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Welcome, Elecia and Chris White from Embedded.fm! Our 3rd Call-in Show for The Amp Hour, this one focused more on the embedded side of things with some other electronics thrown in!
- Elecia is no longer working on mice containment but is still playing around with BB8. The newest project is disassembling tiny quadcopters. Check out the mentioned diagram here and ping her with any thoughts using the contact link on embedded.fm.
- Chris asked if El/Chris had seen the Seeed WIO (kickstarter). It’s interesting because of the app configuration of devices.
- Guest calls!
- Steve Dalton (@spidie)
- called in asking about pro makers and how they are perceived by traditional engineers.
- He was a former guest on episode 63 of Embedded.fm
- The Maker Pro book
- Lee Wiggins (@wigman27)
- He wanted to know when to jump out of Arduino.
- Lee has a popular Dummy load that is on instructables and Tindie.
- Elecia recommends using mbed
- Lee has used a SPI display from Adafruit in the past.
- Stuart McAndrew (@ssshocker)
- Stuart wanted to know whether to use external or internal watchdog timers.
- Jack Ganssle wrote about watchdogs.
- He is working on the ozQube, a 5cmx5cm satellite.
- Jonathan McDonald (@5onathan)
- Jon currently uses Flow code 5 and wants to know which language to switch to next.
- The current software stack is used for tasks like controlling ladders on mining equipment.
- Chris W suggests starting with Arduino, as Jon already has experience with system design.
- Chris Svec (@christophersvec)
- Chris was also a guest on Embedded.fm in the past, episode 78.
- He wanted to know what products should exist for embedded that don’t already.
- Elecia pointed out that there are many product/services that the founders started to “scratch their own itch”. OSHpark, Small Batch Assembly, Tindie were given as examples.
- Clang is a newer open source compiler, as opposed to using GCC.
- Chris always wanted a serial output logging system that uses wifi, like a wifi bus pirate. It doesn’t appear that anything like this exists but the ESP8266 is a good candidate for getting something working.
- Steve Dalton (@spidie)
It was great having Chris and Elecia on the show again to help answer questions! Thanks to everyone who called in and chatted with us!
Thanks to Jeremy for the picture of the school bus
Chris, I had the same thoughts on the analyzer project and have in fact made something much like it already. It made tons of sense to me to use an the VISA commands to talk to an oscope, pull a waveform, and analyze it for capacitance issues, ringing etc. I was going to do a blog about it, but please feel free to chat with me about this.
It sounded like Chris Svec wanted a usat to PC via RF. Maybe the SparkFun BlueSMiRF, SparkFun Bluetooth Mate, or even an XBee module would work.
Thomas A says
Great show! Both the call-ins and the “in-between-talk”. Liked to here the perspectives from EE vs CS engineers.
Btw, thanks for writing show notes (with links!). Not all podcasts do, but it is great to have, especially when you refer to things.
Part of the reason why I don’t listen to the embedded.fm podcast is due to the thick slur Elicia has, listening to the woman for more than 5 seconds makes me cringe and I just cannot take her seriously no matter how hard I try to compose myself. I appreciate all the work she and Chris have done and are doing, but honestly embedded.fm needs a new host, someone like Gammel, I mean, that’s part of the reason why Gammel is on the Amp Hour isn’t it?, not because he is just another electrical engineer, but because he makes for a good radio personality as well. Regardless of whether you agree with what I just said or not, the fact is that Elicia is just not the right person to be hosting the embedded.fm podcast.
Chris Gammell says
I appreciate your vote of confidence in me and nothing against your personal tastes in listening/sound/voices, but wanting for another embedded show is a different exercise all together. Replacing Elecia on embedded.fm would mean it is no longer embedded.fm.
Nope, it's not okay says
You know something dude, if you don’t like the show, don’t listen to it. That’s fine.
Calling somebody out because of the way that they sound to you? What the hell? Do you make fun of people that aren’t your colour? Fat people? People with red hair?
