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We need code. Lots of code.
David Van Brink // Sun 2007.07.1 20:30 // {code wbl weird blinking lights}

Briefs

Today’s post consists of several short unrelated items. Enjoy.

Brief Item 1: Avoiding bent pins

The programmer uses a zero-insertion-force socket. But popping the chip into the breadboard or a circuit board’s socket presents hazards. Solution: leave chip in straight-pinned machined sockets.

Brief Item 2: Yup, children still love blinking lights

My nieces were visiting, but my stamina for such things is pretty low. Friday was going to be my “Stay out, Uncle’s working tonight (sorry sis)” night. But then… five year old Amelia said she wanted to help make blinking lights. When duty calls it must be answered.

Brief Item 3: So that’s how it works

Our irrigation timer broke. Battery powered timer that turns a valve every couple of hours. I have no tale of heroic analysis and repair; we just bought a new one ($30@Home Depot). But as I was dropping the old one in the trash, common sense kicked in, and I took it apart first. I’m no mechanical engineer, but I think I can see what’s going on here. Little fast motor, big slow water valve.

Brief Item 4: Random numbers from a PIC chip

I can’t be bothered with complicated algorithms, so I just say, in an 8-bit kind of way, R := R * 5 + cycleCounter or whatever strikes my fancy that moment. The cycle counter input helps give you bigger than a 256-step sequence, but it can still get stuck in a loop. On a PIC chip, though, you can just let the watchdog timer time out now and again, it’s on a different and unsynchronized clock. Shakes it up a bit. (Some later chips let you run Timer 2 from the separate clock, so you can get that un-syncing feeling without a reset.)

Brief Item 5: Some electronic art inspirations

Jack Dollhausen’s site

Jack Dollhausen has been doing this stuff since 1968. I’m glad I didn’t know about him til now, I might not have bothered to learn how to blink lights at all.

Jeremy Lutes’ site

Jeremy Lutes has done some beautiful playa-bound electronic art, right here in the twentyfirst century. (And I sure hope he expands his web site, soon, too!)

And that’s the way it is.

oh, i dont know. what do you think?



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