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Hardware

Modding and Hardware Projects: ESP8266 and Hackaday's Latest

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Hardware
  • Building an ESP8266 bedside clock

    My first post about waiting for some ESP8266 based boards was back in 2016, and I’ve mentioned the use of an ESP8266 in various home automation posts. However I’ve never actually written up what I did with that first board. Hopefully you’ve figured it out from the title of this post.

    I had an actual need/desire for a new beside clock. Previously I had a Sony Clock Radio cube, which set itself via the MSF signal. However it ended up with drift - I’m guessing it did a set on power on, but then failed to regularly sync up. I don’t need an alarm clock - my phone provides a much more flexible set of options for that - but I do like to be able to easily tell when I wake up in the night if I’ve got 5 minutes until the alarm or several hours. This seemed like a perfect (if unimaginative) first project for the ESP8266 - build something standalone that would get the time via NTP and have a night-time visible time display.

  • Open Source Fader Bank Modulates our Hearts

    Here at Hackaday, we love knobs and buttons. So what could be better than one button?

  • Sharpest Color CRT Display is Monochrome Plus a Trick

    I recently came across the most peculiar way to make a color CRT monitor.

Open Hardware: Jabil, PLoS One, OctoPrint, PolyMod

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Hardware
OSS
  • Jabil Offers Complete Source for Engineered Materials for 3D Printing
  • Manufacturing Bits: Jan. 22

    Using open-source designs and off-the-shelf components, researchers have developed an automated CVD system for $30,000 in hardware costs, according to Boise State in the journal PLoS One.

  • Building A 3D Printer That Goes Where You Do

    Given the wide array of very popular low cost 3D printers out there, some will likely be surprised that [Thomas] decided to mobilize a printer which is nearly an antique at this point: the PrinterBot Play. But as he explains in the video after the break, the design of the Play really lends itself perfectly to life on the road. For one, it’s an extremely rigid printer thanks to its (arguably overkill) steel construction. Compared to most contemporary 3D printers which are often little more than a wispy collection of aluminium extrusion and zip ties, the boxy design of the Play also offers ample room inside for additional electronics and wiring

    The most obvious addition to the PrintrBot is the six Sony NP-F camera batteries that [Thomas] attaches to the back of the printer by way of 3D printed mounts, but there’s also quite a bit of hardware hidden inside to break the machine free from its alternating current shackles. The bank of batteries feed simultaneously into a DC boost converter which brings the battery voltage up to the 12 V required for the printer’s electronics and motors, and a DC regulator which brings the voltage down to the 5 V required by the Raspberry Pi running OctoPrint. There’s even a charge controller hiding in there which not only frees him from carrying around a separate charger, but lets him top up the cells while the printer is up and running.

  • Open Source Synthesizers Hack Chat

    Matt Bradshaw is a musician, maker, and programmer with a degree in physics and a love for making new musical instruments. You may remember his PolyMod modular digital synthesizer from the 2018 Hackaday Prize, where it made the semifinals of the Musical Instrument Challenge. PolyMod is a customizable, modular synthesizer that uses digital rather than analog circuitry. That seemingly simple change results in a powerful ability to create polyphonic patches, something that traditional analog modular synths have a hard time with.

Linux Picking Up Support For The Fireface UCX High-End Professional Audio Solution

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Linux
Hardware

Should you be assembling a recording studio or have another purpose for some high-end audio kit, the RME Fireface UCX is the latest sound device seeing support in the upstream Linux kernel.

The Fireface UCX is a USB 3.0 / Firewire audio interface with onboard DSP that supports 18 input/output channels, eight analog I/O ports, and a variety of other connections. This 36-channel USB/Firewire audio interface has received a lot of praise from online reviews, but this professional audio gear retails for around $1,600 USD.

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Radio Telescopes Horn In With GNU Radio

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GNU
Hardware

Who doesn’t like to look up at the night sky? But if you are into radio, there’s a whole different way to look using radio telescopes. [John Makous] spoke at the GNU Radio Conference about how he’s worked to make a radio telescope that is practical for even younger students to build and operate.

The only real high tech part of this build is the low noise amplifier (LNA) and the project is in reach of a typical teacher who might not be an expert on electronics. It uses things like paint thinner cans and lumber. [John] also built some blocks in GNU Radio that made it easy for other teachers to process the data from a telescope. As he put it, “This is the kind of nerdy stuff I like to do.” We can relate.

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XGI Display Driver Finally On The Linux Kernel Chopping Block

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Linux
Hardware

XGI Tech, the nearly two decade old spin off from SiS that was short-lived and once aimed to be a competitor to ATI and NVIDIA, still has a Linux driver within the mainline kernel. But this frame-buffer driver is slated to soon be removed.

