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    Main idea of starting this discussion is that if anyone has a working setup with Raspberry Pi 3 then it would be nice if you could share the image. Or the instructions to get the Cirrus Logic Audio card working with Raspberry Pi 3.


    I tried 2 different methods and no luck so far. I must say that I am a hardware guy and do not know too much about programming and linux. Trying to educate myself though.


    Here is what I have tried.


    1. I downloaded the ready made all-in-one package from element14 Cirrus Logic Audio Card page and installed the image using Win32DiskImager. When I tried to boot the Raspberry Pi 3 was just showing the Rainbow Screen and nothing was happening. Therefore the system was stuck and not booting at all. I did not investigate it further thinking that probably the ready made image doesn't work for RPi3.


    2.  The second time I installed the latest Raspbian image. Tested that it was working on RPi 3. Then followed the official instruction on CirrusLogic wiki page .  I used local build as I don't have Linux installed on my PC (yet!). Thought that maybe these will work for RPi3 also if I compile the kernel in the machine itself.

    Unfortunately no luck. The RPi3 starts to boot but then hangs at a line which says: random: nonblocking pool is initialized. Which can basically mean anything according to my research. Of course I didn't give up so fast. I tried all kinds of different things according to the hints that I found by Googling. But I do not think they are worth mentioning here.


    So. I would be really happy if someone who knows more about linux and programming could look into it and share the information if he / she gets Cirrus Logic Audio Card working with RPi3.

    Of course all kind of suggestions about the described situation are also welcome.


    All the best

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  • 12/04/16--09:38: Sensor shoes
  • Not sure how feasible this is, however I thought it might be an interesting project to try and modify a pair of shoes to be able to log weight over time.


    Initially I thought of just being able to weigh a person over the duration of a day as opposed to the more common weigh-in between days. So I was thinking along the lines of a pair of load sensors as insoles along with accelerometers/gyros on the thighs. When the thighs are near horizontal then you are likely to be sitting down so the load sensors would not get a true weight reading and thus can be marked as such or ignored. Also when the accelerometer is showing a large displacement (e.g. when walking) then once again a true weight reading is not likely to be possible. However at some point in the walking process there may be a point where a true reading at the sensors in the insoles can be made and logged. If not, then logging only when standing would be another option.


    However, I then thought of other uses for this type of sensing such as monitoring additional weights involved manual handling activities and perhaps with more sensors sewn into a pair of overalls then one could start to detect posture and alert the wearer if they are stooping whilst attempting to lift heavy loads potentially resulting in cumulative back injuries.


    And for the gamer of course then perhaps a wearable Nintendo Wii Balance Board type game controller. Although anything involving stepping on and off the balance board would require additional emulation in the controller.

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  • 12/04/16--18:11: TQ2SA-L2-12V
  • Hi,

    I am a hobby electronics enthusiast and a virgin to forums but as I have hit a brickwall I thought i'd come out of my comfort zone, risk humiliation and ask, what to you guys is probably a stupid goes.

    I have some smd TQ2SA-L2-12V (latching) relays which I would like to incorporate into a hobby board I am working on. In essence I need to wire it so NC lights a Red Led and NO lights a Green Led when Red is off (from this tarting point I can progress further). I have tried so many variations but to no avail. I would really appreciate it if someone could draw up a quick circuit diagram of the operation I need. At the very least it will show me where I am going wrong. FYI I have successfully triggered different kinds of minature relays which are working perfectly on my projects but this model has me beat. I have tried contacting Panasonic but all I get is another copy of the Data sheet.

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  • 12/04/16--17:02: Measure elevator speed
  • hi,  newbie to arduino buildouts. I was wondering if anyone could point me toward tutorials on something like the following:

    i am looking to build a kit that would allow me to measure the starting acceleration, deceleration, and speed of an elevator (up and down). I have a pretty good idea of the hardware buildout but the parsing of the accelerometer data is where I think I am lost.  I believe there are formulas for calculting (while taking into account gravity). Most of the tutorials stop at showing the stream of incoming data. I hope the grab the relevant bits, calculate and display the results.


    i saw the simplelink Texas Instruments device...not sure if that is worth while or still just raw data.


    Any my help would be appreciated.




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  • 12/04/16--20:05: SMart.IO KickStarter video
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    Arduino users and other embedded system designers can now make user interface on the smartphones without wireless or app coding!!





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    Have a question about Warp7? Ask it here!

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    Smart.IO is the fastest and best way to get a modern GUI for Arduino or other embedded system projects!




