouble With Things

22 August, 2007

It’s been quite a bit of time since I last updated this, but here I am again.

Lately I’ve decided to simplify my life. After all only once I am organized and regulated can I then allow spontaneity. So in order to do that I’ve gone through all the things I’ve wanted to do, planing to do, and doing, and written a large list. Going through this list I’ve noticed a lot of projects that I no longer have any interest in, namely using PICAXE chips. I’ve moved on to Arduino and the more complex opportunities it provides. I’ve also been able to cull some travel plans that simply couldn’t completed because of changing commitments, and, more importantly, a lack of money! Also listing these tasks has made it a lot easier to see what things can be done quickly and simply (throw out old war gaming stuff) and what will take more time ( control an Arduino through a La Fonera with Open WRT using the SCL, SDA, GND lines). Definitely worth the time spent on writing it. And as I keep the list as a notepad file on my 2Gb USB Memory stick, I can easily update it when I think of a new, or remember an old, project.

Another way of simplifying things is to reduce things, in my case, throw out anything I’m not using, or planning to use in the immediate future. As a result I’ve got rid of most of my old PC , modeling and war gaming magazines, freeing up 2 shelves. I’ve also sorted through my books, removing those that I don’t read anymore and consigning them to a charity shop. I’ve also thrown out all the junk I’ve collected with the hope of being able to fix it or make something from it.

There is another reason for this simplification as well. On the 15/16th of August I shall be moving. This is when I move into my new halls of residence when I start university. I will be moving into a smaller room, so to help with the move, and to make it as pain free as possible I want to have to move as little stuff as possible. To save on money I’ll be moving out of my room during the holidays, I’m only there for the semesters, so having less stuff to move will definately be a bonus. This won’t be too much of a hassle as I’m going to a local university, it’s only about an hour away.

One project I’m tryign to finish off at the moment is to get Linux onto my laptop, a R1F-K008e. However this seems to fail a lot. The main sticking point is, I can’t connect to WPA WiFi networks. This is REALLY annoying because I bought to laptop specifically to be mobile, and I’d need to access more secure, therefore more popular, WPA networks. At home I connect to the internet through a WPA WiFi network, but with Linux I can’t, I’ve tried Ubuntu 6.06 and 7.04 and Xubuntu 6.10 and 7.04. But the included “just works” Network mangers, quite simply, don’t. So I need to download something, but I can’t, because I cannot connect to the internet. D’oh!! However Windows does just work, strange that… Another problem is the tablet, the R1F is a tablet PC, but Tablets have very flaky support, but I do remember reading how someone’s managed to get their tablet working in Ubuntu 7.04 which has prompted me to try just a bit more before consigning Linux as a whole to the “it’s a was of time” bin.

My other foray into the land of Linux was getting DD-WRT on to a pair of La Foneras. I’ve managed it with one, which had the earlier, easily crackable, firmware but the second is proving difficult as it has the later 1.7.2 firmware, which is a lot harder to crack. Once I’ve done that I’m hoping to turn it into a simple wireless embedded server which can connect to an Arduino.