Microcomputing session tomorrow afternoon

Although we won’t be doing a formal ‘introduction to microcomputing’ session tomorrow, I’ll be doing some stuff with the ESP8266 and either a relay or a temperature sensor or a time display so you’re welcome to join in. You’ll need a laptop with the Arduino development environment installed and the ESP8266 extensions, a module of some sort (ESP NodeMCU, Arduino or equivalent) and a good USB data lead. Let me know here or privately if you’d like me to bring a module and/or sensors for you to use.   Or just bring yourself and see what we’re doing.   Star…

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Google AIY Voice Kit

As a Google AIY Voice Kit arrived sooner than expected we’ll be putting that together tomorrow. Anyone with knowledge of the Google Voice JSON stuff would be very welcome. Star and Anchor, 3pm. https://aiyprojects.withgoogle.com/voice

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Visit to London Hackspace

Many of you have never been to London Hackspace across London near Cambridge Heath. Many will be unaware that their lease hasn’t been renewed so they’re looking for a new home which is isn’t proving to be easy and will probably result in restructuring in some way or ways. This month is the last month of ‘business as usual’ because in December things start to wind down for moving, storage or disposal. I’m going there tomorrow afternoon for the radio… club meeting, and probably again for the next on the first Saturday of December (sorry for the short notice but…

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Invention Rooms, White City!

Our doors will be thrown open for a free afternoon of making in W12 this coming Saturday. A full list of all the activities we will be running on Saturday are shown below. The workshops in the maker space mentioned above and tours  of the Advanced Hackspace will require you to sign up in advance. The majority of these bookable activities can only be booked on the day,  however we have released spaces for the first Advanced hackspace Tour at 12:30 that can be booked via this link. All the other activities listed below will be running throughout the event…

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Widget of the Week #4: 8 x 7-segment display MAX7219

A quick one this week after last week’s marathon. Projects often need a few digits of numeric display – from thermometers to clocks these eight digit displays are a cheap and easy-to-use solution.  Commonly known as MAX7219 but that doesn’t refer to the display at all but the multiplexer chip that drives the LEDs from a serial input.  It’s also found in 8×8 matrix displays that we’ll come back to in another WotW. At a current price of around a pound you can pair one with a NodeMCU to make an NTP synchronised clock accurate to fractions of a second for…

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Widget of the Week #3: RGB LED arrays

Everyone likes addressable RGB LED arrays, they can be built into almost anything and they’re fun to program cycles and chases for. First let’s cover some terminology.  We’re talking here about the LEDs arrays in which each pixel can be individually controlled.  They come in different formats – flexible strips, panels, bars, rings and individual pixels, but these all use the same device. We also need to distinguish these LEDs from ordinary RGB LEDs which have no-board electronics but present three pairs of pins or a pin per LED and a common anode or cathode.  There’s also potential confusion with strips that are simply RGB LEDs…

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Meeting: Sunday 27th September, 3:00, Drayton Court Hotel

Just a mention that we’re meeting on Sunday as usual, from 3pm to 6pm in the bar of the Drayton Court Hotel.  Let us know if there’s anything you’d like us to bring along (Arduinos, ESPs, movie bomb lookalikes…).  If you don’t know Nigle and myself you can probably work it out from our Facebook profile pics but if not post here and we’ll look out for you, but we’ll almost certainly have something unmistakably geeky on the table.

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Widget of the Week: Choose your widget

We’ve had some nice feedback about the Widget of the Week posts and we wanted to mention that they won’t get lost in the mists of time because we’re going to expand each one and put them permanently on the wiki.  We’ve got lots of ideas for forthcoming Widget of the Week columns but to encourage some feedback let’s hear what you’d like to read about or indeed what you’d like to write about. RGB LED arrays DHT-11/22 temperature and humidity sensor RFID readers Arduino Mega/Nano GPS module Laser and laser detector Accelerometer High output RGB LEDs (Nigle?) AD9850 DDS (Digital…

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Widget of the Week #2: NodeMCU

I bet everyone who knows me was wondering how long it would take before I posted this one? The basic ESP8266 modules such as the ESP-01, -07 and -12 are small and cheap but not hacker-friendly so there are various modules around that put an ESP module onto a breakout board and provide essential functions such as voltage regulation, USB-serial and level conversion.  The forerunner is the NodeMCU which was originally intended as a Lua/NodeMCU firmware development platform but is perfectly good for other environments. The heart of it as you can see in the picture, is an ESP-12E module that…

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Widget of the Week #1: ESP-01 module

For the first of an irregular series of ‘Widget of the Week’ in which members will share the fruits of their frighteningly serious AliExpress and Banggood habits, I bring you the module that started it all, the ESP-01.  Intended for use in wireless serial applications, hackers soon found that it was field programmable and immensely versatile, not to say powerful – having not just far more memory and a faster CPU than the mainstream Arduinos but integrated WiFi with a pretty comprehensive IPv4 stack. On the one hand it’s somewhat hamstrung by having just three i/o pins but on the other, it…

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