Sheffield Hackspace install Lorawan gateway

Sheffield Hackspace has setup and installed a LoraWAN (The Things Network) gateway.  LoraWAN is a new technology that enables small amounts of data to travel large distances with low power and the best bit of it is….its free!!  This is being used by universities, corporations and hobbyist a like to transmit data such as air quality, traffic, temperature, gps informational ect. from battery (or wire) powered devices that last up to 10 years and more.

lorawan gateway

Come to the Sheffield Hackspace to learn about this new technology and make use of the gateway to prototype your idea.  If you want to make your own gateway and add to the things networks, come and learn how to do that.  See if your area has a gateway installed by clicking the link here.

For our gateway, we used a Raspberry Pi and RAK 831 to receive multiple frequencies at the same time. For some unknown reason the RAK 831 use to switch off occasionally so we’ve added a on/off relay (as can be seen in the photo) to power recycle it automatically/remotely when when it stops responding to the Raspberry PI. Hopefully we’ll find the root cause.

DreamPi and the Dreamcast

Getting the Dreamcast back online

Getting a Dreamcast games console in 2018 is great but there are something that you can do as Sega has stopped supporting it for may a years now. This means that you can’t play some of the great games online. The following article will help you get the Dreamcast back online and playing the awesome games this short lived system has to offer.

Equipment you will need

  • You will need a working Dreamcast with a working 56k modem
  • Raspberry Pi ( A B+ or more is advisable )
  • An SD card with the DreamPi software image – Link
  • A Lunix compatible USB dail-up voice 56k modem
  • Telephone cable RJ11
  • Ethernet cable RJ45 – to go to your router
  • Dreamcast browser software like the Dreamkey 3.0

Equipment for the line inducer

  • 0.47uf capacitor
  • 389 Ohm resistor
  • UK – two 9V battery (18V) : US 9V battery

or

  • A step up power booster module connected via a 5V USB (to the Pi)

Set up the image file

You will need to set up the image file of the DreamPi in order to get things going. I have linked to a guide to install the DreamPi image, you will need to change the file name listed in the link to the DreamPi image file name.

https://www.raspberrypi.org/documentation/installation/installing-images/linux.md

There is an alternative install that you can do via NOOBS. Link below,

https://dreamcast-talk.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=10851

Setting up the Pi

Once you have successfully flashed the image onto the SD card insert the card into the Pi and connect the Ethernet cable and USB modem ready for the line inducer in the next section. Connecting a monitor is option for normal game play but for initial setup it is good to see it working. You will be able to see if the modem is detected, say with lshw in the terminal. The login information is pi as the user name and raspberry as the password.

Making the line inducer

You will need to cut the phone line wire and solder them on to a PCB board leaving enough room to add in the capacitor and the resistor as displayed in the diagram below figure 1. Make sure that you get the capacitor the right way round in relation to the resistor.

Boost converter for phone line

Boost converter

Figure 1

 

I used the step up power booster for mine instead of the battery option but I did find that I had to boost the power up more than I expected; approximately 26V in my case to get a stable connection. Have a play around to see if yours will work at a lower voltage. Now in this example I used a USB from the booster converter to the Pi in order to get the power to the phone line, see figure 2 for the pin out when wiring it up to the boost converter.Just make sure that the pins and the wires at the other end match up to what you are expecting so you don’t get any cross wires and fry something; use a multimeter for this.

Pins for USB
Figure 2

Here is my very excellent and well soldered PCB board of the schematic above, figure 3 – 5 shows it made.

Boost converter make photo 1
figure 3

Boost converter - made
figure 4

Boost converter - make 3
figure 5

Now in figure 5 you will see that I have used hot glue to help secure the phone line wires as you will find that they are easily broken.

Now connect this to the Pi and the Dreamcast.

Side note

Now that you my find on some older Pi’s the boost converter makes the Pi unstable. In that case you my have to have an external power source, say a 12v /9v power supply but you will need to adjust the boot converter to make sure that you don’t over load anything.

