Jim (JR)

Member Since: November 24, 2012

Country: United States

  • Greetings!

    I am trying to create a traffic sensor / data-logger using sensors like this.

    I want to place a sensor on one side of a street, and a piece of reflective metal on a fence opposite the sensor, that’s about six-or-so meters away. I want to detect either an object closer than the fence, (usually by a factor of two), or an interruption of the beam, (in case the vehicle is a truck with non-reflective fabric sides - or has such a horrible paint-job that the beam doesn’t reflect.)

    This will be used out of doors, so ambient light is a serious concern.

    I don’t need millimeter accuracy. In fact, I was originally considering a simple IR emitter/detector sensor pair bouncing off a reflective surface. The easy-to-assemble Qwiic systems sound like an answer to my prayers without having to re-design the wheel.

    Question: Which, of the many sensors you sell, would be a good fit? (Hopefully not the Garmin sensor for $150-or-so!)


    Jim “JR”

  • I can understand everything about the kit from the description, except for the small PCB with eyes. Since it’s a PCB with a few components attached - aside from the googly-eyes - it’s obviously there for a purpose, What purpose?

    I’ve seen different illustrations showing the “eyes” pointed in different directions. Is that part of the robot servo controlled somehow? Or is it just a friction mount that can be moved by hand one way or the other?

    Is it possible for this to be clarified within the description?


    Jim “JR”

  • @emc2

    There had better be a damn good reason for somebody to use more than 5V in a USB port… if they did, a looot of people would be reporting burnt devices.

    This is only true for the USB 2.n protocol. USB 3.n (blue plastic insert instead of black), is rated to supply a max of 20+ vdc, as the 3.n spec makes provision for driving devices that are much more power hungry than your run-of-the-mill 2.n device. (http://www.usb.org/developers/powerdelivery/)

    In fact one of the bullet points on that page reads like this:

    • Increased power levels from existing USB standards up to 100W (No, that is not a typo! Imagine, USB powered space heaters!)

    The same thing is also mentioned at this site:


    I have an ASUS TF-201 tablet that has a USB 3.n charger that supplies 15 vdc charging voltage to the device.

    One thing I do not know (but strongly suspect), is if this particular charger, (or USB 3 in general), can detect and supply the correct voltage to the device. I wold not be surprised if USB 3.n can do that, as all it would have to do is put the rails at +5, interrogate the device and receive voltage info, and then adjust the positive rail to match the requested voltage.

    I also strongly suspect, but do not know as a fact, that USB 2.n (or earlier) devices communicate in such a way that the 3.n interface automagically falls back to 2.n, since I have no devices that have a USB 3 host port.

    @everybody Thanks for the info!

    p.s. If I understand the LiPo spec properly, just so long as the battery you are charging can accept a charging current of 500ma or more, this should work like a charm. The only difference is that devices that can accept a larger charge current will take a correspondingly longer time to charge at 500ma.

  • @Teslafan et.al.

    “Unlimited data” does not mean “Unlimited data at LTE speeds”, as is mentioned above. “Unlimited data” means you can stream as much data as you wish, for 6 months, within the bandwidth limits of your device and the carrier’s plan. Many plans, by T-Mobile and others, have “unlimited” usage, but it’s usually for one month, and is $50 each month. So, six months for $80 isn’t such a bad deal. I’m seriously considering getting one of these beasties for the USB dongle I use with my laptop.

    Another important caveat: T-Mobile in the United States does not, repeat not, support full LTE speeds or the advanced LTE protocol due to the fact that Verizon and AT&T gobbled up all the available LTE frequency bands here. The best you can hope for is HPDSA if your modem supports it, or EDGE (2G) if it doesn’t.

    This is especially important if you purchase a “4G-LTE” modem from a source outside the U.S. as they will likely NOT support T-Mobile’s HPDSA frequency bands.

    However, if you use a data-modem, and you are often abroad, (i.e. outside the U.S.), it might well be worth it since roaming charges are often horrid at best.

    What say ye?

    Jim (J.R.)