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    The Pi-Top, a Raspberry-Pi powered laptop, is getting attention after it recently closed 4.3 million to fund the global edtech push.  In addition to providing the hardware required to house the low cost Raspberry Pi microcomputer, the company behind the Pi-Top produces software designed to make learning to code more simple and fun. While originally targeted to children in the educational market, a significant number of adults have used the hardware for developing their own apps or working on their own electronics projects.


    The Pi-top software stack runs off of pi-topOS, a fork off of the Raspberry Pi's Raspian Linux Distribution, that allows you to standard computing tasks such as browsing the web, checking email, creating and editing text documents, and play games through an easy to use interface. Each of the team's flagship software offerings, the CEEDUniverse learning game and pi-topCODER, teach coding in a gamified environment. The tools are designed to help students achieve higher grades in computing and STEM subjects with as little as "3 to 6 months of play." Their mission is to provide schools throughout the world with the means to effectively teach computer science and STEM-related subjects while enabling teachers and learners to plug into relevant educational resources.




    While acknowledging crossover with the DIY and Maker space, co-founder Jesse Lozano remains focused education; "We are an edTech company at this point and that was largely our intent from the beginning. Although we have a good portion of sales that are retail and consumer facing, being in the DIY and STEM space does mean there is always going to be some crossover." He quick to differentiate what they do with others in the education space by appealing to engineers; "I would say we do operate very differently from what most people expect out of an education company. ...We are an engineer heavy team that creates every aspect of our products except for the Raspberry Pi and we own our supply chain 100%, ...we even designed our own freight boxes to reduce shipping damage to an absolute minimum. Every aspect is engineered to work together to provide a great quality product at industry beating affordability."


    Linux-operated computing devices have long been seen as a way to bring affordable education opportunities around the world.  With its green exterior and Linux operating system it's hard not to be reminded of the laptop used in the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project. The One Laptop per Child (OLPC) initiative launched in January 2005 with the goal of transforming education for children in and around the world by distributing low cost educational devices for the developing world, and then create software and content for those devices.  The project received a lot of attention at the time, when the typical laptop cost in excess of $1,000, because it promised to bring to production a low-cost, and low power laptop in what would become the OLPC XO Laptop. The project was subject to a mixture of praise and criticism. It was praised for bringing awareness to many countries of the need to make computer literacy a mainstream part of education and for interfaces that worked without literacy in any language, with English in particular. Backlash over the project included issues with support, ease-of-use, security, content-filtering, and privacy. Officials in some countries were critical about its price point, cultural emphasis, and how it was being prioritized over basic needs lacking in third-world settings.



    {gallery} My Gallery Title

    Raspberry Pi-Top Laptop

    Raspberry Pi-Top Laptop 2

    Raspberry Pi-Top Laptop 3

    Raspberry Pi-Top Laptop 4



    The OLPC program is rooted in the the pedagogy of Seymour Papert, whose approach known as constructionism, called for computers for children at an early age to enable digital literacy. Papert worked alongside Nicholas Papert at the MIT Lab since its inception. Papert likened computers in computer labs to the old practice of keeping books chained to the walls of libraries while Negronte likened sharing computers to sharing pencils. In 2004, sharing computers was typical with laptops and a small desktops costing around $1500. Negronte addressed the issue at the World Economic Forum, calling on the industry to revolutionize education, by enabling a $100 laptop that would enable constructionist learning by putting all the world's knowledge at children's fingertips.  For Negronte, the key to a $100 laptop was revolutionizing display technology. Once convinced of this possibility, he led the creation of the Hundred Dollar Laptop Corp. In the 2006 World Economic Forum, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) released a statement saying they would work with OLPC to provide "technology and resources to targeted schools in the least developed countries."


    In 2006, Eben Upton and his colleges at the University of Cambridge's Computer Laboratory, came up with an idea for a tiny and cheap computer for kids.  The idea was born over concern for the yearly decline in applicants and skill level of students in their computer science program. Between 2006 and 2008 they developed several prototypes of what would become known as the Raspberry Pi.  It wasn't until 2008, when processors designed for mobile devices became cheaper, that their project became realizable.  In early 2012, the Raspberry Pi Foundation succeeded in delivering a truly low-cost, low-powered Linux computing solution at a remarkably low price point between $25-35. The latest version of the Raspberry Pi, the Raspberry Pi 3, was released in 2016 and came bundled with on-board WiFi and Bluetooth while keeping costs around $35.The Pi-Top, borrows heavily from the design of the OLPC XO Laptop, but is powered by a Raspberry Pi that can be upgraded as new versions of the Pi are released. They offer two models, the Pi-topCEEDS is $115+ a Pi and the Pi-Top is $265+Pi.


