Monday, March 27, 2017

Changed my Car to a Chevrolet HHR

My Cobalt was hit by a deer and sustained over $1000 in damages.  For a 2007 with 165,000 miles that is essentially totaling the car.  SO I traded it in on a 2010 HHR that needs some minor repairs.
The hood was black (it had been in an accident) so I wire brushed it and put some white primer on it until I can afford to have it professionally painted.

One of the issues was strange noises coming from someplace in the back when going around corners.  I had already dug all the way down and removed the spare looking for the issue.  Maybe there was something in the gas tank?  The second time I took out the spare I looked behind the battery area and found a golf ball.  Before long I had pulled 6 golf balls out of that area.
 I decided to replace the air filter and discovered that changing the air filter on the HHR is a nightmare. You have to unplug the MAF sensor, and disconnect three hoses.  Then you can remove the air filter assembly and turn it over to remove 7 Torx screws.  Forget that.  I found this ad for a replacement for $75 on eBay.
The kit arrived in less than a week in a relatively small box.  It was only about one foot square in size.  But everything was there.

The changeover takes about 1 hour to complete.  Here is a before picture:
Here is an after picture:
I could not figure out how to "bend" the included metal strap to hold the air filter in place so I used some wire ties instead.  The oil fill spout extension can be removed.  The cap will fit directly on the engine.  The spark plugs are next to be replaced now that I can actually find them....

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Arduino Powered F450 Quadcopter/Drone

My next project and book will be on Arduino powered Quadcopters.  So far all I have assembled is the frame.  This is a DJI F450 Quadcopter with A2212 motors.

Soldering the connectors on the motors is not easy!  You have to use an alligator clip to hold the connector in place.  Find the hole in the side of the connector and use it to get the soldering iron into the center.  This requires a fine soldering iron tip.  Fill the center with solder. Stick the wire into the hot solder.  I also bent the wire over so it fits tightly first of all.  I should have stripped some more insulation off first.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Arduino Powered WS2812 LED Strips turned into 15x16 Array

I purchased two 5 meter (almost 200 inches) WS2812 addressable LED array strips.  Then I seperated them into ten strips of 15 LED each about 20 inches long.  Why 15 LED's? Because that is where they are soldered together at the factory.  Then thew were stuck on "yard sign" material for a backing.  The result is a 20 inch by 20 inch 15 by 16 LED array.

This picture shows where they are soldered together at the factory.

This picture shows the 5 volt 12 amp power supply.  The array takes bout 3 amps to power it.

Here is the video demonstrating the array running the Adafruit demo.

This video has 4 LED strips reorganized as 600 LED's working.

Friday, February 3, 2017

CJMCU 8x8 WS2812 Addressable LED Array with an Arduino

Someone asked me why I did not include addressable LED arrays in mt book "Arduino LED Projects".  Well basically back them I did not know about addressable LED's.  SO recently a friend wanted some LED effects at his wedding reception so I started looking into addressable LED's.  The first thing I bought was a 8x8 LED array.  I connected it up and loaded Adafruit's NeoPixel software into the Arduino and got NOTHING!

Then someplace I read that the Data in and Data out labels are swapped.  So, to get it to work connect the D out pin to the Arduino D6 pin.  It came to LIFE!  Then after about a minute smoke rose out of the Arduino.  The voltage regulator had gone up in smoke.  Find an 5 volt 1-2 amp AC adapter and use that to power the LED array.

Here is a picture of it running the Adafruit demo.

This is the back view showing how to connect it to the Arduino and to power.

This is the video of the demo.

Monday, January 16, 2017

DIY 3D Printer Updated to a PRUSA I3 Compatible Version

I am working upgrading  my 3D printer to a PRUSA I3 Compatible Version.  I will also be updating my book "Inexpensive 3D Printer Projects" once the upgrade is completed and working.  Hopefully there will also be a all metal version of the PRUSA i3 3D printer in that book as well.

One of the issues so far is that the PRUSA i3 uses a 5 mm threaded rods for its lead-screws.  I wish that there was a 8 mm compatible version available.  I have found a alternate X axis end design that I can print out that does support 8 mm lead-screws.  Here is a link to the upgrade: The other option is to purchase the all metal X axis for the Geeetech i3 printer.  I am also making a normal PRUSA i3 printer to verify that all of the parts are interchangeable with my design.

This is what the rebuilt 3D printer looks like so far:

Here is a progress report picture on rebuilding the 3D printer.

It now has the Y platform installed and the Arduino is in place as well.

This picture shows the wiring (mess).

Here is the results of the first test run.  The X axis belt skipped and caused it to print in the air after a few passes.

There were some more failures before I changed the extruder and fixed a wiring problem.

After a couple of calibrations it is now working.

This is what the finished elephant looks like.  My Z axis was off (3333 vs 4000) so it is shorter that it should have been.

To verify compatibility I am also building a PRUSA i3.  Here is the frame with the printed parts.

Then I switched to my home made metal parts.  I need to cut the Z axis shafts off so they are shorter.

I spray painted the frame with about 4 coats of gloss black paint.  It looks a lot better now.

