Your source for daily hacks

Published on: September 15, 2013 / Comments: None

Lazy Sunday Links – 9/15/2013

Sunday is a good lazy day. Time to learn stuff and bang out some easy hacks.


Chirp is a Javascript toolkit for creating chiptunes.  Only works in Google Chrome but sounds retro-tastic and actually sounds pretty good.

Voltage dividers are an essential skill to learn when building circuits. Go learn some voltage diviers.

Transmit data serially without a Microcontroller.  Uses a specialized IC by Holtek to transmit and receive, but really quite useful if you have some data you want to move and don’t feel like adding a Microcontroller to your project!

The gMax is a pretty large 3D Printer on kickstarter.  It boasts a 16″ x 16″ x 9″ print volume.  Wow that’s some large prints!

Don’t understand how hobbyist FDM 3D Printers work ?  Here’s a writeup on how they work.

The illustrated guide to crypto hashes.  Informative

Tuning an RTOS can be daunting to pick the right scheduling algorithm. How to select the right algorithm using system modeling.

If you’re not a VIM guru, you’re probably using the nano text editor.  Here’s some tips to make your nano experience a little more pleasurable.  Works on the Raspberry Pi too.


Published on: August 27, 2013 / Comments: None

Are you ready to move to an RTOS?

There’s an interesting article on The Bare Metal Enthusiast about to RTOS or not to RTOS.  Definitely an interesting topic.  First off if you don’t know, RTOS is Real Time Operating System.  It’s a sort of middle ground between writing some bare code on a microcontroller, to a full operating system like Linux or Windows.  It (usually) allows you to run multiple things at nearly the same time, and is a framework for modularizing your code and thought process.

It’s difficult finding a balance between using an RTOS and not using one.   For instance, you must know that running your blinky led program on an embedded Linux board (like the Pi) is way overkill and a lot of overhead.  But then if you’ve ever tried to handle a bunch of things at once like running a LCD, and reading inputs, and playing music from a bare metal application can be quite daunting to get your scheduling right.

The author also makes the comparison between 8-bit and 32-bit MCU’s.

It’s a good read, check out the full article here.

Published on: August 8, 2013 / Comments: 2

Upgrading a quad-copter with a proximity sensor for autonomous flight

Chris got his hands on a Crazyflie nano quadcopter.  Oddly enough the quad already comes with open source firmware and hardware ideal for hacking ( imagine that! )  So that’s just what he did.  The Crazyflie runs a STM32 (arm cortex m3) processor and FreeRTOS.  He got the upgraded package with a magnetometer, and altimiter, and can add a GPS too.  All things that are great for autonomous flight but it still isn’t smart enough to not bash into the wall.

Adding a proximity sensor would at least help with immediate obstacle avoidance (and walls), So he found a proximity sensor and dove right in learning C again.  Check out the full write-up here.