Finally got around to something I’ve always wanted to try: I designed my own circuit boards for the first time ever (not counting acid etching in high school) and got them made! I designed the boards in Fritzing, which is an intuitive schematic capture and PCB layout tool, and had the boards printed at OSH Park (as some of you can probably tell by the distinctive purple PCBs). Fritzing isn’t perfect, but it’s free and was just right for a beginner like myself.
There are two boards shown here: The first is a “Joystick Emulator” that lets you interface an Arduino Nano to a Commodore 64 joystick port through a 74LS05 buffer. The second is a little interface board that makes is easy to interface an audio source (oh, like the Sparkfun BOB-09964 microphone) to the MicroView (which I’ve posted about before).
I’ve already done a second version of the MicroView boards, which puts the BOB-09964 right underneath the MicroView. This is intended to be the basis for some cool wearable sound-reactive jewellery. It’s great to have learned a new skill, and having your ideas turned into physical reality is super cool!
Happy New Year! I’ve been playing around with the MicroView over the holidays. It’s an amazing little Arduino-compatible thingee with built-in OLED display.
It was launched on Kickstarter last year (to runaway success). After numerous delays, I finally got mine (actually, Sparkfun sent me a whole extra set for my trouble, so kudos to them). You can now buy them online and check out some technical detail.
I’ve also put together a few little demos with a retro feel:
Terminal and Screen Editor
This sketch lets you “type” directly onto the MicroView’s screen over the serial port, complete with blinking cursor! Partially inspired by the Commodore 64 screen editor.
You can move the cursor around, delete, and the Home key works (tested with PuTTY). Use CTRL-L to clear the screen. It duplicates some of what is in the MicroView library, but it also maintains a local buffer of the screen, allowing text to scroll when you hit the bottom.
Works great with either my C64 Font for MicroView (see below) or the stock 5×7 font.
Get it here: https://github.com/LeifBloomquist/MicroView/blob/master/Arduino/Terminal/Terminal.ino
This summer was the 30th Anniversary of Ghostbusters, and the movie was re-released in theatres for a limited 1-week run. I took my son Andreas (age 8) to it, and he loved it! Mind you, he had heard of Ghostbusters plenty of times before from me, and had even played the games (PC and Commodore 64 versions) a little bit. But seeing the movie clinched it: He wanted to be a Ghostbuster for Halloween this year! That’s music to a geek dad’s ears, so we spent a weekend putting together the ultimate Ghostbusters costume – on a limited budget. Half the fun was scrounging through the amazing surplus and electronics stores around Toronto like Active Surplus, Creatron, and Sayal Electronics, looking for doodads and gizmos to incorporate into the costume. Continue Reading
I’ve been pestering Seth Hardy of Propane and Electrons and Site 3 Fire Arts to make a MIDI version of his solid-state relay flame effects controller board. This will allow you to create flame effects (or lighting effects or what have you) under MIDI control so you can synchronize the outputs to music!
The prototype boards are in and he put one together for me (awesome). We got together earlier this week to test them out. A couple of swapped pins were found, a quick trace cut and jumper and we are ready to go!
Support Seth’s Open Source design efforts here on Patreon! The design files can be found here.
My code for testing the board is here on GitHub (warning, doesn’t include any safety features yet).
Next steps are to refine the code a bit more to add some timeouts and arming sequences, and then hopefully live tests with fire!
(Read More for pics)
I got a lot done on my new network game “Vortex 2” as presented at ECCC 2013 during the long winter, and I’d like to unveil it as a playable work-in-progress to get help with testing and feedback.
You can’t do much in the game yet. Enemy ships will fly around and chase you and each other, you can shoot at them and they will shoot back, but nothing will happen. But it’s still pretty fun, especially with friends!
I’ve been captivated by the possibilities of the LEAP Motion as an input device ever since it was announced. It’s still finding its niche, but I feel an area of huge potential is for interactive electronic music.
Photo Credit: Ars Technica
So, how to turn your gestures into MIDI data with the LEAP? I’m especially interested in using it with my DAW of choice, FL Studio in Windows. Guess what, there’s an app for that (actually several).
The main ingredients for the configuration I went with are as follows:
- A LEAP Motion controller – you can get them at Best Buy or Future Shop! It’s $79.99 US.
- (For Windows) The “loopMIDI” virtual MIDI loopback cable application.
- The GECO App by UWYN, available from LEAP’s Airspace store (part of the LEAP install). It’s $9.99 US.
Read on for details.
Multiple Kernels #1. The extra leads are for the DualSID.
A couple of years ago I put together my “Ultimate Commodore 64” with multiple kernels, dual SID chips for stereo sound, reset button, USB, Ethernet, a 16GB flash drive, 4 Joystick Ports, and painted blue! You can get more details from my presentation at World of Commodore 2011. However, I accidentally killed the motherboard recently when messing around with my RN-XV Wifi project (oops). So, a swap was in order.
I bought a fully socketed 64C motherboard from eBay and swapped it in with the appropriate chips, then re-applied all the mods I had made. One thing I’ve done differently this time around is to use clip leads instead of soldering to my shiny “new” motherboard. I’ve documented the internals in pictures, it turned out pretty cool and is hopefully useful for documenting the top-side connection locations.
(Read More for pics)