I have added a Geeetech i3 all metal X axis to the Prusa i3 frame!  The secret is the home made motor mounts.
This is what the completed GeeeTech i3 all metal 3D printer on a PRUSA frame looks like.
This is the electronics for that 3D printer.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

DIY Arduino GRBL CNC with a Laser!

I have added a laser to my CNC machine, here are some pictures.
This picture shows the addition of a relay board on the left to turn the laser on and off.

This is the laser at work.

Here is the results.

This is the video on YouTube.

This next video is of engraving an image with the laser.

Here is the latest results.

Here is a picture of my software setup.  The image is processed with 3dpBurner Image2Gcode.  Then Universal G code Sender sends it to the CNC.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Using the DIY CNC to try to cut a logo into plastic part2

I thought I would make another sign, this time it will be used in selling my books at various events that I attend.  I wrote my own CNC program to cut out the letters and the space allotted for the "I" was too wide.  Also while the CNC was cutting the plastic, the holder for the bottom of the Dremel fell out of the machine.  This allowed for play in the Y axis as can be seen in the top of the letter "I".

The wood base was cut with the CNC in "manual" mode.  Basically there are 8 holes spaced one inch apart.  The LED's are wired up in groups of two going one direction then two going in the other direction. This reduces the wiring to a minimum.  A 220 ohm resistor goes to a 9 volt battery for power.

Here is the video of the CNC machine running.

I have used F-engrave with a few changes to the settings to engrave "Arduino Books" into another piece of Plexiglas.

This is what the sign looked like when done with the room lights turned off.

Here it is with the lights on.

My books are available on eBay and amazon:

Monday, November 14, 2016

How to hide wires going to a wall mounted TV

My wife has wanted me to hide the wires going to the TV for some time now. This is what I started with, a TV with lots of wires going to it.

This is my secret weapon, electrical pass through boxes.  These and a hand held hole saw did the trick.

I ran into problems right from the start, electrical wires that were in the way.  They had to be moved to the right slightly.  They also made cutting the hole a bit tricky.

Then there was a second problem, there is a 2x4 going cross wise in the wall.  I cut it off on the right side and then cut off the nails.

Last was to hide the cable and internet cables behind the baseboard.  I cut a grove in the sheet rock and a grove in the baseboard.

Time to patch up the hole where I had cut through the cross wise 2x4.  A piece of thin plywood like luan works for the backing.

This is the almost finished product.  Now to repaint the wall....

Friday, November 11, 2016

Alternate power supply for Dell 2300MP Projector

After some experimenting I have come up with an alternate power supply for the Dell 2300MP Projectors.  At first I bought some that did not work then I found out that with a slight modification this CT-300 power supply works.

This is my collection of dead Dell power supplies.

This is a size comparison. The new power supply is a little bigger but the projector has plenty of room for the power supply.  Note that the cable to the motherboard is backwards and that there are 2 extra pins towards the 110 volt connector end of the power supply.

The new power supply will not turn the projectors bulb on.  It needs a modification to supply 5 volts to the extra pin that is not ground via a 1 K resistor as seen in this picture.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Comparing LED Projectors part 4 Pyle PRJD907

I recently received a shipment of LED Projectors, they are 2000 lumen Pyle PRJD907's.  They were all sold "as-is" broken but they were easy to fix.  One had a bad soldering connection in the power supply.  They all had loose power supplies, the mounting needs to be improved.  I glued the power supplies to the light cover at the end closest to the heat sink.

This picture shows what is inside the projector.  At the back is the LED heat sink with cooling fan.  In the middle is the LCD screen.  At the front is the projection lens.

This is what the projector guts looks like when it is running.

Here is the video on YouTube.  I hope to compare several 2000 lumen projectors at a time in the near future.  I have also ordered a light meter so I can find out what the actual lumens is for each projector.

I have managed to find a place where I can compare multiple projectors.  Here are a couple of videos showing 3 projectors at a time.

Here is a quick summary of my findings;
Epson EMP-S1    Rated: 1200 lumens     Tested: 460 Lux
Pyle PRJD907     Rated: 2000 lumens     Tested: 230 Lux
No Name CL312 Rated 2000 lumens      Tested: 100 Lux (Note: damaged LCD)
Pyle PRJG65       Rated: 150 lumens       Tested: 30 Lux
Erisan                  Rated: 1200 Lumens    Tested: 40 Lux
Crenova XPE460 Rated: 1200 Lumens   Tested: 60 Lux

The Crenova XPE460 is the best under $100 projector in my opinion.  They have replaced it with a newer model the XPE480.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Comparing LED Projectors Part 3 CL312 vs Crenova

Over the weekend my first 2000 lumen LED projector arrived.  It needed minor repairs, it had been dropped and the power supply and one lens were loose.  This projector can be used with the lights on but it is no way near as bright as the 2300 lumen Dell 2300MP projector.

Here it is with the room lights on.

Here it is with the lights off and the Crenova 1000 lumen projector is on the left side for comparison.

This is what the insides look like, notice the big fan cooled heat sink on the LED light source in the back.

Here is a picture of the CL312 projector running with the cover off.  The LED is blindingly bright!

Here is the video on YouTube.