That’s called prejudice dude, and it’s not okay.
It took me a while but I eventually remembered that Lee Wiggins made the Youtube videos that helped me understand SPI.
The audio isn’t great quality but the videos are still very educational.
I even decided to get some Microchip MCP4922 DACs as free samples because of his videos.
That’s awesome mate! I hope it works out for you!!
I ended up building a MIDI to control voltage circuit with that dac. I got sidetracked by midi to stepper motor speed control stuff but it’s still on a breadboard waiting for me to build a better and more musically useful voltage controlled oscillator.
No I won’t take offense to my comment.First of all I don’t believe in political correctness, we are all individuals with different personal tastes and opinions and if you don’t like that then fine.
I said that I don’t like Elecia’s lisp/slur, this is a podcast, and audio/sound & content are very important as I’m sure you will agree. So bringing up the ‘fact’ (note the quote marks) that Elecia doesn’t have a ‘good’ radio voice is nothing that creates “prejudice” and is certainly not so ‘shockingly unsurprising’. It’s like saying that someone which comments that they do not like a singer, due to some aspect of the singers voice that they might find unpleasant or annoying, is creating prejudice or that their comments are racist/sexist, give me a break. Yes my comments are subjective, of course they are, because it’s an opinion, my opinion, and as such my previous statement should not be taken into consideration as something objective or as a generalization, which you unfortunately did.
Attempting to be polite says
Why is it that people who claim that they aren’t “Politically Correct” say that just as they’re demonstrating that they were raised in a barn, and shouldn’t be allowed in polite company?
Carl Smith says
Am I the only one that spent half the episode expecting a discussion of stereo speaker crossover networks? 🙂
As for Elecia’s voice, I like it. In some of the very early Embedded.fm episodes she kind of talked softly and didn’t enunciate which sometimes made it difficult to understand her, but I haven’t noticed that for a long time. She and Chris W are doing a great job with the Embedded podcast.
Although I have to disagree with Chris W’s disbelief in ESD damage.
Chris White (@stoneymonster) says
The day after I said that a board of mine died (though I think probably not for ESD reasons). I spent most of the day thinking I shouldn’t have said that 🙂
Carl Smith says
So I didn’t have time earlier to state my opinion on ESD damage.
My views on ESD damage are somewhat mixed. There are people who think that you should never handle a bare PCB assembly without full antistatic equipment. I am not one of them. You could probably go through your whole career handling PCB assemblies without any ESD precautions and get away with it. I can’t say I’ve ever damaged a PCB with ESD by handling it. I usually work at workbenches with anti-static mats, but don’t bother with wrist straps or any other precautions.
On the other hand, I’ve had numerous issues with ESD on completed retail products. One example was a digital photo frame my Mom had, which had capacitive touch switches in the mat area around the picture. You could not touch the thing without it crashing and the screen going corrupt. It would require power removal for some period of time before it would come back to its senses. The only way to use it was to walk up to the thing, lean over and touch the ground screw of the electrical outlet beside it, and then touch the frame.
Another was a TP-Link wireless access point and router. I bought it to set up as a second WiFi access point in my parents house to get better coverage in weak areas. I plugged a LAN cable between my laptop and one of the LAN jacks on the router and did the setup. I unplugged the LAN cable from the laptop with my left hand, set the laptop on the floor by the chair I was sitting in with my right hand, and then stood up, still holding the LAN cable in my left hand. I felt a large zap to the cable and that was the end of the LAN ports on that router.
Another thing to keep in mind is that ESD damage is not always a complete hard failure. You might just stress a component and today it works fine but tomorrow it’s just not quite behaving like it should. And it’s hard to associate the cause and effect, unlike my two examples above where the result was immediate.
Damage by ESD is real. It’s just that in most all cases proper protection has been put in place by the designers. Integrated circuits have protection diodes, PCBs have ground planes around the edges and around switches and connectors, and are often packaged in cases with some level of shielding.
