Open Fest 2016 – Soldering of the Open Source Hardware GHOST

“A ghost is haunting Europe—the ghost of communism.” said Carl Marx in 1848

We can re-phrase “A Ghost is haunting OpenFest 2016 – the ghost of open source hardware” 😀

We created this Soldering Kit specially for Open Fest as third year in a row we do soldering workshops there:

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It’s a very simple board, specially made for novices with small PIC10F206 microcontroller which has only 512 words of Flash memory and 24 bytes of RAM, still enough to write C code like this.

In the good Olimex traditions being overwhelmed with work we totally forgot for the soldering workshop and started the project 3 weeks before OpenFest 🙂

The board was quickly routed with KiCAD and we sent to PCB manufacturer in China, who keep the promise to make the blank PCBs for 1 week and shipped on time but DHL late with the customs clearance and we got the board Friday morning! The workshop was Saturday and Sunday, right on time!

Then we had half Friday fun with Microchip’s MPLABX tools, which refused to re-program the PIC10F206 once it’s programmed.

After few hours we found that MPLABX version 3.35 can program and erase PIC10F206 just fine but MPLABX 3.45 don’t.

Still there was enough time till 20.00 o’clock and we managed to program 200 kits ready for soldering next day 🙂

The initial intention was to make LED breathe but after losing so much time with MPLABX we decided the first version to be simple 10 times blink!

Here you can see people assembling it on OpenFest:

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Girls, Boys, Kids all were not afraid and took the soldering irons:

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After OpenFest we continued to investigate why the newer MPLABX refused to program PIC10F206 more than once, the problem was trivial, to erase it the Vcc must be above 4.5V:

voltage-configuration

Still interesting why MPLABX 3.35 was erasing it even without this voltage settings 🙂

This is why working with embedded systems is such fun. You never know where you can step aside and you have to worry not just for the code but also for the hardware as source of mistakes.

Needless to say we had no any assembly instructions for the kit at OpenFest, but now proudly we put them on the web site of the kit.

 

Prusa i3 the leader among the non professional 3D printers is in stock

CI2A6664

Few months ago I was interested to try how 3D printers work. I googled a bit and I found thousands of variations online.

Even there is site which compare them here: http://www.3ders.org/pricecompare/3dprinters/

As I just wanted to play a bit making frames for our LCDs and Box prototypes for OLinuXino and had no intention to do any production with this printer I wanted to get something as cheap as possible so even if I break it during the assembly to not regret much.

I check all these super duper $140-300 range printers trying to order online and found that all of them are either “out of stock” either “give me the money upfront” and wait XX months until I attempt to produce it either my printer is $300 but shipping to Bulgaria is $400 so none of these was acceptable.

I soon realized most of these sub $300 were just vapour-ware and if you really want to buy something in stock it goes close to $700-800.

Finally I found Jelwek in Poland, which was accepting Paypal, I selected the medium printer they have and cost EUR 475 + shipping to Bulgaria by courier (which I found is normal post later) EUR 25 and ordered one. After about a month the kit arrived by post.

There are lot of documents how to assembly Prusa i3 on the net. For Jelwek this is shown here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/105048182@N02/sets/72157642944311244/

When the kit arrived I was a bit disappointed, the quality of the used parts was a bit low, three of the steppers were second hand, disassembled from old machines which was seen from the scratches and the cable cuts just the one for the extruder was new one.

All rods and shafts were cut by hand with not clean cuts and with lot of whiskers on the edges. Anyway when assembled the printer ran without problems, I already blogged about it here.

Many friends asked me about this printer after I blogged – they wanted also something cheap to start with 3D printing, so I asked our Chinese agent to try to locate low cost Prusa i3 clone and he sent me sample.
The kit arrived and here how it looks:

kit1 kit2 kit3
It’s seen that these kits are done by professional manufacturer – all motors are new and the shafts are directly coupled, you even get tools necessary for the assembly of mechanics like cutters, heat-resistant Kapton tape etc. which I had to supply additionally for the Polish kit I got first. The PCB is also all-in-one with integrated Arduino and drivers on same PCB. There is fan to cool the material exiting the extruder.
So after we inspected everything we decided to stock it, here how it looks assembled:

CI2A6666

Now these kits are in our stock.

Note these are not assembled and require knowledge both in mechanics and electronics to make them work. Sure the final result is worth the efforts, it’s a great pleasure to see something working which you built with your own hands 🙂

New Product in stock: LCD 7″ FRAME KIT for panel assembly

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LCD7-FRAMEKIT is plastic frame with four clamps which allow A13-LCD7″ and A13-LCD7″TS to be assembled to flat surface. It consist of one plastic frame, four clamps which could be placed on any place on the edge of the frame and four screws which attach the clamps to the frame.

Now you can use this frame set to attach the LCD to any flat surface see how it will look from the back:

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with 4 more screws you screw the clamps to the surface and your LCD is mounted.