Sunday, July 3, 2011

Electronics makes the summers a happy time!

Two orders arriving in a span of less than three days! It’s almost as good as Christmas!

I bought some stuff from iTead Studio. It came decently packed in a small cardboard box. The components were sealed in static resistant bags, and then wrapped in bubble wrap. So everything came safe.

My haul from iTead

I bought a waterproof ultrasonic sensor, two nRF24L01+ 2.4GHz radios, a regular ultrasonic module, a PIR sensor and some Arduino style long pin headers.

The iTead order was placed on the 16th of June, and it arrived on the 28th.

My second package came today. This was a PCB order I had placed with Seeed Studio on the 15th of June, but it came only today (2nd July). In all fairness Seeed had shipped it by the 22nd, but China Post was the bottleneck. Still, I’m not complaining too much.

I bought some other stuff too from Seeed – a Bus Pirate probe cable to use with the BP I made. The cable has some pretty decent probes. Not the best quality, but reasonable for the price. You may ask why I didn’t build one myself – I was too lazy :-P.

The probe attached to my Bus Pirate

I picked up a current transformer to fool about with (at some later date), and a small solderless breadboard. They look cute and I simply can’t find them in India.

Left: The breadboard and CT Right: the CPLD dev board

FPGAs fascinate me. But since I’m a Mechanical Engineer I’ve never got the chance to formally learn about these. I don’t know whether that’s a good or bad thing (since I feel that the easiest way to lose interest in something is to conform yourself to structured study), but that’s another story. Buying an FPGA dev board would not only be expensive, it may have been too big a jump for me, so I bought a CPLD instead. They’re cheap and I’ll get a good, albeit simple, introduction.

 SD card
Left: The micro SD cards Right: the vague data on one of them

When I’m buying electronics I get carried away (much like my sister or mom when they’re out buying shoes or handbags) – I bought two 2GB micro SD cards; one to fool around with, and the other to use. Both the SD cards were detected by my computer. One of them was blank, but the other seems to have been used before. There were some files, and one of the folders was called “HTC Sync”. It beats me how they got on there.

My boards – back and front

Its quite interesting after you pay by credit card to see how much stuff you bought without intending to. This order was placed because I wanted to get PCBs made. :-P The PCBs are the second revision on my Arduino-ish PIC dev boards. These boards are not Arduino compatible, nor do they use Wiring/Processing. But they are inspired by the modular approach Arduino uses of being able to socket-in shields. These are raw Rev2 PCBs; I’ll post populated photos soon.

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