  • @everyone,

    Comparing things like the Pi, the Edison, and even the Jetson TK1, is an interesting pastime, but saying that (for example), the Pi isn’t a good platform for “robotics” (or whatever), because it runs Linux misses the point. In fact, the TK1 has a development O/S which is also a Linux re-spin.

    As I notice from many of the prior comments, what you want to use really depends on what your specific application is.

    You CAN do interesting things with the Pi, if you really want to. In order to do that - as is also true with the Edison and the TK1 - you have to code “bare metal”. And yes, you can do that on the Pi too. If you REALLY want to be totally anal with your code, drop down into raw assembler. Code everything else in C/C++, and the really time-critical stuff in assembler.

    Now, I don’t want to come off like an absolute fan-boy of the Pi, but I think its being criticized for the wrong reasons. The Pi has more interfacing options than just a few GPIO pins. There’s I2C, (for one), and a few other interesting interface methods too - and I read this out of a “for beginners” guide to the Pi.

    I guess the bottom line for my rant is this: Never underestimate the power of human ingenuity. If you need to get something done, and you wish you had a TK1, but all you have is a Pi or an Edison, it’s a better than even-money bet that you’ll figure out how to do it.

    What say ye?

    Jim (JR)

  • This is actually pretty darn slick!

    I have had some ideas about interfacing an Arduino with a 3-axis gyro board and needed an application to use as a “proof of concept” of my design thoughts. This sounds like just want the Dr. ordered! If I do this right, I should be able to take the gyro board, add (ahem!) “just a wee bit of code” and make it self-stabilizing without needing the standoffs, sort of like a miniature Segway. Of course, if anyone wants to beat me to it - and post code & video - go right ahead! Seriously, it would be very interesting to see the different ways a project like this could be implemented.

    Thanks for a VERY interesting product idea!

    Jim (JR)

  • I’ve run into an interesting situation here.

    I recently purchased a color LCD shield and attempted to use it with the various sample sketches.

    The LCD was covered with a plastic coversheet with a red tab, which wold indicate the “Epson” driver.

    I am using a Rev 3 Arduino UNO (Genuine Arduino), and the 1.0 series libraries.

    The odd behavior I noted is as follows:

    1. If run as an Epson device, any attempt to display any kind of image at all results in a display showing what appears to be random, multi-colored snow.

    2. If I change the script to the “Phillips” device, the display shows a valid image instead of snow - however the colors are inverted as if it’s really an Epson device.

    Has anyone else noticed this? Are there any known solutions?


    Jim (JR)

  • Ben,

    I’m glad we’re finally seeing eye-to-eye on at least something ( :grin: )

    As far as government and millstones and all that [feces] is concerned, that’s the way governments work. It’s been that way all the way back to before Noah and the Ark. I am equally sure that there were Phoenician and Sumerian traders who complained about their own government millstones too.

    It’s like complaining that water’s wet. It’s not going to change any time soon, so why bitch? That is, unless you feel better after ruffling your neck-feathers, squawking, and flapping your wings for a while in an indignant rage.

    Me, I see it in one of two ways:

    • I can moan and groan about how things aren’t the way I’d like them to be. or
    • I can work with what I have, do what I have to do to get where I want to go, and deal with things as they come along.

    Case in point: I have family in Russia. We go there periodically to spoil our grandchildren rotten. And, believe it or not, it is an actual, literal fact that it is illegal to bring a computer or other complex electronic device into Russia without a permit/license Does that mean I leave my laptop at home? Nope. I carry mine with me. So does everyone else. Do they really care? No. However this is one of those stupid laws they can use to bust you if they really want your [donkey] and need an excuse. Just like it is here in the States.

    So, like I said before, the real advice I can give to everyone is to just chill. Deal with it. Have fun and enjoy the ride.

    What say ye?

    Jim (JR)

  • Oh, another thing…

    Saying that “The FCC kills off innovation” is like saying you get the clap from someone sneezing.

    What stifles innovation is the desire to avoid risk. Everything you do has risk. My wife is a Real Estate Agent, and that carries an incredible amount of risk. So much so that her agency, Coldwell Banker, has a separate legal department set up just to help defend the RE Agent from the frivolous and baseless lawsuits that invariably come along.