    According to Lozano, "We want to make hardware as accessible to learn as software is now... A big part of that is giving people an open source platform that can be used anywhere, to learn from and contribute to." All software and extensions for the Pi-Top are open source with the exception of some proprietary firmware from Broadcom on the Pi board itself.  The free software and modular design of the Pi-top permits hardware customization. The Pi Top is also compatible with most microcomputers on the market such as the BeagleBone Black. Far from the forced obsolescence of most laptops, Lozano points out that "(Pi Top) end users can take advantage of the latest technology without having to replace the entire unit. You can create your own circuit boards that add functionality if we haven't created what you are looking for yet."


    Open source software is ideally suited to education market, especially where costs are a factor. Proprietary operating systems can be cost prohibitive due to per-seat or site licenses, There are also license renewals and upgrade costs to consider. Proprietary software can easily cost educational facilities more than the hardware its used to run it on when factoring in license renewals and upgrade costs. There are no licensing fees for Linux regardless of the number of users or number of computers you install it on. Thanks to the support of a robust open source community, there is also a free, extensive catalog of high-quality programs that rival or exceed programs that are commercially available. Because open source software is openly distributed, useful features are added to existing programs by developers and made freely available. Because theinternal workings of Linux are open it can be inspected, modified, and experimented on by the end user. The transparency of Linux makes it an ideal platform to learn how computers work.


    GNU, a Unix-Like operating system is a collection of programs: applications, libraries, developer tools, and games typically used on Linux and precisely referred to as GNU/Linux distributions. Its a recursive acronym for "GNU's Not Unix" and rooted in the Free Software Movement, a campaign to win end users the freedom that comes with free software by putting them in control of their own computing. They believe free software is a matter of liberty not price and state that a program should have four essential freedoms: the freedom to run the program as you wish, for any purpose; freedom to study how the program works and adapt it for your needs(access to source code); freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbor; and the freedom to improve the program; release your improvements publicly; so the whole community benefits(access to source code is a precondition).



    Ben Heck's Pi-Top Assembly Demo Episode


    How would you use Linux or Open Source to solve a need like STEM or Computer Literacy?


    The most useful answer wins Ben Heck's Pi-Top Laptop!


    Feel free to talk about how you would use Linux or Open Source to find a low-cost solution to improving STEM-related education or digital literacy in developing countries or under served neighborhoods. You could also talk about how you would use Linux or Open Source to educate users on how computers work. You can post photos or videos of a design, prototype or completed project you made using Linux or Open Source that solves a real-world problem. If you have a good idea, that makes the world a better place and uses Linux or Open Source, let us know. If you don't agree that Linux or Open Source are good options for addressing world needs such as STEM or Computer Literacy feel free to make the opposite argument.



    Step 1:  Log in or register on element14, it's easy and free.

    Step 2:Post in the comments section below and tell us how you would use Linux or Open Source to solve a problem in the world. Videos, pictures and text are all welcomed forms of submission.

    Step 3:  Sit back, relax, and enjoy the show!  We will accept entries until 3:00pm CDT December 15th, 2016 and Ben, Karen, or Felix will announce the winner on YouTube after all entries have been carefully considered! If you need something to do between now and then make sure to check out what is happening This week on element14 Community, or watch more Ben at

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    Seeing I have this blog space which I promised to put some element14 related content on, and I have about half an hour that I can spend, I thought I'd take a look back on some of the RoadTests I've been involved in and see just what my opinion of the product is, one year after I started using it. After all, some products are all fine and great in the "honeymoon" phase, but after a bit of usage, you really get a feel for the developments, limitations and annoyances of the product and they're worth noting as well. It'd also be a good chance to provide a "where are they now" snapshot of how it's been used since reviewing the product.


    This post will be looking at the Keithley 2110 5.5 digit Benchtop Digital Multimeter. This was supposed to be Keithley's lower-cost entry level broad-purpose multimeter, and in the original review, things were mostly good. Is this still the case?


    During the review, I didn't have that much time to do teardowns and research, and back then, I really didn't want to break something I had only just gotten. While I still haven't torn it down, some trawling online led me to this discovery - the PicoTest M3510A is a dead ringer for the Keithley Model 2110! It's actually a 6.5 digit version of it, complete with the same "slightly small" LCD screen. In fact, the software for it is name PT-TOOL as opposed to Keithley's KI-TOOL. Co-incidence? I think not.


    Further digging reveals that the product is likely to be OEM'ed by a company called Array Electronic Co. Ltd, which doesn't have this unit on their site anymore.


    Does this diminish the "Keithley" feeling? Maybe a little. But in the end, many products at the low end of the price tiers are rebadged or compromise products, so this is not really a surprise. Ultimately, the reliability and performance is more important. What is surprising is that the 2110 doesn't seem to be that popular around here ... despite my initial thoughts that it would.