Turning it all on

As the title says, turn the Pi on. Wait for it all to load and settle down. Your USB modem will most likely have two sets of lights, wait for them both to come on. If they don’t come on after a few minutes this may indicate that you have a problem. This could be an issue with the voltage not been high enough or the inducer on the PCB has a short or bad connection. Test with a multimeter.

Turn the Dreamcast on and follow the next section.

Dreamkey 3 setup

Setting up the Dreamkey is quite easy. In the setup section of the Dreamkey when it asks you for the ISP phone number, set it to 555. The username and password can be what every you want. Pick something easy my is **** and **** (What, you are not suppose to tell anyone your username and password). Everything else is either blank or as default. Make sure you save when prompted so you can get online later. During the connection process you may see one of the lights go off on the modem, if like mine it has two, but it should come on again shortly. If successful you should see a web page load, slowly. If not make sure that you have everything connected and you have an internet connection. Check that there is not breaks in the any of the wires and that the DreamPi software is running and working properly.

Playing an online game

Now here is the fun or more fun part, playing the games. For games like ChuChu rocket it was simple the case of getting the DreamPi turned on and waiting for the green lights. But for some games like Phantasy star online you will need a patch disc to get you going. This is really easy you need to had over to https://sylverant.net/ and download the appropriate version for your game. You only need to use it once (as far as I’m aware) and you should be ready to play.

Trouble shooting

  • Game fails to connect or disconnects nearly staight away.
    • Your line voltage is not high enough
  • Fails to connect at all
    • Your modem is faulty and needs replacing
    • You have forgotten to connect one or more wires
    • There is a break / short circuit in one or more of the wires.
  • The TV is blank
    • Have you turned your TV on?

Sources of information

Here are the links that I used to get the Dreamcast back online.

Instruction on setting up and making the DreamPi

http://blog.kazade.co.uk/p/dreampi.html

Making the line inducer

http://dreamcast.onlineconsoles.com/phpBB2/guides_pcdcwin98.php#10 from about step 10 but step 9 could be useful.

Dreamkey 3.0

https://www.emuparadise.me/Sega_Dreamcast_ISOs/Dreamkey_3_(PAL)/51593

Sylverant Phantasy star online

https://sylverant.net/

A super simple way to copy files from a networked computer

Ok, so you’re wanting to extract files from your Raspberry Pi (or other networked computer) and you can’t be bothered to go find a USB flash drive (don’t feel guilty, I’ve been there too). How about you set up a temporary HTTP file server of the information and access it from any web browser on another computer? Impossible you say? Not quite apparently.

I’ve just found this trick and it is possibly going to become one of my most used methods of file transfer from a Raspberry Pi.

  1. Go to the folder you want to access from another machine in the command line of the Pi…
  2. Now type in the following line…
    python -m SimpleHTTPServer 8080
  3. That’s all you have to do, at least on the pi.
  4. On another computer, go to the following address in any web browser… http://<hostname or IP address of pi>:8080
    For example… http://raspberrypi.local:8080 or http://192.168.1.100:8080
  5. Once you’re done copying you’re files, go back to the Raspberry Pi and type…
    Ctrl+C
  6. Your HTTP Server is now gone, like it wasn’t even there.

Wasn’t that simple? I foresee this as being a stupidly useful tool for copying files in future (particularly copying to an Android or iOS phone). Admittedly it isn’t bi-directional, but that is what SSHFTP is for!

FYI, I have tested this on a Raspberry Pi, Mint Linux desktop and on Windows 10 (with Python installed) and they all work. Windows 10 does require you give Python permission to act as a server (there will be a popup).

Happy making folks, hope the above helped in your projects. Ask a question in the comments below if you haven’t succeeded with this useful trick.

How to download a complete website, including links between pages.

Quite often, you may download sections of a website, only to find downloading separate pages does not maintain the links between them.

There is an easy way to grab whole sections of a site (or even a whole site), such that you can run it locally offline with all the links between pages intact, and you can even upload the whole captured sections to your own website and the relative links will still work!

Copy and paste the index page or a sub page into httrack

It works on Windows 2000 to Win10, and Linux. You can use the portable version which will run from a USB stick, or you can use the installer version.