There's long been the "xgifb" driver within the mainline Linux kernel staging area. This has served for display purposes with XGI hardware without any hardware acceleration, but the driver was limited in scope and hasn't received any real maintenance in years. Plus with being an FBDEV driver while all modern Linux display drivers make use of the Direct Rendering Manager (DRM) infrastructure, it's really outdated.

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How to Turn a Raspbery Pi into a Plex Server

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Hardware
HowTos

Running a Raspberry Pi as a Plex Server does come with several benefits. It won’t take up as much room as a server or a full-size PC. It also will use less electricity, even when idle all day. Best of all, it costs less than most other hardware capable of working as a server.

There are some downsides to be aware of, though. The Raspberry Pi 3 has an ARM processor that just doesn’t have the power to support transcoding. So when you are setting up your videos, you are going to want to choose MKV as your video format. That will usually bypass the need for transcoding. (Just about every Plex player supports MKV without transcoding on the fly, but a few smart TVs might have problems.)

Even then, while you’ll be able to watch standard Blu-ray quality locally, you probably won’t be able to view these videos remotely. And 4K Videos are likely not going to play well either. Also, keep in mind that this is not officially supported, and you’ll need to update the server software manually.

But once you account for those potential pitfalls, the Raspberry Pi does make a competent Plex Media Server.

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Boosting Open Science Hardware in an academic context: opportunities and challenges

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Hardware
OSS
Sci/Tech

Experimental science is typically dependent on hardware: equipment, sensors and machines. Open Science Hardware means sharing designs for this equipment that anyone can reuse, replicate, build upon or sell so long as they attribute the developers on whose shoulders they stand. Hardware can also be expanded to encompass other non-digital input to research such as chemicals, cell lines and materials and a growing number of open science initiatives are actively sharing these with few or no restrictions on use.

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Also: The Entire Hardlight VR project is now Open Source

EVOC on Back Doors (ME) and Newt on an Arduino

Filed under
Linux
Hardware
  • Touch-panel PCs offer a choice of Skylake or Bay Trail chips

    EVOC’s P15 and P17 panel PCs provide Intel Skylake-U or Bay Trail CPUs with IP66 protected 15- or 17-inch resistive displays, plus 2x to 4x GbE ports, up to 8x USB and 6x COM ports, and HDMI, VGA, mini-PCIe, and SATA.

    Like EVOC’s 15.6-inch PPC-1561 touch-panel PC from May 2008, EVOC’s fanless P15/P17 touch-panel PCs run on 6th Gen Skylake-U or Bay Trail Celeron J1900 processors. The 15-inch P15 and 17-inch P17 offer 5-wire resistive touch and a “next generation design” with “true flat display surface and narrow bezel,” says China-based EVOC. The front aluminum alloy panel offers IP66 waterproofing, dustproofing, and anti-vibration support, as well as over 7H-mohs hardness to prevent scratches, oil, dust, metal chip, and water mist damage.

  • Newt-Duino: Newt on an Arduino

    Here's our target system. The venerable Arduino Duemilanove. Designed in 2009, this board comes with the Atmel ATmega328 system on chip, and not a lot else. This 8-bit microcontroller sports 32kB of flash, 2kB of RAM and another 1kB of EEPROM. Squeezing even a tiny version of Python onto this device took some doing.

Giant Board Linux mini PC in final stages of development

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Hardware

Developers, hobbyists and Linux enthusiasts may be interested in a new development board called the Giant Board which is capable of running Linux on a form factor similar to that of the Adafruit Feather. Powered by a Microchip SAMA5D2 ARM Cortex-A5 Processor 500MHz tiny single-board computer has been based on the Adafruit Feather form factor created to provide users with plenty of power for a wide variety of projects and applications.

“The Giant Board is a super tiny single-board computer based on the Adafruit Feather form factor. We always want more power in a smaller package and the Giant Board delivers! There are always those couple of projects that just need a little more power, or a different software stack. With the release of the ATSAMA5D27C-D1G, it’s made linux possible in such a small form factor. Listed below are the specs and current pinout of the board.”

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Also: Axiomtek announces its first Type 7 module

Open Hardware/Modding: PC in Mouse, Palitra, ULX3S

Filed under
Hardware
OSS
  • This Mouse Is Actually A Complete Computer With Screen And Keyboard

    A couple of years ago, a YouTuber named Slider2732 created a “PC In A Mouse” using an Orange Pi and an optical mouse; it gained lots of media coverage and praise from the DIY enthusiasts.

    Fast forward to today, another YouTuber, whose channel goes by the name Electronic Grenade, has invented a similar device. Called “The Computer Mouse,” it’s a completely functional computer with a normal-sized, 3D-printed mouse.