But occasionally you will encounter a product like the two above where proper protections were not put in place, and it will become a problem.
Elecia got a lovely voice. She could read a telephone book to me. Too bad im not a wookiee.
J. Kirk. says
On the issue of data logging using UART over a wireless connection.
Unless you need high transfer rates, going the Bluetooth or Wifi routes is complete overkill.
You sound like you’re already familiar with UART.
So there is absolutely no reason to get involved in all the intricacies of Bluetooth and Wifi stacks.
Even thought these solutions may be advertised as plug and play at the UART level…I wouldn’t bet the ranch.
There are all sorts of gotcha’s getting Bluetooth and Wifi to sync up through the enumeration(handshake) process.
And they certainly aren’t low power.
The only reason to use Bluetooth or Wifi is if at some point you want IP protocol, and internet connection…”Internet of Things””.
Much more in line with what you described are UART modems.
They are essentially bare boards consisting of a pre-programmed micro-controller and a simple FSK Radio Transceiver chip.
They provide two-way(i.e. tranciever) pass-through UART wireless communications, with collision avoidance and error correction on the wireless leg of the link.
I would assume your communications is both directions, but is half-duplex…so error collision should not be an issue.
Depending on the Wireless UART board model, the maximum supported UART baud rates are either 19.2, 38.4, or 57.6.
The over the air data rates are similar depending on board model.
There are usually 256-byte data buffers on each side so that overrun is rare.
Some have a couple of jumpers for settings.
Others have full blown “AT” modem type command control.
A I/O pin is used to toggle the modem from command mode to normal pass-through mode.
From a users perspective it’s UART in UART out.
Here are two short range low power options for either 3.3v or 5v.
Here are some higher power(longer range) options:
Dorji has a store on EBay where some of these are available.
mechanical guy should be the crazy Canadian vblogger AVE
Chris Gammell says
Ha, that’s a decent idea
Another vote for AvE! Wanted to recommend him as s guest on the show too. I am an EE myself, but love AvEs videos because it gives a view into a whole different sector of engineering. And of course he is a very entertaining speaker.
Halp! What was the URL for the flash-key based embedded online environment that was discussed briefly on the show? I can’t for the life of me remember what it was and it was missing from the show links. Awesome show, and I loved Elecia & Chris W on the show! More of this!!! 😀
We were talking about mbed platforms: https://www.mbed.com/en/development/hardware/boards/
Excellent! I actually found it a little bit ago, but I think the link in the comments and show notes is worth while. It is a neat platform and one I will be trying out soon. Fantastic book on embedded systems design as well!
Great episode. Elecia and Chris, you guys Rock! I personally like the way you talk; it’s you being you and not trying to put on some fake News Room voice.
Outside of mbed, TI offers an Arduino IDE clone called Energia that covers many of their MSP, TM4C, and CC3200 and C2000 boards. This offers one to jump to an ARM, or a MSP, platform using pretty much the same Arduino code. But then again, the Arduino IDE (the .cc version) covers other non ATmega boards including the SAM(D) as well as Intel Edison, Galileo and now Curie with the 101 board.
I’m still working on catching up on T/A/H from Ep#1 up to the present, and everything in between.
What a long strange trip it’s been…
You guys obviously know a lot about a lot of things. Anybody who says otherwise is a blatant idiot.
But one thing I think you’re both sorely lacking is a bit of basic automotive engine knowledge (speaking more to electronic-able thingies like sensors, and not so much about things like the theory behind how opening an intake valve a tad later in the intake stroke might cause an engine’s peak power band to move up X RPM’s).
All those time I hear you two talk about “that crankshaft thingy” or whatever it happens to be that might be related to an internal combustion engine, I want to reach across the speakers and slap the crap out of both of you! You guys need a bit of a practical lecture on the subject!
It’s either that, or the chip printer… Don’t get you two started… 😀