And it’s FREE.

You can capture (mirror) several websites complete with their data, and they may be accessed from a master web-page; as in the example below.

The REALLY cool bit is that downloadable files such as PDFs and jpg files are saved too. If it’s in a directory and referenced by a regular page link, it will be downloaded.

Error reporting is also good. Use this on your own website to show up a list of any broken links – and other errors.

Let me know if you learn any neat tricks with this software…..

Richard Langner

 

 

 

 

 

 

Arduino Day 2017

Its that time of year once again! Arduino Day 2017!!

On April 1st (no joke!), for the third year running, we will be hosting an Arduino Day event at the hackspace.

The event itself will begin at 10am and will include several talks from current members on Arduino basics, a show and tell of projects that have been made using Arduino and, of course, the workshop will be open for anyone to try their hand at building something, with lots of members on hand to help out.

For non-members the event will be free to attend so if you think you know anyone that would be interested in learning about this invaluable digital making tool, or would just like to learn something new please share this post with them.

The presentations / talks given on the day will be:-

10:30:- What is an Arduino
11:00:- The Arduino IDE
11:30:- Writing an Arduino Program (Sketch)
12:30:- Installing Libraries and Boards
13:00:- Data protocols (intermediate talk)

As well as this we will have members on hand to answer any questions or help out with your projects up until 16:00

Making a kit knife

Since moving into the Portland Works in January 2015 I have had a desire to learn more about knife making. Obviously there is a long tradition of knife making in Sheffield generally, and more specifically at the Portland Works (http://www.sheffieldhardwarehackers.org.uk/wordpress/2015/01/585/) so it felt fitting to start exploring this new interest at the hackspace.

Fast forward 18 months and I’d still not made any progress but a few minutes spent in our neighbors workshop (http://stuartmitchellknives.com/) during one of the Portland Works open days inspired me further and I went home that day and ordered a piece of tool steel with the firm intention of getting moving. However life got in the way yet again and a temporary pause was once again placed on my project.

When I did finally think I had some quality time to spend on knife making I pulled out the piece of steel I had brought and looked at it. Something was nagging at me. Some advice I had been given was “Start small”. Great advice for any new endeavor of course, but more specifically I’d been advised to make a knife from a kit instead of a piece of steel. The reason being is that finishing a knife off, attaching and shaping the handles essentially, is quite a challenge in itself so the first time you do it it probably isn’t the best idea to attach them to a piece of steel you have spent hours working on and then mess it up!! Much better to learn your lessons on a blade you haven’t got so much time invested in.

I’m going to say right now that this is Part 1 of a 2 part blog, this detailing how to assemble the handle on a kit knife, the second part will be how to make the knife blade itself. Right. There, I’ve said it so I have committed to part 2 now. Anyway… On with the build.

The knife kit itself is pretty simple. You get a blade, two pieces of material for the handle (in my case olive wood), a couple of liners to go between the blade and the handle material (optional but can add strength and a nice visual contrast), two bolts for securing the handle to the blade and a metal tube for passing a lanyard through.

Once you have assembled all the parts you need for the build it’s time to get making! The first step is to drill the fixing holes for the bolts and the lanyard tube through the scales (handle material) and the liners (if using). These holes need to line up perfectly, and be at exactly 90 degrees, so I clamped the handle of the blade to both my wooden scale and the liner and then used the drill press to go through the existing hole in the blade handle (after measuring it of course). Once complete I attached the bolt through the hole I had just made to make sure that it couldn’t slip out of alignment as I drilled the next two holes, one for the second bolt and the other for the thong tube.

Before removing the bolts and clamps I marked the liner material around the edge of the blade, so I could cut it out on the bandsaw, making sure I also noted which side of the blade it belonged to. I then removed the bolts and clamp, removed the liner, then placed the bolts through the handle scale and blade again so I could mark up the wood for cutting. Once complete for one side I flipped the knife over and repeated the drilling / marking process again.

The next job was to roughly cut the handle shapes out. As I previously mentioned I used the bandsaw at the hackspace to do this but this could easily be done with any handsaw, or even files and wood rasps.