  • Palitra open source retouching module for photographers

    Photographers looking for an affordable, configurable, open source retouching module may be interested in the new Palitra hardware created by Bitgamma and now available to purchase via the Crowd Supply website from just $25. Watch the demonstration video below to learn more about the Palitra photographic retouching hardware and its features.

    Palitra has been designed to be used for photo retouching, vector art creation, general image manipulation, debugger control, as an addition to your IDE, controlling your media player, video editing, music creation, sound engineering or any task that relies on multiple keyboard shortcuts.

  • ULX3S: An Open-Source Lattice ECP5 FPGA PCB

    The hackers over at Radiona.org, a Zagreb Makerspace, have been hard at work designing the ULX3S, an open-source development board for LATTICE ECP5 FPGAs. This board might help make 2019 the Year of the Hacker FPGA, whose occurrence has been predicted once again after not quite materializing in 2018. Even a quick look at the board and the open-source development surrounding it hints that this time might be different.

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More in Tux Machines

Server: HTTP Clients, IIS DDoS and 'DevOps' Hype From Red Hat

  • What are good command line HTTP clients?
    The whole is greater than the sum of its parts is a very famous quote from Aristotle, a Greek philosopher and scientist. This quote is particularly pertinent to Linux. In my view, one of Linux’s biggest strengths is its synergy. The usefulness of Linux doesn’t derive only from the huge raft of open source (command line) utilities. Instead, it’s the synergy generated by using them together, sometimes in conjunction with larger applications. The Unix philosophy spawned a “software tools” movement which focused on developing concise, basic, clear, modular and extensible code that can be used for other projects. This philosophy remains an important element for many Linux projects. Good open source developers writing utilities seek to make sure the utility does its job as well as possible, and work well with other utilities. The goal is that users have a handful of tools, each of which seeks to excel at one thing. Some utilities work well independently. This article looks at 4 open source command line HTTP clients. These clients let you download files over the internet from the command line. But they can also be used for many more interesting purposes such as testing, debugging and interacting with HTTP servers and web applications. Working with HTTP from the command-line is a worthwhile skill for HTTP architects and API designers. If you need to play around with an API, HTTPie and curl will be invaluable.
  • Microsoft publishes security alert on IIS bug that causes 100% CPU usage spikes
    The Microsoft Security Response Center published yesterday a security advisory about a denial of service (DOS) issue impacting IIS (Internet Information Services), Microsoft's web server technology.
  • 5 things to master to be a DevOps engineer
    There's an increasing global demand for DevOps professionals, IT pros who are skilled in software development and operations. In fact, the Linux Foundation's Open Source Jobs Report ranked DevOps as the most in-demand skill, and DevOps career opportunities are thriving worldwide. The main focus of DevOps is bridging the gap between development and operations teams by reducing painful handoffs and increasing collaboration. This is not accomplished by making developers work on operations tasks nor by making system administrators work on development tasks. Instead, both of these roles are replaced by a single role, DevOps, that works on tasks within a cooperative team. As Dave Zwieback wrote in DevOps Hiring, "organizations that have embraced DevOps need people who would naturally resist organization silos."

Purism's Privacy and Security-Focused Librem 5 Linux Phone to Arrive in Q3 2019

Initially planned to ship in early 2019, the revolutionary Librem 5 mobile phone was delayed for April 2019, but now it suffered just one more delay due to the CPU choices the development team had to make to deliver a stable and reliable device that won't heat up or discharge too quickly. Purism had to choose between the i.MX8M Quad or the i.MX8M Mini processors for their Librem 5 Linux-powered smartphone, but after many trials and errors they decided to go with the i.MX8M Quad CPU as manufacturer NXP recently released a new software stack solving all previous power consumption and heating issues. Read more

Qt Creator 4.9 Beta released

We are happy to announce the release of Qt Creator 4.9 Beta! There are many improvements and fixes included in Qt Creator 4.9. I’ll just mention some highlights in this blog post. Please refer to our change log for a more thorough overview. Read more

Hack Week - Browsersync integration for Online

Recently my LibreOffice work is mostly focused on the Online. It's nice to see how it is growing with new features and has better UI. But when I was working on improving toolbars (eg. folding menubar or reorganization of items) I noticed one annoying thing from the developer perspective. After every small change, I had to restart the server to provide updated content for the browser. It takes few seconds for switching windows, killing old server then running new one which requires some tests to be passed. Last week during the Hack Week funded by Collabora Productivity I was able to work on my own projects. It was a good opportunity for me to try to improve the process mentioned above. I've heard previously about browsersync so I decided to try it out. It is a tool which can automatically reload used .css and .js files in all browser sessions after change detection. To make it work browsersync can start proxy server watching files on the original server and sending events to the browser clients if needed. Read more