    Since the review and its firmware update to 1.02-00-00, it seems three new firmware releases have been provided for the multimeter. The latest version of the firmware is now Version 2.01-02-01. Interestingly, when you visit the product page, you won't find the firmware update linked in the Software section anymore. Instead, you need to go to the support pages and search for 2110, where you will find the release notes and firmware, along with the software.


    You will find that if you're running Firmware 1.02, that the upgrade for 2.00-01 is still available. This is because of the upgrade considerations table, which seems to suggest you should upgrade to 2.00-01 first.


    Upgrading to 2.01-02 doesn't seem to be directly supported, based on their release notes, so I wouldn't try it.


    On the whole, the firmware fixes issues with digit flickering (which didn't seem to affect my unit's hardware), and some SCPI command performance anomalies. No major "calibration" affecting bugs have been seen, which is good.


    An update to the KI-TOOL software seems to have been released as well, which doesn't change the spartan look of the software, but does make some slight functionality improvements. One much appreciated improvement is the DMM's settings are read from the DMM on the software starting, so if you took the effort to pre-configure the DMM through the front panel, the settings are not lost. It also means that the settings page isn't "defaulted" to some random value, but instead, it takes the values presently programmed into the DMM.


    The appearance and performance did remain the same. It was noted that only 10 recording slots were available, and there was a suggestion there was a limitation to the number of recorded values. It seems that I've been able to record over 100k values into a single slot with no difficulty, so that's a bit of a bonus. Exporting and deleting the data still takes a little bit of time. It seems that the recording is done fairly frequently too, as we have had a power outage during a test run and the data recorded was intact until about 10-seconds before the loss of power, which was a nice discovery. The trigger delay is still in software, so unfortunately, depending on the setting and the integration time, the actual sample rate is widely off expectation (e.g. 10PLC voltage + 10PLC current in dual measure at 50Hz + 100ms trigger delay would have you expecting 500ms per sample right? In reality, it's closer to 800ms!).


    Unfortunately, I never really had the chance to try it with NI LabVIEW or MATLAB or anything else. Instead, it's spent most of its life running standalone or with the KI-TOOL software.

    What is it doing now?


    Since the RoadTest review, it has been heavily used as a data acquisition device for testing the capacity of USB power banks. These products are ubiquitous, but their true capacity sometimes deviates markedly from the named rating even when conversion efficiency is taken into account. This has led to my personal blog being one of the primary reference sources, especially for cheap and nasty power banks, along with ripple voltage testing with the Picoscope 2205A I RoadTested as well.


    Over 15 different models of power bank were tested, with 15 runs each, a test time averaging about 4 hours per run ... so already in that set, we're seeing over 900 hours of usage there.


    The Keithley has also been the star of an endurance experiment with two different Lithium Polymer battery banks - the Orzly (which fared terribly) and a Hillo Power (which is still running). A total of 190 runs were made, for a total test time of about 570 hours (due to smaller capacity cells). It is amazing to see the stability of the unit, which provided very very solidly correlated results - in most cases, subsequent cycling of the power bank and integration of readings taken >1/s over periods of 3-4 hours showed <100mAh of difference, and much of that can be attributed to the power bank charge termination itself. It makes a very good meter for checking up on small variations in capacity, especially when treated with care. I have always kept it powered on for at least 30 minutes before taking readings (warm-up) and kept it in my air-conditioned room (to keep the temperature stable). It's also not subject to vibration or movement, which helps.


    In power bank testing alone, we're seeing over 1000 hours of usage, and the meter has been rock solid. Never did it drop-out once. Never did the software fail to do the recording. Never did it error out. Only when the electricity had a significant dip, did it once go into error (likely due to loss of synchronization with mains cycle), which is perfectly reasonable. The same can't be said by some PicoTest users who were complaining of problems, however, I did not use the GPIB interface as I don't have any interface cards (and USB is perfectly sufficient for me).


    Aside from that, it formed the reference readings for my how accurate is that 3.5 digit multimeter? article, which helps provide some insight into just how hit and miss cheap meters are. The Keithley is rock solid though, and the readings it has provided has been transformed into knowledge for the greater community. How great is that?



    It's been a year of use, and a tough year at that, but this multimeter has been nothing but solid. Despite the slightly sub-par LCD display instead of a VFD display, when used as a data acquisition unit, it doesn't really matter. The accuracy, overall, appears to have been maintained, and the USB SCPI link was rock solid through almost continuous usage. It never got any rest, and yet, it's still as bright and sharp as day 1. The software provided isn't perfect, but it's still adequate for some very involved experiments. For the price, it's a solid buy, especially with the dual-measure facility which I have made extensive use of.