There are a number of different bolts / pins / fasteners that you can get to secure the scales onto the knife handle so this next step my not be necessary but I had to countersink the heads of my bolts into the handle so I used a larger drill bit (sized to the bolt head) to drill about halfway into the wood giving me a stepped hole. I actually hacked together a step drill bit to do this to give me a nice flat shelf at the base of the hole but just countersinking would work just fine.

At this stage the handle scales are almost ready to attach to the knife blade, however it will make life much easier to precisely finish the blade end of the scales first. Once attached to the knife it would be very difficult to get abrasives to the end of the scales without ruining the finish of the knife so this is best done now. To make sure the ends were symmetrical I attached them together using the bolts I had used earlier, and that will be used to eventually permanently attached the handle to the blade.  I used the belt sander in the hackspace to do the shaping, but again rasps, files and sandpaper would work fine.

Now its finally time to attach the scales to the knife. In addition to the bolts that connect the two halves of the scales a two-part epoxy is used to glue all the parts together. Due to the rather short working time of the epoxy, typically around five minutes, it is definitely best to dry fit all of the parts together to check for a good fit. Once you are happy everything will fit wrap the sharp part of the blade with masking tape, and then mix up the epoxy and attach the all parts together, ensuring that everything, including the bolts, gets a good coating of epoxy and then apply clamps (trying not to let the epoxy squeeze out get on the clamps or you’ll glue them to the knife as well!!). As I mentioned earlier the working time of the epoxy is approximately five minutes, but its advisable to leave the clamps on for at least 24 hours to ensure the epoxy is fully cured.

Once the epoxy is fully cured the clamps can be removed and the shaping of the handle can being. The first job is cut the bolts flush to the wood. You have to take care while doing this not to overheat the bolts as it can affect the strength of the epoxy, so I chose to cut these off with a hacksaw instead of grinding them off on the belt sander.

From there I used a wood rasp to remove the bulk of the material until I got close to the profile of the blade, then switched to files to get the wood closely profiled to the metal.

I then switched to the belt sander again to remove some of the width from the handle, rocking the blade left and right slightly to give it a curved profile for a nice feel in the hand. It is important to do this shaping over the metal platen on the belt sander as this will ensure that the metal bolts are ground away at the same rate as the soft wood on the handle.

To finish the handle I used small strips of sandpaper, starting at around 120 grit and then moving up to 400 grit, and pulled them around the handle until I had a nice smooth finish, paying close attention to the bolts making sure they were nicely polished.

The final step is then to add a finish to the handle, I chose boiled linseed oil which I applied with a cloth in several coats, rubbing off the excess between coats. The kit I purchased also included a leather sheath that I need to put together so I will include that in a blog post soon.

Make a hedgehog house for your garden

We’re getting toward hedgehogs’ hibernation season, so Sarah built a hedgehog house for her garden, and wrote up her process for others to follow. It’s a fun weekend project; if you make one, we’d love to hear about it. Of course, we have all the tools you need in the hackspace, for all members to use. Call in to one of our open sessions to take a look.


Use a hand saw to cut a 6” diameter pipe to min 30cm.  (Electric saws will melt, not cut the plastic.)  File the edge smooth.  This is the entrance tunnel that will prevent foxes/badgers etc fishing the hedgehogs out of the house.

Sarah's Hedgehog house 1

Balance a 30L storage box on the end of the pipe and draw around the end of the pipe with a marker pen.

Sarah's Hedgehog house 3Sarah's Hedgehog house 2

 

 

 

 

Use a dremel or similar on a slow setting  to cut out inside of the pen line.

Sarah's Hedgehog house 4

File smooth the inside and outside of the cut edge.   Use the marker pen to measure out 3cm points along both long sides, under the overhang.

Sarah's Hedgehog house 5

Drill ventilation holes through each pen mark on both sides.

Sarah's Hedgehog house 6Sarah's Hedgehog house 7

 

 

 

 

 

Unscrew the nut and remove the washers from the 90 bend pipe.  Place against the short end of the box, near the top edge and draw around the inside of the washer. Use a hole bit to drill out the same size hole as the pipe.  Put the washer on the pipe and nut.  Fasten the pipe to the box.