    I run a computer consulting company, and I run the risk of getting sued out of my socks, despite my best efforts to the contrary.

    The mom-and-pop luncheonette on the corner runs a grave risk every time they set out a plate in front of a customer.

    It’s not the FCC, or their like, that stifles innovation. What stifles innovation is the same thing that stifled it all the way back to the Dawn of Man: the lack of balls. The guy who says “Oooh! There’s a risk - so I’ll just say ” ‘naff this! “ - stifles innovation, his own. He doesn’t want to take risks or try to work with what he has to make it what he wants to have. He wants it for free.

    Likewise, talking about the bazillion dollar fines that the FCC can impose is similarly reactionary and pointless. Let’s say that the FCC DID decide my little boards should have been tested. Are they going to fine a small one-man-shop back in the ‘90’s several bazillion dollars for a few pc boards? No way! Not only no way, but no effin’ way! They’d tell me to stop what I’m doing - and perhaps even offer some advice on how to do it better.

    I worked in a very tightly regulated avionics manufacturing company for just about forever. Having the FAA and the Department of Defense breathing down your neck isn’t fun. But you learn how to play the game - you show them what they want to see. You don’t act carelessly, you don’t get stupid. You don’t prance around like an [donkey’s back-side]. And if something goes wrong, you listen attentively to what they have to say instead of flippin' ‘em the bird. You do all that and things work themselves out.

    Yes, innovation carries risk. Independent thinking carries risk. That’s the nature of the beast. Sometimes you gotta have a Brass Set of Bowling Balls to even think of trying some of this stuff, but as my wife says, “If you don’t take risks, you’ll never drink champagne.”

    And that’s just the way it is.

    Jim (JR)

  • Radio innovation did not decline in the US, however manufacturing moved overseas to take advantage of cheaper labor.

    In other cases, the business model eventually became irrelevant. Heathkit died off in the 70’s because they didn’t keep up with the times. Popular Electronics Magazine - one of my childhood favorites - also died out because interest in that kind of kit-bashing died out too.

    Now, with the resurgence of companies like Arduino, and magazines like Nuts and Volts, or Servo, we can see a regrowth of the electronic hobbyist and a love of the kind of kit-bashing folks like I did when we were children and teens.

    If you think the FCC killed electronic innovation here in the US, I would suggest you take a second look at the computer you’re using to type these posts. Though that particular one was probably manufactured in Asia somewhere, 99% of the research and development - not to mention the manufacture of commercially feasible personal computers happened, and still happens, in Silicon Valley among other places here in the US.

    Do you like animated movies - especially ones like Monsters Inc. Cars, the various Dreamworks films, etc.? The primary development for the computers and software was done by various firms here in the U.S. LucasFilms, Industrial Light and Magic - which later became Pixar, Disney, Dreamworks, and so on.

    Intel, a US based company, invented the first microprocessor, the 8008, here in the Unites States, long after the FCC was created. Likewise Texas Instruments, Motorola, Advanced Micro Devices, (AMD), Atari, Apple, - the list literally goes on and on.

    And with regard to the folks like Arduino, Sparkfun, etc., if you had actually read the posting they made, they are not illegal at all.

    • They create sub-assemblies, which do not require testing.

    • Their primary markets are the experimenter, hobbyist, and to educational facilities, all of which do not require testing.

    Of course, if you are going to use an Arduino board, (or more likely, use the schematic and develop your own design, it would be cheaper in the long run), and manufacture tens of thousands for someone - part of the contract price should be set up to account for both the R&D, as well as the testing that will have to be done.

    Even in my own case, the circuit I made was clearly a “sub-assembly” designed to be installed into a point-of-sale display by the company that was manufacturing them, so testing was not required anyway. However, despite that, I still did a certain amount of ad-hoc testing to verify that I was being a good “electromagnetic” citizen.

    Regarding dates and facts. Being off by a few years is one thing, being off by decades is something else entirely. Edison was still an active inventor into the 1920’s. Tesla had a laboratory in Rocky Point Long Island even later than that.

    As far as being a “poopy head”, I never said that. However, if the shoe fits… .

    What say ye?

    Jim (JR)

No public wish lists :(