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November 11, 2013
News - SparkFun's Rapid Prototyp…
For most projects, you can replace the bench supply with a bunch of rechargeable batteries and get voltages in 1.2v increments easily. For an oscilloscope, I bought one of those tiny ‘DSO’ scopes - not the fastest thing in the world - but plenty good enough for most Arduino/RaspberryPi projects - I got mine for $70, you can download it’s data via USB into your PC as a “.wav” file! My signal generator is the sound port from my PC…I can generate way more waveforms with Audacity or with a quick C++ program than I’ll ever need…and (very cool) I can use audacity to replay signals that I captured from my DSO scope…which is an amazingly useful trick for testing bits of circuit in isolation from each other.
I gave up trying to make my workspace happen in our garage or our spare bedroom (which is full of two gigantic laser cutters!) - so I looked around outside and decided that the 12' wide by 20' long strip of mangey grass down the side of our house was wasted on two trash cans and some air conditioners…so I set about building an 8'x16' workshop there. It cost me about $1000 worth of 2x4’s, ¾" plywood floors on concrete blocks with hardyboard sides and a shingled roof…plus three weekends of ‘sweat equity’. It’s turned out really nicely. It has an extra-wide door and two windows at each end - so it could plausibly be useful as a really great garden shed for someone in the future. I have a plastic-strip curtain halfway down to divide the ‘dirty’ space (drill stand, chopsaw, lathe, dremels, etc) from the ‘clean’ area (solder station, computers, tool storage, etc). All of the walls are done in pegboard - floor to ceiling…so there is more than enough space to hang most tools in easy sight. The space up in the roof is great for stacking large chunks of wood, plastic and metal. With 32 feet of counter-top and shelving beneath, I don’t lack storage…and I have a ‘cosy’ 4' wide walkway down the length of the building.
It’s a tight space - you wouldn’t want two people working there - but because it’s utterly custom, I can cram an immense amount of stuff into it…and one advantage of it being so small is that the aggressive organization it imposes means that everything has to be put back in it’s place because there is literally no place else to put it…and also, you’re never more than two steps away from the tool, part or fastener that you need.
We added a little ‘deck’ at one end, with flower boxes under the windows, so my wife is happy with how it looks from the back garden.
about 2 years ago
I can’t use the Arduino IDE (complicated reasons) - so I use Makefiles, g++ and avrdude directly from Ubuntu Linux.
I have two Pro-micro boards and a Leonardo. I did the development work on the Leonardo - then decided to shrink the design onto a Pro-micro. Since I’ll eventually be making around a thousand of these things - I need to evaluate the switch over to using the Pro-Micro rather carefully. To that end, I bought an “official” (5v/16MHz) SparkFun Pro-Micro and a 5v/16MHz clone from someplace in China (it’s labelled “Deek-Robot”). The two boards look identical in every way, except for the PCB color and the name on the back.
The Deek-Robot board works perfectly as a Leonardo - same exact software, same avrdude settings…which I presume is because it uses the exact same original CATERIN bootloader as the Leonardo.
But I can’t get the Sparkfun board to talk to me. I presume that’s because of the modified bootloader…but double-resetting it doesn’t work - I can’t figure any way to get it to work with avrdude.
What I need is either:
(a) A way to re-flash the bootloader back to the original CATERIN using avrdude….or…
(b) The correct settings for avrdude to send sketches to the modified CATERIN bootloader.
No public wish lists :(
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