Sarah's Hedgehog house 8Sarah's Hedgehog house 9

 

 

 

 

 

Drill 6 drainage holes in the bottom of the box

Sarah's Hedgehog house 10

Push the large pipe into the big hole in the box.  Put the lid on.

Sarah's Hedgehog house 11

Locate the box in a quiet area of the garden, with the pipe pointing away from prevailing winds / the north / east.  Cover with leaves, but do not fill with anything.  Apparently, hedgehogs prefer to find their own bedding.  Make sure there are holes in your & your neighbours’ garden fence/hedge/wall/gate so they can get into your garden.  They will roam 1-2 kilometres a night looking for food so access is important.

One the box is installed, do not disturb.  Clean annually in early Oct with cleaner used for bird cages.

Sarah's Hedgehog house 12

Using the Boards Manager of the Adruino IDE

By Richard M Langner

In order to program an Arduino device (a board or a stand-alone chip), it needs to be listed in the Arduino IDE. If it isn’t listed, this article should help you list it using the Boards Manager. The basic procedure is –

  1. Locate the Boards Manager URL for your device (search the web).
  2. Add it to the ‘Additional Boards Manager URLs’ list (under File → Preferences).
  3. Install the device in the ‘Boards Manager’ (under Tools).

I am using the Arduino IDE v1.6.7 and the device I want to list is the ATtiny85 stand-alone 8 pin chip. Boards/devices are listed in alphabetical order and you can see below that no ATtinys are listed.
(Click to enlarge the images)

not-on-the-board-list

First, we need to find a board manager for our device. A search for ‘ATtiny85 board manager’ brings up a couple of candidates.

search-results

Click on the top result and copy the ‘Boards Manager URL’ to the clipboard.

copy-json-link

This URL needs to be added to the ‘Additional Boards Manager URLs’ which you will find under File → Preferences.

file-preferences

In Preferences, click on the button to see a list of board managers that are already installed.

preferences

In my case there are only two managers installed

already-installed-managers

Paste the URL (you previously copied) into the list on a new line and click OK. Then close these boxes and return to the IDE main screen.

paste-the-url

You have just told the boards manager where to look for the information.

Now you can begin to install the manager for the ATtiny85.  Find your way to the Boards Manager –

board-manager-1

and type ‘ATtiny’ into the search-box. You should get something like this –

board-manager-2

Click on the appropriate manager item and an Install button appears.

board-manager-3

Click on the Install button and after a moment you will see confirmation the manager has been installed.

board-manager-4

The ATtiny devices will now show up in the list of boards/devices.

board-list

Finally, select the ATtiny85 device and ensure that all the other settings are correct.

chip-settings

You are now ready to program the ATtiny85.

The same procedure may be used to install other boards/devices into the Arduino IDE.

Note: Your screens and menu options may be slightly different to mine, but the general method of listing your device should be the same.

Programming the ATtiny85 using an Arduino UNO

By Richard M Langner

This article describes how you can use an Arduino UNO to program a bare ATtiny85 micro-controller chip. I will show you how to program the ATtiny85 with the ‘Blink’ sketch. These are the steps –

  1. Connect the UNO to the ATtiny breadboard and connect the 10uF capacitor
  2. Configure the Arduino as an In-circuit Serial Programmer (ISP)
  3. Insert the ATtiny85 into the breadboard
  4. Configure the IDE for the ATtiny85
  5. Modify and upload the ‘blink’ sketch to the ATtiny85

1. Connect the UNO to the ATtiny85 breadboard and connect the 10uF capacitor
Connect the UNO to the breadboard as shown below. If you intended to keep the breadboard and UNO solely for programming, I recommend using an 8 pin socket for the ATtiny85 – this will ensure you insert the chip in the correct place each time on the breadboard.
Don’t insert the ATtiny85 in the socket yet – you must first configure the UNO to act as a programmer.

Pin connections:

  • ATtiny Pin 2 to Arduino Pin 13
  • ATtiny Pin 1 to Arduino Pin 12
  • ATtiny Pin 0 to Arduino Pin 11
  • ATtiny Reset Pin to Arduino Pin 10
  • ATtiny Pin 2 to 150Ω resistor, resistor to LED anode, LED cathode to GND (not shown here).
  • 10uF capacitor connects between GND (-) and RESET (+)

(Click on the images to get a clearer image.)

Uno as an ISP

2. Configure the Arduino as an In-circuit Serial Programmer (ISP)

Select the Arduino UNO board
setup-isp-1

and open the ISP sketch.
isp

Next you should upload the ISP example to the UNO board. Ensure you have selected the correct COM port.
download-blink

Congratulations! Your UNO is configured as a programmer.

You’re now ready to program the ATtiny85 with the ‘Blink’ sketch. You will need to connect an LED to display the blink. Connect a 150 Ohm resistor to the physical pin2 on the chip. The other end of the resistor should connect to the LED anode (its long leg), and the LED cathode connects to GND.

3. Insert the ATtiny85 into the breadboard

Remove the power by unplugging the USB cable. Taking care, insert the ATtiny chip into the breadboard socket the correct way around. Re-connect the USB cable.

4. Configure the IDE for the ATtiny85

Configure the IDE as follows –

  • Board  =  ATtiny85
  • Processor  =  ATtiny85
  • Clock speed  =  8MHz

2016-10-01_00037 2016-10-01_00038

Set the programmer ‘Arduino as ISP’
2016-10-01_00039

If the ATtiny85 is new, it will require the fuses to be set.  Among other things, fuses set the CPU speed. The fuses only need to be set once for each chip. To do this, select the ‘Burn bootloader’ option.

2016-10-01_00040

5. Modify and upload the ‘blink’ sketch to the ATtiny85

Open the example sketch ‘Blink’ and change the LED’s digital pin number to 3 on all the sketch lines (this is because the ATtiny85 does not have a pin13. Note that physical pin2 on the chip is digital pin3 on the ATtiny85). The code should look like this –

// the setup function runs once when you press reset or power the board
void setup() {
  // initialize digital pin 3 as an output.
  pinMode(3, OUTPUT);
}

// the loop function runs over and over again forever
void loop() {
  digitalWrite(3, HIGH);   // turn the LED on (HIGH is the voltage level)
  delay(1000);              // wait for a second
  digitalWrite(3, LOW);    // turn the LED off by making the voltage LOW
  delay(1000);              // wait for a second
}

Finally upload the ‘Blink’ sketch to the ATtiny85.
download-blink

That’s it! The blink program should now flash the LED.

The UNO is now set up as a programmer and so further ATtiny85 chips may be programmed by simply plugging them into the breadboard and uploading your code to them.

Richard Langner
With thanks to OJ for his help in defining the procedure.
This is my first post here, so please let me know if there is anything missing or incorrect.

Electromagnetic Field 2016

A great weekend was had by all as multiple members of SHH&M went down to Loseley Park for EMF2016. Our entrepid woodworker, AJ, went ahead of the rest of us to build the sink frames, back of the bar and multiple other items ahead of over 1400 people decending for a weekend of camping. However, as should be expected from a group of hackers and makers camping, electricity and high speed internet were essential amenities. We had our own Village, complete with flag, and took along some Go-Boxes and Bugs’s pancake engraver to show off (blog to follow!).

Events over the weekend included numerous talks from lockpicking to film special effects and latest updates from CERN to magic tricks and illusions. There was also the opportunity to make a wide range of things such as a titanium spork, a patchwork pin cushion and a pin hole camera. Evening events included film showings, the infamous Robot Arms with NottyHacks Barbot, a light maze and FirePong – yep, ping pong with fire! There was also a giant blow up rabbit which you could change the colour of by tweeting a colour!

All the talks are available to watch on You Tube if you feel want to catch-up with anything.

A one day event is planned for next year, with the next EMF camp due in 2018. If this year is anything to go by, both should be highly recommended!

 

Blue Bunny

Blue Bunny

White Bunny

White Bunny

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Red Lightfield

Blue Lightfield

Blue Lightfield